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Lore/Fluff--How much is too much or not enough?

Heavy Arms

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What's the intended audience?

Maybe I'm a bit weird... but I like a book that knows what it is. If a RPG is being written and the author knows it's mostly going to be bought by other designers, so there's a strong sense of, "let me show you this really cool idea in a functional environment, even if you're probably just going to get inspired for your own games rather than ever play it," the downplaying of lore wouldn't bug me that much.

Likewise if you know your main audience are pretty hardcore gamers that have at least a decade of d20 based games under their belts and have probably tried a bunch of other systems, I get the impetus to get past some stuff quickly. RPG users have a kinda silly habit of lamenting, "What is a RPG?" sections in their books, and kinda forget that most RPGs aren't written specifically for people that have lots of experience with the genre of game. Though this can go a both ways, since some games are built on their lore, and their hardcore fans are more lore oriented than not (Harn and WoD both being big examples of lots and lots of lore being the point).

If you're trying to have a wide appeal... well I do want to see well written lore that other games might wave past in a paragraph. If I'm going to be running this game as someone's first game, the book needs good solid lore, and a decent amount of it, so it inspires a couple people to have neat ideas, and temper those ideas with the premise of the setting. A book that assumes everyone playing already knows what's going on isn't one I'm going to use for running stuff for new gamers.
 

PeteNutButter

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What's the intended audience?

Maybe I'm a bit weird... but I like a book that knows what it is. If a RPG is being written and the author knows it's mostly going to be bought by other designers, so there's a strong sense of, "let me show you this really cool idea in a functional environment, even if you're probably just going to get inspired for your own games rather than ever play it," the downplaying of lore wouldn't bug me that much.

Likewise if you know your main audience are pretty hardcore gamers that have at least a decade of d20 based games under their belts and have probably tried a bunch of other systems, I get the impetus to get past some stuff quickly. RPG users have a kinda silly habit of lamenting, "What is a RPG?" sections in their books, and kinda forget that most RPGs aren't written specifically for people that have lots of experience with the genre of game. Though this can go a both ways, since some games are built on their lore, and their hardcore fans are more lore oriented than not (Harn and WoD both being big examples of lots and lots of lore being the point).

If you're trying to have a wide appeal... well I do want to see well written lore that other games might wave past in a paragraph. If I'm going to be running this game as someone's first game, the book needs good solid lore, and a decent amount of it, so it inspires a couple people to have neat ideas, and temper those ideas with the premise of the setting. A book that assumes everyone playing already knows what's going on isn't one I'm going to use for running stuff for new gamers.
I have a huge breadth of lore, my problem is more of trimming than adding. I'd like to have as wide appeal as possible, but that may be optimistic. Let me just share an example. Here is a screenshot of the lore page for one of my more vanilla classes, a luck based character: https://1drv.ms/u/s!Al0pLB3PRW_yo37UaJIA5836b4o6

Feedback welcome. (Yes, this one is a bit cliche.)
 

Yog Sothoth

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I guess this is a whole historic discussion, isn't it? Does system matter, etc?

Looking at the Dastard character above, it feels like a D&D game or it could be its own thing and it doesn't feel like it'd matter. This is usually boring for me as having to figure out how it works with something else adds time I don't want to give to a setting.

That said, if you can tie in examples of play within this character with system-discussion, then you could flavor it well. I've usually seen the continuum of this between Narrative / system parity like 7th Sea's 1st edition and d20.
 

Heavy Arms

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I have a huge breadth of lore, my problem is more of trimming than adding. I'd like to have as wide appeal as possible, but that may be optimistic. Let me just share an example. Here is a screenshot of the lore page for one of my more vanilla classes, a luck based character: https://1drv.ms/u/s!Al0pLB3PRW_yo37UaJIA5836b4o6

Feedback welcome. (Yes, this one is a bit cliche.)
The problem with reading that in a vacuum is that we can't see how much it comes out in play. Does Felicity's little story actually happen naturally in the rules, or is it something the players/GM need to make happen? How "real" is the Dastard's Curse for playing the game? Are you just expecting to RP it? Or does something enforce it?

The write-up itself seems pretty fun. Not too locked down, not too vague, some nice touches to enforce a general feel of the setting and name checking a guy like that is a good way to make the history of the setting feel more full without overdoing it.

But it needs to matter on some level to playing the game too. This is kinda what I was talking about in the other thread with fluff vs. lore. Is this fluff that the systems don't impact? Or is this lore that's actually using prose to tell the players how a Dastard will feel in play?
 

PeteNutButter

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The problem with reading that in a vacuum is that we can't see how much it comes out in play. Does Felicity's little story actually happen naturally in the rules, or is it something the players/GM need to make happen? How "real" is the Dastard's Curse for playing the game? Are you just expecting to RP it? Or does something enforce it?

The write-up itself seems pretty fun. Not too locked down, not too vague, some nice touches to enforce a general feel of the setting and name checking a guy like that is a good way to make the history of the setting feel more full without overdoing it.

But it needs to matter on some level to playing the game too. This is kinda what I was talking about in the other thread with fluff vs. lore. Is this fluff that the systems don't impact? Or is this lore that's actually using prose to tell the players how a Dastard will feel in play?
Each one of this little scenes/mini narratives hits on the core abilities of what someone can actually do in play. They are each constructed as an attempt to show off the abilities in a way that isn’t just rule text. If you were to read each narrative bit and then read the rule section of the class you could pick out where in the scene the character used what abilities. I even had to edit a few out that used abilities not available to all members of that class.

Basically, instead of saying a dastard has cool abilities that do this. I am trying to show it in the world. I'm guessing a good portion of players will just scroll past it, but hopefully it adds to it for those who want to get into the lore. So far most of my playtesters have basically picked what they want to play from the one sentence summary blurb at the beginning of the chapter and then exclusively read that bit.
 
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Heavy Arms

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I think (again, not seeing the rules themselves) that it's hitting the marks I'd be looking for. Especially for something I might run at a con or something for players that are fairly new to the hobby.
 

PeteNutButter

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I think (again, not seeing the rules themselves) that it's hitting the marks I'd be looking for. Especially for something I might run at a con or something for players that are fairly new to the hobby.
Nice. Thanks for the feedback. I’ll keep banging this drum for now. Worst case people just scroll past it.
 

SecretsAndSaucers

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I feel like you don't need to describe Gods or devils. Judaism innovated the idea of a God that can be known by lay people. Keep your deities pagan by ruling that only clerics have a special relationship with the Divine, an these secrets are punishable by the loss of clerical powers. Now you don't need to describe anything about the gods at all, and you avoid the in game polytheism to monotheism debates between multiple clerics.
 

Heavy Arms

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Uh.... what?

Judaism as a matter of theology says the Lord is unfathomable to any human being; hence the need for intermediaries like angels. Only the most holy of people could hold to even hear divine words from the source.

According to the Greeks, women had to be careful about getting looked at wrong by a barnyard animal lest it turn out Zeus is feeling frisky again.
 

SecretsAndSaucers

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Uh.... what?

Judaism as a matter of theology says the Lord is unfathomable to any human being; hence the need for intermediaries like angels. Only the most holy of people could hold to even hear divine words from the source.

According to the Greeks, women had to be careful about getting looked at wrong by a barnyard animal lest it turn out Zeus is feeling frisky again.
I stand corrected on Judaism.

My point was that you don't need to detail deities.
 
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