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Special language usage in RPG discussions?

Gea Gilwen

Retired User
I'm not an English native speaker, so time and again I have a hard time figuring out what you fellow forum users really mean when you use your kind of special RPG (critic's?) language. (I know what "vanilla" means in taste - but the RPG usage is still a big mystery to me.)
So could you explain me what these words mean when they appear in, for example, an RPG review?

- vanilla
- chocolate
- crunchy
- fluffy

That are the ones that came to my mind spontaneously - maybe more later.

Thanks in advance.

Greetings, Gea
 

John Nowak

Registered User
Validated User
Gea Gilwen said:
I'm not an English native speaker, so time and again I have a hard time figuring out what you fellow forum users really mean when you use your kind of special RPG (critic's?) language. (I know what "vanilla" means in taste - but the RPG usage is still a big mystery to me.)
So could you explain me what these words mean when they appear in, for example, an RPG review?

- vanilla
- chocolate
- crunchy
- fluffy

That are the ones that came to my mind spontaneously - maybe more later.

Thanks in advance.

Greetings, Gea
"Vanilla" means generic, simple or without many features to set it off from similar items. Usually used in the term "plain vanilla."

"Crunchy" means detailed or involved.

"Fluffy" generally means simple, or even childish. "Fluffy bunny" generally means cute, but without much to think about.

And my complements on your language skills; you write English very well.
 

GB Steve

Coat-tail rider
RPGnet Member
Validated User
vanilla means plain, basic, no frills such as Vanilla Fantasy, the kind you usually find attached to 3e: a whole mishmash of races who guard, for no particular reason, treasure in 10'x10' rooms.

chocolate is the opposite of vanilla, and usually means a setting with in depth descriptions and lots of background, such as Glorantha.

These two mostly apply to fantasy games for some reason.

crunchy is a bit harder to pin point. I think it means that you have lots of options on the character sheet. Over The Edge has 4 traits which range from 1d to 4d, very low crunch. 3e has 6 stats, saving throws, Basic Attack Bonus (BAB), spells etc, loadsa crunch. Crunch tends to sell better because it seems that your average punter likes having lots of non- purely descriptive stuff on the character sheet. Crunch is something that the player use to gain some leverage in the game.

fluffy is the opposite of crunch and means extraneous in the worst cases, not core to the system or just descriptive in the most benign. Over The Edge has fluffy descriptions of each trait, which are obligatory but don't give you a bonus to your rolls.

Most Computer Roleplaying Games (CRPGs) are high on crunch and low on fluff.
 

Marco

Registered User
Validated User
This is pretty well covered above. Just a few points:

1. These terms come with an implied ... erm ... 'threshold.' One person may consider White Wolf Crunchy. Another person might not. People usually considred a rules-monstrosity like Phoenix Command* very crunchy. I had a discussion with someone who considered Hero (probably minus powers) not all that rules-heavy/crunchy after character creation.

So the word kinda means "how you see it" rather than something a person can point to and say "what it is."

Is that even remotely clear? If it's not, just know that there's room for two reasonable people to disagree about exactly *what* Vanillia Fantasy is.

2. Wasn't there a thread that collected these terms? Maybe we could put one together?

I remember being confused about what "grainy" meant in terms of stats (did it mean fine-grained with many different levels of difference, or coarse-grained with only a few?)

-Marco
 

flyingmice

Avenging Aerial Rodent
Validated User
Marco said:
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I remember being confused about what "grainy" meant in terms of stats (did it mean fine-grained with many different levels of difference, or coarse-grained with only a few?)

-Marco
"Grainy" comes from photography, where in an extreme blow up, the individual grains of silver become apparent. Since the grain is the quantum, the larger the grains appear on the film, the less apparent detail can be distinguished. It's like a pixel in a computer display. You can show a lot more detail in a 640X480 screen than on a 320X200 screen. A grainy photo is murky and bad at showing detail.

Hope that helps! :D

-mice
 
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