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General Forge Forums => First Thoughts => Topic started by: drkrash on October 28, 2009, 06:46:16 AM

Title: What goes in the Introduction?
Post by: drkrash on October 28, 2009, 06:46:16 AM
Hello, all.

I'm most of the way through writing my present project, a moderately long core rulebook for a fighting game RPG.  As I have come to do with my academic books, I save the writing of the Introduction until last, in order to make sure the introduction actually introduces the book one is about to read. :)

But I'm a little less sure about what to include in the Introduction to a core rulebook.  I'd like to avoid the whole, "This is what role-playing is, this is how you do it."  I think my target audience has no need for that.  I also have no interest in writing fiction.  I plan to include a glossary of game terms, but otherwise, I'm totally baffled.

What should the Introduction include?

Thanks for your help!


Title: Re: What goes in the Introduction?
Post by: HeTeleports on October 28, 2009, 01:34:40 PM
Hello Christopher,

As a relative novice at rulebook writing, I've been researching different subjects to give myself an outline for my own work.

You should include your game's premise in the introduction.
This thread ( provides simultaneously a good example premise and a definition for "premise."

Read that thread in another tab, but keep this one open. I have a follow-up thought on it.
Now, after you've read that post, you'll see a lot of helpful posts (and some less helpful posts.) Throw out the dross; hold to the gold.
The gold includes Ron's statements about the use of a premise to keep your players (ie: the target audience) on the same page about what kind of story they'll be involved in.
In the first post, Ron points out that his advice is particularly for "would-be Narrativist design at the Forge."
Without unpacking the terms in my quoted phrase, I'm suggesting to you that laying out a specific premise helps any game design.
Try it out.


Title: Re: What goes in the Introduction?
Post by: Catelf on October 29, 2009, 10:45:05 AM
(Forge Language: Still don't understand it, my mind goes numb.)
* I assume you are certain of what your Game is about: Write that in the introduction.
* Also, what setting do the game have? Write the answer to that in the "In". Yes, even if you have no distinct "world and such", write that!
* Glossary: Great!
* If you can get someone else to write a little fiction for you, do so, and add it. ( I can write some fiction if you cannot find any other, and i daresay i'm good, and don't cost anything!)
* Write what other Games, and other things, you were inspired by.
I also assume you have a Section Description, also known as "Contents", even though this is usually separate from the Introduction.
Enough?  (I'd think so.)

Title: And revier? Re: What goes in the Introduction?
Post by: epweissengruber on October 29, 2009, 11:46:35 AM
I would like to suggest that writers also add review sections to their rule books.  The pointform summaries at the end of Dogs in the Vineyard really helped me get the game.  Giving a nice bulletted list at the end of the intro section could help instill those principles necessary for understanding the rest of the rules.

(Sorry, another school year has started up and I am looking at all our textbooks with their chapter previews, end-of-chapter summaries and review questions, mid-chapter attention grabbing questions, etc.  Some of that pedagogy/technology could make its way into rules books)

Title: Re: What goes in the Introduction?
Post by: HeTeleports on November 02, 2009, 04:15:54 PM
Actually, I might suggest avoiding a glossary of terms at the beginning of your rulebook. Fiction makes some sense, though doesn't necessarily impact ever player's experience with your game. But a glossary of terms, I'd avoid that.

One other good suggestion...

Write down a list of concepts that everyone should know before playing your game.
Then, rank them in order of most familiar (ie: how many people already know this) to least familiar.
Then, explain them -- about a paragraph or so each.

If this is explaining the difference between "spaghetti Westerns" and "historical westerns", arguing for the existence of telepathic abilities in real life, attempting to explain why Claymores really have no place in a Babylon-set fantasy epic -- the introduction is the place for that. These ideas aren't really central to your rules, but they're central to "getting the feeling right."
In the Intro, you're really answering the question "What do I need to know before we get started learning this game?"

Title: Re: What goes in the Introduction?
Post by: Catelf on November 03, 2009, 04:39:31 AM
It seems like "Glossary or no Glossary" is a question of taste, but it can clearly also be a question of  Mood:
So, you are writing a Fighing Game Rpg. Then, my mediary suggestion would be this:
If you use Fairly Common Words (like "Ki" or "Force"), in their Common meaning, then having a Glossary would be unnessesary, and possibly even improper to the Game.
However, if you use very unusual words (like "Prana" (same as Ki & Force)) in the Rules, then you will possibly Need a Glossary.

List of concepts.... Yes, it is a good suggestion, but i'd put them in order of the "most important for the Player to understand the Game's "World"/Concept", instead.