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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 64 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: World of Rathillien Tabletop - Introduction  (Read 1258 times)
greyorm
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Posts: 2233

My name is Raven.


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« Reply #15 on: May 13, 2010, 06:40:48 PM »

Robert,

You're welcome; glad it was helpful!

As to your question about the chapter order, well, honestly, I don't know that my stating any particular order is going to be helpful. There is no "best" order, though there is a "best" order of concepts generally: start broad, and narrow. For example, begin with what players do, what dice are used or whatnot, in what situations, avoid using game terms unless you append a brief description to them, move on to the big character bits like attributes, then get smaller. The other thing is "start with the most important bits". That's just a general guideline though.

Check out the 3E Player's Handbook and read it for it's conceptual layout, rather than for its specific ideas, see how they break the game down into sections and how they break the sections down to present things, the way they introduce and deal with concepts, building them up like a layer. Don't copy it, just think about it. I think the old Red Box "Basic D&D" set is well-done in terms of introducing the game at a digestible pace as well, so if you have a way to look at that one, too, a similar overview wouldn't be a bad thing.

Also, one of my personal guidelines in design write-ups is to never introduce something without briefly explaining what it is and why it is important -- that is, what it helps the character do. I avoid referring to other terms and ideas, and stick to effects. So instead of saying something like, "Charisma gives you bonuses to your Diplomacy, Bluff, and other social skills", I would say "Charisma is how much people like you and affects your interactions with them. A high Charisma means people like you more." Make sense?

One trick to try for working out a good presentation is to pretend you are writing an instruction booklet for a complete non-gamer. Chances are, your game won't be played by non-gamers or anyone who isn't already familiar with the hobby, but that isn't the point: this forces you to approach the game from a coherent, step-by-step, concept-by-concept perspective that you don't normally use when sitting around with your gaming buddies teaching them to play (and they already know what good a skill check is, and how attributes work, and so forth because of shared hobby experience). It will help you see where you need to stop yourself and how to order things effectively.

Associated with both of those is: be simple at first. When you say, for example, "We roll 6-sided dice to determine if your character succeeds at something they are trying to do." You don't need to launch into a complete description of how tasks and successes and skills work and so forth. Just explain enough to make the basic concept clear. I mention this, because I wrestled with this in a couple of my designs, and the presentation went all goofy -- I was introducing concepts left and right, and putting descriptions of those things in, which made the presentation a garbled mess -- until I got a handle on it this way.

Lastly, I know, this probably means a huge rewrite, and a lot of work. But you've written a novel, and unpublished or not, you're probably well-aware of the fact that writing really is 10% writing, 90% revising (plus an extra 1% ripping your own hair out -- or it maybe it's 10% revising and 90% ripping your own hair out).
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Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
Wild Hunt Studio
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