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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 92 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: How important is fiction  (Read 2456 times)
mahoux
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« Reply #15 on: August 27, 2002, 01:35:48 PM »

Fiction has been covered in a way past topic... maybe Clinton or someone knowledgeable about the search preocess can dredge it up.  

I don't mind fiction if it isn't tremendously long and tedious, or if it helps get me into the mindset of the book.  Continuum, for example, has some ungodly long fiction pieces just to illustrate how each level works, and they aren't too good about doing that either.

But, I do buy the game largely for the game, and really bad fiction just gets passed over.

For good game fiction and the like, check out Sean Demory's Le Mon Mouri.  His fiction is more like cuts from a journal, and it gives a great feeling of the game atmosphere.  The game is currently hosted at :
http://www.memento-mori.com/lmm
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Taking the & out of AD&D

http://home.earthlink.net/~knahoux/KOTR_2.html">Knights of the Road, Knights of the Rail has hit the rails!
Paul Czege
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #16 on: August 27, 2002, 01:41:40 PM »

For good game fiction and the like, check out Sean Demory's Le Mon Mouri.

I completely agree. Sean totally shows how it should be done in Le Mon Mouri. Fiction used sparingly, but to effect, and descriptive gameplay examples that work to reduce the need for lengthy exposition about the game world by beautifully conveying setting and mood.

Paul
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My Life with Master knows codependence.
And if you're doing anything with your Acts of Evil ashcan license, of course I'm curious and would love to hear about your plans
Demonspahn
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« Reply #17 on: August 27, 2002, 02:12:50 PM »

Quote
I'll skim some of it and if it isn't drek I'll read it after I'm done with the book. Most times though
                  it's usually the writer showcasing the coolness of their NPCs. That drek I skip without hesitation.
                  _________________
                  wyrdlyng



Hey wyrdlyng, interesting choice of words---I wouldn't even know what the word "drek" meant, much less in what context it was supposed to be used if it hadn't been for Shadowrun fiction.  

Pete

*Edited to included quote
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Evan Waters
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Posts: 40


« Reply #18 on: August 27, 2002, 06:45:29 PM »

Certainly from an historical perspective it's never been necessary. Plenty of fine games have done without. However it's not necessarily something to avoid, either. However, I think first it has to be done well- this is almost a given, it should be readable- but perhaps more importantly should be done short. The little vignettes in ALL FLESH MUST BE EATEN set up the mood of things without dragging on. By contrast, I think the stories put at the front of VAMPIRE, MAGE, etc. can be a bit tedious when the information could easily be summed up- it probably helps to not make the fiction essential to setting up the scene. Make it an add-on, something you can read if you're interested, but nothing you need to get information from.
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wyrdlyng
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« Reply #19 on: August 27, 2002, 07:44:45 PM »

Quote from: Demonspahn
Hey wyrdlyng, interesting choice of words---I wouldn't even know what the word "drek" meant, much less in what context it was supposed to be used if it hadn't been for Shadowrun fiction.


Dammit, since I played Shadowrun for many years and three edition now I can't be sure if it's a real word or something I picked up from the game.

Ah, blessed m-w.com:

Quote

Main Entry: dreck
Variant(s): also drek  /'drek/
Function: noun
Etymology: Yiddish drek & German Dreck, from Middle High German drec; akin to Old English threax rubbish
Date: 1922
: TRASH, RUBBISH


I probably started using the term a lot more after I started playing Shadowrun. Of course I still use a lot of their in-game slang like chummer, hoi, geek, breeder, jack, etc. in my normal speech.

Damn, now that's funny. I haven't played the game in years and yet part of the game's fiction still resides in my unconscious. Almost scary if you think about it.
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Alex Hunter
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Demonspahn
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« Reply #20 on: August 27, 2002, 08:40:30 PM »

Quote
I probably started using the term a lot more after I started playing Shadowrun. Of course I still
                  use a lot of their in-game slang like chummer, hoi, geek, breeder, jack, etc. in my normal
                  speech.


You use words like geek and breeder in your normal speech?  :)

Seriously though, that kind of illustrates the point.  The fiction might have been bad, but it helped to set the mood for the game---in this case via Shadowrun slang words.  VtM did it through a letter from a remorseful Vlad Tepes (it worked for me, but then like I said, I like White Wolf's WoD products).  Likewise AFMBE had a different vignette for each different zombie concept (plant zombies, radiation zombies, "normal" zombies, etc.).  Little Fears gave us a peek into a little girl's diary, etc.

In fact,  I can't think of a single piece of game fiction in any RPG that actually turned me away from the product itself. Maybe I'm just not too picky when it comes to fiction since everyone usually plays the game differently anyway---I guess view the writer's vision as just one of many.  

But for this reason, I do agree with Evan that the information contained within the fiction should not be essential to playing the game.  

Pete
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kaworuiskool
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Posts: 21


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« Reply #21 on: August 27, 2002, 09:02:48 PM »

Seems to me that game fiction can preface an session the same way that the silent-set-to-music intros of New York Undercover used to begin the story for the episode. As for fiction in rulebooks, I think a lot of people can pick up things quickly by example. The Shadowrun 2E book mentioned earlier is exactly what I'm talking about. It has a story crafted to show the feel of that world and they player's place in it. I read that first, and walked away wanting to play the game. For me it might make a sale if I'm perusing in a store, as long as it's short and pertinent to gameplay. As for those who disagree, skip it. If you think it's too long, don't buy it. They're making you pay to keep a frustrated writer in pizza.
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This post is copyright Nathaniel Foust, released as http://www.opencontent.org">open content.
kamikaze
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« Reply #22 on: August 28, 2002, 08:47:40 PM »

Quote from: ADGBoss
One can have the greatest game system and kewlest setting and kickingest pdf downloads on the web, but if its boring or does not grab the interest of the potential gamer then its of no use.
Now we know Art is deadly important (which I am finding out thanks to great people who have responded to my call for artists) but what about fiction pieces either in print form, in the body of the game, on websites etc. IS fiction over used (done to death by White Wolf) or is it an important, possibly critical piece to the formation of the game?
What about other marketing features?


My view is that a minimal amount of *good* art is valuable both for illustrating specific concepts and setting a mood.  *Bad* art, or inappropriate art (even so much as putting a nice piece into a section where it doesn't apply to any of the text), or art with inconsistent styles, or too much art, detracts from the game.  You're better off with no art if you can't get good art.

Fiction in game books is always awful.  Always.  If you want to write fiction, write fiction.  Put it on the web site if you *must*.  But even then, don't put vital, need-to-know information in your godawful fiction, like TORG did.  Too many game designers are frustrated novelists, and most *should* be frustrated, because they're no damn good at it.  Please don't take your rejection slips out on your players.

The best thing to do is to take all the time you'd spend on writing bad fiction, and use it instead to proofread your book, with a dictionary and a manual of writing at hand.  Then write a table of contents and an index and check all of your page references.  Reviewers like me always start a review with "NO FRIGGING INDEX!", or "Every reference is wrong or pg.XXX" (mostly WW games), so make sure we can't savage you on that point.

If you have still more time and space, include an adventure and a transcript of actual gameplay of that adventure from your playtests.  Tape record it and transcribe it (possibly leaving out the cursing).  That's vastly more useful than any amount of bad game fiction.
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