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TGP

Getting to Know Each Other = July Edition

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57 minutes ago, TGP said:

Question for July 18: Is gameverse "fluff" important to you, an irrelevancy, or does it annoy and irritate?

 

(If the answer varies by game do elaborate...)

 

It mostly only annoys me when the fluff is inconsistent, either in respect to the rules or general narrative.

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59 minutes ago, TGP said:

Question for July 18: Is gameverse "fluff" important to you, an irrelevancy, or does it annoy and irritate?

 

(If the answer varies by game do elaborate...)

 

I don't need the theme to be deep, but some themes tend to turn me off. 

 

For example, generally, sci-fi doesn't do much for me. Sci-fi is like an additional barrier to entry to liking a game for me, even if it's done well. In the world of board games, a pasted on fantasy theme on top of a good game is enough to work with for me. 

 

Certain things I barely care about fluff for - Kings of War, for example, has more fluff than I need, even though I was really into Warhammer fluff back in the day. I just find that with some games it's extraneous.

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1 hour ago, TGP said:

Question for July 18: Is gameverse "fluff" important to you, an irrelevancy, or does it annoy and irritate?

 

(If the answer varies by game do elaborate...)

 

I started down the Road to Madness as an historical gamer; SO the fluff was essential. When I got into fantasy the fluff was all new &, as such, interesting. Later I found the fluff restricting & progressively unimaginative.

I follow games without gaming now & most of the table top fluff is boring & contrived. Now I have my own little world to provide the background for my creations. It is a satisfying way of approaching the craft, at least for me.

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1 hour ago, TGP said:

Question for July 18: Is gameverse "fluff" important to you, an irrelevancy, or does it annoy and irritate?

 

(If the answer varies by game do elaborate...)

 

Yes and No. The fluff, or "feel" of the setting/game/whathaveyou is what gets me interested. However, I don't necessarily devour all the fluff and fiction related to a given setting or game. In some cases, there's just too dang much to devour all of it. In others, the actual fiction (i.e. short stories, novellas, and novels) are just not that well written or edited. If the actual setting has appeal to it though, that is what matters. If the setting is uninspiring though, its a real long shot that I'll play in it.


Now, if its an RPG, as a GM, I will generally go with the flow of the given setting (assuming its not a homebrew world), but I have always made it clear to my players that just because the Monster Manual says that a particular critter has traits X, Y, and Z, doesn't mean that they will in my game should the need arise. They will; however, remain consistent as a general rule. Sure, you could have an unusually smart troll but if it is in fact, unusual that a troll is smart, I will let the players know (assuming proper skill checks, etc.). Mostly I do this to give myself room for narrative, and sometimes I will do this to avoid metagaming.

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It depends.

 

Does the game present itself as a rules set that doesn't need the fluff to operate?

 

Kings of War, for example, doesn't need the fluff.  I can create a decent game by using the existing rules to create almost any army I want.  So my undead/vampire army has a contingent of humans who are the human-serfs of their vampire lords.  I can use a regiment of them and get a small unit of gargoyles that plays well with what I have for my Warlord Necropolis army (at least, I think those are the units, as I don't have the books in front of me).  So adding lots of fluff there hinders my enjoyment of the game.  Luckily, Mantic doesn't push the fluff as much as GW does.

 

Warhammer, though, was annoying to me because it was harder for me to distance the army from the fluff.

 

Warhammer 40K works with the fluff.

 

Frostgrave has, in my opinion, the best balance, in that it's completely in the background.  You don't need it to enjoy the game (I don't want to remake my terrain to winter-and-ice themes, so I don't worry about it).  But the snippets of fiction included in the book provide a great atmosphere for a magic-heavy wargame (I love the idea of icicle-mosquitoes!).

 

Dungeons & Dragons is a perfectly fine game without fluff. The Forgotten Realms annoyed me, because the world was deemed as important as the characters' decisions.  It never seemed like a backdrop as much as it should..  As an example, the "White Box" rules have been adopted for a WW2 game as well as a science fiction game, where the rules are tweaked to reflect a different world-premise, but fluff isn't necessary for the game to function.

 

The Warmachine RPG (which I haven't played) would probably fall under "it's perfectly fine" because you need the world fluff to understand why there are giant stompy robots and mech-wizards.

 

 

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2 hours ago, TGP said:

Question for July 18: Is gameverse "fluff" important to you, an irrelevancy, or does it annoy and irritate?

 

(If the answer varies by game do elaborate...)

I enjoy "fluff," especially good stories and world building.

 

Good fluff is important to games tied to specific settings since it helps you get in the right mindset.  For example, in futuristic RPGs (for example, Shadowrun and Eclipse Phase), the progress of technology has changed how things are done and the fluff can help show this.  This is especially important for games set in the far future, either time-wise or progress-wise (like Eclipse Phase).  For "non-standard" fantasy settings (for example, Exalted or Legend of the Five Rings), the fluff helps show how different the setting is and what to expect as a player or GM.

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52 minutes ago, TGP said:

Question for July 18: Is gameverse "fluff" important to you, an irrelevancy, or does it annoy and irritate?

 

(If the answer varies by game do elaborate...)

It used to be that I very much cared. Now it's merely inspiration, and I'm equally happy to toss it as keep it. 

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Depends on the game.

 

In Frostgrave, the fluff is mostly, "It's cold", with a few quotes for flavor. Has almost no effect on play and it's fun when it's well written and ignorable when it's not.

 

In original Traveller, the fluff (for the basic books) is limited to "there are nobles and a Traveller's Aid Society". Again, almost entirely ignorable.

 

In original RuneQuest, the fluff is virtually impossible to remove from the game (though RQ3 tried really hard), and when you do remove it, the remainder is very bland and uninteresting.

 

In 7th Sea, the fluff is hard to remove and aggressively stupid, so it gets in the way significantly.

 

In Hero System and GURPS, it's essentially non-existent unless you pick up one of their world books.

 

In BattleTech/MechWarrior, there are technical "advances" that make no sense baked into the system. If you don't want that, it's not the game for you.

 

And so on.

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I often like fluff. I read the books in Skyrim and Dragon Age. I used to do all the side quests in WoW. Some games don't need fluff. Some games benefit from it. 

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2 hours ago, TGP said:

Question for July 18: Is gameverse "fluff" important to you, an irrelevancy, or does it annoy and irritate?

 

(If the answer varies by game do elaborate...)

In an RPG, fluff is very important. It brings life into the world at hand and makes it more immersive, and has given me inspiration when I've made characters. It complements the crunch of the rules, and has made me choose feats that are not as optimal, just because those particular ones were more thematically appropriate for my character.

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7/18: I like a well-crafted story to explain what I'm doing; otherwise it's just a random number generator with a fancy skin over the top of it.

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2 hours ago, TGP said:

Question for July 18: Is gameverse "fluff" important to you, an irrelevancy, or does it annoy and irritate?

 

(If the answer varies by game do elaborate...)

I love it. I especially love the fluff for Earthdawn, my favorite RPG. Earthdawn was created by people who wanted there to be reasons for all the common tropes in RPGs (like dungeons full of traps, treasure, and monsters) and they use the fluff to reinforce the mechanics. It also means that things like particular magic abilities, Classes, even Levels, all have gameverse terms that characters can use to talk about themselves, thus helping people stay in character when they're conversing.

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3 hours ago, TGP said:

Question for July 18: Is gameverse "fluff" important to you, an irrelevancy, or does it annoy and irritate?

 

(If the answer varies by game do elaborate...)

 

Yes, it is important for me.

 

Strangely, it is more important to me for a war game than for an RPG, because, if I really like a set of mechanics for a particular genre, I can construct my own fluff to match. (This applies most to Hero / FATE / GURPS / etc.)

 

The degree to which fluff and world building matters to me has recently be brought home by Mantic's "Kings of War". Some of the players in my local gaming group are really into it, but, however much I want to play with them, I just bounce off the game, and I think it has to do with how thin, and generic, the world feels to me. (I am aware that this is a subjective measure.)

 

ETA:

Clearly my thoughts on KoW are not popular in this thread. ::D:

Edited by klarg1
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