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  1. - Top - End - #1
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    Default Is there such a thing as too much fluff?

    After much reading of Exalted and all the arguments that come from it, I am beginning to wonder:

    can too much fluff be a bad thing?

    because I look at Exalted and its so wrapped up in how "this is how everything canonically is, deviations destroy the setting and wreck the themes of Exalted and blah blah blah…" that I'm beginning to think that the fluff is getting too much in the way of fun. I don't care if this is the way it happened or if this is aesthetic is exclusive to this splat or this splat can't do whatever, or so on and so forth, I want to have fun.

    and my point is: is there a point, where the fluff should just stay back and allow the players to have fun, consequences and impact on the setting be damned, for the lack of a better term? sure how the setting works and such is important, but player fun is most important of all.

    so frankly myself, I'm beginning to think that fluff is important and has its place, but shouldn't be king above fun. what are your thoughts?
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    Default Re: Is there such a thing as too much fluff?

    There can be too much fluff, yes. It can get too convoluted, too self-contradictory, too tl;dr, leaving too little room for the DM and players to create their own stuff, and so on. Just look at the mess that was the oWoD metaplot.

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    Default Re: Is there such a thing as too much fluff?

    Agreed. most DM's will want to tell their own story, they want the tools to do that rather than a "better" story that they are supposed to be telling instead.
    I find books with very detailed fluff to be good sources of inspiration, but I would never run a game set in an established universe unless I had a very good reason to and the prexisting fluff was the reason for the game. I find places like the forgotton realms, the Star Wars Universe and many others to be far too crowded to make for an effective game setting.
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    Default Re: Is there such a thing as too much fluff?

    When you have more pages of fluff than your character sheet.

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    Default Re: Is there such a thing as too much fluff?

    If it's getting in the way of your group's fun it's a problem. Same with too much fluff as anything else. Though when it comes to Exalted, sorting through all that fluff is part of the fun with that game. If it's too much you can easily ignore that part of the game to focus more on the things your group does enjoy.
    Last edited by Geigan; 2012-01-22 at 06:31 PM.

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    Default Re: Is there such a thing as too much fluff?

    Quote Originally Posted by Geigan View Post
    If it's getting in the way of your group's fun it's a problem. Same with too much fluff as anything else. Though when it comes to Exalted, sorting through all that fluff is part of the fun with that game. If it's too much you can easily ignore that part of the game to focus more on the things your group does enjoy.
    This. As a system, there is effectively no reason to ever play Exalted. As a setting, however, it's wonderfully full of both nonsense and deep ethical issues (though I suspect half of them are by accident). Compare how more people tend to completely go without D&D settings. If you play 3.5, then odds are you like the character customization; if you're playing Exalted, then odds are you're playing solely for the fluff - to change part of it defeats the purpose of playing in the first place. You should only make drastic changes if they're getting in the way of a player's fun, and even then, unless they provide a particular insight into the game, you probably shouldn't make them as suggestions for changing the game for everyone - as you've already experienced. I know from your previous posts that you personally have quite the variety of issues with vanilla Exalted; why, then, do you continue to play when you could change to, say, Scion as you said you were going to?

    The arguments are what makes it interesting! I don't think I'd have half as much fun if I wasn't able to try to convince everyone else that the "heroes" are bigger monsters than the soul-devouring monsters!

    As for the question in the abstract, generally, you can tell a game has too much fluff when it begins to read like a novel rather than a manual. A decent portion of people dislike how Exalted, among others, mix fluff and mechanics so that you can't read one without the other. I personally consider that a plus -that you can't merely look up a Charm's power without having to wade through a mountain of fluff encourages familiarity with what your character can do, both mechanically and visually. Such as this is fine; it is only when you must know what a bunch of NPCs are doing at all times that fluff becomes problematic. For example, in Exalted, you know Mnemon is important, but aside from RotSE, there are no mentions of what she's doing - that is left to the ST. There would be too much fluff if there were explicit instructions that she causes event X, and suddenly all characters in every campaign ever have to react.

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    Default Re: Is there such a thing as too much fluff?

    *sigh* not even Scion was flexible enough for me. the only system that is, is Strands of Fate. I don't know why I didn't do what I said. maybe I just can't leave a problem unsolved or something. or maybe its because I still like Exalted and haven't entirely let go….geh.

    still…..its ironic, I like the fluff, but the only system after all this time that is flexible enough for my character concepts have been Strands of Fate (it has no fluff)….maybe I just like to make my own fluff rather than use others, but refer to other fluff for inspiration.

    still need to let go….focus on making my own stuff with Strands….get away from Exalted…I still think its awesome, but its just….the fluff just conflicts with many of my character concepts too much. what I like to create and what Exalted likes to be created are very different things. Scion is kinda better, but the linear singular path of its Purviews didn't work either. its sad really. can't play Exalted even though I like it so much. fluff is screwy like that.
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    Default Re: Is there such a thing as too much fluff?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    *sigh* not even Scion was flexible enough for me. the only system that is, is Strands of Fate. I don't know why I didn't do what I said. maybe I just can't leave a problem unsolved or something. or maybe its because I still like Exalted and haven't entirely let go….geh.

    still…..its ironic, I like the fluff, but the only system after all this time that is flexible enough for my character concepts have been Strands of Fate (it has no fluff)….maybe I just like to make my own fluff rather than use others, but refer to other fluff for inspiration.

    still need to let go….focus on making my own stuff with Strands….get away from Exalted…I still think its awesome, but its just….the fluff just conflicts with many of my character concepts too much. what I like to create and what Exalted likes to be created are very different things. Scion is kinda better, but the linear singular path of its Purviews didn't work either. its sad really. can't play Exalted even though I like it so much. fluff is screwy like that.
    What about D&D (3.5 or 4e)? That's pretty easy to refluff. Heck, you could feasibly run a game in the Scion or Exalted setting if you play the right types. Supernatural warriors? Clerics, duskblades, psychic warriors, just gish in general for 3.5. Things such as Twilight Castes could be straight wizards. For 4e, paladins, swordmages, battleminds, clerics, ardents, wizards, psions, barbarians (they're supernatural in 4e), druids, avengers, invokers, basically anything with a power source other than "martial".
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    Default Re: Is there such a thing as too much fluff?

    Or there's GURPS, which is pretty much entirely customizable the entire way through.

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    Default Re: Is there such a thing as too much fluff?

    Quote Originally Posted by historiasdeosos View Post
    Or there's GURPS, which is pretty much entirely customizable the entire way through.
    Much less well known though. And I can't suggest that, since I have no idea how it works.

    I'm thinking of getting GURPS 4e...
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    Default Re: Is there such a thing as too much fluff?

    I ran into too much fluff when I ran a Game of Thrones game. I picked a point in book two and mentally gave myself freedom to deviate from it, but still spent an inappropriate amount of time researching the setting. Re-reading the books for the third time was reasonable, but that left me remembering that little factoids and details existed, even though I couldn't recall the specifics. I think I'd have been better off with a well organized campaign book. I don't care if the city the players are in has a page or a chapter, but I want to read the relevant portion and then either go with it or make something up.
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    Default Re: Is there such a thing as too much fluff?

    I do have DnD 4E. they fill an entire stack of themselves hurm….

    problem with that, is that it makes it hard to multiclass see? and one of the strengths of the Exalted setting is that I can easily play concepts that are basically multiclassing incarnate. and as usual, the multiclassing options already in place are y'know…….wonky.

    I'd basically would have to design Solar sets, Lunar sets and so on for 4E.

    which would basically mean lots of refluffing and reshuffling of pre-existing powers.

    it'd be doable though. and Sorcery can easily be simulated with things like encounter, daily powers and rituals.

    the last problem of course is that 4E doesn't do anything other than combat well, since its DnD, and doesn't focus on social things or crafting. sure you could make the combat part of stuff just fine, but then there is the problem of figuring out how to do other stuff.

    though, when I looked at Strands of Fate, it did give me ideas on how to change pre-existing powers around to better do other forms of combat. for example, going up and insulting someone right to their face can easily be a melee attack, insulting someone from across the room is a ranged attack, and making a declarative speech to a group of people is easily a ranged area attack and so on and forth, one just needs to make a second health bar using the rules already in place, but with different stats.

    for example, a social health bar in 4E would be little different from the physical health bar already there, it would have the same amount and math as the existing one, there would just be different amounts for different classes- a bard would have like 15 or 17, while a wizard would probably have 10, and they would gain additional health points based on their charisma stat, so a Bard would always have the most social health points of a group. then you just need to refluff various powers to inflict social damage and do social-based effects rather than physical ones.

    so yea, DnD 4E could work, if one was willing to modify a lot.

    edit: weird. this long strange quest….has led me right back to the first RPG I bought. life likes to screw with my head. or at least Mercury does
    Last edited by Lord Raziere; 2012-01-23 at 12:12 AM.
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    Default Re: Is there such a thing as too much fluff?

    still need to let go….focus on making my own stuff with Strands….get away from Exalted…I still think its awesome, but its just….the fluff just conflicts with many of my character concepts too much. what I like to create and what Exalted likes to be created are very different things. Scion is kinda better, but the linear singular path of its Purviews didn't work either. its sad really. can't play Exalted even though I like it so much. fluff is screwy like that.
    Which fluff is getting in the way? A great deal of it can be ignored in the face of character ideas, in my experience, but not all groups are willing to ignore things to the same degree.
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    Default Re: Is there such a thing as too much fluff?

    Quote Originally Posted by RPGuru1331 View Post
    Which fluff is getting in the way?
    Apparently the color yellow.

    (grumbles about yellow being one of my favorite colors)
    Last edited by TheCountAlucard; 2012-01-23 at 12:59 AM.
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    Default Re: Is there such a thing as too much fluff?

    ……and now I just realized how silly I'm being……all this over the color yellow?

    ………………….I don't know what to say about myself……why am I making a big deal over the color yellow? people must dislike me for making such a big deal over such a little thing…..

    edit: and I don't even have this problem with Chosen of Journeys! there is just no logic to this….

    edit 2: or maybe there is.

    Orichalcum Castes and Journeys are both yellow, but I'm fine with them. both of these castes however are in splats with multiple colored castes. They are meant to be a specific character type among many in the splat, and so they can be ignored, because I can choose a different caste the represents my character better.

    but since Solars caste marks (their animas can be almost anything I want, I'm fine with them) are meant to be gold, I can't play them because the human paragons I envision don't have golden symbols on their forehead.
    I'm fine with other color symbols on their forehead, but I for some reason I can't live with gold on their foreheads. again. what is wrong with me? why can't I just accept the freaking golden symbols on the forehead? It. Does. Not. Make. Sense.
    Last edited by Lord Raziere; 2012-01-23 at 02:58 AM.
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    Default Re: Is there such a thing as too much fluff?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    still…..its ironic, I like the fluff, but the only system after all this time that is flexible enough for my character concepts have been Strands of Fate (it has no fluff)….maybe I just like to make my own fluff rather than use others, but refer to other fluff for inspiration.
    Maybe try Nobilis? Both the setting and the fluff are pretty flexible when it comes to making characters.
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    Default Re: Is there such a thing as too much fluff?

    I've heard of Nobilis before…I'll try that.

    as for Exalted….eh….I'm just gonna make a personal house rule: caste mark matches the anima. I don't care if the book says the caste marks are golden, if my Solar character concept says the anima and caste marks are blue, they are blue.
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    Default Re: Is there such a thing as too much fluff?

    With all due respect, you're doing a lot of damage to theme in the name of aesthetics. Less so with Sids, but pretty much everyone else has their anima types for pretty strong thematic reasons (Although all solaroids have them mostly to compare/contrast to Solars).

    I mean, if he's a Solar -at all-, then the gold and the shining more or less fits by default, given what solars are (And I don't just mean avatars of the sun, but more '(alleged) shining heroes and paragons')
    Last edited by RPGuru1331; 2012-01-23 at 03:04 PM.
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    Default Re: Is there such a thing as too much fluff?

    Going back to the original topic, I'd say that you're not really arguing against too much fluff: you're arguing against having consistent settings at all. And I'm not sure what the reply to that is. I guess you should stay away from more serious games, and just do humorous one-shots?
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    Default Re: Is there such a thing as too much fluff?

    Also chipping in two cents on the original topic: I honestly don't think there is such a thing as too much fluff for a system, but there is such a thing as providing too much fluff in the core books (as Exalted with its 200 pages of fluff shows) because it sets the expectations of the players.

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    Default Re: Is there such a thing as too much fluff?

    Indeed too much fluff is perhaps worse than too little. The ideal setting to my mind is one that provides a framework for the dm to work within while not restricting any choices they may wish to implement. Example being that a city may have a certain reputation and have some notable institutions while not Needing to do or have X Y Z.

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    Default Re: Is there such a thing as too much fluff?

    For a tabletop RPG, there's too much fluff for a scene when you can't ever imagine reading it all aloud, and giving it for the players to read would stop the game for more than 5 minutes.

    Or, if you're me, if reading through the bit you're supposed to say aloud, mentally translating it from English to Finnish and converting all imperial units to the SI system and then saying it to the players stops the game for more than 5 minutes.
    Last edited by Frozen_Feet; 2012-01-23 at 05:00 PM.
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    Default Re: Is there such a thing as too much fluff?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tavar View Post
    Going back to the original topic, I'd say that you're not really arguing against too much fluff: you're arguing against having consistent settings at all. And I'm not sure what the reply to that is. I guess you should stay away from more serious games, and just do humorous one-shots?
    so, now just because I like variation in my fluff means I can't do serious games?
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    Default Re: Is there such a thing as too much fluff?

    Tome of Battle suffers a bit from this. Reshar et al puts some people off. It tends to reinforce "wuxia" they despise as they read the maneuvers.

    A player in my group tends to let flavor text influence his choices. That's not a terrible thing, per se, but he often likes or dislikes classes, prestige classes, feats, etc. based upon how they are described as opposed to what they do. Perhaps lately he hasn't, but I know it was a strong influence as to why he went into the Dungeon Delver prestige class way back when in 3.0. He was dismissive of the Warblade because he doesn't prefer his characters to fight for the glory of fighting.
    Last edited by navar100; 2012-01-23 at 08:46 PM.

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    Default Re: Is there such a thing as too much fluff?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tengu_temp View Post
    Just look at the mess that was the oWoD metaplot.
    I would typically have quoted the OP, but this actually adresses what I wanted to say better.

    You can never, never have to much fluff. Four-hour one-shot with 200 pages of fluff? Awesome. No, seriously, dance like a lunatic.

    Lots of fluff is great. Lots of inspiration, logical extrapolations, ready-made plots etc.
    I think few GMs would ever complain that they had too much material and were too well-prepared

    Fluff only becomes an issue, if you let it dictate your game. If you want to use the oWod metaplot, the details of the Guilds slave trade in the Western part of Creation, the sealed Rakshasa Rajahs of Eberron or similar events, then obviously you shouldn't axe the entirety of the original setting, but you'd still have a lot of leeway.

    • I've seen very few GMs enforcing Predators Taint (I think it's called) in nWoD Vampire between party members, because having group members rip each other to pieces for no good reason isn't conductive for play.
    • I've heard of people in whose Exalted games where Terrestrial Exalted were made of the Unconquered Sun, while the Dragonblooded were the greatest Exalted [effectively Solars] made of Gaia. Apparently, they enjoy it and that's great.
    • I've retconned canon parts of the oWoD metaplot to accomodate details I wanted to include, just so I could lead up to Gehenna.
    • I've played Paranoia, where the rules were "roll under," but the GM Friend Computer never specified die type (not that it mattered, being Paranoia).
    • I've altered the time line of Masks of Nyarlathotep to accomodate a side-plot that I wanted to use.


    Fluff is awesome and you can never have too much of it, but it shouldn't be treated like scripture.
    It's your game, so do whatever you need to run a good game, including axing any part of the original setting you (and your players) don't like.
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    Default Re: Is there such a thing as too much fluff?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    so, now just because I like variation in my fluff means I can't do serious games?
    No, variation is fine, but I'm specifically responding to your first post, specifcally this part:

    and my point is: is there a point, where the fluff should just stay back and allow the players to have fun, consequences and impact on the setting be damned, for the lack of a better term? sure how the setting works and such is important, but player fun is most important of all.
    Exalted generally reserves such ultimatums for the parts that define the setting. If you change everything on a whim, then the setting no longer has coherence. In that case, I'm not sure how how it can remain serious, because the coherence of the setting is part of what gives it meaning.
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    Default Re: Is there such a thing as too much fluff?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tavar View Post
    No, variation is fine, but I'm specifically responding to your first post, specifcally this part:


    Exalted generally reserves such ultimatums for the parts that define the setting. If you change everything on a whim, then the setting no longer has coherence. In that case, I'm not sure how how it can remain serious, because the coherence of the setting is part of what gives it meaning.
    well yes, it can perfectly serious. ahem let me demonstrate:

    "while most anima banners and Caste marks of the Solar Exalted are golden, there are some exceptions to this rule. Since Sol is the god closest to humanity, his Exaltations have a much closer resonance with human nature and therefore their souls.
    The Exaltations most of the time get souls who completely resonate with all that Sol values, thus getting the iconic golden caste marks and animas. However some Solar Exalted have souls that while they demonstrate all the excellence of worthy of a Solar Exaltation, have different frames of mind or different natures that make their animas and caste marks express themselves with different colors. The anima of the Solar Exalted is closer to a reflection of their inner soul than anything else. Its just that most Solars either reflect what Sol values, or have sufficiently deceptive natures to mimic
    such values. The ones that don't are truly unusual among the Exalted."

    Anything can be serious if you explain it in a good enough manner.

    In fact its the canon image of heroes running around in golden armor, wielding golden weapons while having blazing golden animas and golden caste marks is what I find silly….I mean….really? How I can I possibly take
    so much gold seriously?
    Last edited by Lord Raziere; 2012-01-23 at 09:27 PM.
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    Default Re: Is there such a thing as too much fluff?

    ....

    Oh. It's this stuff. I though you were actually talking about things more central to the setting.


    The issue here is one of unified aesthetics. For the Exalted, this is important, because it helps link otherwise disparate people together. In addition, the colors are important because they draw certain associations: Gold is the color of kings, leaders, and the like. It helps reinforce what Solars are: God-kings.

    Now, that isn't to say that one couldn't change it, but the sole reason for the change is that you really, really don't like yellow/gold. That's not going to be something that many people sympathize with, nor is it something that's going to be widespread.

    Honestly, it seems you're making a mountain of a molehill, here. Yes, nobody was enthusiastic about the whole thing in the thread, but that's because it's a minor change that doesn't really seem to serve a purpose for the majority of players, and for at least some is a bit of a detraction.

    As for your last question...how are you able to take any group seriously?
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  29. - Top - End - #29
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    Lord Raziere's Avatar

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    Default Re: Is there such a thing as too much fluff?

    …….fine I'll try and adapt. my own irrational dislike is starting to get silly to even myself.

    but I'll only allow the caste marks to be gold. the anima is changeable by canon
    and I can get anything besides orichalcum.

    I'm sorry if I made people dislike me again because yet another one my irrationalities, and starting this thread over something so small and insignificant.
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    Default Re: Is there such a thing as too much fluff?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    ...but since Solars caste marks (their animas can be almost anything I want, I'm fine with them) are meant to be gold, I can't play them because the human paragons I envision don't have golden symbols on their forehead.
    I'm fine with other color symbols on their forehead, but I for some reason I can't live with gold on their foreheads. again. what is wrong with me? why can't I just accept the freaking golden symbols on the forehead? It. Does. Not. Make. Sense.
    Then just let the symbols on the foreheads match the Anima banners? Sheesh, I'm pretty sure that's how Harmonious Jade's Caste Mark is described in the books; as purple as her anima (though still golden in the art).

    EDIT: Whoops, missed when you suggested as such and someone told you not to... Honestly I can't possibly imagine how it could be a problem if the Mark is the same color as the Anima... I mean, the Anima is the more definitive one of the two, shines brighter and all that. Aesthetics are already compromised if Solars abosolutely must be GOLDGOLDGOLD and nothing else.

    Also, Orichalcum is I think Greek for "Mountain Brass", so it's not so much Gold colored as it is Brass/Bronze, which fits the aesthetics of the aspect of the setting which is Gilgamesh like how Jade fits the aesthetics of the aspect of the setting which is Qing Dynasty. It's depicted as golden in the art but it doesn't have to be actual gold in your mind. Look at the cover of the book. Harmonious Jade's breastplate is an Orichalcum artifact breastplate, yet it's black.

    I will say though that the very first thing I thought of when I saw the title for this thread was "Exalted", and the many more intricate problems with the setting that arise from the fact that it's just got so much fluff than the idea that some people are color coordinated to some extent. There's just so much nuanced information about absolutely everything about every part of the setting, every aesthetic and mechanical function of everything is mapped so exactly. The personalities and trends of 1st Age society, culture, and technology... the metaphysics of pretty much everything from death and reincarnation to the exact mechanics of Exaltation to the quantum mechanics of Demon summoning to exactly how the Demon Prison was formed and functions, of how Divine beings monitor and control their domains and how and how much they can harvest energy and utilize it.

    I remember being frustrated in 1st edition when my players went to a named city and I couldn't find even a single sentence describing it in any book I could find. Now I've got between 700 and 4000 years of history of every single point on the map. Oh, there's plenty of room for nations between the canon nations where I can put in whatever I want, but any time they affect world politics in any meaningful way, I've got to account for it in the timelines of every other place it could concievably affect.

    I like about 80% of the written fluff, can tolerate about 10%, wish 9.9% were different and 0.1% is A Snowbound Mystery.
    Last edited by Jerthanis; 2012-01-24 at 12:36 AM.
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