The part where I exploded

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The part where I exploded

Postby Bard on Tue Mar 17, 2009 12:03 pm

The single worst thing in the Elthos RPG is best seen on page 28. That's the list of acronyms.

I hate acronyms.

I will put up with a few of them -- there are, I think, two of them in World Tree. That's a dense 320-page book. I think that ratio is a bit high.

Elthos has, um, 39, except I'd count Exp as a word and 1d6 as a symbol, which are OK.

That's really a lot.

In particular, it makes some of the rules rather hard to read, and some others really boring. (I speak as someone who enjoys reading rule systems here -- the Ars Magica core system is sizzling-hot, for one, and I hope World Tree is too by those standards.) I think Mark knows this, since he's written the English after the acronyms in many places (9, 10), and abandoned the acronyms altogether in others (11).

Even without the acronyms, this suggests a problem. Thirty-nine *concepts* may well be too many for a game this size. Some of these probably shouldn't count against the concept count (e.g., CTR), and a lot of them seem like intermediate results in some final calculation (e.g, DMB), but it's still a lot. The advantage of a short rule set is that it can be really simple to read, understand, and play. I don't think that Elthos is that. It's got more of the feel of the IRS 1090 short form.

There are various things that can be done about this, if Mark considers it to be a problem. (E.g. -- arrange to use ST whenever a strength-based term is needed, and get rid of STB; and similarly for DX and WS. This may take a bit of fiddling, but is often possible.)

Hope this will wind up helping!

-- Bard
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Re: The part where I exploded

Postby vbwyrde on Tue Mar 17, 2009 1:17 pm

Ah, ok. That's good feedback that is, thank you kindly. And the reason I created the Acronyms to begin with is because I had lot of redundancy such as "Skills Learning Points" in the text and it seemed actually easier to read using SLP, once it was defined. Another reason I wound up with the acronyms to begin with is because I wanted to give the formulas for the calculations in the game and to write out the full descriptions for each part of each formula seemed kind of redundant. The reason I wrote out all the acronyms on the acronym page was because one of my rules reviewers strongly recommended that I have it. He also recommended that wherever arconyms are used to have the full name and then in parens the acryonm to also make this easier. So "Strength Bonus (STB)" would be an example. Not excusing it, but that's how it came about. The problem is that I think for some people no acronyms will be a problem, while for others the opposite will be the case. I'll wait to hear how other people react to it and try to come to a consensus solution if possible.
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Elthos RPG Website: http://www.elthos.com

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Re: The part where I exploded

Postby Bard on Tue Mar 17, 2009 2:28 pm

That all makes sense. Still, I think there are too many *TERMS* to deal with for a book this size.
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Re: The part where I exploded

Postby vbwyrde on Tue Mar 17, 2009 3:16 pm

Ok. Duly noted and I'm thinking about it. I almost wonder if it would help if I got rid of the acronym page... thus obscuring the quantity of acronyms so that you don't really know just how many there are... I know that's pretty sleazy. But if seeing the whole list like that gives you the hebee jeebies, and it is a matter of perception, then maybe that actually *is* the solution, and my rules book reviewer was mistaken in insisting I include it. Gosh I wish I could get you two together so you can duke this out! hah.

I'm half jesting, of course. I think that it's an intrinsic problem. The system itself actually has that many elements to be considered by formulas. The only time I create acryonmys (I'm almost positive) is when I am going to use it for a formula. I'll double check that. If there are any strays then I'll look at taking them out. Maybe it would help to think of some rules for when to include acronyms... like if it is a primary variable in a formula then include it, but if it's an intermediate than don't? At least on the final list? Anyay, I'm curious to hear other people's reactions to this over time. If the general consensus is that there are too many, or the page itself makes it *seem* like there are too many, then I'll mop it up. I just am guessing that some people will say, "oh I'm glad you included the full list" while others will have the same reaction you did.

Oh, another reason that I have the acronyms is that it was a tough job getting all of the text to fit into the page structure as it was, and the acronyms saved enough space to keep the book in the page order I needed so that both chart pages when printed face each other. In order to increase the page size of any one page means that I would literally need to reorder the pages of the book, or add a new page to fill in the gap. The fact that the charts pages face eachother is so that with a spiral bound print out you can, and I have done, use the book itself as your GM shield, if such is needed. I know it's a bit of a cutsie feature, but it's something that was only possible if I kept the wording on each page within a specified limit - hence the acronyms serve that purpose too.

But all of that said, I understand your point. Too many terms for a book this size. Hmmm... *pondering* :|
* Aspire to Inspire *

Literary Role Playing Game Society of Westchester: http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/LRPGSW

Elthos RPG Website: http://www.elthos.com

Elthos RPG Blog: http://ElthosRPG.blogspot.com
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Re: The part where I exploded

Postby Bard on Tue Mar 17, 2009 3:32 pm

Well, I was grumbling about them before I saw the full list: both the acronyms and the number of things one had to compute. (World Tree has several times as many things, admittedly.)

Many of them are really only used in one sort of place. I think there's a "weapon damage modifier" sort of thing; you can usually get away with English for them.
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Re: The part where I exploded

Postby vbwyrde on Tue Mar 17, 2009 3:43 pm

Ah. Well, yes, that's the thing. There are a specific number of things that have to be computed, and it can be said that there are a lot of them. I know that in-game I prefer to have as few things as possible to compute. That is the purpose, actually, for the combat melee tracker at the end of the booklet. At the top of it you have a place to put your calculated values, and from that point on I dare say, I haven't needed to do very much in-game calculating at all. Once in a while, yes, but certainly not frequently. Maybe it's something that looks more onerous than it is in practice. I'll be curious to hear back from the GMs who play test it over time. I'm thinking it's got less calculations than many other systems of this sort that I've seen, so hopefully, while not necessarily perfect, it still may be an improvement in that respect. I hope.

Also, there's another thing to consider: the Elthos ODS Website is soon to be online for public beta. That application actually does all of the calculations, and prints out the melee tracker and combat matrix's by adventure groups so you really don't have to even do the calculations at all. That includes everything such as calculating what the Character's final Attack Level will be wearing a specific armor and weapon... etc. That's the purpose of the website... to do the gruntwork. It may help considerably. The fact is, I want to release the Rules Book and the Website to the public together. It may help.
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Literary Role Playing Game Society of Westchester: http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/LRPGSW

Elthos RPG Website: http://www.elthos.com

Elthos RPG Blog: http://ElthosRPG.blogspot.com
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