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If there are in-game books and other flavor stuff, will you read them or ignore them?

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I'm probably going to ignore them for the first time; after all, if I'm spending my limited free time on the game, I intend to spend it gaming. Second time around I'll probably read stuff.

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"Lulz is not the highest aspiration of art and mankind, no matter what the Encyclopedia Dramatica says."

 

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As some others have said, it depends on whether the books are engaging.  I've been playing the "Prophet" series of NWN models by Baldecaran and, with a few boring exceptions, its books are fantastic - and I even read the boring ones just in case there's a zinger hidden in there somewhere.  It's the only time I can remember frantically searching every bookshelf whenever my character gets into a library location or a home where books are strewn around.  The main reason is because the central story of the series is really emotionally involving.  At several points, my character has found books that help her to better understand the present story in the context of past historical events or philosophical reflections.  She is desperate to "solve" the plot of the game and thus anything that could help her to do so is fallen upon voraciously.

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I read them, but not gladly. I read the books because often they provide obvious foreshadowing.

I would like this fixed. I think a lot of the lore and interesting bonus content does not need to be advertised. Why can't a book just be a book, it's much more likely to pique my curiosity if the benefits of reading are not directly obvious, and if it does not spell everything out for you.

 

You can support lore by deliberately omitting information too, because that adds to the mystery.

 

take Morrowind's "Vampires of VVarvendel" it's got several editions, and the ones with key information are rare. You can stumble on one if you're lucky, or you can go looking for one, but there's no one to help you. (to my knowledge)

 

I long for subtlety.

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Remember: Argue the point, not the person. Remain polite and constructive. Friendly forums have friendly debate. There's no shame in being wrong. If you don't have something to add, don't post for the sake of it. And don't be afraid to post thoughts you are uncertain about, that's what discussion is for.
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I'd be satisfied by the book flap summary version. If specific details are significant to the game then they can be pointed out.


"It has just been discovered that research causes cancer in rats."

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As some others have said, it depends on whether the books are engaging.  I've been playing the "Prophet" series of NWN models by Baldecaran and, with a few boring exceptions, its books are fantastic 

 

Have to pipe in and add the whole module series is absolutely fantastic stuff.

A strong contender for the title of the best CRPG I've played. Well worth getting NWN just to play that.

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As long as they are good, fun to read, and there isn't a metric butt ton of them I will read them all.  EDIT: I agree with what Osvir says about this subject, but I would mention you have to be reasonably forgiving in Mass Effect's case.  That game having a "central codex" makes sense, in the far flung future print media is likely extinct and most people would get their info from some sort of digital database they could access on any old "internet" device.

Agreed about Mass Effect. But I believe there is a better method. The pop-up method just doesn't suit me. I like the TES version of it, where you have to open the book first and start reading, then you get a pop-up "You have a new Quest!" or "New Codex Entry!". The pop-up thing in Mass Effect is easy to ignore because it's an action-oriented game and I might be in the midst of combat when it pops up. The physical copies of the IE and TES games are good fun, in a roleplaying sense too. You can give different books to your different characters because it would be relate-able to them and take up inventory slots. I hope PE does a similar method too.

 

Whilst I am on the subject: Libraries? It would be kind of cool to have a Library Bookshelf that has different "Picture" states. If the Bookshelf is 50% filled with 50% of the Lore in the world, it could have a "50% Filled Picture" state. This could occur manually (find books and drop them in the bookshelf inventory, by going to the Stronghold and click on the Bookshelf) or automatically (as soon as you open a book wherever in the world, it is collected to the library). I get some Scholar Talent ideas w/ this book collection idea ~the more books you collect the higher chance of getting a "Learned" Talent or something? It makes collecting books more fun, I believe, as it gives a "sense of purpose" to collect books.

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I kind of like reading them, sometimes. I always say I'll go back and read all of them, but I hardly ever get around to doing quite that. I think brevity is important. I mean, I read some 20-or-so page stories in Oblivion/Skyrim, but those really didn't have very much text per page.

 

Also, personally, I tend to prefer the ones that are written in actual story form. The ones that just recount a bunch of history (like an entire history book compressed into 5 paragraphs), though concise, are hardly interesting.

 

Example:

 

"In 103 E.N., a group of nomads known as the Kelgash came upon a sizeable Oasis in the heart of the desert. They established their first permanent settlement there, and called it Kelgatha. However, other groups soon discovered this place, and coveted the resources for themselves. In 106 E.N., a warlord known as Rhazilk attempted to claim the settlement and purge the Kelgash. Though casualties were terrible, Rhazilk was repelled, and was ritually executed in front of the remaining populous, so that the goddess Sheiza could claim his soul and bathe it in punishment. A statue was erected of Sheiza, there in the center of town, for it was believed she allowed for the Kelgashan victory."

 

Despite my efforts, I couldn't even get that as cramped as what I'm thinking of. The kind in which each sentence gives you about 5 new names, 3 new plots, and 4 new dates. And it's 5+ paragraphs of that. "And that's the story of this city, from the dawn of time, until now! 8D!"

 

It's like they're trying to give you the short version, but simultaneously sparing no details. If they want to give all the details, then awesome. Just go ahead and make a long version, so I can either read thewhole thing at a normal pace, or skim it, etc.

 

Annnnywho, I also think it's best when at least SOME (and by some, I mean more than like 1%) of these books/writings are more than just "flavor."

 

Examples that come to mind are sort of discovered things, like ancient ruins, or "mythical" beasts, etc. Things that no living people really know that much about. You could read things such as folktales and legends, as well as historical accounts, in order to gleam some information that may help you in an investigation into something like this.

 

Maybe if you're trying to find out what's killing people in some forest, you can ultimately discover (through diligent though not-necessarily-tedious research) the actual nature of this creature, and can actually dispatch the creature more easily (you know its weaknesses/how to bait it, etc.), or figure out what caused it to wander into this forest or come to hunt in this region and can get it to return to a different area, and/or uncover a poaching ring. Just as examples. As opposed to simply "there's a thing killing people, and you can poke around, find it, and kill it."

 

I mean, knowledge is power, right?

Edited by Lephys
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Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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It's like they're trying to give you the short version, but simultaneously sparing no details. If they want to give all the details, then awesome. Just go ahead and make a long version, so I can either read thewhole thing at a normal pace, or skim it, etc.

BINGO! I enjoy reading, but the font better be large enough and the prose had best be non-convoluted. This is a game, not a dense treatise written by cloistered academics writing to impress their peer group as much as to convey actual information, after all.

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http://cbrrescue.org/

 

Go afield with a good attitude, with respect for the wildlife you hunt and for the forests and fields in which you walk. Immerse yourself in the outdoors experience. It will cleanse your soul and make you a better person.----Fred Bear

 

http://michigansaf.org/

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I tend to read most of the books, but especially with lore books I have a short fuse. Either they have to tell a good story or they should have some connection to the plot. Most memorable fails: Books with lists or genealogies of deities whose only connection to the story is a temple in their name, if at all.

 

What I would like:

 

* Books that are hand-placed.  So that I would stumble on a book about the history of Drywood in the middle of  or directly after exploring Drywood

 

* Books about the society. For example there could be a book detailing and analyzing a coal miner revolt or a tract detailing why the number of midwives collapsed in the last 20 years. A book about the tea trade and its influence on racism. A political pamphlet demolishing the decisions of King Theodorus II.

 

If the devs have created a consistent world there should be logical consequences. For example if one race is the best at archery but low in status, a lot of them would probably work as archer mercenaries. It might even be that a rich kingdom would create a special company of those archers to entice them to enlist there (like the british Gurkas). Create a book that shows why and how this company was created and why it had to fail (or not). If a long range teleportation spell exists, expensive teleport stations (probably managed by the mage guild) would exist in every major city. The economics and politics around these stations would be interesting. Wouldn't the world be much more real if you found a book with background information about this? Number of people transported each year. Effect on diplomacy and other trade...

Edited by jethro
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I will ignore them, on purpose.

Knowing full well that someone or possibly several people at Obsidian have poured hours and days of their time into these little bits of lore, wishfully hoping to entertain us with these miniature stories.

No matter if these stories be humorous, horrifying or purely informative I will shun them all and hopefully by doing so the writers will feel the sting of my disdain in their hearts and shed a bitter tear.

And even though there are many miles between us I will instantly know when this has happened and will cackle in delight.

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One usually prefers a more organic form of storytelling, sat on the porch of the rangers mansion listening to Chief Hanlon spin his tales, discovering the convoluted history of the weapons I weild, deciphering histories scrawled on the walls of tombs, summoning long dead spirits so that we might converse on their life and times, ripping secrets from the minds of those who dare to oppose me, fitting cylinders into an ancient machine that spins to life and delivers a message recorded in atiquity, etcetera, etcetera.

 

That said I usually devour the written word with the appetite of a gourmand when interested in that particular subject.

 

Edit: The books in Arcanum certainly stand out as, as well as Torian Kel's monologue on the war between the Molochean Hand and Grey Legion of the Derian Ka. Thoroughly enchanting.

 

Edit 2: The account of Balin's colony in Moria was I think a fine method of making a  book and its contents fairly interesting and well integrated. The worst instance of the written word in an rpg I ever encountered was when myself and company stopped to decipher a message in Futhark, and revealed the phrase *Do not read this* as a spelltrap activated, rather irritating though somewhat comical.

Edited by Nonek

Quite an experience to live in misery isn't it? That's what it is to be married with children.

I've seen things you people can't even imagine. Pearly Kings glittering on the Elephant and Castle, Morris Men dancing 'til the last light of midsummer. I watched Druid fires burning in the ruins of Stonehenge, and Yorkshiremen gurning for prizes. All these things will be lost in time, like alopecia on a skinhead. Time for tiffin.

 

Tea for the teapot!

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Depends on whether it's interesting (i.e. not boring,) or whether it contains information I'm interested in acquiring (it can be boring, but it's a means to an end.)

 

I will ignore them, on purpose.

Knowing full well that someone or possibly several people at Obsidian have poured hours and days of their time into these little bits of lore, wishfully hoping to entertain us with these miniature stories.

No matter if these stories be humorous, horrifying or purely informative I will shun them all and hopefully by doing so the writers will feel the sting of my disdain in their hearts and shed a bitter tear.

And even though there are many miles between us I will instantly know when this has happened and will cackle in delight.

The premise of this assumes that the writers of every in-game book ever have had a 100% perfect success rate in people reading said in-game books until you engage this nefarious plot and ruin their champion run.

Edited by AGX-17

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The worst instance of the written word in an rpg I ever encountered was when myself and company stopped to decipher a message in Futhark, and revealed the phrase *Do not read this* as a spelltrap activated, rather irritating though somewhat comical.

Gotta love the classics. Your DM/GM must've genuinely enjoyed that moment.  :yes:


http://cbrrescue.org/

 

Go afield with a good attitude, with respect for the wildlife you hunt and for the forests and fields in which you walk. Immerse yourself in the outdoors experience. It will cleanse your soul and make you a better person.----Fred Bear

 

http://michigansaf.org/

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<snip> I think brevity is important.<snip>

What have you done with Lephys?
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Remember: Argue the point, not the person. Remain polite and constructive. Friendly forums have friendly debate. There's no shame in being wrong. If you don't have something to add, don't post for the sake of it. And don't be afraid to post thoughts you are uncertain about, that's what discussion is for.
---
Pet threads, everyone has them. I love imagining Gods, Monsters, Factions and Weapons.

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What have you done with Lephys?

They're onto me! *smoke bomb*...

 

*Flees in a manner befitting an impostor*

 

Whoa... *hazily regains consciousness*. What happened, guys? So, what was I saying? Oh yes...

 

PARAGRAPH PARAGRAPH PARAGRAPH PARAGRAPH PARAGRAPH...

 

8)

Edited by Lephys
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Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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  ...At several points, my character has found books that help her to better understand the present story in the context of past historical events or philosophical reflections.  ...

 

 

 This seems important. In Tolkien's books, the hobbits, in addition to being small people who end up doing big things as part of the plot, were also a good literary device since they were from a far off backwater and needed to have the lore explained to them and hence to the reader. The sprinkling of lore gave a sense of depth to the books (of course, he spent several decades developing the lore, so your mileage may vary as to how well that works in the game world (it could be *very* effective for the Nth sequel referring to lore from P:E to P:E_n-1)).

 

 Anyway, the point I'm trying to bring out is that, if done well, it will give a sense of depth, if not, it will just be a bunch to stuff to read (or to ignore).

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I always make sure I pick up every single book I come across and take it with me. In that regard, I hope we can carry them in bookbags.

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In that regard, I hope we can carry them in bookbags.

 

library wing babiez 8)

 

Amen. If P:E has books that can be picked up and read, the stronghold library should really have some empty bookshelves to store and collect any books you find.

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Depends on whether it's interesting (i.e. not boring,) or whether it contains information I'm interested in acquiring (it can be boring, but it's a means to an end.)

 

I will ignore them, on purpose.

Knowing full well that someone or possibly several people at Obsidian have poured hours and days of their time into these little bits of lore, wishfully hoping to entertain us with these miniature stories.

No matter if these stories be humorous, horrifying or purely informative I will shun them all and hopefully by doing so the writers will feel the sting of my disdain in their hearts and shed a bitter tear.

And even though there are many miles between us I will instantly know when this has happened and will cackle in delight.

The premise of this assumes that the writers of every in-game book ever have had a 100% perfect success rate in people reading said in-game books until you engage this nefarious plot and ruin their champion run.

 

Can you prove that this isn't the case? *smug*

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The premise of this assumes that the writers of every in-game book ever have had a 100% perfect success rate in people reading said in-game books until you engage this nefarious plot and ruin their champion run.

 

READING SPREE!


It would be of small avail to talk of magic in the air...

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I've always liked the idea of in-game books you can read for the flavor it provides, but seldom been satisfied by how it works in practice. Either the text is too brief and/or inconsequential, or it's pages and pages of dry material that takes time to read that I could be spending fighting, talking, and exploring. I've been playing a lot of Skyrim lately and been just saddened at how long and dry these texts are... saddened, because someone took all that time to write that stuff, but I'm not going to bother to read it or only scan through it at best.

 

And frankly, I'd rather whoever was writing all that text be spending their time writing in-game dialogue and narrative than some bits of fluff that largely have nothing to do with the actual game save to provide some random bit of largely irrelevant background information.

 

The happy medium I'd like is if you clicked on a book and got a paragraph or two that was an excerpt of the text. Something that gives us a sense of the writer's personality and what information is conveyed, but takes little longer to read than, say, an item description or a fair chunk of dialogue.

 

And if they didn't spend their time writing book-text because they were writing other stuff instead, I'd be fine with that.

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I tend to skip over the books that read little better than a wikipedia excerpt.  In game books should have a little character, whether it be in biasing history towards a politcal agenda or explaining lore from the words of a scholar if I'm to read them with any interest.  I want to read of what other in this world have to say regarding it, not a dessicated encyclopedia broken into scattered volumes.

Edited by Pipyui

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If they're as good as Morrowind's skill books, then I will definitely read them. If they're like Baldur's Gate's non-quest related books, then I will probably completely ignore them. However, I will say that I think Morrowind used skill books in order to tell more interesting short stories because at the time, the engine lacked the sophistication to do it through quest lines. Look at dialogue trees in the game and you will understand what I mean. Today in games we have potential for such short stories to play out in quests like Vault 11 or the Survivalist stories from New Vegas. The latter did basically use the equivalent of books, but it was still way more dynamic than just reading words off of a page. Journals and logs should still be well written, but I think I'd prefer if they just intertwined any good short story ideas into quests.

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