Saturday, August 21, 2010

How Much is Too Much?

I am plagued by this question, pretty much every time I write. I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised to learn that most people, even those who like and buy our stuff, thought I was over the line into “too much” quite frequently. Then again, when you’re not the one coming up with the stuff - too much is OK. It gives the reader a sense of what’s going on without really caring about the extra “wasted” work.
The big problem is trying to get the balance right in the “how much is more than I wanted to read” category. If I flub it there, then people don’t want to buy Board Enterprises stuff any more. Still, I think that line is way past the line most GMs would draw for themselves.
So how much is too much? We gave you the weights and dimensions on coins in a free supplement. That went pretty far. We described an orcish tribe’s gear down pretty far - but I always hate that that stuff isn’t in the games. (If a bandit is wielding a sword forged in a nearby city, you need to figure out if they gave it to him to cause trouble or if he stole it from a good guy. Without knowing where the sword came from, you don’t stand a chance of figuring this out.)
I guess like so many of these things, it comes down to play style. If you play an RPG with some role-playing, you might want to investigate your enemies and find something out. If you just hack and slash, then no one cares except for how much you can get for it. Our products have a way of picking their players.

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