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My Problem with Chronicles Book Layouts

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  • My Problem with Chronicles Book Layouts

    Over time I've found myself more and more put off by how Chronicles of Darkness books present themselves. They put the splats like Clan/Covenant or Path/Order in chapter one, rather than the setting proper first. They put character creation before the mechanics that character creation actually references, so you don't even know what any of that stuff means when you get to it.

    It's frustrating. Has anyone else found this troublesome?


    Revlid wrote:
    Yes, hollowing out your humanity to become an utterly utilitarian asura is the exact suggestion I would expect from you, Aiden.

  • #2
    Honestly? Nah.


    Sean K.I.W./Kelly R.A. Steele, Freelance Writer(Feel free to call me Sean, Kelly, Arcane, or Arc)
    The world is not beautiful, therefore it is.-Keiichi Sigsawa, Kino's Journey
    Male/neutral pronouns accepted, female pronouns enjoyed.

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    • #3
      I'm getting mocked by would-be players I try to introduce the game to for it.


      Revlid wrote:
      Yes, hollowing out your humanity to become an utterly utilitarian asura is the exact suggestion I would expect from you, Aiden.

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      • #4
        Then your player's priorities are shot if they're giving you crap for the choice of book structure and layout.

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        • #5
          The one that always gets me is when supernatural powers inflict a condition, which are in an appendix usually a couple hundred pages removed from the power that inflicts them. I understand the benefits of having an appendix rather than having them scattered all over the book, but it remains a constant minor frustration.

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          • #6
            I don’t think it’s any worse than the layout of most RPG books. Which isn’t to say it isn’t poor layout, necessarily, but it’s also not all that big of a deal, especially if you use PDFs. Or, like, sticky notes.


            Going by Willow now, or Wil for short. She/Her/Hers.

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            • #7
              I've actually felt for a while that the X/Y-Splat chapters coming before Setting is confusing. I understand the reasoning for the decision, but i think it doesn't click as naturally as the alternative. Character Creation coming before the extended rules seems fairly standard in and of itself, but since I own the Chronicles corebook, it's very annoying to see the core roles reprinted on every splat core instead of the pages being used for more game-specific writing. It's useful and sensible to have them there to avoid the need to cross-reference books (or owning two books to play any of the splats), but I can't help but feel it's wasted space sometimes.

              So yeah, I have my little issues with the structuring and layout of the books. Part can be chalked up to my preferences in presentation, but there are details I really do think could be slightly better off.
              Last edited by YeOfLittleFaith; 02-07-2019, 11:31 PM.

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              • #8
                Presumably it's a reaction to people reading first edition who didn't want to bother with setting material but just wanted to make their character first.

                But I'm cynical about anyone being able to please an entire customer base.

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                • #9
                  if the players are really giving you crap for that AND not wanting to play the game because of that...well I dont know what to tell you, they sound kinda dumb.

                  also agree with nofather, people will always complain.

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                  • #10
                    I took my copy of Changeling 2e to work one day to read over lunch. One of my friends picked it up and immediately got sucked into reading the Seemings. So I can't say I've had that problem, it has been the exact opposite for me.


                    Freelancer (He/His Pronouns): CofD - Dark Eras 2, Kith and Kin, Mummy 2e, Oak Ash and Thorn; Scion - Mysteries of the World

                    CofD booklists: Beast I Changeling | Demon | Deviant (TBA) | Geist l Hunter l Mage | Mummy | Promethean | Vampire | Werewolf (WIP)

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Second Chances View Post
                      I took my copy of Changeling 2e to work one day to read over lunch. One of my friends picked it up and immediately got sucked into reading the Seemings. So I can't say I've had that problem, it has been the exact opposite for me.
                      Yeah, similar has happened for me. Most people seem to enjoy the ability to see themselves as characters even if what all of that means isn't directly clear yet.


                      Sean K.I.W./Kelly R.A. Steele, Freelance Writer(Feel free to call me Sean, Kelly, Arcane, or Arc)
                      The world is not beautiful, therefore it is.-Keiichi Sigsawa, Kino's Journey
                      Male/neutral pronouns accepted, female pronouns enjoyed.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Aiden View Post
                        Over time I've found myself more and more put off by how Chronicles of Darkness books present themselves. They put the splats like Clan/Covenant or Path/Order in chapter one, rather than the setting proper first.
                        Yeah, this never fails to frustrate me. I'm invariably the GM running the game, so having the information presented out of order (presumably in the hope of scenarios like the ones Second Chances and ArcaneArts mention, that the players will start thinking up characters straight away before they have the full context) is pretty meaningless in terms of "sucking me in" and just makes me feel like I need to reread the first chapter again to fully grok it. Meanwhile I've never had a player try to read a rules book cover to cover, so having the character-related stuff presented up front is no different from having it 100 pages in. They're just going to flick to it anyway. Few, if any of them, will actually read the Chapter 2 setting material, that's for me to know and explain to them in a more condensed fashion while we're bashing out character concepts. I should honestly just have learned by now that I need to read these books out of order instead of cover-to-cover, but if I'm doing that and the players are skipping to the parts they care about anyway then what's the point of not just laying it out in a way that benefits the only person reading chronologically?

                        Character creation before general mechanics bothers me less. Probably because I'm quite familiar with the Chronicles of Darkness system, so the chapter that just regurgitates a selection of pages from the Chronicles core book is going to be the one part I skip when reading a new book cover to cover. But it's also not terribly uncommon among the other RPGs I own.

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                        • #13
                          *double post*

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                          • #14

                            Arrghh!

                            I find the layout of the Chronicles books immensely frustrating. My experience is limited to Demon: The Descent and the Chronicles core book. In particular:
                            • The actual implementation ("the crunch") is scattered about throughout different bits instead of in one concise section. Example: how Ephemerals fight (rolling Power+Finesse) is way off in a section completely different from where character combat is discussed.
                            • Characters and Horrors, when presented don't have simple stat-block layouts. It's hard to rapidly figure out how to handle a given NPC or horror.1 I shouldn't have to calculate dice for noticing a clue/throwing a punch/shooting a gun/ for any NPC.
                            • ​There is no sample combat/conflict. It took me a couple of weeks, with help from a half-dozen members of the discussion board to sort out an example of a straightforward combat between an angel and a demon. The result ran for nearly 2000 words. There are pages and pages of sample "fluff", but almost o sample "crunch".
                            • There is not much help on indicating what is balanced and what is dangerous. For example, how many dice does it take to get an extraordinary success? What about the fact that 1 point of armor negates (on average) three dice of attack? All weapon damage is Lethal... except to Ephemerals (of course). How dangerous is it to allow your characters to make Lambdas? What are the consequences?
                            • Angels have three magic systems: Manifestations, Numina, and Incepts. Oh - they also might have duplications of demonic powers as well. Incepts are in a different book and none of the published angels have Incepts!
                            • Twilight can have a huge impact on actual gameplay if antagonists use it wisely. But I only understood this by reading postings on these discussion groups. Why isn't it mentioned in the sections on combat?
                            • The "Doors" mechanism for social contests and "Clues" mechanism for investigations are a legitimate way to replace roleplaying with "roll playing", (i.e. where dice determine the outcome) which are very handy mechanics for players who prefer it that way. However they are slightly different, and both differ from the "Extended Action" mechanic. Why not unify them, and discuss them as all aspects of a similar approach?
                            I like the fact that a lot of creativity went in to designing the worlds and characters. The vignettes and fluff convey how the designers thought the game should be played and experienced. However I think that a little more consistency, clarity and conciseness in explaining the rules be enormously helpful.
                            1I think I understand why: CoD wants to avoid a "Monster Manual" approach. Everyone you meet including the Horrors is supposed to be a unique individual. Having an easy to read stat-block on a horror might reduce it to just another owl bear or orc to slaughter rather than a unique character. But I have had to home-brew my own NPC spreadsheets for the dozen or more NPC's in a conspiracy chronicle I'm writing - just to get a list of police and yokels and simulacra and homeless that my players will encounter as the tease out the threads of the story. Having a simple, uniform stat-block with terse Vice/Virtue/Aspiration helps make these minor characters more individual, rather than having to improvise everything on the fly.

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                            • #15
                              I can agree with crunch @@KieranMullen. just having example scenarios using them would be good

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