We at Transneptune Games have recently discovered that we are pretentious.
This came to light while we were editing our game Becoming Heroes (which is the final title of In a Dragon-Guarded Land). One fine editor was kind enough to point out that our in-text language was a little on the pretentious side. At first we were (briefly) dismissive of his point on the grounds that it was okay to be so. After all, we’re indie gamers. We speak of IIEE and narrative authority as casually as sane people might talk about their coffee this morning. But after sleeping on this criticism and re-reading the game, we realized the horrible truth of the matter. We were not just pretentious, we were unbelievably pretentious.
Our game terms were the best example of this. We had a term called a Narrative Step, which you would take when you wanted to do something in a conflict. There are several of these per conflict, and they serve as a way to accomplish a thing in the narrative while putting forward a die towards your total. It was renamed to Action. Because you know, when you take an action… you take an action. Another gut-wrenching example was our use of the term Prima Facie, a latin expression that means what’s obvious, as the thing you got at the end of a conflict if you won. That was changed to Stakes.
There were plenty of other examples of this kind of language. The game text was hopelessly obscure under all the pretension, and even now I am amazed that not one of our play-testers listed “the text is inscrutable” among their criticisms.
However, this language has been rewritten and I am excited to announce that we will be going to print within the next few days! In addition to buying the book online (we’ll get that set up soon), you can also find us at Gen Con. We’ll have a booth there and everything, so be sure to visit us if you get the chance.
5 responses to “Is There a More Pretentious Word for Pretentious?”
Another gut-wrenching example was our use of the term Prima Facie, a latin expression that means what’s obvious,
Which I also found ironic, since it’s not obvious unless you’re experienced with Latin. 😉
Glad to hear you’ve taken to the advice well. I do worry sometimes that people either get paralyzed when I critique or dismiss our of fear of missing an arbitrary target.
Honestly, I think I took it hardest of all. John and Austin wrote the text, and I was the one who provided the first round of editing. While I’m sure I did something, seeing how much more there was to do that I had looked right past was a bit jarring.
But I think the text is a lot better for it—as is our growing understanding of what goes into making a text like this!
While I’m sure I did something, seeing how much more there was to do that I had looked right past was a bit jarring.
More than “something”; it shaped the text from half-baked ramblings of the incoherent to the point that we could actually see the dumbness. Without that, this game would not exist.
Oh, and, I made a small edit to your post, to fix the broken close-tag on the italics.
And thank you again for taking the time to look at what we sent you.
[…] It’s something I’ve thought an awful lot about ever since Ryan Macklin told us exactly how dumb our jargon in Becoming Heroes was. (To be clear, we can’t thank him enough for the reality […]