The metafluff

I have not DMed for a while and probably won’t until the end of this month… Finding something useful to write here is a bit hard…

Luckily, I don’t have to be useful – if that ever happens here, consider it a side-effect of luck.

So, metafluff, now. See, now that I’ve been brought to realize that I’m much more meta than I ever thought, my mind rebels:

But – I love the storytelling even more than the rules! I love the acting! I love character building!

All of that is also true, but I also love the mechanics of the game… in fact, I’m coming to realize that I love when the mechanics fit perfectly with what they are trying to describe. I like the fluff that comes with the crunch. The marshmallows with the cereal in the Lucky Charms (a bowl of chemical marshmallows? yuck! – you need the pellets of whatever to come up with a tasty treat that, perhaps, should not actually be part of a complete breakfast).

In short : the metafluff.

To illustrate, lets take a look at on of the things that got me excited about 4.0 : the Fighter class. I’ve never really liked the mêlee classes in DnD before – be it ADnD 2e, 3.5, whatever – to me, it always came up to : « get in there and swing ». All the other classes had flavor and wonderful powers. The fighter swung his sword.

4th edition came up with wonderful powers (exploits, which sounds so much better when you understand French) that opened up a world of possibilities. Yes, you could do all of that in ADnD and 3.5, of course. But now, the rules were squarely behind it and matched the fluffy description to a T.

Spinning Sweep
You spin beneath your enemy’s guard with a long, powerful cut, and then sweep your leg through his an instant later to knock him head over heels.
Strength vs. AC. On hit, 1xW + Strength modifier damage, and you knock the target prone.

Covering Attack
You launch a dizzying barrage of thrusts at your enemy, compelling him to give you all his attention. Under the cover of your ferocious attack, one of your allies can safely retreat from that same foe.
Strength vs. AC, On hit, 2xW + Strength modifier damage, and an ally adjacent to the target can shift 2 squares.

To me here, the rules matches the description very well. The descriptions are lively enough that you can see it in your head. Lovely.

Of course, this is at the cost of the old house rules of « called shots » and what not… which ended up working okay in previous editions.

Of course, there is still parts where the meta overpowers the fluff… After all, why can a fighter attempt « spinning sweep » only once in an encounter? There’s not magic in play here – what is there to prevent him to distract a foe with a blade and trip him? He spent his mojo on the first attempt?

Or maybe its a code of honor – a fighter never performs the same move twice in the same fight?