Friday, July 1, 2011

Discussion: Cover to Cover, Or Some Other Way?

Everyone seems to go through their RPG books differently. Some people like to go through from the front cover to the back cover straight. Others will jump around, reading either the fluff or the mechanics first and then the rest later. Some don't even look through the book until they need to find something, they have the rules explained to them (or already know them) and just have the book for things like looking up feats or gear.

Hell, in the groups I am in around here, there are almost as many different ways to read the RPG books as we have people.

Personally, I tend to do a combination of two things. I usually will start reading from the beginning, but eventually I hit a point where I'm just not as interested in what is before me as I am in figuring something else out. At this point, I start skipping around. On the plus side, it means I usually learnt he system fairly fast, which is good if I am GMing. However, it also means that I tend to not look through some sections as thoroughly as others. I still have never really gone through the magic section in L5R for example.

So, how about you? How do you read your RPG books? Is there a specific reason why? Do you like the fluff and feel more than the mechanics? Or the other way around? When you do read a new RPG, what are you looking for?

Sound off in the comments!


  1. Yep. I'm a lot like you in regards to reading RPG books. I try to go cover to cover, but usually wind up skipping section to section. I guess that's why I appreciate books that accomodate this mode- where information is presented in easily digestible 'chunks' rather than in a continuous stream. My biggest pet peeve are rule books that read like novels (and therefore force you to read them like novels). Ugh.

  2. I usually do a skim and look at the pretty pictures first to get an overall idea of what the story is and what's included in the book. Then I read the story. I then read character generation first to know what classes are available and then rules. After that I look in the toybox for equipment and vehicles.

  3. I tend to go directly to the character creation materials. I'll jump back to the "basics" if I need something explained, but I start with character gen.

    And this despite the fact that I'm pretty much the designated DM for all my play.

  4. Character gen is a good place to start if you are jumping around. Especially as a GM. After all, the first thing you need to do is help your players make their characters, and so you need to know how it works.

  5. I read the mechanics. I couldn't care less about the fluff because I almost never use published universes unless the system is built around it. I love to see how different RPGs implement their rules because it's just so fun to know that it can be done in so many different ways. I like to try to think of things that any RPG I know hasn't done and see if I can make a skeleton of a system on it.

    This is why I've never read the Shadowrun 4E book because it's written like a novel (I feel you rolo) and the mechanics are in the fluff.