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  #1  
Old 09-29-2008, 08:39 AM
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Vort Speaks - Add Life To Your Post With Style

Vort Lecture Topic

CannedThe Guest Lecture will start with a brief introduction by a Faculty Member, followed by a synopsis of the concept by the Lecturer. This synopsis can be as long or as short as is appropriate to convey the basics of the Lecture Topic. Synopsis might include:

A) Basics of Topic
B) Lecturer's view of importance of Topic
C) How Lecturer executes Topic that may vary from others
D) Value of consistency or inconsistency
E) Value of personality (The MY way) or impersonality (Any Way)

Personal tactics are important - the goal of SNOT:WWAD is to show students how to use the site in their own way.

Following the intro will be a series of question-and-answer from students and possibly non-students. A Faculty member will moderate.

Last edited by Amy; 11-24-2008 at 11:28 AM.
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Old 12-02-2008, 01:45 AM
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Add Life to your Post with Style

Introduction

I have seen very few posts that use basic font settings beyond using bold for speech and italics for thoughts. The purpose of this lecture is to show you how a little time spent on formatting can really liven up your post and add a little depth to your pbp game. The more your post grabs the reader's attention, the more interested they will be in what you have to say. Also, at times a lengthy post can seem daunting to a reader; all that simple, black, uniform text to read almost makes the eyes water.

Unlike speech where it is easy to place emphasis with the use of inflection, in prose, tone must either be set by adding descriptive text or it is left in the hands of the reader to interpret.

Plain TextI will not buy this record, it is scratched.

But it can be difficult to convey the exact tone you're going for when you write plain text. With the formatting tools available here at DnDOG, it doesn't take much to influence how the reader will interpret those words, however:

Examples with StyleI will not buy this record, it is scratched. [Here, the person may buy another, however]
I will not buy this record, it is scratched. [Here, the person is suggesting it should be free]
I will not buy this record, it is scratched. [Here, the person is simply pointing out why they won't buy it]
I will not buy this record, it is scratched. [Here, the person is mildly put off]
I will NOT buy this record!, it is scratched. [Here, the person is obviously angered and peevish]

 

Fonts

Fonts (or typefaces) can easily be used to reflect your character, and make them stand out a little. Once you establish an image of what the character looks like, a well chosen font can help the reader recall that image without always resorting to descriptive text.

ExamplesAn old stodgy font.
Young, bold, hot-headed font.

See this post for a sampler of the different fonts available in most of their glory.

If you have many different characters speaking in your post, instead of using colour to distinguish their speech you can always use font -- it's much more subtle, yet gives visual clues as to who's speaking. Or you can save font use for extraodinary circumstances: the speech of gods and deities, for example. But choose a readable font; just because it's in the list doesn't make it a good font, and reading an entire paragraph in some (like Impact) would be very tiring for the reader.

Strikeout

I've seen this used to good effect, usually to indicate what a character felt or wanted to say versus what they actually did or said. Obviously, it's not something that others' characters can use in-game (just like a character's thoughts), so it really is solely for the reader's benefit (and usually for added humour).

A good example originally posted by Toad`"Usually the halfling was the one to foolishly bravely step forward and act in such a situation."

EmPHAsis

You can use underline, italics, bold and even mixedCASE to add emphasis to your post. If you're already using those styles frequently, however, it becomes difficult to add something that stands out. In that case, just use what you don't normally use: if you don't use underline much, use it to emphasize, and the same goes for italics.

Be careful with italics and bold though; by convention they're used for a character's thoughts and for speech respectively. To add emphasis to speech which is already in bold, use italics or underline. To add emphasis to thoughts which are already in italics, use bold or underline -- but beware that using bold might cause readers to wonder if you're thinking outloud.

Hopefully you are already aware that you shouldn't type exclusively in uppercase. IT'S CONSIDERED YELLING and it gets tiring to read. But it can be used effectively when you WANT TO RAISE your character's voice because it really stands out from the preceeding text.

Colour

A little colour can really make your post stand out. Watch the colour you choose, though, as not everyone has the same page background colour or monitor clarity. The colour should also reflect either the context or the mood of the words you are colouring.

ExampleThe elf was literally green with envy.

Keep colour use to a minimum for two reasons:
  • you'll minimize the chance of having unreadable text
  • you'll make it stand out even more
Some colours are harder to read than others, even with good background text. Limit colour use to short sequences of words, and avoid entire paragraphs in odd colours; it may tire the readers' eyes.

An excellent example by Toad` can be found here.

Font size

Size is an easy way to change the tone of your post.
  • If your character's going to whisper, then he should whisper. [using size=1]
  • If your character's going to yell, then let him YELL!
What's more effective"Stand and deliver!" he yelled with conviction.

- or -

"Stand and deliver!" he boomed.

If your character is a quiet, mousy type, put their speech in size=1 text. Then it's easy to accentuate when they speak up by using normal or oversized text. Similarily, if your character is the brash, overly loud type, use size=3 for their speech as a visual reminder of their loutish behavior.

You can even mix in sizes for great effect:

ExampleHe ran from a room packed full of skeletons: "AAAAAAaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!"

As usual, don't overdo it. Some readers may find reading size=1 text difficult or annoying.

Paragraph formatting

Apart from grammar and readability, paragraph formatting can reflect the flow of your post. One use is to indicate a hard break between concepts, thoughts, actions, or characters (for example, if your PC has a follower or hireling who might be acting apart from the PC).

-----

It can also be used to great effect to indicate that time has passed between your paragraphs.

Sound effects

At times, sound effects can replace verbose descriptive text, but do make sure your intention is still clear. Bold, size, and colour are all good sound effect styles.

Example"The bowstring hummed before it broke; but the arrow sailed through the air and struck the ogre in the chest who let out a roar."

-- or --

"Zing! The bowstring hummed; SNAP!, the string broke as the arrow sailed through the air and THWACK!, struck the ogre in the chest. dugidadugidadugida "GWAROAAARRRR!!!""


Don't overdo it

Given the somewhat limited number of ways you can alter the appearance of text, there are seemingly countless permutations of how you can apply them.

Too much formatting, though, can become time consuming and it also takes away from the novelty and can lose its effectiveness. If you try to ultra-format every post you have you'll start to tire of the work involved and the quality of your posts may start to suffer.

Used sparingly, however, a little style added in your own unique way to a post can really make it stand out and bring an excellent post alive.

Last edited by Vort; 12-10-2008 at 08:26 AM.
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  #3  
Old 03-02-2009, 11:52 PM
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<blowing my own horn here>

Lecture is open for viewing.
Any and all comments and discussion welcome. Those related to the topic, that is.
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Old 09-07-2010, 12:55 AM
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I'd like to start something in this thread:

Feel free to post here any in-game posts that you're proud of, as long as they embody the use of style in some way.

Readers: feel free to post comments, kudos, critiques, criticisms (be nice!) here so we can all learn. Also don't hesitate to award RPXP to those brave souls who bare themselves for our entertainment (if they're worthy).

Let's have some fun with it, but let's establish some code guidelines:
  • Keep in mind: this is my thread, so I reserve the right to expunge any posts I feel are not in the spirit of things.
  • Do not use the "quote" tag -- it messes up the original formatting -- and instead use spoilerbuttons and/or fieldsets judiciously.
  • Include a link to your original post in the game thread it's from, for those curious enough to follow it.
-----

To get things started, here are a couple of favourites of mine that I had a lot of fun with.

 

 
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Digestive Disorder Support Thread (2018/04/23)
As a SNOT:WWAD TA, I find your lack of style disturbing. Prove me wrong.
Open game for SNOT:WWADs, CSs, and anyone I'm in a game with: The Adventures of Aleksandr Quickfoot
Vort's Verbiage (2017/04/30) Anyone want a Tuco? ~Grogg Tree
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Old 09-24-2010, 03:19 PM
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Comment:Just a post I am proud of. It is the first actual writing example I have for myself from the forum. I guess this is my version of framing that first dollar bill you earn.

It is from the campaign "In the name of the King!". http://www.rpgcrossing.com/showthrea...52#post4126852


~~~

Nilheim cautiously toys with the parchment within his sleeve as he gets it into a comfortable position. The worn paper easily wraps around his wrist in a way, he hopes, will keep it out of sight.

With a boyish sense of wonder and awe, he can't help but prance from one side of the hall to the other. Each and every portrait decorating these royal walls are looked at. One in particular catches Nilheim's attention.

PortraitA young boy stands on a hill with his hand on the hilt of an over-sized broadsword, a few inches taller than the boy in the portrait, and a stern expression on his face. At second glance, one might notice that the boy is attempting to conceal the fact that he is forced to lean heavily against the broadsword to keep his feet in the armour he wears, which is a shortened version of the knight's war attire.

Behind him, bearing down like an overprotective aunt or the shadow of death, is the castle itself.


Nilheim is silent for almost a whole minute --surprising to those who know him-- before he breaks the silence by throwing his arm out and pointing the portrait out to all those in the hall. "He looks just like me!" His arm reaches its length as he finishes, and the jerking motion sets the wanted poster free. The paper and portrait are introduced with a loud WHACK!

On the verge of anger, Nilheim stomps up to the portrait and bends to take the wanted poster back up. If the parchment were alive, the way the halfling grips it would have it tearing at the hands that hold it. "Devilish little bastard. You smacked the noble me upside the head, yeah?" Unfortunately, well perhaps it is fortunate for those around, Nilheim is unable to hold onto this pseudo-anger for long, and he breaks. His chest rises and falls heavily as he begins to laugh.

Just like the anger, the humour of the situation soon slips away from the halfling, who busies himself by muttering beneath his breath as he rolls the wanted poster back up. Unlike before, he secures the parchment within one of the quivers that hang from his belt.

With the business at the portrait complete even that is pushed to the back of Nilheim's mind as he turns back and resumes his prancing about.

Last edited by BustaHemo; 09-24-2010 at 03:23 PM.
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Old 11-11-2010, 12:32 AM
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@Busta -- as I said in your class, I really like what you did with that post. And you refined it even further; nice.

I think this is a fine example of using the fieldset tag to "frame" the portrait. For any others who might be reading this, here's what I originally had to say about it (limiting my comments to style):
Quote:
The fieldset tag is an often-overlooked tool that you put to good use, and the WHACK stands out nicely (I'm a fan of employing style devices).
The style certainly wasn't overdone, which adds a little punch to the overall post. Thanks for posting it here.

---

Here's another post I had fun with, from Xorin the Bold's travails in the pit. The gladiator was down to his last few hit points fighting a giant of a man with clubs, so he threw down the gauntlet (well, the club) and went hell-bent for victory. It almost worked.

 

I had decided early on in the game that due to his name, I would try to throw the word "bold" into each post somewhere and highlight it in a bold style. I think in the above post I probably overdid it. And of course I couldn't resist the Gladiator quote.

---

Here's an early one from my game, "A Fate Worse Than Death" (apparently, the "fate" is a slow posting rate). The scene takes place in a tavern where the PCs meet for the first time; there were a lot of people to handle, and the storm outside is getting increasingly worse.

 

It was early in my DnDOG career and I hadn't quite figured out my style yet. You can see I didn't use quotes around spoken words, and I had varied the colour of the text depending on who was speaking. I figured that with so many NPCs to keep track of, putting their conversation in individual colours might help. I was also playing with using the "quote" tag to interleave PC's spoken words into the text; it's a bit bulky and kinda chops up the flow. I also think this was the first post where I used size on a sound effect. BAM!

---

As always, feel free to comment or add your own post. Dazzle us!
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Digestive Disorder Support Thread (2018/04/23)
As a SNOT:WWAD TA, I find your lack of style disturbing. Prove me wrong.
Open game for SNOT:WWADs, CSs, and anyone I'm in a game with: The Adventures of Aleksandr Quickfoot
Vort's Verbiage (2017/04/30) Anyone want a Tuco? ~Grogg Tree
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Old 11-16-2010, 01:00 AM
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This post is following me getting my butt kicked in the first fight of the game. My arm nearly gets chewed off from by a bog creature and My mighty barbarianCahal is definitely in pain from the ordeal.

*The game is set in Ireland and my character has his own speech pattern that takes some getting used to, so keep that in mind while reading that.*

 

-GT
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Old 12-16-2010, 01:49 AM
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@GT - nice post! I appreciate how you did the "translation" of the one phrase, and also how his "speech pattern" isn't overdone (so it's not too difficult to decipher). The "Let's get ta it." stands out nicely between the paragraphs of text, severing the nice light flow of the "face painting scene".

Two things come to mind to spice it up a little (hope you don't mind):

1. "Arrgh!" is almost underdone.

Having funAs his mind continues to wish she was near to heal him, the shock of stumbling slightly on a rock jolts him back to reality.
"ARRRRRgh!"
Pain shreds through his upper torso, ...

2. For some reason "shreds" stands out as a great word that could be even better. In fact, the whole sequence is a nice abrupt break from the previous "meandering thoughts" paragraph. Well done.

Playing aroundPain shreds through his upper torso, nauseating him as his voice is lost ...on..the.....wind. The pain also brings focus, which the brutish man will need to finish his long trip. Motioning to Seaghdh for them to continue moving, he keeps plodding along, one foot in front of the other toward the climb looming ahead. The feeling of pain begins to abide as he steps. More. Carefully. Now.


---

I tried to find some posts of what became my favourite character: Tuco the Lost, a dwarf with amnesia in the awesome game (with a terrific cast of players and characters), State of Fear. Regrettably, the game is on hiatus, but hope remains that it will be revived one day. I really had fun with this character, and tried to mix it up visually in each post. Of course, that all takes extra work and can be time consuming and somewhat tiring (having to read, reread, reedit, etc.). But it was fun. Tuco liked to talk to himself, of himself, and by himself (he also referred to himself in third person). He was always talking, mumbling, and shouting so I really tried to mix up the text size. Here are a few I really liked.

 

 

 

 
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Digestive Disorder Support Thread (2018/04/23)
As a SNOT:WWAD TA, I find your lack of style disturbing. Prove me wrong.
Open game for SNOT:WWADs, CSs, and anyone I'm in a game with: The Adventures of Aleksandr Quickfoot
Vort's Verbiage (2017/04/30) Anyone want a Tuco? ~Grogg Tree
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Old 12-16-2010, 04:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vort View Post
@GT - nice post! I appreciate how you did the "translation" of the one phrase, and also how his "speech pattern" isn't overdone (so it's not too difficult to decipher). The "Let's get ta it." stands out nicely between the paragraphs of text, severing the nice light flow of the "face painting scene".

Two things come to mind to spice it up a little (hope you don't mind)
Not at all. In retrospect, the "Arrgh!" part was understated, but by the time I reach the end of the thought/post, I tend to get in a rush to finish. It's a sad thing really.

-GT
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Old 04-21-2011, 08:31 AM
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Here's a post I think has some style.
Link to original.

Post"Foolish beast shouldn't have underestimated one's foe."

*rumble*

"Now what?"

*rumble*

Upon seeing the wall of snow heading their way even the cold nature Eladrin shivered. "The force alone behind that wall may well kill me. All I have to do is survive..."

*RUMBLE*

Whiteness. White everywhere. Immeral couldn't tell where he was or which direction was up. Every once in a while a darker shape would pass by but was distinguishable.

Immeral and his familiar where buried in snow but it was not the cold that bother the eladrin. "I must survive."
Immeral took a few minutes to figure out which way was up for it would do him no good to start digging in the wrong direction. "Water will not be a problem but food will. I wonder how deep I got buried." With the help of his familiar Immeral was able to get himself unburied and at first was not able to spot any of his friends. It wasn't until he look uphill that he finally spot them. It seems that the eladrin was swept downhill the farthest.
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Old 04-21-2011, 09:21 AM
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Awesome! My first thought was the "rumbles" were well placed, and the scattered "help" was cool and effective -- I liked it. But then I noticed the white text was there ... and I never thought I'd say "that was great use of white text"! (At first I thought it was an optical illusion of negative space.) You nailed it. Without knowing the white text is there it reads fine and is formatted interestingly. Knowing the white text is there and seeing how you turned it into "help" pushed it over the top for me.

 
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Digestive Disorder Support Thread (2018/04/23)
As a SNOT:WWAD TA, I find your lack of style disturbing. Prove me wrong.
Open game for SNOT:WWADs, CSs, and anyone I'm in a game with: The Adventures of Aleksandr Quickfoot
Vort's Verbiage (2017/04/30) Anyone want a Tuco? ~Grogg Tree
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Old 04-21-2011, 12:53 PM
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I appreciate the criticism and was aware of some of it. However I am so bad at grammar that I can't really see it and sometimes can't even imagine what would be correct. I was trying to show a lack of emotion which is hard because it's not there (and how can you show something that is not there?), so that fact that you got it is great, now I just need to make sure it comes across as intentional.

I need to practice more of what SNOT teaches. Of course it may help if I don't post while I'm work and therefore am rushed.
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Old 05-03-2011, 12:15 PM
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Vort, I am impressed. You just might have persuaded me to vary typefaces, font sizes, colours. Hell I might go crazy and add sound effects. Very good lecture.
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Old 05-04-2011, 01:19 AM
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Thank you!

If I've inspired someone to at least try it out, my job here is done.
Well, maybe not "done" done, but that's how the saying goes.

Glad you enjoyed it. Hope to see your efforts here someday.
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Digestive Disorder Support Thread (2018/04/23)
As a SNOT:WWAD TA, I find your lack of style disturbing. Prove me wrong.
Open game for SNOT:WWADs, CSs, and anyone I'm in a game with: The Adventures of Aleksandr Quickfoot
Vort's Verbiage (2017/04/30) Anyone want a Tuco? ~Grogg Tree
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Old 02-13-2013, 12:52 AM
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Something (new!) from a SNOT:WWAD classroom, Solomon777's class, lesson #1 critique (where the TA critiques the student's work and offers illumination). I'm not sure if this was illuminating, but I liked how it turned out.

Words were Solomon's, formatting was mine.

ExampleIt was always a magnificent event to Thrawn when a starship entered hyperspace:
the sudden rapid build of anticipation just before the ship’s hull e l o n g a t e d in that blinkoftimepriortothejump,
to the pin-point of light in the distance almost too far for the naked eye to see
were it not for the surrounding blackness of space.
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Digestive Disorder Support Thread (2018/04/23)
As a SNOT:WWAD TA, I find your lack of style disturbing. Prove me wrong.
Open game for SNOT:WWADs, CSs, and anyone I'm in a game with: The Adventures of Aleksandr Quickfoot
Vort's Verbiage (2017/04/30) Anyone want a Tuco? ~Grogg Tree

Last edited by Vort; 02-13-2013 at 12:54 AM.
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