thread: 2011-02-07 : Grammatical Voices

On 2011-02-08, Brand Robins wrote:


You got me to laugh about grammar. That doesn't happen often.

Though it does remind me of another point to rant idiotically about.

"Mistakes were made" was not bad writing. It was brilliant writing.

The thing about it that is bad is the moral point achieved by the skilled use of words (writing). But it did it very well. The badness of it is in the intent, not the craft.

Where as the badness of "After creating the character, some (use common sense) Qualities and Drawbacks may be acquired or lost in the course of a game" is a badness of craft.

Unless, of course, we want to assume that the occluded subject and indirect action of the sentence was deliberately crafted to obfuscate who it was that was making the choice so that it was able to be read as "by you the player" by some and "by you the GM" by others. In which case the text is deliberately created so that a person reading it will fill in the blank of the subject with their assumed mode of authority and interaction. (Piers's example for those used to a GM centric mode, the exact opposite for those used to GMless online play.)

Which is... questionable as game design. It fits very much into the mold of "Design what doesn't matter" theory, setting up a situation where the group rather than the designer will decide how the rule gets arbitrated in play.

Normally I'm enough of a trad apologist to let that slide, but in this case I'm disinclined. Its less a rule and more in the nature of advice, and advice that isn't advising is useless.

Plus, I think it was written that way not on purpose, but because the writers so assumed it was "the GM" that was the implied agent that they simply didn't see that they didn't say it outright.


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