Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Re-Flavoring your Flavor Text

There are those who say that there is not any role-playing in 4E. These same people are the ones who constantly make this other false argument; that all classes in 4E have 'spells,' mistaking Powers for general magic. I'm not trying to call anybody out or rekindle any old arguments (grognards, I'm talking to you), but I will give you a few more ways to make them choke on their fallacies.

Every power has its own name. The name will give you a general idea of what the power does, but the real details are found in the power's flavor text (that line or three of fluff you'll find directly under the power's name but before the crunchy, mechanical bits). The flavor text is designed to give you an idea of what a power may look like when you use it. You don't need to follow it, exactly or at all, its in there to help you role-play in combat (ZOMGS!!1!!! yes, they really actually do promote role-playing in 4E...).

Anyway, I want to give you a few examples of how you may re-flavor a power's flavor text, so that every time you use so-and-so power, it doesn't always have to look exactly the same.

  • Sudden Surge (Fighter, Lv 7): Instead of the bland text provided, perhaps you cleave right through your foe; maybe change it to "you roll" past your opponent? One thing to keep in mind, the mechanics don't change at all, nor do they have to. Sure, to "roll" would imply Acrobatics skill usage which I would use should someone actually try such a move (and that of course would be a move action); but with this power, its just flavor. If it isn't game-breaking, no reason not to include it.
  • Eldritch Rain (Warlock, Lv 3): Who says Eldritch energy has to be purple? Also, instead of 'rays' as implied by the original flavor text, why not 'rain' as implied by the power's name? Sure, its a Ranged power (implies that it's source originates from your square), but for the sake of the power, you could say that the 'rain' originates from a square above the target's square, it doesn't change the power at all (to an area or zone for example), its just flavor.
  • Sunbeam (Druid, Lv 9): This is pretty tame, flavor-wise. You could say that the clouds part, for example. Or if you're indoors, perhaps the sunbeams shoot out of your eyes! Again, change the color (from the typical yellow that is obviously already assumed...) if you wish, personalize your sunbeam! Also, coming from the eyes reinforces one of the crunchy bits of that power, on a hit your target is blinded!
  • Angelic Visage (Invoker, Lv 10): This one is begging for your input! You transform into a death angel -- give us some details! How do your wings appear? Are they full feathers or perhaps sinewy, leathery bat wings? How about a halo? Is it a simple platinum ring or maybe a wicked ring of dark blue flames? Maybe your foe shrieks as he flees -- maybe, he cries like sissy girl. See, there is so much you can decide to explain how this power may look when you use it!

I'm always open for suggestions. If you've got some great flavor you've created for your PC's powers please feel free to share it with me. DM's, you can use these same ideas to better flavor your monsters in combat as well! Let me know, I'm interested to hear what you all come up with!

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  1. I notice that I constantly seem to go off in multiple directions, or leave loose ends. Sometimes, I talk about something that doesn't really have anything to do with what I'm really trying to talk about. Oh well.

  2. Don't just name a random power, give me an example of new flavor text!

  3. CLEAVE!!!! I *is* the flavor text! =p

  4. Oh, I get it now.