Concerning bad writing: 2:
This lack of continuity in which sentences do not naturally follow their predecessors is especially frustrating to see in gatekeeped published material. While I have not been playing Dungeons and Dragons for long, and do not know the rules particularly well, I have been appalled at how awkward some of the writing is in the D&D Adventurers League modules.
While the modules themselves are simple to follow and understand, the “in-game” material that DMs are supposed to read to players is sadly lacking in specificity or else riddled with a lack of continuity, adjectives, and adverbs as well as a lack of attention to the order of presentation. For instance: “The sound of a crack of lighting echoed across the water and smell of swamp comes to your nostrils.”
Now this is not a quote from a module, but it is similar in nature. You may be asking yourself why this doesn’t work. The truth is, it does work. it’s fine. But it can work a whole lot better. For instance, “A crack of lighting echoes across the water, and the stink of rot and decay assaults your nostrils.” If there is a sound like cracking lighting, the writer should know you don’t need to say, “A sound. . .” In fact a writer should know they shouldn’t write this because it breaks the immersive environment the DM is hoping to achieve for their players. In terms of the order of presentation, why does the lighting come first? As written above it is implied that the lighting brings the stink of the swamp–but it surely doesn’t. There are certain things humans notice before others and if they aren’t presented in the order in which people naturally experience things, the whole illusion is broken. Characters/players would surely smell the swamp long hear lighting unless they are in the middle of a thunderstorm. And in that case, “The stink of rot and decay assaults your nostrils as you approach the foggy banks of a swamp. Further out, amid the water a flash blinks and blinds you, followed swiftly by the crack of lighting.”
Yes, I added some extra details–but is that not the point of observing your own writing and taking the time to make it more immersive, more concise?
For the module I have planned to run on Tuesday, I have rewritten all the “in-game” text so that the order of presentation makes more sense, has more depth, and is hopefully more immersive than what was there before. It is easy to criticize someone else’s work, and much more difficult to see these mistakes in your own. While I hope I have made this module better for my rewrites, it is difficult to tell and I’ll only know as players react to the session at hand.
That being said, it’s still frustrating to see a script that is in the hands of thousands of people that is sadly lacking in so many areas.
Concerning bad writing: 2: