Wolfgang Baur rezensiert in seinem Kobold Quarterly das zweite Players Handbook von DnD 4e. Dabei geht er sehr genau auf die sprachliche Qualität ein.
Language and the Dumb: WotC Goes Emo?There’s no polite way to say this, but a lot of the writing and language in PHB2 are just a little stupid. This isn’t restricted to things like the (embarrassingly bad, half-page-long) index, but rather it’s about the low quality of the prose throughout.
The paragon path for the elf Twilight Guardian starts with “Despoiler! Feel nature’s wrath!“. The Druid entry starts “I am the seeker. I am the stalker. I am the storm.” Both strike me as better left as flavor text on a Magic card than inspirational material for serious D&D players. Maybe it’s just the prevalence of elfy-welfy stuff around the Primal source that’s getting under my skin, but…
Well, fantasy writing has always made room for bombast and overblown, purple prose, but this book cranks it up a couple notches. Words like “peril” and “supplicate” are dropped into sentences that really don’t need them; almost every tagline is “ferocious” or “erupting” or “assaulting”. These are not huge problems; individually, they’re pebbles. But even enough pebbles can be a problem.
It reminds me of some of the worst examples from the White Wolf books of the 90s. Hell, some of the Primal language in particular would be right at home in a Werewolf supplement. Ah, well, flavor is not a 4E strong point, but we’re heading into the realm of comedy this time out. I found myself laughing fairly often, usually not a good sign.
Beyond the pulp diction, there’s plenty of other examples of the flavor just not synching up with the mechanics, or failures of language and mythmaking. The devas are reincarnation-flavored and derived from Hindu myth, but their suggested names include Biblical nods like Samel and Zachar (Samuel and Zacharia).
There’s the lurking sense that the designers are cribbing from bad manga, rather than building on the shoulders of the D&D game’s own mythos. That’s a lost opportunity, and it’s a shame that a game that once prized itself on appealing to an educated audience is no longer even aiming for that. Basically, the PHB2 assumes you are sort of an idiot, whereas Gygax always assumed you were smarter than the average reader. The shift leaves me a little offended.
Die Diskussion im DnD-Gate dazu findet sich hier.