I’ve worked on a number of books at this point that take different approaches to game terms. As I start to write Mythender‘s text, people have noticed that I’m inconsistently capitalizing game terms. That’s because I still haven’t made up my mind about this. There are compelling reasons for various ways to go about it.
Today, I ask you for your opinion on the subject, either as a writer or as a reader — and to tell me why you like or dislike a particular method. (Bonus points if you can point out a text you like. Double-bonus if there’s a sample I can read on the Internet, but that’s not always the case.)
Some of the ways I’ve seen:
- Don’t capitalize. Typically, the first time these are encountered as game terms, they’re bolded or otherwise stylized.
- Capitalize every occurrence.
- Stylize, where the font is somehow different — small caps or all caps, colored differently, different font face, etc.
In the case of not capitalizing or stylizing throughout the text, some games will still stylize the first occurrence. Spirit of the Century & Dresden Files RPG don’t capitalize “aspect”, “invoke”, “compel”, “skill”, etc.
When stylizing, I am curious how people make the text flagged to show it’s a different style. I know this is how it is with the Leverage books do examples of game terms, such as with the specific die ratings on Attributes & Roles, the formatting on examples of Distinctions, etc. (I often see that achieved with character styles in Word, so less useful when I’m writing parts of it in Google Docs or in text on my iPad.)
I have suggested all three routes in the past, because I know them to have different effects on the reader — and an RPG text, like all texts, are about target audience. That said, the question:
Which way do you like? As a writer? As a reader?
Very important: Why?
I have a sense of what I’ll do with Mythender. But then, I thought about that several months ago, and changed my mind. *sigh* The trials and tribulations of being a writer.