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Old 01-27-2004, 01:16 PM   #1
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Just a thought I would like to share, and perhaps get an opinion on is this, do you need the 'is here' in a long description.  I for one do not use it and would like to know if any others still use them or do not and why?  I for one feel that the phrase is redundant.  Of course the mob/obj 'is here' you see it do you not?

A glowing crystal phial carved from flawless crystal.

Just a random thought on a random day.

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Old 01-27-2004, 01:47 PM   #2
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I'm of two minds about this, because of my observations/experience in different games.

The one I play now allows the player to create their own "drop description." So they can drop a table in the room and have people see:

A low round table crouches in the northeast corner.

This negates any need for the whole "is here" thing, which in my opinion is a completely unneccessary use of passive voice.

In another game, dropped objects are listed after "Also here is/are" - thus negating, once again, the redundant "is here" after each object.

Another game I play on occasion requires "permanent" long descriptions for every character. They can do "Mychar is here" if they want, but those with a few extra grains of creativity can come up with other interesting things that are plausible whenever their character is standing and conscious.

In another game, objects that are part of the room are -never- listed separately. The room description will tell you what's there, and you simply "look" at whatever you want to look at, and there's an object with its own description imbedded into the room as a "dark/immobile" object. Like the room in the middle of the farmlands that has something in the description indicating that there's a mountain in the distance: you can "look mountain" and you'll see the mountain's description. But looking in the room itself, all you see is the reference to it in the main description of the room, and not as some separate entity.

I try to avoid passive voice, because I was trained to do so. I realize that other people don't find any problem with it, and as long as the entire room isn't loaded with passive after passive, it doesn't bother me all that much. You just won't ever see any room descriptions or object descriptions written by me with more than one or possibly two passive sentences.

EDITED TO ADD: In your example, that line isn't a sentence, and in my opinion would be horribly distracting. If you want to list what's there, preface the list with "Also here:" - or put the list of things in paragraph sentence, with each item separated by a comma. Example:

A grungy topcoat, several empty ceramic mugs, a pair of blue denim trousers hemmed with black velvet, two orc skins, and a whiptail are here.

In summary - if you list it, and don't include a verb with each item, then preface it or paragraph it. Otherwise I agree, "is here" is odd.
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Old 01-27-2004, 01:50 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by
Trireld wrote: "A glowing crystal phial carved from flawless crystal."
I don't think your example is a reasonable exception to the rules of grammar.  It neither expresses a full thought as a sentence should, nor does it complete a thought (which can be a reasonable exception).

I agree that "is here" can be redundant, however.  One grammatically correct solution would be to express the items in a room as a list.

"Various items sit on the table:

1) three gold coins,
2) a glowing crystal phial carved from flawless crystal,
3) and a bowl of oatmeal."

If you wish, it would be reasonable to remove the numbers, the "and," and the punctuation (except for the colon).  That would still manage to complete the thought, and it would also give the impression that the character is aware that there may be more to be seen in the room.
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Old 01-27-2004, 08:05 PM   #4
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I never did like the "is here" part of the long description. What was worst is when I look at it while holding it in my hand, I would still get the same "is here" message.

The mud I play list items nicely. Right after the room description there is a the sentence: Lying here on the ground is: a glowing stone and a limp corpse.

You could look at the stone and get a nice description, then examine it further, if you like and and find more details.
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Old 01-28-2004, 08:33 AM   #5
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A good builder will twist it around and actually make the verb part of the longdesc the best part! Here are some examples:

A large conoe blocks most of the street.
An ancient sword beckons to you...
Shadows coalesce into an evil-looking black helmet.
The earth is charred and burned beneath this wicked glove.

This makes it much more interesting than the verbless versions:
A large canoe
An ancient sword
An evil-looking black helmet
A wicked glove

With creative verb usage, the items almost become part of the room description.  Of course, some times there is a stark contrast, but that just makes it even better! When someone has dropped the Ancient Sword of The Emperors in the intersection of 1st and Main, you WANT it to stand out.

To those who would say "OMG U CANT ANTICIPATE THAT THE SWORD BECKONS THE PLAYER WHUT IF TEH PLAYER IS A PACIFIST OMG U NEWB!!!1!!1", I say: get a bloody girlfriend, you loser
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