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Hanuman
2012-12-13, 09:18 AM
Playground!


What are the top 3 things you appreciate in a homebrew post?
Is it concept art? Is it fluff? What is it?

What are the top 3 things you would appreciate but never see? What do you want to see more of in homebrew posts?

Grod_The_Giant
2012-12-13, 10:06 AM
Hmm. This might sound bad, but:

Top 3 things I appreciate

Neat layout-- if I open a thread and see not table and a wall of text, I'm leaving, even if the 'brew itself is divine ambrosia.
Proper spelling and grammar-- I know not everyone's American, but it doesn't take long to, I don't know, copy your post into a program with a spell check. (Heck, my browser has a spell check) before you post. Bad spelling and grammar make a post much, much harder to read and harder to take seriously.
Good, original ideas.


3 things I don't see enough

Original mechanics
Clever Tome of Battle stuff
Psionic 'brew.

Razanir
2012-12-13, 10:25 AM
Things I appreciate:
-Grammar and spelling! I assume we're all high school and older. You should know "to" v "two" v "too" by now.
-Formatting
-People who actually respond. So many times lately, I've PEACH'd and the OP vanishes

Things I want to see more of:
-Psionics
-Actually, that's all I can think of right now

Debihuman
2012-12-13, 11:36 AM
Seriously, that's hard to answer.

What I want first and foremost in a homebrew is the wow factor: the why-didn't-I-think-of-that concept. Go ahead make me insanely jealous that I wasn't clever enough to think of it on my own.

Second, I want it to be well-written. That may be a pipe dream.

Third, I want it to follow the rules of the game. I don't mind a homebrew with house rules as long they are so noted.

Here's a much longer and in depth answer if anyone is brave enough to look.
I often want a clear, concise, well-written homebrew with no hidden house-ruled mechanics. That's 4 things. Is it clear? Is it concise? Is it well-written? Does it follow standard rules or tell me when it deviates from those rules? It makes me happy when I get 2 or 3 of those things.

Here's the kicker: all of those four things are fungible. I've loved some homebrews that failed at all of the above because the concept was brilliant. It didn't matter how bad the execution was. Execution is fixable. A lousy concept isn't. I can correct spelling, punctuation, and grammar in my sleep. I thoroughly sympathize with those whose first language isn't English or who have linguistic difficulties (dyslexia, etc.). I can fix poor writing; I can't fix a poor concept.

Case in point, my own poultice of healing was a lousy concept. It followed all the above points (clear, concise, etc.) but was deemed a steaming pile of poo. It was a spectacular failure on my part. No matter how much I tweaked it, it was still a bad concept. I haven't had too many defeats like that, so I made a few heroic attempts to salvage it. End result, it's just not good or what people want. I ditched it. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

On the other hand, I've seen unreadable stuff that once it was cleaned up was marvelous. Our previous monster contests are filled with such things. I know; I edited and proofread for a lot of those.
Art can make it easier to visualize a homebrew. Art can also contradict a homebrew, so picking an appropriate visual aid can be tricky.

Fluff can be nice but I've seen cases where the fluff was so much history and background that it detracted from the actual homebrew. I appreciate a well-written homebrew. However, I don't appreciate a bloated homebrew. If you insist on telling the whole history of your campaign in minute detail, I will glaze over like a doughnut.

EDIT
Whoops, I forgot the second part of your request there for a bit. What would I like to see more of...

1. Anything funny. There's only so much sturm und drang I can take before I just don't want to read any more. The worst part is they all start to look and sound alike. I prefer smart funny over stupid funny, but I'll take what I can get.

2. I'm a creature junkie. Nuff said.

3. Kindness and Compassion. I've read some pretty harsh criticisms here. I'm surprised newbies aren't terrified to post their stuff. Really, be nicer. If you don't like something it's fine to say you don't like it. You don't have to call it crap and stomp on it. If you don't like something, the appropriate response is to explain why you don't like it and then to show how to fix it. Anything else is unhelpful and potentially mean spirited.

Debby

bobthe6th
2012-12-13, 10:59 PM
Well, I will answer the last question first:
1:simple base classes: something with a bit of power, but needing a page at most to explain it. I am as guilty as any... but I think the Razor level of complexity is what I would like to shoot for.
2:Psionics.
3:Reserve spell casting.

Then the first question:
1:Reasonable formatting.
2:Enough fluff to get me going on the concept, but not always the T.G Oscar Wall of text.
3:Stuff fits the systems format for the ability/effect.

Kellus
2012-12-13, 11:19 PM
I would say the three coolest things for a homebrew to me are, in no particular order:

I) It fits into the game. There are a lot of cool ideas that I see on the forum here, but a lot of it doesn't fit well into the game rules that exist. Before you can make new material to fit into a system, you need to understand the system. You need to walk before you can run, you need to know the rules before you can break them. A huge turnoff for a homebrew for me is if the author doesn't understand the rules that they're messing around with, and especially if they don't understand why the rules are set up like that in the first place.

II) It's original. I have seen a lot of homebrew here over the years. I've seen nearly every concept you could imagine. I'm not saying that everything produced here has been done before, but a prestige class for a panda-riding samurai-truenamer who dual-wields squirrels as boomerangs is a lot more interesting to me than another fighter fix or a 'dark warrior' or something. Not that everything needs to be unique and special, but lately I've come to realize that most traditional concepts have been done before, and done well. If I'm going to make something, it's going to be to fill a niche in the game that genuinely doesn't exist currently, something that there is no good way of supporting at the moment.

III) It doesn't take itself too seriously. I used to be hugely guilty of this. Homebrewing isn't some sacred art that only the elite are worthy to perform, or some super-complicated science that has a million rules that you must always follow or whatever. It's fun; it's a game. I hate to see a super cool idea or concept or whatever that I just can't stand to read through because of either way too technical jargon, or the author talking down to the audience. I know it's been a huge struggle for me lately to try to make my writing friendly and accessible to the layman, but I think that the results are worth it. This ties in with number 1 in a simple little rule I've developed: if you're doing your job right, the player shouldn't need any in-depth game knowledge. Anyone, even a new player fresh from the PHB, should be able to pick up your homebrew and play a fun and engaging game with it without being confused about what it does or why it exists or getting offended by the tone.

A couple of things that I actually don't horribly mind:

Bad formatting and grammar. Bad formatting you can fix. A bad fundamental concept you can't.
No fluff or bad fluff. I could make up fluff to fit any concept onto anything. I honestly don't care that much. I want to see original and clever ideas about the game; I don't really care if it has a compelling story to it. It's not that it's a plus or a minus to me; it just makes no difference. What irks me is when the author would clearly much rather be writing a fiction or campaign journal than a piece of game text.
I kind of thought this list would be longer, or I wouldn't have made it a list, but I honestly can't think of anything else right now. So... yeah.

Domriso
2012-12-14, 12:12 AM
I think the part about these two questions I find the hardest is the fact that my answers change depending on the situation. For instance, in most cases I don't care about fluff too much, but I've have a few homebrew I've read over in which the fluff itself is what made the mechanics work for me. However, I think that I've narrowed it down.

Of the things I appreciate:

1) Innovative ideas. This can be mechanics (usually it is) but I also appreciate creative concepts behind the mechanics. Sometimes an interesting concept can spawn mechanics which otherwise would not exist.

2) Interesting concepts. Far too often I see "Another Fighter Fix!" Sure, sometimes a Fighter fix might end up introducing something intriguing (I've had a couple on here that I quite enjoyed), but most of the time it ends up just being boring, or it doesn't work, or it's just a rehash, or more than one.

3) Unique perspectives. I have my own way of looking at a campaign. So do others. Looking at things in new ways is what really makes me love reading homebrew. I don't claim to be an expert in balancing things (often my own creations are very unbalanced), but a new way of looking at a mechanic can completely change the way I see it.

As for things I appreciate but don't see often, well, I'm kind of strange.

1) Proper extensions of concepts. Let me try to explain. When I make a homebrew, I try to imagine how it might be used by a person living in the world itself. If I'm trying to fit a particular idea into an already-existing world, I usually find myself ignoring parts of the mechanics, just because it doesn't look like what I'm thinking about. But, if I go into the homebrew already looking for how people in the world would react to and use the mechanics, I usually find myself creating novel cultures.

2) Non-humanoid races. I HATE the monotony of most races. When I wander into a new area of the world, I don't want to just see a dark skinned orc or a tall hairless man. That's been done, done so many times before, done well, done poorly, done bizarrely. I want to see talking spider-people (not just sentient spiders, but the descendents of an arachnoid, something truly unique), or a race that evolved with a different kind of sense (like metal-sense; you ever think of how that might affect your thinking?), or a truly unique culture (what about one which does not possess a concept of the 'present;' what if they only know the past or future, and time can only be one or the other?).

I can play all sorts of humans. When I stretch my creative muscles, I want to try and see things through a completely different point of view.

3) I've already stated it, but I really like new mechanics. Having a burning hatred of Vancian spellcasting, I especially hate simple rehashings of other systems, but a truly unique, new mechanic just makes my day.

nonsi
2012-12-14, 04:20 PM
.
The top 3 things I appreciate in a homebrew post . . .
Well, since as far as Iím concerned, when it comes to the issue of homebrewing, plagiarism is not bad language . . .

For #1 Iíll go with Grod_The_Giantís 1st rule: Layout. The general idea should pop at a glance Ė especially if itís something thatís meant to be feasibly usable in game with minimal bookkeeping.

For #2 Iíll definitely go with Debihuman's "wow factor". Even though I rated it #2 (because without #1, this isn't gonna happen), this is why I bother reading homebrew stuff.

For #3 Iíll say: Fluff.
This breaks down to:
- The motivations that lead to the creation of the homebrew.
- Design goals.
- Strategies for meeting the design goals.
- Assessment of success.

Yitzi
2012-12-15, 07:41 PM
Top 3 things I appreciate:
1. It does what it's intended to do, be that fluff, a fix, or new options.
2. What it's intended to do is good, i.e. if fluff it's interesting, if a fix it makes the game less broken, and any other mechanics change makes the game more interesting and not more broken.
3. It is clearly written, such that it is not an effort for me to read (I have a pretty high reading level), and is not ambiguous. Not abusing terminology (e.g. referring to a miss chance as "concealment" when it has nothing to do with being hidden) is also very much appreciated.

There's nothing that I appreciate but actually never see, but I don't see the above three as often as I'd like.

toapat
2012-12-15, 09:52 PM
q1:

1: Presentation. So many homebrews i actually look at lack quality formatting. What is wrong with the standard presentation WotC set up for 3rd? It rarely fails except in instances such as Bardic Music and Knights challenge (and oh god does it fail there), and yet most of what i actually goto fails to have anything resembling the very neat and clean standard format. Ive read through very bad homebrew, if only because it simply looks nice enough to not demand i take an icecream scoop to my eyesockets to end the pain. I pretty much will only leave a "Look at this awesome Auto-tabler site, then i might get back to you" if it doesnt.

2: Elegance: Better homebrew does not necessarily require complex solutions to problems. The best fix for Smite evil ive seen is what ive done myself with it, which is to simply make it a better version of power attack. Other attempts typically make it overly complex without adding alot to it.

3: Comprehension: Fixes wouldnt be so aggravating to see, if people typically understood what they were doing with them. You can look at hundreds of fighter homebrews, and they always fail in the same way. The Tier system needs to be reworked, because it certainly doesnt follow its own guidelines or increase comprehension of players.

Q2:

1: Formatting: I may just be unlucky, but i never see this
2: Commentary: 1000 views and 5 comments. that paladin brew was irritating
3: Ideas: 10 to 1 odds you will see alot of carryover between Fighter Fixes