This is Tim
|Tim loves paste|
But when he tries to eat it, it makes his tum-tum hurt
|"This paste tastes like burning!"|
Then one day, Tim's prayers were answered,
and he could eat all the paste he wanted
|Hobos on a train|
Captain America: I am hungry, so I am going to eat this babby.
Other Guy: Don't eat that babby! I will cut off my own arm and you can eat that instead!
Ed Harris: We've noticed that the population keeps growing beyond the point where the ecosystem can suppport it. We could institute some family planning...or I could just send my goons in with machine guns to murder a bunch of people at regular intervals. I have been doing this for 18 years.
|I like your cloak, classic majishon. Very fashionable. And yes, I am a ninja.|
Take, for example, the old standby -- and something even I will admit is a rip-off from Tolkien -- the elven cloak. This is what OD&D has to say about it: "Wearing the Cloak makes a person next to invisible." Next to invisible? What does that mean? Contrast this to AD&D, whose description of the item, now dubbed the cloak of elvenkind, is much more specific:I suppose that emphasis on mechanics is what soured me on the edition. I like tabletop games, but I like computer and console RPGs too, and 4th edition seemed to be emphasizing elements that are handled better in computer games. So, while I can respect certain elements of its design, I'm never really going to like it.A cloak of elvenkind is of a plain neutral gray which is indistinguishable from any sort of ordinary cloak of the same color. However, when it is worn, with the hood drawn up around he head, it enables the wearer to be nearly invisible, for the cloak has chameleon-like powers. In the outdoors, the wearer of a cloak of elvenkind is almost totally invisible in natural surroundings, nearly so in other settings. Note that the wearer is easily seen if violently or hastily moving, regardless of the surroundings.The description then goes on to give specific percentage chances of how invisible the wearer is, from 100% in heavy growth in natural surroundings to 50% while underground and illuminated by the continual light spell. I'm not keen on this degree of specificity, but, even with it, there's still some wiggle room for the referee -- and players! -- because what constitutes "heavy growth" as opposed to "light growth" is a matter of opinion. You can see, though, that, even with all the expansive physical/metaphysical description of the cloak, its functioning ultimately comes down to a D100 roll.
Third Edition, as it so often does, pares down Gygaxian flavor text and reduces AD&D's baroque mechanics to banality: "This cloak of neutral gray cloth is indistinguishable from an ordinary cloak of the same color. However, when worn with the hood drawn up around the head, it gives the wearer a +5 competence bonus on Hide checks." Fourth Edition is even more laconic: "Gain an item bonus to Stealth checks equal to the cloak’s enhancement bonus." There's not even a nod to flavor text.