Saturday, July 03, 2021

Proposal: A Flavour Kind Of A Flavour [Appendix]

Timed out and enacted, 6-0. Josh

Adminned at 05 Jul 2021 19:19:39 UTC

Reword the Appendix description of flavour text to read as follows:

If a part of the ruleset or gamestate is defined as being “flavour text”, it retains its context, but is not considered to have any meaning beyond being a string of characters. Vampire Lords are not required to obey flavour text and may not perform any action defined by it, and any statements that flavour text makes about gamestate are ignored.


At the moment, only ruletext can be flavour text. We have historically frequently used “flavour text” in an attempt to render the free-text naming or description of gamestate variables inert, which in retrospect doesn’t work as intended. This just intends to minimally extend flavour text provisions to gamestate text.



03-07-2021 19:48:54 UTC

Why bother extending? Non-ruleset text doesn’t need to be obeyed in general.

Josh: he/they

03-07-2021 20:20:21 UTC

Interesting question.

At a top level: because people keep proposing to make gamestate text flavour text (looks to me like every dynasty except one in the last ten had some form of gamestate value be flavour text), so if ‘flavour text’ is going to be a pile of magical tiger-repelling breadcrumbs then it might as well have teeth.

At a more practical level: say you have a dynasty where players own corporations, and there’s a victory condition that says that they player who owns the Tie-Clip of Unceasing Destiny has won. If corporation names aren’t flavour text then a player can name their corporation Tie-Clip of Unceasing Destiny and claim the win. Players being given the free-text option to name things happens frequently and ruleset clauses that could be creatively interpreted if gamestate entities with appropriate names started popping up are not uncommon; in this dynasty, a room or Denizen named Dracula would have caused the dynasty to already be over, had I not leaned on putting specific additional safeguards in place having spotted that the traditional ‘flavour text’ defence mechanism wasn’t up to snuff.

Janet: she/her

04-07-2021 02:01:41 UTC

Does making the corporation names flavour text fix the Tie-Clip bug even with this proposal? In natural language, I’d still say the player owns the “Tie-Clip of Unceasing Destiny”. I feel like there should be specific text that says that proper nouns in the ruleset aren’t considered to refer to certain parts of the gamestate (overloading “flavour text” for that might be fine).


04-07-2021 03:26:42 UTC

“may not perform any action defined by it” has always worried me; imagine if I put “Vampire Lords can create a Call for Judgement” into a room description.

While we’re fixing things, it should probably be “and flavour text cannot define actions that Vampire Lords can take”.

Kevan: City he/him

04-07-2021 08:01:03 UTC

The original flavour text definition was written more from the perspective of the kind of scam where we track the name of something in the ruleset, and someone takes an action to change that name to newline-newline-heading-paragraph-victory.

This does need a more nuanced definition if we want to use flavour text in a commonsense way: if we’re blocking “Dracula exists as an entity in the game” from scammily recognising a room called Dracula, we’re also blocking a plain “Richardo’s starting location is the Crypt Entrance” (which was in our ruleset for a while).



04-07-2021 08:35:38 UTC

for We had (and probably still have?) a rule that explicitly made “Richardo’s starting location is the Crypt Entrance” work, although in retrospect that was probably a bad idea.

Kevan: City he/him

04-07-2021 08:44:45 UTC

We did explicitly say “the room named X” a few times, which works even if name strings are “not considered to have any meaning”. But we are going to trip over this (as we sometimes do with the “a word only refers to the name of a Vampire Lord” thing) if “Richardo’s starting location is the room named Crypt Entrance” is valid but “Richardo’s starting location is the Crypt Entrance” fails.

Josh: he/they

04-07-2021 08:53:03 UTC

A draft of this did have some clumsy wording around flavour text still being accurate as a way of referring to the thing it’s referring to but I couldn’t find a way of expressing that that wasn’t pig-ugly.


04-07-2021 08:59:14 UTC

My own opinion is that trying to make “Richardo’s starting location is the Crypt Entrance” work is just too expensive in terms of leaving scams open, for a very small gain. Imagine a room named “room located at E4”, for example (that isn’t at E4).

lemon: she/her

04-07-2021 13:14:13 UTC


Brendan: he/him

04-07-2021 14:58:49 UTC


Janet: she/her

04-07-2021 15:10:00 UTC