The Fluff of Life: the Best flufftext in Games
iorek byrnison
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Fluff, as we all know, can often make or break a game. Good fluff creates an atmosphere in which a reader may lose himself or herself, breathing deep the heady mists of a uniquely comprised world. Though some may just play purely for the game itself (caring not one whit whether the macguffin is a train or a warpstone or a mighty starship or a venetian doge), who among us can say that they have never been taken in by the fluff? excluding, for the moment, novels based on games (which constitute a entirely other brand of fluffery), which games would you say have the greatest fluff of all time?
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1. RPG Item: Realm of Chaos: Slaves to Darkness [Average Rating:8.08 Overall Rank:103]
iorek byrnison
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Games Workshop had long been making great fluff - some, like myself might argue the best in the business - with Warhammer 40K, WFB, and WFRP. However, in 1988, suddenly that bucket of fluff was possessed by the crazed staffers in Nottingham and terrible things oozed out into our world giving us Slaves to Darkness. To this day, the Singular Histories and Lamentable Fates of the brothers von Gottlieb, and the "excerpts" from Marius Hollseher's Liber Malefic that began every chapter (not to mention Ian Miller's twisted pen and ink art) are among my all-time favorites.

Quote:
And how, you may ask, do I know so much of Lothar and Johann von Gottlieb? Think of this: Lothar, the decadent and depraved fool, runs with the Spawn. And I? I tell tales to the unwary...
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2. Board Game: Realm of Chaos: The Lost and the Damned [Average Rating:8.00 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.00 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.00 Unranked]
iorek byrnison
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the long awaited follow-up to Slaves to Darkness, The Lost and the Damned introduced us to two new chaos gods, the sorcerous Tzeentch and the nauseating showman Nurgle. Reading this book, we come to realize that fluff is not made from marshmallows, but from nurglings and pus. nasty!
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3. RPG Item: Paranoia [Average Rating:7.65 Overall Rank:162]
iorek byrnison
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welcome to alpha complex, citizen! creating the context for improvisational chaos is not easy, but we all can agree that Paranoia did it better than most anyone. anyone who doesn't is clearly a commie mutant and should report for immediate termination. thank you!
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4. Board Game: The Extraordinary Adventures of Baron Munchausen [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:2465]
iorek byrnison
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Quote:
my dear baron, tell us of the time that you escaped from a turkish galley on its way to the south pole using only your moustache and a barrel of whipped marsh-mallows!


it could be argued that this entire game is made of fluff, and exists only to create more fluff. but the published fluff itself is worth the price of the book. and if you play with the right crowd, the fluff they can make up is priceless.
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5. Board Game: Blood Bowl (first edition) [Average Rating:5.94 Overall Rank:5252]
Bruce Padget
United States
Claremont
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I've never been a GW fan. But the backstory on this one, with the temple to the god "nuffle" always killed me.
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6. Board Game: Galaxy Trucker [Average Rating:7.46 Overall Rank:129]
Davido
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California
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THE Best FluffText that also explains/supports the rules.
"Remember, the Alien won't get out and push..."
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7. RPG: HōL [Average Rating:6.00 Overall Rank:567]
Bryce Nakagawa
United States
California
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Where to begin?

As an aside, the entire game is handwritten in a tortured but still legible scrawl.

I've been told that it is actually a playable game.

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8. RPG Item: Bug City [Average Rating:7.33 Overall Rank:1515]
 
Thomas D
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Kennebunk
Maine
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Written in FASA's immersive style, the entire first two-thirds of the book was written as transcripts of conversations, news broadcasts, and eyewitness accounts, delivering a narrative of what was happening in Chicago some sixty years into the future. I glanced through the book and simply had to buy it. That one purchase was my first step into the massively thick Shadowrun game setting. Now here, nearly fifteen years after I picked up the book, when I look back on all the games I've played, I point to picking up this book as one of the important events in my gaming career.
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9. Board Game: Space Alert [Average Rating:7.49 Overall Rank:149]
Gunther Schmidl
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Linz
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Hilarious manual that is as good in German as in English. The same goes for Galaxy Trucker, really.
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10. Board Game: Graenaland [Average Rating:6.73 Overall Rank:2355]
Clark D. Rodeffer
United States
Ann Arbor
Michigan
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There's some nice fluff text in these rules as well.
 
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11. Board Game: Warhammer 40,000 Codex [Average Rating:6.98 Unranked] [Average Rating:6.98 Unranked]
Dave Terhune
United States
Colorado Springs
Colorado
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This is a blatant example of frivolous geek gold spending.
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I spent 100 geek gold and all I got was this lousy overtext.
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The Warhammer 40,000 codexes have some really awesome fluff text; especially the new ones, with pages and pages of history. The fluff and pictures alone have been enough to get people to play one army or another.
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12. Board Game: Warhammer [Average Rating:6.66 Overall Rank:1341]
Chris Fee
United States
Corning
New York
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No fair! They're using brains against us! We removed our brains to make room for guns and explosives!
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Not sure which edition of the Orc Army Book it was in but one of my all time favorite bits of fluff was an exchange between an orc and some goblin cronies. Something along these lines:

"Hey, wat's you got dere? You ain't eatin' one of them lads from Gishnak's gang, is ya?"

"Well, yea. But he was dead when we found him. He said he was only sleeping but you know what liars them Gishnak's is."
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13. Board Game: Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader [Average Rating:6.78 Overall Rank:2781]
Eric M. Aldrich I
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California
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This, of all the incarnations of Warhammer 40,000, had by far the best fluff. It wasn't just the base game either -- the Realm of Chaos books and the Ork books were all incredible reads.
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