Thick as Thieves is an excellent example of what I am talking about. It may communicate the central idea about a thieves guild convention but it seeks to go beyond that in telling a very specific story about the origins of the convention, the personalities behind the convention and the culture that supports the convention and takes part in it. But the perspective and voice of the piece is unclear. For example in the "Origins of the Convention" paragraph one it is written
It all began when the upstart Dodgy Brotherhood, led by the ambitious Hoel Spaca began to encroach on the business interests of the venerable and established Soft Wall House, led by its charismatic guild master "Sil".
In this line we get several pieces of information and very efficiently the agon is defined. However, would the Dodgy Brotherhood agree with being characterized as upstarts and more importantly with other readers or players agree with the Dodgy Brotherhood being considered Upstarts. Would everyone agree that Sil is charismatic and the Soft Wall house is venerable? An interesting thing about gaming roleplaying as a media for storytelling is that SIl may by definition of his character Stats be charismatic and the role-playing notes for Spaca may read "ambitious". Thus, if the point of this section was to tell a GM or writer how to assemble a story, than those observation may be necessary. But the point of this section is not to tell a GM how to tell a story, it is a story to justify the existence of the convention. The entire vignette of father Jarry serves only to add flavor to scenario of the convention.
So who is writing this paragraph? We are getting opinions about the characters and their actions i.e. it was wise for law enforcement not to get involved. In paragraph two of the same section, during the description of the "Monsters Ball" the authors wrote
The "Monsters Ball" was a celebration not unlike a combination of our present Halloween and Carnival.
Here the authors make clear that their audience is modern day people, and thus we have story that is more like a recounting of a story. That is what is interesting about this to me. Instead of telling us the story, the author summarizes the story as if the story exists elsewhere. For example if I were to summarize "A Game of Thrones" by saying the worship of the Seven, as a religion, is analogous to christianity. If George R.R. Martin were to say that in an interview it is one thing, but if he broke form and wrote it in a Sansa chapter I believe it would seriously dilute the immersion and voice of the story. Even though it may clearly communicate a view the author wishes the reader to take.
The authors are laying forth a backstory a gaming resource, but there also graphic or poetic asides
Blood flowed freely, only to be washed away by the rains.
But picking apart this single post in particular is not what I am interested in here. The real question I want to ask is what is it about this tone that role-players find appealing. Are people drawn to roleplaying because they like to see the world, any world, in an unambiguous fashion-a God complex if you will? Or (as I have often postulate) role-players are not truly interested in the material, they see the material more as launching off point for their own ideas? But if Strolen's Citadel was ever just an idea guild, it left that long ago. Ideas are critiqued here on their writing, on their "believability and style. Would "Thick as Thieves" have been voted Golden if it didn't have this long back story?
I randomly open a roleplaying source book "Star Wars Galaxy Guide: Scouts" and I saw a very similar tone in the player's section. They didn't break form to overtly reference modern day events or concepts, but it had this same all knowing yet opinionated style. Thick as Thieves has 21 votes and is a Golden sub. What is it about this style that draws people to it? Why refer to stuff that has perspective or personality as "Fluff" as Scrasamaz does?