These guidelines strive to provide a set of standards so that the Netbook of Feats rises to a professional level of polish and consistency in its writing and editing. We want the feats to be easy to read and have consistent and clear wording for common rules. The foundation of these standards are those observed in the System Reference document from Wizards of the Coast and from their other publications, though in some places we have added our own conventions or made modifications to theirs.
Each feat may contain the following components: Title, Prerequisite, Description, Benefits, and Notes.
- The title of a feat should be rendered in a larger font than the other elements of the feat and be accompanied by an underline the length of the full feat block.
- Titles should capitalize each word of the title.
- Titles should be relatively short and to the point, generally less than 30 characters.
- Each feat should have a unique title within the scope of the Netbook of Feats.
- The prerequisite is an optional element. If the feat has no prerequisite none is shown.
- The prerequisite is shown one line beneath the title and horizontal line or horizontal rule.
- The prerequisite is labeled Prerequisite:
- Both the label and the content should appear in italics.
- Prerequisites are not in sentence form and are simply a list of character attributes required to take and use the feat.
- Multiple prerequisites are separated by a comma and appear on the same line.
- Each prerequisite should have the first word capitalized.
- The feat description appears either one line beneath the title underline or one line beneath the prerequisite if one is included.
- All feats should include a description.
- The description should be in standard sentence form.
- The purpose of the description is to briefly give a colorful account of what the feat does in role playing terms (i.e., “fluff” rather than “crunch”).
- Descriptions are concluded with variations on the sentence “You gain the following benefits:” The concluding sentence can be varied for a single benefit “You gain the following benefit:” It can also contain conditionals on the benefits such as “While holding a cat in your left hand you gain the following benefit:” This serves as a conditional for all feat benefits and should only be used if this is the case. The purpose of the conditional is to make the benefits section more concise in its language since it would have to repeat the conditional for each benefit. The exception to this rule is when using free form benefits. (See below for details.)
- Descriptions should be written in the second person using the pronoun “you.” For example “You are a bastion of strength in a world of turmoil.”
- Feat benefits are the mechanical game benefits granted by the feat.
- Each benefit appears in a bulleted list, even if there is only one listed.
- Free Form Benefits – If a single benefit is exceptionally complex or does not lend itself to a concise mechanical description, you can forgo the bulleted list for one or more paragraphs describing the benefit.
- Benefits should be described in complete sentences.
- They should be as concise as possible. They should not contain descriptive or colorful language.
- Benefits should be written in the second person using the pronoun “you.” For example “You gain advantage on attack rolls against creatures smaller than yourself.”
- A common benefit is an Ability score increase. These have a standard format: “Increase your <optional list of ability scores> score by 1, to a maximum of 20”
- Notes are an element specific to the Netbook of Feat and are not considered open gaming content under the Netbooks OGL. Their purpose varies from feat to feat. In some cases, they explain rules questions that may arise from the feat. In others, they address possible balance concerns. They may even discuss the design or editing decisions made on the feat. Yet others simply contain trivia related to historical inspiration for the feat.
- Notes should be in complete sentences and follow good grammar but do not need to follow rules style conventions.
- Notes are generally written in a first person voice though this is not required.
Game Terms Conventions
Advantage and Disadvantage: When a benefit is dealing with advantage and disadvantage the verb “have” should be preferred. For example: “You have advantage on attacks against…” or “You no longer have disadvantage on ranged…” “Impose” or “grant” can be used to describe the act of another entity causing you to have advantage or disadvantage. “You no longer grant advantage to invisible…” or “Medium armor no longer imposes disadvantage on your…” A natural and clear construction should be favored over exact strict word use here.
Bonuses: When a bonus is granted by a benefit use the verb “gain”. For example: “You gain a +3 bonus to your Wisdom.”
Skills: All rolls respecting skills are to be referred to as “ability checks” and shown in the format of the ability score name followed by the skill in parenthesis. For example: “You have advantage when making Dexterity (Acrobatics) checks.”
Numerical values: All numerical values in rules content should be represented with numbers rather than words. “You can hold up to 3 wands in one hand.”
Ability scores: They should always be capitalized. Be aware of the difference between an “ability score” and an “ability score bonus.”
Saving Throws: When specifying what ability scores a saving throw applies to use the construction “saving throw (Ability)” If specifying what you are saving against use “saving throws against…”
Lists: Lists should be comma-separated using or for the final item. Items in lists should be included in descending alphabetical order.