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Players that don't read flavor text aren't too bright, sorta smell, and dress funny. But let's just keep this between us, okay? They can get kind of violent.

Flavor text is any text in a game that is completely unrelated to actual rules or gameplay, and is included merely for effect. Common in almost all Collectible Card Games, as well as Role Playing Game rulebooks; but it is not limited to Tabletop Games, and also occurs in Video Games. For instance, the description of a Healing Potion in an RPG can include Flavor Text if it digresses beyond what the item actually does when a party member quaffs it.

Often, flavor text includes quotes, either from real-world sources (such as in Magic: The Gathering core sets), attributed to characters in the game, or from a Fictional Document. It may also include narratives, poems, sayings, or jokes.

Flavor Text is regularly found in Monster Compendia, Pamphlet Shelves and inventory items, they sometimes take the form of an Encyclopedia Exposita. See also Expanded Universe, where the flavor text forms entire works.

Examples of Flavor Text include:


Collectible Card Games

  • Magic: The Gathering has a lot of Flavor Text, some player types even build decks based on the "story" of the cards, leading to such weird but fascinating combos as sacrificing the embodiment of your death into pure damage with which to kill an opponent.
  • In the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG, flavor text appears only on Normal Monster cards, which are virtually non-existent in competitive play, so the lore is very spotty and mostly forgotten.
  • The Naruto CCG has flavor text below the illustration for each card, oftentimes a quote from the show.
  • Appears at times in Duel Masters. Partway through the game's English release, Wizards of the Coast began to change some of the cards' text to match the Gag Dub nature of the show.
  • Pokémon cards contain Pokédex text generally taken from the most recent games. Averted during the E-reader and EX-sets from the second and third generations (the text instead appears on your GBA when you scan the card's bottom dot code into the E-reader).
  • Every card in the Babylon 5 CCG had flavour text, containing either an in-universe quote from the series, information from official guides and associated info texts, or (in some rare Alternate Universe cards) postulations on how things could have gone different.

Tabletop Games

  • Most tabletop games require by their very nature Flavor Text to help tell the story. Put here only particular examples.

Video Games

  • Age of Empires and Age of Mythology have long in-universe description of their units.
  • Age of Wonders and its sequel have Flavor Text for each unit, which goes from plain to snarky.
  • Blizzard Entertainment games (Starcraft, Diablo, Warcraft, World of Warcraft) are full of Flavor Text.
  • BioWare games (Baldur's Gate, Neverwinter Nights, Knights of the Old Republic, Mass Effect and Dragon Age) are also full of Flavor Text.
  • The Total War series use Flavor Text on units to show their work
  • For every Pokémon a player captures in the wild, their Pokédex adds one or two sentences of in-universe description for their species. Later games add such details as the creature's footprint (if applicable), a Sound Test ability to play the creature's vocal cry, a size/weight comparison to the player character, and a comparison of form or gender differences between the species's different members (where applicable). The species's weight actually does have some gameplay consequences, but those are very few and far between.
  • In Star Ocean the Second Story, there are a huge number of items that are raw materials for crafting and items that can be crafted. Many of them contain flavor text not related to what the object does, such as describing the texture or taste of food items.
  • The Homeworld series has in-universe descriptions for all of its units in the manual of the game.
  • Vindictus has flavor text for all items. Oddly, it often describes effects that ought to have an effect on the gameplay but don't, notably curses.
  • Disgaea has humorous Flavor Text in its weapon descriptions.
  • Mother 3: The in-game Battle Memory has flavor text descriptions of each enemy you've met.
  • Paper Mario: Using the Tattle ability gets you the statistics of enemies, as well as some off-the-cuff remarks by the tattler (Goombario or Goombella).
  • All of the items in Recettear have humorous descriptions, in keeping with the Woolseyised script.
  • In Nethack the "tell what a symbol represents" command will optionally give a quote from a real life source.
  • Weapons in Final Fantasy XIII have this.
  • Drakengard has a short story for each of its (65!) weapons.
  • Some of the Team Fortress 2 unlockable weapons and hats have flavor text in their description. Japanese-themed items have haikus.
    • The Description Tag item also lets players write their own flavor text to apply to their weapons and headgear.
  • The player character's library bookshelf in Legend of Mana includes not only their Monster Compendium, but encyclopedias discussing gameworld locations, artifacts, weapon types and raw materials.
  • The Bestiary of Final Fantasy XII provides a lot of flavor text, along with a lot of backstory, for everything from the land of Ivalice to the Bazaar to the Espers.
  • In a general sense, Achievements and Trophies for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 games sometimes have this - while the text after the Achievement/Trophy name is sometimes simply what was done to earn said reward (i.e. kill X number of enemies, beat Y stage), sometimes there's pithy commentary on the goal in question. Games that have some humorous content (even if the main plot is serious) are more likely to feature this.
  • Etrian Odyssey has description for each monster.
  • Heroes of Might and Magic 3 has a small text describing the acquisition of a new artefact, Heroes of Might and Magic V and 6 has description of every unit in the game.
  • In Fable II, every item has flavor text. It's the most hilarious part of the game
  • In the X-Universe series, just about everything in the entire game has its own little tale to tell. Sometimes ships give you historical details, sometimes weapons tell you of their designers' money problems, and of course you get political details by looking at the races' entries in the in-game encyclopedia.
  • This is one of the primary storytelling mechanics in Dark Souls. Every item has some sort of flavor text revealing key information about the game's world and lore.

Other

  • An Order of the Stick strip in Dragon featured a character who claimed that ignoring flavor text was the key to true peace. He didn't do anything that wasn't required by the rules; so since dirt didn't have any mechanical effect he didn't bathe, since there were no rules specifying that characters got sleepy, he only slept when hit by a magical effect (if he'd been a magic user, he'd also have done so when he wanted to recharge his spells), and he ate a revolting gruel once every two weeks, because the rules said that if he didn't he'd starve but didn't specify any other effects of not eating.
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