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an example of some bad writing from the NWN2 manual:

A skill check is made when you apply a skill to a task. Your skill ranks and bonuses are added to a random number between 1 and 20. This skill check results in success if it equals or exceeds the Difficulty Class, or DC, of the task.

For example, consider a rogue with a +14 bonus in Open Lock. When trying to pick a simple lock with a DC of 15, the rogue will always succeed. His skill check will be as low as 15 (1 + 14) and as high as 34 (20 + 14). If he comes across a very complicated lock, however, that is DC 35, it will be impossible for him to succeed until he somehow increases his Open Lock bonus.

Here is how I might write it

A skill check is made when you apply a skill to a task.

For example, consider a rogue with a +14 bonus in Open Lock. When trying to
pick a simple lock with a DC (Difficulty Class) of 15, the rogue will always succeed.

Here’s why.

Your skill ranks and bonuses are added to a random number between 1 and 20. This skill check results in success if it equals or exceeds the DC of the task.

In the previous example, the rogue’s skill check can be as low as 15 (1 + 14) and as high as 34 (20 + 14). If he comes across a very complicated lock, however, that is DC 35, it will be impossible for him to succeed until he somehow increases his Open Lock bonus.

  • Deliberate confuse with impressive or interesting fact to grab attention. “A rogue with +14 bonus will always be able to open a +15 DC lock”
  • Quick, clear explanation of why fact is true (“rogue’s skill check can be as low as 15 (1 + 14) and as high as 34 (20 + 14).
  • Apply fact to greater wider concepts and pull into general principle (“Your skill ranks and bonuses are added to a random number…”)

I think this 3 step pattern:

  1. confuse and impress
  2. explain clearly why
  3. apply as general principle and extend

is a general formula for effective teaching and generally effective presentation

All the while, being sure to use more paragraphs (think, newspaper column) and break each simple idea into its own paragraph. You CAN have a 1 sentence paragraph, ms ashukian.

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