Writing Style: Second or Third Person?

In writing Crooked Paths, I’m finding that I keep running into an issue of whether to address the reader (aka you and your character, etc) or to describe the fiction in third person (describing what witches can do; the game is about witches). I see benefits of both styles, and Blades uses both direct address and description of what scoundrels can do in the text.

Do any of you follow hard and fast rules for this, or is it more of a feeling for you? I find that I tend to use 2nd person more when describing mechanics, whereas I use 3rd person more when I’m describing the fiction, but I can’t decide if consistency is more preferable. I realize that this is a question for editors, but I’d love to hear your thoughts!


I, too, am struggling with this issue.

I think that second person feels better — it’s more personable and casual. Third person, however, might be capable of more clarity. I’ve definitely tried to use third person more when writing out examples. If the example involves both a player character and some npcs, I try to name the player character, for clarity.

That’s what I do — but I don’t really know best practices on the matter.

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i definitely have had some of these thoughs, and find myself with a similar method in the end; largely second person descriptions for mechanics, and third person for fiction. That said, I think a lot of what i write that is addressed to the players, specifically, tends to feel better with a “you” rather than “the player characters”.

To Compare and contrast,
“you’re in a haunted victorian city…” vs. “the characters are in a haunted victorian city”
“you take 2 heat” vs. “your crew takes 2 heat”

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I definitely agree that it typically is more immersive/embodied to use 2nd person, though I think it can also be more “atmospheric” to use 3rd when you’re not using an abstract word like “character” and using something more descriptive. It reminds you that you’re, for instance, playing a scoundrel or a witch. It seems like maybe setting stuff should be in 3rd, mechanics and introductory/pitch-type stuff in 2nd, but maybe it should just be where it’s useful for effect. It does also seem like it can be jarring to change perspectives though - maybe I just need to git gud at writing.

I should probably reread Blades and try to notice where John does it - I recall feeling both the atmosphere of Doskvol and a sense of immersion on my first couple of reads.

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