Is there a defined, standard, or "industry" term used by module publishers for the text in a module (or adventure) that is done in a shaded background and intended to be read aloud to the players?

As an example, I'm holding a copy of Lord of the Iron Fortress. On page two it says:

In the adventure itself, the shaded boxes provide player information for you to paraphrase or read aloud when appropriate.

An example of that type of text from page six of the same module reads in part:

Four soldiers led by a fair-skinned officer stride across the street toward you, a determined look in their eyes.

I know what the text is used for. What I'm wondering is if there is a standard term for that type of information.


1 Answer 1


This has been called simply boxed text for decades, even when not literally typeset in a box. Not a very interesting name!

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ It might be worth noting it's called boxed text because all those early D&D modules (and other TSR games like Star Frontiers, etc. ) used a bordered box to set it apart from the rest of the adventure text. Other games weren't as formative here because most of them didn't concentrate on publishing adventures. \$\endgroup\$
    – mxyzplk
    Commented Apr 16, 2017 at 3:43
  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ In fact doing some searching, the term "boxed text" is actually used in the text of many early D&D adventures, especially RPGA tournament modules that turned into the classic line of 1e AD&D adventures - like A3 "The boxed text is material which should be read to the players as they approach that area..." In fact, as early as 1981 in Basic D&D module X1 it says "You may read the following boxed text to the players..." when there's not an actual box used around the read-aloud text in the adventure - the term had therefore been completely genericized by this time. \$\endgroup\$
    – mxyzplk
    Commented Apr 16, 2017 at 4:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ @mxyzplk Nice references! Want to edit those in? I was going to pull out some modules later to track down exactly that sort of stuff — quotes and dates — but I'm still on mobile and away from my collection. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 16, 2017 at 5:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ Side Note: In german it is called "Vorlesetext", which translates roughly to "text you read out loud". Not that much better :D \$\endgroup\$
    – Patta
    Commented Apr 16, 2017 at 8:52

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