I've come across this Mark Twain quote:
When you catch an adjective, kill it. No, I don't mean utterly, but kill most of them -- then the rest will be valuable. They weaken when they are close together. They give strength when they are wide apart. An adjective habit, or a wordy, diffuse, flowery habit, once fastened upon a person, is as hard to get rid of as any other vice.
Can "use modifiers rarely" be accepted as a rule in writing? What are other "rules of thumb" in using adjectives and adverbs?