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Investigations impede immersion?

Wednesday Boy

The Nerd WhoFell to Earth
Hi ENWorld,
In our last session we had to avoid and then investigate an assassination attempt on an ambassador we were guarding. During the session I noticed that I fell out of character and I think this is somewhat routine for me with investigation scenarios. When the session becomes highly investigative, the immersion barrier breaks, and I start playing to crack the investigation instead of playing as my character. I'm trying to figure out a way to stay more in character and avoid getting bogged down with investigating every angle and planning numerous contingencies.

One thing that may help me is if the GM is more forceful about moving the story forward, ending the scenes that bog down, or introducing a roleplaying issue to get me back on task roleplaying-wise. Or maybe simply being aware of my tendency will be enough to correct it.

Has anyone experienced something similar concerning investigations? Any suggestions or insight would be greatly welcomed and appreciated!
 

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Mallus

Legend
When the session becomes highly investigative, the immersion barrier breaks, and I start playing to crack the investigation instead of playing as my character.I'm trying to figure out a way to stay more in character and avoid getting bogged down with investigating every angle and planning numerous contingencies.
Why? If investigations pique your interest, run with it.

Or maybe simply being aware of my tendency will be enough to correct it.
Or there's nothing to correct.

Has anyone experienced something similar concerning investigations? Any suggestions or insight would be greatly welcomed and appreciated!
My experience is it's usually combat that brings the problem-solving aspect of play to the fore, but I can easily see how investigations could as well. My insight is this is completely normal; most role-playing games feature problem-solving as a core element.

My advice -- don't worry about it. You'll have plenty of other opportunities to indulge in rich characterization and exploration of your role. Why deny yourself the pleasure of going Full Sherlock? Besides, it's not like you can play a role you've created for yourself wrong...
 

I don't see how investigations break immersion any more than other aspects of play. Perhaps if you could explain exactly how working to solve the investigation is so unlike playing your character we might have some basis for comparison.
 

I said this in another thread but I think investigations require some flexibility on the whole gaming ideology front to enjoy. Personally I love immersion but there is nothing wrong with being challenged as a player once in a while. Investigations can be great fun and to my mind they are the greatest fun when you role play and don't roll as much for tjings like social situations. Thos means there will be a degree of you bypassing the character a bit. The fun of solving a mystery is actually solving the thing not simulating the solving of it by the character. Again I consider myself an immersionist but I have no problem dropping that preference to enjoy a good investigation.
 

But to answer your question: ask for ability or skill checks anytime you want to voice a lead or theory. You would still be coming to solutions on your own and the gm wouldn't hand them out for rolling. Basically the check acts as a cap on your good ideas. This works if the issue is you are smarter or more observant than the character.
 


This a terrific example of how not to use a skill check.

The only "cap" on good player ideas should come from the absence of good player ideas.

I see nothing wrong with a player requesting to make a skill check because he isn't sure if his character is smart enough to come up with the idea he has in mind. It certainly isn't for every playstyle but the OP stated he was having trouble not breaking character while solving investigations. If that is a concern then this is a potential solution.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
This a terrific example of how not to use a skill check.

And this is a terrific example of how to not allow for other people to have different play-styles than you.

I would generally work it the other way - everyone who is trying makes a check, and the ones with high intelligence will tend to pass, and I give them hints the folks who fail don't get - but the effect is much the same.

Note that this is a case where, honestly, you don't need the GM. A player can (and I know at least one player who frequently does) use self-imposed skill or attribute checks to determine their character's behavior. "I have a low Wisdom - am I strong-willed enough right now to not do this impulsive thing? Let me check...")
 

And this is a terrific example of how to not allow for other people to have different play-styles than you.

I would generally work it the other way - everyone who is trying makes a check, and the ones with high intelligence will tend to pass, and I give them hints the folks who fail don't get - but the effect is much the same.

Note that this is a case where, honestly, you don't need the GM. A player can (and I know at least one player who frequently does) use self-imposed skill or attribute checks to determine their character's behavior. "I have a low Wisdom - am I strong-willed enough right now to not do this impulsive thing? Let me check...")

That is a good point. When I made my original point I was actually thinking of a player who does just this. He is always making rolls to see if his character would have the same idea as he does. Playing tge character is important to him and this technique works in his case.
 

Wednesday Boy

The Nerd WhoFell to Earth
Perhaps if you could explain exactly how working to solve the investigation is so unlike playing your character we might have some basis for comparison.

Good suggestion. I pared down my post so it wouldn't be a long gaming story but apparently I pared down too much. The campaign is a Star Wars with all jedi characters. My character is an older, sagely force using seer. The investigation was a side quest assassination investigation that is unrelated to our characters' primary motivations. During the investigation I noticed that his personality fell into the background and I started playing more tactically like I would in a roleplaying-less video game.

It's like going from Yoda with his cryptic and wise,
Yoda said:
Through the Force, things you will see. Other places. The future…the past…old friends long gone.
to Sam Gerard with his direct and comprehensive,
Sam Gerard said:
What I want from each and every one of you is a hard-target search of every gas station, residence, warehouse, farmhouse, henhouse, outhouse and doghouse in that area. Checkpoints go up at fifteen miles. Your fugitive's name is Dr. Richard Kimble. Go get him.

Why? If investigations pique your interest, run with it.

Because I'm more interested in playing as my character than solving mysteries. I guess ideally I'd like to play through the investigation scenario that the GM threw at us as my character without going Full Sherlock. And maybe that's as simple as consciously staying in character but it can be hard to not go Full Sherlock.

I spoke with the group and the other player suggested that it could be a symptom of this specific investigation. Because it's a side quest investigation that we got wrapped up in and really has no specific connection to our characters, it doesn't readily provide any character specific situations or circumstances that I can play off of. The GM has yet to chime in but maybe if we have more character-specific investigations it will accomodate staying in character better.

Thanks everyone for the thoughts so far!!
 

Good suggestion. I pared down my post so it wouldn't be a long gaming story but apparently I pared down too much. The campaign is a Star Wars with all jedi characters. My character is an older, sagely force using seer. The investigation was a side quest assassination investigation that is unrelated to our characters' primary motivations. During the investigation I noticed that his personality fell into the background and I started playing more tactically like I would in a roleplaying-less video game.

It's like going from Yoda with his cryptic and wise,

to Sam Gerard with his direct and comprehensive,




Because I'm more interested in playing as my character than solving mysteries. I guess ideally I'd like to play through the investigation scenario that the GM threw at us as my character without going Full Sherlock. And maybe that's as simple as consciously staying in character but it can be hard to not go Full Sherlock.

I spoke with the group and the other player suggested that it could be a symptom of this specific investigation. Because it's a side quest investigation that we got wrapped up in and really has no specific connection to our characters, it doesn't readily provide any character specific situations or circumstances that I can play off of. The GM has yet to chime in but maybe if we have more character-specific investigations it will accomodate staying in character better.

Thanks everyone for the thoughts so far!!


Umm.. Troubled you are. Calm yourself and search your feelings. Approach the situation like a jedi. Going full Sherlock is the path of one who does not have the force as his ally. ;)

Playing a jedi and remaining in character through any situation is challenging. Remember the basics. A jedi is wise and does not act rashly. When the action gets intense it becomes easy to get caught up in it and switch the brain into tactical mode. For a jedi, this is reckless. A jedi's thoughts should be more inclined to strategy. Once the character is approached from the proper mindset, no situation can distract you from the path.
 

Wednesday Boy

The Nerd WhoFell to Earth
I won't fail you. I'm not afraid.

(Thanks for the insight. Maybe simply being conscious about staying in character is what I need. I'll give that a shot this week!)
 

Hussar

Legend
Investigation is a tricky thing to run. And very difficult to run well.

I think your point about moving things along is well taken. Instead of letting the players entirely set the pace, which can result in a very slow game, keep things moving along. There's nothing wrong with occassionally just telling the players, "Ok, you investigate this and realize it's a dead end" when you the DM, know that this is a the wrong path to take.

Not that you have to do it every time. But, keeping things moving is the best way to keep immersion, IMO.

Game like Trail of Cthulu do this sort of thing well.
 

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