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Is Immersion Important to You as a Player?

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Supporter
True, I suppose I'm looking at it from my GM experience. Whenever you wonder if the character will follow their supposed background, interests, etc.. they will often betray all that in the name of gaining XP.
Well, I have two things to say about this. First, some systems, perhaps sensitive to this issue, index XP gain to aligning play with stated character interest. Second, that in games where this isn't the case, a focus on XP above anything else probably indexes more about the player than it does about the game or even the group.
 

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pemerton

Legend
I think immersion is a complicated conversation. I'm pretty sure we all know it when we feel it, but that's very different than saying that we're all feeling the same thing. Personally, I liken it to the experience of reading when you forget that you're reading words on the page. That's not exactly right, but its close enough for a rough description.
To me, that sounds more like a description of one aspect of my pleasure when GMing: being absorbed in the action and finding out what's happening and what will happen next.

But as a player, inhabitation of character is quite different, because it has a first personality - decision-making, subjective experience - that is typically absent when I am reading or viewing fiction that I am not in control of.
 

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Supporter
To me, that sounds more like a description of one aspect of my pleasure when GMing: being absorbed in the action and finding out what's happening and what will happen next.

But as a player, inhabitation of character is quite different, because it has a first personality - decision-making, subjective experience - that is typically absent when I am reading or viewing fiction that I am not in control of.
Well, I was describing in-character play from my personal and subjective experience. So take that for whatever you think it's worth. I would probably agree that the two are broadly similar though.
 

niklinna

satisfied?
Two, I don't know anyone who plays FitD or PbtA games in what you call "writes' room" mode, and so I doubt that @niklinna does either. That's not how those games are supposed to be played according to their designers, and everything I've seen @nikilinna post makes me think that the designer's instructions are being followed.
The closest thing to "writers' room" mode I can think of for Blades in the Dark would be the flashback mechanism, but even then, I'm not jumping out of my character's head so much as taking advantage of the ability to take a "Dang, if only I'd..." moment and turn that into an actuality in play. I continue to inhabit my character the whole time.

More specifically with regard to writers' room, we are not proposing actions or happenings for other players' characters. We all interact pretty clearly from the viewpoint of our individual characters and don't step outside that. The GM offers suggestions sometimes, for individuals and the crew, but that's mostly to gauge interest or prompt some thinking.

Now between sessions, we chat on discord about potential scores and downtime and such via discord, so that's less immersive/inhabitational, but we still describe what our characters are doing for their vice indulgence, training, long-term projects, etc.
 

Reynard

Legend
Supporter
Two things in reply.

One, you present this as if it's a priori logic, but in fact it's an empirical conjecture (about possible psychological states) and you're making it on what seems to be a pretty thin evidence base.

Two, I don't know anyone who plays FitD or PbtA games in what you call "writes' room" mode, and so I doubt that @niklinna does either. That's not how those games are supposed to be played according to their designers, and everything I've seen @nikilinna post makes me think that the designer's instructions are being followed.
Writer's room mode isn't something I invented. We had a very long and involved thread here on ENWorld with a bunch of people who were familiar with the game helping me figure it out.. it was their terminology.. moreover,, if you aren't using dice rolls to negotiate the fiction in FitD games I'm not sure what you are doing since that's what the book tells you to do.
 

pemerton

Legend
@niklinna

Everything you say about BitD makes sense.

And it's not a coincidence. Sometime in the 1990s, and then in earnest in the early 2000s, various RPG designers set about solving the problem of how to get a plotted-narrative-style experience (eg of the sort that the DL modules offered) without anyone having to do any plotting, either unilaterally (like the railroad-style of DM) or collaboratively (the "writers' room" - I don't know what RPG best exemplifies this but will very tentatively canvass Fate as a possibility).

Considered at this level of abstraction, it's a technical design problem, about the relationship between introducing fictional content, establishing the theme of that content, and the standard RPG mechanisms of first-person action declaration (ie players) and third person consequence narration (ie GMs).

The problem has been solved. These games exist. Not all of them aim at, or are good for, inhabitation of character, eg because they are too silly or cynical. (I would put The Dying Earth RPG in this category.) But some of them aim at that and are good for it. Burning Wheel is my favourite; I find it completely believable that BitD works for you!
 

payn

He'll flip ya...Flip ya for real...
This is why I like that Blades in the Dark explicitly pins gaining XP on following your character's background and interests!
I'm of little familiarity with the concept. Do these background and interest change over time? My experience with PbtA was it does not. So, if you like reenacting episodic television, its appealing, but if you feel that makes caricatures instead of characters its not so appealing in the long term. YMMV.
 

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Supporter
I'm of little familiarity with the concept. Do these background and interest change over time? My experience with PbtA was it does not. So, if you like reenacting episodic television, its appealing, but if you feel that makes caricatures instead of characters its not so appealing in the long term. YMMV.
PbtA games aren't all cut out of the same cloth on this point. My favorite example is The Between which has I believe 9 XP questions per playbook. Two or three are set based on the playbook and the other are picked by the player off a list. It's pretty slick.
 

pemerton

Legend
Writer's room mode isn't something I invented. We had a very long and involved thread here on ENWorld with a bunch of people who were familiar with the game helping me figure it out.. it was their terminology..
I posted in that thread. I've just reviewed it now. The only two posts to use the phrase were these:
AW is NOT A WRITERS'S ROOM, but every participant should be interested in the other character's scenes/moves and should be paying attention to help confirm if a move is made so we can resolve it (which typically involves going to the dice but may be a procedure sans dice).
The rules create structure that reigns in both the excesses of "Writers Room Phenomena" + Mother May I/Explore GM's Conception play.
And they are correct. AW, PbtA and FitD are not "writers' room" games. The player players their PC. The GM players the setting and adversity (in AW NPCs are fundamental to this; I don't know BitD so well but would guess that NPCs are important in it too).

I've not played AW but have read the text very closely, many times, because it is my manual for how to referee Classic Traveller. It seems to me that it is intended to be an incredibly immersive RPG, and I would expect it to be so in play. Nearly everything about the game is intended to push towards the players' inhabiting their PCs.

if you aren't using dice rolls to negotiate the fiction in FitD games I'm not sure what you are doing since that's what the book tells you to do.
I don't follow.

In 5e D&D if the GM tells the player of the wizard that the Orc hits them, the player of the wizard has to decide whether or not to cast their Shield spell. That is "negotiation of the fiction". I've never heard it suggested that that turns 5e D&D into a "writers' room".

I don't know all the bells and whistles of BitD, but (for instance) spending stress to alleviate a consequence seems to me the same as spending a spell slot to alleviate a consequence. Or, further upstream, it seems to me that dialling back intended effect so as to improve position (if that's a thing in BitD - @niklinna or @haweyefan will know) seems to me the same as dialling back attack to improve defence in a D&D combat (eg 3E's Expertise feat or a barbarian dropping out of a reckless rage or even a fighter swapping from a two-handed to a one-handed weapon and equipping a shield).

Again, these things don't turn D&D into a "writers' room" as far as I'm aware and so I don't see why they would be different in BitD.
 


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