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Is Immersion Important to You as a Player?

pemerton

Legend
I'm going to go out on a limb here, but in my experience as a GM, player immersion seems to happen when evocative detail and constant evolution of the fiction are the name of the game.
Speaking as a player, immersion happens when what the GM is saying does not force me to ignore inhabiting - "being" - my character.

The paradigm of this is the plot hook or the "breadcrumb". Because that requires me to think purely as a participant in the game - OK, at this moment it's my job to decide that I as my character make this choice in order for the game to keep going
 

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Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Supporter
Speaking as a player, immersion happens when what the GM is saying does not force me to ignore inhabiting - "being" - my character.

The paradigm of this is the plot hook or the "breadcrumb". Because that requires me to think purely as a participant in the game - OK, at this moment it's my job to decide that I as my character make this choice in order for the game to keep going
That's fair. My conception here is very much a part of how I run games, which doesn't really involve breadcrumbs or hooks in the traditional sense, but rather relies more on emergent fiction and PC choice as the prime mover.
 

niklinna

satisfied?
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.
In Blades in the Dark, interests and beliefs absolutely can change over time, along with friends & enemies (mechanically relevant). Even the background can change, or more accurately be revealed, over time. Blades could be run in episodic fashion I guess, but player character actions are so consequential, and have such an impact on the world and on themselves, that it would be missing a big chunk of what the system has to offer to only run it episodically.
 
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niklinna

satisfied?
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).
That's close. You don't exactly expend stress to alleviate a consequence, though—in the sense of paying a set amount up front. You choose to resist a consequence, and roll your applicable attribute (Insight, Prowess, or Resolve), subtracting the result from six to get how much stress it winds up costing you. In other words, it's chancy! You could end up taking 4 or 5 stress! I've had it happen, even though I've maxed out all three attributes. It's very immersive.

What you do pay stress up front for, and in fixed amounts, is to push yourself for +1d on your action roll (2 stress), or to assist your pal, giving them +1d (1 stress).

Trading position for effect is similarly very immersive and well-wedded to the mechanics. You can be careful so that if things don't go well, you don't screw up too bad, but that restraint will reduce your likely effect on a success. Or, you can go for broke hoping for a great outcome, but if you flub it, the consequences will be multiple and dire.
 


payn

He'll flip ya...Flip ya for real...
That's fair. My conception here is very much a part of how I run games, which doesn't really involve breadcrumbs or hooks in the traditional sense, but rather relies more on emergent fiction and PC choice as the prime mover.
I too prefer the latter, but often have to settle for the former.
 

pemerton

Legend
Trading position for effect is similarly very immersive and well-wedded to the mechanics. You can be careful so that if things don't go well, you don't screw up too bad, but that restraint will reduce your likely effect on a success. Or, you can go for broke hoping for a great outcome, but if you flub it, the consequences will be multiple and dire.
The earliest RPG I know that has a version of this is Rolemaster (maybe there's something earlier, but I don't know it!). In RM melee combat, you have to choose your attack and your defence, round by round, out of the same pool (your weapon skill). In RM spell casting, you can choose to push for more powerful effects but at an increased risk of spell failure.

The fact that there is nothing comparable for archery in RM is what makes archer PCs less interesting in that system. The fact that there is nothing comparable for non-combat skills is what makes weapons-vs-spells a key axis of choice in PC build even though the system ostensibly is "play whatever you like".

The earliest RPG I know to generalise this sort of trade-off is HeroWars, where in extended contests you bid a certain number of action points with your action, and both the extent of your impact on the opposition and the extent of adverse consequences to you depend upon the action points bid. @chaochou has a lot of experience with this system.

I think that having some sort of capacity to try hard, or go "all in", is very supportive of inhabitation of character.
 
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pemerton

Legend
That's fair. My conception here is very much a part of how I run games, which doesn't really involve breadcrumbs or hooks in the traditional sense, but rather relies more on emergent fiction and PC choice as the prime mover.
The reason I mentioned hooks and breadcrumbs because a lot of discussion of immersion in RPGing seems to focus on audience-style immersion in the narrated details - which can fit with breadcrumbs and plot hooks, if these are narrated with sufficient flair - but when it comes to inhabitation of character then no amount of narrative flair and evocative detail can overcome the problem that these things force me to leave my character and instead think about my obligations as a game player to follow the GM's story.
 

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Supporter
The reason I mentioned hooks and breadcrumbs because a lot of discussion of immersion in RPGing seems to focus on audience-style immersion in the narrated details - which can fit with breadcrumbs and plot hooks, if these are narrated with sufficient flair - but when it comes to inhabitation of character then no amount of narrative flair and evocative detail can overcome the problem that these things force me to leave my character and instead think about my obligations as a game player to follow the GM's story.
I think hooks and breadcrumbs are things that invite engagement with secret GM knowledge, to whit some pre-prepped plan or narrative ginned up prior to play. I don't usually run my games with that sort of thing. Regardless of system, I tend to use player choices and outcomes to drive the fiction. I think that's an important distinction too, as the presence or absence of the same is pretty divisive in terms of 'how RPGs work', for whatever value you want to place on that particular statement.
 

Reynard

Legend
Supporter
Trading position for effect is similarly very immersive and well-wedded to the mechanics.
That's the opposite of immersive, at least how I defined it for the purposes of the discussion. You are engaging the mechanics of the system to produce a result in the fiction. That's the "writer's room" I'm talking about. You're engaged, and you're having fun, but you certainly aren't inhabiting your character.
 

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