What are your biggest immersion breakers, rules wise?

Sacrosanct

Legend
By this I mean things that break your in game immersion that are supported by actual rules or mechanics in the game, not outside influences.

For me, some of the quickest ways for me to break immersion and lose the momentum of being in the game are:

  • resting: the whole 5MWD or short/long rests per encounters. I.e., when the players and/or DM initiates their rests based on how many encounters they have had, as opposed to what's going on in the game. Sort of like a pause button. Players who expect to rest whenever they want bother me as much as a DM who just puts the whole gaming world on pause for the players to do this. If you're in a dungeon and there are monsters nearby and they reasonably are aware of your presence, they're not just gonna let you rest. You as the players have to find a way to make it happen.
  • non magical PCs doing magical things. Probably one of the biggest reasons I avoided 4e. Magic is supposed to be wondrous and awesome. That's why it's magic. I prefer my game to be more sword and sorcery, and less gonzo super hero, so it breaks my immersion when a mundane class just did a power that essentially replicates a magical spell. A lot of people hate the word "realism", but let's be honest, we all rely on realism in our games. Things like gravity, or needing food, or how wood reacts to fire, or needing to breath, etc. Unless there is a specific rule that overrides reality, we all base the scenario on how it would work in reality. So whenever I hear "the game has dragons, so let's just ignore all reality" I roll my eyes because it's inherently false; even that player relies on realism to run their game. It's like saying, "Well, the world has dragons, so my PC is actually an alien that doesn't need to breathe, can turn into anything, and has a spaceship." If A, then B must be true fallacy
  • non magical super healing. We tend to narrate our battles a bit. Describing how the blow you took from the ogre sent shockwaves of pain up your arm and causing the entire appendage to bruise a deep purple and yellow. What's that? You slept for 8 hours? Oh, all HP back and no sign of wounds or injury.
 
The biggest one for me is recovering all hit points after an 8-hour nap. This forces me to believe that either (a) those six arrows didn't really pierce my skin and all that damage was in my head somehow, (b) I woke up so refreshed that I no longer care about all the bleeding arrow-holes in my body, or (c) my body's natural healing rate is faster than Jesus's.

Yes, I've heard all of the "hot takes" on hit points and the nature of damage. They don't help. So I've learned to just live with the broken immersion.
 

billd91

Hobbit on Quest
I recognize that segmented actions/movement and turn orders are necessary in combat. But when someone uses the nature of the segmentation to engage in unrealistic activity simply because they can, it underscores that we're just playing a game... on a board... not characters in a narrative setting.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
The biggest one for me is recovering all hit points after an 8-hour nap. This forces me to believe that either (a) those six arrows didn't really pierce my skin and all that damage was in my head somehow, (b) I woke up so refreshed that I no longer care about all the bleeding arrow-holes in my body, or (c) my body's natural healing rate is faster than Jesus's.

Yes, I've heard all of the "hot takes" on hit points and the nature of damage. They don't help. So I've learned to just live with the broken immersion.
In 5e, a character is not even visibly wounded until they’re at half-HP. And at that point they’re not necessarily seriously injured, they’re just visibly battered, bruised, and bloody. It’s not until hitting 0 HP that a character takes a potentially life-threatening wound.

If that paradigm of HP breaks your immersion, I understand. Personally, the idea that a human(oid) can take six arrows to the chest and survive to even take an 8-hour rest is far more immersion-breaking than the idea that those six successful longbow attacks were not actually direct hits, but narrow grazes and glancing blows that left you harried and worn down but not injured badly enough that a night’s rest won’t have you back on your feet. But to each their own.
 
By this I mean things that break your in game immersion that are supported by actual rules or mechanics in the game, not outside influences.
Immersion, IMX, is a fleeting, very personal thing that is not broken by a specific thing so much as occasionally achieved in spite of many things.
As far as mechanics, influencing it, I find it's most likely with a game I know well enough to have a good feel for my character, but not so encyclopedic or familiar to the point that I have too exact an idea of the other characters (and monsters &c). Thing about D&D is I played it so long, versions that go all "classic" like OSR or 5e are hopeless, familiarity breeds contempt as far as the immersion-experiencing regions of my little brain are concerned, I guess - I can still enjoy them (especially running them), but immersion is off the table.

For instance, I noticed heightened immersion potential with my first character in the first 3.0 and 4e campaigns I played after release. It probably helped that they were, respectively, a fighter & warlord, rather than a caster, and both human, too.

But, ultimately, the point is to enjoy the game. Immersion is an occasional bonus.
 
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1) Quick retraining rules and "factotum" classes: "Hey I was a classical pianist yesterday but I got bored, so today I am a neurosurgeon".

2) Hardcoded moral restrictions that are dictated by gaming tradition only: "I can slaughter wildlife and poison rivers, but I am doomed if they find a metal rivet on my furcoat".
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
1) Quick retraining rules and "factotum" classes: "Hey I was a classical pianist yesterday but I got bored, so today I am a neurosurgeon".
This reminds me of another one: out of game multi-classing. Meaning, someone who has been a fighter their whole career with no background studying magic, no experience with magic, and suddenly becomes a spell caster when they level up because the dip makes sense from an optimization perspective.
 

eyeheartawk

Explorer
Getting back to healing the whole, going down to 0HP then somebody spends one point of lay on hands or some other minor healing and I'm back in the fight thing. I've seen this done multiple times to the same character over and over in the same encounter. RAW it seems you can do this ad infinitum with no negative consequence.
 

pukunui

Adventurer
Off the top of my head:

*Bardic Inspiration: Having it be a bonus action enables bards to help others and still do something themselves, but since it’s not magical, I always struggle to picture how the bard is inspiring their allies so quickly. This is very much a game mechanic with little-to-no justification from a simulationist standpoint.

*First aid: Being able to stop someone from dying, no matter the cause, with a mundane Medicine check as an action. No magic is required, nor even is any equipment. This makes absolutely no sense and, in most cases, should not be possible. This is 100% a game mechanic with no realism whatsoever.

Examples:
*The character took piercing damage and is now dying. What are you actually doing when you make your check to stop the bleeding (both inside and out)?
*The character got cooked by a fireball and is now dying. How is a simple ability check able to prevent death in that case? Likewise if the character got electrocuted, poisoned, burned by acid, etc.
*The character took psychic damage and is now dying. How on earth is a mundane first aid check supposed to help here?!

Never mind the pseudo-medieval setting; we can’t even stop people from dying in the above situations in six seconds with our modern expertise and equipment!
 
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iserith

Magic Wordsmith
It depends on your definition of "immersion." It means different things to different people.

Commonly this is taken to mean "being made to think of the game as a game" or something like that. But since I know it's a game, this doesn't bother me.
 

Saelorn

Adventurer
1) Fast Healing. It's inconsistent for a wound to leave you within six seconds of bleeding to death, while also recovering naturally after a nap. You need to pick an interpretation, and stick with it.

2) Fast leveling. Training for ten years is irrelevant, next to a week spent fighting orc patrols in the field. It should take more than a month to go from Magic Missile to Meteor Swarm.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
One of the reasons I switched to the alternate rules was because healing was too easy. You can always justify it as HP being a combination of exhaustion and "aches and pains". At a certain point HP don't make a lot of sense, but I've never seen an alternative that works better that's worth the overhead.

There's still the healer feat that lets you heal X number of HP if you have the feat. I fluff that as low level magic bandages.

With 5E we've gotten rid of quite a few of the things that were immersion breakers or can be worked around. I'm not going to get into 4E too much other than to say that it constantly shoved "This is a game" rules in my face.

Some things that are immersion breakers or just don't make sense to me

Weapons
  • Longbow distance and requiring only dexterity. Okay, I know you can fire an arrow for 2 football fields. But with pinpoint accuracy? Ignoring all cover? Nah. Even 50 yards is pushing it. Oh, and it takes quite a bit of muscle to pull one.
  • Swords are over-used. Variations of spears and halberds were a lot more common, swords were a backup weapon and pretty useless against heavy armor.

Armor
  • Armor is too good. Rather, the fact that PCs wear armor everywhere. At the tavern? Sure I've got my field plate on. Why not? Part of that is because of the next point...
  • Dex is too good. Related to the previous, I get that some classes have supernatural protection (barbarians, monks). But having steel strong enough to stop any sword blow offers a lot better defense than jumping out of the way. There are a few historical instances of people not bothering with armor in combat, but it's extremely rare. Oh, and how exactly are you dodging an attack you can't see coming?
  • Armor is not good enough. Hurting someone in a full suit of plate armor is really difficult. Your best bet is to bang them on the head enough times to cause a concussion or wrestle them to the ground so you can stab them in the face.

I guess I'm not too worried about some of the other things like picking up a new class. If it matters, I justify it as the fighter's been going to night school and finally picked up that second degree.
 

Bardic Dave

Explorer
In 5e, a character is not even visibly wounded until they’re at half-HP. And at that point they’re not necessarily seriously injured, they’re just visibly battered, bruised, and bloody. It’s not until hitting 0 HP that a character takes a potentially life-threatening wound.

If that paradigm of HP breaks your immersion, I understand. Personally, the idea that a human(oid) can take six arrows to the chest and survive to even take an 8-hour rest is far more immersion-breaking than the idea that those six successful longbow attacks were not actually direct hits, but narrow grazes and glancing blows that left you harried and worn down but not injured badly enough that a night’s rest won’t have you back on your feet. But to each their own.
PCs who have been reduced to 0 HP—i.e. PCs who have taken "a potentially life threatening wound"—also recover all their hit points after 8 hours of rest, so Clever's objection stands even if we accept your reframing of the issue.

Personally, I don't have a problem with the full-hp-after-a-single-night's-rest thing, but I do think your response misses the point.
 

Leatherhead

Possibly a Idiot.
The undead fortitude power that zombies have. There are very few times I remember thinking "this is stupid" while playing D&D.
I still recall the painful first encounter with it. No, the zombies didn't even knock anyone out, let alone kill anyone. What happened is they simply wouldn't die, even after we had obviously defeated them. This lead to a situation where we were honestly just considering shoving them down a well, blocking it off, and walking away.
 

Campbell

Relaxed Intensity
  • Abstract Martial resources like daily rage, Second Wind, Action Surge and the like.
  • Hit Dice and long rests.
  • Martial characters who could not credibly fight the things they fight.
  • Bounded accuracy. Regularly fighting giants, but still being scared of kobolds.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Add one more voice to the unrealistic resting/healing/recovery rates.

For me, immersion takes a hit pretty much any time a game rule prevents me* from doing something I should be realistically able to do, or allows me* to do something I normally wouldn't be able to do - unless a) magic is involved and-or b) the setting we're in already operates differently than reality (e.g. moon-like gravity, a warped-physics dreamworld, etc.)

* - as in, my character.
 

darjr

I crit!
Having to constantly justify different mechanics “in fiction”. Like shoving a pit.
Once in a while or for a particular mechanic, that’s OK. But a barrage of effects and statuses and nonsensical “reskins” are not great for me. Exhausting as the DM.
 

RSIxidor

Explorer
I find rolling initiative to be immensely immersion breaking. Shifting from other modes to combat always feels abrasive to me. In the games where its used, its integral and not easy to excise. A lot of people do enjoy it and I can see why. I personally don't love it.

HP out the wazoo. When 5E first announced bounded accuracy, I thought it would also have small HP numbers. I was sad to find out I was very wrong about that. I'd like a system where 2 HP a level would be significant.
 

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