log in or register to remove this ad

 

5E What are your biggest immersion breakers, rules wise?

billd91

Hobbit on Quest
Replace "fall down a mine shaft" with "get stomped by an ogre" or "run through with a spear" or "incinerated by a gout of lava". It really doesn't matter. Here's a quick recap: Clever listed his beef with fast HP recovery; you decided to criticize his comment with "but HP aren't meat points (except when they are!)"; I chimed in to point out how your critique wasn't helpful in this instance, and kind of misses the point.

Honestly, the root issue here is more along the lines of assuming too much when losing hit points. "Run through with a spear" isn't a particularly appropriate narration to anything but a killing blow. This has been an issue with D&D for a very long time - DMs (and players) like to narrate a certain amount of gore. But as characters gain advanced levels and hit points, the game has never really supported it.

This brings up a parallel question - how much of your immersion breaking is caused by the game's rules vs how much is brought to the table by you in the assumptions and perspectives you bring?
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Bardic Dave

Explorer
Honestly, the root issue here is more along the lines of assuming too much when losing hit points. "Run through with a spear" isn't a particularly appropriate narration to anything but a killing blow. This has been an issue with D&D for a very long time - DMs (and players) like to narrate a certain amount of gore. But as characters gain advanced levels and hit points, the game has never really supported it.

This brings up a parallel question - how much of your immersion breaking is caused by the game's rules vs how much is brought to the table by you in the assumptions and perspectives you bring?

I get what you're saying, but perfect narration for being reduced to 0 hp is essentially impossible, which was sort of my point. Take the mine shaft example (which incidentally I don't think is at all outlandish—abandoned mines and pit traps are two D&D staples). How are we supposed to know if the PC broke his neck until after death saves are rolled? Can we necessarily predict ahead of time that he will stabilize and get a long rest?

Or let's say you're reduced to 0 hp by a spear thrust. You may or may not bleed out and die. If you don't bleed out, you'll likely be back at full hp with just 8 hours of rest. Without knowing the outcome ahead of time, how do you narrate the blow in a satisfying way that won't break immersion? Answer: you can't, really. It's Schrödinger's spear thrust, which is basically what a few posters earlier in this thread were getting at.

EDIT: of course, the way I handle this at the table is I just don't worry about it too much. Illogical, outlandish, occasionally silly shit is just part of the game, and IMO it's better to just laugh it off (or even embrace it). There's no real way out of this conumdrum, so best to not dwell on it too much.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
I get what you're saying, but perfect narration for being reduced to 0 hp is essentially impossible, which was sort of my point. Take the mine shaft example (which incidentally I don't think is at all outlandish—abandoned mines and pit traps are two D&D staples). How are we supposed to know if the PC broke his neck until after death saves are rolled? Can we necessarily predict ahead of time that he will stabilize and get a long rest?

Or let's say you're reduced to 0 hp by a spear thrust. You may or may not bleed out and die. If you don't bleed out, you'll likely be back at full hp with just 8 hours of rest. Without knowing the outcome ahead of time, how do you narrate the blow in a satisfying way that won't break immersion? Answer: you can't, really. It's Schrödinger's spear thrust, which is actually something that a few posters earlier in this thread were getting at.

Unless the death is immediate from massive damage, the PC is simply unconscious. Potentially bleeding out but not "run through". Or the spear did go all the way through but much like the magic bullets on tv/movies it miraculously didn't hit any major organs (which given the body fat percentage of most actors would be tough).

I only use the lopped off heads or run through descriptions for monsters and NPCs. Hopefully before the player announces they were doing subdual damage. :)
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
EDIT: of course, the way I handle this at the table is I just don't worry about it too much. Illogical, outlandish, occasionally silly shit is just part of the game, and IMO it's better to just laugh it off (or even embrace it). There's no real way out of this conumdrum, so best to not dwell on it too much.

Yep. It's thinking about how things should be, rather than how they are, that breaks what many people call "immersion" in my view. To that end, whether something breaks immersion is largely within our own control. Knowing this, my immersion is unbreakable.
 

Bardic Dave

Explorer
Unless the death is immediate from massive damage, the PC is simply unconscious. Potentially bleeding out but not "run through". Or the spear did go all the way through but much like the magic bullets on tv/movies it miraculously didn't hit any major organs (which given the body fat percentage of most actors would be tough).

I only use the lopped off heads or run through descriptions for monsters and NPCs. Hopefully before the player announces they were doing subdual damage. :)

Right, I get that, but you're still kind of dancing around the point. They get hit with a spear thrust. It's a serious blow. They're prone, unconscious, at 0 hp, making death saves. Obviously describing them as decapitated, impaled, gutted or anything similar would be inappropriate: they're not dead yet and they might yet live.

But we don't know if they'll die or live. With that in mind, how do you craft a perfect narration of the spear blow that takes into account the possibility that they might die or that they might be in tip-top shape with only 8 hours of rest? You can't really. It's an impossible feat. Your only real options are to leave things vague, to retcon descriptions with abandon, or to just not really worry about it too much. These solutions may or may not been satisfying for different people, depending on their preferences.
 


Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Right, I get that, but you're still kind of dancing around the point. They get hit with a spear thrust. It's a serious blow. They're prone, unconscious, at 0 hp, making death saves. Obviously describing them as decapitated, impaled, gutted or anything similar would be inappropriate: they're not dead yet and they might yet live.

But we don't know if they'll die or live. With that in mind, how do you craft a perfect narration of the spear blow that takes into account the possibility that they might die or that they might be in tip-top shape with only 8 hours of rest? You can't really. It's an impossible feat. Your only real options are to leave things vague, to retcon descriptions with abandon, or to just not really worry about it too much. These solutions may or may not been satisfying for different people, depending on their preferences.
I get that, and it's a matter of how real you want combat to be. Somebody getting shot/thrown across the room/injured badly enough to knock them unconscious is a really common trope in tv/movies.

As far as unconscious or dead, without a medicine check do you really know how bad most wounds are? A relatively minor head wound can gush what seems to be buckets of blood that will freak out a 10 year old and their mother without killing a person.

Anyway, everyone's entitled to their own immmersion breakers. Studded leather (and leather armor not being restrictive) is another example for me that someone else mentioned above. On the other hand I accept fire breathing lizard the size of a DC 10 that can fly.
 


Bardic Dave

Explorer
Somebody getting shot/thrown across the room/injured badly enough to knock them unconscious is a really common trope in tv/movies.

Totally, and to be honest that's often how I wind up doing it. I would file narrating a blow in this manner under "leaving things vague" which IMO is a sensible but tedious solution to the problem.
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
Thats the actual rules. Those 6 arrows didnt pierce your skin. They likely glanced off your armor, or you dodged them at the last second, or deflected them away with your weapon (losing HP in the process).
Yep, and it's immersion-breaking for me. An arrow misses me but somehow pushes me closer to death? That's the part that I can't get past. So I just roll my eyes and ignore it as best I can.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
Yep, and it's immersion-breaking for me. An arrow misses me but somehow pushes me closer to death? That's the part that I can't get past. So I just roll my eyes and ignore it as best I can.

Or when the attacker scores a critical hit. How does a person reconcile that your opponent scored a critical hit, double damage, but then also say it didn't even really hit you?

The whole concept of HP and immersion has been a problem since day 1. That's why there were articles in Dragon Magazine from almost the very beginning issues about adding pain and wound mechanics in the game. The issue has always been (and probably always will), is that the vast majority really don't care that much to implement those things. So we just accept it and move on.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Just an observation. For all the people that have problems with HP, have you never hurt yourself? Bumped into something, felt a little sore for the rest of the day? Maybe strained a muscle while catching yourself instead of falling?

Because that's how I see HP. Yes, my PC deflected that ogre's blow that would have smashed a lesser warrior but it still left my arm a little numb or wrenched my shoulder a bit. Many more hits like that and I'm not going to have the strength or speed to deflect the blow and it's going to do real damage.

Bruises, sprains and strains accumulate making it more likely that the next blow will do real damage. Of course it's not any more realistic than any other aspect of the game, but then nothing about D&D is particularly realistic. It's just not the worst possible mechanic ever invented.

But everyone's entitled to their own pet peeves/immersion breakers.
 

eyeheartawk

Works 60% of the time, every time
Or when the attacker scores a critical hit. How does a person reconcile that your opponent scored a critical hit, double damage, but then also say it didn't even really hit you?

Also makes it hard to explain to first time players.

Me: "Your HP represents your combat fatigue, near misses, luck, and armor, but not really your amount of health left in a direct way"

Also Me: "That's a critical hit, that means he hit you so hard you take twice the damage."

I've had more than a couple people confused by this until, I assume, they do what we all did at one point, squint, shrug and accept that both things are somehow true and move on.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
Just an observation. For all the people that have problems with HP, have you never hurt yourself? Bumped into something, felt a little sore for the rest of the day? Maybe strained a muscle while catching yourself instead of falling?

Because that's how I see HP. Yes, my PC deflected that ogre's blow that would have smashed a lesser warrior but it still left my arm a little numb or wrenched my shoulder a bit. Many more hits like that and I'm not going to have the strength or speed to deflect the blow and it's going to do real damage.

Bruises, sprains and strains accumulate making it more likely that the next blow will do real damage. Of course it's not any more realistic than any other aspect of the game, but then nothing about D&D is particularly realistic. It's just not the worst possible mechanic ever invented.

But everyone's entitled to their own pet peeves/immersion breakers.

Dude, I'm 45. I accidentally almost bump my arm and it hurts for a week!

More seriously, it's not that, it's issue like losing HP from an acid bolt, or magic missile (which never misses), or dragon's breath, or any type of fire damage, etc. It's hard to see how if you take a direct hit from a fireball and almost die, you're perfectly normal after 8 hours (even your hair growing back!)
 


Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Dude, I'm 45. I accidentally almost bump my arm and it hurts for a week!

More seriously, it's not that, it's issue like losing HP from an acid bolt, or magic missile (which never misses), or dragon's breath, or any type of fire damage, etc. It's hard to see how if you take a direct hit from a fireball and almost die, you're perfectly normal after 8 hours (even your hair growing back!)
Which is why I use the alternate rules where a long rest is a week or more. :)

But even fire or acid can be the equivalent of a bad sunburn. I agree, it's far from perfect just one of those things we accept. Like John McClane being blown up, shot and in a half dozen fist fights then walking away with a couple of bandages and a limp at the end of the movie.

But I get it. I don't even really disagree. I just drank the kool-aid so long ago and play enough FPS video games with the same trope that I don't even think about it any more.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
This.

What I find either hilarious or annoying (annarious?) is the people arguing that something CAN'T break someone else's immersion, because rules, or something.

Translate this to a more common area- fiction, say, watching a program. Now, what breaks immersion (suspension of disbelief) varies from person to person. An easy example that most people are familiar with is when a television show (or movie, whatever) deals with a subject that you know very well. Say, a "lawyer show" or a "doctor show" or a "cop show" if you happen to be a lawyer, doctor, or cop.

Now, there might be something in there that annoys the heck out of you because you are familiar with it- it breaks your suspension of disbelief (your immersion in the fiction of the show). On the other hand, perhaps it is either otherwise so well-crafted, or is obviously so removed from the real-world of your profession, that it doesn't bother you.* Either way, what makes or breaks the immersion tends to be highly specific to the person watching it.

See also, the fictional cop rule. This means that in any given program, if there is some event (say, a gun fight), police will either not show up or show up not depending on verisimilitude to the real world, but on the needs of the fiction.


*Another example of this is the uncanny valley.

Yep. Like hackers breaking into any system on earth with a few keystrokes or the monitors that project letters onto the actor's glasses. Almost as bad as those movies where the lawyer is a good person. Really? Totally unrealistic. :mad:
 


Sacrosanct

Legend
This.

What I find either hilarious or annoying (annarious?) is the people arguing that something CAN'T break someone else's immersion, because rules, or something.

Translate this to a more common area- fiction, say, watching a program. Now, what breaks immersion (suspension of disbelief) varies from person to person. An easy example that most people are familiar with is when a television show (or movie, whatever) deals with a subject that you know very well. Say, a "lawyer show" or a "doctor show" or a "cop show" if you happen to be a lawyer, doctor, or cop.

Now, there might be something in there that annoys the heck out of you because you are familiar with it- it breaks your suspension of disbelief (your immersion in the fiction of the show). On the other hand, perhaps it is either otherwise so well-crafted, or is obviously so removed from the real-world of your profession, that it doesn't bother you.* Either way, what makes or breaks the immersion tends to be highly specific to the person watching it.

See also, the fictional cop rule. This means that in any given program, if there is some event (say, a gun fight), police will either not show up or show up not depending on verisimilitude to the real world, but on the needs of the fiction.


*Another example of this is the uncanny valley.


I had to turn off San Andreas after 15 minutes. I was a Black Hawk crewchief in the army. There is no way a helicopter could do what he was doing with it. Not even remotely close lol. Same with the A Team movie and what they did with the Huey in that movie. Most military movies bother me, because they always screw something up. Don't people have advisers anymore?
 


COMING SOON! Halloween Horror For 5E

Advertisement2

Advertisement4

Top