What are your biggest immersion breakers, rules wise?

lowkey13

I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
I think you point out a distinction which exists but I am talking specifically about dealing with issues of immersion not likes or dislikes. One can become more resilient to distraction which is essentially what is pulling someone out of that state. There are ways to do that, just like there's ways to improve one's ability to stay focused.
You're going to need to be more specific, then.

For example, a person can practice mindfulness meditation which allows them to be resilient to distraction. But, and I say this from personal experience, I have not found it to be helpful when it comes to immersion in a fictional setting.

Again, if the distraction is extrinsic (someone at the table is chewing loudly), then that's fine. Rise above. When the "distraction" is intrinsic, and thereby causing you to lose immersion, then I am unfamiliar with a technique that works.

But maybe I'm wrong! You seem to have something specific in mind that you've alluded to. Please share what techniques work for you for intrinsic issues that destroy immersion- I'd love to hear it.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
Marvel used to do a thing called a “no prize.” It was what it sounds like - an envelop in the mail from Marvel with nothing in it. You could earn a no prize by writing Marvel about a continuity error you spotted in the comics, and an in-universe explanation to fill the plot hole. And if Stan Lee liked your explanation, you’d get a no prize.

I think this is what Iserith is talking about when he says “change yourself.” When something “breaks your immersion,” you’ve effectively identified a continuity error. But identifying the error is the easy part. If you want a no prize, you’ve got to come up with a plausible explanation of how this seemingly impossible thing can be true.
 

5ekyu

Adventurer
It is very easy to finetune the speed of level advancement.

Count the number of encounters, rather than the number of creatures.

On average, it takes roughly 10 ‘routine’ encounters to reach the next level.



There are many benefits to counting encounters instead of xp.
• You decide if an encounter turned out to be unexpectedly easy or hard AFTER THE FACT. Always accurate.
• As a DM, you can put in difficult or easy encounters − per the story − and it works out fine.
• Your encounter can easily be noncombat, and still count fully toward leveling.
• You completely control the speed of advancement by deciding how many encounters you prefer to level.

Use the ‘routine’ medium difficulty as the base line. Count a trivial encounter as a ½-encounter, a hard encounter as a 1½-encounter, and an encounter that almost ended in a TPK as 2 encounters.
Actually, we just count sessions. Tier x 3-4 sessions is our current pacing. The 3--4 gives us a three session window from 6-8 to get yo a decent dramatic point for the level change.

Thisxsets our pace of vhsnge in our primary play tier-2 at about two levels every 3-4 months or going from start of 5th to start of 11th at right at a year and the remaining level in tier-3 even slower.

Next time, next campaign, I plan to suggest gaining two levels every tier-x-6-8 to allow for more time at any given stage and make every "level up" bigger. The idea is to hivebplrntynof time to get used to and use your stuff before gaining new ones.

But yeah, pacing for advancement is easy to dial to suit your preferences.
 

Nebulous

Adventurer
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.
When players meticulously plan -and replan - their next move, while discussing with other players their intentions - in the midst of a 6 second round. This includes counting squares far, far away, so spells hit only the enemies, and not allies. I know, it's just a game. I'm ok with D&D being essentially a video game at the table. But sometimes little things do jump out and bug me. I don't mind the 8 hour healing really, oddly enough. I mean, it's all so ridiculous anyway, you can't survive a hit from an ogre, giant or dragon IRL if they existed, so what the hell, sure, sleep off your wounds.
 
Re: Level Advancement being too quick,

Leveling up doesn't bother me, but my wife hates it. So in her games, she uses the optional rules on pg. 261 of the DMG for "Level Advancement Without XP." We don't track XP, and we all level-up whenever it makes sense for the pacing of the story.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
You're going to need to be more specific, then.

For example, a person can practice mindfulness meditation which allows them to be resilient to distraction. But, and I say this from personal experience, I have not found it to be helpful when it comes to immersion in a fictional setting.

Again, if the distraction is extrinsic (someone at the table is chewing loudly), then that's fine. Rise above. When the "distraction" is intrinsic, and thereby causing you to lose immersion, then I am unfamiliar with a technique that works.

But maybe I'm wrong! You seem to have something specific in mind that you've alluded to. Please share what techniques work for you for intrinsic issues that destroy immersion- I'd love to hear it.
I touch on this in my initial post in this thread wherein it's basically about not thinking about how things should be, but how they are. You're volunteering your buy-in on things that don't make sense in the real world, but that do make sense in the fictional world. This is how it is - what is it like to be in this kind of world? And you're training yourself to very rapidly justify anything that is going on fictionally. Much of these are improvisational skills which are improved simply by practicing them.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
It is very easy to finetune the speed of level advancement.

Count the number of encounters, rather than the number of creatures.

On average, it takes roughly 10 ‘routine’ encounters to reach the next level.



There are many benefits to counting encounters instead of xp.
• You decide if an encounter turned out to be unexpectedly easy or hard AFTER THE FACT. Always accurate.
• As a DM, you can put in difficult or easy encounters − per the story − and it works out fine.
• Your encounter can easily be noncombat, and still count fully toward leveling.
• You completely control the speed of advancement by deciding how many encounters you prefer to level.

Use the ‘routine’ medium difficulty as the base line. Count a trivial encounter as a ½-encounter, a hard encounter as a 1½-encounter, and an encounter that almost ended in a TPK as 2 encounters.
This assumes you're only giving xp for things that count as "encounters". Mission-based or "dungeon bonus" xp blow this model up.

Simplest and easiest way to alter the advancement rate is to give out xp as normal but tweak (or outright butcher!) the numbers on the advancement chart. So if, using a hypothetical example here, if RAW says you bump to 2nd level at 2000 xp but you want it faster, change that bump point to 1000 and cut all the higher-level bump points in half as well. Conversely, if you want a slower advance rate, multiply the whole chart by 1.5 or some other number greater than 1.

And if you're interested in extending the game's "sweet spot", tweak the chart such that those levels (usually 3-9) take longer to progress through than they otherwise would.
 

DM Dave1

Adventurer
Non-lethal damage.

Player: "I swing my mighty greataxe at the foul villain, and roll a... natural 20!"
DM: "Wow! Roll damage!"
Player: "...30 slashing damage. Oh wait, I forgot rage, make that 32 damage."
DM: "An explosion of blood bursts forth as the enemy is cleft in twain by the jagged steel of your axe! He's deader than dead. You kill him so hard the guy next to him feels it."
Player: "...oh, this is a non-lethal critical hit from a greataxe."
DM: o_O
The immersion-shattering part is that the lethal/non-lethal declaration is made after the fact.

If it's said before the swing is made e.g. "I'm striking to subdue on this next attack", then no problem at all.
To be fair, that one really is squarely on the player for not being clear in what they were hoping to accomplish. The rulez (p198 5e PHB): The attacker can make this choice the instant the damage is dealt.
The Combat goal of the Attack action is most often, IME, interpreted implicitly as: my PC tries to kill the enemy.
You want your PC to knock out the baddie instead? Explicitly say so as you are counting up your damage.
Or, this could also be viewed as a good argument for letting players describe killing/knockout blows.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
To be fair, that one really is squarely on the player for not being clear in what they were hoping to accomplish. The rulez (p198 5e PHB): The attacker can make this choice the instant the damage is dealt.
The Combat goal of the Attack action is most often, IME, interpreted implicitly as: my PC tries to kill the enemy.
You want your PC to knock out the baddie instead? Explicitly say so as you are counting up your damage.
Or, this could also be viewed as a good argument for letting players describe killing/knockout blows.
I actually ask my players to say if they are trying to knock out, rather than kill the target, when they declare the action. Actions require both a goal and an approach (at my table), and “knock the orc out” is a goal.
 

Saelorn

Adventurer
When something “breaks your immersion,” you’ve effectively identified a continuity error. But identifying the error is the easy part. If you want a no prize, you’ve got to come up with a plausible explanation of how this seemingly impossible thing can be true.
I don't want to come up with a plausible explanation, though. That's entirely the wrong mindset for role-playing. If I'm going to pretend that I'm actually my character, in a world that could believably exist, then the true explanation must exist without regards to my speculation. My belief can't cause something to be true.

If there's a continuity error in one of those old comics, then the true explanation is that the writer messed up. Shifting the burden to the reader does not change that fact, and it does nothing to prevent similar errors from happening in the future. Writers (and game designers) should be held accountable for their mistakes.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
I actually ask my players to say if they are trying to knock out, rather than kill the target, when they declare the action. Actions require both a goal and an approach (at my table), and “knock the orc out” is a goal.
Same, though I'm generally amenable to them saying so after the fact.
 

lowkey13

I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
I touch on this in my initial post in this thread wherein it's basically about not thinking about how things should be, but how they are. You're volunteering your buy-in on things that don't make sense in the real world, but that do make sense in the fictional world. This is how it is - what is it like to be in this kind of world? And you're training yourself to very rapidly justify anything that is going on fictionally. Much of these are improvisational skills which are improved simply by practicing them.
I understand. But that's not what we are really talking about here. I was hoping that the post prior to this made it clear.

Look, if someone is saying, "I can't stand hit points. They are breaking my immersion!" Then maybe that is right. Or maybe, they are complaining about something (as people tend to do on the internet) that they can, in fact, deal with and/or house rule around pretty easily. It's the nature of the game.

That's why I made the analogy to suspension of disbelief and fiction. Of course all fiction (books, movies) requires the suspension of disbelief. That the "buy in" that you "volunteer" when you engage with it. If someone says, "I don't like Buffy the Vampire Slayer" because "vampires aren't real," then, well, I mean, okay. They never engaged in the buy in, yada yada yada.

Where I think you're not understanding what I am saying is that in TTRPGs or in fiction, there can be things that are intrinsic to the material that, usually for idiosyncratic reasons, break someone out of the fiction / immersion, and that's NOT part of the initial buy-in.

For example, let's say someone goes to see a science fiction movie. Now, maybe there are numerous things that they accept that don't bother them, for whatever reason (like, oh, sounds in space to start with because space battles are cool). But then there's one scene where something happens and suddenly, for that person, the suspension of disbelief is lifted. That person "bought in" but there was something intrinsic that broke them out of it.


And you know, if this has happened to you, that you just don't ... re-immerse yourself. Sure, it doesn't mean that you storm out of the theater (or quit the TTRPG), but you also can't say, "Look, it's all just fiction, man. Get over it. Suck it up, buttercup."

Because that's not correct, either. If nothing else, it is the reverse of the "All opinions are personal, so stop questioning me about my preferences" statement. It's the nihilist argument, "It's just a game, so nothing matters. Nothing is ever going to be realistic or not realistic, or whatever. No one cares about immersion."
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
I don't want to come up with a plausible explanation, though. That's entirely the wrong mindset for role-playing. If I'm going to pretend that I'm actually my character, in a world that could believably exist, then the true explanation must exist without regards to my speculation. My belief can't cause something to be true.
Your belief can’t cause something to be true, but it also can’t cause something not to be true. when a thing happens in the game, it is true in the fiction whether you believe it or not. If you refuse to come up with or accept any explanations of how it could be true, that’s on you.

If there's a continuity error in one of those old comics, then the true explanation is that the writer messed up. Shifting the burden to the reader does not change that fact, and it does nothing to prevent similar errors from happening in the future. Writers (and game designers) should be held accountable for their mistakes.
Obviously the reason is that the writer made a mistake. And yet, it’s canon. It happened. Come up with an explanation, or be dissatisfied, the choice is yours. Personally, I don’t really enjoy being dissatisfied.
 

lowkey13

I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
Marvel used to do a thing called a “no prize.” It was what it sounds like - an envelop in the mail from Marvel with nothing in it. You could earn a no prize by writing Marvel about a continuity error you spotted in the comics, and an in-universe explanation to fill the plot hole. And if Stan Lee liked your explanation, you’d get a no prize.

I think this is what Iserith is talking about when he says “change yourself.” When something “breaks your immersion,” you’ve effectively identified a continuity error. But identifying the error is the easy part. If you want a no prize, you’ve got to come up with a plausible explanation of how this seemingly impossible thing can be true.
I hope that's not what he (iserith) meant.

Because that is ... the worst. No offense.*

Do you regularly go to bad movies and say, "It's not that the bad movie was bad, it's that I was bad for not properly explaining to myself how good the movie was."

I mean, why have standards at all?

PS- I really don't think you understood the whole idea behind the no prize.



*EDIT. I'm not trying to be too harsh, but this is saying, "Hey, that thing that doesn't work for you? Instead of changing it, or choosing a system that works better for you, how about you berate yourself not being able to more effectively lie to yourself? The problem isn't the rules, it's YOU."
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
Where I think you're not understanding what I am saying is that in TTRPGs or in fiction, there can be things that are intrinsic to the material that, usually for idiosyncratic reasons, break someone out of the fiction / immersion, and that's NOT part of the initial buy-in.

For example, let's say someone goes to see a science fiction movie. Now, maybe there are numerous things that they accept that don't bother them, for whatever reason (like, oh, sounds in space to start with because space battles are cool). But then there's one scene where something happens and suddenly, for that person, the suspension of disbelief is lifted. That person "bought in" but there was something intrinsic that broke them out of it.

And you know, if this has happened to you, that you just don't ... re-immerse yourself. Sure, it doesn't mean that you storm out of the theater (or quit the TTRPG), but you also can't say, "Look, it's all just fiction, man. Get over it. Suck it up, buttercup."
If I was that person, I would continue to set myself to working on my ability to ignore such distractions and maintain immersion. I would indeed be the buttercup that sucked it up. Because I know it's possible if I try. What I see a lot of is people not wanting to put forth the effort. And that's fine, but let's not suggest it's impossible.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
EDIT. I'm not trying to be too harsh, but this is saying, "Hey, that thing that doesn't work for you? Instead of changing it, or choosing a system that works better for you, how about you berate yourself not being able to more effectively lie to yourself? The problem isn't the rules, it's YOU."
As I said upthread, one can change the channel, change the rules, or change oneself. There's not a single solution, but one of those approaches actually pays dividends beyond D&D.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
Your belief can’t cause something to be true, but it also can’t cause something not to be true. when a thing happens in the game, it is true in the fiction whether you believe it or not. If you refuse to come up with or accept any explanations of how it could be true, that’s on you.
Totally agree. When you point your finger at someone or something else, three fingers are pointing back at you.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
I understand. But that's not what we are really talking about here. I was hoping that the post prior to this made it clear.

Look, if someone is saying, "I can't stand hit points. They are breaking my immersion!" Then maybe that is right. Or maybe, they are complaining about something (as people tend to do on the internet) that they can, in fact, deal with and/or house rule around pretty easily. It's the nature of the game.

That's why I made the analogy to suspension of disbelief and fiction. Of course all fiction (books, movies) requires the suspension of disbelief. That the "buy in" that you "volunteer" when you engage with it. If someone says, "I don't like Buffy the Vampire Slayer" because "vampires aren't real," then, well, I mean, okay. They never engaged in the buy in, yada yada yada.

Where I think you're not understanding what I am saying is that in TTRPGs or in fiction, there can be things that are intrinsic to the material that, usually for idiosyncratic reasons, break someone out of the fiction / immersion, and that's NOT part of the initial buy-in.

For example, let's say someone goes to see a science fiction movie. Now, maybe there are numerous things that they accept that don't bother them, for whatever reason (like, oh, sounds in space to start with because space battles are cool). But then there's one scene where something happens and suddenly, for that person, the suspension of disbelief is lifted. That person "bought in" but there was something intrinsic that broke them out of it.


And you know, if this has happened to you, that you just don't ... re-immerse yourself. Sure, it doesn't mean that you storm out of the theater (or quit the TTRPG), but you also can't say, "Look, it's all just fiction, man. Get over it. Suck it up, buttercup."
Or, an alternative: the person could accept that this thing is true in the fiction, and think up a reason why it is true. Did you know that in the Star Wars universe, fighter ships actually create sound-effects to help their pilots intuit their surroundings more naturally, and we as an audience are hearing what the characters are hearing? At least, according to one of the novelizations of... I think New Hope? One of the original trilogy, anyway. Coming up with these sorts of explanations is a highly beneficial mental exercise that stimulates creativity, and enhances our fictional worlds to boot.

Because that's not correct, either. If nothing else, it is the reverse of the "All opinions are personal, so stop questioning me about my preferences" statement. It's the nihilist argument, "It's just a game, so nothing matters. Nothing is ever going to be realistic or not realistic, or whatever. No one cares about immersion."
I mean, no one should care about immersion. It’s a meaningless buzzword, and it’s not really necessary to the enjoyment of an RPG. If you find yourself saying, “wait, that doesn’t make any sense!” try thinking of an explanation that does make sense. It’s good for your brain, it’s easier than coming up with house-rules to “fix” all the things that “don’t make sense,” and it makes the game more enjoyable.
 
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lowkey13

I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
As I said upthread, one can change the channel, change the rules, or change oneself. There's not a single solution, but one of those approaches actually pays dividends beyond D&D.
Yeah, except that these vague platitudes seem to be meaningless.

But if your solution to issues of a suspension of disbelief when watching something is to "change yourself," then yes, we have a fundamental disagreement.

Most people would think that, as a general rule (and internal consistency is big part of this) when someone is creating fiction, part of that ability when it comes to good fiction is the ability to suspend disbelief for the audience.

...this has to be the most inane argument I've seen. I just realized that you really are suggesting that when someone produces something that isn't internally consistent (for example), the best course of action is to "change oneself."

Okay, that is some centaur manure.
 

jasper

Rotten DM
Finally thought of one. How easy Remove Curse works. Thor lays down a curse on a hammer, a cleric from France removes in 6 seconds.
 

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