What are your biggest immersion breakers, rules wise?

lowkey13

I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
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 I. 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.
Do you ever watch other programs not set in space?

/facepalm

But you realize that even restricted to programs in space, there is more than Star Wars, right? Do all these shows have these same devices? Do you even understand what suspension of disbelief means, and why this is an example used?

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.
Great. Do you know what else stimulates creativity? Making rules to make the game more enjoyable and immersive for the participants, instead of saying, "All the X-Wings have little PEW PEW PEW boxes, 'cuz I'm smart. Deal with it."
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
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."
I’m not saying berate yourself, I’m saying enjoy yourself. Rather than let the plot holes ruin the movie for you, fill them in. It might salvage the movie for you, or it might not, but either way you pushed yourself creatively, which is always good for creative people (which DMs are) to do.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
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."
I don't see why that's so unbelievable. If I'm the sort of person who nitpicks and is bothered by every little inconsistency or rule in a game that doesn't jive with how I think things should work, that's on me. I can change the rules. I can demand other people don't "metagame" or whatever. But I can also just choose not to be that person.
 

Saelorn

Adventurer
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 something non-sensical happens in the fiction, then I have every right (and obligation) to decry the fiction as non-sensical. By doing so, we can work to build a fiction that makes more sense. Making up by own explanation does nothing to actually fix anything.
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.
I'd rather be dissatisfied by the truth than believe a lie.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
If something non-sensical happens in the fiction, then I have every right (and obligation) to decry the fiction as non-sensical.
Of course you have that right. I never claimed otherwise. But it’s definitely not an obligation, and it’s also going to harm your ability to enjoy fiction.

By doing so, we can work to build a fiction that makes more sense. Making up by own explanation does nothing to actually fix anything.
Sure it does. If the explanation you come up with is plausible and satisfying to you, that fixes the problem of you being dissatisfied with something you found implausible. It doesn’t fix that problem for other people, but other people might or might not have that problem. If a lot of people do, they might share their explanations, and develop a collective consensus on what the best one is. Sometimes such fanon even ends up getting elevated to canon.

I'd rather be dissatisfied by the truth than believe a lie.
It’s fiction dude, the whole story is a lie.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
Do you ever watch other programs not set in space?
Yes. I’m not even that bug of a Star Wars fan, it’s just a random bit of trivia I happened to pick up.

But you realize that even restricted to programs in space, there is more than Star Wars, right? Do all these shows have these same devices?
Sure, if you find that answer satisfying. If not, come up with something else. Or don’t, I don’t really care, but I’m going to be over here enjoying movies instead of nitpicking them.

Do you even understand what suspension of disbelief means, and why this is an example used?
Yes.

Great. Do you know what else stimulates creativity? Making rules to make the game more enjoyable and immersive for the participants, instead of saying, "All the X-Wings have little PEW PEW PEW boxes, 'cuz I'm smart. Deal with it."
A different sort of creativity, but yeah, creating rules systems is a creative exercise for sure.
 

lowkey13

I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
I don't see why that's so unbelievable. If I'm the sort of person who nitpicks and is bothered by every little inconsistency or rule in a game that doesn't jive with how I think things should work, that's on me. I can change the rules. I can demand other people don't "metagame" or whatever. But I can also just choose not be that person.
Because you are conflating, I think, an argument you have with other people about other things with what you are saying here. Which seems to happen a lot.

So I will break this down one more time.

Suspension of disbelief- "the temporary acceptance as believable of events or characters that would ordinarily be seen as incredible. This is usually to allow an audience to appreciate works of literature or drama that are exploring unusual ideas." Coined by Coleridge (you ever wonder why my location is listed as the stately pleasure palace of Xanadu? it's not for Olivia Newton John), this is the concept that, for our use now, can be as simple as "I am watching an actor read lines, but I am accepting that this is really about Elliott and Mr. Robot," to the usual "I know that there is no sound in space, but I enjoy space lasers."

The suspension of disbelief is what allows us to enjoy fiction- it allows for immersion. In TTRPG terms, it provides for the RP fun that some people appreciate, even though there are issues as simple as "I know that is Tom speaking, and not Thag the Unwashed," to "Fireballs would probably kill most people."

Were this fails is in two specific areas, the personal and the intrinsic.

The personal is usually self-explanatory; people with a great amount of knowledge in one area often find it hard to overlook glaring issues; doctors might find it harder to overlook flaws in a bad TV show about doctors, for example, or, as @Sacrosanct noted, people with military experience have trouble with certain depictions of the military.

The second is more important from an RPG perspective; specifically, issues that are intrinsic. It's easiest to explain with fiction. For example, in a drama, if characters are written inconsistently, the show will often lost the suspension of disbelief. Some would call this a "bad show" but it's really a manifestation of an intrinsic issue; an easy example of this is S2 on of the show Heroes, where the characters' motivations became instrumentalities of the plot, and there was no "stable character concepts" to go around.

Looping back to TTRPGs, the first issue, the personal one, you often see when people complain that something in the game doesn't work a certain way (that's not how leather armor works). If you didn't know that, you wouldn't care.

The second is more pernicious- it's internal consistency; this would be example of the way the rules fit together. For some people, the various ways that the rules around hit points, healing, and narration fit together don't work- it's like S2 of Heroes. For others, it works fine. It's a question of what works for them.


Saying, however, that if someone has a problem with immersion (or the later seasons of Heroes) that the reason problem is them is both dismissive and obnoxious in equal measure.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
The personal is usually self-explanatory; people with a great amount of knowledge in one area often find it hard to overlook glaring issues; doctors might find it harder to overlook flaws in a bad TV show about doctors, for example, or, as @Sacrosanct noted, people with military experience have trouble with certain depictions of the military.
On the recommendation of others, I watched the first season of Narcos on Netflix since I have some connection to the area where the events of the show take place. Having lived there for some time, I noticed right away that, while the local slang was being used, the actors did not have the correct accent. While it struck me as being out of place, I did not permit this to overshadow what was an otherwise excellent program. I chose not to let it take me out of the story. I simply focused and ignored this inconsistency. Pablo Escobar was no less Pablo because the accent was wrong. I chose not to be the kind of person for whom the show would be ruined because of this issue. I chose instead to be the kind of person who sometimes notices these things, but doesn't let it interfere with being immersed in the story.

Saying, however, that if someone has a problem with immersion (or the later seasons of Heroes) that the reason problem is them is both dismissive and obnoxious in equal measure.
It's not dismissive at all. I recognize it as a real problem, one that I've had personally, but overcame. I also stated that there are a number of solutions and that I preferred one in particular because it is useful in more areas than just watching movies or playing D&D. I can't control the casting of Narcos. I can't control how a TV show writes its stories. But I can control myself. And so that's the best place to start in my view.
 

Saelorn

Adventurer
If the explanation you come up with is plausible and satisfying to you, that fixes the problem of you being dissatisfied with something you found implausible.
You're still trying to pass the burden for bad writing from the writer to the audience. The problem isn't that my standards are too high. The problem is that the quality of the product is too low.
It doesn’t fix that problem for other people, but other people might or might not have that problem. If a lot of people do, they might share their explanations, and develop a collective consensus on what the best one is. Sometimes such fanon even ends up getting elevated to canon.
The inconsistency is there, regardless of whether anyone notices it. If we're going to pretend that this whole scenario is actually happening - if we're going to assume the central conceit of a role-playing game, that these events could actually take place in some hypothetical world - then the true explanation can't be influenced by our awareness of it. Saying that it's just fiction, and that none of it is real, is dodging the question.
 

lowkey13

I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
It's not dismissive at all. I recognize it as a real problem, one that I've had personally, but overcame. I also stated that there are a number of solutions and that I preferred one in particular because it is useful in more areas than just watching movies or playing D&D. I can't control the casting of Narcos. I can't control how a TV show writes its stories. But I can control myself. And so that's the best place to start in my view.
Did ... you ... not .... notice ... that .... I .... specifically ... delineated ... TWO different ways that immersion can be broken?

And that I have been almost exclusively talking about the second (the "intrinsic" issues)? Did you miss the part where I said, "The second is more important from an RPG perspective; specifically, issues that are intrinsic."

And that you then proceeded to focus on the first? Yes, people can overlook those issues. Good for you. It's a lot harder when those issues are intrinsic and impact areas of internal consistency. Sure, you can spend a lot of time like Charlaquin and rationalize everything with increasingly absurd explanations (IT'S NOT A BUG, IT'S A FEATURE! IT'S NOT INTERNAL INCONSISTENCY, IT'S AN OPPORTUNITY TO BE IMAGINATIVE! IT'S NOT A RULES ERROR, IT'S A THRILLING CHANCE TO PRACTICE MINDFULNESS!), but some of us prefer things that do not suck, thank you.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
Yes, people can overlook those issues. Good for you. It's a lot harder when those issues are intrinsic and impact areas of internal consistency. Sure, you can spend a lot of time like Charlaquin and rationalize everything with increasingly absurd explanation.
So you're saying it's not impossible to overcome this issue... ;)

Also it doesn't take much time at all, and it's why I don't have a problem with hit points, Vancian casting, resting and healing, warlords shouting severed hands back on, and on and on and on.

I wasn't always this way, but I decided to change.
 
but some of us prefer things that do not suck, thank you.
Hey, we do all like D&D, so clearly we have a very high tolerance for suck.
;P

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.
I've certainly experienced moments of relative immersion even a context as profoundly abstract as a TTRPG, even strung them together enough to accumulate some particular investment in the character.
So, it is an over- and miss-used buzzword, but not meaningless. Though, I agree it's not necessary to enjoy an RPG.

The idea of a single mechanic "breaking immerssion" has always felt off, to me, too, because it is such a fleeting experience, and so much in the abstract nature of a TTRPG already mitigates against ever achieving it. (LARPing would seem more fertile ground.) The idea that achieving immersion would be a given but for one loathsome mechanic is particularly hard to take seriously in that context. (That it consistently seems said mechanic just happens to enhance playability or balance - or, the ultimate horror, gives a martial character something cool to do - also contributes to the sense that there's something else going on. )

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.
By the time you say that to yourself, it's too late, the moment of immersion has passed. But, yes, coming up with a way of imagining it that works better for you should help next time...
 
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Waterbizkit

Explorer
I've skimmed enough of the thread to realize that other people have already held this opinion, so at least I don't have to be that guy, not that I mind being that guy...

Anyway...

Nothing. Nothing breaks my immersion. The way I look at it, the definition of immersion, at least as it's being discussed here, would imply not thinking of the game as a game. If that's the correct way to look at it, nothing has ever broken my immersion because at no point as a DM or as a player have I ever stopped thinking of the game as a game.

I don't say this to be contrarian and simply post an opinion outside of the norm or what the thread is looking for, it's just the way it's always been for me. At no point even deep in a moment of role-playing have I ever stopped realizing the basic fact that D&D is a game that my friends and I are sitting around playing at a table in someone's home.

Now I don't say this to belittle anybody who has one or more aspects of the game that get under their skin and break their immersion, everybody's game is different, which is of course one of the best things about this game. If anything, reading all of the different ways so many other people have their immersion broken by different aspects of the game make me a little bit more grateful for not having the same issues. Plus, it's always interesting to read about other people's experiences, even if I don't necessarily see eye-to-eye with them.

Anyway, that's my answer to the question posed at the beginning of the thread. I'm not sure I've contributed very much, but it's the internet, so I suppose making a comment without actually contributing much to the discussion is really just par for the course. :)
 

lowkey13

I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
So you're saying it's not impossible to overcome this issue... ;)

Also it doesn't take much time at all, and it's why I don't have a problem with hit points, Vancian casting, resting and healing, warlords shouting severed hands back on, and on and on and on.

I wasn't always this way, but I decided to change.
Well, you may not have a problem with it, but I am guessing that this is from a general rules-perspective as opposed to an immersion perspective.

For example, your compatriot-in-argument, Charlaquin, thinks immersion is just a buzzword. But that's because (as in this post) the two of you are used to arguing about rules.

If you are playing, say, Cthulhu, and you're an hour-and-half into the game, and everything has been building this gradual sense of horror, and you're feeling it, and you open a door behind which is the eldritch horror you're sure will drive you (your character) beyond the bend, and the GM says, "Hey it's Mike Meyers, and he's going to do his Dieter Impression" and then proceeds to do a 30 minute, terrible, Sprockets routine and then says that he Dieter wants you to love his abshmienke ... does that break immersion for you?

Maybe?

No, of course not! The fault is not with the DM, Iserith, or with the stars, the fault is with YOU for not being fully immersed.

Shame on you. Immerse yourself better.
 

Bardic Dave

Explorer
Did ... you ... not .... notice ... that .... I .... specifically ... delineated ... TWO different ways that immersion can be broken?

And that I have been almost exclusively talking about the second (the "intrinsic" issues)? Did you miss the part where I said, "The second is more important from an RPG perspective; specifically, issues that are intrinsic."

And that you then proceeded to focus on the first? Yes, people can overlook those issues. Good for you. It's a lot harder when those issues are intrinsic and impact areas of internal consistency. Sure, you can spend a lot of time like Charlaquin and rationalize everything with increasingly absurd explanations (IT'S NOT A BUG, IT'S A FEATURE! IT'S NOT INTERNAL INCONSISTENCY, IT'S AN OPPORTUNITY TO BE IMAGINATIVE! IT'S NOT A RULES ERROR, IT'S A THRILLING CHANCE TO PRACTICE MINDFULNESS!), but some of us prefer things that do not suck, thank you.
You’ve been exceptionally patient and explained yourself extremely well. Let’s face it: they’re just not going to give you the satisfaction of acknowledging your point (which I happen to think is a very sound one). They’re too invested in their own point of view. Best to just let it go and not let it ruin your immersion... erm, your enjoyment of these message boards. ;)
 

PsyzhranV2

Explorer
... why are all the houserule fixes that supposedly help better immersion also turn PCs into glass cannons with slow recovery? Is every combat being probably debilitating rocket tag what you guys want?
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
Well, you may not have a problem with it, but I am guessing that this is from a general rules-perspective as opposed to an immersion perspective.

For example, your compatriot-in-argument, Charlaquin, thinks immersion is just a buzzword. But that's because (as in this post) the two of you are used to arguing about rules.
I don't understand where you're going with this part above.

If you are playing, say, Cthulhu, and you're an hour-and-half into the game, and everything has been building this gradual sense of horror, and you're feeling it, and you open a door behind which is the eldritch horror you're sure will drive you (your character) beyond the bend, and the GM says, "Hey it's Mike Meyers, and he's going to do his Dieter Impression" and then proceeds to do a 30 minute, terrible, Sprockets routine and then says that he Dieter wants you to love his abshmienke ... does that break immersion for you?
Heck no. Touch my monkey.

Maybe?

No, of course not! The fault is not with the DM, Iserith, or with the stars, the fault is with YOU for not being fully immersed.

Shame on you. Immerse yourself better.
I have no control over the DM or the stars. I only have control over myself. That's where I'll start to look for solutions, even if I may also reach out to the DM for help.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
You're still trying to pass the burden for bad writing from the writer to the audience. The problem isn't that my standards are too high. The problem is that the quality of the product is too low.
I haven’t made any comments about quality or burdens. All writers make continuity mistakes from time to time, and yes, that is on them. Working to reduce such mistakes as much as possible is part of improving as a writer. But, once the creative work is released, it’s released. Any mistakes that were not caught before that point are now part of the work. If there are a lot of mistakes, especially serious ones, that reflects poorly on the quality of the work. But pointing out the mistake won’t make it go away. When you notice a mistake in a work, you can complain about it, or you can come up with your own explanation that satisfies you.

The inconsistency is there, regardless of whether anyone notices it. If we're going to pretend that this whole scenario is actually happening - if we're going to assume the central conceit of a role-playing game, that these events could actually take place in some hypothetical world - then the true explanation can't be influenced by our awareness of it. Saying that it's just fiction, and that none of it is real, is dodging the question.
Indeed, if you just stop at “well, none of it is real, so it doesn’t matter if it’s consistent or not,” then we are dodging the question. It is also dodging the question to say “this inconsistency breaks my immersion” and leave it at that. If we want to answer the question, we must accept that what has happened in the fiction has happened in the fiction and does not match our expectations of what would happen in reality and then come up with an in-fiction reason how it happened.
 

lowkey13

I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
... why are all the houserule fixes that supposedly help better immersion also turn PCs into glass cannons with slow recovery? Is every combat being probably debilitating rocket tag what you guys want?
?

I think the main issue is that some people view immersion in the sense of fiction (as in, suspension of disbelief). To use the Buffy example, you might not watch the show because you don't think Vampires are real, but if you do watch the show, the unrealistic combat (punches, etc.) and healing that usually takes place at the speed of narrative needs probably doesn't bother you. In other words, you accept the world where people are kung-fu fighting vampires so long as it remains reasonable internally consistent and propulsive enough to keep you from pondering any rough patches for too long.

The issue is that other people use "immersion" as a synonym for realism. So when they do that, you end up hitting a lot of the tired old debates (Are hit points meat? What about vancian spellcasting? How do you feel about 4e and the Warlord?). Meh. Stupid debates. They don't get less stupid with time.

Unfortunately, because people conflate the two issues (immersion in the RP/fiction sense and immersion as secret special word for realism), you end up with some pretty inane points being made. Like, I am now adding the "all problems with suspension of disbelief in fiction are the fault of the audience" as 1b on my list of "Most Stupid Arguments I have ever Seen Here."
 
... why are all the houserule fixes that supposedly help better immersion also turn PCs into glass cannons with slow recovery?
They don't much slow recovery in the practical sense.
If a DM goes with the 1wk long rest in 5e, for instance, you just shift pacing. If you eliminate HD & overnight healing, slots dedicated healing will still do the job in an extra day or so, just with some additional die-rolling and bookkeeping.
 

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