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  1. - Top - End - #91
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    Default Re: A model of immersion

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    So the progression goes from "street-level superheroes" to "mid-rank Marvel heroes" (they never get to the high end of a Golden Age Superman or a Dr Strange, but they're somewhere in the mushy middle).
    I can wrap my arms around that.
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    (paraphrased) Rulings are not 'House Rules.' Rulings are a DM doing what DMs are supposed to do.
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    Agency means that they {players} control their character's actions; you control the world's reactions to the character's actions.
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  2. - Top - End - #92
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    Default Re: A model of immersion

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    So the progression goes from "street-level superheroes" to "mid-rank Marvel heroes" (they never get to the high end of a Golden Age Superman or a Dr Strange, but they're somewhere in the mushy middle).
    They're not that heroic to start. A few Orcs can be a challenge at level one and easily result in a death and it doesn't take much to turn into a TPK. They're just a bit better than guards.

    And at the top most levels, they're easily more than most superheroes.

    IMO they go from skilled guards/hirelings to effectively demigods.

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    Default Re: A model of immersion

    Quote Originally Posted by kyoryu View Post
    On the subject of immersion:

    I have a model of immersion that I think is pretty accurate -
    kyoryu, I finally had a moment to really read your original post. I really liked it and think you are onto at least how immersion is for me. Thank You for a great post.
    *It isn't realism, it's verisimilitude... seeming to be true within the context of the game world.

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  4. - Top - End - #94
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    Default Re: A model of immersion

    Quote Originally Posted by Tanarii View Post
    They're not that heroic to start. A few Orcs can be a challenge at level one and easily result in a death and it doesn't take much to turn into a TPK. They're just a bit better than guards.

    And at the top most levels, they're easily more than most superheroes.

    IMO they go from skilled guards/hirelings to effectively demigods.
    A level 1 fighter is significantly better than a guard in every way. A level 1 barbarian is also better. A level 1 wizard is better than an apprentice wizard. A level 1 cleric is significantly better than an acolyte. Etc.

    And they're only more than most superheroes at level 20 if you take a cramped view. Compared to the Avengers, for instance, they're not anywhere close unless you're seriously abusing optimization or have a giving DM who gives wiggle room to spells. And then only the wizards.
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  5. - Top - End - #95
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    Default Re: A model of immersion

    Quote Originally Posted by Cluedrew View Post
    You are OK with drown healing but even just the modifier distribution of 4e* is out of the question? I'm not quite sure what to make of that.

    Still I think drawn healing can fail the first rule and come up in destructive way if you have a wounded character fall off a bridge.

    * or was it just skill challenges, I'm sure you said something about the modifier range because of the teacher/classroom example.
    Lol. Why is it that the example of Drown Healing failing the "Perfect Rule" test is also the one that makes the most sense? "You were knocked unconscious by your injuries, but awoke from the shock of hitting the water."

    I'm not a fan of Drown Healing. It's just both a current topic, and an example of a perfect rule. (Or it was…)

    Quote Originally Posted by kyoryu View Post
    My main point is that it's not really the rules or the lack of realism that matter. It's whether or not it's internalized.

    Now if some things bug you so much that you can never just gloss over them? You'll probably never internalize them. But again, that's a highly personal thing and nothing objective.
    So many responses competing for head space here, but I think I'll stick with the important one: why should I hear this as anything other than, "eventually, you become immersed with the rules, and don't even notice that you're not role-playing, because you still feel immersed"? Why should I view this as anything other than a clear statement of the problem?

    Quote Originally Posted by kyoryu View Post
    I think what he's saying is that drown healing is something that doesn't come up unless you make it come up. If you don't use it, and never make a decision around it, it doesn't matter... you have to go looking for edge cases for it to be an impact.
    Sounds like you've got it.

    Quote Originally Posted by kyoryu View Post
    I think less things are "idiotic" than we think. Usually "idiotic" calls are not idiotic to the person making them, which means either:

    1. They have some context/experience we don't
    2. We have some context/experience they don't

    Usually I find it's the former. If it's the latter, at least we can usually say "yeah, I can see where that would make sense if you hadn't experienced, but I've seen <this> actually happen."
    Well, again, this is a matter of terminology. IMO, "idiotic calls" are always the latter.

    But, no, my experience with GMs, even with your definition, it's more often the latter. And not in a, "I can see why you'd be that dumb" kind of way, but a "dear Lord, how are you not a Darwin award winner already" and "I've got some 7-year-olds that I'd like you to listen to regarding how reality and consistency and logic work" kind of way.

    I've had a lot of bad GMs.

    Quote Originally Posted by kyoryu View Post
    Also rules internalization seems to matter, but it's process internalization from what I can tell more than the math. IOW, if you have two systems, and the non-math steps you take to resolve something are similar/identical, but they use different math? That doesn't seem to matter much in my experience. But if you use a different process that blows people minds. Like, most games the process is pretty simple: Find your skill, find appropriate modifiers, roll, maybe roll some kind of opposition, get result. That's the case for probably 90% of published games. It's when games diverge from that that they become flow-upsetting.

    And of course the worst is when something looks like a process you've used, until all of a sudden it takes a curve.
    "Process", eh?

    "I ask the girl the time"
    • that's what you're asking, what are you offering?
    • what is your intent, action, and tool?
    • what is your approach?


    Those are definitely different from "make a Charisma check", "Diplomacy DC 5", "charisma + Small Talk, difficulty 4".

    Yes, changing process is harder than following a familiar process. And having a seemingly familiar process jump up and bite you is rougher yet.

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    Default Re: A model of immersion

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    The problem with that is, that's why I claim 4e isn't an RPG in the first place: because no one has explained a fiction, accessible to 7-year-olds, whereby 4e makes sense. Quite the opposite, in fact: people keep saying that 4e's rules are gamey, and *don't* make sense.
    But this is true of every edition of D&D. 4th edition is just gamy even compared to the other editions. Does that make cross some fundamental line? I don't think so.

    I think even a 7 year old might find it odd you have not recovered a single spell after 7 hours and 59 minutes of rest. Have you read any D&D books? I've read a lot of the novels set in the official setting and it doesn't really look like D&D the game. People don't out-level mundane threats, you don't forget spells and so on. I don't think D&D has ever reflected a proper fictional world.

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    Default Re: A model of immersion

    Quote Originally Posted by Cluedrew View Post
    But this is true of every edition of D&D. 4th edition is just gamy even compared to the other editions. Does that make cross some fundamental line? I don't think so.

    I think even a 7 year old might find it odd you have not recovered a single spell after 7 hours and 59 minutes of rest. Have you read any D&D books? I've read a lot of the novels set in the official setting and it doesn't really look like D&D the game. People don't out-level mundane threats, you don't forget spells and so on. I don't think D&D has ever reflected a proper fictional world.
    I dunno. Ever tried to tell a kid a square is a circle? Explain how two 10'x10' rooms on a map can be the same "size" but one is bigger because its not aligned with a grid? Tried to put a comprehensible fiction to "come and get it" being a strength vs ac melee attack burst 3 that pulls stunned/held people up out of 10' deep pits? That a character can only attempt a trick shot with a crossbow once a day? They look at you like you're an idiot (assuming we're talking about 6-8 year olds and not say, a 3 year old who is still learning to count to 3).
    "And this, too, shall pass away."

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    Default Re: A model of immersion

    Quote Originally Posted by Telok View Post
    I dunno. Ever tried to tell a kid a square is a circle? Explain how two 10'x10' rooms on a map can be the same "size" but one is bigger because its not aligned with a grid? Tried to put a comprehensible fiction to "come and get it" being a strength vs ac melee attack burst 3 that pulls stunned/held people up out of 10' deep pits? That a character can only attempt a trick shot with a crossbow once a day? They look at you like you're an idiot (assuming we're talking about 6-8 year olds and not say, a 3 year old who is still learning to count to 3).
    The circle as a square one is pretty easy, just say that partial hits count as hits and you are golden. Works fine in warhammer.
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    Default Re: A model of immersion

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    The circle as a square one is pretty easy, just say that partial hits count as hits and you are golden. Works fine in warhammer.
    News to me, we always used templates. And it breaks after 15' radius if you're doing a 5' square. Even the 15' is iffy since the diagonal of two 5' squares is about 14' 2". Can we use the "but my sword reaches 11 inches into his square so i can still hit him" argument?
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    Default Re: A model of immersion

    Quote Originally Posted by kyoryu View Post
    But for the most part humans in D&D are considered, by the fiction, to be "normal humans". Just extremely talented ones. The whole "it's actually fantasy superheroes" is an extrapolation of the rules and a way to make the fiction fit the mechanics, because it doesn't. (This is more true for WotC D&D. While it was somewhat true for TSR D&D, the level scaling wasn't as extreme)
    Yes. I basically said here that all D&D versions with their linearly escalating hit points are bad rules in this regard, correct. There are reasons why by far most other system don't do that. Sure, you could do the "HP are not really meat" dance to get fiction and rules to match, but that was never really satisfying. Better to have a health/wound system that doesn't challenge your suspension that much in the first place.

    And i have been annoyed at D&Ds (and similar games) escalating HPs and seen others react similar. That didn't happen with newcomers or starting the system. It happened after internalizing the rules so much that people knew what they could survive or not. Only then came the problem that acting based on what their PC could do did not match the intended fiction of skilled but essentially normal humans (or very human like nonhumans). Or how certain environmental hazards would be utterly deadly for low level people and pretty harmless for higher level ones and the correct strategy would be to treat people very differently based on their level even if "level" and "hit dice" are not actually things that the decision makers you are playing can know.

    When the rules don't match the fiction, you will always encounter situations where you have to decide whether you follow the fiction (and ignore the rules or try to rationalize the stupid outcomes ) or the rules (which means giving up on/drastically change the fiction). Internalization or familiarity does not help you with this at all. What it can do is, once such a decision is made, allow you to apply the same to similar situations again and again.
    Last edited by Satinavian; 2021-12-01 at 03:28 AM.

  11. - Top - End - #101
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    Default Re: A model of immersion

    Quote Originally Posted by Cluedrew View Post
    But this is true of every edition of D&D. 4th edition is just gamy even compared to the other editions. Does that make cross some fundamental line? I don't think so.

    I think even a 7 year old might find it odd you have not recovered a single spell after 7 hours and 59 minutes of rest. Have you read any D&D books? I've read a lot of the novels set in the official setting and it doesn't really look like D&D the game. People don't out-level mundane threats, you don't forget spells and so on. I don't think D&D has ever reflected a proper fictional world.
    Deep breaths.

    All right, let's see if we can untangle all these knots.

    The fiction that lives inside the heads of the morons writing RPG novels (or, at least, D&D novels) matches the game's fiction less well then a 7-year-old's understanding of reality. Drizzt dodged a Magic Missile? People don't exterminate Kender with a genocidal furiously to make a Nazi blush? And don't get me started on Ed Greenwood's disconnection from reality.

    No, most D&D novels I've read match the fiction about as poorly as 4e does.

    From our previous discussions, where one draws the line *may* be arbitrary, but even most 7-year-olds can comprehend the concept that a line must be drawn *somewhere*. The concept of "sandboxy" is generally more advanced than the concept of "sandbox"; 7-year-olds are generally more comfortable with firm if arbitrary concepts than with dealing with spectra, IME. So, no, "7 hours and 59 minutes" doesn't get the pushback you seem to expect.

    4e crosses a lot of lines that many other games - including other editions of D&D - do not. This includes my line for "is this an RPG?", and the 7-year-old "sniff test" line.

    Quote Originally Posted by Telok View Post
    I dunno. Ever tried to tell a kid a square is a circle? Explain how two 10'x10' rooms on a map can be the same "size" but one is bigger because its not aligned with a grid? Tried to put a comprehensible fiction to "come and get it" being a strength vs ac melee attack burst 3 that pulls stunned/held people up out of 10' deep pits? That a character can only attempt a trick shot with a crossbow once a day? They look at you like you're an idiot (assuming we're talking about 6-8 year olds and not say, a 3 year old who is still learning to count to 3).
    The designers of 4e can stand in line next to the would-be evil overlords and many of my old GMs to get their court-ordered 5-year-old advisors.

    Now I am totally visualizing WotC halls filled with kids hand in hand with adults, and the kids telling the adults in meetings or at their workstations "this is dumb" and "you're an idiot".

    Quote Originally Posted by Satinavian View Post
    When the rules don't match the fiction, you will always encounter situations where you have to decide whether you follow the fiction (and ignore the rules or try to rationalize the stupid outcomes ) or the rules (which means giving up on/drastically change the fiction). Internalization or familiarity does not help you with this at all. What it can do is, once such a decision is made, allow you to apply the same to similar situations again and again.
    Pretty much, yeah. Although the fiction needn't *always* change drastically for *all* rule accommodations.

    And maybe it's just an extension of that, rather than its own thing, but, sometimes, it is not the spoon that bends, it is ourselves. Sometimes, it's just, "oh, HP aren't meat points, and the shock of hitting the water wakes you up, so Drown Healing isn't quite so incompatible with the fiction that lives in my head after all?".
    Last edited by Quertus; 2021-12-01 at 07:16 AM.

  12. - Top - End - #102
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    Default Re: A model of immersion

    To Quertus: I'll meet you at "D&D books tend to be pulpy" but they are the official works of fiction set in D&D's setting. But also, regardless of how badly they are written, there is still the issue that D&D's rules still don't make sense if you try to map them exactly onto any living world. People just don't notice because they are used to them, not because they are not there.

    In short, still waiting for that objective measure that can be used to definitely grade exactly how bad a system matches fiction.

  13. - Top - End - #103
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    Default Re: A model of immersion

    Quote Originally Posted by Cluedrew View Post
    To Quertus: I'll meet you at "D&D books tend to be pulpy" but they are the official works of fiction set in D&D's setting. But also, regardless of how badly they are written, there is still the issue that D&D's rules still don't make sense if you try to map them exactly onto any living world. People just don't notice because they are used to them, not because they are not there.

    In short, still waiting for that objective measure that can be used to definitely grade exactly how bad a system matches fiction.
    The needs of written fiction are different from the needs of a game. I'd find a system that did play like a movie or book to be inherently bad for not recognizing that. That's why the "based on a game" movies and books uniformly fail hard, especially if they lean into the more mechanical elements.

    The mechanics of the game should not be treated as the world's physics. They're an abstraction, just like the UI of a FPS or a RTS game is an abstraction. The scale is all wrong (no, a Starcraft marine is not most of the same size as a battlecruiser), the idea of cooldowns and abilities, etc. Game systems are UI layers, there to translate the fiction into something we can use for a game and to translate our commands into the fiction of the world. That's all.
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  14. - Top - End - #104
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    Default Re: A model of immersion

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    The mechanics of the game should not be treated as the world's physics. They're an abstraction
    So if I write a game that accidentally lets you carry lava around in wood buckets* and toss it as people to set them on fire, thrn despite the fact that many many players carry permanently molten rock in wood buckets its not actually happening in the fiction because the UI is an abstraction?

    The players will end up generally treating the rules as the settings physics because the rules dictate the available actions and results. Just as real physics determines what you can do & the results of that the game rules determine what the characters can do and the results. In an idealized abstract game development way your "game rules == conceptual ui != game physics" can be true. But at the table, in play, the game rules effectively define game physics when not directly overriden by house rules.

    Do the rules say arrows travel in straight lines and stop at a certain distance? Ever seen players try indirect fire or seeking to shoot bwyond max range? They don't because the rules say they can't. Now, the DM can overrule & homebrew something, but until the DM does that the vast vast majority of players won't try it because the rules say they can't.

    Its the reason you see mid/high-level d&d characters jumping off towers & cliffs because its faster than taking the stairs. The rules say they can't die and won't suffer stuff like broken bones.

    This is especially true with magic systems. Many games like d&d don't put an actual coherent fiction with limits & laws behind the magic mechanics. Therefore we often don't have an understanding of what the magic can or can't do, what's easy or hard to magic. All we have is spell mechanics, so we use those mechanics as written as though they were the physics of magic because that's all we see as players. If the rules say "magic uses spell slots and characters can only have this list of spells" then unless the DM is making new rules theres no reason to perform a community weather changing ritual or sacrifice for a good harvest because nothing ever happens they aren't the spell slot spells that affect the characters or their world.

    So ideally the game mechanics may not intentionally be the game physics. Then some DMs may sometimes override or change rules to implement that ideal. But untill the DM does so the game rules are functionally the game physics for the players because those rules dictate what the characters can attempt and what the out comes are. And that is how the players are going to act untill the DM tells them what the underlying fiction is and that the DM will break, ignore, or change the rules.

    *lava in wood buckets in s game with a user interface: easy to do on accident, you just set the "fill bucket" action to work on anything liquid, without further checks, not have containers be affected by their contents every cycle (saves potentially huge amounts of processing time), and don't modify the contents of the container every cycle (more processing time) untill they're removed from the container.
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    Default Re: A model of immersion

    You must have more mechanically minded and less fictionally-minded players than I do. 5e D&D makes no rules about what you can carry in a bucket (or similar things). Yet my players still don't do that, because it breaks the fiction. So I don't see that at all. Except from people who come from 3e D&D, for some reason, where it seems that they've been trained out of the "describe what you want to do, DM decides how it resolves, using rules if necessary" idea and are locked into the "there must be a rule that says I can do X and describes exactly how it happens" mode.

    The mechanics are there as a scaffolded UI. The set of "mechanically allowed actions" is not the set of actually allowed actions, it's just the ones there are helper functions for. The default is not board game, it's free form. In computer terms, you can always drop to the root console and directly poke things, the UI just provides some helpful interaction tools. Characters aren't actually locked into a grid or taking turns in 6-second intervals, that fireball isn't actually a cube, etc.

    That mechanics-first mindset is, in my experience, horrible for play. If I wanted that mindset, I'd play a video game or a board game. TTRPGs have one big advantage over those--the idea that the rules don't...rule. That more is possible than is outlined in the mechanics. That there is a shared fiction in which many things are possible, limited only by table agreement.
    Last edited by PhoenixPhyre; 2021-12-01 at 02:09 PM.
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    Default Re: A model of immersion

    Quote Originally Posted by Cluedrew View Post
    To Quertus: I'll meet you at "D&D books tend to be pulpy" but they are the official works of fiction set in D&D's setting. But also, regardless of how badly they are written, there is still the issue that D&D's rules still don't make sense if you try to map them exactly onto any living world. People just don't notice because they are used to them, not because they are not there.

    In short, still waiting for that objective measure that can be used to definitely grade exactly how bad a system matches fiction.
    Lol. Well, we both know how bad I am at communicating; unfortunately, this time, you still can't hear me. So I'm definitely gonna do what I was considering before your post, and just focus on the first claim of the OP, the concept of "immersion", ignoring the other 3 claims for a while (unless I get a solid answer on what the second claim was supposed to be).

    Maybe eventually I'll say enough on that side that you'll be able to hear me on the other side?

    More importantly, it's the fallacy of four parts to confuse D&D novels with "the fiction layer" or "the fiction that lives in players' heads". Sure, one may influence the other, but they are still different objects, which can and should be evaluated independently, not conflated with or substituted for one another

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cluedrew View Post
    But this is true of every edition of D&D. 4th edition is just gamy even compared to the other editions. Does that make cross some fundamental line? I don't think so.
    3e was just as immersion breaking IMX as 4e, if not more. Both were designed for battlemat play. Both had tons of weird rules edge-cases that make DMs and Players pause and wonder wtf is up with the rules.

    It may be the reason I think 3e is potentially more immersion breaking is I knew of far more of the latter for 3e than 4e. OTOH I spent lots of time on the Wizards forums talking about the 3e ones. I didn't do that for 4e. But I did play both extensively, and part of the reason I spent so much time on the forums back then was trying to figure out answers to the rules wtf moments that came up in play. It felt like the 4e rules were far more ... designed ... from the ground up, so they fit together as a whole far better, pulling you out of the game to wonder wtf far less often.

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    Default Re: A model of immersion

    I will say, 4E went both more effect-based and more obviously gamist than 3E, and I can see why those are anti-immersive for some people. But IMO it's only a quantitative difference, not a qualitative one.

    And also, some of these complaints are things that apply to lots of games besides 4E. Diagonal rooms act weird on a grid? Yeah, they've always been like that, all the way back to OD&D if you used a grid for it. I mean in 3E RAW, four Halflings can block a 20' wide hallway, so that even an invisible person they're totally unaware of is unable to slip past them unless said spy has the Tumble skill (because Overrun would break invisibility, and the skill is trained-only). Oh, unless the hallway is diagonal to the grid - then it takes five of them.

    Also, some things are being taken as more gamist than they really are. Encounter powers do not rely on a metagame definition of "encounter". They are in fact "rest for five minutes to recover them" powers. Same as ToB but with a somewhat longer recovery time.

    4E milestones (action point recovery) do work that way, but since action points are either a metagame thing already or represent some kind of "blessing of destiny", then requiring "meaningful" fights to recover them fits reasonably well. I don't like the fact that some magic items recover at milestones though, for that reason.

    Something that does rely on OOC logic, and that I do find anti-immersive, is the resting mechanics in 13A. You can only rest after a certain number of encounters, which have to be "real" ones against real foes. If you rest early, the villains make progress against you - independent of how much time has passed IC or anything else IC. To me, quite jarring.
    Last edited by icefractal; 2021-12-01 at 07:54 PM.

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    Default Re: A model of immersion

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    The needs of written fiction are different from the needs of a game. I'd find a system that did play like a movie or book to be inherently bad for not recognizing that. That's why the "based on a game" movies and books uniformly fail hard, especially if they lean into the more mechanical elements.
    Have you heard of a comic called The Order of the Stick? It does a pretty good job of doing a "based on a game" story while often explicitly referencing the mechanics of the game throughout. Or how about the All Guardsman Party? This one does hide the mechanics of the game but is an actual campaign log so reuses not just the setting but the story beats as well. So although the medium mismatch is an impediment it is not impossible to overcome and I think

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    Maybe eventually I'll say enough on that side that you'll be able to hear me on the other side?
    I think I hear you, and in fact I think I understand you. I just disagree because you are stating "facts" that do not match my experience. I have had the same amount of trouble matching fiction to narrative or gaining immersion or whatever in 4e as other editions of D&D. Actually, there is a misunderstanding because I think that just proves that you are wrong but you said you have a long version that explains it and I am waiting for you to write that. Could you go do that?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tanarii View Post
    3e was just as immersion breaking IMX as 4e, if not more. Both were designed for battlemat play. Both had tons of weird rules edge-cases that make DMs and Players pause and wonder wtf is up with the rules.
    Agreed. But there are other people who disagree and that is fine. In fact that is my point: It is subjective, it depends on the subject.

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    Quote Originally Posted by icefractal View Post
    Something that does rely on OOC logic, and that I do find anti-immersive, is the resting mechanics in 13A. You can only rest after a certain number of encounters, which have to be "real" ones against real foes. If you rest early, the villains make progress against you - independent of how much time has passed IC or anything else IC. To me, quite jarring.
    That is an excellent example of a Gamist rule that is sketchy to include in an RPG.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cluedrew View Post
    I think I hear you, and in fact I think I understand you. I just disagree because you are stating "facts" that do not match my experience. I have had the same amount of trouble matching fiction to narrative or gaining immersion or whatever in 4e as other editions of D&D. Actually, there is a misunderstanding because I think that just proves that you are wrong but you said you have a long version that explains it and I am waiting for you to write that. Could you go do that?

    Agreed. But there are other people who disagree and that is fine. In fact that is my point: It is subjective, it depends on the subject.
    The parable of colour

    "Red is pretty."

    "Not to everyone."

    "So that's subjective."

    "Yes."

    "So colour is subjective."

    "No."

    "Well, yes, in that we have no idea what anyone else sees."

    "Except that, because of language, we do know *something* about what other people see."

    "Not enough to know that, when they say 'red', they aren't perceiving what I call 'green'."

    "No, but enough to know that they see a spectrum of related colours with similar relationships, similar concepts of shade and texture. What others see may be completely different, yet it still holds the same relationship map."

    OK, Quertus, have you completely lost your mind? Well, yes, probably, but that's not exactly anything new.

    @Cluedrew, there is one particular thing I want you to see. Think of it as a particular path in a maze.

    Any time you hear "subjective", know that that's not a part of what I want to communicate to you. Arbitrary? Sure. Subjective? Right out.

    Yes, there are tangents and branches that involve concepts that are subjective. Just like how the entire notion of "pretty" is predicated upon sight and colour, yet that doesn't make such things inherently subjective.

    But, again, I plan on starting over at the basics, of what "immersion" means.

    See if you can connect the dots that don't involve anything subjective, and see the elephant / legless table / whatever amidst the surrounding, supporting details - some of which, like the notion of "pretty", may be subjective, and therefore not part of what I want you to hear.

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    Default Re: A model of immersion

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    You must have more mechanically minded and less fictionally-minded players than I do. 5e D&D makes no rules about what you can carry in a bucket (or similar things). Yet my players still don't do that, because it breaks the fiction.
    Might want to check that post again. I never said anything about lava buckets in d&d or d&d 5e.

    My point isn't that you can't imagine any fiction you want. Its that as a practical matter the rules the players have to follow effectively are the physics of the game world because they define what the characters can do and what the results are. You assume that everyone agrees to overrule the books when they want to have a fiction that doesn't fit the rules. But people don't do that, especially people who are less fiction-first by nature or experience/inexperience.

    Getting more distance on a bow shot from height doesn't happen in d&d because the rules tell the player they can't. Characters don't try home run slides for a bit of extra distance because the rules tell them they can't. They (in d&d) jump off 80' cliffs because they know the character can't suffer actual injuries like broken legs. And in the end its the rules as played at the table that are the "physics" of the game world. You can say "the square is a circle in the fiction" as much as you want, but if you make the player lay down a square aligned on a grid then thats the actual physics the characters live and die by and its a square.

    Again, you may regularly override the rules at your game in matters like certain bow shots or how jumping & movement rules interact in a particular game system. But recognize that the vast majority of games are played basically by the rules. In those games the rule that says max bow shot range is X yards is the physics because nobody shoots bows past X yards. You can change it in your game but no amount of saying that the rules aren't the game world physics changes that for most games not DMed by you they are the effective physics.
    "And this, too, shall pass away."

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    Default Re: A model of immersion

    Sorry I haven't posted on this in a bit, been crazy busy at home and work. I've got some points I want to respond to :D
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cluedrew View Post
    Have you heard of a comic called The Order of the Stick? It does a pretty good job of doing a "based on a game" story while often explicitly referencing the mechanics of the game throughout. Or how about the All Guardsman Party? This one does hide the mechanics of the game but is an actual campaign log so reuses not just the setting but the story beats as well. So although the medium mismatch is an impediment it is not impossible to overcome and I think
    (Woops, forgot part of this post.) the reason so few works based on games are successful is more complex than that.

    Now if you are expecting me to say that there isn't an impediment, no there definitely is. And in fact I would go further and say the needs of a story in a game and the game-play are often at odds with each other. Which is why I think some mismatch between the games mechanics and story is... not quite invadable but if you stop at "good enough" I don't blame you. Although I may disagree with your view on good enough.

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    @Cluedrew, there is one particular thing I want you to see. Think of it as a particular path in a maze.
    Yeah, and I don't think you are going to be able to explain it without doing the dedicated thread and full explanation. Plus there is the whole issues of: Please don't add a third meaning for role-playing game/RPG, two is already more than I would like but that is too late due to historical reasons. So yeah, I disagree with your new definition both in that it is a group we can formally define and that the group is role-playing games, but the first part is just waiting on a proper formal definition of the group (and I know you have tried, they are insufficient). Then we just need to come up with a new term for it.

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    Default Re: A model of immersion

    I think there is one interesting idea - is the decision-making based upon information available to the players, or the characters, in a pure sense?

    Daily abilities are. For whatever the reason, they're abilities that can be used "actually" once per day. A person in the world could test this, even if it's ludicrously precise. The information needed to make the decision (do I have the ability? Is it a once per day ability? Have I used it today?) is all available to the character.

    OTOH, per-session abilities are not. Nor are things like some levels of GURPS Luck that are based on clock time. An ability based on seating position at the table would not be, either. Generally, luck/meta abilities are not - Savage Worlds bennies, for instance, are explicitly granted for non-game related things (making the GM laugh, for instance).

    This is a fairly rigorous and objective definition - it also explicitly doesn't get into how realistic something is - just whether or not it relies upon information from outside the "model" of the game.
    Last edited by kyoryu; 2021-12-02 at 10:09 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cluedrew View Post
    there is still the issue that D&D's rules still don't make sense if you try to map them exactly onto any living world...In short, still waiting for that objective measure that can be used to definitely grade exactly how bad a system matches fiction.
    Those two things are not the same.
    Rules have to balance between verisimilitude/realism and playability. You are establishing a pointless level of perfection as a standard. (And I'll suggest also, an economically unrealistic one). As a data point: Historically based miniatures war games is a place that this really comes out - the balance between playability and realism - and is where D&D came from way back, though the RPG hobby has expanded a lot, thankfully, since then).
    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    5e D&D makes no rules about what you can carry in a bucket (or similar things). Yet my players still don't do that, because it breaks the fiction. So I don't see that at all.
    The lack of vertically challenged refugees from Oz in our group is nice.

    Characters aren't actually locked into a grid or taking turns in 6-second intervals, that fireball isn't actually a cube, etc.
    The grid is there as an aid to playability.
    That mechanics-first mindset is, in my experience, horrible for play.
    Also contra to the basic premise of the game. (Particularly the Original game, where the "scaffolding" as you call it seemed to miss a few parts at times). So we filled in the blanks and it worked since the 80% solution was, at that time, sufficient. The bar has since been raised.
    Quote Originally Posted by Cluedrew View Post
    Have you heard of a comic called The Order of the Stick? It does a pretty good job of doing a "based on a game" story while often explicitly referencing the mechanics of the game throughout.
    I disagree. It's pretty good at setting up and delivering jokes, and it grew into (the tale grew in telling, indeed!) a passable graphic novel informed by D&D 3.5 assumptions.
    It is subjective, it depends on the subject.
    Yes. Many times yes.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Malifice View Post
    (paraphrased) Rulings are not 'House Rules.' Rulings are a DM doing what DMs are supposed to do.
    Quote Originally Posted by greenstone View Post
    Agency means that they {players} control their character's actions; you control the world's reactions to the character's actions.
    Gosh, 2D8HP, you are so very correct!

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    Quote Originally Posted by KorvinStarmast View Post
    Rules have to balance between verisimilitude/realism and playability. You are establishing a pointless level of perfection as a standard.
    It got split across two posts but that is actually my point: Actually modeling reality exactly is silly and most people don't even try.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cluedrew View Post
    It got split across two posts but that is actually my point: Actually modeling reality exactly is silly and most people don't even try.
    Exactly modeling reality is silly; modeling reality to some degree that allows for teaching or learning something about reality, is done daily at schools all around the world. It was the point of the military wargames that served as important precursors to modern wargames and roleplaying games both. Hobbyists who do things for self-indulgent amusement may frequently neglect that angle, but the world at large doesn't.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vahnavoi View Post
    Exactly modeling reality is silly; modeling reality to some degree that allows for teaching or learning something about reality, is done daily at schools all around the world. It was the point of the military wargames that served as important precursors to modern wargames and roleplaying games both. Hobbyists who do things for self-indulgent amusement may frequently neglect that angle, but the world at large doesn't.
    Having been involved in no few military war games and exercises at various levels during my career, + many. In major Joint exercises the "white cell" is what they called a group of referees/GMs.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Malifice View Post
    (paraphrased) Rulings are not 'House Rules.' Rulings are a DM doing what DMs are supposed to do.
    Quote Originally Posted by greenstone View Post
    Agency means that they {players} control their character's actions; you control the world's reactions to the character's actions.
    Gosh, 2D8HP, you are so very correct!

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    Quote Originally Posted by kyoryu View Post
    I think there is one interesting idea - is the decision-making based upon information available to the players, or the characters, in a pure sense?

    Daily abilities are. For whatever the reason, they're abilities that can be used "actually" once per day. A person in the world could test this, even if it's ludicrously precise. The information needed to make the decision (do I have the ability? Is it a once per day ability? Have I used it today?) is all available to the character.

    OTOH, per-session abilities are not. Nor are things like some levels of GURPS Luck that are based on clock time. An ability based on seating position at the table would not be, either. Generally, luck/meta abilities are not - Savage Worlds bennies, for instance, are explicitly granted for non-game related things (making the GM laugh, for instance).

    This is a fairly rigorous and objective definition - it also explicitly doesn't get into how realistic something is - just whether or not it relies upon information from outside the "model" of the game.
    Yes, that is really important.

    I honestly feel horrible having my character act based on information they can't access. A system that regularly asked me to do so is not a system i would want to play.

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    Default Re: A model of immersion

    So, let's talk about immersion.

    Immersion requires Flow State, which requires Unconscious Competence. Which means you're just doing, without having to consciously think about it.

    Immersion in a role-playing game requires immersion / Flow State in all of its components: the setting, the fiction, the character, the GM, the rules.

    When you get to a place where two components - say, the rules and the fiction - don't match, you can't be in Flow State for both. Therefore, when there's a mismatch, you must lose immersion, right? Well, no, it's not *quite* that simple.

    Some rules are Perfect Rules - they accept the fiction without forcing you out of Flow State. (Let's pretend Drown Healing qualifies, eh? That, whether you believe in it or not, there isn't anything you can do in character that will pull you out of immersion in that fiction.)

    Some fictions are Perfect Fictions - they accept the rules, even if they don't match, without forcing you out of Flow State. "Armus is just 'some guy', who wins by (insert Talakeal's desired archetype of 'guts and nerve' or whatever)" is such a Perfect Fiction. Armus plays Combat as War, and gathers every advantage, until "some guy" / "guy at the gym" could succeed. Armus succeeding under those conditions doesn't break Flow, regardless of whether or not Armus actually is just "some guy", and then that really rare time when Armus *doesn't* manage to sufficiently stack the odds, and occasionally wins "through luck and grit" follows action hero / Talakeal Flow, and makes Armus feel even cooler. Whether the rules measure Armus as just "some guy" or not, his story doesn't take you out of immersive flow of his fiction of being "just some guy".

    There's plenty of things that aren't realistic. Nobody envisions "reality" working such that you can't rest until you get in enough fights, or things moving at the speed of plot. You may have skill at taking advantage of openings that opponents give you, but that doesn't make sense to be a "daily" power, let alone being able to *choose* when your opponents give you such an opening. Getting damaged hurts, and damaged things don't always work at 100% efficiency. "Guy at the gym" can't bathe in lava.

    Of course, applying the logic of reality to an action movie, or to a superhero setting, is just silly. That's not respecting the setting.

    However, sometimes, the fiction of the setting itself just doesn't match the rules. Maybe a D&D GM has injured slaves work less efficiently, and complain about the pain, taking all the fun out of whipping them into shape. Maybe Exalted is built for the blindfolded, earplugged Charisma monster to be king of debates by screaming their opinion while being unable to perceive the arguments of others.

    When there is a mismatch between two components (not necessarily just "rules" and "fiction"), you simply cannot be in Flow State for both.

    So, what can you do?

    You can lose immersion. Yeah, that's one option. But it's not the only one.

    You can change the rules. See also GMs with pages of house rules (most of which are written by GMs with less concept of what makes sense than the designers, IME).

    You can change the fiction. "No, those slaves aren't less efficient for being in pain." "Yes, being blind and deaf is OP, and Helen Keller secretly runs the world."

    You can ignore the rules. (Insert catchy example, like, "Bang! You're dead!" "No I'm not!")

    You can ignore the fiction.

    But wait - "the fiction" is the character's perspective on things. It's what makes the game an RPG. Surely you can't just ignore the fiction in an RPG - and, if you did, you'd have to drop out of immersion, right?

    Well, no. Immersion isn't unique to role-playing. One can be immersed in programming, for example.

    So you need to be able to reach Flow State in the rules in order to achieve immersion. But, once you have achieved rules Flow State, you can break from role-playing to playing the rules - to playing the game rather than playing the character - without breaking immersion, without even noticing. Like most immersed people do when they roll dice, or jot down some notes.

    Immersion - unconscious competence - is defined by being able to do without conscious thought on what you're doing. As explained in the OP, this makes those who are immersed generally less aware. It takes a certain mindset, training and dedication, to be able to keep immersion, yet still notice when the *type* of immersion changes. When you stop role-playing to play the game.

    Dropping to the rules to handle action resolution is fine. Role-playing is making decisions for your character. Making the decisions in character, then dropping to the rules to handle action resolution is a fine thing for an RPG to do.

    However, it's when you have to drop to the rules *to make decisions*, when the rules you use to make decisions don't match the fiction, that you've moved outside of role-playing game territory.

    But it's hard for people to notice, especially when they mistake immersion for role-playing.

    -----

    Some people aren't bothered by certain levels or types of mismatch. Some people accept that the rules will be mildly "unrealistic" (unversimilitudinal) to make the game easier to play. They accept dealing with spherical sacred cows on a frictionless outer plane.

    Others find certain activities less conducive to their immersion: rolling dice, listening to the viking male's deep voice talk in character for their little pixie girl (N)PC, looking at minis vs theater of mind, rolling dice to represent talking, etc.

    -----

    There's lots of things that can take us out of immersion that aren't really related to role-playing. And one can be immersed without role-playing. With this level of false positives and false negatives, does that mean that immersion is a useless tool for evaluating an RPG?

    Well, no. It means that humans are poor sources of evidence - claims of, "I did / did not feel immersed" or "I was / was not role-playing" are suspect at best. Very few individuals are properly trained to make such evaluations meaningfully.

    However, the tools one uses to measure and anticipate immersion do a wonderful job of evaluating a game's suitability to be played as an RPG. Simply evaluate the places where the rules and the fiction diverge, the differences between the results of pure Rule Flow State, and pure Fiction Flow State. How often and how far those diverge will tell you how often the game demands that you drop out of role-playing immersion and enter pure rules immersion in order to continue to play the game reasonably, how often the game cannot be played as a role-playing game.

    Not how often someone notices they are different, not how often someone cares that they're different, but how often they actually are different, as viewed through the highest level, simplest of lenses. As you would explain it to a 7-year-old: "when you hit people, they get hurt; hurt them enough, they may die."

    And it's important that is viewed with the simple purity of a 7-year-old's perspective, unburdened by excessive preconceptions from their "knowledge" of "reality". Important that they be able to accept the inability to fire speculative smoke rather than claiming that the rule is "unrealistic". Able to accept that generations can pass between the invention of the tin can and the can opener. Able to accept that "injury" doesn't cause pain - or, at least, not debilitating pain. Able to accept physics of reality other than just those already living in their head as reasonable fiction with which to determine their character's actions.

    It's much more commonly done to imagine the fiction that comes from following the rules: the king being surprised to see a giant turtle sitting down next to him for tea, and the turtle explaining that immunity to surprise is exactly why they're a turtle; Helen Keller ruling the world of Exalted; etc. It's much more rare for people to evaluate the opposite, what happens when you follow the fiction, and look at how the rules grade your performance. But measuring a game from role-playing stance is what's required to measure how suitable a game is to be played from role-playing stance.
    Last edited by Quertus; 2021-12-07 at 04:52 PM.

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