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Immersion: a scale from D&D Encounters to Mazes & Monsters

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  • #16
    Originally posted by Faradn View Post
    I don't know how many of you have seen Mazes & Monsters. It is a moral panic film from the 80's about the dangers of roleplaying, where a young Tom Hanks and his friends play a game called Mazes & Monsters, but take it so far that the Hanks character can no longer distinguish fantasy from reality and ends up doing something terrible. At the other end of immersion you have D&D Encounters. There might be a pretense of roleplaying, some NPC scripts for the DM to read out, but for the most part it's an elaborate board game. So let's say immersion can be described as a scale from 1 to 10, where 1 is Encounters and 10 is M&M.

    Why are so many people playing at a 2 or 3? At least where I live, everyone in the hobby seems way too casual. It's like they're genuinely afraid of that fearmongered outcome. People get uneasy if you want to get too much into character. At a game store a guy got furious at me when he realized the game we were playing (Fiasco)is entirely story and character-driven with no stats. Granted, on the immersion scale 10 is definitely worse than a 1. The worst possible (let's face it, the only) outcome of D&D Encounters is mediocrity and potato chip crumbs, whereas a 10 can mean real-life death. But how likely is tipping over into a 10, really? Why not emphasize improv acting and storytelling--is anyone really going to argue that dice and simple numbers are more interesting than that?

    I'm not just criticizing other people. I can be lazy, and my roleplaying tends to be around a 4 or a 5. My ideal is about a 7. My question to you all is, where does your ideal fall on the scale?
    I honestly feel that people are genuinely afraid to take risks, people fear taking a chance on something and making themselves vulnerable. In my experience there are a lot of people who were into the hobby when they were kids and got disappointed when one day, the game didn't live up to their expectations.

    Those people don't want that to happen again, they're afraid that they'll take another risk on something, that they'll risk believing in the game and then be let down when it doesn't live up to what they wanted. They feel it would be better to not try and not get hurt by disappointment than to take a risk and get hurt.

    Then there's the fact that, when those people see someone really putting a lot of work into the game and being hopeful about it, they ridicule them or at least they try. They either tell them directly or imply that they're stupid for believing that anything good is going to come out of it and that they'll be disappointed when it all falls apart. This creates fear of ridicule and fear of ridicule keeps people from being idealistic about things, especially things that are seen as childish and silly and that is exactly how role playing games are seen by many people.

    This is not the one and only cause for what you've described, video games have become a big replacement for roleplaying and that's effected how people treat the hobby but I think what I've said here plays a big part in this. Look at the young people who are new to role playing, look at how unfraid they are to believe in something and how immersed they get, they're not afraid to give the game a chance.
    Last edited by Zennis; 02-16-2017, 03:16 AM.

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    • #17
      Originally posted by Faradn View Post
      At a game store a guy got furious at me when he realized the game we were playing (Fiasco)is entirely story and character-driven with no stats.
      It seems to me that there may be more issues than just "immersion" at play here.

      Cheers!


      If you don't use an Oxford comma, I feel bad for you, son,
      'Cuz I got ninety-nine problems, but clarity ain't one.

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      • #18
        Originally posted by nothing View Post
        It seems to me that there may be more issues than just "immersion" at play here.

        Cheers!
        Or not. Not everyone prefers narrative-focused/superlight games.


        If nothing worked, then let's think!

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        • #19
          Originally posted by PMárk View Post
          In that case, it's mostly 5-6 around there, based on mostly the tiredness of the group.

          Also, I won't necessarily tie powergaming with the quality of roleplay. I'm on the firm opinion that you could play strong, even "epic" characters with excellent roleplay and likewise, underpowered and boring ones with bad or uninterested roleplay.

          If you meant "powergaming" as playing mostly for "beating the game" and mostly approaching every situation and problem as purely tactical combat, in that case I agree with your evaluation.
          That's a good point--I meant the second thing. "You can play the badass, just don't play Billy Badass."

          Zennis, That's a good explanation. Really getting into character does make you vulnerable. I think if a person is extroverted it's a good idea for them to find a group of people they really trust.

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          • #20
            Originally posted by PMárk View Post

            Or not. Not everyone prefers narrative-focused/superlight games.
            I meant that if Person A has issues with a game that Peraon B is playing, then maybe Person A has issues.

            Cheers!


            If you don't use an Oxford comma, I feel bad for you, son,
            'Cuz I got ninety-nine problems, but clarity ain't one.

            Comment


            • #21
              Originally posted by nothing View Post
              I meant that if Person A has issues with a game that Peraon B is playing, then maybe Person A has issues.

              Cheers!
              Ah, okay, in that case, I agree. I won't get "furious" about a gaming (and game) style I don't like, I just don't play it.


              If nothing worked, then let's think!

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              • #22
                Originally posted by Faradn View Post
                That's a good point--I meant the second thing. "You can play the badass, just don't play Billy Badass."
                Absolutely.

                Zennis, That's a good explanation. Really getting into character does make you vulnerable. I think if a person is extroverted it's a good idea for them to find a group of people they really trust.
                I suspect that's the main reason organized play, like D&D encounters/adventurer's leauge, Paizo's Pathfinder Society, etc. and things like tournaments feel bland from an rp standpoint. Not because the nature of modules, but because you might don't know everyone at the table, their boundaries, their gaming style, preferences, etc.


                If nothing worked, then let's think!

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by Faradn View Post
                  An elaboration of my scale. I've decided Encounters would actually be a 2.


                  1. An actual board game with fantasy elements, like Arkham Horror

                  2. D&D Encounters played with randos in a game store

                  3. Game where the concern is mostly with stats and powergaming--likely a module

                  4. Mostly powergaming from the players, some sporadic creativity from the GM

                  5. Lethargic roleplaying with occasional surges of inspiration. Many chips are eaten. Many jokes are told.

                  6. Good roleplaying, but with fairly frequent jokes and other OOC comments

                  7. Top of the line tabletop roleplaying with almost no breaks in character

                  8. High-end LARP

                  9. Professional actor level

                  10. One or more players believes it is really happening. Requires an Axis 1 disorder
                  I was going to say my group was low, but actually I guess according to your scale my group is a lot more serious about roleplaying than I would have though.

                  Based on your scale, my group is normally about a 5-6, though when a serious scene happens they'll move up to 7. I'm usually a 6 or 7 myself. I like coming up with various voices and vocal ticks for characters, but I don't often stand up and physically act out my characters actions.

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