The Why — 3 Comments

  1. I think the word you are looking for is immersion; the buy-in of the players to truly get down and dirty in the game itself and think like their characters would. Short of a set of professional actors, the vast majority of people simply do not have the ability to let go, drink the kool-aid, and play the role. I mean look at the silly stereotypes and memes for some clues there. Gaming in cloaks? Wearing elf-ears? You can never fully escape the fact that every time your players actually use their senses, they see and hear bunch of people sitting around a table.

    Don’t even get me started on trying to narrate a scene in a brothel. A realistic one, anyway. Never again…

    The brothel thing also raises another point. Fantasy RPG worlds are DARK. Take all the horribleness of the dark ages (child marriage, starvation, disease, authoritarianism, war) and add monsters and magic. IIRC, there was an old-school RPG that was releases around 5 years ago. the name escapes me, but i remember he couldn’t find a publisher willing to print him. This was due to ONE single paragraph regarding a horribly complex ritual to summon some sort of planar horror. It involved the ritual violation of a young virgin, who was then to be strangled with her own hair…That’s some fucked-up shit there, regardless of the context.

    I play with three different groups throughout the month totalling ~24 people. Of those, all but maybe 2 or 3 would NOPE the fuck out just knowing that or anything similar to that was even in the book! I think we kid-glove a lot of the terrible and dark stuff (or realism) out just to make the game appeal to a wider audience, and with that goes a good chunk of the immersive experience. It’s “not realistic” so why should we try to be?

    For what it’s worth, LARP has the same problem. Maybe 1 in 100 gamers can truly suspend disbelief enough to truly “Role-Play”. That’s a minority of a minority – which fully explains by itself why you’ve never experienced true role-playing.

    As far as mechanics? I can add that Savage Worlds doesn’t let players use social skills on other players 🙂 So there’s that. It all has to be actually talked out, and you’ll never know for sure if the person next to you is lying or not. That is one of the reasons I am very happy with the switch from D&D/Pathfinder to it.

    5 paragraphs later, I fell like I should’ve just written a damn blog post XP. Kudos for the good question. Keep ’em coming.

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