Wednesday, November 9, 2011


No, this isn't a post about gang affiliations. Instead, it's a post about immersion.

I have had this conversation a few times with Mickey (from Larpcast), and over time my opinion has been molded a fair amount. And it's something that isn't shared a lot in this region of the country.

You see, we tend to prefer high fantasy and rely on a lot of imagination in Ohio.

But while imagination is good, it's actually counter to game immersion.

You see, immersion is the act of a person losing their self awareness based on perceived surroundings. You know, things that you see/hear/feel, not things that you imagine. So when someone says "you see a 9 foot troll," while it might help players with a good imagination to understand the situation a give an appropriate reaction, it doesn't help create the emotions (fear/joy/pride) that's normally associated with players who are immersed in the game.

I thought about this on a recent post where people were talking about roleplaying with animals. While I'm a staunch supporter of players resorting to RP in many situations, I simply don't care for extended use of NPCs as animals. Because they don't look, move, or act like animals (unless there's a particularly good costume). So while you are improving the imagination of the world, your actually harming immersion. Bringing things like this to the forefront just means it impacts the immersion of more players.

Just something to think about next time you send in an NPC to play something without actually looking like that creature.

1 comment:

  1. I totally agree. I always avoid writing any creature that isn't a bipedal humanoid into my stories in any combat-active context for exactly that reason, unless I'm willing to spend the resources to fully costume it.

    Giants are a great example of this. Giants were used extensively in some PA chapters over the years, and I always grumbled about it. I loved describing how my character leaps into the air like a character from Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon when I used waylay on them, and I'd balk in disbelief when they'd enter the tavern to attack us. "How did that MASSIVE GIANT just fit through the normal-sized tavern door? What an amazing feat of magic and wonder!"