Friday, March 3, 2017

Discussion: How Much Realism Do You Allow?

We've spent the week talking about Reality vs. Game Systems. Today I'm curious how much realism do you allow into your games? Obviously we're talking about a hobby with elves, magic, grand space ships, and turn based combat. But beyond the confines of the rules and the game, how realistic do you portray your worlds?

Do you bend reality for rule of cool? Do you bend mechanics for what is realistic? If a PC puts a gun to someone's head and pulls the trigger, is the target dead or just taking the weapon's damage rating?

I tend to run grittier (read: more real) when it comes to actions and consequences, but draw the line when it comes to people exploiting modern science for results, unless we're in the modern world. The way I figure it is that if you can literally talk to the mountain to get information, you don't then get to fall back on how our physics work. Yes, it's similar, but on a macro level. Not a micro one. As such, stone doesn't float (regardless of displacement and engineering because that math doesn't exist) and you can't necessarily make an explosive device by throwing magnesium into the river because you probably don't know what magnesium is.

Beyond that, I find keeping things grounded in the similar can help with immersion and I tend to like it. How about you?

1 comment:

  1. I tend to run my games "Like reality unless noted.", which means that laws of physics etcetera apply, unless there is a reason there isn't. To be honest, I'm more of a rule of fun/rule of cool type of GM but my players prefer to have some more handholds.

    So that means even magic follows specific rules, though every type of magic (background magic, magic from demons or deities etc) may function the same at first glance but there are still subtle differences between them... allowing me as GM to be somewhat unpredictable. But if the players pay attention to how and why something happened in an earlier session, they can use it to their own benefit in the following session. So technically my game world grows more or less realistic with each session played, depending on the needs of the players. Though I can rely on my players to come up with reasons why something that seemed impossible happened anyway.

    And like your example, even putting a gun to someone's head and pulling the trigger isn't a 100% guarantee of death IRL. It's rare, there are usually flaws that made it happen, but it does happen. There are people walking around with a bullet in their skull, and they're not undead.