At which point does realism negatively affect playability and fantasy feel?

For me it is when martial abilities are near useeless whilst magic is unrestrained and anything interesting done whilst interacting with the world requires more than 1 roll and takes more than a few second too resolve. Too much realism also leads to "no you cant" being used to ofen and the game becomes less creative.

What is everyone elses thoughts on this?
when there's cool, dramatic, or amazing things I want to see and be able to do, extreme realism gets in the way. Ive been in games where martial arts guys were supposed to be able to jump several feet in the air doing kick flips, but hard realists complained that no human being could possibly jump more than x number of feet, which was actually not even true by olympic standards.

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When I want my commanding officier to slap me conscious after getting ambushed by a monster, pull me to my feat, point at the wake in the water and tell me "It's time to be a hero," after which I swim down 50 feet in heavy armor, punch a sea serpent to death, rescue the passed-out prince the sea serpent had swallowed by tearing the serpent in half, then swim back up with the prince in tow, without the benefit of bat fesces.
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Nothing worst than a realist killing everyones fun at the table. We are fighting dragons, the guy next to me is shooting fireballs out of his fingers, the woman behind me is instantly healing wounds with a touch and a prayer to a god whom answered in a open manner and the realist is bitchin' about a human jumping a few extra feet than he considers real?  WTF???
Realism is great if your game is simulating an historical time period or, especially, historical people and events.  Wargames try to do that sometimes, and the debates over how to do so with any accuracy and realism are reasonable things to have.

D&D drops the realism ball as soon as you get to the magic-user.  There's no sense picking it up. 
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I think when playing a fantasy game like D&D realists need to learn the differance between realistic and reasonable.
Realism negatively affects the game experience when it restricts your ability to tell a good story. Simple, yet tricky definition.

In general, realism is called upon to stop someone from doing something that is considered unrealistic. If that thing helps narrate a better story, then I say to hell with realism, go with it. If that hinders the story, then you don't allow it (although the reason may or may not be realism).
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Reflavoring: the change of flavor without changing any mechanical part of the game, no matter how small, in order to fit the mechanics to an otherwise unsupported concept. Retexturing: the change of flavor (with at most minor mechanical adaptations) in order to effortlessly create support for a concept without inventing anything new. Houseruling: the change, either minor or major, of the mechanics in order to better reflect a certain aspect of the game, including adapting the rules to fit an otherwise unsupported concept. Homebrewing: the complete invention of something new that fits within the system in order to reflect an unsupported concept.
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It depends on your definition of "realism".

If you'd say "realistic" as in putting modern world people into a pseudo-medieval setting, then D&D is hardly realistic, starting with magic and the ease of pickpocketing and ending with dragons being able to fly.
And that's great in my opinion. That's why we call it a FANTASY game. I don't mind fighters who can jump onto rooftops and do ridiculously speded somarsaults, especially not after seeing Advent Children, Kenshin or stuff like that.

What's important to me is integrity. Realism in character portrayal. That a Drow who was hating all elves in the previous day will not be hugging them the next one without a reason.
Behind every action, there should be a meaning or some sort of explanation.

If I'd wanted to play "middle ages - the simulation", I'd not use a fantasy RPG for that ;)

Alot of people use the word "realism" when actually the word they should have used is "believable." Obviously, DnD is a fantasy game and there are things in it which are completely unrealistic like magic and dragons. But things can be fantastic and yet still be believable. A cleric channeling the power of the gods into a healing spell to heal you, that's believable. A warlord shouting at you and your wounds just disappearing because his words made you feel encouraged, not so much, at least not IMHO.   Now, before somebody replies with the old "but hit points were never realistic!", let me stop you right there. You're right! They're never were realistic. To be honest, I've never liked the way hit points have worked in any edition of the game, especially how they scale multiplicatively with level. A 1st level wizard can stub his toe and die, while a 20th level fighter can be hacked with a greataxe dozens of times and live, something clearly unbelievable. Likewise, a jar of alchemist's fire or acid is a somewhat decent weapon to use at 1st level, but at higher levels the mere d6 damage it inflicts becomes next to worthless. In real life, not to mention fantasy novels, movies, etc. I dont care how experienced a fighter you are, having a jar of acid thrown on you will really ruin your day.


People often say that hit points aren't meant to represent real injury to the character. But then, what are they supposed to represent? Falling back on things like endurance and morale are really poor excuses, because hit points simulate those things even more poorly than they simulate injuries. Besides, everyone knows full well that the reason you lose hit points is because your character was injured by some attack or hazard. He fell 40 ft. off a cliff. He got engulfed by a dragon's flaming breath. He was critically hit by a barbarian's axe. Those are the reasons you lose hit points in DnD. If they were equally things like endurance or morale, why do I not lose hit points whenever I find out a loved one has died, or when I see the village I've lived in all my life burnt to the ground by some villianous horde? Those things are devastating to one's morale but don't inflict hit point loss, so obviously you can't say that hit points have anything whatsoever to do with morale. As for endurance, likewise, being hit by clearly life-threatening attacks is going to do alot more than make you tired.


The real reason hit points are so unbelievable, to be blunt, is simply a concession of game design. In a real sword fight, dozens, even hundreds of swings of a weapon might occur before someone actually lands a blow, and once they do, it's very often lethal or at least crippling. But in a game like DnD, if combat were that realistic, with so many misses being involved and the occasional hit being so deadly, well, let's just say it wouldn't be a very fun game to play. Playing through a several minute fight, one 6 second round at a time, swing by swing, rolling for each one only to find that 99% of them miss, who would want to play that game? Hit points are there to make players feel like they're steadily accomplishing something while still pacing battles to last for at least a certain amount of time.


Other game systems over the years have devised other means of tracking injuries that are far closer to the threshold of believability than hit points are while still being playable and fun for an rpg. That said, DnD combat still tends to be one of the fastest, simplest and most fluid, mostly thanks to hit points. So really, even though everyone realized how unbelievable they are, we accept it for the good of the game. That said, when 4e came along and introduced healing surges and non-magical characters healing people by yelling at them like a drill sergeant, that pushed the game even further into the realm of unbelievability than it had ever gone before, and that pushed it outside of alot of people's comfort zones.


Again, to be blunt, 4e's deisgn seems to disregard the believability of things in favor of "what works better for DnD combat as a miniatures wargame." (I'm not trying to start an edition war here, I'm just calling it as I see it. 4e's design clearly emphasized making things work well in combat as the highest priority.) Many of the powers seem to have been written primarily with their in-game effects in mind. "Let's make a power that deals X damage to this many creatures plus makes them all blinded until they make a save." The flavor text of the powers often seemed like fluff tacked on as an afterthought, like "a rogue throwing dozens of knives to accomplish the effect". Of course, many of use then react to that power wih "how could the rogue possibly have done that?" It's not that the actual end result was unablanced in the game, it's just that the narrative used to describe it was totally unbelievable and for many people completely breaks their sense of immersion and roleplaying.


Unbelievable rules have always been a part of DnD, and rpgs in general, to some extent or another. 4e just embraced them to a point that had never been done before, and did so so transparently and blatantly that it insulted many people's sensibilities. I, for one, think that when people design powers they should start with the idea of what the player is doing in the world, in a way you can visualize and explain it, and then make a set of rules for how to represent that in the game. I'm not trying to bash on 4e here, I'm just trying to explain why the design approach that was taken rubbed so many people the wrong way. 4e made alot of great advances in rpg rule design. Had they just taken a different approach and presentation and paid more deference to believability and immersion, rather than discarding those things as irrelevant, I think 4e would have been far better accepted.


As for "DnD Next", I think most of the problems I have with hit points, such as the example of acid flasks I gave earlier, can be resolved simply by reducing the number of hit points people have, especially at higher levels. It's only because hit points and damage continue to increase at such a rate that things like alchemist's fire get left behind, as well as low-level spells, for that matter. 4e took the right approach by starting characters with more than single digit HP. Now, they just need to drastically scale back the rate at which they're gained. That will make them alot more believable and make the game more balanced as well.

This is important in literature too and for the same reasons.   In any fantasy setting, you have the real world plus a defining twist.   I think these days we've all seen so many movies that a bit of cinematic license is fine as well.  It might not have gone over as well in the 1950s or 1930s though.   

I dislike the word realism too.  I prefer suspension of disbelief.  And of course that varies from person to person.  But wherever you draw that line, the non-magical world can't cross it.  With magic anything is possible in theory and in game design I would always design the magic to fit appropriately with the world I have defined otherwise.  You can dial it up or dial it down without any worries about realism.  As long as you are consistent magic is realistic because it is part of the fantasy premise you are adding to the world.   In the real world there is no real magic so we have no analog.

But back to the thread....
I found the quest for balance as the prime directive of 4e resulted in a less flavorful game.  Now I admit I am criticising them without offering a full solution myself.  Guilty as charged.  The problem is that balance would never be my prime directive.  Fun is my prime directive of game design.   Balance does add to fun though so it is a worthy objective along with a lot of other equally worthy objectives.   I am positive that 5e is going to be both more balanced than 3e and more flavorful than 4e.  So maybe this will be a happy meeting point.

So I guess my short answer is NO.  The quest for realism where it matters is the very essence of flavor.  Without it the game seems unreal and unfun for those of us that value such things.




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@Fallingicicle: what you seem to be saying is that you find the Warlord's ability to heal unbelievable because they can say a few words of encouragement and make your wounds disappear.  But wounds represent much, much more than actual pysical injury, and always have, as you explain.  But thats ok too, because you don't like or accept this.  Which nicely takes you in a full circle back to the warlord.

This is why I wish people wouldn't complain about martial healing, when what they really want to complain about is the reprentation of HP.  That is what your post was really about, but I feel the reader is distracted from that due to the hot button issue of martial healing that you used to start your post.

@Thread: I think realism gets in the way when it is used to restrict what martial characters can do.  They of course aren't going to be doing magical things, like flying, shooting fire, etc.  But that doesn't mean they need to be kept at the level of real people in real life, because 1) it is a fantasy game with heroes and 2) it keeps the martial characters from being the funny sidekick.
 A warlord shouting at you and your wounds just disappearing because his words made you feel encouraged, not so much, at least not IMHO.   Now, before somebody replies with the old "but hit points were never realistic!", let me stop you right there. You're right! They're never were realistic.  


Nor were they intended to represent "real wounds" or bits fo flesh bein hacked off...   use of esp and luck and skill as well asl magical and miraculous defenses, transforming an attack in to a near miss, that ability is restored by inspiration when the words of poets priests and politicians (bards, clerics and warlords). Gygax described the porcupine fighter as preposterous...  all the way back.
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At full hit points and still wounded to incapacitation? you are playing 1e.
By virtue of being a player your characters are the protagonists in a heroic fantasy game even at level one
"Wizards and Warriors need abilities with explicit effects for opposite reasons. With the wizard its because you need to create artificial limits on them, they have no natural ones and for the Warrior you need to grant permission to do awesome."

 

What is everyone elses thoughts on this?

Insufficient realism reduces D&D to a board game with more drama or to a matter of guessing what the DM expects the party to do. It is realism that lets the party make plans based on what they expect to happen.

What usually throws these discussions off is what people mean by realism and simulation though. Realism isn't just conforming to the real world, it also covers believability and consistency. If vampires are unable to enter holy ground, then the rule should always apply unless there is an in game reason why it doesn't. If a vampire shows up in a temple while the party is there, then it should be a hint that the temple isn't really holy ground, not a sign that the DM felt that it was time for a dramatic encounter.

@Fallingicicle: what you seem to be saying is that you find the Warlord's ability to heal unbelievable because they can say a few words of encouragement and make your wounds disappear.  But wounds represent much, much more than actual pysical injury, and always have, as you explain.  But thats ok too, because you don't like or accept this.  Which nicely takes you in a full circle back to the warlord.

If that where really the case then why do poison weapons effect targets long before they actually draw blood?

D&D is (and for the most part always has been) inconsistent about HP, wanting to have it both ways. HP end up being both a highly abstract measure of the characters state, and being hit means being hit, which ever is more convent at the time. For the most part this isn't a problem, but it does create some weird situations at time.

Hey all, I'm pretty sure the thread was asking when realism goes too far for you, not whether 4E goes too far. I can see how 4E could be confused with realism though, so don't feel bad

Anyway, realism goes too far for me when every character action has a corresponding player action. For example, I dislike using opposed rolls for every attack (a suggestion that pops up here a bit). I don't feel a need to "simulate" active defenses by picking up a die so that my own personal luck can swing the results or so that I can gain a sense of agency by making a symbolic real world action. Rolling to resolve an action makes sense, but rolling to resolve every aspect of an action stretches out the game without adding anything that I care about.

I am also bothered when game rules are needlessly consistent. As a DM, I don't enjoy generating details that don't help me resolve or flesh out encounters. For example, knowing that the orcs in my game world live by growing crops and raising animals as well as by looting and pillaging is important. Knowing how good each one is at growing crops and raising animals is not. In general, I dislike the notion that everything similar has to be dealt with in the same way, regardless of its importance to the game. 

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Ed_Warlord, on what it takes to make a thread work: I think for it to be really constructive, everyone would have to be honest with each other, and with themselves.

 

iserith: The game doesn't profess to be "just like our world." What it is just like is the world of Dungeons & Dragons. Any semblance to reality is purely coincidental.

 

Areleth: How does this help the problems we have with Fighters? Do you think that every time I thought I was playing D&D what I was actually doing was slamming my head in a car door and that if you just explain how to play without doing that then I'll finally enjoy the game?

 

TD: That's why they put me on the front of every book. This is the dungeon, and I am the dragon. A word of warning though: I'm totally not a level appropriate encounter.

My main comment would be when it bogs down the game needlessly or it adds something in the name of realism that impedes play. Now a lot of it is subjective and I admit that. In 3.5 I think the big realism problem may well have been the fighter, they weren't supernatural or anything like that so they didn't get any kind of special boosts, a side effect of that had them as one of the weakest if not the weakest class in the game. In 4th I would look at it more in the area of the multi-part skill challenges, I saw their use and utility, but I didn't like em much as most of them ended up being headaches.
The war blade was balanced fun and actually fairly realistic. I wish 4e had built upon Tome of Battle for the martial characters. We would have had no cries of "fighter dailies are unrealistic".

On the other end of the spectrum pre 4e magic is unrealistic. I know, it is magic and all, but why train knights to protect your kingdom when mages will do a much better job. Come on sleep with no save and 2d4 HD of warriors taken out. 100 level one knights vs 50 mages, mages win. Why have cooks when you can cast presdigitation. For that matter, that 0 level spell can do the work of many everyday jobs. Just seems silly that the world is not entirely filled with (low level) casters.
The war blade was balanced fun and actually fairly realistic. I wish 4e had built upon Tome of Battle for the martial characters. We would have had no cries of "fighter dailies are unrealistic". On the other end of the spectrum pre 4e magic is unrealistic. I know, it is magic and all, but why train knights to protect your kingdom when mages will do a much better job. Come on sleep with no save and 2d4 HD of warriors taken out. 100 level one knights vs 50 mages, mages win. Why have cooks when you can cast presdigitation. For that matter, that 0 level spell can do the work of many everyday jobs. Just seems silly that the world is not entirely filled with (low level) casters.



You might not have been around on the forums back when the ol' ToB came out, there were a LOT of people complaining that it was 'unrealistic' 'overpowered' 'wuxia-anime crap' and pletny of other things. The problem is probably a mixture of what people feel familiar with and what their expectations are. Then again, realism all depends on context. Magic isn't realistic but it's part of the system, the bigger question should really be where the lines are.

While most might argue that yes, magic is something fantastical so it should at least be perhaps 'flashier' than martial abilities or at the very least distinct from martial abilities I am leery about arguing that they should be inherently stronger. The problem isn't just realism, it's playability. Sure, the caster that can do a lot of amazing things might be fun to play, but if they dominate any non caster then inevitably players are going to focus more on casters than non, and that skews the game and effectively nulls the work of the people who put together the non caster classes.

For all the problems that I had with 4th I do have to say that it deserves credit for trying to tackle the problem in a fairly elegant way. Make it so that everyone is playing the same game, with the same rules, and get rid of features that let casters circumvent their relatively few weaknesses. Give everyone interesting powers. In fact there were plenty of things to cheer about in 4th, but there were also enough problems that my group eventually walked away.
Any concerns about the lack of "realism" to fighter-types in a game that has Fireball tend to fall flat for me.

In a world with wizards, the model for a high-level fighter should be Kratos.
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You might not have been around on the forums back when the ol' ToB came out, there were a LOT of people complaining that it was 'unrealistic' 'overpowered' 'wuxia-anime crap' and pletny of other things.


These characters werent lowly enough... to represent martial types for the spell casting supremacists. I heard somebody wanting to join  a group featuring a Druid and a Wizard got rejected because obviously the ToB character were too powerful.
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Improvisation in 4e: Fave 4E Improvisations - also Wrecans Guides to improvisation beyond page 42
The Non-combatant Adventurer (aka Princess build Warlord or LazyLord)
Reality is unrealistic - and even monkeys protest unfairness
Reflavoring the Fighter : The Wizard : The Swordmage - Creative Character Collection: Bloodwright (Darksun Character) 

At full hit points and still wounded to incapacitation? you are playing 1e.
By virtue of being a player your characters are the protagonists in a heroic fantasy game even at level one
"Wizards and Warriors need abilities with explicit effects for opposite reasons. With the wizard its because you need to create artificial limits on them, they have no natural ones and for the Warrior you need to grant permission to do awesome."

 

For me, realism hurts my game experience when some characters are bound by it and other aren't.


What usually throws these discussions off is what people mean by realism and simulation though. Realism isn't just conforming to the real world, it also covers believability and consistency. If vampires are unable to enter holy ground, then the rule should always apply unless there is an in game reason why it doesn't. If a vampire shows up in a temple while the party is there, then it should be a hint that the temple isn't really holy ground, not a sign that the DM felt that it was time for a dramatic encounter.



This vampire example isn't a matter of realism at all, since vampires don't exist. Its a matter of versimilitude. Versimilitude is the issue when you establish a fact in a fantasy world (vampires can't enter holy ground) but then arbitrarily ignore it (something vampires show up on holy ground with no explaination). "Realism" is about the fantasy world conforming to some idea about the real world, while versimilitude is the realm of in-world consistency.

On the other end of the spectrum pre 4e magic is unrealistic. I know, it is magic and all, but why train knights to protect your kingdom when mages will do a much better job. Come on sleep with no save and 2d4 HD of warriors taken out. 100 level one knights vs 50 mages, mages win. Why have cooks when you can cast presdigitation. For that matter, that 0 level spell can do the work of many everyday jobs. Just seems silly that the world is not entirely filled with (low level) casters.



This is actually a more a matter of magic before 4e than in 4e. In 4e, the kingdom doesn't have an army of mages because PCs that have access to Sleep are special, and all the rules pertaining to them don't necessarily apply to NPCs. Potentially, no one in the world knows Sleep other than one guy in your party. In previous editions, the NPCs followed the same rules as PCs, so every NPC spell caster and his brother knew Sleep.

In any case, this doesn't effect "realism" of any edition because the DM can easily say that magic is too rare for the kindgom to find 50 guys that know sleep. Or he can say that they don't serve the king for whatever in-game reason (think Tibetan monks vs Communist China).
For me hits have represented real hits but against higher level characters and monsters it's a nick.  That way poison works but practically it doesn't make the character less effective.  Healing though is the removal of those nicks and not just inspiration but it could be some of that too.  It could also be muscle exhaustion etc... as some have mentioned.  It's a combination but it's never been NOT injury.  It's just never been all injury either.

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I would say that Realism(or Believability, or Suspension of Disbelief, or V-Tude, or whatever hot word we're using this week) negatively impacts gameplay and fantasy feel when it does the following:

1.  When it is used as an excuse to hinder a good story, a fun moment or the Rule of Cool.

2. When it is used as a reason to add new rules or new layers of complexity to existing rules that serve no other purpose.

3. When it trumps good rules.

* List not necessarily exhaustive.

Of course, ultimately the thing that bugs me most about it is that "That's unrealistic!"(or equivalent phrasing with one of the other hot words) is usually used as shorthand for "That unrealistic rule is different than the previously-established unrealistic rule which I prefer, and I do not like it!"

 
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This vampire example isn't a matter of realism at all, since vampires don't exist. Its a matter of versimilitude. Versimilitude is the issue when you establish a fact in a fantasy world (vampires can't enter holy ground) but then arbitrarily ignore it (something vampires show up on holy ground with no explaination). "Realism" is about the fantasy world conforming to some idea about the real world, while versimilitude is the realm of in-world consistency.

If you want to break it down even further, then yes.

It gets casually refered to as realism though because they tend to come up together when talking about the story telling vs game world realism/simulation/versimiltude vs game balance. The whole realism / simulation / versimitude corner tends to get mushed together under the idea of realism even though they are not the same thing. They all relate to creating an internally consistant and believable game world, but they cover different parts of it. Plus versimiltude is a big fancy word.

This is important in literature too and for the same reasons.   In any fantasy setting, you have the real world plus a defining twist.

Actually, that's science fiction.  I think HG Wells put it something like that.  You ask the reader to accept one big lie or impossibility or something like that, to enable the story, but then you go on and tell a believable story.  

The roots of fantasy - myth, legend, fairy tales, superstitious beliefs - do not face that same constraint.   Science Fiction and Fantasy are conflated in the minds of litterary critics, booksellers, and that was particularly pronounced in the 70s when D&D first saw print.  Early D&D blatantly mixed sci-fi bits with it's fantasy, but that didn't make it sci-fi, it just made it very eclectic and 'modern' fantasy.  

When you take a science-fiction aproach to fantasy, you have to reduce and codify the fantastic to some underlying premise that you can aply consistently.  Jack Vance did that in the Dying Earth series, creating a specific sort of 'magic' with it's own laws and consistent, repeatable functioning - and the Dying Earth is remembered as a classic of science-fiction.

Early D&D did lift the 'vancian' mechanism, but also had other forms of magic - monsters with innate magical powers, psionics, magic granted by the gods, and, most tellingly, a bewildering variety of 'magic items' with no rhyme, reason, bounds or limits (OK, occassionally rhyme, the name of the item would generally imply what it did) to their power.  D&D took every magic power displayed in book, movie, or other source of inspiration before 1974 and made it into a spell, monster or magic item - most often a magic-user spell.  The eclectic and inconsistent result put D&D far over into the fantasy realm, even if it did occassionally pop off with a scientific sounding anachronism.

3e delved further into the realm of pure fantasy with multiple systems of magic.  Not only 'vancian' and psionic and varied monster powers, but spontaneous sorcerers, and cast-all-day Warmages and Warlocks.  4e continued that trend, with sources, and with classes of the same source even following quite different concepts and 'systems' of magic (wizards vs warlocks, for instance).

At no point has D&D ever deviated from reality with but /one/ defining twist.  Rather, it has been consistent in defying reality in myriad inconsistent ways.

I dislike the word realism too.  I prefer suspension of disbelief.  And of course that varies from person to person.  But wherever you draw that line, the non-magical world can't cross it.

D&D is not set in a non-magical world.  It's set in a fantasy universe.  Magic isn't just something wizards do and dragons use to fly in defiance of the cube-squared law, it's an underpinning of reality in the D&D multiverse.  The worlds of D&D didn't condense from a cooling big bang, they were created by primordials.

There's a 'realism' to D&D in the sense of what the game is trying to model.  That isn't medieval europe with vancian magic added.  It's an ecclectic heroic fantasy multiverse drawing inspiration from dozens of disparate sources.  The commmon thread - the only basis for verisimilitude or believability or consistency or whatever you want to call it - isn't magic or the fantasy aspect of the genre, it's the Heroic aspect of the genre.  The PCs are supposed to be heroes.  The game needs to model that.  Everything else - most especially RL phsysics - can get out of the way.

 

 

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Never in any fictional medium has anyone been thought dead but then gotten up because someone pounded on his chest and yelled. I could sit on my couch forever and see zero movies or shows with that sort of nonsense. Novels and comics would also fail to provide me with anything like that, because it's not a common trope in every genre of heroic fiction.

 

truth/humor
Ed_Warlord, on what it takes to make a thread work: I think for it to be really constructive, everyone would have to be honest with each other, and with themselves.

 

iserith: The game doesn't profess to be "just like our world." What it is just like is the world of Dungeons & Dragons. Any semblance to reality is purely coincidental.

 

Areleth: How does this help the problems we have with Fighters? Do you think that every time I thought I was playing D&D what I was actually doing was slamming my head in a car door and that if you just explain how to play without doing that then I'll finally enjoy the game?

 

TD: That's why they put me on the front of every book. This is the dungeon, and I am the dragon. A word of warning though: I'm totally not a level appropriate encounter.

"Reality" becomes intrusive when:

- it's inferior to the supernatural/magical.

- it's covered by rules that are needlessly complicated.
Never in any fictional medium has anyone been thought dead but then gotten up because someone pounded on his chest and yelled.

You don't watch many medical dramas, do you?  Of you watch an old enough one - there was one called Emergency! back in the 70s - you'll see the obsolete CPR where they do start by punching the victim in the chest.  And I can't believe you've never heard the line "Live, damn you, live!"






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Never in any fictional medium has anyone been thought dead but then gotten up because someone pounded on his chest and yelled.

You don't watch many medical dramas, do you?  Of you watch an old enough one - there was one called Emergency! back in the 70s - you'll see the obsolete CPR where they do start by punching the victim in the chest.  And I can't believe you've never heard the line "Live, damn you, live!"








I rolled a one on my sarcasm check

truth/humor
Ed_Warlord, on what it takes to make a thread work: I think for it to be really constructive, everyone would have to be honest with each other, and with themselves.

 

iserith: The game doesn't profess to be "just like our world." What it is just like is the world of Dungeons & Dragons. Any semblance to reality is purely coincidental.

 

Areleth: How does this help the problems we have with Fighters? Do you think that every time I thought I was playing D&D what I was actually doing was slamming my head in a car door and that if you just explain how to play without doing that then I'll finally enjoy the game?

 

TD: That's why they put me on the front of every book. This is the dungeon, and I am the dragon. A word of warning though: I'm totally not a level appropriate encounter.

The great irony of those claiming the unbelievability of martial powers bringing back unconcious people is that in movies, tv shows, novels, etc, the instances where a yell, kiss or kind word bring someone back from near death probably out number 20 to 1 the instances where the same feat is achieved through magical powers.
At some point HP represent physical injury.  At the point I'm unconscious and bleeding to death it represents real injury.

But, living things are resilient.  Note that if you roll a 20 on one of your death saves you'll get up on your own.  If you have a feat you can get a bonus to that roll and be more likely to get up.  Clearly, then, the injury in question is not absolutely mortal.  You could just be unconscious.  Also, while you're unconscious, you can make a perception check at -10 to hear things.  If you're just asleep, you wake up.  So, clearly, someone shouting at you is a stimulus you might respond to.

 When you use encouraging words to fix this, it becomes unbelievable.

It's unbelievable that someone who might (5%) get up in any given round, and can probably hear you, might get up when you shout something meaningful, reminding them what they're fighting for?  

There's no way to square that with any real experience, because there's not even the remotest kernel of realism to it.

That's probably outside most of our personal experiences, yes.  But, truth is strager than fiction.  You hear news reports of gravely injured people waking and staggering to safety because they heard their child's cry for help or their dog barking or something like that.  And fiction abounds with such things.

On the other hand, if you designed the warlord in a way that he could encourage to a degree that isn't remotely achievable in real life, I bet you wouldn't hear a single complaint.  He could inspire people to Str + 20 and HP + 100, and at a very basic level, this would be exceptable from a believability standpoint, because we've all had a coach or someone that urged us on at some point.

Judging from the tennor of these forums, I would probably take that bet and consider it money in the bank.  There's always someone complaining bitterly about something.  

Maybe I've just a bad first impression?

However as soon as he says to an unconscious half dead guy, "get up you wuss", it just doesn't square.  

Are you kidding?  It's awesome, one of the coolest things about playing a Warlord.  
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It has been my personal experiance that compaints about realism come from people playing Wizards about fighters trying to do more than "I Attack". My answer to this after a warning to the player is to remove said wizards spellcasting ability for a couple of rounds. Afterall magic isnt realistic. I take the view that magic and such forces purvade everything and as you level up it show more obviously allowing martial types to accomplish great things as long as it stays within the rules.
The great irony of those claiming the unbelievability of martial powers bringing back unconcious people is that in movies, tv shows, novels, etc, the instances where a yell, kiss or kind word bring someone back from near death probably out number 20 to 1 the instances where the same feat is achieved through magical powers.

One example that probably served as an inspiration for D&D would be Jason and the Argonauts.  It has not one but /two/ scenes of magical healing, probably a cinematic record for 1963.  In one, Medea uses a flower to instantly heal a cut on Jason's arm.  Hey, I guess he was 'Bloodied.'  The most remarkable thing about that scene was how unimpressed Jason was by instantaneous magical healing.  In the other, Jason uses the Golden Fleace to revive Medea after she was shot in the back by an arrow.  Mind you, he laid her down on her back and left the arrow in, so that's a lot of healing.  Why bother dressing the wound when you've got an artifact.   


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"Realism" in a fantasy setting has to be taken with a grain of salt. That is part of the very definition of "Fantasy"- It's not real.

That is not to mean that the laws of the fantasy world do not need to follow consistent principles, that may or may not mirror reality.

The key to D&D, is that for the majority of decades, the realism inherent in the game assumed that general conventions of reality (gravity, human strength, behavior of fire, states of being) were a given. Thus the verisimilitude of the players was maintained throughout the iterations of the game.

The problem D&D gained as it progresed into the modern age, is that it started to abstract a number of things that players took for granted, and began to break the consistency of the gameworld that many people had been "living" in for some time.

It seemed absolutely preposterous that a martial hero who generally resembled a "Batman" was now capable of performing feats that made him more akin to "Superman" Instead of Aragorn, the archetype was changing to Sauron. An example is knocking an ancient red dragon prone, or proning a poltergeist.

While in later editions, this could be handwaved as not actually "proning" the creature, the verisimilitude which had been painstakingly built in the realm of D&D for decades was turned on its head.

New players to the game, and those who had witnessed the perceived inequities in the 3x edition, had an easier time swallowing the level of abstraction and balance that 4e brought to the game in place of familiar verisimilitude. 3x broke verisimilitude of many old school gamers with the advent of racial restrictions being dropped, commoditized magic and magical treasure etc.

That being said. I think the new version of the game should strive for the realism levels inherent in the older editions of the game. It is much easier to add fantastical elements on top of a robust realistic base layer, than it is to try strip them out of the game.

There is a trove of "realism" elements from prior editions that can be reimagined, simplified, or ignored if they do not make sense.
"If it's not a conjuration, how did the wizard con·jure/ˈkänjər/Verb 1. Make (something) appear unexpectedly or seemingly from nowhere as if by magic. it?" -anon "Why don't you read fire·ball / fī(-ə)r-ˌbȯl/ and see if you can find the key word con.jure /'kən-ˈju̇r/ anywhere in it." -Maxperson
On the other end of the spectrum pre 4e magic is unrealistic. I know, it is magic and all, but why train knights to protect your kingdom when mages will do a much better job. Come on sleep with no save and 2d4 HD of warriors taken out. 100 level one knights vs 50 mages, mages win. Why have cooks when you can cast presdigitation. For that matter, that 0 level spell can do the work of many everyday jobs. Just seems silly that the world is not entirely filled with (low level) casters.



This is actually a more a matter of magic before 4e than in 4e. In 4e, the kingdom doesn't have an army of mages because PCs that have access to Sleep are special, and all the rules pertaining to them don't necessarily apply to NPCs. Potentially, no one in the world knows Sleep other than one guy in your party. In previous editions, the NPCs followed the same rules as PCs, so every NPC spell caster and his brother knew Sleep.

In any case, this doesn't effect "realism" of any edition because the DM can easily say that magic is too rare for the kindgom to find 50 guys that know sleep. Or he can say that they don't serve the king for whatever in-game reason (think Tibetan monks vs Communist China).

But Lawolf does raise an excellent point (And Tony Vargas hits on this too) in that magic might not necessarily be subject to "realism" based on its imaginary nature, but if the rest of the world is, then realistically, we expect the world to react and conform to the presence of magic within it. You can't add magic to medieval europe and expect it to be exactly the same anymore than you could drop functional machine guns into medieval europe and expect the world to work in the exact same way. And the more powerful or unconstrained magic is, the more of an impact we expect to see on the world because of it, which means you either have to limit the scope and power of magic, realism or lack thereof be damned, or you have to make sweeping changes to the world.

In other words, while you might think that Fighters have to be realistic and Wizards don't, the more powerful the Wizard is, the more work you have to do in explaining why the Fighter still has a job, and the more you have to change the world to reflect the fact that Wizards can modify it at whim.
New players to the game, and those who had witnessed the perceived inequities in the 3x edition, had an easier time swallowing the level of abstraction and balance that 4e brought to the game in place of familiar verisimilitude. 3x broke verisimilitude of many old school gamers with the advent of racial restrictions being dropped, commoditized magic and magical treasure etc.

I'm afraid I missed most of that.  I guess there must have been some groundswell of 'verisimilitude' after the mid-80s that disapeared completely a few years ago.  When I drifed away from D&D it was a very abstract game, and when I came back it was a very abstract game, just one that didn't feature nearly so many arguments about what the rules really meant.

As for things like racial restrictions or pretending no one would ever buy or sell a magic item, they're among the many things that I remember DMs trying to fix back in the day, that now have been fixed.  Not in a way I'd have ever envisioned, of course.  I don't think I ever spent any time trying to envision what D&D might be like in the 21st century.  I hardly stopped to wonder what I'd be like in the 21st century.  If I had, I might have eaten fewer donuts.  

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I'm afraid I missed most of that.  I guess there must have been some groundswell of 'verisimilitude' after the mid-80s that disapeared completely a few years ago.  When I drifed away from D&D it was a very abstract game, and when I came back it was a very abstract game, just one that didn't feature nearly so many arguments about what the rules really meant.


Not really, just a lot of people getting used to certain abstractions.  Then when they were presented with different abstractions, suddenly the old ones were incredibly realistic.
Seriously, though, you should check out the PbP Haven. You might also like Real Adventures, IF you're cool.
Knights of W.T.F.- Silver Spur Winner
4enclave, a place where 4e fans can talk 4e in peace.
Nothing worst than a realist killing everyones fun at the table. We are fighting dragons, the guy next to me is shooting fireballs out of his fingers, the woman behind me is instantly healing wounds with a touch and a prayer to a god whom answered in a open manner and the realist is bitchin' about a human jumping a few extra feet than he considers real?  WTF???



This.
Skeptical_Clown wrote:
More sex and gender equality and racial equality shouldn't even be an argument--it should simply be an assumption for any RPG that wants to stay relevant in the 21st century.
104340961 wrote:
Pine trees didn't unanimously decide one day that leaves were gauche.
http://community.wizards.com/doctorbadwolf/blog/2012/01/10/how_we_can_help_make_dndnext_awesome
I think some of the realism questions (at least ones that bugged me) were ones where people in a game world did not behave like real people would seem to in that kind of world. Lemme explain, one thing in Forgotten Realms that bugged the hell out of me was that with all those people with high level magic wandering around why was everything pretty much still Tolkienesque medieval? I'm not saying that the whole place should be magitek cities or anything like that, but it did bother me that when that much arcane power was floating around that world, and a lot of it among heroic types, and we weren't seeing even little things like say more development of civilization or anything like that. To be honest that was part of why I liked Eberron and the whole wide magic setup, where magic was an accepted part of the world and it actually did shape and affect peoples lives. Magic items were comissioned for cities, mages were trained for armies, and it even dealt with faiths in a good way too.

To me realism isn't about how high someone can jump or the 'effect' of a fighters strikes. It has more to do with the world not feeling completely alien and me being able to understand and follow the mindset of the people that would live in this kind of world. At least that's my thing.

I think some of the realism questions (at least ones that bugged me) were ones where people in a game world did not behave like real people would seem to in that kind of world. Lemme explain, one thing in Forgotten Realms that bugged the hell out of me was that with all those people with high level magic wandering around why was everything pretty much still Tolkienesque medieval? I'm not saying that the whole place should be magitek cities or anything like that, but it did bother me that when that much arcane power was floating around that world, and a lot of it among heroic types, and we weren't seeing even little things like say more development of civilization or anything like that. 

I think I see what you're getting at.  If a system goes the simulation route - or to put it another way, if the rules of the game are treated like the 'laws of physics' of the world - then you have implications to deal with from every rule.

So, if you establish that anybody with an INT of 13+ can be a wizard, and a just-starting-out wizard can learn a cheap-to-cast spell that, say, rids a city block of rats, well then, few cities are going to suffer from outbreaks of boubonic plague or otherwise be troubled by rats.  

And once you do the math, you figure out that there are going to be high-level experts and commoners all over the place, and large number of PC classed individuals able to do 'low level' magic that would none-the-less re-shape the fabric of medieval society.  You can follow that through to logical conclusions, but you'll likely miss some, or some folks will have different ideas about what's 'logical.'

It's one of the amusing - not always in a bad way - things about simulations.  They can run wild.


The much-maligned narrative aproach, OTOH, doesn't have that problem.  Maybe a PC with a 13 INT and the right ritual can make some rats disapear, but he might be one of a handful of such people in the whole world.  Or even the only one.  NPCs don't follow the same rules, so theres no implication that a PC ability exists all over.  The rules aren't laws of physics, they're just game rules.





 

 

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That is the essential problem with how magic has deveoped in the D&D game. If even low (5-10) level wizards can control people's minds, wipe out a couple dozen orcs in a half second, raise the dead, fly, walk through walls...etc, then why isn't the D&D world completely controlled by wizards? Why aren't there huge flying cities everywhere, magic flying ships and submarines, "planar vacation plans" (see the plane of elemental fire, 20% discount!).
In my mind, the solution is to limit magic a lot more than in 3.xe, for example. Most fantasy novels have very real limitations on magic power. D&D should follow that lead.


The Star Wars galaxy has a similar problem with the Force. The problem is solved through: limiting Force use to less than 1% of the galaxy population; limiting the power and effectiveness of the Force (some people and species are immune to the "mind trick" for example); and providing an ultra-high tech society where technology accomplishes a lot of things.


D&D (rightly) occurs in an at most late medieval setting with appropriate technology. We also don't want to prevent players from becoming wizards, or reaching epic levels as wizards. I think the obvious solution is to put very real limits on what the magic can accomplish. I have no problem with a "high magic" world where magic is prevalent. I just think that making magic omnipotent creates major problems, even within the context of an adventuring party.       


For me D&D fantasy is the real world + magic.     Therefore, the game world works the same way as the real world.  The only difference is that magic also works.     Anything that doesn't make any real world sense is attributed to magic.   

hmm....    then again, in D&D, unlike the real world,  you can't fall 33330 feet and survive (google Vesna Vulović ).    


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