Nah, We'll Pass...

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There's improvising to respond to player choices so that their choices are meaningful and there's improvising to redirect player choices to things you want. I can do both. I prefer the former - it's easier anyway. I think that's really the difference here.



I don't really see the huge difference between the two, though.  In the first instance, you are "redirecting player choices" to what you want -- you've just defined what you want as "meaningful" to a context of pre-established elements and future fun & player buy-in.  In the second instance, you are "responding to player choices so that their choices are meaningful" -- you've just this time defined "meaningful" to a context of prepared material.  So while I can see that there is a difference in deciding what is "meaningful" at the table, I'm still uncertain on how this means that improvisation skills developed for one method should be necessarily untransferable skills to the other context; it's still a practice of picking up the new/foreign elements introduced by another player and improvising with them to redirect to a desired goal.  Yes, the goal is different, but are the skills required really that different?

"Yes, and..." is really the only tool we need. It's a machine for content and buy-in generation. It works a lot better than the improvisational redirection techniques I referenced above, in my opinion, because you're working with the players to make their ideas happen rather than thwarting them on some level to get them back to the prepared material.



Fair enough.  "Yes, and..." is certainly usable with prepped material, too.

When I'm a player, I want imersion & a sense that the DM knows whats going on, and this would break both of those for me.



The DM does know what's going on though; he's just not always sure where it's going next. (And that's a good thing since you're playing to find out what happens, part of the DM's agenda in my view.) As for immersion, you control that because it's a feeling. Immersing yourself in the game despite the guy next to you texting, the rancid flatulence of the jerk who just cropdusted the table, or the football game on in the background is a skill, just like improvising is a skill. You have to work at it. The mere mention of a mechanic shouldn't be enough to take someone out of their character's skin. If it is, it's time to work on that.



1) There's a difference between what a DM knows and what sense I as a player have of what a DM knows.  If a DM were to have me describe the setting of the game world beyond elements that come from my own PC's backstory, then for me this would produce the sense that the DM doesn't know what's going on.  The setting isn't the "next" of the story, it's content that facilitates the "next" of the story, and IMO it's one of the primary reason that there's a distinction between "PC player" roles and "DM player" roles.

2) As for immersion as a feeling, let me analogize a bit.  Yes, immersion/non-immersion is a feeling; and so is anger/calm.  If someone issues a derogatory slur or epithet at me, I'm going to get angry.  It may only be for a moment, and I may be able to return to calm instead of flying off into a rage-filled fit, but the derogation still broke my calm.  Is it my fault that my calm is broken by the derogatory remark, or only my fault if I let the anger it triggers go beyond the moment? 

Similarly, asking me as a player to create setting elements that are external to my PC's influence breaks my immersion.  Yes, I have some level of skill at getting back into immersion quickly, but I'd rather not have to be brought out of it in the first place. I'm not perfectly skilled at Christopher Chance levels of roleplay, and in my experience players that are so skilled are vastly the exception rather than the rule.  So I prefer not to have my meager immersion skills tested unnecessarily by the DM.

Okay, you can leave the mechanics to the DM if you like, but if I asked you what you see in an infernal torture chamber, you could tell me, right? And what you say probably won't be far off from what I'm thinking anyway, and probably even better, if only from the standpoint that you're engaged by your own idea. To you, a torture chamber isn't a torture chamber unless it contains an iron maiden. As DM, I was thinking "thumb screws." You may rightly be less engaged in the scene or feel like critical elements were missing. Not so if you have direct input.

Isn't it also more immersive for you to tell me what you see? They're your eyes, after all!



No, for me it's not more immersive.  If IRL I want to know what a room that I've vever been in before contains, I "ask" the room with my eyes; I don't determine what's in the room by willing it so.  Similarly, since I don't have VR equipment to look around the room in a game, I "ask" the DM in immersive simulation of my PC looking at his surroundings for specific details; if the DM's response is the equivalent of asking me to will the environment to take a specific shape or house a specific element, it breaks the immersive parallel to my common real-world analogous experience.

-Dan'L
I don't really see the huge difference between the two, though.  In the first instance, you are "redirecting player choices" to what you want -- you've just defined what you want as "meaningful" to a context of pre-established elements and future fun & player buy-in.  In the second instance, you are "responding to player choices so that their choices are meaningful" -- you've just this time defined "meaningful" to a context of prepared material.  So while I can see that there is a difference in deciding what is "meaningful" at the table, I'm still uncertain on how this means that improvisation skills developed for one method should be necessarily untransferable skills to the other context; it's still a practice of picking up the new/foreign elements introduced by another player and improvising with them to redirect to a desired goal.  Yes, the goal is different, but are the skills required really that different?



Yes, because the redirection is a form of obfuscation and "trickery," if you will. You're pulling the wool over your players' eyes. That's a set of skills different than letting them make a choice and then dealing with outcomes of that choice, planned or unplanned. As opposed to letting them make a choice and then the outcome is redirected to whatever I have planned. Both are improvisation, sure. The added obfuscation and all the ways to make that trickery seem like a meaningful choice are the skills I'm talking about being nontransferrable between styles or other games. The DM learns how to bluff like in poker. Problems can arise if the players learn to spot your tell and call your bluff!

Fair enough.  "Yes, and..." is certainly usable with prepped material, too.



Yes, and I recommend more DMs make use of it regardless of style.

1) There's a difference between what a DM knows and what sense I as a player have of what a DM knows.  If a DM were to have me describe the setting of the game world beyond elements that come from my own PC's backstory, then for me this would produce the sense that the DM doesn't know what's going on.  The setting isn't the "next" of the story, it's content that facilitates the "next" of the story, and IMO it's one of the primary reason that there's a distinction between "PC player" roles and "DM player" roles.



If you establish a backstory, for example, and it's made a part of "the world," that's really no different than collaborating with the DM on other elements of the world later. It's just a matter of when. We're really talking about degrees of collaboration here. You're likely collaborating already. If taking it up a notch ruins your immersion, then I would suggest not taking it up a notch or working on your ability to stay in your character's skin while simultaneously building the details of the world.

Have you actually given it a fair shake with a collaborative DM yet? Or are we just talking speculation here? (I'm not pre-judging either way. I'd just like to know the basis from which you're making these suppositions.)

2) As for immersion as a feeling, let me analogize a bit.  Yes, immersion/non-immersion is a feeling; and so is anger/calm.  If someone issues a derogatory slur or epithet at me, I'm going to get angry.  It may only be for a moment, and I may be able to return to calm instead of flying off into a rage-filled fit, but the derogation still broke my calm.  Is it my fault that my calm is broken by the derogatory remark, or only my fault if I let the anger it triggers go beyond the moment?



In my view, it's both your fault for being affected by the derogatory remark and for letting the anger it triggers go beyond the moment. Same with immersion. I can stay in my character's skin in the context of the world regardless of just about any "distraction." It wasn't always that way. I worked at it. It's a valuable skill. I steal a joke from Tropic Thunder on this: "I don't drop character until after we've done the DVD commentary..."

Similarly, asking me as a player to create setting elements that are external to my PC's influence breaks my immersion.  Yes, I have some level of skill at getting back into immersion quickly, but I'd rather not have to be brought out of it in the first place. I'm not perfectly skilled at Christopher Chance levels of roleplay, and in my experience players that are so skilled are vastly the exception rather than the rule.  So I prefer not to have my meager immersion skills tested unnecessarily by the DM.



In any event, that'd be determined by a Session Zero. If you're not a fit for the DM's style, then you know what to do.

No, for me it's not more immersive.  If IRL I want to know what a room that I've vever been in before contains, I "ask" the room with my eyes; I don't determine what's in the room by willing it so.  Similarly, since I don't have VR equipment to look around the room in a game, I "ask" the DM in immersive simulation of my PC looking at his surroundings for specific details; if the DM's response is the equivalent of asking me to will the environment to take a specific shape or house a specific element, it breaks the immersive parallel to my common real-world analogous experience.



It doesn't for me. As has been stated, to each their own.

Let's do a for instance, out of curiosity. Your character rolls a crit and finishes off an enemy. DM says, "Awesome, what does it look like when that enemy dies?" Does that break your immersion? 

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There's improvising to respond to player choices so that their choices are meaningful and there's improvising to redirect player choices to things you want. I can do both. I prefer the former - it's easier anyway. I think that's really the difference here.

I don't really see the huge difference between the two, though.  In the first instance, you are "redirecting player choices" to what you want -- you've just defined what you want as "meaningful" to a context of pre-established elements and future fun & player buy-in.

There's no "redirecting player choices." They made the choice and the choice is real. The DM doesn't have to switch anything on them, or dissuade them from doing the thing they chose.

In the second instance, you are "responding to player choices so that their choices are meaningful" -- you've just this time defined "meaningful" to a context of prepared material.

But the response probably negates their choice by giving them what they'd have gotten if they'd made the other choice. Can we agree that this is different from giving them a real choice?

So while I can see that there is a difference in deciding what is "meaningful" at the table, I'm still uncertain on how this means that improvisation skills developed for one method should be necessarily untransferable skills to the other context; it's still a practice of picking up the new/foreign elements introduced by another player and improvising with them to redirect to a desired goal.  Yes, the goal is different, but are the skills required really that different?

When the goal is collaboration, the skills are used to enhance player choices, to matter where they take the game. When the goal is to utilize preplanned material, the skills are used to negate player choice.

Fair enough.  "Yes, and..." is certainly usable with prepped material, too.

Until the DM has to say "Yes" to the idea of deviating from the preparation, and isn't prepared to do that. That's when the blocking begins.

1) There's a difference between what a DM knows and what sense I as a player have of what a DM knows.  If a DM were to have me describe the setting of the game world beyond elements that come from my own PC's backstory, then for me this would produce the sense that the DM doesn't know what's going on.

That's right. He doesn't know. It's all made up, some of it on the spot. He can make up something, to preserve that thin illusion that it's all really happening to you, but changes are good that what he comes up with won't make sense or be fun for you. Why not, since this is a game, bring you in on it, and get your collaboration with that part of the game, so that's it's fun and sensical and engaging?

   The setting isn't the "next" of the story, it's content that facilitates the "next" of the story, and IMO it's one of the primary reason that there's a distinction between "PC player" roles and "DM player" roles.

And anyone can create that content.

Is it my fault that my calm is broken by the derogatory remark, or only my fault if I let the anger it triggers go beyond the moment?

Yes.

Similarly, asking me as a player to create setting elements that are external to my PC's influence breaks my immersion.

You're not "creating" anything. If you're in a mill and you tell the DM you climb the ladder into the rafters, you didn't "create" that ladder, it was "created" as part of the mill, whether the DM mentioned it or not. It's obvious, and plausible, and for the DM to say "wait, what ladder," is at best blocking, and for the player to say "is there a ladder into the rafters" is at best jarring, and when the DM says "Yes, and..." anyway, it's a waste of everyone's time to ask.

  Yes, I have some level of skill at getting back into immersion quickly, but I'd rather not have to be brought out of it in the first place.

Then don't bring yourself out of it.

Isn't it also more immersive for you to tell me what you see? They're your eyes, after all!

No, for me it's not more immersive.  If IRL I want to know what a room that I've vever been in before contains, I "ask" the room with my eyes;

And that takes an instant. There's no download of information, there's no back and forth query. And meanwhile, all the DM is doing is making stuff up, some of it on the spot, in an effort to make things more real for you, when you can make them far more real for you because you know what makes sense to you.

I don't determine what's in the room by willing it so.

No, and neither does your character. But you're not your character. Your character sees the room. For you, the room is created in your head by the DM's words. All those words are doing is is invoking your imagination. But you don't need the DM's words for you to imagine things that you think should be there, or which plausibly would be there. The DM's description is only necessary for things the players wouldn't expect to see, or as inspiration for their own imagination.

  Similarly, since I don't have VR equipment to look around the room in a game, I "ask" the DM in immersive simulation of my PC looking at his surroundings for specific details; if the DM's response is the equivalent of asking me to will the environment to take a specific shape or house a specific element, it breaks the immersive parallel to my common real-world analogous experience.

That's not equivalent to what a collaborative DM is asking.

Your character walks into a room. The DM describes it. You ask if plausible item X is present. The DM says "Yes," and gives some additional facts about it. If the DM defaults to "Yes, and..." and it had not occurred to him that item X would be there, but of course it is, then who just created that item? If he improvises so well that you can't tell he just made it up, what of your immersion?

A character walks into a room. The DM describes it. The player asks if plausible item X is present. The DM says "No." This conflicts with the player's idea of such a room, and no clear reason for the discrepency is every indicated. This smithy simply doesn't have any barrels of water for quenching. This inn simply doesn't have any front facing windows. The game halts for another moment as the player clarifies this with the DM. Possibly an argument arises. How is everyone's immersion doing?

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

But you're not your character.



And, in the words of Yoda, "that is why you fail"

The game is at it's best when, yes, the person IS their character. That is immersion.

I'm on a journey of enlightenment, learning and self-improvement. A journey towards mastery. A journey that will never end. If you challenge me, prepare to be challenged. If you have something to offer as a fellow student, I will accept it. If you call yourself a master, prepare to be humbled. If you seek me, look to the path. I will be traveling it.

 

Proudly playing in many wrong ways. I'm not afraid of playing wrong according to the rules. Why are you?

 

100 Crack Reply of the Yagamifire. You are already wrong.

I notice another failure. Centauri and Iserith are talking about things you say you support like improvisation and real choices and not to railroad or have My Precious Story.

...but you pick out only the thing you disagree with like collaboration or how they see immersion and attack it. I think this is because it bother you that they block you out and dont acnowledge youanymore.

Or do you change your opinion about improvisation and real choices?
But you're not your character.



And, in the words of Yoda, "that is why you fail"

The game is at it's best when, yes, the person IS their character. That is immersion.

To an extent.
Some of my characters are evil/despicable, not sure I want to BE them, but I also try to make sure that even my most evil characters have personality traits that I can strongly empathize with.
That way I can intellectually play the role AND 'become' the character without too much hindrance. But sometimes the very act of playing a character is enough to make me empathize with their point of view, even if I would find the character appalling, or buffoonish, or whatever negative trait I might apply. I believe every hero needs an achilles heel.

So I guess you're right after all Yagami. That is, I agree.
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Some of my characters are evil/despicable, not sure I want to BE them



This is what I love about roleplaying (and I know that the above quote is out of context, since you come full circle at the end of your post).  If I didn't want to try to put myself in someone else's shoes, I wouldn't play D&D.  If I only wanted to RP heroic characters, I wouldn't DM.  As DM, there is nothing I personally find more satisfying than to really get into the mind of how a particular NPC thinks, and get some very realistic, snappy dialogue going.  To do that, I need to think like him, even if he is a despicable traitorous rat who believes his evil actions are justified, or she is a vapid teenage girl with a crush on one of the PCs (that one was a *lot* of fun to RP, she's still being mentioned by the PCs a year after she went off-screen).

During gameplay it helps a lot for the player to immerse themselves in the world as their character. I do, however, have players that have excellent potential to be DMs themselves, yet for some reason like shyness or a simple preference to play as a character instead of as DM. They have elaborate backstories whose implications are far-reaching and go well beyond their characters.

Should I deny them the opportunity to exercise their creativity, and in the process enrich my own campaign world? Should I hide these ideas that I got from them with the blind expectation that they would bite and push the campaign the way I want it to, risking possible conceptual friction due to misunderstandings?

Or do I instead collaborate with them, see what they want in the campaign I want, work their desires as both player and PC into the campaign, and when the game actually starts, keep myself busy with making the fictional world as a living, breathing environment, while the players keep themselves busy with making their own memorable experiences in the world I run?
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Some of my characters are evil/despicable, not sure I want to BE them



This is what I love about roleplaying (and I know that the above quote is out of context, since you come full circle at the end of your post).  If I didn't want to try to put myself in someone else's shoes, I wouldn't play D&D.  If I only wanted to RP heroic characters, I wouldn't DM.  As DM, there is nothing I personally find more satisfying than to really get into the mind of how a particular NPC thinks, and get some very realistic, snappy dialogue going.  To do that, I need to think like him, even if he is a despicable traitorous rat who believes his evil actions are justified, or she is a vapid teenage girl with a crush on one of the PCs (that one was a *lot* of fun to RP, she's still being mentioned by the PCs a year after she went off-screen).




Much awesome here.

I'm on a journey of enlightenment, learning and self-improvement. A journey towards mastery. A journey that will never end. If you challenge me, prepare to be challenged. If you have something to offer as a fellow student, I will accept it. If you call yourself a master, prepare to be humbled. If you seek me, look to the path. I will be traveling it.

 

Proudly playing in many wrong ways. I'm not afraid of playing wrong according to the rules. Why are you?

 

100 Crack Reply of the Yagamifire. You are already wrong.

Yes, because the redirection is a form of obfuscation and "trickery," if you will. You're pulling the wool over your players' eyes. That's a set of skills different than letting them make a choice and then dealing with outcomes of that choice, planned or unplanned. As opposed to letting them make a choice and then the outcome is redirected to whatever I have planned. Both are improvisation, sure. The added obfuscation and all the ways to make that trickery seem like a meaningful choice are the skills I'm talking about being nontransferrable between styles or other games. The DM learns how to bluff like in poker. Problems can arise if the players learn to spot your tell and call your bluff!



Look, I'm not arguing with you that the ends are different.  Of course there are.  I'm also not laying value judgments on one goal over another, although you seem to be intent upon it.  Perhaps you are letting your assessment of the goals cloud your ability to understand me.  I'll try one more time with an illustrative analogy, and if you still don't understand why I'm confused I'll drop it because it's getting to the point where confusion is preferrable.

Shooting a gun to kill a person is generally considered to be a not-good thing.  Shooting a gun to defend your home or family is often considered less offensive, and shooting a gun to provide food in the form of legally hunted game even less so.  Shooting a gun to hit a paper target or clay pigeon is generally considered to be innocuous.  But despite the various levels of value judgements that people place on these things, the skill of pulling the trigger & hitting what you're aiming at is a transferrable thing. 

Or for an analogy that is less about destructive skill application and more in line with the creative process of RPGs:  Putting pencil to paper to draw stick figures, cartoons for children, courtroom sketches, bathroom grafitti, or pornographic snuff fantasies all have skills of drawing fundamentals that are transferrable from one to the other, despite differences in final product.

So similarly, my fundamental confusion stemmed from the assertion that the skills used to improvise when a player threw you a curve ball relative to prepped material couldn't prove useful to improvising when a player throws you a curve ball relative to a group-shaped shared story experience.

What I'm understanding since then, from your responses, is that you were referring to specific applications of improvisational skills, not so much to the underlying skills themselves.  Like a person who has drawn a lot of photo-real porn might find it difficult to whip out some illustrations of fluffy cartoon bunnies. They still understand how to move the pencil to make shapes & marks on the page.

But I still contend that the practice of one application of a skill can make it easier to apply the skill to other ends.  The artist with practice with photo-realism has developed a level of skill that is transferrable to the drawing of cartoons to make it easier to learn than if the artist had no practice with the skill of drawing to begin with.  And so it seems to me that it is with improvising as a DM -- there are fundamental improvisational skills that would be "transferrable" between different end goals DM/player interaction.

If you establish a backstory, for example, and it's made a part of "the world," that's really no different than collaborating with the DM on other elements of the world later. It's just a matter of when. We're really talking about degrees of collaboration here. You're likely collaborating already. If taking it up a notch ruins your immersion, then I would suggest not taking it up a notch or working on your ability to stay in your character's skin while simultaneously building the details of the world.



Timing is everything.  When I'm singing in a choir, I'm not writing the score.  I have to stop doing the one to do the other; I don't have the skill necessary to do both, nor do I have any desire to develop that skill, nor do I think it should be a skill that is expected of every singer to develop -- despite there possibly being some people who could pull it off.  And if I'm up there singing my heart out and the conductor points at me and tells me to provide the orchestra's next movement, I'm not the one putting me out -- it's the director's expectations that are doing that.  And for someone to insinuate that it's unreasonable that I should find it nearly impossible to not stop singing, at least momentarily, while processing & acting upon the conductor's request would frankly be rather insulting, to say the least, and a bit out of touch with the reality of most singers, to say more.

Likewise, when I'm roleplaying my PC, I'm not constructing the BBEG's lair.  I have to stop doing the one to do the other; I don't have the skill necessary to do both, nor do I have the desire to develop that skill, nor do I think it should be a skill that is expected of every player to develop -- despite there possibly being some people who could pull it off.  And if I'm immersing myself as fully as I can into my PC and the DM points at me and asks me what the Ogre has in his stew pot, I'm not the one putting me out -- it's the DM's expectations that are doing that.  And for someone to insinuate that it's unreasonable that I should find it nearly impossible to not break from immersion, at least momentarily, while processing & acting upon the DM's request would frankly be rather insulting, to say the least, and a bit out of touch with the reality of most players, to say more.

Have you actually given it a fair shake with a collaborative DM yet? Or are we just talking speculation here? (I'm not pre-judging either way. I'd just like to know the basis from which you're making these suppositions.)



I don't know what you'd consider a "fair shake," but I've played games where collaborative story building was the style as supported by the system, yes.  Enough to know that while it may be fine enough to amuse me for a one-shot affair, it's not something that appeals to me as a methodology for a protracted campaign.  Additionally, please take it that I know myself well enough to know what I want from a protracted campaign; please also extend to me the understanding that if I dislike something that you do like, it doesn't mean that my dislike of it is somehow wrong or misplaced -- it's just what does & doesn't work for me.

In my view, it's both your fault for being affected by the derogatory remark



Wow -- this is hugely, demonstrably not true, both legally and practicably.  It's a cornerstone of hate crime law -- the one who verbally assaults someone doesn't bear less responsibility for the spewing of invectives based on the target's ability to not react to them.  Also, try standing in the middle of a ghetto shouting out racial epithets that are typically aimed at the residents of said ghetto; see how far you get with the assertion that it's their fault that the words you speak upset them & that they should develop thicker skins.

Same with immersion. I can stay in my character's skin in the context of the world regardless of just about any "distraction." It wasn't always that way. I worked at it. It's a valuable skill. I steal a joke from Tropic Thunder on this: "I don't drop character until after we've done the DVD commentary..."



You do realize that Downey Jr.'s character in that film was predicated upon taking things to an unreasonable level, don't you?  So I'm hoping that you're not suggesting that this character is somehow a role model that players should aspire to emulate.

It doesn't for me. As has been stated, to each their own.



Exactly; so please trust that when someone tells you that what you're doing is breaking their immersion, it's not their fault, it's not your fault -- it simply is (immersion breaking) and no amount of "it doesn't have to be" reflects an empathetic understanding or helpful insight.

Let's do a for instance, out of curiosity. Your character rolls a crit and finishes off an enemy. DM says, "Awesome, what does it look like when that enemy dies?" Does that break your immersion? 



In as much as it's something my character is directly affecting, no it does not; I should know what my PC's powers & moves are like & have maybe some idea of how that plays out descriptively.  But I would find it immersion-breaking if I rolled a natural 20 on a monster knowledge check based on some footprints we found, and the DM asked me to detail what I know about the critter.

-Dan'L
   The setting isn't the "next" of the story, it's content that facilitates the "next" of the story, and IMO it's one of the primary reason that there's a distinction between "PC player" roles and "DM player" roles.

And anyone can create that content.



I didn't mean to imply that they couldn't.  But just because anyone can create that content doesn't mean that it is necessarily preferrable that simply anyone does.  That's where "IMO" comes in -- In My Opinion; sorry, didn't think I had to spell it out -- my bad.

Is it my fault that my calm is broken by the derogatory remark, or only my fault if I let the anger it triggers go beyond the moment?

Yes.



Your response reflects a misreading of the question, unless you are trying to be witty.  It's asking is it "A&B" or "Only B" which is an either/or question, not a yes/no question.  I probably could have worded it better :/

Similarly, asking me as a player to create setting elements that are external to my PC's influence breaks my immersion.

You're not "creating" anything. If you're in a mill and you tell the DM you climb the ladder into the rafters, you didn't "create" that ladder, it was "created" as part of the mill, whether the DM mentioned it or not. It's obvious, and plausible, and for the DM to say "wait, what ladder," is at best blocking, and for the player to say "is there a ladder into the rafters" is at best jarring, and when the DM says "Yes, and..." anyway, it's a waste of everyone's time to ask.



What is obvious to one is not always obvious to another.  If the DM says there's no ladder, that's not blocking, that's providing detail & an opportunity to use Athletics.  For a player to say "I look to see if there is a ladder or some other obvious method for accessing the rafters" is playing his character.  It's not a waste of time to ask for the tools you need to proceed forward.  And maybe there isn't a ladder because it was loaned out to use to repair the barn roof next hill over after a wyvern dropped a cow through it; I wouldn't consider finding that out a waste of time either.

  Yes, I have some level of skill at getting back into immersion quickly, but I'd rather not have to be brought out of it in the first place.

Then don't bring yourself out of it.



You might as well be telling me that if I don't want my nose broken, stop getting in the way of your flailing fists while you're moshing in this elevator.

Isn't it also more immersive for you to tell me what you see? They're your eyes, after all!

No, for me it's not more immersive.  If IRL I want to know what a room that I've vever been in before contains, I "ask" the room with my eyes;

And that takes an instant. There's no download of information, there's no back and forth query. And meanwhile, all the DM is doing is making stuff up, some of it on the spot, in an effort to make things more real for you, when you can make them far more real for you because you know what makes sense to you.

I don't determine what's in the room by willing it so.

No, and neither does your character. But you're not your character. Your character sees the room. For you, the room is created in your head by the DM's words. All those words are doing is is invoking your imagination. But you don't need the DM's words for you to imagine things that you think should be there, or which plausibly would be there. The DM's description is only necessary for things the players wouldn't expect to see, or as inspiration for their own imagination.



Yet in RPG situations, we must necessarily rely upon verbal communication to get the information that we seek, because we don't have access to that instant sensory input.  If some detail is important to me, even if it's something that in my player's mind is "obvious," it's better that I ask about it than assume it; best still if I can find a way to receive that information through the "eyes" of my PC.

  Similarly, since I don't have VR equipment to look around the room in a game, I "ask" the DM in immersive simulation of my PC looking at his surroundings for specific details; if the DM's response is the equivalent of asking me to will the environment to take a specific shape or house a specific element, it breaks the immersive parallel to my common real-world analogous experience.

That's not equivalent to what a collaborative DM is asking.

Your character walks into a room. The DM describes it. You ask if plausible item X is present. The DM says "Yes," and gives some additional facts about it. If the DM defaults to "Yes, and..." and it had not occurred to him that item X would be there, but of course it is, then who just created that item? If he improvises so well that you can't tell he just made it up, what of your immersion?

A character walks into a room. The DM describes it. The player asks if plausible item X is present. The DM says "No." This conflicts with the player's idea of such a room, and no clear reason for the discrepency is every indicated. This smithy simply doesn't have any barrels of water for quenching. This inn simply doesn't have any front facing windows. The game halts for another moment as the player clarifies this with the DM. Possibly an argument arises. How is everyone's immersion doing?



Yes, you can posit a positive situation for one method & a negative situation for another method, but the reverse is possible too.  How about this:
Your character walks into a room.  The DM describes it.  You ask if plausible item X is present.  The DM says "is that typical?" because he doesn't know & it had not occurred to him that item X would be there.  When you say yes, it's obvious, why isn't it obvious to him, too? and he sheepishly defaults to "yes, and..."  it doesn't matter who created that item, you stopped to have that conversation.

A character walks into a room.  The DM describes it.  The player asks if plausible item X is present.  The DM says "No."  This conflicts with the player's idea of such a room, and no clear reason for the discrepency is indicated.  So the charcter investigates and finds out that the inn doesn't have front facing windows because the southern exposure would be too much sun for the proprietor who's secretly a vampire -- which the DM knew because it was in his prepped notes, even though he hadn't considered the windows until the player asked about them.

I'm not pretending that these are the only ways that things can go.  But neither should you expect me to accept that your renditions are the only ways, either.  The fundamental differences in the above examples, both yours and mine, boils down to a question of trust between players and DM.  It's there in the positive examples, and lacking in the negative ones.  And issues of trust and buy-in are independent of the issue of level of communal story improvisation v. prepped material.

-Dan'L

In the last 48 hours I'm happy to say that the thread has really improved its tone and debate (as opposed to arguments).

@zippy

To answer your question about battles. In an average 3-5 hour session, we can have anywhere between 1-5+ combat encounters. Our last game, which lasted 5 hours had 4 combat encounters based around an arena tournament. The combats wouldn't have lasted so long, but the arena included puzzles and traps into the combat which made them more strategic and complex.

In the session before that, we only had a multiple encounters with some zombies that lasted about 10-15 minutes, IIRC. And that's all encounters combined.

Before that, we had a session that was devoted to exploration mostly for the 3 hours and a final combat that lasted about...15 minutes with a BBEG.

I play 3.5, and my players have gotten really good at combat over the years.



Oh. You don't play 4e. I've never played 3.5e, but from what I gather it has quite a large divide in focus, combat style and length of combat. For 4e DMs: How long do you encounters tend to last?


So, they try it, and don't like it. Do they spend the rest of their time on it, or do they (and are they allowed to) speak up and offer details or ideas that will make the game more fun for them?

Course they are.  As you might with yu friend who cooks for you.  Think I said as much in a post, although that may have been deleted because I dared to use an asterisk to mask a not rude word


What you will notice here (and this is for everyone reading, not just The_Jagged) is that Centauri is presenting an "either/or" fallacy where either the players can go along with a bad plot OR they can offer details/ideas for the game.

Of course, those details/ideas are created for the GAME itself...

There is, naturally, another option...the players can use their characters to act as they desire and pursue things in game that they will enjoy. This, one will note, does NOT require the players to make up content for the game. It merely requires the players to have their characters be active and pursue goals while requiring the DM to be capable of presenting a reasonable world where goals can be pursued by individuals.




What you've failed to notice Yagami, is that in the method The_Jagged seems to be promoting is a "take or leave it" approach - they are not allowed to create unplanned actions for their characters or create content in the world. The DM tells the players what they will do, and the players have to do it otherwise they are being a bad excuse for a human being.

Gun's don't kill people. People kill people.

Styles don't ruin games. Bad DMs ruin games.


But guns, like styles, are aides. It's much easier to kill someone with a gun, and similarly certain styles ("take it or leave it" DMing) can lend themselves very easily to bad gaming.

One main question of this thread is why, if players have to go along with the plot anyway (or be considered brats), the plot is offered to the players at all? Why not assume they're on it, and skip the scene in which it's offered to them, as if they had a choice?

So far I think only yourself, Iserith & Jagged have said that the plot/story/adventure is being forced on the players. Most of the DMs seems to be saying 'I offer it in several ways' or 'I improvise and throw it out the window.' Given that most DMs therefore are reacting to the player choices, having the hook / quest offer seems an important step.

So almost 30 pages of this thread have gone by, and here's what we've learned.
Group A: "I like to let my players contribute a lot to the world they're playing in. That way, they're sure to like what they find."
Group B: "I like to keep the world mysterious, so that players can be consistently surprised and don't have to worry about anything but their characters."


A surprisingly good summary of the differences in opinion! This seems to hit the nail on the head.

[...]Another key aspect of my style is to have a few big events unfolding in the world at large. That way, the PCs can have limitless entry points into whatever problems the world might be facing, and they might encounter it at almost any time. The PCs don't want to follow the deep gnomes and help free their people from slavery in the Underdark? Cool, there's also this cult of Vecnites that's been up to no good. I'll flesh out the major villains, determine their wants and needs, but other than that, how the players will (or will not) encounter those villains is up to them.
So my point of advice: Have some idea of the big things, and let those inform the little things that happen in individual sessions.


Good approach, and good advice. What might you suggest a DM do who doesn't go with that approach but prefers to write plotted adventures instead and whose players go "off-script?"


Would you consider that the 'all roads lead to Rome' approach of offering the adventure in several different ways?

Fair enough.  "Yes, and..." is certainly usable with prepped material, too.

Until the DM has to say "Yes" to the idea of deviating from the preparation, and isn't prepared to do that. That's when the blocking begins.

Let's be fair - the 'Yes, and' DM method isn't block-free. It's been mentioned previous times in the past that the 'Yes, and' method involves relying on previously established information to remain valid - such as the fight is in a jungle- so the 'Yes, and' DM would have to block a player saying "actually, it would be awesome if the battle was on an airship. Okay, an airship comes, everyone jumps onto without moving squares, and we start fighting again ... Oh, and I found a rifle on the airship."
I've chosen an extreme example to make my point clear - please don't pick the example to pieces





What you've failed to notice Yagami, is that in the method The_Jagged seems to be promoting is a "take or leave it" approach - they are not allowed to create unplanned actions for their characters or create content in the world. The DM tells the players what they will do, and the players have to do it otherwise they are being a bad excuse for a human being.


Again, thats not the picture thats being painted here. Ignoring the DMs adventure hooks is a very particular kind of behaviour, at best selfish, at worst disruptive.  It is also, very much,  a "take or leave it" approach.  Funny people might think thats okay for a player but not for a DM, who is a player too.
Again, thats not the picture thats being painted here. Ignoring the DMs adventure hooks is a very particular kind of behaviour, at best selfish, at worst disruptive.  It is also, very much,  a "take or leave it" approach.  Funny people might think thats okay for a player but not for a DM, who is a player too.



It's not really "ok" for either party. If a DM and the players can't agree ahead of time what they want to do for an adventurer, it shouldn't really come as a surprise when desires clash. It doesn't really take too much work now adays to send all the players a text asking if they're down for hunting Gnolls, nor does it take much work for the players to text the DM back asking if they can concentrate on those Orcs that were bugging them last adventurer instead and save the Gnolls for after or added in as a side item until later or something.

Communication is key. If the DM and the players don't want to talk to one another about what kind of things they'd like to do for an upcoming game and find a compromise between them, they shouldn't expect the other side to be willing to move an inch on the issue. A game doesn't exist without a DM and players. One is not really any more important than the other.
I'm not going to mess with the horrid quote system here and just direct some comments at posters instead.

@realdani-  You mentioned that Timing is everything, and give an analogy about singing in a choir.  I'd like to add on to that and suggest that the collaborative world-building  and gameplay that Iserith advocates is more akin to Jazz composition.  DM sets the tone, the other players buy-in by agreeing to stick to the range of notes and then follow the DM's lead.  You'll never hear the song exactly the same way twice, because they're always palyed within a range of notes.   It's not a style everyone enjoys.
Also, in a response to Centauri, you mention that when the DM asks you what's in the Orc's cookpot, it breaks your immersion to have to answer.  Who asked about what's in the cookpot?  What would be better, for the DM to say- oh, just some foul-smelling meat and stuff.  Or would it be better for someone to say: bones and meat, they look like human bones or bones of children.   If the player comes up with that part, is it somehow bad?

@Zippy-no-no-  I'm not going to address the extremity in the Jungle vs Airship fight, but I do want to point out an inconsistency.  From what I can tell of the Yes, and... approach with Location in Motion,  the DM sets forth a location with certain factions in place.  This is the setting and content boundaries that the players must agree to play within.  It's the edges of the sandbox and begins the established fiction.   To use your example, when the DM says" this fight takes place in a jungle, it's part of presenting the information of the adventure to the players.  If a player says, It'd be more fun if this were on an airship, the DM isn't blocking by saying no.  What you have is the Player telling the DM that he or she isn't buying-in for that adventure.  When you have that player says "oh and I found a rifle on the airship", the DM isn't blocking if the player's creation of a rifle contradicts existing fiction.  IF there are no rifles in the world, then the player has contradicted the fiction and the DM can rightly say "no".  However, if it doesn't matter that it broke the pre-existing fiction and everyone thinks its 'cool' to have a rifle, I think it's within the DM's bounds to say "yes, and..." then create quick item stats for the rifle.  

Overall, I think a lot of issues and arguments come up here because of a difference in who DM's are running games for.  Lunar Savage DM's for 2 of his friends that he's known forever.  Iserith often DM's pickup games over Roll20.net and for some gamers he's known for a long time.  If youv'e been gaming with the same people for al ong time, you're going to know what kinds of adventures they like and focus your campaign towards those interests.  But if you're gaming with some virtual strangers, it's much harder to engage them and react to the player.   I'm currently DM-ing 2 campaigns.  One group I've been playing with for about a year.  Some I'd call friends, but others just acquaintances.  The other game has only been going for 3 months and they're just acquaintances so far.  It's harder for me to react to what I think the players like in Game 2 because I don't know them as well. 
Lunar Savage DM's for 2 of his friends that he's known forever.  Iserith often DM's pickup games over Roll20.net and for some gamers he's known for a long time.  If youv'e been gaming with the same people for al ong time, you're going to know what kinds of adventures they like and focus your campaign towards those interests.  But if you're gaming with some virtual strangers, it's much harder to engage them and react to the player.   I'm currently DM-ing 2 campaigns.  One group I've been playing with for about a year.  Some I'd call friends, but others just acquaintances.  The other game has only been going for 3 months and they're just acquaintances so far.  It's harder for me to react to what I think the players like in Game 2 because I don't know them as well. 

Makes sense.

Founder - but not owner - of Just Say Yes!

Member of LGBT Gamers

Odds are, if 4-6 people can't figure out an answer you thought was obvious, you screwed up, not them. - JeffGroves
Which is why a DM should present problems to solve, not solutions to find. -FlatFoot
Why there should be the option to use alignment systems:
Show
If some people are heavily benefiting from the inclusion of alignment, then it would behoove those that AREN'T to listen up and pay attention to how those benefits are being created and enjoyed, no? -YagamiFire
But equally important would be for those who do enjoy those benefits to entertain the possibility that other people do not value those benefits equally or, possibly, do not see them as benefits in the first place. -wrecan (RIP)
That makes sense. However, it is not fair to continually attack those that benefit for being, somehow, deviant for deriving enjoyment from something that you cannot. Instead, alignment is continually attacked...it is demonized...and those that use it are lumped in with it.

 

I think there is more merit in a situation where someone says "This doesn't work! It's broken!" and the reply is "Actually it works fine for me. Have you considered your approach might be causing it?"

 

than a situation where someone says "I use this system and the way I use it works really well!" and the back and forth is "No! It is a broken bad system!" -YagamiFire

But I still contend that the practice of one application of a skill can make it easier to apply the skill to other ends.  The artist with practice with photo-realism has developed a level of skill that is transferrable to the drawing of cartoons to make it easier to learn than if the artist had no practice with the skill of drawing to begin with.  And so it seems to me that it is with improvising as a DM -- there are fundamental improvisational skills that would be "transferrable" between different end goals DM/player interaction.



I find them to be different and diametrically opposed. So we disagree. I'd add that I don't find non-D&D examples and analogies useful to these discussions, so I will tend to ignore them. They tend to lead to arguments as people pick them apart.

Likewise, when I'm roleplaying my PC, I'm not constructing the BBEG's lair.  I have to stop doing the one to do the other; I don't have the skill necessary to do both, nor do I have the desire to develop that skill, nor do I think it should be a skill that is expected of every player to develop -- despite there possibly being some people who could pull it off.  And if I'm immersing myself as fully as I can into my PC and the DM points at me and asks me what the Ogre has in his stew pot, I'm not the one putting me out -- it's the DM's expectations that are doing that.  And for someone to insinuate that it's unreasonable that I should find it nearly impossible to not break from immersion, at least momentarily, while processing & acting upon the DM's request would frankly be rather insulting, to say the least, and a bit out of touch with the reality of most players, to say more.



It's not unreasonable and I didn't say that. You just don't have the skills and clearly no desire to work on it. That's fine and your choice. I make no judgment as to your personal choices. If it's easier for you to ask someone else to use a particular approach so that you can stay immersed in your character, then do that.

Also, describing what your character sees is roleplaying.

I don't know what you'd consider a "fair shake," but I've played games where collaborative story building was the style as supported by the system, yes.  Enough to know that while it may be fine enough to amuse me for a one-shot affair, it's not something that appeals to me as a methodology for a protracted campaign.  Additionally, please take it that I know myself well enough to know what I want from a protracted campaign; please also extend to me the understanding that if I dislike something that you do like, it doesn't mean that my dislike of it is somehow wrong or misplaced -- it's just what does & doesn't work for me.



I wasn't saying any of that either. You seem rather defensive.

Which games did you play?

Wow -- this is hugely, demonstrably not true, both legally and practicably.  It's a cornerstone of hate crime law -- the one who verbally assaults someone doesn't bear less responsibility for the spewing of invectives based on the target's ability to not react to them.  Also, try standing in the middle of a ghetto shouting out racial epithets that are typically aimed at the residents of said ghetto; see how far you get with the assertion that it's their fault that the words you speak upset them & that they should develop thicker skins.



That people can't control themselves is not in my control. Someone can call me names all day long (and have on this very forum). It doesn't bother me. I care about things I can control which is, in the long and short of it, only myself, my responses, my behavior, my actions. If you can't do this, then either work on it or don't. It's your choice.

You do realize that Downey Jr.'s character in that film was predicated upon taking things to an unreasonable level, don't you?  So I'm hoping that you're not suggesting that this character is somehow a role model that players should aspire to emulate.



Hence why it was a joke both in the movie and in my post.

Exactly; so please trust that when someone tells you that what you're doing is breaking their immersion, it's not their fault, it's not your fault -- it simply is (immersion breaking) and no amount of "it doesn't have to be" reflects an empathetic understanding or helpful insight.



It simply is for you because you lack the skills necessary to reliably stay in your character's skin despite what you may consider a distraction. I'm not saying that's good or bad. I'm just saying what it is. If you want to work on it, you can. If you don't, then don't. It doesn't bother me either way.

In as much as it's something my character is directly affecting, no it does not; I should know what my PC's powers & moves are like & have maybe some idea of how that plays out descriptively.  But I would find it immersion-breaking if I rolled a natural 20 on a monster knowledge check based on some footprints we found, and the DM asked me to detail what I know about the critter.



And I would find it highly immersive for a player to be so in the moment he can describe what his character sees, what it means, and how it contributes to the scene. Again, to each their own.

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
DMs: Don't Prep the Plot | Structure First, Story Last | Prep Tips | Spoilers Don't Spoil Anything | No Myth Roleplaying
Players: 11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer | You Are Not Your Character     Hilarious D&D Actual Play Podcast: Crit Juice!

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For 4e DMs: How long do you encounters tend to last?



It really depends on how the players want to go about overcoming the challenge. If they want to grind it out, then it usually takes longer. If they want to figure out another way, then it usually takes less time. I've seen combats go anywhere from 30 minutes to 4 hours, the latter being things like epic, multistage battles versus red dragons or the like. Most combats run about an hour on average, if they're challenging. This presumes that the PCs or monsters have no particular goal to achieve in a given fight other than kill the other side.

Would you consider that the 'all roads lead to Rome' approach of offering the adventure in several different ways?



His examples looks like different adventures to me. "All roads lead to Rome" is when no matter what I choose, I get taken to the adventure that was planned. This doesn't appear to be the case in his examples.

Let's be fair - the 'Yes, and' DM method isn't block-free. It's been mentioned previous times in the past that the 'Yes, and' method involves relying on previously established information to remain valid - such as the fight is in a jungle- so the 'Yes, and' DM would have to block a player saying "actually, it would be awesome if the battle was on an airship. Okay, an airship comes, everyone jumps onto without moving squares, and we start fighting again ... Oh, and I found a rifle on the airship."



In fact, the person saying the airship shows up is probably doing the blocking because he's interrupting the scene as established. In this method, you don't contradict existing fiction and you don't break the game's rules. Of course, in a fantasy world, it is possible an airship shows up, if it has been established airships exist. Without further details, it's hard to see if this would be feasible given the scene.

There's a difference between blocking and creative constraint (stuff like game content and game rules). Blocking is not accepting the world that has been set up, or refusing to develop an action that another player has established or offered. Blocking stymies the group from developing stories since it can reduce the scene to a battle for dominance between the players, each pulling the fiction in a different direction instead of all working in the same direction. (I'm sure we've all seen players get into pissing-matches about which direction to go next. That doesn't happen in "Yes, and..." groups.) Note that character vs. character conflict is just fine, if both players agree it would be fun to explore.

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
DMs: Don't Prep the Plot | Structure First, Story Last | Prep Tips | Spoilers Don't Spoil Anything | No Myth Roleplaying
Players: 11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer | You Are Not Your Character     Hilarious D&D Actual Play Podcast: Crit Juice!

FREE CONTENT: Encounters With Alternate Goals | Full-Contact Futbol  |  Pre-Gen D&D 5e PCs | Re-Imagining Phandelver | Three Pillars of Immersion | Seahorse Run

Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith

I think people misunderstand the "Yes and" approach often.

It's just a matter of taking a given scene and doing something thematically cool with it. The DM isn't there to pre decide how the scene needs to be solved. He's just there to provide challenges and make interesting the plans the players come up with. The players, knowing that any solution is as likely to succeed as any other, jump in and immediately take actions instead of taking time talking about what plan is most likely to succeed (that's failure mitigation) or tell another player that they can't do what they want. (that's blocking)

Just because you're supposed to say yes to everything doesn't mean if someone is being ridiculous you don't talk to them outside of the game about being rude. It also doesn't mean there can't be interesting player conflict.

The whole idea is maximizing fun at a table.

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/8.jpg)

So similarly, my fundamental confusion stemmed from the assertion that the skills used to improvise when a player threw you a curve ball relative to prepped material couldn't prove useful to improvising when a player throws you a curve ball relative to a group-shaped shared story experience.

The skills are transferrable unless the DM's goal is to bend the players back around to the prepped material. That runs counter to "Yes, and..." and improv techniques, because it necessitates blocking.

It is good to have focus in improvised games, but focusing just on the DM's prep when the players aren't engaged in it is probably not going to work very well. Find something the players helped invent and focus the improvisation around that.

Timing is everything.  When I'm singing in a choir, I'm not writing the score.  I have to stop doing the one to do the other; I don't have the skill necessary to do both, nor do I have any desire to develop that skill, nor do I think it should be a skill that is expected of every singer to develop -- despite there possibly being some people who could pull it off.

Improvisational music and musical improv are both real things. But that's not really relevant since that's not even close to what's being discussed here, and you have rejected it as an approach anyway.

  And if I'm up there singing my heart out and the conductor points at me and tells me to provide the orchestra's next movement, I'm not the one putting me out -- it's the director's expectations that are doing that.  And for someone to insinuate that it's unreasonable that I should find it nearly impossible to not stop singing, at least momentarily, while processing & acting upon the conductor's request would frankly be rather insulting, to say the least, and a bit out of touch with the reality of most singers, to say more.

Analogies are fun, aren't they? They rarely make one's point, but they do highlight one's oversimplifications and misunderstandings.

Likewise, when I'm roleplaying my PC, I'm not constructing the BBEG's lair.  I have to stop doing the one to do the other; I don't have the skill necessary to do both, nor do I have the desire to develop that skill, nor do I think it should be a skill that is expected of every player to develop -- despite there possibly being some people who could pull it off.  And if I'm immersing myself as fully as I can into my PC and the DM points at me and asks me what the Ogre has in his stew pot, I'm not the one putting me out -- it's the DM's expectations that are doing that.  And for someone to insinuate that it's unreasonable that I should find it nearly impossible to not break from immersion, at least momentarily, while processing & acting upon the DM's request would frankly be rather insulting, to say the least, and a bit out of touch with the reality of most players, to say more.

If you ask me what the ogre has in his stewpot, you've already "broken immersion" as you call it. I don't think of that as immersion-breaking, but I also don't think asking is necessary. You're as capable of stating what's in the stewpot as anyone else, and it can come up in the normal course of narrating your actions (or "breaking immersion," as I think you would call it). "I step over to the fire, turning my nose up at the sick mess in the stew pot," or "recoiling in horror at the grisly ingredients of the stew," or "the scent of the stew making my mouth water." Done. No asking, no pointing, no immersion breaking, just collaborative description. Is that what's really in the stewpot? Yes. And....

please also extend to me the understanding that if I dislike something that you do like, it doesn't mean that my dislike of it is somehow wrong or misplaced -- it's just what does & doesn't work for me.

It's not all that clear that you understand what is being discussed.

Wow -- this is hugely, demonstrably not true, both legally and practicably.  It's a cornerstone of hate crime law -- the one who verbally assaults someone doesn't bear less responsibility for the spewing of invectives based on the target's ability to not react to them.  Also, try standing in the middle of a ghetto shouting out racial epithets that are typically aimed at the residents of said ghetto; see how far you get with the assertion that it's their fault that the words you speak upset them & that they should develop thicker skins.

Another fun thing about analogy is that it gives one control to make their interlocuters look unreasonable when they're not, by making analogies as horrific as possible.

Exactly; so please trust that when someone tells you that what you're doing is breaking their immersion, it's not their fault, it's not your fault -- it simply is (immersion breaking) and no amount of "it doesn't have to be" reflects an empathetic understanding or helpful insight.

Especially if no one is interested in understanding why it doesn't have to be.

In as much as it's something my character is directly affecting, no it does not; I should know what my PC's powers & moves are like & have maybe some idea of how that plays out descriptively.  But I would find it immersion-breaking if I rolled a natural 20 on a monster knowledge check based on some footprints we found, and the DM asked me to detail what I know about the critter.

Why? I'm interested in knowing why? If the detail is being invented anyway (which it often is) why not invent it yourself? It can be anything, requiring no special ability of creation, just your own attitudes, opinions and desires about the game. Furthermore, instead of listening to the DM and then, when the other players (deep in their immersion, doncha' know) ask your character he knows, parroting back what everyone at the table just heard, it's coming directly from your character. And because it's something you're creating and imagining, instead of being told, you will remember it far more easily, which I would think would help you get deeper into character as someone who knows those things.

This is why "Yes, and..." works in both theater and roleplaying games: it presents a very strong illusion, even to the players, that the characters played by the actors know things that the actor couldn't possibly know. If I come on stage and tell you that the hot dog you're eating looks tasty and you yes, and... that the audience is left wondering how we knew ahead of time that you were eating a hotdog and.... The players know the trick to it, sure, but the confidence that what they say will be right and true about the world being presented in the scene is real. Imagine having that kind of confidence as your character, knowing even without having pored over the game books yourself that the knowledge you state is true and fundamental to the world, just as your character's statements would be.

I didn't mean to imply that they couldn't.  But just because anyone can create that content doesn't mean that it is necessarily preferrable that simply anyone does.  That's where "IMO" comes in -- In My Opinion; sorry, didn't think I had to spell it out -- my bad.

Please don't be snotty.

Is it my fault that my calm is broken by the derogatory remark, or only my fault if I let the anger it triggers go beyond the moment?

Yes.

Your response reflects a misreading of the question, unless you are trying to be witty.

I misread. It is your fault if your immersion breaks.

Similarly, asking me as a player to create setting elements that are external to my PC's influence breaks my immersion.

You're not "creating" anything. If you're in a mill and you tell the DM you climb the ladder into the rafters, you didn't "create" that ladder, it was "created" as part of the mill, whether the DM mentioned it or not. It's obvious, and plausible, and for the DM to say "wait, what ladder," is at best blocking, and for the player to say "is there a ladder into the rafters" is at best jarring, and when the DM says "Yes, and..." anyway, it's a waste of everyone's time to ask.

What is obvious to one is not always obvious to another.

With "Yes, and..." it doesn't have to be obvious to anyone else, because after it's stated it is obvious because it perfectly true and....

If the DM says there's no ladder, that's not blocking, that's providing detail & an opportunity to use Athletics.

By blocking. That's fair, in the context of a challenging game, but it's discouraging and slows the game down. It breaks immersion.

For a player to say "I look to see if there is a ladder or some other obvious method for accessing the rafters" is playing his character.

His character doesn't say that.

  It's not a waste of time to ask for the tools you need to proceed forward.

It is if the answer would be "Yes" anyway.

And maybe there isn't a ladder because it was loaned out to use to repair the barn roof next hill over after a wyvern dropped a cow through it; I wouldn't consider finding that out a waste of time either.

See how easy it is to come up with cool details on the fly?

In the moment, it's a waste of time. It doesn't matter why there's no ladder there when there plausibly could have been. It's no skin off the DMs nose for a player to declare a detail like that and for the detail to be true. In fact, it saves time for him and everyone else around the table

  Yes, I have some level of skill at getting back into immersion quickly, but I'd rather not have to be brought out of it in the first place.

Then don't bring yourself out of it.

You might as well be telling me that if I don't want my nose broken, stop getting in the way of your flailing fists while you're moshing in this elevator.

Bad analogy. I don't make you break immersion. You let your immersion be broken.

Yet in RPG situations, we must necessarily rely upon verbal communication to get the information that we seek, because we don't have access to that instant sensory input.  If some detail is important to me, even if it's something that in my player's mind is "obvious," it's better that I ask about it than assume it; best still if I can find a way to receive that information through the "eyes" of my PC.

This entire paragraph is demonstrably not true.

We don't need to rely upon verbal communication to get information, because we can create that information.

It's not better to ask about a detail, because it slows the game down, opens the door for blocking, generates no new ideas, and doesn't stick in your brain as well as if you'd created it. At minimum.

Your character walks into a room.  The DM describes it.  You ask if plausible item X is present.  The DM says "is that typical?" because he doesn't know & it had not occurred to him that item X would be there.  When you say yes, it's obvious, why isn't it obvious to him, too? and he sheepishly defaults to "yes, and..."  it doesn't matter who created that item, you stopped to have that conversation.

It's not a necessary conversation if the DM just says "Yes, and..." from the outset.

A character walks into a room.  The DM describes it.  The player asks if plausible item X is present.  The DM says "No."  This conflicts with the player's idea of such a room, and no clear reason for the discrepency is indicated.  So the charcter investigates and finds out that the inn doesn't have front facing windows because the southern exposure would be too much sun for the proprietor who's secretly a vampire -- which the DM knew because it was in his prepped notes, even though he hadn't considered the windows until the player asked about them.

If he hadn't considered the existence of the windows before, the he could just as easily have said "Yes, and..." and either changed the nature of the proprieter or come up with (or worked with the players on) reasons a vampire would have a sunny room. Either route requires creativity on the DM's part, but saying "Yes, and...." (or, better, not having to say it because the players can assume it) allows and encourages the creation of information around the table, instead of the mere transfer of it.

I'm not pretending that these are the only ways that things can go.  But neither should you expect me to accept that your renditions are the only ways, either.

We don't. Be we regularly see issues that are caused by DMs blocking and shutting down player ideas. The collaborative approach might be benefitting mainly because it's new and not enough players use it to highlight its deeper problems, but it at least addresses the common problems we see here. I'll leave it to others to decide whether that makes it better, or whether it should be the only way to do things.

The fundamental differences in the above examples, both yours and mine, boils down to a question of trust between players and DM.  It's there in the positive examples, and lacking in the negative ones.  And issues of trust and buy-in are independent of the issue of level of communal story improvisation v. prepped material.

They're not entirely independent issues. Showing the players that their buy-in and collaboration are important builds trust. Players who assume their ideas will be shut down to preserve the DM's story will believe they have no choice but to go along with prepped material, and will just read off their powers from their character sheet, rather than getting creative.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

I bet any players reading this would think we are all completely bonkers. 


As far as immersion, immersion can be achieved in multiple ways, whatever gets your players most excited and focused on the game will immerse them.  Having played collaboratively I have to say that the level of immersion was much better in general for players who are more reserved, there are some of us who can just immerse ourselves into a character on command, such as myself, but even that has limits.  So while I agree with Iserith and Centuari in the respect that colloaborative can successfully achieve immersion at least as well as traditional play I would disagree on the point that immersion is 100% up to the individual to immerse themselves, I would say its still going to be contingent on group chemistry. 


For example, having a quibble prone 'certified DM' rules lawyer at the table who constantly breaks character to argue about 3rd edition rules while constantly mistaking them for 2nd edition rules who doesn't know what the words "shutup or I'll punch you in the mouth" mean can certainly make staying in character more laborious.  ::sighs::

However, once you remove him from the table, things go very smoothly.

...and in the ancient voice of a million squirrels the begotten chittered "You have set upon yourselves a great and noble task, dare you step further, what say you! What say you!"
I think people misunderstand the "Yes and" approach often.



Yes, and perhaps they fear a loss of control. Some DMs fear the PCs will use that approach to short-circuit their prepared challenges. Some players - especially the bullies and blockers at the table - fear they'll lose their ability to push the other players around. (I know you have some personal experience with this.) Trying to understand something from a position of fearing it is tough, I'm sure.

At its core, "Yes, and..." simply forms a creative discourse between two or more people and makes the outcome of that discourse more interesting and surprising since it's not all coming from one person.

It's just a matter of taking a given scene and doing something thematically cool with it. The DM isn't there to pre decide how the scene needs to be solved. He's just there to provide challenges and make interesting the plans the players come up with. The players, knowing that any solution is as likely to succeed as any other, jump in and immediately take actions instead of taking time talking about what plan is most likely to succeed (that's failure mitigation) or tell another player that they can't do what they want. (that's blocking)



Right!

Just because you're supposed to say yes to everything doesn't mean if someone is being ridiculous you don't talk to them outside of the game about being rude. It also doesn't mean there can't be interesting player conflict.



Right! Blocking isn't just hearing an idea and saying "No" to it. It's ignoring ideas that have already been established and offering something that contradicts. It could be an honest mistake or intentional blocking. An out-of-game conversation will determine the intent. (Slight correction though - I think you mean to say "character conflict." Easy mistake to make.)

The whole idea is maximizing fun at a table.



Indeed. I would add it's maximizing fun while making what little prep you need more robust, something I know you can attest to as well.

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
DMs: Don't Prep the Plot | Structure First, Story Last | Prep Tips | Spoilers Don't Spoil Anything | No Myth Roleplaying
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Please don't be snotty.


The irony in this comment cannot be disregarded.


It simply is for you because you lack the skills necessary to reliably stay in your character's skin despite what you may consider a distraction. I'm not saying that's good or bad. I'm just saying what it is. If you want to work on it, you can. If you don't, then don't. It doesn't bother me either way.


Can't believe you had the nerve to post that.  "I'm not saying its bad, you just don't have the skillz.  Might want to work on that"

Really?  You might want to work on your internetz 
Guess people are not as open minded as internetters as (preaching) they are as DMs... 
Please don't be snotty.

The irony in this comment cannot be disregarded.

It's a simple, reasonably polite request. Did you have a simple, reasonably polite request you'd like to make?

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

Please don't be snotty.

The irony in this comment cannot be disregarded.

It's a simple, reasonably polite request. Did you have a simple, reasonably polite request you'd like to make?


Yeah, sure; please don´t be snotty.

Improvisational music and musical improv are both real things. But that's not really relevant since that's not even close to what's being discussed here, and you have rejected it as an approach anyway.



I haven't rejected anything.  I've illustrated my confusion over a relatively minor statement on the transferability of developed skills.  I've stated that I find the approach enjoyable enough in certain situations, but not others.  Please stop projecting your straw men onto me. 

Analogies are fun, aren't they? They rarely make one's point, but they do highlight one's oversimplifications and misunderstandings.



Considering that the purpose of using analogies is to simplify a point of confusion or contention by taking it out of the context where it's being misunderstood, I would take it to mean that this means they're doing their job.

Likewise...  if I'm immersing myself as fully as I can into my PC and the DM points at me and asks me what the Ogre has in his stew pot, I'm not the one putting me out -- it's the DM's expectations that are doing that.

If you ask me what the ogre has in his stewpot, you've already "broken immersion" as you call it.


I guess it's a good thing that's not what I said in my example, then.

please also extend to me the understanding that if I dislike something that you do like, it doesn't mean that my dislike of it is somehow wrong or misplaced -- it's just what does & doesn't work for me.

It's not all that clear that you understand what is being discussed.

In as much as it's something my character is directly affecting, no it does not; I should know what my PC's powers & moves are like & have maybe some idea of how that plays out descriptively.  But I would find it immersion-breaking if I rolled a natural 20 on a monster knowledge check based on some footprints we found, and the DM asked me to detail what I know about the critter.

Why? I'm interested in knowing why? If the detail is being invented anyway (which it often is) why not invent it yourself?



Because just because something can work a certain way doesn't make it preferrable to me.  It's immersion breaking for me because it pulls me out of the mind set of a person investigating something to the mind set of a person inventing something.  While I can appreciate and accept that there are people for whom this may not be an issue, please accept too that there are people for whom this may be an issue -- and that they are not wrong for having it, they are simply human.

For a player to say "I look to see if there is a ladder or some other obvious method for accessing the rafters" is playing his character.

His character doesn't say that.



Of course not; his character looks around and "asks" with his eyes and the environment -- which he did not have a hand in constructing and is separate from him -- answers.  So for me the most directly congruous immersive experience in an RPG would be to simulate this with the tools at hand with as little changes to the experience as possible.  Thus the player, in place of his characters "asks" with his words and the DM -- who is separate from him -- answers creatively.  In this instance, the player is standing in for the PC, words are standing in for eyes, and the DM is standing in for the environment.  Conversely, if it falls upon the player to stand in for both the character and for the environment, then it creates an experience that is less congruous and therefore less immersive.

  It's not a waste of time to ask for the tools you need to proceed forward.

It is if the answer would be "Yes" anyway.



I've been on this earth long enough to know not to assume that the answer will always be "Yes."

And maybe there isn't a ladder because it was loaned out to use to repair the barn roof next hill over after a wyvern dropped a cow through it; I wouldn't consider finding that out a waste of time either.

See how easy it is to come up with cool details on the fly?

In the moment, it's a waste of time. It doesn't matter why there's no ladder there when there plausibly could have been. It's no skin off the DMs nose for a player to declare a detail like that and for the detail to be true. In fact, it saves time for him and everyone else around the table



Nor is it any skin off the DM's nose to answer "yes" or "no" if a player asks if there is a ladder there; and it likely will take about just as long with either method.  They're just two different ways of getting to the same point, but some find one more immersive than the other -- which doesn't mean that those who find the other more immersive than the one are at fault for it.

  Yes, I have some level of skill at getting back into immersion quickly, but I'd rather not have to be brought out of it in the first place.

Then don't bring yourself out of it.

You might as well be telling me that if I don't want my nose broken, stop getting in the way of your flailing fists while you're moshing in this elevator.

Bad analogy. I don't make you break immersion. You let your immersion be broken.


Good analogy.  I may have "let" my immersion be broken, but it wouldn't have been if "your" method wasn't there to break it, when another method would have preserved it for me.

We don't need to rely upon verbal communication to get information, because we can create that information.



But it's not an element of communal storytelling until we use verbal communication to share it.

Your character walks into a room.  The DM describes it.  You ask if plausible item X is present.  The DM says "is that typical?" because he doesn't know & it had not occurred to him that item X would be there.  When you say yes, it's obvious, why isn't it obvious to him, too? and he sheepishly defaults to "yes, and..."  it doesn't matter who created that item, you stopped to have that conversation.

It's not a necessary conversation if the DM just says "Yes, and..." from the outset.



What practicality does that hold, then?  If the DM just says "Yes, and..." to everything from the outset, why do you have a DM instead of all PC players taking hold of the reins like some massive Ouija experience?

Either route requires creativity on the DM's part, but saying "Yes, and...." (or, better, not having to say it because the players can assume it) allows and encourages the creation of information around the table, instead of the mere transfer of it.



Personally, I think the game experience is more enjoyable with both the creation of information AND the transfer of it.  It's the dynamic intersection of the two that makes the game enjoyable for me.

-Dan'L
Can't believe you had the nerve to post that.  "I'm not saying its bad, you just don't have the skillz.  Might want to work on that"

Really?  You might want to work on your internetz 



I don't think I'm particularly good at running science fiction games as compared to my ability to run fantasy games. This is because I haven't worked at it and I am not as familiar with that genre. I could choose to correct that. I haven't done so. That is my choice. It is not a bad thing that I'm not able to run science fiction games as well as I can run fantasy games. And I could improve on that if I chose to.

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
DMs: Don't Prep the Plot | Structure First, Story Last | Prep Tips | Spoilers Don't Spoil Anything | No Myth Roleplaying
Players: 11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer | You Are Not Your Character     Hilarious D&D Actual Play Podcast: Crit Juice!

FREE CONTENT: Encounters With Alternate Goals | Full-Contact Futbol  |  Pre-Gen D&D 5e PCs | Re-Imagining Phandelver | Three Pillars of Immersion | Seahorse Run

Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith

Please don't be snotty.

The irony in this comment cannot be disregarded.

It's a simple, reasonably polite request. Did you have a simple, reasonably polite request you'd like to make?


Yeah, sure; please don´t be snotty.

I will consider what you say. I look forward to hearing your on-topic insights as well.




If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

Can't believe you had the nerve to post that.  "I'm not saying its bad, you just don't have the skillz.  Might want to work on that"

Really?  You might want to work on your internetz 



I don't think I'm particularly good at running science fiction games as compared to my ability to run fantasy games. This is because I haven't worked at it and I am not as familiar with that genre. I could choose to correct that. I haven't done so. That is my choice. It is not a bad thing that I'm not able to run science fiction games as well as I can run fantasy games. And I could improve on that if I chose to.



That's me. I run Sci Fi like a champ. Anyone want to play Star Wars? (Sadly I'm not even joking... I'm trying to playtest a new system.)


so I never answered the original question.

For starters, I usually have a list of scenarios going on in my town and the players get to pick which one they'd like to deal with. (this is done with a town Newspaper we write once a level and pass out to the players (2 DMs)) It'd be pretty unusual that the scenario the players picked they decided to ignore.

Running that hypothetical anyway, I'd likely just ask what they were doing and go from there. I'd come up with some complications to whatever they decided and try to make it fun. As far as the events they were supposed to deal with. I have written down a basic idea what would happen to the situation without PC involvement (A Grim Portent for those of you familiar with Dungeon World or Apocalypse world) and I'll just have that happen.

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/8.jpg)


I don't think I'm particularly good at running science fiction games as compared to my ability to run fantasy games. This is because I haven't worked at it and I am not as familiar with that genre. I could choose to correct that. I haven't done so. That is my choice. It is not a bad thing that I'm not able to run science fiction games as well as I can run fantasy games. And I could improve on that if I chose to.


I am sure we all have things we could improve.  That has nothing to do with why your post was rude and I don't believe for one minute you don't realise that.
I am sure we all have things we could improve.  That has nothing to do with why your post was rude and I don't believe for one minute you don't realise that.



I can always tell when a thread has run its course on these forums.

1. Bryta shows up and starts taking shots.

2. We start speculating about people's intent when they post something instead of posting things related to the topic at hand.

I agree we all have things we could improve. I don't agree that my post was rude. It may simply be that the truth sounds harsh in some way. If you allow yourself to be pulled out of immersion by someone or something, you can choose to work on that or not. I make no judgment as to which option you take and am only stating that it's an issue that can be solved if you want.

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
DMs: Don't Prep the Plot | Structure First, Story Last | Prep Tips | Spoilers Don't Spoil Anything | No Myth Roleplaying
Players: 11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer | You Are Not Your Character     Hilarious D&D Actual Play Podcast: Crit Juice!

FREE CONTENT: Encounters With Alternate Goals | Full-Contact Futbol  |  Pre-Gen D&D 5e PCs | Re-Imagining Phandelver | Three Pillars of Immersion | Seahorse Run

Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith

@realdani-  You mentioned that Timing is everything, and give an analogy about singing in a choir.  I'd like to add on to that and suggest that the collaborative world-building  and gameplay that Iserith advocates is more akin to Jazz composition.  DM sets the tone, the other players buy-in by agreeing to stick to the range of notes and then follow the DM's lead.  You'll never hear the song exactly the same way twice, because they're always palyed within a range of notes.   It's not a style everyone enjoys.



Yes, this exactly; and that last sentence is key.  I'm glad my analogy worked for you, at least.

Also, in a response to Centauri, you mention that when the DM asks you what's in the Orc's cookpot, it breaks your immersion to have to answer.  Who asked about what's in the cookpot?  What would be better, for the DM to say- oh, just some foul-smelling meat and stuff.  Or would it be better for someone to say: bones and meat, they look like human bones or bones of children.   If the player comes up with that part, is it somehow bad?



In my example, the DM asked; it was intended to be congruous to what Iserith posited with PCs walking into a torture chamber and having the DM ask the players to decide what torture equipment was present.  I'm not trying to put a bad/good label on player creativity; I'm observing that for me it is immersion-breaking for the DM to turn the traditional metaphorical tables and ask me as a PC player to determine setting detail.

-Dan'L
Likewise...  if I'm immersing myself as fully as I can into my PC and the DM points at me and asks me what the Ogre has in his stew pot, I'm not the one putting me out -- it's the DM's expectations that are doing that.

If you ask me what the ogre has in his stewpot, you've already "broken immersion" as you call it.

I guess it's a good thing that's not what I said in my example, then.

No, but this is part of your misunderstanding. The DM doesn't just point at you and ask you what's in a stewpot. He points at you when you ask what's in the stewpot, because you know the answer just as well as anyone else.

Because just because something can work a certain way doesn't make it preferrable to me.  It's immersion breaking for me because it pulls me out of the mind set of a person investigating something to the mind set of a person inventing something.  While I can appreciate and accept that there are people for whom this may not be an issue, please accept too that there are people for whom this may be an issue -- and that they are not wrong for having it, they are simply human.

Any time you are roleplaying, you are creating. You are creating the next thing your character says or does. You've stated that you don't have a problem with that, because your character controls those things, but clearly you have no problem inventing while you investigate.

Take the example you gave of knowing about the tracks of a monster. You're roleplaying someone who would ask about tracks, and would plausibly know about the monster. Yes, you rolled to find out if that's a lot of information or not a lot of information, but the information doesn't just appear in the character's head. The character has known that information for a while, and since you're immersed in your character you have a pretty good idea of what this character knows about, why, and since when. If a DM turns the request for information back on you, they're saying that you know best what your character would know in this situation.

Looked at this way, everything is roleplaying. You're playing a role of a character in a world, and since you know (due to your immersion) what that character is like, you know something about what the world is like that produced that character. Furthermore, you know the kinds of adventures that character would be found on, the sorts of situations he'd be cool in. You can and should answer questions related to that, which is almost everything.

Of course not; his character looks around and "asks" with his eyes

There aren't enough quote marks in the universe to make the use of the word "ask" not seem out of place there. The point is, it's not roleplaying to ask the DM what your eyes see, or even to sit and listen to what they see. I would think minimizing that would be something you'd be in favor of

  and the environment -- which he did not have a hand in constructing and is separate from him -- answers.

It's not separate from him. He's part of the same world, and that world forms his experiences.

You come into that room with assumptions. The DM can't and won't describe everything. All collaboration is doing, is giving voice to certain assumptions that you consider necessary details. All the DM is doing is encouraging that, to make the setting more real for you, among other benefits.

So for me the most directly congruous immersive experience in an RPG would be to simulate this with the tools at hand with as little changes to the experience as possible.  Thus the player, in place of his characters "asks" with his words and the DM -- who is separate from him -- answers creatively.  In this instance, the player is standing in for the PC, words are standing in for eyes, and the DM is standing in for the environment.  Conversely, if it falls upon the player to stand in for both the character and for the environment, then it creates an experience that is less congruous and therefore less immersive.

Ah, interesting. I like how you mapped all that out. The way I see it, the character is seeing exactly what I'm imagining. The DM provides some details and focus, but can't provide everything. Some things I fill out on my own. If I act on those things, then for the DM to say "no that's not true" is what's incongruous. Of course it's true, as true an anything else the DM might say. If it's not interesting, or not something the DM can work with, that's a separate issue, but to say it's not true is pointless. If it wasn't true, the DM should have established otherwise up-front. Once it's declared, it's true.

Now, I'm sure that will be taken to some bizarre extreme. What makes this work is trust that people are there to play a game, not to trash it. I trust the players (including the DM) to make a fun an interesting game with their declarations, and they trust me. Once that's established, the creativity becomes shared and we have six brains around the table working in parallel to provide an immersive setting, rather than just one.

  It's not a waste of time to ask for the tools you need to proceed forward.

It is if the answer would be "Yes" anyway.

I've been on this earth long enough to know not to assume that the answer will always be "Yes."

It always will be in a game where the DM is dedicated to saying "Yes, and...."

And maybe there isn't a ladder because it was loaned out to use to repair the barn roof next hill over after a wyvern dropped a cow through it; I wouldn't consider finding that out a waste of time either.

See how easy it is to come up with cool details on the fly?

In the moment, it's a waste of time. It doesn't matter why there's no ladder there when there plausibly could have been. It's no skin off the DMs nose for a player to declare a detail like that and for the detail to be true. In fact, it saves time for him and everyone else around the table

Nor is it any skin off the DM's nose to answer "yes" or "no" if a player asks if there is a ladder there; and it likely will take about just as long with either method.

It's much faster when players declare and assume.

  They're just two different ways of getting to the same point, but some find one more immersive than the other -- which doesn't mean that those who find the other more immersive than the one are at fault for it.

If someone's immersion is broken, it's their own fault.

But, assuming that what others do is capable of breaking your immersion, imagine this: you behave as you always have, "asking your eyes" and checking every detail with the DM, but everyone else at the table is a DM. Each one of them is playing characters who act on an environment it seems as though they are seeing clearly. It's like they all have detailed pictures and copies of the adventure in front of them. They're not better roleplayers than you are, but they seem to know a lot more, and act on elements of a scene that make sense and are cool, but which you didn't know were present. Wouldn't that be immersive?

Good analogy.  I may have "let" my immersion be broken, but it wouldn't have been if "your" method wasn't there to break it, when another method would have preserved it for me.

You preserve your own immersion, just as you do when you decide how a character talks and how your character's parents raised him.

We don't need to rely upon verbal communication to get information, because we can create that information.

But it's not an element of communal storytelling until we use verbal communication to share it.

Sure. But you can share it by using it, rather than by asking if it's there, then asking if you can use it, then asking what happens when you use it. If you're in a game in which you can just use something that's there, at no point did you have to rely on anyone to "give" you that information. That's the key step that's done away with. And good riddance.

Your character walks into a room.  The DM describes it.  You ask if plausible item X is present.  The DM says "is that typical?" because he doesn't know & it had not occurred to him that item X would be there.  When you say yes, it's obvious, why isn't it obvious to him, too? and he sheepishly defaults to "yes, and..."  it doesn't matter who created that item, you stopped to have that conversation.

It's not a necessary conversation if the DM just says "Yes, and..." from the outset.

What practicality does that hold, then?  If the DM just says "Yes, and..." to everything from the outset, why do you have a DM instead of all PC players taking hold of the reins like some massive Ouija experience?

Some games don't have a DM at all. Maybe D&D doesn't need one either.

Until that day, it's still easier for fights to have one person who keeps track of the monsters. Other than that, the DM is there to provide ideas, and help focus the ideas. Players can be capable of keeping their own focus, but it's often difficult for them not to hog the spotlight or flail it around. Players can also "Yes, and..." each other's ideas, but since the DM is still the putative "head" of a D&D table, their "Yes, and..." carries a little bit of extra encouragement.

Either route requires creativity on the DM's part, but saying "Yes, and...." (or, better, not having to say it because the players can assume it) allows and encourages the creation of information around the table, instead of the mere transfer of it.

Personally, I think the game experience is more enjoyable with both the creation of information AND the transfer of it.  It's the dynamic intersection of the two that makes the game enjoyable for me.

And that happens in collaborative play, of course. What's left out, ideally, is the asking for information. Players state what they know (inspired perhaps by dice rolls) rather than asking what someone else knows (unless that's something the character would do).

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

Also, describing what your character sees is roleplaying.



It's storytelling, sure.  But in my view storytelling, collaboration, improvisation, and immersion all need to be present for it to be a good roleplaying experience.  If one element impedes another, then the experience is diminished.  Is it possible that describing what a PC sees in an improv fashion doesn't break a player's immersion?  Of course; but it's just as possible that it does -- and that's not uniquely due to some perceived lack of skill or practice; different people are affected differently by the same stimuli.  The only "skill" comes in mitigating the effects when they're negative.

That people can't control themselves is not in my control.... I care about things I can control which is, in the long and short of it, only myself, my responses, my behavior, my actions. If you can't do this, then either work on it or don't. It's your choice.



So when someone tells you that your style breaks immersion from them, you don't reflect on your style (something you can control) but rather insinuate that the problem is all on them (something you can't control) instead?  Peachy.

Again, please trust that I know myself well enough that when I say style X breaks my immersion, I can assess that it's not for my lack of trying.  And please stop telling me I'm unskilled and implying that I'm not giving it effort.

-Dan'L
It's storytelling, sure.  But in my view storytelling, collaboration, improvisation, and immersion all need to be present for it to be a good roleplaying experience.  If one element impedes another, then the experience is diminished.  Is it possible that describing what a PC sees in an improv fashion doesn't break a player's immersion?  Of course; but it's just as possible that it does -- and that's not uniquely due to some perceived lack of skill or practice; different people are affected differently by the same stimuli.  The only "skill" comes in mitigating the effects when they're negative.



I view it as a positive - turning up the volume on the parts of the game that are awesome by embracing these methods and approaches.

So when someone tells you that your style breaks immersion from them, you don't reflect on your style (something you can control) but rather insinuate that the problem is all on them (something you can't control) instead?  Peachy.



I don't think players whose personal preferences clash with DM style should play with that DM. Again, to each their own.

Again, please trust that I know myself well enough that when I say style X breaks my immersion, I can assess that it's not for my lack of trying.  And please stop telling me I'm unskilled and implying that I'm not giving it effort.



If I'm reading you correctly, you seem to think I'm trying to refute your point of view. I think your point of view is perfectly valid. I still think, if you chose to, you could gain the skills needed to remain immersed in the scene despite what you may consider a distraction. (Or you can learn to embrace what you see as a distraction now but a useful tool later.) But that's not really my concern if you do or don't. I'm simply stating that it's possible.

I'd still like to know what collaborative games you've played and what your experience was in those. 

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
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As far as immersion, immersion can be achieved in multiple ways, whatever gets your players most excited and focused on the game will immerse them.  Having played collaboratively I have to say that the level of immersion was much better in general for players who are more reserved, there are some of us who can just immerse ourselves into a character on command, such as myself, but even that has limits.  So while I agree with Iserith and Centuari in the respect that colloaborative can successfully achieve immersion at least as well as traditional play I would disagree on the point that immersion is 100% up to the individual to immerse themselves, I would say its still going to be contingent on group chemistry. 



Yes!  This!  Thank you!

-Dan'L

For example, having a quibble prone 'certified DM' rules lawyer at the table who constantly breaks character to argue about 3rd edition rules while constantly mistaking them for 2nd edition rules who doesn't know what the words "shutup or I'll punch you in the mouth" mean can certainly make staying in character more laborious.  ::sighs::

However, once you remove him from the table, things go very smoothly.

I'll note that "Yes, and..." helps minimize arguments of that form, but I get that you were just making an example.

I react with skepticism to people who claim other people are breaking their immersion because this is too often coupled with an intent to control how people approach the game. They have to approach it the way claimant wants, otherwise they're "breaking immersion."

To head off any claims of irony: I will not control how others play. If they don't want to collaborate, I won't make them, and usually someone at the table is into it, so I can show the others how it's done. But they also can't make us not collaborate, and can't make me not use what they inadvertantly give me to craft an experience that they're more likely to be bought into.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

I am sure we all have things we could improve.  That has nothing to do with why your post was rude and I don't believe for one minute you don't realise that.



I can always tell when a thread has run its course on these forums.

1. Bryta shows up and starts taking shots.

2. We start speculating about people's intent when they post something instead of posting things related to the topic at hand.

I agree we all have things we could improve. I don't agree that my post was rude. It may simply be that the truth sounds harsh in some way. If you allow yourself to be pulled out of immersion by someone or something, you can choose to work on that or not. I make no judgment as to which option you take and am only stating that it's an issue that can be solved if you want.



Like hell you don't take judgment. It's quite obvious in the biting undertones and subtle jabs you make at everyone rejecting your opinions.
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