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Realism vs Fantasy

Realism vs Fantasy  

18 members have voted

  1. 1. How realistic of a game do you want?

    • Realistic - If you're shot with a 9mm in the stomach, you ain't going to be doing nothing but heading to a hospital.
      1
    • Action movie - A real hero survives on adrenalin till the curtain calls and then collapses with the ambulance taking him away. When wounded he might not be his best, but he can still fight.
      9
    • Comic book - I might have fallen 3 stories, been hit with a bat, punched till I am black and blue, but I can still fight on par with the Joker. Unless Bane breaks my back, one of Alfred's sandwiches will get me to the board meeting.
      5
    • Fantasy - So I have been smashed by a 100ton dragons tail, clawed twice by claws with nails the length of swords. I still have 25% of my hp, fight on!
      3


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When I look at rules, I want certain things out of it.  One of those things is a level of realism, but I have been wondering due to recent threads, how far people want realism to go.

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What genre and theme?  That makes a _huge_ difference, at least for me. 

 

I like my supers and my space opera to be like the comics of the the sixties and eighties, with a bit more drama but supers-are-super. 

 

I like my westerns to be realistically lethal- everything short of hit locations is on the table, and nobody catches three bullets and keeps running. 

 

My cyberpunk and pulp are action movie, and the rest of my space-related sci-fi is either Traveller or Atomic Age. 

 

My fantasy swings from gruesome to action movie, depending on the campaign in question. 

 

Everything else falls into the cracks.  Honestly, it depends on the tropes we want to play with at the time. 

 

As you can probably tell from that, I have very little problems picking and choosing the rules I am using and the ones I am ignoring.  :D

 

 

 

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7 minutes ago, Duke Bushido said:

What genre and theme?  That makes a _huge_ difference, at least for me. 

 

I like my supers and my space opera to be like the comics of the the sixties and eighties, with a bit more drama but supers-are-super. 

 

I like my westerns to be realistically lethal- everything short of hit locations is on the table, and nobody catches three bullets and keeps running. 

 

My cyberpunk and pulp are action movie, and the rest of my space-related sci-fi is either Traveller or Atomic Age. 

 

My fantasy swings from gruesome to action movie, depending on the campaign in question. 

 

Everything else falls into the cracks.  Honestly, it depends on the tropes we want to play with at the time. 

 

As you can probably tell from that, I have very little problems picking and choosing the rules I am using and the ones I am ignoring.  :D

What this fine fellow said. 

 

And more than that, I don't actually want realism.  I want verisimilitude.  I want that genre-appropriate veneer of realism, but without all the headaches that accompany actually being realistic.  Faux-realism, if you will. 

I don't care what the relationship between volume and jumping height is, I want halflings to jump worse than humans.  Yes, I know that cats are much smaller than but easily outjump humans I don't care.  Bilbo can't bunnyhop. 

I don't care if assault rifle shots should be able to penetrate that brick wall we're hiding behind.  I've seen enough action movies to know that what should happen is the wall trembling and chips flying as the heroes figure out how to deal with the situation. 

I don't care what sort of fuel efficiency my spaceship gets or what transfer orbit makes the most sense or how the engine works.  I just want to know how much I have to pay for enough space-fuel to get from Earth to Mars.  The physics aren't important to the story, we just need a consistent number. 

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1 hour ago, dsatow said:

Lets say, general superhero genre.  No special theme on group or enemies.  Run of the mill Champions.

 

 

I swear to you, D, that I am not trying to be obtuse.  I don't know enough about comics or the typical fantasy story to answer your question fairly.  I have some slight comic exposure from the 60s through the 80s-- enough to know that seventies comics were...   Not good.... 

 

And a smattering of comics since--enough to know that modern comics are just awful... 

 

And while I have played and run fantasy RPGs, there are so very few fantasy books that I haven't regretted reading.... 

 

I guess the best thing I can say is that typical Champions is somewhere between Captain Marvel (the real one, not the modern reinvention or any of Marvel Comics attempts to make that name stick to something) and the first few issues of the Teen Titans or Firestorm in the eighties: before they became soap operas and spiraled downward with undlending plot and angst and edge.... 

 

 Somewhere in there.  Not realistic, not Republic movie serials--just fun. 

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Depends on what I'm running. If I'm running my hard science fiction campaign, I want a realistic game. If I'm running my swashbuckling/martial arts game, it will be a little more cinematic, but there will still be fairly realistic.

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Dstow was this inference to just damage or other aspects of the game? Say Western, I would probably go more Action Hero but some of the tricks from the movies, say shooting a gun outta someone’s hand? I think that’s more Champions level of realism yet that’s something I would expect to be able to do.

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All of the above.  With regard to realism, all I want is verisimilitude and consistency.  I am happy to play in any style of game, at nearly any level of realism.

 

There is at least one more level of realism you could add to that list, beyond what you call "fantasy".  You might call it "Cartoon" - I can swallow a lit stick of dynamite and all it does is cover me with soot temporarily.  If I get run over by a steamroller, I become a living paper cutout of myself - again, temporarily.

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So I purposefully set the number of options to 4.  Its a statistical problem when given a choice of two extremes, realism and fantasy, that people will tend (not everyone but a tendency) to choose the middle option.  So in 5 choices in a gradient, people will tend to choose 3.  

 

As far as level of realism, most games have a level of fantasy associated with the genre.  People do not shoot laser beams out of their eyes or cast spells of fireball.  Even in Westerns, people tend to forget that riding out with cows, cowboys tend to smell like their namesake.  I use damage as a common thread, since in most genres there is a danger to the health of the character and is the most common aspect of the game between genres.  Of course, this doesn't apply to non-human centric games.  A hobbit might be like a small human so it can be relatable.  But a world full of Beebos is another thing.

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Whatever game I'm playing in, whatever the genre, I want it to feel like the sort of media that contains the same genre of stories.  I want the characters to do, and to be able to do, the kinds of things the characters in those stories do, with the same rationales and for the same motivations.  

 

Besides genre, there's also tone and feel.  I don't need or want all of my games to have the same tone and feel.  With Hero, I know they don't need to, because I've played in Hero games with tone and feel covering the entire range of the poll options.  

 

I can't therefore chose any single option.  I vote "Any and all of the above." 

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I can see what stimulated this poll though.  We talk about tone and genre and verisimilitude.  When we argue about rules there is often a drive for a "realistic" output.

 

I think it is why we have a toolkit rather than a ruleset.  There is an expectation that the GM will pick the tools to be used in a game.  As such our rules should be capable of achieving "realistic" outcomes but their primary purpose should be providing our gamer souls with a "fair" outcome.

 

As such, like a few folk above, my response to the poll is all of the above.  Our toolkit therefore needs to facilitate games where falling off a high building results in nothing more than comedy inconvenience to games where you can die from a single knife wound bleeding you out.

 

Let's take that insight to our rule conversations....

 

🙂

 

Doc

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It's difficult to decide, even within the same genre sometimes.

 

Sometimes I want epic fantasy heroes who can solo a dragon. Other times I want gritty fantasy vietnam with hirelings dying in droves. Sometimes I want these things in the same campaign, which is a bit problematic. In leveling systems you can get it (low levels its fantasy vietnam, mid to high levels you are fantasy super heroes). Other systems not so much. 

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4 hours ago, Tywyll said:

It's difficult to decide, even within the same genre sometimes.

 

Sometimes I want epic fantasy heroes who can solo a dragon. Other times I want gritty fantasy vietnam with hirelings dying in droves. Sometimes I want these things in the same campaign, which is a bit problematic. In leveling systems you can get it (low levels its fantasy vietnam, mid to high levels you are fantasy super heroes). Other systems not so much. 

It is quite possible in HERO if you build it into your game.  You decide what damage works where and CV alterations based on categories of foes.

 

Against "mooks", I want my heroes to wade through, against "Names" to find it tougher and be more dangerous.  You can build this into the mooks, giving them conditional CV and susceptibility against attacks by PCs.

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On the general topic of realism, I would also note that there's a lot more to it than damage.  In fact, I would say that damage is one of the easiest things to adjust when you need to.  Damage is just numbers, and numbers can be adjusted easily.  And we've got lots of extra damage-related rules to make damage more or less lethal, and more or less realistic.

 

Normal Attacks vs Killing Attacks

Hit Locations

Called Shots

Disabling

Impairing

Combat Luck

Deadly Blow

The Doubling rule

Extra DCs for Martial Arts

All sorts of damage-affecting options:  Penetrating, Reduced Penetration, Armor Piercing, Hardened, NND, AVLD, Does BODY, etc.

Susceptibilities

Vulnerabilities

Damage/Defense caps

etc.

 

And you can always adjust it further with GM fiat.

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