Realism in Middle-earth

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Otaku-sempai
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Re: Realism in Middle-earth

Post by Otaku-sempai » Sat Jan 06, 2018 1:21 am

cuthalion wrote:
Fri Jan 05, 2018 9:12 pm
For answer Gandalf cried aloud to his horse. ‘On, Shadowfax! We must hasten. Time is short. See! The beacons of Gondor are alight, calling for aid. War is kindled. See, there is the fire on Amon Dîn, and flame on Eilenach; and there they go speeding west: Nardol, Erelas, Min-Rimmon, Calenhad, and the Halifirien on the borders of Rohan.’
Ah, thanks for that! I did recall that Théoden had received Denethor's call for aid via messenger and the Red Arrow and not the beacons.
"Far, far below the deepest delvings of the Dwarves, the world is gnawed by nameless things. Even Sauron knows them not. They are older than he."

Enevhar Aldarion
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Re: Realism in Middle-earth

Post by Enevhar Aldarion » Sat Jan 06, 2018 2:29 am

Since this sort of sidetracked on clocks and such, here is an interesting article on that, including two drawings Tolkien did of clocks Bilbo owned:

https://middle-earth.xenite.org/where-d ... his-clock/

Also, it seems that there is no Elvish word for clock.

Glorelendil
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Re: Realism in Middle-earth

Post by Glorelendil » Sat Jan 06, 2018 3:23 am

Since we are sidetracking, I want to sidetrack on the word "immersion". This is going to be grouchy. I apologize ahead of time, but the word's use in the discussion of RPGs gets under my skin. I used it myself in this thread, and hesitated before I did (and regret it).

I wish AngryDM would make a post about immersion. Actually, I wish AngryDM would let me ghost write that post. (AngryDM, if you're actually zedturtle or JamesBrown and are reading this, I would put a lot more thought and care...and editing...into ghostwriting for you. Really.)

Usually "immersion" is used in the context of "suspension of disbelief" (which is another term I loathe.) The argument is usually that some particular spoils the illusion that the gaming world is 'real'. "Dude, I was totally into the story but then you metagamed and it ruined my suspension of disbelief. Immersion was blown."

I just don't buy it.

We're sitting there, eating junk food and rolling dice while moving little figures around on a dry erase mat, talking about casting spells and and fighting dragons, and THIS ONE THING ruined your immersion?

In most cases when I hear "immersion" I auto-translate in my head to "something I don't like for my own reasons and wouldn't have put in the game if I had been the designer. Which I'm not, so I'm going to grumble about immersion."

Take rapiers in 5e. I detest rapiers, at least in Dungeons and Dragons, both because they don't fit thematically with the rest of the genre, and because they're the poster child for this whole "let's make Strength and Dexterity equal in every possible way" trend. So when yet another Drow Paladin (don't get me started on Drow, or Dexadins) with a rapier shows up at the table I grit my teeth. When I close my eyes and do the whole Theatre of the Mind thing, the Rapier stands out like a moustache drawn on the Mona Lisa.

Does it taint my imagination? Yes. Does it "spoil my immersion"? No. I was never convinced that I was inhabiting a real world in the first place. I never suspended my disbelief. How could I? I'm sitting at a table with a bunch of nerds rolling funny dice.

Ok, that said, I do think there's a genuine form of immersion. Immersion is when you experience emotions similar to what your character would be experiencing. Examples:
- In a combat you're actually tense because you're worried your character is going to die.
- Something creepy and disturbing happens and you feel the hair on your arms tingle.
- The villain is unmasked and you are genuinely shocked and even angry that you've been duped.
- You know you're going to have sacrifice something for the greater good, and you're in denial, desperately trying to find an out.
- A friendly NPC dies and after the game you are kind of down about it.
- You kill the boss at the end of game and it makes you want to jump up and cheer.

That's immersion. It's not belief, it's emotion.
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cuthalion
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Re: Realism in Middle-earth

Post by cuthalion » Sat Jan 06, 2018 4:02 am

Hahahaha--didn't you just double down on a thread that was already about griping with an ongoing argument about terminology to gripe about another one?

For my 2 cents, I get what you're saying. Sounds like kind of a douchy way of acting, but, also, it may just be a tomato/tomato thing. If you actually go back to the roots of the term 'suspension of disbelief', they are closely embedded in the novel and also theories of sentiment and emotion of the time. It wasn't that people were picking up novels and loosing grip on reality, believing entirely in a fictional world. There's still a disassocation, as you say (though not in some extreme cases--people kinda lost their minds! See some of the responses to early novels like Pamela, for example.)

The point is, a new kind of interiority was being offered that allowed people to associate with fictional characters, to attribute them with emotions, to feel emotionally connected to them (to empathize with them, being the key word). So in my book, all of your examples are perfect examples of the suspension of disbelief. It's hard to get worked up or agitated about something you don't have any stock or investment in. Cf. playing a RPG with a group of 4 year olds vs your own games.

Your book, of course, may account for things differently. Or maybe you just object to people using the term inaccurately or in ways to make themselves sound smart.

Maybe I just did this. :oops:

Don't think I'd ever bring it up at a table though--that does seem pretty forced. Has that really happened?? 'Dude, you just totally severed the suspension of my disbelief??!!' For real?

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cuthalion
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Re: Realism in Middle-earth

Post by cuthalion » Sat Jan 06, 2018 4:05 am

Otaku-sempai wrote:
Sat Jan 06, 2018 1:21 am
cuthalion wrote:
Fri Jan 05, 2018 9:12 pm
For answer Gandalf cried aloud to his horse. ‘On, Shadowfax! We must hasten. Time is short. See! The beacons of Gondor are alight, calling for aid. War is kindled. See, there is the fire on Amon Dîn, and flame on Eilenach; and there they go speeding west: Nardol, Erelas, Min-Rimmon, Calenhad, and the Halifirien on the borders of Rohan.’
Ah, thanks for that! I did recall that Théoden had received Denethor's call for aid via messenger and the Red Arrow and not the beacons.
We both learned something. The correct sequence is: Fiery Beacon >> Horse Messenger >> Red Arrow

One to remember if it ever comes up.

Glorelendil
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Re: Realism in Middle-earth

Post by Glorelendil » Sat Jan 06, 2018 12:32 pm

cuthalion wrote:
Sat Jan 06, 2018 4:02 am
Or maybe you just object to people using the term inaccurately or in ways to make themselves sound smart.
No, what aggravates me is that people (although really not so much on this forum) use the term to try to make their subjective preferences sound objective. “It’s not that I don’t like X, it’s that its lack of realism breaks immersion.”
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Stormcrow
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Re: Realism in Middle-earth

Post by Stormcrow » Sat Jan 06, 2018 1:08 pm

What you're describing, Glorelendil, is addressed by Tolkien in his essay "On Fairy Stories." If one is suspending one's disbelief, then the artist has already failed. The author's job is to subcreate (because only God can "create") a secondary world in which the reader can invest his secondary belief. You know it's not the primary world, but you willingly enter the secondary world, and if the author has done a good job, you believe in it while you're there--you are in an enchanted state. When the author has NOT done a good job, you cannot invest secondary belief in the secondary world, and while you're there you must consciously suspend your disbelief.

I also don't like the term immersion applied to RPGs. They work exactly as Tolkien described for stories: if the game master has successfully subcreated a secondary world, the players can invest their secondary belief in it. Exactly how immersive that experience has to be will vary from game to game and person to person, but I think people don't need as much as some think. A master storyteller or a good game master can enchant his or her audience or players regardless of distractions from outside. If immersion is not being used to mean paying attention to the story/game, then it's being used as an excuse for a failure of the author/game master to enchant.

atgxtg
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Re: Realism in Middle-earth

Post by atgxtg » Sat Jan 06, 2018 1:11 pm

Glorelendil wrote:
Sat Jan 06, 2018 12:32 pm
cuthalion wrote:
Sat Jan 06, 2018 4:02 am
Or maybe you just object to people using the term inaccurately or in ways to make themselves sound smart.
No, what aggravates me is that people (although really not so much on this forum) use the term to try to make their subjective preferences sound objective. “It’s not that I don’t like X, it’s that its lack of realism breaks immersion.”

I think the proper term to use is verisimilitude (the appearance of being real) as opposed to realism (that is actually being real) or realistic (appearing accurate or true to life). I think the latter two terms end up giving such statements more "weight" than they probably should have.

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Kurt
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Re: Realism in Middle-earth

Post by Kurt » Sat Jan 06, 2018 2:39 pm

Glorelendil wrote:
Sat Jan 06, 2018 12:32 pm
cuthalion wrote:
Sat Jan 06, 2018 4:02 am
Or maybe you just object to people using the term inaccurately or in ways to make themselves sound smart.
No, what aggravates me is that people (although really not so much on this forum) use the term to try to make their subjective preferences sound objective. “It’s not that I don’t like X, it’s that its lack of realism breaks immersion.”
Give me a break. Immersion is a perfectly fine word to use in the context of roleplaying.

Glorelendil
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Re: Realism in Middle-earth

Post by Glorelendil » Sat Jan 06, 2018 2:41 pm

atgxtg wrote:
Sat Jan 06, 2018 1:11 pm
I think the proper term to use is verisimilitude (the appearance of being real) as opposed to realism (that is actually being real) or realistic (appearing accurate or true to life). I think the latter two terms end up giving such statements more "weight" than they probably should have.
What's the noun form of realistic, then?
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