248 Suspending Disbelief

Just finished this episode on my quest through the back catalog.

What feels jarring to me are the rules about mental illness. This was particularly true even in White Wolf games where one would expect given the themes and style to be better. I just read it and feel like that old lady on that commercial “That’s not how any of this works!”

Which brings me to suggest part of what creates that jarring feeling I think is when we know about the reality of something and the rules don’t line up with what we know about that thing based on our professional fields or knowledge bases. Trained as a Clinical psychologist I find most attempts to present mental illness in games as lame at best, to mind bendingly jarringly wring and disrespectful.

So in an area where I know diddly-squat like economics, I’m less likely to experience that jarring feeling about rules that don’t simulate reality well.


I think that’s kinda it. You don’t notice the things that are “wrong” because you don’t know them. I feel this is a common complaint for people that practice hand-to-hand fighting styles, weapon rules for students of that field, etc. Along your vein, I work in healthcare, and most modern systems view of emergency medicine is… well, it’s pretty TV-ish. However, I think that’s ok, because I already deal with flail chests, compartment syndrome, and pneumothoraces at work, and I don’t think my game needs that level of granularity/ realism. I get that that is a little more complicated due to the social complication of mental illness, just a few other fields that I think tie in to your point.


I think it comes down to the group finding that level of hand wavy/tv real vs. realism that works for them.

For example, I would have trouble (having never been military) with running military stuff in a game in a realistic way. Any player in my game needs to know that and either be willing to work with me on it to improve and enrich the game or be willing tolerate my waving hands and unreality.

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And I think that’s kind of a key. I’ve had people running modern games and the “medical” stuff is “bad”. I. Don’t. Care. It’s a game. I think it should run on action movie physics unless there is an expectation otherwise.

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