Full Immersion

What does it mean that DR is a full immersion game?

aged photo DR:ORIt means that the main goal is to try and be as much in the world of your character as is possible for the time you are at game.

A simple aspect of this is that the game doesn’t stop.  When you sit down to eat your meal or lay down to get some sleep, the game is still going.  Characters will continue to discuss business over a meal, and monsters will attack your bunks in your sleep.

But the concept of full immersion goes further.  Ideally, everything you do, say, and wear should be in character and appropriate to the game world and genre.  Conversations about work, sports, or video games aren’t appropriate.  Players should avoid going out of character for clarification, in character misunderstandings are an important part of role playing.  “In Character” references to modern pop-culture may not be appropriate either.  A good guide is to take a moment to mentally ask yourself, “Is what I am about to say, something my character would say?”  If the answer is no, then don’t say it.  In a full immersion game it isn’t enough to put up the out of character symbol (See the “Out of Character and You” page).  As my grandmother would have said, if you don’t have something to say in character don’t say anything at all.  It’s hard, because we are trained in our society to hate conversational silence, but it is more immersive to fill that void with babble about some wasteland ghost story than rumors about what’s in the next DR book.  Safety and rules concerns are the exceptions.  If there is a major safety concern, drop character and address it.  Minor items, like a hole in the ground or a slippery slope can easily be handled in character.  If you need assistance with a rule in use around you or you are about to use, it is acceptable to quietly and quickly get out of character help.  Involve as few people as possible and make it as short as possible.  Above all, don’t ‘discuss’ the rules. Get an answer and get back in character.  Working out neat combinations or discussing issues is a subject for afters.

aged photo DR:ORProps and costume should look the part.  Even food selection and presentation is important to aiding immersion.  Ask the question, “Is the object I’m about to let others see appropriate for a low-tech wasteland?”  If it is not, don’t take it out.  Better yet, leave it locked in your car.  Ideally everything brought into the game area is “in play” and you should leave items that aren’t safely out of game.  The biggest offenders here are cell phones and food packaging.  Cell phones are not allowed in game at this chapter, even as a time keeper, and should be left locked in the car.  Food should be repackaged as much as is safe into more genre appropriate containers (see the “Food in the Wastes” page for more info).  Items left in cabins and tents are another concern.  Everything in your sleeping area should also be in character, including bedding, luggage, lighting and decorations.  Players that take the effort to decorate their living spaces to look like dystopian homes will be rewarded with special items.  Items related to health are the big exception.  Nobody should put themselves at real risk for the sake of immersion.

The last part of full immersion is in the mind of the players.  We do what we can to set the scene with costumes, props, and sets but we just don’t have the resources to get all the way to eleven on our own.  It’s up to every player to commit to the experience.  So work to fill in the visual cracks with your imagination.  Try to really see monsters and not just costumes.  Imagine the pain of getting hit with claws or bullets.  Come up with stories of what your character did between games.  Develop your characters persona enough to react without thought to new situation. It doesn’t mean needing to write long backgrounds or personality profiles, just let your imagination run.  And above all, give yourself permission to feel the emotions your character is feeling.

If you need help with any aspect of immersion, the full team is happy to help.  We have talented craftspeople in the community who can help with props and costume, and a cadre of experienced role-players that can give some coaching on the more cerebral side.