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How important is realism in fantasy settings?

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Comments

  • GreenWarlockGreenWarlock Member Posts: 1,354
    Realism is important, but exceptions can be made if there's good internal logic/explanation.
    I have never understood chainmail bikinis. I may be the odd one out that does not find the look attractive in the first place, but according to my friends that actually built and tried wearing the things - they pinch something chronic, and will do you damage just standing around outside combat!

    Every time you see a chainmail bikini, the unwritten assumption has to be it is enchanted with protection from the elements, plus protection from itself, and probably a pretty handy AC enchantment of its own. These must be garments of wondrous power to overcome their berry basic failures as both costume and armor.

    CrevsDaakBelgarathMTHNotabarbiegirl
  • elminsterelminster Member, Developer Posts: 16,296
    edited March 2017
    Realism isn't very important, but some internal logic would be good.
    As long as there is a degree of logic/the setting is consistent I'm ok with it. Basically create rules and then follow them.

    semiticgoddess
  • WesboiWesboi Member Posts: 403
    Other.
    I'm not too bothered about realism in games. It's just a game and like most things they come and go.

  • JoenSoJoenSo Member Posts: 910
    Realism isn't very important, but some internal logic would be good.
    On the topic of realism and female armor I really like the blog Repair her armor (even though they don't seem to update it anymore) http://repair-her-armor.tumblr.com/

    They make some fine points about consistency in a setting. I find it really interesting to see the difference it makes when they take a character, "repair" her armor and make her more consistent and immersed in that world.

    abacusNotabarbiegirl
  • ArtonaArtona Member Posts: 1,077
    Other.
    Realism is nothing else but aesthetical concept. Piece of fiction is unrealistic by its very nature.

  • BelgarathMTHBelgarathMTH Member Posts: 5,639
    Realism is essential to immersion. Magic doesn't mean that anything goes.
    For a heavy strain on your suspension of disbelief via "unrealistic" scenes and feats, read or watch any of the Kryptonian franchises, that is, Superman, Supergirl, etc.

    The other night I watched Supergirl stop a warp capable starship from leaving Earth's atmosphere by flying in front of it and... pushing on it? In midair? With no means of creating an opposing force? Even Supergirl can't suspend Newtonian physics. And how do Kryptonians create propulsion for their flight power in the first place?

    One of the Superman movies shows him holding up a cruise ship above the water - both of them suspended in midair. What about mechanics of engineering and scale? The ship should tear itself apart with no support other than Superman's body holding its weight and mass. And what's holding up Superman?

    I generally love the various Superman-Supergirl comics, movies and tv shows, but when they write in things as ridiculously reality-bending as those two feats, I lose my immersion and enjoyment big time.

    It'd be better if they just said Superman and Supergirl were magic. "A wizard did it."

    10Bazza11Notabarbiegirl
  • FinneousPJFinneousPJ Member Posts: 6,456
    Other.

    The other night I watched Supergirl stop a warp capable starship from leaving Earth's atmosphere by flying in front of it and... pushing on it? In midair? With no means of creating an opposing force? Even Supergirl can't suspend Newtonian physics. And how do Kryptonians create propulsion for their flight power in the first place?

    a warp capable starship

    Newtonian physics

    Hmm...

    ArtonaSkatan
  • FardragonFardragon Member Posts: 4,511
    Realism isn't very important, but some internal logic would be good.
    On the superman TV shows: the characters have always been able to do that kind of stuff in the comics. If they suddenly couldn't because "it wasn't realistic" then millions of comic fans would turn off in disgust. Consitancy matters, not realism.

    It's not realistic for God to make the Sun stand still in the sky for that matter, but millions of Christians still believe it happened.

    Taking the other side, people used to believe that it was unrealistic to travel at more than 30 MPH, because "you wouldn't be able to breathe". So sometimes calling something "unrealistic" takes a degree of arrogance - you don't understand the situation as well as you think you do.

  • BelleSorciereBelleSorciere Member Posts: 2,125
    I'm happy for each setting to play by its own rules.
    I would argue that Supergirl's powers provide her with the ability to exert force in flight. It's consistent with her powers as presented, even if it isn't realistic (and yeah, it's not realistic at all).

  • BillyYankBillyYank Member Posts: 2,769

    And how do Kryptonians create propulsion for their flight power in the first place?

    It isn't flight--it is telekinesis. This also accounts for their ability to hold objects in ways which should normally cause the object to collapse under its own weight--the object is being held "correctly" via telekinesis and is thus being supported at all points. This telekinesis has a range of "touch only"--they can't remotely lift things, only things they are touching.

    Heat vision? It isn't heat vision; it is pyrokinesis with the side effect of "takes the form of beams from the eyes". X-ray vision? No, clairvoyance with the limitation "cannot view through lead".

    The real problem with most superheroes is that they were created without any concept as to how those abilities could work in the real world--comic books were designed for children, not adults with university degrees. Hence, the "magic" aspect to it.

    Even most superhero origin stories are not realistic. Bitten by a radioactive spider? Real-world result: either death because there is no antitoxin, losing the hand/arm, or if antitoxin is available recovering and having a fear of spiders for the rest of your life. Blasted by gamma rays from an experimental explosive device? There wouldn't have been a body to recover. Struck by lightning then bathed in a collection of chemical compounds? Maybe you live and have chemical burns, maybe you die. Given a magical ring by a dying alien? What kind of drugs were you on?

    Sometimes, it is best to suspend disbelief and just enjoy the ride.
    That's why the most common phrase in the Marvel encyclopedia is "an unknown extra-dimensional source." Hulk's extra mass comes from "an unknown extra-dimensional source." The energy for Human Torch's flame comes from "an unknown extra-dimensional source." It's their version of "a wizard did it."

    BTW, most likely result for being bitten by a radioactive spider is a little bit of itching and swelling. Most spider venom isn't that powerful and the amount of radiation involved would be negligible.

    ArtonaCrevsDaakMathsorcerer
  • NotabarbiegirlNotabarbiegirl Member Posts: 143
    Realism isn't very important, but some internal logic would be good.
    I am okay with each genre following its' own set of rules, as long as they follow them. Do not change the rules partway through out of laziness. The ever changing origin stories can get frustrating. Also, If spells work only X,Y, and Z; do not dare make your bad guys D,E, and F magic users and expect happiness from the readers, watcher or players. For the most part I do agree with @Mathsorcerer on these subjects regarding suspension of disbelief for plots to work, though some sort of "reality (esque) " is helpful. How far you push away from easier to grasp you either become Ground Breaking, Trend Setting, OR that was just weird and hard to follow. Some people like the mental stretch, some refuse the attempt and create backlash against the very idea.

    ThacoBell
  • Woolie_WoolWoolie_Wool Member Posts: 156
    edited March 2017
    abacus said:

    I'm interested to see what people's opinions are on realism in fantasy settings.

    How important is realism to you?

    Do you get irritated by the physics bending antics of movie Legolas?

    Are you an acolyte of the Rule of Cool?

    Personally, whilst I'm happy to let my mind wander in a world of dragons and chromatic orbs, I still like to think about mundane factors like:
    -How are my characters feeding themselves?
    -How much do 20,000 gold coins weigh?
    -Could he really swing a longsword in either hand?
    -If I'm sneaking up to quietly despatch a sentry, is a 6 foot long piece of wood really my best option?
    -Do the Hogwarts kids really not learn basic maths or grammar?

    This discussion applies to literature, video games, pnp, movie/tv and any other media.
    The only proviso being that magic exists within the internal universe... whether that be the wand-waving ubiquitous magic of the Potterverse or something more subtle or structured.

    Well the thing is, it depends. How much or how little realism you want, or what a nebulous word like "realism" even means, depends on the context of the universe you're working with. Above all, the universe's internal logic should be consistent. 47 kinds of realistic armor designs approved by your HEMA nerd consultant won't help you if your worldbuilding is a contradictory, nonsensical mess. What sort of setting have you created? What kind of story do you want to tell? Your approach should proceed from those questions, not some arbitrary correct amount of Realism™.

    However, I think if you want to tackle heavy philosophical or (especially) political themes, you may want a more grounded, low-magic setting. I don't think the Forgotten Realms would be a good venue for telling a story about the struggle for halfling liberation, for instance. You may have to roll your own campaign setting for that.

  • SmilingSwordSmilingSword Member Posts: 827
    I'm happy for each setting to play by its own rules.
    This is a interesting question because it encompasses all fantasy media.

    If this was just about games my answer would of been very different, as I am a very strong believer in the idea that realism should never get in the way of fun. Having obtrusive mechanics for the sake of because realism is always a bad idea in my book. Things like money having a weight, a excessively small inventory and any number of other unfun bits of busy work fall into this category.

    If it was just books or movies then I would be far more strict "within reason" as things need to make sense, even if the sense they make is answered by because magic.

    So I'll just take the middle path on this one.

    abacusCrevsDaakNotabarbiegirl
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