Wednesday, April 24, 2013

U is for Unlimited Ammo and Cartoon Physics

All entertainment requires some level of willing suspension of disbelief. You know as you watch a movie or read a book or play a game that none of this is really happening, but you allow your brain to enter a pretend world that operates under certain rules and abides by those rules - it has verisimilitude.

It's imperative that the core rules establish the level of disbelief expected. Games can feel disjointed if one player approaches the thing from the perspective of gritty, real-world simulation while another tries to blow a predator up like a balloon with a huge air pump.  The fact that you are playing 6 mm tall insects with machine guns throws authenticity right out the window.

However, two concepts help to reinforce this. First of all, you have unlimited ammo. It's no fun to track ammo, and there's nothing inherently useful in worrying about it, so you just don't. If you have a rifle or pistol, you also have enough ammo for it on your person at all times.

The other thing is carrying capacity and props. The props in the game/comic are big - if you've ever seen a pair of my binoculars, you know they are about half the size of an ant's head. Somehow, these magically get hidden in a tiny belt pouch, and pulled out again later. In essence, because the props are so large, every character carries a bag of holding. You have a satchel, and that satchel fits everything you would ever need for your adventures. These little details help to nudge the players and referee in the direction of dropping other 'real world' concepts in favor of flavor and fun.