I need some help articulating an idea here, one that could have quite well have been expressed by superior minds and more voluble wits than mine before, but what the hell! Let's open the box again:
I want to talk about immersive roleplay.
Playing 3:16 yesterday, I was struck by how anaemic the people I was running it for were, almost to the point of being standoffish. Now, I appreciate that some players don't like getting into a role, but I was really trying to draw them into the world of 3:16 - exposition, descriptions, voices; providing action and interaction. I'd pepper these offerings with questions, asking them all how they'd react, what they wanted do or gain; I'd ask them what this-or-that NPC would look like or do, or what things could be or look like.
Blank. I got, at best, a suggestion that plasma should be blue, and that was only after I forced the issue. Admittedly, getting militant about it isn't the best way to engage players and immerse them in the fiction but it seemed to shake up the group and we had a more active conclusion to the mission as some troopers took the initiative and led the narrative. Not everyone, but I let the warm sun on my benevolence shine on those brave souls.
Perhaps my game-mastering style could be called into question, but what stayed with me after the game ended was how little incentive the players had to engage with their character (i.e. to roleplay) and the fictive world. I didn't want play to stagnate thus so I'd latch onto the most subtle of assents or indications of choice and push the narrative forward - players could easily operate purely through monosyllables and nods. After the game I breached the subject with the group and only the two who'd let themselves be drawn into the excitement on the conclusion seemed to agree with me that player-immersion was fun and desirable.
I respect that people have different expectations and desires of their gaming and, on a wider-scale, free-time, but I would be interested to discuss the merits or failings of immersion. Is it down to the style of game, game-master or play-group? Or a combination of those three? Is roleplay really roleplay without the roleplay?