I posted this elsewhere, but I want to invite more discussion about this.Originally Posted by martingaleBefore discussions start, I want to address this:
What's interesting about roleplaying versus writing stories is that it's difficult to calibrate a sense of action economy. Because characters in a roleplay have an unusual amount of agency compared to those in stories (or, it takes a damn good writer to not unconsciously shunt certain characters to archetypal roles), they will exercise their thoughts and actions in ways unanticipated to the master of the game (unless the master is very experienced). The issue with this is that every universe has a sense of action economy. In the real world, time, safety, and mental security are incredibly important resources, and education, training, and skill are scarce. Therefore, action would emphasize protecting one's usage of time, ensuring one's safety, while prioritizing the attainment of education and training.Originally Posted by MasterCrewThe majority of stories appear to contain “write as it comes” movement and understandable but less than suitable plot expanse.
In a superhero world, however, all of those things are secondary. Time and safety are more or less expendable (plot armor), while education and training are abundant (therefore, less time should be spent on them). What does Bruce Wayne spend his time doing? Acting the playboy, and social networking. How safe is Bruce Wayne? He spends his free time beating the living shit out of bad guys. What is Bruce Wayne's education and training? He happens to have like a dozen PhDs from top universities, as well as top-of-the-class special forces training. But hey, in his universe, getting such education and training appears to be fairly straight forward. One might suppose that Bruce Wayne is a genius, and as such it is easier for him, but as a matter of pure education a dozen PhD's is something that would require two decades straight of textbook reading, no breaks. Unless Bruce Wayne can assimilate knowledge instantly from books, he still doesn't have enough time to get a dozen PhDs in the real world even if he is the greatest intellect ever to exist.
Thus, Bruce Wayne's universe has some way to allow one person to grab two dozen PhDs. One of two options presents itself, a) the value of a PhD has severely diminished, or b) there is some method to quickly and easily grant knowledge to a student. Either way, education and training are significantly more abundant in Wayne's universe.
What's the point of bringing this up? Well, imagine how a character would behave in real life as opposed to Wayne's universe. In real life, there's no plot armor. Time is spent no matter what you do with it, and safety is never guaranteed. (You could say this is what makes A Song of Ice and Fire a very good series, that it incorporates the feelings of time and danger.) In real life, education and training are things considered a very good investment of time. In Wayne's world, however, time spent outside of drama and action is of very little consequence, while safety is guaranteed so long as there's no utility in death. In Wayne's world, education and training are worth lesser investments of time than their real world counterparts, mainly due to how easy it is to gain knowledge.
In terms of roleplaying, this affects the story by an incredible amount. How a player interprets the action economy influences what kind of agency s/he exerts.
Worst case scenario, you have one player whose idea of gritty is some dark fantasy Batman comic, while another player whose idea of gritty is real life.