Roleplaying is an interesting kettle of fish because there are often twin aims to the adventure design, particularly in the World of Darkness. On the one hand you have the temptation to create a realistic, immersive world with little need for suspension of disbelief. On the other hand you have the temptation to create strange and unusual situations for the PCs to beat using videogame, or metagame, logic.
The perfect example for this temptation involves ventilation shafts. On the one hand, they're flimsy, echoing metal tubes with often sharp edges at the connections that are rarely sized for a person. On the other hand, they're the perfect non-combat way to slip from room to room through the rooms that YOU want them to journey to (leading to funny situations where one room leads to another room, rather than the outside).
Another example is illegally accessing a crime scene. In the modern real world, CSI professionals will go over the evidence afterwards and if you've left trace evidence or witnesses behind (say, neighbours or folks driving by) then they'll get you for crime scene tampering at the very least. But if you make it super-rigid and realistic, then there can be no crime scene fun except through super powers like Astral Projection or a game where everyone is a police officer rigorously obeying the rules.
Every Storyteller and, indeed, Dungeon Master must make the decision of where upon the slide the game will sit. Generally, fantasy games like Pathfinder and D&D sit quite highly in the Gamification section with a lot of handwavium (though this is slowly being reduced with immersive factors like dungeon ecologies); while modern games like World of Darkness sit quite highly to the Immersion section with a lot of realistic quirks that cut off whole sections of the gaming experience. This isn't always the case, but it can be more generally expected.
I've realised this since my last Demon campaign was incredibly highly in the Realistic spectrum. I wanted them to investigate crimes, but the police were a credible threat and illegal actions had repercussions. I wanted them to question suspects, but the NPCs were played realistically and therefore there were a lot of ways to get them to clam up. I wanted them to explore, but getting in and out of secure buildings could be quite difficult, especially due to security cameras.
So what I've realised is that I should take more of a note of Videogames and videogame logic.
In a good videogame, the creators will take note of the genre, style, and story, and build them into the gaming options and vice versa. So if you want a Stealth game, you can hide in shadows, enemies soon get over searching for you, sedatives act fast, and vents suddenly become easy options for sneaking into high security buildings. If you want a High Action game, you should be able to drop down behind the enemy with protean claws out without having to worry about appearing on CNN and Youtube (except when the plot demands it).
This is one of the trickiest things. Just like a player can paint themselves into a corner by creating a character that just wouldn't do what they want to do, a Storyteller can create a campaign where characters wouldn't, or shouldn't, act in ways that support the alleged themes and styles of the game.
So, I've offered my players a choice of campaigns and I'm going to run example adventures of each until they find one that works for them. The unexpected benefit of this is that I can't just rely on thematic descriptions to distinguish them. I have to actually think about what the differences are between what the PCs get to actually do and what they're encouraged to act like.
The World of Darkness one has components of interviews and interrogations like Deus Ex (Empathy rolls like the social aug) and Noir (catching them in lies and jotting down details, timelines and leads all make things easier), stealth options like Deus Ex, often unexpected combat like Alan Wake (light + gunplay deals with most things), FEAR jump scares that don't need to be struck, and Tex Murphy-style puzzles and clue searches.
As an example of Gamification, the puzzles will be lamp shaded where possible by me re-creating them. If I want a Light Three Candles before the painting puzzle, I'll try to find an appropriate picture and place three candles in front of it. The players will instantly know it's important because not everything has a physical version of itself. Is this immersive? Yes. Realistic? No, not at all unless they have some kind of sixth sense for puzzles. But this is precisely what a lot of adventure games do. If you can play with it, it's probably important.
I tell you, with that painting-plus-candles puzzle, those candles will be lit (and likely in a special order if other clues are presented) way quicker and with less frustration than if I simply described them.
So what do you think? Where do you sit on those slides? And where do you WANT to sit?