Realism. What does it mean to me, anyway? There's 'real' and 'realistic'. The latter to me meaning 'appearing to be real' or 'being predictable within the boundaries of some kind of common sense' or simply 'making sense'.
In that sense, realism is based on an agreement: that the world will work according to such and such 'laws' that can be relied on. Like in 'IF A THEN B', e.g. If that guy opens a guilded business in Tashal without the consent of the Mangai, he will be in serious trouble even before he welcomes his first customer or some such thing.
These 'laws' don't need to come from our own sphere of experience, they just need to be stated somewhere, they need to be known and they need to have a certain reliability to work as expected. I say 'a certain reliability' because sometimes the fun begins when for some reason these laws don't seem to work.
And as D-Man demanded: "In game I want drama and excitement! I want beautiful women, strange beasts, weird occult happenings, and action hero daring-do. " But to get the fun out of it or to get immersed into it, what you need is a 'realistic feel'. We all know that it's not real, but without the reliability of certain 'laws' or 'agreements', everything comes apart.
In Fantasy, everything is possible, but if truly everything
is possible in one
story or setting I am afraid people will not follow the narrator. Such stuff is annoying and tiring at least to me.
So, I have no problem suspending my disbelief for Dragons or mages or gargun and such stuff, as long as there is some reliability in the way they behave in the setting.
Also, I don't care much if the the land cannot feed a given population in a setting as long as it is not thrown into my face (which is almost exclusively the case in this forum here
In a completely different discussion with my best man, the question was raised: 'Is Pippi Longstocking real?'
The answer we agreed on was: 'Of course!'
We can talk about Pippi Longstocking and we all know facts about her: She can lift a horse, because she is the strongest girl in the world. She is even stronger than her father who is the king of Kurrekurredutt. And so on.
OTOH we all certainly know that she is an invention, but she comes to life in our minds. She becomes real to us.
Just a few random thoughts, as mostly.