PDA

View Full Version : DM Help Winning By Rules-Lawyering



Mark Hall
2019-08-06, 11:27 AM
Not just any rules-lawyering, but I'm specifically referencing OOTS 1173 (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots1173.html), wherein Durkon manages to get the vote suspended by breaking the table around which everyone sits. The vote must happen around an unbroken table, ergo, a broken table means no vote.

How would you represent that in a game?

Do you produce a huge document hoping the players try something like that? Do you make it an unlikely result of opposed rolls? Is it a player ass-pull that you let drive the story? Would you require spending some sort of metagame resource (bennies, Force Points, etc.) to make it happen?

How would you, as a GM, have this happen? Or let this happen?

JNAProductions
2019-08-06, 11:38 AM
I probably wouldn't have it happen.

Not because it's not cool-but because it requires WAY MORE prep than I do. It's the kind of thing that works well in a story, not so much in a game.

If the players and DM are capable of pulling it off, awesome! I just think that it'd take such ludicrous conditions to pull off, and failure would make the game worse, that it'd not be worth attempting.

Glimbur
2019-08-06, 11:54 AM
Come at it completely backwards. If the character has the skills and background that make it plausible they could pull off such a thing, let them try. Durkon's character sheet has Knowledge:Religion on it and his background supports it, so his player comes up with the plan we saw. DM asks for a knowledge check or just plain approves it. No need to have written out all the rules ahead of time.

Also, can't they magically repair the table?

Imbalance
2019-08-06, 12:53 PM
Seems like a set of DC check if/thens, and that maybe Durkon got the lowest success roll, knowing he had one shot to throw the hammer at the expense of turning to stone. The highest successful roll might have been to remember some obscure loophole to simply cancel the vote. The comic does read like the event was scripted, however.

I think that's how to play it, though, with the code book as the maguffin and only the LG cleric can make full use of it. The vampire read it, but doesn't get it, so he makes a save with disadvantage or automatically fails.

Aetis
2019-08-06, 01:05 PM
Player ass-pull that I would just run with

Koo Rehtorb
2019-08-06, 01:12 PM
I'd call for an ob6 Church Law test, with possible FoRKs from Bureaucracy, Chronology of Kings, Clan History, Doctrine, Rule of Law, History (Religious, Obscure).

The Glyphstone
2019-08-06, 01:14 PM
I'd spent a Fate Point to make a Declaration with my Scholarship, putting the aspect Broken Table on the scene.

Keltest
2019-08-06, 01:16 PM
Im of a mind with the people saying to let the players decide they want to rules lawyer, then if they succeed let them make up the specific rule that they want to abuse. Players are a worldbuilding resource. Don't neglect them.

Kaptin Keen
2019-08-06, 01:28 PM
If a player made a successful knowledge skill roll, posed a relevant question - then sure, I'd allow it. Particularly if I'd advertised strict adherence to rules as a trait, or even weakness, of the dwarves.

Further points in favour are:

- I like inventive, non-combat solutions
- I feel it wasn't the intended outcome to have this vote become the end of the game

Gallowglass
2019-08-06, 01:38 PM
Not just any rules-lawyering, but I'm specifically referencing OOTS 1173 (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots1173.html), wherein Durkon manages to get the vote suspended by breaking the table around which everyone sits. The vote must happen around an unbroken table, ergo, a broken table means no vote.

How would you represent that in a game?

Do you produce a huge document hoping the players try something like that? Do you make it an unlikely result of opposed rolls? Is it a player ass-pull that you let drive the story? Would you require spending some sort of metagame resource (bennies, Force Points, etc.) to make it happen?

How would you, as a GM, have this happen? Or let this happen?


So, there's two answers to this:

1. If I have enumerated and explained and codified the "laws" of whatever culture/organization the PCs are interacting with and one of them finds a way to use the laws in a creative way, then go for it. sounds great! So If I codified "this meeting must take place in yada yada with an unbroken table..." and they break the table. That's smart, clever thinking.

2. The other option would have to be something like

DM: "Okay, the vampire starts ordering the dominated elders to cast their votes..."

P1: "Hey wait. Can I make a profession: lawyer role to see if I can find a loophole here."

DM: "hmmm.... yes, if you give me an idea of what kind of loophole you are looking for."

P1: "I don't know.... something to upend their plan or to let me attack them."

DM: "Can you be any more specific?"

P1: "No"

DM: "OKay Roll it." *knowing that I am setting a very high difficulty because of lack of detail*

S1 - low to mid roll

P1: "15"

DM: "Nothing comes to mind.

s2 - high roll

P1: "Natural 20! That's 32 total"

DM: "Hmmm.... It occurs to you that if you attack and kill one of the enslaved elders with a single blow, you would turn to stone, but it would cost the vampire their numerical advantage. But you'll have one blow and one blow alone."


or, with a more clever player,

DM: "Okay, the vampire starts ordering the dominated elders to cast their votes..."

P1: "Hey wait. Can I make a profession: lawyer role to see if I can find a loophole here."

DM: "hmmm.... yes, if you give me an idea of what kind of loophole you are looking for."

P1: "I don't know... these dwarves have everything super codified and laid out. I mean, they had to make this council chamber specifically for this vote or whatever. Maybe there's something in the rules about a specific criteria for the room or for the meeting I can exploit."

DM: "hmmm... Okay Roll"

P1: "15"

DM: "*thinks* ummmm, their is a rule that states that this meeting must take place in a chamber enclosed in stone with an unbroken oaken table that can seat the number of delegates."

P1: "aha! I break the table!"

****

I guess, if I was trying to envision it, it would look somethign like that? Not sure.

Jay R
2019-08-06, 01:43 PM
When people guess what's going to happen next, I often respond that their guess might happen in a game, but not in a story.

Similarly, the use of the table rule seems far more like what would happen in a story, but not in a game.

Having said that, suppose a BBEG had to complete his world-destroying ritual by sundown, and the PCs manage to delay him just long enough. Is that close enough?

The evil vizier needs a meeting of the full privy council to depose the king, and the party kidnaps the Minister of Silly Walks.

The dwarf king needs the Arkenstone to solidify his new rulership, but a hobbit thief steals it.

-------------

Generally, for it to work in my game, I, as DM, need to have already invented a set of rules that make it plausible. And the players need to have some way to learn those rules.

NNescio
2019-08-06, 02:12 PM
Having said that, suppose a BBEG had to complete his world-destroying ritual by sundown, and the PCs manage to delay him just long enough. Is that close enough?

The rules-lawyery way to do this is to deliberately cause a premature sunset.

HouseRules
2019-08-06, 02:18 PM
Funny, the sun is always rising and setting at all times, just not the same place on the planet.
Thus, the BBEG could say the sun is setting on the other side of the world.
The heroes could say the sun is rising in another part of the world.
Go to pin point the location.

Assume most planes is actually a planet, then the astral plane is considered the galaxy itself...

BWR
2019-08-06, 02:32 PM
As with every question of this sort, the answer is: depends on the setting, system and type of game I'm running.
In a game which allows players to have a great deal of control of the game outside of what their characters are capable of, players could make an appropriate roll, use a Fate point or whatever and pull it out of their arse.
In a game that adheres to established rules, events and laws which I as the GM have already introduced and which don't allow players much control of the narrative outside what the PCs are capable of, they'd have to scour through what they have been given and find loopholes, and probably convince me that other people in setting haven't already seen that loophole already and patched or abused it.

Dimers
2019-08-06, 02:38 PM
I don't design solutions when I GM, I only give problems. Durkon's maneuver provides a good example of why. His player came up with a great idea to 'win' the scenario uncontested, and I want the PCs to win, so I say Yes. It could be a spur-of-the-moment notion or something the player ran by me weeks ago.


Is it a player ass-pull that you let drive the story? Would you require spending some sort of metagame resource (bennies, Force Points, etc.) to make it happen?

Yes, wild player notion that drives the story. No particular need for metagame resource expenditure in most cases, though an especially complicated maneuver might call for it -- e.g. if the swashbuckler wants to break loose the chandelier she's swinging on, hurl it perfectly aimed before she falls so it immediately starts a fire between her and the enemy, and also land on the end of a loose floorboard so as to launch her small friend to a second-story balcony to start their escape. Ya know?

False God
2019-08-06, 03:34 PM
I probably wouldn't have it happen.

Not because it's not cool-but because it requires WAY MORE prep than I do. It's the kind of thing that works well in a story, not so much in a game.

If the players and DM are capable of pulling it off, awesome! I just think that it'd take such ludicrous conditions to pull off, and failure would make the game worse, that it'd not be worth attempting.

This is my answer as well. While the event in question is clever, it's clearly more of a story event than a game event, based on the NPC not reading all the rules, on the PC knowing they wouldn't read that specific rule, on perfect timing, it's too story and too little game.

If it did happen by some miracle, great! But the natural randomness of a game is likely to make it not happen.

Inchhighguy
2019-08-06, 04:13 PM
I'd call this more Winning by Intelligence.

When possible, I do like to do such things in my games. I like intelligent game play.

For the most part I give out a LOT of details. I like details. Details are a big part of the FUN for me as a DM. I love detiled worldbuliding.

I also like players that like detials and also like intelligent game play. The type of player that can remember everything (and/or take good notes).

Information is Treasure in my games, much more so then boring combat stuff.

erikun
2019-08-06, 04:18 PM
I'd spent a Fate Point to make a Declaration with my Scholarship, putting the aspect Broken Table on the scene.
This, except that I'd probably ask them to make a roll to put it into effect, much like how Durkon tried to actively (indirectly) destroy the table himself. Perhaps with some sort of negative penalty if they failed the roll, but still allow it to happen. YES, your character did break the table, BUT it turns out there was a rule against damaging property and now they are petrified until the party can restore them.

Quertus
2019-08-07, 07:34 AM
OOTS 1173 (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots1173.html),
How would you represent that in a game?


If the players ask about the rules, and have the ability to obtain the rules, I give them the rules. In a scenario like this, where the vampires are clearly manipulating the rules, I would have detailed rules beforehand. However, sometimes, (such as for things like a particular settlement's property laws) I've had to detail them on the spot.

Then it's a matter of player skill to see what my NPCs didn't see (or weren't prepared for).

So, again, in this very specific case, I'd have made the rules, let Durkin's player see the rules, and have fun being surprised by his boulder drop.

Now, the specifics of it… may have played out… hmmm… with him reminding me of his skills, him currently or previously confirming that he can roll to control how the ceiling comes down / damage of falling rocks to inanimate objects / etc…

Player (at some point, maybe many sessions ago): so, do ceilings always cause full cave-ins, or can they sometimes just drop one big rock? Can I use my skills to predict and control which?

Player (at some point, maybe many sessions ago): what kind of damage should falling rocks deal to inanimate objects? Because cave-in subdual damage doesn't seem right in this case.

Player: I'd like to attack the ceiling, both making a rock fall, and putting a hole in the ceiling. Based on the time of day, and the angle of the sun, I want to make the hole such that the sun hits the vampire. I can do that, right?

Me: sure (or you'll need to roll xyz). But the rock may not fall immediately, so you'll need to write down where you want it to land, and I'll roll for deviation (here's the rules I'll use, based on your skill of x)

Player: no problem *eg*

Me: (how does he think that this could possibly work? :smallconfused:)

Several rolls layer, player succeeds on aiming the sunlight, and on dropping a big rock, but fails to drop the rock immediately. Vampire laughs at his efforts, moves, mocks PC. Player reveals location, I reveal "no deviation" result, rock crushes table, player explains plan, NPCs act accordingly, I congratulate player for a game well played.