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  1. - Top - End - #31
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    Default Re: House Rules, Rulings, and Sage Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by qube View Post
    Sorry for the double post, but I wanted to note: Death on the Author advocates it being better that everyone has their own personal interpretation of a text. This simply isn't true for rules.

    While it might be important that rules allow the ability to say "screw this rule, I'm gonna do it differently" - nobody benefits from a table where 5 people have 5 different interpretations.
    This is why I brought up pragmatism in regards to sage advice. We might expect players to keep up with errata, but it is beyond optimistic to expect them to keep up with sage advice. If this was true in previous editions, it is more so now due to the sheer volume of tweets and SA articles.

    It's not a matter of what is best, but what people will actually do. If RAI becomes the gold standard, and sage advice is RAI, then players will end up playing different versions of the game. No two players, let alone tables, will have the exact same understanding of sage advice.

    Which, again, is why I wish 5e's rules had been more consistent and clear in the first place.
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    Default Re: House Rules, Rulings, and Sage Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by Arcangel4774 View Post
    I'd debate that Barthes does embody a big portion of the post-modern. If I was to summarise it postmodern doesn't hold thay all truths are equally valid, but that truth itself is subjective. This subjectivity is a big portion in the Death of the Author, as what defines the "true interpretation" is the culture or society that views it, not the writer that wrote it. Shakespeare, for example, catered to the uneducated of his time, but his work is now celebrated as high literature.

    Sorry to go off topic, I just enjoy a good debate in literature.
    Personally I find the post-modern view of subjective truth to be prideful and insulting to all artists. If a person creates something with thought and intention and purpose, as most authors do, then the author's intention is the only one that is true and matters: there is no room for individuals to reinterpret someone else's dedicated work to fit their own whims and desires. It is not the postmodern reader who has any expertise to speak of, but the creator only. If the creator is unable to contribute further opinion, such as by death, then an intellectually honest person will strive to follow what words and deeds do exist to construct the clearest possible understanding. Any action to the contrary is base and parasitical. A viewing culture or society that reinterprets is one that is full of itself and ignorant of reality.

  3. - Top - End - #33
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    Default Re: House Rules, Rulings, and Sage Advice

    I think that people underestimate how difficult (in fact impossible) it is to have rules that are clear, complete, and playable simultaneously. Especially for something as open-ended as a TTRPG. It's easy (well, easier) for a board game or card game because the set of all circumstances is fixed and limited. The rules are the only way in which the players interact with the game. This is not true and cannot be true for a TTRPG.

    Rules, no matter how they're written, will always have ambiguity and be incomplete because the possibilities are endless. Don't think of this as a computer game (with fixed interactions and scripting) or a board game (with enumerable possibilities)--TTRPG rule sets are more frameworks for resolving common interactions with the game world. They cannot enumerate all possible scenarios (or even a measurable fraction of scenarios) without strongly restricting the freedom of the game. They come "some assembly required, parts not included." 5e recognizes this and has intentionally left many issues up to the DM (and/or the table) to resolve. This isn't a failure on their part, it's a concession to the reality that these things will be varied regardless of what the rules may say otherwise.

    No edition of D&D has successfully removed "relearning the rules for each new DM." 3.X tried to codify many things, but there was still major, unremovable variation in rulings and application of rules. 4e tried to lock certain things down even further (formalizing a lot of keywords, using them consistently) but still required adjudication in large areas (ie anything not in combat). Most of the questions that Pex has brought up would still need to be asked there. This is nothing new--they've just bowed to the reality and brought it explicitly into the ambit of the DM. That's a good thing--recognizing reality and accommodating it is better than pretending everything can be mechanically applied.

    Quote Originally Posted by Game design trilema
    Comprehensive and clear rules. Open-ended gameplay. Crunchy "simulationist" rules. Choose at most two.
    Spoiler: examples
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    Fate, for example, has the first two. The rules cover everything and allow freedom by abstracting almost everything to a much higher level and incorporating metacurrencies and narrative elements while not even pretending to simulate the in-universe reality most of the time. Spending a Fate point (or gaining one) is a game device, not a universe device.

    Early D&D (from what I understand) chose the latter two options. Anyone saying that 3.5 had clearer rules hasn't looked at that forum recently. The number of dysfunctional or WTF things is huge. Earlier editions didn't even make the attempt to have comprehensive rules, and usually failed on the clear part as well.


    All in all, those expecting comprehensive, clear rules are asking for something unreasonable. Are there things that could be clarified (and many have been in errata or Sage Advice)? Sure. Is it perfect? Absolutely not. Do the flaws interfere with the game? Not for me.

    Spoiler: Real Life example
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    As an example, at work (in real life), we just had training on the new Employee Handbook. This was written over many months by the HR staff, the CEO, and the legal team. They wrote these rules to try to cover the eventualities and protect the workplace from legal threat while still allowing us to do our jobs. In essence, they were trying to codify every place that could get us (as an institution) in legal trouble. In doing so, their "best practices" wording made certain departments essentially unable to do their job. These carefully-crafted legal statements were ambiguous and unworkable in several areas, and more revision is necessary. And this was an expensive effort involving veteran lawyers and administrators. They couldn't (and it is unreasonable to expect them to) have created a perfectly clear document that covered all the bases. Workers and staff have to be able to use their professional judgement in applying the "rules" to the situation.

    This is exactly on point with DMing. The group as a whole must use their judgement on issues, because you can't specify everything (or even any non-trivial amount of precise issues) and still have a playable game. Even with perfectly clear rules, people will still differ in understanding and application of those rules.
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    Default Re: House Rules, Rulings, and Sage Advice

    What might be an interesting addition would be IVR, Interesting Variant Rules.

    There is a great deal of homebrew. Some of it creates brand new things to expand the world in a myriad of ways. Other of it is adjustments to the basic rules and mechanics to improve play and fun. It is this second category that is particularly useful to 5e players at large.

    Unearthed Arcana is adding to the almost-official options we have in 5e, but it would be cool if the creators could sanction a list of homebrew variant submissions that they think fit well with the existing system without unbalancing things. Examples might include alternate initiative systems, modifications to downtime activity, changing spellcasting modifiers, or flexible racial ASIs. This would be less official than UA, but more official than general homebrew, and would be readily available to everyone who plays the game. Future official updates would also have this as an additional source of content.

    As IVR, these subjects would likely be heavily debated on major 5e forums and be refined enough by this debate to be dubbed Interesting by WotC, but not refined by the experts at WotC themselves as UA.

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    Default Re: House Rules, Rulings, and Sage Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by robbie374 View Post
    What might be an interesting addition would be IVR, Interesting Variant Rules.

    There is a great deal of homebrew. Some of it creates brand new things to expand the world in a myriad of ways. Other of it is adjustments to the basic rules and mechanics to improve play and fun. It is this second category that is particularly useful to 5e players at large.

    Unearthed Arcana is adding to the almost-official options we have in 5e, but it would be cool if the creators could sanction a list of homebrew variant submissions that they think fit well with the existing system without unbalancing things. Examples might include alternate initiative systems, modifications to downtime activity, changing spellcasting modifiers, or flexible racial ASIs. This would be less official than UA, but more official than general homebrew, and would be readily available to everyone who plays the game. Future official updates would also have this as an additional source of content.

    As IVR, these subjects would likely be heavily debated on major 5e forums and be refined enough by this debate to be dubbed Interesting by WotC, but not refined by the experts at WotC themselves as UA.
    I like the idea, but I'm afraid that the legal department would have hives at the intellectual property and liability issues associated with giving even an "unofficial" official stamp of approval to 3rd party work. Sad to say, it's a minefield they're probably going to be unwilling to step into. It's a 10-foot pole issue. I've seen similar suggestions at work and watched the legal team immediately go into full panic mode. Shouldn't be that way, but knowing the litigiousness and loss-averse nature of business in the USA (especially for a relatively niche product, which D&D is for Hasbro (who owns WotC)).
    Last edited by PhoenixPhyre; 2017-08-11 at 10:28 AM.
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    Default Re: House Rules, Rulings, and Sage Advice

    I really don't like the "official ruling" label for twitter output.

    Sometimes it is OK. An edge case gets clarified and then gets put into the next errata. I have no problem with that.

    The ones I have difficulty with are the responses that are made in haste to a question, but are not considered by the authors to be worthy of inclusion in the following errata after more time has passed.

    I see 3 categories:

    Good rulings - which are chosen to be put in the errata
    Untested rulings - no errata have been issued so we cannot tell if they will be included or not
    Bad rulings: Errata have been issued since they were put up on twitter but the authors opted not to include them

    A whole lot of rulings have fallen into this last category. If those that fall into the first category (good rulings) go into an errata document then they will be called rules. Of the unknown and the bad - there are more bad than unknown and describing these as "official" may unfortunately give the impression that they should carry weight.

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    Default Re: House Rules, Rulings, and Sage Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by robbie374 View Post
    Personally I find the post-modern view of subjective truth to be prideful and insulting to all artists. If a person creates something with thought and intention and purpose, as most authors do, then the author's intention is the only one that is true and matters: there is no room for individuals to reinterpret someone else's dedicated work to fit their own whims and desires. It is not the postmodern reader who has any expertise to speak of, but the creator only. If the creator is unable to contribute further opinion, such as by death, then an intellectually honest person will strive to follow what words and deeds do exist to construct the clearest possible understanding. Any action to the contrary is base and parasitical. A viewing culture or society that reinterprets is one that is full of itself and ignorant of reality.
    Lol at this.

    Both sides of this debate can get a bit ridiculous, don't you think? I mean, it's neat to figure out what the artist was trying to convey, but no room for others' whims or desires? Come on - people have been repurposing art since there was such a thing as art. So what if it's parasitical? Everything is.

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    Default Re: House Rules, Rulings, and Sage Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by smcmike View Post
    Lol at this.

    Both sides of this debate can get a bit ridiculous, don't you think? I mean, it's neat to figure out what the artist was trying to convey, but no room for others' whims or desires? Come on - people have been repurposing art since there was such a thing as art. So what if it's parasitical? Everything is.
    There is a deep and abiding question that comes out of such issues: "why does anyone care?". Even if you could get inside the mind of an author from their work, what purpose does it serve? You now think you know what some dead person thought? So what?

  9. - Top - End - #39
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    Default Re: House Rules, Rulings, and Sage Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    No edition of D&D has successfully removed "relearning the rules for each new DM." 3.X tried to codify many things, but there was still major, unremovable variation in rulings and application of rules. 4e tried to lock certain things down even further (formalizing a lot of keywords, using them consistently) but still required adjudication in large areas (ie anything not in combat). Most of the questions that Pex has brought up would still need to be asked there. This is nothing new--they've just bowed to the reality and brought it explicitly into the ambit of the DM. That's a good thing--recognizing reality and accommodating it is better than pretending everything can be mechanically applied.
    I've never played 4E so can't comment about it.

    I've never needed to ask a 3E DM what rules are we using today. The closest is asking if a particular source book can be used, i. e. Tome of Battle or Dreamscarred Press Psionics for Pathfinder, but that's because they use significantly different rules than the norm. The issue with 3E is not vagueness of rules. The issue is unintended consequences of combining rules from several sourcebooks onto one character. Persistent Spell even at its original +4 spell levels wasn't a huge problem, by itself. It became a concern because Planning Domain was created to give a free Extend Spell feat. It became a problem because Divine Metamagic was created. It became a huge problem because nightsticks were created. Nightsticks themselves are fine for their original intended use.

    Even for those people who hate 3E with a passion for just the Player's Handbook alone their hatred is based on clear rules, not vagueness.

    Simpler rules are fine. Less splat is fine. Neither require vagueness leading to competing interpretations or lack of rules.
    Last edited by Pex; 2017-08-11 at 11:18 AM.
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  10. - Top - End - #40
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    Default Re: House Rules, Rulings, and Sage Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by Pex View Post
    I've never played 4E so can't comment about it.

    I've never needed to ask a 3E DM what rules are we using today. The closest is asking if a particular source book can be used, i. e. Tome of Battle or Dreamscarred Press Psionics for Pathfinder, but that's because they use significantly different rules than the norm. The issue with 3E is not vagueness of rules. The issue is unintended consequences of combining rules from several sourcebooks onto one character. Persistent Spell even at its original +4 spell levels wasn't a huge problem, by itself. It became a concern because Planning Domain was created to give a free Extend Spell feat. It became a problem because Divine Metamagic was created. It became a huge problem because nightsticks were created. Nightsticks themselves are fine for their original intended use.

    Even for those people who hate 3E with a passion for just the Player's Handbook alone their hatred is based on clear rules, not vagueness.

    Simpler rules are fine. Less splat is fine. Neither require vagueness leading to competing interpretations or lack of rules.
    I think some of us have difficulty seeing your issue because we have a steady group instead of playing at a bunch of different random tables. For example, I've been playing with the same people, with shared DM responsibility for over a decade. There isn't a lot of question at our table how things are going to be handled, or if the DM is going to be fair.
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    Default Re: House Rules, Rulings, and Sage Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigreid View Post
    I think some of us have difficulty seeing your issue because we have a steady group instead of playing at a bunch of different random tables. For example, I've been playing with the same people, with shared DM responsibility for over a decade. There isn't a lot of question at our table how things are going to be handled, or if the DM is going to be fair.
    A steady group is never going to have significant problems, other than with player personalities. It only takes a few sessions to establish how everyone works together.

    Major ruling differences are primarily a problem for AL and similar organized play. Since WotC is pushing those things, it's worth talking about them.
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    Default Re: House Rules, Rulings, and Sage Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by Easy_Lee View Post
    A steady group is never going to have significant problems, other than with player personalities. It only takes a few sessions to establish how everyone works together.

    Major ruling differences are primarily a problem for AL and similar organized play. Since WotC is pushing those things, it's worth talking about them.
    But in the context of AL the differences are muted--there are additional restrictions on rulings and much is given in the adventure path. If you're going to restrict things, do so in those settings, not across the board where it affects people who don't play AL (or always play with the same AL DM). Fix the problem at the smallest scope and don't screw up the game for the rest of us.
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    Default Re: House Rules, Rulings, and Sage Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    But in the context of AL the differences are muted--there are additional restrictions on rulings and much is given in the adventure path. If you're going to restrict things, do so in those settings, not across the board where it affects people who don't play AL (or always play with the same AL DM). Fix the problem at the smallest scope and don't screw up the game for the rest of us.
    In spite of the additional restrictions, I've seen huge differences between AL DMs, beyond just style.

    The most common example I've seen given: can a familiar Help with the attack action and provide advantage? Try asking a few AL DMs. I've heard yes, yes but a creature will just kill the familiar if it does, and no (which is think is the correct answer for non chain-locks, because familiars can't attack).

    5e is finicky, and not everyone has read an equal amount of sage advice. Furthermore, AL DMs are still people, and you can't get them to all behave the same way. Since 5e emphasizes rulings so much, you're guaranteed to get quite a few different rulings depending on the table. And some of those rulings, like the one above, can have a big impact on a chafactcter.

    So, even though it shouldn't be, it's still an AL issue.
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    Default Re: House Rules, Rulings, and Sage Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by Easy_Lee View Post
    In spite of the additional restrictions, I've seen huge differences between AL DMs, beyond just style.

    The most common example I've seen given: can a familiar Help with the attack action and provide advantage? Try asking a few AL DMs. I've heard yes, yes but a creature will just kill the familiar if it does, and no (which is think is the correct answer for non chain-locks, because familiars can't attack).

    5e is finicky, and not everyone has read an equal amount of sage advice. Furthermore, AL DMs are still people, and you can't get them to all behave the same way. Since 5e emphasizes rulings so much, you're guaranteed to get quite a few different rulings depending on the table. And some of those rulings, like the one above, can have a big impact on a chafactcter.

    So, even though it shouldn't be, it's still an AL issue.
    So fix that in the AL context (ie have a list of "approved rulings" in the AL DMs guidelines).

    I also take exception to the idea that 5e is finicky. Wide variation in rulings hasn't substantively changed the system in a way that hurts things (in my experience). It takes getting used to, but really doesn't make a big difference. 3.X and 4e were much more fragile under variation--having more moving parts (more defined terms, more explicit rules) makes things more rigid and finicky, not less so.
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    Default Re: House Rules, Rulings, and Sage Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    So fix that in the AL context (ie have a list of "approved rulings" in the AL DMs guidelines).

    I also take exception to the idea that 5e is finicky. Wide variation in rulings hasn't substantively changed the system in a way that hurts things (in my experience). It takes getting used to, but really doesn't make a big difference. 3.X and 4e were much more fragile under variation--having more moving parts (more defined terms, more explicit rules) makes things more rigid and finicky, not less so.
    I don't think we define the word finicky the same way. For me, rigid is the opposite of finicky. So let me put it this way.

    In 3e, pretty much everyone knew exactly how the rules worked. Builds either worked or they didn't, and simple stuff rarely warranted any debate.

    In 5e, no one knows how the rules work because they depend on the DM. Additionally, players have to remember what's an opportunity attack vs a reaction attack, what's reach vs 5 feet, whether X bonus action can be taken only after Y action, which spells have concentration, and the specific rules on every ability they use. Nothing is written using consistent language. As shown time and again, every ability in 5e has to be analyzed on its own.

    For proof, just look at the RAW thread. Hundreds of posts in, and it isn't even our first one. People don't agree on or fully understand the rules. I don't think that's an opinion; at this point, it's as close to fact as it can be.
    Last edited by Easy_Lee; 2017-08-11 at 12:33 PM. Reason: Clarification

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    Default Re: House Rules, Rulings, and Sage Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by Easy_Lee View Post
    I don't think we define the word finicky the same way. For me, rigid is the opposite of finicky. So let me put it this way.

    In 3e, pretty much everyone knew exactly how the rules worked. Builds either worked or they didn't, and simple stuff rarely warranted any debate.

    In 5e, no one knows how the rules work because they depend on the DM. Additionally, players have to remember what's an opportunity attack vs a reaction attack, what's reach vs 5 feet, whether X bonus action can be taken only after Y action, which spells have concentration, and the specific rules on every ability they use. Nothing is written using consistent language. As shown time and again, every ability in 5e has to be analyzed on its own.

    For proof, just look at the RAW thread. Hundreds of posts in, and it isn't even our first one. People don't understand the rules. I don't think that's an opinion; at this point, it's as close to fact as it can be.
    That's not what finicky means to me. A finicky recipe (or algorithm, or whatever) must be done just so or it fails miserably. Most of the things you bring up just plain don't matter. Do it one way, do it another, neither breaks anything. 5e is exceptionally forgiving of rules "mistakes" precisely because it's loosely defined. A tightly defined system depends on all its parts--get one wrong and the whole thing comes crashing down.

    I guess where we'll have to disagree is that I find variation in rules and rulings (within broad limits) a good thing. I'm a DM 90+% of the time (most of the year I have 3 or more groups going). I play at other tables when I can--one of the reasons is to get ideas. To see where I can adapt something to make my games more fun for everyone. The rules are made for the players, not the players for the rules. If something's in the way at a particular table, not changing it would be a problem in my eyes. 5e gives me the flexibility to do that with rather broad limits. Changing how individual abilities work only rarely breaks anything else. A tighter system would restrict that fundamental freedom for little gain, making the game less fun for me and mine.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Easy_Lee View Post
    I don't think we define the word finicky the same way. For me, rigid is the opposite of finicky. So let me put it this way.
    Rigid and finicky often go together. Rigid things don't leave room for error, and therefore any little mistake can be catastrophic. Imagine a pastry recipe which requires absolute adherence to the directions, with very precise measurement of time, temperature, and amount. This recipe is finicky and rigid.

    A soup recipe where you just take everything you have and simmer it for a while? Not rigid, not finicky.

    Quote Originally Posted by Easy_Lee View Post
    For proof, just look at the RAW thread. Hundreds of posts in, and it isn't even our first one. People don't agree on or fully understand the rules. I don't think that's an opinion; at this point, it's as close to fact as it can be.
    There have been 33 RAW threads in 3.5.

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    Default Re: House Rules, Rulings, and Sage Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    I guess where we'll have to disagree is that I find variation in rules and rulings (within broad limits) a good thing. I'm a DM 90+% of the time (most of the year I have 3 or more groups going). I play at other tables when I can--one of the reasons is to get ideas. To see where I can adapt something to make my games more fun for everyone. The rules are made for the players, not the players for the rules. If something's in the way at a particular table, not changing it would be a problem in my eyes. 5e gives me the flexibility to do that with rather broad limits. Changing how individual abilities work only rarely breaks anything else. A tighter system would restrict that fundamental freedom for little gain, making the game less fun for me and mine.
    I think variations in rulings on the same rules is horrible. Rule 0 already enabled any DM to set down the rules they wanted.

    By changing rulings instead of rules, the DM gives the player no warning. This is passive-aggressive house ruling. Worse, the DM may not even realize he's doing it.
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    Default Re: House Rules, Rulings, and Sage Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by Easy_Lee View Post
    I think variations in rulings on the same rules is horrible. Rule 0 already enabled any DM to set down the rules they wanted.

    By changing rulings instead of rules, the DM gives the player no warning. This is passive-aggressive house ruling. Worse, the DM may not even realize he's doing it.
    I disagree. You're assuming that there is a default (the rules) and that there are deviations from the rules (rulings or house-rules). Rulings are how rules are applied. No rule is self-enforcing--all rules need rulings to decide whether (or how) they apply in this specific instance. This is true whether we're talking about games, sports, or the law. 90+% of legal cases are "does this rule apply?" or "what rule applies," disputes in good faith, not disputes over what the rule is. You're expecting too much from a system.

    3.5e was only as "fixed" as it seems because it's been around a real long time at this point. Look at Pathfinder. They're constantly errata'ing and fixing things because the rules weren't clear--and that's on the same base as 3.5. You're seeing a consistency that just plain doesn't exist.
    Last edited by PhoenixPhyre; 2017-08-11 at 01:01 PM.
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    Default Re: House Rules, Rulings, and Sage Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by Easy_Lee View Post
    The most common example I've seen given: can a familiar Help with the attack action and provide advantage? Try asking a few AL DMs. I've heard yes, yes but a creature will just kill the familiar if it does, and no (which is think is the correct answer for non chain-locks, because familiars can't attack).
    So, if I then quote to you what Sage Advice has to say on the matter, not on Twitter but in the Sage Advice Compendium, and it is this:
    Quote Originally Posted by Sage Advice Compendium v1.14 p14
    Can the familiar you conjure with the find familiar spell use the Help action to grant you advantage on your attack roll? A familiar canít attack, but it can take non-attack actions, including Help. As the text of the Help action indicates (PH, 192), the action doesnít require you to be able to attack; you simply need to be able to provide some sort of distraction.
    How does it affect your opinion?

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    Default Re: House Rules, Rulings, and Sage Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    I disagree. You're assuming that there is a default (the rules) and that there are deviations from the rules (rulings or house-rules). Rulings are how rules are applied. No rule is self-enforcing--all rules need rulings to decide whether (or how) they apply in this specific instance. This is true whether we're talking about games, sports, or the law. 90+% of legal cases are "does this rule apply?" or "what rule applies," disputes in good faith, not disputes over what the rule is. You're expecting too much from a system.

    3.5e was only as "fixed" as it seems because it's been around a real long time at this point. Look at Pathfinder. They're constantly errata'ing and fixing things because the rules weren't clear--and that's on the same base as 3.5. You're seeing a consistency that just plain doesn't exist.
    I wonder how many back and forths it will take to convince you of something we both already know is true. You're dodging my arguments.

    We have many RAW threads where people ask how the rules actually work. Often, the answer isn't even in the PHB: see reactions. Crawford and Mearls have spent most of their twitter time answering questions that players wouldn't have needed to ask if the rules were clear.

    A clear rule doesn't need a ruling. The best laws don't need to be interpreted, only enforced. Don't murder anyone. Don't steal. Assuming we agree on what murder and steal mean, those laws require no interpretation. And before you try to argue that, nearly everyone agrees on what murder and steal mean. It takes a politician or used car salesman to try to talk their way out of that.

    Similarly, players may take actions on their turn and reactions outside their turn. That's very clear. Some reactions occur during the trigger (protection fighting style, opportunity attacks provoked by movement) and others occur after. That isn't clear at all, because the reactions themselves don't directly say. Most of 5e's mechanics fall in the latter camp.

    One more example: recently, I informed another poster that athletics only covers climbing, jumping, swimming, and grappling / pushing. The rules say that, but don't make it clear. He and countless other players didn't even realize it.

    It's beyond obvious that 5e's rules are inordinately unclear.

    And if you think it's unreasonable to expect a system to have clear rules, I point you to the video game industry where every rule must be coded. I point you to the writing of Hemingway, which was beautifully clear such that no one would ever mistake what he was saying.

    Clear writing and clear rules are both eminently possible. If they cared, I would expect WotC's products to become more clear over time, not less. 5e is less.
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    Default Re: House Rules, Rulings, and Sage Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigreid View Post
    I think some of us have difficulty seeing your issue because we have a steady group instead of playing at a bunch of different random tables. For example, I've been playing with the same people, with shared DM responsibility for over a decade. There isn't a lot of question at our table how things are going to be handled, or if the DM is going to be fair.
    Quote Originally Posted by Easy_Lee View Post
    A steady group is never going to have significant problems, other than with player personalities. It only takes a few sessions to establish how everyone works together.

    Major ruling differences are primarily a problem for AL and similar organized play. Since WotC is pushing those things, it's worth talking about them.
    I don't play AL but am in several games due to real life. I'm personally able to play once a week. Others are not. All my groups only meet once every two or three weeks, and even a month can go by between games sometimes. I want to play more often, so I joined different games.
    Quote Originally Posted by Erit View Post
    "The DM is the world, the gods, the trees and the bees. But no matter what covenant is struck or words exchanged, the DM is not the PCs."

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    Default Re: House Rules, Rulings, and Sage Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by Easy_Lee View Post
    A clear rule doesn't need a ruling. The best laws don't need to be interpreted, only enforced. Don't murder anyone. Don't steal. Assuming we agree on what murder and steal mean, those laws require no interpretation. And before you try to argue that, nearly everyone agrees on what murder and steal mean. It takes a politician or used car salesman to try to talk their way out of that.
    I don't mean to be rude, but this is a ridiculous thing to say. You know we have thousands of years of rulings and rules on "murder," right?

    Off the top of your head, what does "murder" mean?
    Last edited by smcmike; 2017-08-11 at 01:24 PM.

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    Default Re: House Rules, Rulings, and Sage Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by Millstone85 View Post
    So, if I then quote to you what Sage Advice has to say on the matter, not on Twitter but in the Sage Advice Compendium, and it is this:

    How does it affect your opinion?
    That's a case where I disagree with them. They're treating helping with attacks different from how they treat helping with anything else. And that's exactly the kind of thing I'm talking about. It's another 5e inconsistency.

    The text can be interpreted either way. The sages picked one.
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    Default Re: House Rules, Rulings, and Sage Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    That's not what finicky means to me. A finicky recipe (or algorithm, or whatever) must be done just so or it fails miserably. Most of the things you bring up just plain don't matter. Do it one way, do it another, neither breaks anything. 5e is exceptionally forgiving of rules "mistakes" precisely because it's loosely defined. A tightly defined system depends on all its parts--get one wrong and the whole thing comes crashing down.

    I guess where we'll have to disagree is that I find variation in rules and rulings (within broad limits) a good thing. I'm a DM 90+% of the time (most of the year I have 3 or more groups going). I play at other tables when I can--one of the reasons is to get ideas. To see where I can adapt something to make my games more fun for everyone. The rules are made for the players, not the players for the rules. If something's in the way at a particular table, not changing it would be a problem in my eyes. 5e gives me the flexibility to do that with rather broad limits. Changing how individual abilities work only rarely breaks anything else. A tighter system would restrict that fundamental freedom for little gain, making the game less fun for me and mine.
    There you go. As DM you get to interpret the game into your image as you see fit. Trouble is every DM does that. Since I'm mostly a player the different interpretations means I have to relearn how to play the game depending on who is DM that day. You only play one game, your way, so that's why you're not seeing the problem. I play a few 5E games. They don't use the same rules, and I'm not talking about house rules.
    Quote Originally Posted by Erit View Post
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    Default Re: House Rules, Rulings, and Sage Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by smcmike View Post
    I don't mean to be rude, but this is a ridiculous thing to say.

    Of the top of your head, what does "murder" mean?
    And more importantly, "does this particular set of facts regarding this killing amount to murder as defined in the law?" That's a ruling. Not "what is murder", but "is this murder." Honestly, most of the questions in the RAW thread and on Twitter are people who either

    * Haven't read the text

    Or

    * Are looking for loopholes to exploit (looking to weaponize the rules against a DM or player)

    Most of the responses are of the "see page X" variety. That's not confusion, that's laziness or attempted munchkinry. None of the questions I've ever seen have been complex as long as there's actually a rule that directly applies.

    You (meaning Pex) want comprehensive rules, but you're complaining about clarity. I can have clear, unambiguous rules that are not comprehensive, or vice versa (or neither). I don't want comprehensive rules because those rules are unlikely to work well for my groups. I'd have to change lots of stuff anyway, with the added penalty of empowering rules lawyers and people looking to ruin the fun of others and hide behind "RAW says..." No thanks.

    I'd rather have what we do have--a framework of flexible resolution mechanics with specific exceptions that only weakly interact. This allows me to fiddle with things for the sake of the group without bogging everything down looking up numbers and cross-referencing multiple tables.
    Last edited by PhoenixPhyre; 2017-08-11 at 01:34 PM.

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    Default Re: House Rules, Rulings, and Sage Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    I disagree. You're assuming that there is a default (the rules) and that there are deviations from the rules (rulings or house-rules). Rulings are how rules are applied. No rule is self-enforcing--all rules need rulings to decide whether (or how) they apply in this specific instance. This is true whether we're talking about games, sports, or the law. 90+% of legal cases are "does this rule apply?" or "what rule applies," disputes in good faith, not disputes over what the rule is. You're expecting too much from a system.

    3.5e was only as "fixed" as it seems because it's been around a real long time at this point. Look at Pathfinder. They're constantly errata'ing and fixing things because the rules weren't clear--and that's on the same base as 3.5. You're seeing a consistency that just plain doesn't exist.
    The errata is to fix typos or an ability was proven to be too powerful or too weak, usually too powerful. If a rule is vague to warrant errata it is the exception. Pathfinder is rules heavy. I don't doubt there will exist a rule or two that is vague. It is nowhere near the subjective percentage of 5E.
    Quote Originally Posted by Erit View Post
    "The DM is the world, the gods, the trees and the bees. But no matter what covenant is struck or words exchanged, the DM is not the PCs."

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    Default Re: House Rules, Rulings, and Sage Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    And more importantly, "does this particular set of facts regarding this killing amount to murder as defined in the law?" That's a ruling. Not "what is murder", but "is this murder." Honestly, most of the questions in the RAW thread and on Twitter are people who either

    * Haven't read the text

    Or

    * Are looking for loopholes to exploit (looking to weaponize the rules against a DM or player)

    Most of the responses are of the "see page X" variety. That's not confusion, that's laziness or attempted munchkinry. None of the questions I've ever seen have been complex as long as there's actually a rule that directly applies.

    You (meaning Pex) want comprehensive rules, but you're complaining about clarity. I can have clear, unambiguous rules that are not comprehensive, or vice versa (or neither). I don't want comprehensive rules because those rules are unlikely to work well for my groups. I'd have to change lots of stuff anyway, with the added penalty of empowering rules lawyers and people looking to ruin the fun of others and hide behind "RAW says..." No thanks.

    I'd rather have what we do have--a framework of flexible resolution mechanics with specific exceptions that only weakly interact. This allows me to fiddle with things for the sake of the group without bogging everything down looking up numbers and cross-referencing multiple tables.
    It also changes at every table. Whether you like it or not, that's a really big problem for some of us. You don't seem to care that some of us find that to be a huge problem. Well, frankly, I don't care whether you think it isn't a problem. I don't ever care if you like that about the game. Because I hate that about the game.

    I don't want the basic rules to change without notice when I switch tables. That's what happens in 5e. I never once had that happen in 3.5e, or in any other game I've played for that matter.

    Again, it doesn't matter to me if this is a problem for you. It's a problem for enough people that it's a problem whether you want it to be or not.

    And, again, rule 0 already enabled you to play however the hell you wanted to. I've talked to DMs who like this system, and I can tell you that two of them wanted an excuse to change the rules on the fly without having to justify it or tell anyone, calling it a "ruling." That's what 5e enables.

    As far as people in this thread who don't think we can all agree what the word "murder" means, I don't know whether to feel pity or dread.
    Last edited by Easy_Lee; 2017-08-11 at 02:09 PM.

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    Default Re: House Rules, Rulings, and Sage Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by Easy_Lee View Post
    That's a case where I disagree with them. They're treating helping with attacks different from how they treat helping with anything else. And that's exactly the kind of thing I'm talking about. It's another 5e inconsistency.

    The text can be interpreted either way. The sages picked one.
    They are treating helping with an attack roll differently than helping with an ability check. It is not an inconsistency, but an aspect of one of the core distinctions of the game.

    But what matters here is that you only see the sages interpreting the PHB, not the sages remembering what was their intent when they wrote the PHB.

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    Default Re: House Rules, Rulings, and Sage Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by Millstone85 View Post
    They are treating helping with an attack roll differently than helping with an ability check. It is not an inconsistency, but an aspect of one of the core distinctions of the game.

    But what matters here is that you only see the sages interpreting the PHB, not the sages remembering what was their intent when they wrote the PHB.
    I see a lot more than you seen to give me credit for. See my original post, where I directly stated that sage advice is RAI.

    And I refer you back to my original post. Rules, house rules, rulings, and official rulings are all different things. None of them invalidates any other. I just want people to be honest about what they're discussing.
    Last edited by Easy_Lee; 2017-08-11 at 02:17 PM.

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