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  1. - Top - End - #361
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    Default Re: Talakeal's Gaming Horror Stories Continued (not really)

    "If my spouse never finds out that I'm cheating on them then it's not wrong because they're not getting hurt by it".

    That is an argument someone on these forums made in defense of fudging one time. It stuck with me.

  2. - Top - End - #362
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    Default Re: Talakeal's Gaming Horror Stories Continued (not really)

    Quote Originally Posted by Malifice View Post
    When I get together to play DnD I place my trust in the DM. The players form a social contract to work together to advance the overarching plot and story, in a collaborative manner, roleplaying characters in a fantasy world. The overall reason they do this is for fun. The DM is entrusted to assist the players in this goal, while providing challenging and engaging encounters and adventures.

    The DM has overall veto on any rule or result that works against this goal, and towards you having fun.

    Sometimes deaths happen of course; but generally speaking the player should have some say in how that happens (a valiant last stand or doing something silly, or as a consequence of their own actions). Never simply because I rolled a 17 instead of a 7, or because a coin came up heads instead of tails (unless the player put his character in such a position willingly and knowingly, such as drawing from a deck of many things being fully aware of the consequences).
    So why can't you tell all this to the players who wants to join your game, instead of being dishonest about the nature of it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Malifice View Post
    The disconnect was strong. Why ask for detailed backstories and plot engagement, if I was only going to get killed by a coin toss (that was heavily rigged against me) in round 1 of encounter 1, 15 minutes into the game?

    It wasnt so much that I was angry that my character had been killed after putting so much work into it for the DM. It was the disconnect over what kind of game was being advertised, and what kind of game was being delivered. [...]

    Games like that, I dont want to play. I have better things to do with my spare time than invest in a DMs game world, plot and story, and invest in a character in his world, only to see it die a meaningless, pointless and sudden death, with the character having no agency in that death 'because the encounter was scripted and the dice said so.'
    Wouldn't it have been better if the DM had advertised his game better, so you understood what kind of game he was going to deliver? Then you could have chosen to not particpate. That's what we're asking you to do to those people who absolutely wants the possibility of being killed by a random goblin. So that they don't experience the same disconnect that you did above.

  3. - Top - End - #363
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    Default Re: Talakeal's Gaming Horror Stories Continued (not really)

    Quote Originally Posted by Pelle View Post
    Yeah, sorry, I see now you first said you would probably admit it having it as a tool. I guess I got hung up on that you didn't seem to agree on "accepting not to fudge, but doing it anyways" was bad. Promising not to, and later changing your mind about it without letting the player know (at the end of the session?) is not really ok to me either.
    The thing is that, if you reserve the right to change the rules (as per rule zero) then you don't have to necessarily bring it up, because your ability to change the rules is documented. This is not a legal contract, it's not like you and your friends sit down and bring their attorneys and draft up a binding document. This is an evolving social thing. So if a DM initially says "I'm not fudging rolls" and they are playing with rule zero, then they can change that preference at a later date, possibly without even without informing the players.

    If the players had a close encounter and then at the end of the session you announce "I have rethought my policy on fudging die rolls" Then you will rob them of any enjoyment they would have had in that victory. There's a reason that DM screen exists , because preserving illusions is very important to player enjoyment.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pelle View Post
    On hiding behind the rule zero; the player is asking you "is this a game with rule zero or not?". You can play D&D without if everyone decides to. The player deserves to know if he wants to.
    That isn't what is being asked though. At all. The player is asking about a specific thing the DM is doing. Which, yes, in a broad sense falls under rule zero, but it isn't rule zero. If asked directly about fudging rolls I would point to the relevant sections: rule zero and setting DCs, which definitely in essence give me permission within the rules to do so.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pelle View Post
    This is what it always comes down to in these discussion; if the player doesn't notice, is it ok or not?
    I don't see why it would be "not okay" because it's not something that will ever come out, and it's not something that's morally really wrong.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pelle View Post
    First, if the player doesn't notice and that the DM isn't bad at it are big assumptions.
    Well if you're bad at something, you'll probably have some good awareness that you are bad at something. Especially if that thing is bluffing. So if you're bad at it you shouldn't do it in the first place. If you're good at it then the player won't notice making that a red herring at best.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pelle View Post
    And if you are rolling everything behind a screen, I think the players already suspect you fudge now and then, and are completely ok with it.
    So if I roll behind a screen then there's no reason to tell the players that I fudge, then, no?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pelle View Post
    Second, if you know that the player will be really unhappy if he knew what you did, thinking you have wasted hours of his life, is it still ok even if he doesn't find out? Maybe it depends on how strongly the player care about it? To me it just seems very paternalistic, "I know best what you enjoy", and would rather listen to what the player actually says he enjoys.
    If the player in question thinks that he has "wasted hours of his life" over a fib about a die roll then he can grow the heck up. Honestly, if spending 60 hours or more of campaign time that he has enjoyed can be ruined by that then he's basically looking for things to ruin his enjoyment.

    Edit:

    Quote Originally Posted by Koo Rehtorb View Post
    "If my spouse never finds out that I'm cheating on them then it's not wrong because they're not getting hurt by it".

    That is an argument someone on these forums made in defense of fudging one time. It stuck with me.
    THERE IS A BIG FRICKING DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CHEATING ON A SPOUSE AND THIS. This is the equivalent of "No, honey, you look fine in that dress," "There wasn't any cereal this morning I got up, at least not enough for a bowl", this is a little thing, and trying to make it seem like a big thing "HOURS OF MY LIFE WASTED" is dishonest at the very best case. The worst case is that you'd decide to leave a game. But if you implied that saying a die result was different than it was in a game where the rules allow for it was equivalent to cheating on my wife, I would throw you out of my house. Because that is completely beyond the pale.
    Last edited by AMFV; 2019-01-10 at 05:13 AM.
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  4. - Top - End - #364
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    Default Re: Talakeal's Gaming Horror Stories Continued (not really)

    Quote Originally Posted by AMFV View Post
    The thing is that, if you reserve the right to change the rules (as per rule zero) then you don't have to necessarily bring it up, because your ability to change the rules is documented. This is not a legal contract, it's not like you and your friends sit down and bring their attorneys and draft up a binding document. This is an evolving social thing. So if a DM initially says "I'm not fudging rolls" and they are playing with rule zero, then they can change that preference at a later date, possibly without even without informing the players.
    Yes, of course it's not a legal contract. It's a social contract and about respecting the opinions of your friends. Even if it's agreeing to disagree, that's ok too. If you understand what the player wants, saying "this is not a legal contract" isn't satisfactory if you chose to betray the trust anyways.

    If the players had a close encounter and then at the end of the session you announce "I have rethought my policy on fudging die rolls" Then you will rob them of any enjoyment they would have had in that victory. There's a reason that DM screen exists , because preserving illusions is very important to player enjoyment.
    It doesn't have to be. It's not difficult to get player enjoyment without it. After I started rolling as much as possible in the open, telling them the DCs and potential consequences before they roll, my players say they enjoy the game more. Give it a try. It's a balance though, is it better for enjoyment that they are 100% certain that they succeed and fail on their own merits, or that you have the possibility to save them in a bad situation although then they can never be 100% sure that you didn't convene when something highly unlikely happens? Like it looks like it's going to be a TPK, but against all odds you are really "lucky".

    That isn't what is being asked though. At all. The player is asking about a specific thing the DM is doing. Which, yes, in a broad sense falls under rule zero, but it isn't rule zero. If asked directly about fudging rolls I would point to the relevant sections: rule zero and setting DCs, which definitely in essence give me permission within the rules to do so.
    Then you haven't understood what we are trying to convey with the example, and why people object to it. It's about a player that wants to play it like a board game, with the rules determined beforehand, and everyone keeping the results of rolls (I don't accept that either). If you point to rule zero and setting DCs, then the player understand fine that you may choose to fudge, and it's ok for me. You have consent or the player decides not to join. That's the whole fudging is ok if everyone in the group is ok with it. If a player say he is not ok with it and you agree not to fudge, but is secretely thinking to yourself that since he didn't say anything about rule zero you should still be fudging, then that's just disrespectful. You understand that the player thinks you agreed to not fudge.

    Well if you're bad at something, you'll probably have some good awareness that you are bad at something. Especially if that thing is bluffing. So if you're bad at it you shouldn't do it in the first place. If you're good at it then the player won't notice making that a red herring at best.
    Or maybe you just think you are better at it than you really are, who knows?

    So if I roll behind a screen then there's no reason to tell the players that I fudge, then, no?
    Sure, it's a big sign. And I can agree on that if it's something the player cares about, it's up to the player to ask. But if a player asks to be sure, I don't think you should lie about it. And if you do lie, having the screen up isn't absolving you for it.

    If the player in question thinks that he has "wasted hours of his life" over a fib about a die roll then he can grow the heck up. Honestly, if spending 60 hours or more of campaign time that he has enjoyed can be ruined by that then he's basically looking for things to ruin his enjoyment.
    Again, it's not about the moment of fudging itself, it's about suddenly losing trust, and having the whole experience tainted. The player let you know that if you wanted to have the option to fudge, he wouldn't be there. The player isn't looking for things to ruin his enjoyment, he simply knows that this in particular is something he cares about and let you know in advance that it can potentially ruin 60 hours for him, so that you can inform him if he should stay away or not. So it's not a lie about just a die roll, it's a lie that directly affected how he prioritized spending his time. It's bait and switch, and depending on how much he cares about it, it can go over well or bad. And even if he doesn't find out and is enjoying himself, the whole "I know best what you enjoy" doesn't sit well with me.

  5. - Top - End - #365
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    Default Re: Talakeal's Gaming Horror Stories Continued (not really)

    Quote Originally Posted by Pelle View Post
    Yes, of course it's not a legal contract. It's a social contract and about respecting the opinions of your friends. Even if it's agreeing to disagree, that's ok too. If you understand what the player wants, saying "this is not a legal contract" isn't satisfactory if you chose to betray the trust anyways.
    If somebody cheats in a card game with their friends you normally break their fingers, right? The problem is that you folks are continuously drawing comparisons to things that much worse, describing this as a "betrayal of trust". But it really isn't this is somewhat like cheating at a friendly card game. The worst thing that should happen is that you decide not to play cards with that person again, it's not a "betrayal of trust".

    Quote Originally Posted by Pelle View Post
    It doesn't have to be. It's not difficult to get player enjoyment without it. After I started rolling as much as possible in the open, telling them the DCs and potential consequences before they roll, my players say they enjoy the game more. Give it a try. It's a balance though, is it better for enjoyment that they are 100% certain that they succeed and fail on their own merits, or that you have the possibility to save them in a bad situation although then they can never be 100% sure that you didn't convene when something highly unlikely happens? Like it looks like it's going to be a TPK, but against all odds you are really "lucky".
    Nope, no thanks. I have no interest in changing something that is working well for me, that has always worked well for me, and that is a tool I'm fairly confident that I know how to use well because somebody on the internet says that their personal game is better than it was because of that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pelle View Post
    Then you haven't understood what we are trying to convey with the example, and why people object to it. It's about a player that wants to play it like a board game, with the rules determined beforehand, and everyone keeping the results of rolls (I don't accept that either). If you point to rule zero and setting DCs, then the player understand fine that you may choose to fudge, and it's ok for me. You have consent or the player decides not to join. That's the whole fudging is ok if everyone in the group is ok with it. If a player say he is not ok with it and you agree not to fudge, but is secretely thinking to yourself that since he didn't say anything about rule zero you should still be fudging, then that's just disrespectful. You understand that the player thinks you agreed to not fudge.
    And YOU have misunderstood the words that I have directly said. I said that Rule Zero gives you the right to change the rules, which gives you the right to fudge since you can change the rules as you want to. A player who is opposed to fudging must by definition be opposed to rule zero.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pelle View Post
    Or maybe you just think you are better at it than you really are, who knows?
    Nope I'm pretty sure that I'm good at it, since y'know successful campaigns and stuff.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pelle View Post
    Again, it's not about the moment of fudging itself, it's about suddenly losing trust, and having the whole experience tainted. The player let you know that if you wanted to have the option to fudge, he wouldn't be there. The player isn't looking for things to ruin his enjoyment, he simply knows that this in particular is something he cares about and let you know in advance that it can potentially ruin 60 hours for him, so that you can inform him if he should stay away or not. So it's not a lie about just a die roll, it's a lie that directly affected how he prioritized spending his time. It's bait and switch, and depending on how much he cares about it, it can go over well or bad. And even if he doesn't find out and is enjoying himself, the whole "I know best what you enjoy" doesn't sit well with me.
    And it's just a game, again, what you are describing is MUCH more than an appropriate result for any kind of game. Like if you're playing a fighting game and the opponent just does a single move and causes a ringout. That's not against the rules, there are often gentlemen's agreements against it, but if somebody chose to do that I wouldn't stop being their friend or necessarily even stop playing with them.
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  6. - Top - End - #366
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    Default Re: Talakeal's Gaming Horror Stories Continued (not really)

    Quote Originally Posted by AMFV View Post
    And it's just a game, again, what you are describing is MUCH more than an appropriate result for any kind of game. Like if you're playing a fighting game and the opponent just does a single move and causes a ringout. That's not against the rules, there are often gentlemen's agreements against it, but if somebody chose to do that I wouldn't stop being their friend or necessarily even stop playing with them.
    Okay what you apparently need to realize is that this is a bigger deal to some people than it is to you. I don't care if you think fudging is a little white lie or whatever. People have told you, repeatedly, that they will not play in a game with fudging, will quit any game that turns out to have fudging, and will not play with someone who fudges and gets caught ever again. This is a big deal. It doesn't have to be a big deal to you to recognize that it is a big deal to some people. Continually making light of what these people care about is disrespectful and, frankly, a ****ty thing to do.

    So yes, I do consider fudging dice after claiming you wouldn't to be equivalent to cheating on your wife. It's obviously less important because dice games are usually less important than long term romantic relationships. But I would consider fudging to be just as much of a deal breaker for the dice game as people tend to consider cheating to be in a marriage. You don't have to agree with that perspective, but you do have to recognize that this is a real thing for at least some subset of players and ignoring that fact is kind of scummy. People are allowed to put different priorities on things than you do.

  7. - Top - End - #367
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    Default Re: Talakeal's Gaming Horror Stories Continued (not really)

    Quote Originally Posted by Koo Rehtorb View Post
    Okay what you apparently need to realize is that this is a bigger deal to some people than it is to you. I don't care if you think fudging is a little white lie or whatever. People have told you, repeatedly, that they will not play in a game with fudging, will quit any game that turns out to have fudging, and will not play with someone who fudges and gets caught ever again. This is a big deal. It doesn't have to be a big deal to you to recognize that it is a big deal to some people. Continually making light of what these people care about is disrespectful and, frankly, a ****ty thing to do.

    So yes, I do consider fudging dice after claiming you wouldn't to be equivalent to cheating on your wife. It's obviously less important because dice games are usually less important than long term romantic relationships. But I would consider fudging to be just as much of a deal breaker for the dice game as people tend to consider cheating to be in a marriage. You don't have to agree with that perspective, but you do have to recognize that this is a real thing for at least some subset of players and ignoring that fact is kind of scummy. People are allowed to put different priorities on things than you do.
    I am going to make light of something that is light subject matter. This is a game, there is no money riding on it, not even really any pride riding on it. If you are so wrapped up in D&D that you would consider a DM who is acting within the rules (since again if Rule Zero exists and if the DM is allowed to set the DCs for something that gives them the right to fudge a result) to be doing something that is the equivalent of cheating on their spouse, you should not be playing D&D. Because you literally are unable to treat it as a game. That is not healthy.

    A player is totally allowed to refuse to play in a game run with the systems that I choose to run, but in D&D, the DM is allowed to set the DCs, and the DCs present in the book are explicitly guidelines that they can modify as circumstances require, meaning that literally the DM can change the result of any roll they so choose. Also since rule zero is a thing in that system, the DM has the right to alter the rules if that will improve the game, and how you interpret the dice is part of the rule, again giving the DM the right to fudge. So if you're playing D&D with people the expectation is that the DM can fudge dice, unless there is a houserule set up beforehand to not use rule zero.
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  8. - Top - End - #368
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    Default Re: Talakeal's Gaming Horror Stories Continued (not really)

    Quote Originally Posted by AMFV View Post
    A player who is opposed to fudging must by definition be opposed to rule zero.
    Exactly! That goes back to the maxim of fudging is ok if all the players are ok with it. So when you understand that a player is not ok with fudging, it is not to ok use rule zero as an excuse to fudge anyways. Because if you promised to not fudge you therefore also promised not use that part of rule zero.

    Nope I'm pretty sure that I'm good at it, since y'know successful campaigns and stuff.
    Possibly, but I guess it's also likely that the players don't mind, or at least care more about other things in your campaigns.

    And it's just a game, again, what you are describing is MUCH more than an appropriate result for any kind of game. Like if you're playing a fighting game and the opponent just does a single move and causes a ringout. That's not against the rules, there are often gentlemen's agreements against it, but if somebody chose to do that I wouldn't stop being their friend or necessarily even stop playing with them.
    Ok, and consider the following then: Before the evening, a player is considering if he should drive over and join you, or stay home and spend those hours with his family. The player does not have any fun if people don't follow the gentleman's agreement, and voices his concern. If you intend to do that, he let's you know that he will prefer to stay home instead. So you promise not to do it so that he will show up. If you then start doing what he finds unfun, he can rightfully be unhappy with you. If it's just one fight, sure it goes over. Maybe next time he doesn't show up and stay home. However, with a rpg it affects the whole experience more, because now there's a doubt that nothing of what has happened so far in the game can be considered deserved (or whatever the player cares about wrt fudging).

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    Default Re: Talakeal's Gaming Horror Stories Continued (not really)

    Quote Originally Posted by Koo Rehtorb View Post
    I consider fudging dice after claiming you wouldn't to be equivalent to cheating on your wife.


    Good lord mate. Seriously.

    There are some things people say that cant be debated or refuted because they are just so self evidently ridiculous, you know you're wasting your time even trying to debate or engage with the person that said them.

    So dont be shocked if this is the last time we talk.

    Take care, and good luck with your gaming (and, based of this post, also likely your marriage!).
    Last edited by Malifice; 2019-01-10 at 10:55 AM.

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    Default Re: Talakeal's Gaming Horror Stories Continued (not really)

    So, to tone down this first paragraph, let me just say, I've been disappointed by the past few pages.

    I was going to post my own(ish) PoV, of how silly this discussion looks from the PoV of a Judge at a MtG tournament, and the idea of said Judge bending/changing the rules of the game to make the tournament "more fun", but, instead, I wanted to point out this gem:

    Quote Originally Posted by JAL_1138 View Post
    I have a hard time saying any potentially-useful tool in a DM’s arsenal is always, inherently, without-qualification-or-exception bad. That includes railroading, fudging, and quantum ogres.

    But like a lot of tools, they’re extremely specialized, and used improperly and/or in the wrong circumstances, they can really, really screw things up. You wouldn’t shave with a chainsaw, because that will very likely end very badly. When there’s a tree down across your driveway, it’s a great tool, but even then you’ve got to use it carefully so you don’t end up cutting off your own foot or having the saw kick up and hit you in the face. Obviously that’s a more extreme set of consequences than simply fudging a die roll, but it makes for a good analogy—use a highly specialized and potentially dangerous tool in a situation it’s not called for and without care and caution, and it’s likely to be a problem. And the situations where they’re really and truly called for are likely to be very few and very far between, particularly for quantum ogres and fudged rolls.

    It might be worth a fudged roll if the crit and high damage rolls you actually got while DMing an Adventurers’ League game would insta-kill the character of the eight-year-old kid playing their first character in their first combat of their first TTRPG game ever before they’ve had a chance to act in initiative (not that I would ever have any personal experience with that highly specific example scenario...I definitely just rolled low and there was no crit...*cough cough*). It might be worth the occasional fudged roll if you’ve told your players “hey, on rare occasions I might bend the rules or ignore the dice to prevent an absolutely absurd result and keep the game moving, but I’m not going to do it just to screw you over,” if you were truthful about that and the players have agreed to it. It’s not worth doing it anyway and lying to them about it if the players have clearly expressed a preference for never fudging rolls and letting the dice fall how they may.
    While I ostensibly disagree with this post, I find it a much more convincing argument for an opposing PoV than any argument I would make for my own PoV, or any other argument made about fudging in this thread.

    In other words, Kudos to JAL_1138 for a well-formed argument! May this serve as an example (shining or otherwise) of the caliber of post to which the Playground should aspire.

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    Default Re: Talakeal's Gaming Horror Stories Continued (not really)

    Quote Originally Posted by AMFV View Post
    I am going to make light of something that is light subject matter. This is a game, there is no money riding on it, not even really any pride riding on it. If you are so wrapped up in D&D that you would consider a DM who is acting within the rules (since again if Rule Zero exists and if the DM is allowed to set the DCs for something that gives them the right to fudge a result) to be doing something that is the equivalent of cheating on their spouse, you should not be playing D&D. Because you literally are unable to treat it as a game. That is not healthy.

    A player is totally allowed to refuse to play in a game run with the systems that I choose to run, but in D&D, the DM is allowed to set the DCs, and the DCs present in the book are explicitly guidelines that they can modify as circumstances require, meaning that literally the DM can change the result of any roll they so choose. Also since rule zero is a thing in that system, the DM has the right to alter the rules if that will improve the game, and how you interpret the dice is part of the rule, again giving the DM the right to fudge. So if you're playing D&D with people the expectation is that the DM can fudge dice, unless there is a houserule set up beforehand to not use rule zero.
    For ****'s sake. It's not about the act itself. There's nothing wrong with having sex with other people in and of itself. It's about the dishonesty and the disregard for other people's feelings. If the other people are okay with you fudging dice then it's like agreeing to have an open relationship, perfectly fine. If you know the other parties involved aren't okay with it, and say you won't do it, and then do it anyway, that's when it crosses a line.

    And if you can't see the difference then I don't know what to tell you. It's not about the game. It's about being a liar.

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    Default Re: Talakeal's Gaming Horror Stories Continued (not really)

    Quote Originally Posted by Malifice View Post


    Good lord mate. Seriously.

    There are some things people say that cant be debated or refuted because they are just so self evidently ridiculous, you know you're wasting your time even trying to debate or engage with the person that said them.
    Yeah it certainly sounds ridiculous if you edit out the part of the post with the context in it. :massiverolleyes:

    So dont be shocked if this is the last time we talk.
    And nothing of value was lost~
    Last edited by Koo Rehtorb; 2019-01-10 at 03:08 PM.

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    Default Re: Talakeal's Gaming Horror Stories Continued (not really)

    Quote Originally Posted by AMFV View Post
    Well if you're bad at something, you'll probably have some good awareness that you are bad at something. Especially if that thing is bluffing. So if you're bad at it you shouldn't do it in the first place. If you're good at it then the player won't notice making that a red herring at best.
    Actually, people that are bad at things are often unaware that they are bad at them.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunnin...3Kruger_effect

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    Default Re: Talakeal's Gaming Horror Stories Continued (not really)

    @Quertus:

    As has been pointed out multiple times, any competitive or outright PvP thoughts are fundamentally misplaced when it comes to that topic. Now please, try to form any argument that is not based on something like MtG but rather with the focus on one team of a soccer match.

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    Default Re: Talakeal's Gaming Horror Stories Continued (not really)

    Quote Originally Posted by Florian View Post
    @Quertus:

    As has been pointed out multiple times, any competitive or outright PvP thoughts are fundamentally misplaced when it comes to that topic. Now please, try to form any argument that is not based on something like MtG but rather with the focus on one team of a soccer match.
    Well, actually, several people's comments about things being competitive are misplaced.

    As some wise poster(s) before me said, the GM had many roles. One of these roles - the one that MtG judge parallels - is neutral rules arbiter. Only the most insane of players would claim that the MtG judge being neutral makes the relationship with the judge "adversarial".

    Now, where the parallel may seem imperfect is that the D&D GM has to balance these various roles, the MtG judge seems pretty bound to just one role. But, personally, I'd prefer the GM to be just as purely a neutral rules arbiter. Just as I'd be aghast at a MtG judge who bent the rules because he loved the story of a player making it to the finals in their first time playing MtG, I'm personally not interested in a GM fudging things "for the story". The only "worthwhile" story that produces is the cautionary tale of the idiot GM who ruined his game - and I've told that story too many times already.

    But, again, that's just me. You're* welcome to tell that tale if you* so desire, and your* players are welcome to exhibit Participationism. As much as I'd like to, I'm not going to tell you* that your* group is having BadWrongFun.

    But that is not even what was under discussion. That's just me addressing my opinion on the misinterpretation of what was actually under discussion.

    And I'd rather not contribute to the lowering of the average intelligence demonstrated on the Playground by returning to what was actually under discussion. I'm leery posting even this.

    * General you to anyone who plays this way, not aimed at Florian or anyone else in particular.

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    Default Re: Talakeal's Gaming Horror Stories Continued (not really)

    Does anyone else see the irony in AMFV's statements?

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Insanity View Post
    Does anyone else see the irony in AMFV's statements?
    I see what you did there!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kardwill View Post
    Please note, though, that adding rolls does not always reinforce chaos. A combat where you have dozens of rolls to wittle away the HP bar of your opponent will be far less random than a combat where you have a single roll to see who wins. The more you roll, the more you'll tend toward the medium, and the more the stronger party will be at an advantage.
    There is chaos only if the stakes of an individual roll are important (Meaning usually that most to-hit rolls are not that important since you get to reroll them again and again, but you really don't want to miss that critical "climb" check when you're hanging from the cliff and the bad guy is running away)

    So yes, if you crop out the outlier results (that 1/100 result), you might consistently diminish chaos at your table. Which is not always a bad thing, mind : Myself, I don't GM "high chaos" games like Runequest or Call of Chtulhu anymore where a single unlucky roll can kill a PC, and all my games have some form of random control either built-in or added (usually "hero points" of some sort, that the players can spend for a reroll, a crit or a save)

    As for your argument about trying different playstyles during a campaign, well, I played enough murder mysteries, diplomacy sessions and big battlescenes with Redbox D&D to know what you're talking about

    That said, even if you don't want to change game because you prefer to stay in your confort zone, you can change the game. If most illusionists are firm believers in rule zero that says that a rule can be changed or ignored, then I can change and ignore them for real, rather than paying them lip service while secretely fudging. Make houserules or in-game rulings so that rolls won't be able to destroy our fun, while still being meaningful. Give the players the opportunity to make a concession and lose a fight on their own term, or give them a limited ressource to alleviate a streak of bad luck, say that mooks don't get to crit...
    For D&D, it can be as simple as saying "0 HP means you are taken out of the action. Wether that means killed, serioulsy hurt, KO, routed, captured isolated or some other sort of inconvenience will be dictated by circonstances and what the table/the DM thinks appropriate." And if that seems a little too arbitrary, then I can set up the stakes before the combat, and drop hints so that the players know they're entering a fight to the death when the big bad boss appears.

    Outside of combat, fudging and "weak rerolls" (their player-rolled counterpart, where the GM negates the consequences of a player's roll) are quite often due to the GM asking for a roll that they know can produce a block, an arbitrary kill or an unfun result.
    "You're hanging from the cliff, and the root you're holding to is breaking. Make a climb roll!"
    *Roll "Damn, I got a 3. Do I fall?"
    "Err, let me check if the root breaks" *rolls dice conveniently behind the screen, and barely looks at the result* "Nope, it holds out!"

    Or "Roll to find the clue-that-will-allow-you-to-continue-the-game"
    "I miss"
    "Okay, you search the desk for 5 minutes without finding anything. Do you want to roll again?"

    Or "The police car is closing in. Will this adventure end with you behind bars while the cultists finish the world-destroying ritual?" *Roll-and-fudge* "Nope, they lose control of their car and hit a telegraph pole"

    (Okay, pretty weak examples, but I think any GM that dabbled like me in fudging and illusionisme had quite a few of these. ^^ And our players learn to recognise them too...)

    In those case, the GM rolled or asked for a roll when he knew one of the results would be unfun. But in this case, why ask for a roll? Or, more to the point, why ask for this precise roll with these precise stakes. Instead, you could :
    - Narrate the result without rolling (The police car is blocked in the crowed market street / You find the clue in the desk drawer/Your climb skill is 40%? OK, you climb the cliff inch by inch, but it's slow and quite stressful)
    - Create tension by putting a choice on the players (In your rearview mirror, you see the police car hit a telegraph pole, hard. A sinister plume of smoke and some flames rise from the busted hood. Do you want to stop to check on them, or let them burn and hurry to the ritual site?)
    - Change the stakes of the failed roll, or offer "success with a price" (You lost the police car, but you're pretty sure the officer saw your face/You find the document, but it took too much time, and a guard opens the door/You lose your hold and fall off the cliff. The good news : There was an outcrop a few meters down, so you're alive. The bad news : You hit hard, and broke your ankle. You'll need help getting out of there.)
    * Note that to ramp up the tension, you can either tell the players the stakes before the roll, or hint at them, so that they know what they're getting into
    * Oh, and I try to decide and give them the difficulty of the roll beforehand, too (even one of my own rolls), otherwise there is also a strong temptation to "fudge the difficulty" (How many of us did the old overused "12 on my attack roll? How lucky for you, the difficulty was 13!" trick?)
    - Mix'n'match, by putting the players against a choice that appeared because of the roll (mine or theirs), so that they have a hand in the stakes of this failure (You're too heavy, you'll never make it up the cliff in time. Unless you drop your backpack, of course/You find the clue, but a servant opens the door. A witness, the very thing you didn't need. What do you do?)
    The reason you dont make a rule for the bad time rules is because then its a RULE and your supposed to always do it. Like say you dont want random chains to off a party. So you say

    "well no more then 1 crits for the NPC's per encounter"

    Seems reasonable until you hit that double damage and roll a 1. Now that crit was worthless and theres no more drama in seeing the enemy possibly another. Because you've made it a rule your now supposed to follow it.

    But when your okay with fudging you roll the damage behind the screen (that what I do, to hit rolls in the open damage behind the screen) you can take that 1 and its no big deal. Then you can roll a 20 next time and the players dont know, so if the PC target is too low and would end the game you call the 20 a 19 and he stays up for one last heroic effort. Now your rolling to hit in the open so maybe he dies next round anyway, or maybe he gets that last necessary hit in and drops the BBEG standing heroically amid the bodies of his allies, battered but unbroken.

    If your stuck following a rule you have less freedom to allow for dramatic ebbs and flows and tempo control. Good stories always have fast points and slow points and points where it looks like the wont succeed. Being enslaved to gravity makes those concerns secondary to a rule. And that kinda sucks IMO.

    The other thing is that how you handle those examples also kinda depends on where in the real life session you are. Early on game night? Plenty of time for the group to recover from a bad situation and get the night back on track so other way. So let the consequences flow. End of game night? Nope not gonna get derailed and slow things down on the way to a satisfying stopping point because of a bad roll or two. So we're going to steamroll right through the minor bits of bad luck and get to the good stuff.
    Last edited by geppetto; 2019-01-11 at 05:48 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cluedrew View Post
    OK, most of these I am at least aware of. Even as someone in the switch systems crowd I understand that even finding the system to switch to takes time and energy. That being said if you can I still think the results are better. Qualifying exactly what counts as consent could be a topic but that is just shifting a line a bit. On the other hand this one...

    Yeah, I thought that was the point.

    So let's take a step back. If you are not fudging dice to take unsatisfying results off the table, hence reducing the outcome space and therefore reducing "chaos", than why are you fudging? And to the other pro-fudging people, do you agree with this or is this another all to common case of people being complicated and not fitting into continent little boxes.
    You might fudge to control drama, tempo, pacing of the story or of the actual sessions game time. Like any good referee you have to manage the game clock too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by geppetto View Post
    You might fudge to control drama, tempo, pacing of the story or of the actual sessions game time. Like any good referee you have to manage the game clock too.
    I may be a little rusty on sports ball, but I think that managing the clock, and pacing, are usually done by the team or the coach, not the referee.

    The ref just neutrality follows the dictates of the clock.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kardwill View Post

    Or "The police car is closing in. Will this adventure end with you behind bars while the cultists finish the world-destroying ritual?" *Roll-and-fudge* "Nope, they lose control of their car and hit a telegraph pole"

    In those case, the GM rolled or asked for a roll when he knew one of the results would be unfun. But in this case, why ask for a roll?
    Showmanship. Obfuscation. Keep the players guessing. Maintaining an illusion of random chance that the players are trying to conform to their desired outcome. Keep people on their toes. Prompt the players. Get them focussed.

    For many of the same reasons we bluff when playing poker. As DM you often dont want the players able to gauge an outcome from your actions, emotions, demeanor, dice rolling or otherwise. You want to keep them guessing. A dice roll, or the DMs face, actions, demeanor or the fact he's looking something up, is something their characters dont have access to.

    For similar reasons, when the players are getting sidetracked or getting out of the game by talking among themselves, I'll occasionally roll some dice behind the screen, look at them (and ignore the result), pretend to look something up on a chart, frown, open my eyes wide and look worried for the players, look up and ask them 'What's your current party formation again?'

    They shut up, and re-focus immediately.

    A Player that meta-games based on that roll and showmanship is on a fools errand.

    I'll also use the exact same technique when I want to insert a 'random' encounter (and many of my 'random' encounters, really are not random at all). I know what encounter I am going to throw at them already before I even roll the dice. The dice rolling, pretense of looking up something on a chart, worried expression on my face, and eyes widening in worry for the players is all an act. It's showmanship, to frame the encounter for the players. It makes them nervous (they assume that I've just rolled a 'killer' random encounter, when I've done nothing of the sort).

    They dont know I havent just rolled a killer encounter. They dont need to know. The game is more fun in the fact they assume I have, based on nothing more than showmanship (faked rolling and feigned expressions of worry).

    There is a reason to make fake rolls. Rolling a dice creates an illusion in the minds of the players, and that illusion can be a really useful tool to keep them guessing, shut down metagaming, bluff, create tension, focus the players on the adventure and get them off off topic chat, obfuscate what's really going on and a billion and one other uses.

    Now there might be a better way of doing all of those things. But when I can achieve those things simply by dropping a hunk of plastic on the table, glancing at my notes, and acting a certain way in response, its not only convenient, but too useful of a tool for me to discard from my DMing arsenal.
    Last edited by Malifice; 2019-01-11 at 11:30 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    I may be a little rusty on sports ball, but I think that managing the clock, and pacing, are usually done by the team or the coach, not the referee.

    The ref just neutrality follows the dictates of the clock.
    Not in proper sports.

    Weird turn based variants of Rugby don't count as proper sports.

    In proper sports it's the ref and match officials who decide how much stoppage time is added due to injury, substitutions, penalties, etc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    I may be a little rusty on sports ball, but I think that managing the clock, and pacing, are usually done by the team or the coach, not the referee.

    The ref just neutrality follows the dictates of the clock.
    A DM is not just a random number generator and impartial rules referee. We can get computers to do both.

    A DM has a higher obligation. He's a man manager (he has to manage his players). He usually hosts the game. His overall responsibility is to ensure the enjoyment, entertainment, challenge and co-operation of the players.

    It's more of an art than a science.

    I've always likened the DM to more of a conductor of an orchestra than a referee of a sports match, with the players being both the audience and the musicians.

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    Default Re: Talakeal's Gaming Horror Stories Continued (not really)

    I think the whole idea of "rule zero" is greatly exaggerated by the internet.

    In many games it doesn't exist at all, and it certainly isn't present in any of my home-brews. Even games that give the GM permission to freely alter the rules don't do so consistently between editions and typically have caveats on it. IIRC Pathfinder is the only game that has given carte blanche for the DM to do whatever they like on a whim. I know D&D and Mage, the only big name games I have played regularly, tend to waffle between editions on exactly how much power the DM has and how flexible the rules are.

    "Rule Zero" afaict doesn't actually exist even in 3E. The term seems to have come from "Step zero" in the character creation chapter which reads "Check wit your Dungeon Master. Your DM may have house rules or campaign standards that vary from these rules. You should also find out what the other players have created so that your character fits in with the group."

    Likewise while the 3.5 DMG says it "okay" for the DM to develop house rules, it then goes on to gives half a page of warning about how you should only do this after very careful consideration of many factors. IMO people who claim the book gives the DM permission to do whatever they want whenever they want is taking something out of the text that isn't there.

    Likewise while the DM is allowed to set the difficulty of skill and ability checks, afaict everything in the section says doing so should be based on the in-game faction, and there is nothing that implies that after the difficulty is set they can retroactively change it after seeing the results of the players roll.


    But, don't take my word for it. The Geek Related Blog already said pretty much the same thing:


    Spoiler: Long Quote
    Show
    Quote Originally Posted by Geek Related
    Dungeons & Dragons Third Edition (3e)
    In the Dungeons & Dragons Third Edition Player’s Handbook is the source of the term “Rule Zero” which is often used as shorthand for “DM discretion.”
    0. CHECK WITH YOUR DUNGEON MASTER
    Your Dungeon Master (DM) may have house rules or campaign standards that vary from the standard rules. You might also want to know what character types the other players are playing so that you
    can create a character that fits in well with the group.
    – Character Creation, Dungeons & Dragons Player’s Handbook (2000).
    Since then, Rule Zero has been expanded in the popular mindset to be “The DM Is Always Right/Can Do What He Wants” or, alternately, “Having Fun Is The Most Important Thing.” It caught on as a term to describe judiciously breaking the rules – and the very fact that it emerged as an explicit term shows that there was discussion of the concept going on.
    In the 3e PHB, it is pretty matter of fact about “Here’s the rules. You’ll be using them.” Except for Rule Zero there’s no mention of possible variation and no real discussion of the DM’s role beyond:
    One person in the game, the Dungeon Master (DM), controls the monsters and people that live in the fantasy world. You and your friends face the dangers and explore the mysteries your Dungeon Master sets before you.
    – Dungeons & Dragons Player’s Handbook, Introduction p.6 (2000).
    The 3e DMG starts out with a whole chapter on the Dungeon Master’s role. This edition talks a lot about the player role – “The players and the DM work together to create the game as a whole” (p.8). The DM provides the adventure and the world and adjudicates, but the book provides a whole checklist to guide adjudication and creating house rules. For adjudication, check the rules, check similar rules, if you make something up it’s a house rule and you should be consistent with it for the campaign because “Consistency keeps players satisfied and gives them the feeling that they adventure in a stable, predictable universe and not in some random, nonsensical place subject only to the DM’s whims” (p.9). Any ruling made effectively should become a consistent, permanent house rule.
    For house ruling, there’s a section discussing it, and the overall gist is to read the rules, understand why the rules exist, be careful about changing the rules – but still do it. “Given the creativity of gamers, almost every campaign will, in time, develop its own house rules.”
    I have extensive RPG mailing list email archives going back to 1997, and as I search for incidences of the phrase “rules as written,” there’s occasional uses of the phrase all the way back but it comes into heavy use as a gaming jargon phrase on D&D lists in 2000-2001 with the advent of Third Edition.
    My experience is that since 3e didn’t really explicitly say a lot about the DM’s role, 2e attitudes mostly carried over into 3e until 3.5e, when new players without previous edition experience and the more tactical rules focus enhanced in 3.5e caused a shift in attitudes not strictly prescribed by the difference between 3e and 3.5e text.
    Over the course of 3e/3.5e, there was a significant culture change around rules adherence. WotC put a lot of work into their RPGA/Organized Play campaigns, and especially the Living campaigns had to, due to their format, enforce strict “rules as written” adherence (as predicted by Zeb Cook in the 2e preface, you’ll note!). This generated debate, and as time went on, altered more of the default mode of players towards the rules being fixed above the individual DM’s discretion.
    A quote from a Living Greyhawk organizer list email in December 1999:
    Last I heard, the rule from on high was: Greyhawk will be the flagship campaign. It WILL follow core rules, period. I suspect we both agree this means we will be playing some silly rules, tho not necessarily which ones actually are bad. However, until we hear otherwise, we had best be prepared to accept Core rules as written in stone.
    And an immediate counterpoint:
    I would be very…disappointed…if this were true. If this is the case then another Fate of Istus type thing seems inevitable – weird things springing up in the setting just cos they changed the rules again. The mechanics of the game should poke through the skin of the setting as little as possible IMO. Setting over rules – other wise you make things a complete homogeneous sludge.





    Honestly the whole idea of a rule zero is, imo, a silly one. A good DM isn't going to need such a rule, because they players will trust their judgement and allow them to work as they see fit. The only people who cling to "rule zero" are, in my experience, the power trippers, control freaks, and arrogant people who think they know better than everyone else, and the presence of such a rule in the book isn't going to make their players respect them or even prevent them from getting up and leaving.

    As I said before, while I am against fudging dice rolls when I am behind the screen it isn't going to be a deal breaker one way or the other when I a player, a good DM who fudges is likely going to run a good game regardless, and a bad DM who plays by the book is going to be a bad DM regardless.


    Quote Originally Posted by AMFV View Post
    The decisions weren't though, because you made the mechanical nuts and bolts. As a player who loves mechanical nuts and bolts I would find that really frustrating it would definitely make me less involved in the game.
    If the player is new to the game, and in this case tabletop RPGs in general, they won't be able to make an informed decision about nuts and bolts either.

    In my opinion saying "Would you rather have a character who can is resistant to poison or to mind control?" Is a lot more informative than "Would you rather have proficiency in fortitude or will saves?" to a brand new player.

    I guess it is debatable and we could have a discussion about whether my opinion is right or wrong, but at this point it would be purely academic as it is in the past and I have already told players that they are able to rebuild their characters if they like.

    Quote Originally Posted by AMFV View Post
    This is an example of what you could call attention seeking behavior, and in this case, probably motivated by not being very engaged in the character. That sort of anti-team behavior complete with the "I'm roleplaying my character" schtick, is usually (in my experience) a sign that the player isn't engaged and that's something that should be addressed.
    The player is definitely an attention seeker.

    That said, he loaded up on flaws before the game even started and has been playing a goofball character since the first session, I think that is just who he is as a player rather than any commentary on his attachment to the specific game.

    The gambling thing is a mechanical effect rather than a purely voluntary one, he took a flaw with mechanical benefits that requires his to spend X percentage of his money indulging in his vices each session.

    Quote Originally Posted by AMFV View Post
    That's probably mostly fixed by really strict rules about character creation.
    I have never played in a game where the DM needed to put really strict rules in place. Normally the players kind of come to a consensus and you occasionally get one guy who refuses to get on the bus and needs to be talked to.

    Its not so much min-maxxed characters I have a problem with as those that don't jive well with the rest of the party in either power level, tone, or role.


    Quote Originally Posted by AMFV View Post
    Honestly I actually like the random mishap table, it should be even across all the players though. Especially in a situation where you're hexcrawling that sort of plot hook is awesome. KO results could include things like owing a mafia boss or a lord who saved them a favor, having to recover their equipment, having to all get healed up from some disease.
    Well, you would be the only one.

    I liked the idea as well, but it seemed like nobody was enjoying it at the table and the forums seemed to think it was the worst idea since 4E, so I decided it was probably just easier for everyone involved if I dropped it instead of reworking it.
    Last edited by Talakeal; 2019-01-11 at 12:04 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    Honestly the whole idea of a rule zero is, imo, a silly one. A good DM isn't going to need such a rule, because they players will trust their judgement and allow them to work as they see fit. The only people who cling to "rule zero" are, in my experience, the power trippers, control freaks, and arrogant people who think they know better than everyone else.
    I cant disagree with this statement more.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Malifice View Post
    I cant disagree with this statement more.
    Which part? That the players won't mind fudging done will or that a bad DM can't somehow force his players to enjoy his game by quoting the permissions the DMG gives him over and over again?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    Which part? That the players won't mind fudging done will or that a bad DM can't somehow force his players to enjoy his game by quoting the permissions the DMG gives him over and over again?
    Huh?

    No, my point was that rule zero exists for a reason. The text of the rules doesnt take priority over the reason why we play the game (to have fun).

    Removing rule zero is like having a bureaucratic entity with no discretion to be flexible with their own policy. You wind up with nonsensical or absurd results because 'computer said no.'

    It's like removing judicial discretion in sentencing (mandatory jail sentences for certain offences). If you do that you often wind up with disproportionate sentences for minor or technical offences (like 20 years in prison for stealing a bicycle and bringing it back).

    A crap judge can make mistakes of course. But a good judge (or good public servant) should feel free to exercise discretion when the letter of the law might have been contravened, but common sense should prevail.

    You seem to view the DM as some sort of objective, impartial number generator and rules arbiter, who is bound to the text in a fundamental manner, like it's some kind of immutable holy text, regardless of the results of such an interpretation or method.

    Your obligation as DM (to the players, and to the game) is much greater than that.
    Last edited by Malifice; 2019-01-11 at 12:32 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Malifice View Post
    Huh?

    No, my point was that rule zero exists for a reason. The text of the rules doesnt take priority over the reason why we play the game (to have fun).

    Removing rule zero is like having a bureaucratic entity with no discretion to be flexible with their own policy. You wind up with nonsensical or absurd results because 'computer said no.'

    It's like removing judicial discretion in sentencing (mandatory jail sentences for certain offences). If you do that you often wind up with disproportionate sentences for minor or technical offences (like 20 years in prison for stealing a bicycle and bringing it back).

    A crap judge can make mistakes of course. But a good judge (or good public servant) should feel free to exercise discretion when the letter of the law might have been contravened, but common sense should prevail.

    You seem to view the DM as some sort of objective, impartial number generator and rules arbiter, who is bound to the text in a fundamental manner, like it's some kind of immutable holy text, regardless of the results of such an interpretation or method.

    Your obligation as DM (to the players, and to the game) is much greater than that.
    Except you can instead of fudging say "at appropriate moments you might get results changed if it makes a better narrative heck we can even start at appropriate moments to instead do theater instead of rolling dice" and that kind of thing can shape memorable events and be transparent.

    On the other hand if you are gm to raw man 1, raw man 2 and rudisplork 1 then if you strand away from the divine rules of core without telling of course they will be angry.
    Last edited by noob; 2019-01-11 at 12:41 PM.

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    I also totally disagree with your assertion that the only DMs who use rule zero are 'power tripping arrogant control freaks.'

    That statement alone informs me that you see the DM as existing in some kind of antagonistic role contrasted to the players.

    You've totally missed the point that the DM should be invoking rule zero only when the game demands it (absurd results, closing down a rules loophole that is making the game less fun, ensuring a better and more enjoyable and collaborative game and so forth).

    While 'Pun-Pun' might be rules legal in 3.5, try it in my game and you can expect me (as DM) to invoke rule zero and simply shake my head. Ditto if a player is in need of a concept that he cant get into. I'll happily invoke rule zero to help him get the character he wants.

    You use it as a tool to make the game run smoother, ensure everyone is having fun and to avoid absurdities that are occurring for no other reason than the text says so.

    DMs make rulings all the time. You need to trust your DM isnt doing so for his own antagonistic douchebaggery, but instead to work with and assist and etertain the players, and for the good of the game as a whole.

    I concede that plenty of antagonistic DMs are out there, but so are there a ton of antagonistic players. Lets just accept that our notional DM that we are talking about here, genuinely has the excitement, challenge, fun and entertainment of his players at heart, and is competent with the rules, and the mechanics that go on 'behind the curtain.'

  30. - Top - End - #390
    Troll in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jun 2015

    Default Re: Talakeal's Gaming Horror Stories Continued (not really)

    Quote Originally Posted by Malifice View Post
    I also totally disagree with your assertion that the only DMs who use rule zero are 'power tripping arrogant control freaks.'

    That statement alone informs me that you see the DM as existing in some kind of antagonistic role contrasted to the players.

    You've totally missed the point that the DM should be invoking rule zero only when the game demands it (absurd results, closing down a rules loophole that is making the game less fun, ensuring a better and more enjoyable and collaborative game and so forth).

    While 'Pun-Pun' might be rules legal in 3.5, try it in my game and you can expect me (as DM) to invoke rule zero and simply shake my head. Ditto if a player is in need of a concept that he cant get into. I'll happily invoke rule zero to help him get the character he wants.

    You use it as a tool to make the game run smoother, ensure everyone is having fun and to avoid absurdities that are occurring for no other reason than the text says so.

    DMs make rulings all the time. You need to trust your DM isnt doing so for his own antagonistic douchebaggery, but instead to work with and assist and etertain the players, and for the good of the game as a whole.

    I concede that plenty of antagonistic DMs are out there, but so are there a ton of antagonistic players. Lets just accept that our notional DM that we are talking about here, genuinely has the excitement, challenge, fun and entertainment of his players at heart, and is competent with the rules, and the mechanics that go on 'behind the curtain.'
    All I said is that players should hear when a gm makes a change that pertains to them.
    (by the way are you the same Malifice as the one on the werewolf forums?)
    Last edited by noob; 2019-01-11 at 12:44 PM.

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