The Order of the Stick: Utterly Dwarfed
The Order of the Stick: Utterly Dwarfed - Coming in December and available for pre-order now
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 30 of 58
  1. - Top - End - #1
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    DruidGuy

    Join Date
    Jul 2019

    Default Why do rule lawyers have a bad reputation?

    I mean the players that want to play by the rules or that when something is done incorrectly they present what the correct way should be for the best or the worst.

    Not those that tryes to exploit loopholes to break the game.

    Not those that uses obscure source books and pretend to be ruled as written without bringing it up beforehead to the GM.

    Not those that correct every rule that would give a lesser disadvantage or bigger advantage when ruled correctly but will not bring it up when something "illegal" benefit them.


    Bonus: can a GM be a rule lawyer?

    Edit: it seems that what I thought a rule lawyer should be is foundamentally different from what that title actually refers to. A rule lawyer is actually a player that has a toxic behaviour linked to the rules in some way.
    Last edited by Trandir; 2019-10-10 at 09:41 AM.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Lord Raziere's Avatar

    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Gender
    Male2Female

    Default Re: Why do rule lawyers have a bad reputation?

    Quote Originally Posted by Trandir View Post
    I mean the players that want to play by the rules or that when something is done incorrectly they present what the correct way should be for the best or the worst.

    Not those that tryes to exploit loopholes to break the game.

    Not those that uses obscure source books and pretend to be ruled as written without bringing it up beforehead to the GM.

    Not those that correct every rule that would give a lesser disadvantage or bigger advantage when ruled correctly but will not bring it up when something "illegal" benefit them.


    Bonus: can a GM be a rule lawyer?
    They have a bad reputation precisely because of all those other definitions you just stated that you don't mean when you use it.

    words, surprisingly have different interpretations and thus used differently by other people for different things and thus can often be used negatively as well as positively. because have different viewpoints on that word and the concepts and definitions behind those words.
    My Fan Fiction:
    To Catch A Mew
    A Kalos based pokemon fan fic. Now up to Chapter 24!



  3. - Top - End - #3
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Rynjin's Avatar

    Join Date
    Sep 2016

    Default Re: Why do rule lawyers have a bad reputation?

    I think the main reason rules lawyers get a bad rep from certain people is one of two things, depending on the table:

    1.) They aren't really rules lawyers; they "lawyer up" when it would get them a benefit, and stay quiet when it would not.

    2.) They're at the table of a GM who reeeeeeeaaalllly doesn't care about the rules and said GM talks smack about them on the forums (sometimes deservedly, if they continue to press the issue to everyone else' frustration instead of just bowing out of the game due to incompatible playstyles).

    IME people tend to like "real" rules lawyers, who just point out what the rules are and make sure everything's above board. I like to play as close to RAW as possible on a lot of things, so I point out when something is out of whack...notably as I alluded to above, even when it would result in a disadvantage for myself (even the death of my character on one occasion).

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Mar 2015

    Default Re: Why do rule lawyers have a bad reputation?

    I'm going to go with: traditionally those "not"s you listed make you not a rules lawyer. A rules lawyer often isn't just knowing the rules well and/or playing by the book. Often it does mean exactly those who exploit the rules and exploitation is usually frowed upon.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Jay R's Avatar

    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Dallas, TX
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Why do rule lawyers have a bad reputation?

    Quote Originally Posted by Trandir View Post
    I mean the players that want to play by the rules...
    These people do not have a bad reputation, and are not called rules lawyers.

    Quote Originally Posted by Trandir View Post
    ... or that when something is done incorrectly they present what the correct way should be for the best or the worst.
    This is not well-defined. People who do this well and politely do not have a bad reputation, and are not called rules lawyers. People who do it badly and insultingly are called rules lawyers, and have a bad reputation.

    Quote Originally Posted by Trandir View Post
    Not those that tryes to exploit loopholes to break the game.

    Not those that uses obscure source books and pretend to be ruled as written without bringing it up beforehead to the GM.

    Not those that correct every rule that would give a lesser disadvantage or bigger advantage when ruled correctly but will not bring it up when something "illegal" benefit them.
    These people are called rule lawyers, and you've made it clear why they have a bad reputation.

    Quote Originally Posted by Trandir View Post
    Bonus: can a GM be a rule lawyer?
    If the GM is consistent and fair with the rules, then he or she is not called a rules lawyer, and does not have a bad reputation. If the GM is playing games with the rules to be unfair, then he is called a rules lawyer, and has a bad reputation.

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

    Join Date
    Mar 2007

    Default Re: Why do rule lawyers have a bad reputation?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cluedrew View Post
    I'm going to go with: traditionally those "not"s you listed make you not a rules lawyer. A rules lawyer often isn't just knowing the rules well and/or playing by the book. Often it does mean exactly those who exploit the rules and exploitation is usually frowned upon.
    This
    Another annoying behavior which gets called "rules lawyering" is spending too* much time arguing about how the rule should be interpreted, how to parse the paragraph, how different rules interact etc. GMs can be guilty of this - a player and GM spend an hour of game time discussing with how the rule works while the rest of the table are bored. Note the only "wrong" here would be a GM failing to balance the interests of the table


    *Actual amount which counts as too much varies from table to table
    Last edited by Duff; 2019-10-13 at 09:55 PM.
    I love playing in a party with a couple of power-gamers, it frees me up to be Elan!


  7. - Top - End - #7
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    BlackDragon

    Join Date
    Oct 2019

    Default Re: Why do rule lawyers have a bad reputation?

    The three I can think of:

    1.The Rule Lawyer is not coming over to play the same game as everyone else. They are there to play vs. the DM and try to ''one up" the DM on the rules. The other players will be trying to slay a dragon in the game....but the rules lawyer is just wating to ''gottha" the DM.

    2.Rules Lawyers stop the game. All too often the game will stop so the player and DM can talk and argue. At worst the game will be ruined for the whole night. Even once they stop, they will still likely both be upset...or worse.

    3.The lawyer part. It's not about the rules....it's about rule interpretation.

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Knaight's Avatar

    Join Date
    Aug 2008

    Default Re: Why do rule lawyers have a bad reputation?

    It essentially tends to come down to people having a limited tolerance for pedantry in the service of being technically correct - and while nerds in general usually strike a balance that involves a pretty high tolerance Rules Lawyers specifically exceed that, as defined by whoever is using the term. It's one of those "anyone who drives faster than me is reckless, anyone who drives slower than me is overly cautious" situations.
    I would really like to see a game made by Obryn, Kurald Galain, and Knaight from these forums.

    I'm not joking one bit. I would buy the hell out of that.
    -- ChubbyRain

    Current Design Project: Legacy, a game of masters and apprentices for two players and a GM.

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    SolithKnightGuy

    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Location
    Right behind you!
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Why do rule lawyers have a bad reputation?

    Puffin Forest used to have a video up where he described what he termed as Rules Lawyer vs Rules Traditionalist. Unfortunately, it looks like he took it down.

    Basically the idea is:

    The Rules Traditionalist just knows the rules and wants everyone to play by them because he thinks that's the most fun for everyone. They are likely even okay with permanent house-rules if told beforehand and an explanation given.

    The Rules Lawyer just wants stuff for themselves. They abuse the rules and argue over every possible interpretation in their character's benefit, even if they would totally play the other way if THAT was to their benefit.

    By this definition the Rules Lawyer sucks, while the Rules Traditionalist is generally handy to have around, though he might not mesh with every table.

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Composer99's Avatar

    Join Date
    Sep 2013

    Default Re: Why do rule lawyers have a bad reputation?

    Quote Originally Posted by Trandir View Post
    I mean the players that want to play by the rules or that when something is done incorrectly they present what the correct way should be for the best or the worst.
    There's nothing wrong with either of those behaviours in and of themselves. Engaging in them does not automatically make someone a "rules lawyer".

    I would say that there's a certain connotation of argumentativeness, and of pedantic hair-splitting and word-parsing, embedded in the term "rules lawyer". One is a "rules lawyer" when one wastes too much of other players' time (including the GM as one of the other players) arguing over the rules, whether one is arguing about how they should be parsed/interpreted/observed, or whether one is arguing about whether or not they are being followed or breached, or whether the GM (if there is one) should be enforcing them more strictly/in a different way/ whatever. How much time qualifies as too much varies from table to table, as others have already said.

    "Rules lawyering", as far as I can see, is rather like taking the kind of arguments one sees on this board about RAW, which at least have the virtue of being contained to willing participants, and forcing people to sit through them at the game table.

    The behaviours you have cited become "rules lawyering" when they cease to be helpful and instead become argumentative, when they cease to be of assistance in improving the game experience and instead become a power struggle with the GM or other players, when they cease to be brief and instead become protracted.

    Quote Originally Posted by Trandir View Post
    Not those that tryes to exploit loopholes to break the game.

    Not those that uses obscure source books and pretend to be ruled as written without bringing it up beforehead to the GM.

    Not those that correct every rule that would give a lesser disadvantage or bigger advantage when ruled correctly but will not bring it up when something "illegal" benefit them.
    Those can be the behaviours of "rules lawyers", but I think they are more up the alley of what might be characterised as "munchkins", insofar as they are behaviours meant specifically to benefit them personally, as it were. One can be a "rules lawyer" without exploiting loopholes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Trandir View Post
    Bonus: can a GM be a rule lawyer?
    Yes, and no.

    No, because the GM is typically the final arbiter on how the rules work at any gaming table at which they are acting in that capacity, which means that their interpretation or modification of rules is how the rules work at their table.

    Yes, because there's nothing stopping GMs from being argumentative or pedantic, or wasting time at the table initiating or enabling arguments about the rules when they should be keeping the game on track.
    ~ Composer99

    D&D 5e Homebrew:
    Character Options: Fighter Remix, Paladin Oaths, Ranger Remix, Sorcerer Remix
    Playing the Game: Using Ability Score Variants
    New Subsystems: Combat Manoeuvre System
    Monsters: Yogg-Saron

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Zombie

    Join Date
    May 2010

    Default Re: Why do rule lawyers have a bad reputation?

    Someone who knows the rules and wants them applied fairly isn't a lawyer. That's a judge. Lawyers want to use the rules that benefit them (even if it means twisting the phrasing to enforce a disingenuous RAW interpretation in spite of a clear RAI reading of the "ambiguous" wording) and keep quiet about rules that go against them (or argue against those rules if they come up).

    Lawyers are good in the justice system because there are lawyers on both sides with a judge in the middle. Rules lawyers at a game aren't good because there's usually just one of them trying to disrupt the game to benefit themselves at the expense of everyone else.

  12. - Top - End - #12
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Norway
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Why do rule lawyers have a bad reputation?

    In my experience, the only way you get called a rules lawyer is if you insist on a rule more than just once. There's always ways around being called a rules lawyer while still being concerned about the rules not being followed.

    If the DM makes a call that contradicts your memory of how the rule works, you can start it as a question instead "is that how it works?" and follow it up with "are you sure?" if he says yes. If he doesn't look it up, then you just kinda have to accept it as a custom ruling for the time being.

    Ask for clarification if there's a rule you are unsure of, because you observe it being treated differently (maybe he allows potions as a bonus action and you aren't clear why that lich healed from a healing potion)

    Basically, work with the DM, don't against the DM and you'll avoid being called out on being a rules lawyer, while still being one.

  13. - Top - End - #13
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Talakeal's Avatar

    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    A place near Boulder.
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Why do rule lawyers have a bad reputation?

    Even by the first definition, you can easilly disrupt the game by refusing to let something go when the DM just wants to handwaive something and get on with the game. Just because you are technically correct doesn't mean anyone wants to argue about every last modifier or about how player B is technically cheating when the DM let epic skill focus count as regular skill focus for prestige class requirements.


    And yeah, the DM is always fully capable of all of the negative behaviors the player rules lawyers exhibit.
    Looking for feedback on Heart of Darkness, a character driven RPG of Gothic fantasy.

  14. - Top - End - #14
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    WolfInSheepsClothing

    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Italy
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Why do rule lawyers have a bad reputation?

    Quote Originally Posted by Droid Tony View Post
    The three I can think of:

    2.Rules Lawyers stop the game. All too often the game will stop so the player and DM can talk and argue. At worst the game will be ruined for the whole night. Even once they stop, they will still likely both be upset...or worse.

    3.The lawyer part. It's not about the rules....it's about rule interpretation.
    This. Even for benign examples.

    It's good that someone knows the rules and can referee them.
    But if the whole session devolves into a rules debate, it's taking it too far.
    And sometimes both as dm or player you may want to handwave stuff for simplicity.

    When i dm, if it takes more than 5 minutes to figure out a rule interaction, i adjudicate it roughly and move on. The lawyer is the guy who'll insist on figuring out exactly every detail.
    In memory of Evisceratus: he dreamed of a better world, but he lacked the class levels to make the dream come true.

    Ridiculous monsters you won't take seriously even as they disembowel you

    my take on the highly skilled professional: the specialized expert

  15. - Top - End - #15
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Kurald Galain's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jun 2007

    Default Re: Why do rule lawyers have a bad reputation?

    Quote Originally Posted by Trandir View Post
    I mean the players that want to play by the rules or that when something is done incorrectly they present what the correct way should be for the best or the worst.
    Rules are occasionally ambiguous and subject to multiple interpretations. Yes, even in core.

    It is not uncommon for players that "play by the rules" to pick the interpretation that makes their character more powerful. Places like the now-defunct WOTC forums tended to take the interpretation that makes PCs stronger, and enshrine it as the One True RAW.

    ...but interpretation is the DM's job, and he's just not always going to pick that interpretation; e.g. because it makes no sense, or it conflicts with the story, or it's unfair to the other characters. And lawyering about that is just annoying. RAW doesn't mean RAMMCMP.
    Guide to the Magus, the Pathfinder Gish class.

    "I would really like to see a game made by Obryn, Kurald Galain, and Knaight from these forums. I'm not joking one bit. I would buy the hell out of that." -- ChubbyRain
    Crystal Shard Studios - Freeware games designed by Kurald and others!

  16. - Top - End - #16
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Dimers's Avatar

    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Boston, MA
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Why do rule lawyers have a bad reputation?

    Presentation matters, too. I'm sure you can imagine a humorless and nasal "Well, actually, what it technically says is ..." And that delivery will get you glares even when it has valid info. It's got a rather 'I'm right and you're wrong' vibe. Who needs more of that in their life?

    So, presentation might weigh in on why some people are derided for rules lawyering.
    Avatar by Meltheim: Eveve, dwarven battlemind, 4e Dark Sun

    Current games list

  17. - Top - End - #17
    Troll in the Playground
     
    Devil

    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Over there!
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Why do rule lawyers have a bad reputation?

    In my experience it boils down to this.

    The role players who really get the intricacies of the rules fall into is either Friend of the court Vs Council for the defence.

    The former knows the rules well and, when asked, can explain how something works or find obscure rules. Love these guys, even knew one at Uni who could do Turn Undead off the top of his head. Will also interject if they see what might be a mistake in the offing by either the DM or another player, such as "Detect Magic won't let you find where they stored the alchemist's fire, alchemist's fire isn't magical" or "They're playing an Assamar, Charm Person won't work as they aren't humanoid" or even "How did the NPC die of level drain when I case Death Ward on them?" They act as a neutral rules expert, raise valid points and, more importantly, if they are over-ruled they accept it and move on. They might not like it, but they respect Rule 0.

    Council for the defence has a stake in the decision. Their monk is bound and gagged but by golly they are going to argue that they get their attacks of opportunity by citing a combination of the rules for monk's unarmed attacks and the combat reflexes feat, even if it makes no sense or the rules are clearly not meant to be taken that way. These guys suck. They are also, TBH, most of us at one time or another. They get bad however when they are doing it at every opportunity to gain every little edge. They say things like "But this other class's similar ability states it does this, so clearly mine does too" or "No, you're wrong it can't do that because".
    Last edited by Evil DM Mark3; 2019-10-10 at 08:19 AM.
    GNU Terry Pratchett

  18. - Top - End - #18
    Orc in the Playground
     
    False God's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jul 2019
    Location
    Wyoming
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Why do rule lawyers have a bad reputation?

    Like some disreputable lawyers IRL, "Rules Lawyers" enjoy arguing technicalities. Usually on the angle that the rules operate in their favor and against the favor of the DM. Most DMs and other party members don't have the time or the patience and sometimes lack the knowledge and linguistic skill to engage in these arguments. They take time away from the group and the game as a whole to focus on a single player trying to get an often minor technical benefit. They often "win" simply because the DM wants to get back to playing, and really that's the problem: they're holding up the game so that they can get into an argument.
    Knowledge brings the sting of disillusionment, but the pain teaches perspective.
    There is a future in which I see only mist and a single shadow.

  19. - Top - End - #19
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Jay R's Avatar

    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Dallas, TX
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Why do rule lawyers have a bad reputation?

    People who know the exact rule when you need it, and bring it up when its needed, whether its good or bad for their characters, are very good to have at the table. They are considered knowledgeable, but nobody calls them rules lawyer (at least where I play).

    The players who have a few obscure rules stored up and weaponized, ready to bring them out for personal gain, are called rules lawyers.

    The crucial difference is whether they use the rules for fairness or for advantage.

  20. - Top - End - #20
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Kurald Galain's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jun 2007

    Default Re: Why do rule lawyers have a bad reputation?

    Quote Originally Posted by Evil DM Mark3 View Post
    They get bad however when they are doing it at every opportunity to gain every little edge. They say things like "But this other class's similar ability states it does this, so clearly mine does too" or "No, you're wrong it can't do that because".
    This is why I love Paranoia, the RPG with a hard rule that this behavior gets your character summarily executed.
    Guide to the Magus, the Pathfinder Gish class.

    "I would really like to see a game made by Obryn, Kurald Galain, and Knaight from these forums. I'm not joking one bit. I would buy the hell out of that." -- ChubbyRain
    Crystal Shard Studios - Freeware games designed by Kurald and others!

  21. - Top - End - #21
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Flumph

    Join Date
    Nov 2010

    Default Re: Why do rule lawyers have a bad reputation?

    As a recovering rules-lawyer, the bad reputation is because of:
    • Disrupting sessions, often in the middle of the action
    • Flaunting a clear sense of superiority over other players in a low-stakes cooperative social hobby like roleplaying
    • Making often-incorrect presumptions about things the GM has done, or intends to do
    • Only flaunting detailed rules-knowledge to benefit themselves, not bringing it up when it might disadvantage them
    • Arguing to force outcomes in the game, effectively exceeding the normal influence of a player and intruding on the GM's duties


    For those who happen to be rules-lawyers and want to help without annoying their entire group, here are some guidelines
    • Do not interrupt people mid-sentence, ever
    • Always defer to your GM mid-session. If he knows the "correct" rule but wants to rule otherwise, don't fight him mid-session
    • Be impartial. Bring up the rules even when it's bad for you in-game
    • If you have a litany of complaints or suggestions, or want to discuss an in-depth rules matter, bring it to your GM or other players outside of sessions
    • Instead of trying to force an outcome ("that's an instakill by RAW"), phrase it more like a question or suggestion to your GM ("is that an instakill? it looks like she took more than double her max hp from that attack")
    • Don't excessively chide people for not knowing super-detailed stuff. If they don't know how to calculate their attack bonus or something, you can casually roast them a little. Beyond the basics however, understand that people have lives and that it's okay to not spend hours every day reading game rules.
    • Try not to be sanctimonious or over-serious. You're not fighting a $200 traffic violation, you're playing a magic elf-game
    Last edited by Slipperychicken; 2019-10-12 at 04:40 AM.

  22. - Top - End - #22
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Kobold

    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location

    Default Re: Why do rule lawyers have a bad reputation?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kurald Galain View Post
    This is why I love Paranoia, the RPG with a hard rule that this behavior gets your character summarily executed.
    Sadly, Citizen, knowing that rules-lawyering is an executable offense is itself an executable offense. Please report to the nearest Termination Station immediately.

  23. - Top - End - #23
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    BarbarianGuy

    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Why do rule lawyers have a bad reputation?

    I love it when one of my players is well versed in the rules. Saves me the trouble of having to look anything up.

  24. - Top - End - #24
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    Spore's Avatar

    Join Date
    Oct 2013

    Default Re: Why do rule lawyers have a bad reputation?

    Rules lawyer implies that the rules are like a law that cannot be broken. Many people including me feel that rules can safely be ignored if people are having fun. We had a rules enthusiast in our group that assumed sticking with the rules ensured more fairness at the table.

    But he also played a Pathfinder Fighter, as some form of self therapy I figured. Because there is nothing fair about playing a midlevel trip maneuver fighter that cannot trip flying enemies when your teammate is an evil cleric that can summon fiendish monsters that do your schtick better than you. (His relative weakness was compensated by another botched build and my character heavily doing buffs).

    In an environment where the cleric, oracle and now even the flipping rogue can fly, why can't the fighter use his polearm to vault up a 30 ft. building? Yes, the rules say he can't but how is he going to get up the building without waiting for another turn for the "magical air uber" to show up.

  25. - Top - End - #25
    Barbarian in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jul 2018

    Default Re: Why do rule lawyers have a bad reputation?

    Why do lawyers have a bad reputation? I mean, Justice League literally had an alien society make a joke about having a "lawyer problem" that was "solved" by having lawyers suffer the same penalty as their clients if they lost a case. Of course, IRL, lawyers are an incredibly important part of our society, and becoming a judge is pretty much dependent on being a lawyer first. Most legislators and government executives have legal training as well (as one would expect for a position that requires drafting or enforcing laws). Our society literally could not function if we did as Shakespeare's **** the Butcher advocates. But there are dark sides to the profession.

    Lawyers, somewhat like medical doctors and dentists, almost always only see clients when something has gone wrong. Like police officers, many lawyers only see people (proverbially) "on the worst day(s) of their lives." That inherently colors one's perception of lawyers. It's sort of like how hospitals and the "antiseptic smell" they have are associated with death. Even though lots and lots of people go to hospitals to be healed, it's an incontrovertible fact that a lot of death happens in hospitals too, so hospitals can be inherently unsettling or unpleasant even when there's nothing actually wrong.

    Lawyers also have the problem that, in a meaningful sense, 50% of all clients will hate both legal representatives in a case (the parties who lose), and arguably the other 50% will hate at least one of the legal representatives (the party who wins--you're not likely to like your opponent's lawyers!) So if we make the not-entirely-accurate but relatively reasonable assumption that there is one (perhaps lead) lawyer for each side, then 50% of the clients will hate 1 lawyer and 50% will hate 2 lawyers--that's (0.5+1)/2 = 75% of all lawyers hated by the clients on the net, which isn't great.

    Finally--and I think this is the most relevant sense for the term "rules lawyer"--lawyers have an unfair, but not entirely unfounded, reputation for twisting law and truth to suit their needs. We need lawyers to vigorously defend their clients' interests, that's a vital part of how our justice system works. But as a consequence, that means we need to have lawyers vigorously defending clients who are, if not obviously guilty, then at least clients whose guilt is extremely likely. And we need lawyers vigorously prosecuting, even when guilt seems very unlikely or superficial evidence seems to preclude guilt, because crime (and liability etc. for non-criminal law cases) is a murky business for everyone involved. This means doing things like advancing the most favorable view of the evidence to your client, advocating the most lenient (or most punitive, when relevant) interpretation of the law, and generally REALLY pushing for things, even when the lawyer herself/himself personally suspects their client is guilty.

    Turning now to the RPG-specific term "rules lawyer," there's a number of implied characteristics within that are generally held to be negative. For example, rules lawyers are usually considered to be:
    - Officious: they annoy their fellow players with assertions of authority and control.
    - Pretentious: their interference in the process of play connotes that their knowledge is superior to others', implicitly in a derogatory way.
    - Unscrupulous: as with the last paragraph above about lawyers, rules lawyers are often held to twist logic and the meaning of words in order to get the most favorable meaning out of every situation, no matter how ridiculous or inconsistent this becomes.
    - Selfish: They only do their advocacy for themselves, and while they may not actively seek to hold back others, the term implies a willingness to do so if it means getting a more favorable personal result.
    - Grasping: They comb through every obscure splat, sift through literal reams of text, for any advantage. Others lacking the time/energy/patience to do so often find the rules lawyer's behavior greedy, even predatory (more preciously, pleonectic, though that's a rather philosophical term).

    So yeah. The term connotes that the person in question is being at least some subset of officious, pretentious, unscrupulous, selfish, and/or grasping. Most people find all these characteristics at least somewhat negative. And many of these terms are simply borrowing, in whole or in part, from the wider cultural perspective that actual lawyers are like this, regardless of whether that is true. (In my personal experience, it is not true, I know several lawyers who are excellent and upstanding people; but lawyers are still just as human as everyone else, so it's a complicated issue.)

    Edit: @slipperychicken Believe it or not, I wrote this post without reading yours at all! It's impressive how similar in both formatting and content our posts are. Guess I wasn't too far off the mark.
    Last edited by ezekielraiden; 2019-10-13 at 11:31 PM.

  26. - Top - End - #26
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    30.2672 N, 97.7431 W
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Why do rule lawyers have a bad reputation?

    In a nutshell: Rules Lawyers have a reputation for trying to over-rule the DM on rules interpretations, usually to their own advantage. Back Seat DM'ing as it were.
    "Sleeping late might not be a virtue, but it sure aint no vice. The old saw about the early bird and the worm just goes to show that the worm should have stayed in bed."

    - L. Long

    I think, therefore I get really, really annoyed at people who won't.

  27. - Top - End - #27
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Ravens_cry's Avatar

    Join Date
    Sep 2008

    Default Re: Why do rule lawyers have a bad reputation?

    Plus, they break the flow of the game. Nothing ruins pacing and excitement than spending 40 minutes (at least!) looking up and arguing the exact meaning of the possible typo on page 37 of the Tome of Marvellous Creatures and how it interacts with page 129 of the Game Referee's Compendium.
    Quote Originally Posted by Calanon View Post
    Raven_Cry's comments often have the effects of a +5 Tome of Understanding

  28. - Top - End - #28
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Oct 2012

    Default Re: Why do rule lawyers have a bad reputation?

    Because some people are very protective of their ability to play the game wrong and get away with it.

  29. - Top - End - #29
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Ravens_cry's Avatar

    Join Date
    Sep 2008

    Default Re: Why do rule lawyers have a bad reputation?

    Quote Originally Posted by Koo Rehtorb View Post
    Because some people are very protective of their ability to play the game wrong and get away with it.
    And what, pray tell, is ' playing the game wrong'? As long as everyone is having fun and things are consistent without favouritism, I don't see a problem with deviating in various ways from rules as written, or even intended if it suits the group better.
    Quote Originally Posted by Calanon View Post
    Raven_Cry's comments often have the effects of a +5 Tome of Understanding

  30. - Top - End - #30
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Flumph

    Join Date
    Nov 2010

    Default Re: Why do rule lawyers have a bad reputation?

    Quote Originally Posted by ezekielraiden View Post
    Edit: @slipperychicken Believe it or not, I wrote this post without reading yours at all! It's impressive how similar in both formatting and content our posts are. Guess I wasn't too far off the mark.
    If it makes you feel better, I wouldn't have read yours either unless I saw my username in bold at the end. Cool posters like us are busy people, we don't have time to read.

    The similarities are understandable. Rules-lawyering is a common and very one-sided issue, and experiences of it are almost identical, so people who are capable of articulating it will end up sounding pretty similar.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •