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View Full Version : Ask a GM [07/15/08]: Handling Rules Lawyers



Farcaster
07-15-2008, 11:58 PM
Inquisitor Tremayne asks,

"How do you deal with a player who knows the rules backward and forward and corrects you, the DM/GM, on the mechanics of a game system?"

Farcaster
07-15-2008, 11:58 PM
Hmm. I've never had that happen to me... *scoff* :biggrin:

Actually, I have just such a player in my current game. And to be honest, most of the time it is a boon. Games like D&D, GURPS and many others can be very complicated and sometimes (some might say often) convoluted. I like to think that I can put together a fairly decent story, but I am not the best "referee," if you will. Having a player in the group that I can turn to and use as a human version of a rpg-wikipedia often speeds things up, and keeps me from having to whip out a rulebook and start looking for XYZ rule.

However, this same type of player can be also detract from the game. In fact, any player, not just the rules-lawyer, might bring the game to a crashing halt when they argue with you over a ruling. It is for this very reason that I have the "Two Minute Rule," in my games. Often, if a player points out a rule that I didn't realize, I'll adjust my ruling. However, sometimes I just don't agree with the player's interpretation or the rule itself. If that happens, I give my players two minutes to argue their case. After two minutes, I make a judgment-call one way or the other and we move on. The one exception I make to the "Two Minute Rule," is if the disputed rule literally means the difference between life or death for the character. If that's so, I'll take the time needed to make sure we get the ruling right.

Having a limit on how long these kinds of rule-disputes can go on goes a long way to keep things moving. And sometimes, even two minutes might be to disruptive to the flow of a scene. If that's the case, don't be afraid to make a ruling and table the discussion for later. Either way, it is a good idea to commit to discussing any rules-disputes after the game and before your next session to get everyone on board as much as possible. Take it offline and figure out exactly how your group is going to handle that situation if it comes up again. If you find that you made a mistake, be ready to admit it just as boldly as you were making the on-the-spot ruling. Sometimes, you're going to be wrong, and that's okay. Just remember that your job as GM isn't to always be right. Your job is to keep the game going and make sure everyone (including yourself) has fun.

Grimwell
07-15-2008, 11:58 PM
The key to handling "Rules Lawyers" is to remember that they are only exhibiting what they enjoy most in the game: Mastery of the system. They enjoy delving into the fundamentals of a design system and exploring the systems in action.

Make them your b#%#
Forgive my attempt at humor there, but a very powerful technique is to co-opt that "Rules Lawyer" into the process of the game. When in doubt, ask them how the rules work. Then, when they cite something just go for it and trust them on the spot.

"OK Bill, Jim wants to jump over the banister and onto the cluster of orc's. That's falling damage due to the fifteen foot drop; but really the orcs are going to break the fall before ten feet are crossed... what kind of roll do you think we should do for success there? If he fails I'll give Jim's character normal falling damage..."

That's all hypothetical, but in a situation like that you are validating a players love of mastering the rules and giving them a chance to exhibit it at the table. Provided they can answer fast "How about a reflex save, and if he makes it a hit roll do pass the falling damage to the orcs?" go with it. If they can't answer fast you need to do something else...

Theorize with them
Before the game, after the game, in emails or any other communication point you have with your rules master validate their love of knowing the rules and talk game theory with them.

"Hey Bill, how well do you think I handled Jim's character jumping on the orcs? I wasn't comfortable waiving his falling damage, but thought that the hit roll agains the orcs to have them take it too worked fast and was a little funny!"

Discuss things that have happened in the campaign and how you handled those rules, and also chat about hypothetical ideas, hidden rules synergies, and whatever else comes up. This reaps two rewards: you are having a great conversation with a friend, and they are being validated for enjoying the game the way they like it.

What if he's lawyering over inconsequential rules?
What if it's Bill citing rules and telling you that you handled the jumping rules incorrectly and cost his character three inches (when he made the jump by two feet)? These inconsequential quips at the table don't help at all, and can get annoying. That's when you table the discussion fast and clearly.

"You could be right Bill; but your character still made the jump and had no negative consequences, so let's talk about it after the game since no characters were impacted. Jim, Bill's character lands next to you and your pile of orcs, who are all starting to stand, what do you do?"

It's important to take the inconsequential rules quips and route them away from the action. If they continue, on trivial points, it's even acceptable to take that rules master aside and just tell them that they are free to take notes and discuss the rules with you after the game; but you are only interested in having them stop the game on a rule if someone's going to die.

What if he's a jerk?
So what do you do when the rules master just does not get it and constantly breaks the flow of the game up over differences in rulings, even when they are trivial? If you tell them you have GM fiat and that they need to stuff it you are killing their joy of the game; but if they can't find an outlet for that joy without killing the joy that others get... ask them to find a new table.

One of the best things about these games for me is that they are flexible. There is no single right way to play any of them and that allows people to focus on the parts they like the most, and then find like minded people to game with. If your rules lawyer can't contain himself enough to enjoy the game in a collaborative sense -- allow them to find a new game. Challenge them to run a game that you can play in. Do something to get them out of your game. Even if they are a friend.

Whatever you do, don't let them kill it for the other people at the table. RPG's are compromise, everyone gives up a little of what they enjoy most such that everyone else gets to enjoy it their way every now and then too. Anyone who can't make that compromise, anyone who runs all over the enjoyment for others, is not welcome in my games.

Reality check
If you remember that your "Rules Lawyer" is actually someone who just gets pleasure from knowing the rules; and find ways to route that enjoyment productively at your game table; you will find that the rules lawyer is actually one of the most content folks in the game. They are playing along, laughing, sharing adventures, and having a good time because you made it possible. Just as you should provide opportunities for the role player to actually role play, the rules lawyer needs opportunities to let their knowledge shine.

Do it right, and the overwhelming majority of them are very happy campers who contribute to the fun at the table. If you find yourself faced with someone in the extreme minority; who uses the rules to kill it for everyone and does not respond to your outreach and instead uses it against you... cut the cord and let them go. It won't be easy when you do it; but your game will be a heck of a lot better without them.

Anaesthesia
07-15-2008, 11:58 PM
I suppose I am lucky enough to only have seen 2 rules lawyers, once when I DMed and other when I was a player.

I had played in a group with someone who I'd call a pseudo-rules lawyer and he'd always picked up thinks on variant rules and odd rulings in regards to the monster manuals (it was really irritating). He'd pick up on the weirdest variant rule and say how the DM needed to use that particular variant rule at that second, even if the DM didn't use that rule before he brought it up. We eventually trained him to keep this to himself-unless it was a rule that the DM forgot and then he was free to bring it up at that time.

To sum, use your best judgement, and on occasion, rules lawyers have something useful to add to the game. (And of course read the other posts-they're probably more useful than mine!)

cplmac
07-15-2008, 11:58 PM
Fortunately, I have never had to deal with this problem. However, I would probably ask them if they wanted to DM/GM. Of course, if they answer yes, then i would say that they need to create a campaign and run it. Until then, while I'm running my game, there maybe some bending or changing of a rule here and there. When they run their own campaign, they are of course allowed to do the same if they wish.

Also, I'm not sure about other genres or versions of D&D, but in the forward to the AD&D second edition DMG, one paragraph states, "Take the time to have fun with the AD&D rules. Add, create, expand, and extrapolate. Don't just let the game sit there, and don't become a rules lawyer worrying about each piddly little detail. If you can't figure out the answer, MAKE IT UP! And whatever you do, don't fall into the trap of believing these rules are complete. They are not. You cannot sit back and let the rule book do everything for you. Take the time and effort to become not just a good DM, but a brilliant one."

The next paragraph continues as, "At conventions, in letters, and over the phone I'm often asked for the instant answer to a fine point of the game rules. More often than not, I come back with the question--what do you feel is right? And the people asking the questions discover that not only can they create an answer, but that their answeris as good as anyone else's. The rules are only guidelines."

Just lends more credit to the statement that the DM/GM is the final arbritrator when it comes to decissions being made.

Just read Web's response and wanted to add that I also don't have a problem with being reminded of something that I might have overlooked while being busy with everything that the DM/GM has to do while running the game. Yes, when it gets to be constant and after decissions have been made, then it does become a problem that slows the game down.

There have been a couple of times that the party has presented their arguement about a particular rule interpretation that I did go with, even though it was a change in what had been the previous interpretation. As the DM/GM, you have to be willing to listen to other ideas and be willing to make changes that will enhance the game.

Webhead
07-15-2008, 11:58 PM
Rule-lawyering is a tricky problem. To the player, in their mind, they are only doing the game a service by trying to encourage "consistency". Unfortunately, if the act of rules-lawyering is overpowering the GM's ability to maintain the pace of the game and interest of the group, it can be a distraction at best and a fun-wrecker at worst. The player is not the one given the role of adjudicator for the game. That is the responsibility of the GM. It is the GM's duty to decide which rules to follow strictly, which to overlook and which to make up when needed.

Now, as GMs, we've got a lot on our minds. NPCs, statistics, background developments, plots and subplots to weave. GMs forget things too...sometimes even obvious things. While the players should remind the GM of obvious oversights, they need to leave the final decision about a ruling to the GM. If there is concern over a ruling, that concern should be quiety recorded in some way and address at some point outside of the game. It could be before or after a game session, during a snack or bathroom break, via e-mail or phone call at a later date...whatever. But the game should not be burdened with arguements simply because someone doesn't think that a rule is being interpreted correctly or that they are forgetting about special circumstantial modifiers, etc. It is one thing to draw attention to these things, but it is another to stop the flow of the game because of them.

The Star Wars Role Playing Game Second Edition Revised and Expanded corebook gives the following advice and details the following about the role of a Game Master:

"The game is about having fun...the rules are only as important as you think they are. Ignore the rules you don't like and get on with the game. Have fun. Make sure your players have fun. And if it takes throwing out the rulebook to have fun, hey, that's your call. That's why you're in charge of the game..."

"The GM as Referee: Never Let the Rules Get in the Way of a Good Story...Keep the Game Moving Quickly...Use Your Judgement...Interpret the Rules...Be Fair and Impartial...Your Word is Final."

The idea is that the GM should make a rules decision based on what is best for the integrity of the game and the fun of the group. I have no problem with players reminding me on occasion of rules that I've forgotten or overlooked, but when a player takes a "rules-reminder" past the point at which I've already announced a judgement call, that is where the discussion belongs away from the game table, or at least, away from the game.

As S. John Ross once wrote: "The GM is not God. God is one of his little NPCs."

Just kidding... ;)

Arch Lich Thoth-Amon
07-16-2008, 01:30 AM
I pretty much follow the rules. I also realize that i dont know everything for i allow *all* printed source books to be used... that can be easily over 50(I know it's more... just throwing out a number). So, it is understood that one should know ones character and be ready to be questioned. As far as gaming rules are concerned, everyone knows that if one can make a great argument... that i may side with this person over the rules. When Rules-Lawyers see this, and realize that our games dont go exactly by the rules, they have a choice. They either need to relax and enjoy the game or, for if they are the Felix Ungers of the world, realize they wont be happy and need to move on.

Thoth-Amon

chosenderrick
07-16-2008, 07:33 AM
It's not a good feeling to have someone always telling you that you are wrong. I think the gamemaster is the ultimate referee. You say what will happen and what will not happen. Have anyone heard of house rules!

Also, on the flip side, the DM/GM should seek to increase his knowledge of the game that is being played.

And better yet, run a game no one knows but the GM and get new players; like me!

mrken
07-16-2008, 11:39 AM
Rules lawyers were pretty much the reason I left most game rules behind. Taking what i liked from all these games and coming up with my own homegrown rules I have a very rules lite game that no one really has to focus on the rules so much that they can't RP well. I don't really explain the rules so much as use them to decide the outcome of actions. Players can do pretty mush anything they want with the logical outcome and consequences.

It is so nice to play in a game that so much of the time is not taken up with debates.

michaeljearley
07-16-2008, 12:21 PM
Being a bit of a rules-lawyer I'll throw my two coppers in.
I agree with Grimwell and Farcaster. Use us. If we are anal enough to read and remember the books that well, using that knowledge is like getting paid.
Rules manipulations are different however. Varients and such should not be introduced mid-stream. These should be discussed in private with the GM/DM before/after sessions.
Trivial matters are grey areas. Most of the time it depends on just how impactful the ruling was, and just how much of my OCD kicks in.

Even being a rules-lawyer, the story is still key. A good player will bend for story. Maybe the GM/DM wants it to not work for "drama". (although, being a powergamer, I usually try to give the GM extra wiggle room since I know I try to overpower things)

And at the end of the day its about fun. Rules-lawyers like using the rules as stated and/or agree'd upon. Disruption is disruption however, and a good role-player will seek to prevent it.

Greylond
07-16-2008, 01:40 PM
For me it depends on a couple of things. If it is minor, like reminding me about a skill or something that I remember quickly then No Problem. If it is something that is going to delay the game then I ask them to not worry about it until after the game. Now, that said there may be a reason why something doesn't work the way they think, in a world of Magic there could be an effect that the PCs simply have no way of knowing. I don't allow arguments at my table. The GM is Always Right(simply because the GM knows things happening in the World that the Players don't).

When in doubt I simply remind the Player that there maybe something happening that they don't know about. Heck, perhaps that is a Great BIG Clue that "something aint right", i.e. Illusion...

On the flip side if I'm a player and the GM makes a call I don't agree with I'll bring up my disagreement and if the GM says that is the ruling then I won't argue about it until after the game time. Rules-lawyering can be fun but it shouldn't interrupt the fun at the whole table...

Ramzei
07-16-2008, 03:34 PM
I am a rules lawyer... in the last campaign I played I chose my first and last names. We always left our characters at the GM's house in case one of us couldn't show up (though we could take them with us if we were positive we would be there the following week). One of the rare weeks I didn't take my character home I came back to find "Esquire" written after my name.

That said, I NEVER interrupt game flow with the only exception being someone dying. I always talk to the GM in private during a break or after the session. He did respect that as well as on-the-fly help on rare occasions. If you are a rules lawyer reading this... if you don't know something, don't make it up. There were a few instances where I didn't know the answer but was able to tell the GM what source to use. Or I would race him to find it in my "session library".

Inquisitor Tremayne
07-16-2008, 03:58 PM
I feel (since I am the one who posed the question) that Grimwell is spot on.

Being a rules-lawyer myself it has only been recently that I have noticed how disruptive it can be to the game so I have been making a conscious effort not to be so outspoken.

I see it as a boon to the game most of the time. I believe fair is fair for all since all of us at the table have unspokenly agreed to abide by the RAW and the GM/DM's house rules. So I feel it is my fair duty to point out flaws in whatever circumstance should arise.

However, I will leave any GM/DM adhocing up to the GM/DM, those tend to be judgement calls that are not covered by the rules therefore it is not my place to question the GM/DM.

Plus I REALLY enjoy strategy and tactics and knowing and bending the rules to gain the best tactical advantage is something I enjoy immensely!

agoraderek
07-16-2008, 06:31 PM
i have a simple rule: if you want to argue a rule, wait until the break.

i also have another rule: (screw) the book, meaning this: i'm about flow, no rule is going to interrupt said flow, and, as i wind up winging it a lot (my players couldn't follow a script if their eternal souls depended on it), i don't want my mojo broken by a rules "discussion".

luckily, my group doesn't care about mechanics, just about having fun. if i allow someone to join my game, and they start "rule lawyering", my players tell him or her "um, we don't DO that here, sorry".

god, i love them...

nijineko
07-18-2008, 05:29 PM
i always make a point to thank them for their input. that helps put the discussion on a more non-confrontational level right off the bat. i make a point to visibly listen to what they are saying. they tend to take my answer more seriously if everyone can see i took them seriously. if they can quote the source i'll glance through it real quick, if not i simply make a "feels right this time" ruling and look it up after the session.

i like using the lawyers as an in-house reference tool by tossing them questions like, "how do i accomplish 'x' using the rules?" and if things are still not working out, i'll come up with an item or ability that explains why they are allowed to circumvent that rule, usually with a limited or x-times only usage, just in case the party gets the item version. one thing i've noticed is that rules lawyers typically enjoy getting something that allows them to break a rule 3 times. i suspect this works because this brings the "rules violation" to within the understandable framework of the rules-at least in the case of the item. as for the ability version... there are all sorts of monestaries dotting the landscapes of my worlds where some oddball ability or another can be learned. ;D besides, it makes for great in-character soliloquies during the death scene where he explains how and why he was able to do that. maybe now the characters will want to quest out that way to get it for themselves....

i am polite, respectful, and keep it short.

Anaesthesia
07-19-2008, 11:12 AM
Being a bit of a rules-lawyer I'll throw my two coppers in.
I agree with Grimwell and Farcaster. Use us. If we are anal enough to read and remember the books that well, using that knowledge is like getting paid.
Rules manipulations are different however. Varients and such should not be introduced mid-stream.

I concurr-I tend to be forgetful, so I do appreciate it when someone is being helpful and reminds me of what I'm talking about (or what I think I'm using) is suppose to be. :P

Engar
07-19-2008, 12:13 PM
Fortunately, I have never had to deal with this problem.

You know, if you look around the table and cannot pick out the rules lawyer...:eek:

michaeljearley
07-19-2008, 04:22 PM
You know, if you look around the table and cannot pick out the rules lawyer...:eek:

Well, I'm not sure thats entirely true. There might be games that don't have a rules lawyer.

Stormhound
07-19-2008, 09:15 PM
Rules lawyers are like a lot of other player types...with proper handling, there's a good chance you can turn their proclivities to the advantage of the whole table. So long as you can reach an agreement with them on who's the GM, you have a chance.

cplmac
07-19-2008, 09:24 PM
Just depends on how clear the DM/GM is when they set the parameters of their game. If you set the standard that would be acceptable to stop the flow of the game, then there should not be any question as to when rule questions will be addressed.

nijineko
07-20-2008, 08:13 PM
clear parameters are a boon. can always point back to them. as an added bonus, it's kinda hard for them to argue interpretation when it's your own words and not just a name on a book. =D

Jcosby
07-28-2008, 12:01 PM
Rules Lawyers can be a hazard to the game if you let them get out of hand. Fortunately the group I play with has been together for a long time and out of the 7 players 5 of them know the rules inside and out. So we rarely have a stoppage of play because of a rules dispute. But in the case that we do I have a general rule in place. The DM is always right until he chooses to be wrong. What I mean by that is, go with the ruling and let the GM look it up later (If it's something that will take more then a minute or two) and he will adjust things if necessary. Also I usually try to rule in favor of the PC's most of the time. Again, because I have long time players I know they aren't out to "bend" the rules to gain something.

If I had someone in my game that was just being a jerk and stopping the game every few minutes to argue something, I would have no problem to ask him to step away from the table and find another game. In the end, the game is about having fun and I won't let one person ruin it for everyone else.

Jeff

TAROT
08-06-2008, 01:01 AM
I used to be a bit of one, so I have some tolerance, how much depends upon the following:

a) How trivial is the error.
b) Does he speak up when correcting the error is to his detriment?

However, if the situation doesn't involve PC death, I much prefer that we wait for a break, or discuss this stuff after the session.

Sometimes, you can let the player assume a co-GM position for the more complex sub-systems.

If it is persistent, trivial and breaking flow and train of thought and you've asked the player to stop: "There are situational modifiers of which your character is not aware."

Inquisitor Tremayne
08-07-2008, 10:56 AM
As a rules lawyer I like to be as objective as possible, so if our GM has made an error that favors us the players i still make him aware of it, fair is fair.

Not to toot my own horn or anything but I think that can be a redeeming quality of a rules lawyer. To make sure we all are using the rules correctly and accurately.

gdmcbride
08-07-2008, 11:20 AM
I agree with the sentiment that there are good rules lawyers and bad.

Good rules lawyer behavior:
The DM asks you what a specific spell, power or condition does. You quote him chapter and verse from memory thus saving a delay of game to look up that ability.

Helping other PCs create their characters so they still match their concept but avoid any serious mechanical missteps.

Becoming the record-keeper of any and all house rules that develop during the game.

Bad rules lawyer behavior:
Correcting the DM in game repeatedly because a spell, power or condition particularly from an NPC isn't working the way you think it should.

Creating PCs that while technically legal pervert the spirit of the game and eradicate fun.

Trying to take over other peoples PCs because they are not, in your opinion, optimizing their character.

Basically difference between the good rules lawyer and the bad is the difference between an assistant and a bully.

Gary

raven21
09-02-2008, 05:39 PM
Tell them that all the rules are optinal and the chagne small things up to trow them off. Nothing is worse then a player that can pick out a creature or monster and how to defeat it just buy its decription.

Holocron
09-16-2008, 04:03 AM
Indeed, I think I'm sort of in the same catagory as Inquisitor Tremayne. When I started GMing I made more of an effort to learn as much of the rules as I could, so that the game could keep flowing smoothly and the players wouldn't be able to outsmart me.

Players as rules lawyers haven't been a problem for me, mainly because I haven't run into many people who knew the system better than I did. But, I usually try to follow the rules by the book as much as possible, so that there's something to fall back on when there's an arguement, so if a player brought up a rule that I had overlooked, I imagine I would find it useful and concede the point to the player if it was appropriate.

I also feel like its important to follow the consistency of the rules, so that the players have something they can rely on. If the rules are constantly being bent by the GM's power of fiat... you'll have sense of unfairness real quick. Maybe one of the reasons I've never really had an issue with it is because the players know I'm being fair about the rules and will give the players their way when they're right, so they'll never feel like I'm trying to cheat them when something doesn't go their way.

I think I've probably been more of a pain for one of my GM's being a rules lawyer myself like Tremayne. One of my players took over GMing for a few adventures so that I could be the player. At one point, he tried to pull a blatent rule bend on me. The ability in question that I had was an invented one that wasn't in the original rules, but we had mutually agreed on how it would work. Several adventures after the ability had been acquired, he tried to say that it was unrealiable and wasn't functioning at the time. When I pointed out that we had never discussed that before, and considering the amount of points I paid for the ability, it should be pretty reliable he changed tactics and said a particular peice of equipment was able to nullify the ability...

Without getting too far into the nasty details, I was able to finally convince him that forgetting that I had the ability was no excuse to invent lame ways of defeating it.

I'm sure at the time I had ruined the way he was expecting the adventure to turn out, but I know he's thankful after the fact, because now that he's the player again, he gets some indirect benefit my character as an NPC friend of his having that ability.

So in conclusion, I think rules lawyers have their place, as long as they're not arguing every trivial point just for tiny gains. I also think Grimwell had great advice about how to deal with them when it starts to get out of hand.

boulet
09-16-2008, 08:01 AM
At one point, he tried to pull a blatent rule bend on me. The ability in question that I had was an invented one that wasn't in the original rules, but we had mutually agreed on how it would work. Several adventures after the ability had been acquired, he tried to say that it was unrealiable and wasn't functioning at the time. When I pointed out that we had never discussed that before, and considering the amount of points I paid for the ability, it should be pretty reliable he changed tactics and said a particular peice of equipment was able to nullify the ability...
In bold, is the part of the text that says it all : it's not a case of rule lawyering at all, it's you calling your GM on an abuse of social contract. The abuse is : if a player describe his character as being good at doing something and thus invest creation points in it, it's going to be perceived as very frustrating from the GM to temper with this aptitude.


Without getting too far into the nasty details, I was able to finally convince him that forgetting that I had the ability was no excuse to invent lame ways of defeating it. The picture is clear. He was a beginner GM, felt his capacity to lead the game would evade him because of your character's talent he had forgotten. The challenge he designed suddenly was too easy for you to overcome. The good point is, he admitted the truth and this honesty makes me think he could be a decent GM actually.

I'm afraid some people might call "rule lawyer" any player who confronts his GM. It's legitimate to call a GM on a point that isn't working for you. Not just about the rules, but even an aspect of the game which is spoiling your fun. If you don't speak how would he know ? After all the game is about enjoying the adventure/story created together.

Now a player breaking the flow several times during a session and raising minor points that nobody else at the table really care about... you get the picture.

Holocron
09-17-2008, 03:12 AM
Thanks for the comments Boulet, its encouraging that a fellow gamer can see my point of view.

Indeed, I think he's got potential to be a pretty good GM. This is just the most extreme instance that I've had beef with, and I found it shocking that he'd try to get away with something like that.

I think he prefers to be the player though, and I don't mind GMing because we game so infrequently that my stockpile of story ideas has built up so much that I don't know if he'll ever catch up to everything I've come up with. For now anyway, I think he's content to continue as a player for a while since he knows I've developed so much content for the campaign.

nijineko
09-18-2008, 01:19 AM
one should never take away toys that the player has sweated for, or that the character has earned in some fashion-even if via character creation methods; without some seriously well-thought out and developed reasons. ^^

Grumpy Old Man
09-18-2008, 03:45 PM
New to the forum but this is a button pusher for me so here are my 2 copper coins.

Two kinds, one knows the game and takes players under his wing and guides them in their choices and can explain why a choice may be good or bad. He aids the DM.

The other knows the rules, doesn't help the other players and browbeats DM into favoring his character because he thinks the game revolves around him. I don't mind dominant players because they can keep the game going while everybody else is scratching their heads but when he tries to dominant the other players he's outta here if I am the DM or I am outta there within a few sessions if the DM cannot or will not rein him in. Game is supposed to be fun for everybody not just the chosen few.

Arch Lich Thoth-Amon
09-20-2008, 12:12 AM
Played with both kinds. The actions of the second kind you mentioned caused me to quit a campaign i was involved with a while back, and i never looked back.

Dnd is great with great players. Life is too short to waste time with players that are jerks.

Holocron
09-20-2008, 11:05 PM
Indeed... I don't think I've really run into serious problem players though, maybe because I only really game with my closer friends and family...

Dolran of Arborea
09-21-2008, 12:40 PM
Every group need at least one person who can quote the steps for grappling or tripping without having to look it up every time. However, recently I had to do some rule lawyering because it would have a) caused the death of the entire party along with half a city block and b) I believed the DM was wrong in doing so. Basically, I had to make a case that there was no way that everyone on the board was going to take 100d6 of damage from an explosion. Eventually, I talked him down to 25d6 and reduced the radius of the blast. Later on, I looked up the rules on the said explosion and it turns out that he was about 10d6 over, but the radius of the blast was about right. My problem was that the DM was willing to kill the entire party for no good reason and also give a mundane item some serious power. Normally, I let the rules bend, stretch, and disappear altogether if need be, but this one time, I just couldn't see a barrel of gunpowder being so powerful. Rule lawyering can be annoying, but sometimes it needs to be done to save the party.

USFPutty
11-14-2008, 12:38 PM
I ended up countering a variant of this, a party of seen-it-all, done-it-all characters including the DM of most of the games at the location. Used to the way things are supposed to work, and enemies are supposed to be, I changed a decent number of rules, created differing backstories, wrote new game mechanics (Evasion is broken as hell) and so on. I didn't rewrite the game, but it was 'significantly modded'.

In the beginning, this messed with the players because their knowledge of the rules no longer applied. Many corrections were batted down with a 'not anymore, it works THIS way now'. Soon, though, they got the point. The game had changed enough to be new, interesting, and best of all, a SURPRISE.

Point being, you should master your rules in your world in your game. Everything else is just tools and support for your story.

Etarnon
12-02-2008, 01:47 PM
It is for this very reason that I have the "Two Minute Rule," in my games. Often, if a player points out a rule that I didn't realize, I'll adjust my ruling. However, sometimes I just don't agree with the player's interpretation or the rule itself. If that happens, I give my players two minutes to argue their case. After two minutes, I make a judgment-call one way or the other and we move on. The one exception I make to the "Two Minute Rule," is if the disputed rule literally means the difference between life or death for the character. If that's so, I'll take the time needed to make sure we get the ruling right.This is exactly how I do it, even to the point of the "two minutes of petition by players." If it's life and death, I'll look it up, and go with "exactly" what the book says, since most cases like that are clearly defined.

Back in the day, I used to referee city-wide unit Battletech tournaments and Traveller RPG sessions in San Diego, at a local hobby chain, so much so that if i hadn't been on active duty at the time the store owner offered me a permanent job, working for his store running demos of various games, since when I ran them "The stuff flew off the shelf, and great sales every tourney day."

So, I had to make sure I was up on the rules, especially for Battletech, to the point of re-reading them, once every two weeks, cover to cover, to where I could quote "page 46, left side, paragraph 3" pretty much verbatim.

So, as often happens in battletech, people come to tournaments with a sense of what the rules say, but only in the amount that it applies to whatever move or technique that they want to use, used or excerpted out of context of a whole paragraph.

More than once people challenged me on the rules, since the whole game is pure combat, and nearly any attack can end in the destruction or serious damage of the vehicle, or death of the pilot...thus ending the game experience...So, it's pretty dramatic. And these were pay to play tournaments.

I'd briefly stop the game, and say, "What do you think the rule says?"
the guy would then say something mushy, not really sure, and I'd pretty much quote from the book from memory.

If that wasn't sufficient to satisfy him, then I'd have other people complete their turns, while a third guy looked it up and read it aloud. After a few times of third party reading it, pretty much as I had said, I got a reputation as a referee who knew his stuff, was fair and impartial, and lived to the letter of the rules if not the spirit, whether it was a call that screwed the good guys or the bad guy NPCs.

That's all most good players want, is a fair chance.

When I am in a game, as a player, before I join, especially fantasy, which seems to vary a lot between games, I ask up front is it rules as written or house rules or what, what the setting is, is it low magic, or high magic, etc. BEFORE I join, so that I know what I like, and can self filter out if the DMs style is something I don't want to deal with.


I have DMed so long, I know what it is to be called upon to make rules judgements, and how it can get stressful really quick. I don't push my DMs. I might remind them about a rule from core, like "Have you considered...X?"

If I see people counter-railroading a neophyte DM, I'll help him out, if he asks, acting as the "Guy that knows the rules pretty well" to help out the DM, without taking over the game. Sometimes, Instead of quoting, I'll just simply say "Dave, it's up to you, man, make the call, and let's get back to playing."

I figure, it's his/her game, not mine, run it the way he/she wants. As long as the story is good, and I'm having fun, run it rules light or rules heavy up to the specific DM. If it gets intolerable, I can always disinvite myself, but I have rarely needed to in over 30 years of gaming.

As a DM / Ref, I have asked about a half dozen players to depart, of the maybe a hundred plus I've known over the last three decades, when they just wanted to keep arguing, and the rest of the group wanted to move on.

If I'm wrong, and a rule is pointed out to me, I thank the player, because I want to know the rules, cold.

But a player getting all in my face, with "You're killing my PC, you're screwing me over!" No thanks.

Games like 3.5 and GURPS are hard to run, for the sheer number of books. I like to know the whole system. I just really enjoyed 1e, all in one book, and a lot of it is on the DM.

Ditto for Classic Traveller. The rules are simple, but with that framework, you can get great depth of setting, and conflict resolution.

GoddessGood
12-04-2008, 03:52 PM
I admire your dedication, man. Re-read the rulebook every few weeks? Nice :cool:

Etarnon
12-04-2008, 09:45 PM
Not these days. But yes, I used to. Because I was unofficially representing the store...I was in charge of one of those units playing, and I was on active duty, and hads to be above reproach, since it was a paid tournament.

Nowadays, I don't have the time to do that, but that was 15 years ago.

Arch Lich Thoth-Amon
12-05-2008, 01:56 AM
I remember the days of old, where we had every rule and chart memorized by page. If we found that we were unable to quote a paragraph found in the PHB & the DMG, we sure as hell could paraphrase it. I remember talking with other players one day, way back when, that if ever the xians burned our books, it would be of no consequence to us for we had everything memorized. Nothing could stop DnD from perverting our young little innocent minds to be drawn into witchcraft(kidding).

1st edition good times. Thoth remembers fondly of his yonger years.

Etarnon
12-05-2008, 06:17 AM
XiANS, I LIKE IT.

All you guys that play 3.X

:)

Thanks for a new word.

TAROT
12-05-2008, 08:26 PM
XiANS, I LIKE IT.

All you guys that play 3.X

I'm pretty sure that the reference was to these people:

http://www.chick.com/articles/frpg.asp

cplmac
12-05-2008, 09:57 PM
Not these days. But yes, I used to. Because I was unofficially representing the store...I was in charge of one of those units playing, and I was on active duty, and hads to be above reproach, since it was a paid tournament.

Nowadays, I don't have the time to do that, but that was 15 years ago.


So what branch of the service were you in?

Etarnon
12-05-2008, 10:08 PM
I was a Torpeodoman's Mate, Technician. Deployed on both Ship and shore, USN. Mostly San Diego.

Inquisitor Tremayne
12-10-2008, 11:03 AM
:focus:

cplmac
12-11-2008, 08:57 PM
Etarnon, did you have much of a problem with rules lawyers back when you were in charge of that paid tournament? How many times did you have to actually show the paragraph in the book that proved you were correct before the rules lawyer would finally conceed that they aren't remembering something right? Luckily, I haven't had to deal with a rules lawyer in my games. Now I have had some players lobby for their interpretation of a particular rule. I will admit that there have been a few occaisions that I have went with their idea, mostly because they had a good explanation for their thinking.

Etarnon
12-11-2008, 10:10 PM
To the point of semi-confrontation, Only thrice in three years of running tournaments for Game Towne.

Most of the time, it was "Is this the rule or what?"

"Yeah, it's X and Y, on page 42, right side."

Or just a verbal, like reminder.

Since it was a medium sized community of less than a hundred players, all playing Battletech, mostly active duty military guys...(mostly enlisted navy but a rare few officers, along with a sprinkling of marines, and oh about a dozen civilians) you know, they read the rules like regs, and played by them, were proactive, with high intiative, and all of them set up their units with a loose to strict chain of command.

I recall one day, there was this huge reginment sized battle where 200 pts of damage were hitting individual mecha per round, essentially crippling or destroying a single light to medium unit instantly...stackpole rules, where if you crit all engine spaces it might go nuclear fireball.

So one mech is down with legs blown off, fighting with a single arm plasma cannon, at the overrunning bad guys. The bad guy pilot (who was a surfer from Mission Beach) in his face says, "Gee, man! your 'mech can't move! Face it, you're dead! Why don't you guys just surrender?"

The guys unit CO (who was watching all units as he was the battalion commander), a Navy Chief, yells pretty loudly from 6 feet away, "He hasn't been given PERMISSION to SURRENDER. PILOT! Hold what you got!"

"Aye, Aye, Sir!"

So everyone laughed because...most of us were active duty, and we knew the drill, and you know.. lived that life, for real, too.

DragonDM
03-21-2009, 11:35 AM
Well, I actually have a Rule Question - and cannot seem to make a new thread.

Ok. When someone takes two Classes that have Evasion (Rogue 2/Monk 2) - do they stack for Improved Evasion?

All I can find on the D20 SRD is the definitions for Evasion and Improved Evasion. Not if they stack, or not.

- Also, would the Feat Ascetic Rogue cause them to stack?
Sinse the feat allows all the abilities of both classes to apply equally.

I ask - because as a DM, I think that it is very unbalenced for a 4th level multiclassed PC to have something that Monks have to wait until 9th level to get, and Rogues have to wait until 10th: and take that as a Rogue's Special Ability.

I know that there are Prestigue Classes that state that it stacks.
Please include book reference, or links to Errata.

Arch Lich Thoth-Amon
03-21-2009, 12:04 PM
Handling Rules-Lawyers: I can have a pretty dominant personality when needed, so rarely do i have a problem with rules-lawyers, but when i do, they know when to back down. Worst problem i ever witnessed was a rules-lawyer go after my buddy who was dm'ing that day. Lets just say the the intimidation factor was so high, this rules-lawyer pretty much ran from the game and we never say him again. I wrote about this in detail on another thread.

Basically, if all your players know that you have final decision-making powers, as written into the dnd game, everyone will get along just fine. Oh sure, you may have to 'check' the R-L once or twice, but once its understood, things go along as planned, and with enjoyment.

Now, as far as whether or not a character can do this or that, or a multiclassed character can do this or that, i have an unwritten rule that if one can make a good argument, then i will generally allow it, even it is against the rules as written.

Personally, i havent seen out-of-balance characters in my game(that's not to say they werent out-of-balance, for a good dm can be subtle enough to balance things out in the adventures. In the end, its about the fun, and if a player really wants his character to-perhaps-stack something, or do this or that, then that if fine with me, because in the end, i can balance out the potential imbalance of said player.

Azatoth
03-21-2009, 01:12 PM
I have next to no patience to Rules Lawyers. I personally can stand up for myself and every player that plays in my games understands that there are no such things as rules, more like guidelines to keep the story flowing.

The only player type that irks me more than a Rules Lawyer is a muchkin/min maxer they really get my ire and usually a quick and painful demise in my games.

Arch Lich Thoth-Amon
03-21-2009, 02:00 PM
I have next to no patience to Rules Lawyers. I personally can stand up for myself and every player that plays in my games understands that there are no such things as rules, more like guidelines to keep the story flowing.

The only player type that irks me more than a Rules Lawyer is a muchkin/min maxer they really get my ire and usually a quick and painful demise in my games.
Couldnt agree more. Giving rules-lawyers an inch is like giving them a mile. They must be kept in check at ALL times.

As far as min/maxing munchkin characters, i'll allow them in the game, and in time they will realize that they werent as great as they thought they were. <rubbing hands together while laughing Evil'y-with the big 'E'>

kimokeo
03-21-2009, 07:44 PM
Well, I actually have a Rule Question - and cannot seem to make a new thread.

Ok. When someone takes two Classes that have Evasion (Rogue 2/Monk 2) - do they stack for Improved Evasion?

All I can find on the D20 SRD is the definitions for Evasion and Improved Evasion. Not if they stack, or not.

- Also, would the Feat Ascetic Rogue cause them to stack?
Sinse the feat allows all the abilities of both classes to apply equally.

I ask - because as a DM, I think that it is very unbalanced for a 4th level multiclassed PC to have something that Monks have to wait until 9th level to get, and Rogues have to wait until 10th: and take that as a Rogue's Special Ability.

I know that there are Prestigue Classes that state that it stacks.
Please include book reference, or links to Errata.


I use the PHB, DMG, MM, Complete Warrior, Arcane, Divine, and Adventurer only. Any other book isn't part of my rules, so I ignore them for rule comprehension.

Evasion under the Rogue and Monk descriptions doesn't mentions anything about stacking. Therefore, I don't stack them.

Trap Sense and Uncanny Dodge (Barbarian and Rogue) have stacking benefits - it states specifically in the books.

Ascetic Rogue I found in Complete Adventurer. Under "benefits", stunning attacks, unarmed strike damage, and multiclass freely between the two are the listed benefits. There is no 'stacking' mentioned.

I haven't seen a PrC in the books I allow that mention stacking. But, that's my point about books I use. If I used every book ever created, I'd have to know them all (and own them) and remember it all.

There are game rules, game expansions sets, and your own game. I let the folks know in my game what I allow to avoid someone pulling out their copy of the 2009 "Book of Bending Rules" and require a rules change.

There are some rules, PrCs, etc. that DM's had to finally decide to disallow for the sake of their game and the fun they are trying to create for the group. If the game is no longer fun because rules get in the way - why play?

gdmcbride
03-22-2009, 02:23 AM
Ok. When someone takes two Classes that have Evasion (Rogue 2/Monk 2) - do they stack for Improved Evasion?

All I can find on the D20 SRD is the definitions for Evasion and Improved Evasion. Not if they stack, or not.

- Also, would the Feat Ascetic Rogue cause them to stack?
Sinse the feat allows all the abilities of both classes to apply equally.

I ask - because as a DM, I think that it is very unbalenced for a 4th level multiclassed PC to have something that Monks have to wait until 9th level to get, and Rogues have to wait until 10th: and take that as a Rogue's Special Ability.

I know that there are Prestigue Classes that state that it stacks.
Please include book reference, or links to Errata.

I think your confusing Uncanny Dodge (which does explicitally state it stacks to grant Improved Uncanny Dodge). Evasion makes no mention of that stacking, so I'd say no.

If you look under the multiclass section of the SRD here (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/classes/multiclass.htm), you see that while uncanny dodge is specifically mentioned under class features, evasion is not.

Besides, stacking to potentially get a tenth level ability at level four seems very broken.

The feat does not grant that stacking unless the feat explicitally specifies that.

Gary

Etarnon
03-22-2009, 10:43 AM
To me the essence of playing is the story.

I like to harness rules lawyers to help me to tell a better story.

Groups where I have what I call a nice rules lawyer, it's handy, like a universal librarian, combo physics professor.

They keep me on my toes also, because I know if I fluff something it will come up.

I'm kind of a Rules as Written DM/ Referee anyway.

I know that I know a lot of games, so it's tough for me personally to sit in a game, when the game itself is just way off from standard rules, and I wasn't so advised prior to joining. This is especially true for cross genre games, where say, Shadowrun meets Battletech, with Peanuts' the Great Pumpkin as a god, or some other nonsensical crap.

I just either accept that and pitch the book out the window and sit, dealing with it (such as polka-dotted dragons or something) because new and innovative is cool. But if it's just outright silly, I'll withdraw, and leave the campaign, if it's like "intelligent scrambled eggs attack you on level 3 of the dungeon."

I can deal with a DM that knows less rules than me, as long as they are clear that the game is gonna be rules lite.

And if a game is total slave to the rules, that's fine too. Consistency to me is more important.

But I've been in games where the story and characters are great, and the DM runs it by fiat. But if I can play a good interesting PC, hey, I'll buy into that game.

it's a scale for me.

DragonDM
03-24-2009, 07:45 PM
Thanks Gary!!!!

blued0lphin
04-09-2009, 07:12 AM
I just wanted to say Hi to all members of this forum.

Dytrrnikl
04-23-2009, 03:42 AM
Inquisitor Tremayne asks,

"How do you deal with a player who knows the rules backward and forward and corrects you, the DM/GM, on the mechanics of a game system?"


This can be tricky for some GMs. I've had to face this several times throughout the various games I've run. I've learned to end any disagreements before they happen. I make it very clear right from the beginning before gameplay and character creation that while the rules exist to keep things fair, as a DM I view them as guidelines that can be adjusted or discarded to suit the needs of the story the group is creating. Also, my player's know that I am willing to discuss any 'ruling' or 'judgement' I make throughout the course of a session, particularly when they don't agree with something, but it must be done before or after the session NEVER during the course of play. With that being said, I have kicked ruleslawyers out of the session for a night when they refuse to back down. Generally after doing this acouple of times, they wait to discuss mechanics and rules after the session.

DragonmagRT
05-01-2009, 08:39 PM
In every game system I have been fortunat to either play or run, the second most important rule has always been "th D(G)M is always the final arbiter of any rules." The first rule, of course, is to have fun. Rules lawyers need to be pulled aside and politely reminded of these two very important and oft overlooked rules. Afterall, it is all about the story and our own little parts in an otherwise grander design.

Rook
05-21-2009, 08:52 PM
I always used house-rules in any campaign I've run which tends to avoid such circumstances. In general, I think people are so stoked to be playing that they aren't going to nitpick and potentially take the fun out of the game. I guess it happens though since this thread exists. Any horror stories?

haasenritter123
06-13-2009, 07:07 PM
I actually appreciate a good rules lawyer. They can help you all (DM/players) make better choices. I don't think I really played well with others until I was taught by someone who really knew the rules and then I was that much better. The problem is not with the rules knowledge but the inability of the player to tactfully point it out when something is "not as the rules state". I personally have no problem reversing my decision or asking others at the table if something is right. I also will halt a game to get the specifics, especially if it is important to the player. I think people are so concerned about flow, and it is important. But do you really care about flow when your thief just took a killing blow because the move he made should have worked this way but the DM incorrectly says the move works that way? Of course there are times when the players don't know the truth, especially with the rules breaking system D&D has become (powers essentially can have effects that break the normal rules like shifting to avoid Attacks of Opportunity). But by and large I think a rules lawyer can be an asset.

Killwatch
07-15-2009, 02:45 AM
I guess that depends on what else they are doing? Are they nagging you or offering helpful hints?
If they insist that you are doing it wrong tell them thank you for the help but you are running the game and would appreciate his help if he has a question on a rule
otherwise, boot them, ignore him, tell them to stfu

chintznibbles
07-19-2009, 05:26 AM
I've never had a full-time rules lawyer in my group. I usually take that role myself, having the proper combination of willingness to read rulebooks, desire to learn and slight obsessive-compulsive tendencies.

That said, I tend to find it pretty convenient when someone knows the rule I'm butchering at the moment better than I do. I generally focus more on the fluff-end and the actual planning of the campaign and so forth, so if someone remembers which loophole in the grappling rules occurs when a halfling grapples a hill giant on difficult terrain, it's pretty handy.

If they're not being disruptive, I think good policy is to acknowledge their contribution ("Oh, really? Thanks, Steve. Sue, you take 35 damage, not 3.") and move on. If they are being disruptive, it's probably better to nip it in the bud than let the problem grow to untenable lengths. However, this seems to be an ingrained tendency in players, so in the end, it's up to you as a DM to balance that player's ratio of disruption to contribution and make the decision accordingly.

WhiteTiger
07-28-2009, 12:04 PM
Rules lawyering has always been a double edged sword. It's nice when they know the answer to a question and can easily help out when there is a problem that needs solving but it's always an issue when he/she is chiming in at every other sentence when it's not needed.

If that happens then you've got yourself a problem and you'll probably have to talk that person outside of the game especially if some of the players are complaining either in or out of game.

Killwatch
07-29-2009, 09:25 AM
Yes uninvited chiming in can be a problem but the real nut of it is when they insist that you are doing it wrong

Doom Crow
07-29-2009, 12:17 PM
Make them your b#%#
Forgive my attempt at humor there, but a very powerful technique is to co-opt that "Rules Lawyer" into the process of the game. When in doubt, ask them how the rules work. Then, when they cite something just go for it and trust them on the spot.

"OK Bill, Jim wants to jump over the banister and onto the cluster of orc's. That's falling damage due to the fifteen foot drop; but really the orcs are going to break the fall before ten feet are crossed... what kind of roll do you think we should do for success there? If he fails I'll give Jim's character normal falling damage..."

That's all hypothetical, but in a situation like that you are validating a players love of mastering the rules and giving them a chance to exhibit it at the table. Provided they can answer fast "How about a reflex save, and if he makes it a hit roll do pass the falling damage to the orcs?" go with it. If they can't answer fast you need to do something else...


This is the technique I usually use when I have rule lawyers in my group. I'm not a rules nazi when it comes to my games, I am more concerned about telling a good story and focusing on the decisions that the PC's make throughout the campaign and create the story as I go based on that. I don't have the kind of memory that I can recall every single rule in the game so I forget something here or there and if this kind of player brings it up then fine. If it's something that basically kills what another player is trying to do and it's an inconsequential rule then I pull them aside and try to set them straight. It's not about ruining other people's fun and in my game that doesn't fly. If it's something that's actively counteracting what I'm trying to do, then I have a big problem because that player is trying to undermine whatever it is I'm doing as the GM. I usually tell them that I'll adress their concerns after the game so as to not hold up the pace of the game, and then nicely tell them that if they want to run the game then they need to start their own and not butt into the adjudication of mine. If that doesn't work and they keep it up, then it's time for that player to go, especially if they are killing the fun for other players. I have had to ask a player not to return to the game because of this in the past, it's not fun.

I have played with A LOT of rules lawyers in my groups. Sometimes I've had 2-4 in my group at once and at times it can be really frustrating.

Descronan
08-05-2009, 10:29 AM
I'm probably a rules-lawyer's worst nightmare. Not cause I'm mean or anything, but that I don't follow the rules. I go with what makes sense for the moment/scene.

D&D has proven its self to be particularly fun once I bring in the house rules pamphlet. First off I changed the character creation method, then made the system classless. Some feats are gone, some feats everyone has, no cross-class penalties, and class abilities are purchased ad-hoc, and don't even try to tell me that my monster can't do XYZ! If I say it can, then it can. Player knowledge goes out the window... might want to invest some points into those skills on your character sheet :eek:

And then as far as running things, some spells call for reflex saves which make no sense for the scene - so instead I do a fort save. I do critical hits differently, XP, and all sorts of little things including AoO.

So yeah, if you are a rules lawyer sitting at my table, chances are you will be lost and feel like you are playing an unfamilliar game - which is part of the point. One of the things that ruined my old D&D games was how every player seemed to have more books than the GM. But ultimately there is only one GM. Roll the dice and move on.

NathanLuna
08-10-2009, 08:31 AM
i tend to get a bit millitant with rules lawyers when i GM somthing like

"i am the GM, it is my game, i am god, so its my rules, its a core rule book its a core guide line book, i make the rules change to fit the game and scene. If you don't like that idea kindly find another game to play with another GM, there are 2 games going on throught that door"

Killwatch
08-11-2009, 11:04 PM
I really never had troubles with Rules Lawyers. I ahve so many house rules that they wouldn't know where to begin. The only guy I ever met who MIGHT have been a rules lawyer quit before he began to argue. I think putting your house rules out there for review and noting that they may change as the game develops and situations bring other things to light

syllander
08-13-2009, 07:51 AM
Usually when I start running a game, I hand each player a print out of all homebrew rules I plan on using with a disclaimer at the end that states.

"Rules are guidelines, some can bent or broke, however the GM sees fit to do so; in it turn these rules may also be bent and broken by player as well. The total yea or nay is up to the GM's descression for he is GOD!"

Holocron
08-14-2009, 02:55 AM
I agree with doing what makes sense for the situation, but I have some caveats to that. Its important for players to feel like they're being treated fairly, so its good to stick with the established rules in most instances. I only believe in changing rules if the current rule-set makes no sense, or you think the game will be improved by some modifiers or tweaks. If that's the case, yeah, go ahead and make the change, but be sure to explain it to the players before it goes into affect and why the change is beneficial for them so that you get player buy in and they don't just feel like they're getting screwed.

The point is to have fun, so player buy in is important.

I know a lot of people feel like players need to respect the GM's authority, I don't disagree with this, but I think its equally important for GM's to be fair with the rules. So making up rules as you go should only be done if the current rule-set doesn't cover that situation, doesn't make sense and there hasn't been a good fix established yet, or you want to keep the story and action moving and the normal rules would take too long to resolve the situation. So in summary, rules mods should be done to improve the fun level, not to finally defeat the player's character who has somehow managed to develop a near invulnerable defense. That's what story telling is for, to lure their character into a position of weakness.

For all those reasons, I say players should be aware of what the rules are, and GMs should do their best to follow them.

I also say, the GM is NOT God. As a GM, I don't need my ego to be padded with statements like that. If the GM changes the rules on their players on a whim, or just throws out acts of God or whatever that defy all known rules, that's total BS. There needs to be predictability and fairness in the game system. Otherwise, people get confused, the game slows down and the fun level suffers.

As you might have guessed, I've lived on both sides of the fence, so as a player I want the rules to be fair and predictable, and as a GM I want the rules to make sense and help keep the story moving at the right pace and maximize the fun level.

syllander
08-14-2009, 06:26 AM
When I say GM is god for the reason that his final word is just that final word, not in the other since in the word, although in a sense he is the AO. 90% of my games are loose and I let the players do as they feel. I just tend to throw a guiding bone as I call it when they get off track.

I am about as fair as you get, I am always consistant with my rules and what I bend and break so can the players. Thats what the sheet I hand them is for, to give them pre warning on rules that I usually bend or break, so they know they could do the same if the situation arrises.

Killwatch
08-15-2009, 03:40 AM
I am a bit of contradiction, I have so many house rules it's almostlike not playing the core game. But I expect people to follow the rules.
My game is loose though. I know what is happening and if the players fail then it is on them. I allow them to fail, let people die, let their faults cause ctasatrophie etc
But I do not do it on purpose. I only know what is happening, what the NPCs know and do not know and let the chips fall where they may. I don't design games around the player, unless their histories come up, or the consequences of their actions/inactions.
The rules apply to GMs, NPCs and Players alike.
Just as the players have set number of points to generate skills, the NPCs must follow them to
Just as the players can't use Player Knowledge, nor should the GM
If the NPC wants to know about the players they need to get in touch with those who know them or kidnap/torture a PC
If they want to use spies then the spies could be Spotted, could be Caught and the NPC who hired them have no idea what happened.

Descronan
08-16-2009, 11:16 AM
I agree with doing what makes sense for the situation, but I have some caveats to that. Its important for players to feel like they're being treated fairly, so its good to stick with the established rules in most instances. I only believe in changing rules if the current rule-set makes no sense, or you think the game will be improved by some modifiers or tweaks. If that's the case, yeah, go ahead and make the change, but be sure to explain it to the players before it goes into affect and why the change is beneficial for them so that you get player buy in and they don't just feel like they're getting screwed.

When in doubt - rule in favor of the PCs.

There are many reasons for tweaking the system. Sometimes you just need to change the feel of the game to change the tone/seriousness. Other times you have a problem know-it-all player that munchkins the rules and you need to mix things up to throw them off their perch. But yes, being consistent is important. That's why you should always keep a record of house rules so that there is no question later on.


I know a lot of people feel like players need to respect the GM's authority, I don't disagree with this, but I think its equally important for GM's to be fair with the rules. So making up rules as you go should only be done if the current rule-set doesn't cover that situation, doesn't make sense and there hasn't been a good fix established yet, or you want to keep the story and action moving and the normal rules would take too long to resolve the situation. So in summary, rules mods should be done to improve the fun level, not to finally defeat the player's character who has somehow managed to develop a near invulnerable defense. That's what story telling is for, to lure their character into a position of weakness.

Respect is a two-way street. I've had players who were totally disrespectful and were pushed out of the game group. Likewise GMs that are abusive to players get ousted too - especially if there is an alternative. One thing I dislike is GM vs. Player dynamics. The GM does not always have to win and they should not be making player-killer NPCs/monsters. I've suffered through a couple of those games. They suck!


For all those reasons, I say players should be aware of what the rules are, and GMs should do their best to follow them.

Being aware of 300+ pages of rules is difficult to impossible. This is one reason I moved away from D&D. It was one thing to deal with a handful of spells and basic combat stuff, but when I needed to learn every feat in order to run combat - I quit. Hense why I made house rules to streamline the game and make it easier to run/manage. It also put a lot of control back into the GMs hands/imagination. And that is one thing that D&D 3.x and higher seems to have lost.

Holocron
08-17-2009, 04:23 AM
Well, that is a good point. If your game has an overly complicated rule set, you can't expect the players to know them, and keeping the game moving (fun) is more important than following what the book says.

I should revise my statement, because I'm thinking from a starwars D6 point of view, since that's the main thing my crew has been playing for the last several years. It has very easy to understand rules, but most of my players don't bother to learn any of them even for that. So expecting the players to know the rules may be unrealistic, but its helpful if they do in my opinion.

And, I can think of some cases where an on the spot mod to the system to cover an unusual case might be helpful. One that comes to mind is dodging against group ranged fire. In the star wars system you roll once to dodge, and that's the difficulty that people need to hit you. Against a group of say, 30 storm troopers, instead of all 30 of them rolling individually to hit one person, who maybe has a high dodge skill, and then finding that none of them hit, it would make more sense to make some kind of combined roll to hit, which is the difficulty of the defender's dodge roll, and then determining from that how many shots hit, if any. Because logically it would be harder to dodge 30 blaster bolts fired all at the same time than to dodge 1 shot individually 30 times. Ok, maybe that's kind of complicated, but the main point is it should be ok to streamline an instance of combined fire for volume or other similar situation that both makes sense and speeds up the game.

DragonDM
08-18-2009, 08:03 AM
Ok, maybe that's kind of complicated, but the main point is it should be ok to streamline an instance of combined fire for volume or other similar situation that both makes sense and speeds up the game.

Actually, I had it simply where I would roll a 1d100, and that percentage had the potential to hit. I then rolled for each of those that hit, since each Stormtrooper could have different Skills that could modify their To Hit total. Didn't seem to slow the game down, for either Star Wars D6 or D20.

D&D 3 had it where the group of archers (bows, crossbows, balista, etc) would make a To Hit roll DC 10 to hit the square that the party was in - and damage is the average of all missile damage (most bows are 1d8, which is an average of 4 each - multiply that by the number of archers for a fast total to each target hit): Then each member of the party would make a Reflex Save against the To Hit Total for half damage.

Now, when I do this against a Party, I tell (or remind) them that Evasion does not negate all damage, since it is literally raining missiles.
One of the few exceptions to the normal rules that apply to Evasion.

Etarnon
08-18-2009, 08:37 AM
In that case, I'd go with the 5 groups of 6 squads each, with each sergeant or corporal in a squad [Assuming the bad guys' squad leaders each make their squad command roll] getting +3d to hit and damage.

or 3 groups of 10 shooters, +4d

or 2 groups of 15, +5D.

a la combined fire / actions rules page 69, second edition.

Even though it's Star wars space opera and most of the PCs should survive due to genre conventions, any rebel facing 30 troops is in a bad situation.

templeorder
08-18-2009, 10:41 AM
I'll share a good recent experience here to add some perspective. I write my own game system and recently in running a game, i had a player say "you can't do that". The game stopped and i put forward rationalizations, which were all lame and reaching, but could work if they had to. The group insisted it was not fair for NPC's to have an advantage not available to the players. In the end, i got nailed by my own desire to simply let the story dictate all, and had to allow PC's the options this NPC had. While no one immediately went out and re-tooled their character, everyone felt that fairness had been served. I doubt any of the PC's will use this ruling, but it made the players feel better about their position in the game world... and that's important. So i guess this goes towards the idea that these sorts of players can be used to everyone's advantage in certain situations. Rules, like laws, are meant to provide a framework wherein everyone is equal - this means that players feel better that they will simply not meet some arbitrarily built opponent. This promotes a feeling of fairness and goodwill between players and GM's. Rules Lawyers may only be trying to ensure this as it reinforces this (albeit sometimes to ridiculous lengths).

Descronan
08-18-2009, 04:57 PM
True, the game rules should act as a form of physics. Those rules should not be broken void of some spectacular necessity.

In the same vein, sometimes you need to bend the rules for the sake of the story. Not necessarily break the rules, but bend them. If an important character gets killed in one shot maybe you knock them out instead? Or if the main villian ends up being taken out, maybe you need to inject some allies that "save the day" for the villian.

This is one reason I give certain characters including PCs plot points... basically experience points that let them rewrite a scene that completely screws their character. They earn them doing dramatic things like maybe self-sacrifice to save a friend. But sometimes villians have those too so beware!

Killwatch
08-19-2009, 04:22 AM
I don't bend or break the rules for NPCs. I want the players to know that they can one hit and honestly kill the villain just I can them. I try to work out anyway I can to keep from killing a character once it is clear that they will otherwise be dead. I've had players demand to know how much damage I have just done to them so they can just say "damn"

XeroDrift
10-05-2009, 08:38 AM
I've always felt that the rules are a framework, a guideline, in order for a game to function it needs structure, but that structure can and should be altered if it will better suit the ideas of the GM/DM and help to create a more engaging, entertaining world for the players. That being said, fun is the name of the game, be fair to your players and respect their opinions, don't arbitrarily apply modifications just because "you are in charge". In short, my personal philosophy as far as rules are concerned is to be flexible, and to always, always, use your head.

templeorder
10-06-2009, 10:51 AM
One thing i can say about my own experience is that we work with something similar to what others have mentioned.. we call them action points. They are basically used to bend rules, modify outcomes and in general, give the players an edge. This can be automatic success, bonus to chances, re-checking a bad outcome (re-roll for table top). We also incorporate a trait called good luck, which gives the the character a free action point each game session. And those characters with good luck allow the GM to fudge, bend, and error in their favor while at the same time providing an actual mechanic to do it in.

Of course, we do have bad luck as a mechanic... funny how no one has taken it beyond the few play test sessions we had to try it out.

Holocron
10-07-2009, 03:26 AM
Action pts... what an odd idea. Personally, I never felt like the players needed even more help than they already had, why would they need things to be even easier?? The difference in point of view may be due to variation in GM styles. I always introduce pretty interesting NPC friends into the campaign, so the players already have "help" for when they get into trouble, and I give pretty generous xp type awards too, so the idea of action pts or luck as some people have described it would just defeat the purpose of trying to give the players a challenge.

What we did start to experiment with (but didn't get far enough for the players to see the results) was "villain pts". Any time one of the players did something unbelievably stupid, it would generate a villain point, which could be saved or used to create a villain to cause trouble for the players. (We were playing the GURPS system) Each villain point would provide 100 character pts to generate the villain with, so if there was a lot of villain pts accumulating, there could in theory turn out to be a very powerful villain making an appearance. Luckily, my brother wasn't in the player's party, so I could give him the villain pts and let him figure out some wicked plans to harass the players. He was scheming to use the 4 villain pts that had built up to make the dark elf princess.

Charles
10-13-2009, 12:18 PM
Hey,

In my 6 years now DMing I've had to deal with that a lot. So here's what I did to deal with it. First, I forced the time into my schedule and read (while taking notes) the books. You gotta know your rules. This doesn't mean you have to memorize every one. But more than likely, the event, or situation, will trigger a memory to bring the rule to the surface.

When that doesn't work, I have literally told the group right before we started playing for the night that...

"The game has been lagging because of people "rules lawyering". So if it's not your turn (straight up) keep quiet, and butt out. I, as the DM, will make a judgement call, and if it's important to you to be discussed, make a note of it and we will discuss it after the game or before we start our next session."

This usually stops any arguements because good players, even rules lawyers, understand keeping the momentum of the game at a steady pace.

Charles

Holocron
10-14-2009, 04:07 AM
Excellent solution Charles. Between both parts, the combined solution is one of the best I've seen here. Simple, effective, and fair.

XeroDrift
10-15-2009, 12:23 PM
Agreed

templeorder
10-16-2009, 09:18 AM
Action pts... what an odd idea. Personally, I never felt like the players needed even more help than they already had, why would they need things to be even easier?? The difference in point of view may be due to variation in GM styles. I always introduce pretty interesting NPC friends into the campaign, so the players already have "help" for when they get into trouble, and I give pretty generous xp type awards too, so the idea of action pts or luck as some people have described it would just defeat the purpose of trying to give the players a challenge.


The action point system I built was more to give the players a sense of control and empowerment. Of course most GM's introduce helping NPC's into game play, and fudge or alter outcomes to keep the story going - the concept of action points would be borne out through play any way. Its more of a psychological issue where the players get to feel like they owned the activity in question. This gives them a better sense of satisfaction and enjoyment through a built in mechanic which the GM can fall back on. Many times too these are used in "heroic" type situations, so rather than relying on random rolling, they feel more involved in a victory when they have expended some finite resource - even the name was meant to play on their feelings. Again, most of the time a GM can simulate the gains through their own story and checks without the player knowing... but this mechanic just has a nice effect of elevating the players feeling of involvement and [hopefully] love of the game.

TheYeti1775
10-16-2009, 10:08 AM
Having been a Rules Lawyer from time to time, I can share how we controled me.
1. Made me DM
2. 2 Minute Rule - 2 minutes to look something up
3. If anyone was doing something complicated their turn (i.e. Grappling) to have the book open to for quick reference.
4. Beer/Soda getter - didn't allow me time to argue them :D

Generally though the 2 minute rule and know what your doing worked best. As I aged grew a lot more gray hairs I've stopped lawyering and enjoyed the game for what it is more.

Richard Littles
10-16-2009, 12:11 PM
My simple answer for dealing with rules lawyers is I cite rule 0 which is, "These rules are only guidelines and if they interfere with what you're trying to accomplish feel free to alter them." If a rules lawyer cannot take this rule and let things be for the game I'm running there's the door. I have no tolerance for rules lawyers that dominate the game and prevent anything happening even when it isn't their turn.

I have a reason for such a dim view of rules lawyers and it comes from my experience in gaming with a grand total of 5 of them at one time. I remember I was trying to run a session of Champions and when I said something about how the bad guys were targeting the player characters they all proceeded to start yelling at me that I wrong. This went on for about 15 minutes and my desire to finish the adventure died. I packed my bags and left the group never looking back. No gaming is much better than abusive gaming. ;)

spidey
10-30-2009, 12:40 AM
Inquisitor Tremayne asks,

"How do you deal with a player who knows the rules backward and forward and corrects you, the DM/GM, on the mechanics of a game system?"
You thank them for the correction, log it in your memory for future reference... then you may choose to handle it in light of the new information or just continue on as if they hadn't said anything. If they protest, just say "I might do it that way next game, but for now... we are doing it this way." You are the DM... it's your game. Listen briefly to your players and if you make rules changes, try to keep them informed as it will likely affect how they will develop their characters.

I once played in a 3.5 game where the DM had a house rule that a roll of a natural 1 on an attack roll meant that you dropped your weapon. A stupid rule as I had about 4 attacks per round and was thus throwing my weapon away approximately every 5th round. My solution as a player wasn't to insist that it was stupid... I just carried half a dozen swords with me, took the Quickdraw feat, and life went on.

Funny though... as I write this... I wonder why none of the foes I fought ever dropped their weapons. I had to run around the room and collect my dropped weapons at the end of every fight. Why didn't any of the monsters drop theirs?

Anyways... my point is that even if the player is correct, it isn't worth disrupting the game. Ultimately... the DM is boss.

rabkala
10-30-2009, 08:45 AM
I tell my players, "Unless it is a matter of life and death, DON'T DO IT!!!!" If they bring up a trivial rule durring the game, they will be penalized. Bring it to my attention after the game, and you will be rewarded for the correction (ussually in experience). I have a very good grasp of the rules, but the memory isn't what it used to be... I generally don't mind the corrections, and have tried to use these players as helpers and such. The problem is, everyones suspended reality. Once trust is built between player and DM, they know I am not the enemy. I am just a friendly judge trying to facilitate the entire groups fun. They eventually learn that I am not out to ruin the campaign and their characters over a simple rule.

If that doesn't work, I repeatedly kill their characters so they can keep busy making new characters. :laugh: They get the hint, or leave crying. :laugh:

Holocron
10-31-2009, 03:07 AM
Good policy. Hahah, before killing off characters I personally would start with something less hostile, but still illustrative. Maybe cut their experience gain in half that session for every offense. When you start taking away xp rewards or increasing them, they'll at least get the message.

XeroDrift
10-31-2009, 03:13 PM
Two words
Cyanide Soda

Magesteff
11-03-2009, 04:32 AM
I'm answering more from a Player standpoint than GM... But there appear to be two kinds of rules lawyers that this tread seems to divide into -

The first: reads the "rule book" from cover to cover then has to question everything the GM does in terms of this or that rule. This type, I do not like, as they generally turn the game session into arguing that they are right and the GM is wrong. It might work for a game like Bridge, but not for RPGs. It breaks the flow of the game and leaves most of the group including the GM feeling mostly aggravated: "Can we just get on with the game?"

The second type of rules lawyer, is the one that can help determin how something can be done within the rules regardless of how odd or off the cuff it is. I don't call these rules lawyers -just people who understand the game at a level where they can help solve the mechanics behind an action. I like those, because it lets me do odd ball things to solve the scenario.

templeorder
11-04-2009, 07:27 AM
Thats actually very true. We trade off GM duties in our groups, though i do it 80% of the time. The rule lawyers in our group are all just the other GM's - and they do help out when someone tries something not covered explicitly and it is good to have that. It also, if everyone agrees with a ruling, feels like it must be fair if they also approve. I've said it before, rule lawyers can help you too.

People build characters around what they perceive can be done with the rules. Rule lawyers could even help in the character creation process by helping to set expectations right... there's a lot of places where this type of person can actually help and not hinder - you just have to be willing to work with them to find a balance that everyone is comfortable with and does not slow down the game.

XeroDrift
11-05-2009, 12:58 AM
Generally speaking, rules lawyers argue in order to benefit themselves; which often serves to invalidate or cast aspersions upon whatever point they wish to make due to personal bias. On rare occasions one champions a point detrimental to their own designs, which lends a certain gravitas to their argument.

jasonj
11-11-2009, 11:37 PM
Ive always made it a point at the start of any game or campaign , to let the players know the rules are just guidelines , not the point of the game . This has always gone both ways . If a PC wants to pull off a heroic stunt or valiant act they wont be limited by rules . For example , in my last game there was a rare halfing priest of Pelor. He wanted to expel all his divine energy to heal the party but exhaust his own life force , while maybe there is a spell for that , he didn't know it . He just thought its what his character would do . Its suppose to be fun and fantastical , when you bog down a game with rules you are destroying the game play for everyone . No one should let what is written in the " The Rules " stop what is most important "RULE" in this great hobby of ours . Having fun !!

trechriron
11-15-2009, 04:45 AM
Before I share my opinion, I wanted to comment on some sentiments and why they might backfire or create a "less fun" experience for your players (IMHO of course...).

"The rules are just guidelines, or the book says I can change them, or if the rules don't work toss them out."

If that was entirely true, there would only be one RPG. People sat down at your table to play the particular RPG you are running. Either as a game they love, wanted to play, or by your description and enthusiasm, agreed to play. The spirit of this is "don't let the rules get in the way of your fun" but there is a reason people are playing these rules at this game. I believe the greatest mistake a GM can make regarding this idea is to favor ad-hoc game rulings over proficiency. You should know the game you are running. At least enough to limit the amount of ad-hoc rulings you deliver.

If you only care for the "story" then you should pick a system that supports that style of play. Otherwise you are being disingenuous to your players. If the system you choose to run supports a plethora of options for players, advancement, combat, and cool abilities; then players are going to want to build characters, tweak characters, and bring those setting bits into play. Know what is on the character sheets. Try to avoid the ad-hoc ruling on these things which are very important to your players (in my experience).

"GM Fiat, I am god, I am the god of my world, et al."

Yep. Except that it gets lonely as a god when you have no adherents! I believe this is the single most destructive paradigm to the art of the GM. It really does make GMs bad. Players do not like GM fiat. Period. They may placate you because you are the one running a game. They may be diplomatic to avoid a conflict. But I have never experienced GM fiat as a player that didn't irk me in some way and I am sure other players feel the same way. In fact in my earlier days some expressed as such and I set about to avoid such approaches in my future games.

I think it is natural to take on an adversarial role as the GM. It is our job to challenge the characters/players. To give them a rousing good time that wasn't too easy or difficult. When your characters wipe out the big bad guy at the end of the adventure in mere seconds, including all the well laid minions and traps, that anticlimactic moment can sting the GM and leave the players wondering how this villain managed to be such a pain through the last six adventures. It can set some GMs off on tangents like "I will show you a REAL villain next time" or (I have seen in person) "let's see if we cant' get in some character kills this next encounter".

All of this can take the fun out of your game. Out of your table. GM Fiat is the cancer of a fun game.

There is a school of thought I support out there with ideas like, "say yes. say yes, but... say yes and throw the dice!" and I have to say that this idea has injected a metric ton of fun into the games I run. Sometimes players find creative ways to bend the rules. Sometimes players get timid and seek out every opportunity to avoid "the pain". Sometimes players break down into detailed planning sessions that make a Dan Brown plot look like a kindergarten picture book. This kind of stuff can drive you mad as you try and adapt, run your adventure, remember the system bits, and react to the players.

Let's be honest. GM Fiat is the direct symptom of "OMFG I can't believe he/she did that/had that/remembered that/pulled that off/etc... !!" Your surprised. The intricate plot/adventure/outline you had worked out just got urinated on by a gasoline-pissing Dragon AND lit on fire. Your head's swimming, you feel like a fool, and the player's are chuckling at your demeanor. GM Fiat is the hammer of sudden equalization. It's also mean, unfair, and no fun. Take a deep breath. Improvise. Bring the adventure, conflict, drama, awesome sauce into the game. You had the creative insanity to a) choose to run a game and b) make that adventure/plot/outline in the first place so you really shouldn't be so hard on yourself. It's going to be ok. Leave your GM Fiat hammer back at home. Your brain is WAY more useful.

I find that a serious dose of accommodation makes the game.

GM Fiat is not about "this is how I am running this game, so deal with it". The spirit was really more about "this is the awesome fun adventure, idea, monster, conflict, drama I am bringing, so it's OK if I give the goblin x-ray vision". I use GM Fiat only in so much as it's my job to be all these people and portray the setting. Just because the rules stat out a bog-standard goblin doesn't mean there aren't goblins running about with x-ray vision. I am not going to "fiat" the rules all over the place; my goblin will be "built" or stated out appropriately. I am certainly not going to say the player with x-ray defeating armor gets the nerf either. He has the armor. My goblins have x-ray vision. Deal with it. Let's not pixel ***** about the creative decisions I make to bring you a fun experience. I work hard to not screw the players regarding rules (especially the choices they make for their characters) so I don't expect them to be setting guidelines on what I can do with the story/adventure/setting. I am open to discuss it before we begin a campaign (maybe one player hates dragons in fantasy so we all agree this setting has none...) but not as a protest mid-encounter with "goblins can't have x-ray vision!!". Uh huh. They just spotted you behind the hill. Roll intiative! (except that guy in the magic armor... :biggrin:)

So, this brings me back to the original dilemma at hand. I needed to share my philosophy on those two things first. So, how do we handle a rules lawyer without Ad-Hoc Transmogrification, GM Fiat and I am God (in my humble opinion sprinkled with a touch of personal experience)?

1) Choose your game! Carefully. If you pick Splendid Encyclopedia Table Chart Physics Emulator 5000 and figured you could easily digest the nineteen volumes of the game in two weeks and bring the awesome to your game where you really only focus on story anyway... you are kidding yourself. Gods help you when the person who loves Splendid Encyclopedia Table Chart Physics Emulator 5000 shows up because you invited him! If you don't like lots of system bits in your story, don't choose a system with piles of system bits! Better yet, choose a system that supports how you like to run/play games.

2) Talk to the people who love the game you are running before the game. In fact, discuss it with everyone. Talk about potential rules or ideas that could cause problems during the game. At the first session, run a mock combat and talk about the rules as you do it. Agree on any house rules ahead of time and make sure everyone has input into those. Don't just insist on your house rules; make sure the fans of the game get to play the game they came to play. You're collaborating at this point and social games like this benefit from a healthy dose of open-minded collaboration.

3) In the game, agree with the Rules Lawyers ruling. Just say OK, and let it happen. Improvise around what you consider to be "the fallout" of that ruling, apply consequences appropriate to the imaginary world, tweak out your adventure on the fly, and keep playing. Note down the point of contention. Research it during your weekly GM prep, note down a ruling, and discuss with the group before the session begins next game.

"Last week Chorgoth the barbarian sorcerer cast the Ant Destruction spell to disintegrate that village in Bondor. Actually, the spell as it reads in the book only kills ants. Therefore, in the future, that spell will only destroy ants. Also, Chorgoth, your god visits you in your dreams and wants to know why you called on his power of village destruction..."

Now perhaps Chorgoth wants a village destruction spell, so that could spark all kinds of adventure, etc. OR, perhaps the idea of destroying whole villages is not cool to you or the other players. So tell Chorgoth's player just that! Ask him to volunteer to drop the quest for the nuclear destruction spell. I would strongly suggest you don't have Chorgoth's god spank him. That is probably not fun. If the system argument gets solved with character punishment, it's about as cheesy as the GM Fiat Hammer. To keep the fun in the game, I believe you need to discuss the solution with everyone, so the session can begin with adventurous ideas, not bitter players.

4) Finally, if I have a real lawyer's lawyer at the table, I get all psychologist on them. The truly whiney argumentative rules lawyers are not pixel *****ing about your rulings. They see themselves as the guardians of player equality. They are not going to stand by and let you THE GM run rough shot all over the innocent players (especially themselves...).

"I have been burned so many times where GMs screw you over one little thing, but now I know EVERY rule so I can plan/run my character without fear of the GM screwing me..." Essentially.

This person requires the personal touch. I usually hit them up at the beginning of the session and state simply. "I am not here to screw you. I am here to run this game and more importantly bring the fun. What is it that bothers you the most about the GMs that you played with before?" Discuss. You will then get a list of things that this player considers "acts of betrayal and war" between the country of GM and his republic of player. Take that to heart.

I assure the frustrated player that I am not that GM. Please just give me a chance, and if something goes awry, we'll talk about it after the game. I also explain to them that I have the most fun as a GM when they are having fun. Which is true (for me). So far, I have dealt with a handful of lawyer's lawyers and this approach has worked for me.


In summary, I believe that Ad-Hoc Transmogrification, GM Fiat and I am God can actually exacerbate rules lawyers. Players get itchy when they don't feel like they are standing on solid ground. You need to go with the flow, improvise, bring the fun, and most importantly, talk about it! Discuss and collaborate. Also, knowing your game and choosing a game that fits your style is the first step for you the GM to be on solid ground.

Essentially, it begins with you and the choices you make.

There is my buck fifty on Rules Lawyers...

Etarnon
11-16-2009, 05:00 AM
My mileage seems to differ, in most respects.

I'm not inclined to say yes to the non-caster thief who says, "I want to look into the captured crystal ball of that tower we looted, and use it to teleport me, and my gear through the ethereal plane, thus to stab the king in the back and take over."

When I as a fiat DM say: "It doesn't work that way" I get the whole "You nerfed my toon, just don't want your DMPC King to be killed, etc etc.

And I also feel that story heavy games can be played using combat heavy systems.

Tiefling
11-23-2009, 05:20 PM
ok i think there's a big difference between nerfing & being realistic, obviously the non-caster thief would have no clue as to how to use the crystal ball that way, I wouldn't see that tas nerfing to rule it impossible at that time. however i must say i'm not a fan of the DM just abitrarily deciding that his NPC's aren't required to follow the same mechanics that the PC's are. Players dont like to feel like nothing their characters do matter.

IvanDragonov
11-24-2009, 10:31 AM
I don't remember if this is actually true or not, but the PHB says any and all rules are up to the DM's descretion. That's how I've always gone about it, within reason. I agree how would a theif use a crystal ball to divine the future. That steals away from the Wizard/Priest's powers. Just as a wizard who is in no way multi/dual class is able to use the pick pockets ability. There needs to be basic guidelines, but not D&D fascism!

mrken
11-24-2009, 01:18 PM
All this talk of Rules lawyers is starting to make me ill. I say, if the lawyer type wants to run the game, let him. At his house, or clubhouse, or where ever, just not in my house. Not really interested in playing with someone who is so contrary, life is too short to try to have fun while someone keeps poking you.

Killwatch
11-24-2009, 10:37 PM
my npcs have to work just like the pc's, I even try not to use GM knowledge just as PCs can't have player knowledge.

But I am also not a fan of tpical dungeons;
-how does everyone end up findong out the activaion word for magical items? I mean if I made a wand I wouldn't want just anyone to be able to find it and use it, possibly against me. Is it caved into the side? Is every magical wand/stav/rod somehow famous and automatically catologued so any sage will be able to find it?

-Dungeons: who builds this crap and why? and how do the relatively big and oafish monsters make it past the triple-axe swinging-acid pit of spiky doom trap that took a dex of 15+, 3 saves and still managed to take too many hp off?
Another is why? Unless it is a tomb, if this is the place the ancient king of (harumph) is holding the mighty deific (harumph) of (harumph), my kingdom is at war, orcs are at my front porticulous, and I have jump across the pedistols of the infinite chasm, hope i don't forget the password to get by the ancient golems of death, sneak by the summoned hell hounds and battle through the mushroom villlage of the blue damned only to get back in time to swear allegiance to might king grok

maybe I am off though. I know when I need to get my keys of driving I have to fight at least 6 bugbears, 2 worgs, 33 kobolds, and 3 faerie dragons, and I don't even want to get into the perilous journey to the iron carriage of swiftness

DragonDM
12-05-2009, 02:22 PM
Killwatch (http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/member.php?u=8011) - That was greatly funny.

But it just goes to show how some DMs are not planning ahead for the games.
Create a reason for why this place is now a dungeon - and what was it before so?

There are in Game reasons for why some of these things can exist.
Wizards and Priests (especially large Cults) making secret places are famous.
Perhaps it was the gathering point for the staging of an army's attack?

Remember that all of the Sentient (usually Humanoids, but also Dragons and Giants) like to have 'safe' (for them) places to live - and also want all others to keep the Heck out!!! They already know how to disarm or bypass the Death Trap Room.
Even if it's doing a combination of the Waltz and playing Limbo.
For monsters that have moved in after a place was deserted, they had to learn how to get around those traps - just as the PCs now do. There should be some monsters that completely avoid these deadly areas, simply because they don't know how to deal with them - like a dog or a cat that once they get hurt, or see something else get killed, will not go into the area.

The DM should take into account ways that the PCs can find or figure out how to get past them. Especially if these were simply put in to create a diversion, and there is a bigger battle later on.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
For me, I say that only special magical items obtain Passwords.
After all just because Merlin (of King Arthur) used a Wand does not make it any more important 2000 years later. Merlin's personal Wand? Now, that would be special.

As for the Rule Lawyers - sit them down and hash out what the Rule of the Game are ahead of the games. Heck invite them over a couple of hours before the actual game, and if the rest of the group wants in on the Rule Crunching Session, all the better !!!

kimokeo
12-06-2009, 08:30 AM
I am a rules lawyer. However, not to the point to make the players want to quit.

The point of rules lawyering, to me, is for the game to work.

There's this little thing called gametesting. A group plays a game and they do all they can to make sure the game can be played.

The D&D game is already fun. The mechanics have to be in place for the system to work.

Yes, zero-rule does work. Zero rule is used when the rule either doesn't exist, there's a gray area, or the rule may have worked for the gametesters but isn't 100% infallible.

I've been in games with other rule lawyers. Honestly, our contests weren't to gain an advantage - it was to ensure continuity. There are many times where I thought I remembered a rule a certain way and I was wrong.

Yes, there are times the attempt is to gain an advantage. When two heads can't agree on a rule interpretation - we'd bring the question to the group or a forum. In the end, if there is total disagreement, the DM ruling is absolute.

Inquisitor Tremayne
12-06-2009, 10:15 AM
I am a rules lawyer. However, not to the point to make the players want to quit.

The point of rules lawyering, to me, is for the game to work.

There's this little thing called gametesting. A group plays a game and they do all they can to make sure the game can be played.

The D&D game is already fun. The mechanics have to be in place for the system to work.

Yes, zero-rule does work. Zero rule is used when the rule either doesn't exist, there's a gray area, or the rule may have worked for the gametesters but isn't 100% infallible.

I've been in games with other rule lawyers. Honestly, our contests weren't to gain an advantage - it was to ensure continuity. There are many times where I thought I remembered a rule a certain way and I was wrong.

Yes, there are times the attempt is to gain an advantage. When two heads can't agree on a rule interpretation - we'd bring the question to the group or a forum. In the end, if there is total disagreement, the DM ruling is absolute.

This is the kind of rules lawyer I am as well.

Everyone sat down at the table with the understanding that you will be playing by the same rules. I rules lawyer to avoid situations where the GM/DM is simply out to make something work just because they do not want x, y, or z to happen. The rules have been laid down in book form and everyone should abide by them including monsters and NPCs.

The only time I think GM/DM fiat, adjudicating, etc... is acceptable is when their is discrepancy or unclarity in the rules. That is how I GM, by the book.

The only caveat to this is house rules. This shows that the GM/DM in question has taken the time to examine the rules and lay out before or during the game that these things do not work the way I like them thus I am changing them and thus they supersede the RAW.

It is my opinion that normalcy across the board as far as rules ensures a fun game. Its been my experience that constant trumping of the rules by the GM/DM is the quickest way to ruin the fun in the game because you never know which way is up due to the rules always changing.

DragonDM
12-07-2009, 12:16 PM
As a DM, I do prefer to to run the games as close to RAW as possible.

However, I find more things that are written into the 'new' rules that makes things possible that were not allowed anywhere else.

The best example of this is Grappling.
To me, this was never really complicated - but everyone wants to rant about it.

Before: The rules assume that two medium humanoid creatures are about to engage in wresting.

If one has the Feat: Improved Unarmed Strike and the other does not, then the one that has it does not provoke when starting a Grapple attempt, and the one that is missing the feat does. If neither has the feat, then there is no conflict – neither provoke an attack of opportunity when starting a Grapple attempt.

If either one has the Feat: Improved Grapple, that one gains a +4 bonus to pin.

The main rule was that something was was more than twice the person's size (Medium vs Huge) cannot be pinned.

After: the addition of Feats that allowed a Character to engage larger opponents.

Clever Wrestling [General]
You have a better than normal chance to escape or wriggle free from a big creature's grapple or pin.
Prerequisite: Improved Unarmed Strike (http://dnd.savannahsoft.eu/feat-1594-improved-unarmed-strike.html), Small or Medium-size
Errata: Change Improve Unarmed Strike to Improved Grapple.
Benefit: When your opponent is larger than Mediumsize, you gain a circumstance bonus on your grapple check to escape a grapple or pin. The size of the bonus depends on your opponent's size, according to the following table.
Opponent Is ... Colossal +8 Bonus. Gargantuan +6 Bonus. Huge +4 Bonus. Large +2 Bonus.
Rulebook: Masters of the Wild (http://dnd.savannahsoft.eu/rulebook-44-masters-of-the-wild.html) (p. 97) Edition: Supplementals (3.0) (http://dnd.savannahsoft.eu/dnd_edition-7-supplementals-3-0.html)
Other locations: CW 97 Dr 103 MW 22 Sto 92
“You have a better than normal chance to escape or wriggle free from a big creature's grapple or pin.”

Now, this only allows the PC to escape from a pin, but many try to use this to counter pin the larger foe.

I believe that it is the Magical Item Compendium that lists the Titan Belt that does allow a PC to pin a foe, regardless of their size.
I can't find the Book that it is in, at the moment, though – sorry.

My House Rule for this that this item doubles the Character's base Grapple total (Ranks + Strength + Feats) when used against foes that are more then twice the Character's size.

But the Player still needs to explain how they would affect the foe.

In this way - Something like Banard's trick to tame the wild boar for a mount in The Rescuer's Down Under, is possible, when done correctly – and having that Belt would certainly help in this case.

Killwatch
12-08-2009, 03:02 AM
ok I don't think you guys are rules lawyers by what you have said

To me, and I would suppose most people, rules lawyers are those that argue, they give the rule and expect the game to be run as such.
You sound like you are pointing out a rule
now if the GM/DM says nah, I am going in this direction, and you keep arguing or it annoys you that tey are not going by the book then you are a rules lawyer (name implying arguing)

if your goal is to help, and point out rules when a situation arises then fine, but if you are a BRIAN from KODT then I would have NO problem with dimensionally portalling a dragon into your rectum and letting it claw and rip its way out

Swordnboard
12-08-2009, 12:52 PM
How about rules lawyers who are overly concerned with the concept of "balance"? How do you deal with them equitably and keep them playing?

In my example, I was GMing a group of four (low level): a rogue, a ranger, a paladin, and (Rules Lawyer) a monk. The monk intended his character as a "main melee" character specializing in grapple. Everything was fine until a new character joined us: a very strong half-orc fighter wielding a greataxe. Now all of a sudden the monk felt like he didn't contribute enough in combat because the orc did (on average) about 3x the damage he did.

In part I felt responsible for the kinds of encounters they experienced, so I tried tailoring encounters and roleplaying difficulties such that each player (in particular the monk) had a significant part and was necessary, but that didn't help.

Killwatch
12-09-2009, 02:52 AM
don't bother. First off I hate half orcs but that is an aside.

I really have no idea about d20 monks, but aren't they good at other things? Sensing chi? chi abilities? weapon katas? special holds? dex abilities?

I mean ok so a tank can do more damage than the ninja, but the ninja can make it across a tightrope 150 feet to the treasure chest.

And wait a minute? was he the only hand to hand guy? only warrior in the party until the orc came in? If there was a fighter or other warrior type then what about how they felt/feel? first off this friggan monk comes in and is (presumably) doing a lot more damage than they are since he had no problem with anyone else, and then this green schmuck comes in to the party. was everyone equal before? What about social situations? A monk I would guess is a lot more acceptable than a friggan half orc, implying that someone was raped at some point by a full blooded orc, possibly in a raiding party where a lot of humans were probably killed.

Whatever, I got two words for you to make the cry baby feel better: Rust Monster

trechriron
12-09-2009, 09:23 AM
How about rules lawyers who are overly concerned with the concept of "balance"? How do you deal with them equitably and keep them playing?

...

Start by explaining that the idea of balance is tenuous at best. You really think every class in d20 is balanced perfectly? Nope. Especially in consideration of the different encounters one might find themselves in, it would be nigh impossible to create ANY game that is "balanced' in the manner your rules lawyer was seeking. There is always going to be some "optimal build" that tweaks the game into favoring some character over another, in some situations.

I think you're RL is seeking attention and has some other issues outside the game. I think this is making his/her behavior more difficult. You tried to make them happy. I think that's awesome. Look, sometimes you can't make a player happy. Help them find another game. It's not worth sucking the fun out of your table and it's not worth wasting their time.

Find someone who enjoys your game. It will make a world of difference.

Just my two cents...

Swordnboard
12-09-2009, 02:22 PM
Thanks for the suggestions, and the validation. I've suggested to him that he GM for a while (since he's never done that before and doesn't really know all the rules inside and out) to see what it's like while I kibosh that campaign. I can't just eliminate him because he's an integral part of this group and is a very good friend (actually he's my brother). Having him run some sessions I think will help him see how it works on the other side of the screen, I think (and as a player I'll try to help him learn how to RP a little better, and know his class).

In the meantime, I'm working on a new story, new setting, new characters. I was thinking about having him eventually run into his old character and having the old monk hand him his butt in a fight or something...

Thanks again for your thoughts!

Killwatch
12-10-2009, 03:25 AM
A word about Balance:
In pathfinder I just drew up a tenth level cavalier.
My horse can kick my ass

DragonDM
12-10-2009, 01:47 PM
A word about Balance:
In pathfinder I just drew up a tenth level cavalier.
My horse can kick my ass

That
Is
AWESOMELY
Funny !!!
----------------------------------------------------------------------
I think that your brother was maskerading as a Rule Lawyer to actually be a Powergaming Munchkin. When someone made something that was more 'powerful' - as in being able to drop Monsters faster then him, he got jealous.

I think that placing your brother on the DM side of the screen might help him understand that the Rules are not really about balence.

The best way to balence a game, in my experience (your milage may vary) is: ANYTHING the PCs can do, so can the bad guys - and vice versa.

Showing that the Rules in your Game apply to all side all the time can be tricky.

Expecially when you want to save that Villian Character that was supposed to kick off an entire Quest Campaign from certain death by the party.

If you can make the Villain's surviving (or returning) believable, go ahead.

Raise Dead, and Resurrection (and it's more powerful versions) are a great way to do this, but remember that it's supposed to cost the Character something in return for that 'service' from any deity.

And Evil Deities can be downright nasty when charging for these services.

Like the guy that has to share his body with a demon-spirit in that Dungeons and Dragons movie.

But, sometimes it's just better to let these Villian Characters go.
Make a sibling, a cousin, or an offspring of that VPC
- that is now even more determined to get the party.

Remind your Rule Lawyers that the game is more about having Fun, then what the books say.

Yes, the rules are there to minimize disputes as to which Character 'wins' any given Contest. But, the Rules should not get in the way of everyone (including the DM) having a good time.

Holocron
12-10-2009, 05:31 PM
Game balance... if its an issue about the power level between different players, its hard to think about something I care about less. Everyone can buy or borrow the books to learn how to make characters, so the way I see it nobody has anything to complain about, unless someone has been granted a special exception that gives their character an advantage that isn't normally covered in the normal rules.

And balanced character classes... how boring... If all classes are on completely equal footing with all others, then what's the point? Personally I hate games that have classes. I absolutely prefer systems that have no class types e.g. gurps. WEG star wars vaguely has classes, but that only affects where you start. You can learn any skill you want.

The main game balance issue that seems relevant is keeping the players at a level that is consistent with how you want the game to feel.

I personally like to keep the players feeling like they're significantly above average people in ability, but still always on the run...

Having differing levels of enemies works well for me. So a few things I'll use is:

The horde of cannon fodder, the mid-level boss that's about equal to the players in power, and the arch-villain who would be suicide to try to fight. I also try to design the story so that the players can still be successful without having to kill all the enemies. That way combat can still be fun and interesting, but will usually turn into the players making a run for it and retreating.

Swordnboard
12-11-2009, 12:48 PM
DragonDM: I think you hit the nail right on the head with your analysis, which is why it was a sticky situation for me. That's why I decided to scrap the current campaign. I'm hoping that exactly what you described happens once he starts GMing.

Holocron: I agree very, very strongly with you re: balance. Roleplaying is not an MMO (I kept saying that but it didn't sink in). Unfortunately, that lead to several heated discussions with my player because he didn't understand that perspective (largely because he has no GM XP, IMO), and I am bullheaded and stubborn about proving a point and being right. In the end I had to compromise to keep the game going, and I'll be more careful about adventures with that group now that I've seen what can happen.

Thanks again for your feedback. I appreciate having you guys here to help me think things through. I plan on implementing your suggestions in the new campaign I'm writing in one form or another, as well as having a different touch regarding class options (i.e. if you don't really understand the role of the class, please don't play it). I don't want to limit their options, but I also don't want someone trying to make their orange work just like someone else's apple and being upset when it doesn't work.

DragonDM
12-12-2009, 04:43 PM
DragonDM: I think you hit the nail right on the head with your analysis, which is why it was a sticky situation for me. That's why I decided to scrap the current campaign. I'm hoping that exactly what you described happens once he starts GMing.

Just remember to resist the temptation to ruin his Game, when he's the GM. While it can seem only 'fair', he won't really learn the lesson if you do what he did. Sooner or later - he'll run into another version of himself.


Holocron: I agree very, very strongly with you re: balance. Roleplaying is not an MMO (I kept saying that but it didn't sink in). Unfortunately, that lead to several heated discussions with my player because he didn't understand that perspective (largely because he has no GM XP, IMO), and I am bullheaded and stubborn about proving a point and being right. In the end I had to compromise to keep the game going, and I'll be more careful about adventures with that group now that I've seen what can happen.

Even MMOs are not really balenced - their designed to make the Player feel like their super powerful - at least until they run into the Encounter that kills them. But then you can just respawn at the start, and keep trying (or get enough 'friends' to help) until you beat it.


Thanks again for your feedback. I appreciate having you guys here to help me think things through. I plan on implementing your suggestions in the new campaign I'm writing in one form or another, as well as having a different touch regarding class options (i.e. if you don't really understand the role of the class, please don't play it). I don't want to limit their options, but I also don't want someone trying to make their orange work just like someone else's apple and being upset when it doesn't work.

If you can find a few other DMs around, you can have a pow-wow, and experiment with those options until you all understand exactly how they work, and then you can explain all the changes to your Game with confidence based on understanding .

Swordnboard
12-16-2009, 11:12 AM
Thanks for the reminder to be good :). I don't think I'll be too sorely tempted -- really, I want to show him the right way to do it.

I like your suggestion of the GM-meeting. Another player in our group has expressed interest in GMing, and I think it would be very instructive if we all collaborated together on the rules. We all have a different perspective. Thanks!

jasonj
12-17-2009, 09:23 AM
Listen , the simple truth is a rules lawyer is a power gamer . The only reason most , and i say most as there are one or two who are not , want to know all the rules is so they can make broken PC's . Thats it , thats all there is too it . Rules Lawyers want to know every obscure feet in every handbook so they can make broken guys who have the potential to ruin games .

DragonDM
12-17-2009, 02:12 PM
Thanks for the reminder to be good :). I don't think I'll be too sorely tempted -- really, I want to show him the right way to do it.

I like your suggestion of the GM-meeting. Another player in our group has expressed interest in GMing, and I think it would be very instructive if we all collaborated together on the rules. We all have a different perspective. Thanks!

You are welcome.
Glad I could be of assistance.


Listen , the simple truth is a rules lawyer is a power gamer . The only reason most , and i say most as there are one or two who are not , want to know all the rules is so they can make broken PC's . Thats it , thats all there is too it . Rules Lawyers want to know every obscure feet in every handbook so they can make broken guys who have the potential to ruin games .

While that may be true - and I would place it as a 25% encounter chance for the 'good' Rule Lawyer's arrival, it is in the best interest of the DM/GM to fully read the Rules and understand them.

Thinking in the way that the Power Gaming and Rule Laywering Munckins do, is the fastest way to kibosh those kind of Character creations.
(As with my House Rules that eliminated the Avenging Druid option from Unearthed Arcana; a Shapeshifiting Rager is not a cool thing. The Druid is not supposed to be able to mimic both Barbarian and Ranger abilities with only a little sacrifice. Sure, those Classes are better at what they do then the Druid that has this, but still. I gave the Avenger to the Ranger, instead. Made a lot more sense: Not every Ranger has a Companion.)

I wish I had a group of people to hang out with - even other DMs and DM Trainees. That would be better then having to sit around and do nothing.

cigamnogard
12-18-2009, 06:56 PM
Listen , the simple truth is a rules lawyer is a power gamer . The only reason most , and i say most as there are one or two who are not , want to know all the rules is so they can make broken PC's . Thats it , thats all there is too it . Rules Lawyers want to know every obscure feet in every handbook so they can make broken guys who have the potential to ruin games .
Possibly being a one or two who is not - I have done my best to know the rules because DMs in the past have screwed my character over because I did not know the rules.:mad:
Now, I do - well maybe not every rule but most. And I know where to look.:p

Glacialis
12-22-2009, 07:48 PM
I find that power gamers are often rules lawyers, but the reverse is not necessarily true. For someone who can easily visualize systems -- be they computer programming, mathematics, economics, computer games, or tabletop RPGs -- the system can provide a structure that they feel comfortable in. Many people with Asperger's / high functioning autism / whatever you want to call it, fall into this category.

I myself do, and I now know why I ended up a rules lawyer: I want the world to make sense and, in RPGs, they do because everything* about the world is in the books. When something is not in the books but is still in the game? That can be uncomfortable.

*This is obviously not true, but it's a point made from a certain viewpoint.

cigamnogard
12-25-2009, 12:30 AM
*This is obviously not true, but it's a point made from a certain viewpoint.

Are you a Jedi?

Glacialis
12-25-2009, 07:48 AM
Unfortunately not. Then again, I don't think they're celibate but I don't want to take the risk. :D

cigamnogard
12-26-2009, 11:06 PM
Good call.

DragonDM
12-27-2009, 10:57 AM
Unfortunately not. Then again, I don't think they're celibate but I don't want to take the risk. :D

Depends on what Era of Star Wars you are playing in.
Golden Age = No. Jedi allowed to love, marry and reprodude.
Episode One to Episode 6 = Yes. Jedi not allowed to love.
New Jedi Order = Technically allowed, but still caused concerns.

Locklere
01-26-2010, 02:30 PM
Players can be rule lawyers all they want, but the DM is the rule judge.

cigamnogard
01-28-2010, 01:31 AM
Not if the DM/GM/story teller doesn't know the rules.
-been there too many times

Glacialis
01-28-2010, 06:10 AM
Not if the DM/GM/story teller doesn't know the rules.
-been there too many times

Amen, brother. Amen. That's my number one issue as a player, but all I have to do is remember that no gaming is better than bad gaming.

cigamnogard
01-29-2010, 05:33 PM
Amen, brother. Amen. That's my number one issue as a player, but all I have to do is remember that no gaming is better than bad gaming.
I don't know - sometimes TV is good - we also play Talisman now too!

Glacialis
01-30-2010, 08:16 PM
Talisman rocks! I haven't played the newer editions by FFG, but they can't have messed it up. :)

Bad gaming...I quit a DM (and all the games he switched between every few months) rather than play. Now, I have no games to play in, but I'm running one and it's still as much fun as I remember.

DragonDM
01-31-2010, 05:05 PM
It is usually a good idea for the DM/GM to know the rules well in advance to running any game.

The Players should not seek to know more then the person running the Game, simply because they think that it is fun to run circles around others.

If the Player finds that they know more about the Game then the DM, wait until the game is over and offer to help them better understand them.

Descronan
02-01-2010, 08:21 AM
It is usually a good idea for the DM/GM to know the rules well in advance to running any game.

The Players should not seek to know more then the person running the Game, simply because they think that it is fun to run circles around others.

If the Player finds that they know more about the Game then the DM, wait until the game is over and offer to help them better understand them.

Partially agree. I've gamed with good GMs who wanted to try out something new so we all took a couple days to read the rules and there were obvious places where the GM didn't know rule XYZ. You gotta have context. New GMs or GMs new to a system get a bit more leway. Likewise, if the help is requested by the GM then give it. If not then let the GM make his ruling and move on.

On the other hand, some GMs omit rules (like me) that make no sense or don't reflect the style of game they want to run. Its not about "knowing" the rules but by running it in a way that is most conducive to the game.

But on either case, the players should be aware of what they are getting into. If its a new GM, please tell me or I'm going to rip your game apart and throw you in dispare... not out of meanness, but because that's what I do - I go off script and often do things that make sense for my character, but not for the plot of the GM. I follow the script closer if I know the GM is new or its a new system for the GM.

Killwatch
02-01-2010, 01:11 PM
its all in the spirit it is given. If it is to help the gm or inform them of the official rules with the acknowledgement that the gm might just say yeah well we aren't going to do that

cigamnogard
02-01-2010, 05:53 PM
Now I realise that this post is about rules lawyers but in my opinion you can still be a good DM/GM?storyteller even if you are not 100% of the rules.
For the most part I know most of the rules but with all the books and classes out there I do not know them all. However, I still allow them in my games - but typically I like to see them first - as in a review prior to having it dropped in my lap.

trechriron
02-01-2010, 10:37 PM
Now I realise that this post is about rules lawyers but in my opinion you can still be a good DM/GM?storyteller even if you are not 100% of the rules.
For the most part I know most of the rules but with all the books and classes out there I do not know them all. However, I still allow them in my games - but typically I like to see them first - as in a review prior to having it dropped in my lap.

Which means you know the rules. Enough that you can judge a class before play. That to me is a GM who is giving their players the chance to play something in the scope of the rules. Which the players want because they chose this game. You don't need to know 100% of the rules, but you better know enough to run the game chosen by the group, otherwise, why would these players choose to play this game with you? :D

cigamnogard
02-02-2010, 05:13 PM
why would these players choose to play this game with you? :D
Thanks! - you have no idea how much that comment made my day!

DragonDM
02-03-2010, 02:10 AM
Descronan

For me, Scripts are too close to the Old Railroad System.
"Don't worry, nothing you do will change the outcome of the Character/Campaign."

Sure, lay out a basic Idea for the (Player) Character or the {DM} Campaign that you are running. But always remember that things are going to change as the Game moves along.

One failed roll can mean that an important Character is taken out of the main fight. And if they were the only one that could beat the Challenge then the other PCs get hosed.

A creative Player should be able to have their Rogue or Fighter acomplish the goal that the Mage or Cleric was supposed to be the only one to do it.
Sure, they may need a Magical Item (and perhaps the Use Magic Device Skill) to pull it off, but it's still possible.

Yes, these things are (mostly) covered by the D&D Rules, but not everyone knows or thinks of them. And if the DM does not make room for it to happen in their Script, then this is lost.

Descronan
02-03-2010, 07:01 AM
Descronan

For me, Scripts are too close to the Old Railroad System.
"Don't worry, nothing you do will change the outcome of the Character/Campaign."

Sure, lay out a basic Idea for the (Player) Character or the {DM} Campaign that you are running. But always remember that things are going to change as the Game moves along.


Agreed. Hard scripts suck. If you don't do things EXACTLY like the GM intended then you fail. What kind of BS is that?

Regicide
02-03-2010, 08:43 AM
Screw hard scripts. In the one short-lived D&D 3.5 campaign that I've run, what I consider to be my best secession as DM was largely the result of a completely unexpected action taken by one of my players (I mean who in the nine hells yells after a horde of orcs that has just narrowly missed seeing you emerge from the wreckage burning ship?) that ended up taking the entire party off the map as far as my intentions for the next few sessions went.

They were supposed to explore some wartorn countryside and get some clues as to the true nature of the factions involved, but they got taken prisoner instead. They were rescued by a recurring NPC that I had up my sleeve and had to take a detour through a spider infested forest that I had conjured up at the spur of the moment. Other new plot avenues opened up, and the whole affair created a set up for a battle against a crazed spider-themed Druid.

My only big mistake that day is that I ended up revealing some stuff in direct dialog that I was going to slowly let the players figure out themselves. Chalk that one up to my inexperience and the fact that I was trying to figure out where the game was going in real time.

Of course, since I didn't have everything planned out just so I was put into the position of having to throw the dice solely for the noise a couple of times :D

cigamnogard
02-03-2010, 02:48 PM
They were supposed to explore some wartorn countryside and get some clues as to the true nature of the factions involved, but they got taken prisoner instead. They were rescued by a recurring NPC that I had up my sleeve
Not my favorite thing as a player or DM to have the cavalry to the rescue scenario. But as you say it was at a time of inexperience.

Regicide
02-04-2010, 05:34 AM
It's probably not really something that I'd have done if I wasn't winging it.
But then the NPC in question didn't exactly fight off a horde of howling orcs. He didn't carry the party back to town in a sack. He just helped them sneak out of the orc camp and acted as a guide. And of course, when he got captured by the spider-crazy Druid shortly thereafter, the party got to return the favor by embarking on a side quest to rescue him.

cigamnogard
02-04-2010, 02:09 PM
Now that's cool! Good job winging it on that one.

DragonDM
02-04-2010, 06:49 PM
Agreed. Hard scripts suck.
If you don't do things EXACTLY like the GM intended then you fail.
What kind of BS is that?

This is called Gygax-ing: Another form of Railroading.

Gary Gygax, while smart enough to co-create the D&D Game (who can name the other co-creator?) was not very tolerant of other people.

To Mr Gygax, there was only one solution to the Challenge that he had created.

If you could not figure it out, then you failed - and Mr Gygax considered that person to be dumb.


It's probably not really something that I'd have done if I wasn't winging it.
But then the NPC in question didn't exactly fight off a horde of howling orcs. He didn't carry the party back to town in a sack. He just helped them sneak out of the orc camp and acted as a guide. And of course, when he got captured by the spider-crazy Druid shortly thereafter, the party got to return the favor by embarking on a side quest to rescue him.


Now that's cool! Good job winging it on that one.

Very nicely done.

A lot of my games are what others would call "Winging It".
Since I will grab basic Ideas from several locations - novels (D&D and other Fantasy novels) video games, as well as Moduals (large and small)
- from Ancient (0e), to Venerable (AD&D 1e), to Old (AD&D 2.5), to Juvenile, to Wyrmling(4e).

I will then place these into each Town/City or Rest Place and let the Players decide which one (or combination) to do.

Regicide
02-04-2010, 07:47 PM
(who can name the other co-creator?)You mean Dave Arneson, the guy who introduced little things like armor class, hit-points, role-playing (a concept that that Gygax was never fully comfortable with by many reports) and a few other such little insignificant bells and whistles into the game? The fellow who basically house-ruled a fantasy miniatures wargame called Chainmail into what we know as D&D? :mad:

You know- Dave Arneson, the Ub Iwerks of gaming?
was not very tolerant of other peopleHence all the Gygax/Arneson litigation of yore? They were probably both to blame for that nonsense. Who knows... sometimes nerds just can't get along :lol:

DragonDM
02-06-2010, 06:41 PM
Regicide - Correct!

The real contention between Gygax and Arneson was the introduction of Roleplaying into the D&D games.

The second one was the fact that Gygax stole all the credit for "making the game". by placing his name on every book that he could, and downplaying all that Arneson did.

J-Hazen
12-09-2010, 02:07 PM
Not sure if this has been said or not, but there is a great cure for any players that you have that may be "rules lawyers". Take a break from your regularly scheduled game and run a few sessions of Paranoia. 8)