A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life - Page 109
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aldarc View Post
    I wlll not press this point any further. However, if you disagree with Max, then maybe you can voice some of that disagreement?
    I have voiced some of my disagreement with Max here. I think he and I largely agree on many assumptions about running the game. But the quoted post was too absolute for my approach. I do believe in rule 0 and I do believe one key GM function is to adjust rules on the fly if they don't function well, if a weird outcome arises that clearly shouldn't, etc. But I do think the GM needs to weigh how his or her decisions will impact other peoples' enjoyment of the game, and I do think the GM's authority is limited by the trust given by players. You don't have any authority if the players don't respect your judgements. Your authority at the table isn't self anointed. So it isn't an absolute thing at all. Also, I don't think this applies to every RPG ever. Plenty of RPGs limit the authority of the GM. That is definitely a thing, and if it is in the rules of the game, I can't pretend such games don't exist. I do think rule zero is typically an assumption. But there are obviously games that don't assume rule zero.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bedrockgames View Post
    Do they? Some of us may be critical of criticism in other fields as well if that is the case (I don't know, it isn't my field). I think terms do matter. And if terms are coined with obvious intent at mockery of the thing you are trying to analyze, my view is it taints the discussion and the analysis.
    In literary or cinematic criticism, it is not "below the belt" to call a work shallow (for instance) just because those who authored it, or those who enjoy it, don't agree.

    More generally, it is not considered out of bounds to use descriptions, including harsh descriptions, that some authors and audiences would reject.

    As far as "mockery" is concerned, all I will do is reiterate that the OP in this thread does not use the term "Mother may I", and I have consistently throughout this thread used the phrase GM decides, except when the context of response to another poster who has used the phrase "Mother may I" requires using it in retur (and then I have almost always used quote marks to signal that the terms in not one that I am unproblematically introducing into the conversation).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maxperson View Post
    To what extent? This is the first time I think I've seen that "Mother May I" is about how the DM frames scenes and builds on player input.
    You are right, infact I see that here people tend to concentrate on simple action dec, which I see as a symptom of a broader attitude.

    If a Gm in a game I play just says No, I can argue and explain that my declaration is legit; what I cannot do is change the concretized habit; the consolidated assumption that if the Gm loosen the reins the campaign will collapse. Or that immersion is broken and continuity is compromised if we speed up a bit skipping fill-in stuff, or change approach to the course of play.

    The use of Force can be explicit (uber Npc, impossibile obstacles), or implicit (nothing interesting seems to happen around the Pc until the next plot twist from above).
    Last edited by Numidius; Friday, 8th March, 2019 at 03:43 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by pemerton View Post
    In literary or cinematic criticism, it is not "below the belt" to call a work shallow (for instance) just because those who authored it, or those who enjoy it, don't agree.

    More generally, it is not considered out of bounds to use descriptions, including harsh descriptions, that some authors and audiences would reject.

    As far as "mockery" is concerned, all I will do is reiterate that the OP in this thread does not use the term "Mother may I", and I have consistently throughout this thread used the phrase GM decides, except when the context of response to another poster who has used the phrase "Mother may I" requires using it in retur (and then I have almost always used quote marks to signal that the terms in not one that I am unproblematically introducing into the conversation).
    Um ...

    Yes, literary and film critics will call a work shallow.

    But that's clearly a pejorative term! No author or director has ever been, "Woot! The New York Times just called my work shallow! I am so proud!"

    If, for example, there was a debate about something (let's say ... to borrow a recent debate, the intentional fallacy), then ....

    Imagine one side side saying, "Well, our side is the Deeply Considered Analysis, and we'll call your side the Shallow Position. Now, let's discuss the Shallow Position."


    Or, how about this?

    "I read all types of literature. For example, I have read books that some people call the 'fantasy genre,' but we should call it the 'shallow genre.' So, why don't you tell me why you enjoy books in the shallow genre?"


    I can't understand why it's so hard for people to understand that labeling things with a pejorative term really is an obnoxious thing to do when discussing issues. If someone objects to the label, just change it and discuss the substance.

    Y'all have been at this for over a thousand posts; how many of them have been taken up arguing about labels?
    Last edited by lowkey13; Friday, 8th March, 2019 at 03:54 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Imaculata View Post
    I'm not sure "GM decides" covers the same ground though as "Mother May I".
    The GM decides a lot of things in general, and so it makes the terminology a bit vague.
    As I've been using the term GM decides in this thread - which I think is pretty close to what @S'mon has in mind - I've been meaning the GM decides what changes occur in the fiction as a result of a player declaring an action for his/her PC. I'm pretty sure that that is what the OP in the progenitor thread of this thread had in mind in using the phrase "Mother may I" - the connection between that latter phrase, and the GM decides method of action resolution, being that if a player wants to produce change X to the shared fiction, s/he has to guess what action declaration might lead the GM to decide to change the fiction in way X.

    The contrast, then, is with action resolution methods which allow a player to change the fiction in way X without that having to be mediated through GM decision-making about outcomes and consequences - D&D combat is mostly an illustration of such a method, provided X is make it true in the fiction that such-and-such a charcter/creature is dead, and the RPGs that I play tend to use similar action resolution methods for a range of non-combat matters also.

    I agree that if you take the phrase "GM decides" out of the context of this particular focus on the changes in the fiction that result from action declarations, it is rather broad. But in this thread I believe (or at least hope!) that the context and focus have remained pretty clear even over 1000+ posts.

    Quote Originally Posted by Numidius View Post
    It's not a matter of crossing the street, simple legit actions declarations etc, it's a matter of having the Gm willing to cooperate and build on players input.

    Framing scenes and all that stuff.

    Just leaving the PC loose hanging around without support in the fiction, is not freedom, looks more like loneliness.
    I think this is a really important point in the context of this thread and its progenitor thread.

    I think there's probably almost no RPG play where the players can achieve literally no changes in the fiction without being blocked by the GM. I walk behind the tree. I go to that nearby pub. I take off my hat. I pick a blade of grass and put it between my teet.

    But implicit in the idea of action resolution changing the fiction in way X is that way X is something that has some degree of consequence or meaning or heft for gameplay; that X provides some sort of platform or impetus for further gameplay; and the like. That X actually matters to play.

    That's why, in this post and in my post not too far upthread replying to S'mon, I talked about outcomes and consequences. When a player says I walk behind the tree s/he is envisaging not just the immediate outcome, within the fiction, of his/her PC having moved a few metres so as now to be behind the tree. S/he has some reason for declaring this action, is anticipating some sort of gameplay-significant consequence to follow from that.

    If the GM accepts, and regards him-/herself as obliged to accept, the action declaration - so it's now true in the fiction that the PC is behind the tree - but the GM doesn't accept any further consequence - the PC is just left "hanging around" with nothing further happening in the fiction that responds to or builds upon the player's action declaration - then we still have an instance of what I am calling the GM decides approach to resolution.

    Only if the GM is obliged to accept not just the immediate. literal content of a player's action declaration, but is also obliged to accept in some fashion, or to have regard to, the player's intention as to how the fiction is going to change in some meaningful way, are we starting to move into non-GM decides territory. There are different ways such an obligation can work and be systematically implemented in a game - "say 'yes' or roll the dice" coupled with "fail forward", which amounts to if you, the player, win the toss then the fiction changes how you wanted it to, but if you lose the toss then the fiction will change in some way which speaks to what you wanted but in an adverse sort of way is an obvious one, but not the only one. It can be done through mutually respectful back-and-forth about the fiction - this is how stuff can happen in a Marvel Heroic RP/Cortex+ Heroic Transition Scene, for instance - but the back-and-forth approach is (in my experience) only modestly robust under pressure, when the stakes get high and the player wants to push the fiction one way and the GM is interested in pushing it back the other way. That's why MHRP/Cortex+ Heroic uses a different approach, which is a version of "say 'yes' or roll the dice" with some bells and whistles added on, during Action (= high stakes) Scenes.

    To further lengthen this post, I aso want to say something about free kriegsspiel, which @S'mon in particular has talked about in this thread; and it connects also to a discussion with @Sadras upthread.

    In a RPG where the GM has already pre-established important, salient parts of the fiction - a dungeon map and its key is the paradigm of this; a wildereness map is another example - then some "action declarations" don't really constitute attempts to change the fiction in way X. They're really more like attempts to learn the content and parameters of the fiction as already decided by the GM. For this reason, the concept of GM decides is (in my view) not really even applicable to them.

    But - and this is to reiterate something I've already said in this thread, and have said more about in some other threads over the years - the boundary/contrast between "action declaration" to learn content/parameters of the fiction and action declaration to change the fiction in way X can fairly easily become rather non-robust, and is also highly vulnerable to a unilateral decision that what the player intended as the latter is really the former.

    A concrete example: a player declares I cast Dimension Door. The GM responds Nothing happens (because the GM has made a determination that the area that the PC is in is teleport warded). It seems to me that most of the time, in this sort of case, the player has intended to change the fiction in way X (now my PC is here rather than there) but the GM has, by his/her approach to adjudication, rendered what the player did into a discovery of the paremeters/content of the fiction. From the GM's point of view, s/he is facilitating the player's exploration of the fiction. But from the point of view of the player, who was not setting out to explore the fiction but rather was hoping to change it, this may well be experienced as a rather striking case of GM decides.

    Whether or not this sort of case, in which the player who was hoping to change the fiction discovers that s/he is really exploring it, is a problem will obviously be something that varies from table to table. That it might be a problem I think is obvious.
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  6. #1086
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maxperson View Post
    So in every RPG ever. The DM can alter rules in every RPG and give himself that authority, whether the rules of the RPG "allow" it or not. Therefore, he has that authority whether he gives it to himself or not.
    This claim is not true, except in the completely uninteresting sense that any participant in a game might try and cheat, or try and get away with fudging or whining or lobbying for do-overs, or threaten to tip over the board if s/he doesn't get his her way.

    Quote Originally Posted by Maxperson View Post
    You need to read the rules for D&D again it seems. If a player decides that his PC walks behind the tree, I have no ability as DM to decide that he cannot do so.
    This prompts a short answer and a long one.

    The short one is that I think @Ovinomancer may have in mind the following (from p 3 of the 5e Basic PDF):

    The players describe what they want to do. . . .

    Sometimes, resolving a task is easy. If an adventurer wants to walk across a room and open a door, the DM might just say that the door opens and describe what lies beyond. But the door might be locked, the floor might hide a deadly trap, or some other circumstance might make it challenging for an adventurer to complete a task. In those cases, the DM decides what happens, often relying on the roll of a die to determine the results . . .

    The DM narrates the results of the adventurersĺ actions.

    One reading of this is that it is always open to the GM to decide whether or not the PC makes it behind the tree. (And I have a memory of you arguing as much in a thread we both participated in not too long ago.) I'm not sure, myself, that that is the only or even the best reading, but I'm guessing it's what Ovinomancer has in mind. (If I'm wrong about that I'm sure he will let me know.)

    The long answer is the one given by @Numidius upthread, that I've replied to just upthread: the issue isn't the narrow, immediate one of whether or not the PC ends up behind the tree, but rather of whether any of the interesting things that the player thought might result from that actually do come about. Or whether the PC is left "hanging around without support in the fiction."
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    Quote Originally Posted by lowkey13 View Post
    Do you really want to be part of a club that I'm in?

    It's kind of like, "Thank goodness. I finally joined the rarefied intellectual air of Thomas Wiseau."
    Oh, hi Mark!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aldarc View Post
    Oh, hi Mark!
    Leave your stupid comments in your pocket!
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    Quote Originally Posted by lowkey13 View Post
    I can't understand why it's so hard for people to understand that labeling things with a pejorative term really is an obnoxious thing to do when discussing issues.
    Quote Originally Posted by pemerton View Post
    As far as "mockery" is concerned, all I will do is reiterate that the OP in this thread does not use the term "Mother may I", and I have consistently throughout this thread used the phrase GM decides, except when the context of response to another poster who has used the phrase "Mother may I" requires using it in retur (and then I have almost always used quote marks to signal that the terms in not one that I am unproblematically introducing into the conversation).
    Do I need to reiterate it again?

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    Quote Originally Posted by pemerton View Post
    Do I need to reiterate it again?
    I don't know? I was responding to your statements concerning the use of shallow.

    You know, the entirety of what you snipped out and ignored.

    If that was completely orthogonal to your point, then your clearly aren't one of those people that find it hard to understand, and you were just making an unrelated point about how "shallow" is just a great term to use.

    Carry on!

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