A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life

Bedrockgames

Adventurer
Sure, and you can allow players to just pick whatever number they want to roll after they roll the die, too. Metagaming is one of those things that people tolerate or even enjoy to varying degrees, but if the DM doesn't allow it in part or in whole, it's cheating to engage in it.
But that depends on the game system. You can't just say meta gaming is always cheating, simply because you don't like it or because you play one game that discourages it (or even has a specific rule against it). I don't put any rules against meta gaming in my games. I leave that to the players and GM to decide amongst themselves. If they metagame, I wouldn't regard it as cheating. I think this is an odd position to take. Personally i am guessing we probably are pretty close in playstyle when it comes to meta gaming. I just don't see how allowing a player to metagame is the same as allowing them to alter the result of a valid die roll.
 

Aldarc

Adventurer
There is no problem.
The "problem" is completely fabricated by people trying to disparage a playstyle they don't understand, dislike, or both.
"Mother May I," which is one that is almost entirely fabricated as I mention above.
Unlike the fictional "Mother May I" issue,
Again, this repetition speaks volumes to how I was saying earlier about how unhelpfully people dismiss the existence of this practice entirely. It tries to shutdown the conversation. :erm:

As I mentioned earlier, the social contract prevents the DM from having the full control that others are calling "Mother May I." The DM has no ability, barring something in game like mind control, to keep the PC from walking behind the tree as the player wishes, or to go to the local bar for a drink as the player wishes. The player simply does not have to ask permission to do those things, even in a game like D&D.

A DM who does use that authority to do things like that is not only violating the social contract, but also the intent and function of the game which is for everyone to have fun. Only a very few DMs are so horrible at DMing that they would try something like that, and in those very few occasions, it's a problem of personality and not system.
The social contract is not a rule or anything that exists concretely as part of a system, as far as I know, so it does not prevent anything. So we may as well appeal to punitive wrath of Mithra or Adam Smith's Invisible Hand when the social contract of gaming is violated.

And I would note that while you deny that MMI exists or is a problem, in the same breath you also suggest that the practice described is a problem. Stop equivocating.

How about Jerk DM? It's not a system problem at all. It's purely a DM issue.
Because Jerk DM covers way too many things and is too obscure and imprecise. 1) I know you like to obfuscate terms to the point where they become unhelpfully broad, vague, and non-specific definitions, but if we want to talk meaningfully about the phenomenon of this practice - and maybe you don't - then "jerk DM" WILL NOT and CAN NOT cut it. It would be a bit like if we refused to label "railroading" as anything other than being a "jerk DM." Who knows what practice we are talking about if the only term available to us is "jerk DM"? :confused: That does not provide us with much finesse or nuance in our discussions. And 2) Max, you can't just keep scapegoating and categorizing every single problem (particularly the ones you happen to dislike) to "jerk/bad DM" as you are so prone to do. So again I ask you: What alternative term would you propose to describe the negative practice that MMI entails?

Sure, and you can allow players to just pick whatever number they want to roll after they roll the die, too. Metagaming is one of those things that people tolerate or even enjoy to varying degrees, but if the DM doesn't allow it in part or in whole, it's cheating to engage in it.
So there is no actual rule against it?
 
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Bedrockgames

Adventurer
Again, this repetition speaks volumes to how I was saying earlier about how unhelpfully people dismiss the existence of this practice entirely. It tries to shutdown the conversation. :erm:
A lot of people have been repeating themselves. It is a 900+ post sequel thread, and folks are naturally reaching frustration points. We could probably all be a bit more charitable in our dealings with one another, given the sheer quantity of posts people have been working through and the room that creates for misunderstanding.
 

Aldarc

Adventurer
I haven't seen that mentioned, but what Pemerton describes isn't railroading in my opinion. I think railroading and MMI are similar terms. They have utility to describe functional play. But here it is being used to paint traditional play as mother may I (I realize there is dispute over how to characterize this, but doing so for convenience)---or at least to paint a very, very common playstyle as MMI. That is when the utility is lost. Both terms describe dysfunction. Even linear adventures are not railroads for example. It only becomes a railroad when the GM refuses to let the players go off the path of the linear adventure. If I apply railroad to describe half the hobby, I think I will never really understand why those people do what they do.

It is a term that is loaded with a sense of bafflement over the type of play that is occurring. No one wants a railroad and no one wants mother may I. I think the only real way these terms make sense is when they describe failed states of play. Otherwise we should probably stick to the terms people themselves use to describe their playstyle. I just think there is too much partisanship in how people conduct analysis in this hobby when it comes to coining terms.
Oh, I see where you are coming from, even if I may not entirely agree. My point though was not meant to reopen discussions of railroading or how it applies to discussions pemerton has participated, and you do not linger on that here. It was only to highlight as you had likewise pointed out with great terseness: "both terms describe dysfunction." In that I agree with you, and I commend your ability to summarize this incredibly well, particularly starting where I made a new paragraph.

I would also add that to an earlier point that another reason why I would like to refrain from attributing this gameplay dysfunction to simply "jerk DM." The nature of this practice is not exclusive to DMs. Players can likewise operate with this mentality even in the presence of a "good DM."
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Again, this repetition speaks volumes to how I was saying earlier about how unhelpfully people dismiss the existence of this practice entirely. It tries to shutdown the conversation. :erm:
A "practice" implies that it is common. It's not. It's rare. There are very few DMs who will engage in trying to control every aspect of what the players want to do

The social contract is not a rule or anything that exists concretely as part of a system, as far as I know, so it does not prevent anything. So we may as well appeal to punitive wrath of Mithra or Adam Smith's Invisible Hand when the social contract of gaming is violated.
The social contract is stronger than any rule system. And you might as well appeal to the punitive wrath of Mithra or Adam Smith's Invisible Hand when a game rule is violated or changed by a DM. If a DM is going to be a jerk, no rule or game system can stop him.

And I would note that while you deny that MMI exists or is a problem, in the same breath you also suggest that the practice described is a problem. Stop equivocating.
There is no equivocation going on. It's not a system or playstyle problem at all. What I described is not a system or playstyle problem. It's a problem with a few very rare DMs being jerks, and that isn't confined to Mother May I.

Because Jerk DM covers way too many things and is too obscure and imprecise. 1) I know you like to obfuscate terms to the point where they become unhelpfully broad, vague, and non-specific definitions, but if we want to talk meaningfully about the phenomenon of this practice - and maybe you don't - then "jerk DM" WILL NOT and CAN NOT cut it. It would be a bit like if we refused to label "railroading" as anything other than being a "jerk DM." Who knows what practice we are talking about if the only term available to us is "jerk DM"? :confused: That does not provide us with much finesse or nuance in our discussions. And 2) Max, you can't just keep scapegoating and categorizing every single problem (particularly the ones you happen to dislike) to "jerk/bad DM" as you are so prone to do. So again I ask you: What alternative term would you propose to describe the negative practice that MMI entails?

So there is no actual rule against it?
5e tells the DM to discourage metagame thinking.
 
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Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
I rest my case.
Me: The social contract keeps the vast majority of DMs from engaging in Mother May I.

You: All I have to do to counter the social contract argument is give an example of something ruled by the social contract.

Me: Thanks for the help.

You: I win!!!

Well, no. You don't win when you rest a case after helping me with my point. Not only does the social contract cover metagaming, but metagaming has nothing to do with Mother May I. It's not as if a DM is going to control every aspect of what a player does over metagaming.
 

Sadras

Adventurer
I don't think though that either of these terms really cover the issue, and also this answer incidentally falls in line with what I said about how some seem to deny that MMI exists as an issue.
I'm not sure anyone in this thread is denying MMI as an issue. I believe the disagreement lies in the MMI definition, it's more a matter of degree.

Calling something "traditional" goes a long way to normalize the phenomenon even if it is problematic.
The viewpoint that traditional = MMI is not held by all, the observation you make is only relevant from persons who view MMI as all DM-facing games or all DM-adjudicated games.

The MMI issue may frequently occur in DM Facing Games, as DM Facing Games enable the issue, but I would not necessarily use "DM Facing Game" to label the issue that Mother May I attempts to describe. So if you gave yourself more than a second of thought, what other terms would you suggest for describing the issue? :confused:
Well herein lies the problem, when people do not agree on the definition. :)
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
Me: The social contract keeps the vast majority of DMs from engaging in Mother May I.

You: All I have to do to counter the social contract argument is give an example of something ruled by the social contract.

Me: Thanks for the help.

You: I win!!!

Well, no. You don't win when you rest a case after helping me with my point. Not only does the social contract cover metagaming, but metagaming has nothing to do with Mother May I. It's not as if a DM is going to control every aspect of what a player does over metagaming.
Is that how you see it? Here's an alternative:

Max: MMI is prevented by the social contract, everywhere.

Me: Nope, metagaming opponents have no problem with MMI and its usually part of their social contract

Max: Metagaming is cheating (does not cute rule).

Me: (Yep, guessed that response because it pleads away a clear contradiction by labelling it more bad behavior, despite everyone not agreeing so being super clear in all of the discussions of metagaming.) I rest my case.

Max: We both said social contract! I win!
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
I'm not sure anyone in this thread is denying MMI as an issue. I believe the disagreement lies in the MMI definition, it's more a matter of degree.



The viewpoint that traditional = MMI is not held by all, the observation you make is only relevant from persons who view MMI as all DM-facing games or all DM-adjudicated games.



Well herein lies the problem, when people do not agree on the definition. :)
MMI exists whenever the GM has authority to negate action declarations, even if a GM chooses not to. It's a matter of where a game rests authority. This gets mixed up in whether or not a GM exercises that power. I think it's fair to say that principled GMing of such games can yeild non-MMI outcomes, but that die3sn't make the ruleset non-MMI.

The flipside is talking about narrativist games that allow degenerate play by the rules but are constrained by principled play to not do so. The rulesets can still allow degenerate play. I think the main difference is that the narrativist games are upfront about these principles while more "trad" games do not offer such advice.
 

Bedrockgames

Adventurer
I'm not sure anyone in this thread is denying MMI as an issue. I believe the disagreement lies in the MMI definition, it's more a matter of degree.



The viewpoint that traditional = MMI is not held by all, the observation you make is only relevant from persons who view MMI as all DM-facing games or all DM-adjudicated games.



Well herein lies the problem, when people do not agree on the definition. :)
This is the core of it. MMI and Railroading both represent dysfunctional play. If you apply either to huge swaths of the hobby that are clearly not dysfunctional, you are pathalogizing a perfectly valid playstyle. It is the inverse of the problem Aldarc identifies. He makes the point that you are normalizing behavior. But it just seems very strange to me to take what is clearly mainstream gaming, and treat it like it is abnormal or dysfunctional. This isn't something that just exists here. I see it in communities I am part of that share my preferences. when those preferences are out of sync with the mainstream, people in the niche often express disbelief that the mainstream enjoys what it enjoys. I just think taking this kind of critical approach isn't useful because it basically ensures you will never really understand what is driving interest in these things in the mainstream* if you are always looking down on it (and a term like MMI or Railroading being used that way is definitely looking down on the style, there is just no way around the pejorative nature of those terms).

*Or whatever stream you are examining
 
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Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
Declarations? Like "I attack?" Or do you mean "Resolutions" like "I kill the Orc"?
"I kill the orc" can be either. As a declaration, denying the action leads into MMI. Denying the resolution would be a broader conversation that touches on "fudging," amongst other things. A pervasive denial of resolution can lead to a softer, defacto form of MMI. If no action you take except that approved of by the GM can result in "I kill the orc," then you're just adding a step between declaration and denial.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
5e tells the DM to discourage metagame thinking.
As does 1e, if only by putting the DMG and MM off-limits to players.

But in fairness 1e is conflicted on this one, as in other areas of the game (e.g. riddle solving) meta-thinking is almost demanded.
 

pemerton

Legend
Metagaming is one of those things that people tolerate or even enjoy to varying degrees, but if the DM doesn't allow it in part or in whole, it's cheating to engage in it.
What's the GM got to do with it? It's either the rules of the game, or - if the rules are silent - table expectations ("socia contract). The GM is nothing special in respect of either.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
"I kill the orc" can be either. As a declaration, denying the action leads into MMI.
"I try to kill the orc" is a valid declaration. "I kill the orc" is not, as it bypasses the game mechanics that might otherwise very well get in the way.

And I don't think anyone here is suggesting that game mechanics are MMI.
 

S'mon

Legend
And I don't think anyone here is suggesting that game mechanics are MMI.
I was wondering if Ovinomancer was saying that the GM saying "No, Roll to hit" would be Denial of "I Kill the Orc" and thus "Mother May I". (Frankly I'm still wondering).

I find this MMI concept very confusing. It definitely seems to be a derogatory term but I can't get a clear idea of what it's supposed to mean. It seems to be applied to the normal processes of playing an RPG.
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
"I try to kill the orc" is a valid declaration. "I kill the orc" is not, as it bypasses the game mechanics that might otherwise very well get in the way.
Only if you're insisting on formal English in phrasing declarations. If my players say, "I kill the orc," I take that as the intent of their action and apply resolution mechanics.

But, that aside, only the first two lines of my response involved declarations, the rest was about resolutions.

And I don't think anyone here is suggesting that game mechanics are MMI.
I think you may not have been paying attention. The mechanic of "GM decides" is a large part of MMI. Where that mechanic gets employed is the operative part, I think. If it's universal, then you're in MMI, if it's more limited, you may not be.
 

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