I have never met someone so stubborn that they would actually behave this way, and if they did, they would quickly be asked to leave the table and never come back. Standing one's ground and seeking benefit for oneself are perfectly good and healthy things. Being so stubborn that you literally refuse to let the game happen unless and until you get exactly what you want? Unacceptable. I wouldn't want to play checkers with a person like that. That sort of behavior is unbelievably rude, rude to the point of ruining friendships.
Meh, I'm used to it.
Thing is, with checkers there's hard rules for everything and no room for argument - you're either outright cheating or you're not. Another example is a video game - the game's programming sets hard limits on what you can and cannot do as a player; cheat codes notwithstanding (as those are also programmed in, using them by default isn't cheating)
In D&D - or pretty much any other RPG - there are three major differences with the above models:
1. There isn't a hard rule for everything, and nor can there (realistically) ever be.
2. The "enforcement mechanism" - be it the DM alone, the players as a whole, or whatever - is open to judgment, interpretation, and influence
3. The lines between good-faith play, bad-faith play, and outright cheating are much blurrier, and don't fall in the same place for everyone.
It is human nature to try to improve one's position or lot, yes. That is NOT the same thing as stamping your feet and refusing to let anything happen because you haven't gotten your way.
Indeed, there's a big spectrum between those two things.
Nor is it the same as intentionally and aggressively trying to pervert a shared social activity, especially when you know that doing so is disrespectful, hurtful, and counterproductive...which "grind every session to a complete halt because every single objection will take hours to resolve" absolutely is all three of those things.
And if the person (or people; it's not necessarily always just one person) is objecting from a position of themselves feeling disrespected and hurt, then what?
To use an example from miles upthread, let's say we're in a game where someone tries using the Earthen Hand (?) trick to stop (was it Binding Grasp?). The DM thinks it over and rules no, this won't work. The player (or maybe a few players) says wait a minute, it can and should work, and here's how-why. There's no middle ground on this one: the end result is either the trick works or it doesn't, meaning that ultimately one point of view has to concede to the other.
Now some would say the DM's ruling prevails simply because it's the DM-as-referee's ruling, and that's fair enough. But the player(s) might feel aggrieved by this, and dig in some heels. Result: an argument.
I should also note that the Earthen Hand example also nicely falls under the mantle of players pushing against the rules in order to gain an edge, as does most "creative" play: let's take rule A and rule B and see if we can combine them to work in our favour via ruling C.
By whom? You make this assertion as though it is a universal truth but it emphatically is not. D&D books have been explicitly saying otherwise for decades, and Dungeon World is no different.
D&D books have been explicitly saying so for decades and have for just as long been roundly - and IMO rightly - ignored. Why? Because D&D has both win conditions and loss conditions scattered all over it, and a very large part of the players' objective is to achieve the former while avoiding the latter.
This can be both at the party scale (we win or lose together) or the individual character scale (everyone for themselves) or a combination of these.
Firstly: why? There are no prizes. Nobody gets rewarded for being "best on the team." Screwing over your teammates by, for example, wasting hours of their time every single night so you can secure every advantage, or intentionally and aggressively flouting decorum and respect for your fellow players, is a pretty $#!+-awful way to behave under any circumstances. To do so solely to "win" at a cooperative game is beyond the pale. I'm dead serious when I say if someone treated my game that way it would be grounds for ending a friendship.
Secondly, there's nothing automatic about any of that. There are sports teams where everyone on the team genuinely just wants to succeed, and they don't care about position. Professional teams are of course not likely to do that because they're being paid in part based on relative performance in many cases. Even then it's not some kind of guarantee of ravenous hunger for position, and there are other kinds of sports teams besides professional ones...and I would think non-professional sports would be a better comparison given D&D doesn't keep score and the players are not paid!
Pro sports teams are my usual go-to comparison, yes. And in D&D, while the players are not paid the game absolutely does keep score: experience points, treasure, and levels are some hard-numbered examples while in-game reputation, social standing, and in-party acceptance are examples of some "soft" metrics.
What? No. Absolutely not. The player does not have a duty to cheat and swindle and coerce and abuse unless the referee stops them. That's not just ludicrous, it's straight up logically suspect. Whence does this duty arise? You are committing an is-ought fallacy: there are rules, so you ought to exploit them. This does not hold.
Yes it does. I don't and never will condone outright cheating; but pushing the envelope by looking for loopholes in the rules - and attempting to exploit such loopholes once found - isn't cheating; in fact it's creative play - the topic of this thread! It then falls on the referee (DM) to either allow the exploit or close the loophole.
An example of this is Magic: the Gathering. There's a stupendous amount of hard-coded rules in that game and a great part of the point of high-level play is to find exploits and combinations within those rules that are better than the other player's exploits and combinations. And every now and then the DCI, acting as referee, have to step in and ban something because it's just too good.
The "job" (if one can call it that...) of a player is to play. It is up to them to decide why they play. Winning is only one possible goal, and you can't win D&D. (Or most TTRPGs.)
Overall you maybe can't win D&D; but smaller win-loss conditions within the game arise constantly
- as in, maybe dozens of times per session! Every combat, every uncertain declared action, every check, and sometimes even the adventure or party's current mission - all of those have clear and obvious win-loss outcomes. Given that, as a player doesn't it just make sense to do what you can to achieve the win condition and avoid the loss?
Note here - and this might sound contradictory but bear with me a moment - I'm not at all advocating for over-optimizing or powergaming, mostly due to personal preference. I am, however, advocating for the sort of "creative play" stunts noted upthread - not for their automatic success every time (some are just plain over the top!) but for the player-side mentality and attitude of looking for those creative answers and rolling them out to see what happens.
It's not how the games are designed. You can "win" individual conflicts, but that's not the same thing at all, and conflating that with a more generic "winning" condition will lead to all sorts of problems.
It's the individual conflicts that matter, though, inthe here-and-now of playign the game.
Okay that is...a weird definition of "break" in context, but fair enough I guess.
But like...why? Why make things grind to a halt when you could instead avoid it? Why not seek compromise or mutual agreement?
1. Very often, the point in question is black-and-white; there is no compromise position possible (the stunt is allowed or it isn't; the declared action is impossible or it isn't, etc.) meaning that to move forward one side has to outright concede
2. There's often a larger issue of setting boundaries and precedents over who gets to do or determine what, unspoken at the time but underlying all of it; meaning that losing this argument today could set you up for a string of problems or headaches in the future.
It...doesn't though. I have never once had to "argue" with my players. They are polite, respectful, attentive, and positive basically all of the time. They know that as long as they approach a discussion in good faith, seeking an outcome that is in some way reasonable, I will do whatever I can to make that outcome actually come to pass. It might not take the form they originally intended, but they know I will do my level best to meet the spirit of their goals even if I can't (or am unwilling to) make the letter happen. And with the power of God and anime on my side, there is little I cannot do!
Do you seriously get into heated arguments with your players?
Why? Why would you tolerate that from anyone? Just stop playing with them if they're going to be so rude!
In the past, certainly; but we got most of the real arguing out of our systems a long time ago.
That said, refusing to back down on a position or principle isn't necessarily rude.
But...why? I'm legitimately baffled here. You can only learn what a person is truly seeking by asking them. If they are able to answer, you can then look for ways that they can get what they want, or something sufficiently like what they want, without forcing something you as DM are opposed to or uncomfortable with.
That assumes those things - what the player wants and what the DM is comfortable with - aren't mutually exclusive. When they're not, sure, a way will be found. But often they are mutually exclusive: the player simply wants something the DM isn't comfortable allowing.
An example from my own past: I had a player who wanted to play a vampire PC and came up with reams of evidence as to how it could work (this was in the era when "Twilight" was a big deal). Problem was, the party at the time was pretty low-level and a vampire of any kind would have blown away the rest of the PCs in terms of power balance: not gonna happen, so I shut the idea down. This one didn't turn into an at-table argument, but I received an awful lot of out-of-game lobbying attempting to change my mind, and in the end the player wasn't very happy when I stuck to my guns.