Dealing with a DM who takes things too literally


First Post
The funniest thing is he has no problem with Turn Undead pushing, or with pulls; his only problem seems to be when I use an attack that pushes as an effect on a rather large creature, or when my Combat Challenge stops a large creature from moving (because he points out it wouldn't be enough of a strike to stop them - missing entirely the fact that they stop moving because something just hit them and drew their attention)

That totally fits in with the guy who chimed in a while back with "Reroll as arcane or divine, and the problem goes away". :)

The issue is a GM who doesn't believe that a martial class can do certain things, and doesn't want to be convinced otherwise. Whatever tweak of personality that leads them to feel this way doesn't apply to magic at all.

However, I do find it interesting how the GM's sort of existential anger with "but fighters shouldn't be able to do that" seems to be leading to you being a fairly effective Defender after all -- if nothing else, you guarantee that a good amount of his mindshare in tactically moving the monsters is getting used up on how to 'keep you honest'. So, yeah, kind of dysfunctional, but it works?

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Raven Crowking

First Post
Also, while the DM can and should (IMHO) let common sense be his guide (if plausibility is desired), he should also remember that his preferences are not the only ones that matter. He is not alone at the table....although if he forgets this, he soon might be!



First Post
I think N0Man nailed it.

One reason 4E is not the rules set for me is that I think the "rules first" approach is pretty key. The balance in "builds" and powers is an important reason to choose the game. Except where it is explicitly noted, I don't think "common sense" much factors into that. One is likely, I think, to short-change players with a "situation first" approach -- especially if there is any temptation to hold "martial exploits" to a higher standard than "arcane" or "divine" powers.

That kind of balance is not necessarily any better in old D&D (although I think it actually relies a bit on common sense), but it is not so important to players whose tastes tend in the old-style way.

Obviously, not everyone is going to share my view. More power to groups willing to experiment with more ad hoc adjustments!

However, I think that enterprise puts cooperation at even more of a premium than usual. If DM and players are not "on the same page" then it could lead to a lot of trouble.

To my mind, one of the advantages of the 4E rules structure is that it can free the DM to "take off the gloves" and play adversaries in a more clearly adversarial way. Sometimes, that may be necessary for an encounter to deliver its full effect; the DM must focus all his or her brainpower to provide a good tactical challenge for the players' combined intelligence.

A "rules, not rulings" basis spreads the work of adjudication. Anyone can cite the text and, to the extent that it is unambiguous, make an objective statement as to how to resolve a matter on the tabletop. That frees the DM not only of some labor but of some temptation to bias -- and the responsibility to resist it -- that can arise when one is responsible for much interpretation and innovation. That bias could go either way, and impartiality is to my mind much to be desired. As an "old school" DM, I cannot help but sometimes "second-guess" myself because so much depends on my assessments (although I also call on the consensus among players whenever it seems meet).

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