Dealing with a DM who takes things too literally

ST

First Post
Exactly. The GM and players are responsible in 4e for determining what the mechanical effects look like in the game world. If mechanically you can move a NPC with an ability, then it's up to the table to come up with an in-game explanation of what actually happened.

"I move in close, under the giant, and he repositions so he can see me better" is one example of how you can do that without injecting anything implausible to the imagined game world. (Obviously, what's plausible or not differs table to table.)

The mechanics are prescriptive, not descriptive. We're all used to doing mechanics -> game world description conversion when it comes to stuff like Hit Points, since they've been around so long. This isn't really any different from that.
 

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kitsune9

Adventurer
It sounds like your DM hasn't read the rules. I don't consider it "rules lawyering" when the DM gets certain basic concepts wrong. I think you should ask him to read the books, or take some time off DM'ing until he does.

Wayne, I agree with Halivar. This definitely sounds like a DM who hasn't read the rules on pushing or is trying to apply real life logic to the rules in which game doesn't work that way.

If your DM doesn't want to relent and you're not having fun, this is where you should say that you want to play by the rules or there needs to be a new DM in your life. I know this kind of sounds harsh, but it's always been a pet peeve of mine for DM's to either play "fast and loose" or just ban stuff in the middle of a session for no reason other than their own perceived logic or just because they think it makes for a good story.
 

Skallgrim

First Post
Also, aside from any issues the DM has with his interpretation of the meaning of the word 'push', this is an issue for this specific player.

I suspect that the DM has no problem with Turn Undead pushing the Bonecrusher Skeletons, or Thunderwave pushing the Ogre. This means that this player, picking legal power choices, gets less benefit from his powers than other players do, who have picked powers with the same effect. This is simply not fair. If you and I both pick a power that has the same effect, we should expect it to deliver that effect.

Second, this DM has reduced the utility of this particular power (or even series of powers). First, was the player made aware of this before he made his power selections? It's really not fair to let people make character build decisions under one set of assumptions (the printed rules), only to tell them afterward that you are using your own set of assumptions.


I really disagree with the DM's interpretation (you bonk the Giant on a sensitive spot, or unbalance him during a step, or just whack the snot out of him), but I can only call him a "bad DM" if he treats players inconsistently, or fails to communicate rule changes appropriately.

Finally, D&D has always been a group endeavor. If you and the other players are OK (or even excited) about playing with Push powers working a particular way (especially since it's evidently the way they were designed to be used), why is it any problem for the DM? Unless kowtowing to DM authority is the price you pay to get him to run games for you, I would hope that everybody could weigh in on things like this.
 


Greg K

Legend
Consider denying someone the ability to base his Will defense off Charisma, arguing that "charisma" does not imply "willpower." You can argue that from a literal standpoint, sure; consider charismatic celebrities who can't help cheating on their spouses. But that decision just out-and-out shafts sorcerers, bards, and all the other classes whose best attribute is Charisma yet who have no need for Wisdom. Basing Fort, Ref and Will on the best of two attributes in each pair lets players get more of the characters they want without losing any rules advantages.

If were to run 4e, I would base off of Fort, Ref,and Will. If a player want to ignore certain stats, they should pay the price- my opinion of course.
 

wayne62682

First Post
My DM also doesn't divide the XP for encounters by 4, as we only have 4 players; he divides it by 5 because as he says, if he divided by 4 we would be at a higher level than the adventure states (but I thought this was the point, since the adventures are designed for FIVE PCs of a specific level), nor does he tone down the fights and still says we breeze through it (although this is in part because he tends to forget monsters special powers or hazards until midway through the fight). For instance, we just finished Trollhaunt Warrens and he kept us from hitting 13th level until after the last fight (and we started the adventure at 10th level, when it's designed for 11th-13th I believe).

He also arbitrarily assigns combat advantage based on superiority; if there are three of us surrounding a monster then we all automatically have combat advantage, and if one of us is surrounded by monsters they all get CA on us - he said this is in the DMG but I don't recall reading it.

Also he feels the same way about the fighters Combat Challenge ability (hitting a moving enemy with an OA stops them from moving) as he does about my Push ability; i.e. if a dragon moves past me, it shouldn't stop his move. He tends to "punish" me when I do this by having the creature stop, turn around and attack me instead of whatever it was going to do, but I guess that's the price I pay for having that ability.

I'm the only one who takes issue with it because the other three players are related (well, one is his sister's boyfriend, but close enough) and they're all casual players, so they don't fully understand the rules of the game either and just play for fun, but I'm a bit of a rules lawyer since I *do* know the rules.
 

Part of running a game in an "old school" way is interpreting powers and abilities in ways that seem plausable.
I daresay most groups describe the powers and abilities in plausible ways, regardless of whether they're "old school" or not. Plausible being defined, of course, in relation to the game world.

It also seems to me that a few folks are saying that it is wrongbadfun for the DM to run 4e in an "old school" way.
I don't think so. It seems to me the problem is not that the DM wants to run the game in an old school fashion, but that he is interpreting specific, defined mechanical terms based on their everyday English meaning. That isn't about playstyle but apparent lack of familiarity with the rules.

It would be like refusing to allow a 3.X character to take a "5-foot step" in combat, because you feel that 5 feet is just too much ground to cover in a single step.
 

Also he feels the same way about the fighters Combat Challenge ability (hitting a moving enemy with an OA stops them from moving) as he does about my Push ability; i.e. if a dragon moves past me, it shouldn't stop his move. He tends to "punish" me when I do this by having the creature stop, turn around and attack me instead of whatever it was going to do, but I guess that's the price I pay for having that ability.
That's not a punishment, that's the entire point of the ability. Get the monster to attack the fighter, not a softer target.
 

Doodles

First Post
It seems to me the problem is not that the DM wants to run the game in an old school fashion, but that he is interpreting specific, defined mechanical terms based on their everyday English meaning.
When you can't talk plain English but instead some sort of game-speech where every mundane word is redefined in ways that have bearings on the rules of the game themselves, it's become WAY too abstract for my tastes. That's a problem with RPGs (whether that's just recent RPGs or not is up for grabs), it makes them all the more nerdy for the outsider.
 

When you can't talk plain English but instead some sort of game-speech where every mundane word is redefined in ways that have bearings on the rules of the game themselves, it's become WAY too abstract for my tastes. That's a problem with RPGs (whether that's just recent RPGs or not is up for grabs), it makes them all the more nerdy for the outsider.
Not every mundane word, actually. The examples in this thread are "push" and "immobilized".
 

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