Dealing with a DM who takes things too literally

wayne62682

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)
 

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Doug McCrae

Legend
Now, in previous discussions (more specifically focused around CAGI), many 4e defenders claimed that 4e could be run in an "Old School" way. Specifically, it was claimed that if the use of a power didn't seem plausible in a particular circumstance, the DM could veto its use. We now see that, for a number of EN Worlders, this statement simply isn't true.
Can <> Should
 

Raven Crowking

First Post
Specifically, the DM said he couldn't push the giant. However, push is defined in the book as being something other than one person physically pushing another. Turn undead also uses the word push, but doesn't involve the cleric walking over and physically pushing each of the monsters. Push is a forced movement that must be away from the source. Pull is a forced movement towards the source. Slide is a forced movement in any direction. Each individual power describes it differently ... and in different situations it can be different things.

Right. But the defining characteristic is that the fighter must somehow be able to force the movement.

Except of course, he is not looking at the plausibility of "the fighter forces the large creature to move one square back away from him" and instead looking at the plausibility of "the fighter physically pushes the large creature one square back away from him".

Are you sure about that? We don't have the DM's POV here, and we do have the OP stating explicitly that he doesn't feel it is necessary for him to offer any narrative as to why the effect might work.

We also know that none of the other players seem to have a problem, again based upon the statements of the OP. It seems rather presumptuous (to me, anyway) to assume that the DM doesn't understand the rules given the circumstances.

You may say "He's putting importance of the plausibility of the word push ... without actually looking at the RULE of the word push" but you don't know this. Moreover, if the DM is concerned with plausibility, that rule "push" must still be interpretted plausibly. It must still represent something within the context of the game world. Unless one believes that rules trump milieu, there still must be a reason within the milieu that the rule works as it does within the given circumstance.

(And, again, this is exactly the same argument with CAGI....If the fighter's powers are not magical in nature [and I think in 4e that they are] then there has to be a mundane explanation that doesn't strain credibility.)

If you are ignoring the rule, you can't really be measuring the plausibility of that rule working in the world. He has misread a power and has decided that his misreading of the power is implausible.

What makes you believe that the DM is ignoring the rule in this case? What makes you believe that he has misread the power?

It seems that you are presuming (1) that the DM did not announce (formally or in any other fashion) an intention to run the game in an old-school way, and (2) that the DM did not understand the rules. Since no other player is having this problem, and since the DM's POV is not given, these are pretty uncharitable thinks to presume.

Just as a thought experiment, imagine that everyone else at the table apparently did know that the DM puts "world before rules" and imagine that the OP had a reasonable chance to know this....because apparently everyone else at the table did. Now, again as a thought experiment, imagine that the DM did read and understand the 4e ruleset.

Is it impossible or improbable for a DM who desires to run 4e in an "Old School" way to make the same ruling, and be correct? Or have we instead simply taken it upon ourselves to assume incompetence?

I still can't see why it's remarkable that different groups could use the same rules, but end up playing in largely different ways. Or that people who play a game one way would be critical of people who play it in another way.

This is rather what it comes down to, isn't it? Why is assumed that the DM is somehow "broken" or incompetent for making this ruling, despite the claim by the OP that he is the only person bothered by the DMing style?

If you're the odd man out at the table in terms of style and expectations, why is this group so vehement that you must be right, and that the DM must be wrong/broken/incompetent?


RC
 

Raven Crowking

First Post
Can <> Should

Perhaps not, but this is in direct opposition to what was claimed then. It was then claimed that the apparently magical fighter powers shouldn't be viewed as a problem, because you could simply veto them if they did something that seemed implausible.

That rather implies that, if you don't want magical fighters, you should veto accordingly.

GIVEN that one doesn't want magical fighters, EITHER you should veto accordingly to avoid magical fighters, OR you should choose a ruleset that does not include magical fighters.

IMHO, this thread amply demonstrates that this is a problem with the 4e ruleset (for those who prefer to avoid this sort of thing), despite earlier claims to the contrary. As much as you yourself may be satisfied with 4e, the reasons that others are dissatisfied are real reasons. Game rules do affect how the game is played, and that affect is not minor.


RC
 

Obryn

Hero
This is rather what it comes down to, isn't it? Why is assumed that the DM is somehow "broken" or incompetent for making this ruling, despite the claim by the OP that he is the only person bothered by the DMing style?

If you're the odd man out at the table in terms of style and expectations, why is this group so vehement that you must be right, and that the DM must be wrong/broken/incompetent?
Ah. I think I've found your error.

You're looking at this as a group of people responding to the OP, when in reality it's several individuals individuals replying to the OP, independent of one another. I'm not sure what conclusion or discrepancy or self-contradiction or catch-22 or logical flaw or coup you're aiming for - but 4e players are not a monolithic entity with identical gaming styles. Do you think we should all agree? Or think that the fact that we don't always agree means there's something deeply flawed in the game itself?

-O
 

Barastrondo

First Post
There are also folks who believe that the rules are basically a social convention to support the narrative, rather than the other way around.

Or, again, "what the situation actually is" seems to be that you think it's unfair to run 4e in an Old School way.

Well, "in an Old School" way is something that varies tremendously from one person to the next, and I kind of doubt you and I would have perfect accordance on it. I'd actually wager that when I was playing with the red-box set at the age of 10, I was playing a different flavor of Old School than you were — and to be honest, if I wanted to recreate some of that, I'd want to recreate the parts I had fun with, whether or not they're agreed-upon tenets of the current old-school movement or not.

I don't think it's intrinsically unfair to run 4e in such a way that you can make judgment calls to deny power use or allow for creative power use. I think it has the potential for being unfair, though. Taking away a legitimate use of a power from a fighter without giving him something not permissible in the rules, or not imposing comparable penalties on other classes, is pretty much dictionary-perfect "unfair." Maybe the judgment calls even out over the course of a campaign. But they're not guaranteed to, particularly if the GM's of the opinion that, say, martial characters should just not be allowed to achieve a certain level of "fantastic" in their actions, but characters who use magic are. That could easily lead to unfairness as a trend throughout the campaign.

Whether being unfair is a problem for an individual group? Totally different question. Some people like their Old School to be explicitly unfair (usually in consistent, agreed-upon ways, of course), with the challenge being whether or not you can overcome that sort of thing. But tastes vary.
 

Obryn

Hero
Perhaps not, but this is in direct opposition to what was claimed then. It was then claimed that the apparently magical fighter powers shouldn't be viewed as a problem, because you could simply veto them if they did something that seemed implausible.

That rather implies that, if you don't want magical fighters, you should veto accordingly.

GIVEN that one doesn't want magical fighters, EITHER you should veto accordingly to avoid magical fighters, OR you should choose a ruleset that does not include magical fighters.

IMHO, this thread amply demonstrates that this is a problem with the 4e ruleset (for those who prefer to avoid this sort of thing), despite earlier claims to the contrary. As much as you yourself may be satisfied with 4e, the reasons that others are dissatisfied are real reasons. Game rules do affect how the game is played, and that affect is not minor.

RC
Oh, now I understand! People disagree on how to interpret powers and how to play the game, and therefore 4e only works if you have magic fighters!

It's all so ... so ....

No, I'm still confused.

-O
 


Raven Crowking

First Post
Oh, now I understand! People disagree on how to interpret powers and how to play the game, and therefore 4e only works if you have magic fighters!

It's all so ... so ....

No, I'm still confused.

-O

I see that the Straw Man got lost on the way to Oz.

Hey! I guess you are just trying to score points!

RC
 

ST

First Post
I think there's some good analysis here, in terms of "What really happened in the game world?"

That gets into IIEE -- Intention, Initiation, Execution, Effect -- which is in all RPGs even if it's not called that (or not referenced at all).

You say what you're doing. You roll. GM describes outcome. That kind of thing.

There's a ton of unspoken consensus in that kind of stuff, and when it's not there, these kinds of arguments can bring the game to a halt. You're, like, sitting there with half of the people at the table imagining the giant not moving, half moving, the game's essentially 'crashed'. You can try to move on, but it requires at least a little discussion.

I think "When something actually happens in the game world" is when everyone at the table assents to it. That doesn't mean they all wanted it to happen, but they're like, ok yeah, i ran out of HP, so I'm unconscious, whatever. A rule may provide the guideline, but that it actually happens in the imagined game world is based on everybody agreeing.

So when it comes to which is the arbiter of what actually gets agreed on, what the mechanics specify or how the GM personally views the scene and what he sees as plausible, well, that's up to the social contract of the group to decide. Neither's the wrong answer, but if everybody at the table doesn't assent to it (even just 'whatever, let's move on' kind of assent), you literally can't continue playing.
 

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