Why don't you say straight away that I'm a liar ?
I'm sorry, I didn't realize my own uncertainty about your entire 42+ years of playing DnD, and acknowleding I don't know your entire life now counts as lying. Next time I'll just make sweeping claims about your life with no acknowledgement that I could possibly be wrong about that.
No, I've NEVER experienced a truly bad DM in 42+ years of roleplaying. People are not stupid, when they do something, it's for a reason, and you can discuss with them. Even if some DMs did things that I thought were not particularly fun, I either discussed it with them, and we found solutions, or I stopped playing with them, that's all (and even then, I think it only happened with one DM in my entire roleplaying "career" - and note that I've also had DM's have talks with me because they did not find what I did as a player really fun for them and other players, which also got me thinking, believe me or not).
1) I have never said people are stupid, not sure why this is coming up. Miscommunication and mismatched expectations are not signs of stupidity.
2) I'm glad you've discussed with people, but since you quit at least one game, it seems my gut that you might have had a "Bad DM" once in multiple decades of play wasn't too far off. I'm glad that you ended up feeling like the DM wasn't abusing their power over the game and you two just had different aesthetic tastes, but it also shows it was a good thing I didn't make a sweeping statement about your expeirences... oh wait, "that I called you a liar". Which I didn't.
But then, I'm probably more tolerant than most. I don't think a DM is truly bad for a bit of railroading. I don't feel that I'm entitled to any specific level of "player agency", if a DM decides to turn me into a wererat for stealing, I discuss that with him and we find solutions. And I also don't try to hide my favourite playstyle of the moment either, because the things I've seen on forums are a lot about a player's playstyle conflicting with the DM's and usually whining that they don't get what they feel entitled to.
So I won't do what you did and call you a straight liar about what happened to you with this "bad DM", but I would really like to hear the other side before I make my opinion about what actually happened.
My personal perspective is that, in general, as a DM, you get the players that you deserve and, as a DM, you get the players that you deserve.
Wow. So, again, I didn't call you a liar. All I did was not make a claim about your experiences based off a half-remembered post from weeks ago and your general responses over the last few weeks of our interactions. Lay off the hair-trigger next time.
I also don't think it is "entitlement" to complain about DMs railroading and some of the other things that have been reported or that I have personally experienced. You might personally have thicker skin about that, but labeling players as whiners doesn't really come across as fair.
Also, your personal perspective is a bit abominable if you really mean that literally. Because it is very much a type of victim blaming, where if you have a player or DM who is abusive towards you, you generally deserved that. You get the players or the DMs who are available. Sometimes that means you meet really awesome people who you become lifelong friends with. Other times it means you have a horrible experience that ruins weeks of your life trying to deal with naughty word people. You make do with what you get, and try and sort through the bad to find the good.
Honestly, I'm glad your experiences have been so positive. You are lucky. Others aren't.
You know what, I was about to apologise in turn, but after you just called me a liar in another post, I don't think I will.
You find my language combative and confrontational, I just suggest you reading yours with an open mind, and seeing if you don't find that in your own speech> some examples below.
Didn't call you a liar. and I'm glad you can refuse an apology for an imagined insult.
After that, when you say "By the rules, the player is not incorrect in assuming that they will know when a spell is cast", it's just another of skewed reading of the rules. Just to point something, when you say "the casting of a spell is noticeable" (and I put you to the test here, PROVE to me that it is), does it meant that it is noticed ? No, it just means that it COULD be noticed, and the game leaves it completely to the DM as to things are noticed or not. Almost everything in the rules are left to a DM's interpretation anyway, but you insist, despite everything in the rules also telling you that it's up to the DM, to have a player feel entitled to cite the rules to the DM to demand "justice". I just don't. Your perspective here is a 3e one, and even per the RAW, it's wrong, so please don't come and try to insist that anything in the rules that you really seem to stick to is on your side. It's really interesting how some parts of the rules are holy to you and others completely ignored. Don't you think that you are missing a few things there ?
So, I tried to be very careful in my phrasing there. "the player is no incorrect" was a specifically chosen phrase. Because I'm not saying that they were right. As you aggressively point out while deriding me about players citing rules and demanding justice (again, never said that, that never came up, so why are you using such inflammatory language), the DM could determine differently.
However, it is a reasonable assumption on the part of the player that Passive Perception combined with the Xanathar's rules that state "To be perceptible, the casting of a spell must involve a verbal, somatic, or material component." that they are supposed to know when a spell is cast.
You can wave the flag and call upon DM Fiat that the DM determined that wasn't so because reasons, but my point was simply that unless the DM stated otherwise, the players would not be automatically incorrect in their assumption. And yes, the players have to make assumptions. You couldn't play the game otherwise with people declaring that the DM can change anything and everything whenever they wish.
I think almost everyone here has told you why they think that a DM can't cheat, so I won't continue here, in particular because I find it funny that you accuse me of being extreme in my examples and in turn bring "what if a DM uses weighted dice" as an example. Not only is it ridiculous but even if a DM ended up doing this, all it takes is for the DM to decide that the rule is that he is allowed to for it stop being cheating.
Which is my point. I bring a massively extreme example, something no one would actually do because it is so flagrant, and the community response is that if the DM rules they can use weighted dice, then those are the rules of the game. No matter how extreme I go, you'll justify it. All the while calling players whiners and that even asking the DM questions at the wrong time is hounding them to death over any technical advantage.
As for the designer's "blurb", yes I will continue quoting it as a proof that you are just sticking to the letter of some rules rather than understanding the spirit of the game. No, to play, there is no obligation to read the rules for your class. Or for spellcasting even if you are a spellcaster (and if you think that there is, please prove it). I have initiated lots of people to the game and they played really well without reading a single sentence of the rules because they understood the spirit of it. And yes, my view on that spirit is supported by many section of the game itself, where as how can you optimise when it's not necessary to read all the rules, you might have missed the section that actually provided the optimisation.
How did they fill out a character sheet with abilities if they never read the rules? Have you ever had a rogue use Cunning Action? How about a Druid use Wildshape? The only way they can do these things is by reading the rules to know they can, unless instead you just verbally relayed to them all of the rules for their character, which is practically the same thing. And if a fighter came to you and said they use wildshape, because they have a deep connection to the forest, and you didn't let them because they don't have that ability... then you have enforced the rules of the classes. Despite the fact that there are character's in fiction whose story was exactly that.
You are obviously going to keep judging me though, because it seems that you've already figured out everything there is to know about how I run games and how I abide by "the spirit of DnD". And it isn't like I haven't proven you wrong about me and my intentions multiple times, even in this very post.
As for the "lead storyteller" vs. "referee", I actually agree that they should not be opposed, and it was actually the apology that I was going to make at the start, because although our games are really different, I think that they still share some common element because you (at least I hope) and I are not extremists. But seeing the types of examples that you pull out to try and prove that DM could be cheating, or about the fact that a spell being cast has to be noticed really shows me that I don't think that we have much to discuss, especially when you are calling me a liar straight to my face.
A thing I never did. And my examples were purposefully extreme, because the position I was against was an absolute. For an absolute to be true, absolutely, then it is true even in the face of something extreme. And showing that even in the face of the most extreme and ridiculous examples, people will defend the DMs absolute right to do anything, I hope that I've shown at least some people that we may have a problem. Because once you tell someone that they can use weighted dice as long as they say they can use weighted dice, and declare that players should never assume anything is true, but also not ask the wrong questions, you have empowered people to be abusive. Not everyone will. Most people won't. But some people will. Some people do. And since I don't need to use weighted dice, and have no desire to fudge hp or Ac... I don't need that much power bestowed upon me.
And yes, coming back to this thread, I do believe that the player was hounding the DM to death, we have a real life example and not a completely hypothetical one. This attitude is not normal in that game, and the player's playstyle is clearly not the one that the DM is running at the table. Seeing that he is the only doing that should lead him to question the way he plays and whether it is the right table for him.
Maybe it should. Or maybe he has poor social skills. Or maybe is trying to be better, and changing yourself is hard. But "hounding the DM to death" is hyperbolic and certainly extreme. Maybe the OP would agree with you, but for me, I have dealt with far worse. It can sometimes be annoying, but I can understand that the intent behind it may not be malicious. And kicking a player from your table should be reserved for malicious behavior, not annoying behavior.