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D&D General DM's: How transparent are you with game mechanics "in world?"

Chaosmancer

Legend
Not if you remove functionality you can't. And I already showed how it's a tool that I need in my example earlier in the thread. You would remove that ability from me and in the process ruin a good tool.

I've given support multiple times. Once with a specific example recently used by me.

I must have missed it, because I don't remember you giving any solid examples. I remember you saying this recent bit about it grinding the game to a halt if you had to have a talk with your players, but as we are showing, that isn't true.

You do know that a quick explanation isn't the same as an involved discussion, right? You're conflating the two things and in the process getting what I said completely wrong.

And no one said that you would need an involved discussion. You are assuming you need one for no reason I can discern except that it makes your position seem more reasonable. A discussion is different than an involved discussion, and so you can easily have a quick discussion that the players can participate in.

Objectively false. The two words do not mean the same thing at all. A lack of involved discussion doesn't even come close to meaning without explanation.

How about the lack of a quick discussion? Because I've been using the word "discussion" without the adjective "involved" you are adding that and changing the meaning of the point.

No. There was no conversation. I informed them that I was going to include magic weapons without pluses as weapons unable to harm creatures with resistance/immunity to magical weapons. Then I explained that it was so that I could give them some cool magic weapons, rather than them finding none at all or nearly none, which was to their benefit. Explanation =/= conversation.

Dictating a rule without giving them a chance to respond. Actually worse, because they did respond if I remember this story correctly, voting to allow those weapons to harm monsters with resistance. However, you withheld information from them, which is that you would give them fewer magic items in that case, and then justified ignoring their wishes, because of a rule you homebrewed (the frequency of items) and basically gave them an ultimatum that if they didn't go along with your desires, they would get less interesting gear.

And you are probably going to defend this by explaining to me something about the game balance or the threat of monsters with resistance to non-magical weapons, but it is hogwash. There were other solutions, including laying out your real concerns first, and allowing the players to discuss that in session zero, intstead of telling them "actually, that discussion we had previously doesn't apply, because that result is one I don't like"


And, if you have the time to say all that, then you could easily fit in a quick conversation with your players to get their opinions on the matter. You simply choose not to.

They are intertwined. You cannot take away a tool that I use to great effect without reducing my personal enjoyment of the game. Discussing my role as DM and the tools available invites my personal enjoyment to be part of the discussion as it has relevance to the discussion.

No, it doesn't. If we were discussing the role of the umpire in baseball, and their ability to make certain calls, like kicking coaches or fans out of the game, the umpire saying "But I like having the power to kick coaches out of the game" is a meaningless distraction. It doesn't matter if you like it, it matters what is best for the game. There are many things we like, that we don't get to have or do.
 

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Chaosmancer

Legend
And then, because it's absolutely the DM's prerogative to say that Orcus does not find the PC acceptable, that way is officially closed. Does it make it inconsistent ? No, it's actually a common fantasy trope "the chosen one" who does not have to be a PC.


It is absolutely not the case. No PC apart from Gandalf can decide to wield magic (assuming that it is what Gandalf does). No PC in the fellowship can hope to match the Witch-King of Angmar or have any of his powers. As for the One Ring, it's just an item, and gaining it does not give you the powers of Sauron. For example, Gollum never acquires them, and neither of the two hobbits do when wielding the ring. And neither did Isildur, for example. There was no path to Sauron's power, who is a being of a higher order any way.


And again, no one can hope to match Anakin, who is the chosen one, apart from another Skywalker. The path is closed to a few chosen ones, and not all PCs (depending who you see as PCs) can chose to be whatever they want despite the race they were born in. Even being a Jedi is not race specific, it's a gift.

You are very much ignoring the point. The point Lanefan and Maxperson are making isn't that every path to power must be open to the PCs, but that paths of power must be potentially open. The example with Orcus is actually the prime example here, you say that the DM declares that Orcus won't make a PC a Chosen One, and then act like that refutes their point. But it doesn't. In fact, I'd say Max and Lanefan both would agree that it is the DMs prerogative to have Orcus deny the PCs access to his power. The point is though, that if the PCs DID gain his favor, and become his chosen one, then they would gain those powers.

To give another example, a Lich has a necrotic touch that paralyzes foes. The players may declare "Wow, that is awesome, how can I do that?" The answer is simple... become a lich. If you become a lich, you can gain access to this power. You also will likely also lose your character and have to roll a new one, because most DMs aren't cool with you becoming a Lich. But the potential is there. It isn't "you can never gain this power because the laws of reality prevent it, you are a Player Character, not a Non-Player Character"

To take the example of the Witch-King of Angmar. How did he gain his power? By wearing one of the Nine rings, falling to Sauron's Corruption and becoming a Ring Wraith. If Aaragon got one of the Nine Rings, put it on, fell to Sauron's Corruption, and became a Ring Wraith... then he would very likely have very similar if not identical powers to the Witch-King. The point though, is that that power came with a cost that Aaragon doesn't wish to pay, because it is a sign of moral weakness to have given in to Sauron.

The potential exists, not the actuality.
 

Lyxen

Great Old One
You are very much ignoring the point. The point Lanefan and Maxperson are making isn't that every path to power must be open to the PCs, but that paths of power must be potentially open. The example with Orcus is actually the prime example here, you say that the DM declares that Orcus won't make a PC a Chosen One, and then act like that refutes their point. But it doesn't. In fact, I'd say Max and Lanefan both would agree that it is the DMs prerogative to have Orcus deny the PCs access to his power. The point is though, that if the PCs DID gain his favor, and become his chosen one, then they would gain those powers.

No, I'm saying that it's not even a question of Orcus "making the PC" a chosen one, just of the PC being born one or not. Anakin was born the chosen one, nobody else in the galaxy could have gained the power he gained. Sometimes, in particular in the genre, exceptional creatures are born, some end up PCs, other NPCs, but there is no justification for forcing the fact that all could be interchangeable.

To give another example, a Lich has a necrotic touch that paralyzes foes. The players may declare "Wow, that is awesome, how can I do that?" The answer is simple... become a lich. If you become a lich, you can gain access to this power. You also will likely also lose your character and have to roll a new one, because most DMs aren't cool with you becoming a Lich. But the potential is there. It isn't "you can never gain this power because the laws of reality prevent it, you are a Player Character, not a Non-Player Character"

And the only thing I'm saying is that sometimes the laws of the universe will permit it (the Lich) and some other times they won't (being born the Chosen One of Evil as a prerequesite).

I claim that there is no law in D&D or in fiction that prevents both being consistent in the world.

To take the example of the Witch-King of Angmar. How did he gain his power? By wearing one of the Nine rings, falling to Sauron's Corruption and becoming a Ring Wraith.

Actually no, he was already a powerful king and sorcerer before this. None of the player characters can decide to be a sorcerer.

If Aaragon got one of the Nine Rings, put it on, fell to Sauron's Corruption, and became a Ring Wraith... then he would very likely have very similar if not identical powers to the Witch-King.

And again, probably not. A Ringwraith, very probably, but the witch-king, no. And the same for Sauron. They are simply different, there is no path to becoming a sorcerer or a maia-type for PCs in general, nor is there need to be for it to be consistent.
 

Lyxen

Great Old One
Look, you want to be offended because I didn't remember every detail you've told me about your life over the last 3 weeks, I can't stop you. I'm not wasting more time telling you I didn't call you a liar if you refuse to believe me.

No, again this is not what happened. To took a specific statement and said that I had to be wrong because it does not fit with your idea of the gaming world. I'm sorry, but it's not about details of my life.

Which is exactly what I just said, so how am I wrong, if you just parrot what I said back at me? Seriously, is someone hacking my posts and rewriting them?

And again, if it's just a different style, how come this translates into a horror story ?

No, complaining about railroading isn't entitlement. Calling someone a Bad DM for railroading by removing player agency isn't bad in and of itself. You don't get to call players whiners and then obfuscate that by making ridiculous hyperbolic claims.

No, I'm sorry, but claiming that someone is "a Bad DM for railroading by removing player agency" is bad in and of itself. There is no such holy thing as "player agency" and over my rather long TTRPG "career", mu characters have been possessed, charmed, directed and railroaded, and I still had a lot of fun doing it.

Again, you are calling a different playstyle the mark of a "bad DM", and in and of itself, it's bad.

Note that you acknowledge asking players if they want something "more guided" or "more sandboxy". This acknowledges the need to communicate with your players and get their consent.

No, it's asking for their preference. After that, as all players in our games, they accept that they will be railroaded now and then, because it's the nature of (epic) stories, and they trust ut to do it to the extent that they are having fun.

Instead, many DMs just decide that the will limit the player options until they can only do what the DM wants to happen. This is worthy of complaining, because it is not a preference of style, it is forcing a style upon someone against their will.

No, it's YOUR playstyle that refuses to trust a DM with some agency in your character history, and by participating in a DM's campaign, you should trust him anyway. After that, if you did not clarify it with him during session 0, it's at least as much your responsibility as his, because if it was that important to you, you, you, you should have said it at the start, and refused to participate.

Once more, if you look at session 0 in Tasha, the basic social contract is laid along the lines of: "The players will allow you to direct the campaign." THere might be different contacts for different tables, but this is the one that I've been playing under all these years, I allow the DM to direct the campaign, meaning that I don't take offense when he dares do so with a bit of railroading.

But you seem invested in the idea that the players can never be in the right.

Sometimes they can, but once more I want to see both sides, especially because once more the DM has a very difficult job in addition to his preparation work, whereas players can just come, sit on their backside and complain.

And yet, your position if taken literally, is that that one evening was something they deserved. Again, it isn't. It is likely little more than chance and convenience that brings people together, and no one deserves that turning into a rotten evening because of bad people.

Again, no D&D is better than bad D&D. And if you chose your games that casually, then you should not complain that sometimes it's not exactly to your preference.

That line gets tossed around like that solves anything. "No DnD is better than Bad DnD!" but, have you considered it in practice, when paired with social norms? Have you considered what happens in a small community where you were the only player to speak up, and the only one to walk out, and the DM declares to the community that you were just an "entitled little-" of a player who couldn't stand not getting their way? At best it is your word against theirs, unless the other players speak up for you.

And on the other hand, you have no problem tossing around "he's a bad DM" and adding this to "DM horror stories".

And if the other players do not speak for you, but remain silent or speak for the DM, does it not tell you something ? That you were the odd one in the game, with just different preferences ? And that you should maybe, just maybe, consider that you were the disruptive one in that game ?

And not everyone has the luxury of playing with friends. Sure, that's the ideal, but a lot of us end up playing with strangers who hopefully become friends.

And sometimes it does not work out because of different preferences. Does this make the other people horrible players, worthy of being slandered all over the world ?

There is a lot that goes into these decisions, it is more complicated than just refusing to play if the game isn't to your liking. Especially if the pervailing culture is one of placing the blame with the players consistently.

And on the other hand, there is an extremely heavy trend of blaming the DM and colporting "DM horror stories". From my experience, yes, the DMs are not perfect, but all I've seen were really trying their best, whereas I've seen tons of naughty word players that just wanted to have their way despite what the rest of the table wanted. And look at Lanefan's story.

I'm not saying that all DMs are blameless, but at least they are, in general, trying to run games for other people, whereas there are lots of players who just want to be entertained.

I disagree with just about all of that. And you seem to be ignoring my point in favor of just blaming the player, because the DM is the "master" and all trust and good things must flow too and from him. I mean, wow, it is literally pointless to do anything other than offer absolute trust to the DM, because he is the master of the world. Yet, you want to believe that arrogant DMs who abuse trust and twist the rules to leave their players helpless and confused in the game world, for some measure of power over other people don't exist? That it is all people making up stories because they are whiners and entitled?

Yep, because unless given cause to distrust the DM (and again, in 42+ years, I don't recall any instance where I was wrong to do this, ever), I just trust him and maybe, just maybe, it's why I did not have trouble with them. Because coming with the attitude of "but the rules say this and this, and I'm therefore entitled to seeing when they are casting a spell and therefore you are wrong" is the best way to appear confrontational and, yes, entitled.

And again, considering DnD is a team game and people have abiltiies that affect more than just their own character, I don't see "it isn't even his character" as being relevant to the discussion.

But it is, the DM is describing that is happening to a specific character, why can't that annoying guy just wait for his turn, instead of butting in, which apparently he does all the time ? Let him wait for his turn, if he needs more information about playing his character, he can always ask it at that point in time.

At our tables, we multiplied the combat resolution speed by at least a factor 3 by not letting players speak out of turn (unless using reactions, etc.). Not all players were culpable of interrupting and making suggestions and generally slowing down the game and hogging the spotlight, but at least it controlled the most annoying ones.

There is only one DM, there are many players, they all deserve about the same amount of air time, you know, just for fairness and general politeness sake.

So, you tell them that they can turn into any animal no larger than a bear. Which first of all, is telling them the rules, which as I said, is practically no different than reading them.

No, this is not what the rules say. Read them, they are way, way longer and technical.

Except, that the practical differences are vast here. Because if that is what you told them, you have altered the rules to such an extent that I can't believe it. I could dig into the vast vast differences in the rules you have proposed, and the rules in the book, but that doesn't address the point.

But I thought what I had said was no different from reading the rules ? Please make up your mind. :p

If "you can turn in any animal no larger than a bear" are the only rules, then you telling the rules is the same as them reading those rules themselves. If they aren't, then the player is going to run into invisible barriers constantly as they find more things you didn't tell them (like the fact that they can't turn into a bear, nor can they turn into a sparrow). The game actually assumes that the players likely either read or had their abilities explained to them.

No it does not. If you think this, prove it, I think that you will find it extremely difficult to prove, I'll be waiting.

And the game additionally assumes that those rules are likely going to be followed.

Again, prove it. I'll be waiting.

And yes, if you take the rules to a point where they in no way resemble DnD, then you are playing some TTRPG, but it isn't DnD 5e. Especially, if you just let the players sit down and declare abilities that they might be able to do, based on your whims, then you are likely playing a different game. Unless your position is that any time someone is playing in a fantasy world they are playing DnD, which I think is unsupported by the existence of multiple other Fantasy TTRPGs which are not DnD.

Ah, I was waiting for this line. Please prove to me that I'm not playing D&D. Please show me where the designers have put limits about what can be customised in the game and still call it D&D. Again, I'll be waiting a long long time.

Official words, though: "A Dungeon Master adjudicates the game and determines whether to use an official ruling in play. The DM always has the final say on rules questions."

I find it fascinating that despite the fact I have constantly said I do not believe a single DM in this thread has ever cheated, that people are taking personal offense and seeing personal attacks in the very concept that a DM might be capable of cheating.

We are taking offense because you are basically saying that people who fudge are cheating, so yes, cheating is a bad word and when you are saying that people are cheating when they are doing absolutely nothing of the kind, they take offense. Why are you surprised ?

Especially since, once more, you are wrong in your definition of cheating, as has been pointed out multiple times.

I have not said that you are a cheater. I have not said you are an abuser. I have not said you are a Bad DM. I have simply stated that such things are possible. Railroading, to my understanding, is the equivalent of handing a group of players a theatrical script, letting them know what their roles are, what their lines are, and what they are supposed to do to put on the performance desired.

And again, why do you have to take that to such an extreme ?

And yes, I have directly experienced the sensation of that being what the DM wanted out of a session, so I will call railroading a bad thing. If you think that means a linear adventure where you guide the party past logical points (such as which road you turn down to get the Viridian City) to get to the fun part, then I apoligize that we have different conceptions of what the term means, but you seem uninterested in exploring ideas, you simply want to blast me as advocating your style is badwrongfun, when I have done nothing of the sort.

And yet you have, because (as with the DM using weighted dice) you are taking things to such an absurd level. Look at HotDQ. There is certainly no handing out of a script, there are plenty of opportunities for roleplaying, getting different results of encounters, and these matter. What feels like railroading to some people is just the fact that each location only points out to one next location, so the string of locations is pre-determined. We are very, very far from your claim.

And still, HotDQ is not that bad, players can have tons of fun even in the first situation, where there are at least 6 or 7 missions that can be done in the town in any order, with consequences from one to the other, etc.

Kicking someone from a table can be malicious. I've seen and heard enough to know that is very possible. Many DMs who take any disagreement from a player as a sign they aren't right to game together, and kick them to "nip the problem in the bud".

Yeah, right, more hearsay, such a great proof.

Maybe the player should find a different group, but if their attitude is such that they are just mildly annoying to be around... that is going to be a constant problem for them. And I'm more than willing to put up with some mild annoyance if it isn't intentional or based in them trying to be malicious in some capacity.

And have you ever considered that even expressing disagreement during the game is extremely disruptive ? That the usual advice is to play the game and if really important, bring it up at the end ?

And, I'm also never going to apologize for speaking up about a DM who is engaging in poor practices.

And here you go. "poor practices" according to who ? To your holy book of "good practices" ?

If a DM decides to take away player agency without consulting the players first, then I'm going to call them out on it. Because behavior doesn't change if you never address it.

And again, you are wrong about this. See the standard social contract above. Nothing in the books say anything about that holy "player agency" of yours. Sometimes, bad guys charm or possess your character. This happens in books and movies and shows. Why is that a huge problem ? Why is that a "bad practice" ?

I'll match your story about your cousin with a story about a really good friend of mine. He was deeply into Magic the Gathering, and believed himself to be very very good at the game. I collected cards more by accident than anything else, but I had a few cards that gave rise to a very powerful combo, if I understood the interactions correctly. So, before we started playing a game, I pulled out those cards, showed them to him, and explained what I believed would happen with those effects. He agreed with me, and said it was fine to use them.

They got drawn, and played, and he started throwing a fit because he was losing. So, I surrendered the game and packed up my cards. I have never played Magic with him again. We are still very good friends. I understand why he is the way he is. We haven't talked much recently, because he moved states to get away from certain people and cut off his social media use, but that is life. I don't begrudge him being the way he is. I'll also call him on BS when he is acting out of line, because we can't change if we aren't aware of the need to change.

And again, who do you think you are to think that you are right about his need to change to meet YOUR standards of a perfect person. Are you that perfect yourself ? Don't you need to change at all ?

Because, honestly, with this righteous attitude of yours and principles like "I'm entitled to my player agency", I really think that you could use a bit of a reality check on the game and how it can be played differently. Your attitude might be OK for some games, but it does not mean that it's good for others, and considering these other games inferior and in need of "calling them out" because you disagree spells "badwrongfun" all over the place again.

I'm not proud of it, but certainly I needed to have my mind expanded a bit and it was friends (real ones) who gave me a few talks down that I totally deserved before I changed my attitude about the game. And I feel much better about it, although it certainly was painful at the time.

Just think about it, OK ?
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Well, it's bizarre that every single edition of D&D provides a list of novels that they offer you to use as inspiration. Again, reading the intro of the PH: "They were tired of merely reading tales about worlds of magic, monsters, and adventure. They wanted to play in those worlds, rather than observe them."
Next time you see a movie "inspired" by something, look up and see how accurate it is. Inspiration =/= the same.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
I must have missed it, because I don't remember you giving any solid examples. I remember you saying this recent bit about it grinding the game to a halt if you had to have a talk with your players, but as we are showing, that isn't true.
You said that the table should have a discussion and decide. I said grinding the game to a halt to have a discussion and vote would ruin the session and I wouldn't do that. You then conflated discussion with explanation and declared that I don't explain things. Now I have to correct you again, because you assume things way too often.
And no one said that you would need an involved discussion. You are assuming you need one for no reason I can discern except that it makes your position seem more reasonable. A discussion is different than an involved discussion, and so you can easily have a quick discussion that the players can participate in.
Maybe most of your players just sit there during a discussion and don't add much. Mine have opinions and during a discussion, they all give theirs and then want to talk about those opinions before coming to a decision.
Dictating a rule without giving them a chance to respond. Actually worse, because they did respond if I remember this story correctly, voting to allow those weapons to harm monsters with resistance. However, you withheld information from them, which is that you would give them fewer magic items in that case, and then justified ignoring their wishes, because of a rule you homebrewed (the frequency of items) and basically gave them an ultimatum that if they didn't go along with your desires, they would get less interesting gear.
No information was withheld. They knew what would happen if they voted no. And I love your choice of words there. There was no ultimatum about desires or threat of less interesting gear. I explained how the +weapons destroyed encounter balance and they all agreed that it happened. Informing them that would not be destroying encounter balance this campaign =/= threats and ultimatums. I also know them as I've played with them for a minimum of 14 years(the newest player in the group) and they will enjoy having these sorts of weapons more than not having any. A lot more.

But hey, thanks for playing the "I know your group better than you know it." like you played with @Lyxen.
And you are probably going to defend this by explaining to me something about the game balance or the threat of monsters with resistance to non-magical weapons, but it is hogwash. There were other solutions, including laying out your real concerns first, and allowing the players to discuss that in session zero, intstead of telling them "actually, that discussion we had previously doesn't apply, because that result is one I don't like"
That's exactly when it happened. Session 0, and there was discussion. And they voted no. And I overruled it for the reasons set forth. Stop assuming you know everything about situations where you weren't present. If you are unsure, ask.
No, it doesn't. If we were discussing the role of the umpire in baseball, and their ability to make certain calls, like kicking coaches or fans out of the game, the umpire saying "But I like having the power to kick coaches out of the game" is a meaningless distraction. It doesn't matter if you like it, it matters what is best for the game. There are many things we like, that we don't get to have or do.
And now you're conflating D&D with sports. D&D, a game where enjoyment is literally the goal of the game, making enjoyment(including the DM's) what is best for the game. Sorry bud, enjoyment is what is most important and relevant here.
 

Lyxen

Great Old One
Next time you see a movie "inspired" by something, look up and see how accurate it is. Inspiration =/= the same.

Yes, but inspiration does not mean "completely different and throwing all concepts out of the window" either. The concept of "chosen ones" with specific powers that no-one can have, whether on the hero or the villain side (and usually linked to some prophecy) is absolutely key to these works of fictions, and it does not make them less consistent for havings path of power that only selected characters can get.
 

ad_hoc

Hero
I am not going to allow a player to choose to be a mind flayer as their race.

I just don't see how that creates inconsistencies in the fiction of the world.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
And again, even if it was the case, there is not rule anywhere that prescribes that all members of any population can do whatever the PCs and their adversaries can do.

The basics is that the PCs are exceptional, but also that their adversaries are exceptional, and nothing prescribes that the mass population can do what these do, and nothing prescribes that the paths to power that the PCs can follow are the same the NPCs. Nothing except your own views that it has to be so, but it has nothing to do with consistency.

And that is the exact contrary of the D&D paradigm since the beginning of time. PCs are exceptional.
The question then becomes - when comparing a starting-out PC to a common member of the same population - one of how exceptional is acceptable; and my own answer is "not very".

Sure, PCs tend to become exceptional as they level up, gain magic items, and so forth; but IMO it's a bit much to assume they start out that way.
Huh, no, in general constraints stifle creativity, or at best channel it along very narrow paths.
Were you never in an art class where the teacher said "today you can only use purple paint"? Or a writing class where the prof said "for this essay you must keep it grammatically correct without use of the word 'the' if at all possible"?

I know from my own experience that constraints engender creativity; in that you have to figure out how to work within those limitations. A very simple example is if I want to write a poem* but all I've got on hand is a small scrap of paper. Clearly this forces me to keep it short, meaning that whatever I want to say I have to say it in very few words. The limitation of paper size forces me to think in ways I might otherwise not have, and thus directly causes me to be more creative in my thinking.

* - I'm usually good for a few hundred a year.
And then, because it's absolutely the DM's prerogative to say that Orcus does not find the PC acceptable, that way is officially closed. Does it make it inconsistent ? No, it's actually a common fantasy trope "the chosen one" who does not have to be a PC.
Fine. As long as the PC had the potential (i.e. could go to Orcus and present a case), consistency is maintained even if Orcus tells the petitioner to get lost.
It is absolutely not the case. No PC apart from Gandalf can decide to wield magic (assuming that it is what Gandalf does). No PC in the fellowship can hope to match the Witch-King of Angmar or have any of his powers. As for the One Ring, it's just an item, and gaining it does not give you the powers of Sauron. For example, Gollum never acquires them, and neither of the two hobbits do when wielding the ring. And neither did Isildur, for example. There was no path to Sauron's power, who is a being of a higher order any way.
Gandalf is a PC member of a very-highly gated class. The Witch-King, in D&D terms, roughly equates to an undead monster; and as this is not PC-playable the only thing it needs to be consistent with is other Witch-Kings...and there ain't too many of those. :)

Someone else in the setting could quite well have become Sauron if Sauron hadn't got there first. Saruman was certainly trying, though he clearly still had a long way to go.
 
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Lanefan

Victoria Rules
No, I'm sorry, but claiming that someone is "a Bad DM for railroading by removing player agency" is bad in and of itself. There is no such holy thing as "player agency" and over my rather long TTRPG "career", mu characters have been possessed, charmed, directed and railroaded, and I still had a lot of fun doing it.

Again, you are calling a different playstyle the mark of a "bad DM", and in and of itself, it's bad.

No, it's asking for their preference. After that, as all players in our games, they accept that they will be railroaded now and then, because it's the nature of (epic) stories, and they trust ut to do it to the extent that they are having fun.
Possession, charm, domination, and similar effects are a generally accepted risk in most games; with the main out-clause being that they don't last forever.

Railroading, if done quite infrequently and-or gently, can certainly make for a better game. I mean, a classic example is the transition from A-3 Slave Lords into A-4 Slavers' Dungeon - that transition simply can't happen without the party getting captured; and so the end of A-3 railroads the party into captivity. Fine.

Problem is, there's far too many DMs out there (and I've been guilty at times as well) who simply overdo it.
Once more, if you look at session 0 in Tasha, the basic social contract is laid along the lines of: "The players will allow you to direct the campaign." THere might be different contacts for different tables, but this is the one that I've been playing under all these years, I allow the DM to direct the campaign, meaning that I don't take offense when he dares do so with a bit of railroading.
I agree. The problems arise when the DM wants to go one way and one or more players want to go another (a simple example being the players are biting a different adventure hook than what the DM has prepped); who takes precedence. My own take is that ideally the players' ideas should take precedence in these situations; but it's only a should, not a must.
But it is, the DM is describing that is happening to a specific character, why can't that annoying guy just wait for his turn, instead of butting in, which apparently he does all the time ? Let him wait for his turn, if he needs more information about playing his character, he can always ask it at that point in time.

At our tables, we multiplied the combat resolution speed by at least a factor 3 by not letting players speak out of turn (unless using reactions, etc.). Not all players were culpable of interrupting and making suggestions and generally slowing down the game and hogging the spotlight, but at least it controlled the most annoying ones.
Given this, how can your players engage in any free-flowing in-character conversation during a combat?
And have you ever considered that even expressing disagreement during the game is extremely disruptive ? That the usual advice is to play the game and if really important, bring it up at the end ?
The problem there is that by the end of the session it might be too late to fix whatever's gone wrong without invalidating or needing to ret-con everything that came after the point of dispute.

Far better IMO to sort it out then and there, even if sorting it out consists of no more than people having their say followed by the DM handing down a non-negotiable and precedent-setting ruling.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
It is absolutely not the case. No PC apart from Gandalf can decide to wield magic (assuming that it is what Gandalf does).
Why not? Magic is something that any of the mortal races can learn. At the gates of Moria Gandalf says, "I once knew every spell in all the tongues of Elves or Men or Orcs, that was ever used for such a purpose."

If one of the Fellowship found a teacher, he could learn magic.
No PC in the fellowship can hope to match the Witch-King of Angmar or have any of his powers.
Aragorn could. The Witch-King was on the mount and stabbed Frodo on Weathertop. Aragorn chased the Witch-King and the other Nazgul off. He couldn't kill the Witch-King because of the prophecy, but he could match him in combat.
As for the One Ring, it's just an item, and gaining it does not give you the powers of Sauron.
The one ring magnifies the talents of whoever wears it. If Sam kept it, he would have been the best gardener in the world. Galadriel would have had her personal abilities amplified by it and she was already powerful, so she would have been able to match Sauron.
For example, Gollum never acquires them, and neither of the two hobbits do when wielding the ring.
Gollum was a nimble sneak and had those abilities amplified to the point where he can sneak by and escape from elves, and avoid the tracking abilities of Dunedain Rangers.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
No, I'm saying that it's not even a question of Orcus "making the PC" a chosen one, just of the PC being born one or not. Anakin was born the chosen one, nobody else in the galaxy could have gained the power he gained. Sometimes, in particular in the genre, exceptional creatures are born, some end up PCs, other NPCs, but there is no justification for forcing the fact that all could be interchangeable.


And the only thing I'm saying is that sometimes the laws of the universe will permit it (the Lich) and some other times they won't (being born the Chosen One of Evil as a prerequesite).

I claim that there is no law in D&D or in fiction that prevents both being consistent in the world.

But that again doesn't dispute their point. Because if the PC WAS born the Chosen One, then they'd have the powers. The entire point is that there is consistency in the reasoning for the powers existing, and if there is no reason the PC can't have a certain set of powers, then they should. If the point is "you weren't born the Chosen One of Orcus" then that is fine. If the point is "You are a player character and these abilities are for NPCs" then it isn't fine.

Again, it isn't "everyone must be able to chose to be a Chosen One of Orcus" it is that if a set of power can reasonably be obtained, then it should be available, not arbitrarily gated because of PC vs NPC.

Actually no, he was already a powerful king and sorcerer before this. None of the player characters can decide to be a sorcerer.


And again, probably not. A Ringwraith, very probably, but the witch-king, no. And the same for Sauron. They are simply different, there is no path to becoming a sorcerer or a maia-type for PCs in general, nor is there need to be for it to be consistent.

And Aargon is a powerful King. Not sure what requirements there are for being a Sorcerer in Middle Earth, but it is clearly something you can learn... since the Witch King learned it. And if it magic he was born into, then that falls into a separate thing. You have to be born with that power, and that is more like Sauron.

And sure, Sauron is particular type of being. Which is why Lanefan makes a point of monsters being different. You can't choose to become a Balrog or Glabrezu most of the time, so you can't expect access to their powers. If the point is "you weren't born an Aasimar" then, yeah, you aren't playing an Aasimar, you don't get access to Aasimar abilities. No one is disputing that. You are arguing against the wrong point.



No, again this is not what happened. To took a specific statement and said that I had to be wrong because it does not fit with your idea of the gaming world. I'm sorry, but it's not about details of my life.

I took my memory of your statement of your experience, without checking, and said it might be faulty.

Again. You want to be offended and think I called you a liar, I can't stop you, rage and be upset, but I've explained myself enough times to clear up my intentions.

And again, if it's just a different style, how come this translates into a horror story ?

It seems your specific game that you quit, that you claim wasn't a horror story, isn't a horror story. Shocking, I know, but since you have said it isn't, then there isn't much I can do to say it is. If you think it was a horror story, then share more. If it wasn't, then it wasn't. I don't know what to tell you here.

No, I'm sorry, but claiming that someone is "a Bad DM for railroading by removing player agency" is bad in and of itself. There is no such holy thing as "player agency" and over my rather long TTRPG "career", mu characters have been possessed, charmed, directed and railroaded, and I still had a lot of fun doing it.

Again, you are calling a different playstyle the mark of a "bad DM", and in and of itself, it's bad.

Player Agency does exist. I've never met someone who argued otherwise. Being Possessed and Charmed has nothing to do with the situation. Being directed and being given a choice in whether or not you follow the directions is fine, especially if the DM is clear about the situation.

I do not accept that calling out people for acting badly is bad in and of itself. I also am not calling a different playstyle bad, because if the entire party is on board with being railroaded, then they haven't lost agency, and there is nothing going on.


No, it's YOUR playstyle that refuses to trust a DM with some agency in your character history, and by participating in a DM's campaign, you should trust him anyway. After that, if you did not clarify it with him during session 0, it's at least as much your responsibility as his, because if it was that important to you, you, you, you should have said it at the start, and refused to participate.

This has nothing to do with trust, except for the fact that a DM who violates player agency loses any trust they have established. Framing this that I refuse to trust a DM when 1) I am a DM and often work with my players to develop their character history 2) I shouldn't have to establish "I want my decisions to matter, and not just be a puppet piece in your novel" because that is the basis of wanting to play the game and make a story together. If I need to spell that out to a DM, then we definitely have a problem.

Sometimes they can, but once more I want to see both sides, especially because once more the DM has a very difficult job in addition to his preparation work, whereas players can just come, sit on their backside and complain.

And a DM can just crack open a pre-written adventure, read it at the table, and do none of the work you associate with the role. And I'm not against seeing both sides, but that is practically impossible unless players and DMs are on the same platform and interact.

And it seems that you are going to give more weight to one side's word than the other.

And on the other hand, you have no problem tossing around "he's a bad DM" and adding this to "DM horror stories".

And if the other players do not speak for you, but remain silent or speak for the DM, does it not tell you something ? That you were the odd one in the game, with just different preferences ? And that you should maybe, just maybe, consider that you were the disruptive one in that game ?

And sometimes it does not work out because of different preferences. Does this make the other people horrible players, worthy of being slandered all over the world ?

And on the other hand, there is an extremely heavy trend of blaming the DM and colporting "DM horror stories". From my experience, yes, the DMs are not perfect, but all I've seen were really trying their best, whereas I've seen tons of naughty word players that just wanted to have their way despite what the rest of the table wanted. And look at Lanefan's story.

I'm not saying that all DMs are blameless, but at least they are, in general, trying to run games for other people, whereas there are lots of players who just want to be entertained.

Horror stories don't come from amicable break ups over different preferences. Most DMs you know were trying their best, and I can respect people who just tried their best. I don't respect the DM who expected me to thank him for ruining the game, making me sick to my stomach with stress, and then exploded and railed at us because he didn't like our style of playing, when he was the guest. You've never experienced that. I'm glad for you.

And you know what, for people who expect to have the majority of the power, the majority of the authority, it is a bit sickening to see them want to take the minority of the blame when things go wrong. "We want all the power, all the trust, and when things go wrong it is because of these lazy entitled players who just expect us to entertain them like we said we would by demanding they trust us and have no say in the game."

Player's shouldn't act "entitled", but that doesn't mean they don't have rights and things that they should expect from the game.


Yep, because unless given cause to distrust the DM (and again, in 42+ years, I don't recall any instance where I was wrong to do this, ever), I just trust him and maybe, just maybe, it's why I did not have trouble with them. Because coming with the attitude of "but the rules say this and this, and I'm therefore entitled to seeing when they are casting a spell and therefore you are wrong" is the best way to appear confrontational and, yes, entitled.

Never said that. I don't want to approach a game as being confrontational. I'm also not a doormat.

But it is, the DM is describing that is happening to a specific character, why can't that annoying guy just wait for his turn, instead of butting in, which apparently he does all the time ? Let him wait for his turn, if he needs more information about playing his character, he can always ask it at that point in time.

At our tables, we multiplied the combat resolution speed by at least a factor 3 by not letting players speak out of turn (unless using reactions, etc.). Not all players were culpable of interrupting and making suggestions and generally slowing down the game and hogging the spotlight, but at least it controlled the most annoying ones.

There is only one DM, there are many players, they all deserve about the same amount of air time, you know, just for fairness and general politeness sake.

Man, your bias is so strong. You do nothing but judge the player because he isn't playing your way.

No, this is not what the rules say. Read them, they are way, way longer and technical.

I know what the rules say, but if the player didn't read them and you only tell them "you can turn into anything bear size or smaller" then it doesn't matter what the rules say, because you have effectively changed them.

But I thought what I had said was no different from reading the rules ? Please make up your mind. :p

It is rather easy. The player needs to know the rules. Whether they read them, or you altered them fundamentally and just told them to the player, doesn't matter.

No it does not. If you think this, prove it, I think that you will find it extremely difficult to prove, I'll be waiting.

Again, prove it. I'll be waiting.

Prove that the game expects you to follow the rules the game lays out? Um, what more do I need to do that show you that they literally wrote a whole bunch of rules? If they didn't expect people to follow those rules, why bother writing them and laying them out for people to follow? Just a bunch of theater and smoke and mirrors?

I think you are the one who needs to prove that they don't expect people to follow the rules.

Ah, I was waiting for this line. Please prove to me that I'm not playing D&D. Please show me where the designers have put limits about what can be customized in the game and still call it D&D. Again, I'll be waiting a long long time.

Official words, though: "A Dungeon Master adjudicates the game and determines whether to use an official ruling in play. The DM always has the final say on rules questions."

I don't need to show a limit. I just need to pull out my rulebook that says "Savage Worlds Explorer's Edition". This book isn't DnD. If I am playing Savage Worlds I am not playing Dungeons and Dragons. As the GM of a Savage World's game, I can also alter rules and generally have the final say on rules questions.

So, can I solve the problem of the Ship of Theseus? No, I can't solve a famously unsolvable philosophical puzzle. Can I prove that not every single TTRPG is Dungeons and Dragons? Yep. That is trivial.
And again, why do you have to take that to such an extreme ?

Because you have claimed an impossibility. You aren't willing to concede a single step in compromise. And that natural gives rise to extremes, because you've said nothing, no matter what, counts. "Nothing no matter what" includes extreme examples.

And yet you have, because (as with the DM using weighted dice) you are taking things to such an absurd level. Look at HotDQ. There is certainly no handing out of a script, there are plenty of opportunities for roleplaying, getting different results of encounters, and these matter. What feels like railroading to some people is just the fact that each location only points out to one next location, so the string of locations is pre-determined. We are very, very far from your claim.

And still, HotDQ is not that bad, players can have tons of fun even in the first situation, where there are at least 6 or 7 missions that can be done in the town in any order, with consequences from one to the other, etc.

And I have repeatedly said there is nothing wrong with linear adventure design if people have agreed to play that. So, you are right, playing HotDQ is very, very far away from my claim. So, I haven't called HotDQ bad. Again, shocking.

Yeah, right, more hearsay, such a great proof.

I'm not submitting a scientific thesis to a peer reviewed journal. And hearsay can be just fine evidence.


And have you ever considered that even expressing disagreement during the game is extremely disruptive ? That the usual advice is to play the game and if really important, bring it up at the end ?

And this has nothing to do with my point.

And here you go. "poor practices" according to who ? To your holy book of "good practices" ?

General consensus of the Community. Society doesn't need a holy book to function.

And again, you are wrong about this. See the standard social contract above. Nothing in the books say anything about that holy "player agency" of yours. Sometimes, bad guys charm or possess your character. This happens in books and movies and shows. Why is that a huge problem ? Why is that a "bad practice" ?

It isn't. Being affected by a charm or possessed is generally fine. Being possessed to kill your only family, not given a save, and having the DM gleefully describe the scene as he forces you to ruin the things your character held dear... that probably isn't fine.

In fact, we've established at our tables a precedent that you can call certain things off-limits. I had a character who was married, and had left home for years on a job, leaving his young wife alone. His major goal in the game was to get back home, which the DM was cool with. However, I told the DM I had zero interest in a story where the wife had cheated on or left my character. I wanted to have a return home to his loving wife, that was the story I was interested in.

I'm sure you'll say that is me being "entitled" but really, why would you want to force a player into a story they have no interest in? Maybe they don't want their mentor to have secretly been a villain and a monster, sure it is a trope and the DM might think the story is fun, but it is the player's story, so why can't they veto that?

And again, who do you think you are to think that you are right about his need to change to meet YOUR standards of a perfect person. Are you that perfect yourself ? Don't you need to change at all ?

Because, honestly, with this righteous attitude of yours and principles like "I'm entitled to my player agency", I really think that you could use a bit of a reality check on the game and how it can be played differently. Your attitude might be OK for some games, but it does not mean that it's good for others, and considering these other games inferior and in need of "calling them out" because you disagree spells "badwrongfun" all over the place again.

I'm not proud of it, but certainly I needed to have my mind expanded a bit and it was friends (real ones) who gave me a few talks down that I totally deserved before I changed my attitude about the game. And I feel much better about it, although it certainly was painful at the time.

Just think about it, OK ?

ROFLOL.

I am far from perfect. But I can't think of a single person who knows both me and my friend who would say that I was the one who needed to change. I have real friends. Few, to be certain, but I have them. I am well aware of my shortcomings, and my issues.

This isn't one of them.

I also think you need to revisit the word "entitled". Because you know what? In the USA you are entitled to an attorney, by the rule of law. A guy who goes into court and demands to have an attorney who is his vigorous advocate... is 100% correct. You keep throwing around "entitlement" as a dirty word, but there are some things you are entitled to. Freedom of Speech. Life. Ect.

But please, keep trying to psychoanalyze me and tell me how I need to improve myself until I agree with you. It isn't condescending at all.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
You said that the table should have a discussion and decide. I said grinding the game to a halt to have a discussion and vote would ruin the session and I wouldn't do that. You then conflated discussion with explanation and declared that I don't explain things. Now I have to correct you again, because you assume things way too often.

Right, the example where you seemed to have taken "discussion" to mean some sort of dissertation and formal proceeding. We've been discussing that vague claim of you needing to make unilateral decisions because talking to people takes too long.

Maybe most of your players just sit there during a discussion and don't add much. Mine have opinions and during a discussion, they all give theirs and then want to talk about those opinions before coming to a decision.

That sounds wonderful. If they have opinions then shouldn't they be heard at some point? If you feel like your player's opinions would be disruptive in the moment, you could make a patch ruling, then address it later, to make a more formal houserule. Emergency decisions are a thing, and if you feel that it is such a big problem, it could easily be addressed. Without basically saying that those opinions your players have aren't worth hearing, because you don't have time.

No information was withheld. They knew what would happen if they voted no. And I love your choice of words there. There was no ultimatum about desires or threat of less interesting gear. I explained how the +weapons destroyed encounter balance and they all agreed that it happened. Informing them that would not be destroying encounter balance this campaign =/= threats and ultimatums. I also know them as I've played with them for a minimum of 14 years(the newest player in the group) and they will enjoy having these sorts of weapons more than not having any. A lot more.

But hey, thanks for playing the "I know your group better than you know it." like you played with @Lyxen.

I remember you saying it was the only rule you overturned. So, if they knew the consequences, and voted to accept those consequences, why did you overturn their decision, as you claimed? I'm not claiming I know your group better, I'm going off of what you said.

The original post you gave indicated that they had voted, you had informed them of the consequences after their vote, as part of an explanation for why you were overturning their vote. If they had all the information before the vote, then you simply substituted your preferences for theirs. If they didn't have or understand that information, then you didn't explain things well before the vote. Neither case works out for you.

That's exactly when it happened. Session 0, and there was discussion. And they voted no. And I overruled it for the reasons set forth. Stop assuming you know everything about situations where you weren't present. If you are unsure, ask.

Huh, that is exactly what I said happened. So, guess I wasn't unsure.

I'm guessing then that they hadn't imagined that you would limit items or didn't understand what they were voting for, since supposedly they all changed their votes the moment you explained why you overruled them. Therefore, you just let them vote with poor understandings of the issues at hand. That is not a good way to go forward.

And now you're conflating D&D with sports. D&D, a game where enjoyment is literally the goal of the game, making enjoyment(including the DM's) what is best for the game. Sorry bud, enjoyment is what is most important and relevant here.

The goal of sports was enjoyment of the game before people started making money off of it. Pretty sure a Little League coach isn't doing it so the 3rd graders can win the world cup.

But, your personal enjoyment, is again, not relevant.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
I remember you saying it was the only rule you overturned. So, if they knew the consequences, and voted to accept those consequences, why did you overturn their decision, as you claimed? I'm not claiming I know your group better, I'm going off of what you said.

The original post you gave indicated that they had voted, you had informed them of the consequences after their vote, as part of an explanation for why you were overturning their vote. If they had all the information before the vote, then you simply substituted your preferences for theirs. If they didn't have or understand that information, then you didn't explain things well before the vote. Neither case works out for you.
Except that it did. You don't get to unwind what worked out well.
Huh, that is exactly what I said happened. So, guess I wasn't unsure.
Uh uh! Own up to your words. This is what you said.

"There were other solutions, including laying out your real concerns first, and allowing the players to discuss that in session zero, intstead of telling them "actually, that discussion we had previously doesn't apply, because that result is one I don't like""

Other solutions including session zero. That's you saying that discussing it during session 0 was something other than what I did, making it an "other solution."
I'm guessing then that they hadn't imagined that you would limit items or didn't understand what they were voting for, since supposedly they all changed their votes the moment you explained why you overruled them. Therefore, you just let them vote with poor understandings of the issues at hand. That is not a good way to go forward.
Nobody changed their vote. That's not something I ever said.
The goal of sports was enjoyment of the game before people started making money off of it. Pretty sure a Little League coach isn't doing it so the 3rd graders can win the world cup.
The goal of sports has always been to win. You just played to win for fun(secondary goal). In an 5e fun is the primary goal.
 

Lyxen

Great Old One
The question then becomes - when comparing a starting-out PC to a common member of the same population - one of how exceptional is acceptable; and my own answer is "not very".

On that, I agree that YCMV, but you see I think this is also where we differ in our conceptions (again, just discussing here, not saying right or wrong): The fact that technically there might e no difference, does not mean that, story- or universe-wise there is no distinction.

LotR has Aragorn who is very different from most humans due to his lineage for example, but also hobbits who don't differ much from each other or actually many hobbits. But Harry Potter has his prophecy despite being otherwise unremarkable. Rand al'Thor is the Dragon Reborn.

There are tons of different cases in the genre, my personal preference is not to force similarity, it's not mandatory for consistency, although I understand your perspective.

Sure, PCs tend to become exceptional as they level up, gain magic items, and so forth; but IMO it's a bit much to assume they start out that way.

See above, lots of cases exist in the genre, one direction or another.

Were you never in an art class where the teacher said "today you can only use purple paint"? Or a writing class where the prof said "for this essay you must keep it grammatically correct without use of the word 'the' if at all possible"?

I know from my own experience that constraints engender creativity; in that you have to figure out how to work within those limitations. A very simple example is if I want to write a poem* but all I've got on hand is a small scrap of paper. Clearly this forces me to keep it short, meaning that whatever I want to say I have to say it in very few words. The limitation of paper size forces me to think in ways I might otherwise not have, and thus directly causes me to be more creative in my thinking.

While I agree that it forces some sort of creativity, it is along specific paths and has clear limits in terms of what it can produce, compared to being more open in general. Both are good, but I stay on my position that, in the long term, fewer constraints generate more creativity.

Fine. As long as the PC had the potential (i.e. could go to Orcus and present a case), consistency is maintained even if Orcus tells the petitioner to get lost.

I'm still not sure consistency of what here, because natural screening will make sure that Orcus never sees a petitioner without reason.

Gandalf is a PC member of a very-highly gated class. The Witch-King, in D&D terms, roughly equates to an undead monster; and as this is not PC-playable the only thing it needs to be consistent with is other Witch-Kings...and there ain't too many of those. :)

The Witch-King was a simple human to start with. But he was still a powerful sorcerer before he was ringwraithed, something that does not seem to be available to all the other PCs. And I'm not even speaking about the rest of the path.

Gandalf, like Sauron, is a demi-god to start with, it's another matter.

Someone else in the setting could quite well have become Sauron if Sauron hadn't got there first. Saruman was certainly trying, though he clearly still had a long way to go.

Saruman had a chance because he was a demigod like Gandalf and Sauron, but Isildur, although a king and a powerful man never came even close for example.

Possession, charm, domination, and similar effects are a generally accepted risk in most games; with the main out-clause being that they don't last forever.

Railroading, if done quite infrequently and-or gently, can certainly make for a better game. I mean, a classic example is the transition from A-3 Slave Lords into A-4 Slavers' Dungeon - that transition simply can't happen without the party getting captured; and so the end of A-3 railroads the party into captivity. Fine.

See what I mean ? The problem is always with absolutes and people thinking that even a bit of railroading becomes an intolerable assault on their "player agency".

Problem is, there's far too many DMs out there (and I've been guilty at times as well) who simply overdo it.

Really ? Honestly, it might be that I have thick skill and I like good stories, but my only problems with railroading is when it is absolutely massive. The best recent example that I can think of is Waterdeep Dragonheist where the "campaign" is just a series of tableaux, with no flexibility about the sequence, arbitrary time limits and (and this his the part which really bugs me) where what you do in one scene has absolutely zero impact on the following ones because it's all written from A to Z.

But it's the only example that I can recall in a long long time, and I'm sure that although you think you are guilty now and then, it stays within what should be more than acceptable limits to most players.

I agree. The problems arise when the DM wants to go one way and one or more players want to go another (a simple example being the players are biting a different adventure hook than what the DM has prepped); who takes precedence. My own take is that ideally the players' ideas should take precedence in these situations; but it's only a should, not a must.

If they are of one mind about it, fine, but often it's only a few that want to derail the thing for more personal reasons. This is also where the social contract should come into force, don't be a wangrod, play collectively and that means with the DM as well.

But if the whole party wants to do something else, I would certainly agree with you.

Given this, how can your players engage in any free-flowing in-character conversation during a combat?

They don't. As a reminder, the rule is: "You can communicate however you are able, through brief utterances and gestures, as you take your turn."

So a few words during your turn, and we allow using your reaction to communicate a bit more out of your turn, for example, signalling that orcs reinforcements have arrived.

I've been in litteraly hundreds of LARP fights and I can guarantee that there is no free flowing conversation. But you can certainly roleplay really well with just "brief utterances and gestures", you know... :)

The problem there is that by the end of the session it might be too late to fix whatever's gone wrong without invalidating or needing to ret-con everything that came after the point of dispute.

But there is no need for it. We are no so concerned about rules, if a ruling was made by the DM, he had good reasons and only the best intents at heart, and if really necessary we'll process it at the end so that it gets even better next time.

Far better IMO to sort it out then and there, even if sorting it out consists of no more than people having their say followed by the DM handing down a non-negotiable and precedent-setting ruling.

I guess you are far more technical than we are and concerned about rules. For us, a really cool flowing game with a good story far outweighs small technical recriminations.
 

Lyxen

Great Old One
Why not? Magic is something that any of the mortal races can learn.

Nope. Do you have any proof of this ?

At the gates of Moria Gandalf says, "I once knew every spell in all the tongues of Elves or Men or Orcs, that was ever used for such a purpose."

If one of the Fellowship found a teacher, he could learn magic.

Sure, where are all these schools and teachers ? How comes not one character ever does it in all of the books ? Be serious please.

Aragorn could. The Witch-King was on the mount and stabbed Frodo on Weathertop. Aragorn chased the Witch-King and the other Nazgul off. He couldn't kill the Witch-King because of the prophecy, but he could match him in combat.

And what does this have to do with learning the powers of the Witch-King and following his path, in particular as a sorcerer ? Absolutely nothing.

The one ring magnifies the talents of whoever wears it. If Sam kept it, he would have been the best gardener in the world. Galadriel would have had her personal abilities amplified by it and she was already powerful, so she would have been able to match Sauron.

But not match his abilities, as he was a maiar and she was not. You are mistaking the level of power with having specific abilities, which is what we are discussing here. There are some abilities which are just for NPCs, that's all.

Gollum was a nimble sneak and had those abilities amplified to the point where he can sneak by and escape from elves, and avoid the tracking abilities of Dunedain Rangers.

Yeah right, and not one of them got anything close to the powers of Sauron, by a myriad miles. So there was no way. Case closed, again.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
Except that it did. You don't get to unwind what worked out well.

Uh uh! Own up to your words. This is what you said.

"There were other solutions, including laying out your real concerns first, and allowing the players to discuss that in session zero, instead of telling them "actually, that discussion we had previously doesn't apply, because that result is one I don't like""

Other solutions including session zero. That's you saying that discussing it during session 0 was something other than what I did, making it an "other solution."

Nobody changed their vote. That's not something I ever said.

But you didn't discuss the actual issue, that's what I've been saying. But you are going to refuse to actually talk about what I'm saying and instead keep ignoring my points because "it worked out" and focusing on pendantism.

I'm glad your game worked out. I'm not glad that you overruled the player's vote. If they were okay with getting fewer magical items in exchange for magical items bypassing resistance to non-magical weapons, then you just substituted your own preferences for the vote, making the vote pointless. If they were not okay with that, then either they didn't understand the consequences of their vote (which means you explained it poorly) or they didn't know that information (you hid it from them).

The only scenario that works out where you didn't do something potentially skeevy is if they really didn't care about the vote in the first place, and it was close enough that your own vote decided the issue. But from everything you've said, that isn't what happened.

The goal of sports has always been to win. You just played to win for fun(secondary goal). In an 5e fun is the primary goal.

No it hasn't. I know many people who play golf or pool or bowling for fun, not to win. Heck, there are sports like golf where the idea of "winning" is pretty hard to figure out. Who are you "winning" against if you are playing a round of golf? The course?
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Sure, where are all these schools and teachers ? How comes not one character ever does it in all of the books ? Be serious please.
It doesn't really matter where they are. We know they exist. Even orcs could do magic. As for why none of the Fellowship does magic, it's because they never learned, not because they were incapable of learning.
And what does this have to do with learning the powers of the Witch-King and following his path, in particular as a sorcerer ? Absolutely nothing.
We know that 1) magic is learnable, so Aragorn could learn it, and 2) that wearing a ring turns you into a ring wraith, so Aragorn could theoretically get one of those rings and put it on. It's possible for him to get the Witch-King's powers. It would just be very difficult and he's not that stupid.
But not match his abilities, as he was a maiar and she was not. You are mistaking the level of power with having specific abilities, which is what we are discussing here. There are some abilities which are just for NPCs, that's all.
You never read the Silmarillion did you? She was more powerful than many, if not most of the Maiar. Luthian, a half-elf/half-maia was able to enchant Morgoth, a Vala. Fingolfin, Galadriel's brother took on Morgoth in combat and wounded him forever 8 times. He only lost because he stumbled and fell. Galadriel was a match for Sauron(no ring), Gandalf and the others and would easily have matched Sauron(with the ring) if she had taken the One Ring.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
No it hasn't. I know many people who play golf or pool or bowling for fun, not to win. Heck, there are sports like golf where the idea of "winning" is pretty hard to figure out. Who are you "winning" against if you are playing a round of golf? The course?
Par exists for a reason.
 

We know that 1) magic is learnable, so Aragorn could learn it, and 2) that wearing a ring turns you into a ring wraith, so Aragorn could theoretically get one of those rings and put it on. It's possible for him to get the Witch-King's powers. It would just be very difficult and he's not that stupid.
Wrong on one count: Aragorn doesn't want the Witch-King's powers because he's smart, he doesn't want the Witch-King's powers because he's good.

You never read the Silmarillion did you? She was more powerful than many, if not most of the Maiar. Luthian, a half-elf/half-maia was able to enchant Morgoth, a Vala. Fingolfin, Galadriel's brother took on Morgoth in combat and wounded him forever 8 times. He only lost because he stumbled and fell. Galadriel was a match for Sauron(no ring), Gandalf and the others and would easily have matched Sauron(with the ring) if she had taken the One Ring.
To expound on this, Tolkien affirmed this idea:

One can imagine the scene in which Gandalf, say, was placed in such a position. It would be a delicate balance. On one side the true allegiance of the Ring to Sauron; on the other superior strength because Sauron was not actually in possession, and perhaps also because he was weakened by long corruption and expenditure of will in dominating inferiors. If Gandalf proved the victor, the result would have been for Sauron the same as the destruction of the Ring; for him it would have been destroyed, taken from him for ever. But the Ring and all its works would have endured. It would have been the master in the end. Gandalf as Ring-Lord would have been far worse than Sauron. He would have remained 'righteous', but self-righteous. He would have continued to rule and order things for 'good', and the benefit of his subjects according to his wisdom (which was and would have remained great).
 

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