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D&D 5E How do you define “mother may I” in relation to D&D 5E?

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hawkeyefan

Legend
From my understanding, the actual meaning is what you say: expecting everything to go your way and damn everyone else at the table. The player-side, less socially empowered MMI.

The common usage however, is 'not wanting to play an interchangeable mook, wanting some level of agency, and most importantly, displaying any level of attachment to your character'.

What is also interesting is that, despite complaints about using a pejorative term like Mother May I to label a playstyle, no one bats an eye at Main Character Syndrome, even though it’s clearly used as a pejorative.
 

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overgeeked

B/X Known World
Sure but in this case there doesn’t really seem to be any way that you or your character would know those consequences would result from taking that action, if your character wouldn’t of reasonably known that that would result why should you of been told that it would happen? So that you could choose not to seek shelter in the barn and instead done something else?
Exactly. And that’s why I’m saying declare the action and narrate the outcome. Unless the outcome is exactly how the player wanted it to be, it’s a problem. It’s this weird kind of Schröndinger’s Decision. The player will commit to an action if, and only if, they know the full ramifications, consequences, and results of the action. They’d rather not do the thing than have it come off as anything less than perfect. That’s not how RPGs work. That’s how boardgames, card games, video games, and wargames work.
 

hawkeyefan

Legend
Exactly. And that’s why I’m saying declare the action and narrate the outcome. Unless the outcome is exactly how the player wanted it to be, it’s a problem. It’s this weird kind of Schröndinger’s Decision. The player will commit to an action if, and only if, they know the full ramifications, consequences, and results of the action. They’d rather not do the thing than have it come off as anything less than perfect. That’s not how RPGs work. That’s how boardgames, card games, video games, and wargames work.

It’s also not what’s being described.
 

CreamCloud0

One day, I hope to actually play DnD.
Oh I imagine there would be a variety of ways it could be handled.

Maybe we observe from the barn, the Duke’s men going door to door. We realize the predicament we may be putting the farmer in. What should we do?

We overhear the farmer and hiswife talking, and she sounds very worried and thinks telling the Duke’s men is the safest way to proceed. What should we do?

Maybe we see one of the townsfolk make note as we enter the barn. Maybe his reputation as a snitch is known, or maybe the farmer mentions it. What should we do?

There’s any number of other ways for the GM to have allowed play to continue, promtping us with new details and asking “what do you do?” If that had happened, I’d have been fine with it.

But it didn’t. Instead, my use of the Folk Hero ability was treated as a solution and then without any further play (narration, actions, rolls, etc.) we jumped ahead to a confrontation. My use of the ability got us the benefits of a long rest, but the confrontation with the Duke’s men still happened. Arguably, in a worse position than we may have otherwise come up with because now we had innocents to worry about.
Sorry but those don’t sound like things the DM is obligated to inform you of to me, hindsight is 20/20 but from what you’ve said unless I missed it, it doesn’t sound like your group set up a watch or anything? You knew you were being hunted for and yet you seemed to of assumed perfect safety simply because you had acquired discrete lodgings with your background’s feature.

Maybe the GM should of given you some chance to notice the duke’s forces closing in, but at the same time maybe you should have been a bit more proactive at watching for them?

I think it’s always going to feel more unfair when it’s your own ideas that get unexpected resolutions, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they were unfair,
 

We had taken shelter with the farmer, hiding in the loft in his barn, before any of the Duke’s men arrived in the town. There was a local sheriff, but we avoided him and he would not have known us anyway. The bit you added about the Duke’s men threatening the farmer didn’t happen. No further checks were called for, no further information was shared beyond that the Duke’s men arrived in town and went to the Inn.

I would have no problem if there were relevant factors that changed the outcome in some way. If play continued, with more information, more rolls, and so on. But that’s not what happened. Instead, the GM decided that we were discovered somehow (but didn’t specify how), and in the morning the Duke’s men had surrounded the farm and called out for our surrender.

When I talked to the GM afterward, he said he thought it would be cool to have a scene like the end of “Young Guns” where the heroes are trapped in a burning farmhouse surrounded by enemies. He felt that granting us a long rest was sufficient reward for my use of the Folk Hero ability.

Ultimately, he had an idea about the way things should go, and so that’s how they went. His conception of the fiction won out.

This sounds a lot like railroading to me. At the very least, unless I am missing crucial details, not the best call on the GM's part. I always find it important for there to be a chance of both PCs seeing or not seeing things, and of NPCs not seeing or seeing things. An example is, I would never just automatically assume players are successfully followed by an NPC: I would allow them to make some kind of roll, to see if they noticed a pursuer (and it might be secret and revealed after, but they would know a roll was made at some point). Similarly it the players are hiding somewhere, I wouldn't just assume they are found.
 

hawkeyefan

Legend
Sorry but those don’t sound like things the DM is obligated to inform you of to me, hindsight is 20/20 but from what you’ve said unless I missed it, it doesn’t sound like your group set up a watch or anything? You knew you were being hunted for and yet you seemed to of assumed perfect safety simply because you had acquired discrete lodgings with your background’s feature.

Maybe the GM should of given you some chance to notice the duke’s forces closing in, but at the same time maybe you should have been a bit more proactive at watching for them?

I think it’s always going to feel more unfair when it’s your own ideas that get unexpected resolutions, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they were unfair,

Oh no, we set a watch just as if we were camping, and commented that we’d keep an eye out to make sure nothing happened. No rolls were made by the GM, no rolls were requested of us, we just jumped ahead to “As dawn breaks, you awaken to cries from outside the barn…” and that was it.

I think the question of obligation is an interesting one. You’re right, I don’t think the GM violated any obligations. I don’t think he broke any rules. I don’t think he realized how his decision seemed.

As I said, even well meaning GMs can have this happen simply by following the processes of play. This is why I think it’s worth talking about since the books don’t mention it or warn about it at all.
 

SkidAce

Legend
Supporter
Oh no, we set a watch just as if we were camping, and commented that we’d keep an eye out to make sure nothing happened. No rolls were made by the GM, no rolls were requested of us, we just jumped ahead to “As dawn breaks, you awaken to cries from outside the barn…” and that was it.

I think the question of obligation is an interesting one. You’re right, I don’t think the GM violated any obligations. I don’t think he broke any rules. I don’t think he realized how his decision seemed.

As I said, even well meaning GMs can have this happen simply by following the processes of play. This is why I think it’s worth talking about since the books don’t mention it or warn about it at all.
Does the DM do this a lot or is this a one off?

In my mind, if its a one time thing, then its a case of misplaced expectations (DM thinks getting caught is logical result, Player didn't) etc.

If it has been happening a lot, then I agree with your assessments, and would definitely approach the DM.
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
Epic
Oh no, we set a watch just as if we were camping, and commented that we’d keep an eye out to make sure nothing happened. No rolls were made by the GM, no rolls were requested of us, we just jumped ahead to “As dawn breaks, you awaken to cries from outside the barn…” and that was it.

I think the question of obligation is an interesting one. You’re right, I don’t think the GM violated any obligations. I don’t think he broke any rules. I don’t think he realized how his decision seemed.

As I said, even well meaning GMs can have this happen simply by following the processes of play. This is why I think it’s worth talking about since the books don’t mention it or warn about it at all.
@CreamCloud0 mentioned how it didn't sound like things the GM was obligated to tell you back in 524, but this shows the other side of the problem caused by even a single player not onboard with the gameplay. Specifically "explain in detail why our plan failed even if there are elements we shouldn't be capable of knowing" with an implied [or you are guilty of bad behavior as a GM till proven otherwise]. Ironically this only exacerbates the problem from the GM's standpoint as the players start making quantum actions based on unknowable stuff & stuff the PCs have no reason to intuit like how a villager turned them in for coin how the villagers were afraid of $reason or whatever.


Back in 209 I recapped an actual session from a few years back & in it I literally wrote "Did they succeed on all of those things?... no not even most of them, but the important part is that they found solutions to handle their failures". The key to failing so often & still succeeding at the greater whole is that they immediately did something plausible when things went in unexpected directions rather than complaining that it failed jumping to combat or grilling the GM for justification. As a result of acting quickly they were eventually able to get to their goal only fighting once they were reasonably safe in the soundproof subbasement where their goal/target was.
 
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overgeeked

B/X Known World
Sorry but those don’t sound like things the DM is obligated to inform you of to me, hindsight is 20/20 but from what you’ve said unless I missed it, it doesn’t sound like your group set up a watch or anything? You knew you were being hunted for and yet you seemed to of assumed perfect safety simply because you had acquired discrete lodgings with your background’s feature.

Maybe the GM should of given you some chance to notice the duke’s forces closing in, but at the same time maybe you should have been a bit more proactive at watching for them?

I think it’s always going to feel more unfair when it’s your own ideas that get unexpected resolutions, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they were unfair,
Exactly. And this leads us back to somewhere near the beginning of the thread where players were talking about wanting perfect information to make game decisions despite their character having no possible way to know or taking no actions in the fiction to secure that information.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
@CreamCloud0 mentioned how it didn't sound like things the GM was obligated to tell you back in 524, but this shows the other side of the problem caused by even a single player not onboard with the gameplay. Specifically "explain in detail why our plan failed even if there are elements we shouldn't be capable of knowing" with an implied [or you are guilty of bad behavior as a GM till proven otherwise]. Ironically this only exacerbates the problem from the GM's standpoint as the players start making quantum actions based on unknowable stuff & stuff the PCs have no reason to intuit like how a villager turned them in for coin how the villagers were afraid of $reason or whatever.
Exactly. The more of this I’m reading the more it looks like utterly unreasonable player expectations and when those aren’t met, it’s claims of MMI.
Back in 209 I recapped an actual session from a few years back & in it I literally wrote "Did they succeed on all of those things?... no not even most of them, but the important part is that they found solutions to handle their failures". the key is that they immediately did something plausible when things went in unexpected directions rather than complaining that it failed jumping to combat or grilling the GM for justification & as a result were eventually able to get to their goal only fighting once they were reasonably safe in the soundproof subbasement where their goal/target was.
So they were able to let go of their need to win at fun, relax, roll with the punches, roleplay their characters, stay with the fiction, and just play the game. That sounds amazing and fun. Wish I could find players who did that.
 

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