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Players choose what their PCs do . . .

hawkeyefan

Explorer
Of course he can challenge it. That's what, "She winks at you." is. A challenge to that flaw. Now it's up to me to roleplay how my PC engages that challenge via his flaw.


Neither. It's up to the player how to respond when it's introduced, though.
That's what I meant by it's up to the player if it matters.

I agree that they could have gone much further with this. However, as it currently stands, it has as much meaning as you give it. We often bring them up ourselves whenever we see moments that apply. If I'm playing a short tempered barbarian, I'm going to roleplay the short temper on a regular basis. We generally forget inspiration anyway, so these things are just roleplayed without any other reward than having fun roleplaying them. As a DM, though, I do give extra RP for that sort of thing, and even more when the appropriate moment is detrimental to the PC/Party, as it's harder to play up those flaws at those moments.
I think Inspiration is forgotten by many groups, based on comments here. As you say, that whole aspect of the game has as much meaning as a group gives it.

I just don't think that it's a bad thing in any way if a game actually makes rules about this stuff so that it inherently has meaning.


Sure.

Example 1: the wink does nothing.
Example 2: the wink warms my PC's heart.
Example 3: my PC thinks she's really into him and begins pursuing her affection in earnest.
Example 4: my PC think she's just being flirty and flirts back.
Example 5: My PC enjoys the wink as flattery, but it doesn't warm his heart. Perhaps he flatters her back.

And so on.
I meant an example of how such mechanics force only one outcome. The list you provided doesn't seem any different than what I'd expect to see in a game that included mechanics of the kind we're talking about.
 

hawkeyefan

Explorer
If my character is a sucker for a pretty face, I would ignore the wink and declare another action only if there were a valid reason for it. Perhaps I found out during the course of play that 6 of her last 7 husbands died mysteriously and the 7th was never found. If the DM doesn't have an idea on why I am not being influenced, then it's not out of line to question it that way. At that point I'd let him know the reason why it's not having the effect it would ordinarily have.
So would a valid reason never be "my character was able to overcome his urge to give in to the maiden"? I mean, that seems a more likely and potentially valid reason than the crazy example you've provided.

If it's possible for the character to not give in, but it's entirely up to the player if they can do so, it seems a bit flawed.
 
Simply being told that the maiden melts your PC's heart with a wink - without reference to any game mechanics - takes player agency and chucks it out the window.
Why are you assuming that there is no game system? I've posted many such examples in this thread: Prince Valian special effects; Marvel Heroic RP/Cortex+ Heroic emotional stress and complications; the example from AW; etc.

And in some systems, maybe the GM can narrate it by fiat if it follows naturally from what has gone before, just as in (say) Moldvay Basic the GM can narrate that the PC falls down a bit without calling for a roll if that is what follows naturally from what has gone before.

There are so many variations possible that I'm not going to list them all. I'm assuming that a reader can bring to bear his/her familiarity with the way various RPGs provide vaious ways for participants to establish true descriptions of various character's actions.

The "and melts your heart" bit, as that's where the controversy sits. Not only does it make a pile of assumptions (starting with that the PC even noticed the wink in the first place), but it then forces the PC's reaction. No die roll, no chance to resist, no way to avoid the effect.
Maybe the player made a check and failed, and this is the narration of the failure by the GM.

Maybe the system is Dying Earth, and the player failed an appropriate resistance check for his/her PC.

That's the point of the OP, to invite reflection on the various sorts of descriptions of action that might be narrated, and the various ways in which this might be done.
 
In the fiction as viewed externally by real-world viewers, yes; because it's been set up that way.

But as viewed from the POV of a character within that fiction? No. That character would have no way of knowing any of this - it would just carry on living its life. And it's that viewpoint that I use when looking at game/system/world design - does it end up producing something that is consistent within itself in the eyes of every sentient thing* within that setting. If yes, good. If no, there's a problem - I've done it wrong.

* - whether they ever enter play, or whether they are PCs or NPCs or whatever, is not relevant - it has to be consistent for all such that something happening *here* ('on camera', with a PC involved) can be safely and correctly assumed to turn out much the same as if that same thing had happpened *there* (somewhere five countries away where no PC has ever gone).

Minion rules are the absolute opposite of this.
With respect, this makes no sense.

From the POV of a character in the ficiton you can't tell the resolution mechanics (including minion mechanics) that resultedin a certain outcome. You just experience the fictional events - eg that Aragorn swung his sword and chopped off the orc's head.

Mechanical system - like minion rules, or rules that privilege PCs over NPCs (Apocalypse World has this at several points; in 4e skill challenges are by design focused around player action declarations for their PCs; etc) - are only visible in the real world.

But the real world is not something that is visible to the eyes of any sentient thing within the game setting.
 

Ovinomancer

Explorer
If my character is a sucker for a pretty face, I would ignore the wink and declare another action only if there were a valid reason for it. Perhaps I found out during the course of play that 6 of her last 7 husbands died mysteriously and the 7th was never found. If the DM doesn't have an idea on why I am not being influenced, then it's not out of line to question it that way. At that point I'd let him know the reason why it's not having the effect it would ordinarily have.
So, not a flaw if it might hurt you.
 

Fenris-77

Explorer
I'll be honest, the maiden's wink example rubs my rhubarb the wrong way. There aren't many game systems I can think of that would force a character to do X because they have the hots for the winky maiden. They might get the option to pursue that narrative strand, but it's not going to be mandatory. That outcome is pretty far into left field for even most experienced players, and I can't think of a system that works like that. Even with a check involved PCs aren't losing their volition because of a wink, that's just silly except for maybe a really small subset of fringe games that I'm pretty sure I wouldn't enjoy. I don't think it's a useful example.

That said, lets take Fate for a minute. If a PC had sucker for a pretty face as an aspect, I would definitely have the occasional maiden wink at them and push a fate point into the middle of the table. That's not the same as what's being discussed above though. Can someone give me an actual example of a system where getting winked at is the equivalent of serious mind control hoodoo when it comes to player choice?
 

Tony Vargas

Adventurer
. There aren't many game systems I can think of that would force a character to do X because they have the hots for the winky maiden.
I don't recall anything in either the original or the inverted example about forcing an action - only /feeling/ something.
 

FrogReaver

Explorer
At least no one can poke fun at me now because I'm the only person here taking my position. So how about we have an actual discussion.

Question: What is actually wrong with the maiden winking example?

Answer 1: IMO. It's an in-fiction act that produces a mandatory effect whereas for whatever source material you are basing your groups shared fiction upon - in that source material maidens winks don't force any character to do anything.

Rebuttal 2: What is the anticipated counter-argument? that the maiden's wink in the example isn't actually forcing the PC in question to do something, but rather that its a determination of what the PC's response would be and then locking the player into roleplaying for that reality.

Answer 2: I happen to think that's a solid argument. So what is actually wrong with the Maiden winking example? IMO. It attempts to determine what the PC's response would be instead of simply allowing the player to roleplay their response.

Rebuttal 3: So what is the expected counter-argument to this. That charm person effects exists and they also determine what the PC's response would be instead of simply allowing the player to roleplay their response.

Answer 3: My answer is that unlike the maidens wink - charm person isn't an effect that attempts to determine what my PC's response to an action would be. Instead it's an in-fiction example of an ability that can actually force my PC to behave a certain way and that such an ability is a common in most all source material we might draw upon for our shared-fictional world.

So then we can set up a simple test for any given example for whether it will be acceptable or unacceptable -

Test 1. Does the action force a response in any of the source material for our shared-fictional-world. If yes then it's acceptable (charm person effects fall here). Does the action simply call for a determination of how the PC acted/will act as opposed to being a mind control style effect? If yes then that's unacceptable because it truly is taking away a moment where you can roleplay your character.

Why is the last part so important - because what truly sets roleplaying games apart from other games is that in an RPG you the player are taking on the role of a character by making their decisions, declaring their actions, having the character behave as you envision etc. So then anything that infringes upon your ability make character decisions, declare character actions, have the character behave as you envision etc - any of that also is infringing upon your ability to take on the role of a character in an RPG.
 
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Tony Vargas

Adventurer
In case you missed it - the way we are using "action" - melting your heart does constitute an action.
I definitely missed that. I caught it as the result of an action, but not forcing an action, just evoking an emotion.

Question: What is actually wrong with the maiden winking example?
It paints the PC as a human being rather than a game piece? It doesn't involve magic? It's icky mushy stuff? It's a generic example so doesn't reference a resolution system? It presumes the romantic orientation of the PC?
Answer 1: IMO. It's an in-fiction act that produces a mandatory effect
We don't know if it's mandatory (automatic) or if there's a resolution system like a save or incentive like a compel being used (or if its a result if an action already having been resolved).
whereas for whatever source material you are basing your groups shared fiction upon - in that source material maidens winks don't force any character to do anything.
In the source material, people fall in love at first sight, and generally have all sorts of over the top emotional reactions.
the maiden's wink in the example isn't actually forcing the PC in question to do something, but rather that its a determination of what the PC's response would be and then locking the player into roleplaying for that reality.
Which needn't change his subsequent actions, just put a different shade of dramatic meaning on them.
charm person it's an in-fiction example of an ability that can actually force my PC to behave a certain way and that such an ability is a common in most all source material we might draw upon for our shared-fictional world.
Manipulation isn't common?
Characters in fiction are never manipulated into experiencing emotions they might rather not experience, or might be inconvenienced by, without magical coercion?
 

Lanefan

Hero
For the Blades example, you had it right that this was the result of a poor roll on the player’s part. The GM narrated the severe consequences accordingly. Perhaps worth noting is that the player likely had a decent idea of how bad the consequences would be based on the Position stated by the GM prior to the roll.
Backed by mechanics, then, and all is good.

I think that the example of the wink was given with the expectation that there would or could be such mechanics at play, depending on system.
However this was not stated, only the narration without anything else to back it up - and around here I've learned to make no assumptions. :)
 

Lanefan

Hero
And as viewed internally by the real-world creators and enactors of that fiction.
Well, of course not, their POV is dictated to them by those creating the fiction. The villain or foil or extra will not behave as if they knew those were their roles, but they will behave in accord with them, none the less, because both their actions and their imagined perception & beliefs are imposed upon them by their creators.

Why, when no one will experience the game from that PoV?
An immersion-oriented player is going to try his-her best to do exactly this, as that's the whole point of immersion: to perceive things as your PC would perceive them.

The players will know who is a PC, who an NPC, and often have a good idea of what sort by how the DM presents them. The DM of course, knows these things with greater certainty.
Obviously. But that's just table knowledge.

The characters in question are all-unknowing of their own role & nature, as they have no independent knowledge of, perception of nor control over their own being. They will know, perceive, believe what they are imagined to.
No, but in theory they would have perceptions, knowledges and beliefs given that they are in theory sentient inhabitants of their setting; and those perceptions, knowledges and beliefs don't extend to seeing little tags on foreheads saying PC or NPC or BBEG or whatever.

Put another way: imagine these characters are real people within their setting and try looking at the game world through the eyes of one of them (not necessarily your PC). What do you see? Now jump to another game-world inhabitant and do the same thing. What do you see? Repeat, at different times and in different situations.

Now, is everything you just saw through all those characters' eyes consistent with itself no matter which set of eyes you happened to look through - whether it was a PC, an NPC, a commoner, a minion? If yes, all is good.
 

Lanefan

Hero
Why are you assuming that there is no game system?
Because none was referenced in the example given.

Had a mechanic of some sort been referenced, from any system, I'd have had no problem with the example as given. But as no mechanic of any kind was referenced to give context, the example as written is nothing more than a GM taking agency away from a player.

Maybe the player made a check and failed, and this is the narration of the failure by the GM.
All we got to work with was a GM saying "The maiden winks at you and melts your heart", without context and without any mention of game mechanics backing this statement up in any way. Taken at face value and without anything else to go on, what other conclusion can be drawn but that the GM overstepped the bounds?

Maybe the system is Dying Earth, and the player failed an appropriate resistance check for his/her PC.
Fine, but if this (or something equivalent from another system) isn't mentioned as part of the original example we can't just assume it's there - in fact, the lack of any such mention tells us the opposite: to assume there are no mechanics involved.
 

Lanefan

Hero
With respect, this makes no sense.

From the POV of a character in the ficiton you can't tell the resolution mechanics (including minion mechanics) that resultedin a certain outcome. You just experience the fictional events - eg that Aragorn swung his sword and chopped off the orc's head.
With you so far - no disagreement yet.

Mechanical system - like minion rules, ...
But here it falls apart.

I use the eyes of a game-world inhabitant - say an innocuous bartender - to look around. I see the bar full of common working people who look ready to fight, and yep: there they go. Fists flying, bottles smashing, a good old-fashioned donnybrook - black eyes all round and maybe a few broken bones, but in the end nobody dies and the bartender has a big mess to clean up.

A week later, most of those same people are back...with a few new friends to replace those with broken limbs...and sure enough, another fight breaks out just like last week. This time, however, most of the people involved drop dead the first time they take a good hit from anything - including getting hit by the same guy that hit him last week - because one of the new people has a PC tag on its head and suddenly all these brawlers are panes of thin glass.

How in any way is this internally consistent?

or rules that privilege PCs over NPCs (Apocalypse World has this at several points; in 4e skill challenges are by design focused around player action declarations for their PCs; etc) - are only visible in the real world.

But the real world is not something that is visible to the eyes of any sentient thing within the game setting.
Yes, the table-to-setting "visibility" is all one-way. Within the setting, however, internal visibility is in theory as good as it is here in the real world...as should be internal consistency.
 
pemerton said:
Why are you assuming that there is no game system?
Because none was referenced in the example given.
There's a problem with the example "I wink at the maiden and soften her heart" that I think has thus far been overlooked here, which is this:

Flip it around. If the GM says to you "The maiden winks at you and softens your heart" without invoking any game mechanics there'd be (justifiable) cries of bloody blue murder: the GM is dictating the PC's reaction to the wink.

So why isn't the GM given the same agency over how her NPCs react to the PCs' actions?
The example of a NPC maiden softening a PC's heart with a wink came from you. So what system did you have in mind? I don't think the onus is on me to flesh out your example! If you think your example is underspecified then flesh it out yourself!

I'll be honest, the maiden's wink example rubs my rhubarb the wrong way. There aren't many game systems I can think of that would force a character to do X because they have the hots for the winky maiden. They might get the option to pursue that narrative strand, but it's not going to be mandatory. That outcome is pretty far into left field for even most experienced players, and I can't think of a system that works like that. Even with a check involved PCs aren't losing their volition because of a wink, that's just silly except for maybe a really small subset of fringe games that I'm pretty sure I wouldn't enjoy. I don't think it's a useful example.

That said, lets take Fate for a minute. If a PC had sucker for a pretty face as an aspect, I would definitely have the occasional maiden wink at them and push a fate point into the middle of the table. That's not the same as what's being discussed above though. Can someone give me an actual example of a system where getting winked at is the equivalent of serious mind control hoodoo when it comes to player choice?
In the OP I put forward, as a description a PC's action, I soften the heart of the maiden with a wink. Systems I can think of where that is a permissible action declaration include Prince Valiant (probably a check on Presence + Glamourie; it might also be done by using a Storyteller's Certificate to Incite Lust as a special effect), Marvel Heroic RP/Cortex+ Heroic (a check intended to inflict a Complication, or perhaps Emotional or Mental Stress, depending on context and further elaboration), Maelstrom Storytelling (I think I got the example from a rulebook example of a Quick Take), 4th ed D&D if the table is in the right mood (it would be a CHA check, or in the right context perhaps a Bluff or even a Diplomacy check - 4e is not super-prescriptive in respect of what skills can be used to do what), even Burning Wheel or Rolemaster if the setting/genre is not too grim (a Seduction check). I can't remember the scope of Seduction in The Dying Earth but I wouldn't be surprised if it covers this sort of thing also.
[MENTION=29398]Lanefan[/MENTION] was the one who started a conversation about the reverse scenario, of a maiden softening a PC's heart with a wink. He didn't suggest any particular X as an action to be performed by the PC. As [MENTION=996]Tony Vargas[/MENTION] correctly noted, he only suggested an emotional response - the PC's hear is softened - and didn't further explore what that might mean for play.

Systems I can think of where something like this is possible I think I already mentioned: Prince Valiant (especially if the GM uses an Incite Lust special effect against a player's character); Marvel Heroic/Cortex+ Heroic (the situation of the PC is quite symmetrical to the NPC, and the cost of not going along with the softened heart is that the complication/stress will figure in the opposing dice pool - this is the same mechanic the system uses to adjudicate psychic mind control); The Dying Earth; Burning Wheel (the rules for NPC social skill use outside the context of a Duel of Wits are a bit thin, but as best I can tell it's intended to be a permissible thing); maybe others.

In 4e D&D, in an appropriate context, I would regard it as a permissible complication in the narration of a skill challenge. Whether that's intended or not is hard to tell - despite many printed pages the 4e rulebooks are incredibly weak in their account of permissible complications in narrating skill challenges!

As a late addition, I also think it should be possible (both ways - PC to NPC or vice versa) in HeroWars/Quest.
 
I use the eyes of a game-world inhabitant - say an innocuous bartender - to look around. I see the bar full of common working people who look ready to fight, and yep: there they go. Fists flying, bottles smashing, a good old-fashioned donnybrook - black eyes all round and maybe a few broken bones, but in the end nobody dies and the bartender has a big mess to clean up.

A week later, most of those same people are back...with a few new friends to replace those with broken limbs...and sure enough, another fight breaks out just like last week. This time, however, most of the people involved drop dead the first time they take a good hit from anything - including getting hit by the same guy that hit him last week - because one of the new people has a PC tag on its head and suddenly all these brawlers are panes of thin glass.

How in any way is this internally consistent?
I don't understand what your example has to do with minion rules.

Minion rules are a mechanical device in some systems (4e D&D perhaps most famously, but certainly not exclusively) for adjudicating declared actions (in 4e D&D, mostly fight-y actions) by players for their PCs. If your ingame inhabitant sees her doughty working people cut down with little trouble by Conan and friends, where is the inconsistency?

Consistency is a property of, and often a virtue of, a fiction. Minion rules are a device for establishing the content of a shared RPG fiction in certain contexts. If you mis-use the rules you might get poor fiction. Likewise in Moldvay Basic if you misuse the rules for DEX checks - eg require a DEX check every 10' to avoid the PCs falling down like Charlie Chaplin on a bad day - you'll get stupid fiction. But everyone knows that that's not how you use DEX checks.

Mutatis mutandis for minion rules.
 
At least no one can poke fun at me now because I'm the only person here taking my position. So how about we have an actual discussion.

Question: What is actually wrong with the maiden winking example?

Answer 1: IMO. It's an in-fiction act that produces a mandatory effect whereas for whatever source material you are basing your groups shared fiction upon - in that source material maidens winks don't force any character to do anything.
What mandatory effect are you referring to?

Can you describe a concrete example, with reference to a real or conjectured system, that explains what you've got in mind.

All I'm seeing so far is a conjecture of a system that, in some circumstances, permits a GM to tell a player The maiden's wink softens your heart. Until you tell me more about what you have in mind, that's not an example of anything forcing anything beyond a description of a somewhat commonplace cause and an effect.

Rebuttal 2: What is the anticipated counter-argument? that the maiden's wink in the example isn't actually forcing the PC in question to do something, but rather that its a determination of what the PC's response would be and then locking the player into roleplaying for that reality.

Answer 2: I happen to think that's a solid argument. So what is actually wrong with the Maiden winking example? IMO. It attempts to determine what the PC's response would be instead of simply allowing the player to roleplay their response.
I don't really follow the detail of this. My take away - drawing in part on your earlier posts - is that you don't like a system which permits some mechanism to establish a PC's emotion other than player decision, unless that mechanism correlates to or gives expression to an in-fiction thing that bears the label magic.

I would therefore expect you to be fine with the 4e Deathlock Wight's ability to cause a PC to recoil in fear from its horrific visage (mechanically, a fear effect that does some psychic damage and a push effect) but not with the 4e Fang Titan Drake's ability to cause PC's to freeze in terror at its furious roar (mechanically, a fear effect that stuns, and then causes a to hit penalty as an aftereffect).

unlike the maidens wink - charm person isn't an effect that attempts to determine what my PC's response to an action would be. Instead it's an in-fiction example of an ability that can actually force my PC to behave a certain way and that such an ability is a common in most all source material we might draw upon for our shared-fictional world.
Your assertion - that failing a save vs Charm Person doesn't reflect anything about the emotional/mental response of the PC - is contentious. Here's Gygax in his DMG (p 81) about the in-fiction meaning of saving throws:

A character under magical attack is in a stress situation, and his or her own will force reacts instinctively to protect the character by slightly altering the effects of the magical assault. This protection takes a slightly different form for each class of character. Magic-users understand spells, even on an unconscious level, and are able to slightly tamper with one so as to render it ineffective. Fighters withstand them through sheer defiance, while clerics create a small island of faith. Thieves find they are able to avoid a spell's full effects by quickness . . .​

So maybe if the MU fails a save that means s/he didn't really want to render it ineffective! If the cleric fails, perhaps that means his/her faith is not as profound as s/he believed it to be . . .

Now maybe the standard 5e interpretation is that all characters do what Gygax's fighters do - ie withstand magic through sheer defiance - but that's obviously not the sole approach even within the D&D tradition.

And if we look to the source material, the notion that being mind-controlled is a sign of secret desire (or at least uncertainty) can be seen in Star Wars, the X-Men, and Lord of the Rings, just to name a few classics of the genre.

Does the action force a response in any of the source material for our shared-fictional-world. If yes then it's acceptable (charm person effects fall here). Does the action simply call for a determination of how the PC acted/will act as opposed to being a mind control style effect? If yes then that's unacceptable because it truly is taking away a moment where you can roleplay your character.

Why is the last part so important - because what truly sets roleplaying games apart from other games is that in an RPG you the player are taking on the role of a character by making their decisions, declaring their actions, having the character behave as you envision etc.
I've bolded the bit that you continue to take for granted but haven't actually articulated or defended. How does this truly set RPGs apart from other games?

And if this is so fundamental, why the obsession with a maiden's winking? If I envision my PC as a puissant warrior, but I keep being knocked unconscious in every fight, then my PC isn't behaving as I envision. Why is that acceptable? (NB: there are games which are able to make this aspect of the player's conception of his/her PC as central and sacrosanct as you want in respect of your PC's disposition to maidens.)
 
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Fenris-77

Explorer
The wink doesn't pose a problem for me as a PC action, although generally there would also be a mechanic involved there but there doesn't have to be. As an NPC action with a dictated result it's ... wacky. Even if you could find a system that supported it I'd still be against it. Obviously the extent of the forced action plays a big role too. If the forced action just consists of telling the player they get swollen love nodes, which is more an invitation to action than forced action anyway, I'm fine with it. But as soon as the DM says something like "she beckons you with a finger and follow her out the door" then I'm firmly against, and will reiterate my earlier contention that this doesn't happen in RPGs generally so is probably a silly example. I don't really feel the need to explain how monster abilities with mechanics are a different class of example.

The minion example is easier to deal with (I'm with [MENTION=42582]pemerton[/MENTION] on this). The internal consistency of a lot of fantasy fiction fits (and RPGs) the minion example to a tee. Those randos at the bar are indeed panes of glass to the PC and not to each other, and the fact that they are so is part of the unstated contract a player signs when they agree to play said RPG. Just like the fact that they aren't panes of glass in grittier RPGs is also understood by everyone involved at the outset of the game.
 

billd91

Earl of Cornbread
I don't even know what this means.

I'm talking about events in the fiction. In the fiction, there is no such thing as "overriding the PC". There is just one human affectig another. This is a real thing that happens in the real world all the time, so I have no trouble imagining a fantasy wold in which it happens.

Galadriel melts Gimli's heart. Aragorn melts Eomer's heart. Frodo almost melts Gollum's heart. Etc. This is a recurrent them in classic fantasy stories.
Now we get back to the age-old RPG discussion on how fiction written by a single author isn't like an RPG. In a novel, it's up to one person to determine if Galadriel connects with Gimli and how they do so. In an RPG, it's up to at least 2 people - the person playing Galadriel and the person playing Gimli. They don't have to agree on exactly what should happen and how. And so we need to have some kind of rules and/or etiquette to determine how to proceed when these situations arise.

For most RPGs, I'd advocate that the player controls the PC's reactions while the GM controls the NPCs' reactions barring some direct test (even in a game like Pendragon - which has certain behavioral expectations based on traits the PC possesses. Pendragon also, of course, has direct tests of those traits are evoked to take the character out of the player's control as well as rules for the consequences of acting against a famous trait). That's the general social contract I'd expect at a typical RPG table. That might be negotiable with a particularly trusted GM as seems to be the case with Matt Mercer and his players on Critical Role, but probably not at a convention table.
 

Maxperson

Orcus on an on Day
No such thing, in a game like 5e: it simply has faith in the DM. It might mean you're a bad fit for that hypothetical DMs hypothetical campaign, which is totally legit.
Yes. Yes there is such a thing as abuse of DM authority in 5e. Here are the roles of the DM from the 5e DMG.

"The Dungeon Master gets to wear many hats. As the architect of the campaign, the DM creates adventures by placing monster, traps and treasures for the other players' characters(the adventurers) to discover. As the storyteller, the DM helps the other players visualize what's happening around them, improvising when the adventurers do something or go somewhere unexpected. As an actor, the DM plays the roles of the monsters and supporting characters, breathing life into them. And as a referee, the DM interprets the rules and decides when to abide by them and when to change them."

That's it. He places stuff. He gets to inform me of what my PC sees, such as room contents or if an NPC winks at my PC. He gets to roleplay his monsters and NPCs, such as when an NPC winks at my PC. And he gets to interpret the rules. There is no rule that says the DM gets to run my PC for me. Nor is that part of his roles.

Within the above constraints, he gets to narrate the results of MY actions with regard to my PC, not his own, unless something like dominate is in effect. The DM, unless he has a house rule or is abusing his authority cannot play my PC and tell me that my PC's heart warms to a wink.

The DMG section about social interaction is entirely about the DM and his NPCs, and how to change their attitude. At no point in the social interaction section where it describes social interaction between players and NPCs is there ANYTHING that enables the DM to force my PC to respond how HE wants to an NPCs wink.
 

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