D&D General Respeckt Mah Authoritah: Understanding High Trust and the Division of Authority

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
I personally, have a suspicion that 5e24 might be driven, at least in part, by some of these concerns.

A desire to harmonize rules in order to make it more VTT (and CRPG) friendly.

Not to mention that, unlike 5e14, there is serious interest in upper management now.

....I'm not sure that either of those factors make for a better TTRPG, or for better design, but that's a topic for a different thread.
I very much believe they won't make for a better TTRPG.
 

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Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Yet the OSR/FKR style....requires that absolutely everything be cleared through one central authority, who is the only person that can make determinations. Players are not trusted with rules, and indeed most discussions of it suggest the best thing to do is to never tell them the rules at all, so the players are wholly dependent on the central authority to even know what is feasible. Far from acting with independence and doing what makes most sense for them, free from overbearing oversight, everything the player does is subject to continuous, mandatory oversight. You literally can't play without it.
Having played 1e and 2e with many different players and DMs, I can tell you that the players knew the rules. There was no "never tell them the rules at all" that was possible. There were books for them to read.
There is no room for what you describe, where a player is trusted to know the rules better than the GM does.
This is a matter of fact, not trust. There are three factual possibilities. 1) the DM knows the rules better, 2) the player(s) know the rules better, 3) they all know the rules equally. Trust never comes into it.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Take a look at PHB 174 with attention to the requirements of an ability check (chance of failure). Then read DMG 237 with attention to the necessary pre-framing of ability checks (to have meaningful consequences in view).
I'm familiar with the two sections. The DMG, though, isn't much different from the PHB except that it adds "meaningful consequence for failure" to the mix if the DM chooses to engage that particular guideline. That guideline doesn't even conflict with the PHB section since the PHB portion simply says that the DM calls for checks when the outcome is in doubt, not that the DM must call for checks when the outcome is in doubt. That leaves it open for the DM to use "meaningful consequences" as a criterion or not.
 


clearstream

(He, Him)
I'm familiar with the two sections. The DMG, though, isn't much different from the PHB except that it adds "meaningful consequence for failure" to the mix if the DM chooses to engage that particular guideline. That guideline doesn't even conflict with the PHB section since the PHB portion simply says that the DM calls for checks when the outcome is in doubt, not that the DM must call for checks when the outcome is in doubt. That leaves it open for the DM to use "meaningful consequences" as a criterion or not.
Yes, agreed that it does not conflict. But think about the procedure thus envisioned: whereas in PHB we only have to consider uncertainty, per DMG we have to frame up consequences. Those must be in view up-front (else how can they be used to decide if a check is called for?)

That lets in a markedly different mode of play.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Yes, agreed that it does not conflict. But think about the procedure thus envisioned: whereas in PHB we only have to consider uncertainty, per DMG we have to frame up consequences. Those must be in view up-front (else how can they be used to decide if a check is called for?)

That lets in a markedly different mode of play.
What do you mean by "in view up-front?" In view of everyone playing or simply in view of the DM who needs to make the decision? I can't imagine a situation where the DM wouldn't be aware of the consequences of a declared action as soon as it's declared, unless he's set it up to be random like a wild magic surge.
 


Thomas Shey

Legend
One thing I'm thankful I've cultivated with my group is a high level of trust in that if I'm on the edge about a ruling or decision I can often turn to my players and go "I think that the ruling should be X does that sound correct to everyone?" and I can trust them to be honest even if its bad for them. 90% of the time they'll agree but occasionally they'll shoot back with a different idea and both sides can trust that the other is trying to make a fair and fun decision, not just get an advantage.

This is pretty much my preferred method. I'm not sold absolutely everyone is going to be able to move to the right mindspace to do it right, but I'd still rather get buy-in from everyone.
 

kenada

Legend
Supporter
Second, regarding the jargon "high trust" (@RareBreed @kenada )- I think I wrote this in the OP as an aside, but to make sure the point is driven home... all styles of play are valid. Different styles work for different tables at different times. In addition, I think that if you look at the history of TTRPGs holistically, you will see that different paradigms rise as a reaction to what came before. So while OSR came as a reaction to 3e (for example), 3e itself was a reaction to TSR-era D&D. That's why I think it's important to note that a lot of jargon is not neutral, but is both descriptive of a particular style of play favored by proponents of a style of play while also being an implicit critique of another style of play. That's why I don't find it particularly helpful to use a specific term of jargon generally to apply to other TTRPGs.
I don’t have an issue with “high trust” play or even that particular jargon in its own context. It’s what you went on to say about it and how it can be used problematically that I was appreciating.

The discussion then drifted, and while I do have a preference for one way over another, I don’t care if people prefer the other as long as they’re not jerks about it. (And if they are, the problem is with their being jerks not with their play.)
 

Having played 1e and 2e with many different players and DMs, I can tell you that the players knew the rules. There was no "never tell them the rules at all" that was possible. There were books for them to read.

This is a matter of fact, not trust. There are three factual possibilities. 1) the DM knows the rules better, 2) the player(s) know the rules better, 3) they all know the rules equally. Trust never comes into it.
This is only true for the Modern World......roughly after 2000.

If you were not there........back in the Time Before Time. And disclaimer: Yes some people in the past were not only millionaires but lived right next to a RPG Mart and they automatically got every single RPG and related item as they lived in a RPG Paradise. For everyone else:

RPG were a bit hard to find from 1973 to 1995 ish. (well, really EVERYTHING was a bit hard to find: welcome to the Past). There were very few...if any Game Stores well into the 90's (yes, some people grew up right next to a game store that opened in '74...but most people did not). Comic Stores were rare too....and a LOT of them did not sell RPGs (yet). So your only option was book stores....and a good half of THEM did not carry RPGs too. If your book store did...way in the back...by the road maps..was a game shelf or two: lots of crossword and puzzle books....and maybe...just maybe a shelf for RPGs. And that is to say a random pile of random RPGs. So your chances of find any one book were slim.

So it was QUITE common for one person....often, but not always the DM in a 'group' to even HAVE a rule book...let alone a couple. The vast majority of players did not own any rule books...even a Players Handbook. The DM just told them the rules they needed. A LOT of players did not even have dice: plenty of games just had ONE set of dice that everyone had to share.

And....of course....the even BIGGER part was the average casual player would say "eh, why buy a book...I don't need to know the rules" attitude was VERY common.


You clearly run with less stubborn people than do I. The referee can only make a call and keep the game moving if everyone is willing to allow that to happen, but if someone (or several someones) digs in their heels then a discussion is inevitably going to follow - regardless of how often you repeat "The DM is God - Abide or Die" to them.
I find kicking people out of the game works good here.

Someone takes even a couple seconds to complain about a ruling and I will just say "stop, or go home". They continue: they are gone.
 

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