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


Morkus from Orkus
The 3e or 3.5e DMG? I never even bought the 3.5 one. I found the 3e one to be mostly useless to be honest. Other than the magic item listing. My 3e DMG is still pristine it was used so little.
I bought the 3e DMG but didn't really use it for anything but assigning XP and rolling for magic items. I never bought a 3.5 DMG.

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B/X Known World
I'm one of those people who, if I can't do something well enough that I only have to do it once, probably isn't going to do it at all.
That's too bad. That's a lot of time for players to sit there watching you think. I'd quickly disappear into my phone never to be seen again.
Thing is, oftentimes the only time the players are all in the same place is at the session, so all you're doing there is delaying the in-session discussion from now until next week.
As I said, discuss it after the session if it needs to be discussed with the group. If you need to think about it more, think about it between sessions.

If I had to sit and do nothing while watching the referee have a nice, long think every single time they had to make a ruling, I'd quickly excuse myself and never come back. Sorry to say. Just about everything you've said and shared about your game, mechanics, etc sounds exactly my style. But this would be an immediate deal breaker. I mean, the players didn't come over and sit down at the table to watch you think about running the game. They're there for you to actually run the game and to actually play.


My issue with that as a player is that changing the rule or ruling after the fact invalidates what happened in play at that moment. Put another way, anything that happens in play should, given the same circumstances and-or luck, be able to happen again in that same campaign.

And so as a DM I try not to let this happen within a campaign. Or, if I'm going to change something I'll make sure there's a valid in-fiction reason behind it, and if I can't then ideally that change gets put on hold until the next time I start a campaign.

Example: there's a particular spell in my current game I'd really like to get rid of, but a whole bunch of assorted PC casters over the years have already learned it and used it. I can't just take it away from them. All I can do is make sure it's not on the spell list if-when I ever start another campaign.

Eh. It's a game. Nothing is invalidated if we rule different for the next game or if, as sometimes happens, we had a rule wrong. I'm not going to create a houserule to change a spell from the book just because we read it wrong the first time. We just shrug and move on. Things have changed a lot over the years, the rules are just an expression and mechanical implementation of what the characters can do. So we have dwarves that can cast spells, female characters that can have a 20 strength, any number of things have changed over time.

If we were to change something major we'll discuss it as a group and potentially keep the current interpretation for the current campaign.


Morkus from Orkus
Instead I have seen literally nothing but statements that GMs have--and should use--absolute authority. That the "trust" the GM should have is that they trust their players won't balk at their dictates. And the things shown, there and elsewhere, are either explicitly or implicitly completely rejected.
Really? You've seen nothing but statements that the DM has and should use the absolute authority? Despite my saying to you more than once that the DM shouldn't abuse his authority?

Players SHOULD trust the DM, or they have no business playing in that game. If you can't or don't trust the DM, you aren't going to have any fun. Just like the DM should trust his players, or the DM isn't going to have any fun.

Trust is essential for the game to run smoothly and be enjoyable.


Morkus from Orkus
The 5e DMG contains the single most important rule in this edition of D&D. DMG 237, consequences resolution. Intentionally or not, they designed 5e to be playable as PHB-5e and DMG-5e, where the two are different games.
I'm not positive what you mean by that, but they intentionally designed the 5e PHB to contain all of the rules of the game, and the 5e DMG to contain a bunch of guidelines for the DM to use or not as he sees fit, which include altering/removing rules in the 5e PHB.

Thomas Shey

You're assuming that the group of people a) all have the same goal and b) are working together (rather than individually or in factions) to achieve it.

Both assumptions are often incorrect. Oftentimes each character in the party has a different goal and-or reason for being there at the time, and chaotic players playing chaotic characters generally aren't going to work together unless they have no other choice.

It still begs the question why they're bothering to travel together barring PC glow, though. The only thing worse than having no backup, is having backup you can't trust.

Thomas Shey

Fine in theory but in practice, as noted just now, making that change invalidates what happened in play under the original (bad) ruling, and such an invalidation is unacceptable to me as a player. In effect, it's retconning something that was ruled possible at the time to being impossible now.

And so instead I'll say* something like "Yeah, I screwed that up but now we're stuck with it. Sorry.", and I expect the same as a player.

I understand its your preference here, but I've got to tell you my reaction on either side of the table would be "Yeah, no. We're not sticking with a terrible rule/ruling just because it was deployed once. If that means the event didn't happen quite the way it played out, so be it."

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