log in or register to remove this ad

 

D&D 5E Respect Mah Authoritah: Thoughts on DM and Player Authority in 5e

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
I really don't think most of these are metacurrencies. For example, I would assume that the caster is actually aware how many spells and how powerful they're able to cast and they're aware of the causal effects these spells have. This is not metacurrency. If the characters could more or less accurately discuss the thing in character (perhaps not using the exact mechanical terms) then it is not metacurrency. granted, some of these are weirder, like battlemaster manoeuvres. It would feel a bit weird that the character would know how many of these they could pull off. Though this is more to do with we having intuitive understanding that this is not how this would work in real world, whereas we have no such assumptions in magic.
OOH! Do hitpoints next! What does the discussion of how many hitpoints a character has look in fiction?
 

log in or register to remove this ad

In reading @hawkeyefan's account of the unshootable hag, I don't get any sense that there was an established fiction about the hag's cover, from which it followed that she couldn't be shot. It sounds much more like the GM had decided that the hag was going to escape, and then authored backstory and tried to disapply rules in order to justify that result.
Yes, scrambling to come up with the reason why the hag couldn't be shot indeed makes it sound like that. But the inability to shoot in itself wasn't unreasonable. What would have been revealing would have been what had happened if the characters had tried to pursue the hag.
 

OOH! Do hitpoints next! What does the discussion of how many hitpoints a character have look in fiction?
At least in my game it is pretty easy. You're literally injured when you lose hit points. So a character who is missing most of their hit points knows that they're not doing so great, and pursuing further confrontations would be very risky.
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
In reading @hawkeyefan's account of the unshootable hag, I don't get any sense that there was an established fiction about the hag's cover, from which it followed that she couldn't be shot. It sounds much more like the GM had decided that the hag was going to escape, and then authored backstory and tried to disapply rules in order to justify that result.
This is possible, but @hawkeyefan will need to weigh in on what swimming away through the swamp water means -- if the hag was described as submerged initially, then I don't think your analysis is preferable to one where the GM was just presenting the nos in order of their grasp of the fiction. To that, I can see the GM thinking the hag's last move would get them far away, but this was countered by the player. Then the inability to detect the underwater hag seems reasonable, but again the player has a counter. Finally, the ability to shoot into water is used, but this seems reasonable. Had the GM initially considered and realized the first two objections were countered by player abilities (not that easy in 5e with so many possible and the already large GM overhead), then they could have deployed this final step first and the issue would not have felt the same. As I look, I'm don't see the GM creating new fiction to thwart the player -- that seems to have been done well to start. It's the walkthrough and repeated nos that feel off here.
 

Or they will stay and suffer through the experience because the DM and the rest of the group are close friends. Or no one else wants to run the game. Or there are no other DMs and this is the only D&D group they can find. Or maybe D&D is not a democracy at all and this is simply a poor analogy to make?
I have no stake in this particular discussion, but a lot of the things you bring up also apply to living in a democracy: people stay because their friends and family are there (and leaving may not beca realistic option). They may feel that none of the good people they know want to run for government, and thus vote for the least bad option. 😀
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
At least in my game it is pretty easy. You're literally injured when you lose hit points. So a character who is missing most of their hit points knows that they're not doing so great, and pursuing further confrontations would be very risky.
Okay. I have character A who has a nasty gash across their chest from a monster claw and character B who has a scratch on the arm from the same monster. How many hitpoints did they both lose?
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
I have no stake in this particular discussion, but a lot of the things you bring up also apply to living in a democracy: people stay because their friends and family are there (and leaving may not beca realistic option). They may feel that none of the good people they know want to run for government, and thus vote for the least bad option. 😀
GMs are the least bad option from a list of bad options. Interesting take.... ;)
 

pemerton

Legend
This is possible, but @hawkeyefan will need to weigh in on what swimming away through the swamp water means -- if the hag was described as submerged initially, then I don't think your analysis is preferable to one where the GM was just presenting the nos in order of their grasp of the fiction. To that, I can see the GM thinking the hag's last move would get them far away, but this was countered by the player. Then the inability to detect the underwater hag seems reasonable, but again the player has a counter. Finally, the ability to shoot into water is used, but this seems reasonable. Had the GM initially considered and realized the first two objections were countered by player abilities (not that easy in 5e with so many possible and the already large GM overhead), then they could have deployed this final step first and the issue would not have felt the same. As I look, I'm don't see the GM creating new fiction to thwart the player -- that seems to have been done well to start. It's the walkthrough and repeated nos that feel off here.
Perhaps - I can see what you're saying. I do wonder about the pre-established depth of the water and how the cover was established.

The line between an established (pre-authored) fiction which allows the hag to avoid being shot as per the rules, and a pre-authored fiction of the hag escaping, which then gets fleshed out with the necessary fictional details, is maybe quite a fine one.
 

Here's a reasonable test: if you run the same game for different players/characters, will the results be similar? In many 5e games, the answer to this is yes. Certainly for any of the published adventures.
I don't understand why you would use readymade modules as a point of comparison. Of course they're pretty linear!
 



Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
Former has lost a larger percentage of their hit points.
Oh, so, in the fiction, player A tells player B that they lost a larger percentage of their hitpoints than player B did. That's odd, have you introduced hitpoints into the fiction of your game as a real thing that exist and can be measured?

I hate to say it, but it looks like hitpoints are pretty meta because you don't have any in-fiction explanation for them. For me, this is perfectly fine. I can see it's a problem if you're blanket declaring meta things to be bad, though, as this might expose that it's only meta things you're not used to being labeled bad and the ones you are used to are just plain hard to see.
 

Oh, so, in the fiction, player A tells player B that they lost a larger percentage of their hitpoints than player B did. That's odd, have you introduced hitpoints into the fiction of your game as a real thing that exist and can be measured?

I hate to say it, but it looks like hitpoints are pretty meta because you don't have any in-fiction explanation for them. For me, this is perfectly fine. I can see it's a problem if you're blanket declaring meta things to be bad, though, as this might expose that it's only meta things you're not used to being labeled bad and the ones you are used to are just plain hard to see.
They represent how badly hurt people are, and characters know that ones who have lost a larger portion their hit points are more seriously hurt. This is observable and knowable to them, they can make decisions based on this. The hit points represent something that also exists in the fiction. This makes them an abstraction, but not meta. Even if you wouldn't run hit points this way (and many people don't) this shouldn't be that hard to get.
 

prabe

Aspiring Lurker (He/Him)
Supporter
We have quite different responses to this.
SHOCKING (details at 11)
This seems to leave open who/what else might be in the pocket dimension. Can the familiar grab something and take it into the pocket dimension? Can something grab it and come along for the ride? I don't see that there is any contradiction of the rules or the fiction in the redcap scenario: rather, it's about what is considered "fair play" in situation framing.
Yeah. It's plausibly a different interpretation of "fair play" and also the fact that every description says "it" and nothing more (and I'd have to ponder the potential for shenanigans before allowing a familiar to carry something into the pocket dimension).
This was not the PC’s initial casting of Find Familiar…it was already on scene and he sent it out to scout, and the redcaps jumped it. The PC was unaware at that point because it was more than 100 feet away. He dismissed it to a pocket dimension per the spell, and then brought it back within 30 feet (this allows you to dismiss and bring back your familiar multiple times with a single casting of the spell). The redcaps came along for the ride.

Again, it’s not in the rules in any way….but it’s less clearly overriding the rules. At least, that’s how it seemed to me.
Eh. I'd think the caster would know how the spell worked. I think it's the fact the player had no warning as to the possibility that's really grating on my nerves about it. Like, that seems like a time when as a caster I'd just right off that particular incarnation of the familiar, rather than bring the redcaps that close to me--and I'd expect my character who's casting the spell to anticipate the possibility.
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
They represent how badly hurt people are, and characters know that ones who have lost a larger portion their hit points are more seriously hurt. This is observable and knowable to them, they can make decisions based on this. The hit points represent something that also exists in the fiction. This makes them an abstraction, but not meta. Even if you wouldn't run hit points this way (and many people don't) this shouldn't be that hard to get.
I find this confused. I mean, even in this context, where you've forced hitpoints to be wounds (despite the rules telling you otherwise, so a clear houserule), the relation to actual wounds is, at best, arbitrary and vague. You cannot even quantify the results of the fictional example without a reference to the actual maximum hitpoint value. So, in order to calibrate the fiction, you have to have access to non-fictional information -- this seems like a meta thing, yes?

Let's run a different experiment. Using the same example I gave earlier -- character A has a large gash and character B has a scratch -- and without reference to any maximum hitpoint value, what level of healing spell is necessary to fix both? I do not see how you can answer this question without reference to non-fictional things like maximum hitpoint value and/or character level and class to estimate maximum hitpoint value. Any answer to this would appear to require finding some proxy to estimate this number. And that's assuming you could do better at estimation of % hitpoint loss than "A lost a higher percetage than B."

So, absent the actual game numbers, I'd like to see a way this could be answered.
 

Aldarc

Legend
I have no stake in this particular discussion, but a lot of the things you bring up also apply to living in a democracy: people stay because their friends and family are there (and leaving may not beca realistic option). They may feel that none of the good people they know want to run for government, and thus vote for the least bad option. 😀
Cool. We can also call D&D a dictatorship rather than a democracy and the same would also mostly apply. The point being that people being able to leave a table doesn't make D&D a democracy anymore than people emigrating from a dictatorship makes it a democracy. Some people are willing to suffer through quite a bit of abuse from a GM for a variety of reasons.
 
Last edited:

I find this confused. I mean, even in this context, where you've forced hitpoints to be wounds (despite the rules telling you otherwise, so a clear houserule), the relation to actual wounds is, at best, arbitrary and vague. You cannot even quantify the results of the fictional example without a reference to the actual maximum hitpoint value. So, in order to calibrate the fiction, you have to have access to non-fictional information -- this seems like a meta thing, yes?

It is an abstraction. The representation being somewhat vague and not perfectly working in every conceivable situation doesn’t mean it stops being an representation. And of course HP measurs health (among other things) so this is merely an interpretation, not a house rule.
Let's run a different experiment. Using the same example I gave earlier -- character A has a large gash and character B has a scratch -- and without reference to any maximum hitpoint value, what level of healing spell is necessary to fix both? I do not see how you can answer this question without reference to non-fictional things like maximum hitpoint value and/or character level and class to estimate maximum hitpoint value. Any answer to this would appear to require finding some proxy to estimate this number. And that's assuming you could do better at estimation of % hitpoint loss than "A lost a higher percetage than B."


So, absent the actual game numbers, I'd like to see a way this could be answered.
It indeed is rather odd that healing more epic people takes more potent magic. One thing I liked about 4e healing surges was that it allowed healing to be proportional to the recipient.
 

I have a slightly different take -- neither of your examples are about overriding rules. Making a ruling you can't shoot arrows into water to successfully hit an underwater target isn't an override of rules. To me, the difference here is that in the first example, the GM had an outcome in mind -- the hag escapes -- and had described the hag as swimming away underwater. Then there was a negotiation between you and the GM as to why your declared action to shoot the hag failed. This went through a few iterations, with the GM putting their best reason according to the situation to show why it failed. First was distance, but you had an answer to that. Second was inability to see, which you had an answer to. Third was the fact that even if the first two failed, you still can't shoot a target underwater, and that's where it ended. This outcome was always there, it just took the GM walking through what they thought were simpler answers to get there. As far as I can see, the GM was not retconning the situation to achieve their goal.

So, on second take, this first example of the escaping hag wasn't Force (although it might have gone there), but rather just poor communication and the GM having enough fictional reasons to deny the action but needing to find the one the player didn't have resources to marshal against. We do not know if the GM would have allowed the shot if the player had a resource that said they can shoot into water with no penalties, so benefit of the doubt is needed.

That's a reasonable take. I don't quite agree because There was nothing established that the ranger didn't have line of sight. In fact, I had shot the hag in the previous round. She then dived into the water (which had been established as being about hip deep in most areas) and we were told we could see her swimming away with surprising speed (indicating to us that she had a swim speed).

In looking at the rules as they relate to underwater combat (not precise rules for this occasion, but likely the closest rules we have) it indicates that ranged attacks have disadvantage unless they're spear-like or crossbows. So I think disadvantage would have been a better way to handle it rather than simply denying the attack can take place.

While I 100% understand your conclusion that the fleeing hag undermined some rules and I would have probably ruled it differently myself, I’m not sure it undermined any rules.

Sharpshooter allows you to ignore cover penalties (and range penalties): it doesn’t give you line of effect if you didn’t already have it. Likewise, Hunter’s Mark gives rangers a preternatural edge in tracking and detecting marked creatures, but again, does not grant line of effect if it does not otherwise exist.

On a featureless plain, you are absolutely correct that you have both the range and the line of effect to shoot the hag. In a swamp, with trees everywhere, boggy marshes and overgrowths, and with the hag already at 160’ it is not unreasonable that you would not have a shot.

Since you did have Hunter’s Mark on her, I would have probably allowed a hard Survival check: you aren’t tracking her, you are trying to triangulate her position so you can anticipate a break in the swamp where she will have to cross your field of view so you can shoot her. If you succeed, you position yourself to take a shot (this has no incidence on your ability to use Hunter’s mark to track her to her lair).

My only point here is to ask you to consider that maybe the DM wasn’t mistaken, he simply had a different conception of the combat area and failed to adequately communicate it to you.

When I say it undermined rules, I mean that it seems there are more rules that support the opposite ruling. I agree that it doesn't explicitly violate any rules, and of course there's always the "rule zero" nonsense that could be invoked. However, I don't really see the need for the ruling to not allow the attack? What's the purpose of it? It seems to preserve this hag for a later encounter. Which to me, puts the NPC above the PC, which to me is something to be avoided.

Now, having said that, this was a moment of dissatisfaction with how things went, but I didn't flip the table or call shenanigans or anything like that. I wish it had gone otherwise, but it's not a big deal in the grand scheme. It's 5e, I expect this kind of ruling to happen.

In reading @hawkeyefan's account of the unshootable hag, I don't get any sense that there was an established fiction about the hag's cover, from which it followed that she couldn't be shot. It sounds much more like the GM had decided that the hag was going to escape, and then authored backstory and tried to disapply rules in order to justify that result.

Yeah, cover came up as well, but I pointed out that the Sharpshooter feat allows me to ignore all but full cover, and since we can see the Hag as she's swimming away, full cover doesn't seem to apply. The area overall had been described as relatively clear, with the witches' hut being a kind of treehouse up in a small copse of trees in the center of the clearing.

I don't see any reason to deny the attack other than to preserve the hag's life. I'll talk to him about it, and see what he says and share it here once I know.
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
It is an abstraction. The representation being somewhat vague and not perfectly working in every conceivable situation doesn’t mean it stops being an representation. And of course HP measurs health (among other things) so this is merely an interpretation, not a house rule.
No, it's a house rule. 5e is pretty clear that it means a multitude of things, including luck, skill, will to continue, and health. If you whittle that down to just physical wellbeing, that's a houserule to edit the rule as presented. I mean, is this controversial? I can very easily say that your houserule really has nothing to do with this argument -- you can go your way or the book's way and the things I'm saying do not change.

As far as it being an abstraction, this is a dodge, because it's being use to discard any consideration of how it works. "Abstraction" isn't a magic word. The reality is that we're using out-of-fiction knowledge to inform in-fiction actions and understanding. In fiction, character A has a wicked gash on their chest. This, unfortunately, does not provide any information on how close to death this person is from, say, repeated attacks from a goblin. Like, if I took the example character A (with a large gash) and character B (with a scratch), we cannot extrapolate at all how many successful attacks from a goblin (1/4 CR 5e version from the MM) each can withstand. The fictional positioning with regards to their wounds has zero predictive or explanatory power. Further, according to the rules, each person will heal their injuries in exactly the same amount of time (this is more a problem with making hp be physical wounds, and usually means additional house rules are in play to mitigate this injury to the fiction). We have no ideas, here, without enabling the out-of-fiction knowledge channel, which is what is usually meant by "meta."

Hitpoints are meta. So far you've evaded my questions or attempted to dismiss them under the banner of "abstraction," as if abstractions are somehow immune to being meta devices (most meta devices you'd complain about are also abstractions). This really seems like you're just staunchly defending hitpoints as being not meta because you don't mind them but you do mind meta, so hitpoints cannot be meta. This is thin rationalization.
It indeed is rather odd that healing more epic people takes more potent magic. One thing I liked about 4e healing surges was that it allowed healing to be proportional to the recipient.
Well, this is completely ignoring what I was talking about/asking in order to make an unrelated comment on how 4e's healing surges were tied to the max hitpoint stat in a way that 5e hit dice are not. That doesn't address the question, either, as I could just as easily ask how many healing surges would be needed to heal each character respectively and it wouldn't change the question at all. Given that your response doesn't connect with the question and raises a topic that doesn't address it at all, one could say this was a non sequitur.
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
That's a reasonable take. I don't quite agree because There was nothing established that the ranger didn't have line of sight. In fact, I had shot the hag in the previous round. She then dived into the water (which had been established as being about hip deep in most areas) and we were told we could see her swimming away with surprising speed (indicating to us that she had a swim speed).

In looking at the rules as they relate to underwater combat (not precise rules for this occasion, but likely the closest rules we have) it indicates that ranged attacks have disadvantage unless they're spear-like or crossbows. So I think disadvantage would have been a better way to handle it rather than simply denying the attack can take place.
Fair. I did later say more was needed, and this does seem like it established the hag was visibly swimming. I hadn't looked at the underwater combat rules but rather relied on the fact that arrows are effectively useless for shooting into water in real life. Mea culpa.
 

Level Up!

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top