Rules Aren't Important


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I don't like line-quoting and I don't normally do it because it can turn into pointless hair-splitting. I'll do it here for clarity.
I couldn't disagree more. You're still playing D&D if you never pick up a die or reference your character sheet or the rulebooks during a session.
If you're playing D&D you're still using the D&D rules even if you never reference them. This is perhaps an unresolveable difference in our points of view.
I don't make that distinction. It doesn't matter when it's imported. It only matters if the rule is useful in the moment.
Tell that to players who have made choices based on the rules as they were only to find the rules have changed.
I find it odd that people feel the need to include statements like this. Yes, of course. There's no point in you saying this unless you think I'm saying otherwise. I'm not.
It has seemed as though we were devolving toward taking hard positions where civilized disagreement was impossible. And you did tell me I needed to cook more.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
I don't like line-quoting and I don't normally do it because it can turn into pointless hair-splitting. I'll do it here for clarity.
That's usually why I do it.
If you're playing D&D you're still using the D&D rules even if you never reference them. This is perhaps an unresolveable difference in our points of view.
Yeah. To me, unless you're actually using the rules you're not...you know...using the rules.
Tell that to players who have made choices based on the rules as they were only to find the rules have changed.
Well, frankly, it's their mistake for making decisions based on the rules. That's playing like it's a boardgame or video game. RPGs are not that limited. The characters can literally try anything, whether it's covered by the rules or not. If they only select from the tiny menu of options the rules give them, they're artificially limiting themselves.
It has seemed as though we were devolving toward taking hard positions where civilized disagreement was impossible.
I don't see those as mutually exclusive. We can have hard positions and still politely disagree.
And you did tell me I needed to cook more.
You said something that is so diametrically opposed to anything in my frame of reference that I assumed you'd never cooked.
 

Well, frankly, it's their mistake for making decisions based on the rules. That's playing like it's a boardgame or video game. RPGs are not that limited. The characters can literally try anything, whether it's covered by the rules or not. If they only select from the tiny menu of options the rules give them, they're artificially limiting themselves.
I disagree that it's the players fault for making presumptions based on the rules of the game they understood themselves to be playing. Even in a TRPG. As a friend of mine put it "The rules aren't exactly how the world works but they represent how the world works." If the players make their choices based on their understanding of how the game world works and you as GM pull that rug out from under them it seems to me they might have some reason to be pissed. After all their characters are in that world and know how that world works and you are undermining if not negating that by changing the rules.
 

MGibster

Legend
First off, no you don't have to have a recipe to cook and no you don't have to have memorized a recipe to cook without one. If you think that, I'd suggest cooking more. Like a lot more. You can cook without a recipe and it can turn out delicious.
Honestly, I think this is one of those cases where we just have a fundamentally different outlook on definitions. A recipe doesn't have to be written down to be a recipe. And if you're putting together a new dish, odds are you're still following some basic culinary rules. This is also one of those cases where the conversation has shifted to be focused on the analogy that was originally used to clarify a point instead of what we were originally talking about.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
I disagree that it's the players fault for making presumptions based on the rules of the game they understood themselves to be playing. Even in a TRPG. As a friend of mine put it "The rules aren't exactly how the world works but they represent how the world works." If the players make their choices based on their understanding of how the game world works and you as GM pull that rug out from under them it seems to me they might have some reason to be pissed. After all their characters are in that world and know how that world works and you are undermining if not negating that by changing the rules.
They're focusing on the finger pointing to the moon instead of focusing on the moon itself. Which is kinda the point of the thread, the rules don't matter. The rules are, at best, a clunky and abstract representation of the fiction, setting, and world. The rules get in the way of the fiction, setting, and world. The fiction, setting, and world are the important thing that we should be focusing on. The rules are not.

The rules are to an RPG's fiction, setting, and world as the game of telephone is to reliably conveying information.
 

They're focusing on the finger pointing to the moon instead of focusing on the moon itself. Which is kinda the point of the thread, the rules don't matter. The rules are, at best, a clunky and abstract representation of the fiction, setting, and world. The rules get in the way of the fiction, setting, and world. The fiction, setting, and world are the important thing that we should be focusing on. The rules are not.

The rules are to an RPG's fiction, setting, and world as the game of telephone is to reliably conveying information.
The narrative in a TRPG is the result of playing the game. It's an output not an input. If you want the players and their characters to be making reasonably considered choices that matter then the rules by which things will be determined also matter. If you choose to ignore the rules or if you choose to change them without warning then you are obviating any choices the players might have made and you might as well write your frigging novel and be done with it.
 

hawkeyefan

Legend
I think that this seems less about rules as recipe and more about how a recipe restricts what a chef can do.

If the rules can just be ignored, the GM can do whatever they want. That doesn't seem conducive to gameplay nor to collaborative story.

Also, "Gm Decides" is a rule. The ogre is in the street because the GM decided it's in the street. That's a rule. Who gets to say what happens and when are the rules of the game.

This aversion to rules when playing a game... positioned as offering freedom to the players... seems more about giving freedom to the GM.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
The narrative in a TRPG is the result of playing the game. It's an output not an input. If you want the players and their characters to be making reasonably considered choices that matter then the rules by which things will be determined also matter. If you choose to ignore the rules or if you choose to change them without warning then you are obviating any choices the players might have made and you might as well write your frigging novel and be done with it.
I'm not talking about narrative or railroading players to get a specific story as the end point. I'm talking about treating the fictional world as if it were a real place and the characters were real people within that real world. And recognizing that no set of rules, no matter how robust cannot reasonably capture that. There's no character sheet. There's no +/-5% chance of success. You just make decisions. You're immersed in the world without the UI of the game rules getting between you, your character, and the world your character is in. You make decisions based on the world, the environment, the fiction...not hunting down which buttons to press to get you a +1 to-hit.
I think that this seems less about rules as recipe and more about how a recipe restricts what a chef can do.
I'd add that there's not a singular chef in an RPG. It's the table as a whole that's cooking. But sure.
If the rules can just be ignored, the GM can do whatever they want.
The rules can be ignored and the referee can do whatever they want.
That doesn't seem conducive to gameplay nor to collaborative story.
If you mean gameplay as in "strictly following the rules" then clearly not. But I'd say that getting the rules out of the way makes it infinitely easier to be collaborative.
Also, "Gm Decides" is a rule. The ogre is in the street because the GM decided it's in the street. That's a rule. Who gets to say what happens and when are the rules of the game.
That the referee gets to just ignore and/or change the rules is also part of the rules. Most of them anyway.
This aversion to rules when playing a game... positioned as offering freedom to the players... seems more about giving freedom to the GM.
The rules say you can't do X. The referee says you can do X. Which is offering more freedom and which is offering less?
 

I'm not talking about narrative or railroading players to get a specific story as the end point. I'm talking about treating the fictional world as if it were a real place and the characters were real people within that real world. And recognizing that no set of rules, no matter how robust cannot reasonably capture that. There's no character sheet. There's no +/-5% chance of success. You just make decisions. You're immersed in the world without the UI of the game rules getting between you, your character, and the world your character is in. You make decisions based on the world, the environment, the fiction...not hunting down which buttons to press to get you a +1 to-hit.
So basically you don't want people treating their tabletop roleplaying game like a game.

That's a position I guess.

If one chooses to define railroading as in part negating a player's choice I do not see how changing the rules on them or not allowing them to know what the rules are around the choices they are making can be anything other than railroading even if you don't have a predefined narrative you are insisting your game follow. In the real world I might have a reasonable sense of whether something is doable or not. In the game it seems reasonable to have a similar sense of the possibilities. If people can make reasonable choices in the real world they should be able to do so in the game. Given that in the real world there's vastly more information available through your senses than any GM can convey ever I think it's reasonable to allow the game rules to serve as basis for reasonable choices.
 

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