If you are gong to be the DM you need to do it your way- not by committee. In session zero you lay out what is expected. If some of them can’t agree they aren’t being forced to play.So one of our local DMs got married and "quit D&D for now". So he handed his campaign off to me so I could finish it for the players.
So the DM left some vague "framing notes", but it's mostly a player lead improv game. The players do stuff at random, and the DM just improvs stuff right in front of the characters. Some times each player will half remember their "backstory quest" and mention it. Mostly they are five strangers not even pretending to be a group and each of them just does what they want on a whim. And they "discuss" things in "arguments" at lot, and step on each others toes.
So the "player plot" is all the characters are looking for two orc brothers that did their families wrong. That is the old DM wove all five backstories of all five PCs together to make the two orc brothers the bad guys for each story. So the idea is the "group" is together to find the two orc brothers.
Currently they are in the Orc Swamp lands, randomly attacking every orc they see and asking "is this orc one of the brothers?" So it's a fun improv mindless combat game.
So of the five players, two are potential good players and the other three helped make this post. So...the problem is...."when can a DM create or change" anything in the game? This question is for complex rules games, like D&D, not the lite games where a GM can just say "orc AC 11 HP12 AT2 DM6" in one breath and be done.
The three endlessly complain that I, as the DM, am "creating and changing things wrong". When I asked for some clarification it was mostly "you are not like our old DM". I tell them this is true, as I'm not your old DM. They get mad and say things. I try to stick to "well, ok, what exactly do you want me to do it make you happy?" And they don't have an answer exactly. So I was hopping the Internet could help out. As when a DM can create and/or change things is an old topic.
So, they don't have much problem at first with the DM making up stuff before the game. They think that is "ok". At least until they nitpick(see below).
And they Love it when the DM just improvs things on the spot. They think the game is at it's best when the DM just 'pops' stuff into the game on the spot. What does the DM put in the Frame of the Cave Encounter: ten orcs with clubs! Raaaahhh, the players have their characters attack!
The problem comes a couple of rounds later when I say "the wounded orc in the back drinks a potion of healing". The three players go wild with the accusation that "just gave" that orc a potion of healing because they were wounded and I wanted that orc to live a bit longer. My response is I only "improved" this orc into existence a couple of minutes ago, so they are still in the creation time. They respond with the DM can only create/improv for that one second, then everything is set and carved in stone. I asked for how this "player rule" would work: could they spell it out in words. Of course, they could not.
So by the Player Logic: at 6PM the DM "improv creates" an Orc Warrior. For that one second the DM is free to give the orc anything, b"by the rules". But after that one second the orc is locked: the DM can never add or change anything.
I ask the obvious questions of:
Well, how do the players police what the DM creates? Even I make the orc with a potion of healing in his sack, I'm never going to say "The orc is in hide armor with a culb...oh, and somehow you know the orc has a potion of healing in his sack".
If I do improv that the orc has a potion of healing, how do I prove it? Write it down? Make a note of the date and time? Tell all the players OOC?
Are you saying you want to stop the game every time any foe is introduced so you players can be given a list of the foes class abilities, equipment, weapons, spells and anything else they might have?
Is your "player rule" that the DM must write down all the detail of each foe?
Will all the players be writing down the detail of each foe in each Game Pause too?
Of course the players let slip part of their real Exploit Plan here: they said the DM MUST pause the game and give the players the full details of each foe AND the DM must write them all down. And this cam with the sneaky snicker of "well, if you just use the By-The-Book foes, then you don't have to do all that!" So it's basically a not so sneaky way to stop the DM from adding anything to the game.
I said I'd never agree to that. But I know other games do "random sandboxy improv", so how do you do it?
DMing can be exhausting so having people constantly raise complaints is going to grind you and them into the ground.
And besides: how do they know you didn’t improv the orcs with perfectly reasonable healing potions?