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Things I don't like about the 4E DMG - part 1 of 1000

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First Post
Page 27 of the DMG:

".., but don't let them short-circuit your whole adventure by using rituals, either. For instance, the Observe Creature ritual requires the caster to be extremely specific when describing the ritual's intended target. If allowing the ritual to succeed would throw a monkey wrench in your plans for the adventure, you'd be within your rights to rule that the ritual failed to locate the intended target because the caster's description wasn't specific enough."

NO - You wouldn't! First of all, what rights? What right does a person (DM or not) have to lie to another person about what they've done. He didn't put this in character terms. He said the player didn't something that didn't conform to the rules for Observe Creature. This is not the case at all. It wasn't the players actions that dictated this outcome - and lying to the player and telling him that it was IMO is extremely rude.

How about this:
DM: You need a 20 to hit the monster
Player: Cool - I rolled an 18, with my bonuses, that's 27, I hit!
DM: (Fearing that his precious plot point is now ruined.) No you don't hit. You didn't roll an 18.
Player: Yes I did. I've already scooped up my dice, but you and I both saw it.
DM: No, I think you rolled a 2 and missed.

Granted, the situation with Observe Creature is a little more subjective, but it falls into the same category. The DM and the player have both read the same rules, and it is not the DMs honest assessment that the guidelines regarding the Observe Creature ritual were not followed, so why lie to the player?

Just don't tell the player the reason for failure at all, it's much more in the spirit of the rules to suggest to the player that a myriad of forces can govern the success/failure of Observe Creature (like a Forbiddance spell), and that his spell casting attempt has failed for reasons that the character does not know. (Granted, there's a down-side to this practice also, but it's not as rude.) You don't need to blame the player's use of the ritual to cover for your failure to anticipate the use of it.

I find this insulting. And I have a hard time imagining that James Wyatt has played this game for any significant amount of time *with other adults* and hasn't been called on this. I could imagine it would be frustrating (up to the point that i actually cared about the game, which probably wouldn't be an issue) to be told on one hand that DM rulings would be based on an impartial interpretation of the shared set of rules, and on the other hand witness obvious (and these situations are very obvious when witnessed by intelligent players) examples of the DM completely breaking this agreement. Why are there rules at all? It's dishonest to the players as people to suggest that the game is going to be conducted in a certain way, and then turn around and lie to them about what you're doing.

Monte Cook made a clear statement on his philosophy on this part of the game (not the lying part - but the part about nerfing divination to protect your plot) and I really don't know how someone would write a 4E book for Dungeons and Dragons and not feel some sense of respect for the people that have been playing it. I think Wyatt should have at least been familiar with the other schools of thought on this subject and tried to make the case for what "rights" he thought the DM had here that were relevant. Then again, maybe those of us that have been playing this game for more than two years were supposed to have quit by now.

Coming Up: Part 2 of 1000: Things I really hate about page 42. :) (subtitled: why you shouldn't follow a 20th level character up a ladder)

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A page full of rants and insults, like this one:

And I have a hard time imagining that James Wyatt has played this game for any significant amount of time *with other adults* and hasn't been called on this.

isn't going to last long on this forum.

Wisdom Penalty

First Post
I had just finished my Worst Posts of 2008 tour de force, and then you had to go and add this one. Back to drawing board. Dammit.


First Post
Ibtl! ;)

Although I do agree with the dislike of nerfing player's abilities for the 'greater good' of the plot. Either don't let them have the abilities in the first place, or let them do the cool things they've learned how to do. The plot will get along just fine (usually).

The only thing I'm seeing here is a variation of Rule 0. I mean, the fact that the DM knows some things about the adventure that players don't know yet make it necessary for him to have power to bend the rules sometimes in the name of creating the best story or the best experience overall.

I believe it's poorly written, though. I don't even see the example as a DM bending the rules in the name of fun, but more as a kind of player railroading typical of bad or inexperienced DMs.

So, I can say I agree with the general advice, but I believe the message could have been delivered in a much better way.



I don't see anything wrong with a DM adjudicating on the fly that something ,that is subjective to begin with, works or doesn't work.


First Post
So the OP is one of those who says let the dice fall where they may, and that RAW is king. Thanks, I saw enough of that in 3.x and do not need any more of that nonsense now.

D&D is a shared experience between the players and the DM, always has been, always will be. Both sides use he ruleset to tell a story and have some fun along the way. If it takes a bit of rules tweaking, or a bit of railroading, then great, it all adds to the fun.

If I had a player who was a RAW fanatic, and would not bend a bit to help me tell our story, I would have one less player in a hurry.


First Post

Well, I'm very much *Old School*.;) My word is *LAW*.:) I'm a tyrant DM.*

*Of course, I am always reasonable enough to listen to sincere, thoughtful arguments put forth by any of the players. However--I am the DM, and I reserve the right to interpret any *RAW*--as well as make up my own on the fly, deciding as I feel best for the game, and the campaign. Furthermore, while I am more than willing to expand upon general principles, when it comes to specific rulings *in-game*--I have only the barest minimum, if any--obligation to explain myself or my rulings to the players.

WHY? Because I know innumerable things, causes and effects, histories, plots, reasonings, and so on that the players are generally entirely ignorant of.

I suppose I must be doing something right. I have seldom had but the fewest real disputes of my rulings or interpretations in campaigns I have run for the past 20 years or more. The players know how I am--and respect and trust me. Even when they disagree at times with my rulings, I have heard them out, but they know that I am the DM, and they ultimately accept and respect my judgement.

Semper Fidelis,



Ohhh! OHhhhh!! Whats number 2? and 3?! If they are as good as the first, I will subscribe to the rest.

-Waiting with baited breath

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