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Waibel's Rule of Interpretation (aka "How to Interpret the Rules")

EN World member Sacrosanct has created a useful little flowchart which tells you how to interpret rules in D&D 5th Edition and similar games. He's called it "Waibel's Rule of Interpretation". If you're ever stuck on how to use a rule, quickly consult this chart to find out what to do!



[Promoted to news article. - Morrus.]
 
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Comments

steeldragons

Steeliest of the dragons
The only CORRECT interpretation is the one I say!
:eek::cool::p
The sooner the rest of the world gets that, the sooner we can all sit down and have fun...and end all fantasy rpg forum arguments everywhere.
:lol:
heheheh.

[Seliousry though, nice chart. :) ]
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
Oh, I'm sure in short order someone will make a comment about how it's totally wrong, because all rules should be without any ambiguity and everything should be spelled out or it's a bad game or something along those lines.

To that I just shrug and move on.
 




Hussar

Legend
Not to be a killjoy, but, "makes sense" to who? That's generally where the issue comes up at the table. I've had DM's make all sorts of rulings that "made sense" to them and I'm sure as a DM I've done exactly the same thing. "Makes sense" isn't always what's best for the game.
 

Not to be a killjoy, but, "makes sense" to who? That's generally where the issue comes up at the table. I've had DM's make all sorts of rulings that "made sense" to them and I'm sure as a DM I've done exactly the same thing. "Makes sense" isn't always what's best for the game.
I'd had a few experiences like that, but my problem was seldom with the DM ruling not making sense but being non-favourable to me or the party.

If you trust the DM this isn't an issue, because you have faith in their ability to make sense if thing.
Problems arise when you don't trust the DM to play fair or lack faith in their ability to make sense of things.

In the first case, rules that allow the trusted DM to tell stories they want without being shackled by the rules leads to a better experience. When the DM is having fun it's infectious. In the latter case, bad DMs can be held in check by rules, but they'll find a way (accidentally or on purpose) to impact the fun.
 

Hussar

Legend
I'd had a few experiences like that, but my problem was seldom with the DM ruling not making sense but being non-favourable to me or the party.

If you trust the DM this isn't an issue, because you have faith in their ability to make sense if thing.
Problems arise when you don't trust the DM to play fair or lack faith in their ability to make sense of things.

In the first case, rules that allow the trusted DM to tell stories they want without being shackled by the rules leads to a better experience. When the DM is having fun it's infectious. In the latter case, bad DMs can be held in check by rules, but they'll find a way (accidentally or on purpose) to impact the fun.
I'm not sure it's even a trust issue.

I'll give you an example. I had a DM tell me that there was no plate mail in her world because plate mail was a later invention than chain mail and she wanted a historically accurate game. I pointed out that plate mail actually predates chain by a considerable margin. But, she stuck to her guns and insisted that her interpretation of history was right because, well, why would chain mail, with an AC of 5 be a later invention than plate mail with an AC of 3?

Not a trust issue, but, well before the days of Wikipedia so finding answers were not so easy.

Or, another time, I bombed the party with a manticore. I love manticores. One of my favourite critters. A player piped up and complained that I was using a manticore in a completely wrong terrain - manticores in 2e were desert monsters and we were in a temperate forest. Now, he was 100% right, but, I stuck to my guns. It wound up being a rather lengthy argument at the table, so it stuck in my mind. I often wonder if I had of just admitted that I screwed up and skipped the encounter, if it wouldn't have been a better solution.

And again, DM's good and bad are sometimes wrong. It happens. AFAIC, a good DM knows when to step back and relax.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
Not to be a killjoy, but, "makes sense" to who? .
The DM. That's really the only person who needs to know how the rules work. He or she is the one running the game, not the players. Also, there's some pretty significant historical precedence that shows that the game can easily be played this way.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
I pointed out that plate mail actually predates chain by a considerable margin.
Are you sure you have the same ideas of what constitutes "plate mail"? If, for example, you are thinking someone wearing a breastplate and greaves constitutes plate mail, and she's thinking plate mail is gothic knightly full plate armor, then, yes you would have some disagreement.

As far as I'm aware, there's evidence of Etruscan pattern mail from the 4th Century BC, possibly as far back as 7th Century BC. You arguing that plate mail is older than that?

The Europeans didn't start using 4-in-1 weave until the Middle Ages, but maille in general is far older than 4-in-1 weave.
 
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Hussar

Legend
The DM. That's really the only person who needs to know how the rules work. He or she is the one running the game, not the players. Also, there's some pretty significant historical precedence that shows that the game can easily be played this way.
Sure, I'm not disputing that. What I'm disputing is the idea that this is the only way to play. You can very easily have disagreements about what "makes sense" and the type of big daddy pants style game that you're leaning towards is very, very much not to my taste.

Plus, I loathe playing with players who don't understand the rules. Hate it with a passion. They slow the game down to a crawl and make me want to paint the walls with my brains as we have to explain someone's character sheet for the seven hundredth time.
 

Hussar

Legend
Are you sure you have the same ideas of what constitutes "plate mail"? If, for example, you are thinking someone wearing a breastplate and greaves constitutes plate mail, and she's thinking plate mail is gothic knightly full plate armor, then, yes you would have some disagreement.

As far as I'm aware, there's evidence of Etruscan pattern mail from the 4th Century BC, possibly as far back as 7th Century BC. You arguing that plate mail is older than that?

The Europeans didn't start using 4-in-1 weave until the Middle Ages, but maille in general is far older than 4-in-1 weave.
Fair enough. But, then, you're just proving my point. Because it is so easy for miscommunications, it can be very easy to get into arguments over "what makes sense".
 

Authweight

First Post
I'm with Hussar. If it makes sense to everyone at the table that something should work a certain way, then sure, just do it that way. If people have different ideas of what makes sense, though, you need to navigate it with some delicacy. Obviously, rules disputes are impossible if only one person is concerned with the rules. The written text is there to help resolve places where what "makes sense" is different for everyone at the table.

That said, I think that in a functional gaming group, trust can go a long way. Players should generally give the DM a fairly wide latitude. DMs should give their players some latitude too though - if someone really feels like something should work a certain way, and it matter to their character a lot, their position should IMO be privileged over the intuitions of the DM.
 

BryonD

Hero
As DM it is your job to make people want to play in your game.

Once you have achieved this, the question of who else the rulings make sense to is moot.

If you need to have a side conversation with someone so that everyone has fair expectations. Then cool.
But if you are constantly needing to deal with someone who isn't willing to work with the method described in the OP, then you are better off without that player than you are with a game compromised by that person.

If losing one or more players means you can't keep a table, then you have not achieved the first line of this post.
 

Hussar

Legend
Here's a perfect example in this forum. There's an ongoing discussion on how blindsight works in this thread: http://www.enworld.org/forum/showth...nd-opinions-after-8-levels-and-a-dragon-fight . Now, I have my interpretation and Celtavian has another one. Which one makes sense? Well, mine makes sense to me and his makes sense to him. Can a creature with blindsight see through doors, for example. No one is being unreasonable but, disagreements do happen.

I'm not comfortable with the idea that "It makes sense to the DM, so, that's what we do". It's not to my taste. I'd prefer a much more consensus approach. Not that I'm saying it's better. I'm not. For some groups, go with what the DM says. Fair enough. Like I said, it's purely a taste thing.
 

Quatermane

First Post
Rules lawyers around the world both love and hate this flowchart.
They love it because it represents the processes they use every day.
They hate it because... well... now everyone knows their tricks. Kinda takes the fun out of being a rules lawyer.

:)
 

I'm not sure it's even a trust issue.

I'll give you an example. I had a DM tell me that there was no plate mail in her world because plate mail was a later invention than chain mail and she wanted a historically accurate game. I pointed out that plate mail actually predates chain by a considerable margin. But, she stuck to her guns and insisted that her interpretation of history was right because, well, why would chain mail, with an AC of 5 be a later invention than plate mail with an AC of 3?

Not a trust issue, but, well before the days of Wikipedia so finding answers were not so easy.

Or, another time, I bombed the party with a manticore. I love manticores. One of my favourite critters. A player piped up and complained that I was using a manticore in a completely wrong terrain - manticores in 2e were desert monsters and we were in a temperate forest. Now, he was 100% right, but, I stuck to my guns. It wound up being a rather lengthy argument at the table, so it stuck in my mind. I often wonder if I had of just admitted that I screwed up and skipped the encounter, if it wouldn't have been a better solution.
There's still trust involve.
Did you trust her to tell a good story regardless of historical armour beliefs? Then it wasn't really a problem.

Bringing up the terrain of a manticore was a dick move. A reasonable player (who trusted the DM) would not have brought that up, or raised it in a non-confrontational manner. Or a super DM might have slyly smiled and said "yes, that is odd" and used that for a potential story hook.

And again, DM's good and bad are sometimes wrong. It happens. AFAIC, a good DM knows when to step back and relax.
Which is true for rules, non rules, plot points, NPCs, and lots of other things. Learning to make good calls is part of learning to be a good DM.
 

DaveDash

Explorer
The problem I have with this, and 5th edition in general, is that myself and my friends all have expectations on certain aspects of the game. No amount of DM empowerment through the books will change this. The DM changing things or ruling against our expectations (myself included when I DM) will ruin the enjoyment of the game.

For the flowchart to be accurate, it really needs to say "Does the ruling make sense for the table", not "Does the ruling make sense to you".
 

steeldragons

Steeliest of the dragons
For the flowchart to be accurate, it really needs to say "Does the ruling make sense for the table", not "Does the ruling make sense to you".
No. It really doesn't. For the flowcart to be accurate to you it needs to say that. That is personal preference, not some objective accuracy.
 

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