What does it mean to "Challenge the Character"?

Suppose that the players play their PCs as keeping their distance from the chamberlain, opening windows when he enters the room, etc - because the players have decided that their PCs think the chamberlain smells - while the GM, exercising his/her power to describe the environment, insists that the chamberlain doesn't smell. Whose view prevails? What is true in the fiction - does the chamberlain smell? are the PCs hallucinating? can the GM insist that the PCs in fact don't think the chamberlain smells?

The idea that each can have absolute authority over a domain - PC beliefs/feelings; the rest of the gameworld - with no possibility of contradiction isn't tenable, in my view.
I think the idea here would be that the GM can insist that they don't smell anything (because there's nothing to smell), but they're free to insist that they do - so they're either hallucinating, deluded, or just teasing the guy. And, really, probably not hallucinating, but deluded, yeah, if the distinction is that hallucinations are /caused/ by something (like the ergot in the rye bread that came with your standard rations - should've sprung for the iron), while delusions are self-imposed.

This seems straight out of the Gygaxian playbook. I don't think it suits a game in which the player wants to play a PC who is embedded in the gameworld rather than a relative stranger to it.
There's a bit of a traditional double-standard at play, here. OT1H, you have the ideal of Gygaxian skilled play, in which knowing that trolls can't regenerate fire damage and thus having your PC who's never seen or heard of them make with the flaming oil he's never used that way before, is just smart play - "challenging the player" to tie it back. OTOH, you have the contrary ideal that you should never use 'player knowledge' (these day we'd say "no metagaming!"), in which case you only use the knowledge the character should have - "challenging the character."
Both are pretty old-school, in spite of being inherently contradictory. The game was played very differently by different folks and/or at different times back then.
 

Chaosmancer

Explorer
I think [MENTION=4937]Celebrim[/MENTION] establishes a good line here: The player is free to draw upon hard-won knowledge to inform how he or she has the character act. The limit is when the player is not acting in good faith and has, as you suggest above, read the module and presumably didn't tell anyone. I think a player not being forthcoming about this many people would consider rude or worse. But sometimes my players replay my one-shots to try out a different character or approach with a new party. It can work just fine even with perfect knowledge.

But anyway let's say that the player does say "earth elementals are vulnerable to thunder damage" then says he or she wants to go Ye Olde Magick Shoppe to buy some scrolls or thunderwave for the party wizard to use. You know as DM that THESE earth elementals have no particular vulnerabilities to thunder damage. Let's up the ante and say that the characters have never encountered earth elementals before. Let's go one step further and say the character is an Int-8 barbarian. What do you do here as DM? Does the character go buy the scrolls or do you invalidate the action declaration?
Thinking through that scenario happening, I'd end up asking at least two questions. 1) Why is the barbarian buying scrolls that they cannot use? There are many answers, from buying them so other party members can use them to them not knowing that their barbarian can't use scrolls. Then, 2) I'd ask them why they think their character would believe the Earth Elementals to be weak to thunder damage? Now, maybe the party wizard is going to jump in and say they told the barbarian, so the barbarian could buy the scrolls, and they have studied the arcane including elementals so they should know. And I would respond, okay, maybe, let's roll Arcana since you're backstory was a conman who stole a spellbook. And so on and so forth.

The idea is a consistent fiction, as consistent as we can make it. Which includes every character suddenly being a walking encyclopedia in spite of their backgrounds.


That depends on the context. I don't understand the first question. The second could be done through a knowledgeable NPC, and I'm sure there are plenty of other ways to get the correct information into the PCs' hands. Not to mention - the smart play is to act on assumptions only after verifying them.
You know, it is amusing to me that you keep repeating that line. "The smart play is to verify". It isn't that I don't agree with you, that is the smart play, but people don't always do the smart play. In fact, especially when it comes to verification, they rarely do.

For an IRL example, it might be smart to check that your car has gas before you try and start it. After all, someone might have siphoned it off in the night. But, I doubt almost anyone does that. Because the vast majority of the time, your car is the exact same as it was when you stopped driving it the last time. The chances your verification will turn up anything new is low, so you are likely to skip verifying.

This is why I said that unless you are changing things with some regularity, often enough that players realize anything could be different any time they sit down, then I doubt they really go out and verify much of anything.


That sounds like a few problems at play to me, mostly having to do with personalities and how the group deals with conflict resolution. What appears to kick things off is that the player acted on an assumption without verifying it first. But the DM bares some responsibility here as well by failing to describe these vampires as somehow distinct from others. Then there's an issue with how the players move forward on action declarations as a group and how they resolve conflicts. This can't be laid entirely at the feet of the person wanting to attack the vampires and frankly there are plenty of characters that might credibly do that even if the player knows something is off about these vampires.

This is a situation with multivariate issues. To lay it at the feet of just one thing looks a lot like confirmation bias to me.

Of course there was more going on here than a single issue. There is always more going on than a single issue. But the usage of player knowledge under the assumption that anything they brought from the books was true, was part of the problem. No matter how many other things you can point to as contributing to escalating the problem, that was an aspect of it that ties directly into what we are discussing.



I'll be honest [MENTION=6801228]Chaosmancer[/MENTION], at this point I consider you to be trolling and not even arguing in good faith. So I see no reason to continue any of the arguments we've been having.

However, I will say that I find this new element of the conversation highly ironic, since if you do believe this, then it is not me that you have an argument with but rather yourself and those that have been arguing similar view points.

Under my theory of play, all you've just said is true. Per the process of play I outlined, I cannot as GM tell you that a backstory relationship regarding a loving wife which was previously established to exist, in fact is false because to do so would be impinging upon the conception of your character. While the NPC wife is external to your character, the nature of the relationship between you and that NPC once established cannot be retconned without your permission because that relationship is part of how your character is defined.

But consider that it is your own side of this argument that disagrees with that. When the "Francis the Guard" example was introduced as a valid process of play, that is to say that the player could introduce an NPC to the setting who was his best friend and insist that that NPC was present right now at this moment in the setting, the claim was made that since the setting/character line was so blurry, the correct and proper response by the GM to the player introducing an NPC to the setting in the middle of an encounter or situation was for the GM to invent that the best friend now held some grudge against the PC on account of some thing that the player had done the past that the GM could now impose on the player. In other words, it was argued that sure, the player can impose things on the setting, but in turn the GM can (and ought) impose facts about the player's character on the player, up to and including changing the fundamental relationship between the PC and NPCs as the player understood them.

How can you not see not only how dysfunctional that is, but how obviously both sides are crossing a not so blurry line, how the ends of this argument actually contradict your claims about it, and how contrived these claims are?

Fundamentally, you cannot introduce a backstory without the GMs permission. You may correctly observe that this means you cannot play a particular character without the GMs permission, and that is true, but even though this is so, this does not mean that the GM can play your character. Typically players create a backstory in good faith, and the GMs validate it as a reasonable backstory and therefore expresses facts that are true within the setting. Occasionally a GM may ask the player to make tweaks to better fit the setting, and the player can either except these tweaks or come up with a different backstory entirely. Very very rarely, a player might introduce a backstory that cannot at all be validated by the GM because it is totally at odds with the setting or else is obviously a bad faith attempt to unfairly hog the spotlight that ought to justly be shared equally by all players, but generally this indicates a problem player, or a player who is completely new to the setting, and isn't something that happens a lot with long running groups. In the case of your otherwise generic and simple background for your Paladin, in most cases I'd expect a GM to validate that, but if the GM was planning to run a game in a setting like Ravenloft or Midnight, he'd be well in his rights to tell you, "In this setting, towns like Mayberry don't really exist. At best, if you insist on playing a character that believes that they are from Mayberry, you have to understand that the character is in some fashion deluded and his beliefs regarding his hometown and the relationships in it are false."

Now, I will say that 30 years ago as a teenage DM I used to think that a GM had no right to tell a player what to play, and I would have probably had to have been convinced that that wasn't true if someone made that claim. But I had in my head at the time a very simplistic idea of character, and I would have been defending a proposition like, "The DM can't force the player to play a LG cleric." and defending a proposition like, "The player should be allowed to make their own character." And while I still might defend those propositions, I now realize that in a healthy game the DM can't approve every character that a player might create. Yes, the DM can and ought to try to accommodate the players wishes regarding his character as far as is possible, but there are some concepts for a character that will sooner or later (and usually sooner) result in dysfunction and a less than enjoyable experience for all parties.

I wonder why I keep getting accused of not arguing in good faith. I read what people post. I try and see where their arguments do not align with what is either being said or what is trying to be expressed. I point it out and try and put forth my position. I make no attacks. I make no appeals to authority. I try and avoid every logical fallacy I can.

And the longer the conversation drags on, the more likely it is people say that I am trolling and not arguing in good faith.


It might be that it occurs because these forums drag conversations on for days and weeks at a time and people get lost down rabbit holes of their own arguments.

Because I never agreed that Francis the Guard should be at the gate. I did call people out who claim players have "absolute authority" over their characters thoughts and actions, yet decried Francis the Guard as a step too far. But, interestingly, I have never gotten an answer to the follow up of Francis not being at the gate. Does Francis exist within the city?

My entire goal in this thread is to figure out the consistency, if there is "Absolute Authority" of a player over their character, then there are things that should not be true.

Like, for example, you pointing out that a DM could tell a player they cannot play a LG Cleric. I think you are right. A DM can tell a player that, hopefully with good reasons and not just "I hate the gods" since a DM should try and work with players whenever possible.

However, the player can also tell the DM, that this is the hometown they grew up in. Now, a DM could again, deny them that and tell them it doesn't fit, and I agree with that. If the player is setting up something that doesn't fit with the setting, then DM is perfectly within their rights to tell them to come up with something else, maybe work with them to find a way to fit it.

And we can come up with examples of players declaring things, choosing things, or trying to create things within the shared universe of the table, and the DM could deny any and all of those, especially those that do not fit within the shared vision of the table.

Now, why are a PCs thoughts and actions different? If a player declares a character's belief or action that is too far out of alignment with the tone and setting at the table, why can the DM not exercise the same authority they have been exercising every step of the way and say "No, that doesn't make any sense"? I'm not saying they should, I'm not saying it will be common, I'll even say that the list of things a DM might say no to in this case is microscopic while the list of things they'd say yes to is macroscopic in the extreme.

This ties back into your "playground cops and robbers" problem. While I will say I think that sharing many things and being respectful of staying within the fiction means that it will appear as though no one has the authority, and that is the ideal situation. Ideally, the DM and the player work together. But the DM has the final say on everything.

Why then have I been arguing about Francis the Guard? Because the people I have been arguing with have claimed both that Player's have absolute authority over their characters and that those players do not have the authority to create Francis somewhere within the town. But, if the player has absolute authority over the character, then they have absolute authority over the character's background, and therefore they have absolute authority over the creation of NPCs that tie to that background. Because absolute authority is absolute.

So, if a player does not have absolute authority over their background, then they do not have absolute authority over their character. Without absolute authority over their character, then it is possible for the DM to exercise their authority over that character.

Because absolute authority is absolute.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
Thinking through that scenario happening, I'd end up asking at least two questions. 1) Why is the barbarian buying scrolls that they cannot use? There are many answers, from buying them so other party members can use them to them not knowing that their barbarian can't use scrolls. Then, 2) I'd ask them why they think their character would believe the Earth Elementals to be weak to thunder damage? Now, maybe the party wizard is going to jump in and say they told the barbarian, so the barbarian could buy the scrolls, and they have studied the arcane including elementals so they should know. And I would respond, okay, maybe, let's roll Arcana since you're backstory was a conman who stole a spellbook. And so on and so forth.

The idea is a consistent fiction, as consistent as we can make it. Which includes every character suddenly being a walking encyclopedia in spite of their backgrounds.
What is the Arcana check for? I don't see an action declaration from the wizard in your breakdown.

You know, it is amusing to me that you keep repeating that line. "The smart play is to verify". It isn't that I don't agree with you, that is the smart play, but people don't always do the smart play. In fact, especially when it comes to verification, they rarely do.
That's not the DM's problem. It's up to the players to play their characters effectively.

For an IRL example, it might be smart to check that your car has gas before you try and start it. After all, someone might have siphoned it off in the night. But, I doubt almost anyone does that. Because the vast majority of the time, your car is the exact same as it was when you stopped driving it the last time. The chances your verification will turn up anything new is low, so you are likely to skip verifying.
My car doesn't use gasoline. That is the smart play. :)

This is why I said that unless you are changing things with some regularity, often enough that players realize anything could be different any time they sit down, then I doubt they really go out and verify much of anything.
My players do because they have an incentive to. As an example from my current Eberron campaign, the players found a chamber in the dungeon containing crates covered in brown mold. I telegraphed an unusual chill in the adjoining chamber. A couple of characters ran afoul of it and took a bit of cold damage when they kicked down the door to said chamber. Everyone in my group is an experienced player. They knew this was brown mold and how to do deal with it (cold damage) and how not to use fire on it. But, they know that I change things up from time to time and, with the wizard having no cold-damage cantrips and only one spell slot remaining, they could not take any risks on this.

So the wizard used mage hand to collect a small sample of the brown mold, not enough to do damage to anyone, with a test tube. He handed it off to the warforged fighter who has integrated alchemist's supplies. Ten minutes of testing and analysis, a wandering monster check (no wanderer), and a successful Intelligence (Alchemist's Supplies) check later, they verified it was brown mold. The wizard cast an ice knife spell, destroyed the brown mold, and they were able to obtain the schema they were seeking to complete their quest.

The players chose to play effectively. All I had to do was describe the environment and narrate the results of the adventurers' actions.

Of course there was more going on here than a single issue. There is always more going on than a single issue. But the usage of player knowledge under the assumption that anything they brought from the books was true, was part of the problem. No matter how many other things you can point to as contributing to escalating the problem, that was an aspect of it that ties directly into what we are discussing.
Yes, the player would have been better served trying to verify his assumptions before acting upon them. But based on the details you provided, this was a minor issue compared to how the group resolves conflict in my view. This wouldn't have been an issue in my group for many reasons.
 

Celebrim

Legend
I wonder why I keep getting accused of not arguing in good faith.
I can't speak for any one else, but for my part its because I repeat the same things over and over and they just bounce off. I have a hard time believing that you aren't at this point able to answer your own questions. I mean just considering what you've now posted, the answers to your own questions are present if you are willing to see them. I admit I have weird pet peeves and my social-emotional framework doesn't well align with the rest of the human race, but honestly if you made attacks and cast open aspirations or said "You make me so angry", it would be less frustrating to me and more understandable than what you are doing.

I'm going to respond somewhat out of order. I'm not deliberately trying to misconstrue you in anyway by doing so. I just want to point out how disconnected from itself your argument becomes as it develops.

My entire goal in this thread is to figure out the consistency, if there is "Absolute Authority" of a player over their character, then there are things that should not be true.
Ok, let's go with that. I agree that player's have "absolute authority" over their characters, and as a result that there are things that implies should and should not be true.

But what does that "absolute authority" mean? What does it look like? When people use the term, what are they saying? Well, you know the answer for that yourself, because you say it:

I did call people out who claim players have "absolute authority" over their characters thoughts and actions...
So you know already well what people meant. You have no misunderstanding as to what there position is when you decide to "call it out".

So how is it that your point of contention is:

But, if the player has absolute authority over the character, then they have absolute authority over the character's background...
How is it that when you've well understood that people were saying "players have absolute authority over their character's thoughts and actions" that you've now added to that something of your own invention in order to condemn their position as illogical, namely that the players also have absolute authority over the character's background, and by which you mean something that they never said, that they also have absolute authority to create any background that they like at any time in the game?

Because I never agreed that Francis the Guard should be at the gate. I did call people out who claim players have "absolute authority" over their characters thoughts and actions, yet decried Francis the Guard as a step too far. But, interestingly, I have never gotten an answer to the follow up of Francis not being at the gate. Does Francis exist within the city?
So why is it surprising that someone who you admit said "players have "absolute authority" over their characters thoughts and actions" should think that absolute authority over their background is a step too far? And further, in the Francis example, we have gone even one step further past claiming that the player has absolute authority over their background, and are now asserting that the background has absolute authority over the setting.

Why should it even be confusing that someone who only started from the proposition "players have absolute authority over their characters thoughts and actions", should not able to answer your question regarding whether Francis exists in the city? After all, even if someone did assert that players had absolute authority over their background, that would only mean that the player could assert that Francis existed sometime in the city in the past. You could not assert on the basis of your authority over background, that now in the present Francis is still alive, still in the city, and still serving in the guard. All of those things could have changed between the point you asserted Francis had existed and the present moment in game, and regardless of your absolute authority over background you could not decide those things without absolute authority over the setting. So of course people can't answer your question in any general way or give you any other answer but "Maybe."

And remember, these people by your own admission never began by asserting players had absolute authority over their background in the first place.

In point of fact, while I've asserted that players do have a sort of absolute authority over their background, I asserted that only in the sense that a player character's background is inviolable. That is to say, a player may absolutely refuse any other participant's suggestion to alter their background. A GM cannot force a player to have a backstory they don't want. A player can say, "Mess with me. I want to have complications and drama because that's the sort of game I want to play.", and thereby give the GM permission to introduce backstory elements. But a player can also say, "My backstory is meant only to serve as backstory, and I only want my character to evolve through forestory, and not by making unwanted revelations about his past." All that is fine, but it is also very different from the assertion that a player has an absolute right to introduce backstory, much less that having introduced backstory, he has some absolute right to insist that present situations conform to his desires and expectations. Even if the player's relationship to Francis is inviolable and even if their is a table agreement to be "hands off" with respect to Francis, such a social contract does not mean Francis is here now in the present. The GM, being absolutely in charge of the setting, could say, "This guard isn't Francis. The Guard says, "So you're a friend of Francis? Yeah, he has the night watch tonight. I'm Robert. We agreed to switch because I'm going to see a lovely little lady tonight at the festival.", or any number of other things. Francis is after all, an NPC, whether he's in your backstory or not.

Now, why are a PCs thoughts and actions different? If a player declares a character's belief or action that is too far out of alignment with the tone and setting at the table, why can the DM not exercise the same authority they have been exercising every step of the way and say "No, that doesn't make any sense"? I'm not saying they should, I'm not saying it will be common, I'll even say that the list of things a DM might say no to in this case is microscopic while the list of things they'd say yes to is macroscopic in the extreme.
In point of fact, the GM could say that. The GM could for example overrule a character whose IC motivation is to kill the other members of the party, or could overrule a character whose concept is that he's working for the bad guys. I'm not saying a GM should always do that, but it takes an extraordinarily mature group to deal with that in a cooperative fashion.

And this is a good segue into the problem of, "If you are saying that a player has absolute authority over their character and the GM has absolute authority over the setting, aren't there going to be issues in a backstory that equally involve both character and setting? How do you resolve the issue of conflicting desires of two parties with absolute authority? How can the both have absolute authority in that situation?" And the answer is the sort of authority both have in that situation is of the inviolable sort. They both have a right to be obdurate immovable objects. The GM is under no obligation to accept a backstory that implies setting changes he doesn't want, and the player is under no obligation to accept a backstory that implies character changes he doesn't want. As neither can force the other to budge, either the status quo prevails or else they negotiate some agreement between each other.

In my game, the player writes a background and submits it for approval. Once I approve it, it becomes real and the implications are adopted into the setting. Depending on what the player wrote, that can profoundly shape the setting in ways I didn't consider or expect. But as long as it is reasonable, adds to the setting rather than detracts from it, and doesn't seem to be an attempt to outshine the other players in either participation, authority, or control over the narrative, I'll probably agree. But I cannot be made to agree, any more than I can write a background for the player and say, "This is you, like it or not."

I do not think that, provide we apply "absolute" to the right ideas of what a player or GMs authority is, that it is an improper modifier. With respect to what we've said is the rights and privileges, those rights and privileges are absolute. The problem or confusion comes when you start inventing rights and privileges that were never under discussion and then claiming that the modifier implies those rights and privileges. But that is illogical and uncivil.

For example, if I said, "The player has an absolute right to play their character.", and you said, "Well that means that if the character proposes to leap the Atlantic Ocean, you have to allow that regardless of what is on their character sheet, or else you are interfering with their right to play their character.", at most I ought to have to say, "Their character can't leap the Atlantic Ocean. That isn't the character they agreed to play and/or designed for themselves. Leaping the Atlantic Ocean isn't part of their character." If you responded then, "But you said they could play their character any way that they wanted!!!", I'd be inclined to think you weren't serious.
 
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"Social contract" exists as what the DMG calls "table rules" which are not the rules of the game. These will vary from table to table.
IDK. The rules of the game probably wouldn't function too well without certain assumptions in that social contract. Change the rules or change the contract, so long as you to get them working together at that table.

I don't imagine the rules contemplate a situation where the DM isn't performing his or her role properly, being a text on how to play the game in its respective roles.
So you do imagine the rules assume perfection from the DM?
;) That's fair, actually. While the DM won't be perfect, he is presumably good enough for his group.

I still think that those who believe the player has a right to declare fiction outside of the character during play have a lot of work ahead of them to show any rules support for their position. It's just not there in this game like it may be in other games. (And to repeat what appears to be a necessary refrain lest I be attacked by others for not doing so, people can play how they like regardless of what the rules say.)
Rules that say you must play in that way are certainly lacking, as are rules that explicitly say you can't.
The rules /do/ give the DM a great deal of latitude in how he runs his game and what he expects from the players. You can, as DM accept an action declarations that includes a declaration of fiction outside the character, or even reward (with inspiration perhaps) or require such, if that works for you. There's no rules being changed or added, to do so, it's just a matter of the convention of what an action declaration is at the DM's table.

In that sense 5e supports both these very different styles under discussion. Which was kinda the point (ok, a point) of writing rules in natural language and actively promoting DM Empowerment.
 
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Satyrn

Visitor
So you do imagine the rules assume perfection from the DM?
;) That's fair, actually. Well the DM won't be perfect, he is presumably good enough for his group.
No. He's saying the rules expect the DM is performing his own role, and letting the players perform theirs.

Kinda like how the rules of 8 ball assume you're not taking your opponent's shots, or the rules of Euchre expect that you're not playing your partner's or opponents' hands, etc etc etc.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
So you do imagine the rules assume perfection from the DM?
No more than anyone should expect me to perfectly execute the approach I use and discuss here on enworld, especially after three or more Jamesons. But I know what I'm supposed to be doing per the rules and I try.

Rules that say you must play in that way are certainly lacking, as are rules that explicitly say you can't.
The rules /do/ give the DM a great deal of latitude in how he runs his game and what he expects from the players. You can, as DM accept an action declarations that includes a declaration of fiction outside the character, or even reward (with inspiration perhaps) or require such, if that works for you. There's no rules being changed or added, to do so, it's just a matter of the convention of what an action declaration is at the DM's table.

In that sense 5e supports both these very different styles under discussion. Which was kinda the point (ok, a point) of writing rules in natural language and actively promoting DM Empowerment.
A lot of words to say "People can play how they want." Which is and has never been in dispute. But if you want to say the rules support players establishing fiction outside their character without the approval of the DM, good luck finding them.
 
No more than anyone should expect me to perfectly execute the approach I use and discuss here on enworld, especially after three or more Jamesons. But I know what I'm supposed to be doing per the rules and I try.
So, yes, you imagine that the rules assume perfection on the part of the DM. It's OK. That's how I see it, too. Afterall, if they're not working from that assumption, they'd have to put checks on the DM's role which would set the rules above the DM rather than vice-versa. It's maybe not the best way of saying - like I said 'trusting the DM' is a more tactful way of putting it than 'assuming perfection.'

Perhaps another way of putting it is that the rules assume the DM will have a better chance of knowing/implementing what's best for his group, specifically, than the designers would.


A lot of words to say "People can play how they want." Which is and has never been in dispute.
To say that the game is actually down with that. I mean, people /can/ play any ed, or any game, however they want, that's not really saying much.

But if you want to say the rules support players establishing fiction outside their character without the approval of the DM, good luck finding them.
The rules do support the DM in allowing/encouraging/requiring (or disallowing/punishing/banning) his players establishing fiction outside their character. The same rules that support goal + method. In the sense of 'support' that is little more than "leave plenty of room for the DM to run that way if he likes."
But, no, you're not going to find rules allowing players to do /anything/ without at least tacit approval of the DM - since the DM's role includes that of final arbiter.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
So, yes, you imagine that the rules assume perfection on the part of the DM. It's OK. That's how I see it, too. Afterall, if they're not working from that assumption, they'd have to put checks on the DM's role which would set the rules above the DM rather than vice-versa. It's maybe not the best way of saying - like I said 'trusting the DM' is a more tactful way of putting it than 'assuming perfection.'

Perhaps another way of putting it is that the rules assume the DM will have a better chance of knowing/implementing what's best for his group, specifically, than the designers would.
I have no idea what your goal is with this.

To say that the game is actually down with that. I mean, people /can/ play any ed, or any game, however they want, that's not really saying much.
And yet here we are saying it.

But, no, you're not going to find rules allowing players to do /anything/ without at least tacit approval of the DM - since the DM's role includes that of final arbiter.
Except determine what their characters do, think, and say.
 

Celebrim

Legend
So, yes, you imagine that the rules assume perfection on the part of the DM. It's OK. That's how I see it, too. Afterall, if they're not working from that assumption, they'd have to put checks on the DM's role which would set the rules above the DM rather than vice-versa. It's maybe not the best way of saying - like I said 'trusting the DM' is a more tactful way of putting it than 'assuming perfection.'

Perhaps another way of putting it is that the rules assume the DM will have a better chance of knowing/implementing what's best for his group, specifically, than the designers would.
I think that those are all good ways to put it.

I would put it as, "The rules recognize that the problem of poor GMing cannot be fixed by the rules."

I think that there is a certain theory in some design circles that poor GMing can be fixed by having the right rules or process in place, but 5e D&D in particular radically departs from that fad.
 
I think that those are all good ways to put it.

I would put it as, "The rules recognize that the problem of poor GMing cannot be fixed by the rules."
That's a slightly different statement, since it makes the leap from speculating about design assumptions - to taking a specific position on game-design theory (which may or may not have informed the assumption).

I do, however, think it's fair to say that no rule can stop the GM from just changing the rules (Rule 0 in 3e wasn't so much a rule, as an acknowledgement of fact).
So, a bad (malevolent) DM could simply change any rule that got in his way. The closest a system could get to protecting players from their own DMs' malevolence would be to have many rules that might get in the way of malicious DMing, and encourage a culture of suspicion towards DMs who change/override rules.

You can see how that could never fly with 5e's DM-Empowerment mandate. So, it "assumes perfect DMing" - or rather, makes no provision for imperfect DMing. Once you make that leap of faith, though, the system can fall back on the DM as much as needed to keep it simple/intuitive/light/natural/flexible/etc as desired, without worrying so much about the mechanical nitty-gritty debates that drove us crazy earlier in the WotC era.

(Instead we get this kind of discussion to drive us crazy! Progress!)


I think that there is a certain theory in some design circles that poor GMing can be fixed by having the right rules or process in place
Sure, use an analogy, you don't have to assume perfect drivers to build safer cars, quite the contrary, you start by assuming there'll be accidents. Thus "rules can't fix poor GMing" is akin to "seat belts can't prevent accidents" - and it's not like no one said that back when there was debate on the issue, there really was a school of thought that safety features would make drivers careless and /cause/ more accidents.
Of course, an analogy with one very important difference: fatal D&D accidents are exceedingly rare. The worst that can happen is an un-fun session.
Perspective.
 
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Hriston

Adventurer
Nitpick - "to the priests" did not accompany "hazardous" in the write-up in the PHB. So, for instance, if the priests' spells and efforts are tied up combating a local outbreak, they might consider casting cure spells on your scratches a lower priority than saving other people's lives - the hazard being yo those thry are helping.
Forgive me, but this interpretation seems like a lawyerly effort to screw over the players. I think it's pretty clear that hazardous assistance refers to assistance that would be hazardous to the priests themselves, not hazardous to anyone in general.

But, to be clear, given your long list of assumptions, I would boil it down to "unless there is a compelling reason not to... "
What's wrong with sticking to only the conditions of the spell or feature, and not imposing additional restrictions that the DM deems "compelling" in his/her judgement?

A referencexwas made above yo sort of "without a good reason" and to me most of my playstyle revolves around "say yes, unless you have a compelling reason to say no" and I basically set the burden on me as GM through setting, circumstance and NPC to establish "why not" instead of on the player and their PC to establish "why."

So, really, more often than not the "no" is already expected as they see "why" before they get to the " no".
This all seems good to me and sounds like it avoids mismatched expectations. If the "why" has already been established though, I wonder why you would ever get to the "no", unless I'm misunderstanding you.
 

Hriston

Adventurer
I can't really speak for the social contracts at anyone's table but my own. From the perspective of the rules though, that expectation does not hold up well in my view since the outcome of all action declarations are decided by the DM who is empowered to use the rules to inform his or her decision but is never beholden to them. (This necessarily includes something as simple as taking rope out of a backpack, even if this is probably too granular for most groups in a practical sense. It is an action declaration after all.)

Because of this, as a player, I have absolutely zero expectation that the things on my sheet will matter in all situations, though if the DM is consistent in his or her application of the rules and the internal logic of his or her setting, I can probably reliably predict that it will or will not matter. Sometimes I will be wrong though. If the DM is not consistent, then all bets are off. This argues for consistency in the DM's approach, whatever it may be, more than anything.
This is a more expansive interpretation of "the rules serve the DM" than I would subscribe to (e.g. I would rather change the player's background feature beforehand than override it during play), but I can accept that the social contract of many if not the majority of groups contains such an understanding and that their games are no worse for it.
 

pemerton

Legend
I think the idea here would be that the GM can insist that they don't smell anything (because there's nothing to smell), but they're free to insist that they do - so they're either hallucinating, deluded, or just teasing the guy. And, really, probably not hallucinating, but deluded, yeah, if the distinction is that hallucinations are /caused/ by something (like the ergot in the rye bread that came with your standard rations - should've sprung for the iron), while delusions are self-imposed.
Right. Which is not consistent with the suggestion that the player has total authority over what the character thinks and feels.

If the GM likes the idea, he runs with it. If he doesn't think his Chamberlain should smell bad (but I do hope he has a good reason, because really if the players want him to smell bad that's a great contribution) then the PCs are the only people who think he smells bad.

The players are free to have their characters act like he smells bad.

The players are free to have their players think he smells bad. But they may eventually notice that nobody else thinks he smells bad. They're free to come up with whatever narration they want to explain it. They're crazy? They suffered neurological damage in the battle with Jubilex? They all were fed some herb as kids that happened to make them extremely sensitive to the chamberlain's cologne? I don't know, but if they're creative enough to come up with the idea in the first place, I'll bet they are creative enough to come up with an explanation for why they are the only three people who seem to think he's smelly.
But they're not free to come up with the answer because he is smelly. That is, they're not free to make their perceptions non-delusional.

what the players are doing is *either* (their call as to which ) in character pranking *or* deciding that their character finds the particular smell of the target unpleasant. If its the former, it might become relevant as deceptions are not absolute. If its the latter, it would need to be played within the normal expectations for percrption established in the game.

So, no real conflicts unless the players want to define not just what they think of the target's smell but how far it goes or how loud it is.
Again, the GM - by declaring that the chamberlain doesn't stink - is able to exercise control over what beliefs and sensations the players are allowed to attribute to their PCs.

I don't think that that is all that outrageous. It's just not consistent with certain claims about the extent of player authority. The underlying point is that what a person thinks and feels is, in part, a function of the environment in which that person is located. So you can't give one author full authority over the first, and another author full authority over the second, without generating the potential for conflict.
 
Again, the GM - by declaring that the chamberlain doesn't stink - is able to exercise control over what beliefs and sensations the players are allowed to attribute to their PCs.
Allowed to attribute without resorting to the rubric of delusion, anyway.
I don't think that that is all that outrageous. It's just not consistent with certain claims about the extent of player authority. The underlying point is that what a person thinks and feels is, in part, a function of the environment in which that person is located. So you can't give one author full authority over the first, and another author full authority over the second, without generating the potential for conflict.
That does not sound unreasonable.
 

Elfcrusher

Adventurer
But they're not free to come up with the answer because he is smelly. That is, they're not free to make their perceptions non-delusional.
I disagree. "Smelly" is a subjective term, and a player is free to declare they their character finds a certain odor offensive or not. Now, if the rules call for a saving throw to avoid an effect the dice may override their declaration ("Sure, usually you like the smell of raw sewage, but in this case it overwhelms you...") but otherwise why not let them decide what they are sensitive to, or not?

Again, the GM - by declaring that the chamberlain doesn't stink - is able to exercise control over what beliefs and sensations the players are allowed to attribute to their PCs.
As I said above, the GM's mistake here is making a declaration about how the players interpret something. (I mean, the big problem is a dysfunctional table. Either the players pulled this stunt in bad faith, or the GM is a dick for not rolling with it, or both. But that aside...) The GM should stick to describing the environment, including other characters:

"Lady Longbottom is leaning in close to the Chamberlain, whispering and laughing. She certainly doesn't seem bothered by any odor."

Are the character's delusional, or other people used to it or faking it? Something for the players to wonder about, and the GM hasn't contradicted anything they've said.

"You want to lean in close and see if you smell anything specific, without him noticing? Any particular way you are trying to achieve the latter? No? Ok, give me a perception check. Yeah, you smell traces of sweat, cologne, and maybe wine. Now give me a sleight-of-hand or deception check, your choice..."

If a player tries to declare, "But the Chamberlain *IS* smelly!" The GM can just say, "To your character, apparently."

Etc.

Again, the players may push against this. "No, I definitely smell skunk." Then we're talking delusion and/or dysfunction. If that situation actually occurs maybe somebody at the table can post here and ask for advice, but that's a matter for navigating social situations, not resolving game design philosophy.
 
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Hriston

Adventurer
I think I agree with all of this. The rope is in the backpack. That has been established in the fiction by some process of play. The player has a reasonable expectation that, "I take the rope out of my backpack..." is something that should automatically succeed, and is probably the preamble to some larger proposition like, "And start tying one end around my waist." The play may expect that in some games, using the rope successfully is something that might be checked, or that the DM may require a full round of searching through his stuff to find the rope. The player probably doesn't expect, "You don't find the rope."

However, I think we both agree that the GM could say, "You don't find the rope.", if the GM has some knowledge of the fictional positioning that the player doesn't, or the player has forgotten that last week he tied the rope to a pillar at the top of the pit the party is now in, and it is logically still back there hanging down the wall. The GM may know that one of the other players handed the GM a note saying, "I steal the rope from his pack while he's sleeping.", or he may know that the Mite in area #26 stole the rope back when the PC put the backpack down while they were fighting the Steam Mephits, or that the rope was actually an illusion cast by the imp in area #43 and never existed in the first place.

The fact that we both agree that the GM could say this because he has more knowledge of the fictional positioning than the player is proof that the DM controls the fiction outside of the player. The two say the same thing. While he may agree that the player's view of the fiction ("the rope is in my backpack") prevails, he is not required to do so. Ultimately, the player can't force the DM to accept the player's view of the fiction. The player may insist that he recovered the rope, or that there was no way it could have been stolen, or that he has two ropes - and depending on the persuasiveness of the argument the GM may yield - but the GM is meant to be the judge of what is true here.
Isn't this just another way of saying it's the DM's job to keep track of this stuff? What judgement is required over whether the rope is in the backpack or not? If the DM has secret knowledge about it, then it's the DM's job to keep track of that until it's revealed through play, sure. But if it's shared knowledge by both player and DM that the rope is in the backpack, I don't see how the DM is controlling that. Let's assume this rope has been in the character's backpack since chargen. Wasn't it the player who put it there when s/he outfitted the character? To me, that, and the choices the player has made in play about how the character has manged his/her inventory since then, is what controls the fiction about whether the rope is still in the backpack when the player has his/her character reach for it.

If that isn't true for rope, then isn't it true for +5 Vorpal Swords? Surely a player could validly argue he'd enjoy the game more if his player happened to find a +5 Vorpal Sword is his backpack? Surely it's easy to imagine a player arguing this find would make the game better for everyone, and the player honestly be arguing in good faith. The player may even be correct - everyone at this table might enjoy the game better if they were less gritty and playing in a higher tier. However, ultimately, the GM still runs the game, and if the GM overrules rope or +5 vorpal swords, it's his reasons for doing so that prevail good or bad.

Maybe a player can propose to the table that they play a different game with different assumptions. They still can't control the setting.

These aren't entirely hypothetical examples. I had a DM friend of mine invite a new college aged player to his game and told him to make a third level character for 1e AD&D. The player showed up with a third level character (with multiple 18's)... and a +5 vorpal sword, wand of wonder, a ring of elemental command (fire), and a dozen other items on his character sheet. The player couldn't understand why the DM (or the rest of the players for that matter) weren't affirming his view that his character needed and perforce had these items. Why couldn't he just select whatever equipment he wanted? (To make it more ludicrous, this happened after the DM explicitly told the player before hand it was a low-magic gritty campaign.)

I don't think that it should be controversial that the player, not my friend the DM, was confused regarding the role of a player in the game, and what was or was not the DM's prerogative.
These are examples of dysfunctional play due to a mismatch in expectations about the allocation of the various roles and duties of playing the game. I don't see how they support an argument that in a game that has an intact social contract, with an expectation that the PC's inventory is at the player's disposal through his/her control of the PC, that the player doesn't have the authority to reliably have his/her PC retrieve the rope from his/her backpack.
 

Celebrim

Legend
Isn't this just another way of saying it's the DM's job to keep track of this stuff?
Not at all. Or at least, at my tables I certainly don't keep track of the players stuff, and if the player takes something but doesn't write it down on their character sheet, I'm not at all going to overrule and decide that they have it (unless it has a particular sort of curse).

All I'm saying is that the DM, in his role as secret keeper, can and usually does have information about the fictional positioning that the player doesn't have. The DM is as it were, omniscient with regards to the imagined world. The player on the other hand, since his knowledge of the game is filtered by the secret keeper according to what he has noticed or can perceive, is acting under "fog of war". This is required to allow for the aesthetic of discovery, as it is sometimes called exploration.

What judgement is required over whether the rope is in the backpack or not?
Access to the secret knowledge, as you well understand because you go on to say...

If the DM has secret knowledge about it, then it's the DM's job to keep track of that until it's revealed through play, sure.
You aren't as confused as you think you are.

But if it's shared knowledge by both player and DM that the rope is in the backpack, I don't see how the DM is controlling that.
Your actual confusion over this is someone has introduced a false dichotomy into this discussion, and you've bought into the false dichotomy and are assuming that people like me are arguing over that false dichotomy. The question over the rope has never been whether the DM or the player controls the rope. No one set out to set up a dichotomy over who controls the rope. The claim that this dichotomy existed, only muddles the conversation and confuses people about what is being debated.

The question is over how the rope was introduced to the fiction.

I asserted that the rope was introduced to the fiction in one of two ways - by GM fiat, since the GM controls the setting and therefore can add ropes to it by fiat, or else through a process of play. For example, the rope may be in the PC's backpack because as part of the process of CharGen, the player exchanged a CharGen resource - say "gold pieces" - for a list of approved items and equipment that had approved costs associated with them. As long as the player has the rope through that established process of play, then the rope exists in the fiction somewhere (even if it is no longer in the player's backpack). Likewise, a different game might dispense entirely with the traditional equipment list mechanic, and have a process of play where the player begins each session with some number of empty equipment slots, and during the course of the session the player may announce that he's filling an equipment slot with a normal mundane transportable piece of equipment - such as a length of rope. Again, if that is the case, then the rope exists in the fiction because the player has used an established process of play to bring the rope into the fiction. While the mechanics seem a bit different from the traditional equipment list mechanic, they are actually fundamentally the same - the player exchanges some sort of limited resource for some other sort of limited resource. They differ really only in the details.

Neither is anything like the GMs ability to bring rope into the fiction. The GM can just establish that there is an entire room of rope, a whole ropemaker's guild, an entire forest covered in enchanted rope, or whatever else he likes.

Let's assume this rope has been in the character's backpack since chargen. Wasn't it the player who put it there when s/he outfitted the character? To me, that, and the choices the player has made in play about how the character has manged his/her inventory since then, is what controls the fiction about whether the rope is still in the backpack when the player has his/her character reach for it.
If we assume that the rope has been in the character's backpack since chargen, then you've constructed a circular argument. The rope is introduced by the process of play and per your constraint on the situation, no secret knowledge has effected the rope, so yes at this point the rope is by definition introduced to the fiction by the player and that choice was made by the player. But your statement is as pointless as it is circular, because it argues a point that was never in contention.

The point of contention was whether ropes in a backpack since chargen were introduced to the fiction by the same process as ropes introduced by the GM. And this rope, just wasn't. You've already conceded the important point, that the GM may have secret knowledge about the rope and he may therefore overrule the player's understanding of the fiction. He can do this because he controls the setting, as is implied and required by his job as Secret Keeper. The player can't have secret knowledge in the same way, nor may he override the GM's knowledge of the fiction by asserting that what the GM thinks about the fiction is not true. The player isn't the Secret Keeper nor is the player the Referee responsible for adjudicating the results of things.

Nor can the player introduce to the fiction anything not provided by an explicit process of play. The player can't simply declare by fiat, because he wishes it, that there is a rope in the corner of the cell. The GM can on the other hand introduce rope any time he wants by any means he wants. He doesn't need a process of play to do it. The rope is just there in the setting because the GM declared it to be so.

These are examples of dysfunctional play due to a mismatch in expectations about the allocation of the various roles and duties of playing the game.
Yes, exactly! And so, much less obviously, is a game where the player can declare without permission from the GM or without any recourse to the processes of play that a rope exists.

I don't see how they support an argument that in a game that has an intact social contract, with an expectation that the PC's inventory is at the player's disposal through his/her control of the PC, that the player doesn't have the authority to reliably have his/her PC retrieve the rope from his/her backpack.
Because you've already asserted yourself that the GM's secret knowledge could potentially override this authority! Unless you want to recant that, what you really mean is "I don't see how they support an argument that in a game that has an intact social contract, with an expectation that the PC's inventory is NORMALLY at the player's disposal through his/her control of the PC, that the player doesn't have the authority to reliably have his/her PC retrieve the rope from his/her backpack."

And yes, I agree that it normally is, but we've both agreed that there are rare exceptions to that where the GM can overrule the player because the GM has secret knowledge.

But again, this is all a red herring that someone else in the thread introduced to confuse things. No one has ever asserted that the player's inventory isn't normally within the player's control. The real question is not whether the player controls their inventory, or even whether they normally control their inventory. The real question was whether the items in a player's inventory could be declared to be there by the player's fiat, in the exact same fashion that they could declare by fiat the intention to climb a wall or attack an orc with an item in that inventor. In other words, I argued - and still argue - that while a player can by fiat declare what a PC feels, or what a PC thinks, or what a PC does, because the player had control over the PC, their PC's possessions - while they were part of the character - where still external to the PC and could not be controlled or introduced by fiat alone.

To disagree with this is to assert that these two propositions by the player are fundamentally the same:

A) I draw the +5 Holy Avenger [which my player acquired during play], and attack the Lich King.
B) I draw the +5 Holy Avenger [which I'm now introducing to the game's fiction now even though no such item formerly existed because I think it would be cool to have one], and attack the Lich King.

That is the real point of debate. The whole "who is in control of the backpack" canard was a logical fallacy introduced to disguise what I would think is a rather unpopular claim that 'B' and 'A' are actually the same thing for what it is. And since you've already agreed that one example is "dysfunctional play due to a mismatch in expectations about the allocation of the various roles and duties of playing the game", then I suspect you and I really don't have much to disagree over.
 
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Celebrim

Legend
I disagree. "Smelly" is a subjective term, and a player is free to declare they their character finds a certain odor offensive or not.
I agree.

The smelly chamberlain example is just the latest example of attempt to assert that the boundaries of the PC extend to encompass all that the PC can observe or think on.

One wonders if the person making these claims believes their own person extends to encompass all that they can observe or think on?

I really have a hard time taking these arguments seriously, as I think they are less serious arguments than attempts to justify a process of play that includes a gentlemen's agreement over what different participants can introduce to the fiction in an effort to improve the game - something I think that is neither justified by these red herrings nor which needs to be justified. It's not badwrongfun to cooperate together. Go ahead, especially if you have nigh unto perfect knowledge of what everyone else at the table enjoys. Under such conditions, well why not?

But, as far as the example goes, consider the following:

The GM introduces a Chamberlain wearing costly perfumes.

The PC is, by virtue of their fiat control of their character free to assert all of the following:

1) They find the costly perfumes attractive and would like to inquire where they could purchase themselves.
2) They want to pretend that they find the costly perfumes attractive and inquire where they could purchase some themselves.
3) They find the odor offensive, but wish to pretend that they do not to avoid offending the Chamberlain.
4) They find the odor offensive, and wish to mock the Chamberlain regarding his perfumes, either to deliberately enrage the Chamberlain or make a fool of him in front of the court (or both).
5) They don't find the odor offensive, but wish to mock the Chamberlain regarding his perfumes anyway.

Likewise, if the GM introduces a Chamberlain which he describes as having strong body odor, by virtue of the player's fiat control over the PC, they may propose all of the following.

1) They find the body order attractive and would like to compliment the Chamberlain on his manly odor.
2) They want to pretend that they find the body odor attractive and compliment the Chamberlain on his manly odor.
3) They find the odor offensive, but wish to pretend that they do not to avoid offending the Chamberlain.
4) They find the odor offensive, and wish to mock the Chamberlain regarding his body odor, either to deliberately enrage the Chamberlain or make a fool of him in front of the court (or both).
5) They don't find the odor offensive, but wish to mock the Chamberlain regarding his body odor anyway.

Further, the GM could introduce a Chamberlain with no noticeable odor whatsoever, and yet by virtue of the player's fiat control over the PC, the player could still propose:

1) They find the Chamberlain's smell attractive, as a false to facts of the fiction assertion regarding the odor of the Chamberlain.
2) They don't find the Chamberlain's smell attractive, as a false to facts of the fiction assertion regarding the odor of the Chamberlain.
3) In combination of neither or either of the above, that they wish to insult the Chamberlain regarding his smell, in hopes of enraging the Chamberlain or making him seem foolish in the eyes of the court.

None of these assertions need to be justified. The player is declaring things about his character's beliefs, feelings, and actions. He may or may not have good justification for those beliefs, feelings, and actions, but he doesn't have to justify them. He's just playing his character.

However, as soon as the player tries to declare something that is not about his PC's beliefs, feelings, or actions, but rather about the beliefs, feelings, or actions of NPCs or the existence of novel things in the fiction, then he's not playing his character. I can't believe I'm saying that, because I would have thought it was obvious and axiomatic, but here we are.

Now, depending on the player character's social skills, courses of action regarding the Chamberlain's odor such as attempting to make a fool of him in front of the court might have a chance of success. The odds of success will very much depend on the perceptions of the NPCs. If it is the case that the Chamberlain's odor is not much commented on in the court, the player's proposed course of action would be much more difficult than if the GM decides that Chamberlain's odor is already perceived by the court as being obnoxious and everyone is just afraid to say anything about it. The clever player may in fact have perceived by some means that this is true, while a creative player may be banking on it being true or something the GM finds plausible.

What is not the case is that the PC can propose that since his player finds Chamberlain's odor offensive, that the NPCs of the court find it offensive - and this is especially the case if the GM does not establish that such an odor exists and in fact notes that the odor is not particularly notable nor would it normally be found offensive at all. It's beyond the bounds of playing your PC to make declarations about what exists in the environment or how NPCs think and behave.

Real people can't cause smells to come into being that other people experience just by imagining them. Neither can a PC acting in the fiction cause a smell to come into existence by imagining it. Perhaps a heroically good orator could convince a court by the power of suggestion that the Chamberlain smells despite their being no significant odor present, but in this case he's by the power of his descriptive rhetoric introducing into the fiction a belief that the Chamberlain smells and doing that through a process of play. Or a wizard PC might actually magically create an odor to attack to the Chamberlain to embarrass him provided he had some character ability that allowed the player to assert such a narrative device. But all of that is playing your character. Claiming that your character thinks the Chamberlain smells, and therefore perforce the Chamberlain does smell is not playing your character because implicitly it is NPCs doing the smelling. You can no more control what the NPCs think by fiat than the GM can control what your PC thinks by fiat.

On that note, the GM cannot do the following:

a) Assert that since the Chamberlain has body odor, you find him offensive. Even if the body odor is so bad that it causes an automatic physical reaction, you ought not say that the PC finds that offensive, only that it causes him to vomit unless he passes a fortitude save (or whatever). If he passes the fortitude save, he's free to explain that he likes the smell of body odor, so this was no big deal. Heck, the player may hypothetically be playing a talking dog that finds the smell of dirty socks the best thing in the world. But even if he is, the player gets to decide that - not you. (Heck, if the player wants to establish in the fiction that he finds body odor attractive, as a GM I'd probably decide to hence forth mechanically support that just because it's amusing.)
b) Assert that since the Chamberlain is wearing expensive perfumes, you find the perfumes attractive. Even if the perfumes are magical, so that they cause an automatic physical reaction impairing judgment as if the PC had just downed a pair of Long Island Iced Teas on an empty stomach, that's still a matter of process of play to establish if the PC is so impaired that it overrides the players normal control over the character, and has nothing to do with the perfumes attractiveness.

As I said above, the GM's mistake here is making a declaration about how the players interpret something. (I mean, the big problem is a dysfunctional table. Either the players pulled this stunt in bad faith, or the GM is a dick for not rolling with it, or both. But that aside...)
Agreed. I've had a lot of problem players over 30 years of play, but this hypothetical where the player insists that they believe some false to facts thing and therefore everyone else ought to as well has never come up. I'm pretty sure I've had players insist on false to facts play, but only because they were gonzo players that wanted to play someone who was delusional or weird, usually out of misguided attempts to attract the spotlight to their PC. Sometimes it was even believably in character for them to be delusional and weird. They still didn't insist that the NPC's and other PC's present had to believe the same thing. How we've had the thread derailed over endlessly pointing out that no, ascribing traits to other characters or things in the setting in contrast to the established fictional positioning or introducing things which were novel to the fictional positioning did not constitute playing your PC. It might even be something that was allowed, but if it allowed, it still wasn't playing your PC but rather shared narrative control that arose from something other than the right to play your PC.
 

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