D&D General When do you overrule RAW?

Clint_L

Hero
Have to push back on "the story" bit, a bit.

IMO you shouldn't have some preconceived notion of what "the story" is or will be. The play MAKES the story.

Now if a RAW interpretation actually comes off as completely nonsensical (or worse horribly unfun) even by mythical game world standards - ok maybe it needs to be examined/thrown out.

But if a RAW interpretation leads to a different result than the DM had envisioned? That's not actually a bad thing IMO.
We're discussing the former here, not the latter.
 

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Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
The thing was 35ish feet tall, not some impossible height. A high level party fighting that size, while not routine, isn't exactly unforeseeable. And it's not so tall that "standard" tactics shouldn't work.

And if they don't, the DM needs to give the player some leeway - not gotcha them into wasting resources on something impossible.
That's your opinion. My opinion is that there's every reason not to expect standard tactics to work on something that big.

See how this is all about preferences?
 

Mort

Legend
Supporter
That's your opinion. My opinion is that there's every reason not to expect standard tactics to work on something that big.

See how this is all about preferences?

That's the point. You shouldn't assume that your preference/opinion is the same as your players - not unless you've already gone over the scenario at hand.

As such, IMO pulling a gotcha is bad form. At the very least the DM should say something like "that just wouldn't work here, this thing is too big to be affected by standard maneuvers. But since you didn't know that - why don't you try something else?"
 

Mort

Legend
Supporter
We're discussing the former here, not the latter.
As I said in my last post, what "completely nonsensical..." is differs widely, especially in a fantasy game like D&D. The DM shouldn't simply assume that his definition of completely nonsensical and his players definition are necessarily in sync. There should be leeway given.
 

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
That's the point. You shouldn't assume that your preference/opinion is the same as your players - not unless you've already gone over the scenario at hand.

As such, IMO pulling a gotcha is bad form. At the very least the DM should say something like "that just wouldn't work here, this thing is too big to be affected by standard maneuvers. But since you didn't know that - why don't you try something else?"
That's what I said. Mercer should have let her try something else. I still think he was correct in principle. I suspect he felt the same way about the long fall incident but recanted and called it an error due to public pressure. That happens when you're a quasi-celebrity that depends on the public for your livelihood.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
Yeah, Matt Mercer totally needs to work on his imagination skills. What does that guy know? :rolleyes:
Nobody's perfect. Not even Mercer. This looks like a miss to me and an opportunity to improve.

Just because you can make up a cockeyed reason for something doesn't mean you should. Sometimes RAW lead to stupid results that hurt the story.
The trick is not to make up a "cockeyed reason." Make up one the group thinks is exciting and memorable instead. It just takes a little imagination and collaboration.
 


Mort

Legend
Supporter
That's what I said. Mercer should have let her try something else. I still think he was correct in principle. I suspect he felt the same way about the long fall incident but recanted and called it an error due to public pressure. That happens when you're a quasi-celebrity that depends on the public for your livelihood.

One thing I completely agree with- moving on during play.

Regardless of if the DMs call was "wrong," play moves on. The call can be discussed after the session (live, email whatever) and a decision made as to what happens next time and the like. The absolute WORST thing to do is to allow play to grind to a halt while the player argues with the DM.
 

Oofta

Legend
Magic isn't real, so by definition the concept sidesteps realism. Not to say that a system of magic shouldn't be consistent; it absolutely should, but it can't be realistic.

Thunderwave: "A wave of thunderous force sweeps out from you. Each creature in a 15-foot cube originating from you must make a Constitution saving throw. On a failed save, a creature takes 2d8 thunder damage and is pushed 10 feet away from you".

So first, based on a literal reading of the spell you could say that a Tarrasque isn't "in" a 15-foot cube so it has no effect. But that's not why I'd say it doesn't work. It's because the creature is unimaginably huge and weighs "hundreds of tons". If it had it's head in your face, you might push the head back or to the side a bit, but something that only throws normal humanoids 10 feet is not going to be strong enough to push something back this colossal. I could see even a huge giant stumbling back from something like that, just not something as tall as a 5 story building.

As far as falling, HP represent how much damage you can take in a fight. If you've just fallen from orbit and walk away it would look like the coyote in the Road Runner cartoon. We don't have to be anywhere near accurate, but I want at least a passing nod to reality.


 

Mort

Legend
Supporter
Magic isn't real, so by definition the concept sidesteps realism. Not to say that a system of magic shouldn't be consistent; it absolutely should, but it can't be realistic.

But in the context of this thread re: RAW. We have rules for both magic and non magic situations as RAW.

IMO, the DM is being overly selective if they often/usually let the magic RAW pass because "it's magic...."

But also often give the side eye and overrule the non magic RAW because they violate their sense of "realism."

I've seen that WAY too often and it's absolutely not consistent.
 

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