D&D General When do you overrule RAW?

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
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.
My opinion is different, as you know. I'm happy to let this stay an impasse.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Mort

Legend
Supporter
My opinion is different, as you know. I'm happy to let this stay an impasse.

I'd be more on board with magic being an exception to reality if it wasn't so completely consistent and almost ordinary in 5e. In 5e magic just works, there are no consequences to the mage for over use (other than running out of spells) and there's no chance of even a mishap (normally, not talking about exceptions like wild magic).

In some systems (like Warhammer 40K the roleplaying game, or Deadlands) - the caster can accomplish some big bad stuff. But 1 bad roll and the caster's head literally explodes - boom dead. THAT's a consequence worthy of being allowed to break reality a bit. Otherwise, level playing field with the rest of the bunch.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
You're the DM of a group of players. You've approved the characters (and possibly have DM'd for them for more than one session). How on Earth could you have a problem with a core Feat of one character, which they presumably use often, that you know exists, and how it interacts with a scenario you created?
Easy. The feat simply isn't (or shouldn't be) as powerful as the rules want to suggest it is.
This isn't like someone swapping their spell list out today! Surely in your mind you could have said "Gee, I wonder how that Sentinel Feat is going to affect my encounter?" well in advance?
And then said to self: "I'll blow up that bridge if and when I get to it. For all I know at the moment, that character might not even be in the party by the time they get there."
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
When it comes to any kind of rules adjudication, I tend to favor the players over anything else. I am especially hesitant to rule in such a way as to be detrimental to a character during game play.
I'll make the ruling that makes sense both now and in the long run, whether it favours the players or hoses them, because whatever ruling I make now I'm stuck with for the rest of the campaign.

It often also depends on whether I sense (or am outright told) someone's trying to exploit something.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
If you were able to talk at any time, they surely wouldn't need to specify when you can talk.

Can you walk outside of your turn? I mean, it says you can walk during your turn, but it doesn't say you cannot walk at other times...
Realistically, there's a few things a character should be able to do at any time, regardless of turn order or anything else:

--- speak (briefly)
--- surrender
--- collapse to the ground as if passing out (or dying)

Also, the in-combat movement RAW in all the WotC editions turns movement into little mini-teleports: you're here, and now you're there, with no time taken and no chance of running into that lightning bolt that just crossed your path.
 


Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Yes, higher-level people can take a bellyflop off the tallest tower in the land, onto the cobblestones in the street far below, and walk away dusting themselves off. That's exactly what people think of when they think of realism.
No, that's exactly where I say the rules are an ass and change them.

Bellyflop off a high tower? No flight effects, levitation, or featherfall to help you out? Good. Roll a saving throw at a very big penalty, with failure meaning you die on impact. I won't bother rolling the damage unless you succeed at the save.
 

Tony Vargas

Legend
Realistically, there's a few things a character should be able to do at any time, regardless of turn order or anything else:
🤷‍♂️ Because, Realistically, rounds, turns, or initiative orders don't exist, they're abstractions, to reduce (no, really) complexity...
--- speak (briefly)
--- surrender
--- collapse to the ground as if passing out (or dying)
---also, actually passing out or dying
---interrupt spellcasting
---complain about the lack of verisimilitude inherent in turn-based iniatitive.
Also, the in-combat movement RAW in all the WotC editions turns movement into little mini-teleports: you're here, and now you're there, with no time taken and no chance of running into that lightning bolt that just crossed your path.
TBF, you do pass through the points between, and the whole set of off-turn/initiative actions, OAs, Delay, AoOs, Immediate Actions, Ready, Free Actions, Swift Actions, Reactions, are to avoid having turn-based initiatives turn into teleportation and freeze-frames.
 

Vaalingrade

Legend
I would love to see the folks that constantly cite realism dealing with the obnoxiousness of a fully realistic D&D as written by someone with as much knowledge and single-minded simulationist tenacity as say, ToadyOne from Dwarf Fortress.

"Okay, roll to target, then roll to connect, now roll for the tensile strength of two layers of skin, one of fat, and then the musculature. Now I'll roll against pain while you check to see if your weapon breaks or gets stuck in their body. okay, now roll to see if the emotional weight of taking a life drives you insane..."
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
but does a martial really have any option at their disposal that would qualify as equal to 'a fourth level spell or above' in power that you would allow to affect 'godzilla'?

given that the caster almost definitely will when they encounter it it means they will have viable options to use, if most if not all the martial's special capabilities that aren't just 'more of the same' (action surge, second wind, GWM/SS) count as cantrips or equal to other low level spells it would mean they have no options to use, i think that's a bigger nerf to martials personally
Maybe taking on Godzilla is one fight where the best thing the martials can do is just stay the hell out of the way. Pepper it with arrows, maybe, to annoy it a little if you're lucky; and that's about it.

Oh, and no matter what you do, stay out from anwhere near underneath it: at 1000 tons that thing's gonna turn you into a pancake if it collapses on you when it dies.
 

Remove ads

AD6_gamerati_skyscraper

Remove ads

Upcoming Releases

Top