Peer Presure

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Im sure it's covered around here somewhere but I like direct personal advice better.

I often play with up to 4 other people (with I DMing). We have just recently started playing and the rules are still setting in. 2 of them are extremely casual players. They enjoy knowing all of the numbers before hand, playing it with metagame stratagies, ignoring roleplaying/the rules that come with it (IE communication and speaking in stealth). 1 of them couldn't really care less. And the last love to have 100x more power then any creature can handle (Bending the rules to allow for almost unlimited stacking of temporary hit points, stealthing whenever he'd like, adding insane extra modifiers even though they don't apply).

The problem I keep running into is that I enjoy the roleplaying/rule as written/actually challenging part of the game when I DM. But time and time again one of them will try to roll a stealth check and I will say something like "They can already see you there/you have no cover/you are being attacked" and all of them will moan and groan and complain until either I cave in, your one of them grabs the book from me and DM's on their own to allow it.

And the worst part is that it has gotten to the point where it's not a matter of whether they accomplished the roll or for that matter even tried a roll. It's just a matter of if I deny them their 3rd standard action of that turn without any action points (IE just how many turns it takes them to say "Now those things are dead")

What can I do? What should I do?

What can I do about these things? How can I combat it?
To be honest,  this kind of conduct is unacceptable and one thing you will need to address is the cooperation between the players and you. There is no discounting that you may be doing something wrong, but in this case they are balently ignoring the rules and trampling over your aurthority as DM. While there always should be a degree of cooperation between you and the players, it sounds like they are overstepping the bonds and making up rulechanges on the fly. For example, adding extra standard actions and DMing their own actions is examples of them taking the control out of the DM's hands and implifying features that are not there.

Stop caving to them and remind them, firmly, that while the rules state one thing, you as the DM have final say on any given matter and that no amount of petty, out of character squabbling can change their fate.

It is at times like this that you have to be firm with them and if they complain, just state "fine. Since evidently you are quite happy to be DMing this campiagn for me, perhaps YOU should be the one running the sessions" and make it clear that while you will accept adult, constructive critisim, you will not stand for them bypassing encounters by tampering with the rules as they see fit because otherwise there will be no challange or point to running the DnD sessions. Build that common trust between the DM and player in that you will always treat them fairly and at least listen to their concerns and hopefully you can steer them away from such tendencys firmly, but fairly.

Of course, there may be things that you can improve that we cannot see from this example, do you employ a lot of situations where they don't have the chance to respond in the way they like? For example with the stealth, did you give him the oppertunity to precieve the threat to slip away? Was it a social situation which would require a bit of thinking to slip away? Or was it a "Got ya" ambush with no warning and no oppertunity to slip alway? The former two are acceptable, but the latter of forcing a consquence often leaves a bad taste in the players mouth.
I attempt to follow "Say Yes" as much as possible while still inside an amount of rules that doesn't change the core idea of the game itself. Most of the dungeons we do are premade and thus come with premade maps and such. Often times for the stealth it isn't so much of a "There is no where" it's a matter of "Well for now we are bottle necking them so why should I have to move from an advantages position to accomplish this?". Which brings another point of them fact that they will delay and delay for the sake of pilling into a corner and letting things run at them. What I'm trying to get at is for the last 4 encounters they have moved for the fact of "Hide behind the tank" and that being no more then 4 squares in any direction (that being generous). So they try to bend the rules so that they can maintain the ability of not moving and not interacting as much as possible while still gaining things like combat advantage.

Hell there are even some times that I will change the kind of check something is for the sake of if I don't, they will complain that it is too hard of a roll (IE none of them are trained in nature and they need to make a nature check to identify something will result in a phrase like "Well it makes sense that I can use history of this area too so I'll use that instead" and if I go "It requires a nature check" they will simply respond with "I would need to roll +10 to even reach that!"). I attempt to bring in some challenge by changing the enviorment (make the entrace they are standing in collapse because an enemy was thrown against the wall or something) but they will default to the same tactics of not moving.

Another thing they often do is something like this. They have finished their turn (and because this happens so much I have taken to asking "are you sure you are finished?") and I ask "Is that all this turn?" and they say "Yes.". I say Ok and proceed to move the creatures in their respective order. A creature will go to attack one of them and suddenly they say "Wait! I forgot to move last turn, Ill just do that now and he won't be able to attack me.". Which I swiftly reply to with "I asked if you were satisfied with your turn and you said yes, you are still where you were.". Which I don't here the end of until the end of the session. That is if my verdict stays and they don't just move anyways or attempt to take over DMing.

Sorry for being a little scatterbrained. There are a lot of things they do beyond this that break rules and make the game quite stale in all ways possible. Just trying to hit a few main ones that drive me up the walls.
Keep in mine I am the youngest, being 18. Our group consists of I being 18, two 20 year olds, one 23 year old, and one 19 year old.
Adjusting some of the checks from the published adventures to better suit your party is fine, a published adventure is going to make certain assumptions about party capability and sometimes the party is well... different, and fixing things so they aren't punished for it is good DMing IMHO. Nobody is trained in Nature? Lower the DC or change the skill, problem solved.

As for everything else, everything I type I end up deleting because of how spiteful it is, their behavior is intolerable and you've made a great mistake in letting them get by with it for this long.
I understand changing things to be doable. But it's the point of like "Oh I have stealth as my highest trained, can I use that to check what kind of monster it is?" which I try to allow by saying "If you faceplant into it then your check will be easier because it's easier to identify" or something along those lines.

From our last encounter one of our players almost just went home because I told him that sustaining his mage hand is a minor action and that was just unthinkable to him because he didn't look at it completely. To which everyone but I replied with "What does that matter let him perform X action". Or another one I get quite often is "Well lets just say that is a half wall so I can shoot over it and hit him without him actually having sight on me" when obviously it's a tall wall that they person has complete concielment behind.

As for everything else, everything I type I end up deleting because of how spiteful it is, their behavior is intolerable and you've made a great mistake in letting them get by with it for this long.



I try not to but there have been a couple times where we have people just disappear into the background because I say no to their improv. Such things as "That is a solid stone wall, no you cannot cast through it". One of my absolute favorites so far is as soon as the boss has "bloodied" ability that is strong they complain even though they are all adding modifiers to the point where their level 6 warlock is rolling attack (hit) rolls of 45.

How can I combat it though?
Sounds like you have one player who has a presence that leads the others in that way. I will answer a little better later one, but my first advice, is pick the one you suspect and run a game without that player to see how it goes. If things go smooth and the other players cooperate, your on the right track.

The "problem player" might have one of several issues. The problem player might not know they have a problem, and the other players might see you as the problem.

I would talk to each of them separately about it and compromise. You have your idea of fun, they have theirs. Throw a dart somewhere in the middle.

Within; Without.

Your table sounds like Lord of the Flies and the DMG sounds like "the conch."

Stop playing. Have a direct conversation and reach consensus with the players about which rules you're going to follow and which rules you are ignoring as a group. Get on the same page with regard to what everyone expects from the game. Then stick to it and remind them of their agreement as needed if they step outside those boundaries. If they can't agree on and stick to this basic thing, it might be time to consider another group.

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
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First, let me just say that it might be too late to change the dynamics of the group you are in.  Your players know that if they complain enough you will eventually cave in and give them what they want no matter how outrageous.

That being said, moving forward, my one key to DMing is always showing an air of confidence.  Your heart may be beating a thousand miles an hour, but when you speak to your group, you are calm, cool, and collected.

You need a basic understanding of the rules, and if a particular situation arises where you are in unfamiliar territory, go with your gut, make a decision, and stick with that decision for that session.  Let your players know that for the session the ruling stands but that you will research the situation and make a final determination for the next session.

That being said, yes your decisions should ere on the side of the players, but that does not mean that your players are always right.  Sometimes you have to rule against your players.  Some will call this blocking, but when I rule against my players I give them options within the confines of the rules.  For example, you said that player wanted to use stealth to learn something about a creature.  OK fine the player rolls stealth and successfully gets close enough to the creature to get a good physical description and maybe he can hear the creature speak in its language.  You then specify that with a knowledge nature roll he might be able to determine other traits.

As others have said, you need to stand firm in your decisions.  Ere in favor of the players, but the players are not always right.  When they are incorrect, you should give them options to do what they want.

 

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/19.jpg)

Are you really "entitled to your opinion"?
RedSiegfried wrote:
The cool thing is, you don't even NEED a reason to say yes.  Just stop looking for a reason to say no.
Some will call this blocking



Anyone who actually knows what "blocking" is will not call what you describe blocking. The player who violates rules he's agreed to is blocking, not the DM who calls him out on it. (A DM who violates the rules agreed to is also blocking.)

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
DMs: Dungeon Master 101  |  Find Your GM Style  |  Structure First, Story Last  |  No Myth Roleplaying  |  5e Monster Index & Encounter Calculator
Players: Players 101  |  11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer  |  You Are Not Your Character  |  Pre-Gen D&D 5e PCs

Content I Created: Adventure Scenarios  |  Actual Play Reports  |  Tools

I'm Recruiting Players for a D&D 5e Game: Interested?  |  Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith

The problem I keep running into is that I enjoy the roleplaying/rule as written/actually challenging part of the game when I DM.

It's always a risk to predicate your own enjoyment on other people behaving a certain way.

You say you enjoy a certain style of play, and that's fine, but unless you've hashed it out in advance (or stop the game and hash it out now) there's no reason to believe or expect that anyone else will enjoy that.

But time and time again one of them will try to roll a stealth check and I will say something like "They can already see you there/you have no cover/you are being attacked" and all of them will moan and groan and complain until either I cave in, your one of them grabs the book from me and DM's on their own to allow it.

It couldn't be any more obvious that they don't like to play the way you do. You are forcing them to play the way you do, and they either complain or take control of the game to get their way. And I'm not entirely sure why they shouldn't have their way. Unless you're doing something radically different, the game doesn't offer any actual incentives for not trying to gain every advantage.

And the worst part is that it has gotten to the point where it's not a matter of whether they accomplished the roll or for that matter even tried a roll. It's just a matter of if I deny them their 3rd standard action of that turn without any action points (IE just how many turns it takes them to say "Now those things are dead")

What can I do? What should I do?

What can I do about these things? How can I combat it?

First of all, you can't combat it. You can't make people play ways they don't like to play, or feel good about things they don't feel good about.

At least for a session or two, just let them have their way. If they want to be undetected or gain whatever other advantage, let them have it. At the same time, make the game as transparent as possible, and design it so that it's not enough to know the layout of the dungeon or the monster stats, or to be completely undetected, or to be 100x more powerful than the monsters. Give the players anything they want and encourage the other players to ask for what they want, as long as it doesn't rely on anyone else behaving a certain way.

It probably won't be that fun for you, but try it. Try not arguing and not just saying "Yes," but "Yes, and..." to follow it with something even better. Yes, the player is undetected, and he overhears the creatures talking about a complicated plan, the details of which will be fully revealed in about five minutes. Do you wait to find it out?

Just see how it feels not just to not argue with this player, but to go along with the player's ideas.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

But time and time again one of them will try to roll a stealth check and I will say something like "They can already see you there/you have no cover/you are being attacked" and all of them will moan and groan and complain until either I cave in, your one of them grabs the book from me and DM's on their own to allow it.

Maybe let someone else DM for awhile.

The rules are there... you might as well use them. Following the rules is part of the fun (i.e. the writer's designed them to be balanced and challenging without being too hard), but if your group doesn't play that way, ask them why. It's possible that there is a misunderstanding. If they genuinely don't enjoy folllowing the rules, at least this can be made clear to everyone involved.



It couldn't be any more obvious that they don't like to play the way you do. You are forcing them to play the way you do, and they either complain or take control of the game to get their way. And I'm not entirely sure why they shouldn't have their way. Unless you're doing something radically different, the game doesn't offer any actual incentives for not trying to gain every advantage.



I don't think they're actually playing a game at this point, they seem to be doing little other than bullying the DM into telling them how awesome they are while they coast to pointless victory while breaking every rule that causes even the slightest snag.

As far as letting them have their way, that's what has been happening and its outright anarchy. I know you love to be permissive and ask the players Centauri, but these people sound like slavering soulless jackals who have no respect for any one else's opinions and already trample to death anyone who gives them the slightest leeway. A firm hand is needed to restore some order to an out of control game session, or the DM just needs to up and leave, let them roll dice and complain on their own, they don't seem to care about the rules anyway, and so they eliminate everything that the DM would do since they treat him as an adversary and anything that provides challenge is ignored in favor of easy victory.

The job of the DM is not to be a punching bag, or a door mat. The players don't sound like they care about story, or rules, or any behavior of monsters as long as they stand there and die, so they marginalize most of what the DM does. They just want to skip to the end where they win, and it all sounds so childish I don't understand it. Cooperative storytelling is just that, not bullying storytelling, and I see things lopsided so badly in the player's direction that what they're doing could hardly be called "playing" at this point.
It couldn't be any more obvious that they don't like to play the way you do. You are forcing them to play the way you do, and they either complain or take control of the game to get their way. And I'm not entirely sure why they shouldn't have their way. Unless you're doing something radically different, the game doesn't offer any actual incentives for not trying to gain every advantage.



Gaining advantage is one thing, out and out ignoring the rules to do so is quite another.  I'm with Chainsawhand on this one.

 

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/19.jpg)

Are you really "entitled to your opinion"?
RedSiegfried wrote:
The cool thing is, you don't even NEED a reason to say yes.  Just stop looking for a reason to say no.
I don't think they're actually playing a game at this point, they seem to be doing little other than bullying the DM into telling them how awesome they are while they coast to pointless victory while breaking every rule that causes even the slightest snag.

They're also not really playing a game if the DM forces circumstances on them that they don't consider fun or fair.

I agree that their victories seem pointless. I think they would come to see this too, as soon as the DM stopped arguing and let them realize that getting exactly what they want without a challenge is not very interesting.

As far as letting them have their way, that's what has been happening and its outright anarchy.

No, it isn't. To get what they want, these players have to "bend rules" and "grab the book" from the DM to get their way.

I know you love to be permissive and ask the players Centauri, but these people sound like slavering soulless jackals who have no respect for any one else's opinions and already trample to death anyone who gives them the slightest leeway.

You got "slavering soulless jackals" from that post? Are you sure you're not bringing any baggage to this?

A firm hand is needed to restore some order to an out of control game session,

There's not really anything the DM can do. Certainly not physically, and in-game punishments only serve to send the message that the players can either enjoy the game the DM's way or have a boring game, where their characters sit in prison, or are killed, or whatever "firm hand" the DM is using. This is the wrong way to go. It's likely just to make things worse.

or the DM just needs to up and leave, let them roll dice and complain on their own,

This on the other hand, sounds like a great idea. I highly recommend not gaming more than once with people who annoy you.

they don't seem to care about the rules anyway, and so they eliminate everything that the DM would do since they treat him as an adversary and anything that provides challenge is ignored in favor of easy victory.

Not everything. They appear to believe that they need to have hit points, modifiers and stealth in order to win.

The job of the DM is not to be a punching bag, or a door mat.

The job of the DM is also not to treat the players like animals to be tamed or controlled, or to arrange things to go only the way the DM wants them to.

The players don't sound like they care about story, or rules, or any behavior of monsters as long as they stand there and die, so they marginalize most of what the DM does. They just want to skip to the end where they win, and it all sounds so childish I don't understand it. Cooperative storytelling is just that, not bullying storytelling, and I see things lopsided so badly in the player's direction that what they're doing could hardly be called "playing" at this point.

There is certainly some kind of disconnect. It's not clear what the players really want. It could be that they just want to annoy the DM, in which case I agree that there's no game here, just bullying. It could be that they do want to play, but they want to play in a way different than the way the DM does. If that's the case, there might be a compromise or there might not. Sometimes players act out and grab every advantage they can because they don't like letting someone else have control. If the DM can give up some control, that can help appease that kind of player, and there's a way forward through more of a collaborative approach.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

and all of them will moan and groan and complain until either I cave in, your one of them grabs the book from me and DM's on their own to allow it.

These people sound like slavering soulless jackals who have no respect for any one else's opinions to me as well.


"If the DM can give up some control, that can help appease that kind of player, and there's a way forward through more of a collaborative approach."
 - The only thing to appease a bully is to give him a fat lip. Wait, that simple truth is not politick. You could show them the door, at least. Better friendless than to hang with that crowd...
A rogue with a bowl of slop can be a controller. WIZARD PC: Can I substitute Celestial Roc Guano for my fireball spells? DM: Awesome. Yes. When in doubt, take action.... that's generally the best course. Even Sun Tsu knew that, and he didn't have internets.
Collaborative high player input will not be of any use. These players would only player for one more session before declaring the game uninteresting.

Are they acting the way they are because they are not having fun or getting what they want? No. They are playing the game they want. Being able to pretend they are doing well within the rules, while also breaking the rules to succeed. 

I would walk away. 
Yep.  I see no recovery for this mess.  Pack up your stuff and hit the road.
Most of my friends are good enough friends that when we play D&D we can reason some things out before the game about whats appropriate in the setting, and establish/modify table rules to that effect. Of course, it helps my players are seasoned gamers who also enjoy Axis and Allies, Magic the Gathering and Settlers of Catan.

My friends also introduce some complex games (some of which are undesirable to set up) to "newbies", and the last thing they want is game-breakers or stupidities ruining their night, so they bring that notion with them. Thus, when we play Magic with newbies, we don't break out our Teferi's Mystical Teachings decks. Simply put, we all recognize the goal of the other players fun being part of the game. I guess it helps that I only play with mature people.

Ask them flat out what their motive is in their behavior, and ask if you did something to provoke that. Don't argue with them, just listen and get their reasoning. Once you understand their motives, ask them if there is a compromise that they would still find fun that isn't a cut-throat competition between the player and DM.

Some players just enjoy the game as competition between player and DM, others don't quite realize that you don't want that competition. You will need to ask them about that element of the game, and get reasons. Maybe you have DM'd up to this point in a way that drives their behavior? Maybe they feel the "fun" for them is different than for you?

Tell one of them to be the DM and observe 2 sessions. You might just want to "play an NPC". Your goal is to see what they do as DM's, because it reflects what they want you to do, and watching them struggle with rule conflicts and other situations you have to deal with, you will get a sense of what they find fair.

Some of players tend to enjoy "hardcore games" and would have the most fun as a PK'er in MMORPG's. That type of player, in D&D games can indeed be "not much fun" (for some types of DM's) if you don't enjoy running the type of game they like to play. It might even help them understand your situation if they are in it themselves. Then again, they might be a miraculously good DM.

Within; Without.

You got "slavering soulless jackals" from that post? Are you sure you're not bringing any baggage to this?



Not unless human compassion and the ability to read count as baggage.

The problem with giving the same answer to every question is sometimes you're gonna end up wrong , you're wrong here.

I like your approach centauri, but it doesn't work for everybody or every situation, I just can't see it working here, I don't expect these "players" can respond to reason. And I certainly wasn't advocating in-game punishment, unless taking damage when the monster rolls high enough to hit you is punishment, unless following the rules of the game you've agreed to play is punishment. At least we agree that the ultimate solution may have to be walking away, I don't see how things can be fixed if these players are as unreasonable as the OP suggests, but he can still do something before giving up and I maintain that its going to have to be standing up to them.
You got "slavering soulless jackals" from that post? Are you sure you're not bringing any baggage to this?

Not unless human compassion and the ability to read count as baggage.

You didn't read the words "slavering soulless jackals," and that's not a very compassionate assessment of what you did read.

The problem with giving the same answer to every question is sometimes you're gonna end up wrong , you're wrong here.

I don't give the same answer to every problem, just every problem I think it applies to. And if I'm wrong, I'm wrong. That seems more significant to you than it does to me.

I like your approach centauri, but it doesn't work for everybody or every situation, I just can't see it working here, I don't expect these "players" can respond to reason. And I certainly wasn't advocating in-game punishment, unless taking damage when the monster rolls high enough to hit you is punishment, unless following the rules of the game you've agreed to play is punishment.

"Following the rules" isn't not punishment. This board is full of advice on how to use the "agreed-to" rules to punish players, specifically because it's falsely believed that this approach gives them no grounds for complaint.

At least we agree that the ultimate solution may have to be walking away, I don't see how things can be fixed if these players are as unreasonable as the OP suggests, but he can still do something before giving up and I maintain that its going to have to be standing up to them.

How do you really think that's going to go? The players believe they're in the right, so if the DM blocks them, they'll just claim he's cheating. Sometimes, because as you observe the same answer to every question is sometimes wrong, he will be cheating, for all intents and purposes. I don't expect DMs to get every rule right, but when their wrong answers are not in the players' favor, that's a real problem, and is easy to be misinterpreted as willful, especially if it's clear that the DM is desperate to maintain control.

So, I would like to know what you and others thing saying "No," would do in this situation. Or, however you define "standing up to them" in this case.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

How do you really think that's going to go? The players believe they're in the right, so if the DM blocks them, they'll just claim he's cheating. Sometimes, because as you observe the same answer to every question is sometimes wrong, he will be cheating, for all intents and purposes. I don't expect DMs to get every rule right, but when their wrong answers are not in the players' favor, that's a real problem, and is easy to be misinterpreted as willful, especially if it's clear that the DM is desperate to maintain control.


Yeah but what happens when the DM is actually right by RAW and RAI and yet the players still accuse him of cheating?  That is what the OP is describing - that no matter how wrong the players are in their interpretation of the rules, they continue to think they are right.

So, I would like to know what you and others thing saying "No," would do in this situation. Or, however you define "standing up to them" in this case.


Saying no in the situation the OP is describing, would set a precedent - that the game is to be played by the rules (as agreed upon by playing D&D Xe), not making it up as you go.  If the players do not like "playing by the rules" and prefer to make it up as they go along, then they can play without the DM.  As has been said many times on these forums: no game is better than a bad game.

In this case, standing up to the players would be when the player is clearly misinterpreting/misrepresenting a rule as written AND intended, the DM needs to clarify that rule to the player.  In a calm and rational fashion, the DM needs to explain to the player that he/she is incorrect - that no matter how much they complain, the rule as written and intended cannot support what they are trying to accomplish.  Then the DM needs to explain that within the rules (and probably with some bending), what the player can do to accomplish the task at hand.

For Example...
DM: "I'm sorry, but one cannot use stealth, even though it is your highest skill, to learn about the creature in front of you.  The most you can do is sneak up on the creature and get a good physical description and hear its vocalizations/speech.  If you want to know more, you will have to make a knowledge nature check."
Player: "But I do not have knowledge nature."
DM: (knowing that the character has some ranks in the knowledge local skill...) "Do you have knowledge local?  Because being knowledgeable of the local area, you would have information regarding creatures common to this area and this creature is fairly common."
Player: "yes!"
DM: "OK, roll your knowledge local skill."

The DM says no to making it up as they go - using stealth skill for knowledge - but gives the player a perfectly acceptable and viable alternative with only minor rule bending.  This of course assumes that the player is open to accepting the DM's ruling.  But it seems like the players in the OP's group are not.

 

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/19.jpg)

Are you really "entitled to your opinion"?
RedSiegfried wrote:
The cool thing is, you don't even NEED a reason to say yes.  Just stop looking for a reason to say no.
Yeah but what happens when the DM is actually right by RAW and RAI and yet the players still accuse him of cheating?  That is what the OP is describing - that no matter how wrong the players are in their interpretation of the rules, they continue to think they are right.

Yes, that's my point. The DM says no, and both sides believe the other is cheating, or at least wrong. What has that achieved?

Saying no in the situation the OP is describing, would set a precedent - that the game is to be played by the rules (as agreed upon by playing D&D Xe), not making it up as you go.  If the players do not like "playing by the rules" and prefer to make it up as they go along, then they can play without the DM.  As has been said many times on these forums: no game is better than a bad game.

The players don't believe they're cheating. This might be in large part because they're fooling themselves, but that's not likely to matter.

In this case, standing up to the players would be when the player is clearly misinterpreting/misrepresenting a rule as written AND intended, the DM needs to clarify that rule to the player.  In a calm and rational fashion, the DM needs to explain to the player that he/she is incorrect - that no matter how much they complain, the rule as written and intended cannot support what they are trying to accomplish.  Then the DM needs to explain that within the rules (and probably with some bending), what the player can do to accomplish the task at hand.

Sounds good, but why do you expect this to convince someone who doesn't benefit from the DM's interpretation of the rules?

I commonly see the "good for the goose, good for the gander approach," meaning that the DM is happy to play the players' way, and have their enemies benefit from that interpretation, thereby providing a disincentive for the players' interpretation. Except sometimes it isn't, and the players are fine with that.

For Example...
DM: "I'm sorry, but one cannot use stealth, even though it is your highest skill, to learn about the creature in front of you.  The most you can do is sneak up on the creature and get a good physical description and hear its vocalizations/speech.  If you want to know more, you will have to make a knowledge nature check."
Player: "But I do not have knowledge nature."
DM: (knowing that the character has some ranks in the knowledge local skill...) "Do you have knowledge local?  Because being knowledgeable of the local area, you would have information regarding creatures common to this area and this creature is fairly common."
Player: "yes!"
DM: "OK, roll your knowledge local skill."

The DM might not know something like that, and there might not be something like that to know. And what if they player is able to make a case for why Stealth is an applicable skill in this case? That sort of thing is one of the oldest tropes in the game: players arguing a technicality for an advantage. They players have nothing to lose by arguing and plenty to lose by giving up, so they never do. The DM really doesn't have that much to lose by just letting them have their way.

The DM says no to making it up as they go - using stealth skill for knowledge - but gives the player a perfectly acceptable and viable alternative with only minor rule bending.  This of course assumes that the player is open to accepting the DM's ruling.  But it seems like the players in the OP's group are not.

Right. They don't believe they're "making it up" and will use the rules to "prove" their point.

So, I feel that my question remains: What's to be gained by saying "No"?

Let me be clear: I think there's room for discussion here, about how the game is going to be played and how the rules will be interpreted and why. But that's not the same as saying "No," or "No, but."

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

The only thing to appease a bully is to give him a fat lip.

Wink
1) Can you see the irony (i.e. this makes one's self a bully)?
2) Did you intentially to use the word 'appease' in this context?

"He who fights too long against dragons becomes a dragon himself" - Nietzsche

Apr 26, 2013 -- 2:29PM, Centauri wrote:

So, I would like to know what you and others thing saying "No," would do in this situation. Or, however you define "standing up to them" in this case.



me:


- Provide free collagen enhancements simultaneously to both their labium inferior oris and their labium superior oris, via direct application of metacarpal force.



If we still wanted to play after that, I'd simply tell them that if they want me to DM it goes without saying that any call I make in the course of DMing the game is final. I'll hear reasonable debate as long as you're not stopping the game every 2 minutes disrupting everyone's fun. And once I make a call, that's how it is... no ifs, ands, buts. If they think they can do better or have a better way, just let me know what to expect and I'll gladly make a character.




A rogue with a bowl of slop can be a controller. WIZARD PC: Can I substitute Celestial Roc Guano for my fireball spells? DM: Awesome. Yes. When in doubt, take action.... that's generally the best course. Even Sun Tsu knew that, and he didn't have internets.
For Example...
DM: "I'm sorry, but one cannot use stealth, even though it is your highest skill, to learn about the creature in front of you.  The most you can do is sneak up on the creature and get a good physical description and hear its vocalizations/speech.  If you want to know more, you will have to make a knowledge nature check."
Player: "But I do not have knowledge nature."
DM: (knowing that the character has some ranks in the knowledge local skill...) "Do you have knowledge local?  Because being knowledgeable of the local area, you would have information regarding creatures common to this area and this creature is fairly common."
Player: "yes!"
DM: "OK, roll your knowledge local skill."

The DM says no to making it up as they go - using stealth skill for knowledge - but gives the player a perfectly acceptable and viable alternative with only minor rule bending.  This of course assumes that the player is open to accepting the DM's ruling.  But it seems like the players in the OP's group are not.



I'm responding to this bit because it's somewhat related to this topic. While I definitely think a group needs to agree on a ruleset and stick to it during play, there's always wiggle room in the form of broader interpretation. Your Stealth example is a good illustration of this, so I'll talk about it a bit as an example for the OP as to how he can accomodate well-meaning requests that seem outside what the rules say. (Willful bullying and blocking are a separate issue.)

To be fair, I think Knowledge skills are pretty dumb. Rolling to know something or not know something is binary and boring. Not knowing something means not being able to act in context which makes it harder for players to make meaningful decisions. Even so, if you're going to use Knowledge skills as they have been traditionally implemented, the DM can benefit from broad application of those skills. In essence, all skills are Knowledge skills just like they are all sensory skills and social skills. If you're good at Athletics, you're probably strong, but you also likely know a lot about the subject - how to work out, how the local sports team is doing, how difficult it will be to scale that mountain, and socially, you know other athletes. You might also be able to gauge how tough a monster is just by sizing him up given your skill in Athletics.

To use your Stealth example, perhaps the creature before them is particularly stealthy. Someone who trains in Stealth is likely to know about stealthy creatures so as to learn from their tactics and abilities and where they can be applied to the adventuring trade. So, here, it might be perfectly reasonable to ask for a Stealth check and have it be a stand-in for a Knowledge check. There may be a little justification required to make it "fit," but this is a way of accepting the player's offer and keeping the game moving. I find this way of doing things also generates a lot of new fiction that adds to the game.

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
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The only thing to appease a bully is to give him a fat lip.


1) Can you see the irony (i.e. this makes one's self a bully)?
2) Did you intentially to use the word 'appease' in this context?

"He who fights too long against dragons becomes a dragon himself" - Nietzsche

1) No. A bully is someone who uses force as an aggressive act of intimidation. Defending yourself is not bullying. The only irony is that today's modern 'civil' society only teaches people to back down... hence bullying is rampant.

2) Yes, that was ironic. If someone were to attempt to take something from me by force, I assume they are requesting a fat lip. If I were trying to take something from someone else by force, I hope that person would be so kind as to give me an attitude adjustment.
A rogue with a bowl of slop can be a controller. WIZARD PC: Can I substitute Celestial Roc Guano for my fireball spells? DM: Awesome. Yes. When in doubt, take action.... that's generally the best course. Even Sun Tsu knew that, and he didn't have internets.
One hypenated word - opportunity-cost.
Back to Basics - A Guide to Basic Attacks You might be playing DnD wrong if... "Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." Albert Einstein
1) No. A bully is someone who uses force as an aggressive act of intimidation. Defending yourself is not bullying.

You advocated physical violence/force as a response to something that did not involve physical violence/force (i.e. usurping the DM role). It seemed like the find of justification a bully might use.


1) No. A bully is someone who uses force as an aggressive act of intimidation. Defending yourself is not bullying.

You advocated physical violence/force as a response to something that did not involve physical violence/force (i.e. usurping the DM role). It seemed like the find of justification a bully might use.



Re-read the post.

"one of them grabs the book from me"

This was the portion of the post I was referring to. I took this, in the context of the title of the post, and some of the content, to mean that the poster was describing someone physically taking something from him. If that isn't what actually happened, then of course I agree that it isn't necessary. I'm getting the vibe that the poster is feeling intimidated by these people, though.
A rogue with a bowl of slop can be a controller. WIZARD PC: Can I substitute Celestial Roc Guano for my fireball spells? DM: Awesome. Yes. When in doubt, take action.... that's generally the best course. Even Sun Tsu knew that, and he didn't have internets.
And if we must quote Nietzsche...

“The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche
A rogue with a bowl of slop can be a controller. WIZARD PC: Can I substitute Celestial Roc Guano for my fireball spells? DM: Awesome. Yes. When in doubt, take action.... that's generally the best course. Even Sun Tsu knew that, and he didn't have internets.
I understand that everyone plays different games, different editions, different house rules, different play styles, and so forth. But think of it this way: If a group of people get together to play baseball, they should all be playing baseball. They might decide ahead of time that they're only going to play six innings, or that they'll allow four strikes before an out, or whatever other modifications they agree will make the game more fun and accessable for everyone. But, if everyone gets out there and just does whatever they want without any regard to the rules of baseball (with or without houserules), then they aren't really playing baseball anymore. They are playing something, and it might be a whole lot of fun, but it won't be baseball. My point is, if your players aren't willing to abide by any of the game rules, or acknowledge your athority as DM, then you aren't really playing D&D. And if you all agreed to play D&D, then it is extremely rude of them to hijack the game and turn it into something else. If they continue to do this and you're not enjoying it, I think you should find other people to play with. It sounds like you want to play D&D and they don't. If you want to play baseball, the people you invite don't, and you can't enjoy what they want to play, then next time you should invite different people - people who actually want to play baseball (or D&D, if my metaphor isn't clear enough).
@ Centauri and Iserith,

I think that both of you are trying too hard to justify the players' actions.

You have to admit that ripping the book out of the DM's hands; and attempting skill checks that will do no good, expecting them to succeed; and demanding more actions and/or bonuses then the characters are normally allotted, just because they want more; etc etc etc...are not examples of players who respect the DM as a person let alone as the DM.

Yes, the DM and the players might be in two different galaxies on how the game should be played, but that is no excuse for disrespect and bullying.

Getting back to your question of what saying no will accomplish...I put the (rhetorical) question to you, "what will saying yes accomplish?"  In my opinion, all saying yes will do is encourage the players to continue their bad behavior.

As with any bully, 99% of the time, the disrespect and bullying stops when the person being bullied finally stands up and says, "NO MORE!!! the abuse stops NOW!" That is what saying no should accomplish here.  The DM needs to stand up for himself saying, "no, that is not how the rules work!  If you don't like it you have two options: #1 suck it up.  Just because you do not like the result does not give you the right to ignore me and the rules; #2 find a new DM because obviously you want a DM that is only here to stroke your (collective) egos and let you 'win' no matter what."

 

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/19.jpg)

Are you really "entitled to your opinion"?
RedSiegfried wrote:
The cool thing is, you don't even NEED a reason to say yes.  Just stop looking for a reason to say no.
@ Centauri and Iserith,

I think that both of you are trying too hard to justify the players' actions.



Would you care to revise? I've done no such thing.

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
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Yes, the DM and the players might be in two different galaxies on how the game should be played, but that is no excuse for disrespect and bullying.

That's quite correct.

Getting back to your question of what saying no will accomplish...I put the (rhetorical) question to you, "what will saying yes accomplish?"  In my opinion, all saying yes will do is encourage the players to continue their bad behavior.

I've been quite clear about what it will accomplish: it will end the complaining and end all need to take the rulebook from the DM and argue their case.

That's the only bad behavior I see. Plenty of perfectly fine and friendly players ask for things like constant stealth, or seemingly odd applications of skills, so I don't assume that just doing things like that qualifies as bad behavior.

I've also been quite clear that I think the DM should at least try a session in which he says "Yes, and..." to what these players (and any other players) want to do, just to see what it's like for the players not to have to bully to get their way, and to see what sorts of challenges those players might be willing to face. I believe I also recommended asking them straight out what kinds of failure they would be willing to risk.

As with any bully, 99% of the time, the disrespect and bullying stops when the person being bullied finally stands up and says, "NO MORE!!! the abuse stops NOW!" That is what saying no should accomplish here.

I don't see why it would. Those players don't necessarily realize they're being abusive, and it's a normal human reaction when accused of being abusive to react very defensively, even (and sometimes especially) if the accusation is true. This approach will just escalate things and probably cause the game to disintigrate. Which is a fine end result, but it can be reached civilly instead of through yelling and arguing.

The DM needs to stand up for himself saying, "no, that is not how the rules work!  If you don't like it you have two options: #1 suck it up.  Just because you do not like the result does not give you the right to ignore me and the rules; #2 find a new DM because obviously you want a DM that is only here to stroke your (collective) egos and let you 'win' no matter what."

The players don't believe that's how the rules work. This will just result in more arguing, with a strong case to be made that the DM is just trying to ram the game down their throats.

Have you actually done this before and had it work? I have tried my method before, not on people so extreme as to take the book from me, but on people who would gladly spend five minutes of precious game time laying out their argument and getting rather passionate about it. And, of course that requires at least two people, which means I was giving them something to argue against. And, usually, others at the table would chime in, while still others would check out, not wanting to get involved.

And I have argued points with DMs before, DMs who I could justifiably have said, "no, that is not how the rules work!" so I can understand the feeling of being wronged and put out that if these players aren't feeling now, they will be as soon as the OP tries your approach. It's just not going to get anywhere.

A civil discussion out-of-game about how to run things would not go amiss. At its core needs to be finding out the kinds of challenges these players want to face, and the stakes they want to risk. If the group can't agree on that, perhaps the group should be disbanded. If they can agree on that, then I believe much of the "bullying" behavior would stop, because a compromise will have been reached.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

@ Centauri and Iserith,

I think that both of you are trying too hard to justify the players' actions.



Would you care to revise? I've done no such thing.



I guess that is just the vibe I am getting from your posts.  To me, it just seems like you are trying to find reasons why the players' bad attitudes and actions are OK when in fact they are not.  I apologize if I miscontrued the context between the lines.

@Centauri, yes I have employed those statements, (/saracsm on) and something really funny happened (/sarcasm off), the abusive player, in that moment, saw himself in my response, realized he was wrong and backed off.

 

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/19.jpg)

Are you really "entitled to your opinion"?
RedSiegfried wrote:
The cool thing is, you don't even NEED a reason to say yes.  Just stop looking for a reason to say no.
@ Centauri and Iserith,

I think that both of you are trying too hard to justify the players' actions.

Would you care to revise? I've done no such thing.

I guess that is just the vibe I am getting from your posts.  To me, it just seems like you are trying to find reasons why the players' bad attitudes and actions are OK when in fact they are not.  I apologize if I miscontrued the context between the lines.

 I think that has more to do with this board's bias than any particular person's:

On a DM board, questions about what's going wrong with the game are generally either "What am I doing wrong?" or "What are my players doing wrong?" Most problems are due more to a lack of communication between both "sides" rather than just one or the other, but if somebody goes on a "What are my players doing wrong?" thread and points out that everybody at the table could be failing to communicate, then it looks like he's taking the players' "side" by saying that everybody could be slightly at fault instead of just them completely.

On a Players board, questions about what's going wrong with the game are generally either "What are we doing wrong?" or "What is our DM doing wrong?" Most problems are due more to a lack of communication between both "sides" rather than just one or the other, but if somebody goes on a "What is our DM doing wrong?" thread and points out that everybody at the table could be failing to communicate, then it looks like he's taking the DM's "side" by saying that everybody could be slightly at fault instead of just him completely.

Founder - but not owner - of Just Say Yes!

Member of LGBT Gamers

Odds are, if 4-6 people can't figure out an answer you thought was obvious, you screwed up, not them. - JeffGroves
Which is why a DM should present problems to solve, not solutions to find. -FlatFoot
Why there should be the option to use alignment systems:
Show
If some people are heavily benefiting from the inclusion of alignment, then it would behoove those that AREN'T to listen up and pay attention to how those benefits are being created and enjoyed, no? -YagamiFire
But equally important would be for those who do enjoy those benefits to entertain the possibility that other people do not value those benefits equally or, possibly, do not see them as benefits in the first place. -wrecan (RIP)
That makes sense. However, it is not fair to continually attack those that benefit for being, somehow, deviant for deriving enjoyment from something that you cannot. Instead, alignment is continually attacked...it is demonized...and those that use it are lumped in with it.

 

I think there is more merit in a situation where someone says "This doesn't work! It's broken!" and the reply is "Actually it works fine for me. Have you considered your approach might be causing it?"

 

than a situation where someone says "I use this system and the way I use it works really well!" and the back and forth is "No! It is a broken bad system!" -YagamiFire

I guess that is just the vibe I am getting from your posts.  To me, it just seems like you are trying to find reasons why the players' bad attitudes and actions are OK when in fact they are not.  I apologize if I miscontrued the context between the lines.

It's not a fact.

@Centauri, yes I have employed those statements, (/saracsm on) and something really funny happened (/sarcasm off), the abusive player, in that moment, saw himself in my response, realized he was wrong and backed off.

I see. Good to know where you're coming from. Of course, we don't know if the same thing would happen in this case, and I doubt it would. It's worth a try, I suppose, but as a last resort because if it doesn't work there's no coming back from it.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

I guess that is just the vibe I am getting from your posts.  To me, it just seems like you are trying to find reasons why the players' bad attitudes and actions are OK when in fact they are not.  I apologize if I miscontrued the context between the lines.

It's not a fact.



I'm, sorry, but bad attitude and bad behavior, no matter the circumstance, is NOT OK!  Do you dispute this?  If not, then it is a fact.

 

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/19.jpg)

Are you really "entitled to your opinion"?
RedSiegfried wrote:
The cool thing is, you don't even NEED a reason to say yes.  Just stop looking for a reason to say no.
I guess that is just the vibe I am getting from your posts.  To me, it just seems like you are trying to find reasons why the players' bad attitudes and actions are OK when in fact they are not.



Most certainly not. In post #8, I suggest the DM and players stop what they're doing and agree to a single ruleset before continuing play. In post #10, I explain that players who don't follow the rules they agreed to are blocking. In post #26, I give advice to the OP on broader interpretation of skills that I use at my own table because, in my view, narrow interpretation of skills invites argument. In no way do I excuse the jerk behavior of the players as reported.

I apologize if I miscontrued the context between the lines.



Accepted, with thanks.

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
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I guess that is just the vibe I am getting from your posts.  To me, it just seems like you are trying to find reasons why the players' bad attitudes and actions are OK when in fact they are not.  I apologize if I miscontrued the context between the lines.

It's not a fact.

I'm, sorry, but bad attitude and bad behavior, no matter the circumstance, is NOT OK!  Do you dispute this?  If not, then it is a fact.

I dispute that wanting stealth to work in a way other than how the rules describe it is bad behavior. Reasonable players do this all the time. Same with arguing a point of the rules, or even complaining. That's not inherently bad behavior, EDIT: though it's generally an annoying waste of time. It could stem from legitimate feelings of being wronged. We don't know, in this case, so it's not a fact.

Taking the DMG from the DM is not necessarily bad, unless it's ripped from his hand or something.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

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