Players Rights Do they even exist

I have often wonder why players have never been given any offical rights other then simply leave and start up your own game, you would think a players fantasy roleplaying game they would have offical rights, But it seems that the only person who has any rights and power what so ever is the Dm...

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You have the right to determine what your character thinks and feels so long as he or she is in possessession of his/her ordinary mental faculties.
You have the right to determine what your character does so long as he or she is in possessession of his/her ordinary mental faculties, and is capable of doing what you have determined.

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I have often wonder why players have never been given any offical rights other then simply leave and start up your own game, you would think a players fantasy roleplaying game they would have offical rights, But it seems that the only person who has any rights and power what so ever is the Dm...


You are so very, very wrong. Keep in mind while reading the following that I am, and have always been the primary or sole DM of every gaming group I have ever had since the very first - and I was a DM in my first session of role-playing ever, as well, so I have literally never not been a DM.

DMs and players have absolutely equal rights as they are all just people trying to get together and game.

If a DM is trying to muscle in some additional rights that he gets and none of the players do, guess who allows or disallows those rights? The players, that's who.

See, players have all of the power and the DM basicaly is just there to do make sure that things run smoothly, having been elected to rules arbiter and world embelisher by the players.

The problem, and the cause of what you are viewing as players having no official rights, is that too many people have chosen to give up their rights because they mistakenly believe that things like "bad gaming is better than no gaming," or that because the DM has been elected to settle mid-session disputes and adjudicate rules on the fly for anything ambiguous that means that the DM is the only one with any say in what rules the table will follow... which is completely false, as if a DM wishes to stay a DM he must accomodate the players' desires.

ATTENTION:  If while reading my post you find yourself thinking "Either this guy is being sarcastic, or he is an idiot," do please assume that I am an idiot. It makes reading your replies more entertaining. If, however, you find yourself hoping that I am not being even remotely serious then you are very likely correct as I find irreverence and being ridiculous to be relaxing.

D&D involves an unspoken social contract.
The players surrender some freedom to the DM in the understanding that they provide a good story and not abuse the power given. Similarly, the DM can concede some freedom of options with the understanding that players do not abuse the freedom to break the game or negatively impact the fun of others. Either party abusing their power is bad, be it a DM overly limiting a player's actions or options or a player bending the power curve. 

Yes, the DM always has a little more power. But that's both the negative aspect of the game and the best thing about the game. The freedom of expression allows limitless possibilities. There is nothing stoping a DM from unleashing Orcus on a first level party. Or even just having rocks fall or lightning strike at the exact spot the PC is standing. And even mandating that in the rules ("PCs must be this high of level to ride Orcus") won't stop the DM from bending the restrictions. (If the bad DMs even bother to read the full rules.)

The game  has spent the last two editions doing its best to shield players from the dreaded spectre of Bad DMs the whole time shackling and hindering and inconveniencing the majority of DMs that are not bad. And doing very little to prevent bad DMs from wrecking games. 
I think the game might be bett if more energy was spent into lifting up DMs, making all DMs bettr DMs, and encouraging people to be DMs to reduce the proportion of bad DMs.  

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I have often wonder why players have never been given any offical rights other then simply leave and start up your own game, you would think a players fantasy roleplaying game they would have offical rights, But it seems that the only person who has any rights and power what so ever is the Dm...



What kind of official rights would you like Players to have?

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DM and Player rights when it comes to D&D are a social contract. Neither has any rights until the other allows them to. It's a question of cooperation for mutual benefit, not one of competition over who has the final say. The question asked by this topic is mistaken, if you ask me. It's not that players should have more rights than they appear to. Rather, it's that DMs have fewer rights than they appear to. Most take for granted that the DM has all of these rights without realizing that they only have those rights for as long as the players allow. In affect, you could say that the player's rights are that of determining the DM's rights.

Why, yes, as a matter of fact I am the Unfailing Arbiter of All That Is Good Design (Even More So Than The Actual Developers) TM Speaking of things that were badly designed, please check out this thread for my Minotaur fix. What have the critics said, you ask? "If any of my players ask to play a Minotaur, I'm definitely offering this as an alternative to the official version." - EmpactWB "If I ever feel like playing a Minotaur I'll know where to look!" - Undrave "WoTC if you are reading this - please take this guy's advice." - Ferol_Debtor_of_Torm "Really full of win. A minotaur that is actually attractive for more than just melee classes." - Cpt_Micha Also, check out my recent GENASI variant! If you've ever wished that your Fire Genasi could actually set stuff on fire, your Water Genasi could actually swim, or your Wind Genasi could at least glide, then look no further. Finally, check out my OPTIONS FOR EVERYONE article, an effort to give unique support to the races that WotC keeps forgetting about. Includes new racial feature options for the Changeling, Deva, Githzerai, Gnoll, Gnome, Goliath, Half-Orc, Kalashtar, Minotaur, Shadar-Kai, Thri-Kreen, Warforged and more!
If there comes into play the question of power or who has more rights then there is a break down of communication on both ends. DMs don't force players into their version of the game, most of the time they ask the players if such-and-such style of game would be fun? And from there, the players have the ability to respond with a yes or no. This is where the social contract is started. The players, upon agreeing with a possible DM, have just said that they want him to create/run a game with a specific style or genre and it's their job to now create characters that fit within the realm of that genre. If someone doesn't like said genre then he can attempt to change people's minds or create a new game at a different time where he might be elected to run said game. Just as if the players all want a specific style that the possible DM doesn't want to run, (s)he's able to say "yes, I'll run that" or "No, I can't run that." and either change their minds or run a different game with a different group. 

 
I have often wonder why players have never been given any offical rights other then simply leave and start up your own game, you would think a players fantasy roleplaying game they would have offical rights, But it seems that the only person who has any rights and power what so ever is the Dm...


You are so very, very wrong. Keep in mind while reading the following that I am, and have always been the primary or sole DM of every gaming group I have ever had since the very first - and I was a DM in my first session of role-playing ever, as well, so I have literally never not been a DM.

DMs and players have absolutely equal rights as they are all just people trying to get together and game.

If a DM is trying to muscle in some additional rights that he gets and none of the players do, guess who allows or disallows those rights? The players, that's who.

See, players have all of the power and the DM basicaly is just there to do make sure that things run smoothly, having been elected to rules arbiter and world embelisher by the players.

The problem, and the cause of what you are viewing as players having no official rights, is that too many people have chosen to give up their rights because they mistakenly believe that things like "bad gaming is better than no gaming," or that because the DM has been elected to settle mid-session disputes and adjudicate rules on the fly for anything ambiguous that means that the DM is the only one with any say in what rules the table will follow... which is completely false, as if a DM wishes to stay a DM he must accomodate the players' desires.



THis. Doesn't matter what anyone says, the game only happens because a group agreed to have a game. The DM's at the table authority exists solely at the will of the group.
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which is completely false, as if a DM wishes to stay a DM he must accomodate the players' desires.


Ie, it still comes down to 'simply leave and start up your own game' as the only real leverage you have as a player.

Ultimately if someone wants certain rights, it's really just ignoring their wishes to say 'actually everythings fine because the DM needs to accomodate the players wishes'.

Though Shasarak did ask what the OP wanted.

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I have often wonder why players have never been given any offical rights other then simply leave and start up your own game, you would think a players fantasy roleplaying game they would have offical rights, But it seems that the only person who has any rights and power what so ever is the Dm...


You are so very, very wrong. Keep in mind while reading the following that I am, and have always been the primary or sole DM of every gaming group I have ever had since the very first - and I was a DM in my first session of role-playing ever, as well, so I have literally never not been a DM.

DMs and players have absolutely equal rights as they are all just people trying to get together and game.

If a DM is trying to muscle in some additional rights that he gets and none of the players do, guess who allows or disallows those rights? The players, that's who.

See, players have all of the power and the DM basicaly is just there to do make sure that things run smoothly, having been elected to rules arbiter and world embelisher by the players.

The problem, and the cause of what you are viewing as players having no official rights, is that too many people have chosen to give up their rights because they mistakenly believe that things like "bad gaming is better than no gaming," or that because the DM has been elected to settle mid-session disputes and adjudicate rules on the fly for anything ambiguous that means that the DM is the only one with any say in what rules the table will follow... which is completely false, as if a DM wishes to stay a DM he must accomodate the players' desires.



THis. Doesn't matter what anyone says, the game only happens because a group agreed to have a game. The DM's at the table authority exists solely at the will of the group.



Absolutely.  A DM that doesn't respect his or her players and their rights, DMs alone.

-Polaris
A DM is a player. His role is different in the game, but he is a player.
Unless you pay him to do the job.

If you think my english is bad, just wait until you see my spanish and my italian. Defiling languages is an art.

I think the issue is players afraid to invoke their rights. Many are afraid to question their DM because DMing is a harder job and harder to replace.

But players do have rights and giving up and leaving is just the last resort.

Though it sucks as a player who jumps in the game midcampaign as your ability to alter the game is diminished. But Leaving is easier as you are less anchored.

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I have often wonder why players have never been given any offical rights other then simply leave and start up your own game, you would think a players fantasy roleplaying game they would have offical rights, But it seems that the only person who has any rights and power what so ever is the Dm...


I'm not sure what you mean by this. No one really has any "rights" as it relates to the game. Everyone agrees to play within the rules, with the DM as storyteller and rules arbiter. In my experience, the DM sets the boundaries for the game, and the players either accept them, negotiate them with the DM, or don't play.

Most DMs are not jerks, despite popular opinion. Most DMs accept Rule 0, and will adapt their game (within reason) to accommodate everyone. However, that being said, there are jerk players who push the boundaries as much as possible. Those players consider it their job to "beat" the DM, even if it means destroying the fun of everyone else. They often rules lawyer or meta-game to push the DM around (if they can), and this often causes the DM to overreact and the fallout ruins the fun for everyone (especially the innocent players).

That said, there are jerk DMs who abuse the privilege they have. Unless players put up with it (which they sometimes do), they quickly find themselves without players... and often without friends as well.

Remember... it is not the players vs the DM, but the players vs the challenges (designed and run by the DM).
I disagree.

I believe DM's offer a campaign.  They provide the ground rules for that campaign.   Players opt-in or opt-out.    

No set of rules would ever make me as DM do something I was against.   Rule 0 will always exist regardless of what the rules say.   Why?  Because DM's are rare and good DM's are extraordinarily rare.   I think I'm a good DM and I base that upon the popularity of my campaign.   But it is my campaign.   I do try to make it a fun experience for the players.   Thats my whole point.   But I do make the final decisions on what optional rules are used and what is allowed or not allowed in the game.

The DM is putting in a ton of effort relative to the players.  That effort is a labor of love for many DM's. It is for me.   But no way would I do all that and then change the campaign to something I totally hated.   I would not be inspired at that point and I wouldn't enjoy putting forth the effort.   Thus it would no longer be a labor of love but work.   And I'm not some slave that works for free.   

So i believe the DM has to be a benevolent dictator.   He should always listen to the players and accomodate them as much as possible.   But if he feels really strongly about something he should not give in.   Even if the vote is 5 to 1.

 
I believe DM's offer a campaign.  They provide the ground rules for that campaign.   Players opt-in or opt-out.


That's a simple rephrasing of the same thing. All the people decide on what game they want to play and if someone doesn't want that type of game, the groups either changes its mind or that player leaves. That particular player may be the DM and not willing to DM a style of game that the other people want to play, but that's no different than a non-DM deciding the same thing. If everyone except one person really wants to play a sci-fi RPG and won't change their minds, then the odd-player out simply doesn't play and it doesn't matter if that odd-player out was the DM or not.

No set of rules would ever make me as DM do something I was against.

And I don't believe that any set of rules would ever make you do something you were against as a player either. Which makes it the same as what everyone else is saying (ie. group decision, social contract, etc.).

No set of rules would ever make me as DM do something I was against.


And I don't believe that any set of rules would ever make you do something you were against as a player either. Which makes it the same as what everyone else is saying (ie. group decision, social contract, etc.).


There is a difference though.  My commitment level as a player is much lower.   I will tend to give in more because I do defer to the DM's lead for his campaign world.   Yes he could go so far that I wouldn't play thats true.   But I think the flexibility is greater on the player side of the game.   At least it is for me.

I have often wonder why players have never been given any offical rights other then simply leave and start up your own game, you would think a players fantasy roleplaying game they would have offical rights, But it seems that the only person who has any rights and power what so ever is the Dm...

There isn't a formal contract because it varies from group to group. How silly a character are you allowed to bring? How often can you change characters and force the DM to rework the plot? How much intentional and unitentional plot breaking are characters allowed to do? How hard are you allowed to push character optimization? How long can you interrupt the game for a joke? What are acceptable reasons to miss a game?

These things don't have fixed answers and they vary widely from group to group., even for different campaigns within a group. It would be nice if some of these issues where covered in the DMG and some guidelines for normal ranges included, but it can't be some sort of fixed contract.


  • You have the right to play D&D.

  • Anything you say or do may be used against you in a future plot twist.

  • You have the right to consult a rules-lawyer before speaking to the DM and to have a rules lawyer present during role-playing now or in the future.

  • If you cannot afford a rules-lawyer, an internet connection to the D&D forums will be provided to you, if you wish.

  • If you decide to declare an action now, without a rules-lawyer present, you will still have the right to delay your action at any time until you talk to a rules-lawyer.

  • If you are not a United States citizen, you may contact your country's consulate prior to any role-playing.

  • Knowing and understanding your rights as I have explained them to you, are you willing to participate in my campaign without a rules-lawyer present?

There are no rights, just an informal social contract.

Example: I play in two games where 4 of the 7 people are in both with different DMs. One group is silliness incarnate. Not so much the character builds, but the stuff we do. In one group, I follow the God of Luck and play it up by taking all sorts of chances and we have a good time with it. We joke around and generally have a dice-rolling social time. In the other, the DM wants us to stay on-task to make his life easier and to keep the tighter story going. Both are fun.

In the weekly game I DM I'm also a "let chaos reign" runner. The story arc is important, but how they get there is how they get there. If they feel like RPing more some night, they can talk their way out of fights, if they feel like hacking it up (within story reason) then they can hack it up. When I run LFR I tend to DM fiat from a little to a lot, depending on the mod. If players want to RP through skill challenges I let them as much as possible. If they want to roll through it then I go that route.

Some DMs are not like that though. It's "their way or the highway" which is sad. Player empowerment isn't a bad thing. Many old school DMs need to learn that like I did (kicking and screaming Tongue Out ). Players also need to not do things just to try and derail or break the campaign. That's being a d-bag. D&D is a cooperative game, so if you're not going to cooperate with the group, buy an X-Box and save everyone else the headache.
I don't see it as "rights" for either player or DM. D&D is a game. It has rules. In the case of an RPG, the rules can be fluid, obscure, or require interpretation or clarification, and part of the game is that someone (DM, Wizards hireling, etc.) has to create a world that carries its own rules with it, as well.

In an ideal situation, the players get together and decide what kind of game they want to play -- heroic fantasy, gritty adventuring, etc. -- and choose a world or world type. It's a cooperative venture. One of the players becomes DM (however it's done for that group). The DM's job is to build the adventures and present the players with things for their characters to do in the world they've worked out to use. When rules questions come up the DM is the one who interprets or clarifies. That's also part of the DM's job.

Now, that was an ideal presentation. We all know it doesn't always work that way. Most of us have seen the Rules Lawyer, the Prima Donna, the Roll Player, etc. But just about any way it happens, there has to be one person who makes the final call on how a rule is applied. Is there any abrogation of "rights"? No. Nothing I described above is a right that's granted to anyone by anything. There's no constitution to spell out players' or DMs' rights. Everyone at the table has the same "rights" as people around a table playing Bridge or Munchkin or Advanced Civilization.

The above is presented as my personal opinion and view.

In memory of wrecan and his Unearthed Wrecana.

There is a difference though.  My commitment level as a player is much lower.   I will tend to give in more because I do defer to the DM's lead for his campaign world.   Yes he could go so far that I wouldn't play thats true.   But I think the flexibility is greater on the player side of the game.   At least it is for me.



That's the real question though:

Do you defer to the DM because you have decided you are okay with him taking the lead, or is this deference because you feel unworthy, incapable, disallowed or some combination of the three to make any suggestions?

And the second part of the question is then whether you would feel differently when the DM in question spends hours crafting their custom setting and meticulously planning the campaign months in advance than you would when the DM in question plans the session during that period at the beginning of every session when the players are gathering around the table, getting their materials in order, and chatting with each other?

ATTENTION:  If while reading my post you find yourself thinking "Either this guy is being sarcastic, or he is an idiot," do please assume that I am an idiot. It makes reading your replies more entertaining. If, however, you find yourself hoping that I am not being even remotely serious then you are very likely correct as I find irreverence and being ridiculous to be relaxing.

My viewpoint:

The DM is not analogous to a referee. The DM is analagous to the host of a party.

As a good host, you are responsible for providing an environment where your guests can have a good time. If you don't, your guests will leave, or not come to the next party. That includes trying to be accomodating to what your guests want.

But...

It's still your house, and you still have the final say.

And if the situation was reversed and I was invited to someone elses "party", then yes, I would respect that it's the host, and not me, who has the final say about things at the party. To me that's not a question of rights; it's a question of courtesy.

There is a difference though.  My commitment level as a player is much lower.   I will tend to give in more because I do defer to the DM's lead for his campaign world.   Yes he could go so far that I wouldn't play thats true.   But I think the flexibility is greater on the player side of the game.   At least it is for me.



That's the real question though:

Do you defer to the DM because you have decided you are okay with him taking the lead, or is this deference because you feel unworthy, incapable, disallowed or some combination of the three to make any suggestions?

And the second part of the question is then whether you would feel differently when the DM in question spends hours crafting their custom setting and meticulously planning the campaign months in advance than you would when the DM in question plans the session during that period at the beginning of every session when the players are gathering around the table, getting their materials in order, and chatting with each other?



I give respect to the position.   I wouldn't last long in a campaign where the DM did his prep work just before the session started.   The game just wouldn't have the depth and flavor I like.

Here is a made up example.   Suppose I as DM do not like tieflings.   So I ban them.   If I played in another campaign that had tieflings I might still play.   Whereas if the game is 4e I wouldn't play because that is too much of a sacrifice.

I've met very few DM's that I think could do a better job than me.   I am though on their side and of course want them to succeed.  I am friends with DM's that are running other games that I'm not playing in and we trade ideas all the time.





My viewpoint:

The DM is not analogous to a referee. The DM is analagous to the host of a party.

As a good host, you are responsible for providing an environment where your guests can have a good time. If you don't, your guests will leave, or not come to the next party. That includes trying to be accomodating to what your guests want.

But...

It's still your house, and you still have the final say.

And if the situation was reversed and I was invited to someone elses "party", then yes, I would respect that it's the host, and not me, who has the final say about things at the party. To me that's not a question of rights; it's a question of courtesy.




Yes!  This is a perfect analogy.  

I give respect to the position of DM.  I might not like or agree with the particular person but I respect the position of DM and defer to his judgment for his campaign.   




  • You have the right to play D&D.

  • Anything you say or do may be used against you in a future plot twist.

  • You have the right to consult a rules-lawyer before speaking to the DM and to have a rules lawyer present during role-playing now or in the future.

  • If you cannot afford a rules-lawyer, an internet connection to the D&D forums will be provided to you, if you wish.

  • If you decide to declare an action now, without a rules-lawyer present, you will still have the right to delay your action at any time until you talk to a rules-lawyer.

  • If you are not a United States citizen, you may contact your country's consulate prior to any role-playing.

  • Knowing and understanding your rights as I have explained them to you, are you willing to participate in my campaign without a rules-lawyer present?




This is funny. 

For me, interaction between DM and players boils down to two words:  Give-n-take.

Say for example, the DM has imagined a world where there are no half-elves.  There are humans and there are elves (among other races) but no half-elves.  Now, s'pose a player comes along and honestly has her heart set on playing a half-elf, a PC caught between two worlds.  

The DM could stand his ground and say no.  That dampens the fun for the player though.  A compromise might be to allow the PC to be fully human or elf (player choice) but with the backround of being a 'half-elf'.  In this setting, 'half-elves' could be legendary; for all intents and purposes, the only one ever seen has been the PC. 

A bit of give-n-take.  The DM maintains the integrity (if you will) of the setting while the player gets to have some fun.  Everyone has  the *right* to have fun.
/\ Art
That's a good starting example Artifact, but go a step farther. What if the DMs campaign has (for whatever plot or setting reasons) not just no half elves, but no elves of any sort?

And the player rolls in and says "I'm going to play a half elf."

To use my party analogy, that's like coming to a party where the host is playing country music (possibly even unironically, maybe it's a theme party) and insisting on being able to plug your ipod full of Swedish Death Metal into the sound system.

It's just rude.
For me, interaction between DM and players boils down to two words:  Give-n-take.

Say for example, the DM has imagined a world where there are no half-elves.  There are humans and there are elves (among other races) but no half-elves.  Now, s'pose a player comes along and honestly has her heart set on playing a half-elf, a PC caught between two worlds.  

The DM could stand his ground and say no.  That dampens the fun for the player though.  A compromise might be to allow the PC to be fully human or elf (player choice) but with the backround of being a 'half-elf'.  In this setting, 'half-elves' could be legendary; for all intents and purposes, the only one ever seen has been the PC. 

A bit of give-n-take.  The DM maintains the integrity (if you will) of the setting while the player gets to have some fun.  Everyone has  the *right* to have fun.



I don't disagree with anything you said.  But I find players who are obsessed with a single concept and that are willing to push it, are indicative of a type of player that I probably am not going to like playstyle wise anyway.   When I play and thats rarely I admit, I'd probably play anything.  I'm the guy who will gladly play the class that nobody else wants.   Because the fun for me is not inside the class.  It is interacting with the world.   I'm the type of player who after the session is over that he's not coming back because a few notes on the back of an envelope does not a campaign make.



 
That's a good starting example Artifact, but go a step farther. What if the DMs campaign has (for whatever plot or setting reasons) not just no half elves, but no elves of any sort?

And the player rolls in and says "I'm going to play a half elf."

To use my party analogy, that's like coming to a party where the host is playing country music (possibly even unironically, maybe it's a theme party)and insisting on being able to plug your ipod full of Swedish Death Metal into the sound system.

It's just rude.

Yeah, I agree, that's rude.

There has to be at least some common ground in order for there to be any meaningful give-n-take.

/\ Art


Some DMs are not like that though. It's "their way or the highway" which is sad. Player empowerment isn't a bad thing. Many old school DMs need to learn that like I did (kicking and screaming Tongue Out ). Players also need to not do things just to try and derail or break the campaign. That's being a d-bag. D&D is a cooperative game, so if you're not going to cooperate with the group, buy an X-Box and save everyone else the headache.

Yeap and it is those types of Dm's that have for well over 20 years of  role playing  is a major part what forced me to quit playing...

Official Warning From this point in time I will no longer deal with people who want to turn my post into flame war's, if you cannot respond in a civilized matter Then simply do not respond, all troll  implications or just plain rudeness will  no longer be tolerated and will reported to the mod as soon as I see the reply...

First, thank you for responding specifically to my questions.

I give respect to the position.   I wouldn't last long in a campaign where the DM did his prep work just before the session started.   The game just wouldn't have the depth and flavor I like.

I understand your apprehension, and even your assumption, but I suggest that one day you find yourself playing with a DM like me... the deepest and most flavor campaigns I have ever run are the ones that I made up on the spot.

Of course, I currently have 17 years experience with what I call Plot From Hat like Rabbit Technique when I am feeling smarmy, so there is a significant amount of me practicing at keeping depth and flavor while investing the absolute minimal free time.

Here is a made up example.   Suppose I as DM do not like tieflings.   So I ban them.

I hate gnomes. Can't stand them.

I've never, and will never, ban them. I just let people know up front that they can be a gnome if they like but I will not be role-playing gnome npcs or providing any special focus to their gnome-ness on account of my own never even thinking about gnomes until someone brings them up.

So pardon me for not understanding how/why DMs get to that point - it is, to me, like someone saying "I don't like Hondas, so don't you dare drive your Honda anywhere near my house." Which is to say pretty wacky.

ATTENTION:  If while reading my post you find yourself thinking "Either this guy is being sarcastic, or he is an idiot," do please assume that I am an idiot. It makes reading your replies more entertaining. If, however, you find yourself hoping that I am not being even remotely serious then you are very likely correct as I find irreverence and being ridiculous to be relaxing.



Some DMs are not like that though. It's "their way or the highway" which is sad. Player empowerment isn't a bad thing. Many old school DMs need to learn that like I did (kicking and screaming Tongue Out ). Players also need to not do things just to try and derail or break the campaign. That's being a d-bag. D&D is a cooperative game, so if you're not going to cooperate with the group, buy an X-Box and save everyone else the headache.

Yeap and it is those types of Dm's that have for well over 20 years of  role playing  is a major part what forced me to quit playing...




But it's not the fact that DM's have the power that makes your situations bad.  Its the fact that they abuse that power and are unreasonable.   I still believe the final say has to be the DM's.   But I do think smart DM's will try to be accomodating.  They won't use their power frivolously just to make a point.   

For me, if I invited a player to my campaign and he got excited about a character concept without ever even once asking about the campaign world, then thats a warning sign.   Those types of people don't really care about the world and they are mostly not the sorts I want to game with.  I prefer those who after talking about the nature of the world for a while come back with something that really fits the campaign.   That shows interest in immersion in a world.


 
I disagree.

I believe DM's offer a campaign.  They provide the ground rules for that campaign.   Players opt-in or opt-out.    

No set of rules would ever make me as DM do something I was against.   Rule 0 will always exist regardless of what the rules say.   Why?  Because DM's are rare and good DM's are extraordinarily rare.   I think I'm a good DM and I base that upon the popularity of my campaign.   But it is my campaign.   I do try to make it a fun experience for the players.   Thats my whole point.   But I do make the final decisions on what optional rules are used and what is allowed or not allowed in the game.

The DM is putting in a ton of effort relative to the players.  That effort is a labor of love for many DM's. It is for me.   But no way would I do all that and then change the campaign to something I totally hated.   I would not be inspired at that point and I wouldn't enjoy putting forth the effort.   Thus it would no longer be a labor of love but work.   And I'm not some slave that works for free.   

So i believe the DM has to be a benevolent dictator.   He should always listen to the players and accomodate them as much as possible.   But if he feels really strongly about something he should not give in.   Even if the vote is 5 to 1.

 

This is how I feel as well.

I almost always DM, and my players have plenty of rights, the main one being I will say "yes" to almost anything and try to make it work.  The one thing I do demand is that, once I have made a decision at the table, that's it.  We can discuss things outside play plenty, but gaming time is not the time for disagreements and arguing.  That spoils everyone's fun.
Conversely, if the player has a great concept regardless of the world I'm running I'll accept them with open arms if it fits in any way.

Like AaronOfBarbaria, I have stuff I hate as PCs, namely Drow, Vampires, Assassins and, although to a lesser extent, Elves. But I won't ban them at the table if someone wants to play one. As far as I go is to not make things better for their character on account of their __ness. Ie: In 1E/2E, guess what, this battle happens in daylight. The bad guy cavalry would not fight in a constricted cave just to save your heat-seeing eyes the discomfort.
So pardon me for not understanding how/why DMs get to that point

I can actually answer that one.

Including, or excluding, elements is one way for a DM to make their world different and unique from all others.

By insisting on inserting elements that the DMs world design has already excluded makes the world, to them, less special and unique and takes some of the fun out of creating it.

"I hate gnomes. Can't stand them.
I've never, and will never, ban them."

I hate halflings. Ban them every game I run.

Had a player who really really wanted to play a halfling. They were willing to play something else (and that was a key factor in my decision) but would love to play a halfling.

So I let them play a Little Person. A human with dwarfism. The game statistics and abilities were by the book halfling, and they roleplayed it as a hearth-loving second breakfast eccentric who dug a house into the side of a hill. They got to play the character they wanted, and not a single thing about my world design had to change.
 
No-halflings are still a hallmark of my games, and that player had a lot of fun.

Just because the buck stops with the DM doesn't mean their players won't have a good time. I think I shall call that the "Tyranny Fallacy".
So pardon me for not understanding how/why DMs get to that point

I can actually answer that one.

Including, or excluding, elements is one way for a DM to make their world different and unique from all others.

By insisting on inserting elements that the DMs world design has already excluded makes the world, to them, less special and unique and takes some of the fun out of creating it.

"I hate gnomes. Can't stand them.
I've never, and will never, ban them."

I hate halflings. Ban them every game I run.

Had a player who really realy wanted to play a halfling. They were willing to play something else (and that was a key factor in my decision) but would love to play a halfling.

So I let them play a Little Person. A human with dwarfism. The game statistics and abilities were by the book halfling, and they roleplayed it as a hearth-loving second breakfast eccentric who dug a house into the side of a hill. They got to play the character they wanted, and not a single thing about my world design had to change.
 
No-halflings are still a hallmark of my games, and that player had a lot of fun.

Just because the buck stops with the DM doesn't mean their players won't have a good time. I think I shall call that the "Tyranny Fallacy".



This is pretty much my answer.   I think a DM should make a great world.  He should vary up his campaigns too.   The group needs to run with his idea or not play.   It's a better game when the players want what the DM is providing.

I remember one time I was playing 3.5e, the DMs had an issue with my paladin's mount. 
Ever since then, I was inspire to be a rule lawyer. Here are some of them. 

Horses can't go inside buildings
Me: Does it fit inside the building?
DM: Yes.
Me: Then what's the problem?
DM: Well, eh, it's not normal?
Me: There is a fight so normal can wait for justice. Case close. 

Horses can't grapple
DM: It doesn't have claws or hands.
Me: Does it have a grapple modifier?
DM: Yes.
Me: Is there anywhere in the book that says horses can't grapple?
DM: No. 
Me: Should I show you a video you may not enjoy watching to prove horses can grapple?
DM: No. 
Me: Case closed. 

Horses can't go inside dungeon
Me: It have an Int of 6 and it magical. 
DM: Still can't go inside.
Me: I got animal skill, I can speak to it with my mind, I got aura of courage.
DM: Still no.
Me: Can I summon a new mount then?
DM: Sure, try this evil Nightmare mount.
Me: *close enough* Case closed.

I am a rule lawyer and I will fight for your rights.  
Here is a made up example.   Suppose I as DM do not like tieflings.   So I ban them.

I hate gnomes. Can't stand them.

I've never, and will never, ban them. I just let people know up front that they can be a gnome if they like but I will not be role-playing gnome npcs or providing any special focus to their gnome-ness on account of my own never even thinking about gnomes until someone brings them up.

So pardon me for not understanding how/why DMs get to that point - it is, to me, like someone saying "I don't like Hondas, so don't you dare drive your Honda anywhere near my house." Which is to say pretty wacky.





There's two types of "I don't like this."

There's the "I don't like playing gnomes because it's not my thing and whenever I'm a player I never play them."

And there's the "I don't like the idea for the race Gnome and I think it is conflicting and has nothing to do with the campaign I intend to run." 


On the second case not only it's perfectly fine for a DM to disallow gnomes (or anything else for that matter) if he feels does not suit the style of the campaign he wants to run... But a good DM should do that at some point, draw a line. It's better to have a well-structured setting where the DM invests in its own theme, thus creating a world with depth and a rich story, than allowing anything and turning the game into a shapeless mess of random elements.

In Dark Sun there are no gnomes or paladins, for example; these things just don't have a place in the world of Athas. Just as well playing a "monster" race like Tiefling or Half-orc in Ravenloft could break the "feel" of terror the setting has, that more or less requires characters to be more "human" (even if elves or such) and uncertain of what is strange, like in classic terror stories.

If you add something to your world just because a player wants it even though it has no place there, it will just be a poor element in the story with no depth and no context in the setting. Halflings in Dark Sun have a rich society, culture and a history that is deeply intertwined with the entire history of Athas. If you allow a player gnome in Dark Sun just because a player is crying "but I like gnomes better than halflings..." he will just be a thrown-in conflicting element in the setting with none of that.
I hate gnomes. Can't stand them.

I've never, and will never, ban them. I just let people know up front that they can be a gnome if they like but I will not be role-playing gnome npcs or providing any special focus to their gnome-ness on account of my own never even thinking about gnomes until someone brings them up.

So pardon me for not understanding how/why DMs get to that point - it is, to me, like someone saying "I don't like Hondas, so don't you dare drive your Honda anywhere near my house." Which is to say pretty wacky.

Or, more appropriately, it would be like saying, "Someone in my household is severely allergic to cats; so don't be bringing your cats to the game and expect me to let them in my house."

I remember one time I was playing 3.5e, the DMs had an issue with my paladin's mount. 
Ever since then, I was inspire to be a rule lawyer. Here are some of them. 

Horses can't go inside buildings
Me: Does it fit inside the building?
DM: Yes.
Me: Then what's the problem?
DM: Well, eh, it's not normal?
Me: There is a fight so normal can wait for justice. Case close. 

Horses can't grapple
DM: It doesn't have claws or hands.
Me: Does it have a grapple modifier?
DM: Yes.
Me: Is there anywhere in the book that says horses can't grapple?
DM: No. 
Me: Should I show you a video you may not enjoy watching to prove horses can grapple?
DM: No. 
Me: Case closed. 

Horses can't go inside dungeon
Me: It have an Int of 6 and it magical. 
DM: Still can't go inside.
Me: I got animal skill, I can speak to it with my mind, I got aura of courage.
DM: Still no.
Me: Can I summon a new mount then?
DM: Sure, try this evil Nightmare mount.
Me: *close enough* Case closed.

I am a rule lawyer and I will fight for your rights.  



This whole post cracked me up.   I'm still laughing.   

So if I was the DM, how long would your horse survive in the dungeon?  hmmmmm.