Weak Rules and Troublesome Players

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And, whether public or private, I have strict table policies prohibiting electronic devices at my tables.  Also, I require full documentation for any rule being used (exceptions for PHB and PHB II rules) and will not accept illegal PDFs as documentation.

Considering that the Character Builder and Compendium are legal rules sources in LFR, on par with the books, it's fairly trivial to provide proper documentation.

While you can simply arbitrarily deny their use or refuse to accept the validity of CB printouts, at that point you might as well just come right out and declare what rules options you will and won't allow at your table, rather than keeping up a farce that you're playing by the rules.
Nice try.  The better analogy would be a car dealership with a multitude of 3 different cars: Honda Civics, Toyota Camrys and Ford Focuses.  The manager asks his deliveryman to drive parts to 2 different stores and says:  "You can't use the same car to do both deliveries - you need to pick 2 different cars."  The deliveryman loves Civics and uses Civic A for 1 job and Civic B (which is same color, year, etc.) for the 2nd job.



Why is the manager saying this to him? The unsaid assumption is that the deliveryman is not to put too many miles on any one specific car. Without that unsaid assumption, the deliveryman is being given an ambiguous assignment and he should not be picking two Civics without asking first. If his manager was busy and told him to not bother him about it, he should pick two different makes of cars, not two Civics.

In other words, because the deliveryman knows the actual intent of the manager, he's overruling what the sentence is actually telling him to do...

I think you are merely arguing what would be reasonable for a DM to rule, not how you actually would rule.



That's how I'd actually rule. They repeatedly say that Daily powers are so amazing that they can only be used once a day. Without a callout about magic items being different, I'm still not sure why someone would assume otherwise. Other than again, that's how it was done in 3.5.

It has yet to come up, but almost no one I know deliberately takes multiple items of the same kind. Almost as if they realize that's the intent for some reason...

That's how I'd actually rule. They repeatedly say that Daily powers are so amazing that they can only be used once a day. Without a callout about magic items being different, I'm still not sure why someone would assume otherwise. Other than again, that's how it was done in 3.5.

It has yet to come up, but almost no one I know deliberately takes multiple items of the same kind. Almost as if they realize that's the intent for some reason...


I don't take multiples of the same items just because it feels too cheesy for me.  I like to optimize, but don't want to be too cheesy.  But the item that is currently tempting me (in a high paragon home campaign) to change this policy is the Diamond Cincture -- which even you agree multiple of could be used.  So, for me it has nothing to do with the legality of using multiple copies of the same items (which I firmly believe 100% that you can) and more to do with just not wanting to be that cheesy.

Daren
And, whether public or private, I have strict table policies prohibiting electronic devices at my tables.  Also, I require full documentation for any rule being used (exceptions for PHB and PHB II rules) and will not accept illegal PDFs as documentation.

Considering that the Character Builder and Compendium are legal rules sources in LFR, on par with the books, it's fairly trivial to provide proper documentation.

While you can simply arbitrarily deny their use or refuse to accept the validity of CB printouts, at that point you might as well just come right out and declare what rules options you will and won't allow at your table, rather than keeping up a farce that you're playing by the rules.



I didn't say I won't accept those sources.  I said, from my experience, more often than not, power gamers "forget" to print out legitimate documentation.  Or, in some cases, I have seen a CB printout that lists a power name without a description of the power.  No description and I certainly do not have to accept the claimed use rules for the power.

I also said I won't accept illegal PDFs.  If you want to use a rule from Primal Power, bring Primal Power, not a printed page from a PDF you found on the web.  Since I know there is no legal PDF, I have no way to confirm whether it is a forgery or not.

Simple rule: Require legitimate documentation.

It goes a long way to preventing both cheese and arguments.

-SYB
I don't take multiples of the same items just because it feels too cheesy for me.  I like to optimize, but don't want to be too cheesy.  But the item that is currently tempting me (in a high paragon home campaign) to change this policy is the Diamond Cincture -- which even you agree multiple of could be used.  So, for me it has nothing to do with the legality of using multiple copies of the same items (which I firmly believe 100% that you can) and more to do with just not wanting to be that cheesy.

Daren



Heh. Daren - I know for a fact that you had no problems carting around dozens of pearls of power in 3.5. You're looking at an item(Diamond Cincture) which would be 'legal' by my interpretation of the rules and thinking it might be okay. But you don't think it would be okay to change it for other items which would be 'illegal' by my interpretation of the rules.

Given you're not the only player who decided to do this for roughly the same reasons - i.e. perfectly fine with it in 3.5, not fine with it in 4e, having a hard time deciding what to do about Diamond Cincture, I'd suggest there's more than a little something to my view of the rules.

Heh. Daren - I know for a fact that you had no problems carting around dozens of pearls of power in 3.5. You're looking at an item(Diamond Cincture) which would be 'legal' by my interpretation of the rules and thinking it might be okay. But you don't think it would be okay to change it for other items which would be 'illegal' by my interpretation of the rules.

Given you're not the only player who decided to do this for roughly the same reasons - i.e. perfectly fine with it in 3.5, not fine with it in 4e, having a hard time deciding what to do about Diamond Cincture, I'd suggest there's more than a little something to my view of the rules.


3.5 was a different game -- what prepared spellcaster didn't have boatloads of pearls of power.  The limitation on Daily Item uses is a big balancing factor in 4.0 -- even if an item is good, is it really that good that its worth using all of your uses on?  Further, healing surges are important too -- I wouldn't want to burn more than 1 a day for multiple Salves.  The Cincture is the most tempting becuase it costs nothing other than 5,000 gp.  Which - as you pointed out - becomes trivial in mid-upper Paragon.

But it has nothing to do with your wacky interpretation of the Rules.  I'm sure if I played a Warden with 14 healing surges I would be a little more tempted to abuse Salves. 

BTW - I am glad to see that even though we have switched from 3.5 to 4.0 you and I still almost always end up on opposite sides of the argument. 

Daren


In a lot of ways, as much as I am interested in this thread, it has little application to me.  I have, so far, only run private games.  And, whether public or private, I have strict table policies prohibiting electronic devices at my tables.  Also, I require full documentation for any rule being used (exceptions for PHB and PHB II rules) and will not accept illegal PDFs as documentation.

Given that the majority of "problem players" grab things from sources without actually making sure they have official documentation with them, I rarely have to deal with the really cheesy stuff.

I would recommend at least some portion of my policy (the electronic device policy is a little too Luddite for some) in order to cut back on annoying power gaming.

-SYB



In a public game, you'd be bound by the requirements of the venue. Most generally allow electronic aids.

Even in a private game, you are bound by the campaign rules. Which lists the electronic Rules Compendium as a valid legal player resource.

(I'd use the additional arguement that players in LFR technically are not required by the campaign rules to bring documentation at all, but I disagree with it.)

Personally, I have and use every legal 4E PDF that was available via RPGNow. For the more current stuff I use the rules compendium and character builder. I have a netbook I use for them, because I attend mostly conventions, and am unwilling to subject my bad back to a massive load of hardcover books. Since I am paying WotC a monthly charge for the privlege of using these resources, you might see why I'd get cheesed off at arriving at a game table and being told my stuff's no good. Especially if I've had to pay hotel, airfare, and convention attendance fees to be there.

Ever had the overweight luggage charge at the airport because you were packing so many books? I have. Never again.



-karma

LFR Characters: Lady Tiana Elinden Kobori Silverwane - Drow Control Wizard | Kro'tak Warscream - Orc Bard | Fulcrum of Gond - Warforged Laser Cleric

AL Character: Talia Ko'bori Silverwane - Tiefling Tome Fiend Warlock

If you want to use a rule from Primal Power, bring Primal Power, not a printed page from a PDF you found on the web. 



LOL

I haven't brought a single book to the table (either as player or DM) in over a year.
[snipped]

Hey, now, properly attribute those quotes.  If it's an accurate reflection of what's actually in the book, players can have it scribbled on the back of a napkin for all I care.

And since the only book I bother lugging around with me is the PH, I'd be quite a hypocrite if I disallowed someone else from using an ability because they didn't have the book at hand.  Sure, if I honestly do not know how something works, and the player doesn't have a source for me to look at it, that's one thing, but playing a "You don't actually have a copy of Dragon 381 with you?  Well, guess your Dice of Auspicious Fortune don't work." game is just a way to exclude content you don't like while pretending to be following the rules.

My personal experience is that a player with their character sheet scrawled on a piece of notebook paper is more likely not a power gamer, so I would tend to think that a "Can't prove what your power/feat does, can't use it" rule would likely impact casual players far more than power gamers.


I didn't say I won't accept those sources.  I said, from my experience, more often than not, power gamers "forget" to print out legitimate documentation.  Or, in some cases, I have seen a CB printout that lists a power name without a description of the power.  No description and I certainly do not have to accept the claimed use rules for the power.



That isnt power gamer behavior at all.  That describes more twink or munchkin behavior.  All the power gamers that I have met and know, build their characters to the point it is beyond suspicion, beyond reproach, everything documented and validated so when the "Pain is Brought" and people at the table say WOW, how did you do that?, how they did it is clearly laid out.
Hey, now, properly attribute those quotes.



Sorry, fixed it.  I removed the wrong quote tag.


I didn't say I won't accept those sources.  I said, from my experience, more often than not, power gamers "forget" to print out legitimate documentation.  Or, in some cases, I have seen a CB printout that lists a power name without a description of the power.  No description and I certainly do not have to accept the claimed use rules for the power.



That isnt power gamer behavior at all.  That describes more twink or munchkin behavior.  All the power gamers that I have met and know, build their characters to the point it is beyond suspicion, beyond reproach, everything documented and validated so when the "Pain is Brought" and people at the table say WOW, how did you do that?, how they did it is clearly laid out.



Well, even twink or munchkin isn't really right.

The guy who makes up stuff about powers and deliberately does not have the source book to verify isn't a munchkin, twink, or power gamer.

He's a cheat.

If he's willing to cheat over stuff like that, he's likely going to cheat in other ways even if you do require printed books at the table. The solution in his case, once identified, is not to play with that person again.



-karma

LFR Characters: Lady Tiana Elinden Kobori Silverwane - Drow Control Wizard | Kro'tak Warscream - Orc Bard | Fulcrum of Gond - Warforged Laser Cleric

AL Character: Talia Ko'bori Silverwane - Tiefling Tome Fiend Warlock


@Ferol on the overall subject, our job as RPGA/Organized Play/Etc. judges is to run the game in a fun way. We are also told which rules must be followed, and we must follow them. If there is a rule, we must follow it. If the rule is ambiguous, or no rule exists, then we should make a ruling and the table must abide.

If a player shows up with the Dice of Auspicious Fortune, and you don't like them (as I don't), well, you still have to allow them. You do. The rules support them.

It is easy to want to rule on an item/power/etc. in an RPGA game the way we would at a home game, with our common sense. However, our common sense is not the same as that of the rest of the table. I would never abuse MYRE, other people think it is funny and cool to do so. I think the old Rod of Reaving and Corruption was fine, some thought it was horribly broken. In the end, by abiding by the rules we create a better game where players can understand how the game (and their builds) will work, even as they disagree about it.

If, instead, the judge tries to push their worldview over that of the players, this will often create tension and reduce enjoyment. It makes the RPGA game undependable.

It is possible that one person's cheese is so amazing that it reduces the enjoyment of other players. In that case, address that specific issue, not the rule in question. Instead of houseruling Twin Strike, let the player know that the rest of the table doesn't like it being used repetitively. Have a frank discussion of the effect on the game and ask the table for a solution (rather than imposing a solution yourself).

One of the biggest reasons DMs try to nerf things is because they are concerned about challenge. No such concern should exist. This is a separate question and should be asked separately. IF the table is requesting a challenge, provide one using DME. If that is not sufficient, ask them if they want you to make additional changes beyond DME. Don't nerf them assuming it is what they want.

A last point on this. There are very few truly horrible players in terms of people out to cheat. Very few. There are many with builds that are overly cheesy, but they have a full right to be at our tables. Again you ask them if they want a challenge and let them explain how you can provide that for them. If what they want is to destroy the adventure as written, then give them the table you want, the same way you would give a table that loves RP more time with NPCs and more latitude in how to handle skill challenges. You are there for them, not for you.


With Dice of Auspicious Fortune, there is a RAW case to be made that you can't use more than one of the same item per day(because they follow the rules of how character powers work unless otherwise stated,



A few of us had a late-night conversation with Mike Mearls about the issue of using more than one of item x in a day/encounter/whathaveyou. He saw the issue, but it is clearly supported by the rules. From what he said, I suspect they are unsure what to do. In some cases it is cool, especially if everyone is reasonable. In some cases it is horrid, especially if people are unreasonable. The dice are horrid just as a single set, let alone as two or more.

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Dark Sun's Ashes of Athas Campaign is now available for home play (PM me with your e-mail to order the campaign adventures).

If you want to use a rule from Primal Power, bring Primal Power, not a printed page from a PDF you found on the web. 



LOL

I haven't brought a single book to the table (either as player or DM) in over a year.



Agreed. I haven't brought a book to a convention table since 4E began. There is always one somewhere, if needed, and I have the compendium on my phone, but it really isn't necessary.

Follow my blog and Twitter feed with Dark Sun campaign design and DM tips!
Dark Sun's Ashes of Athas Campaign is now available for home play (PM me with your e-mail to order the campaign adventures).

If what they want is to destroy the adventure as written, then give them the table you want, the same way you would give a table that loves RP more time with NPCs and more latitude in how to handle skill challenges. You are there for them, not for you.

The more I visit this forum, the more I'm convinced to increase my local LFR group's GM shortage.

For those people that do GM under these conditions, please, tell me why. I don't get it. I really don't.

I came to these forums to learn more about 4e and LFR. I'm becoming convinced that I should go dig out my copy of shadowrun and put D&D on the memory shelf. I've had fun at the local game store but this...  this doesn't sound like fun.
If what they want is to destroy the adventure as written, then give them the table you want, the same way you would give a table that loves RP more time with NPCs and more latitude in how to handle skill challenges. You are there for them, not for you.

The more I visit this forum, the more I'm convinced to increase my local LFR group's GM shortage.

For those people that do GM under these conditions, please, tell me why. I don't get it. I really don't.

I came to these forums to learn more about 4e and LFR. I'm becoming convinced that I should go dig out my copy of shadowrun and put D&D on the memory shelf. I've had fun at the local game store but this...  this doesn't sound like fun.



I don't think alphastream meant "destroy" as in, ruin the story or the author's vision, I think he means in the form of overcoming any challenge that the combats or skill challenges might have presented to non-optimized/cheese-y players. I think he means that, if the players like not having a challenge, give them that game. After all, does it matter if the villain loses after 5 rounds or 2 turns? They get defeated either way. Go ahead and finish the game after 2 hours and go home and get a drink/ice cream/whatever.

I -will- disagree with his last statement though. As a GM, we are not blind servants for the players. I do not, and never will subscribe to that viewpoint. However, there's a difference between having fun by running a game with players and running a game and having fun at the -expense- of players. And in that sense, I will agree that if you find it no fun to run a game for such players as would have fun "destroying" mods ... feel free not to. But maybe you can find a way to have fun with that sort of player(s) ... it just might not be the sort of fun you're used to.
The more I visit this forum, the more I'm convinced to increase my local LFR group's GM shortage.




Two things

1) Why in the world would anything on the forums affect how (or whether) you play?

2) LFR-style D&D is not the best game for everyone.  There's no shame or stigma in this simple statement of fact.  for some people it is "the best game I can imagine", for some it is "the best I can manage", for some it is "good enough, barely", for some it is "not my cup of tea", and for others it is "ewwwwwww gross".
Yeah. Giving the players what they want isn't necessarily the same as giving them everything they ask for.

Some tables want hardcore, take no prisoners play. They want the hardest challenge, they want to have to bring their "A" game to survive, they want the punishment. Give it to them.

Other tables want to be casual. They're playing to have an enjoyable relaxing four hours, and don't really care that much about precise rules or mortal combat. Again, give it to them.

The trick, of course, is to read the players. Sometimes they don't say what they mean. You may have to discern what they find enjoyable from context.

There is one major difference between RPGA DMing and just DMing a regular home game. You often have to be much more flexible. In a home game, DMing how YOU want is up to you, hard or soft, precise or loose. In an RPGA game, you may have to adjust your DMing style to match the players. This is especially true at conventions where you get different players from four hour play slot to four hour play slot, all different and often folks you've never met before.



-karma

LFR Characters: Lady Tiana Elinden Kobori Silverwane - Drow Control Wizard | Kro'tak Warscream - Orc Bard | Fulcrum of Gond - Warforged Laser Cleric

AL Character: Talia Ko'bori Silverwane - Tiefling Tome Fiend Warlock

I think at some point the message behind my post got lost somewhere. Let me try again.

In prior threads whenever a glaring imbalance is brought to light there is a fairly vocal faction that believes that errata and rules fixes are not the answer. These posters supports the idea that players should be responsible, restrain their urges to be cheesy, and generally not be jerks. This faction has suggested not judging for or simply not playing with the types of problem players I described in my original post.

To me this just isn't reasonable.

What would you do if this problem player was your spouse, girlfriend/boyfriend, family member, or roommate. Expecting social pressure to deal with shortcomings in the rules/design doesn't seem fair because ultimately you're asking us as players to choose between keeping peace with our friends and playing this game.

I insist that weak rules do need to be addressed. If something is clearly broken (i.e. Rust Monsters/Avengers/whatever) I refuse to believe that fixing it is ultimately hurting the game because in the end I would gladly cart around a thousand pages of errata/CCG if it meant the game was finally fixed and I wouldn't have to argue with my fellow gamers about this stuff anymore.

What would you do if this problem player was your spouse, girlfriend/boyfriend, family member, or roommate. Expecting social pressure to deal with shortcomings in the rules/design doesn't seem fair because ultimately you're asking us as players to choose between keeping peace with our friends and playing this game.



I'd work it out. I'm not trying to be glib here. Dealing with disagreements is part of life, even when it's someone you're close to. If disagreeing with your friends about a rules call means you've lost the peace, or the friendship... dude, no offense, but that's a bad sign. Good friendships do not need 1000 pages of errata to define how you engage in what is ultimately a social activity. 

'Working it out' isn't as simple as you make it sound. People are the way they are. The uber min-maxer isn't going to stop because you ask him/her to. People like this do it in every aspect of their lives not just while playing D&D.
A lot of DMs don't have a choice in who they DM, or at least not one that's viable.

Conventions are a prime example. You get sent a table of players. It's going to be a mixed bag. You either deal with it, or choose to not judge, hurting the convention. Additionally, these players have possibly spent significant money to be there, and maybe took time off from work.

I have a particular attitude when I volunteer to DM at my local conventions. It is my job to make sure the players have a good time. I will do so and adapt my DMing style to match. I will do so even if I personally don't like particular players that show up. I have committed myself to this task and will see it through, because the convention needs me to.

Having the cooperation and goodwill of understanding players is great. It makes things run smooth. This is entirely true.

But you cannot count on it.

This is where fixing problematic or weak rules comes in. If a rule is SUPPOSED to say a particular thing, MAKE IT SAY THAT THING. Don't just leave it as is and hope folks will just understand.

In an arena where you don't know if you can rely on how the players will be like, the rules at least had damn well better be something you CAN rely on.

We have problem rules that have been there since the campaign started, that have persisted unchanged through multiple editions of the CCG despite widespread complaints about them.

Asking they get fixed is not an unreasonable request.

Having a strong rules set can only help DMs.



-karma

LFR Characters: Lady Tiana Elinden Kobori Silverwane - Drow Control Wizard | Kro'tak Warscream - Orc Bard | Fulcrum of Gond - Warforged Laser Cleric

AL Character: Talia Ko'bori Silverwane - Tiefling Tome Fiend Warlock

'Working it out' isn't as simple as you make it sound. People are the way they are. The uber min-maxer isn't going to stop because you ask him/her to. People like this do it in every aspect of their lives not just while playing D&D.



Welp, you asked for advice. I'm not the only person saying you should take a firm line. If you don't want to take that advice, it's no skin off my back.

But here's the difference between taking a firm social line and relying on someone else's writing to solve your problem: the firm social line /solves/ it. The errata document only lasts as long until the next abusive trick comes along. We all know there won't be any end to those, right? There's always more material; there are always going to be more fringe cases and loopholes, and the document keeps getting longer and longer, and at any given moment there's always something to abuse. 

As a friend of mine once said, "You can't solve social problems with software."
A few of us had a late-night conversation with Mike Mearls about the issue of using more than one of item x in a day/encounter/whathaveyou. He saw the issue, but it is clearly supported by the rules. From what he said, I suspect they are unsure what to do. In some cases it is cool, especially if everyone is reasonable. In some cases it is horrid, especially if people are unreasonable. The dice are horrid just as a single set, let alone as two or more.



Why exactly did he say it was clearly supported by the rules? 

I'd work it out. I'm not trying to be glib here. Dealing with disagreements is part of life, even when it's someone you're close to.




Didn't I say this earlier? And it is just that simple.

But on another note, if you're not having fun playing this game with you friends, maybe you need a break?

But on another note, if you're not having fun playing this game with you friends, maybe you need a break?



Wow, totally not the point. My fun or lack of fun is not the issue. Karma seems to get it.

I suppose to summarize my point:

You can never fix the players. They will always exploit whatever they can. You can't pressure them to change or stop what they are doing and sometimes they are in a position where you can't easily exclude them or minimize their impact.

You can fix the rules and sometimes very easily.
The issue really isnt as simple as some of the previous posters would like to believe.  Players will do whatever the rules let them do. If the rules lets them retrain stats so as to never have an odd stat, then they will do it. Social pressure works in a perfect world where everyone is reasonable and where they all agree to it. We do not live/play in a  perfect world. Thats why we have laws and punishments for breaking those laws because we dont have a perfect world.  We have the CCG so that people can follow it  when they make a character.  Without clear rules, chaos will ensue.  Back when DME wasnt clarified, people basically made up their own mods and just used the bundles. Now we have rules for it so we don't have DMs randomly screwing you because they feel like it(Well, less of it in any case). Fixing the rules can be very easy, look at the errata up to this point.
I insist that weak rules do need to be addressed. If something is clearly broken (i.e. Rust Monsters/Avengers/whatever) I refuse to believe that fixing it is ultimately hurting the game because in the end I would gladly cart around a thousand pages of errata/CCG if it meant the game was finally fixed and I wouldn't have to argue with my fellow gamers about this stuff anymore.


This is an Utopia. You are free to insist, but I fear you will always be disappointed. As these boards make painfully obvious there just is no real hope of broad consensus on what needs fixing/is broken.

More importantly, I do not think D&D is a game that plans to do away with the interpret-ability of the rules that leads to these situations. At its core D&D already has a mechanic to deal with those situations. The DM. The argument are a social problem, not a problem with D&D.

If you look back at LG. There the administration took the role of Campaign DM, making calls and interpretations, spelling out their intent, vetting powers and rules, creating a wheelbarrow (not quite a cart) full of rules. In your experience did this really produce less player vs DM debate?

For me it is about the same, because I have found it is rarely about the rules. It is about the people. People that are argumentative now (both DM's and players), will still be argumentative when you have that cart of errata/CCG. There will always be new things to debate.

As a DM you are given a responsibility to interpret where needed, to work with a table to find a path that is both balanced, challenging and fun for all involved. Its definitely not always easy. I can totally understand the desire for more guidance and/or the disappearance of some of the more debate inducing lack of clarity in some rules. I can give you a huge list of things I would love to have errata'd for clarification. But I also realize that when that is done there will be new issues. Always.

As for having to argue. You don't have to. Its a choice on both sides. This thread has already pointed out several ways to deal with the argument when it gets to that. It will be different each time, as you indicate depending on who you have the debate with things could go many ways.
It is just not something that can be codified or formalized. It is interaction, communication between people. It is the most complex. frustrating and at the same time most rewarding aspect of this game. 

Reality is just a continuous stream of failed pereption checks, the dragons are real!

You can fix the rules and sometimes very easily.


Not when you are dealing with a worldwide campaign with thousends of players who all like different things and who all have different ideas on what constitutes as broken, unclear or wrong. If there is one thing I learned in the past 10 years of Living campaigning it is that between something as obviously wrong as the pre-errata infinite temp-transfering shield loop and streight forward as a standard attack roll there is a huge grey area and a lot of discussion. For example, I really did not mind the rod of reaving killing a minion as a minor action. For me it went wrong when combined with a rod of corruption. For others even that was not game breaking since minions were supposed to die instantly.

Furthermore, even if a large group of players and the designers agree that something needs to be changed, it does not do well the publish errata on the errata on the errata. And once you find what appears to be a proper sollution there is always the problem getting the rules out to all the people, because even in the current internet era of fast communication it is surprisingly difficult to reach all people.

In short, no rule can be fixed very easily and it always a comparison of benefits with the difficulties involved. Does that mean I don't think some things should be supported better? No. I am just realistic enough to realize we simply cannot have perfect rules* and that the only way to deal with it is by talking with your fellow gamers at the table (and in my own experience I have rarely had to do so because ultimately the far majority of players are no jerks and they do keep the fun of everybody at the table in mind).

* I know many people quote Magic, but that is comparing apples and oranges. There are already more options in D&D then there are in magic (somewhere somebody did a simple count), not to mention that D&D is a cooperative game and not a competitive one. The DM is not just a judge and arbitrator, he is also a storyteller.
* I know many people quote Magic, but that is comparing apples and oranges. There are already more options in D&D then there are in magic (somewhere somebody did a simple count), ...



I'd like to see which count you're referencing, because the one I saw made it clear that Magic (over 15+ years and how many different editions, many of which need to play well together since the cards are still out there) and D&D, had similar numbers of rules items (powers, cards, etc). But that's neither here nor there. There's nothing that says that a game of one size or another can ignore having clear, concise and non-conflicting rules. Even one in which there is a stated arbitrator.
I did the count - it was actually pretty interesting. *goes to dig it up*

Here ya go.

For ref, in the two months since, D&D has added over seven hundred new options - and that's not even counting MP2 or PH3 (well, maybe a little PH3) which will have a huge impact. Given duplicates in MtG they are probably extremely similar numbers, but I wouldn't concede D&D as having more until after the PH3 comes out in a couple months. At which point, sure, it probably does.
Keith Richmond Living Forgotten Realms Epic Writing Director
I say this as player who DMs very infrequently. The campaign needs more DMs than it does inflexible or argumentative players. be good to those who run our games because it is work. At the end of the day, I'd rather see a DM who is looking forward to run for more players than the validation of my character build or new intricate tactic because without a DM, my combo has no place to work even if proved to be legal.
Thanks, Keith. Very illuminating.
The campaign needs more DMs than it does inflexible or argumentative players. be good to those who run our games because it is work. At the end of the day, I'd rather see a DM who is looking forward to run for more players than the validation of my character build or new intricate tactic because without a DM, my combo has no place to work even if proved to be legal.



Quoted for Truth.


As someone who DMs a lot more than he plays (DM ~3 times a week, play ~1 time a week)... I think the game could use less argumentative and intractible people on both sides. And I actually think an argumentative DM actually causes more damage than an argumentative PC. Especially one that is just wrong.

Many times I'm DMing and someone wants something to work a certain way, and frankly they're wrong, and I'll proceed to totally not care. Arguing with them about it will cause more problems, nothing else in pure time taken, than just moving on. After the session, I'll let them know. Or as a player or DM, I'll note quickly what's wrong, and move right along without pausing. If it's going to make a _huge_ difference to the game, then I'll put my foot down, but really - it's a game, everyone can just have fun during the game and move on. I've never really seen that cause a problem.

Sometimes you even just have to bargain with them - 'So, here's the deal - reaving + corruption automatically kills every minion and curses everyone, pretty much, which we know is not intended. Of course, it'll take them ages to fix that. So, either we go with the interpretation that transfer and place are different game mechanics, so you kill one and then spread the curse, but that spread doesn't deal damage... or I have to do some work to put the challenge back in the module that the loss of minions took out.'

Other times you go 'So, yeah, you can permanently stun the big bad. You win.' and hey, that combat went way faster than intended or expected, but they built their character to wreck it, so apparently they enjoy doing that. And more power to them. No reason I should have less fun arguing about it, because I object.

The closest to a 'fight' actually came when I was playing with someone (another player) who was doing a number of things wrong, claiming the FAQ said they could (but didn't actually have a printout). So I said "I believe you're in error, so I'm not going to take advantage of it" and then ignored the thing they were trying to get me to do, having to add a further "That's nice. Next turn." I got to feel better cause I wasn't cheesing out -and- the game wasn't derailed.

Now, sometimes this bites me slightly - like... twice... a friend of mine used an ability wrong, and I'd go 'Umm, how are you doing that?' and they'd respond 'Bla feat' and I'd go 'Eh, don't think it works like that' but I wouldn't disrupt the game, cause it so didn't matter enough to do so. Ends up they really really didn't mean to screw it up, but did for a couple months cause I didn't press the point. On the other hand, I really don't think it harmed the game to do it that way.

Last Friday I ran a game and considered not allowing someone to put their conjuration in midair over a person's head, because I think the rules support for that is pretty bad, but it's not ironclad, so I didn't even bother to mention it. So they got a minor benefit, an extra opportunity attack, whatever. Meh.

I've got multiple groups that ignore the ability to slide someone into a zone multiple times. It's just not in the code of conduct. 'You _can_ do that. But we're not going to, because we like it better that way.'

End of the day, everyone likes to play, and a lot of powergamers are more than happy to work with restrictions because the challenge is still a known quantity. They just don't like being surprised or unfairly treated.
Keith Richmond Living Forgotten Realms Epic Writing Director
A few of us had a late-night conversation with Mike Mearls about the issue of using more than one of item x in a day/encounter/whathaveyou. He saw the issue, but it is clearly supported by the rules. From what he said, I suspect they are unsure what to do. In some cases it is cool, especially if everyone is reasonable. In some cases it is horrid, especially if people are unreasonable. The dice are horrid just as a single set, let alone as two or more.



Why exactly did he say it was clearly supported by the rules? 



He just simply believed it to work that way.

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If what they want is to destroy the adventure as written, then give them the table you want, the same way you would give a table that loves RP more time with NPCs and more latitude in how to handle skill challenges. You are there for them, not for you.

The more I visit this forum, the more I'm convinced to increase my local LFR group's GM shortage.

For those people that do GM under these conditions, please, tell me why. I don't get it. I really don't.

I came to these forums to learn more about 4e and LFR. I'm becoming convinced that I should go dig out my copy of shadowrun and put D&D on the memory shelf. I've had fun at the local game store but this...  this doesn't sound like fun.


Shadowrun... a game that is insanely filled with cheese... ok, I'll stay on topic... must not talk about bulletproof spirits...

There, I did it.   Ok, seriously, I apologize. These are my opinions. The last thing I want is to decrease your fun or to make it seem as if I am saying you are doing it wrong. You may be doing it differently, and I may be a very opinionated person that can make strong arguments, but my way of doing things is not better - so long as you and your table enjoy your style. (And my style is not perfect when it comes to my and players' enjoyment, though I am sufficiently happy with the results).

So, in terms of why I'm happy with this style of DMing, it comes from seeing the effects from both sides of the table. I've had several experiences, mostly at large cons, where my group of friends and I walk through a mod. We are big on role-play, so we are usually having an awesome IC time while skating through the encounters (and we really aren't huge optimizers, but it happens). Sometimes, at some point, we notice that the DM has a frenetic or frustrated look; the DM thinks they must challenge us and is desperately trying to figure out what has gone wrong.

Nothing has gone wrong. We are a strong teamwork-oriented group of smart effective players. We are having an absolutely great time. Nothing is wrong.  And yet, the DM is trying to change the current situation, somehow. Why? They should be congratulating themselves on a well-run table. Everyone is happy, the game is going great!

So, when I'm judging and a team of optimized or even strong players show up, sure, I aim to give a challenge. But I'm not going to have a problem with them cakewalking the adventure (even one I wrote). When cakewalks happen, I up my RP, I up the storytelling, I praise their efforts, I RP the monsters as they die crying.

Now, sometimes we see something horrible. The flying on a beholder blood mage plus Architect's staff plus Blood Pulse wizard, combined with my friend's sorcerer... yeah, that was all a giant bunch of busted being thrown at the monsters at the BI table I judged. Way beyond strong. But, both players are nice people that I would game with any time. They are clearly not being "male members" and they bear me no ill will. They are just darn strong. Given the confusion over secondary damage and some other issues at the time (which sadly have been confirmed since then), I asked both of them to impose some limits on their powers (Blood Pulse not multiplying the static damage for each square moved / Staff of Ruin off-hand not applying to Dual Implement Spellcaster). But, in each case I left it up to them. I told them my position/reasoning and I let them make the call. I believe they took that off in each case.

But, you know, if they want to totally wreck the table, will my forcing them to honor my opinion on these powers change things? I doubt it. They were still incredibly strong. Worse yet, what if I had nerfed them... would they have had a good time?

I recall two tables where, out of nowhere, a DM tells me the two rods (Corruption and Reaving) do not interact as written at the time, despite CS responses assuring they did. My already weak warlock became ridiculously weaker. The whole table was disappointed. The judge just imposed their will because of their perception - to the detriment of the table. While my intent was never to eradicate minions, it did do that and I did like the benefit - I needed the pact boon to be somewhat effective. And the thing is, now that the Rod of Reaving does not affect minions I've ended up with even stronger anti-minion moves that are again perfectly legal (again, without ever desiring to destroy minions). Should the DM nerf the powers I use too?

Finally, I know enough builds to see the difference between subtle and obvious effects. For example, a cheesy boost to an AoE power may wrack up 100 points of combined damage and the DM will not say anything. A cheesy boost that increases a single-target power by 100 points will often catch the attention/ire of the DM. Are they so different? Should the DM rule against one but not the other? All of this goes to say that when the DM starts imposing their will over what should or should not be nerfed, the judge is taking their opinion and the result may or may not A) cure the problem and B) not be fair given equally stinky but more subtle cheese and C) make the table more fun.

I recall an LG group from the Bandit Kingdoms that came to Geoff. They sit down for APL 16 and start explaining that they will be really cheesy and apologizing. They have something like 37 metamagic rods between them and their main damage dealer has an AC that is simply unbelievable (he had a chart to explain it). I can immediately see that these are nice guys. They aren't here to rub things in my face, but rather like power-gaming. They have sound RP skills. So, as they are cakewalking the adventure I just stressed the RP. I challenged them on story and they responded really well. They had a blast. In the end, my mind-flayer monk did, in fact, do some eyebrow-raising damage, but they had no trouble with the adventure. And we all had a great time.

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Dark Sun's Ashes of Athas Campaign is now available for home play (PM me with your e-mail to order the campaign adventures).


Shadowrun... a game that is insanely filled with cheese... ok, I'll stay on topic... must not talk about bulletproof spirits...



Okay. So I spend a point of Edge to reroll all 6s and now I shall shoot the BBEG once with my sniper rifle. Where are my 30d6s?

I feel like that sometimes, also, when I am running the older H1 mods and my monsters need to roll an 18 to hit the fighter or paladin with AC 25. Sometimes I get into what the monsters want to do and I get a little frustrated that the PCs are winning. But in the end it's all about everyone having fun, even if some of the PCs have broken builds.

 In the end, my mind-flayer monk did, in fact, do some eyebrow-raising damage, but they had no trouble with the adventure. And we all had a great time.



Keep up the good work boys! We miss the days of touch AC. Cry
You can fix the rules and sometimes very easily.


Not when you are dealing with a worldwide campaign with thousends of players who all like different things and who all have different ideas on what constitutes as broken, unclear or wrong.

Er, you speak as if there's been mountains of loopholes and rules problems in 4E.

There haven't been.

If there's one thing that 4E has done better than previous editions, it's so far had far less problematic broken stuff per book that needed errata.

At most, the CCG might have been a page longer by now with LFR adjustments. In the next five years, maybe a dozen pages at most.


If there is one thing I learned in the past 10 years of Living campaigning it is that between something as obviously wrong as the pre-errata infinite temp-transfering shield loop and streight forward as a standard attack roll there is a huge grey area and a lot of discussion. For example, I really did not mind the rod of reaving killing a minion as a minor action. For me it went wrong when combined with a rod of corruption. For others even that was not game breaking since minions were supposed to die instantly.

Furthermore, even if a large group of players and the designers agree that something needs to be changed, it does not do well the publish errata on the errata on the errata. And once you find what appears to be a proper sollution there is always the problem getting the rules out to all the people, because even in the current internet era of fast communication it is surprisingly difficult to reach all people.

In short, no rule can be fixed very easily and it always a comparison of benefits with the difficulties involved.

Sure they can. Look at the problem rule, and make a decision on what it's supposed to say.

You don't have to make everyone happy in how you fix it. In fact, some people will always be unhappy. Accept that. Don't even try to make everyone happy. That path lies madness.

If you must, get the regional admins and major LFR play coordinators take on the subject. But then make a decision.

Be decisive. Waffling on even simple fixes just makes you as the authority figure look weak.

I mean, seriously, the bit about getting another player's permission to attack his character, vs just asking him and attacking regardless? This was there from the start. In 2008. It's become a damn joke. It's still in the CCG to this DAY. Febuary 2010.

Would have take five minutes to fix the text. No discussion was needed. No conference of player or judges or admins. We all knew what was wrong with the text, and what the admins INTENDED.

Fix it to say what it meant, and move on.

Does that mean I don't think some things should be supported better? No. I am just realistic enough to realize we simply cannot have perfect rules* and that the only way to deal with it is by talking with your fellow gamers at the table (and in my own experience I have rarely had to do so because ultimately the far majority of players are no jerks and they do keep the fun of everybody at the table in mind).



No-one's asking for 'perfect rules'. Just that problems get fixed as they pop up.

Any rules set needs to be a living, evolving structure.

What's the alternative? Just leave problem rules as they are written, and HOPE everyone will understand what they are REALLY meant to say?



-karma

LFR Characters: Lady Tiana Elinden Kobori Silverwane - Drow Control Wizard | Kro'tak Warscream - Orc Bard | Fulcrum of Gond - Warforged Laser Cleric

AL Character: Talia Ko'bori Silverwane - Tiefling Tome Fiend Warlock

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