Stupid rules interpretation trick, Theme for LFR.

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Ok first let me state I checked the char creation rules..and I think that technically this is doable.  If you're DM will let you do this or not is another question, but technically you should be able to do this right here and now, although I think it shouldn't be allowed.  And I think its a good excuse to push out the updated RPGA rules instead of waiting till later.  To stop someone from rules lawyering this kind of shenanigan.


First I will mention that the Character Creation guide lists what is allowed..instead of what is not allowed.  Makes sense right?  If only certain parts of a publication is allowed this is also pulled out.  With that said.

Dragon Magazine, all content from it is allowed upon release of Compiled Issue.  #390 has been compiled and released, and what do we find in it?  The slave theme.  Along with how rules for it works.  You automatically gain the 'granted power', which is listed at Hidden Strike..so at level 1 you get a free power.  Ontop of that you also get trained in Bluff, just free training.

You are then told you may choose Theme powers at appropriate levels and that finally you may have the feats associated with the Theme.  You are then given the Theme itself.

So everyone have a free extra skill (bluff) and a free encounter power (Hidden Strike), just for making your character.  It isn't in Character Builder, sure, but you can add them yourself...and hey it is in the compiled issue and nothing says you can't use it in LFR :P.

The antidote to that argument is this: 

D&D is a set of rules which tells you what can be done. If you want to do something - anything - strictly speaking you have to show a positive entry in the rules which permits it. Do you want to walk along a road? Point at the 'Walk' entry in the Player's Handbook. Want to swim or climb? Look up the Athletics skill. Want to choose a feat? Check the character creation and progression sections of the PH for details on when you can do so and what rules you have to abide by. 

Now ask the person who is making your argument this question: "Where in the rules of D&D are you permitted to take a theme?" The answer can only be 'The Dark Sun Campaign Guide', and that book is not a source of rules for LFR at this time. So it doesn't exist within the LFR campaign. So no LFR character can choose a theme (from any source) as the rules for themes don't exist. 


Of course they do exist for season 2 of D&D Encounters, and Game Day events use pre-gens, so it's only LFR we're currently talking about. 

Running D&D Adventurers League events in Sheffield, UK from August. Contact me for more details.

Read the Article.  Its page 16 of Dragon magazing #390.  Page 17 has the important info, it does admit Dark Sun has more in depth info on themes if you want to find out more.  But the page itself directly tells you how and when to pick a theme, which to quote the page itself.

"To select a theme, all you do is
choose one at the time you create your character. You
don’t need to select a theme if you don’t want to do so.
Once you select a theme, it grants you the following
benefits:
  •  You automatically gain the theme’s granted power.

  •  You can choose to take additional theme powers when you reach the appropriate level.

  •  You unlock feats or paragon paths that use the theme as a prerequisite."


All of this is written in Dragon Magazine itself, as all of Dragon Magazine is legal, and this gives you the rules on how to impliment this theme..you are good to go.  Don't even need the Dark Sun book itself to have the rules needed.  Mind you it will work only for new characters...as I don't think the retraining rules covers adding new themes (feel free to work it out yourself), but hey its there.
Sure, I suppose if someone was going out of their way to be a **** they could argue the letter of the rules and try to claim its legal. I would hope their DM would tell them no.

That said, the LFR admins are volunteers with real jobs and real families and certainly do not have the ability to release a new CCG every month complete with time for public review to take into account every book or Dragon article that might come out. In general we think the majority of you guys are reasonable intelligent people, so I don't think this will be a problem.

If you are arguing in favor of removing public review of the rules, and just saying you don't need there to be any input time for the community and the Globals such push out a random new update every week so there are 40,000 different versions of the CCG, I suppose we could talk about that, but I think most people will agree with you that's probably just better to rely on DMs being vaguely competant at the very least.
Sure, I suppose if someone was going out of their way to be a **** they could argue the letter of the rules and try to claim its legal.



Why would they be a **** for claiming it's legal when it is?  It's Dragon content, it's in a playable state, the rules for taking the theme are in the article.  I'm not even sure why it woudl be considered a "stupid rules interpretation."

Besdies, an escaped slave theme is certainly relevant to the FR as many places have slavery. 
Sorry WOTC, you lost me with Essentials. So where I used to buy every book that came out, now I will be very choosy about what I buy. Can we just get back to real 4e? Check out the 4e Conversion Wiki. 1. Wizards fight dirty. They hit their enemies in the NADs. -- Dragon9 2. A barbarian hits people with his axe. A warlord hits people with his barbarian. 3. Boo-freakin'-hoo, ya light-slingin' finger-wigglers. -- MrCelcius in response to the Cleric's Healer's Lore nerf
I think everyone's right here. I think that, by the letter of the law, it's ok. But it's a d*** move.

I mean, if it really means that much to you to find every loophole and have a really overpowered character, I guess you're entitled to? But I can't remember ever talking about how awesome or clever someone was for that. And I missed the ceremony where we give awards to people who "win" D&D.
Gamma World Origins Half-Sheets: Horizontal (FiFG) Vertical (GW) FiFG coming soon


Why would they be a **** for claiming it's legal when it is? 



Largely because we have announced several times that we will NOT be using themes in LFR.
That's great, you have "announced" it. But, where in the CCG does it say that it is off limits. That is the official source I use to make my character, and all I see is a rule that "ALL" content from a compiled issue Dragon Magazine is legal (unless of course said article has a specific note to disallow it...I am thinking of the way they introduced Hybrids).

Yes. I think it is wrong. Yes, I think it is a d*** move. I have no plans to make a character with a theme, and much eye-rolling will I do If I ever see a player try to do this. I am not bringing this up to give skerrit a headache. Or be adversarial or a troll.

And as Dragon pointed out, it is not even a RAI issue. "All" should equal "All" unless you see some sort of printed exception. If it can be interpreted "wrongly" someone will. I attended a con this last summer, where I observed at least an hour long argument of whether draonmarks are allowed in LFR. What surprised me the most was that some senior people were incorrectly stating that they were allowed.

Please, please when the CCG is rewritten try to state things as unambiguously as possible with an eye toward how to handle new rules. Maybe a "what is allowed" approach is better then a "what is not allowed" approach.

Anything that reduces "interpretation" is good. Common sense is unfortunately not a rule.
An official ruling would be nice.  Heck, it would provide an opportunity to have something official in the CCG regarding the use of other questionable Dragon materials, like Scales of War backgrounds and Warforged.
I think the issue is less about whether someone is being a ****, and more about this showing what a really bad idea it is to give blanket approval to everything from Dragon Magazine, though that ship sailed long ago.

I would also have a hard time calling them ****s.  Does it make sense that you can use an escaped slave theme from Dark Sun?  About as much as being able to be a warforged Battlelord of Kord.  I'm not sure why a player should be expected to know that the Freed Slave background is fine (or the Arkhosian Totem Rager and any number of choices which are nonsensical in FR), but the Escaped Slave theme is right out.

Sure, you've mentioned that you don't plan on using themes on these message boards... which are read by only a minute fraction of the player base.

To be honest, because of the way the campaign has been structured from the beginning, the overwhelming majority of players don't even read the CCG, let alone the message boards.

Most players seem to figure that if there's anything important they need to know, someone will tell them, and hey, it's in the Character Builder, so it must be allowed.
Im pretty sure that warforged are not just questionable, they are from Eberron and are not legal for Forgotten Realms. Sorry, could not resist. A suggestion that I suspect will never reach the people at WotC that could do something with it: The way you re-flavored Dragonborn for Dark Sun was awesome! If you ever re-vamp the FRCG list warforged as "Gondsman [Warforged]" and put an end to the sillyness. 

I DM for 2 LFR groups and not a single one of them have EVER logged on to the message boards. I am afraid that bg is absolutely correct with "Most players seem to figure that if there's anything important they need to know, someone will tell them, and hey, it's in the Character Builder, so it must be allowed." being a very prevalent attitude.

All of them have a copy of assorted versions of the CCG though, so they are at least slightly informed.
It might be relevant to note the introduction of Unearthed Arcana, a new Dragon column:

In the future, you might see rules for more detailed critical hits, twisted paragon paths or epic destinies, gunpowder weapons, wizards' duels, bizarre campaign outlines ... we won't put limits on the possibilities.

All of this comes with one big caveat: none of what you'll read in Unearthed Arcana has been through our normal development cycle. It's all experimental, optional, and unofficial. You won't find it in the D&D Compendium or Character Builder. Customer Service won't provide official answers to questions about unofficial rules.

... and yet, it will all be completely legal in LFR.
It might be relevant to note the introduction of Unearthed Arcana, a new Dragon column:

In the future, you might see rules for more detailed critical hits, twisted paragon paths or epic destinies, gunpowder weapons, wizards' duels, bizarre campaign outlines ... we won't put limits on the possibilities.

All of this comes with one big caveat: none of what you'll read in Unearthed Arcana has been through our normal development cycle. It's all experimental, optional, and unofficial. You won't find it in the D&D Compendium or Character Builder. Customer Service won't provide official answers to questions about unofficial rules.

... and yet, it will all be completely legal in LFR.



Content which is optional quite clearly requires DM adjudication to be allowed... 
Keep this up and they will just ban anything from Dragon Magazine.  Is that what we really want?  It wouldnt effect me much so I could care less.
I think everyone's right here. I think that, by the letter of the law, it's ok. But it's a d*** move.

I mean, if it really means that much to you to find every loophole and have a really overpowered character, I guess you're entitled to? But I can't remember ever talking about how awesome or clever someone was for that. And I missed the ceremony where we give awards to people who "win" D&D.



First off, who's talkign about winning D&D?  And how is it a loophole when the CCG is clear on what's legal or not.  If the CCG says everythign in Dragon is legal, how are you finding a loophole when you take something out of Dragon?  That makes no sense.

The average LFR player isn't on these boards, so if it's not in the CCG, they are unlikely to know in post #75 in a thread on the second page of the forum that one of the admins said they wouldn't be using themes.  I have no need to take it personally, but someone may be thinking of playing a character who was an escaped underdark slave and they might see that article in the compiled issue that their up to date CCg says is legal to take and think "Cool, I can use that theme and take some powers later on that will fit the character instead of class powers."  Then they come to a gameday and they get sneered at and told they're a **** or d*** for taking it?

That'd be an awesome way to turn people off from the campaign.

Second... overpowered?  Really?  Were we looking at the same Dragon article?



Why would they be a **** for claiming it's legal when it is? 



Largely because we have announced several times that we will NOT be using themes in LFR.



Then what happens when themes are released in a book not Dark Sun?  Or generic themes in Dragon?  I remember you saying the themes in the DS book were most likely not goign to be legal, but then again you were saying that when you said nothing would be legal from the book, later revised to "we have to see it."  Themes are certainly going to be prevalent going forward into the brave new Essentials world.  And post-essentials, however that's going to look, but they have said there will be themes in core books in the future.  I would even expect to see some in Heroes of Shadow since they said there'd be Shadow options for all classes not just those originating in that power source.  (heck, personally I think they should redo Spellscars as themes as it would work a lot better than it is now as a MC)
Sorry WOTC, you lost me with Essentials. So where I used to buy every book that came out, now I will be very choosy about what I buy. Can we just get back to real 4e? Check out the 4e Conversion Wiki. 1. Wizards fight dirty. They hit their enemies in the NADs. -- Dragon9 2. A barbarian hits people with his axe. A warlord hits people with his barbarian. 3. Boo-freakin'-hoo, ya light-slingin' finger-wigglers. -- MrCelcius in response to the Cleric's Healer's Lore nerf
... (heck, personally I think they should redo Spellscars as themes as it would work a lot better than it is now as a MC)



.. awsome.. I would "LOVE" for wizards to go back and drop all the non-class Multiclass feats, and convert them into templates!

Bravo ,Cutthroat, Divine Follower (ex: Bahamut Feats), Haunting Shade, Infernal Captain, Poisoner, Spellscarred, Weapon Expert (Blowgun, Bola, etc... power swaps based on class of weapon, not specific weapon).

I would also like to see some templates built around some of the cooler backgrounds.

Brash Duelist, Extra Muscle, Flamescarred, Greenbeard, Hand-for-hire, High Roller, Shipmaster's Aid, Upperdark Slave, Vigilant Informant, etc... (all the non-region FR backgrounds).


Why would they be a **** for claiming it's legal when it is? 



Largely because we have announced several times that we will NOT be using themes in LFR.


Which is fine for the small minority of LFR players active enough to visit the boards, but for the vast majority it's simply dragon content and explicitly allowed by the latest CCG
Which is fine for the small minority of LFR players active enough to visit the boards, but for the vast majority it's simply dragon content and explicitly allowed by the latest CCG

That point is true on paper, but if you think about the way most LFR groups work, it's unrealistic. Nearly every LFR group I've been a part of that has more than 5 people in it has at least one person that pays attention to these boards and is usually up to date on the goings-on with the campaign. So I don't think we have to worry about that.

It occurs to me that the way the legal profession handles ethics might be a good model for solving these problems. There's a set of law on ethics, but since that doesn't cover every situation, bar associations are permitted to issue binding opinions on how those should be interpreted.

So we should follow the CCG, and if there's an ambiguity that comes up (like this), I think the Globals get to issue interpretations, and those are final. Since I understand this process from law school, you can imagine my surprise when there's still debate on this after Skerrit has said (any number of different times and ways) that themes aren't allowed. It shouldn't matter if there's no explicit language in the CCG. If you're going to tell a Global, who's in charge of the campaign, that his interpretation is wrong, I can't help you.

Gamma World Origins Half-Sheets: Horizontal (FiFG) Vertical (GW) FiFG coming soon
Nearly every LFR group I've been a part of that has more than 5 people in it has at least one person that pays attention to these boards and is usually up to date on the goings-on with the campaign. So I don't think we have to worry about that.



I think you're falling into the "me and everyone I know" fallacy. All of your LFR groups have at least one person who pays attention these boards -- you. Smile  I do think there's a very large number of LFR players out there who have never been on these boards (if they're even aware that they exist).

"Of course [Richard] has a knife. He always has a knife. We all have knives. It's 1183, and we're barbarians!" - Eleanor of Aquitaine, "The Lion in Winter"
I have sat at tables at Origins and GenCon as the 6th man at a preformed table of 5 who play together back home and have brought up something from the boards (rulings and such) and they look at me with bewilderment.

So yes, they are out there.  Considerring that this group only has 1,879 memebers, we could assume that every group has at least one member that pays attention, but it's definitly only a fraction of the player base.

There's also the Yahoo group and while folks like Dustin try to make sure stuff gets announced over there as well, a good percentage of that group actively refuses to join this group for one of many reasons (usually related to not wanting to sign up for yet another website all the way to not wanting to sign up on the "man's" website).
Sorry WOTC, you lost me with Essentials. So where I used to buy every book that came out, now I will be very choosy about what I buy. Can we just get back to real 4e? Check out the 4e Conversion Wiki. 1. Wizards fight dirty. They hit their enemies in the NADs. -- Dragon9 2. A barbarian hits people with his axe. A warlord hits people with his barbarian. 3. Boo-freakin'-hoo, ya light-slingin' finger-wigglers. -- MrCelcius in response to the Cleric's Healer's Lore nerf
I think you're falling into the "me and everyone I know" fallacy. All of your LFR groups have at least one person who pays attention these boards -- you.   I do think there's a very large number of LFR players out there who have never been on these boards (if they're even aware that they exist).

So is the better solution to stop using the community for anything important, or is the solution to make sure more people know about the boards? I'd suggest the latter. Last time I checked, this is "Living" Forgotten Realms. That suggests that it's an evolving and expanding community. There are always going to be home LFR groups that will be behind the curve, but where there's a choice, I'm going to choose progress over insularity and more integration over less.

And no, I'm not just the only person in my groups that pay attention to what's going on. But that's partly because I make it a point whenever possible to tell people about this community. And those of us that do pay attention to this community and want it to be more relevant should as well. I've made suggestions on other threads about how we can do that from a campaign perspective. While ignorance in this case is a good excuse, we shouldn't cater to that ignorance by curtailing the usefulness of these boards and the discussions that take place here.

Gamma World Origins Half-Sheets: Horizontal (FiFG) Vertical (GW) FiFG coming soon
So is the better solution to stop using the community for anything important, or is the solution to make sure more people know about the boards? I'd suggest the latter.



Oh, you're right, but there's a saying about leading a horse to water...

The LFR Wizards.community group is noted in the CCG (though, we also know that not everyone reads that, or reads it closely).  In a thread over in the LFR group a few days ago, someone suggested putting the URL for the group on every story award (a really cool idea).  But, even with all that, and even with people like yourself talking it up, I guarantee you that you'll still have a significant number of people who aren't visiting the group, or keeping abreast of what the campaign staff is saying.
"Of course [Richard] has a knife. He always has a knife. We all have knives. It's 1183, and we're barbarians!" - Eleanor of Aquitaine, "The Lion in Winter"
But, even with all that, and even with people like yourself talking it up, I guarantee you that you'll still have a significant number of people who aren't visiting the group, or keeping abreast of what the campaign staff is saying.

Agree. But I'm of the opinion that we should do everything we can to get people here, and once we've done that, proceed with the assumption that we have enough of a critical mass to start using this site for official stuff.

That doesn't mean we can't try to be as accessible as possible. For example, let's take my idea about the globals issuing rules interpretations between CCGs. Let's have one of the globals post the new rulings in the blog every other week. Let's include a one or two-page .pdf in the .zip files of new mods. And then let's use them as a starting point when we formulate a new CCG.

This new leaner version of LFR has advantages. For one, it allows us to be quicker and more responsive to rules issues. The Windrise Ports decision is a great example. In the same way that we're using these forums to discuss new ideas, we should use them as a vetting process for everything new we come up with. I think it can be done, and I think LFR will be better for it.

Gamma World Origins Half-Sheets: Horizontal (FiFG) Vertical (GW) FiFG coming soon
So we should follow the CCG, and if there's an ambiguity that comes up (like this), I think the Globals get to issue interpretations, and those are final. Since I understand this process from law school, you can imagine my surprise when there's still debate on this after Skerrit has said (any number of different times and ways) that themes aren't allowed. It shouldn't matter if there's no explicit language in the CCG. If you're going to tell a Global, who's in charge of the campaign, that his interpretation is wrong, I can't help you.



Your lessons from law school haven't served you well, because what you describe isn't what we have here.  This isn't a case where the rules are ambiguous, with several possible meanings.  The CCG is clear that Dragon content is accessible.  If a Global, who's in charge of the campaign, thinks that some specific Dragon content ought to be excluded -- well, I guess that's his prerogative, and I'm not going to tell him that he can't.  But that's not interpreting the rules, it's overriding them.

As others have pointed out, it's not beneficial to have the rules in the CCG if they're going to be overridden by additional rules in the blogs, the message boards, the Globals' Twitter accounts, and the disused lavatory in the basement, since it forces players to trawl all those locations to figure out what they're allowed to do.  You also get sticky situations where somebody in charge issues a ruling in person at a convention, and then 10 months later it's still unclear what the rule is supposed to be.

I'm of the opinion that we should do everything we can to get people here, and once we've done that, proceed with the assumption that we have enough of a critical mass to start using this site for official stuff.



Speaking from personal experience, I'd say that one of the biggest problems this community has is a lack of empathy.  Many people here are incapable of looking at things from any perspective other than their own.  Because you read the boards, and you know what the Globals have said about themes, you immediately assume that anyone who asks a question about it is either stupid or acting in bad faith.  The idea that he just might not have read the same things you did apparently doesn't even occur to you.

One of my local guys is starting to try his hand at being a DM.  If he were to read the recent Dragon article, pop in here and ask about themes, he'd find out that he's a ****, that he's incompetent, and that he's unintelligent -- and that's just from a Global.

None of this encourages people to join our community.  For myself, personally, it was the most difficult obstacle for me to overcome.  In fact, I still haven't completely overcome it; I often feel like an outsider because I can't devote as much time to keeping current as most other people here.

If you assume that a critical mass of people is reading the boards on a daily basis and start to use it as another source of critical information, all you're really going to accomplish is widening the gap between the people who already read the boards and those who don't.  The latter will have an even harder time keeping up, and they'll encounter even more condescension and scorn if they ever show up here to ask questions.
Your lessons from law school haven't served you well, because what you describe isn't what we have here. This isn't a case where the rules are ambiguous, with several possible meanings.  The CCG is clear that Dragon content is accessible.

Let's start here. Which law school, pray tell, did you learn your lessons from? Because if you had gone to law school, you'd know that the situaion you're describing is a common occurrence in the law. Laws that seem clear to some are ambiguous to others. And that's why we have independent adjudication of disagreements.

As others have pointed out, it's not beneficial to have the rules in the CCG if they're going to be overridden by additional rules in the blogs, the message boards, the Globals' Twitter accounts, and the disused lavatory in the basement, since it forces players to trawl all those locations to figure out what they're allowed to do.

Absolutely. And that's why I said, in my very last post, "Let's have one of the globals post the new rulings in the blog every other week. Let's include a one or two-page .pdf in the .zip files of new mods. And then let's use them as a starting point when we formulate a new CCG." Problem solved.

Speaking from personal experience, I'd say that one of the biggest problems this community has is a lack of empathy.  Many people here are incapable of looking at things from any perspective other than their own.  Because you read the boards, and you know what the Globals have said about themes, you immediately assume that anyone who asks a question about it is either stupid or acting in bad faith.  The idea that he just might not have read the same things you did apparently doesn't even occur to you.

First of all, your personal attack about my chosen profession is really helping your argument here. Second, things got heated because the OP did what most trying to prove loopholes do—make his case, and then argue when people don't agree with him. He wasn't asking whether it was ok. He assumed it was, and then set out to prove it. If he was truly asking for advice, he would have accepted it when it was given. So, yes, we responded as if he was asking in bad faith, because he showed through his response to the advice that he was.

If your friend came to these boards with a legitimate question, and was willing to accept the answer he received, he would be pleasantly surprised. That's not what happened in this case.

If you assume that a critical mass of people is reading the boards on a daily basis and start to use it as another source of critical information, all you're really going to accomplish is widening the gap between the people who already read the boards and those who don't.

And that's why, as I've also said before, "I make it a point whenever possible to tell people about this community. And those of us that do pay attention to this community and want it to be more relevant should as well." Problem solved.

I try to make it a point not to debate point-by-point like this. But, as I've pointed out, I feel like your post not only mischaracterizes the situation, but demonstrates a severe lack of knowledge of my previous posts on this topic. If you're going to quote me, make sure you know what my position is.

Gamma World Origins Half-Sheets: Horizontal (FiFG) Vertical (GW) FiFG coming soon
Yaknow battles..before you go argueing with others and call them on bringing up lawyers and the like..you might try to..yaknow..actually get your facts strait.

This post has gone on for 3 pages..only 2 posts (the origional..then the 2nd reply) are from me.  All other posts on this, and the complete change of topic from me finding an amusing loophole that I think needs to be addressed into people saying the entirety of the rules need to be heavily looked at and that making the boards being a spot to get official rules from is bad.  All of that..is not due to me, I've had no input on this thread other than those two posts.

And then you go and say that I, argued badly when presented with other evidence.  The ONLY person I've responded to was pedr who actually misunderstood a part of my post.  As he completely ignored the fact that I posted in the origional post that all the rules for themes you would need are presented in dragon magazine.  So I had to respond and re-itterate the point that I already said the mechanics needed were already posted.

I have from there not responded to any other posts.  Partially because I was working when most of the posts were made.  And partially because after the second reply to me (from a global choosing to be very rude, condescending and harsh, not just to me but to anyone who dosn't read these boards and who actually believes 'anything in dragon magazine compiled is legal'), no-one actually directly talked to me or spoke about the topic (except to agree its possible but against what people on these boards agree LFR is about).  So I've been quiet and mostly just reading whats going on because I honestly have little input that hasn't already been said reguarding how badly the rules need a good going over.


So battles, as much as his post, in quoteing you and mentioning your profession might have done to hurt his post.  You stating mistruths about how I've been acting in this thread really hurts yours.
First of all, your personal attack about my chosen profession is really helping your argument here.



You've taken this much too personally.  You're the one who brought up your vaunted law school education as a means of establishing your own credibility.  I spent nine words to dismiss that, because your education doesn't much matter if you're wrong.  To the extent that those words came across as a personal attack, I apologize, but dude, you really need to grow a thicker skin.  If you want to discuss that part further, please take it to PM.

Anyhow, getting back to the important stuff, yes, I'm aware of how different interpretations are resolved.  But Skerrit didn't claim that an existing rule prohibits the use of themes, he pointed to announcements he's made elsewhere that declare themes won't be used in LFR.  That isn't interpreting rules; it's making new ones by fiat.  That's what everybody has a problem with.

As others have pointed out, it's not beneficial to have the rules in the CCG if they're going to be overridden by additional rules in the blogs, the message boards, the Globals' Twitter accounts, and the disused lavatory in the basement, since it forces players to trawl all those locations to figure out what they're allowed to do.

Absolutely. And that's why I said, in my very last post, "Let's have one of the globals post the new rulings in the blog every other week. Let's include a one or two-page .pdf in the .zip files of new mods. And then let's use them as a starting point when we formulate a new CCG." Problem solved.



Skerrit just said he's unwilling to post weekly updates for this sort of thing because it's too much work.  I'll go out on a limb here and conclude that bi-weekly updates are also out of the picture.  So, while the people in charge are coming up with new rules, those rules won't be published in a consistent fashion.  Our collective experience has already shown that confusion will be the natural result.

Besides, to solve the problem of players being unable to rely on the CCG alone, you've suggested sending them to trawl through several months of blog posts.  I fail to see how that even addresses the problem, let alone how it solves it.

If you assume that a critical mass of people is reading the boards on a daily basis and start to use it as another source of critical information, all you're really going to accomplish is widening the gap between the people who already read the boards and those who don't.

And that's why, as I've also said before, "I make it a point whenever possible to tell people about this community. And those of us that do pay attention to this community and want it to be more relevant should as well." Problem solved.



You haven't solved anything; you've only demonstrated, once again, that you're not looking at this from any perspective other than your own.  Many of my local players have limited free time, and can't afford to spend time trawling the message boards in addition to the time they already spend actually playing the game.  Another two or three have visited the community, but found it not to their liking.  There's even one player who doesn't have Internet access.  I can tell them about this community and say "Rah Rah LFR" until I'm blue in the face, but if they lack the opportunity, inclination, or means to participate, then they won't.

You've got everything you need to be a part of this community.  That's great.  Others don't.  You shouldn't assume that they do, nor should they be cut off from critical information because they're not as fortunate as you.
Anyhow, getting back to the important stuff, yes, I'm aware of how different interpretations are resolved.  But Skerrit didn't claim that an existing rule prohibits the use of themes, he pointed to announcements he's made elsewhere that declare themes won't be used in LFR.  That isn't interpreting rules; it's making new ones by fiat.  That's what everybody has a problem with.



That's dependent on your viewpoint.

Let's hypothesize that at some point there's an article about Gamma World. And as part of the article, they make up an article about Gamma World which introduces a new Superior Blaster Weapon called a Blaster Rifle that you can spend a feat to gain proficiency. And for whatever reason, they don't in any part of the article say, "This is not for D&D."

That seems well within the realm of possibility. I think I can safely say the vast majority of players would see an LFR character toting a Blaster Rifle on the basis of that Dragon article as being illegal. Especially in the context that no other Gamma World weapons would have been made legal for LFR. And Gamma World is quite clearly not a legal campaign reference.

Think of Gamma World as being a campaign world that happens to be D&D with a few obvious differences and an article about Dark Sun isn't all that much different. Skerrit is saying, "Dark Sun is a campaign world. We can't go around identifying every single product that R&D is going to come out with, but campaign worlds in general are going to have things that we won't let into LFR because they're tied to a specific campaign."
lemme see if i get it

  1. Using the slave theme IS technically legal, but to those who read/listen to the administration clearly not intended..

  2. There are several scenarios in which players innocently decide to use it.

  3. There are several scenarios in which players decide to use it because it is technically legal, while knowing they should not.

  4. The players mentioned in point 2 probably need some extra communication attention.

  5. The players mentioned in point 3 are actively being D*cks.


All in all fairly clear cut?
To DME, or not to DME: that is the question: Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer The slings and arrows of outrageous powergaming, Or to take arms against a sea of Munchkins, And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep;No more;
[VCL HAT]

Several recent posts, by several posters, have gone over the line and gotten personal.  Tone it down a notch, please. 

[/VCL HAT]
"Of course [Richard] has a knife. He always has a knife. We all have knives. It's 1183, and we're barbarians!" - Eleanor of Aquitaine, "The Lion in Winter"
Let's hypothesize that at some point there's an article about Gamma World. And as part of the article, they make up an article about Gamma World which introduces a new Superior Blaster Weapon called a Blaster Rifle that you can spend a feat to gain proficiency. And for whatever reason, they don't in any part of the article say, "This is not for D&D."

That seems well within the realm of possibility. I think I can safely say the vast majority of players would see an LFR character toting a Blaster Rifle on the basis of that Dragon article as being illegal.



I think most players would agree that a Blaster Rifle should be illegal, but that isn't nearly the same thing as actually being illegal.  A DM should be enforcing the rules that exist.  As soon as you start encouraging DMs to make up new rules based on what they think the rules should be, you're in for a world of contradictions and confusion, because people have lots of very different opinions on how things ought to be.

Skerrit is saying, "Dark Sun is a campaign world. We can't go around identifying every single product that R&D is going to come out with, but campaign worlds in general are going to have things that we won't let into LFR because they're tied to a specific campaign."



Eberron is a campaign world too.  If themes are illegal merely because they're from Dark Sun, and everybody's expected to know this, then by the same logic nobody should be running around with a Warforged character, because they shouldn't be legal either.

Eberron is a campaign world too.  If themes are illegal merely because they're from Dark Sun, and everybody's expected to know this, then by the same logic nobody should be running around with a Warforged character, because they shouldn't be legal either.



Not exactly the same thing, as warforged appeared in other 4E sources (Monster Manual, a Dragon article) *before* the 4E Eberron Player's Guide was ever published.
"Of course [Richard] has a knife. He always has a knife. We all have knives. It's 1183, and we're barbarians!" - Eleanor of Aquitaine, "The Lion in Winter"
Let's hypothesize that at some point there's an article about Gamma World. And as part of the article, they make up an article about Gamma World which introduces a new Superior Blaster Weapon called a Blaster Rifle that you can spend a feat to gain proficiency. And for whatever reason, they don't in any part of the article say, "This is not for D&D."

That seems well within the realm of possibility. I think I can safely say the vast majority of players would see an LFR character toting a Blaster Rifle on the basis of that Dragon article as being illegal.



I think most players would agree that a Blaster Rifle should be illegal, but that isn't nearly the same thing as actually being illegal.  A DM should be enforcing the rules that exist.  As soon as you start encouraging DMs to make up new rules based on what they think the rules should be, you're in for a world of contradictions and confusion, because people have lots of very different opinions on how things ought to be.



No, I mean most players would agree that you could not legally use a Blaster Rifle on the basis of such a Dragon article. They'd point to the obviousness of an article referring to Gamma World which is not D&D. I can get more extreme on this point - if there were an article about 3 Dragon Ante that had some sort of option that sounded as if a D&D character could pick it, that wouldn't make it legal.

All rules have what the intended spirit of the rule was - and when there's precedent in previous rulings and by being literal you skirt precedent, you're almost always going to be wrong. And there is precedent in how Eberron was ruled on.



Skerrit is saying, "Dark Sun is a campaign world. We can't go around identifying every single product that R&D is going to come out with, but campaign worlds in general are going to have things that we won't let into LFR because they're tied to a specific campaign."



Eberron is a campaign world too.  If themes are illegal merely because they're from Dark Sun, and everybody's expected to know this, then by the same logic nobody should be running around with a Warforged character, because they shouldn't be legal either.



Eberron Player Guide is an official and legal resource for LFR, listed in the CCG. There are certain things that cannot be used, but Warforged are legal for LFR. That's the point. The CCG defined what was legal about another campaign world and that makes it legal for Dragon material to refer to it - when a Dragon article referred to a paragon path that worshipped a Eberron specific deity, it wasn't legal to use in LFR, even though all things in Dragon are supposedly legal.

Because the Dragon material was referring to an illegal element for LFR, just as this article is now doing...

*and the original Warforged article was explicitly legal for LFR under the playtest rules.
Well, there is a difference.  yes, an Eberron PP or feat, etc. that requires worship of an Eberron deity is certainly out because Eberron deities are not legal for LFR play.

The Slave theme article doesn't refer to any illegal elements.  All the rules you need to take a theme and for that particular theme are right there.  The only thing Dark Sun about it is the fluff.  You could leave the theme itself as is and rename the article Escaped Underdark Slave and change a little of the article's fluff around and it'd be no different except that it doesn't reference Dark Sun anymore.

The only means by which one can say it's an illegal element is from an admin saying they won't be using themes.  Not that it's ever been an official proclomation or anything.

And interestingly enough... the CCG doesn't list posts of any sort by admins as an official rules source.
Sorry WOTC, you lost me with Essentials. So where I used to buy every book that came out, now I will be very choosy about what I buy. Can we just get back to real 4e? Check out the 4e Conversion Wiki. 1. Wizards fight dirty. They hit their enemies in the NADs. -- Dragon9 2. A barbarian hits people with his axe. A warlord hits people with his barbarian. 3. Boo-freakin'-hoo, ya light-slingin' finger-wigglers. -- MrCelcius in response to the Cleric's Healer's Lore nerf
No, I mean most players would agree that you could not legally use a Blaster Rifle on the basis of such a Dragon article. They'd point to the obviousness of an article referring to Gamma World which is not D&D.



It isn't?  I didn't know that.  I don't know anything about Gamma World, so when you told me just now to think of it as a campaign world for D&D, I thought that's what it was.  That's a pretty good example right there of why you can't rely on "obviousness," because what's obvious to you isn't obvious to everybody else.

Eberron Player Guide is an official and legal resource for LFR, listed in the CCG. There are certain things that cannot be used, but Warforged are legal for LFR. That's the point. The CCG defined what was legal about another campaign world and that makes it legal for Dragon material to refer to it - when a Dragon article referred to a paragon path that worshipped a Eberron specific deity, it wasn't legal to use in LFR, even though all things in Dragon are supposedly legal.

Because the Dragon material was referring to an illegal element for LFR, just as this article is now doing...

*and the original Warforged article was explicitly legal for LFR under the playtest rules.



...wha-?

I'm really not following you here at all.  The CCG grants access to certain resources.  Eberron Player Guide is a legal resource.  Dragon magazine is a legal resource.  You seem to be inferring an ill-defined additional rule, which is somehow based on "campaign worlds," that restricts access to otherwise legal resources.  I don't know where you're getting that; I'm certainly not getting anything like it from my reading of the CCG.

Also, whatever point you're trying to make, the Eberron paragon path doesn't serve you well as an example.  As I recall (going strictly from memory,) we do have access to that paragon path, but since worship of Eberron gods is prohibited by the CCG, nobody can meet the prerequisites.  That's actually a good example of the rules being clear and unambiguous in a moderately complex situation.
And to take Dragon's point one step further, there's no reasonable way for the globals to make a quick ruling about something like themes any way other than these boards. You have to remember that they're just volunteers and are finding out about these Dragon articles the same time as the rest of us. And since Skerritt said that they can't post a new CCG every week, there has to be some sort of stopgap measure.

I like the Gamma World example, so I'm going to borrow it for a moment. Let's assume a Blaster Rifle. Once said rifle appears in Dragon, one of two scenarios could occur:

(1) CCG doesn't disallow it, so Player A gets a Blaster Rifle for his character. The first time Player A uses it at a table, Players B, C, and D are impressed, and get Blaster Rifles for their characters (since Player A told them it was okay). Players B-D convince Players E-M to get Blaster Rifles too. And so on, and so on. Six months later, a new CCG is released that outlaws the Blaster Rifle. Countless numbers of players are pissed because their characters got nerfed (not to mention the feats, paragon paths, etc. that they may have acquired to go along with their Blaster Rifles).

(2) Player A brings up the loophole on the boards. The globals discuss the situation, and issue a ruling in the appropriate thread. Said ruling is re-posted in a more visible blog post 1-2 weeks later, and that ruling is considered official until it's folded into the next CCG. Player B, who doesn't follow the ruling, uses a Blaster Rifle anyway, but eventually someone in his group double-checks and finds the ruling. Everyone's on the same page, and there are far fewer Blaster Rifles around by the time the new CCG drops.

It's hard to imagine how Scenario 1 is the better outcome (although I'm sure the counter-argument will appear shortly). Even if most people don't find the ruling and use Blaster Rifles anyway, that's still better than players actively promoting its use.
Gamma World Origins Half-Sheets: Horizontal (FiFG) Vertical (GW) FiFG coming soon
The article is clearly marked as a Dark Sun article in the Dragon issue.  And as of this time nothing from Dark Sun is legal because it is not listed in the CCG.

Laws that seem clear to some are ambiguous to others. And that's why we have independent adjudication of disagreements.

Yet this law is clear, the only reason why he have a disagreement at all if because of the statement of the globals which is not part of the law at all. If not for this statement, which is separate from the CCG, there would be no doubt that this article would be legal and a lot of people would take it in anticipation of the rest of the DSCG becoming legal.

Let's hypothesize that at some point there's an article about Gamma World. And as part of the article, they make up an article about Gamma World which introduces a new Superior Blaster Weapon called a Blaster Rifle that you can spend a feat to gain proficiency. And for whatever reason, they don't in any part of the article say, "This is not for D&D."


Then it would be allowed until they change the CCG to exclude such things.


All dragon content playable in the compiled issue is allowed. As easy as that.


If there were ever a dragon article about dragon marks or spell scars, these would be allowed. All dragon content is allowed, spell scars and dragon marks are only forbidden from the FRPG and EPG respectively.


If that's not what the rules want, then that should not be what the rules say.


The article is clearly marked as a Dark Sun article in the Dragon issue.  And as of this time nothing from Dark Sun is legal because it is not listed in the CCG.

That's incorrect. It's a dragon article and these are legal. The headline/category of a dragon article is unimportant.

The CCG doesn't allow campaign worlds, it allows supplements. It doesn't allow FR, Eberron or DS, it allows for an FRPG, EPG or DSCG or Dragon Magazine.

No, I mean most players would agree that you could not legally use a Blaster Rifle on the basis of such a Dragon article. They'd point to the obviousness of an article referring to Gamma World which is not D&D.



It isn't?  I didn't know that.  I don't know anything about Gamma World, so when you told me just now to think of it as a campaign world for D&D, I thought that's what it was.  That's a pretty good example right there of why you can't rely on "obviousness," because what's obvious to you isn't obvious to everybody else.



Obviousness is the noun version of obvious.

Just now, you relied on me telling you to think of Gamma World as being a campaign world and leapt to the idea that Gamma World actually is a campaign world for D&D. That's not an obvious interpretation of what I just said, but is one possible literal reading. In any case, let's point out the problem with your last statement:
You consider it clear cut that you can use these rules. i.e. obvious. Other people are telling you that it is ambiguous. i.e. not obvious.

So you're relying on your own definition of obvious and saying other people can't do that...

Eberron Player Guide is an official and legal resource for LFR, listed in the CCG. There are certain things that cannot be used, but Warforged are legal for LFR. That's the point. The CCG defined what was legal about another campaign world and that makes it legal for Dragon material to refer to it - when a Dragon article referred to a paragon path that worshipped a Eberron specific deity, it wasn't legal to use in LFR, even though all things in Dragon are supposedly legal.

Because the Dragon material was referring to an illegal element for LFR, just as this article is now doing...

*and the original Warforged article was explicitly legal for LFR under the playtest rules.



...wha-?

I'm really not following you here at all.  The CCG grants access to certain resources.  Eberron Player Guide is a legal resource.  Dragon magazine is a legal resource.  You seem to be inferring an ill-defined additional rule, which is somehow based on "campaign worlds," that restricts access to otherwise legal resources.  I don't know where you're getting that; I'm certainly not getting anything like it from my reading of the CCG.

Also, whatever point you're trying to make, the Eberron paragon path doesn't serve you well as an example.  As I recall (going strictly from memory,) we do have access to that paragon path, but since worship of Eberron gods is prohibited by the CCG, nobody can meet the prerequisites.  That's actually a good example of the rules being clear and unambiguous in a moderately complex situation.



Correct - because the Eberron gods are clearly marked as being prohibited by the CCG. So is the Dark Sun Campaign Guide. The article specifically states that the DSCG introduces 10 themes and adds an option to that list. They give a quick primer of how themes work in the DSCG and do not say it is a rules option - they are describing the rules for those who do not yet have DSCG. When someone says to you, "I'm going to give you a quick primer of the rules(that already exist).", they're not saying "I'm going to give you new rules."

As they're not new. 
If there were ever a dragon article about dragon marks or spell scars, these would be allowed. All dragon content is allowed, spell scars and dragon marks are only forbidden from the FRPG and EPG respectively.

In a word...no. From the CCG:

Content Not Accessible: There are a few bits of D&D game material that are not considered accessible to players (even if content from the resource is allowed), as it is too difficult to evaluate the content's use in the Living Forgotten Realms campaign. Exceptions to this rule will be noted on specified play documents (such as story awards). This includes the following game content:

  • Artifacts

  • Any background that requires your character to be from a location that is not in the FORGOTTEN REALMS

  • Boons: Access to Boons can only be granted by story awards or treasure bundles

  • Dragonmarks

  • Spellscars

  • Content that specifies DM adjudication in order to be used by a character


So, dragonmarks and spellscars are out, no matter where they appear. I would imagine that themes will be making an appearance on this list when the next CCG comes out.

But I'll ask again, because the question hasn't been answered yet. The last CCG came out on June 22, 2010, and there was no way to know at that point that a theme was going to show up in Dragon. Would you rather the globals address the problem when it appears, or just let everyone who wants to use themes (or Blaster Rifles, or whatever) go ahead and use them until the next CCG comes out?

For those people who don't follow these boards, it's going to seem like every time something new comes out, players can use them for a couple months, and then they get nerfed. That's no way to run a campaign. Clear, timely rulings are the way to go.
Gamma World Origins Half-Sheets: Horizontal (FiFG) Vertical (GW) FiFG coming soon

In a word...no. From the CCG:

You're right, I was only locking at their exclusion in the player content table, I didn't notice that they were also disallowed once again in the later rules.

This is actually a very good example how such rules needs to be written, this proactively prevents any DM and SC becoming legal if there happens to be a dragon article about them. If there were only the exclusion in the content table, such articles would make them legal.


The last CCG came out on June 22, 2010, and there was no way to know at that point that a theme was going to show up in Dragon. Would you rather the globals address the problem when it appears, or just let everyone who wants to use themes (or Blaster Rifles, or whatever) go ahead and use them until the next CCG comes out?

Or simply withdraw the blank cheque allowance of all things dragon magazine and issue a more restricted allowance. Rather have some OK features being disallowed for a while than having ill-fitting features being allowed for a while.

For those people who don't follow these boards, it's going to seem like every time something new comes out, players can use them for a couple months, and then they get nerfed. That's no way to run a campaign. Clear, timely rulings are the way to go.

Or if we can't have that, because timely ruling are too much workload for a staff of volunteers, err on the side of caution and rather disallow items for a few weeks than have the wrong items allowed for a few weeks until they getting banned and players just start to fear the nerf hammer.


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