Understanding the psychology of a rules dispute

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Hi,

I'd like your opinion about an incident that occurred during my game yesterday. I've tried to remember what was said as well as possible, but whilst I'm confident that I can convey the gist of each person's view, exactly wording is likely to be wrong.

The party: Warden, Shaman (bear), wizard, sorceror(me) playing an LFR module at APL6. This is a regular group that plays with eachother every week, although this is the first time this particular combination of characters have adventured together. I'll use class names rather than player names in order to protect the identity of those concerned.

The situation: The enemy has just received reinforcements. The PCs, despite having downed several foes, are struggling. The party is heavily split, partly to avoid a damage aura, but also because no one except the Warden is comforable in melee. Last round I moved to finish off a bloodied creature that was chasing our wizard. Some hard hitting minions down our shaman - our only healer! It's my turn.

Wizard: You should help the Shaman.

I count the squares to the Shaman. He's 10 squares away, and my action point is already spent, so there's no way I can first aid him this turn. I come up with a new plan on the spur of the moment.

Me: I spend a standard to cast Blazing starfall over there (makes rolls). I then run 8 squares towards our Shaman so I'm only a shift away from him next turn.

Shaman: You can't do that - you didn't take -5 to your attack roll.

Me: I don't have to. The -5 only applies from the point when you take the run action.

DM: Well you should take the -5 next turn then.

Me: No - the penalty lasts until the start of your next turn.

Shaman: That's broken

Wizard: I agree

Me: I still grant combat advantage, since I took the run action.

DM: You should be taking the -5. I'll let you get away with it this one time, but from now on,  I'll give you a choice. If you take a run action like that you'll either face a -5 penalty the following turn, or I'll start making you have to announce all your actions at the start of a turn and then you'll take a -5 to the attack before you run.

Me: So that's a house rule then?

Shaman: Everyone else thinks you're in the wrong. Why are you still fighting this?

-------

At that point, even though the Shaman player's statement wasn't strictly accurate, I stopped making a big deal of it - it simply wasn't that important. But I still fealt uneasy about the situation. What I did wasn't remotely powerful - it's something I've been aware was possible for some time, but I simply never wanted to run after making an attack until now.

I prefer to avoid house rules, since I'd prefer to play with my regular group according to the same rules I'd use at a convention. The actual rules issue really wasn't that big a deal to me,

But more to the point - I can't really understand the psychology of what was going on, and that's what I'd like to get an opinion on. Why did the other players act like that?

Why did two players agree that what I did was "broken" when it's effect on game balance was microscopic?

Why did the DM feel it necessary to make such an ultimatum (which amounted to - my way or the highway, since obviously no-one wants to go back to the days of pre-announcing).

Of course the DMs word is final - but should it be used like that to shut down discussion quite so quickly?

I've thought about this. What was really going on in the game?

Have the other players started to confuse game rules with ethics? Did they view what I did as being somehow morally wrong, and worthy of punishment (even though no-one around the table produced the slightest evidence that what I did was against the rules)?

My action may, at a stretch, be considered a "creative use of game mechanics". Although the amount of creativity required wasn't particular high. But was I in some sense being punished for being creative? My group can be quite conservative about some issues. Did they come to the game with some sort of pre-conceived notion of "this is how people ought to play", and react badly to anyone stepping outside of those boundaries?

Were they trying to bully me into shutting down discussion?
I think the problem was you made a little mistake.  Not a rules mistake, since you were completely in the right on this one.  The mistake you made was agreeing with the Shaman that it was "broken" which IMO it is not.  That gave the DM fuel to make an erroneous ruling.  It's going to be much harder now to convince him that running after an attack, thereby avoiding the hit penalty, is not problematic.  But that's in the past.  From now on, try not to give anyone the impression that your legal tactics are in any way exploitative.

Bully is a pretty strong word.  Hopefully your DM was just thinking about other things or having a bad moment and will rethink his ruling if you discuss it with him.  I would give it one more try - discuss it with him calmly and rationally outside of the game, explaining to him that it's a "microscopic" effect, that taking no penalty to hit because you ran AFTER you attacked makes perfect sense and that houseruling this situation isn't necessary because it's punishing the other players for doing something completely legal because they took the time to learn the rules well.

However, be prepared to accept his ruling no matter what happens.  Then try to get yourself some boots that negate the hit penalty 

Is there some other friction going on between you and other players where they feel you need to be taken down a notch?  Is it because they don't have the rules knowledge you do? 

If that is the case, you could fix that by doing whatever you can when the opportunity comes up to help them optimize their tactics.  Keep in mind you don't want to be an obnoxious coach and run their character, but perhaps you can lead by example.  Know the rules, use them, and present it as a learning opportunity for the others in some way - "Anyone can do this ... it works like this and it will help the whole party ..."  I did this once when I demonstrated the "wheel of death" maneuver for the other players to help us maximize our opportunities for flanking, and they thought it was pretty neat.

OD&D, 1E and 2E challenged the player. 3E challenged the character, not the player. Now 4E takes it a step further by challenging a GROUP OF PLAYERS to work together as a TEAM. That's why I love 4E.

"Your ability to summon a horde of celestial superbeings at will is making my ... BMX skills look a bit redundant."

"People treat their lack of imagination as if it's the measure of what's silly. Which is silly." - Noon

"Challenge" is overrated.  "Immersion" is usually just a more pretentious way of saying "having fun playing D&D."

"Falling down is how you grow.  Staying down is how you die.  It's not what happens to you, it's what you do after it happens.”

>The mistake you made was agreeing with the Shaman that it was "broken" which IMO it is not.

It was the wizard's player who agreed that it was broken, not me.

>Is there some other friction going on between you and other players where they feel you need to be taken down a notch?  Is it because they don't have the rules knowledge you do?

There may be some truth to that. The previous week I'd suggested to the Shaman's player that as he moved towards Paragon his defences in leather armour wouldn't keep up, and that next time he levelled up he should take the opportunity for a rebuild and swap to wearing some form of heavy armour. His response was quite negative and he indicated that since he was the only healer it was the responsibility of the rest of the party to keep him safe.

And then during play that session he'd been targeted by a rat swarm and several hard hitting minions. I spent most of the combat blasting the stuff attacking him, and at one stage deliberately moved to put myself between him and the swarm. However, there were other times I played coward. And the wizard did very little to protect the Shaman. So maybe the Shaman was blaming us for not protecting him the way he expected. But what am I to do - my sorceror isn't built to tank and did most of her levelling in a two defender party. And whatever feelings the Shaman's player may have had still don't explain the reactions of the DM or the Wizard's player.

Earlier in the session I'd also used dragon fear, and it was probably the first time that anyone in the group had seen it (I'd swapped out dragon breath when I last levelled). Everyone seemed quite impressed with the new power, and no one complained about it, but that may have put people on alert.
I don't think it has anything to do with the literal interpretation of the rules for Running (though for the record, I'd have sided with you on that one), but I also don't think that the argument is based on the other players' feelings about you personally. Though if you do see a habit or trend forming on that one, you might want to address it.

Rather, I think that the DM's and other players' response to your actions is based on the spirit of the law. They might think that the -5 penalty to hit is a crucial element of the trade-off that you have to make in order to get your bonus +2 speed, and that circumventing that trade-off by attacking before you run breaks their perceived intention of the -5 penalty as part of the tradeoff, which could be either to discourage players from running and attacking willy-nilly to exploting an enemy, or to enforce the realistic 'vision' of how a character would run.

An example of the exploitation reason could be a melee character who attacks (without the -5) and then runs away (provoking an OA for the hassle), forcing the enemy to run as well if it wants to attack this turn (at -5 to hit). It's a situational tactic that has a small overall benefit, yes, but it could be perceived as unfair as you didn't take the -5 but the monster did.

An example of the realistic 'vision' reason could be the others see running and attacking as a caster character to be done at the same time - your character casts the spell while s/he is running, and that should have an effect on the character's ability to concentrate on the spell. Maybe casting the spell before bolting off doesn't seem realistic given that each round is supposed to be 6 seconds. ... Or was it 10? Nevermind.

Finally, note that arguments at the table like this one often aren't fueled by logical contemplation, they're fuelled by raw emotion. We're probably spending a deal of time trying to figure out why they reacted the way they did; they obviously didn't take as much time to form their argument, more like reacting on a feeling that some sort of injustice is being done. Justification for their argument will take just as long for them to come up with as it is taking for us to try and discover.

~The Chilli God Has Spoken.


Rather, I think that the DM's and other players' response to your actions is based on the spirit of the law. They might think that the -5 penalty to hit is a crucial element of the trade-off that you have to make in order to get your bonus +2 speed, and that circumventing that trade-off by attacking before you run breaks their perceived intention of the -5 penalty as part of the tradeoff, which could be either to discourage players from running and attacking willy-nilly to exploting an enemy, or to enforce the realistic 'vision' of how a character would run.

An example of the exploitation reason could be a melee character who attacks (without the -5) and then runs away (provoking an OA for the hassle), forcing the enemy to run as well if it wants to attack this turn (at -5 to hit). It's a situational tactic that has a small overall benefit, yes, but it could be perceived as unfair as you didn't take the -5 but the monster did.

An example of the realistic 'vision' reason could be the others see running and attacking as a caster character to be done at the same time - your character casts the spell while s/he is running, and that should have an effect on the character's ability to concentrate on the spell. Maybe casting the spell before bolting off doesn't seem realistic given that each round is supposed to be 6 seconds. ... Or was it 10? Nevermind.



This is almost certainly the basis for their argument against you.



Does it sync up with the exact RAW?  No. 

Is that a bad thing?  Nope, not at all. 
You see people have been playing this game with variations/House Rules for nearly 40 years (even at cons!). 
So don't let it bug you.  Sure, know all the "correct" rules for when you play at cons.  But bear in mind how any individual groups you play with prefer it to be done....

And remember: No matter what, the DM trumps the rules. (especially true if the majority of the players agree with him)
  


DM: You should be taking the -5. I'll let you get away with it this one time, but from now on,  I'll give you a choice. If you take a run action like that you'll either face a -5 penalty the following turn, or I'll start making you have to announce all your actions at the start of a turn and then you'll take a -5 to the attack before you run.

Me: So that's a house rule then?

Shaman: Everyone else thinks you're in the wrong. Why are you still fighting this?



Your DM made a call that is completely reasonable. You pointed out it wasn't RAW, he said well I'd like to do it this way anyway, and all the players but 1 agreed. At this point you should simply say OK cool I will play it that way. 


It doesn't matter if the group or DM acknowledges it as a house rule, what matters is everyone but you agree with a ruling and you are fighting them on it. That makes you a problem player.


Its one thing to say "Hey I think it works like this" and another to press for your way even after everyone has heard arguements, and decided against you. At most bring it up after the session to the DM privatly and don't waste game time on this.



"In a way, you are worse than Krusk"                               " As usual, Krusk comments with assuredness, but lacks the clarity and awareness of what he's talking about"

"Can't say enough how much I agree with Krusk"        "Wow, thank you very much"

"Your advice is the worst"

Personally I'd be looking for a new group at this point, because that's far more in the ways of appallingly poor judgement and passive-aggressive behaviour than I would be willing to deal with in a game I'm playing to have fun after all. A DM so quick to completely turn the rules on their head because of some perceived "brokenness", especially, is nobody I will knowingly play with; there's no guessing what rule he'll next overturn on a whim, and that undermines the very point of playing a game like this in the first place.


Your DM made a call that is completely reasonable.

Nothing about that houseruling was at all reasonable – the only thing it achieves is further devalue an action that already sees little enough use as it is. Abiding by it means endorsing it means being part of the problem.
We're probably spending a deal of time trying to figure out why they reacted the way they did; they obviously didn't take as much time to form their argument, more like reacting on a feeling that some sort of injustice is being done. Justification for their argument will take just as long for them to come up with as it is taking for us to try and discover.



You use the term "injustice" - that ties in with one of my comments in my original post - that there seems to me that in some sense morality and ethics are intruding upon roleplaying rules. The other player have some sort of sense of how things should work - how things ought to be. They are assigning value  judgements. But these judgements are based on emotion and instinct rather than reason, and hence are unlikely to be consistent or to stand up to much analysis.

To me, there's only one real reason to override the core rules. Fun. If something is blatantly broken and is causing the game to suffer - if players are finishing every encounter in a single round, or their defences become so certain that the monsters are no longer a threat then of course the DM needs to step in and fix the game. There are times when house rules are necessary.

So I'd support house rules if someone can put together a good well reasoned case for them. But when rules are based on emotion rather than reason then to me things become significantly more dangerous. Rules decisions may change according to who they are applied to. Or whether people are feeling tired. Or according to what happened previously in a sesssion. They may change from week to week. Or according to which particular player is DMing. Some players disagree about rules, and may make snide comments about them accross the table. To me this sort of thing is corrosive and I'm worried that it's happening to my game.

And remember: No matter what, the DM trumps the rules. (especially true if the majority of the players agree with him)



As I said earlier, I'm not really worried about this particular ruling. It's the first time I've ever wanted to run after making an attack, and it's not something I'd see myself as likely to do again for some time.

I'm more interested in understanding the psychology behind the discussions that lead to the ruling.

Your DM made a call that is completely reasonable. You pointed out it wasn't RAW, he said well I'd like to do it this way anyway, and all the players but 1 agreed. At this point you should simply say OK cool I will play it that way. 

It doesn't matter if the group or DM acknowledges it as a house rule, what matters is everyone but you agree with a ruling and you are fighting them on it. That makes you a problem player.

Its one thing to say "Hey I think it works like this" and another to press for your way even after everyone has heard arguements, and decided against you. At most bring it up after the session to the DM privatly and don't waste game time on this.




You say "everyone has heard arguements". According to my recollection, no-one apart from me even really bothered to make an argument. There was just name-calling ("it's broken") and a decision. No-one even tried to say why it was broken. The discussion was over quite quickly.

You're completely wrong about accusing me of pressing the point. I didn't. I shut up. And the game continued. And the PCs triumphed and then we ate a curry and watched a DVD afterwards.

There's no point in ever really discussing the ruling again. I know I'm right according to RAW (as others have agreed here). And I know that won't make the slightest difference, because if I raise the matter with the group again I'm likely to be met with nothing but negativity. It simply isn't worth the hassle over such a minor point. So I'm not arguing. There's nothing really to argue about. Or at least not regarding the rules decision, although I guess I'm disagreeing with you in this thread .

What I am trying to do is to understand. Where are the other players coming from? How should I deal with such things in the future?



Hey,

I think the problem with the run-and-attack thing is not that it's 'broken' in a mechanical sense, but rather that it 'breaks my suspension of disbelief' (as buttressed by the rest of the combat rules) - i.e. I agree with your DM (sorry).

It's really tricky to have a rules dispute at the table, and normally my group - health warning, we're strictly limited to a 3hour session, so there's some emphasis on moving on, so long as we have fun - glides over it with one ruling or another, even if inconsistent.

I don't think we're alone in that, so if you feel you were run over a bit without a chance for discussion, then that's probably exactly what happened and maybe for that reason - as you say, it's not such a significant thing anyway. In future, you might say that it's a bit unclear to you (even if you know you're right) or that you're a bit confused, and ask for a proper check (or that they explain fully) between sessions when there's more time for that. Then your group can go on with the rule as-written, or a clear house rule overriding it. At the table, people will probably quickly become bored and perhaps irritated if they're stuck talking about the rules of D&D rather than playing it (no matter the details of the issue under consideration).

If 4 out of 5 people at the table want the house rule, however, then that's the game they want to play, and whether or not it's strictly D&D then you're stuck with the choice to play the game they want with them or not.

Final point - the Shaman comes across as a bit of an ass. Maybe he was upset because his character got downed, or maybe he was just having a bad day. It's pretty much impossible to leave all your baggage off the table, so, yeah. That can happen.

Yours,

JMH
If I were in your situation, which I agree was the correct interpretation of the rules, I would talk to the DM (alone) on how he or she wants to handle rule disputes in the future. As a DM, I would state to follow my interpretation at the moment, and I will look up the rule later. However, if you meet alot of resistance to delay a ruling until there is chance to look it up, then you will have to decide if you can live with similar rulings in the future, or play with a different group. Your DM may have other issues, or just a difference preference on how to play the game. The other players may be following the DMs lead.
I'm more interested in understanding the psychology behind the discussions that lead to the ruling.


No clue who you game with, so I cannot speak as to their psychology.  But, I can speak for myself as a player.  If there is a rule dispute, I can either sit there bored with my thumb in my ear or I can say what my thoughts on the subject are.  Whether it is beneficial or not for another player is not a concern.  I simply call it as I see it.  Sometimes stronger words like "broken" are used.  No big deal.  The DM ultimately makes a call and things go on.

I have no idea why this is an issue.  Seems a small thing.  Is the campaign fun?
I shut up. And the game continued. And the PCs triumphed and then we ate a curry and watched a DVD afterwards.

What I am trying to do is to understand. Where are the other players coming from? How should I deal with such things in the future?



In the future you "Shut up" about it. Which includes not complaining on the internet about your group. Then getting angry when people don't immediately pump your ego, and talk about how great you handled the situation.


The other players, from your story, are coming from a stance of "Seriously, shut up, we want to go back to the game and don't feel like debating the rules right now". They don't care about the intricacies of the rules, and just want things to go smoothly in play. DM made a call, go with it.



You say "everyone has heard arguements". According to my recollection, no-one apart from me even really bothered to make an argument. There was just name-calling ("it's broken") and a decision. No-one even tried to say why it was broken. The discussion was over quite quickly.


According to your story everyone gave arguements on why they didn't want to do it your way. They were quick, and not well thought out, but they were given. It sounds like the main arguement was "Its broken". Again, not well thought out or correct. But given. Saying "Its broken" isn't name calling. Name calling is saying "Its broken you dumb jerk-head. No you can't do that". One involves a personal attack, and the other involves a quick statement about a rule.



You're completely wrong about accusing me of pressing the point. I didn't.


From your story it sounds like you are pressing the point with them. This line (below) makes me think you were not willing to move on, way past when everyone else was.




Me: So that's a house rule then?

Shaman: Everyone else thinks you're in the wrong. Why are you still fighting this?

The DM had given their ruling. Your then saying "So thats a houserule then" is passive agressive, and arguing semantics. Who cares if it is a house rule. That is totally irrelivant to anything. From your retelling of the story, it seems, you are pressing the issue past where anyone cares just so that in the end you can be technically right.

-------


The alternative is that your group hates you and are total jerks who just want to be mean to you. They invite you back every week just to be mean to you because they think getting into arguements with you is fun.


Its one of the two.

"In a way, you are worse than Krusk"                               " As usual, Krusk comments with assuredness, but lacks the clarity and awareness of what he's talking about"

"Can't say enough how much I agree with Krusk"        "Wow, thank you very much"

"Your advice is the worst"

Your DM made a call that is completely reasonable.

Nothing about that houseruling was at all reasonable – the only thing it achieves is further devalue an action that already sees little enough use as it is. Abiding by it means endorsing it means being part of the problem.


Completely reasonable as in "The DM made the call in a reasonable manner" as described in the OP (IE wasn't a huge jerk about it). Not that the ruling was correct, or that I agree with it.



"In a way, you are worse than Krusk"                               " As usual, Krusk comments with assuredness, but lacks the clarity and awareness of what he's talking about"

"Can't say enough how much I agree with Krusk"        "Wow, thank you very much"

"Your advice is the worst"

1st. the rules as written are fine, if you cast and then run thats fine it is all in a 6 second situation per round you can shoot and run after all you want if you run then shoot then you take a -5, i dont take a loss for somthing im going to do later. 

2ed, it kind of sucks when your in this situation, it normally happens when someone busts out the word "broken" +2 to movement but granting CA is not broken. avoid accusing things of being broken all the time because people tend to jump on it.   

As a DM, I trust my players to know the rules fairly well. If I make a ruling, and one of them disagrees with me, I pretty much ask them if they're sure, and if they say they're sure, I defer and go with their ruling. I then look it up later (either during a break, after game, or outside of game night). If I have a player that consistently doesn't know the rules (and I do), that player gets deferred to less often (one player does not get deferred to at all).


I can't think of any time this has slowed down combat, at all. We still manage to get our 6-player group through two encounters and either a roleplay scene or a skill challenge (or both and one big combat scene), in a 3 hour session.

"Not only are you wrong, but I even created an Excel spreadsheet to show you how wrong you are." --James Wyatt, May 2006

Dilige, et quod vis fac

Hey,

I think the problem with the run-and-attack thing is not that it's 'broken' in a mechanical sense, but rather that it 'breaks my suspension of disbelief' (as buttressed by the rest of the combat rules) - i.e. I agree with your DM (sorry).

So attack and Move, and Attack and Shift should also generate a penality to the attack roll??

At the point of the attack there is nothing going when you make a run afterwards on that is not going on if you stand still afterwards. No penality before the run is not a suspension of disbelief issue, the penality before the run would be. The side effects of a run come from what running does to you, you are puching yourself beyound your normal limits if even for a shot time, which in most people is going to leave them a little winded/out of breath/off balance/etc. The peanlity represents this. However before you run you are not suffering from it. 

sorry, but if you are going to use "suspendsion of disbelief" to justify something, make sure it is actually a case where that applies, andthat what you are trying to justify is not something that requires it instead. 

As to the story, The DM is making a hasty call, and it sounds like he did not think it through fully, or did not understand the nature of what is going on. This is also in no way broken, as you do not get around the penalities. You still grant CA, and the -5 still applies if you are granted an attack before your next turn, like from an OA or anything else that triggers.
It could be that something is going on, behind the scenes. but it sounds like either the Shamman was upset, or just does not understand the rules, as the origional complaint (you did not take the -5) makes no sense under the rules. 
I'm not a huge fan of house rules.  So I recommend that you just write it down and  bring it up when the DM has anything attack and then run to see how quickly those attacks vs PC's become misses... or not.
Preferences... Not where they should be. Asking someone if they're Trolling you is in violation of section 3 of the Code of Conduct.

As a DM, I trust my players to know the rules fairly well. If I make a ruling, and one of them disagrees with me, I pretty much ask them if they're sure, and if they say they're sure, I defer and go with their ruling. I then look it up later (either during a break, after game, or outside of game night). If I have a player that consistently doesn't know the rules (and I do), that player gets deferred to less often (one player does not get deferred to at all).


I can't think of any time this has slowed down combat, at all. We still manage to get our 6-player group through two encounters and either a roleplay scene or a skill challenge (or both and one big combat scene), in a 3 hour session.




You are my hero.

My DM is a great story teller, but often he is not up to speed on 4e rules. This has caused many problems where I try and do something cause I know the rules, but get shut down because he doesnt believe me. It drives me nuts. Why not defer to the one who claims to have actually read the rule in question?

It would be so nice if he would just trust me that I know what I'm talking about. 

And that issue of trust is key to the success or failure of a group. Players who dont trust their DMs get the feeling that they are doomed from the start and are powerless. DM's who dont trust their players waste time and thought trying to make sure their world is 'childproof', thinking that their players will exploit any weakness in the world he has crafted.

As a DM, I trust my players to know the rules fairly well. If I make a ruling, and one of them disagrees with me, I pretty much ask them if they're sure, and if they say they're sure, I defer and go with their ruling. I then look it up later (either during a break, after game, or outside of game night). If I have a player that consistently doesn't know the rules (and I do), that player gets deferred to less often (one player does not get deferred to at all).


I can't think of any time this has slowed down combat, at all. We still manage to get our 6-player group through two encounters and either a roleplay scene or a skill challenge (or both and one big combat scene), in a 3 hour session.




You are my hero.

My DM is a great story teller, but often he is not up to speed on 4e rules. This has caused many problems where I try and do something cause I know the rules, but get shut down because he doesnt believe me. It drives me nuts. Why not defer to the one who claims to have actually read the rule in question?

It would be so nice if he would just trust me that I know what I'm talking about. 

And that issue of trust is key to the success or failure of a group. Players who dont trust their DMs get the feeling that they are doomed from the start and are powerless. DM's who dont trust their players waste time and thought trying to make sure their world is 'childproof', thinking that their players will exploit any weakness in the world he has crafted.



I would give you the universal response: "Talk to your DM."


Seriously, though, talk to your DM. If this is consistent behavior, and you feel the game is suffering for it (even if it's only your enjoyment of the game), talk to your DM about it, outside of game. Just be honest and fair about it, and let him know that, as a responsible player, you make it a point to know how your character and his/her powers work, and how the rules interact with them.


Or you can do what I do, get PDFs of your books (I scanned a bunch of mine, took FOREVER), and copy the full text of all your powers (with errata/updates) into a little booklet, and keep it with you.


If there's ever a doubt in how my character works, I tuck my notecards into my shirt pocket and whip out my folder o' rules.


There are rarely doubts in how my character works.

"Not only are you wrong, but I even created an Excel spreadsheet to show you how wrong you are." --James Wyatt, May 2006

Dilige, et quod vis fac

And don't get all angry at the DM.

I do that kind of stuff too, but I usually try to get the game to move on. It's just... odd if a paladin does like 26 damage at level 1...
I know that it's a once per encounter deal now, and he rolled really well that time. Got an elite from just above bloodied to dead in one turn with an action point.
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At the point of the attack there is nothing going when you make a run afterwards on that is not going on if you stand still afterwards. No penality before the run is not a suspension of disbelief issue, the penality before the run would be. The side effects of a run come from what running does to you, you are puching yourself beyound your normal limits if even for a shot time, which in most people is going to leave them a little winded/out of breath/off balance/etc. The peanlity represents this. However before you run you are not suffering from it. 

 




Well, to be fair the RAW doesn't really follow that logic which is why there seems to have been some confusion about it at the table. If the logic behid the rule is that the penalty comes from exerting yourself beyond usual by running, the logical rule would be "You take a penalty of -5 to your next attack roll". This is because all actions in a round are happening during the same 6 second interval, so a player's first action in round 2 technically comes immidiately after his last action in round 1 with no rest or wait time in between.

Though as is, Catharic's interpretation was correct. But this is such a minor issue that I don't see why the psychology of it matters at all.

DM: You should be taking the -5. I'll let you get away with it this one time, but from now on,  I'll give you a choice. If you take a run action like that you'll either face a -5 penalty the following turn, or I'll start making you have to announce all your actions at the start of a turn and then you'll take a -5 to the attack before you run.

Me: So that's a house rule then?

Shaman: Everyone else thinks you're in the wrong. Why are you still fighting this?

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Were they trying to bully me into shutting down discussion?


Yes, they were, they clearly favor the DM in the "at game" scenario.  The DM was being completely unreasonable, that's a classic brow-beat tactic that he used.  "I'll let you get away with it" - makes him instantly the good guy and you the rule breaker.  "I'll give you a choice ..."- puts you in a lose lose situation that you can't argue with because "it's a choice".  The whole "announce all your actions" is also a bully tactic to force you into taking the penalty next turn, much like being made to stand in the front of the class while reading a note you were passing (ie. public humiliation/show of subservience).

I'll echo some of the other suggestions, the first being to bring it up with the DM.  Don't mention any of the psychology, don't say it upset you, or you thought it was unfair.  You can even put him in the disadvantaged position by appealing to the story, like "I just thought it would be more cinematic to have my character rushing to try to save his ally while trying to keep the enemies at bay."  I personally think it would be fun to take him up on that "choice" and start obnoxiously announcing in excrutating detail all of your actions "just so there's no confusion of the order of things", but that really only works if you are capable of being the alpha dog of the group to begin with.
"Invokers are probably better round after round but Wizard dailies are devastating. Actually, devastating is too light a word. Wizard daily powers are soul crushing, encounter ending, havoc causing pieces of awesome." -AirPower25 Sear the Flesh, Purify the Soul; Harden the Heart, and Improve the Mind; Born of Blood, but Forged by Fire; The MECH warrior reaches perfection.

DM: You should be taking the -5. I'll let you get away with it this one time, but from now on,  I'll give you a choice. If you take a run action like that you'll either face a -5 penalty the following turn, or I'll start making you have to announce all your actions at the start of a turn and then you'll take a -5 to the attack before you run.

Me: So that's a house rule then?

Shaman: Everyone else thinks you're in the wrong. Why are you still fighting this?

-------

Were they trying to bully me into shutting down discussion?


Yes, they were, they clearly favor the DM in the "at game" scenario.  The DM was being completely unreasonable, that's a classic brow-beat tactic that he used.  "I'll let you get away with it" - makes him instantly the good guy and you the rule breaker.  "I'll give you a choice ..."- puts you in a lose lose situation that you can't argue with because "it's a choice".  The whole "announce all your actions" is also a bully tactic to force you into taking the penalty next turn, much like being made to stand in the front of the class while reading a note you were passing (ie. public humiliation/show of subservience).

I'll echo some of the other suggestions, the first being to bring it up with the DM.  Don't mention any of the psychology, don't say it upset you, or you thought it was unfair.  You can even put him in the disadvantaged position by appealing to the story, like "I just thought it would be more cinematic to have my character rushing to try to save his ally while trying to keep the enemies at bay."  I personally think it would be fun to take him up on that "choice" and start obnoxiously announcing in excrutating detail all of your actions "just so there's no confusion of the order of things", but that really only works if you are capable of being the alpha dog of the group to begin with.



I would follow through on that choice and start announcing everything I'm going to do as well, perhaps even intentionally coming up with complicated maneuvers or obscure things that would have to be checked in many different books at once, but then again I've always been in a position where I get leadership trust upon me, no matter what, since the other group members seem to be more comfortable that way, so I've never had a DM + other group members VS me, really.
It's always been DM vs group, with the discussion usually being started by one of us(certainly not always me), although usually after the first exchange of argumentation the rest of the group then looks at me, since I know the rules best. I like to keep everything civil though, and I usually abide by "DM knows best" whenever the discussion ends up in a gray area.

The difference here is tough, it's not a gray area and your DM wasn't very diplomatic about it, I would show no mercy. If the DM treats you right, treat your DM right, is what I always say.(I DM aswell and I tend to be very lenient, perhaps overly so. Whenever someone asks me if they can do something I tend to say yes the moment it adds something to the game, as long as it doesn't break anything.)

The one thing that nobody is really hitting on is that this was an LFR module that was being run. LFR is pretty strict on running RAW over RAI, since it makes cohesion of the whole system of player expectation easier, up to and including ridiculous notions such as the monk auto-kill level 1 power (I don't know if they have cleaned up Harmonious Thunder yet, even).

RAW states:

Run: A creature uses a move action to move it's speed plus up to 2 additional squares. As soon as a creature starts running, it both grants combat advantage and takes a -5 penalty to attack rolls until the start of it's next turn. (emphasis mine); RC pg 203

So, the OP has a valid argument that you can cast Starfall (no penalty), run (penalty begins), then at the start of your next turn, be free and clear of your -5 penalty. It would only affect OAs that you were granted or attacks given to you through some other triggering event. And since it is an LFR module, if you wanted, you could go above the DM's head and get the issue cleared up for the group's 'peace of mind' that it isn't broken.
So many PCs, so little time...