Need help convincing my DM

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Hi all,

My DM is a pretty good DM.  I'll start with that.  Sometimes though, he lets certain fluff and flavor things drive the mechanics of the game in ways that become extremely difficult.  One such occasion happened that completely shut down my buddy's character and partially the rest of the party.  Here it is:

The Situation:  We were fighting ghostlike creatures.  I hit with a power that slides and the DM said, "These can't be slid."  My buddy hit with a power that pushes and he said, "These can't be pushed."  He then hit with a power that prones and, of course, "These can't be proned."  The creatures then began grabbing us and engulfing us inside of them.  It would have been nice to use forced movement to break that grab!  So I asked the DM, does it actually say that these creatures are immune to forced movement and the prone condition on the stat block?  He said, "No, but come on, they don't have legs!"  I would typically let this go, but we really got destroyed in that combat because none of our tactics or powers were working except for the damage. 

My Request:  I know that the rule on prone and forced movement should apply and make no exception for strange creatures like oozes or ghosts.  But, can you point me to a very clear rules source that specifically says that such things are not exceptions?  If you can, that would be tremendous as I believe this dungeon will have many more of them.  Basically, I'm not looking for something like this:  "When a power says that you knock a creature prone it must take a move action to stand and takes a -2 penalty to..."  We know what prone normally does but the disagreement is on whether it always applies and he needs a very clear answer.  Rather, I'm looking for something like this: "Powers that knock a creature prone apply regardless of a creature's physical characteristics, such as having no legs, unless the monster's stat block specifically says otherwise."

Thanks in advance!
It's perfectly within his power to add such things, even on the fly, to monsters.

Though adding new features to a monster also means he's adding more diffiuclty.  So he should up the XP accordingly.

Also, and good knowlage check should reveal such things.

guides
List of no-action attacks.
Dynamic vs Static Bonuses
Phalanx tactics and builds
Crivens! A Pictsies Guide Good
Power
s to intentionally miss with
Mr. Cellophane: How to be unnoticed
Way's to fire around corners
Crits: what their really worth
Retroactive bonus vs Static bonus.
Runepriest handbook & discussion thread
Holy Symbols to hang around your neck
Ways to Gain or Downgrade Actions
List of bonuses to saving throws
The Ghost with the Most (revenant handbook)
my builds
F-111 Interdictor Long (200+ squares) distance ally teleporter. With some warlord stuff. Broken in a plot way, not a power way.

Thought Switch Higher level build that grants upto 14 attacks on turn 1. If your allies play along, it's broken.

Elven Critters Crit op with crit generation. 5 of these will end anything. Broken.

King Fisher Optimized net user.  Moderate.

Boominator Fun catch-22 booming blade build with either strong or completely broken damage depending on your reading.

Very Distracting Warlock Lot's of dazing and major penalties to hit. Overpowered.

Pocket Protector Pixie Stealth Knight. Maximizing the defender's aura by being in an ally's/enemy's square.

Yakuza NinjIntimiAdin: Perma-stealth Striker that offers a little protection for ally's, and can intimidate bloodied enemies. Very Strong.

Chargeburgler with cheese Ranged attacks at the end of a charge along with perma-stealth. Solid, could be overpowered if tweaked.

Void Defender Defends giving a penalty to hit anyone but him, then removing himself from play. Can get somewhat broken in epic.

Scry and Die Attacking from around corners, while staying hidden. Moderate to broken, depending on the situation.

Skimisher Fly in, attack, and fly away. Also prevents enemies from coming close. Moderate to Broken depending on the enemy, but shouldn't make the game un-fun, as the rest of your team is at risk, and you have enough weaknesses.

Indestructible Simply won't die, even if you sleep though combat.  One of THE most abusive character in 4e.

Sir Robin (Bravely Charge Away) He automatically slows and pushes an enemy (5 squares), while charging away. Hard to rate it's power level, since it's terrain dependent.

Death's Gatekeeper A fun twist on a healic, making your party "unkillable". Overpowered to Broken, but shouldn't actually make the game un-fun, just TPK proof.

Death's Gatekeeper mk2, (Stealth Edition) Make your party "unkillable", and you hidden, while doing solid damage. Stronger then the above, but also easier for a DM to shut down. Broken, until your DM get's enough of it.

Domination and Death Dominate everything then kill them quickly. Only works @ 30, but is broken multiple ways.

Battlemind Mc Prone-Daze Protecting your allies by keeping enemies away. Quite powerful.

The Retaliator Getting hit deals more damage to the enemy then you receive yourself, and you can take plenty of hits. Heavy item dependency, Broken.

Dead Kobold Transit Teleports 98 squares a turn, and can bring someone along for the ride. Not fully built, so i can't judge the power.

Psilent Guardian Protect your allies, while being invisible. Overpowered, possibly broken.

Rune of Vengance Do lot's of damage while boosting your teams. Strong to slightly overpowered.

Charedent BarrageA charging ardent. Fine in a normal team, overpowered if there are 2 together, and easily broken in teams of 5.

Super Knight A tough, sticky, high damage knight. Strong.

Super Duper Knight Basically the same as super knight with items, making it far more broken.

Mora, the unkillable avenger Solid damage, while being neigh indestuctable. Overpowered, but not broken.

Swordburst Maximus At-Will Close Burst 3 that slide and prones. Protects allies with off actions. Strong, possibly over powered with the right party.

"Powers that knock a creature prone apply regardless of a creature's physical characteristics, such as having no legs, unless the monster's stat block specifically says otherwise."

Thanks in advance!



There's no rule that says that, but there doesn't need to be, because there's no rule that says the opposite.  Powers do what they say they do.  Nowhere does it say that legless creatures are immune to any condition, so they are not.

We also have these entries from the 4e Monster Manual FAQ:
Can creatures with properties like Phasing or Insubstantial be pushed or otherwise effected by forced movement?
Yes, these creatures are still affected normally.

Can an ooze be knocked prone?
In situations like this, DMs are encouraged to change the flavor of what is happening without changing the actual rules governing the situation. For example, the ooze could be so disoriented by the blow that it suffers the same disadvantages as if it had been knocked prone until it spends a move action to stand up effectively shaking off the condition.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
Worth noting that some Oozes, particularly MM3 and later, DO have immunity to Prone, and many mobs, including most Dwarves, do have some resistance to forced movement.  However, this is explicit within their stat blocks.  DMs can add things like this on the fly, but it can get a bit mean.
Harrying your Prey, the Easy Way: A Hunter's Handbook - the first of what will hopefully be many CharOp efforts on my part. The Blinker - teleport everywhere. An Eladrin Knight/Eldritch Knight. CB != rules source.
Thanks.

I agree he CAN do it as DM, but he feels like there is no alternative because it MUST of course be this way for such creatures.  Again, if he wants to add that sort of stuff in, cool.  But we got destroyed in that encounter and couldn't even run away.  It was a TPK.  That's kinda not cool.  He used a far reaching deus ex machina kind of thing to bring us all back.  I think in part because he realized the encounter was too hard but can't figure out why.  The knowledge check was made and the info was not given. 

And I agree that there doesn't have to be such an explicit rule, but it would be helpful when discussing this with him because he doesn't agree.

Anyway, I think the two FAQ entries Salla pointed out will be helpful.  I'm guessing those are online on the wizard's site right?
Thanks.

I agree he CAN do it as DM, but he feels like there is no alternative because it MUST of course be this way for such creatures.  Again, if he wants to add that sort of stuff in, cool.  But we got destroyed in that encounter and couldn't even run away.  It was a TPK.  That's kinda not cool.  He used a far reaching deus ex machina kind of thing to bring us all back.  I think in part because he realized the encounter was too hard but can't figure out why.  The knowledge check was made and the info was not given.

Every DM makes mistakes.  But if he add's abilities (and he did), he needs to compinsate for them.

Anyway, I think the two FAQ entries Salla pointed out will be helpful.  I'm guessing those are online on the wizard's site right?

Yes.

guides
List of no-action attacks.
Dynamic vs Static Bonuses
Phalanx tactics and builds
Crivens! A Pictsies Guide Good
Power
s to intentionally miss with
Mr. Cellophane: How to be unnoticed
Way's to fire around corners
Crits: what their really worth
Retroactive bonus vs Static bonus.
Runepriest handbook & discussion thread
Holy Symbols to hang around your neck
Ways to Gain or Downgrade Actions
List of bonuses to saving throws
The Ghost with the Most (revenant handbook)
my builds
F-111 Interdictor Long (200+ squares) distance ally teleporter. With some warlord stuff. Broken in a plot way, not a power way.

Thought Switch Higher level build that grants upto 14 attacks on turn 1. If your allies play along, it's broken.

Elven Critters Crit op with crit generation. 5 of these will end anything. Broken.

King Fisher Optimized net user.  Moderate.

Boominator Fun catch-22 booming blade build with either strong or completely broken damage depending on your reading.

Very Distracting Warlock Lot's of dazing and major penalties to hit. Overpowered.

Pocket Protector Pixie Stealth Knight. Maximizing the defender's aura by being in an ally's/enemy's square.

Yakuza NinjIntimiAdin: Perma-stealth Striker that offers a little protection for ally's, and can intimidate bloodied enemies. Very Strong.

Chargeburgler with cheese Ranged attacks at the end of a charge along with perma-stealth. Solid, could be overpowered if tweaked.

Void Defender Defends giving a penalty to hit anyone but him, then removing himself from play. Can get somewhat broken in epic.

Scry and Die Attacking from around corners, while staying hidden. Moderate to broken, depending on the situation.

Skimisher Fly in, attack, and fly away. Also prevents enemies from coming close. Moderate to Broken depending on the enemy, but shouldn't make the game un-fun, as the rest of your team is at risk, and you have enough weaknesses.

Indestructible Simply won't die, even if you sleep though combat.  One of THE most abusive character in 4e.

Sir Robin (Bravely Charge Away) He automatically slows and pushes an enemy (5 squares), while charging away. Hard to rate it's power level, since it's terrain dependent.

Death's Gatekeeper A fun twist on a healic, making your party "unkillable". Overpowered to Broken, but shouldn't actually make the game un-fun, just TPK proof.

Death's Gatekeeper mk2, (Stealth Edition) Make your party "unkillable", and you hidden, while doing solid damage. Stronger then the above, but also easier for a DM to shut down. Broken, until your DM get's enough of it.

Domination and Death Dominate everything then kill them quickly. Only works @ 30, but is broken multiple ways.

Battlemind Mc Prone-Daze Protecting your allies by keeping enemies away. Quite powerful.

The Retaliator Getting hit deals more damage to the enemy then you receive yourself, and you can take plenty of hits. Heavy item dependency, Broken.

Dead Kobold Transit Teleports 98 squares a turn, and can bring someone along for the ride. Not fully built, so i can't judge the power.

Psilent Guardian Protect your allies, while being invisible. Overpowered, possibly broken.

Rune of Vengance Do lot's of damage while boosting your teams. Strong to slightly overpowered.

Charedent BarrageA charging ardent. Fine in a normal team, overpowered if there are 2 together, and easily broken in teams of 5.

Super Knight A tough, sticky, high damage knight. Strong.

Super Duper Knight Basically the same as super knight with items, making it far more broken.

Mora, the unkillable avenger Solid damage, while being neigh indestuctable. Overpowered, but not broken.

Swordburst Maximus At-Will Close Burst 3 that slide and prones. Protects allies with off actions. Strong, possibly over powered with the right party.

Huh, no forced movement what so ever on a ghost?  It can make sense, until you start delving further.

If you can't physically push a ghost, why can you actually hurt it with a sword?  How the heck then if I can't touch it, can it in turn touch/affect me and my surroundings?
Just because you can't knock a ghost prone, why can't you knock it over to such a degree that its literally knocked for a loop and is facing upwards or upside down, if not disrupt its incorporeal form enough to give you an advantage?  Thus causing it to need a move action to "stand back up" in the right orientation/form, and just apply the prone penalities, even if it isn't actually prone RP-wise.  Heck, just say you slammed the ghost so hard its ectoplasm went splat all between the ground and your weapon, and needs to pull itself back together.  Just reflavor prone to discombobulated or what its actually called.

The thing though, what to do on the fly when this occurs?  RP/Explain WHY the forced movement occurs.

Say with a Push?  Its not always a literal push that needs to force something backwards.
"I swing my hammer through the ghost, disturbing its form and with a toothy grin and wide-eyes I scream in its blasted face!  It flinches back from its former physical reflexes."
"My sword swings through its etheral form, leaving painful eddies swirling.  As my swing ends, my shield slips between him and I and I take a sudden quick step forwards to bring a wall of magical steel into its nose.  That should make the blasted thing back up!"
"Why does it move back?  Because I took a step forwards, as if I was going to step through it and be at its back!  It just didn't know it was a part of my trained technique for a fake, thus it took a step back to keep me in sight."

Magic-based forced movement?  That should be easy enough as its well ... magic.  My Warlock's Eldritch Strike's flavor is normally the enemy is slid not by might or force, but by a literal spatial wave from his habit of slipping between realities (Shadow Walk also flavored similar, and Shadows I tend to claim are not the literal shadows from light but of the "Shadow" between planes of existance).  But if that doesn't make sense on some enemies, it can be a slight mental command to go where I will.

The big thing with a DM claiming something doesn't work, is to explain/flavor WHY it will, or something similar enough to hope the DM will apply the condition reflavored (rather then make a completely new condition).
You might suggest a compromise to your DM. When I modify monsters (as a DM), I know I'm increasing the challenge. At the same time I don't want to nerf the PC builds because of my arbitrary rules.

For instance, I created a monster property that I add in certain cases:

"Stable" -- A property sometimes found on non-bipedal/quadruped creatures (slimes, worms and other types that lack legs/rear limbs)


  • Can move normally while prone (must spend a move action to "stand-up" if it wants to)

  • Still subject to the -2 attack penalty

  • Melee attacks against it have combat advantage

  • Other game elements that relate to the prone condition still work.

  • Typically reserved for Solo and Elite monsters.



 ...so in essence, the monster is still "prone" but its movement is unaffected. This still allows the PC to gain some benefits from the prone condition.

I don't just grant every monster this property, but do so for certain "tougher" monsters to increase the challenge. As a DM I know what the party is capable of...so I'm confident that increasing the challenge (in certain cases) is the right thing to do to make the game fun.
Most of the main points were already covered, but it should be pointed that that "not having legs" in no way would prevent push, slide or pull.  You can push, pull and slide flying creatures just like any other creature, and in fact you have more options because you can move them in 3-dimensions as long as the you follows the rules for push and pull about each space being farther or nearer.

   The key thing is that unless the monster stat block specifically says they are immune to forced movement, they are not immune to it.  It may seem counter-intututive, but in 4e you can even knock undead and constructs unconscious unless the monster stat block specifically states they are immune.

It's perfectly within his power to add such things, even on the fly, to monsters.

For a different POV, yeah, it IS within his power to do that, but he probably shouldn't do it on the fly.  It's within every referee's power to fudge the rules, but in most other games it's frowned upon.  How come it isn't within the players' power to add immunities to their characters in the middle of a fight if they're getting beat badly?  You know, to make it more fun and challenging for the DM?  I don't think too many DMs would be cool with that. 

My belief as a DM is that I'm a referee AND fellow player and I should stick to the same rules the  other players do - which in this case are the stat blocks for monsters as I prepared them ahead of time - just like the other players prepared their characters ahead of time.  If I really feel the need to up the challenge in the middle of a fight (rarely) I usually do it with story by simulating a difficulty increase by raising the stakes, storywise, or by suggesting the players take a course of action that leads to more encounters before an extended rest.  I don't do it by changing the rules or stat blocks in the middle of the game. 

Also, for every "good" DM who makes an encounter more fun by changing monsters in the middle of the fight there is one who just does it to make it harder and that's not always good, IMO.  The desire for the elusive encounter that is difficult enough to challenge the players but not difficult enough to TPK them is a funny thing.  Why are there so many DMs who feel that an encounter isn't fun unless it meets their definition of "challenging?"

Though adding new features to a monster also means he's adding more diffiuclty.  So he should up the XP accordingly.

Agreed.

Also, and good knowlage check should reveal such things.

Which is another reason why a DM should avoid changing the monsters in the middle of an encounter.

Anyway, just wanted to bring a different point of view on how I operate as a DM.  I tend to avoid adjusting encounters on the fly (at least, the stat block aspects) and let the chips fall where they may.  Instead, I trust the 4e math and my own storytelling abilities to make the encounter balanced and interesting.  And as we've seen in the case of the OP, players have ways of knowing you are artificially increasing difficulty in an encounter, so it's best to avoid it or do it very sparingly and for some reason other than "I want to make it harder."

Now, what about changing non-stats related aspects of the encounter on the fly?  That can also change the difficulty.  Is that "cheating"?  I dunno, you tell me.

All this having been said, my little treatise here might be better off on the DM's board. 

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.”

We had a similar discussion in our group one night that devolved into total hilarity. Someone teleported a Medium-sized Brute 2 squares over a Large Gelatinous Cube. Brute failed his save, teleport successful, and then wackiness ensued:

1) When a creature falls and takes damage, it falls prone. Brute fell into soft squishy cube, but took damage from the cube itself; Does the Brute fall prone?
2) Cube was already slowed from another effect. Cube was successfully attacked by someone with the World Serpent Grasp feat, which prones slowed or immobilized targets on a successful hit. Problem 1: How do you prone a CUBE ? Problem 2: What happens to the orientation of creatures grabbed/engulfed by the Cube?
3)Cube gets to go, attacks while "prone", and grabs a PC. Are the 2 creatures now grabbed by the cube oriented perpendicular to each other?
4)Cube "stands up". Which facing of the cube is now the top? Are either of the engulfed creatures now upside-down, and if so, is there any mechanical penalty?

Good news is, no one remotely tried to be a jerk about the situation, DM ruled that "Prone is prone, regardless of creature configuration. No penalty to escape the grab for being upside-down. Any other players who fall on the floor laughing WILL be penalized. Please just kill the damned thing."
1) Unless the DM use the automatic hit exception described in its Translucent Trait, the Brute would not be engulfed automatically by a Gelatinous Cube as this grabbing effect is normally the result of a specific attack (Engulf). Additionally, if an ally is not prone, you cannot share space with it so the Brute would fall in an empty square adjacent to the Gelatinous Cube if not engulfed.

2) Gelatinous Cubes can fall prone like any other creatures.

3) Creatures engulfed by a Gelatinous Cube are stuck standing adjacent to each another, regardless if the Gelatinous Cube is prone or standing.

4) There's no penalty related to Facing in 4E. The engulfed PC would not be upside down or prone, this even if the Gelatinous Cube was knocked prone while having creatured engulfed.


RC 233 Prone: This condition affect limbless creature, such as fish and snakes, as well as amorphous creatures, such as oozes. When such a creature falls prone, imagine it is writhing or unsteady, rather than literally lying down. The game effect on that creature is the same as for other creatures.

Yan
Montréal, Canada
@Plaguescarred on twitter

1) Unless the DM use the automatic hit exception described in its Translucent Trait, the Brute would not be engulfed automatically by a Gelatinous Cube as this grabbing effect is normally the result of a specific attack (Engulf). Additionally, if an ally is not prone, you cannot share space with it so the Brute would fall in an empty square adjacent to the Gelatinous Cube if not engulfed.

2) Gelatinous Cubes can fall prone like any other creatures.

3) Creatures engulfed by a Gelatinous Cube are stuck standing adjacent to each another, regardless if the Gelatinous Cube is prone or standing.

4) There's no penalty related to Facing in 4E. The engulfed PC would not be upside down or prone, this even if the Gelatinous Cube was knocked prone while having creatured engulfed.


RC 233 Prone: This condition affect limbless creature, such as fish and snakes, as well as amorphous creatures, such as oozes. When such a creature falls prone, imagine it is writhing or unsteady, rather than literally lying down. The game effect on that creature is the same as for other creatures.




There would be no mechanical benefits or drawbacks, but the DM is free to describe the scene anyway that makes the game more fun.  If he wants to say that the wizard is upside-down inside the gelatinous cube, that's fine.  It doesn't change anything about the wizard's attacks or anything - it's just fluff.
from the 4e Monster Manual FAQ:
Can creatures with properties like Phasing or Insubstantial be pushed or otherwise effected by forced movement?
Yes, these creatures are still affected normally.

Can an ooze be knocked prone?
In situations like this, DMs are encouraged to change the flavor of what is happening without changing the actual rules governing the situation. For example, the ooze could be so disoriented by the blow that it suffers the same disadvantages as if it had been knocked prone until it spends a move action to stand up effectively shaking off the condition.

Link here.

(note: these answers were written by the original designers, and these are the first two entries in their FAQ. It is definite that this is the way they intended 4e to be played, fwiw).