Odd Question (Need help with a rules lawyer)

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Hi all,

I've got a major league rules lawyer in my group. We decided to put straight out in front of him the part of the books that says "These rules are guidelines" so that he gets the picture. The problem is, for some reason, we're not finding it. Can someone (even multiple someones) tell me what book and page that quote, or one close to it, appears on? I know it's there, I just can't find it.

Thanks
Rule 0 no longer exists.
Back to Basics - A Guide to Basic Attacks You might be playing DnD wrong if... "Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." Albert Einstein
Rule 0 no longer exists.

You could always use Rule 0 to bring it back.
Playing by the rules isn't very hard, it just takes a bit of reading comprehension and desire to actually learn them, and doing so actually makes the game more fun for most people because then the game works better. Playing Make-Believe Fantasy Game™ is all well and good, but you don't need to pay money for rule books if you're not going to use them.
"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.
Hi all,

I've got a major league rules lawyer in my group. We decided to put straight out in front of him the part of the books that says "These rules are guidelines" so that he gets the picture. The problem is, for some reason, we're not finding it. Can someone (even multiple someones) tell me what book and page that quote, or one close to it, appears on? I know it's there, I just can't find it.

Thanks

You could just pull an "I'm the DM. Don't like it? Get out." One of my good friends used to just say, "It's a complicated matter," whenever we asked questions about why something worked the way it did. Basically, what I'm saying is if he or she can't respect you as a DM enough to play it the way the majority and DM can agree to play, then he or she needs to get lost.
You're looking for three pages in the Dungeon Master's Guide:

p. 32 Troubleshooting: Problem Players (Rules Lawyers)
p. 42 Additional Rules: Actions the Rules Don't Cover
p. 189 Creating House Rules

p.32
Rules Lawyers
You don’t have to be a rules expert to be the DM, but that doesn’t mean one other player should assume that role. A rules lawyer is a player who argues against the DM’s decisions by referencing the rules. You should welcome players who know the rules. They help when you’re stuck or you make mistakes. But even helpful rules lawyers become a problem if they correct you continually or give you rules advice that’s just wrong. Much worse are players who can’t stand negative results, and who comb the rules for loopholes and misinterpretations that their characters can exploit.

A table rule about holding rules discussions until the end of the game is enough to dissuade some rules lawyers. Stay open to minor corrections, though, as long as they’re not too frequent.

If the game grinds to a halt while a rules lawyer tries to find a specific rule or reference, invite the player to take as long as he wants to search for it while you and the rest of the players continue the game. The rules lawyer’s character essentially steps out of the game for as long as it takes. Monsters don’t attack him, and he delays indefinitely. This solution makes the other players happy, because they get to keep playing D&D instead of letting one player stop the game.


I'd say it's as simple as telling him, "Alright, if you feel I'm unaware about some of the rules feel free to point them out, but one of my houserules is that whenever there's a situation that comes up that requires more than one rule to resolve, I am free to temporarily ignore those rules and use my own ruling on the matter, so that the rounds go more smoothly.  We can correct my mistakes after the session, or you are free to help me correct my mistake; while you're looking for the rules involved, I'll skip your turn and make sure everyone else is having fun as well, alright?  Also, another houserule of mine is that I allow whatever seems most fun at the time -- the 'rule of cool' so to speak -- so if you point out a rule but, for the sake of coolness, I intentionally ignore that rule, don't feel bad ok?  At least you made me aware of the rule..."

If he hates inconsistency of rules, well... since specific beats general, I'd say that the specific houserules certainly beat the general rules, yes? 
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57047238 wrote:
If you're crossing the street and see a city bus barreling straight toward you with 'GIVE ME YOUR WALLET!' painted across its windshield, you probably won't be reaching for your wallet.
I Don't Always Play Strikers...But When I Do, I Prefer Vampire Stay Thirsty, My Friends
This is what I believe is the spirit of D&D 4E, and my deal breaker for D&D Next: equal opportunities, with distinct specializations, in areas where conflict happens the most often, without having to worry about heavy micromanagement or system mastery. What I hope to be my most useful contributions to the D&D Community: DM Idea: Collaborative Mapping, Classless 4E (homebrew system, that hopefully helps in D&D Next development), Gamma World 7E random character generator (by yours truly), and the Concept of Perfect Imbalance (for D&D Next and other TRPGs in development) Pre-3E D&D should be recognized for what they were: simulation wargames where people could tell stories with The Best Answer to "Why 4E?" Fun vs. Engaging
Playing by the rules isn't very hard, it just takes a bit of reading comprehension and desire to actually learn them, and doing so actually makes the game more fun for most people because then the game works better. Playing Make-Believe Fantasy Game™ is all well and good, but you don't need to pay money for rule books if you're not going to use them.

No, it isn't. But, there are situations in game where the rule/s doesn't make a lot of sense. I'd rather go for a common sense solution in those cases, instead of a rule that breaks any suspension of disbelief. And thanks, by the way, for the superior attitude. In 33 years of playing this game, I never get tired of someone belittleing my view of the game.
I really could just say "Likewise" especially since you're trying to play the age card, but ... Dragons and Beholders exist, and a Pixie can hurl a Titan off a Cliff by shooting a blowdart at it through a wall of knives created by a creature made of psychic crystals that is the clone of a mad wizard but also a holy follower of the demonic god of oozes and has sold it's soul to a star. If there is any "disbelief" that you can't suspend, this might not be the game for you.

PS. Kinda speaks volumes about you that you've been playing for 33 years but can't reconcile that the rule giving you absolute control no longer exists. Hint: The reason it doesn't exist anymore is people like you.

chaosfang - If you acknowledge not being rules adept, but know you have someone at the table who is, it's rather petty to follow the suggestions in the DM and your own houserule instead of accepting their ad-hoc ruling for the time being. If you're willing to have made the wrong call for a single session and look up the rule later, why wouldn't you go with the more often correct rules expert, other than selfish pride? It would be like reffing a game for Michael Jordan and then arguing with him about how many points a Free Throw was worth.
"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.
Everyone playing by the same set of rules is one of the keys to a happy gaming group.  Whether that's strictly by the book or with lots of house rules doesn't matter, but everyone has to know ahead of time what to expect and the rules have to be consistent and change very little or not at all.  Not knowing what to expect from the rules at any given time isn't fun for most people.  This is why most folks, especially in a forum called RULES Q&A, expect that D&D players stick to the rules as written as much as possible.

So DM, stick to the rules as much as you can and if you have a rules lawyer at your table, sit him next to you and make him your best friend for those situations when you're not sure of the rule.  That is, unless you have a rules lawyer who just THINKS they know the rules but doesn't, and really just argues a lot.  We all know one of those. 

Keep in mind also that most of the time the players and the DM play with a common set of rules but there are also situations where the DM uses DIFFERENT rules than the players (monsters work differently than PCs, for example), and this is how it's supposed to be - it's spelled out in the rules themselves.  If the Rules Lawyer is arguing with you about this, he's simply wrong in this case.  There are also a lot of GUIDELINES in the rulebooks for how the DM should do things, but don't make the mistake of letting a player buffalo you into feeling forced to adhere to those guildelines.  Those aren't rules; they're suggestions, and this is clearly spelled out in the books. 

Never permit the rules lawyer to ARGUE with you.  Matter of fact, try not to allow ANY ARGUMENTS of ANY KIND between ANYONE at the table.  Nothing personal, it just slows down the game.  Let him make his case, make a ruling, and then move on.  After the game you can discuss it further.  If you have respect for his mastery of the rules by consulting him from time to time when things are unsure, he must also in return respect the fact that he agreed that you are the referee by accepting your rulings to facilitate the ease of gameplay.  Two-way street.  So try to work together as a team; a team whose goal is to make the game more fun for everyone.

All this having been said, when you start a new game, either agree in advance that everyone will stick to the rules as written to the best of their ability or else agree in advance that the DM and players will have some leeway in changing certain rules in a consistent manner to make things more fun.  The key is to do this in advance so everyone comes to the table with the same expectations.  Getting the rug pulled out from under you is no fun and most players don't like to play "DM May I?" if they in return have no ability to change things up too. 

This comes from a guy who is a DM AND a rules lawyer.  When I play with a DM I might tell him(QUICKLY AND WITHOUT ARGUING), "Hey, DM, the rule actually goes like this, but it's your call."  And I accept his call even if I don't always agree with it.  When I DM I can only remember two or three times someone corrected me on a rule in the last year or so, and in those cases I'm glad to be corrected because it makes me "even more right than I was before."  ;)

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.”

Never permit the rules lawyer to ARGUE with you.  Matter of fact, try not to allow ANY ARGUMENTS of ANY KIND between ANYONE at the table.  Nothing personal, it just slows down the game.


While arguing is bad, players should still feel they can bring up their thoughts and discuss them. The key point is that it's a calm, rational approach, as opposed to "I'm right, do it my way or else."

"I think rule X is intented to mean Y."
"I think it's intended to mean Z."
"We'll discuss later, but for right now, let's just assume Y. Is that okay?"
"Alright."


Speaking from experience, though, fights will happen... I once ran a Mutants & Masterminds 2e campaign where I and all of the players were new to the system. I made it clear when I asked them to join and at the start of the very first session that we weren't going to be too obsessed with following the rules to the letter. We were going to put more emphasis on group storytelling until we had more experience with the basic rules, then we'd start worrying about the little details and exceptions.

I had one player who just could not seem to grasp this concept, since he would often latch onto the littlest mistakes and would NOT let them go until he'd spent an hour ranting and raving, insisting that everything had to be done to the letter... Despite how much I asked if he could just let it slide so we could continue the game.

His response when I asked him - calmly and politely - to just relax a little and not worry about page X, column Y, paragraph Z since it was only confusing the other players (I forget the specific examples, it's been years) was to scream "Yeah, yeah, rule zero! 'Do whatever the DM says'!" and basically throw a tantrum. Despite how I didn't bring up rule zero OR make any unreasonable demands: everyone in the group agreed to my request about the rules, several saying it seemed like a good idea, including the rules lawyer.

After the fifth session or so, I had to kick him out. The plot was stalled because he refused to let anyone move on and play the game until he got his way, he was sapping my enjoyment of the game and routinely irritating other players. I still don't know why he kept bringing up Rule Zero and throwing it in my face...
Gunmage, a homebrew arcane striker. (Heroic Tier playtest ready.) GDocs link. (More up to date.)
While arguing is bad, players should still feel they can bring up their thoughts and discuss them. The key point is that it's a calm, rational approach, as opposed to "I'm right, do it my way or else."

Yes.  x10000 yes.  Arguing is bad but there's nothing wrong with disagreeing and discussing it.  If EXTENSIVE discussion or strong disagreement/argument is involved, agree to drop it and move on, then pick up the debate after the game.
 

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.”

Sure, you can rule any way you want at the table, and you can even shut down debates to save time, but you should under no circumstances have any idea that the DM can't be wrong.

The DM can indeed be wrong, and if the players do indeed correct the DM they shouldn't be dismissed.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
No, it isn't. But, there are situations in game where the rule/s doesn't make a lot of sense. I'd rather go for a common sense solution in those cases, instead of a rule that breaks any suspension of disbelief. And thanks, by the way, for the superior attitude. In 33 years of playing this game, I never get tired of someone belittleing my view of the game.

....You realize you are playing a game where Pixies can bench press giants, right? The rules obviously made sense to the people who wrote them. "Common sense" goes out the window when you are dealing with an artificially constructed reality, of any kind, and frankly your players "common sense" is just as valid as yours is, since it is all imaginary, except he is probably at least obeying the rules.

Rule 0 was done away with in 4e. On purpose. Precisely because of the attitude you are displaying.
DMs and players don't need a specific rules to tell them they can change rules. Any games rules are guidelines.

If you and your players think a rule should work differently, you are free to change it up.

Nobody will  kick your door down and take your books away because you do. Its your game so you do whatever you want with it. 

We even change Monopoly's rules Tongue Out
I've got a major league rules lawyer in my group. We decided to put straight out in front of him the part of the books that says "These rules are guidelines" so that he gets the picture. The problem is, for some reason, we're not finding it. Can someone (even multiple someones) tell me what book and page that quote, or one close to it, appears on?

From the forum FAQ, if desired:
'Where is rule Zero? Rule zero (i.e. "the DM is always right") does not appear to exist in 4e. The D&D 3.5e DMG p.6 had: "you're the final arbiter of the rules within the game... you have ultimate authority over the game mechanics, even superseding something in a rulebook", but there is nothing similar in 4e. Instead, the 4e DMG seems to espouse a different paradigm. Examples: DMG p.12: "Being a referee means that the DM stands as a mediator between the rules and the players.", "Sometimes this role mediating the rules means that a DM has to enforce the rules on the players.", "Being the DM doesn’t mean you have to know all the rules. If a player tries something you don’t know how to adjudicate, ask the opinion of the players as a group.", DMG p.28: "As often as possible, take what the players give you and build on it.", DMG p.30 "You do not have to have a perfect mastery of the rules, and you should be open to at least some discussion of the right way to apply a rule in any situation.", "If you realize you made a mistake, admit it. If you don’t admit it, you’ll start to lose your players’ trust. Then, if you need to, make it up to the players.", DMG p.173: "You are your players' Litch", etc.'

4e is a very rules oriented version of D&D, so your rules lawyer has precedence for his expectations. Validate his feelings. That said, D&D is a social game, and if your group desires a more rules flexible play style, this is important. Just present it to him as a 'Table Rule' (DMG p.14) or 'House Rule' (DMG p.189) if need be. This manages your rules lawyer's expectations.
chaosfang - If you acknowledge not being rules adept, but know you have someone at the table who is, it's rather petty to follow the suggestions in the DM and your own houserule instead of accepting their ad-hoc ruling for the time being. If you're willing to have made the wrong call for a single session and look up the rule later, why wouldn't you go with the more often correct rules expert, other than selfish pride? It would be like reffing a game for Michael Jordan and then arguing with him about how many points a Free Throw was worth.


True that.  In fact, whenever someone tries to correct me, I do ask them to confirm what page they're referring to because I always feel like I'm learning each time I DM, and I want to make sure that whatever rule they're pointing out is actually a rule.  The post was directed primarily at Tulloch, as an attempt to compromise between his desire to say that the rules state that they're only guidelines and what the actual rules state on the matter.
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Take The Magic Dual Colour Test - Beta today!
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You are both rational and emotional. You value creation and discovery, and feel strongly about what you create. At best, you're innovative and intuitive. At worst, you're scattered and unpredictable.

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57047238 wrote:
If you're crossing the street and see a city bus barreling straight toward you with 'GIVE ME YOUR WALLET!' painted across its windshield, you probably won't be reaching for your wallet.
I Don't Always Play Strikers...But When I Do, I Prefer Vampire Stay Thirsty, My Friends
This is what I believe is the spirit of D&D 4E, and my deal breaker for D&D Next: equal opportunities, with distinct specializations, in areas where conflict happens the most often, without having to worry about heavy micromanagement or system mastery. What I hope to be my most useful contributions to the D&D Community: DM Idea: Collaborative Mapping, Classless 4E (homebrew system, that hopefully helps in D&D Next development), Gamma World 7E random character generator (by yours truly), and the Concept of Perfect Imbalance (for D&D Next and other TRPGs in development) Pre-3E D&D should be recognized for what they were: simulation wargames where people could tell stories with The Best Answer to "Why 4E?" Fun vs. Engaging
Where is rule Zero? Rule zero (i.e. "the DM is always right") does not appear to exist in 4e. The D&D 3.5e DMG p.6 had: "you're the final arbiter of the rules within the game... you have ultimate authority over the game mechanics, even superseding something in a rulebook", but there is nothing similar in 4e. Instead, the 4e DMG seems to espouse a different paradigm.



FWIW There is also DMG p.189 who pretty much tell DMs its within their rights to change rules they disagree with. 

DMG 189 Creating House Rules: The D&D rules cannot possibly account for the variety of campaigns and play styles of every group. If you disagree with how the rules handle something, changing them is within your rights.

FWIW There is also DMG p.189

My post referenced that with: "D&D is a social game, and if your group desires a more rules flexible play style, this is important. Just present it to him as a 'Table Rule' (DMG p.14) or 'House Rule' (DMG p.189) if need be. This manages your rules lawyer's expectations". However, 4e's house rule advice as presented is different from rule zero.

How really different are these 2 advices telling DMs that they can change rules if they wish so ?

you have ultimate authority over the game mechanics, even superseding something in a rulebook

If you disagree with how the rules handle something, changing them is within your rights

Because a "houserule" is by definition an acknowledgment that you are ignoring the actual rules.
So is Rule 0 when superseding an actual rule in a rulebook.

A 3.5 DM can rule that Ice Storm grant a REF save for half damage when it otherwise doesn't with Rule 0 just like a 4.0 DM can rule that Fire Walk's zone deal creature damage only once per turn or that Wild Shape allow the use of non-beast form implement powers when they don't otherwise do so with Houserule 189.

Houserule 189 is what the OP was looking for; a guideline advising DM they can rightfully change how any rules handle something they disagree with.

Hence why i found the Q&A on Rule 0 should reference it since Houserule 189 pretty much help accomplish what Rule 0 did in that regards.

How really different are these 2 advices telling DMs that they can change rules if they wish so ?

The 4e DMG suggests using house rules sparingly and with careful consideration, advance notification, and buy-in from the players. But possibly more important to the OP: his rules lawyer may likely view a difference (and may be more receptive to stated house rules than on the fly DM adjustments).

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