PC throwing, essentially broken, smashed glass dust into the eyes of other characters, mostly NPC

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Wonder which is the most accurate statement.
1. Throwing glass shards on combatant's face actively engaged, always blinds him.
2. Sometimes blinds him.
3. Never blinds him.
Always or never probably isn't the answer. Sometimes Probably fits.  Then just need to fit mechanics for the sometimes.  Standard action touch atK vs Ref.  Hit: blinded 1-4 rounds.  Save ends.

I also wonder whether it's accurate to model the effect of glass shards in the eye as "blind," rather than some other condition, such as a penalty to attack, damage, or defenses.


Agree!  Perhapsndazed effect.  Blind is such a big effect.

Wonder which is the most accurate statement.
1. Throwing glass shards on combatant's face actively engaged, always blinds him.
2. Sometimes blinds him.
3. Never blinds him.
Always or never probably isn't the answer. Sometimes Probably fits.  Then just need to fit mechanics for the sometimes.  Standard action touch atK vs Ref.  Hit: blinded 1-4 rounds.  Save ends.

I also wonder whether it's accurate to model the effect of glass shards in the eye as "blind," rather than some other condition, such as a penalty to attack, damage, or defenses.

Agree!  Perhapsndazed effect.  Blind is such a big effect.

I think I'll describe all of my character's attacks as involving ground glass. It's all-purpose.

[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy

In 4e, it might look like this:


Chuck's Bag o' Glass
Next to that comely wench with the lip sore, this was the best money Chuck had ever spent at that inn - a burlap sack and a bunch of broken bottles and tankards. If only he could afford cayenne pepper, too. Then he'd really have something.
Standard Action
Requirement: You must be holding one of Chuck's bags o' glass.
Check: Athletics check (moderate DC) to throw the bag into or near someone's face.
Success: The glass dust showers the target.
Target: One creature within 5 squares
Attack: Level + 3 vs. Fortitude
Hit: The target is blinded until the end of its next turn.
Special: If the Athletics check is failed, you or a nearby ally is blinded until the end of his or her next turn.

Unless the player said his character was using a mortar and pestle, in which case, it would probably blind the target and everyone in the immediate area permanently as well as their future progeny for at least the next three generations.

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
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lol iserith, perhaps you should try and grind a bottle to dust with a burlap sack and a rock. Suggeting that tools would do a better job, or that an idea could be improved upon is not bad.
What if they use their MAGE HAND to throw the stuff? Should make it a lot safer for the PC to have their mage hand scop some out of a pouch (minor) move it a few squares (move) then toss it into enemy eyes (S.action)

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What if they use their MAGE HAND to throw the stuff? Should make it a lot safer for the PC to have their mage hand scop some out of a pouch (minor) move it a few squares (move) then toss it into enemy eyes (S.action)



Yep. Replace "Athletics" with "Arcana" above and that'd work just fine.

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What if they use their MAGE HAND to throw the stuff? Should make it a lot safer for the PC to have their mage hand scop some out of a pouch (minor) move it a few squares (move) then toss it into enemy eyes (S.action)

 Now this is what I would definitely want to allow to a degree, but the damn rules get in the way.  Magehand specifically can't be used to Attack anything, for instance wield a sword, bonk someone's head.  As much as I like to twick the rules to fit table play, this one though I would be cautious.  Anytime you allow magehand to "attack", players will want to use it all the time with different tools.  So we kept it as what it was intended.. to hold, carry, pick stuff up.  We do allow "pick pocket" with it though hehe.  Thought how it was used in Book of Darkvile to snatch the medallion off bbeg's neck was cool. 

What if they use their MAGE HAND to throw the stuff? Should make it a lot safer for the PC to have their mage hand scop some out of a pouch (minor) move it a few squares (move) then toss it into enemy eyes (S.action)

  Now this is what I would definitely want to allow to a degree, but the damn rules get in the way.  Magehand specifically can't be used to Attack anything, for instance wield a sword, bonk someone's head.  As much as I like to twick the rules to fit table play, this one though I would be cautious.  Anytime you allow magehand to "attack", players will want to use it all the time with different tools.  So we kept it as what it was intended.. to hold, carry, pick stuff up.  We do allow "pick pocket" with it though hehe.  Thought how it was used in Book of Darkvile to snatch the medallion off bbeg's neck was cool.

The inability of cantrips to make attacks was put in as a nod to long-suffering DMs who longed to say no to crazy magic use, but didn't have backing from the rules. Now, the rules are tightly locked down: can't attack with cantrips; don't get a monster's attacks and defenses when shapeshifting; durations are very short. But now, the DM is in the position to magnanimously say "Yes, and..." to things, instead of wanting to say "No."

There's also reflavoring. I attack with my Mage Hand all the time. It hits automatically out to 20 squares and it does 2+Int modifier force damage.

[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy



4e term, basic range 1 atk vs ref. Hit: blind 1-4 rounds. Save ends. Opportunity atk plays. 



4e doesn't do random durations, and save ends is far too powerful for anything at-will.
Now this is what I would definitely want to allow to a degree, but the damn rules get in the way.  Magehand specifically can't be used to Attack anything, for instance wield a sword, bonk someone's head.  As much as I like to twick the rules to fit table play, this one though I would be cautious.  Anytime you allow magehand to "attack", players will want to use it all the time with different tools.  So we kept it as what it was intended.. to hold, carry, pick stuff up.  We do allow "pick pocket" with it though hehe.  Thought how it was used in Book of Darkvile to snatch the medallion off bbeg's neck was cool. 



If you do it the way I showed above, the mage hand is not actually making an attack. It's simply delivering a pouch of material to a given location and dumping it out. The mage hand's action is resolved when the Arcana check is made - it either did or did not dump the glass dust where it's supposed to go. The attack roll that follows is whether the creature is affected or not.

Also, what Centauri said. 

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In 4e, it might look like this:


Chuck's Bag o' Glass
Next to that comely wench with the lip sore, this was the best money Chuck had ever spent at that inn - a burlap sack and a bunch of broken bottles and tankards. If only he could afford cayenne pepper, too. Then he'd really have something.
Standard Action
Requirement: You must be holding one of Chuck's bags o' glass.
Check: Athletics check (moderate DC) to throw the bag into or near someone's face.
Success: The glass dust showers the target.
Target: One creature within 5 squares
Attack: Level + 3 vs. Fortitude
Hit: The target is blinded until the end of its next turn.
Special: If the Athletics check is failed, you or a nearby ally is blinded until the end of his or her next turn.

Unless the player said his character was using a mortar and pestle, in which case, it would probably blind the target and everyone in the immediate area permanently as well as their future progeny for at least the next three generations.




Best........  Response........  Ever...........  "If only he could afford cayenne pepper"..... LOL

If you do it the way I showed above, the mage hand is not actually making an attack. It's simply delivering a pouch of material to a given location and dumping it out. The mage hand's action is resolved when the Arcana check is made - it either did or did not dump the glass dust where it's supposed to go. The attack roll that follows is whether the creature is affected or not.

Also, what Centauri said. 



That really is playing a word game, calling attacking "simply delivering a pouch of material to a given location and dumping it out" is just confounding it with so much jargon. It should be considered an attack.
If you do it the way I showed above, the mage hand is not actually making an attack. It's simply delivering a pouch of material to a given location and dumping it out. The mage hand's action is resolved when the Arcana check is made - it either did or did not dump the glass dust where it's supposed to go. The attack roll that follows is whether the creature is affected or not.

Also, what Centauri said. 



That really is playing a word game, calling attacking "simply delivering a pouch of material to a given location and dumping it out" is just confounding it with so much jargon. It should be considered an attack.

I disagree, your burning two minor actions to move and toss.


What would you say if a player did this, that the glass shards just disappear because it is an attack and attacks can’t come from mage hand?


What If my mage hand is holding a big chunk of ice over a doorway and drops it when a fire monster comes in? Does this also not do anything?  What If I use my Mage Hand to drop a burning log into someone’s tent?


RAW vs. RAI I suppose; the way I understand it is that Mage Hand set up circumstances for damage just not be the source of damage. I really think it’s coming down to what I said earlier.


Some people only want characters to be able to do things they have power blocks for, and nothing “outside the box”


ALSO a note about the OP; if you where Dragonborn wouldn’t your scale skin be resistant to glass shards; even better yet what if you where a Warfordged trying to do this.

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That really is playing a word game, calling attacking "simply delivering a pouch of material to a given location and dumping it out" is just confounding it with so much jargon. It should be considered an attack.



Actually, it's not. Chuck's Bag o' Glass is modeled after terrain powers in 4e. It's perfectly valid and is in line with the rules for Mage Hand in 4e.

Should I instead tell the player that his creative solution doesn't work? Why would it even cross my mind to tell the player "No?" My answer will always be "Yes, and here's how we see if it works..."

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CliveDauthi, I wouldn't say that the DM shouldn't disallow it, but I would be hard pressed to not call it an attack. In this case part of the reasoning on the Player's part with the glass dust is the "throw it in their eyes" so I would characterize it more as a direct attack then an area effect.
Actually, it's not. Chuck's Bag o' Glass is modeled after terrain powers in 4e. It's perfectly valid and is in line with the rules for Mage Hand in 4e.

Should I instead tell the player that his creative solution doesn't work? Why would it even cross my mind to tell the player "No?" My answer will always be "Yes, and here's how we see if it works..."



I won't debate working to make something happen, although saying no is sometimes valid. But in the first part of this the player is tossing the glass dust in the opponents eyes, which is an attack. No you are mage handing it to attack the location. That being the case, the dirrect attack on the eyes will and should be more effective then an terain effect.

You only need to ask what the difference between a handful of glass dust thrown directly in your face and a handful tossed in the air above you would be, they are functionally two different approaches, imo.  
4e rules for Mage Hand very specifically state what it can do and what action cost it takes. Nowhere in the power does it mention that it can or cannot attack. What it does say you can do with Mage Hand is:

Minor Action:
The hand picks up or manipulates an object weighing 20 pounds or less. It can hold only one object at a time.
Move Action: The hand moves up to 5 squares in any direction, carrying the object it holds.
Free Action: The hand drops the object it is holding.


So Chuck should learn Mage Hand, assuming Chuck doesn't have a pile of powers that are better than throwing dust in people's eyes.

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
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Except in the absence of having an attack role, Mage hand is sort or limited to simply dropping the bag of dust in the spot, which again, is dramatically different then a direct attack to toss it in the opponent's eye. Not saying it can't be done, I am saying it is functionally different and shouldn't have the same effectiveness.
Except in the absence of having an attack role, Mage hand is sort or limited to simply dropping the bag of dust in the spot, which again, is dramatically different then a direct attack to toss it in the opponent's eye. Not saying it can't be done, I am saying it is functionally different and shouldn't have the same effectiveness.



It's only different because you say it's different. I throw it in his eyes or I use magic to dump it on his head. What's the difference? And even if there is a difference, is it worth caring about?

Sounds like "realism" talking again rather than a balanced mechanic that can be easily used and reskinned.

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I suppose the same reason as why Mage Hand can't grab a dagger and attack someone with it. It lacks an attack roll and simply dropping the knife on someone's head is not as effective as stabbing them or throwning the knife with an attack. You could apply it to a good deal of actions that would normally be disallowed.

In this case an attack to throw the glass in the opponents eyes and dropping it in the area are two functionally different things.   


  
I suppose the same reason as why Mage Hand can't grab a dagger and attack someone with it. It lacks an attack roll and simply dropping the knife on someone's head is not as effective as stabbing them or throwning the knife with an attack. You could apply it to a good deal of actions that would normally be disallowed.

In this case an attack to throw the glass in the opponents eyes and dropping it in the area are two functionally different things.   


  



So what would it do in your opinion? If you drop the shards of glass on an enemy and you think it shouldn't be an attack; what happens? Does the glass just fall over the enemy but nothing happens after that?

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CliveDauthi, I wouldn't have nothing happen, it just wouldn't be as effective, there is a difference. Say it lasts only 1 round, instead of up to 4, and it is only a penelty to attack rather then blindness.
I think Iserith nailed it with Chuck's Bag 'o Glass, no need for any more discussion, thread over.
"The great epochs of our life come when we gain the courage to rechristen our evil as what is best in us." - Friedrich Nietzsche
@MrCustomer: You can't wield a dagger in an attack with Mage Hand because that's not an option in the Mage Hand power. You can simply move objects around and drop them. The item that is dropped is making the attack (if it's an attack at all), not the Mage Hand itself. Trying to find a way to state that "you're attacking with Mage Hand" is a passive way of trying to block an idea or to mitigate its effects. That strikes me as defensive DMing and an overemphasis on simulation in the pursuit of realism in a fantasy game.

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iserith, but Mage Hand could carry a dagger and then drop it on the target. The object, a falling dagger, itself would make the attack. And imo that would be perfectly valid, it just wouldn't be as effective as a character making a ranged attack with the dagger. They are mechanically different.

The same here, I think a direct attack should be more effective then simply dropping the dust above them with Mage Hand.  If the dust to the face is a direct attack, then delivering it with Mage Hand would also be considered a direct attack, if Mage Hand can't be used to make a direct attack, then the effect of the delivery (dump over head) should be treated differently.



You're comparing apples and oranges, or in this case, terrain powers (or improvised actions) and attack powers. In a 4e context, those things are adjudicated differently. Depending on the mechanics involved, that terrain power may be more or less efficacious than, say, a ranged basic attack.

In any event, the point I'm trying to get across is that these things are balanced against existing mechanics, not against an attempted simulation of reality.

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In any event, the point I'm trying to get across is that these things are balanced against existing mechanics, not against an attempted simulation of reality.

Right. I imagine that a primary reason Mage Hand was locked down (along with the other cantrips and polymorph) is that the designers couldn't see a way to balance it otherwise. But, if a DM can see a way to balance it (perhaps through conversation with the players), there's no reason not to allow something. Realism is only a constraint, rather than an inherently positive trait.

[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy

You're comparing apples and oranges, or in this case, terrain powers (or improvised actions) and attack powers. In a 4e context, those things are adjudicated differently. Depending on the mechanics involved, that terrain power may be more or less efficacious than, say, a ranged basic attack.

In any event, the point I'm trying to get across is that these things are balanced against existing mechanics, not against an attempted simulation of reality.



It may be more effective, it may be less effective, but my point is that they will be different and should be mechanically different. I know you use the "Yes and...." approach, but the question of how and what still comes up. The orininal idea is a direct, point blank attack, to toss a small smount of glass shards in someones eye. The Mage hand to just drop it over their head really doesn't lead to the same expectation, and so should be handled differently as it is not the same as a direct attack.
 
It is the same as with the dagger, if i used Mage Hand to drop a dagger on someone, how would you handle that as opposed to someone who made a dirrect attack with the dagger? 
The orininal idea is a direct, point blank attack, to toss a small smount of glass shards in someones eye. The Mage hand to just drop it over their head really doesn't lead to the same expectation, and so should be handled differently as it is not the same as a direct attack.



Here's where you're going wrong. Neither is a direct attack. It's a skill check followed by an attack on par with a terrain power in 4e.
 
It is the same as with the dagger, if i used Mage Hand to drop a dagger on someone, how would you handle that as opposed to someone who made a dirrect attack with the dagger? 



I would handle it by asking the player what he hopes to accomplish by doing it in this manner and build a balanced mechanic around that.

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
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I would handle it by asking the player what he hopes to accomplish by doing it in this manner and build a balanced mechanic around that.

What if it becomes evident that the player wants to wield a very powerful in-game effect in return for having thought "outside the box"?

(I feel like this is is what the appeals to the rules and to realism are trying to avoid. The answer, of course, is to talk to the player and explain the intent of the game, and the reason why effects like that are not already part of the game. If the player understands and agrees with that, they'll probably back off. If they don't, then the in-game, rules-and-reality based arguments also wouldn't convince them, and it's time to part ways, play a different game, or just work around what the player is trying to do, in order to continue providing an interesting game.)

[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy

What if it becomes evident that the player wants to wield a very powerful in-game effect in return for having thought "outside the box"?

(I feel like this is is what the appeals to the rules and to realism are trying to avoid. The answer, of course, is to talk to the player and explain the intent of the game, and the reason why effects like that are not already part of the game. If the player understands and agrees with that, they'll probably back off. If they don't, then the in-game, rules-and-reality based arguments also wouldn't convince them, and it's time to part ways, play a different game, or just work around what the player is trying to do, in order to continue providing an interesting game.)



Right. It should be noted that in the "Yes, and..." way of doing things, part of what that means is "Yes, I agree with the game rules (as written or as previously agreed), and..." Then anything they come up with can simply be adjudicated fairly with the rules as appropriate to level or the like.

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
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Here's where you're going wrong. Neither is a direct attack. It's a skill check followed by an attack on par with a terrain power in 4e.



Well we will just have to disagree on how we would put it into the game, note I am not suggesting that it not be allowed, I would just treat it differently. A dirrect shot to the eye should be more effective then dropping it on their head, there is no reason why they can't be treated seperately. I would make it easier to hit with magehand, but a reduced effect, which is just making it a trade-off.
 
I would handle it by asking the player what he hopes to accomplish by doing it in this manner and build a balanced mechanic around that.



His intent is of course to stab the target with the knife, I am pretty sure the answer I would get would be laced with suprise and/or sarcasm, lol. Yes I would make it work to, but it would be less effective, far less effective, then an attack with the knife.

You can say "yes and...." but what if I cover myself in honey and then roll around on some feathers, and then jump off a 500 foot cliff to fly? Do you "yes and, here is a working mechanic by which you don't plumet to your death" Now that is somewhat an extreme example, but what we have here is the orrignial player cameup with an idea, which was reasonable (if the effect wasn't) and the DM said "yes and...."  and it ended here with another player because that was broken. So asking How and being reasonably realistic seems to be an important factor as well.

To look at it this way, the Player has asked for what is essentially another encounter power, you give it to them, they think of a way to improve it with Mage Hand, you give it to them, what's next, a bucket of glass to make an area effect blind attack power? Bellows to make a Glass dust blower? At what point does the DM stop saying "yes and...." And start asking "How will you make this work? What would happen?"

It stiffles creativity if they don't have to think imo

At what point does the DM stop hiding behind rules and realism and start saying "How can we make this fun?"

[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy


ALSO a note about the OP; if you where Dragonborn wouldn’t your scale skin be resistant to glass shards; even better yet what if you where a Warfordged trying to do this.




Shifter is the race of the character in my game who is doing this.  Good thought though, if Dragonborn, the scales would probably keep out the shards from causing damage to the PC's hand...
I get it, that the DM is the rule-keeper, but I also get that they're the fun-enforcers too, so keeping a balance of fun game play for the PC's and sticking to the rules that are 4th edition is what it's all about.


I just hope the PC doesn't dump the glass on my PC's head because I started this thread!!!!! LOLing out loud. 
At what point does the DM stop hiding behind rules and realism and start saying "How can we make this fun?"



When they first sit around and draw up their characters?

There is a huge gap between hiding behind rules and realism and just allowing any and all things to happen. You have to walk the line between allowing and encouraging creativity and fun ideas and what was happening in the orriginal post, the point where ignoring rules and realism starts making the game unfun. Striking a balance between the two is important. 
I get it, that the DM is the rule-keeper, but I also get that they're the fun-enforcers too, so keeping a balance of fun game play for the PC's and sticking to the rules that are 4th edition is what it's all about.

Fun, yes. Sticking to the rules over "Yes, and...," no.

[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy

 A dirrect shot to the eye should be more effective then dropping it on their head



I don't see any reason to make that distinction other than the pursuit of simulation of realism to no particularly good effect.
 
His intent is of course to stab the target with the knife, I am pretty sure the answer I would get would be laced with suprise and/or sarcasm, lol. Yes I would make it work to, but it would be less effective, far less effective, then an attack with the knife.



That may not be his intent at all. Perhaps he just wants to distract the guy. Or freak him out. Or cut an amulet off his neck. You really need to ascertain the ultimate goal before you can determine a fair mechanic to see how that attempt at attaining the goal plays out. Focusing on the real-world physics of how a bag of dust works when thrown vs. dumped seems like a big waste of time and loses the point.

You can say "yes and...." but what if I cover myself in honey and then roll around on some feathers, and then jump off a 500 foot cliff to fly?



In your view, I guess that depends on what kind of feathers you use and what time of year the honey was harvested. Also, how many times you rolled around before jumping.

Do you notice how in every thread you find yourself saying, "I know that's kind of extreme but..." How about we stick to good examples instead of extreme ones?

To look at it this way, the Player has asked for what is essentially another encounter power, you give it to them, they think of a way to improve it with Mage Hand, you give it to them, what's next, a bucket of glass to make an area effect blind attack power? Bellows to make a Glass dust blower? At what point does the DM stop saying "yes and...." And start asking "How will you make this work? What would happen?"



An encounter power is just a specific action that a character can take at a given interval with 100% success (regardless of hitting or missing which is a separate issue). Just because I have a power called Tumble that lets me shift X squares once per encounter doesn't mean I can't tumble after I use it. I just have to make a skill check now to pull it off.

Mage Hand has not improved upon this terrain power. It's the same rolls, same risk. If anything, Mage Hand is weaker because it potentially has greater action cost for the same effect.

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
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At what point does the DM stop hiding behind rules and realism and start saying "How can we make this fun?"



When they first sit around and draw up their characters?

There is a huge gap between hiding behind rules and realism and just allowing any and all things to happen. You have to walk the line between allowing and encouraging creativity and fun ideas and what was happening in the orriginal post, the point where ignoring rules and realism starts making the game unfun. Striking a balance between the two is important. 



All things though should at least be allowed to be attempted


Having a DM outright say “Nope, you don’t have a power for that” Is crapy DMing, as well as saying “Yup you can but It will be so hard you mise well not waste your time” Is crapy as well.


Easiest way for a DM to stomp on creativity in a party is to outright deny attempts at actions.


A DM should allow anything that the character could actually do with their two hands and brain; IMO it’s part of the DMs job to make up a roll and effect for the action, not to deny the action outright (NOTE I’m not saying give the player a kill-switch but give them something for the effort of thinking outside the box), m.  I guess that to TotM for 4e but that’s how I think proper DnD is played.



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Easiest way for a DM to stomp on creativity in a party is to outright deny attempts at actions.

To be fair, I don't think anyone is saying that. But realism is often used to make creative and potentially troublesome actions very unappealing. All I want is for DMs who do that to own up to what they're doing.

Edit: I can understand why the extreme examples come about. It's out of concern that if the rules are loosened there's no end to what could come about. This is exactly why the rules about cantrips, etc. were tightened. It's a valid concern, but couching it in terms of reality is not an honest approach. If a DM can't see how to handle something the player wants to try, the DM has to talk to the players. Scary, I know, but that's what it ultimately takes. Blocking with realism only delays the conversation that has to come.

[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy