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

147 posts / 0 new
Last post
as well as saying “Yup you can but It will be so hard you mise well not waste your time” Is crapy as well.

Would you set up a situation where PCs waste their time or resources attempting actions that would clearly be impossible without even warning them that it's clearly impossible?  If so, that's the definition of a "Gotcha DM."  Or is nothing impossible when you DM?  Do you think it's a good idea to warn them if something isn't impossible but has a very small chance of success?

When I DM, some things are clearly impossible.  I also assume that the PCs aren't too stupid to realize this and unless their Wisdom is below average, they will always have a general idea of how difficult a task is for them.  So you'll hear things from me like "Your common sense tells you that this would be too difficult for you.  In other words, you have no chance/little chance of success.  Still wanna try?" 

As a DM, I don't pull gotchas.

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.”

There's already an item for this:  Eyesting (from Dragon)www.wizards.com/dndinsider/compendium/it...
There's already an item for this:  Eyesting (from Dragon)www.wizards.com/dndinsider/compendium/it...

But you can't get that for free by smashing up bottles!  All these cool items are squelching my creativity to mash the win button!  ;)

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 must have very different ideas about what it takes to "win" at 4e!

And don't forget, Chuck had to spend the last of his money to buy those bottles and such. He couldn't even afford cayenne pepper and the mortar and pestle is on layaway.

For any decision or adjudication, ask yourself, "Is this going to be fun for everyone?" and "Is this going to lead to the creation of an exciting, memorable story?"

DMs: Dungeon Master 101  |  Session Zero  |  Structure First, Story Last  |  No Myth Roleplaying  |  5e Monster Index & Encounter Calculator
Players: Players 101  |  11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer  |  You Are Not Your Character  |  Pre-Gen D&D 5e PCs

Content I Created: Adventure Scenarios  |  Actual Play Reports  |  Tools  |  Game Transcripts

Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith


As a DM, I don't pull gotchas.

Tbh, pretty much anything that could be done, can be done at my table.


Now obviously this doesn’t mean I will let players jump mountains or blow over entire keeps with a single mighty breath; but if a player tells me “Hey I have an idea…” and if that idea has even the slightest possibility of working then as a DM I don’t see a reason why it shouldn’t be allowed.


I understand the “gotcha” fear but I assure you that’s not what I mean. If a player where to suggest something that could be done but would have blatantly obvious consequences I point that out, but tbh most players (at least those I'v had) are not asking for those sort things, most want to do stuff like the whole throwing glass idea and not wanting to punch holes in castle walls or drink acid and spit it at people.


So Yes, I’ll admit I would tell players that an action they could try wouldn’t be worth it, BUT I try to make the absolute last option, If I can think of a plausible reason it should work (usually only need 1) and a way to not break the game (easy to do almost always) then I tell them to go for it.


A side note as well; I play a lot of my games more TotM than others; so there is always ample room for things like this, and I encourage it at the table.



IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/1.jpg)

most want to do stuff like the whole throwing glass idea and not wanting to punch holes in castle walls or drink acid and spit it at people.



Those who are seeking to do things like that are just yanking the DM's chain anyway. Such a request is deserving of an out-of-game conversation to determine that player's intent rather than an in-game block of the idea. The player might just make a convincing case or the DM may have forgotten a detail that came up previously that would allow the thing to be attempted.

The problematic issue is when the DM sees just about anything out-of-the-box as yanking his or her chain probably because he's got a plot or world to protect. I don't see how throwing dust in the eyes of enemies is anything but perfectly reasonable. Block it, and (as was pointed out) the character can turn around and buy eyesting which costs a piddly 40 gp (at 4th-level), has no skill check to pull off, a longer-lasting effect, and has an aftereffect with save ends. In light of this, my terrain power must look pretty appetizing to the reluctant DM now, huh?

For any decision or adjudication, ask yourself, "Is this going to be fun for everyone?" and "Is this going to lead to the creation of an exciting, memorable story?"

DMs: Dungeon Master 101  |  Session Zero  |  Structure First, Story Last  |  No Myth Roleplaying  |  5e Monster Index & Encounter Calculator
Players: Players 101  |  11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer  |  You Are Not Your Character  |  Pre-Gen D&D 5e PCs

Content I Created: Adventure Scenarios  |  Actual Play Reports  |  Tools  |  Game Transcripts

Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith

And don't forget, Chuck had to spend the last of his money to buy those bottles and such. He couldn't even afford cayenne pepper and the mortar and pestle is on layaway.



So you will say "yes and....." for any poorly conceived idea, but seem pretty intolorant for any suggestion that the player makes any effort on his part to make the idea work or improve upon it. The idea of collaberation is that it both parties work together.

IMO, your chuck's bag of broken glass is too much. Blinded for 4 rounds? That's way too much. I'd make it maybe -1 to melee and ranged attacks and -5 to perception checks for 1 round. and that is all it should get. If they were to do some effort with tools to grind it proper, then I would make it -2 melee and ranged. If they wanted some reactant, such as cayenne pepper (a common, easy to obtain ingredient) then I would consider a harsh debuff, maybe even blinded for a round or 2. Better yet they could follow that link about Eyesting. Why? because I don't think a handful of broken glass is going to be as effective as a can of mace.

You can call it blocking, I call it a fair consideration, no penalty (there is no reason why this shoudl be risky) it's a minor debuff, that's fair. I beleive in  rewarding the players for the effort they put into making their ideas work, there is no limit to what they can do if they put the effort in to make it work.

This is no different with how anythign else in the game works, they put in the effort to achieve that goal. The idea (tossing something into the opponents eyes) has merit, how effective it is depends on how much effort they put into making it work.
  
Throwing stuff in someone's face seems like a ranged attack to me.

Reflex save vs. a DC equal to the attack roll sounds good.

I wouldn't make the damage permanent, though... unless the blindness can be cured by an easy heal check or by any heal spell.

I'd likely go with a fort save for half effect if it hits. If they fail the fort save, they are blinded enough to give a 50% miss chance until they make an attempt to get the glass out.. DC 10 heal check. If they make the save, everything is blurry and they get a 20% miss chance.

It's a cool and nasty little trick, regardless of how you handle it. After a while, NPC's are going to see how cool and nasty it is and the glassmaker is going to be rich.
A rogue with a bowl of slop can be a controller. WIZARD PC: Can I substitute Celestial Roc Guano for my fireball spells? DM: Awesome. Yes. When in doubt, take action.... that's generally the best course. Even Sun Tsu knew that, and he didn't have internets.
So you will say "yes and....." for any poorly conceived idea, but seem pretty intolorant for any suggestion that the player makes any effort on his part to make the idea work or improve upon it. The idea of collaberation is that it both parties work together.



Yes, and here's the thing: Ideas are ideas. "Poorly conceived" is your bias. I'm not biased toward players' ideas. The goal is the same regardless of effort put forth in the narrative: Blind an enemy for a time. The mechanics play out the same.

IMO, your chuck's bag of broken glass is too much. Blinded for 4 rounds? That's way too much. I'd make it maybe -1 to melee and ranged attacks and -5 to perception checks for 1 round. and that is all it should get. If they were to do some effort with tools to grind it proper, then I would make it -2 melee and ranged. If they wanted some reactant, such as cayenne pepper (a common, easy to obtain ingredient) then I would consider a harsh debuff, maybe even blinded for a round or 2. Better yet they could follow that link about Eyesting. Why? because I don't think a handful of broken glass is going to be as effective as a can of mace.



For one, I don't know how you read my terrain power as being blind for 4 rounds. It doesn't say anything of the sort. I'd add that there's very little point to the level of simulation you suggest in my opinion.

You can call it blocking, I call it a fair consideration, no penalty (there is no reason why this shoudl be risky) it's a minor debuff, that's fair. I beleive in  rewarding the players for the effort they put into making their ideas work, there is no limit to what they can do if they put the effort in to make it work.

This is no different with how anythign else in the game works, they put in the effort to achieve that goal. The idea (tossing something into the opponents eyes) has merit, how effective it is depends on how much effort they put into making it work.



Here's how I read you:

Player: I smash up a bunch of glass bottles in a sack and throw the glass dust in people's eyes to blind them.
You: That's a poorly conceived idea.
Player: What if I throw a dash of cayenne pepper in there?
You: Brilliant.

For any decision or adjudication, ask yourself, "Is this going to be fun for everyone?" and "Is this going to lead to the creation of an exciting, memorable story?"

DMs: Dungeon Master 101  |  Session Zero  |  Structure First, Story Last  |  No Myth Roleplaying  |  5e Monster Index & Encounter Calculator
Players: Players 101  |  11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer  |  You Are Not Your Character  |  Pre-Gen D&D 5e PCs

Content I Created: Adventure Scenarios  |  Actual Play Reports  |  Tools  |  Game Transcripts

Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith

Here's how I read you:

Player: I smash up a bunch of glass bottles in a sack and throw the glass dust in people's eyes to blind them.
You: That's a poorly conceived idea.
Player: What if I throw a dash of cayenne pepper in there?
You: Brilliant.

Or does the DM say, "If you did it with a mortar and pestle, and added cayenne pepper, it would work," and let the player say "Ok, sounds good, I do that"?


If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

Or does the DM say, "If you did it with a mortar and pestle, and added cayenne pepper, it would work," and let the player say "Ok, sounds good, I do that"?



Sure. My guess is that will then cue the shopping scene where the character haggles over the price of cayenne pepper with a gruff dwarf spice merchant while the rest of the players desperately wonder why a bag of just glass dust wouldn't be sufficient to the task.

For any decision or adjudication, ask yourself, "Is this going to be fun for everyone?" and "Is this going to lead to the creation of an exciting, memorable story?"

DMs: Dungeon Master 101  |  Session Zero  |  Structure First, Story Last  |  No Myth Roleplaying  |  5e Monster Index & Encounter Calculator
Players: Players 101  |  11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer  |  You Are Not Your Character  |  Pre-Gen D&D 5e PCs

Content I Created: Adventure Scenarios  |  Actual Play Reports  |  Tools  |  Game Transcripts

Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith

as well as saying “Yup you can but It will be so hard you mise well not waste your time” Is crapy as well.

Would you set up a situation where PCs waste their time or resources attempting actions that would clearly be impossible without even warning them that it's clearly impossible?  If so, that's the definition of a "Gotcha DM."  Or is nothing impossible when you DM?  Do you think it's a good idea to warn them if something isn't impossible but has a very small chance of success?

When I DM, some things are clearly impossible.  I also assume that the PCs aren't too stupid to realize this and unless their Wisdom is below average, they will always have a general idea of how difficult a task is for them.  So you'll hear things from me like "Your common sense tells you that this would be too difficult for you.  In other words, you have no chance/little chance of success.  Still wanna try?" 

As a DM, I don't pull gotchas.

I don't think it's crappy if I tell the DM I'm going to try something difficult and he says "It's going to be difficult." Or if I try to have my character squeeze through a tiny hole and he says "Impossible. His head's too big".

I'll either get creative and come up with a better idea, or add to the idea to make it possible.
Okay. The window is too small. What if I use the door?
Or... hmm.. what if I shave my beard, smear my head in oil and cut off my ears? (Just kidding)

If it's merely difficult and not impossible, I may just try it anyway, especially if he character I'm playing would think that the risk is worth the reward.

A rogue with a bowl of slop can be a controller. WIZARD PC: Can I substitute Celestial Roc Guano for my fireball spells? DM: Awesome. Yes. When in doubt, take action.... that's generally the best course. Even Sun Tsu knew that, and he didn't have internets.
So you will say "yes and....." for any poorly conceived idea, but seem pretty intolorant for any suggestion that the player makes any effort on his part to make the idea work or improve upon it. The idea of collaberation is that it both parties work together.



Yes, and here's the thing: Ideas are ideas. "Poorly conceived" is your bias. I'm not biased toward players' ideas. The goal is the same regardless of effort put forth in the narrative: Blind an enemy for a time. The mechanics play out the same.

IMO, your chuck's bag of broken glass is too much. Blinded for 4 rounds? That's way too much. I'd make it maybe -1 to melee and ranged attacks and -5 to perception checks for 1 round. and that is all it should get. If they were to do some effort with tools to grind it proper, then I would make it -2 melee and ranged. If they wanted some reactant, such as cayenne pepper (a common, easy to obtain ingredient) then I would consider a harsh debuff, maybe even blinded for a round or 2. Better yet they could follow that link about Eyesting. Why? because I don't think a handful of broken glass is going to be as effective as a can of mace.



For one, I don't know how you read my terrain power as being blind for 4 rounds. It doesn't say anything of the sort. I'd add that there's very little point to the level of simulation you suggest in my opinion.

You can call it blocking, I call it a fair consideration, no penalty (there is no reason why this shoudl be risky) it's a minor debuff, that's fair. I beleive in  rewarding the players for the effort they put into making their ideas work, there is no limit to what they can do if they put the effort in to make it work.

This is no different with how anythign else in the game works, they put in the effort to achieve that goal. The idea (tossing something into the opponents eyes) has merit, how effective it is depends on how much effort they put into making it work.



Here's how I read you:

Player: I smash up a bunch of glass bottles in a sack and throw the glass dust in people's eyes to blind them.
You: That's a poorly conceived idea.
Player: What if I throw a dash of cayenne pepper in there?
You: Brilliant.

You do have biases, though. I've put forth (and other people have put forth) several examples in the past that you have labelled as 'extreme' as if they either are likely to never happen, or if they do happen the player is 'yanking the DM's chain' for one reason or another.

What we're saying here is more like this:

Player: I smash up a bunch of glass bottles in a sack and throw the glass dust in people's eyes to blind them.
DM: Cool move, but it's a make-shift weapon. I'll give them a DC15 fort save... if you hit.
Player: What if I throw a dash of cayenne pepper or something like that in there? And find some way to grind the glass into really fine pieces?
DM: I'll increase the DC of the fort save and make it an area attack. 5 foot burst sound good?
Player: Brilliant!
 
A rogue with a bowl of slop can be a controller. WIZARD PC: Can I substitute Celestial Roc Guano for my fireball spells? DM: Awesome. Yes. When in doubt, take action.... that's generally the best course. Even Sun Tsu knew that, and he didn't have internets.
You do have biases, though. I've put forth (and other people have put forth) several examples in the past that you have labelled as 'extreme' as if they either are likely to never happen, or if they do happen the player is 'yanking the DM's chain' for one reason or another.



Not only are those extreme examples self-evident (rolling in honey and feathers and jumping off a cliff?), but they are often labelled as extreme even by the person citing them.

What we're saying here is more like this:


Player: I smash up a bunch of glass bottles in a sack and throw the glass dust in people's eyes to blind them.
DM: Cool move, but it's a make-shift weapon. I'll give them a DC15 fort save... if you hit.
Player: What if I throw a dash of cayenne pepper or something like that in there? And find some way to grind the glass into really fine pieces?
DM: I'll increase the DC of the fort save and make it an area attack. 5 foot burst sound good?
Player: Brilliant! 


If that works for you, go for it. What it sounds like more often is "That's not realistic, so no" or "That's not realistic, so here's a mechanic so lacking that you'd be foolish not to do something else instead."

For any decision or adjudication, ask yourself, "Is this going to be fun for everyone?" and "Is this going to lead to the creation of an exciting, memorable story?"

DMs: Dungeon Master 101  |  Session Zero  |  Structure First, Story Last  |  No Myth Roleplaying  |  5e Monster Index & Encounter Calculator
Players: Players 101  |  11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer  |  You Are Not Your Character  |  Pre-Gen D&D 5e PCs

Content I Created: Adventure Scenarios  |  Actual Play Reports  |  Tools  |  Game Transcripts

Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith

It's basically Glitterdust.

5e should strongly stay away from "I don't like it, so you can't have it either."

 

I once asked the question (in D&D 3.5) "Does a Druid4/Wizard3/ArcaneHierophant1 have Wildshape?". Jesse Decker and Andy Collins: Yes and the text is clear and can't be interpreted differently. Rich Redman and Ed Stark: No and the text is clear and can't be interpreted differently. Skip Williams: Lol, it's worded ambiguously and entirely not how I intended it. (Cust. Serv. Reference# 050815-000323)

Awesome responses concerning this thread

I'm the DM in this entire scenario and Omegasupreme651 - who started this thread - is in our D&D group.

I really like all the responses and information concerning this. It was my first time DMing in 15 years when one of our guys did this so I wasn't exactly sure how to proceed with it. After reading all the responses on here, I will definately implement an attack roll vs. reflex and have the person do a save/dexterity check to see if he gets cut as well.

The information on here is great and I look forward to learning more!!!


~ My name is wasowicz and I approve this message ~   
~ My name is wasowicz and I approve this message ~

Here's how I read you:

Player: I smash up a bunch of glass bottles in a sack and throw the glass dust in people's eyes to blind them.
You: That's a poorly conceived idea.
Player: What if I throw a dash of cayenne pepper in there?
You: Brilliant.



No, and that isn't what I said, nor could possibly be taken as meaning when I say "The idea (tossing something into the opponents eyes) has merit," so it is quite a leap on your part to reach "the poorly conceived idea" There is a difference, I think the overall idea is a good one, I think that the methodology in implimenting said idea however is not very creative. Broken glass in a sack is a crudely improvised way of doing this and the and the returns for it should match the effort put into it's implimentation.

Player: I smash up a bunch of glass bottles in a sack and throw the glass dust in people's eyes to blind them.
DM: Hmmmm, sure, I will give them a DC 15 save with a -1 melee and ranged attack for their turn.
Player: What? That's not worth it.
DM: Well it is just broken glass in a sack.
Player: Yes, well I will give it more thought, perhaps if I ground it better into a fine dust, some sort of grinder or tool, I'll ask the glass blower if there is one in this town
DM: That would definately improve it, there is a glass blower, mostly does work for the city mages, he uses a small mortar and pestle, oh and you can buy the raw materials from him too, alot cheaper then buying glasses.
Player: Excelent, hey what if I added some Cayenne pepper to it as well?
DM: If it is in the book you can buy it, actually i think Cayenne peper was used in warfare historically. anyways a 1lb bag of uncommon spices is only 5 copper, what would you say to -2 attacks and -10 perception, DC 15 save if your attack hits.
Player: I dunno, still seems weak.
DM:  Well it won't be as good as Blinded, you understand, and don't underestimate that -10 to perception either. If I give them a save each round for 4 rounds does that sound workable
Player: Only one way to find out, lets try it in a fight.. 


What I find perhaps more suprising is that you talk of collaberation and then openly mock any suggestion of actually collaberating as a two way exchange, perhaps you think it means "hand them everything on a silver platter" and not "two or more parties mutually working together to achieve a goal" And since this is the What's a Player to Do? section, I aimed some of my advice on how the player could make an idea like this work. Metal Filings, Sand and Cayenne Pepper were used in this manner centuries ago, so it fits the setting rather well.

Players come up with brilliant ideas, sometimes so good that the DM has to call for a short break while he rewrites some material. They often do alot of work to make those ideas work, dedicating their character build and gear to do so. But they also come up with ideas that are not so good, and some that are just plain terrible ideas. The question I would throw back is do you reward bad ideas the same as you do good ideas equally? And if so are you encouraging creativity or stifling it? Why shouldn't the DM reward effort, creativity and a player who's character puts in the effort to make the idea work?

I don't know what you are doing, but in my experience, not just playing the game but in life in general, raising kids, running a business, always saying "yes and...." as you describe breeds weakness and stifles creativity. Or as the fraud Edison said once said, 'I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work'

Not every idea is a good one, not every idea will work, and mindlessly encouraging and rewarding bad ideas does not encourage creative thinking, it encourages lazy thinking, and some ideas need some effort to make work. This idea is not a bad one, I like it, but it is being poorly executed by the player. A DM should not pander to the player and reward poorly executed ideas, but neither should he block the player from putting in the effort to make that idea work. And that is where the game gets creative, and where collaberation happens, in making the idea work.

And you may think the example of feathers and honey to jump off the cliff is extreme and a player acting out, but flip back to the first post. The player expectation that breaking up mugs and tossing them into peoples faces to blind them in combat, no roll to hit, is pretty extreme, they are pretty close to the same level of thinking. Expecting extremely excelent results from poorly executed ideas with absolute minimal effort to make them work. You aren't rewarding creativity by encouraging that, you are in fact stifling it.

  

What I find perhaps more suprising is that you talk of collaberation and then openly mock any suggestion of actually collaberating as a two way exchange, perhaps you think it means "hand them everything on a silver platter" and not "two or more parties mutually working together to achieve a goal" And since this is the What's a Player to Do? section, I aimed some of my advice on how the player could make an idea like this work. Metal Filings, Sand and Cayenne Pepper were used in this manner centuries ago, so it fits the setting rather well.



I'm all for collaboration. What I'm not for is what appears to me as having players jump through arbitrary hoops to get what they want. We can have the same level of engaging collaboration without the player guessing at what's going to please the DM's abitrary sense of realism and get them a greater mechanical advantage. That's lobbying and "DM May I?" stuff that I left behind a long time ago.

The question I would throw back is do you reward bad ideas the same as you do good ideas equally? And if so are you encouraging creativity or stifling it? Why shouldn't the DM reward effort, creativity and a player who's character puts in the effort to make the idea work?



I make no judgment as to good ideas or bad ideas. They're just ideas. Effort, creativity, and all that are rewards unto themselves. The mechanics are just the mechanics.

I don't know what you are doing, but in my experience, not just playing the game but in life in general, raising kids, running a business, always saying "yes and...." as you describe breeds weakness and stifles creativity. Or as the fraud Edison said once said, 'I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work'



I'm not sure how raising kids, running a business, or whatever applies here. We're playing and discussing a game that takes place in a fantasy world. Leave that reality at the door.

Not every idea is a good one, not every idea will work, and mindlessly encouraging and rewarding bad ideas does not encourage creative thinking, it encourages lazy thinking, and some ideas need some effort to make work. This idea is not a bad one, I like it, but it is being poorly executed by the player. A DM should not pander to the player and reward poorly executed ideas, but neither should he block the player from putting in the effort to make that idea work. And that is where the game gets creative, and where collaberation happens, in making the idea work.



I don't think it's the province of the DM to decide whether an idea is good or not. It's just an idea, where mechanics may be required to adjudicate the success or failure of the goal (balanced against level-appropriate mechanics), and the dice determine the outcome. "Good ideas" are rewards onto themselves. So are "bad ideas" that by luck or circumstance, actually work. That's not for the DM to decide in my view. The players can decide if those ideas are good or bad and the dice can decide if those good or bad ideas actually work.

And you may think the example of feathers and honey to jump off the cliff is extreme and a player acting out, but flip back to the first post. The player expectation that breaking up mugs and tossing them into peoples faces to blind them in combat, no roll to hit, is pretty extreme, they are pretty close to the same level of thinking. Expecting extremely excelent results from poorly executed ideas with absolute minimal effort to make them work. You aren't rewarding creativity by encouraging that, you are in fact stifling it.



I submit that the reason the mechanic appears somewhat unbalanced was a concern about realism in the first place. Except that sense of arbitrariness favored the player rather than the DM.

For any decision or adjudication, ask yourself, "Is this going to be fun for everyone?" and "Is this going to lead to the creation of an exciting, memorable story?"

DMs: Dungeon Master 101  |  Session Zero  |  Structure First, Story Last  |  No Myth Roleplaying  |  5e Monster Index & Encounter Calculator
Players: Players 101  |  11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer  |  You Are Not Your Character  |  Pre-Gen D&D 5e PCs

Content I Created: Adventure Scenarios  |  Actual Play Reports  |  Tools  |  Game Transcripts

Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith

I'm all for collaboration. What I'm not for is what appears to me as having players jump through arbitrary hoops to get what they want. We can have the same level of engaging collaboration without the player guessing at what's going to please the DM's abitrary sense of realism and get them a greater mechanical advantage. That's lobbying and "DM May I?" stuff that I left behind a long time ago.

How is a player supposed to know what changes to the idea will meet the DM's standard for making it a "good" idea that "deserves" to be rewarded by making it work? Not all ideas have historical precedent (which DMs are known to misunderstand and misrepresent anyway). What if the player wants to make a spell or other non-real effect work in a new way?

If the DM has some standard for realism, it's foolish to keep that from the player. If a DM doesn't like how an idea is presented, the DM should tell the player what the player needs to do to make the idea work. Anything else is hoping that the player will give up on the idea.

It seems as though a "good" idea is one that the DM doesn't feel right objecting to further. It has met the DM's threshhold for discussion and argument and even though it would be trivial for the DM to continue blocking it, they just feel as though it has become bad form. Some DMs never feel this and will block forever. Other DMs feel that any blocking is bad form and that the group should accept and refine ideas, rather than discouraging them for any reason. Accepting and refining ideas does encourage creative thinking. Blocking them just encourages random hoop-jumping and failure mitigation.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

How is a player supposed to know what changes to the idea will meet the DM's standard for making it a "good" idea that "deserves" to be rewarded by making it work?



He keeps guessing until he gets it right, I guess. "Gets it right" being defined as jumping through the hoops the DM wants to "allow" the player to attain his goal, whatever that may be.

If the DM has some standard for realism, it's foolish to keep that from the player. If a DM doesn't like how an idea is presented, the DM should tell the player what the player needs to do to make the idea work. Anything else is hoping that the player will give up on the idea.



Definitely.

It seems as though a "good" idea is one that the DM doesn't feel right objecting to further. It has met the DM's threshhold for discussion and argument and even though it would be trivial for the DM to continue blocking it, they just feel as though it has become bad form. Some DMs never feel this and will block forever. Other DMs feel that any blocking is bad form and that the group should accept and refine ideas, rather than discouraging them for any reason. Accepting and refining ideas does encourage creative thinking. Blocking them just encourages random hoop-jumping and failure mitigation.



Agree, completely. And a hearty "Amen" to the part I bolded.

For any decision or adjudication, ask yourself, "Is this going to be fun for everyone?" and "Is this going to lead to the creation of an exciting, memorable story?"

DMs: Dungeon Master 101  |  Session Zero  |  Structure First, Story Last  |  No Myth Roleplaying  |  5e Monster Index & Encounter Calculator
Players: Players 101  |  11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer  |  You Are Not Your Character  |  Pre-Gen D&D 5e PCs

Content I Created: Adventure Scenarios  |  Actual Play Reports  |  Tools  |  Game Transcripts

Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith

One answer to how a player knows what the DM's standard is could be that the DM explains it up front. But even if a DM does that, if there are any hoops players are still going to tend to feel more comfortable just going by the rules and what is on their sheets, those things that they don't have to ask permission for.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

I'm all for collaboration. What I'm not for is what appears to me as having players jump through arbitrary hoops to get what they want. We can have the same level of engaging collaboration without the player guessing at what's going to please the DM's abitrary sense of realism and get them a greater mechanical advantage. That's lobbying and "DM May I?" stuff that I left behind a long time ago.



Who said arbitary hoops, The player has an idea, the DM fits in the game with a fair ruling, using whatever mechanical system best fits. Everything is the DM's "abitrary sense of realism" which can and does vary from DM to DM. My suggestion is a fair ruling based on the crudeness or effort put into it's execution, -1 attack for 1or 2 rounds on a DC 15, with a successful hit is a fair result imo.

And while a DM shouldn't be a stickler at realism, (cause you know Dragons and Magic) it is still a consideration when maitaining the suspended disbelief of the world the game is in. I am also strongly advocating rewarding the effort that Players put into implimenting their ideas.


Now if I was this player, I would use a mix of sand, metal filings and Cayenne pepper. As the sand/metal filings can be thrown more effectively and the chemical reagent in the pepper will combine to make it far more effective. And for a delivery system, i will hollow out egg shells and fill them with this. This is easier to aim, has a range and easier to handle with no risk of covering myself while using it.

Now I put in that effort, and the player beside me tossed a couple of mugs into a sack and whacks it against the wall, grabs a handful and tosses it at his target.

Do we both get the same results? Is so my response as a player is going to be rather negative. Why would you block my creative ideas?

Or because you've given hims such astonishingly good results despite his complete lack of effort, are you going to give me far better results? You are just settign the game up for escalation of power problems.

I make no judgment as to good ideas or bad ideas. They're just ideas. Effort, creativity, and all that are rewards unto themselves. The mechanics are just the mechanics.



I agree, the mechanics are just the mechanics, it is up to the player to decide then if it is a good idea based on the mechanics that result from it. So um yes, I will use a herring  instead of a greatsword. What it does no damage? I thought there was no bad ideas? Sorry I should say that not all things have the same mechanical return.

If the idea is a reward unto itself, then it won't matter to the player if it doesn't work mechanically. The problem with this thinking is that the purpose of the idea was to get a mechanical result, there is an expectation, a well justified expectation from the players that ideas and effort pay pff with mechanical results. So there is objectively workable ideas and ideas with little to no payoff mechanically, and even, god forbid, bad ideas that they really shouldn't do.

As long as the DM's goal is to be fair and to reward a player for the effort put into making an idea work.  

And you will notice that not everything that is in the game, mechanicswise, is a good idea, a rusty dagger isn't as effective as a magic greatsword.. So the mechanics are the mechanics, it is up to the player to decide from there.  

I'm not sure how raising kids, running a business, or whatever applies here. We're playing and discussing a game that takes place in a fantasy world. Leave that reality at the door.



Basic life skills apply to any social setting, even a social game like D&D. And when we talk about developing and encouraging creativity, open communication and basic problem solving skills. I think D&D is an excelent tool for developing such creative skills. Now if you are saying that basic life skills should be left at the door, I understand what you mean about having to take players aside when you have issues with their behaviour.
 
If my child were to bring me a picture that they scribbled, should I always say "OMG it is so wonderful, I will hang it on the fridge for all to see" or should I sometimes say "your gettign older now, it's time you started colouring in the lines and not just scribbling" One breeds a narsasistic child who drops out of highschool and the other leads to a child that goes on to college and a career.

To put this in perspective to the game, because we don't ussually play with children, are you encouraging creativity by just saying "yes and...." to pander to any idea without consideration to the actual effort, skill, or creativity behind it?

As a Player, I don't like how it was implimented by the original post, the player posting it didn't seem particularly impressed either. So I think, case in point.

I don't think it's the province of the DM to decide whether an idea is good or not. It's just an idea, where mechanics may be required to adjudicate the success or failure of the goal (balanced against level-appropriate mechanics), and the dice determine the outcome. "Good ideas" are rewards onto themselves. So are "bad ideas" that by luck or circumstance, actually work. That's not for the DM to decide in my view. The players can decide if those ideas are good or bad and the dice can decide if those good or bad ideas actually work.



But it is up to the DM to adjucate what mechanics are used to impliment the idea. In this he should make a fair ruling, with consideration to the effort and skill in which the idea is implimented. The the player can decide if the idea is good or bad, based on those mechanics, or if it can be improved upon.

The effectiveness should be based on the effort, skill, or crudeness and lack of effort, put into making the idea work. There also rests on the player a certain responsibility to make his idea work. But again, you seem to dislike my suggestion that some ideas are better then others when I say there are ways for this player to improve upon it.

I submit that the reason the mechanic appears somewhat unbalanced was a concern about realism in the first place. Except that sense of arbitrariness favored the player rather than the DM.




The DM should never be arbitrary in his rulings, a Fair ruling considers trying to make the player's idea work. realism is not as important as consistancy, but it is something to consider when it comes to keeping the suspension of disbelief up. And again, there is some expectation that the player makes an effort to make an idea work.

Just because the DM says to a player that gluing feathers to his arms and jumping is a bad idea, it does not mean that the player cannot build an aparatis for gliding, parachuting or even flying (because hey it is a fantasy game) Just that the player has to make it work.  If you chalenge your players you will be pleasantly suprized at what they can do.
One answer to how a player knows what the DM's standard is could be that the DM explains it up front. But even if a DM does that, if there are any hoops players are still going to tend to feel more comfortable just going by the rules and what is on their sheets, those things that they don't have to ask permission for.



A reply to that is why will a character feel comfortable in coming up with creative ideas and putting the effort into making them work if they aren't rewarded any differently then any other idea, however the difference in effort or merit or sensibility?

If two seperate players at youe game come up with an idea of blinding their opponents like this, and player 1 smashes a glass mug in a bag to toss in their eyes and player 2 takes the effort to grind the glass or use sand and metal shavings and cayenne peppers or some other reactant materials in a delivery system (such as hollowed out eggs) will they both get the exact same results?

Are you going to reward the one for what you call "jumping through hoops" or what others would call Creativity, hard work, effort and cleverness, or will you block his ideas and give him the same results? 

The truth of it is that you will hopefully evaluate their effort and creativity fairly and give them a mechaical effect that matches that.

And again, there is talk about Collaberating, which seems to you to be rather one sided, as you call any DM input "having to jump through hoops" rather then working together.
How is a player supposed to know what changes to the idea will meet the DM's standard for making it a "good" idea that "deserves" to be rewarded by making it work?



He keeps guessing until he gets it right, I guess. "Gets it right" being defined as jumping through the hoops the DM wants to "allow" the player to attain his goal, whatever that may be.

If the DM has some standard for realism, it's foolish to keep that from the player. If a DM doesn't like how an idea is presented, the DM should tell the player what the player needs to do to make the idea work. Anything else is hoping that the player will give up on the idea.



Definitely.

It seems as though a "good" idea is one that the DM doesn't feel right objecting to further. It has met the DM's threshhold for discussion and argument and even though it would be trivial for the DM to continue blocking it, they just feel as though it has become bad form. Some DMs never feel this and will block forever. Other DMs feel that any blocking is bad form and that the group should accept and refine ideas, rather than discouraging them for any reason. Accepting and refining ideas does encourage creative thinking. Blocking them just encourages random hoop-jumping and failure mitigation.



Agree, completely. And a hearty "Amen" to the part I bolded.

If a player uses a pillow as a battering ram, it isn't as effective as using a log.
The same (theoretically) common sense can be applied to this situation.

- Big fat chunks of glass on top of the head = minimum effect, if any at all.
- Well-ground slivers of glass combined with Naga-bih Jah pepper in the eye (which is 10x as hot as cayenne, according to the Scoville scale) = much better effect.

If a player can't understand an explanation for why a pillow isn't particularly effective as a batterning ram, but a wooden log is or how getting finely ground glass and hot pepper in an enemy's eye might have a better chance of affecting his vision than big chunks of glass, this game is likely beyond the scope of their mental acumen. That the player was able to come up with the idea indicates that this is not the case. Therefore, it is perfectly reasonable to assume they have the mental acumen to understand such things as pillow (soft) vs. log (hard) and chunks of glass in the ear (not effective blinding strategy) vs. slivered glass/hot pepper combination in the eye (more effective blinding strategy).

If a player suggests that applying such common sense is some sort of confining hoop or idea blockage, the player is simply being a jerk. No in-game OR out-of-game solution will likely change that. The base-line standard for most worlds is that unless there is a reason for exception (magic, supernatural ability, things working differently on a particular plane, etc) that things work within reasonable approximation of the way they work in the real world , requiring no further explanation or back story to establish fiction is... I suspect... using common sense. I'm advocating using common sense.
A rogue with a bowl of slop can be a controller. WIZARD PC: Can I substitute Celestial Roc Guano for my fireball spells? DM: Awesome. Yes. When in doubt, take action.... that's generally the best course. Even Sun Tsu knew that, and he didn't have internets.
Who said arbitary hoops, The player has an idea, the DM fits in the game with a fair ruling, using whatever mechanical system best fits. Everything is the DM's "abitrary sense of realism" which can and does vary from DM to DM. My suggestion is a fair ruling based on the crudeness or effort put into it's execution, -1 attack for 1or 2 rounds on a DC 15, with a successful hit is a fair result imo.



Your value judgment as to the "crudeness" of the effort is what's at issue here. It's much simpler and less arbitary to ask, "What is your goal with that, Mr. Player?" When he says, "To throw it into people's eyes and blind them," then you can translate that into a fair mechanic based upon level, regardless of how much cayenne pepper he uses.

Now if I was this player, I would use a mix of sand, metal filings and Cayenne pepper. As the sand/metal filings can be thrown more effectively and the chemical reagent in the pepper will combine to make it far more effective. And for a delivery system, i will hollow out egg shells and fill them with this. This is easier to aim, has a range and easier to handle with no risk of covering myself while using it.

Now I put in that effort, and the player beside me tossed a couple of mugs into a sack and whacks it against the wall, grabs a handful and tosses it at his target.

Do we both get the same results? Is so my response as a player is going to be rather negative. Why would you block my creative ideas?

Or because you've given hims such astonishingly good results despite his complete lack of effort, are you going to give me far better results? You are just settign the game up for escalation of power problems.



Yes, same result. Because I'm judging the effort by the mechanics that apply to the stated goal, not whatever I think is a good idea or a better idea. That's not blocking, by the way. You use "blocking" the same way you use "Yes, and...", which is to say, with a willful ignorance of what those things actually mean.

There is no escalation of power. The mechanic is the same whether you use cayenne pepper or not. The player that suggested using cayenne pepper simply gets the benefit of being clever in his fiction.

I agree, the mechanics are just the mechanics, it is up to the player to decide then if it is a good idea based on the mechanics that result from it. So um yes, I will use a herring  instead of a greatsword. What it does no damage? I thought there was no bad ideas? Sorry I should say that not all things have the same mechanical return.



I guess you'd probably be disgruntled at how effective the fighter is in one of my games. He uses a 2x4 shoring timber named Delilah as a weapon. It's just as effective as a greatsword in his hands. A bard in a different game used frying pan that was as effective as a scimitar.

If the idea is a reward unto itself, then it won't matter to the player if it doesn't work mechanically. The problem with this thinking is that the purpose of the idea was to get a mechanical result, there is an expectation, a well justified expectation from the players that ideas and effort pay pff with mechanical results. So there is objectively workable ideas and ideas with little to no payoff mechanically, and even, god forbid, bad ideas that they really shouldn't do.



Perhaps you're misunderstanding what I said here. What I'm saying is that one idea is not better than the other. The goal of both is to blind an opponent and that mechanic will be whatever it will be based on what is appropriate at that level. That one player had a cooler way of implementing it than the other is its own reward.

And you will notice that not everything that is in the game, mechanicswise, is a good idea, a rusty dagger isn't as effective as a magic greatsword.. So the mechanics are the mechanics, it is up to the player to decide from there.



Sounds like twisted justification to disincentivize things by offering undesirable mechanics for player ideas you think are bad for whatever reasons you have.

If my child were to bring me a picture that they scribbled, should I always say "OMG it is so wonderful, I will hang it on the fridge for all to see" or should I sometimes say "your gettign older now, it's time you started colouring in the lines and not just scribbling" One breeds a narsasistic child who drops out of highschool and the other leads to a child that goes on to college and a career.



You often refer to players as children in your posts, or as those who need a bloody nose to learn their lessons. That's pretty telling.

As a Player, I don't like how it was implimented by the original post, the player posting it didn't seem particularly impressed either. So I think, case in point.



And in my view, that call was probably based more in an argument for the efficacy of the action based upon realistic concerns rather than a concern about balanced mechanics.

But it is up to the DM to adjucate what mechanics are used to impliment the idea. In this he should make a fair ruling, with consideration to the effort and skill in which the idea is implimented. The the player can decide if the idea is good or bad, based on those mechanics, or if it can be improved upon.

The effectiveness should be based on the effort, skill, or crudeness and lack of effort, put into making the idea work. There also rests on the player a certain responsibility to make his idea work. But again, you seem to dislike my suggestion that some ideas are better then others when I say there are ways for this player to improve upon it.



My take is to analyze the goal of the effort to gauge the mechanics that apply, not the fiction of the effort itself.

For any decision or adjudication, ask yourself, "Is this going to be fun for everyone?" and "Is this going to lead to the creation of an exciting, memorable story?"

DMs: Dungeon Master 101  |  Session Zero  |  Structure First, Story Last  |  No Myth Roleplaying  |  5e Monster Index & Encounter Calculator
Players: Players 101  |  11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer  |  You Are Not Your Character  |  Pre-Gen D&D 5e PCs

Content I Created: Adventure Scenarios  |  Actual Play Reports  |  Tools  |  Game Transcripts

Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith

If a player suggests that applying such common sense is some sort of confining hoop or idea blockage, the player is simply being a jerk.



I think we're making progress. You made up another extreme example and then finally concluded that the player is just yanking the DM's chain. All by yourself! It is worthy of an out-of-game conversation to determine intent.

For any decision or adjudication, ask yourself, "Is this going to be fun for everyone?" and "Is this going to lead to the creation of an exciting, memorable story?"

DMs: Dungeon Master 101  |  Session Zero  |  Structure First, Story Last  |  No Myth Roleplaying  |  5e Monster Index & Encounter Calculator
Players: Players 101  |  11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer  |  You Are Not Your Character  |  Pre-Gen D&D 5e PCs

Content I Created: Adventure Scenarios  |  Actual Play Reports  |  Tools  |  Game Transcripts

Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith

If a player suggests that applying such common sense is some sort of confining hoop or idea blockage, the player is simply being a jerk.



I think we're making progress. You made up another extreme example and then finally concluded that the player is just yanking the DM's chain. All by yourself! It is worthy of an out-of-game conversation to determine intent.

"There is no escalation of power. The mechanic is the same whether you use cayenne pepper or not. The player that suggested using cayenne pepper simply gets the benefit of being clever in his fiction."

The escalation of power here is stopped at the point in which the intended effect (blindness) happens. If the crudely broken glass only causes blurred vision and some more potent combination eventually leads to actual blindness, the only power escalation possible is an increase in the DC to avoid the effect. Once it reaches the point that only a natural 20 will prevent the blindness, any additional effort to make it more potent becomes redundant.

I don't have a problem with the escalation of power that may happen, because at some point the player will either be satisfied or is getting his jollies by his efforts to make a more powerful pepper spray. I will likely help the player by creating adventures where ever more powerful peppers may be found... "the Efreeti's gardens in the brass cities of K'zarresh are said to hold a pepper so hot that the efreeti's serve it to their Salamander warriors to make them more fierce".

That wasn't the conclusion... the conclusion I came to was the player claiming everything is blocking him is the one yanking the DMs chain when he claims to not understand why the DM would give him a better chance of success if he did something with a better chance of success. Or claiming that by giving him a better chance of success when the player does something with a better chance of success is making him hump through hoops.

Actually, the extreme example of the pillow is no more extreme than your example of the cayenne pepper. The SIMILARUTY of the two examples (both requiring a very elementary level of common sense to understand why each example has a different level of effectiveness) are why I came up with the example.

Telling a player that "your good idea is its own reward" only goes so far. THAT is blocking, if I've ever seen it. His idea of adding the pepper was to make it more effective in some way. It is reasonable (and not jerking someone's chain) to think that a more effective weapon be (watch this part) more effective. The player's idea to make it more effective is the block, in other words.



EDIT: SIMILARITY

A rogue with a bowl of slop can be a controller. WIZARD PC: Can I substitute Celestial Roc Guano for my fireball spells? DM: Awesome. Yes. When in doubt, take action.... that's generally the best course. Even Sun Tsu knew that, and he didn't have internets.
The escalation of power here is stopped at the point in which the intended effect (blindness) happens. If the crudely broken glass only causes blurred vision and some more potent combination eventually leads to actual blindness, the only power escalation possible is an increase in the DC to avoid the effect. Once it reaches the point that only a natural 20 will prevent the blindness, any additional effort to make it more potent becomes redundant.



If someone agrees to a rules system, then they agree to the adjudication of that rules system to the appropriate power level at a given point in the game. You don't need to go through all of what you describe. Ascertain goal -> Adjudicate Appropriate Mechanic by Level -> Ask for Buy-In -> Play On.

That wasn't the conclusion... the conclusion I came to was the player claiming everything is blocking him is the one yanking the DMs chain when he claims to not understand why the DM would give him a better chance of success if he did something with a better chance of success. Or claiming that by giving him a better chance of success when the player does something with a better chance of success is making him hump through hoops.



"I want to batter down the door." There's a mechanic for that already - a Strength check against a set DC. There is no blocking here. The player agreed to that mechanic when they agreed to play the game.

Telling a player that "your good idea is its own reward" only goes so far. THAT is blocking, if I've ever seen it. His idea of adding the pepper was to make it more effective in some way. It is reasonable (and not jerking someone's chain) to think that a more effective weapon be (watch this part) more effective. The player's idea to make it more effective is the block, in other words.



You don't appear to know what blocking means, so I'd suggest not using it to make your case. Come at it from another angle.

I'd add that (in a previous thread), you admitted to lowering mechanical difficulty or handwaving success for "good plans" or raising difficulty for "bad plans." For some perspective on my viewpoint, I don't do this. There are mechanics and DCs (by level) involved for any given action where success and failure are interesting. I don't pre-judge plans. I ask for the goal, apply mechanics to their stated actions as appropriate to the rules, and we see what happens. I don't have bias in this regard. I don't think it's good for a DM to pre-judge ideas and adjust mechanics to fit that.

For any decision or adjudication, ask yourself, "Is this going to be fun for everyone?" and "Is this going to lead to the creation of an exciting, memorable story?"

DMs: Dungeon Master 101  |  Session Zero  |  Structure First, Story Last  |  No Myth Roleplaying  |  5e Monster Index & Encounter Calculator
Players: Players 101  |  11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer  |  You Are Not Your Character  |  Pre-Gen D&D 5e PCs

Content I Created: Adventure Scenarios  |  Actual Play Reports  |  Tools  |  Game Transcripts

Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith

Yes, same result. Because I'm judging the effort by the mechanics that apply to the stated goal, not whatever I think is a good idea or a better idea. That's not blocking, by the way. You use "blocking" the same way you use "Yes, and...", which is to say, with a willful ignorance of what those things actually mean.



OK, you play it as "everyone wins" and don't reward creativity or effort, and the player's choices have no impact on the game.

Music industry does this too, it's called digital loudness, it tricks the brain in being able to hear the music over anything else, but it effectively errods the actual quality, does damage to the ears and is why it is hard to find good copies of classic titles because it destroys the range at the same time.

There is no escalation of power. The mechanic is the same whether you use cayenne pepper or not. The player that suggested using cayenne pepper simply gets the benefit of being clever in his fiction.


 
The player went through the extra effort and expense to make the idea work better and deserves a mechanical benifit for his effort, just as someone who enchants a sword to get an improved magic weapon gets a mechanical benifit from his choice and not just a cool looking glowing effect, but the same stats as a rusty dagger.


I suppose the real difference is that i don't impose a cap on my player's creativity.  

I guess you'd probably be disgruntled at how effective the fighter is in one of my games. He uses a 2x4 shoring timber named Delilah as a weapon. It's just as effective as a greatsword in his hands. A bard in a different game used frying pan that was as effective as a scimitar.



I had an Ogre Barbarian named Peaches (not to his face though) who used a peach tree as a giant club and who's battlecry was "DON'T CALL ME PEACHES!!!!" The real difference is that it was just a Greatclub. His tragic, horrid and gruesome (though hilarious) death as a result of some really bad ideas, is another story. Or my Vampire character in another game who went into a fight armed with a banana and a paperclip (in my defense I was only joking with the other player but forgot my gun)

His later tragic, horrid and gruesome (though hilarious) death as a result of some really bad ideas, is another story as well.

What would have been cool and impressive however is if that Frying Pan was just a frying pan, rather then a scimitar with a fluff description. Want to talk about creativity being it's own reward then ante up  

Perhaps you're misunderstanding what I said here. What I'm saying is that one idea is not better than the other. The goal of both is to blind an opponent and that mechanic will be whatever it will be based on what is appropriate at that level. That one player had a cooler way of implementing it than the other is its own reward.



Ahh, except one had additional ideas and efforts which you won't aknowledge. -yawn- boring, you have an arbitary cap on success and failure and there is no deviating from it. how is the saying? like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cool, will be spat out. It's mediocre at best, the players can't fail, but neither can they really shine.

Sounds like twisted justification to disincentivize things by offering undesirable mechanics for player ideas you think are bad for whatever reasons you have.



No, as a player i want my choices to matter, to really matter.   I am not in favour of being kicked in the teeth or in kicking others in the teeth, but I have to ask  why are you so reluctant to disincentivize anything but mediocracy?

You often refer to players as children in your posts, or as those who need a bloody nose to learn their lessons. That's pretty telling.



As I stated after this example that we don't play with children, I am clearly advocating not treating our players like children. But the example I used is a basic life lesson that applies to small children and adults alike, effort and hardwork and creativity should be rewarded.  It is something we, as adults, learnt as children.

My take is to analyze the goal of the effort to gauge the mechanics that apply, not the fiction of the effort itself.



Part of the mechanics that should apply is the "fiction of the effort"  I understand your intent to try and make the player's ideas work as best as they can, but it should not be at the cost of artifically capping creativity, you are simply dumbing the game down. Or I should say you are advocating dumbing it down, how your groups actually work may be different then this hypothetical. Which may be fine in your groups, but in my experience lacks substance, and I know my players wouldn't be pleased.

I can understand your intent, but what you have is the DM making it happen, rather then the Player making it happen, and I beleive that is overall an unsatisfactory method. As a Player I want to be the one who makes it happen, to have my choices make it happen, and not simply have it carted to me in a silver platter.
] If someone agrees to a rules system, then they agree to the adjudication of that rules system to the appropriate power level at a given point in the game. You don't need to go through all of what you describe.



You missed the part of:   Ascertain goal -> Let Player make Choice -> Adjudicate Appropriate Mechanic by Level -> Ask for Buy-In -> Play On

Play what? at this point it is just a choose your own adventure novel with nothing but good choices. To go left and Win turn to page 45, or go right to win turn to page 182, or go straight and win go to page 9, or stay here and win, don't bother turning the page.

"I want to batter down the door." There's a mechanic for that already - a Strength check against a set DC. There is no blocking here. The player agreed to that mechanic when they agreed to play the game.



Ahhh, gotcha, there is no real choice at all. It doesn't matter if the player comes up with a good idea, such as a battering ram, that is all just fluff? A battering ram won't do anything at all. But you tell your player it is a good idea, and nothing else changes? I am not following you as to why you wouldn't give the player a bonus for using a battering ram, and this is probably why your player would be using a pillow, frustration that his creativity is ignored.

My a log would give a bonus, a proper battering ram with nadles and a metal cap? I can't argue with that working even better.   
OK, you play it as "everyone wins" and don't reward creativity or effort, and the player's choices have no impact on the game.

Music industry does this too, it's called digital loudness, it tricks the brain in being able to hear the music over anything else, but it effectively errods the actual quality, does damage to the ears and is why it is hard to find good copies of classic titles because it destroys the range at the same time.



I'll be discontinuing the conversation with you after this post. You're casting aspersions and insults where none are called for. At the very best, you're simply ignorant of what I'm trying to say. Because if you had even one iota of understanding (or willingness to understand) my point of view, you'd say that I don't play the game in that way at all.

The player went through the extra effort and expense to make the idea work better and deserves a mechanical benifit for his effort, just as someone who enchants a sword to get an improved magic weapon gets a mechanical benifit from his choice and not just a cool looking glowing effect, but the same stats as a rusty dagger.



You're talking about mechanics that already exist versus mechanics that a DM has to create in line with other mechanics to facilitate the player's creative idea. Maybe that's another reason you understand what I'm talking about.

What would have been cool and impressive however is if that Frying Pan was just a frying pan, rather then a scimitar with a fluff description. Want to talk about creativity being it's own reward then ante up



It was a frying pan. It was as effective as a scimitar in the hands of that character, in line with level-appropriate mechanics.

Ahh, except one had additional ideas and efforts which you won't aknowledge. -yawn- boring, you have an arbitary cap on success and failure and there is no deviating from it. how is the saying? like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cool, will be spat out. It's mediocre at best, the players can't fail, but neither can they really shine.



Wrong, again. All ideas are acknowledged in our game.

No, as a player i want my choices to matter, to really matter.   I am not in favour of being kicked in the teeth or in kicking others in the teeth, but I have to ask  why are you so reluctant to disincentivize anything but mediocracy?



Disingenuous question.

Part of the mechanics that should apply is the "fiction of the effort"  I understand your intent to try and make the player's ideas work as best as they can, but it should not be at the cost of artifically capping creativity, you are simply dumbing the game down. Or I should say you are advocating dumbing it down, how your groups actually work may be different then this hypothetical. Which may be fine in your groups, but in my experience lacks substance, and I know my players wouldn't be pleased.



There's no dumbing down of anything. The bag of glass or the bag of glass with cayenne pepper both have the same goal - blind enemies. Done. You seem to want to simulate every little ingredient with a mechanic. I see no good reason for this and any additional creativity on the part of the Mr. Cayenne is a reward in and of itself.

I can understand your intent, but what you have is the DM making it happen, rather then the Player making it happen, and I beleive that is overall an unsatisfactory method. As a Player I want to be the one who makes it happen, to have my choices make it happen, and not simply have it carted to me in a silver platter.



You got your bag of glass to blind people. Your choice mattered. What else do you want?

For any decision or adjudication, ask yourself, "Is this going to be fun for everyone?" and "Is this going to lead to the creation of an exciting, memorable story?"

DMs: Dungeon Master 101  |  Session Zero  |  Structure First, Story Last  |  No Myth Roleplaying  |  5e Monster Index & Encounter Calculator
Players: Players 101  |  11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer  |  You Are Not Your Character  |  Pre-Gen D&D 5e PCs

Content I Created: Adventure Scenarios  |  Actual Play Reports  |  Tools  |  Game Transcripts

Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith

Also missed...
Adjudicate
 - the Buy-in for our players has already happened when they sat at the table. They expect good ideas to have a better chance of success and for effort to be rewarded. They buy in to the concept that the DM should use common sense and good judgment. If he consistently makes bad calls, trust me, they'll find something else to do.

I STATED... The player's idea to make it more effective is the block, in other words.

What I SHOULD HAVE stated was "The player's idea to make it more effective is BEING BLOCKED" (...by the dungeonmaster arbitrarily ruling that all ideas are equally good, means that any idea intended to increase something's effectiveness is being blocked because it doesn't help. My definition of 'blocking' is that an idea is being blocked, just to clarify my intent.
--
In the door situation, you merely evaded the point, which was that a pillow used as a battering ram is notably less effective than a log and as such, like the crudely crushed glass will be less effective than the more effective item. Also, the types of situations we are describing don't always have a rule and require (hold your breath) common sense to be applied. In 3.5 you can buy a portable battering ram. It gives a +2  bonus to the strength check, if I recall. You can also buy a sack of flour, which might work as an effective pillow, but probably won't make a very effective battering ram.

You state: . "I don't pre-judge plans. I ask for the goal, apply mechanics to their stated actions as appropriate to the rules, and we see what happens. I don't have bias in this regard. I don't think it's good for a DM to pre-judge ideas and adjust mechanics to fit that. "

- You're doing exactly what we are doing. You are applying mechanics to the rules (and it requires common sense to determine what those mechanics are, particularly when the action does not have an implicit rule. I don't remember any glass to the eye rule, although there is certainly a rule for blindness. But a DM might judge that the blindness is temporary or permanent, avoidable by fort save, avoidable by reflex save, grant circumstance bonuses, (such as a bonus to someone decked out in desert gear) or anything in between. The mechanics you choose to apply and how you apply them come down to a judgment call, in this particular case of the glass shards (and many others as well).
You judge that the attempt was sufficient to give a good chance of success and that adding hot pepper isn't going to help much, because the glass shards were sufficient to accomplish what the player wanted to happen (or have a level-based chance to work and the cayenne pepper won't boost that chance). Whereas I judge that the glass shards were a little on the makeshift side and (using existing rules as a guide) shouldn't be quite as powerful as a symbol of blindness, but should have a chance for some sort of effect.

I don't present any hoops; if the player wants to add the hot pepper, he's free to do so. I'm probably not going to suggest it... he's jumping where he wants to jump. If he comes up with such an idea..... his efforts will be rewarded with a more effective blinding weapon AND he gets to be happy with his 'own reward' of having come up with it.

Unless 4e is different in this regard (I cease to be amazed), the rules are flexible enough to allow for imaginative ideas for which no explicit rule exists by giving guidelines for making a call... a call that requires the DM to use his best judgment. 1st edition had a suggestion to give a percentage chance for something to work, how high a percent? DM Call. 2nd edition boiled it down to a stat check; how hard the check was came down to DM call. 3rd edition changed the rhetoric to Difficulty Class and hinted at +2 circumstance bonuses to be applied at the DM's discretion. If you are applying mechanics, you're making a judgment call... unless everything in your world is the same DC.

Unless 4e is different in this regard, the rules generally point to the idea that doing actions that improve your chance of success... improve your chance of success.
A rogue with a bowl of slop can be a controller. WIZARD PC: Can I substitute Celestial Roc Guano for my fireball spells? DM: Awesome. Yes. When in doubt, take action.... that's generally the best course. Even Sun Tsu knew that, and he didn't have internets.
Also missed...
Adjudicate
 - the Buy-in for our players has already happened when they sat at the table. They expect good ideas to have a better chance of success and for effort to be rewarded. They buy in to the concept that the DM should use common sense and good judgment. If he consistently makes bad calls, trust me, they'll find something else to do.



If you've got buy-in for whatever process you use, then keep on keeping on. It doesn't really matter if I see no point to the level of simulation you guys use.

Unless 4e is different in this regard (I cease to be amazed), the rules are flexible enough to allow for imaginative ideas for which no explicit rule exists by giving guidelines for making a call... a call that requires the DM to use his best judgment. 1st edition had a suggestion to give a percentage chance for something to work, how high a percent? DM Call. 2nd edition boiled it down to a stat check; how hard the check was came down to DM call. 3rd edition changed the rhetoric to Difficulty Class and hinted at +2 circumstance bonuses to be applied at the DM's discretion. If you are applying mechanics, you're making a judgment call... unless everything in your world is the same DC.

Unless 4e is different in this regard, the rules generally point to the idea that doing actions that improve your chance of success... improve your chance of success.



Rules for improvised actions are covered well in 4e. My choice is to roll against static DCs by level and let the rolls determine whether something works or not. Sometimes "good" plans fail; sometimes "bad" plans work. I suppose you could call that "realistic," couldn't you?

For any decision or adjudication, ask yourself, "Is this going to be fun for everyone?" and "Is this going to lead to the creation of an exciting, memorable story?"

DMs: Dungeon Master 101  |  Session Zero  |  Structure First, Story Last  |  No Myth Roleplaying  |  5e Monster Index & Encounter Calculator
Players: Players 101  |  11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer  |  You Are Not Your Character  |  Pre-Gen D&D 5e PCs

Content I Created: Adventure Scenarios  |  Actual Play Reports  |  Tools  |  Game Transcripts

Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith

Just be honest with yourself about whether you're blocking an idea because you don't like it, or setting up challenge to encourage improvement. If you feel relief when a player abandons an idea, or when the idea doesn't work, then you're blocking. Try not to do that.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

I'll be discontinuing the conversation with you after this post. You're casting aspersions and insults where none are called for. At the very best, you're simply ignorant of what I'm trying to say. Because if you had even one iota of understanding (or willingness to understand) my point of view, you'd say that I don't play the game in that way at all.



Sorry if you view my honest assessment as an insult, but you are stating basicaly that whatever the player does will have the same result regardless of the amount of effort or creativity put into it. It doesn't matter if he is tossing crude chucks of glass, popcorn or puts some effort and expense to actually be creative. That is my truthful response. I hope you understand that my intent isn't to insult.
 
You're talking about mechanics that already exist versus mechanics that a DM has to create in line with other mechanics to facilitate the player's creative idea. Maybe that's another reason you understand what I'm talking about.



And the best way to adapt new mechanics is to look at existing systems,  Rusty Dagger -> Dagger -> Magic Dagger there are costs and effort in all three and the result varry accordingly

It was a frying pan. It was as effective as a scimitar in the hands of that character, in line with level-appropriate mechanics.



A scimitar is a balanced weapon,  slashing I do beleive, a Frying Pan is an improvized weapon, akin to a club or mace, but not balanced for use as a weapon, norreally made of materials that would last. I think it is a cool idea.

My question is How? How did the character make a frying pan as effective as a scimitar. Was it a specially crafted Frying pan, balanced and enforced? A character build that supported it? Magically enchanted frying pan?

Or just level-appropriate mechanics that are fluffed to be a frying pan. Just a character with a scimitar that was flavoured as a frying pan?    Hey I am fine with that, wouldn't stop a player from doing it.

Just wouldn't bne as cool as using an actual frying pan is all 

Wrong, again. All ideas are acknowledged in our game.



Then I am sorry for misreading your earlier posts.

So mechanically, how is the crude broken glass vs tooled glass/cayenne pepper different?

Disingenuous question



Valid question, Disingenious answer. You won't block poor or bad ideas and poor effort, but on the same token neither do you reward great ideas and hard work and effort. No matter how poor the idea and how little effort they put into it, they will get the same results as someone who comes up with an aexcelent idea, and puts in the effort to make it work.

So yes, how come you will only allow mediocracy?  
   
There's no dumbing down of anything. The bag of glass or the bag of glass with cayenne pepper both have the same goal - blind enemies. Done. You seem to want to simulate every little ingredient with a mechanic. I see no good reason for this and any additional creativity on the part of the Mr. Cayenne is a reward in and of itself.



There is a massive difference between the two examples, one is crude, effortless and naive, the other is well though out, and requires ingenuity, effort and expense on the player's part, it's not a small ingredient.  As a Dm I wouldn't do this to my players because I know they would react the same way as I would.

You got your bag of glass to blind people. Your choice mattered. What else do you want?



Creativity on the part of the DM, I want my choices to matter BECAUSE I made the right choices and not because it is handed on a silver platter. I want to be able to do something cool, not someting that is lame and mediocre. i don't want to fail, noone wants to fail, but they do want to advert failure. Not just a series of mediocre success no matter how sad and lame the idea is. players in most games want to be challenged, they want to win those challenges of course, but they want to win because they are better, not because the DM carried them.

Understand this, if the results are the same, then the choice didn't really matter at all. All the player is going to do is toss glass around until he is bored of being lame.

Same with the player acting out by using a pillow as a battering ram. Why bother being creative and building a ram? He's going to get the same result anyways, he's using a pillow to mock the DM for not giving anything for the battering ram.

Sorry, I'd rather fail spectacularly then be mediocre.
  
"Sometimes "good" plans fail; sometimes "bad" plans work. I suppose you could call that "realistic," couldn't you?"

- A little TOO realistic.

But in a game, how do we determine whether they fail or succeed? We're not advocating auto-success or auto-fail, at any rate...only improved odds. At some point, yes... blind is blind is blind. Some level of detail adds to the game, but at some point nitpicking detracts from the game. But in between is the 'sweet spot', it may be different for different players, but I submit that SOME level of detail will generally be appreciated (especially if it allows good ideas to have comparatively better chance to succeed as a bad one).

I think a lot of players, myself included, prefer the concept of increasing our odds of success with the choices we make for our characters.


- Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn't. - Mark Twain
A rogue with a bowl of slop can be a controller. WIZARD PC: Can I substitute Celestial Roc Guano for my fireball spells? DM: Awesome. Yes. When in doubt, take action.... that's generally the best course. Even Sun Tsu knew that, and he didn't have internets.
Don't devote time and effort into thinking of reasons why something shouldn't stand a good chance of working. If you're going to spend that time and effort, spend it looking for reasons why something can and does work. Justify, don't block.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

Why bother being creative and building a ram?

I see nothing creative about building a battering ram to knock down a door, this is what they are made for.

Seems like a silly discussion. If the player's intent is to create a bag of glass that will blind someone then they obviously will not fill it with large chunks of glass, they will take the time to break or grind it down. So, yes, the ground glass will have a better mechanic then the large glass - the difference? The ground glass actually has a chance to function as desired.

PC "I want to make a bag full of glass that can be used to blind someone"
DM "Great idea, make a nature/thievery (or whatever) DC XX to create an effective bag, and lets figure out the mechanics"

Add pepper? I dont see any real need to change the mechanics as compared to the original, but you might be inclined to give a -2 to the save (if it is a save ends blind).

But do you keep making it better if more and more is added? And where do you stop? There is a line somewhere that could signal when the player is looking for a creative idea to have fun with or if they are looking to game the system. In this case it might be a good idea to keep the mechanics simplified, Or make it a lower difficulty to create the bag, but keep the same mechanics.
Personally, if I had ground glass in my eye, I dont think adding pepper is going to make it any worse other than added discomfort, it is the glass doing the real damage.
"The great epochs of our life come when we gain the courage to rechristen our evil as what is best in us." - Friedrich Nietzsche
"Yes, and..." makes the game and story into what the group thinks they should be.

"Yes, but..." or "No" make the game and story into what the DM thinks they should be.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

But in between is the 'sweet spot', it may be different for different players, but I submit that SOME level of detail will generally be appreciated (especially if it allows good ideas to have comparatively better chance to succeed as a bad one).



I feel this statement presupposes that the other side of the argument is that there is no level of detail. I don't find that to be the case at all. I simply get that detail in other ways that do not require mechanical incentive.

I think a lot of players, myself included, prefer the concept of increasing our odds of success with the choices we make for our characters.



Sure, so do I. There are usually established mechanics for that, too, so that the DM doesn't have to be arbitrary about how he adjudicates, colored by whatever bias he has toward an idea from a player.

Centauri's "Yes, but..." or "No" statement is a good way of understanding the differences between the approaches.

For any decision or adjudication, ask yourself, "Is this going to be fun for everyone?" and "Is this going to lead to the creation of an exciting, memorable story?"

DMs: Dungeon Master 101  |  Session Zero  |  Structure First, Story Last  |  No Myth Roleplaying  |  5e Monster Index & Encounter Calculator
Players: Players 101  |  11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer  |  You Are Not Your Character  |  Pre-Gen D&D 5e PCs

Content I Created: Adventure Scenarios  |  Actual Play Reports  |  Tools  |  Game Transcripts

Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith

Sign In to post comments