Opening Doors

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Your players' characters stand outside the door to tower. One of them declares that his character is going to stride up to the door and "push it open."

You, the DM, had decided but not declared that the door actually opens outward. You decided this because it makes sense to you that an outer door would need to withstand battering. The door, you have decided, is not locked and is not currently relevant to the story, except as an entryway.

Do you...

... ignore the exact wording of the player, and assume the door is open?
... change the way the door opens to accommodate what the player established?
... tell the player that the door does not open (until they figure out how to open it)?
... correct the player?
... combine two of the above?
... do something else?

Why?

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

I correct (inform) the player, then assume she opens the door (i.e. "It swings outwards, but yes, you open it").

I assume that adventurers can easily figure out which way the door opens, but I also want to inform the player (in case I make an incorrect assumption). The situation would be rare though, since I normally don't contemplate doors that much.

Your players' characters stand outside the door to tower. One of them declares that his character is going to stride up to the door and "push it open."

You, the DM, had decided but not declared that the door actually opens outward. You decided this because it makes sense to you that an outer door would need to withstand battering. The door, you have decided, is not locked and is not currently relevant to the story, except as an entryway.

Do you...

... ignore the exact wording of the player, and assume the door is open?
... change the way the door opens to accommodate what the player established?
... tell the player that the door does not open (until they figure out how to open it)?
... correct the player?
... combine two of the above?
... do something else?

Why?

I'd say, "as you push the door, you notice that it doesn't budge. Would you like to check if it's locked?"
If he doesn't check the door and says he bashes it open, then it's a bash-the-door action time.  An NPC or a quick look at the door's remains can later point out that it opens outward.
If he checks the door if it's locked, I'd say "as you wiggle the door to see if it's locked, it opens when you pull it back."

If it's a detail that'd come up later, story consistency should be kept (but not at the cost of slowing the pacing just because of some minor detail, so limit it to a check or two then move on).  But if it's something that's completely irrelevant, why even bother stopping or slowing down the players at all?
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"Yep, the door opens fine. Strange, now you think about it, since all other doors similar to this open outward to make them stronger against an attack." Then sit back, listen to the players ideas as to why this paticular tower is different. Suddenly there's something different about the tower, and this adds a (small) air of mystery as they enter. I find that as soon as my players pick up on something slightly out of the ordinary they investigate it. I'd come up with an interesting background for the tower, probably stemming from the player's thoughts. This alone could well create a whole new adventure for them as they explore this tower to find what other secrets it may hold.

"Encouraging your players to be cautious and risk-averse prevents unexpected epic events and-well-progress at a decent pace in general."-Detoxifier

"HOT SINGLES IN YOUR AREA NOT REGENERATING DUE TO FIRE" -iserith 

"If snapping a dragon's neck with your bare hands is playind D&D wrong, then I don't want to play D&D right." -Lord_Ventnor

"Yep, the door opens fine. Strange, now you think about it, since all other doors similar to this open outward to make them stronger against an attack." Then sit back, listen to the players ideas as to why this paticular tower is different. Suddenly there's something different about the tower, and this adds a (small) air of mystery as they enter. I find that as soon as my players pick up on something slightly out of the ordinary they investigate it. I'd come up with an interesting background for the tower, probably stemming from the player's thoughts. This alone could well create a whole new adventure for them as they explore this tower to find what other secrets it may hold.



Perfect. Answer. What does Kugnar win, Centauri? (Other than the adoration of his or her players, no doubt.)

I bolded the bit I like the best. It's a surprise to the DM.

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I can't remember any point in my life where it's mattered which way a door opened.  I'd just say 'you open the door' and go on from there.
I can't remember any point in my life where it's mattered which way a door opened.  I'd just say 'you open the door' and go on from there.


But then you wouldn't get Kugnar's quarantine-plot

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Why there should be the option to use alignment systems:
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If some people are heavily benefiting from the inclusion of alignment, then it would behoove those that AREN'T to listen up and pay attention to how those benefits are being created and enjoyed, no? -YagamiFire
But equally important would be for those who do enjoy those benefits to entertain the possibility that other people do not value those benefits equally or, possibly, do not see them as benefits in the first place. -wrecan (RIP)
That makes sense. However, it is not fair to continually attack those that benefit for being, somehow, deviant for deriving enjoyment from something that you cannot. Instead, alignment is continually attacked...it is demonized...and those that use it are lumped in with it.

 

I think there is more merit in a situation where someone says "This doesn't work! It's broken!" and the reply is "Actually it works fine for me. Have you considered your approach might be causing it?"

 

than a situation where someone says "I use this system and the way I use it works really well!" and the back and forth is "No! It is a broken bad system!" -YagamiFire

First I check to make sure it's not the Halfling. Then I'd probably just say it was open. If it was the Halfling I'd make him roll an Athletics check to bust the door down, since he seems to ace those 4/5 times... Crazy little jerk's not even got a good strength score XD
I once made a dungeon where all the traps and mechanisms and locks and everything were 'on the wrong side' for keeping people out.

I was secretly best pleased when one of them realised this and voiced the opinion to the others.

Suddenly the party got a whole lot more cautious
Reckon I'd just say, "Well, it's a pull door, so you pull it."
Seriously, though, you should check out the PbP Haven. You might also like Real Adventures, IF you're cool.
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"Yep, the door opens fine. Strange, now you think about it, since all other doors similar to this open outward to make them stronger against an attack." Then sit back, listen to the players ideas as to why this paticular tower is different. Suddenly there's something different about the tower, and this adds a (small) air of mystery as they enter. I find that as soon as my players pick up on something slightly out of the ordinary they investigate it. I'd come up with an interesting background for the tower, probably stemming from the player's thoughts. This alone could well create a whole new adventure for them as they explore this tower to find what other secrets it may hold.



This was actually going to be my response, or something similar.
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"Yep, the door opens fine. Strange, now you think about it, since all other doors similar to this open outward to make them stronger against an attack." Then sit back, listen to the players ideas as to why this paticular tower is different. Suddenly there's something different about the tower, and this adds a (small) air of mystery as they enter. I find that as soon as my players pick up on something slightly out of the ordinary they investigate it. I'd come up with an interesting background for the tower, probably stemming from the player's thoughts. This alone could well create a whole new adventure for them as they explore this tower to find what other secrets it may hold.



Perfect. Answer. What does Kugnar win, Centauri? (Other than the adoration of his or her players, no doubt.)

I bolded the bit I like the best. It's a surprise to the DM.



Look, I don't disagree that this could provide wonderful quality to the player's experience. But this isn't the only meaningful way to handle the situation. 'The door opens' is just as viable an option. The outcome has to do with what the players at the table want. If they want the door to open so they can move on, then the DM taking that route is equally right.
I can't help but note that if the tower-owner wants to keep anything more than dumb animals from getting through, making the door open outward isn't a very good idea because it means that the hinges are on the outside.

Sure, it's a little harder to batter down, but also it's rather easy to disassemble.

Doors can be designed to open outwards yet have the hinges behind the door.

Also - Magic  

If "It's Magic!" is your answer then the door's physical construction is irrelevant to begin with, but putting the hinges on the inside could help (although it might just as easily provide a weak point). There are a couple of other problems with making it open outward though: it's easier to lever it open and it's also much easier for someone outside to jam or obstruct it, effectively locking you in. (For that matter, even a moderate snowfall could end up doing so.)


  Nevertheless, if someone tried to make a door opening puzzle out of the initial scenario then the hammergun would be the only appropriate response.
My players are a little door-obsessed, always wanting to know which way and on which side a door opens so they can properly plan their approach. So this would likely never come up. HOWEVER, if it did and we were pressed for time and the character wasn't crippled with low INT/WIS, I would correct the player and let them pull the door. If the game were lighthearted at that point, I would tape this cartoon to the outside of my DM screen and wait for the player to figure it out.

 
Look, I don't disagree that this could provide wonderful quality to the player's experience. But this isn't the only meaningful way to handle the situation. 'The door opens' is just as viable an option. The outcome has to do with what the players at the table want. If they want the door to open so they can move on, then the DM taking that route is equally right.



Don't get me wrong, I agree. It could be viewed as completely inconsequential.

But with Kugnar's example, we get emergent fiction. Something that the group created through collaboration which creates new stuff to explore for everyone, including the DM. The hypothetical suggests that the DM created the door one way and the players approached it in another. That content may as well be used to create a seeming contradiction for the purposes of answering the question of "Why?" The DM's content is used, but so are the players' ideas and they come together in a surprising way that adds new layers to the game. That's a better choice in my view.

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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Doors can be designed to open outwards yet have the hinges behind the door.

Also - Magic  




There are also nested hinges (like in swinging doors).
Your players' characters stand outside the door to tower. One of them declares that his character is going to stride up to the door and "push it open."

You, the DM, had decided but not declared that the door actually opens outward. You decided this because it makes sense to you that an outer door would need to withstand battering. The door, you have decided, is not locked and is not currently relevant to the story, except as an entryway.

Do you...

... ignore the exact wording of the player, and assume the door is open?
... change the way the door opens to accommodate what the player established?
... tell the player that the door does not open (until they figure out how to open it)?
... correct the player?
... combine two of the above?
... do something else?

Why?



I'd likely tell the player that the door doesn't open, and see what happens next. I'm always interested to see how players react to obstacles, but help when it's clear they need to move on.

I've had something similar happen to me in the past. It took a few minutes to get the door open as it opened one way, had no door handle and was a very heavy stone door that was jammed. They checked for traps, magic and locks, tryed pushing and pulling. It took them a while to figure out that brute strength and aiding might get it open. It sounds rather dull, but it was very funny at the time.



When you present a door in a way that's not typical, what's going to happen?
Unless it was relevant for something else I wouldn't even mention it
I agree, this particular example is fairly trivial, but I used the parameters given (the DM has decided it opens outwards) and stated what I'd likely do if for whatever reason I had decided upon an opening direction in advance. However, the point of the post holds true for most situations. If the players state something that contradicts what you'd had in mind, don't automatically dismiss it. Think about it for a moment-it could be more interesting than whatever you were expecting.

"Encouraging your players to be cautious and risk-averse prevents unexpected epic events and-well-progress at a decent pace in general."-Detoxifier

"HOT SINGLES IN YOUR AREA NOT REGENERATING DUE TO FIRE" -iserith 

"If snapping a dragon's neck with your bare hands is playind D&D wrong, then I don't want to play D&D right." -Lord_Ventnor

I would add a bit of humor to the game by having the bold adventurer saunter straight into the door without looking. The players would all laugh and it would create a moment we all remember. That being said I doubt any of my players would specify how they open a door.
I would add a bit of humor to the game by having the bold adventurer saunter straight into the door without looking. The players would all laugh and it would create a moment we all remember.

And this is how it played out in the game that prompted me to post this question. The adventurer strode boldly up and "pushed" the door it. A cool scene.

"Well, you'd pull it," the DM said.

The group got a laugh, and the obvious Midvale School for the Gifted joke was made, by the player in question. Fine, great, but was it worth wrecking a cool visual? I don't even think the DM did it for a laugh, but because he couldn't let go of the reality of what he'd imagined enough to let the player be cool.

As I said, the player rolled with it, but this player had also been having unlucky rolls during the session and was neither looking nor feeling heroic. And this added to this.

At the next door, the player made a tongue-in-cheek show of checking this door. I don't think the DM even realized the player was joking, and informed him straight-faced that this one pulled open as well. I couldn't believe it. This DM was really serious about this tower. The mechanics of those doors really mattered to him.

Establishing fiction is important. I get that. Don't establish that you're driving, and then talk about the horses you're riding. It's not really great to state or imply that something is the case, and then for the opposite to be established as well. It implies that people weren't listening.

But here we had something that had not been established, except in the DM's mind. That's not nothing, but it's not enough. After the player has said "push," to require a pull (and to potentially embarass the player and the character, who would have known better anyway) has to have more of a reason behind it. If the DM had tied some sort of riddle or puzzle to this door, and made the mistake of not declaring upfront the way the door swings, that might be reason enough, but that's not what was going on here.

There are just so many other ways to handle it, that don't involve snagging the momentum of the game, ruining a cool description, or embarrassing a player. Many of those suggestions are here in this thread. Now, of course, none of us were at the table, and it's not really fair of me to judge an ad lib, but I hope this has helped you all think in advance about what you'd do in this kind of a situation, or whether it's worth putting yourself in this kind of a situation.

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

I could feel your hatred of that episode over the internet... your hate makes me stronger Centauri... I grow strong indeed.

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(For those of you unsure, this is in reference to the DM in the Tabletop episode for Dragon Age RPG which aired a couple weeks ago on Geek & Sundry.)

Not for nothing, but if you've designed a game and are going to have thousands of people watch you run it for fairly talented players, that's the best you can post up? Not to mention that of the six hours your filmed of the game, the part where you pointlessly corrected someone on the door being pull instead of push made the final cut? I get everyone has a rough night from time to time, but c'mon.

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
DMs: Don't Prep the Plot | Structure First, Story Last | Prep Tips | Spoilers Don't Spoil Anything | No Myth Roleplaying
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(For those of you unsure, this is in reference to the DM in the Tabletop episode for Dragon Age RPG which aired a couple weeks ago on Geek & Sundry.)

Not for nothing, but if you've designed a game and are going to have thousands of people watch you run it for fairly talented players, that's the best you can post up? Not to mention that of the six hours your filmed of the game, the part where you pointlessly corrected someone on the door being pull instead of push made the final cut? I get everyone has a rough night from time to time, but c'mon.

I'm willing to bet it was edited for humor (which is what the players are known for) than for DM skill (which is what the DM would probably like to be known for). That sort of thing does get a laugh from people who haven't seen it enough times to be saddened by it instead.

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

I would add a bit of humor to the game by having the bold adventurer saunter straight into the door without looking. The players would all laugh and it would create a moment we all remember. That being said I doubt any of my players would specify how they open a door.



That reminds me of the time I had my monk punch the door to a burning building just to have the paladin walk up to it and find it to be unlocked.
Your players' characters stand outside the door to tower. One of them declares that his character is going to stride up to the door and "push it open."

You, the DM, had decided but not declared that the door actually opens outward. You decided this because it makes sense to you that an outer door would need to withstand battering. The door, you have decided, is not locked and is not currently relevant to the story, except as an entryway.

Do you...

... ignore the exact wording of the player, and assume the door is open?
... change the way the door opens to accommodate what the player established?
... tell the player that the door does not open (until they figure out how to open it)?
... correct the player?
... combine two of the above?
... do something else?

Why?



Most likely this.
Odds are though I'd not have the door opening outwards to begin with.  But if I did, or the text indicated it.....  I'd silently alter it - unless there were some other reason not to.
Wich way the door opens won't affect its locked/open status.

But what'll probably happen at my table?  At least one player will ask wich way the door opens.  So they'll learn the push/pull answer as they stride.
"Do you believe that a tower being stronger or more impregnable has anything to do with how the doors open in this place? Do you think that's air you're breathing now? Hm."

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

Your players' characters stand outside the door to tower. One of them declares that his character is going to stride up to the door and "push it open."

You, the DM, had decided but not declared that the door actually opens outward. You decided this because it makes sense to you that an outer door would need to withstand battering. The door, you have decided, is not locked and is not currently relevant to the story, except as an entryway.

Do you...

... ignore the exact wording of the player, and assume the door is open?
... change the way the door opens to accommodate what the player established?
... tell the player that the door does not open (until they figure out how to open it)?
... correct the player?
... combine two of the above?
... do something else?

Why?



I am most likely to do...
... tell the player that the door does not open (until they figure out how to open it), but not in so many words.

I would probably have the character faceplant into the door, to lighten the mood.  I would then have the party make a very easy spot/perception check (just don't roll a 1 kind of thing) to see the hinges and/or the door handle that they have to pull on to open it.  Everyone has a good laugh, game moves on.


 

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/19.jpg)

Are you really "entitled to your opinion"?
RedSiegfried wrote:
The cool thing is, you don't even NEED a reason to say yes.  Just stop looking for a reason to say no.
I am most likely to do...
... tell the player that the door does not open (until they figure out how to open it), but not in so many words.

I would probably have the character faceplant into the door, to lighten the mood.  I would then have the party make a very easy spot/perception check (just don't roll a 1 kind of thing) to see the hinges and/or the door handle that they have to pull on to open it.  Everyone has a good laugh, game moves on.



What happens if they roll a 1?

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
DMs: Don't Prep the Plot | Structure First, Story Last | Prep Tips | Spoilers Don't Spoil Anything | No Myth Roleplaying
Players: 11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer | You Are Not Your Character     Hilarious D&D Actual Play Podcast: Crit Juice!

FREE CONTENT: Encounters With Alternate Goals | Full-Contact Futbol  |  Pre-Gen D&D 5e PCs | Re-Imagining Phandelver | Three Pillars of Immersion | Seahorse Run

Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith

I am most likely to do...
... tell the player that the door does not open (until they figure out how to open it), but not in so many words.

I would probably have the character faceplant into the door, to lighten the mood.  I would then have the party make a very easy spot/perception check (just don't roll a 1 kind of thing) to see the hinges and/or the door handle that they have to pull on to open it.  Everyone has a good laugh, game moves on.

I don't understand this.

It makes one player character look like a dope. I guess it's because I hope my games are more like an epic adventure story than a laff riot cartoon, but I would find it very jarring for a heroic, supposedly competent character to walk into a door.

Making a skill check out of it seems like it just takes up time at the table for no good purpose. Since there's nothing stressful about this situation, they could just take 10 anyway. In fact, why not assume that they took 10 or used their passive Perception while walking up to the door and then opened it correctly, in accordance with the dramatic entrance they were trying to make?

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

I am most likely to do...
... tell the player that the door does not open (until they figure out how to open it), but not in so many words.

I would probably have the character faceplant into the door, to lighten the mood.  I would then have the party make a very easy spot/perception check (just don't roll a 1 kind of thing) to see the hinges and/or the door handle that they have to pull on to open it.  Everyone has a good laugh, game moves on.

What happens if they roll a 1?

Nothing.

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

I am most likely to do...
... tell the player that the door does not open (until they figure out how to open it), but not in so many words.

I would probably have the character faceplant into the door, to lighten the mood.  I would then have the party make a very easy spot/perception check (just don't roll a 1 kind of thing) to see the hinges and/or the door handle that they have to pull on to open it.  Everyone has a good laugh, game moves on.



What happens if they roll a 1?



six players all rolling a 1 - what are the odds?  I'll tell you...0.0000015625% chance.

I am most likely to do...
... tell the player that the door does not open (until they figure out how to open it), but not in so many words.

I would probably have the character faceplant into the door, to lighten the mood.  I would then have the party make a very easy spot/perception check (just don't roll a 1 kind of thing) to see the hinges and/or the door handle that they have to pull on to open it.  Everyone has a good laugh, game moves on.

I don't understand this.

It makes one player character look like a dope. I guess it's because I hope my games are more like an epic adventure story than a laff riot cartoon, but I would find it very jarring for a heroic, supposedly competent character to walk into a door.

Making a skill check out of it seems like it just takes up time at the table for no good purpose. Since there's nothing stressful about this situation, they could just take 10 anyway. In fact, why not assume that they took 10 or used their passive Perception while walking up to the door and then opened it correctly, in accordance with the dramatic entrance they were trying to make?




It depends on the group.  The group I am running for would love it.  And it would make perfect sense if the low int fighter type did it too.  And I would give him a coin of notable deeds (as explained in other threads - bonus XP - for good role-playing).

 

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/19.jpg)

Are you really "entitled to your opinion"?
RedSiegfried wrote:
The cool thing is, you don't even NEED a reason to say yes.  Just stop looking for a reason to say no.
six players all rolling a 1 - what are the odds?  I'll tell you...0.0000015625% chance.



"So you're saying there's a chance..." (Dumb & Dumber reference, before anyone gets heated.)

Let's say it did happen. What then?

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
DMs: Don't Prep the Plot | Structure First, Story Last | Prep Tips | Spoilers Don't Spoil Anything | No Myth Roleplaying
Players: 11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer | You Are Not Your Character     Hilarious D&D Actual Play Podcast: Crit Juice!

FREE CONTENT: Encounters With Alternate Goals | Full-Contact Futbol  |  Pre-Gen D&D 5e PCs | Re-Imagining Phandelver | Three Pillars of Immersion | Seahorse Run

Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith

six players all rolling a 1 - what are the odds?  I'll tell you...0.0000015625% chance.



"So you're saying there's a chance..." (Dumb & Dumber reference, before anyone gets heated.)

Let's say it did happen. What then?



Obviously 100% improv, but I can think of a couple of possibilities:

- the group starts looking for an alternate way in...and there is one...that I just added.
- Someone on the other side of the door heard the loud bang and pushes the door open, both the party and the NPC are surprised...encounter time.

 

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/19.jpg)

Are you really "entitled to your opinion"?
RedSiegfried wrote:
The cool thing is, you don't even NEED a reason to say yes.  Just stop looking for a reason to say no.
six players all rolling a 1 - what are the odds?  I'll tell you...0.0000015625% chance.

Then why have them roll at all?

It depends on the group.  The group I am running for would love it.  And it would make perfect sense if the low int fighter type did it too.

Would it? He's too dumb to walk into a door without trying to open it, yet he can make sound tactical choices in combat, and is able to take care of his weapons and armor?

I concede that how funny or how annoying this would be depends on the group. I guess jokes that highlight the fact that players sometimes make plausible but wrong decisions that the character wouldn't make have worn thin for me over the years.

And I would give him a coin of notable deeds (as explained in other threads - bonus XP - for good role-playing).

He deserves at least that for being a sport about it.

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

six players all rolling a 1 - what are the odds?  I'll tell you...0.0000015625% chance.



"So you're saying there's a chance..." (Dumb & Dumber reference, before anyone gets heated.)

Let's say it did happen. What then?



Are you a dentist?  Because it seems like you are just pulling teeth. 

Also I suddenly get the sense that Centuari has a no laughing rule at his table, seriously, a player walking into a door is comedic, if someone gets upset or embarrassed about it they can leave my table.  This is D&D not LOTR.
...and in the ancient voice of a million squirrels the begotten chittered "You have set upon yourselves a great and noble task, dare you step further, what say you! What say you!"
Also I suddenly get the sense that Centuari has a no laughing rule at his table, seriously, a player walking into a door is comedic, if someone gets upset or embarrassed about it they can leave my table.

I don't see why anyone would want to game with a DM that deprotagonizes their characters, or with players who wreck the tone of the game.

This is D&D not LOTR.

Nothing says it can't be both. I prefer games that emulate action movies, many of which have humor in them that doesn't require the protagonists to be made fools of.

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

Are you a dentist?  Because it seems like you are just pulling teeth.



No, just honestly curious.

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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Also I suddenly get the sense that Centuari has a no laughing rule at his table, seriously, a player walking into a door is comedic, if someone gets upset or embarrassed about it they can leave my table.

I don't see why anyone would want to game with a DM that deprotagonizes their characters, or with players who wreck the tone of the game.

This is D&D not LOTR.

Nothing says it can't be both. I prefer games that emulate action movies, many of which have humor in them that doesn't require the protagonists to be made fools of.



First I want to make clear I am being facetious, I've just never seen a serious game be that much fun.  Not saying one can't be.
...and in the ancient voice of a million squirrels the begotten chittered "You have set upon yourselves a great and noble task, dare you step further, what say you! What say you!"