Peer Presure

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Some will call this blocking, but when I rule against my players I give them options within the confines of the rules.  For example, you said that player wanted to use stealth to learn something about a creature.  OK fine the player rolls stealth and successfully gets close enough to the creature to get a good physical description and maybe he can hear the creature speak in its language.  You then specify that with a knowledge nature roll he might be able to determine other traits.



I think that could be a decent way to say "yes, and..." to the players if they have low nature skill and wouldn't be able to get information on the monsters otherwise. It sounds like a pretty good way for the DM to be able to get around forcing the players to roll nature. The way I see it, it's like liberal arts papers. Anything is right, as long as you can reasonably back it up.

I'm not a stickler for rules, so I allow my players to roll nature whenever they want and as often as they like. Don't know what other DMs do, though. If someone rolls nature on the 5th round, we just say that something jogged their memory, or they observed something new. I tend to be pretty laid back about it. However, my group is mostly very casual. 

I also discovered that they love it when I put a bit of monster artwork on my dual monitor. I have my players roll nature DC 15 as per the monster knowledge table, and then I'll post some images on the screen for them just for fun. (We play with handmade monster tokens I make myself, so sometimes it's a bit difficult to see exactly what the thing they're fighting is). However, in OP's case, you could just forego the rolling and show them the images. Characters have eyes, they can observe what the monsters look like without needing to roll anything. 

Anyway, sounds like you need to have a talk with the players. Some people just enjoy acting like d***s when they play games. I know some of my players are the type who like to try to exploit game mechanics when they play video games, so they do sometimes try to exploit the rules or my authority during d&d. You just have to speak firmly sometimes. I have a player who wants to do ridiculous things sometimes, so I just come up with equally ridiculous consequences to deter him from doing them. 
I dispute that wanting stealth to work in a way other than how the rules describe it is bad behavior. Reasonable players do this all the time. Same with arguing a point of the rules, or even complaining. That's not inherently bad behavior, EDIT: though it's generally an annoying waste of time. It could stem from legitimate feelings of being wronged. We don't know, in this case, so it's not a fact.

Taking the DMG from the DM is not necessarily bad, unless it's ripped from his hand or something.



You're right that wanting to bend the rules is not bad behavior, but pressing that desire to the point of bullying is bad behavior.  And based on the information we have (granted it is only coming from one side), the players are very close to, if not fully bullying the DM/OP.

@ashesnhale, I too am not a stickler for the rules.  Full disclosure, I do not like the 3.5e (the version I usually play) skill rules.  So, I have house ruled some changes that have gone over VERY well and alleviate a lot of the issues the OP/DM is facing:

1) all skills are "class" skills at 1st level - 1 point = 1 rank
2) all skills "trained" (at least one point/rank into it) at 1st level are treated as "class" skills forevermore - again 1 point = 1 rank at 2nd level and beyond
Both of these house rules offer players a chance to have a wider range of skills, which in turn all but insures that someone in the group will be good enough at the "proper" skill at hand to succeed (bad dice rolling notwithstanding).
3) all skills can be performed untrained - all "training" does is increase one's chance of success.
Yes, picking a DC25 lock with no skill is likely to result in failure, but that does not mean that a player character without the open locks skill cannot try.  And if that PC continues to try, as a DM, I am willing to give that PC a free rank to indicate that he/she has taught him/herself that skill.

When it comes to combat, so long as it is possible, I will bend over backwards to permit players to perform actions.  What I will not do, is allow impossible actions (i.e. charging an enemy through a wall), but I will give the player all sorts of alternatives that he/she may or may not see.  "impossible actions," to me, includes demanding more actions or bonuses...just because.

 

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.


1) all skills are "class" skills at 1st level - 1 point = 1 rank
2) all skills "trained" (at least one point/rank into it) at 1st level are treated as "class" skills forevermore - again 1 point = 1 rank at 2nd level and beyond
Both of these house rules offer players a chance to have a wider range of skills, which in turn all but insures that someone in the group will be good enough at the "proper" skill at hand to succeed (bad dice rolling notwithstanding).
3) all skills can be performed untrained - all "training" does is increase one's chance of success.
Yes, picking a DC25 lock with no skill is likely to result in failure, but that does not mean that a player character without the open locks skill cannot try.  And if that PC continues to try, as a DM, I am willing to give that PC a free rank to indicate that he/she has taught him/herself that skill.

When it comes to combat, so long as it is possible, I will bend over backwards to permit players to perform actions.  What I will not do, is allow impossible actions (i.e. charging an enemy through a wall), but I will give the player all sorts of alternatives that he/she may or may not see.  "impossible actions," to me, includes demanding more actions or bonuses...just because.



Ah yes, I threw out the "class" skills thing too. I kept the part about definitely training one skill, just because it adds to the theme of the class (like rangers train nature). I wanted to allow them to have more options at level 1 to just choose anything. That way, they could buff skills they would otherwise have low mods for due to ability score allotments, and generally balance the skills among the group. It sucks when the +10 diplomacy guy misses a session, and no one else has trained diplomacy. Negotiations got pretty hairy. They re-did some skills after that so that at least one more person had some diplomacy.

And I've always done #3 on your list. Don't know if it's written differently in the DMG, but I never bothered to look. Seems like a small detail to me, and another thing to manage with "can you or can't you do this skill check?" Everybody can try, being untrained just gives you lower odds of success.
You advocated physical violence/force as a response to something that did not involve physical violence/force

"one of them grabs the book from me"
This was the portion of the post I was referring to. I took this, in the context of the title of the post, and some of the content, to mean that the poster was describing someone physically taking something from him.

Right, but I know of no DM that runs games with the books physically in his hands (as opposed to lying on the table). And even were that the case, would I not envision there being much physical force if someone else desired the book. Not to the point where striking the person would be legally defensible.

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