View Full Version : How does your group and DM/GM/ect deal with rules disputes?

2017-04-19, 04:30 PM
Our group actually posts it on the RAW section of these very boards and we agree to take the response as law. Unless someone manages at a later point to find a RAW entry to go off then we'll ask again with that citation.

2017-04-19, 04:42 PM
GM's word is law.

2017-04-19, 04:47 PM
There's a RAW section on these boards? :biggrin:

Personally, in the right group, I prefer spending hours pouring through the books, discussing the problem until we agree on how things should be done. Best. Sessions. Ever.

Sadly, not many people enjoy that type of game. :smallfrown:

I prefer groups that solve problems correctly and consistently. One group I was in, several of us knew the rules well, and one of my friends in particular could usually quote the rules correctly without looking them up. Minimal lag, maximum accuracy, good times.

Another fun group world allow ~5 minutes for rules lawyering, and would accept both quotes from the book, or, "but if you allow X, then Y, and you don't want Y". If, after 5 minutes, it was not resolved, the GM would flip a duplex cookie. White side up, it worked whatever way was most in the party's favor at that moment, and would become a permanent house rule. Black side up, it worked whatever way was least in the party's favor at that moment, and would become a permanent house rule.

Honest Tiefling
2017-04-19, 04:53 PM
DM rules mid-session, discussion to follow between sessions is the usual course of action for me.

2017-04-19, 07:45 PM
Unless PC death is on the line GM's word is law and double check afterwards. If PC death is on the line and it's plausible we don't want a PC killed over a plausible rules misunderstanding.

2017-04-19, 08:53 PM
DM rules mid-session, discussion to follow between sessions is the usual course of action for me.

This. People in my group don't want to look over rule books extremely frequently, so unless it's something big ("How does grappling work?") I spit a ruling in whatever direction makes the most sense, people usually decide it's fine and we move on. It works in their favor most of the time.

2017-04-19, 09:03 PM
i'm using a homebrew system, so rulings are often. if it's stats that are needed asap, we'll do it on the fly and nerf or buff the session after (automatic weapons were a real headache until we had a stroke of genius at a party). if it's for an action, we'll throw ideas quickly and see what works the most efficiently for our needs. usually, we don't spend more than a couple of minutes on rules. in the rare cases where we have to pull out a book, we'll do a placeholder rule and we'll check the rules for the next session.

it does help that our system is basically a conversion of whfrp2e with some cthulu, only war/dark heresy, fallout (the video game), and shadowrun thrown in. our sources for crunch are all easy to improvise and tweak on the fly, even if fundamentally, it's a rules-light d100 system.

we're just not starchy about rules-lawyering. too many bad sessions ruined by munchkins, mary sues, and psycho dm's. it's basically the gentlemen's agreement, and rule zero determines which suggestion is accepted. (my suggestion for statting livestock as a valid weapon category was vetoed, to my dismay.)

Mr Beer
2017-04-19, 09:04 PM
When I GM, I make a decision on the spot and run with it. If anyone objects, they have about 30 seconds to convince me, which they sometimes do. Either way, I make a final ruling and state that it holds until post session when the actual rules can be checked.

I don't hold with stopping the game to check exact rules or argue minutiae for very long. That's not fun for anyone I want to game with.

2017-04-19, 09:08 PM
When I DM I tend to write systems for each campaign from scratch, so rules disputes are more along the lines of mismatch between design and intent rather than 'this is how it says this works'. So discussions tend to be along the lines of 'did you really intend it to be this way?' 'yeah / oops, didn't think of that, lets change it' or 'X keeps happening with these rules, seems problematic' 'okay, lets figure out why and fix it'.

2017-04-19, 09:22 PM
I play with game designers, so it tends to be "what does this mean?", with the occasional "that might not have been a good idea". I guess it is more about feedback than disputes... In other contexts we try a "regardless of what the exact wording is, what makes the most sense mechanically/narratively" system. Usually works.

2017-04-19, 10:59 PM
Unless you can cite the page and specific rule really fast (like, within a couple of seconds) my group's policy is to default to the DM's memory (and of course, if the DM doesn't like a rule he always has the right to dismiss it or institute his own. It is pretty rare for me or the DM for the couple years before I took the job to bar any core rule, but pretty common for us to invent our own).

2017-04-19, 11:08 PM
We bicker for a few moments, long enough for the quiet guy to search the web on his phone.

Then the DM makes a decision. We're on the logical, fun and somewhat lose end with rules though.

2017-04-19, 11:14 PM
We start off with a light-hearted in-session fistfight, followed by a lengthy post-session argument and the occasional GitP post on the 5e board.

2017-04-19, 11:47 PM
With us, the person who wrote the rules clarifies.

2017-04-20, 03:01 AM
We oil up and take it to the pit...turkish style!


Professor Chimp
2017-04-20, 04:06 AM
During the session, the DM's word is law. Rules disputes are doublechecked and settled afterwards. If RAW still is open to interpretation, we try to find a compromise or homebrew a new rule we feel better suits that particular situation.

Blacky the Blackball
2017-04-20, 04:35 AM
The mythical "RAW" (in my opinion there's rarely such thing - any but the simplest of rules always has to be interpreted in context) is pretty irrelevant to my group.

If there's a rule that's ambiguous we'll discuss it and agree on what our interpretation of it should be.
If there's a rule that's nonsensical we'll discuss it and agree on whether to use it or to do things differently.

In either case, we discuss it as a group. Theoretically the GM is just an equal voice in that group, but the one who owns the game in question is kind of unofficially expected to be more familiar with its rules than anyone else and their opinion tends to carry more weight - and that person is often the GM.

I've been playing with the same group for the last 20-30 years, and I can only remember one time when we couldn't agree in this manner. That was when we tried to play Mage: the Ascension for the first time and disagreed over how the magic system worked in terms of observers and coincidence. The result of us not being able to agree was that we stopped playing and played a different game instead.

(Since then we've been able to come to agreement and have successfully played a M:tAsc campaign.)

Darth Ultron
2017-04-20, 07:21 AM
GM's word is law.

Yup, do this.

DM rules mid-session, discussion to follow between sessions is the usual course of action for me.

And this.

2017-04-20, 08:46 AM
When i play: I quote from memory the RAW, then copy the SRD to it, then openly discuss balance of such rules, then the other players still insist on wrong interpretations or completly ignore what i just said.

When i DM: when something from RAW is unclear or some special ocasions i open a discussion with my players and go with majority. In a recent table we discussed two things, one was a little improvement over barbarian rage and the other was if you can or cannot talk while it's not your turn.

2017-04-20, 08:56 AM
We bicker for a few moments, long enough for the quiet guy to search the web on his phone.

Then the DM makes a decision. We're on the logical, fun and somewhat lose end with rules though.
This is pretty much how it's worked in most of my groups. I tend to have the best grasp on the rules in the group (because, well... I have a good head for that sort of thing and I'm the kind of person who spends their free time arguing about RPGs on the internet). If I'm DMing I usually make the call pretty quickly; if I'm playing I try to respectfully offer up the RAW and a couple reasonable interpretations.

2017-04-20, 08:57 AM
Depends. In most systems I GM, if a quick look-up can get the right of it, we do that. This is mostly the case with spells, and I heavily encourage that players of spellcasters get these things straight while its not their turn and also keep efficient notes, so we can keep that looking-stuff-up down to a minimum. If it seems it will take longer, I rule on it for the time bing, and we move on. Then we can look it up and argue later.

Lord Torath
2017-04-20, 11:14 AM
If a player, I will plead my case to the DM, possibly citing the rulebook if I know where to find it. The DM will then make a ruling, and I will accept it, saving any appeals until after the session.

As a DM, I pretty much do the same thing. I will listen to the players, make a ruling, and tell them it works that way until the end of the session, when we can revisit the decision if desired.

2017-04-20, 11:33 AM
In my groups DM usually has final say. But role play always win out if possible.