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    Default The Gentlemen's Agreement: making it more precise

    These principles are intended as broad guidelines for D&D games, and should be interpreted by their spirit primarily. This list is not intended for use in arguments or disputes, but as precepts to prevent such disputes from arising in the first place.

    1. Players should endeavor to make characters that are reasonably useful to the party in a mechanical sense, reasonably acceptable to the party in a roleplaying sense, and reasonably compatible in playstyle.
    2. Players should not optimize their characters or tactics beyond the capacity of the DM to produce reasonable encounters and antagonists, or beyond the capacity of other players to meaningfully contribute.
    3. The DM is to provide dynamic, active, and challenging encounters for the players, and should seek to maintain player engagement as much as possible in the encounter, usually and in most cases by ensuring that no character is effectively removed from all or most of the combat.
    4. Players are expected to comply with such railroading as may be essential to a smooth game. The DM is not to use excessive railroading.
    5. The DM should familiarize himself with the rules as much as practical, and when a rapid decision is necessary for smooth play, should consider revisiting that after the session to be sure it's correct and sensible; houserules should be used with care.
    6. Neither players nor DM are to use inherent flaws in the rules to break the game.
    7. Players are expected to avoid providing the DM with easy hooks with which to render their characters irrelevant. The DM is allowed to use any of these hooks so long as they are not mandatory class features, but only a few times, unless the character has already had ample opportunity to develop reasonable protections for them.
    8. Players should be allowed to define and control their characters in all ways for the most part, barring such interactions as the DM or group may consider unfitting for the world or the game; likewise, the DM defines and controls NPCs, even those the player characters may be closely connected to, subject to reasonable suggestions.
    9. A reasonable effort should be put forward by each player and the DM to accurately present their own desires and expectations for the game and to understand the others' expectations and desires of the same; compromise may often be necessary to make the game fun for all.


    Definitions:
    Railroading, as used here, refers generally to a DM negating player choice by having all possible courses lead to the same result (mild to moderate, depending on how obvious it is), "wonderful" NPCs who steer you around (moderate to severe), blocking some actions with no or very thin in-game rationale (moderate to severe), or punishing players/characters for messing up the plot (severe to very severe). It's not always immediately detectable, but most DMs aren't as good at concealing it as they think they are.

    Optimization includes both practical and excessive varieties that is, character build and tactical choices that either contribute well to the party, or overshadow others. (The lack of optimization tends to cause problems as well.) It takes a good bit of skill and system knowledge to be able to optimize any concept and class appropriately, but there are some things that are a lot easier to manage; also, DMing at higher levels of optimization tends to require more skill, more preparation time, or both.



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    1. The players are not to exceed the optimization of the DM.
    2. No player is to completely and absolutely make any other player feel irrelevant.
    3. The DM is to provide dynamic, active, and challenging encounters for the players, and should seek to maintain player engagement as much as possible in the encounter, usually by ensuring that no character is effectively removed from all or most of the combat.
    4. The players are expected to avoid providing the DM with easy hooks with which to render their characters irrelevant. The DM is allowed to use any of these hooks so long as they are not mandatory class features.
    5. The DM is expected not to repeatedly take advantage of easy hooks with which to render a character irrelevant, unless the character has already had ample opportunity to develop reasonable protections for those.
    6. The players are not to use inherent flaws in the rules to break the game.
    7. The players are expected to comply with such railroading as may be essential to a smooth game.
    8. The DM is not to use excessive railroading.
    9. Players should endeavor to make characters that are reasonably useful to the party in a mechanical sense, and reasonably acceptable to the party in a roleplaying sense.


    The thread was started with a recent post:
    Quote Originally Posted by toapat View Post
    • The Players are not to exceed the optimization of the DM.
    • No Player is to completely and absolutely make any other player feel irrelevant.
    • The DM is to provide dynamic, active, and challenging encounters for the players, but not to arbitrarily handicap a player by Fiat.
    • The players are expected to not provide the DM with easy hooks with which to render the characters irrelevant. The DM is allowed to use any of these hooks so long as they are not manditory class features.
    • The DM is expected to not repeatedly take advantage of easy hooks with which to render a character irrelevant.
    • The DM is expected to provide the resources required for non-spellcasters to compete with spellcasters. Spellcasters are expected to get less then PC WBL, but are also expected to not be required to maintain their spell component pouch.
    • The players are not to use inherent flaws in the rules to break the game.
    • The players are expected to comply to a minimum required ammount of Railroading
    • The DM is not to use excessive railroading.
    Of these, I agreed with all but the sixth for the majority of games.


    Is there anything this list is missing, any polish that could be applied to the wording, or anything that isn't really necessary? I'll start off with a few minor tweaks to spelling/capitalization.
    Last edited by TuggyNE; 2013-01-15 at 05:41 AM. Reason: Adjusting I and III, adding IX
    Quote Originally Posted by Water_Bear View Post
    That's RAW for you; 100% Rules-Legal, 110% silly.
    Quote Originally Posted by hamishspence View Post
    "Common sense" and "RAW" are not exactly on speaking terms
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    Anyone knows blue is for sarcas'ing in "Take 10 SAN damage from Dark Orchid" Use of gray may indicate nitpicking Green is sincerity

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    Default Re: The Gentleman's Agreement: making it more precise

    I think if you over elucidate a gentleman's agreement, it no longer is a gentleman's agreement.
    Quote Originally Posted by Calanon View Post
    Raven_Cry's comments often have the effects of a +5 Tome of Understanding

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    Default Re: The Gentleman's Agreement: making it more precise

    Quote Originally Posted by Ravens_cry View Post
    I think if you over elucidate a gentleman's agreement, it no longer is a gentleman's agreement.
    Shush! We wear top hats an act fancy in this thread



    But in all seriousness, remove the little thing saying that Spellcasters get gimpped on WBL because of the Spell Component Pouch regardless of how much sense it totally makes
    Last edited by Arcanist; 2013-01-09 at 03:37 AM.
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    Default Re: The Gentleman's Agreement: making it more precise

    Quote Originally Posted by Ravens_cry View Post
    I think if you over elucidate a gentleman's agreement, it no longer is a gentleman's agreement.
    Hmm. That may be a danger, but it's a risk I'm willing to take for the sake of argument. If it turns out poorly, we'll all be free to just ignore it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Arcanist View Post
    But in all seriousness, remove the little thing saying that Spellcasters get gimpped on WBL because of the Spell Component Pouch regardless of how much sense it totally makes
    OK, item 6 should be deleted? I guess I'll make that change now.
    Quote Originally Posted by Water_Bear View Post
    That's RAW for you; 100% Rules-Legal, 110% silly.
    Quote Originally Posted by hamishspence View Post
    "Common sense" and "RAW" are not exactly on speaking terms
    Projects: Homebrew, Gentlemen's Agreement, DMPCs, Forbidden Knowledge safety, and Top Ten Worst. Also, Quotes and RACSD are good.

    Anyone knows blue is for sarcas'ing in "Take 10 SAN damage from Dark Orchid" Use of gray may indicate nitpicking Green is sincerity

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    Default Re: The Gentleman's Agreement: making it more precise

    Quote Originally Posted by tuggyne View Post
    * No player is to completely and absolutely make any other player feel irrelevant.
    This one worries me a bit. See I'm playing with someone who made a completely useless character. Accomplishing anything points that out and makes the player feel irrelevant. Yet the player refuses to improve effectiveness of the character.

    If I followed that rule I'd have to play pure-classed, not chicken infested commoner. And still be careful not to upset the player.

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    Default Re: The Gentleman's Agreement: making it more precise

    Quote Originally Posted by ahenobarbi View Post
    This one worries me a bit. See I'm playing with someone who made a completely useless character. Accomplishing anything points that out and makes the player feel irrelevant. Yet the player refuses to improve effectiveness of the character.

    If I followed that rule I'd have to play pure-classed, not chicken infested commoner. And still be careful not to upset the player.
    Well, you could argue that "don't make it easy for the DM to make your character irrelevant" would fix that.

    However, I suspect a new principle would be good, something like "Players should endeavor to make characters that are reasonably useful to the party in a mechanical sense, and reasonably acceptable to the party in a roleplaying sense." (This also covers the problem of stick-in-the-mud LG paladin in the same party as CE murder-rogue.)
    Quote Originally Posted by Water_Bear View Post
    That's RAW for you; 100% Rules-Legal, 110% silly.
    Quote Originally Posted by hamishspence View Post
    "Common sense" and "RAW" are not exactly on speaking terms
    Projects: Homebrew, Gentlemen's Agreement, DMPCs, Forbidden Knowledge safety, and Top Ten Worst. Also, Quotes and RACSD are good.

    Anyone knows blue is for sarcas'ing in "Take 10 SAN damage from Dark Orchid" Use of gray may indicate nitpicking Green is sincerity

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    Default Re: The Gentleman's Agreement: making it more precise

    I was (I think) the one to suggest that this become it's own thread, primarily because I wanted to respond to this (the rest is more or less perfect as-is, except for the now removed "e.5" rule, which I didn't even notice before it was downvoted):

    Quote Originally Posted by tuggyne View Post
    [*]The players are expected to avoid providing the DM with easy hooks with which to render their characters irrelevant. The DM is allowed to use any of these hooks so long as they are not mandatory class features.[*]The DM is expected not to repeatedly take advantage of easy hooks with which to render a character irrelevant.
    Can someone (either Toapat, as the original poster, or anyone else who is fairly certain they know what said poster meant by it) go into more detail about what this means? Some examples perhaps? The only thing I can think of is maybe the ranger's Track feat, which I've heard called "a plot railroad disguised as a class feature". And I'm not even sure that's what this is meant to mean, so i can haz clarification plz?

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    Default Re: The Gentleman's Agreement: making it more precise

    In regard to a I think it could be better phrased as 'the players should not exceed the optimization level the DM is comfortable with'. In the end it doesn't really matter if the DM optimizes less than you or not, but whether he's comfortable with the amount of optimization required to challenge you. In the end, it takes a lot less DM optimization to challenge an optimized monk tan it does to challenge a semi-optimized druid.


    In regard to b I think it should better be stated as 'a player shouldn't build a character too far above or below the level of competence that the group agrees on'. A DMM persist cleric makes a fighter completely irrelevant, but if the rest of the group is artficer, druid and wizard, the one doing it wrong is the fighter player, not the cleric.

    Regarding d, I don't think it should apply. I've never had any issue with one trick ponies as long as the player is fully aware that his one trick wouldn't come up all the time, and he'll be left with nothing to do in a significant amount of time. If the player knows what he's getting himself into by playing a one trick pony I see no problem with it.

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    Default Re: The Gentleman's Agreement: making it more precise

    Making the Gentleman's Agreement into rules will only invite/encourage jerks to bypass or bend them. Saying "Guys, if I'll see any funny stuff, I'm fiat'ing/Rule Zero'ing it out of existence and the perpetrator gets only a single warning" is enough for me.

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    Default Re: The Gentleman's Agreement: making it more precise

    Quote Originally Posted by willpell View Post
    Can someone (either Toapat, as the original poster, or anyone else who is fairly certain they know what said poster meant by it) go into more detail about what this means? Some examples perhaps? The only thing I can think of is maybe the ranger's Track feat, which I've heard called "a plot railroad disguised as a class feature". And I'm not even sure that's what this is meant to mean, so i can haz clarification plz?
    I'm pretty sure this is referring to things like the Paladin's Code and badly-protected spellbooks, as many nastier DMs will use these as mechanical excuses to make characters irrelevant.
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    Default Re: The Gentleman's Agreement: making it more precise

    Quote Originally Posted by willpell View Post
    Can someone (either Toapat, as the original poster, or anyone else who is fairly certain they know what said poster meant by it) go into more detail about what this means? Some examples perhaps? The only thing I can think of is maybe the ranger's Track feat, which I've heard called "a plot railroad disguised as a class feature". And I'm not even sure that's what this is meant to mean, so i can haz clarification plz?
    The example was a wizard's spellbook, but as kardar said, it also includes things like paladin codes of conduct, rogues vs. undead (to some extent), and so on.

    Track is merely useless in bad cases, not harmful, and is not usually a major focus of a character.

    Quote Originally Posted by LordBlades View Post
    In regard to a I think it could be better phrased as 'the players should not exceed the optimization level the DM is comfortable with'. In the end it doesn't really matter if the DM optimizes less than you or not, but whether he's comfortable with the amount of optimization required to challenge you. In the end, it takes a lot less DM optimization to challenge an optimized monk tan it does to challenge a semi-optimized druid.
    I suppose that's true. I'll probably change it after a bit more discussion.

    In regard to b I think it should better be stated as 'a player shouldn't build a character too far above or below the level of competence that the group agrees on'. A DMM persist cleric makes a fighter completely irrelevant, but if the rest of the group is artficer, druid and wizard, the one doing it wrong is the fighter player, not the cleric.
    I believe my earlier proposed principle (effectively, i) would also work for this, that is, "Players should endeavor to make characters that are reasonably useful to the party in a mechanical sense, and reasonably acceptable to the party in a roleplaying sense."

    Regarding d, I don't think it should apply. I've never had any issue with one trick ponies as long as the player is fully aware that his one trick wouldn't come up all the time, and he'll be left with nothing to do in a significant amount of time. If the player knows what he's getting himself into by playing a one trick pony I see no problem with it.
    Hmm. Perhaps that's true. And the remainder of this would be subsumed by anything else that says, in effect, "make a useful character".

    Quote Originally Posted by Darius Kane View Post
    Making the Gentleman's Agreement into rules will only invite/encourage jerks to bypass or bend them. Saying "Guys, if I'll see any funny stuff, I'm fiat'ing/Rule Zero'ing it out of existence and the perpetrator gets only a single warning" is enough for me.
    As rules? Yes, probably. They should instead be presented as principles. The spirit of them is the important part; the wording is only there to indicate the gist of it.

    I'll write up an intro later.
    Quote Originally Posted by Water_Bear View Post
    That's RAW for you; 100% Rules-Legal, 110% silly.
    Quote Originally Posted by hamishspence View Post
    "Common sense" and "RAW" are not exactly on speaking terms
    Projects: Homebrew, Gentlemen's Agreement, DMPCs, Forbidden Knowledge safety, and Top Ten Worst. Also, Quotes and RACSD are good.

    Anyone knows blue is for sarcas'ing in "Take 10 SAN damage from Dark Orchid" Use of gray may indicate nitpicking Green is sincerity

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    Default Re: The Gentleman's Agreement: making it more precise

    Quote Originally Posted by tuggyne View Post
    As rules? Yes, probably. They should instead be presented as principles. The spirit of them is the important part; the wording is only there to indicate the gist of it.
    Nope, I think it's actually perfectly viable to present things like this as rules, either up front and formally, or as a side-effect of other mechanics. Which is something you actually see in other RPG systems.

    "The players are not to use inherent flaws in the rules to break the game..."

    Umm... maybe the designers should be responsible for not introducing those flaws?

    Look, I realise this is 3.xe D&D we're talking about, and it is what it is. But taking what are clearly rules-patches and talking about them as if they somehow weren't smacks badly of doublethink.

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    Default Re: The Gentleman's Agreement: making it more precise

    Quote Originally Posted by willpell View Post
    I was (I think) the one to suggest that this become it's own thread, primarily because I wanted to respond to this (the rest is more or less perfect as-is, except for the now removed "e.5" rule, which I didn't even notice before it was downvoted):



    Can someone (either Toapat, as the original poster, or anyone else who is fairly certain they know what said poster meant by it) go into more detail about what this means? Some examples perhaps? The only thing I can think of is maybe the ranger's Track feat, which I've heard called "a plot railroad disguised as a class feature". And I'm not even sure that's what this is meant to mean, so i can haz clarification plz?
    That paragraph sounds like things lika an item familiar that can cripple the PC if taken away. Or a flaw like crippling fear of black cats.

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    Default Re: The Gentleman's Agreement: making it more precise

    Could we clarify Item C, please? As it reads, it runs into the problem I was noting in the other thread that a DM who hits his Players with Dispel Magic (or even Downdraft, come to that) is 'arbitrarily handicapping the Player.'
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    Default Re: The Gentleman's Agreement: making it more precise

    You can handy cap a character so long as it is not arbitrary. NPC's can think and plan, but must do so reasonably and logically and within the capabilities of the character. The Int 30 wizard divining the party does so better than the int 4 ogre who has them wander into his cave.

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    Default Re: The Gentleman's Agreement: making it more precise

    Definitely agree with Tuggyne over DariusKane here...the Gentlemen's Agreement is worth spelling out, even if it's not a "rule" per se, since putting it in a semi-formal form of format (ha!) means everyone is more or less on the same page with regard to it. It can hardly be considered binding in this form, it's just a guideline, and if one side seems to be transgressing it and the other calls, the first can't claim that they obeyed the letter of the law, because it's not a law in the first place.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pandiano View Post
    That paragraph sounds like things lika an item familiar that can cripple the PC if taken away. Or a flaw like crippling fear of black cats.
    Well item familiars give you an insanely huge power boost specifically because they offer the risk of it being taken away. Flaws only give a single feat so they shouldn't be anywhere near that big, but there's no point in letting a player take a flaw if it never comes up. If your character can't get out of his bedroll in the morning without being mobbed by black cats, the DM is clearly overdoing it. But if I took that flaw, I would expect to see a black cat at least once during a campaign; otherwise the GM might as well just have said "take an extra feat" and spared me the pencil lead it took to write down the Flaw.

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    Default Re: The Gentleman's Agreement: making it more precise

    Quote Originally Posted by Amphetryon View Post
    Could we clarify Item C, please? As it reads, it runs into the problem I was noting in the other thread that a DM who hits his Players with Dispel Magic (or even Downdraft, come to that) is 'arbitrarily handicapping the Player.'
    The issue is that the player should have some decision to make next round, this is what's important. This is a principle of game design, you can hit the character with some setback, as long as the player is still making decisions it's ok. Grounding a fighter who then shoots the flying monster for 1d8+4 (str bow) against a monster with DR 10/slashing then he has a 1/4 chance of doing 1-2 damage. If he doesn't have any other options in the combat then you've stopped the player from playing. Grounding the wizard and the wizard can still blast or cast a SoS, try and fly again, or buff her flying allies. The wizard has options.

    The exception to this is the "lose" condition, which can stop the player from playing. In DnD this is called death. It's ok to kill your players, you should only do it when they've met the lose conditions they think are fair. What's fair is specific to your game. In modern DnD that means they've made a couple of stupid decisions they regret, back in the day it could be a lot more arbitrary.

    Aside: This is why the people who don't like the full attack classes don't like them. Saying "I attack" isn't an option, saying "I charge" isn't much better (it can be interesting to set up the charge). This is a large reason that ToB classes are liked so much, they have a list of things they can do each round.

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    Default Re: The Gentleman's Agreement: making it more precise

    Quote Originally Posted by Oscredwin View Post
    The issue is that the player should have some decision to make next round, this is what's important. This is a principle of game design, you can hit the character with some setback, as long as the player is still making decisions it's ok. Grounding a fighter who then shoots the flying monster for 1d8+4 (str bow) against a monster with DR 10/slashing then he has a 1/4 chance of doing 1-2 damage. If he doesn't have any other options in the combat then you've stopped the player from playing. Grounding the wizard and the wizard can still blast or cast a SoS, try and fly again, or buff her flying allies. The wizard has options.

    The exception to this is the "lose" condition, which can stop the player from playing. In DnD this is called death. It's ok to kill your players, you should only do it when they've met the lose conditions they think are fair. What's fair is specific to your game. In modern DnD that means they've made a couple of stupid decisions they regret, back in the day it could be a lot more arbitrary.

    Aside: This is why the people who don't like the full attack classes don't like them. Saying "I attack" isn't an option, saying "I charge" isn't much better (it can be interesting to set up the charge). This is a large reason that ToB classes are liked so much, they have a list of things they can do each round.
    If that's the definition, then I'll vehemently disagree with "C" for reasons I've already outlined. You're basically telling the DM he's not allowed to use a huge swath of spells and other status-effect inducers in the game, let alone use intelligent tactics in combat.

    EDIT: You should probably stick to killing the Characters, not the Players.
    Last edited by Amphetryon; 2013-01-09 at 12:16 PM.
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    Default Re: The Gentleman's Agreement: making it more precise

    Quote Originally Posted by Amphetryon View Post
    Could we clarify Item C, please? As it reads, it runs into the problem I was noting in the other thread that a DM who hits his Players with Dispel Magic (or even Downdraft, come to that) is 'arbitrarily handicapping the Player.'
    Actually, it's "lazy DMing" rather than arbitrary, in my opinion. A good player will suck it up, and accept that they now get to sit and watch for two hours while the combat plays out without them, but the DM is probably fooling himself if he thinks that player is having as much fun as they would be if they were still contributing in some way to the fight.

    Finding a way for the villain to take advantage (in a way that makes sense) while still keeping the player engaged is very hard sometimes, especially when something as trivial as a single spell can take the PC completely out of the fight.

    For example, it might make perfect sense for the villain to open with a Save or Die spell that is almost certainly going to kill the party rogue. Now the rogue's player gets to sit there and watch as the epic battle unfolds, but is not being engaged. A better option with regards to entertainment would be to hit that rogue with something that temporarily disables him, or to hit him with that save or die near the end of the fight. Or, if you know your cleric has something to bring the rogue back into the fight a round or two later, go ahead and slap him with that Save or Die.

    Stealing the wizard's spellbook can make for a great story arc. Doing it repeatedly is going to get very tiresome, and lead to problems. The same goes for the Paladin code. If it is your goal to try to get every Paladin to fall in every game you run, you have a problem, and it isn't the players who are picking the Paladin class.

    Essentially, good encounter design leaves everyone feeling like they got to participate, have fun, and were useful in some way. This is, essentially, DMing 101.

    If you have a group of players who all have fun with frequent character death, or actually enjoy it when they have to sit and watch a combat for hours, then obviously that makes encounter design way easier (because you can just fling things at the party without any concern for player engagement). Finding out what you and your players enjoy and catering to that is key.

    Quote Originally Posted by Amphetryon View Post
    If that's the definition, then I'll vehemently disagree with "C" for reasons I've already outlined. You're basically telling the DM he's not allowed to use a huge swath of spells and other status-effect inducers in the game, let alone use intelligent tactics in combat.
    Not at all, but you are essentially telling him when such actions are viable for maintaining player engagement.

    To put it another way:
    • You can have an encounter make sense.
    • You can have an encounter be fun.
    • You can have an encounter that is both of the above, but it is more difficult to do than just having the encounter make sense.


    Making sure that you and your players are expecting and enjoying the same things is vital to being able to have that third piece more easily. Otherwise you wind up with complaints of "killer/unfair/bad DMs" and "whiny/entitled players" when in reality it isn't any of those things.
    Last edited by Deadline; 2013-01-09 at 12:11 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Deadline View Post
    Actually, it's "lazy DMing" rather than arbitrary, in my opinion. A good player will suck it up, and accept that they now get to sit and watch for two hours while the combat plays out without them, but the DM is probably fooling himself if he thinks that player is having as much fun as they would be if they were still contributing in some way to the fight.

    Finding a way for the villain to take advantage (in a way that makes sense) while still keeping the player engaged is very hard sometimes, especially when something as trivial as a single spell can take the PC completely out of the fight.

    For example, it might make perfect sense for the villain to open with a Save or Die spell that is almost certainly going to kill the party rogue. Now the rogue's player gets to sit there and watch as the epic battle unfolds, but is not being engaged. A better option with regards to entertainment would be to hit that rogue with something that temporarily disables him, or to hit him with that save or die near the end of the fight. Or, if you know your cleric has something to bring the rogue back into the fight a round or two later, go ahead and slap him with that Save or Die.

    Stealing the wizard's spellbook can make for a great story arc. Doing it repeatedly is going to get very tiresome, and lead to problems. The same goes for the Paladin code. If it is your goal to try to get every Paladin to fall in every game you run, you have a problem, and it isn't the players who are picking the Paladin class.

    Essentially, good encounter design leaves everyone feeling like they got to participate, have fun, and were useful in some way. This is, essentially, DMing 101.

    If you have a group of players who all have fun with frequent character death, or actually enjoy it when they have to sit and watch a combat for hours, then obviously that makes encounter design way easier (because you can just fling things at the party without any concern for player engagement). Finding out what you and your players enjoy and catering to that is key.
    Would you agree or disagree that a Dispel Magic is "temporarily disabling" as opposed to outright killing the PC? To my mind, it qualifies as "temporarily disabling," and is apparently something DMs aren't supposed to use, judging from responses. If you disagree that it's "temporarily disabling," could you explain why (barring niche cases of flying over a cliff with no access to Feather Fall or similar)?

    By that metric, what "temporarily disabling" option would you suggest that doesn't remove the PC from combat, prevent them from engaging the enemy efficiently, or remove their primary shtick?

    EDIT:
    Not at all, but you are essentially telling him when such actions are viable for maintaining player engagement.
    I saw no mention of the circumstances when it was viable, which means (to me) that there are no such circumstances.
    Last edited by Amphetryon; 2013-01-09 at 12:15 PM.
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    Default Re: The Gentleman's Agreement: making it more precise

    Quote Originally Posted by Amphetryon View Post
    Would you agree or disagree that a Dispel Magic is "temporarily disabling" as opposed to outright killing the PC? To my mind, it qualifies as "temporarily disabling," and is apparently something DMs aren't supposed to use, judging from responses. If you disagree that it's "temporarily disabling," could you explain why (barring niche cases of flying over a cliff with no access to Feather Fall or similar)?
    Good question, and if you think there is an easy answer, there isn't. Without having a super detailed scenario, I'd ask the following question:

    Does the PC, or anyone in the rest of the party, have a way to bring the PC back into the fight? If so, then the disabling is temporary. If not, you may want to avoid it if regular player engagement is what your group enjoys.

    Alternatively, using Dispel Magic before escaping (and thus ending the encounter) is perfectly fine, because the player is only unengaged for a brief time (assuming player engagement is what you and your group finds to be fun).

    I saw no mention of the circumstances when it was viable, which means (to me) that there are no such circumstances.
    There's no real reason for the Gentlemen's Agreement listed above if your group doesn't find player engagement to be enjoyable (or at least not a necessity). Thus I am making the assumption that it revolves around player engagement (based on the references to making a character irrelevant or unable to meaningfully participate regularly).

    Ah, I think I see where your objection is:

    The DM is to provide dynamic, active, and challenging encounters for the players, but not to arbitrarily handicap a player by fiat.
    You are missing the fiat bit on the end of that. Still, the item doesn't read well to me either. I think it should be changed, given that the fiat bit is covered elsewhere in the other bullet points.
    Last edited by Deadline; 2013-01-09 at 12:27 PM. Reason: Good gravy I've got spelling issues today

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    Default Re: The Gentleman's Agreement: making it more precise

    If someone can dispel magic the buffs in place, then shouldn't the players change their priorities on who to target since there is an 'apparent' 'caster' ( or trap ) that can possibly lock down your caster/folks?

    For those whose players got killed, often times there are multiple mobs right? You often trust these players to know how the mob 'should act' atleast in an OOC sense. Why not change the initiative of a mob here or there so that it can be the same as another mob. DM controls mob A. Dead player controls mob B. Helps to speed up the combat a bit. Keep in mind that this is for those players who can be trusted to not 'help the party'.

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    Default Re: The Gentleman's Agreement: making it more precise

    After looking at it some more, B, D and E all cover the "invalidating/negating player engagement" bit sufficiently, so I don't think C needs it. You could re-write C as:

    The DM is to provide dynamic, active, and challenging encounters for the players, and should seek to maintain player engagement as much as possible in the encounter.

    Or you could simply state:

    The DM is to provide dynamic, active, and challenging encounters for the players.

    And leave the second part above to be implied/covered by items B, D and E.

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    Default Re: The Gentleman's Agreement: making it more precise

    Quote Originally Posted by Deadline View Post
    After looking at it some more, B, D and E all cover the "invalidating/negating player engagement" bit sufficiently, so I don't think C needs it. You could re-write C as:

    The DM is to provide dynamic, active, and challenging encounters for the players, and should seek to maintain player engagement as much as possible in the encounter.

    Or you could simply state:

    The DM is to provide dynamic, active, and challenging encounters for the players.

    And leave the second part above to be implied/covered by items B, D and E.
    If these are rules are to be taken seriously they cannot imply anything. That is one of the reasons why we have the drowning rules
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    Default Re: The Gentleman's Agreement: making it more precise

    Quote Originally Posted by Arcanist View Post
    If these are rules are to be taken seriously they cannot imply anything. That is one of the reasons why we have the drowning rules
    Which work fine unless deliberately treated in an idiotic manner to render drown-healing a real thing at the table.

    But point taken.

    I'd suggest that item C be changed to:

    The DM is to provide dynamic, active, and challenging encounters for the players, and should seek to maintain player engagement as much as possible in the encounter.

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    Default Re: The Gentleman's Agreement: making it more precise

    Actually, I wasn't missing the "by fiat" bit, but I'm unaware of any methods where the DM could be using NPCs to handicap a Player that will not be portrayed as "arbitrary," given the above metric that appears to indicate that a Wizard who casts spells that are neither blasting nor self-targeting is "arbitrarily handicapping a Player by fiat."
    Last edited by Amphetryon; 2013-01-09 at 01:08 PM. Reason: Rocks in the the street
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    Default Re: The Gentleman's Agreement: making it more precise

    I'd like to bring up the topic of DM's fiat while it is still fresh in our minds.

    I see a lot of people arguing to the point that anything that would prove detrimental to the PC's as being called out as DM's fiat. To me? That is stupid. Why wouldn't a BBEG not carry around a scroll of Teleport to escape or fast travel, why wouldn't they have some method of disabling a caster? Honestly as long as it is within WBL of the appropriate villain they can and probably should have it if they plan to succeed at all.

    The BBEG is entitled to just as much WBL as a single member of the PC's party and not a copper piece more. This WBL must be used to advance the BBEG's villainous schemes, however may not be used to purchase a Wish, a Miracle, a Limited Wish, or a Reality Revision (or item with the ability to cast or manifest these spells/powers).
    All Mooks, Monsters, Villains and dictators will play at the PC's level of intelligence and to the best of there abilities so long as it does not directly contradict any rules made prior and hereafter.
    I would like to add something that says that purposely ejecting PC's out of combat permanently is out and define temporary as less then 5 rounds.
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    Default Re: The Gentleman's Agreement: making it more precise

    Quote Originally Posted by Arcanist View Post
    I'd like to bring up the topic of DM's fiat while it is still fresh in our minds.

    I see a lot of people arguing to the point that anything that would prove detrimental to the PC's as being called out as DM's fiat. To me? That is stupid. Why wouldn't a BBEG not carry around a scroll of Teleport to escape or fast travel, why wouldn't they have some method of disabling a caster? Honestly as long as it is within WBL of the appropriate villain they can and probably should have it if they plan to succeed at all.
    The answer that I can glean from responses to this topic (and others like it) is that a BBEG wouldn't carry around a scroll of Teleport, or have a method of disabling a caster, because using them would be deprotagonizing to one or more of the PCs, and DMs should avoid that at virtually any cost.

    I would like to add something that says that purposely ejecting PC's out of combat permanently is out and define temporary as less then 5 rounds.
    Given that I generally see people indicate that combat should be over in less than 5 Rounds (or, at least, all over but the shouting, e.g. the enemy is immobilized and just needs to be whittled down by the party Meatshield), I'm not sure what good a distinction like this does. 'Out of combat for 4 Rounds' appears to be identical to 'out of combat permanently' by the commonly assumed metrics bandied about on the boards.
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    Default Re: The Gentleman's Agreement: making it more precise

    I think that perhaps the issue isn't repeatedly exploiting the weakness of a character, it's repeatedly exploiting it without allowing the player time to compensate.

    For example, we have the BBEG wizard opening with a Fort-Save or Die on the Rogue. This is good tactics on th epart of the wizard.

    But if the Rogue has gotten to the point of fighting a prepared wizard with access to SODs, shouldn't the players be expecting this sort of thing? Like instead of just "the rogue faces a SOD from the wizard" and boom no fun for the player, if you've thrown a few less lethal fort save monsters so the rogue has figured out "Hmm - I kinda suck at Fort saves and maybe need some protection vs. death magic and whatnot."

    If the rogue keeps on running into wizards prepared with SODs and keeps on getting targeted in the first round, and the party doesn't try to compensate for that AND the Dm doesn't maybe drop something like one of those scarabs that absorb a limited number of death effects to give the players time to come up with a longer term solution, then the fault is sort of spread around.

    Actually come to think of it, clauses d and e should already cover this sort of thing.

    If there is any value in this thread it will come from the exploration of scenarios like this I think, so if nothing else we've got a general guide to game harmony instead of a codified list.

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    Default Re: The Gentleman's Agreement: making it more precise

    Quote Originally Posted by tuggyne View Post


    Current form:
    1. The players are not to exceed the optimization of the DM.
    2. No player is to completely and absolutely make any other player feel irrelevant.
    3. The DM is to provide dynamic, active, and challenging encounters for the players, but not to arbitrarily handicap a player by fiat.
    4. The players are expected to avoid providing the DM with easy hooks with which to render their characters irrelevant. The DM is allowed to use any of these hooks so long as they are not mandatory class features.
    5. The DM is expected not to repeatedly take advantage of easy hooks with which to render a character irrelevant.
    6. The players are not to use inherent flaws in the rules to break the game.
    7. The players are expected to comply with a minimum required amount of railroading.
    8. The DM is not to use excessive railroading.

    I'd say this list is horrible.
    1. 1.How does a player ''optimize less then the DM''? They play stupid? Talk about a dumb boring game.
      2.This is a matter of opinion. If a single player does anything, then another player might feel bad. And you can't really do anything about say Joe who sits at the table and only says five words. So if your character takes any action, you will make Joe's irrelevant.
      3.The first part is fine, but the second makes the world a lame Disney Movie. With this agreement, it could not even get dark at night as that would ''handcap players''. Or if the bad guys duck and cover from the Awesome Archer.
      4.This kinda says ''nothing can effect the characters'', and really makes the game pointless.
      5.And this is just saying all foes must be dumb.
      6.This is fine if it must be said.
      7. and 8.Any story has to be a Railroad, otherwise it goes nowhere. Even if the players think the game is railless, it's just an illusion.

    I'd go more for:
    1.By sitting down to play this group game with everyone you are agreeing to play a game with a group of people at all times. This means that you can not leave the group and have a solo adventure for any reason. You also must talk and intact with the other players continuously.

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