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  1. - Top - End - #301
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    BarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: Killer obstructive DM, nintendo hard games, and shift in gamer culture

    Quote Originally Posted by prabe View Post
    I don't disagree with the premise that 3.x had enough player-facing information that a suitably-minded player had more ammunition for a rules argument with the DM. I don't think I ever saw it be a problem at any table I was at, but I'll be first to admit my experience was kinda limited there.
    Part of it might be because the 1e/2e rules were so convoluted that it was hard for most players to even know if the DM was making stuff up. I mean the entire time I played 1e, I had no real understanding of how the DM ever worked out if I hit something or not. Granted, I was mostly about 10 years old, but the DM was usually of the same age or only a bit older.

    One "benefit" of 3e's more unified rules is that it made it easier to know if the DM deviated from something.

  2. - Top - End - #302
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    Pex's Avatar

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    Default Re: Killer obstructive DM, nintendo hard games, and shift in gamer culture

    Quote Originally Posted by EggKookoo View Post
    Are you talking about the "d20 System" or do you mean the way the 3e manuals presented the rules?

    Because, as I've said above, the 3e DMG is shameless in how it promotes Rule Zero. Almost aggressively. The 5e DMG doesn't even come close to the level of the "tell the players they're lucky to be in your game and they should take what you give them and like it" mindset that 3e promoted. I know the cultural mythology often says otherwise, but go reread your 3e DMG.

    If 3e had a locked-in-the-rules problem, it came from both the DM having the final say and having lists of examples that the DM could use to determine what that final statement was. Players looked at the examples and felt they were hard and fast rules that the DM was obliged to follow. At the same time, the DMG told the DM they were not obliged to follow those examples and that they didn't have to justify their decision to the players. That they didn't even have to let the players know what those decisions were (i.e. don't state a DC, just ask for a roll and tell the player if they passed or failed -- talk about "mother may I?"). It was like the manuals were written specifically to foster crunch arguments at the table.
    Yet what I find interesting is that for one exception all the "tyrannical DMing" I experienced that helped informed my opinions of DMing today were all 2E DMs of way back when. Not all my 2E DMs were tyrannical, just saying all the DMs who were tyrannical was when I was playing 2E. All my years of playing 3E and Pathfinder not one DM was tyrannical. They had their house rules, Rule Zero campaign events, and were quite happy to use whatever DC number a table suggested for a skill, including the "DM's best friend" of using +2 or -2 as the situation warranted. That one exception of a tyrannical DM when I wasn't playing 2E? It was my first 5E game. I've long since learned I didn't have to put up with it, so of course I quit. I still remember that horrible thing he said. "I'm a DM who believes a player should never get what he wants." Fortunately I haven't met one since.
    Quote Originally Posted by OgresAreCute View Post
    "Welcome to Dungeons and Dragons fifth edition, where the DCs are made up and the rules don't matter."

  3. - Top - End - #303
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    BarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: Killer obstructive DM, nintendo hard games, and shift in gamer culture

    Quote Originally Posted by Pex View Post
    Yet what I find interesting is that for one exception all the "tyrannical DMing" I experienced that helped informed my opinions of DMing today were all 2E DMs of way back when. Not all my 2E DMs were tyrannical, just saying all the DMs who were tyrannical was when I was playing 2E. All my years of playing 3E and Pathfinder not one DM was tyrannical. They had their house rules, Rule Zero campaign events, and were quite happy to use whatever DC number a table suggested for a skill, including the "DM's best friend" of using +2 or -2 as the situation warranted. That one exception of a tyrannical DM when I wasn't playing 2E? It was my first 5E game. I've long since learned I didn't have to put up with it, so of course I quit. I still remember that horrible thing he said. "I'm a DM who believes a player should never get what he wants." Fortunately I haven't met one since.
    I think that just shows tyrannical DMing is not caused by the mechanics or by the books promoting Rule Zero or anything like that. Some people are just jerks.

  4. - Top - End - #304
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    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Killer obstructive DM, nintendo hard games, and shift in gamer culture

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    I mean, there's lots of little triggers, which differ for individual players. Some are fine so long as they aren't playing "evil"; others are fine so long as they aren't playing "priests"; etc. Which is why I definitely stand in the side of, "rules can fix bad behaviors" rather than "bad players will always be bad".
    I mean, maybe, sometimes, and I don't care.

    Like, maybe some types of bad behavior can be curbed by appropriate rules.

    But I think that that's not actually true for all behaviors, as I've had a number of experiences with players that just... are bad. No matter the system or the context (except maaaaaybe them running a game).

    And I don't really care because I don't want to limit my gaming just to avoid people being jerks and doing things that have been made clear they shouldn't do.
    "Gosh 2D8HP, you are so very correct (and also good looking)"

  5. - Top - End - #305
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: Killer obstructive DM, nintendo hard games, and shift in gamer culture

    Quote Originally Posted by kyoryu View Post
    I mean, maybe, sometimes, and I don't care.

    Like, maybe some types of bad behavior can be curbed by appropriate rules.

    But I think that that's not actually true for all behaviors, as I've had a number of experiences with players that just... are bad. No matter the system or the context (except maaaaaybe them running a game).

    And I don't really care because I don't want to limit my gaming just to avoid people being jerks and doing things that have been made clear they shouldn't do.
    I mean, I don't want to wear clothes, just to avoid frostbite, but that doesn't mean it's not a valid strategy.

    Now, I might be getting too senile to remember, but I'm curious what your "bad players" were like, whether they trigger a "I knew that guy - he was fine so long as…".

    And that's the thing: I game with friends (albeit sometimes of the "strangers are just friends you haven't met" variety). In that vein, I'm generally on the side of, "of course you should at least try something different, to see if you can't manage to have a fun game with your friends".

    Still, making it clear that they shouldn't do something? That's, you know, a rule. And, sometimes, it's easier to say, "no pirates for you" than to spend years iterating through every unacceptable behavior that "being a pirate" brings out in that otherwise fine player.

    And, at least my way, you don't have to worry about never looking at a "rapier" the same way ever again.

  6. - Top - End - #306
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Killer obstructive DM, nintendo hard games, and shift in gamer culture

    There are players who are bad at certain roles. But they usually know that and only try for a challange or to test boundaries. Those are not "bad players".

    In my experience there are actually very few bad players. But as with team sports the argument that bad players have a hard time finding a team holds true in RPGs as well. Players who don't have groups and are looking for one tend to be more often bad than those who have no need to look.

    Now, I might be getting too senile to remember, but I'm curious what your "bad players" were like, whether they trigger a "I knew that guy - he was fine so long asÂ…".
    I've had a couple of players who can't lose and always cheat. But as long as you don't want the game to be vhallanging, that is even tolerable. A more problematic example are players that actively draw happiness from making other players suffer by setting up the other characters for failures and then highlighting the results teasing the players. Not so much open PvP, more classical bullying. Then there are some players who are not happy with campaign premises/session 0 agreements but instead of bowing out or convincing people try to change/subvert it through ingame action against the expressed wishes of the rest of the group. I also had someone who came to sessions always completely drunk and acted accordingly.

    I can't really remember a single player who was only ****ty in a certain role.

    But i have had more problems with bad DMs than with bad players. That is where the most people who are only in it for power fantasies usually end up. Because if they are the DM, no one can veto their stuff and they can even execise control over the players.

  7. - Top - End - #307
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    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Killer obstructive DM, nintendo hard games, and shift in gamer culture

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    I mean, I don't want to wear clothes, just to avoid frostbite, but that doesn't mean it's not a valid strategy.
    I hope you realize that's a really bad analogy, and that it was made tongue-in-cheek.

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    Now, I might be getting too senile to remember, but I'm curious what your "bad players" were like, whether they trigger a "I knew that guy - he was fine so long as…".
    Most of them were just disruptive regardless of the game.

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    And that's the thing: I game with friends (albeit sometimes of the "strangers are just friends you haven't met" variety). In that vein, I'm generally on the side of, "of course you should at least try something different, to see if you can't manage to have a fun game with your friends".
    And of course you should modulate what you do by your friends' preferences, within reason. And since I like to use movies as analogies (though also imperfect), if you have a friend that doesn't like horror movies, just don't go to horror movies when they're around, or tell them it's a horror movie so that they can politely bow out, and maybe go to fewer horror movies.

    (which is different than having a friend say that they like horror movies and wants to go to them, and then insists on punching people in the middle of them).

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    Still, making it clear that they shouldn't do something? That's, you know, a rule.
    I think you're stretching the definition of "rule" there a bit. "Rules", in the "don't solve bad players with rules" context, pretty much means mechanical, game rules. "Don't flip the table and throw dice" is a "rule". And, yes, I think telling people "don't flip tables and throw dice" is the appropriate solution.

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    And, sometimes, it's easier to say, "no pirates for you" than to spend years iterating through every unacceptable behavior that "being a pirate" brings out in that otherwise fine player.
    I think if you have to enumerate every single condition you're dealing with someone that's going to be a problem, as they are clearly uninterested in understanding basic social contracts and seeking to test limits. And if they respond with "well, you didn't specifically exclude...." then doubly so.

    And again, it's that combination of "unwilling to back off and accept limits" usually compounded with "can't accept things" that roots most poor player behavior.

    Someone who is willing to deliberately push and cross social lines when they've been made clear is not a friend. Someone that constantly pushes the boundaries when it's been made the boundaries are causing distress is not a friend.

    The other problem with this, of course, is that sometimes you want to play a pirate game and not doing so because of one jerkwad impacts the enjoyment of the group, and is letting one person's poor behavior control the entire group. Forget that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    And, at least my way, you don't have to worry about never looking at a "rapier" the same way ever again.
    That gets "no, those jokes aren't funny. Knock it off" the first time. The second time is a boot. Some lines don't get crossed, or at least some lines should be understood as sensitive enough that once it's made clear you don't cross it, you don't cross it.
    Last edited by kyoryu; 2020-05-20 at 10:16 AM.
    "Gosh 2D8HP, you are so very correct (and also good looking)"

  8. - Top - End - #308
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: Killer obstructive DM, nintendo hard games, and shift in gamer culture

    Quote Originally Posted by kyoryu View Post
    I think if you have to enumerate every single condition you're dealing with someone that's going to be a problem, as they are clearly uninterested in understanding basic social contracts and seeking to test limits. And if they respond with "well, you didn't specifically exclude...." then doubly so.

    And again, it's that combination of "unwilling to back off and accept limits" usually compounded with "can't accept things" that roots most poor player behavior.

    Someone who is willing to deliberately push and cross social lines when they've been made clear is not a friend. Someone that constantly pushes the boundaries when it's been made the boundaries are causing distress is not a friend.

    The other problem with this, of course, is that sometimes you want to play a pirate game and not doing so because of one jerkwad impacts the enjoyment of the group, and is letting one person's poor behavior control the entire group. Forget that.
    The issue is, when the player is normally fine, their Necromancer was fine, their Paladin was fine, their Thief was fine, their kinder was hit with Balefire (like all kinder should be), their runaway princess was fine, their homicidal robot was fine… but, when they played a pirate, there were issues, because that's what playing a pirate meant to them.

    They would need to fundamentally redefine what "being a pirate" means to them in order to be able to run an acceptable pirate.

    I have seen this pattern repeated so many times, where certain archetypes were just completely ingrained with particular mindsets and behaviors, such that the by far easiest solution was to simply ban that individual from that archetype.

    And, maybe, if we're playing a pirate game, they can play a plot-critical blacksmith or something - and perhaps, somewhere along the way, they'll learn the true meaning of Christmas… err… what *else* it might possibly mean to be a pirate.

  9. - Top - End - #309
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    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Killer obstructive DM, nintendo hard games, and shift in gamer culture

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    The issue is, when the player is normally fine, their Necromancer was fine, their Paladin was fine, their Thief was fine, their kinder was hit with Balefire (like all kinder should be), their runaway princess was fine, their homicidal robot was fine… but, when they played a pirate, there were issues, because that's what playing a pirate meant to them.

    They would need to fundamentally redefine what "being a pirate" means to them in order to be able to run an acceptable pirate.
    Let's just call "unacceptable pirate behavior" as being "making rapier jokes". You brought it up. For the sake of time, can we also assume that it's actually more broad and less specific than that?

    I'd rather have a conversation that says "no rapier jokes". Then if the player says "but pirates are ALL ABOUT rapier jokes!" then I trust that player to have the maturity to realize "well, then I shouldn't play a pirate" or to ask "well, then, what do you think a pirate is" or some other conversation.

    Because I also probably don't want rapier jokes if he's playing a duellist.

    If I tell someone "I don't want rapier jokes at my table", I expect them to follow that standard. Maybe they don't want to make rapier jokes when playing a knight, and that's fine. But, really, all I should need to say is "no rapier jokes", to make it clear that that's the actual behavior that's undesirable, and won't be tolerated under any circumstances.

    I find that "well, I'm going to set up the scenario so that he's not tempted to make rapier jokes" to be a little infantilizing. Just saying "no rapier jokes" is enough. A player that will cross clear boundaries when they're spelled out is not somebody I want at my table. Period. I'm not going to just try to arrange the situation so that they're not tempted to cross the boundary.

    And to be clear, you do you. But for me "if someone tells you to knock it off, and you don't, you can bugger off" is pretty much an ironclad social rule I have. I have zero desire to deal with someone that can't follow basic social courtesies.
    Last edited by kyoryu; 2020-05-21 at 11:43 AM.
    "Gosh 2D8HP, you are so very correct (and also good looking)"

  10. - Top - End - #310
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: Killer obstructive DM, nintendo hard games, and shift in gamer culture

    Quote Originally Posted by kyoryu View Post
    Let's just call "unacceptable pirate behavior" as being "making rapier jokes". You brought it up. For the sake of time, can we also assume that it's actually more broad and less specific than that?

    I'd rather have a conversation that says "no rapier jokes". Then if the player says "but pirates are ALL ABOUT rapier jokes!" then I trust that player to have the maturity to realize "well, then I shouldn't play a pirate" or to ask "well, then, what do you think a pirate is" or some other conversation.

    Because I also probably don't want rapier jokes if he's playing a duellist.

    If I tell someone "I don't want rapier jokes at my table", I expect them to follow that standard. Maybe they don't want to make rapier jokes when playing a knight, and that's fine. But, really, all I should need to say is "no rapier jokes", to make it clear that that's the actual behavior that's undesirable, and won't be tolerated under any circumstances.

    I find that "well, I'm going to set up the scenario so that he's not tempted to make rapier jokes" to be a little infantilizing. Just saying "no rapier jokes" is enough. A player that will cross clear boundaries when they're spelled out is not somebody I want at my table. Period. I'm not going to just try to arrange the situation so that they're not tempted to cross the boundary.

    And to be clear, you do you. But for me "if someone tells you to knock it off, and you don't, you can bugger off" is pretty much an ironclad social rule I have. I have zero desire to deal with someone that can't follow basic social courtesies.
    The problem - again, from my repeated experience - is a matter of imperfect information. Yes, it's more broad and less specific.

    But.

    All you've seen is the rapier jokes.

    So, you follow your advice, and say, "don't do that". So they don't.

    But then they do something else.

    Yes, there are bad players.

    But there are also good players who, when playing a particular archetype, are incompatible with a particular table.

    Far too often, the latter are misidentified as the former.

    My goal is to raise awareness of the distinction, and give people the tools to salvage games with good players.

    Don't "throw the baby out with the bath water". And don't assume that when you said, "don't do X", that the player will realize you meant that to include Y, Z, and the whole of the Greek alphabet, too.

  11. - Top - End - #311
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    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Killer obstructive DM, nintendo hard games, and shift in gamer culture

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    The problem - again, from my repeated experience - is a matter of imperfect information. Yes, it's more broad and less specific.

    But.

    All you've seen is the rapier jokes.

    So, you follow your advice, and say, "don't do that". So they don't.

    But then they do something else.
    Is this an actual problem? Do you have people that you can't describe what you generally don't want, and they can't figure that out, and guess when they're on the boundary?

    Like, if someone is putting heads on sticks and doing plays with them, you can say "dude. Knock it off. I don't want that kind of blatant psychopathic type behavior at the table". And if they then just randomly desecrate corpses in other ways, you're telling me they don't know that they're crossing lines? Or that if you just give them a "dude. We talked about this", they don't just back down?

    To me, that just sounds like someone that gets off on pushing buttons and is always trying to push the envelope.
    "Gosh 2D8HP, you are so very correct (and also good looking)"

  12. - Top - End - #312
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: Killer obstructive DM, nintendo hard games, and shift in gamer culture

    Quote Originally Posted by kyoryu View Post
    Is this an actual problem? Do you have people that you can't describe what you generally don't want, and they can't figure that out, and guess when they're on the boundary?

    Like, if someone is putting heads on sticks and doing plays with them, you can say "dude. Knock it off. I don't want that kind of blatant psychopathic type behavior at the table". And if they then just randomly desecrate corpses in other ways, you're telling me they don't know that they're crossing lines? Or that if you just give them a "dude. We talked about this", they don't just back down?

    To me, that just sounds like someone that gets off on pushing buttons and is always trying to push the envelope.
    When they honestly think that that's what it means to be a Pirate (or a Necromancer, or a Paladin, or a Princess)? When they've gotten positive feedback for their behavior at other tables (because not everyone's a prude who can't take rapier jokes, or heads on sticks)? When the GM has done a poor job communicating just what it is that they (do and don't) want (hint: GMs *thinking* that they've communicated something, when they really haven't, happens *all the time* in my groups over the past ~40 years)? When the player never once does anything like that when they're *not* running a pirate / ninja / zombie / robot / whatever?

    Yes, it's a problem.

    Also, you do realize that you've predicated your argument on people actually knowing what "psychopathic" means, and, worse, on *me* actually being able to have successfully communicated with other people?

    -----

    Once upon a time, a GM told his dozen or so players to make characters who were poor. *I* understood what he meant, I got the subtext. But about half the group didn't. So about half the party was incompatible with the one and only plot hook - payment - that the GM had prepared.

    People utterly fail at communication all the time. Just read my posts if you don't believe me.
    Last edited by Quertus; 2020-05-21 at 06:30 PM.

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