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  1. - Top - End - #91
    Orc in the Playground
     
    PaladinGuy

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Pex View Post
    This fails as soon as one DM says this task is so easy there's no chance of failure but another DM disagrees and says that it's not so easy you need to roll because you might fail. The third DM agrees with the second it's not so easy but finds it harder so gives a higher DC than the second. That's the point. I already said 5E tells you what to do if something is easy or hard. What it doesn't do is define what makes something easy or hard. It leaves the decision up to the DM. Different DMs have different opinions on what is easy or hard leading to my character can only do something based on who is the DM. That's the problem.
    To many people, me included, that's a great thing rather than a problem. I probably have a different idea of what's easy or hard compared to other DMs, so being able to control the specifics (and more importantly, for the game to present this as normal in the table culture sense) is invaluable.

    However, the rules still differ from freeform in the sense that if you make your guy good at athletics, he'll always be the guy who is good at that compared to characters who are not. Same with any other skill. The specific tasks (doing a flip or climbing a wall or whatever else) might present a varying level of challenge from DM to DM, but the character with certain skills will always be better at the task than the character who isn't.
    Last edited by NorthernPhoenix; 2020-05-02 at 10:50 AM.

  2. - Top - End - #92
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    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
    This fails as soon as one DM says this task is so easy there's no chance of failure but another DM disagrees and says that it's not so easy you need to roll because you might fail. The third DM agrees with the second it's not so easy but finds it harder so gives a higher DC than the second. That's the point. I already said 5E tells you what to do if something is easy or hard. What it doesn't do is define what makes something easy or hard. It leaves the decision up to the DM. Different DMs have different opinions on what is easy or hard leading to my character can only do something based on who is the DM. That's the problem.
    The rules also don't tell you what CR to make encounters. Sure, it tells you that roughly CR = average party level is a moderate-difficulty encounter (and Xanathar's refines this formula a bit to handle increasing PC power at higher levels), but it doesn't tell you how often the DM should be hitting the party with moderate encounters. Or if they should always be moderate encounters. DMs are left to build their own encounter patterns.

    So you come to my table and I like to hit the party with harder encounters. APL + a little bit. I'm not a killer DM. I just think it's more fun if you have to work harder. I give you good rewards. Is this a sign that the game is broken? Or am I just tailoring my game? Is it MMI because on average the monsters you fight have 1 more AC than the ones you fought in someone else's campaign? Not because I'm tweaking the monsters, but because I'm hitting you with higher CR encounters a bit more often.

  3. - Top - End - #93
    Titan in the Playground
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    Default Re: Killer obstructive DM, nintendo hard games, and shift in gamer culture

    The first post I wrote for this thread is way too long, so here is the first piece of it. If the discussion indicates that people want to see the rest, it may come out slowly.

    ----

    First of all, yes there are real trends to observe, but there was never a time in which all gamers agreed. One approach would be more common at one time, and another would become more common later.

    This weekend there will be games played all over the world. Some will be run by DMs who've played for decades, and some will be played by some kids who opened the game for the first time on Friday. They will not all be played the same way.

    They weren’t all played the same way in the 1970s, either.

    Since the time the original game was published, the hobby has been far bigger than any one person could experience. So when you say, “I saw the following,” you are probably correct. But when you go on to say, “So that’s what gaming was like then,” then your statement is almost undoubtedly wrong – or at least woefully incomplete. That’s what the tiny piece of gaming you experienced was like then.

    Quote Originally Posted by King of Nowhere View Post
    We all heard horror DM tales. games where you don't get any loot, and most smart solution are vetoed. games where you can get a negative debuff that willl never get away, as you won't have the magic to heal it. games where your character can die for a critical fumble. and we wonder why the players put up with them.
    Yes, we have all heard such stories. But I never met such a DM in the 1970s. Smart solutions were usually accepted and praised by the DMs. I heard about some inferior DMs who had only a single acceptable solution, and didn’t let anything else work, but I never actually played with one. Based on what I experienced, they appeared to be an extreme minority. But I only experienced a small piece of the hobby.

    I did, however, meet several DMs who might have been accused of being horror DMs. For instance, I met DMs who put you in positions in which just fighting, or just using the abilities on your character sheet, would often not be enough. You wouldn’t survive unless you came up with a smart solution. I didn’t consider them killer DMs. But another player might.

    The curses I saw were usually cursed magic items. You could get rid of them with the right quest, which means that you had to play with that handicap/challenge for a while, until you found a way out of it. Again, players who weren’t clever might see this as something they will never get rid of, because they didn’t think to go find that magic to heal it.

    Finally, I saw a DM in 1975 who was accused of unfairly taking away the party’s loot. This party had been turned to stone. A paladin run by another player found the statues, returned them to town, and paid a cleric to revive them.

    But when they recovered, they discovered that none of their magic items worked. Reasonably enough, they accused the DM of unfairly doing something to destroy their items. “Being turned to stone shouldn’t do that.” Perhaps that story has been told since as an example of a horror DM who unfairly took away the party’s magic items.

    But the truth was that the ex-paladin PC had fallen recently, and had a magic bag that would make a useless copy of any item placed in it. He had stolen all their magic and left useless copies.

    But since they never found that out, they always thought the DM had been unfair to them.

    I wonder how many stories of horror DMs were similar situations. More importantly, there is a long continuum of situations from this one, to DMs who took actions because a character was too powerful, to DMs who were actually a little unfair, to the clichéd "killer DM". And they might all be accused of being a killer DM.

    I just don't know how common they really were.

    And neither do you.

  4. - Top - End - #94
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    Devil

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

    Quote Originally Posted by NorthernPhoenix View Post
    However, the rules still differ from freeform in the sense that if you make your guy good at athletics, he'll always be the guy who is good at that compared to characters who are not. Same with any other skill. The specific tasks (doing a flip or climbing a wall or whatever else) might present a varying level of challenge from DM to DM, but the character with certain skills will always be better at the task than the character who isn't.
    Someone in this thread already mentioned choice of try to steal the key\bribe the guard\pick the lock\scale the wall. Different DMs are not only likely to assign different DCs to those tasks they are likely to rank them in a different order. Which makes for playing not understanding the world (and even if you allow for things that one guard may be not as bribable as another, or that how hard the lock is is not obvious from the outside with arbitrary DCs on top of that you end up with more uncertainty than would be warranted IRL).

    Quote Originally Posted by EggKookoo View Post
    So you come to my table and I like to hit the party with harder encounters. APL + a little bit. I'm not a killer DM. I just think it's more fun if you have to work harder. I give you good rewards. Is this a sign that the game is broken? Or am I just tailoring my game? Is it MMI because on average the monsters you fight have 1 more AC than the ones you fought in someone else's campaign? Not because I'm tweaking the monsters, but because I'm hitting you with higher CR encounters a bit more often.
    That has nothing to do with the previous discussion. Hitting people with harder monsters is comparable to consistently ruling that all important structures are built from an excellent ashlar instead of a rough stone (harder to climb) and everyone of importance uses masterwork locks (harder to pick). Arbitrary DCs (when a character can climb a wall of a rough stone one day and the next day have only 5% chance of success) would be comparable to assigning arbitrary ACs to armor and arbitrary damage to weapons.

  5. - Top - End - #95
    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 EggKookoo View Post
    It's healthy for players to question things that don't make sense. I also think it's healthy for the players to have perspective on such things. IMO, healthy gameplay is when the players (and DM) focus first on what makes sense within the fiction. Meaning that the mechanics themselves exist to help make sense of the fiction, but aren't the drivers of such. My broken-record mantra here is "the mechanics are not a physics engine." I mean, they're not to me. They may be to other players, but that's not how I view them.

    A fire-immune creature dying to fire damage is likely illogical regardless of what mechanic system you use. It's illogical in D&D and it would be illogical in Call of Cthulhu or a plain old game of make-believe. That's certainly worthy of questioning. It's basically self-contradictory.

    DCs are different. They're basically judgment calls, and they're tied to the specific task in front of the PCs. If I give you a DC for a check, and last session I gave you a lower DC for a very similar task, I'm communicating to you that the one you're trying now is harder. Why is it harder? I could explain it based on the nature of the task. In fact I'd be happy to. But here's my question. If you suspect I made it harder first because I wanted today's challenge to be a little tougher for the sake of gameplay (e.g. non-fiction reasons), and that I made up an in-fiction justification only after being asked (to be clear, you don't know for certain this is the case, you just suspect it), would you be satisfied? Do you need to feel that there's a rock-solid, bulletproof in-fiction reason for this DC to be harder? Or are you okay with knowing that there's at most just a reasonable justification for it?
    Well, this looks like a can of worms and a half.

    EDIT: pretend "IMO" or "IME" precedes everything here. Because it's not all objective truth, and I'd actually enjoy reading different a PoV.

    I come from a wargaming background. Where the rules *are* the physics. Same for MtG. And board games. And most everything else. If you've made a fiction that doesn't match the rules, then your fiction is wrong. Make a better fiction. Like, if I write a story where Average Joe lifts an elephant over his head - not a toy elephant, not on a low gravity world, etc - then I've written a dumb story. It's on the author to write a better story. That's my stance on things, and I don't see that changing, and me enjoying stories about Average Joe juggling elephants any time soon.

    To me, in general, most anyone who thinks that their misunderstanding of the world is better than that of the game designers, and so much better than that of the game designers as to be worthy of an explicit rules change, is guilty of hubris. Now, that's *changing*. That's not "adding to" or even "changing the level of detail of". So, if you want to go from "all trees are DC 15" to "trees range from DC 10 to DC 20, depending on the breed" to even "there's a ±X variance even among trees of the same breed"? That's fine. It's also fine to go the opposite direction (although it's rather bad form is someone was explicitly looking forward to the "tree selection minigame").

    Having DCs change, expecting the players to notice / ask / investigate? Yeah, that's the big thing. So we're in agreement on the main point, I think… just not on the subtle bits.

    However, this "fiction-first" reasoning? IME, it produces *worse* fiction than "physics-first" fiction (go ahead, write the story of Average Joe juggling elephants if you disagree). Worse, it generally invalidates not only that action, or that game, but everything that GM has ever done. I have no interest in the story of the guy who won his first MtG tournament because the judges thought it would make a great story. But I do if he won fair and square.

    (Or, in my case, lost to the tournament winner, first match. Got a consolation prize. Great times. My second tournament, I would have beaten the tournament winner in my second match, except that he cheated. Great times.)

    -----

    Now, this last bit is particularly interesting, because it's not "fiction", it's "challenge". Me, I'm oldschool. A "fair fight" is the kind of thing that can kill you (also, it's the kind of thing war games are *much*, much better at, both mechanically, and in having much more "disposable" playing pieces). The gameplay, then, is in stacking the deck as far in your favor as physically (physics-ly?) possible. By focusing on "gameplay" and "challenge" as "setting a higher DC", you've probably already failed.

    One, you could try to railroad that DC, ignoring physics to force things to remain "challenging". Thereby killing the gameplay.

    Two, the "correct" way to provide challenge is via the physics. Maybe it's raining, increasing the DC to climb the tree. Maybe there are orcs chasing us, so we don't have time to take 10. You add challenge *fairly* by setting the scene, by stacking the deck, not by setting the DC (note: this also has the added advantage of telegraphing the DC / added difficulty, even before the players ask). Then the players see if they can use the tools that they have to still climb the wet tree without taking 10… or if they use the bad visual conditions of the storm to hide from the orcs (or, better yet, throw dummies up into the trees, and leave a flying familiar to talk to the orcs to maintain the ruse while they run away (and the orcs kill themselves falling from the trees, or burn the trees and assume the party dead)).

    Trying to manufacture challenge through manufactured DCs is wrong-minded, and leads to many kinds of bad gaming practices, from tunnel vision to railroading. So, if I *thought* you did that? I'd probably start telling you stories like this one, in the hopes that your gaming would improve. And be extra sensitive to signs of you falling to the dark side of railroading.
    Last edited by Quertus; 2020-05-02 at 12:07 PM.

  6. - Top - End - #96
    Titan in the Playground
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    Default Re: Killer obstructive DM, nintendo hard games, and shift in gamer culture

    Quote Originally Posted by Saint-Just View Post
    Someone in this thread already mentioned choice of try to steal the key\bribe the guard\pick the lock\scale the wall. Different DMs are not only likely to assign different DCs to those tasks they are likely to rank them in a different order. Which makes for playing not understanding the world (and even if you allow for things that one guard may be not as bribable as another, or that how hard the lock is is not obvious from the outside with arbitrary DCs on top of that you end up with more uncertainty than would be warranted IRL).
    Of course different DMs will assign different DCs. If the game has any immersibility at all, then the DM has a mental image of the pocket that key is in, the guard's frame of mind, the lock, the wall. Those mental images are what make a game more fascinating than the "did I succeed or fail?" level.

    Or turn it around. If the guard is nothing other than a DC15 bribe check, then we aren't playing a role-playing game at all; we're just fiddling with numbers, and the fact that you assigned the words "guard" and "bribe" to it have no effect. Call bribery "skill C", and have a DC15 "skill C check". I want the DM to quickly consider who the guard might be, whether he has a gambling debt, whether he thinks his sergeant might be watching, and what happened to the last guard who was caught taking bribes. And it should be different from another guard at another time. This is the same uncertainty that would be warranted in real life.

    But I also want reasonable clues. When I start trying to bribe the guard, she should look around and say, "There's my sergeant watching us." Or maybe she speaks in a very quiet voice. That's a clue that she's willing to listen, but not be caught. If the DM only tells you the number to roll, and whether you succeed or fail, that's as uninteresting as rolling a skill C check.

    There is an old legal maxim. “Any lawyer knows the law. A good lawyer knows the exceptions. A great lawyer knows the judge.” Long ago, I formulated the D&D equivalent. “Any player knows the basic rules. A good player knows the supplements. A great player knows the DM.”

    Over time, I try to learn what kind of approach works best with each DM. This is equivalent to getting deeper into what world I'm playing in.

  7. - Top - End - #97
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    BarbarianGuy

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Saint-Just View Post
    That has nothing to do with the previous discussion. Hitting people with harder monsters is comparable to consistently ruling that all important structures are built from an excellent ashlar instead of a rough stone (harder to climb) and everyone of importance uses masterwork locks (harder to pick). Arbitrary DCs (when a character can climb a wall of a rough stone one day and the next day have only 5% chance of success) would be comparable to assigning arbitrary ACs to armor and arbitrary damage to weapons.
    But that's not the example cited in the criticism. It's not "I climbed this same wall yesterday under the same conditions (not slippery, etc) and the DC was 12. Why is it 13 now?" That's not what people are complaining about. The criticism is "I climbed a stone wall in that set of ruins yesterday and it was DC 12. We're at another stone wall and now you're telling me it's 13. Why?" The answer is, of course, because this is a different stone wall with different properties, enough to make it slightly harder to climb. Being able to climb that other wall at a certain level of ability doesn't guarantee you can climb this wall with that same level.

    More extremely, the criticism is "that other game I played with a different DM entirely in a completely different campaign with a different PC let me climb walls at DC 12. Why can't I climb walls in your campaign in this separate fictional world with a different PC with the same DC?" To me that's kind of ridiculous. It's akin to telling a DM that they have to let you play a certain race because this time in another game the DM let you play that race. Or telling the DM they must use Optional Rule X because that other game you played used Optional Rule X.

  8. - Top - End - #98
    Halfling in the Playground
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    Default Re: Killer obstructive DM, nintendo hard games, and shift in gamer culture

    I find part of this discussion really surreal, because it was 1st edition AD&D in 1977 that explicitly laid out this idea of game consistency. But from what I gather, if 5th edition is too open for some people, oh boy they wouldn't have been able to handle AD&D. It didn't even have a generalized skill or ability check system that soon became a feature in pretty much all tabletop and computer RPGs.

  9. - Top - End - #99
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    BarbarianGuy

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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 come from a wargaming background. Where the rules *are* the physics. Same for MtG. And board games. And most everything else. If you've made a fiction that doesn't match the rules, then your fiction is wrong. Make a better fiction. Like, if I write a story where Average Joe lifts an elephant over his head - not a toy elephant, not on a low gravity world, etc - then I've written a dumb story. It's on the author to write a better story. That's my stance on things, and I don't see that changing, and me enjoying stories about Average Joe juggling elephants any time soon.
    Any mechanics set that doesn't require actual physics calculations isn't "physics." It's an abstraction, designed to focus on the elements of play the game designers expect and hope the players to be most interested in. You don't see, for example, a lot of complicated economics rules in D&D. But you do see a lot of combat rule detail. I think it's pretty clear why that is.

    Many TTRPGs, and D&D is a good example of this, use terminology that delivers a lot of flavor at the expense of accuracy. An example is "armor class," which a creature can have a value in despite not wearing armor. Indeed, a naked creature with a very high dexterity can have a better armor class than a normal-dex creature in actual real armor. Obviously "armor class" is a kind of game term euphemism that means something like "damage avoidance rating." D&D calls it an armor class because it's an evocative term that fits with its high fantasy setting, and it's a game that likes its heritage. Another one is charisma, which in more recent editions of D&D has only a little to do with how charismatic you actually are. It really functions more like a "force of will" attribute and could be better termed "presence" or something. But it's been charisma since day one, and we're stuck with it.

    Given this, you can't take the elements of D&D's mechanics at face value -- you think that's armor you're "classed" in? But it goes deeper than this. If wearing armor and being highly mobile/agile contribute to the same mechanic, then armor class isn't even a single thing. A hit that misses a paladin because he's wearing plate, and a hit missing a monk because he dodges out of the way -- both of these things look like the same mechanic to us at the table. I mean, attack roll, compare to AC. Hit or miss. Right? But in the game world, two utterly different and arguably mutually-exclusive things just happened.

    To make matters worse, a creature with leather armor has an AC that's partly the property of that armor, but partly the property of its dexterity. It's both! So at this point we can see that AC doesn't represent "the physics." It's a pure gamist mechanic that has no single correlation to something happening within the game world. D&D takes a number of semi-related things and rolls them all together and called it "armor class." We accept that because it's simple to understand at the gameplay level, and at the physics level it doesn't seem to matter. I mean, if it matters to you, you've probably moved on from D&D to a less offensive system.

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    However, this "fiction-first" reasoning? IME, it produces *worse* fiction than "physics-first" fiction (go ahead, write the story of Average Joe juggling elephants if you disagree). Worse, it generally invalidates not only that action, or that game, but everything that GM has ever done. I have no interest in the story of the guy who won his first MtG tournament because the judges thought it would make a great story. But I do if he won fair and square.
    Fiction-first, to me, anyway, means there should be a way to explain or describe whatever's going on in the game in a way that makes sense to the characters, who do not perceive themselves to be elements in a game. For example, if you make an attack roll and hit the orc, at the table level your roll met or exceeded the orc's armor class. But in the fiction, your PC hit the orc because he made a good swing, holding the weapon true and, perhaps intuitively, perhaps with deliberation (perhaps a bit of both), he brought the blade in under the orc's overlapping layers of hide armor and sliced into flesh. Your PC didn't "roll well." He isn't aware of dice being involved. Indeed, no dice exist from his perspective. He didn't beat the orc's armor class or roll well with the damage die. None of that game stuff exists for him.

    It has nothing to do with it making a great story. It just means, when interpreting what the mechanics mean, they have to be translated into something that fits into the fiction. And frankly, this is easy. We do it all the time, as my armor class example above shows. We're constantly taking game rules at the table and imagining how they play out in the fictional reality of the game. PCs aren't "player characters" in their world -- they're people. They can't see us. If they were real, they would think they do things on their own, rather than being glorified game pieces.

    But it goes both ways. We really can't see them, either. We can only interface with the game rules. I don't make my PC slice into the orc's shoulder with my sword. I mean, mechanically. I can narrate that to the DM and he can agree that's what happens, but that's fluff. Mechanically, all I can do is make an attack roll against the orc's AC. But as we just established, that isn't what my PC actually does.

    There's a disconnection between what we do at the table and what the characters do in their fictional world. The glue that reconnects it is our imagination.

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    Now, this last bit is particularly interesting, because it's not "fiction", it's "challenge". Me, I'm oldschool. A "fair fight" is the kind of thing that can kill you (also, it's the kind of thing war games are *much*, much better at, both mechanically, and in having much more "disposable" playing pieces). The gameplay, then, is in stacking the deck as far in your favor as physically (physics-ly?) possible. By focusing on "gameplay" and "challenge" as "setting a higher DC", you've probably already failed.
    That works fine in PvP peer-based games. That's not what D&D is. If "stacking the deck" is the way to go, the DM instantly wins by dropping a lich on your 1st level party.

    In a cooperative game with a referee-like role such as the DM, the DM has to curate the challenge to fit the players. There's nothing mechanically limiting the DM. He can't view his own role as a peer to the players. Players are allowed (encouraged) to do anything within the limits of the rules to succeed. The DM can't be. The DM must ask himself, "am I scaling this content to the PCs properly?" Otherwise it's just constant TPKs. I mean, that's literally a requirement of being a good DM -- knowing how to scale content to the PCs (it's not the only requirement, but it is one).

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    One, you could try to railroad that DC, ignoring physics to force things to remain "challenging". Thereby killing the gameplay.

    Two, the "correct" way to provide challenge is via the physics. Maybe it's raining, increasing the DC to climb the tree. Maybe there are orcs chasing us, so we don't have time to take 10. You add challenge *fairly* by setting the scene, by stacking the deck, not by setting the DC (note: this also has the added advantage of telegraphing the DC / added difficulty, even before the players ask). Then the players see if they can use the tools that they have to still climb the wet tree without taking 10… or if they use the bad visual conditions of the storm to hide from the orcs (or, better yet, throw dummies up into the trees, and leave a flying familiar to talk to the orcs to maintain the ruse while they run away (and the orcs kill themselves falling from the trees, or burn the trees and assume the party dead)).
    I see a lot of "maybes." When a DM says "maybe it's..." that's him manufacturing challenge. Sure, he might be manufacturing it physics-side first (what I mean by it being in-fiction), and working out the DCs from that. But what if he does that and the DCs turn out to be insanely high? What's his recourse? If he doesn't want to kill his PCs off too soon, he modifies the physics until he gets the DCs into a more realistic zone. Which is not very different from...

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    Trying to manufacture challenge through manufactured DCs is wrong-minded, and leads to many kinds of bad gaming practices, from tunnel vision to railroading. So, if I *thought* you did that? I'd probably start telling you stories like this one, in the hopes that your gaming would improve. And be extra sensitive to signs of you falling to the dark side of railroading.
    Yeah, see? So if I set up a challenge for you and the party based on the physics. Then I run the numbers and realize I've given you DCs (or CRs or whatever) that are way out of your league. So I adjust the "physics" to the point where the challenges feel better for your PC levels. That's okay?

    But if I look at your levels and figure out what appropriate DCs/CRs are, then set up the physics (fiction) based on that, that's somehow railroading or wrong-minded or something?

  10. - Top - End - #100
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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, yeah? I wouldn't have asked for help, or used those words, if I thought everyone had identical blind spots.

    I believe in owning up to my faults and biases, and genuinely value growth.
    I was mostly pointing out the dramatics of "I cannot FATHOM why anyone would think this way". Furthermore, you don't find it the least bit strange that you are incapable of putting yourself in another's shoes and viewing an approach from their perspective? The difference between the two of us here is that I get where you are coming from, I understand the mentality you have of debate being a form of interaction at the table. The difference is however, I do not view such activities as conductive towards furthering the plot and adventure and therefore do not have my player's fight me tooth and nail on every minute subject as you are so keen on having for some reason.

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    Player: what's…
    Me: it's X.
    Player who knows the rules: shouldn't it be…
    Player who knows the rules & me, simultaneously: Y
    Me: usually, yes. But not this time.
    Quote Originally Posted by Zarrgon View Post
    Player: What's the DC to X?
    Player who looked something up something vague and generic in one book: It's Y
    DM: On it's Z, there are things that you don't know about effecting the DC
    Players: But it must always be Y, the rules say so!
    DM: Look here there are a list of modifyers and rules about how a DM sets the DC..
    Players: But it must always be Y, the rules say so!
    [insert game disruption here]
    You claim to hold your own unique position, but in actuality you agree that Zarrgon's scenario is somehow the ideal state. I reject this idea from the root upward. It is a toxic mentality, and a toxic approach to gameplay for no greater reason than that a disagreement over the rules of the game in such a trivial scenario is far more disruptive to the game than a party getting TPK'd at worst, or inconvenienced at best.

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    Less "assumption" and more… "here's what I just heard" (because of my biases and blind spots, but also because that's what I've seen at my tables). Subtle difference. And I'm in the camp that these subtle differences can matter.
    Oh boy, I am so glad to hear you say that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    you don't see any incoherence between "people make mistakes" and "trust me, I know what I'm doing"? Let alone those two, coupled with the players clearly seeing that this is one of those mistakes?
    No, I don't. Those are two mutually acceptable statements to make because for some reason you've elected to butcher the idea behind it to suit your argument, which is dishonest to say the least. However, I believe my statement is more along the lines of "People make mistakes, but trust me/them to try and fix those mistakes as they arrive." As a GM or storyteller, you will be wrong, you will make mistakes, and you will need to correct those mistakes. For me, they are not often, but they do happen.

    I find this risk much more agreeable than the game being tied up in an endless stream of debate on how the game is supposed to actually work.

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    One, with a ”fix it forward" mentality, you've still got the story incoherence of "you had the guy who was immune to fire *burn to death*" (or whatever mistake you made). Why is it not better for the player to ask, "are you sure?" in the moment than you killing them unrealistically and then saying, "oops, my bad, let's say you get resurrected"?

    [...]

    I see it as much easier (and much better for story cohesion) to just listen when the player asks, "are you sure", than to try to correct mistakes & ripple effect mistakes after the fact. What I'm asking is, what benefit does your game get by you not fixing mistakes as they happen, and waiting until later to resurrect the dead PC, rather than simply not having them die in the first place?


    When there is something anonymously in one of my games, either I made a mistake, or that is a call to action for the PCs / players to investigate (if they enjoy that minigame).

    What I'm asking is, why would you want to train players to exhibit the behaviors y'all described, and I paraphrased above? (And, if you find my paraphrasing to be substantially different from your intent, can you explain that difference?)
    I think you are oversimplifying things to an absurd level and even worse, I can tell you are obviously an intelligent individual, so I suspect that you might be well aware that this argument is faulty for a number of reasons. Namely, for one, it is the duty of the player to actually KNOW what is on their sheet. In your scenario, it would pretty much go like this:

    Me: Everyone roll a saving throw against the spellcaster's Y spell and roll a Z save for half damage or immunity
    Tim: I'm immune to Y because of X
    Me: Everyone except for Tim, roll a saving throw against the spellcaster's Y spell.
    Everyone else: *checking their sheets if they have immunity to Y or resistance and then rolling*
    Me: Okay everyone takes Q points of fire damage, except for Ted who rolled their Z save and is only taking half of that. Okay, Tim's turn.

    The simply act of the player's actually being mindfully aware of their own character sheet has rendered your example moot. And, to your credit, I do not view it as my responsibility to hold my player's hand and read their sheet when we are at the table. However, let's presume for a moment that I might be misremembering a rule, or or we've forgotten some modifier in place about a player's sheet, or we might be having a light disagreement on the state of the game. Again, as I've stated, I'm not asking for blind faith, I'm asking for the understanding that I am indeed fallible as a person. My player's have asked me before "are you sure?" and it has resulted in disagreements, they have questioned me before, however the key difference is that it does not in anyway result in a multi hour discussion on HOW the game is supposed to be played. We're playing Dungeons and Dragons, not Debates and Disagreements.

    All of this however is moot, I (other's should as well, paperwork is the GM's job after all) keep a notecard and a spreadsheet of whatever modifiers the player's might have. I, unlike most, am quite fanatic about my note taking. To each their own, maybe you enjoy being a helicopter GM or perhaps enjoy having one, but not I.

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    Two, you've got the subtle ripple effects of your change. What if one of your *other* players realizes that, if the you had run the game right, and hadn't let the dead PC catch fire, they'd still have the blanket and healing potion that they used to try to save him? And a 3rd player realizes that, the way that the board was set up, the fire immune guy would have caught the warp mummy's curse / been closest to the fleeing pixie princess, so *he's* the one who would have rolled a new mutation / now have a pixie hiding in his pocket?
    I have elected to take this particular quote and examine it more closely as it is hands down, bar none, one of the more questionable statements I might have ever actually read. Ignoring the fact that the player's could just find another blanket or healing potion to make up for their perceived loss. As the GM, I essentially control the flow of loot so if I find that the player's are missing a few resources off the top, I can always just generate more than the adventure would normally allow... So there is that.

    And furthermore, your example of poor positioning is rather lame, if only because that is just blind GM'ing to not notice that someone is closer to some effect, than someone else. I could not imagine this actually occurring in actual play, with an actual map, with actual people. However, in this scenario, I'd just retcon it. Tear off the bandage, admit the mistake, and move on with your pixie in your now three-armed fighter's rogue's pocket. I believe you might need to build stronger examples that aren't just "bad spacing" and "player's not reading their sheets."


    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    This is just concentrated failure to communicate.
    Yes, and you admit that this is bad, no?

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    Chess is not a scenario of constant debate [...]
    I'm going to stop you right there before you continue to make the absolute worst comparison you could possible ever make between a game of Dungeons and Dragons and Chess. You see, the key difference between Dungeons and Dragons, or really any table top roleplaying game, and Chess is that with Chess, the rules are extremely black and white much like the board you are playing on. Whereas most table top roleplaying games require a Judge, a GM, or other referee type figure to determine the outcome of a game or encounter, Chess does not, and moreover by the etched in stone rules of the game, cannot be a scenario of constant debate.

    If you wanted a better example of a game where people question the rules constantly, you would have been better off with Monopoly or Uno for example.

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    And the logic is simply what you already stated and confessed to: that you are not perfect, no GM is. People make mistakes. Why isn't it better to nip those mistakes in the bud?

    Also… thinking. If you introduce a monster that can burn the fire-immune guy, I'm likely to try to take it alive, train it, clone it, breed it, you name it, I'm on it.
    I'm going to ignore this statement if only because I've already addressed it. I just find it a sense interesting that this is the most player response to something I've ever seen. I've once introduced dangerously poorly thought out creature's such as the one you're mentioning in the form of a Black Pudding with fast healing 10. The idea being that the Black Pudding would always be able to split indefinitely and flood the room, and possible kill them or something. Well, the player's saw this after escaping the trap, pocketed one, and thought it would be hilarious to keep it as a pet. Their pet, started to cut itself while the player's weren't looking, duplicated itself a few times, and the player's thought it would be nice to sell it as a pet. One brief Ooze ridden Armageddon and a Wish spell, and the player's and myself learned that this was a horrible, terrible idea... But? It was fun.

    So, in essence? Yes. I would 100% encourage you to not only take it alive, train it, clone it, breed it, what have you. By all means. I've used components of a dungeon as a reward for completing the dungeon because sometimes people see a triggered spear trap, and pick up the spear to use as a weapon.

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    People make mistakes. Especially me. I want my players to be able to know whether something is worth their mental effort to investigate, by asking, "did you mean for this to sound anonymous" before putting time and effort into it.

    Do your players capitalize on your mistakes, coming up with cool uses for your DC 25 trees, your "burns even immune beings" monsters, your egg-on-face mistakes, that your game is more fun when you don't take that away from them? Is that the benefit you get from waiting until later to fix your mistakes?
    For one, I don't make DC 25 trees, that seems like a pointlessly excessive requirement unless it's like a massive sequoia tree. However, that is mostly just GM prerogative. Generally speaking, at least in 3.5, if I am not threatened, not doing anything time sensitive and my character just wants to climb trees, but isn't exactly kitted to climb trees? I'd just take 10 or 20. It's such an irrelevant action that I don't even think I would make a player roll for it unless it was for dramatic purposes or to advance the plot

    But generally speaking?

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    If that's the case, if "rule of cool trumps rules", and your players make cool things out of your mistakes, by breeding and mating with your "burns with fire things that are immune to fire" monsters, if they actively turn bugs into features, and that's fun for your group, then… OK. I can understand that answer. Is that why you do it?
    Pretty much? If I can turn a bug into a feature that enhances the enjoyment of my player's, by all means. In your example, it might go something like:

    Me: The creature attacks through your fire immunity!
    Player: This creature can do that? Can I capture it? I roll for non-lethal damage.
    Me: Nice.

    And I just marvel at myself for having made something my player likes. Maybe I am just looking to maximize enjoyment of the game overall, maybe I'm just having the wrong kind of fun, regardless, player's keep coming back so clearly I've been doing something right

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    My brother and I once spent 3 hours in the middle of a session debating the rules. We walked away having learned something, our game was better because of it. We declared it the best session ever - or would have, if the other players had enjoyed it as much as we did.

    We - or, at least, I - don't value debate, so much as the growth that come from a productive discussion.

    That said, "are you sure?" results in much less game time lost (and other bonuses, like letting players know when "the game is afoot", and the investigation minigame will pay off) than fixing it after the fact, so perhaps you should turn that question back around at yourself. What benefit does your game see by spending more time fixing things after the fact, by spending 9 stitches later when one now would do?
    So you prioritize personal enjoyment over group enjoyment. I believe this is starting to make sense.

    But I digress, if this is how you and your group "game", then by all means. Discuss the rules and debate the nature of the game until the session expires. If this is how you want to play, far be it from me to tell you that you are doing it wrong. There is no catch all, one size fits all means of playing cops and robbers. If you believe that it should be about cops catching and arresting robbers or a debate on the nature of the criminal investigation and a scathing criticism of the criminal justice system? By all means, make that your game of Cops and Robbers.

    I believe you are mischaracterization my position, using however much straw you believe you need to stuff into it to make it believe that you are attacking my genuine position. In reality, I do not death stare my player's for saying "actually GM, this is how it is supposed to work." I do not aggressively and violently stitch and scratch away issues as you might believe. Indeed, the examples you provide are things that would result in a player death more often then not, which for me? Is fairly rare. If I am trying to kill my player's, they absolutely know it. There is in fact such a degree of transparency, that they matter as well as be right behind the screen with me while I am killing them. Mistakes like miscalculations on DCs for save-or-dies are rare, attacks that ignore immunities are rare, trap DCs are double calculated to ensure accuracy, etc. If nothing else, this method has made me hyper focused on finding my own flaws, and made the player's more focused on ensuring that their t's are crossed, i's are doted, and immunities are accounted for.

    No, my goal is to challenge, maim, and slow my player's progression through whatever dungeon I've elected to design. In my setting, most dungeon designers (i.e. Me), follow a rather standard philosophy of "Past this point, death awaits." If this is the Tomb of Horror? That point starts on page 4, key 6, which would be a "**** just got real" moment.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by EggKookoo View Post
    More extremely, the criticism is "that other game I played with a different DM entirely in a completely different campaign with a different PC let me climb walls at DC 12. Why can't I climb walls in your campaign in this separate fictional world with a different PC with the same DC?" To me that's kind of ridiculous. It's akin to telling a DM that they have to let you play a certain race because this time in another game the DM let you play that race. Or telling the DM they must use Optional Rule X because that other game you played used Optional Rule X.
    ITT one player complained that climbing trees without proficiency but without pressure has gone from "no roll required" to "only natural 20". I do not think it is reasonable to believe that trees varied so much in those two different worlds that both rulings were faithful simulations.

    Same goes for lesser differences. And there is enough repeated standardized adventuring tasks (e.g. climbing the standard rope you brought with you) that it should be possible to gauge your ability even in different worlds.

    Even if I agree with you that it is not possible to say whether 12 or 13 is truer DC for that wall I do believe that walls with reasonably similar descriptions should have reasonably similar DCs even in different worlds.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Saint-Just View Post
    ITT one player complained that climbing trees without proficiency but without pressure has gone from "no roll required" to "only natural 20". I do not think it is reasonable to believe that trees varied so much in those two different worlds that both rulings were faithful simulations.
    There's a related issue about climbing, and whether or not climbing a tree even calls for a check by default. That's similar but different from varying DCs across different tables.

    Quote Originally Posted by Saint-Just View Post
    Even if I agree with you that it is not possible to say whether 12 or 13 is truer DC for that wall I do believe that walls with reasonably similar descriptions should have reasonably similar DCs even in different worlds.
    Unfortunately, you can't guarantee that. Even if you had a list of DCs for various tasks. You'll still find variance. The counter-argument is that at least there would be some standard to deviate from. To which I say, "meh." I mean, just make up your own list. It has as much legitimacy as a WotC-published list, when you get down to it. I mean, I see the value in having a reference. I like that Xanathar's has one for tools. But if it didn't and it really mattered I'd just work up my own list. Just as I work out what CR encounters in general I should be hitting my 5-person 2nd-level party with.

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    Quote Originally Posted by EggKookoo View Post
    The rules also don't tell you what CR to make encounters. Sure, it tells you that roughly CR = average party level is a moderate-difficulty encounter (and Xanathar's refines this formula a bit to handle increasing PC power at higher levels), but it doesn't tell you how often the DM should be hitting the party with moderate encounters. Or if they should always be moderate encounters. DMs are left to build their own encounter patterns.

    So you come to my table and I like to hit the party with harder encounters. APL + a little bit. I'm not a killer DM. I just think it's more fun if you have to work harder. I give you good rewards. Is this a sign that the game is broken? Or am I just tailoring my game? Is it MMI because on average the monsters you fight have 1 more AC than the ones you fought in someone else's campaign? Not because I'm tweaking the monsters, but because I'm hitting you with higher CR encounters a bit more often.
    That switches the problem from the game to the DM. If you constantly set the party up against encounters too hard for them I may very well call you a Killer DM even if you think you're not. If I don't like your game I'd leave, but I know the issue is me not preferring your taste, not the game's rules.
    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."

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Pex View Post
    That switches the problem from the game to the DM. If you constantly set the party up against encounters too hard for them I may very well call you a Killer DM even if you think you're not. If I don't like your game I'd leave, but I know the issue is me not preferring your taste, not the game's rules.
    5Es rules (and certainly the whole rulebook) and the most prominent marketing for the game all discourage the "killer DM" style, hence the purpose of this thread. The discussions regarding DM power or DM fiat stem from, i think, encounters with a mismatch of expanded DM power compared to previous editions without a matching change in playstyle. If you play 5Es DM trusting rules in the "Killer DM" style, it probably won't be very fun, or at least won't be as fun as a set of rules more suited to the "killer DM" style would be.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by EggKookoo View Post
    There's a related issue about climbing, and whether or not climbing a tree even calls for a check by default. That's similar but different from varying DCs across different tables.



    Unfortunately, you can't guarantee that. Even if you had a list of DCs for various tasks. You'll still find variance. The counter-argument is that at least there would be some standard to deviate from. To which I say, "meh." I mean, just make up your own list. It has as much legitimacy as a WotC-published list, when you get down to it. I mean, I see the value in having a reference. I like that Xanathar's has one for tools. But if it didn't and it really mattered I'd just work up my own list. Just as I work out what CR encounters in general I should be hitting my 5-person 2nd-level party with.
    Bingo! That's all I want. A reference. Benchmarks. Example DCs. Give something to reflect the difficulty of basic tasks. All trees don't have to be DC 15 to climb. In giving example Climb DCs you can have oak tree among the list of DC 10, pine tree among the list of DC 15, palm tree among the list of DC 20. There's a footnote to say if slippery Disadvantage. If there are grips on a wall or rockface Advantage on climbing it. In 5E terms. 3E already has such distinguishing by either giving it its own DC or applying a modifier to the DC or roll depending on the distinguishing thing. Now the DM doesn't have to think up everything on the fly. It's just a tree. The DM knows the DC. The player knows the DC. A different DM knows the DC. When it's not that DC, something's up. It's slippery? Table says roll Disadvantage. You're being attacked but you're actively defending yourself? Table might say increase DC by 5.

    The game writers supply the more common modifiers and situations that could happen to change the DC or how to resolve it. For climbing that could mean being slippery, the type of tree if it's supposed to matter for the game in general, wall material, condition of the wall etc. That's their job. They can't think of everything and aren't supposed to. When that situation comes up that's where the DM makes his ruling, but he still has a reference table to work with. Most of the time the table will cover it, and I can build my character to do that skill if it matters for me. For those situations where no roll should be done specifically define how that works and not DM fiat. 3E's solution was Take 10/Take 20 which defined when they could be applied and when they could not. 5E has something similar, but it's still beholden to DM fiat to apply. As soon as one DM disagrees a situation calls for it it breaks apart the point of having it. The game needs to define when it applies.
    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."

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Pex View Post
    Bingo! That's all I want. A reference.
    But what you really want is an objective, official reference that you can insist on from table to table. Otherwise you'd make your own or find one online and offer it to the DM (with the understanding that it might not be accepted). Or perhaps ask the DM to provide one ahead of you creating your character so you know what's what in that campaign.

    I was reading through my 3e DMG. It does have a list of sample DCs, but it also makes a point of saying these are suggestions only. There are only three standard rules for determining DCs in 3e. Spells are 10 + Spell Level + Caster Ability Mod. Monster Abilities are 10 + 1/2 monster hd + Ability mod. And a "misc" rule that is (get this) "10 to 20, use 15 when in doubt." I love that last one, it's so 5e.

    Also, you get stuff like "Assigning DCs is your (DM's) job," which I suppose just means it's up to the DM to determine it. But then there's the section called DM's Best Friend. This section goes into how the DM can arbitrarily increase or decrease DCs by any amount for any reason just because he feels like it. It initially says +-2 but then later it says really, just do whatever the frack you want. You're the DM.

    As near as I can tell, the main difference here is that 3e says to make a task impossible by assigning a DC the PC can't possibly hit, while 5e cuts the bs and says "just say it's impossible." That's probably an artifact of how 3e seems to present "making a roll" and "attempting an action" as the same thing, where 5e keeps them separate.

    I do see the value in a reference, for me. I'm not interested in your reference, unless it's so similar to the numbers I'd come up with I might as well crib off it. Since we're probably aiming for similar results (tasks that PCs can actually do), we'd end up with similar DCs in most cases.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    Well, this looks like a can of worms and a half.

    EDIT: pretend "IMO" or "IME" precedes everything here. Because it's not all objective truth, and I'd actually enjoy reading different a PoV.

    I come from a wargaming background. Where the rules *are* the physics. Same for MtG. And board games. And most everything else.
    yes, i can see this approach in your post.
    most people do not subscribe to that mindset, though. to me, board games or war games or stuff is a completely different things from D&D.
    I don't sit down to play a chess game expecting to have a plot. or to roleplay a piece on the board. I have a clear objective/win condition, and rules to reach it.
    while in d&d, i don't have a win condition. i don't have an opponent (defined as someone equal and opposite to me, doing his best to reach the win condition and stop me from doing it). I play to have fun in this fantasy world that has magic, has some radically different physics on what a human body can do, but ultimately, it still has some root in realism.
    So, it is fully natural to me that if the rules say something to which i disagree, i would change the rules. if a class does something that should not be done in the campaign world, i'd ban the class (or at least nerf the incriminated ability).

    and your example of average joe juggling elephants doesn't really describe it. from my point of view, the ones who play in the strict RAW are the ones with joe juggling elephants. because by a certain interpretation of those rules, average joe can indeed juggle elephants, and since it's on the rules it trumps my instinct telling me that he cannot.

    and since you specifically mentioned MtG and fiction, that sums up pretty well my point of contention with the RAW. MtG is full of broken combos, the point of the game is to get one. So, why - in all of the lore and fiction surrounding that game, you never see anyone doing it? why you don't see a planeswalker playing that combo for infinite turns, or infinite mana, infinite draws, whatever?
    because, while the game and the fiction are inspired by each other, they clearly are not the same thing, and you can't expect them to have the same rules. If you were playing a MtG-inspired roleplaying game, you would not expect to solve the plot by exhiling nicol bolas with teferi's emblem.

    To me, in general, most anyone who thinks that their misunderstanding of the world is better than that of the game designers, and so much better than that of the game designers as to be worthy of an explicit rules change, is guilty of hubris.
    Yep, that's me! guilty as charged

    but i have several good reasons for it.
    1) the game designers released the game without having all the experience of the people playing it. by reading this forum, i can tap into the experience of millions of gamers before me, and therefore I can safely say that I know the game better than the developers did when they released the phb.
    2) the developers are doing it for money. this means 2a) the developers are encouraged by the executives to churn out more content, rather than fixing the old one, as you can't sell the second option, and 2b) the developers can't make massive changes and errata that would invalidate large parts of the manuals, otherwise the people who bought the original books would be cheated. I, instead, can do it
    3) the developers had to make a product for a vast audience. a product that has to appease a variety of tastes, and that should adapt to a variety of settings. and then they crammed into it as much extra content as they could sell (see also 2). I don't. I have to make a product for my table, and my table alone.
    4) if i make a mistake, i can fix it or retcon it out. if the developers make a mistake, it stays printed. there are over 50 splatbooks, each one containing mistakes that cannot be banned because they already sold the book. all together, they amount to a lot of mistakes.

    Especially 3. I'd turn the question like this: do you think a mass produced good for the average customer could be better for your needs than something you manufactured yourself?
    and the answer is always no.
    if you are even a passable cook, the food you cook for yourself tastes better than the food you buy in a supermarket.
    if you are a passable pc expert, you can build a pc for yourself from spare parts that is better than what you can find in the store.
    if you know about car modifications, you can improve your car performances.
    if you know d&d, you can improve the mess of a fantasy kitchen sink they left behind.
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    Default Re: Killer obstructive DM, nintendo hard games, and shift in gamer culture

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay R View Post
    I did, however, meet several DMs who might have been accused of being horror DMs. For instance, I met DMs who put you in positions in which just fighting, or just using the abilities on your character sheet, would often not be enough. You wouldnÂ’t survive unless you came up with a smart solution. I didnÂ’t consider them killer DMs. But another player might.
    This right here. It's safe to say the rules before 3E were hard and unforgiving. For example, fail a save and your character dies. And a lot of DMs were hard and unforgiving, just like some are today. Starting with 3E the rules go very, very, very safe, soft and forgiving. And in turn, many DMs got soft and forgiving, though some were from day one.

    The real change has been player acceptance. Some players, and this would be the bulk of the older players, would accept character death as part of the game: "I'm just playing a game, and my character died, I'm sad, but will just move on." And note this has nothing to do with if the players has written a whole role playing novel about their character. The point is they just accept what happens.

    Other players, some were around from day one, but the bulk are the newer players, will never accept their character death or anything else heaping to the character they don't like. They want their special character to be untouchable. They say more "I'm playing this game to tell my personal character story and nothing can change that unless I want it too." And again, this has nothing to do with role playing, as players ''fighter character Bob" will still whine and cry if their character dies.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay R View Post
    The curses I saw were usually cursed magic items. You could get rid of them with the right quest, which means that you had to play with that handicap/challenge for a while, until you found a way out of it. Again, players who werenÂ’t clever might see this as something they will never get rid of, because they didnÂ’t think to go find that magic to heal it.
    This was a big one. Not just curses, but lots of magic effects too. This also covers the player that gets all mad as their character got hit with a sleep spell and missed the whole fight.

    Again, this is acceptance: One type of player will just accept the curse and keep playing the game. The other player whines and cries and might even refuse to play their ''ruined" character.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay R View Post
    I wonder how many stories of horror DMs were similar situations. More importantly, there is a long continuum of situations from this one, to DMs who took actions because a character was too powerful, to DMs who were actually a little unfair, to the clichéd "killer DM". And they might all be accused of being a killer DM.
    Very common, just as common as it is today.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Saint-Just View Post
    Even if I agree with you that it is not possible to say whether 12 or 13 is truer DC for that wall I do believe that walls with reasonably similar descriptions should have reasonably similar DCs even in different worlds.
    Yes. It's true that there's some value in being able to tune things precisely. Maybe this wall has slightly better handholds, so the DC is lower. Maybe that wall is slick from rain, so the DC is higher. But there's also value in external expectations. In being able to say "I have +10 Climb, the base DC for climbing a stone wall is 15, I can probably make it up that wall to get to the room with the map we're trying to steal in it". And more specifically, in being able to say that without needing your DM to think about how tough it should be to climb a stone wall. Because most DMs don't actually care about putting their personal touch on wall-climbing. I certainly don't.

    Quote Originally Posted by EggKookoo View Post
    But if it didn't and it really mattered I'd just work up my own list. Just as I work out what CR encounters in general I should be hitting my 5-person 2nd-level party with.
    You could. I imagine many, even most, of the people in this thread could. But that's not a representative sample of DMs. The rules don't exist solely for people who spend a significant fraction of their free time arguing about D&D on the internet. They also exist for the guy who picked up D&D because he thought Stranger Things was cool. And that guy does not have the knowledge or the skill to be able to effectively work up a list of DCs, or a set of encounter guidelines. So we rely on professional game designers to do that for us, because we expect that a team of experts who have several years to work on a production will produce better outcomes than one guy who's trying to make up an answer fast enough that the game keeps moving.

    Quote Originally Posted by EggKookoo View Post
    But what you really want is an objective, official reference that you can insist on from table to table.
    What I want is a list that is robust, and based on reasoned analysis of how difficult things should be. And I want to not have to write it up myself, because "how does the rules engine work" should not be the DM's job. I don't want to figure out how hard it is to climb a pine tree, I want to create a compelling world where I and the rest of my group can create engaging stories. And having an objective list helps with that because it gives people a framework to understand that world and take actions in it.

    Also, you get stuff like "Assigning DCs is your (DM's) job," which I suppose just means it's up to the DM to determine it. But then there's the section called DM's Best Friend. This section goes into how the DM can arbitrarily increase or decrease DCs by any amount for any reason just because he feels like it. It initially says +-2 but then later it says really, just do whatever the frack you want. You're the DM.
    Yes, you can. That doesn't make it a good idea. You can have your 1st level party get slapped around by a Great Wyrm Red Dragon. But that doesn't make doing that good DMing. The reasons the guidelines exist is to try to push DMs -- most of whom are actually not very good at on-the-spot improvisation -- towards good outcomes. Providing guidelines for difficulty makes it more like that, when you hit something the guidelines don't cover, you get a good result.

    As near as I can tell, the main difference here is that 3e says to make a task impossible by assigning a DC the PC can't possibly hit, while 5e cuts the bs and says "just say it's impossible."
    That's backwards. Saying "it's impossible" is what's creating BS. If the check to climb a flat wall in a hurricane is DC 50, and I only have +20, it's impossible. But I know how much better I need to get to make it possible. I can understand what I need to do to solve the problem, and build solutions around that. Whereas if the DC is "the DM says it's impossible", I don't have anything to work with. Maybe I can ask him why it's impossible, but at that point why not just give a DC?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zarrgon View Post
    Other players, some were around from day one, but the bulk are the newer players, will never accept their character death or anything else heaping to the character they don't like.
    I have never met a player like that. I have met people who object to the various Gygaxian hosebeasts that have been grandfathered into the game, but those things actually are dumb and bad.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NigelWalmsley View Post
    I have never met a player like that. I have met people who object to the various Gygaxian hosebeasts that have been grandfathered into the game, but those things actually are dumb and bad.
    I've met people like that. I've also met people who hit both ends of the spectrum depending mainly on how much time and effort it takes to make a character.

    It took maybe than 10 minutes to roll up a Paranoia character on the first try. The edition I run that's about fifteen d20 rolls and table look-ups, ten choices of good/bad sub-skills, and a funny name. It took the same people over an hour to make their first 5e characters. Thats reading at least the first couple entries in all the lists of races, classes, powers, backgrounds, etc., then equipment lists and selection, names, etc.

    They aren't new players though. Lots of 3.p, 4e, and runs through Traveller, Champions, ShadowRun, a couple other games. If char gen takes ten minutes they accept getting a leg chopped off, turned to stone, or blown up when someone shoots their belt of grenades. If char gen takes an hour they complain about the same things.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jay R View Post
    But the truth was that the ex-paladin PC had fallen recently, and had a magic bag that would make a useless copy of any item placed in it. He had stolen all their magic and left useless copies.

    But since they never found that out, they always thought the DM had been unfair to them.

    I wonder how many stories of horror DMs were similar situations. More importantly, there is a long continuum of situations from this one, to DMs who took actions because a character was too powerful, to DMs who were actually a little unfair, to the clichéd "killer DM". And they might all be accused of being a killer DM.
    There is a lot of context missing in this story. Are custom magic items like that bag common in this DM's world? If so, would the party have reason to know that such items exist? Had the players ever encountered that type of item OOC before? Were the players given a chance to roll to see if the PCs to know that the items exist, even if the players didn't know?

    If the answer to all of those is yes, then that is on the players (and apparently a bad roll) and the DM didn't set out to screw them over. If the answer to any is no, then that is all on the DM. It is the DM's responsibility to explain the world to their players, give their players a chance to understand the world when new things are encountered, and understand that the PCs actually live in the world and have more knowledge than the players.

    Quote Originally Posted by Afghanistan View Post
    And furthermore, your example of poor positioning is rather lame, if only because that is just blind GM'ing to not notice that someone is closer to some effect, than someone else. I could not imagine this actually occurring in actual play, with an actual map, with actual people. However, in this scenario, I'd just retcon it. Tear off the bandage, admit the mistake, and move on with your pixie in your now three-armed fighter's rogue's pocket. I believe you might need to build stronger examples that aren't just "bad spacing" and "player's not reading their sheets."
    I have seen this kind of scenario; the DM screwed up the map and, when I realized it, refused to let me correct my PCs actions because he doesn't allow retcons. The DM was using the wrong sized base for two monsters and placed one of them in the wrong place. Because of that, I thought I had both of them locked down and did not move on my turn. When the monster's turn came up (same round), one walked away from me. I stopped the DM and tried to use my interrupt to keep the monster where it was. That is when the DM said the positioning was wrong and the monster was just out of my reach. Had I have known that, I would have been able to take a 5-foot step on my turn to correctly position myself. Because I was trusting the map, I didn't take that step. The monster just walked away and there was nothing I could do about it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by NigelWalmsley View Post
    You could. I imagine many, even most, of the people in this thread could. But that's not a representative sample of DMs. The rules don't exist solely for people who spend a significant fraction of their free time arguing about D&D on the internet. They also exist for the guy who picked up D&D because he thought Stranger Things was cool. And that guy does not have the knowledge or the skill to be able to effectively work up a list of DCs, or a set of encounter guidelines. So we rely on professional game designers to do that for us, because we expect that a team of experts who have several years to work on a production will produce better outcomes than one guy who's trying to make up an answer fast enough that the game keeps moving.
    That guy is almost certainly not creating his own content. He's putting his players through Phandelver or Yawning Portal or something, and published content provides DCs for any task put in front of the PCs. Sure, the PCs could go off the rails and now he's finding himself having to come up with DCs on the fly, but in my experience newbie players don't really do that. Most new players that I've played with have no real internalized clue that they're free to do whatever they want. They often look to the DM for a kind of "what do I do next?" guidance. So sure, in some cases you can have new players running around in a sandbox and making ad hoc rulings on day 1, but it's not likely.

    And I know it's not always possible, but a player completely new to D&D should spend time playing before becoming a DM. Find a local gaming group. Or maybe try some online games. At the very least, watch some streaming games on YT to get a sense of how it works. There are so many resources nowadays.

    Quote Originally Posted by NigelWalmsley View Post
    What I want is a list that is robust, and based on reasoned analysis of how difficult things should be. And I want to not have to write it up myself, because "how does the rules engine work" should not be the DM's job. I don't want to figure out how hard it is to climb a pine tree, I want to create a compelling world where I and the rest of my group can create engaging stories. And having an objective list helps with that because it gives people a framework to understand that world and take actions in it.
    Sorry, vast difference in worldview here. "How does the rules engine work" is an absolutely essential component of a DM's job. The DMG (in pretty much all editions) has whole sections on explaining how the rules work and how to expand on them. I don't think you're DMing D&D fully if you're ignoring that. It's baked into the game that you will be taking part in the rules-management for your table. This has never been more true than now, with this edition.

    This is doubly true if you're creating your own adventuring content. You could maybe get away from rules theory if you stuck purely to published content. But as soon as you start building out your own custom setting, you're going to have to deal with it. That means deciding DCs for things. If you don't like that, there are ways you can offload it, like find someone else's DC list. Or adapt the 3e ones. Or just replicate what you've seen in official published content. But it's gotta get done.

    I agree, btw, that the 5e DMG is a mess of presentation, and that goes for the section on determining DCs. I think they could clean that up and explain the process better.

    Quote Originally Posted by NigelWalmsley View Post
    Yes, you can. That doesn't make it a good idea. You can have your 1st level party get slapped around by a Great Wyrm Red Dragon. But that doesn't make doing that good DMing. The reasons the guidelines exist is to try to push DMs -- most of whom are actually not very good at on-the-spot improvisation -- towards good outcomes. Providing guidelines for difficulty makes it more like that, when you hit something the guidelines don't cover, you get a good result.
    My point is that after providing pages of DC guidelines, the 3e DMG outright tells the DM that they're not bound to those DCs and can set them to anything. Yet players are going to see those DCs and insist the DM stick to them. It's almost like it was set up to provoke conflict at the table.

    Quote Originally Posted by NigelWalmsley View Post
    That's backwards. Saying "it's impossible" is what's creating BS. If the check to climb a flat wall in a hurricane is DC 50, and I only have +20, it's impossible. But I know how much better I need to get to make it possible. I can understand what I need to do to solve the problem, and build solutions around that. Whereas if the DC is "the DM says it's impossible", I don't have anything to work with. Maybe I can ask him why it's impossible, but at that point why not just give a DC?
    I think because in most cases, you're not going to do that thing again. My impression is that the 3e DMG is saying to add 20 or so to the DC as a circumstantial penalty. You normally can do Task X at DC 15. But because of Y, it's now DC 35, which, looking at your stats, we can see isn't possible for you to reach. You're probably not going to come back to this place in 10 or whatever levels and try again. There's nothing really to work up toward.

    So why am I giving you a DC? What are you going to do with that information? That DC is the BS.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kesnit View Post
    I have seen this kind of scenario; the DM screwed up the map and, when I realized it, refused to let me correct my PCs actions because he doesn't allow retcons. The DM was using the wrong sized base for two monsters and placed one of them in the wrong place. Because of that, I thought I had both of them locked down and did not move on my turn. When the monster's turn came up (same round), one walked away from me. I stopped the DM and tried to use my interrupt to keep the monster where it was. That is when the DM said the positioning was wrong and the monster was just out of my reach. Had I have known that, I would have been able to take a 5-foot step on my turn to correctly position myself. Because I was trusting the map, I didn't take that step. The monster just walked away and there was nothing I could do about it.
    this seems very convenient. his monster was moved away from you because it was misplaced, but you were not allowed to be repositioned accordingly.

    I made plenty of mistakes at my table (as everyone else, i'm sure), including a pc dead from a spell because we miscalculated the saving throw modifier and another pc not dead from a spell because we wrongly assumed that implosion would be stopped by death ward, but the retcon has never been done out of convenience.
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    DC guidelines are fine and even useful to have in isolation, but there's a reason they didn't put them in the book, and that's because these things don't realistically exist in isolation. No matter how much you repeat that the DC guidelines with trees, walls and locks and whatever else are guidelines and suggestions, the table culture of the prior editions made people take those suggestions as an ultimate simulationist stone commandment, and feel the need to challenge the DM on his numbers vs the books "suggestion" whenever he wants to deviate even slightly. To push and create a change in the table culture for the new edition, the "guideline" "suggestions" had to be absent entirely.
    Last edited by NorthernPhoenix; 2020-05-03 at 07:52 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by EggKookoo View Post
    That guy is almost certainly not creating his own content.
    At some point he will. There's a spectrum, and plenty of people are going to start writing their own adventures before they're comfortable writing their own rules. We gain nothing by making things harder for them.

    This has never been more true than now, with this edition.
    Yes, that is a flaw of the current edition. Requiring people to rely on ad hoc improvisation adds an additional burden to DMs, and is a generally poor fit for the type of game D&D is. We don't expect that we'll improvise the monsters, or the spells, or the classes, or the feats by the seat of our pants.

    This is doubly true if you're creating your own adventuring content. You could maybe get away from rules theory if you stuck purely to published content. But as soon as you start building out your own custom setting, you're going to have to deal with it.
    No you don't. You can create custom content by combining published content in new ways. Just as creating your own combat encounters doesn't require you to create your own monsters, creating custom adventures doesn't require you to make up a bunch of DCs. If you put a wall in your adventure, it is entirely acceptable for that wall to simply use the default DCs for climbing walls. And even when you do, having existing examples helps ensure that the DCs you create are consistent. It is much, much easier to decide how difficult something should be if you have examples to base your decision on.

    My point is that after providing pages of DC guidelines, the 3e DMG outright tells the DM that they're not bound to those DCs and can set them to anything. Yet players are going to see those DCs and insist the DM stick to them. It's almost like it was set up to provoke conflict at the table.
    Yes, and players are going to see the CR guidelines and insist that DMs stick to them. The guidelines don't create conflict. Arbitrary DM decisions create conflict. What the guidelines do is create an expectation of how the game should work so that the players have a way to push back. It's true that the DM can add 20 to a DC if he wants too. But he should exercise that power very, very carefully, because overusing it can cause serious problems for the game.

    You're probably not going to come back to this place in 10 or whatever levels and try again. There's nothing really to work up toward.
    I could come back with circumstantial bonuses worth +20. But why wouldn't I come back in 10 levels? You just told me that whatever it is I'm trying to do is appropriate for someone 10 levels higher than me. If that's something I want to do -- and seeing as I'm trying to do it, one would think it is -- why wouldn't I come back and do it when I can? What giving me a DC does is tell me how to accomplish what I want. It lets me make an informed decision about how to achieve my goal. Just saying "you can do that" only shuts me down.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NigelWalmsley View Post
    At some point he will. There's a spectrum, and plenty of people are going to start writing their own adventures before they're comfortable writing their own rules. We gain nothing by making things harder for them.
    Of course he will, and at that point he's no longer that "guy who saw Stranger Things." He's evolved into an adept DM who is beginning to feel comfortable making his own mechanics decisions. Until he's reached that point, though, he has plenty of published content to work with that provides these things for him.

    If he leaps ahead of his own comfort level, well, that happens. The solution should be to encourage him to not do that.

    Quote Originally Posted by NigelWalmsley View Post
    Yes, that is a flaw of the current edition. Requiring people to rely on ad hoc improvisation adds an additional burden to DMs, and is a generally poor fit for the type of game D&D is. We don't expect that we'll improvise the monsters, or the spells, or the classes, or the feats by the seat of our pants.
    Well, I do. I mean, maybe not "seat of the pants" if I can help it. But I customize monsters left and right. I throw off-CR encounters at my party. I don't tend to modify existing spells, classes, or feats, but I do make magic items (usually limited-use or even just one-off) that produce modified effects of existing spells. Just last session, I gave an NPC guard a "spellbook" filled mostly with gibberish. The backstory was that he idolized his boss, who was a spellcaster, and tried to mimic what he was doing with his own book. After the party killed him and took the book, the artificer spent a short rest reading through the chicken scratching and realized there were the disparate components to produce a single 1st-level casting of chromatic orb that used poison damage, and the material component was the book itself (destroyed upon use). They still have it, waiting for the right time to use it.

    Just an example but yeah, I mess with custom things all the time.

    Likewise, I'll give monsters different weapons or armor or whatever, just to shake things up. I try to keep the CR from getting too far out of hand but I don't obsessively balance it. CRs, like DCs, are just so fuzzy and so subservient to the dice that it's not worth the effort beyond a broad-brush approach.

    Quote Originally Posted by NigelWalmsley View Post
    No you don't. You can create custom content by combining published content in new ways. Just as creating your own combat encounters doesn't require you to create your own monsters, creating custom adventures doesn't require you to make up a bunch of DCs. If you put a wall in your adventure, it is entirely acceptable for that wall to simply use the default DCs for climbing walls. And even when you do, having existing examples helps ensure that the DCs you create are consistent. It is much, much easier to decide how difficult something should be if you have examples to base your decision on.
    There must be published adventures that present various DCs, then. If you're combining published content, that would be part of that, no?

    And even if you had your DC list, how long before you encounter a task that isn't on it? Despite the pages of DC charts in the 3e DMG, I can think of dozens of things that aren't covered by it. Or are covered by it but I'd have to come up with a reasonable circumstance modifier on the fly.

    Quote Originally Posted by NigelWalmsley View Post
    Yes, and players are going to see the CR guidelines and insist that DMs stick to them. The guidelines don't create conflict. Arbitrary DM decisions create conflict. What the guidelines do is create an expectation of how the game should work so that the players have a way to push back.
    Look, the DMG says "It's your job (DM) to set DCs. Here are some suggestions, but you are free to use whatever you want. The only actual DC rules involve spell saves and monster abilities. Everything else -- literally everything else -- is '10 to 20. When in doubt use 15'." That's what the 3e DMG says. It does not say "Hey, players, those DC suggestions in the Dungeon Master's Guide? Yeah, lock your DM down to those suckers. Push back. You're right!" The DC charts in the DMG are there to help the DM make a choice when he doesn't know what he wants to do, not to restrict him when he does.

    If the players disagree with the DM, who is just playing by the rules and deciding his own DCs and either using the guidelines or not, they're the ones creating conflict.

    Quote Originally Posted by NigelWalmsley View Post
    It's true that the DM can add 20 to a DC if he wants too. But he should exercise that power very, very carefully, because overusing it can cause serious problems for the game.
    It's presented in the 3e DMG as a way to communicate to the players that a given task is impossible. I mean it literally says, "For example, you can decide that a task is practically impossible and modify the roll or the DC by 20." So yeah, you would only use it when the player is attempting something they can't actually do.

    Quote Originally Posted by NigelWalmsley View Post
    I could come back with circumstantial bonuses worth +20. But why wouldn't I come back in 10 levels? You just told me that whatever it is I'm trying to do is appropriate for someone 10 levels higher than me. If that's something I want to do -- and seeing as I'm trying to do it, one would think it is -- why wouldn't I come back and do it when I can? What giving me a DC does is tell me how to accomplish what I want. It lets me make an informed decision about how to achieve my goal. Just saying "you can do that" only shuts me down.
    It comes from a mindset common among players that they attempt an action by making a roll. If you want to do something and the DC would work out to be something impossible, I'll tell you you try and it doesn't work, or something along those lines. No dice involved. Sure, I can say the DC is 50 or whatever, if that makes you happy. It's the same thing. Except that if you have the mindset that making the roll is the equivalent of attempting the action, you might think that by saying "it's impossible" I'm preventing you from even trying. That's not how actions and checks are presented in 5e. You can try anything you want and you don't need the DM's permission. The DM decides if the thing you're trying has a possible result (e.g. "is it possible to do?"), and if so, tells you the DC and has you make a check to see if you succeed. The check isn't the action, it's determining the results of the action.

    I've seen this mindset in action. A lot. Hell, up until a few years ago I wasn't entirely free from it myself. It took switching to 5e to get me to rethink (or, perhaps, formalize my thinking about) how actions and checks work. The table != the fiction.
    Last edited by EggKookoo; 2020-05-03 at 09:37 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NigelWalmsley View Post
    I have never met a player like that. I have met people who object to the various Gygaxian hosebeasts that have been grandfathered into the game, but those things actually are dumb and bad.
    Well, then you should note you have met players like that: the exact ones you mentioned.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kesnit View Post
    There is a lot of context missing in this story. Are custom magic items like that bag common in this DM's world? If so, would the party have reason to know that such items exist? Had the players ever encountered that type of item OOC before? Were the players given a chance to roll to see if the PCs to know that the items exist, even if the players didn't know?

    If the answer to all of those is yes, then that is on the players (and apparently a bad roll) and the DM didn't set out to screw them over. If the answer to any is no, then that is all on the DM. It is the DM's responsibility to explain the world to their players, give their players a chance to understand the world when new things are encountered, and understand that the PCs actually live in the world and have more knowledge than the players.

    This showcases a big shift in the Gamer Culture: The Hostile Player. Yes, again they have been around from day one, but they have slowly grown to a large number.

    Just look at the idea that the DM must provide "context" to the players. That some how the DM must stop the game and explain everything to the players, likely taking hours. It is an impossible standard to hold a DM too.

    And if your just talking about a pointless quick bit where the DM says "magic can do anything", well that is pointless. And if your talking about where the DM specifically give away everything in the game to ruin it, well that ruins the game. When the hostile player forces the DM to say "sigh, bad magic itmes that kill you have a white skull on them", then an hour later a player finds a sword with a white skull on it they leap up and say "Ha, DM I don't touch the sword, thanks for warning me about it!" .

    The chance to know is even worse: should each character roll to see if they know everything about everything in the whole game world?

    And even if the DM did such things, to whatever level makes the hostile players happy, there is still a good chance that the players still might have bad things happen to their characters.

    Again, this comes down to Acceptance: Some players can accept things happening in the game, no matter how much they don't like them. And some players will refuse to accept anything.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NigelWalmsley View Post
    I could come back with circumstantial bonuses worth +20. But why wouldn't I come back in 10 levels? You just told me that whatever it is I'm trying to do is appropriate for someone 10 levels higher than me. If that's something I want to do -- and seeing as I'm trying to do it, one would think it is -- why wouldn't I come back and do it when I can? What giving me a DC does is tell me how to accomplish what I want. It lets me make an informed decision about how to achieve my goal. Just saying "you can do that" only shuts me down.
    In most systems where denial is based on narrative permission vs. high difficulty levels, it's generally good practice to tell someone what they'd need to do to get past those blocks.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zarrgon View Post
    Again, this comes down to Acceptance: Some players can accept things happening in the game, no matter how much they don't like them. And some players will refuse to accept anything.
    The idea that all DCs must be justified is kind of exactly this. And it's an illusion. If the GM wants the lock to be DC 50, it'll be DC 50. They'll just have to look up what modifiers make that and then say that.

    So, like, why? What's the point in running through those hoops, especially because then said player will likely just say "well that's not realistic to have that there?"

    And the stone walls having the same DC to climb? That's presuming all stone walls are precisely the same, and that's ridiculous. If anything, that's more video-gamey than anything.

    I mean, if that's how people like to game, good on them. If you like looking at the map and being able to do all the calculations in your head to optimize, fine. But all that info still *comes from the GM*, so nothing is really changing except you're making the GM write everything up in advance, and go through more hoops to "justify" their decisions. It's all just as arbitrary as it is if you ask ad-hoc.

    Now, if a GM is arbitrarily using dumb levels of DC to control/railroad/etc? Different story. Don't play with that guy. And, yeah, that is the right answer. No set of rules can make someone that is a jerk into not-a-jerk.
    Last edited by kyoryu; 2020-05-03 at 12:10 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kyoryu View Post
    The idea that all DCs must be justified is kind of exactly this. And it's an illusion.
    i'd say it's not much that they must be justified, but that they must be consistent. the player wants to know that there is some underlying logic.
    which i agree it's an illusion. in the end the two guards had very difficult dc to bribe, because one was a slacker and the other was an incorruptible patriot, or perhaps because the dm didn't want you to succeed the second time. either you prepare yourself to listen to an hour-long explanation of the guard backstory, or you decide whether you trust the dm or not.
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    Default Re: Killer obstructive DM, nintendo hard games, and shift in gamer culture

    Quote Originally Posted by kyoryu View Post
    Now, if a GM is arbitrarily using dumb levels of DC to control/railroad/etc? Different story. Don't play with that guy. And, yeah, that is the right answer. No set of rules can make someone that is a jerk into not-a-jerk.
    So what do I do when the DM is using dumb levels of DCs and "roll to tie shoes" because he has no concept of statistical success rates and the DMG just says "DM decides"? I mean, it's too late now. The guy rage quit dming 5e because he couldn't handle people doing their best to avoid rolling and I don't play 5e with DMs who have less than 5 - 10 years dming xp. But for, you know, future reference when 6e shows up in 2 - 5 years and maybe has the same issue.
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    If you've nothing to say, say it any way you like. Stylistic innovations, contorted story lines or none, exotic or genderless pronouns, internal inconsistencies, the recipe for preparing your lover as a cannibal banquet: feel free. If what you have to say is important and/or difficult to follow, use the simplest language possible. If the reader doesn't get it then, let it not be your fault.

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