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  1. - Top - End - #31
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    Default Re: The Gazebo Problem

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    I have a friend in his 40s who STILL hasn't mastered the fact that other people don't automatically know what he knows, and it makes the games he GMs an exercise in frustration sometimes.
    Had the same experience with one DM. I continuously have to ask him "what does it look like" and "what does my character see". This DM always seems to forget that when a group of adventurers enters a room and they are expected to take action they need to know at least some basic things like "what does the room look like" to make an informed decision. Sometimes I catch him making it up on the spot

    The older I get the more I come to realize that empathy is just about the most important skill to get good at in table top gaming, and other fields of life.
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  2. - Top - End - #32
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    Default Re: The Gazebo Problem

    Quote Originally Posted by Pex View Post
    These are players who attack everything, never engaging in discussion with NPCs or exploring the environment. They just want to fight.
    Except that doesn't apply here, he tried to discern if it was good aligned, tried and failed to communicate with it. And pulled out a weapon to test its response and only then did he attack it.
    The Gazebo thing is a joke, The player didn't know what a Gazebo was, I've met such people in real life on one occasion when telling the Gazebo story. Read that story again but replace Gazebo with Glabrezu right up until he shoots it and nothing happens it sounds like a random monster encounter.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pex View Post
    DM wrong: Not explaining to a player what something is when it's clear the player hasn't a clue what he's talking about.
    This is not the DM failing to describe some details that cost an adventure his life, its the DM assuming the PC knows what a Gazebo is. Now if we replace Gazebo with Barn it sounds like the Player messing with the DM the whole time by pretending to be stupid. For me the meaning of a Gazebo is as obvious as Barn. If you introduced a Barn and a PC treated it like a monster you'd assuming he was joking around this was no different.

    The only problem is assuming either person did anything wrong in this situation. To me its a wonderful story of great gaming between friends, there is NO PROBLEM because nothing was done mean spirited or with malice.
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  3. - Top - End - #33
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    Default Re: The Gazebo Problem

    The DM was being a jerk. He could have explained what a Gazebo was, but just repeating "It's a gazebo!" was obnoxious.

  4. - Top - End - #34
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    Default Re: The Gazebo Problem

    Quote Originally Posted by GeoffWatson View Post
    The DM was being a jerk. He could have explained what a Gazebo was, but just repeating "It's a gazebo!" was obnoxious.
    My interpretation of the story is that the idea that the player didnít know what a gazebo was never occurred to the DM. He thought the player somehow misheard or was assuming the DMís description was deceptive (e.g. attacking a treasure chest because you believe it to be a mimic).

    The DM wasnít being obnoxious. He was emphasizing that itís what he said it was and that the expectation of it reacting was silly. To the DM, this seemed as obvious as - like another poster said - if the DM has said it was a barn.

  5. - Top - End - #35
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    Default Re: The Gazebo Problem

    Quote Originally Posted by Segev View Post
    My interpretation of the story is that the idea that the player didnít know what a gazebo was never occurred to the DM. He thought the player somehow misheard or was assuming the DMís description was deceptive (e.g. attacking a treasure chest because you believe it to be a mimic).

    The DM wasnít being obnoxious. He was emphasizing that itís what he said it was and that the expectation of it reacting was silly. To the DM, this seemed as obvious as - like another poster said - if the DM has said it was a barn.
    At some point in the story (and frankly I don't know how much I believe it's actually true in any real sense of "true"), the GM should have stopped and said, "Wait, you do know what a gazebo is... right?"
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  6. - Top - End - #36
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    Default Re: The Gazebo Problem

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    At some point in the story (and frankly I don't know how much I believe it's actually true in any real sense of "true"), the GM should have stopped and said, "Wait, you do know what a gazebo is... right?"
    Maybe! I probably would have. I agree, the story is likely apocryphal. Short as it is, I could see a busy GM being flustered enough not to realize what the issue was until the end, when he snapped. And even then, I could see him thinking "Eric" was just insisting it HAD to be a monster disguised as a gazebo, so he decided to "play along" with his frustration.

    In other words, I can see it from a mostly-reasonable (but frustrated) GM's perspective, enough that I don't automatically say "man, crappy GM."

    Mostly, though? It's a funny story of dubious verity.

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    Default Re: The Gazebo Problem

    Quote Originally Posted by Mastikator View Post
    They say that Theory of Mind is something you learn early as a kid but I've found that being mindful of the fact that other people don't know what you take for granted requires effort- effort that not everyone wants to exert all the time. Effort is a finite resource and a DM's job can be very mentally taxing. The player isn't just wrong for attacking something that isn't hostile, the player is ALSO wrong for not asking "what do you mean 'it's a gazebo'". If in doubt always ask for clarification
    Different people develop ToM at different rates. It's something to be aware of in playing RPGs - both working on it if it's not a strong skill of yours, and being aware that others may be struggling with it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Florian View Post
    Thereīs the general sender-receiver problem, that the sender can never know whether the receiver reached the data in a form comprehensible to them. In reverse, the receiver can never know whether they understood the sender correctly.
    As a programmer, this appeals to me.

    Realistically, the responsibility (not fault) belongs to both sides, but more on the GM. If, as a player, something doesn't make sense, clarify. But, as the GM, you essentially have the authoritative state of the world in your mind, and it is your absolute responsibility to make sure that the players are aware of all of the things that the characters are, both in terms of what they see and what they know. If the players are declaring actions that do not line up with what seems a reasonable course of action based on what the character sees/knows, it is absolutely up to the GM to correct that, as they are the ones with the accurate view anyway. The GM knows that mouthing off to royalty will likely result in the death sentence, but the player doesn't. For instance. And that's reasonable because in some fiction mouthing off might not. But in this particular world/setting, it would. And it is completely reasonable that the character would know that or would have heard stories.

    IOW, any time a player is doing something "dumb" the GM should make sure that the situation is clarified. It's most likely not dumb. It's most likely misaligned information or expectations.
    Last edited by kyoryu; 2020-09-08 at 11:49 AM.
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    Default Re: The Gazebo Problem

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    At some point in the story (and frankly I don't know how much I believe it's actually true in any real sense of "true"), the GM should have stopped and said, "Wait, you do know what a gazebo is... right?"
    Agreed. I'm persuaded by the argument that the player did not attack the gazebo at first. He was trying to analyze it. He was being cautious. That the gazebo wasn't reacting to his actions made him more concerned because he was expecting reactions. He thought it was a creature, and the DM only responded by saying it did nothing because it was a gazebo. When I first heard this story it was an anecdote about the player's stupidity. The player was ignorant to what a gazebo is, but he wasn't stupid. It was the DM who broke by giving up on the situation and getting obnoxiously crazy about it by killing the PC.
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  9. - Top - End - #39
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    Default Re: The Gazebo Problem

    Quote Originally Posted by Segev View Post
    My interpretation of the story is that the idea that the player didnít know what a gazebo was never occurred to the DM. He thought the player somehow misheard or was assuming the DMís description was deceptive (e.g. attacking a treasure chest because you believe it to be a mimic).

    The DM wasnít being obnoxious. He was emphasizing that itís what he said it was and that the expectation of it reacting was silly. To the DM, this seemed as obvious as - like another poster said - if the DM has said it was a barn.
    A bit OT, but the whole thing made me think about the difference between commonly used terms and specialized, regional or dialect-based variations thereof.

    For example, after the last war, both sides of Germany had to come up with a solution for a problem that was the resolut of rebuilding their cities. Prior to the war, tenement blocks used to use up a lot of ground, because it was common practice to include a plot of land and balconies in such a way, that tenants could use them for basic agriculture to sustain themselves.

    So, that practice could not hold up, but they didn't want to reprieve their citizens from it. The solution was converting land that is otherwise fairly unattractive into miniature agricultural plots. For example, that happened a lot along railway tracks.

    Ok, pretty boring, why am I telling this at this length, right?

    A Gazebo is a specific form of pavilion, but basically a pavilion. Those miniature agricultural lands were allowed a sort of building, a form of enclosed pavilion. the term in the west was "Laube", while in the eat, it was "Datsche". What complicates matters, the agriculture plot itself had to be set apart from regular gardening or agriculture for legal reasons, so in the west, it was called "Schrebergarten" (think "prepper garden"), while in the east, it was also "Datsche". We are still talking about a garden plot with a pavilion...

  10. - Top - End - #40
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    Default Re: The Gazebo Problem

    The only problem is that people are still trying to assign blame more than forty years after those with direct involvement had moved on. It was a humorous anecdote, funny as described, with the light-hearted reproach at the end that can easily be assumed to be mere banter, but if you want to always assume malace then I can see why it stands as an example of a crap DM to those who hold such biases.

  11. - Top - End - #41
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    Default Re: The Gazebo Problem

    Quote Originally Posted by kyoryu View Post
    Realistically, the responsibility (not fault) belongs to both sides, but more on the GM. If, as a player, something doesn't make sense, clarify. But, as the GM, you essentially have the authoritative state of the world in your mind, and it is your absolute responsibility to make sure that the players are aware of all of the things that the characters are, both in terms of what they see and what they know. If the players are declaring actions that do not line up with what seems a reasonable course of action based on what the character sees/knows, it is absolutely up to the GM to correct that, as they are the ones with the accurate view anyway. The GM knows that mouthing off to royalty will likely result in the death sentence, but the player doesn't. For instance. And that's reasonable because in some fiction mouthing off might not. But in this particular world/setting, it would. And it is completely reasonable that the character would know that or would have heard stories.

    IOW, any time a player is doing something "dumb" the GM should make sure that the situation is clarified. It's most likely not dumb. It's most likely misaligned information or expectations.
    I totally agree with this assessment. To add, the characters would understand that it's something dumb. Characters know way more than can be conveyed by the DM's words. And what's totally clear to the DM might not (strong understatement) be for the players. It's one reason I fall heavily into "more information is better" camp and will often go several rounds of clarification/restatement before I actually trigger the action-resolution process.

    I hate when DMs act like characters are remotely-piloted drones without any intelligence. The whole "you didn't say you were..." gotcha stuff sucks. Even when it's unintentional gotchas like in this case.
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  12. - Top - End - #42
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    Default Re: The Gazebo Problem

    A few things that seem to have been overlooked in this thread:

    Eric didn't think the GM said "glabrezu". At the time the event happened, "glabrezu" were just "Type 3 demons".

    There were other players at the table. The GM can't have been the only one who knew what a gazebo was. The other players weren't trying to figure out the gazebo. They were probably just as confused as the GM and probably trying not to laugh when they figured out Eric thought it was a monster.
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    Default Re: The Gazebo Problem

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    I totally agree with this assessment. To add, the characters would understand that it's something dumb. Characters know way more than can be conveyed by the DM's words. And what's totally clear to the DM might not (strong understatement) be for the players. It's one reason I fall heavily into "more information is better" camp and will often go several rounds of clarification/restatement before I actually trigger the action-resolution process.
    One of the best life pro-tips I picked up is, basically, to assume that people are smart and that any really stupid behavior is likely a difference of priority, information, or understanding - and it may be that you are the one missing information or understanding.

    I think it's a good tip for GMs. If a player says they're doing something stupid, presume they misunderstand something, or have a misconception about the world, until conclusively proven otherwise.

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    I hate when DMs act like characters are remotely-piloted drones without any intelligence. The whole "you didn't say you were..." gotcha stuff sucks. Even when it's unintentional gotchas like in this case.
    Similar is the issue of:

    Player: "I do the thing, which will likely take tens of seconds if not minutes."
    GM: "Haha, this is the result, regardless of the fact that the thing you described would give plenty of feedback in time for you to change what you were doing! You said it, so it is instantly done!"
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    Default Re: The Gazebo Problem

    Quote Originally Posted by Segev View Post
    My interpretation of the story is that the idea that the player didnít know what a gazebo was never occurred to the DM. He thought the player somehow misheard or was assuming the DMís description was deceptive (e.g. attacking a treasure chest because you believe it to be a mimic).

    The DM wasnít being obnoxious. He was emphasizing that itís what he said it was and that the expectation of it reacting was silly. To the DM, this seemed as obvious as - like another poster said - if the DM has said it was a barn.
    Yeah, it's obviously a situation in which one party assumes that the other person knows a basic fact. It's a funny story, but it's also a good lesson about communication. Either person could have solved the problem easily. When Ed first said that Eric saw a gazebo, Eric could have asked what that was, but he didn't. Presumably he thought he should have known.

    On the flip side, when Eric called out to the gazebo, I feel like the best answer would have been, "There's no answer. The gazebo appears to be unoccupied."

    That would be a real good clue that Eric is interacting with this thing in a weird way, without necessarily calling him out on the spot.
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    Default Re: The Gazebo Problem

    Quote Originally Posted by Imbalance View Post
    The only problem is that people are still trying to assign blame more than forty years after those with direct involvement had moved on. It was a humorous anecdote, funny as described, with the light-hearted reproach at the end that can easily be assumed to be mere banter, but if you want to always assume malace then I can see why it stands as an example of a crap DM to those who hold such biases.
    The story is old, but the lesson is still relevant.
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    Default Re: The Gazebo Problem

    Quote Originally Posted by kyoryu View Post
    One of the best life pro-tips I picked up is, basically, to assume that people are smart and that any really stupid behavior is likely a difference of priority, information, or understanding - and it may be that you are the one missing information or understanding.

    I think it's a good tip for GMs. If a player says they're doing something stupid, presume they misunderstand something, or have a misconception about the world, until conclusively proven otherwise.

    Similar is the issue of:

    Player: "I do the thing, which will likely take tens of seconds if not minutes."
    GM: "Haha, this is the result, regardless of the fact that the thing you described would give plenty of feedback in time for you to change what you were doing! You said it, so it is instantly done!"
    I absolutely agree with both of those.

    I try to follow a 3-step process when things seem off:

    1. Ask about the intent: What are you trying to do. Not how, but what result do you desire by doing that?
    2. Clarify the situation/Explain character knowledge: Your character would know that ... or You realize that ... or I don't remember saying that there was a ...
    3. Ask for confirmation: Are you sure you want to <do stupid thing>?

    Then, and only then do I start to resolve it. And even then, once I start to explain the requirements (ie a difficulty X ability check using Y with Z skill) they can still back out or modify the action.

    Players should feel like their characters are competent. And "you didn't say that you put on pants" (which I've actually heard as a player) doesn't do that. It makes it either a slapstick-comedy game or an antagonistic scenario.
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    Default Re: The Gazebo Problem

    I go by an axiom. When ever the DM asks you "Are you sure?" your response should always be "No, never mind. I do not do that." Doesn't matter what it is or what you hoped to accomplish. Don't do it and do something else, even if it's nothing.
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    Default Re: The Gazebo Problem

    Quote Originally Posted by Pex View Post
    I go by an axiom. When ever the DM asks you "Are you sure?" your response should always be "No, never mind. I do not do that." Doesn't matter what it is or what you hoped to accomplish. Don't do it and do something else, even if it's nothing.
    That sounds like a passive aggressive snubbing of the DM for asking for clarity. I donít know how it actually plays out at table, but the way it sounds here, Iíd start to feel like trying to clarify anything to the players gets them to shut down, making me feel like anything but ďokay, roll me a check at this arbitrary DC; you succeed /fail,Ē would result in the game stalling.

    I hope Iím misunderstanding what youíre saying, here, because thatís be a quick way for me to determine that the players werenít enjoying the game and that I should just stop running it.

  19. - Top - End - #49
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    Default Re: The Gazebo Problem

    Quote Originally Posted by Segev View Post
    That sounds like a passive aggressive snubbing of the DM for asking for clarity. I donít know how it actually plays out at table, but the way it sounds here, Iíd start to feel like trying to clarify anything to the players gets them to shut down, making me feel like anything but ďokay, roll me a check at this arbitrary DC; you succeed /fail,Ē would result in the game stalling.
    "Are you sure?" is DM code for "that's a really bad idea".

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    Default Re: The Gazebo Problem

    Quote Originally Posted by Tanarii View Post
    "Are you sure?" is DM code for "that's a really bad idea".
    Yes, it's very traditional. Works well with players that know the tradition, but often it does close down the conversation.

    If you really want to drive home the wrongness of the action, you should ask "Do you really want to do the X, even though Y?", where X is their action and Y is a list of reasons they should not do it.

    If you want a working conversation, you should inquire why they are doing what they are doing or what is their intent - oftentimes you can catch the error on both sides (e.g. DM does not explain something properly, or the player forgot).

    But for the old school gamers, this is like seeing the canary perish. A litmus paper of "how much trouble did I get myself into" based on evaluation of DM's voice, the amount of sarcasm and eye rolling.

    I used it for a long time. Moved on to more efficient phrases, but I still do it once in a while - like all traditions of the trade, it's expected by the players.
    Last edited by lacco36; 2020-09-09 at 04:57 AM.
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    Default Re: The Gazebo Problem

    Quote Originally Posted by Segev View Post
    That sounds like a passive aggressive snubbing of the DM for asking for clarity. I donít know how it actually plays out at table, but the way it sounds here, Iíd start to feel like trying to clarify anything to the players gets them to shut down, making me feel like anything but ďokay, roll me a check at this arbitrary DC; you succeed /fail,Ē would result in the game stalling.

    I hope Iím misunderstanding what youíre saying, here, because thatís be a quick way for me to determine that the players werenít enjoying the game and that I should just stop running it.

    When the DM asks for clarity he says "What do you mean?" or "Why?". When he says "Are you sure?" he always means . . .

    Quote Originally Posted by Tanarii View Post
    "that's a really bad idea".
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pex View Post
    When the DM asks for clarity he says "What do you mean?" or "Why?". When he says "Are you sure?" he always means . . .
    Okay, if that's not a category of questions but is literally the only question you respond to that way, I understand better. Sorry; I'm used to discussions like this having such questions be representative, not literally just that question.

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    Default Re: The Gazebo Problem

    FYI, I posted a discussion based on this over at reddit. Nearly 600 upvotes so far (which is a lot for that particular subreddit)

    https://www.reddit.com/r/rpg/comment...rs_arent_dumb/
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    Default Re: The Gazebo Problem

    Kyoryu - I checked out the discussion over there, and I intend to read more of it this evening. I agree with you for the most part, but I don't think that the specific example is a good one. I do think that the GM should do a better job of explaining, and if the case ever did arise as stated that the GM has a responsibility to lay out the consequences. But I also don't think it's unreasonable to expect that players would know that insulting an absolute monarch to their face is a bad idea and likely to end up with their arrest or possibly execution. If it had been an elf or dwarf kingdom, or treants, or whatever, then I could see it being something that the player may not immediately think of as a problem, because the cultures could be different. But I know that if somehow I was introduced to the Queen of England and decided to insult her, that I would immediately be removed from her presence, and I might expect the guards to do a little covert damage to me on the way out. I can extrapolate that to a dangerous fantasy world where kings are actual rulers, and figure that this is not going to go well.

    The GM should make the consequences clear. But in this particular case, I don't think the players really didn't know that there would be consequences. I think they figured the GM wouldn't actually do anything to them, and the shock was when they found out they were wrong about that, not that an absolute monarch doesn't tolerate open insults.

    As to the gazebo itself, I wonder if this story was part of the reason there's a gazebo in Zork II. It sounds like something they would do, I know it was white, and I think the description said something like 'it appears to be a gazebo.' I think I need to open up the game, get to the gazebo, and attempt to attack it.

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    Default Re: The Gazebo Problem

    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Credence View Post
    But I also don't think it's unreasonable to expect that players would know that insulting an absolute monarch to their face is a bad idea and likely to end up with their arrest or possibly execution.
    I don't think that that's an unreasonable result. But, that's also me.

    Keep in mind that the example was based on an actual example. It's not hypothetical.

    The point is that what you think is reasonable and "common sense" is based on your experiences and assumptions. And different people come in with different assumptions - some of those are based on how they think the world should work, some of those are based on more meta concerns (tone of game, etc.).

    If one player is thinking you're playing "wacky medieval hijinks: the game" then they probably wouldn't expect insulting the king to be an immediate death sentence. And they probably got that assumption either from watching some media or from playing in other games. And so to them it's not an unreasonable presumption.

    So if we can presume that they do care if their character dies (which is the case most of the time), then regardless of whether you think it's reasonable, there's an assumption mismatch. Are you really ready to kill a character for something like that, especially when there's a way to convey the correct assumption to the player and let them make an appropriate decision based on actual information?

    That just seems like a lot of not-fun to me.
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  26. - Top - End - #56
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Chimera

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    Default Re: The Gazebo Problem

    Late to the party. I think most people have moved on, but I'll address the OP question--
    Quote Originally Posted by Pex View Post
    For those who are not familiar or would like to read it again: https://web.archive.org/web/20080804...=article&sid=8

    Was the Player wrong? Was the DM wrong?
    As others have pointed out this exchange seems to have been edited (either in the remembering, or in the presentation). Taken, for the sake of discussion, as a literal transcript, both player and DM seem a little nutty in a 'real people wouldn't respond that way (would they?)' kind of fashion. We can assume that this is an artifact of the presentation, but unfortunately for your specific question, I think some vital part of the actual story has been obscured. Both seem to be comically (to the unrealistic-seeming level) missing obvious things -- on the DM's part that the player doesn't know what a gazebo is, and on the players part that asking what a gazebo is (or what their character would know about gazebos) would help them react appropriately. I think we could impute some information into the missing data of what actually likely happened, but that really then becomes conjecturing a different situation and rendering judgment on that situation instead. Doing so, a situation vaguely like this is honestly all too reasonable to have once you have a group where everyone is not of the same age (I have no idea how old I was when I learned what a gazebo is), or not native speakers of the language being used to play the game. General takeaways about good communication and understanding when others are not catching something abound, but unfortunately they don't really help in assigning culpability in this specific scenario.

  27. - Top - End - #57
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    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: The Gazebo Problem

    Quote Originally Posted by kyoryu View Post
    I don't think that that's an unreasonable result. But, that's also me.

    Keep in mind that the example was based on an actual example. It's not hypothetical.

    The point is that what you think is reasonable and "common sense" is based on your experiences and assumptions. And different people come in with different assumptions - some of those are based on how they think the world should work, some of those are based on more meta concerns (tone of game, etc.).

    If one player is thinking you're playing "wacky medieval hijinks: the game" then they probably wouldn't expect insulting the king to be an immediate death sentence. And they probably got that assumption either from watching some media or from playing in other games. And so to them it's not an unreasonable presumption.

    So if we can presume that they do care if their character dies (which is the case most of the time), then regardless of whether you think it's reasonable, there's an assumption mismatch. Are you really ready to kill a character for something like that, especially when there's a way to convey the correct assumption to the player and let them make an appropriate decision based on actual information?

    That just seems like a lot of not-fun to me.
    I understood that was actual, I just question whether the motivations of the players were as reported - I certainly have known players in the past that try to bully the GM, and this seems like a move they would have made.

    I also thought I was clear that in that situation, I would explain the consequences before we proceeded. So clear, in fact, that I said it twice. My only point was that by using as an example something that strikes me as quite frankly ludicrous that the player didn't know that it was a bad idea, it doesn't make the point as well to people not prepared to accept the point. Let me illustrate by giving an even worse example:

    GM: You come to the cliffs overlooking your destination. At the base of the cliff, 1000 feet below you, is a field of jagged rocks that have fallen from the cliff over the years. The ruins of the city stretch beyond them. You see a precarious path meandering down the cliff face, with the starting point to your right.
    Player: I jump off the cliff.
    GM: OK (rolls dice). You slam into the jagged rocks at the bottom, and your vision fades away as the blood drains from your body. Your character has died, and the body is in very bad shape. Do you want to roll a new character?
    Player: What do you mean I died? I just wanted to get to the bottom quickly, how was I to know that would be deadly?

    I don't think many people are going to argue that it was not completely clear that leaping 1000 feet onto jagged rocks was not going to turn out well. If you tell people that as an anecdote to say don't think your players are stupid, a whole lot of people are going to say that that player was, indeed, stupid, and they wouldn't want to play with someone like that. My gut reaction, and the reactions of a few people I just asked about this (one of my players, and a GM from a different group), is that the player in your anecdote was, indeed, stupid. None of us would have just gone straight to killing the character, and agree with the idea that the GM should explain the possible consequences. But we also wouldn't want to play with someone that played like that, and that they were probably being willfully obtuse and wanting to make the game all about them.

  28. - Top - End - #58
    Troll in the Playground
     
    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Re: The Gazebo Problem

    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Credence View Post
    GM: You come to the cliffs overlooking your destination. At the base of the cliff, 1000 feet below you, is a field of jagged rocks that have fallen from the cliff over the years. The ruins of the city stretch beyond them. You see a precarious path meandering down the cliff face, with the starting point to your right.
    Player: I jump off the cliff.
    GM: OK (rolls dice). You slam into the jagged rocks at the bottom, and your vision fades away as the blood drains from your body. Your character has died, and the body is in very bad shape. Do you want to roll a new character?
    Player: What do you mean I died? I just wanted to get to the bottom quickly, how was I to know that would be deadly?
    Actually, no, that's a fantastic example. It's a wonderful example.

    Because in D&D, no it's not obvious at all. Since falling damage maxes out well below a mid/high level character's HP, it is a completely understandable assumption in this case that said 1000 foot drop would result in falling damage being applied which, mechanically, would result in a trivial amount of damage to said high level character.

    It's also a completely reasonable assumption (and, in fact, what I would do) that in that case the GM would say "no, we use those mechanics in cases where the result isn't obvious" and declare the character to be a small greasy spot at the landing site.

    I personally think the "RAW are the physics of the world, even in cases where they make no sense" style of play to be obnoxious. But it still exists. And as a GM, it's still my job to correct that misalignment when it occurs, unless I actually think the player intended to kill their character..

    And, yes, it's entirely possible that the player is assuming the GM won't do anything to their character - because that's how a lot of games run.

    I'd rather correct that misapprehension politely and without drama rather than after the fact.
    Last edited by kyoryu; 2020-09-10 at 01:13 PM.
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  29. - Top - End - #59
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    Yora's Avatar

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    Default Re: The Gazebo Problem

    Gazebo problems are always 100% the fault of the GM.
    The players have no way to tell what their characters see, hear, and feel. They can only process information that the GM gives them. If they assume they are looking at something that isn't what the GM meant to present to them, there is absolutely nothing that the players could do about it. It's entirely the fault of the GM for describing things in a way that wasn't clear.

    My golden rule as GM is "If a player does something that seems nonsensical, have the player confirm that he's imagining the same situation as you do before proceeding."
    Players usually don't do stupid things. They do logical things based on the information they have. And the GM has exclusive control over the information they get. When you're the GM and notice that something might have gone wrong, it's your duty to clear that up before proceeding. Because nobody else in the game has the ability to do it. Letting players do something stupid because they couldn't read your mind is the same thing as arbitrarily saying "rocks fall, everyone dies".
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  30. - Top - End - #60
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    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Re: The Gazebo Problem

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    My golden rule as GM is "If a player does something that seems nonsensical, have the player confirm that he's imagining the same situation as you do before proceeding."
    Players usually don't do stupid things. They do logical things based on the information they have. And the GM has exclusive control over the information they get. When you're the GM and notice that something might have gone wrong, it's your duty to clear that up before proceeding. Because nobody else in the game has the ability to do it. Letting players do something stupid because they couldn't read your mind is the same thing as arbitrarily saying "rocks fall, everyone dies".
    Precisely this.
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