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  1. - Top - End - #61
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    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: The Gazebo Problem

    Quote Originally Posted by kyoryu View Post
    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.
    I've seen games where the GM won't do anything to players - and by that I mean won't allow the consequences of their actions to occur - and in every case I've seen of it, it is because the players have bullied the GM to the point where the GM does nothing. That is what it sounds like the player in question is attempting - to bully the GM into simply doing whatever the player wants. Those tables are not fun, except for the bullies. I've walked away from those tables, and let the GM know that if they want to run a fair, fun game, I'm in, but not with the current player group.

    And were we talking specifically about D&D? I thought the use of GM instead of DM and the fact that this is in the general roleplaying forum instead of a specific one meant this was general, not game specific. In which case, the idea that falling 1000 feet onto jagged rocks should absolutely be a death sentence - with the jagged rocks, you don't even have a slim possibility of the bounce. But fine, whatever. You are completely ignoring the point that I am trying to make, and if you don't want to discuss it, that's fine. But you're also ignoring that I have agreed with the fundamental point every time, and keep talking like I'm out to kill people without warning.

  2. - Top - End - #62
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    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: The Gazebo Problem

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    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".
    I consider communication a two person tango. Therefore I should always consider it my fault because I could have addressed it. This is true regardless of whether I was the GM or another player. Likewise, since I hold actor agnostic principles, the other person could be following the same principles and decide they were at fault because they could have addressed it.

  3. - Top - End - #63
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    Default Re: The Gazebo Problem

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    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".
    I agree about the GM's role and their control over the information flow, but I don't think it can fairly be called a firm absolute. Game long enough, and you'll encounter that player who seems deliberately determined to not understand, to misinterpret, to eat up as much time as possible with "but you said" and "then I don't do that" and generally using a veneer of not getting it to avoid the consequences of their decisions, of bad dice rolls, of not paying attention, etc.

    And even setting that aside, the player is allowed to ask for clarification, and players are allowed to point things out to each other... basic communication can't be all on one person's shoulders.
    Last edited by Max_Killjoy; 2020-09-10 at 02:47 PM.
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  4. - Top - End - #64
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    PirateGuy

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    Default Re: The Gazebo Problem

    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Credence View Post
    I've seen games where the GM won't do anything to players - and by that I mean won't allow the consequences of their actions to occur - and in every case I've seen of it, it is because the players have bullied the GM to the point where the GM does nothing. That is what it sounds like the player in question is attempting - to bully the GM into simply doing whatever the player wants. Those tables are not fun, except for the bullies. I've walked away from those tables, and let the GM know that if they want to run a fair, fun game, I'm in, but not with the current player group.

    And were we talking specifically about D&D? I thought the use of GM instead of DM and the fact that this is in the general roleplaying forum instead of a specific one meant this was general, not game specific. In which case, the idea that falling 1000 feet onto jagged rocks should absolutely be a death sentence - with the jagged rocks, you don't even have a slim possibility of the bounce. But fine, whatever. You are completely ignoring the point that I am trying to make, and if you don't want to discuss it, that's fine. But you're also ignoring that I have agreed with the fundamental point every time, and keep talking like I'm out to kill people without warning.
    I think he was actually addressing the point quite plainly. Also, your response is a clear case in point of miscommunication itself.

    You are reading a lot of extra backstory/context into the example that wasn't written. You seem to be assuming that this backstory is somehow obvious, which is probably because when you wrote the example, you had this in mind. However, from just the example as written, this is totally not obvious. So maybe instead of getting angry at somebody missing your point, you shoud re-evaluate how well you made this point in the first place.

    Also, unless you *know* that the situation is such that the players are doing this willfully (by knowing the backstory/context of this situation), it's very bad form to assume it's willful. So with the example, as given without context, the only fair conclusion the GM can make is that the player is not aware of (the magnitude of) the danger.

    Hell, even *if* you think you know the players are willfully doing this, it's just as easy to say: "Are you sure? A fall of 1000 feet on jagged rocks would horribly kill your character." If you feel the urge to instantly go "Okay, you're dead", there is so much antagonism built up that you should probably walk away immediately.

  5. - Top - End - #65
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    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Re: The Gazebo Problem

    If you think that that many players are that hostile, then either you're dealing with a statistically unlikely, incredibly toxic group of players, something you're doing is driving people to that behavior, or you're interpreting behavior in an overly hostile fashion.
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  6. - Top - End - #66
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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".
    The concept of stopping to ask the player, "What do you see this resulting in?" is a very important one. And you have to do it right, so you don't sound like you're saying, "This is a bad idea and you should think about why it's a bad idea." You really do need to be asking them to explain what it is they think will result.

    Only then can you even start to ask the right questions to understand what they think the situation is, because you'll have a clue as to what it is they've got wrong about the scene as you envision it that makes what they think will happen make sense when it doesn't fit with what you're picturing.

    This doesn't mean "always say 'yes'" or "always say 'no,'" but to try to open the door to more closely connect on what is really happening.

  7. - Top - End - #67
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    Default Re: The Gazebo Problem

    Quote Originally Posted by Segev View Post
    The concept of stopping to ask the player, "What do you see this resulting in?" is a very important one. And you have to do it right, so you don't sound like you're saying, "This is a bad idea and you should think about why it's a bad idea." You really do need to be asking them to explain what it is they think will result.
    Burning Wheel calls that "Intent and Task" and it's an incredibly useful tool. "What are you trying to accomplish, and how are you going to do that?"

    In some cases the intent is obvious, but it's generally a good hting.
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  8. - Top - End - #68
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    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: The Gazebo Problem

    Quote Originally Posted by Reynaert View Post
    I think he was actually addressing the point quite plainly. Also, your response is a clear case in point of miscommunication itself.

    You are reading a lot of extra backstory/context into the example that wasn't written. You seem to be assuming that this backstory is somehow obvious, which is probably because when you wrote the example, you had this in mind. However, from just the example as written, this is totally not obvious. So maybe instead of getting angry at somebody missing your point, you shoud re-evaluate how well you made this point in the first place.

    Also, unless you *know* that the situation is such that the players are doing this willfully (by knowing the backstory/context of this situation), it's very bad form to assume it's willful. So with the example, as given without context, the only fair conclusion the GM can make is that the player is not aware of (the magnitude of) the danger.

    Hell, even *if* you think you know the players are willfully doing this, it's just as easy to say: "Are you sure? A fall of 1000 feet on jagged rocks would horribly kill your character." If you feel the urge to instantly go "Okay, you're dead", there is so much antagonism built up that you should probably walk away immediately.
    What do you think my point that he was missing is? Because nothing in your comment indicates that you got it, either. That's fine, no one needs to discuss my point, at all.

    And I have not gotten angry at anyone. I have become increasingly annoyed that people keep thinking that I would just kill the players, when in every single comment I have said that I agree that there needs to be communication and confirmation. I made that statement twice in my first reply, pointed that out in my next reply, and then pointed out that that was being ignored in my last reply. And then here you are, saying that I need to walk away from the table if I feel the urge to do something I have explicitly and repeatedly said I have no urge to do. What set of words is it going to take to get across that I agree that the GM needs to do a good job of communicating and not simply take what they say and kill a player over it? Whatever those magic words are, please assume I've said them at this point, because I can promise you, I absolutely, positively, would not kill off a PC without ensuring that they knew the consequences of an action like this. If I were the GM in my example, I would have said that a 1000 foot fall onto jagged rocks is not something that someone survives in this world, and there is a path to the bottom right over there. Then I would ask again what they wanted to do, and if they said they were going to jump, then I'd let them die.

    My point was this - if you want to argue that a GM should not assume their players are stupid, I don't think the original story was the best way to go. The gazebo story does a much better job of it, IMO - it is clearly a miscommunication, it's believable that someone would not know what a gazebo is, and there was plenty of indication that the two were not on the same wavelength. The story about the king is just not believable to me coming from pretty much anyone interested in medieval fantasy role playing games. The idea that someone who wants to play such does not realize that in an absolute monarchy, the king is likely to punish anyone who insults them, is just too much. People who play such games have read or watched LotR, or Game of Thrones, or Robin Hood, or something like it, and have been exposed to the idea that royalty can be right nasty about personal insults. Heck, Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, as screwy as you can get when talking about the time period, has the title carriers insult the "royal ugly dudes", who then says to torture or execute them. One more time - I as a GM would not have ended up letting them die without explaining the consequences. But the story told is not the slam dunk on this that he thought it was.

    If you read the post over on Reddit, you will notice that nowhere in there does he say that the country is the country that the characters were from, so it's also possible that this is not something the characters would know, but that wouldn't save them. If someone from the North or Westeros, used to the relatively just rule of the Starks, went to the Twins and insulted Walder Frey, he'd probably have them killed. The people being executed might be very shocked that they would be killed for something that would not have much in the way of bad results in Winterfell, but it wouldn't save their life. So based purely on what is on the page, assuming that the characters wouldn't know it is a bad idea and that this king is particularly prickly is reading into it with your own biases every bit as much as anything I have done.

    If you've never experienced players who try to bully the GM, then you are lucky. But throwing out actions that are very likely to get ones character killed, then badgering the GM to change things when that is the result, is bullying the GM. It's a method by which players wear down the GM to the point that they know that if things don't go the way the players (or, more often, one particular player) want, they will get complaints about how they are unfair and mean and a bad GM, and eventually the GM stops arguing and lets the player effectively be the GM. If everyone at the table is cool with that, fine, but when I've seen it it means that everyone is playing a bit role in the story of the most important player at the table, and the group falls apart. That's what I get out of the story, and that's why my point this entire time, spelled out in the beginning of my posting on this topic, was that this particular example is not a good one for the general thrust of the argument he wanted to make. Kyoryu responded to my posts that I want to kill people, ignoring the point I was making.

    ETA:
    Quote Originally Posted by kyoryu View Post
    If you think that that many players are that hostile, then either you're dealing with a statistically unlikely, incredibly toxic group of players, something you're doing is driving people to that behavior, or you're interpreting behavior in an overly hostile fashion.
    I'm not sure if this was directed at me or not, but I think it was. The people I have seen do this are not from when I've been a GM - I've always had a great group of players. I see people like this when I have tried to join up with games at game stores, and I am far from the only one that ends up walking away from the games. It can think of at least four people that I have met in my years of gaming, spanning back to AD&D, that would fit this. In one case, the GM did not bow to the whims of the player, and the player quit after four sessions. When the rest of us heard the news, no one was unhappy. In the others, the GM did start to bend to the will of the player. I was only the first one to bail on the game because of it once, the last time it happened. I don't see that as statistically unlikely, I have no idea how a fellow player could be driving people to that, and I wasn't the only one with that interpretation.
    Last edited by Darth Credence; 2020-09-10 at 05:22 PM.

  9. - Top - End - #69
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    Daemon

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    Default Re: The Gazebo Problem

    Quote Originally Posted by kyoryu View Post
    Burning Wheel calls that "Intent and Task" and it's an incredibly useful tool. "What are you trying to accomplish, and how are you going to do that?"

    In some cases the intent is obvious, but it's generally a good hting.
    And even when there isn't miscommunication it's a very useful tool.

    For me as a 5e D&D DM, clearly knowing both their intent and their method lets me do a lot of things:
    * helps me decide if a check is even needed or useful.
    * helps me decide what the possible range of outcomes could be.
    * helps me decide how to describe the situation/attempt
    * helps me decide what the relevant resolution mechanic should be. A check? A saving throw? An attack roll? If a check, what kind? What should the DC be?
    * after the resolution, it helps me describe what happened.
    * reveals and remedies miscommunication.
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  10. - Top - End - #70
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    Default Re: The Gazebo Problem

    I find it a bit odd to emphasize so heavily on the importance of communication, but then use a so blame-heavy idea of it that puts the responsibility entirely on one person.

    Communication requires not only clarity, but also good faith and an effort at mutual trust. Without those, initial clear communication inevitably decays into passive-aggressive sniping and an unwillingness to work past any mistakes that will inevitably happen.

    In that regard, the Gazebo story is actually a great example of a group dealing with miscommunication in a healthy way. The realize their mistakes and laugh it off.

    That's my experience, anyways.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ezekielraiden View Post
    You don't win people over by beating them with facts until they surrender; at best all you've got is a conversion under duress, and at worst you've actively made an enemy of your position.

    You don't convince by proving someone wrong. You convince by showing them a better way to be right. The difference may seem subtle or semantic, but I assure you it matters a lot.

  11. - Top - End - #71
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    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: The Gazebo Problem

    Quote Originally Posted by Theoboldi View Post
    I find it a bit odd to emphasize so heavily on the importance of communication, but then use a so blame-heavy idea of it that puts the responsibility entirely on one person.

    Communication requires not only clarity, but also good faith and an effort at mutual trust. Without those, initial clear communication inevitably decays into passive-aggressive sniping and an unwillingness to work past any mistakes that will inevitably happen.

    In that regard, the Gazebo story is actually a great example of a group dealing with miscommunication in a healthy way. The realize their mistakes and laugh it off.

    That's my experience, anyways.
    Agreed. I also see the Gazebo story as a cautionary tale about how miscommunication can happen and spiral out of control if not addressed (the actual group then realized their mistakes and laughed it off). If it is a cautionary tale, then what is the takeaway? The theme was miscommunications can happen. The takeaway is how can I, the reader, recognize and address similar miscommunications when I come across them. In that regard it can be reasonable for the reader to place the responsibility entirely on themselves, but placing it entirely on one of the characters instead is missing the point.

  12. - Top - End - #72
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    Default Re: The Gazebo Problem

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    I agree about the GM's role and their control over the information flow, but I don't think it can fairly be called a firm absolute. Game long enough, and you'll encounter that player who seems deliberately determined to not understand, to misinterpret, to eat up as much time as possible with "but you said" and "then I don't do that" and generally using a veneer of not getting it to avoid the consequences of their decisions, of bad dice rolls, of not paying attention, etc.

    And even setting that aside, the player is allowed to ask for clarification, and players are allowed to point things out to each other... basic communication can't be all on one person's shoulders.
    If none of you know me IRL, then I am 100% responsible for painting pictures of my worlds & my characters, as literally no one else on the boards could do so.

    Similarly, assuming no mind readers are present, only the GM knows what is in their head, which is the mental model / the version of in-game reality by which the GM will adjudicate the results of the characters' actions. Only the GM is capable of explaining the state of that model; thus, the GM is 100% responsible for doing so.

    This brings up two points.

    One, as has already been said, just because the GM is 100% responsible for this, does not mean that other people cannot be responsible as well.

    Two, if the GM *has* successfully communicated that state to someone else, a) they are also responsible for disseminating that information; b) that has no bearing - in either direction - on whether the GM has done their job. That is, if I say something, and *you* get it, that is not an indicator of whether or not I am at fault if someone else does not.

    Quote Originally Posted by Segev View Post
    The concept of stopping to ask the player, "What do you see this resulting in?" is a very important one. And you have to do it right, so you don't sound like you're saying, "This is a bad idea and you should think about why it's a bad idea." You really do need to be asking them to explain what it is they think will result.

    Only then can you even start to ask the right questions to understand what they think the situation is, because you'll have a clue as to what it is they've got wrong about the scene as you envision it that makes what they think will happen make sense when it doesn't fit with what you're picturing.

    This doesn't mean "always say 'yes'" or "always say 'no,'" but to try to open the door to more closely connect on what is really happening.
    Quote Originally Posted by kyoryu View Post
    Burning Wheel calls that "Intent and Task" and it's an incredibly useful tool. "What are you trying to accomplish, and how are you going to do that?"

    In some cases the intent is obvious, but it's generally a good hting.
    I'm… a bit dubious here.

    If I've got a character being chased by a squad of orcs with an "in formation" bonus, and said character "throws a 55-gallon drum of oil" into the middle of them / causes a stack of oil flasks to topple towards them / whatever, before darting in a different direction / behind cover / whatever, I expect certain logical consequences to happen, regardless of my intent. For example,

    The orcs may keep formation, or may scatter.

    If the orcs break formation, they temporarily lose their "in formation" bonus.

    The container(s) has a chance of striking one or more orcs - this chance is probably higher if the orcs do not scatter.

    If struck (especially by a drum) the orcs may take damage.

    The orcs will likely be momentarily distracted, increasing the odds of my character losing them (granted, these might not be *good* odds).

    The container(s) may break.

    If the container(s) break, the area, and likely the orcs, will be "covered" in oil.

    If the area is covered in oil (and/or debris), it will be more difficult terrain.

    If the area is covered in oil (and debris), it will be more flammable.

    If the orcs are covered in oil, they will be more flammable.

    If any orcs are covered in debris, they may be slowed, or even pinned.

    This will make noise.

    The noise may alert nearby beings.

    My character is taking one "simple" action (in 3e parlance "standard action throw/topple oil thingy; move action move out of LoS; free action hide at -20 penalty or something (realistically, 'not having LoS, orcs have to guess which way(s) I turned after they lost LoS, and *may* even need to roll to spot/recognize me again if they regain LoS, depending on the circumstances')").

    My expectation is for this action to have logical consequences, regardless of my intent. Or, rather, my *intent* is for my action to have logical consequences. And I have a preference for GMs (and systems) that look at that scenario, and output some *somewhat reasonable* results to my actions on a regular basis.

    For example, if the *most likely* result of this action was, "one or more orcs fall madly in love with your PC", or that action could, by game physics, only ever have *one* result (orcs break formation, orcs take damage, orcs get "converted in oil" condition, area gets "covered in oil" condition, area gets "difficult terrain" status, orcs fall further behind PC in "chase" status, orc(s) get knocked down, orc(s) get pinned, orcs lose LoS to PC, PC successfully eludes pursuit, other PCs alerted to situation, other orcs alerted to situation, NPC police alerted to situation, other NPC group alerted to situation or oil gets removed from terrain features), let alone if I have to telegraph my *actual* inherent ahead of time, forcing everyone into a metagaming state, rather than a "what is he up to?" state? Hard pass.

    So, while I get that, if the GM is stuck looking at some system's "chase" mechanics (you know, for systems that actually have such things), they may want to ask, "was that a 'create distraction and escape notice' move, or an 'attempt to widen distance by creating obstacle' move, my response is, "no, it's a 'hurl drum of oil' move, which should have a (likely lesser) chance at *both* of those, *and* several other consequences". And one (IMO wrong) answer I've seen is, "OK, d6 - 1-2, I'll call it 'hide'; 3-4, 'obstacle'; 5-6, 'attack'.")

    War games are stuck having to adhere to rules and strict moves lists. The advantage to RPGs is that they are not (which is a two-edged sword, making RPGs less "gamey" than war games).

    At least, that's my stance on the matter.
    Last edited by Quertus; 2020-09-11 at 10:21 AM.

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    Default Re: The Gazebo Problem

    @Quertus:

    I think you misunderstand the basic concept there. Declaring Task and Intent is a useful way to gauge whether gm and player are in synch on the flow of information. As a side effect, it also helps other players participate more in the actions their fellow players take. "I do X because I think the situation is Y".

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    Default Re: The Gazebo Problem

    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Credence View Post
    If you've never experienced players who try to bully the GM, then you are lucky. But throwing out actions that are very likely to get ones character killed, then badgering the GM to change things when that is the result, is bullying the GM. It's a method by which players wear down the GM to the point that they know that if things don't go the way the players (or, more often, one particular player) want, they will get complaints about how they are unfair and mean and a bad GM, and eventually the GM stops arguing and lets the player effectively be the GM.
    And the best way to counter that playstyle is clarifying the situation, laying out the consequences ("Crossing that chasm is a DC25 jump check. If you miss, you die. Do you still jump?"), and, more importantly sticking to them is one of the best ways to deal with this kind of player. And it just so happens it's ALSO the best way to deal with real miscommunication problems. ^^

    Although the best way to deal with a bully is to never invite them back to your game. If a GM suspects a player to do that kind of things, the game is already broken anyway.

    But what we're arguing against is that you seem to ascribe to vilainy what could be easily explained to miscommunication. Your example of the cliff with jagged rocks is telling. You're saying that a player who decides to make the jump probably knows it's stupid and decides to do it anyway with nefarious intents. But really, it could be a "mental image" problem.
    - The player doesn't know how fall damage work in your game. As Kyoryu said, the player could be accustomed to D&D where it's merely a minor inconvenience for a high-level character (in basic D&D, I had players jump from a 5th story window because they knew 5d6 damage wouldn't kill them, while the viper that just entered their bedroom had save-or-die venom.
    - The player doesn't have the same image in his head. You imagine the Grand Canyon, but he was looking at his inventory or simply distracted when you made the description, and in his mind it's some sort of cliff that the bad guys somehow climbed down, so his rogue will have no problem jumping from ledge to ledge to get to them, right?
    - "I splatter on the ground? Oh. Since you described jagged rocks at the bottom, I thought it was a seaside cliff. You can survive a 1000 feet dive into water, right? It's just water, after all?"
    - "Hey, I'm a ninja. In Anime, ninjas run down cliffs all the time!"

    Same thing for the hero insulting the king. RPGs are often power-fantasies for some players, so the player could do that in good faith "because Conan does that all the time", or "I thought the guy would just grumble and send us to this ****ing suicide mission, since his knights are apparently unable to get off their hairy arses" or "Isn't that guy a warrior king? I was expecting a duel where he, or his best knight, would show off" or simply "Hey, we do it all the time in Bob's laid back campaigns! I didn't thing you would get all dark-and-gritty in yours". Maybe some of those sound stupid to you, but they don't sound stupid to the player, because the fiction happening in his head is a different one from yours.

    There are plenty of ways a player can do some stuff that sounds really, REALLY stupid. Doesn't mean he wants to mess with you. He could simply be picturing a different story.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    And even when there isn't miscommunication it's a very useful tool.
    100%, and I should have been more clear about that.

    Hell, the game I run the most is Fate, and while it's not spelled out well in the rules "Intent" determines the action taken, while "Task" determines the skill used in that game.

    Quote Originally Posted by Theoboldi View Post
    I find it a bit odd to emphasize so heavily on the importance of communication, but then use a so blame-heavy idea of it that puts the responsibility entirely on one person.
    At first glance, I get that, and definitely the player bears some responsibility. But the GM has the advantage of having the authoritative vision of what happens, and so conveying that is their onus, primarily.

    Let's look at the "jumping off of the cliff" example.

    PLayer: "I jump off of the cliff" (presuming D&D falling damage rules)
    GM: "You go splat" (presuming logical outcomes apply)

    In that scenario, the players has no opportunity to clarify, unless they ask clarification before every action. Since the flow of information is player request->GM adjudication->result conveyed (in any system where there is room for GM adjudication which is every RPG I know of), then the proper place for that clarification is on receipt of the intent, before the adjudication. That's when we find out that there's a mismatch, and since the GM's assumptions have the value of being inherently true, that's where the correction needs to exist.

    Quote Originally Posted by Theoboldi View Post
    Communication requires not only clarity, but also good faith and an effort at mutual trust. Without those, initial clear communication inevitably decays into passive-aggressive sniping and an unwillingness to work past any mistakes that will inevitably happen.
    For sure! And a big part of what I'm saying is trust the players. Trust that they're not dumb, and when something seems wonky, clarify rather than apply the worst consequences.

    Quote Originally Posted by Theoboldi View Post
    In that regard, the Gazebo story is actually a great example of a group dealing with miscommunication in a healthy way. The realize their mistakes and laugh it off.

    That's my experience, anyways.
    It is. And it's an amusing story because, really, there was no fallout from it - no real damage (I'm sure they walked back the "your character was eaten" bit), just miscommunication and some arrows that flew.

    "Laugh it off" doesn't work as well when there are actual negative consequences.

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    I'm… a bit dubious here.

    If I've got a character being chased by a squad of orcs with an "in formation" bonus, and said character "throws a 55-gallon drum of oil" into the middle of them / causes a stack of oil flasks to topple towards them / whatever, before darting in a different direction / behind cover / whatever, I expect certain logical consequences to happen, regardless of my intent. For example,
    Sure, and all of those things can still happen? Stating intent is not a contract. Your intent here is "to cause a distraction or obstacle, maybe hurt them if possible".

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    My expectation is for this action to have logical consequences, regardless of my intent. Or, rather, my *intent* is for my action to have logical consequences. And I have a preference for GMs (and systems) that look at that scenario, and output some *somewhat reasonable* results to my actions on a regular basis.
    Of course. And "I do this, what happens" works fairly well in a lot of cases where the action is like shooting an arrow - it's prep, the actual action, and then wait for result But the point is that often actions aren't very atomic - they represent some period of time (1-6 seconds) and a bunch of stuff done in that time frame, and a bunch of micro decisions. Wrestling, for instance, swordfighting, etc. If I'm charging someone near a cliff, and my goal is to tackle them to the ground, I'm going to do a lot of things differently than if my intent is to knock them off of the cliff. And that's all inherent in the action, and it would be a mismatch for the GM to do the wrong one, because that's a result the character has a lot of control over.

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    For example, if the *most likely* result of this action was, "one or more orcs fall madly in love with your PC"
    Why would that be a result? That doesn't make any sense. The point is not that the player dictates the result, regardless of how insane it is. The point is that you're clear in communication so that the GM can adjudicate properly.

    And if the player thinks that that is a possible result for whatever reason, and the GM thinks that it's not, this is a great time to clarify that misconception.

    Example: In a one-shot I played, I was a swashbuckling space pirate guy or something. I commandeered the ship's comms on a ship we were doing something on, and tried to get the crew to mutiny. The GM told me flat out that that wouldn't work, but I could cause some amount of distraction by it (in a longer game, maybe i could have done more things to eventually start a rebellion? Who knows).

    But by clarifying the possiblities, it ensured that we were on the same page, especially since my character would likely know that the enemy troops would generally be too disciplined to mutiny from a short message like that!

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    or that action could, by game physics, only ever have *one* result
    Again, it's communication, not contract, except to the extent that, to the extent the character has control, they should get some form of what they want. In the cliff example, for instance, if you're trying to tackle the orc, a critical success should result in the orc being tackled, not knocked over the cliff.

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    War games are stuck having to adhere to rules and strict moves lists. The advantage to RPGs is that they are not (which is a two-edged sword, making RPGs less "gamey" than war games).

    At least, that's my stance on the matter.
    This has nothing to do with that. The point is not that you specify exactly and precisely what will happen. The point is that you ensure clarity with the GM to ensure that they can properly adjudicate the action.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kardwill View Post
    And the best way to counter that playstyle is clarifying the situation, laying out the consequences ("Crossing that chasm is a DC25 jump check. If you miss, you die. Do you still jump?"), and, more importantly sticking to them is one of the best ways to deal with this kind of player. And it just so happens it's ALSO the best way to deal with real miscommunication problems. ^^

    Although the best way to deal with a bully is to never invite them back to your game. If a GM suspects a player to do that kind of things, the game is already broken anyway.
    100%. All of this. The best way to deal with that kind of ****ty behavior is to deal with it honestly, and directly, and in a straightforward way. IOW, pretend it's not crappy behavior, and let people deal with the actual consequences. If someone wants to do the thing you've said will result in death to "bully" you, then let them deal with a dead character, if you made sure they knew of the consequences.

    And actual bullying behavior (which is rare)? Kick them out.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kardwill View Post
    But what we're arguing against is that you seem to ascribe to vilainy what could be easily explained to miscommunication. Your example of the cliff with jagged rocks is telling. You're saying that a player who decides to make the jump probably knows it's stupid and decides to do it anyway with nefarious intents. But really, it could be a "mental image" problem.
    If you start with the presumption "players don't want their characters to die", then any action which would likely or be guaranteed to result in player death is either a result of stupidity or miscommunication.

    If you presume people aren't stupid, that leaves miscommunication.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kardwill View Post
    Same thing for the hero insulting the king. RPGs are often power-fantasies for some players, so the player could do that in good faith "because Conan does that all the time", or "I thought the guy would just grumble and send us to this ****ing suicide mission, since his knights are apparently unable to get off their hairy arses" or "Isn't that guy a warrior king? I was expecting a duel where he, or his best knight, would show off" or simply "Hey, we do it all the time in Bob's laid back campaigns! I didn't thing you would get all dark-and-gritty in yours". Maybe some of those sound stupid to you, but they don't sound stupid to the player, because the fiction happening in his head is a different one from yours.

    There are plenty of ways a player can do some stuff that sounds really, REALLY stupid. Doesn't mean he wants to mess with you. He could simply be picturing a different story.
    Better examples than I came up with, thank you.

    Presume miscommunication or mismatched assumptions, rather than stupidity or malice. Because even in cases where there is stupidity or malice, clearing up the miscommunication/assumption problem is usually a smart way to go, and since you don't actually know what the issue is, taking the path of presuming miscommunication/assumption mismatch prevents a situation that isn't already negative from blowing up.
    Last edited by kyoryu; 2020-09-11 at 10:13 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kyoryu View Post
    At first glance, I get that, and definitely the player bears some responsibility. But the GM has the advantage of having the authoritative vision of what happens, and so conveying that is their onus, primarily.

    Let's look at the "jumping off of the cliff" example.

    PLayer: "I jump off of the cliff" (presuming D&D falling damage rules)
    GM: "You go splat" (presuming logical outcomes apply)

    In that scenario, the players has no opportunity to clarify, unless they ask clarification before every action. Since the flow of information is player request->GM adjudication->result conveyed (in any system where there is room for GM adjudication which is every RPG I know of), then the proper place for that clarification is on receipt of the intent, before the adjudication. That's when we find out that there's a mismatch, and since the GM's assumptions have the value of being inherently true, that's where the correction needs to exist.



    For sure! And a big part of what I'm saying is trust the players. Trust that they're not dumb, and when something seems wonky, clarify rather than apply the worst consequences.



    It is. And it's an amusing story because, really, there was no fallout from it - no real damage (I'm sure they walked back the "your character was eaten" bit), just miscommunication and some arrows that flew.

    "Laugh it off" doesn't work as well when there are actual negative consequences.
    I'm going to argue that if a misunderstanding as inconsequential as this has negative consequences, then there are bigger problems than bad communication.

    You're also leaving out the possibility of a GM honestly misinterpreting a player's intention or understanding, rather than them just lacking information. A GM is not a perfect machine, they are as much people as the players, and they probably have no particular qualifications for their position of authority other than wanting to do it. (Or, in many cases, being the only one willing to do it.).

    Sure, it's important for a GM to try and be clear and ask for communication where necessary, but it is not healthy to a group's climate to expect them to have the biggest eye on it. Rather, I think a group should be in the mindset that such misunderstandings are not anybody's fault, that everyone should work together to avoid them, and that they can be retconned if they happen in play because the trust is there that nobody will abuse the other's goodwill.

    It's not something you can ensure in, let's say, a convention game, but certainly for a group that intends to stay together for any prolonged time I would encourage it. Even if they are strangers. Roleplaying is an intrinsically trust-based hobby.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ezekielraiden View Post
    You don't win people over by beating them with facts until they surrender; at best all you've got is a conversion under duress, and at worst you've actively made an enemy of your position.

    You don't convince by proving someone wrong. You convince by showing them a better way to be right. The difference may seem subtle or semantic, but I assure you it matters a lot.

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    Default Re: The Gazebo Problem

    Honestly if I saw a gazebo and that it was dnd I would assume that like 100% of the things that are "non living" that it it an undead mimic.
    People walk on mimics, wear mimics, use mimics and live in mimics all while being doppelgangers unless they are the player characters.

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    Quote Originally Posted by noob View Post
    Honestly if I saw a gazebo and that it was dnd I would assume that like 100% of the things that are "non living" that it it an undead mimic.
    People walk on mimics, wear mimics, use mimics and live in mimics all while being doppelgangers unless they are the player characters.
    In a campaign I am running the PCs unintentionally let a mimic escape out into the wild. Just recently they came across a gazebo in a city. It was not a mimic.
    Last edited by OldTrees1; 2020-09-11 at 10:39 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kyoryu View Post
    Sure, and all of those things can still happen? Stating intent is not a contract. Your intent here is "to cause a distraction or obstacle, maybe hurt them if possible".

    Why would that be a result? That doesn't make any sense. The point is not that the player dictates the result, regardless of how insane it is. The point is that you're clear in communication so that the GM can adjudicate properly.

    And if the player thinks that that is a possible result for whatever reason, and the GM thinks that it's not, this is a great time to clarify that misconception.

    Example: In a one-shot I played, I was a swashbuckling space pirate guy or something. I commandeered the ship's comms on a ship we were doing something on, and tried to get the crew to mutiny. The GM told me flat out that that wouldn't work, but I could cause some amount of distraction by it (in a longer game, maybe i could have done more things to eventually start a rebellion? Who knows).

    But by clarifying the possiblities, it ensured that we were on the same page, especially since my character would likely know that the enemy troops would generally be too disciplined to mutiny from a short message like that!



    Again, it's communication, not contract, except to the extent that, to the extent the character has control, they should get some form of what they want. In the cliff example, for instance, if you're trying to tackle the orc, a critical success should result in the orc being tackled, not knocked over the cliff.



    This has nothing to do with that. The point is not that you specify exactly and precisely what will happen. The point is that you ensure clarity with the GM to ensure that they can properly adjudicate the action.
    I lost a much longer reply :(

    The quick of it is, "falls madly in love" is a reference to a (samurai?) game I've never played, but heard that was a common result.

    It's great that you can declare, "to cause a distraction or obstacle, maybe hurt them if possible".

    Do you think it likely that that is sufficient syncing to make it likely that it could also have the "cover the orcs in oil, learn how they move, learn about their psychology/motives, make them (temporarily) lose their 'in formation' bonus, make them have to roll to ID me if they lose LoS and spot me again, and attract attention"?

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    Default Re: The Gazebo Problem

    @Quertus:

    No, it is not an excuse to meta game.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Florian View Post
    @Quertus:

    No, it is not an excuse to meta game.
    You've lost me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    You've lost me.
    Action and Intent is: "I do X because I think the situation is Y and my action will cause Z".

    "I try to smite the Gazebo because it seems to be threatening me and I want to be the first to move!".

    The answer is either:
    A) Roll initiative
    B) "Look, a gazebo is just a fancy world for a special form of Pavillon"

    What you seem to try is to fold a lot of individual actions into one and have that greenligted by the GM.

    - Stealth to stay hidden and observe the situation
    - Profession: Soldier or something similar to gauge that there is a formation
    - Basic attack roll to launch the barrel
    - Stealth to retreat under cover

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    Default Re: The Gazebo Problem

    Yeah, the purpose of asking what the player hopes the result to be is simply to see if you, as GM, think there is any way the character would reasonably expect that to be the result.

    For example, last session, I described how there was a seam in the floor, wall, and ceiling going all the way around a tunnel. The players started getting very excited and asked me for more details, describing how they studied it and looked for any clues in it.

    It turned out they’d heard “scene,” rather than “seam.”

    Now, this wasn’t a life or death thing, but when I realized they were becoming annoyed that I wasn’t describing something more despite me having described all there was to see, we stopped and discussed what they were looking for and what they hoped to find and I realized they thought there was some sort of mural.

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    Default Re: The Gazebo Problem

    Had a similar experience.

    I thought I made it clear that the characters were with the coroner looking at two murder victims, both drowned in the river, found at the harbor by dockworkers.

    Player of mine constantly tried spells to contact the water spirits and grew more and more agitated when I told her either that there were non present or the few that answered seemed to be old and stagnant.

    Had she plainly told me "I want to use that spell to contact the river spirits to tell me something about the murder", then the situation would have cleared up.
    - She thought they were at the river, not at the coroner.
    - I thought she meant talking to the water that clings to the corpses.

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    Default Re: The Gazebo Problem

    That tends to be my reaction when somebody wants to do something that i cant immediately see a benefit for. My current group are a bunch of loonies, so frequently they really are just trying something weird and nonsensical, but occasionally it does actually catch a misunderstanding of either a spell (its almost always a spell) or the scenario at hand. They frequently accomplish what they want to in the end, its just rarely as helpful as they were thinking.
    Last edited by Keltest; 2020-09-13 at 02:29 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Florian View Post
    Action and Intent is: "I do X because I think the situation is Y and my action will cause Z".

    "I try to smite the Gazebo because it seems to be threatening me and I want to be the first to move!".

    The answer is either:
    A) Roll initiative
    B) "Look, a gazebo is just a fancy world for a special form of Pavillon"

    What you seem to try is to fold a lot of individual actions into one and have that greenligted by the GM.

    - Stealth to stay hidden and observe the situation
    - Profession: Soldier or something similar to gauge that there is a formation
    - Basic attack roll to launch the barrel
    - Stealth to retreat under cover
    Surely you've seen monies where someone (like James Bond) is being chased, and they upend something? Same thing, just (if it's oil drums) with beyond human strength involved.

    So, "I'm toppling the oil drums while I continue running for/behind cover… because the 'in formation' orcs are still chasing me… and my action *may* cause the orcs to break formation, the orcs to take damage, the orcs to be pinned, the path to become difficult terrain, the path to become blocked, the orcs to take distraction penalties to keep LoS, the oil drums to break, and a great amount of noise… which in turn may give me bonuses in the chase (increased distance from pursuer, increased odds of eluding them altogether), reduce the orcs' 'in formation' bonuses, give me first-hand experience with the orcs psychology and capabilities*, draw attention to the chase, and increase the odds that the orcs change tactics".

    In what way does this sound to you like more than one action + the logical consequences thereof?

    * this is partially system dependent - if you aren't considered automatically "looking in all directions at once", it doubtless involves a huge "glancing over shoulder" penalty. But, even so, I expect I'll know if the "orcs", say, fly or "hulk leap" over the barrels, or phase through the barrels, or just *let* the barrels hit them (LotR style), or perform some other gross physical "lol what" maneuver.
    Last edited by Quertus; 2020-09-13 at 02:48 PM.

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    Default Re: The Gazebo Problem

    Whether or not Intent + Task would allow for that variety of results is entirely dependent on whether or not the system in place allows for that. It's pretty much completely orthogonal.

    It's about clarifying what you're doing, not how the action itself is resolved, with the exception that the GM should take the intent into account when resolving the action to ensure that "success" actually means some level of success.

    If the system allows you to do all of those things, then Intent + Task wouldn't get in the way of that. If the system doesn't allow for it, then Intent + Task doesn't. It's that simple.
    Last edited by kyoryu; 2020-09-13 at 08:13 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Florian View Post
    Had a similar experience.

    I thought I made it clear that the characters were with the coroner looking at two murder victims, both drowned in the river, found at the harbor by dockworkers.

    Player of mine constantly tried spells to contact the water spirits and grew more and more agitated when I told her either that there were non present or the few that answered seemed to be old and stagnant.

    Had she plainly told me "I want to use that spell to contact the river spirits to tell me something about the murder", then the situation would have cleared up.
    - She thought they were at the river, not at the coroner.
    - I thought she meant talking to the water that clings to the corpses.
    This is a great example. The real question is: what did you do upon learning she thought she was at the river, or was she the one that finally realized she wasn't?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    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".
    Let me tell you a little story that happened to me one fine evening. It's a true story and, although it didn't happen while playing D&D, I'm sure you'll see how it goes to show how not all "Gazebo Problems" are the fault of the GM.

    I work in a print shop (get all my printing for free, yo!). One evening, while at work, a young lady came in to have some fliers printed. Apparently there was some new law or ordinance that was pending and she was doing the leg work for a group at the local college that had something to say about it. Anyway, after printing her fliers, while ringing her up, I asked if she was going to be putting the fliers up on the columns around the campus (seeing if she needed to buy tape to hang them/make an extra sale):

    Me: So, are you going to be hanging these on the columns around campus?
    Her: What's a column?
    Me: ??? You know...columns...the things that hold up ceilings?
    Her: No...what's a column?
    Me: (pointing to the column in the middle of the store) Those things, right there. They hold up the ceiling in a large room?
    Her: (looking right at the frikkin column) No? What's a column?
    Me: They also hold up pavilions at the part?
    Her: What's a pavilion?
    Me: Your total will be $X.xx, have a nice day!

    Now some of you might think she was trolling me, but no...she honestly had no clue what a column or a pavilion was. And she was in college.

    Then there was the time a friend of mine mixed up the word Brassiere (pronounced Bra-Zir), and Brasier (pronounced Bra-zer). For a moment we all thought we had found the Temple of Militant Feminists lit by big piles of burning bra's.

    Depending on the region that a person comes from, they will have different linguistic references. You may say "Soda" and someone else will call it "pop". Both are correct, but the person using "soda" may never have heard of "pop" (or Soda-pop), and become confused. Everyone assumes that everyone else has the same frame of reference that they do, and use the same labels for things that they do.

    I take the Gazebo story with a HUGE helping of salt. Even the dumb girl from my first example stopped to ask what a column was. I can't imagine Eric not stopping to ask what a gazebo was.
    "Sleeping late might not be a virtue, but it sure aint no vice. The old saw about the early bird and the worm just goes to show that the worm should have stayed in bed."

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    Default Re: The Gazebo Problem

    Quote Originally Posted by Mutazoia View Post
    Then there was the time a friend of mine mixed up the word Brassiere (pronounced Bra-Zir), and Brasier (pronounced Bra-zer). For a moment we all thought we had found the Temple of Militant Feminists lit by big piles of burning bra's.
    The correct pronunciation is Bruh-zeer vs Bray-zi-er. Also it's spelled Brazier.

    Unless, you know, you're not American.

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