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Handling conflicting play styles


Gamer Talk


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

GM: The eldritch knight swings his enchanted sword at you, 32 to hit.

PC: As an immediate action my hexcrafter magus activates his spell shield ability, raising my AC from 30 to 38, causing him to miss. In an eery witch's voice, my character taunts the knight, "You cannot hope to bypass my wards with a mere bauble such as that." On my turn I hold my ground, appearing as though I am merely playing with him, and make an intimidate check to demoralize him.

(Fails intimidate roll.)

GM: Seeing that his physical attacks cannot penetrate your defenses, but remaining undeterred, the dark knight takes a different approach, giving himself some distance with a 5-foot step and begins an assault on your mind with dominate person, which you readily identify due to your high Spellcraft modifier. "If I cannot cut your body, perhaps I can bend your mind, witch!"

PC: I let him finish casting the spell, continuing to taunt him without apparent fear or concern. Perhaps I can use it against him. As an immediate action I activate my reflection ability and turn it against him, laughing all the while.

(Neither character dominates the other.)

I continue to stand my ground; again I'll try to demoralize my foe. "With all that you have, with all that you are, you have no hope of besting me, Sir Knight."

(Succeeds at Intimidate check.)

GM: Growing concerned that his most powerful attacks and spells seem to have little effect against you, the eldritch knight begins to show signs of panic, throwing a fireball at you in his growing desperation.

(Player passes his save and takes 22 damage.)

PC: Appearing completely unharmed by the blast, I charge the coward and attack with my heavy pick, using spell strike to hit him hard with a bestow cur...

GM: What do you mean unharmed? You just took 22 damage, Joe!

Joe: I know that, Steve, but it doesn't make any difference at all until I'm at -1 hit points. Hit points are all abstracted you know.

Steve: No it isn't, you're looking quite scorched.

Joe: But I have over 150 hit points left, I'm not even winded yet! It's all flavor and description anyways, what's the problem?

Steve: No it's not, it's mechanics. You're injured, burnt and bleeding, and you have no right to say otherwise.

Joe: No right? It's my character! The only thing you can't control after character creation. Why can't my hit points represent "magical wards and barriers" protecting her until they ultimately collapse, finally letting something through to do real damage at -1 and lower hit points?

(An escalating shouting match ensues.)

...

Obviously, Steve and Joe above have differing play styles. Neither one of them is necessarily wrong on the issue, and yet, a schism has suddenly developed, threatening to ruin both their fun and putting a stop to the previously smooth flow of the solo adventure they had both fabricated together.

How do you go about resolving a situation such as this one? What would you do as a player when a play style conflict arises suddenly, unexpectedly, where no one is truly wrong? What would you do as a GM? Would you let your players have the game they want, or would you put your foot down? Do you feel any more inclined to agree with Steve's stance than Joe, or vice versa? How do you smooth out the ripples, making this schism into a small speed bump?

Any advice on the matter could be most helpful.


I don't know about your question, but I'd be more concerned about a player thinking he can active a defense after already being hit.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Spes Magna Mark wrote:
I don't know about your question, but I'd be more concerned about a player thinking he can active a defense after already being hit.

Atthe risk of creating another example: How else would you handle an immediate action? Most GMs (that I'm aware of) like to keep play flowing smoothly and quickly, rarely asking players if they have an immediate action they want to spend after every single NPC action's declaration.

You kinda have to backpedal a little with most immediate action abilities, or else play suffers.


Like this:

GM: The eldritch knight swings mightily --

Player: I used an immediate action to boost my AC.

GM: -- and he misses thanks to your quick thinking.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

it's an immediate action in the game, not in real life. The game isn't about my reaction speeds.


Man, that's some epic narrative RD. If that's how your games actually go, that sounds awesome (except for the shouting match at the end).

Grand Lodge

As far as the play style goes it's sort of a moot point. By the rules the player is right, until he reaches 0 HP he isn't technically affected in any way. However as the GM it's at your discretion what happens to the players and if you say "You roll out of the center of the fireball, but the flames still leave your flesh black and cracked in various places." it's TS for him.

This is one thing D&D in general is lacking, a penalty for taking heavy damage. In 4th it got worse, some people got a lot better when they were half dead...for some reason. It's one of the things I enjoy about the Legend of the Five Rings system in which wounds result in a penalty to all actions. It's harder to swing your sword with a big wound across your shoulder, for example.

But in the end it is your call, not the players. It's fluff, and doesn't really matter, but if you want him to be burnt and he took fire damage than he's definitely burnt.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Quite right, Cheapy.

In your example, Spes Magna Mark, the player just wasted his ability before he even knows precisely who the eldritch knight is swinging at.

In any case, some abilities out right REQUIRE metagame backpedaling. Take the above reflection ability, for example. You can't use it until after the spell is declared, cast, and identified in order to even know how many arcane pool points to spend on it.

Though another good example of the type of play style conflict that might arise, I'd like to keep to the main topic.


I'm with Spes - an immediate action doesn't allow you to respond to things that have already happened. (Does it? Unless an ability specifically allows you to see what a die roll is and do something about it (e.g. improved iron will), I would most definitely say that it doesn't).

However, I don't think the two people above do have conflicting styles of play. They're both dead into the descriptive role playing aspect of combat and I heartily applaud the effort they're making, they just have a difference of opinion on the nature of hit points. I would tend to agree with Joe, less than 20% of your hits is more-or-less unharmed (it's one hit point of damage to an 8 hit point character equal to the splash damage from alchemist's fire), but as Joe my response would be "ok then, apparently unphased by the smouldering of some of my garments I charge the coward etc." As Steve it would be "phh, whatever, roll to hit - the Knight takes a half pace back, startled by the ferocity of your assault after the fierce burns his fiery assault did you"

Taldor

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Its all about compromise and having fun together. If the GM and player cant come to some agreement on common ground then its time to move on. Its that simple.


The thing about the immediate reaction is that the GM apparently announced the attack roll result before the player announced his use of an immediate action.

That's giving the player a chance to metagame. "Oh, well, a 28 won't hit, so I won't have to use an immediate action." vs "Oops, that 32 will hit, so I'll use an immediate action."

The GM should say something like "The knight swings a mighty blow, his eyes light up with satisfaction as the sword descends.... OK, you gonna do anything about that?"

The issue here that Dork wants to address though is how hit point damage is represented in game terms.

This is a GM call, but the GM should set the ground rules before a situation like this comes up.

However, without any doubt whatsoever, the player, as represented here, is being a pain for no purpose I can discern other than to be a pain. Whether the hit point damage results on bleeding cuts on the PC or not, there is no doubt that there would be some visual evidence of the fireball having reached and affected the PC.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Adamantine Dragon wrote:

The thing about the immediate reaction is that the GM apparently announced the attack roll result before the player announced his use of an immediate action.

That's giving the player a chance to metagame. "Oh, well, a 28 won't hit, so I won't have to use an immediate action." vs "Oops, that 32 will hit, so I'll use an immediate action."

The GM should say something like "The knight swings a mighty blow, his eyes light up with satisfaction as the sword descends.... OK, you gonna do anything about that?"

If a GM asked that every single time an NPC did something, the other players would soon get less than patient with either the GM or the player making heavy use of immediate actions. Thank you for showing a perfect example of how that would slow down play, by the way.

I find the closest things GMs do to what Spes Magna Mark describes is as follows:

Joe, the eldritch knight attacks you with his enchanted sword. *pause* (rolls dice) *pause* and gets a +32 to hit your AC.

In my experience, however, GMs don't do that most of the time. They roll the dice, declare who is being targeted and by what, and call out the number, all more or less simultaneously. It's called being quick and efficient. Pretty common practice I understand--and hardly metagaming. Metagaming requires deliberate intent on the part of the alleged metagamer.

Adamantine Dragon wrote:
Whether the hit point damage results on bleeding cuts on the PC or not, there is no doubt that there would be some visual evidence of the fireball having reached and affected the PC.

Unless the PCs hit points represent his magical strength protecting him from real harm, just as one might describe a fighter having rolled away from that "battleaxe to the face." ;P


Dork, I almost never say what my roll is as a GM. I make it a point to know my party's AC values and I just say "That's a hit."

If a player wanted to say "wait, I used my immediate action to increase my AC!" I might allow it. But then I would just say "OK, with that adjustment the attack is still a hit." Or "That adjustment was just enough to avoid taking a nasty whack from the knight's sword."

I don't give the players info they need to metagame use of powers.

And whether the hit points represent real harm or not, I'm more than justified as the GM to say "your armor is smoking and your eyebrows are a little singed." And if a player wants to argue that, we'd have a nice little chat about game play after the session.

Grand Lodge

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God, that's so typical of Steve. Leave it alone Steve. What happens next!?!


Adamantine Dragon wrote:


That's giving the player a chance to metagame. "Oh, well, a 28 won't hit, so I won't have to use an immediate action." vs "Oops, that 32 will hit, so I'll use an immediate action."

...

Marrowgarth

Dork, I almost never say what my roll is as a GM. I make it a point to know my party's AC values and I just say "That's a hit."

And...the DM is not getting metagame knowledge for the NPCs? Yes, he's the DM, but the DM can still use that knowledge, making fights tougher for players based mostly on the fact that the NPCs know what the player's stats are and the Players don't know the reverse.

You're basically saying that the player shouldn't be able to use his (probably limited) defense spell/ability when he knows he needs it. Instead he has to "guess" whether or not A) He even needs to use it, and B) If he does, will the attack hit anyway?

Imo the game takes into account that players will be able to know before hand if their block will be effective, so they get limited uses.


The GM has to metagame. But this is not an example of it. This is just adjudicating an attack.

In 4e there are specific powers that allow the player to choose to apply a power AFTER they know that an attack would hit. In Pathfinder that's not the case.

What I'm saying is that the player needs to use the power as defined. That means he has to decide before the attack is resolved. Yes, that means he has to take a risk. That's how it goes.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Adamantine Dragon wrote:

Dork, I almost never say what my roll is as a GM. I make it a point to know my party's AC values and I just say "That's a hit."

If a player wanted to say "wait, I used my immediate action to increase my AC!" I might allow it. But then I would just say "OK, with that adjustment the attack is still a hit." Or "That adjustment was just enough to avoid taking a nasty whack from the knight's sword."

I don't give the players info they need to metagame use of powers.

I have seen this done occasionally, and wouldn't mind it at all if the GM did this in games in which I participated in (provided he did keep very careful track of everyone's defensive values and didn't cheat his players by fudging--naturally this requires mutual trust). What WOULD get to me, is if the GM didn't allow for at least some logical backpedaling, and thus severely weakened the immediate action mechanic due to his play style choices and desire for absolute control.

Adamantine Dragon wrote:
And whether the hit points represent real harm or not, I'm more than justified as the GM to say "your armor is smoking and your eyebrows are a little singed." And if a player wants to argue that, we'd have a nice little chat about game play after the session.

I've always considered the players describing their characters and actions, and the GM describing everything else, to be perfectly normal. I've also considered it an extremely blurry line, however, with the unspoken understanding that the GM and the players together are trying to create a fun narrative. If either side gets too heavy handed with the narrative control, it can cause obvious problems.

Though I don't consider it the norm, my players have jumped in a number of times in my games to contribute to the story and/or scene. More often than not, I find the experience is improved by rolling with it. For example, on describing a demonic incursion into their town, I told the players they saw a window shatter in a nearby building. As they turned to see what was happening, a man appeared by the window, struggling to pull an imp off of the top of his head. The imp's barbed tail stung the man in the eye, killing him.

One of the players suddenly screamed out "Jameson! No!" A moment later, said player's character charged "Jameson's" murderer in a blood frenzy while cursing the imp for slaying his longtime childhood friend, the town's favored gardener.

Though I would have overruled his declaration had I another idea in mind for the NPC, it was only meant to enhance the scene and icnrease the tension. However, due to the player's contribution (by simply giving him a name!) the encounter suddenly became much more memorable, one which still gets referenced from time to time. Other players picked up on it as well, spontaneously naming other, otherwise nameless NPCs, and charging new fiends while saying things like "For Jameson and all the fallen of Landintown!"

I find that by not being an overly controlling d~*$*ead GM, and allowing them their little freedoms, our game is much improved as a result.


RD, I also find that not being an overly controlling d+@@*ead GM improves play.

This is not an example of a GM being an overly controlling d#*#+ead. This is an example of a GM describing action in a completely reasonable and logical way.

If the player wants to jump in and add something, that's fine. But for the player to demand that a fireball that did 22 damage to his character has no visible consequence that the caster could determine...

That's not a player "contributing to the narrative." That's a player being a controlling d%%&&ead.

As far as logical backpedaling is concerned. "That's a hit." "No! I use my immediate action." "OK, it's still a hit" is exactly that. Logical backpedaling.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Adamantine Dragon wrote:

If the player wants to jump in and add something, that's fine. But for the player to demand that a fireball that did 22 damage to his character has no visible consequence that the caster could determine...

That's not a player "contributing to the narrative." That's a player being a controlling d#~#%ead.

In this particular case, I'm inclined to agree. I believe a player saying that his spellcaster is constantly protected by abstract magical wards, and that this is represented by his hit points, is perfectly fine. However, this is best brought up at the start of the character's career, not in the middle of a combat--especially when the imposed flavor description might have an impact on how the NPC chooses to react next.


RD, that's exactly right. The way I rule on something like this is "what if it were the NPC saying that it appeared to have no effect when the PC cast a spell?"

I find it highly unlikely that this same player would be happy to be told that his damaging attacks seemed to have no effect on the target.


Adamantine Dragon wrote:


What I'm saying is that the player needs to use the power as defined. That means he has to decide before the attack is resolved. Yes, that means he has to take a risk. That's how it goes.

Where does it say that the player needs to decide before the attack is resolved?

When you use class abilities like, Duelist's parry, the intent is obviously to block/deflect attacks that would hit.

Why would a Duelist parry an attack that wouldn't hit him? He'd just let the other person miss.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Adamantine Dragon wrote:
I find it highly unlikely that this same player would be happy to be told that his damaging attacks seemed to have no effect on the target.

It certainly would get confusing, wouldn't it?

Any time an attack hits, and I tell the players there is no noticeable damage, they start assuming damage reduction, fast healing, regeneration, or some similar ability is in play.

AD, I've seen you have quite a few disagreements with people on these boards before, therefore, I assume you've had a few disagreements at your table as well.

If so, could you tell us about one that involved play style differences, and how you and the player(s) resolved it (if indeed you did)?


Ravingdork wrote:

AD, I've seen you have quite a few disagreements with people on these boards before, therefore, I assume you've had a few disagreements at your table as well.

If so, could you tell us about one that involved play style differences, and how you and the player(s) resolved it (if indeed you did)?

LOL, perhaps there is something about the sorts of people I get into disagreements with on these boards RD, but I have very, very few issues in game play, either as a GM or a player. In fact I get almost universal compliments about both my play and my GMing.

However, to be fair, whether it's gaming or politics, I tend to get into more than my share of "disagreements" on messageboards. I think it's mostly due to my tendency to be direct, straightforward and more than willing to meet aggressive rudeness with aggressive rudeness. That's something that people seem to be much more willing to do on impersonal messageboards than in real life, and I am more than willing to reciprocate in either environment. I tend to treat people as they treat me, and many people don't like that. Since people tend to treat me better in real life, I tend to treat them better as well.

As far as disagreements go, I have very few recollections of any serious disagreements that have impacted fun at the gaming table. I am a pretty firm and consistent GM, and I am more than willing to give players time to discuss what they want, but I do my best to have those discussions outside of game time.

If I had some examples that came to mind, I'd let you know. But frankly I really can't come up with anything worth discussing.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Ravingdork wrote:


Adamantine Dragon wrote:
Whether the hit point damage results on bleeding cuts on the PC or not, there is no doubt that there would be some visual evidence of the fireball having reached and affected the PC.
Unless the PCs hit points represent his magical strength protecting him from real harm, just as one might describe a fighter having rolled away from that "battleaxe to the face." ;P

I have to go with Adamantine Dragon on this one. PCs generally have feedback that their effects meet with some success or not. This is explicitly the case with damage reduction. I'd say the same holds true with spells. And should hold true for NPCs as well. That witch should look affected, but not significantly harmed, perhaps a bit of singed hair.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Quote:


Where does it say that the player needs to decide before the attack is resolved?

When you use class abilities like, Duelist's parry, the intent is obviously to block/deflect attacks that would hit.

Why would a Duelist parry an attack that wouldn't hit him? He'd just let the other person miss.

In the case of the duelist, it is explicitly called out in the text of the parry ability. The parry must be declared when the incoming attack is declared but before it is rolled.


CommandoDude wrote:
Adamantine Dragon wrote:


What I'm saying is that the player needs to use the power as defined. That means he has to decide before the attack is resolved. Yes, that means he has to take a risk. That's how it goes.

Where does it say that the player needs to decide before the attack is resolved?

When you use class abilities like, Duelist's parry, the intent is obviously to block/deflect attacks that would hit.

Why would a Duelist parry an attack that wouldn't hit him? He'd just let the other person miss.

Commando. It says so right in the Duelist parry description.

duelist's parry wrote:
The duelist must declare the use of this ability after the attack is announced, but before the roll is made.

Is that good enough for you?

sigh... ninja'd...


Ravingdork wrote:

GM: The eldritch knight swings his enchanted sword at you, 32 to hit.

Two things, neither of which really go to what you're asking..(my apologies in advance)

1. Towards immediate actions. Unless you don't mind them becoming more powerful skewing the game to become retroactive, then this is not the way to DM it.

Rather say "The Eldritch Knight swings his glowing sword at you" THEN go and roll the dice. There's an easy place here for a pause. It's here that the player speaks up to activate his shield rather than deciding based upon the roll.

You don't really want to put the player in the position of say knowing that the swing missed but also realizing that his character might have activated the ability when seeing the sword swing.

2. Dominate person is a 1 round casting time spell. It would go off at the start of the following round if not disrupted.

Like I said neither address your real issue, which is who controls the narrative. As an apology I'll try to do so a bit.

I've seen DMs take license saying 'you recoil in horror' or dictate PC emotional reactions which I find wholly inappropriate. But in this case it's the player who is taking license. Rather than 'appearing completely unharmed' he grunts and takes the damage.

He did not evade it nor is he immune to fire. The game has some expectations of what is apparent and what is not. Things like damage reduction should be visible and understandable as such.

If the DM makes a point of going off of appearances then he can lead by example and then demand the like in return. For me this actually adds to immersion.

Further the DM can explain with all honesty that he bases decisions of his NPCs on their knowledge and perception of what's around them. In the game world people do take damage, bleed and scab long before they succumb to their wounds. There is a difference from not yet falling and being unaffected by an attack.

-James


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Adamantine Dragon wrote:
CommandoDude wrote:
Adamantine Dragon wrote:


What I'm saying is that the player needs to use the power as defined. That means he has to decide before the attack is resolved. Yes, that means he has to take a risk. That's how it goes.

Where does it say that the player needs to decide before the attack is resolved?

When you use class abilities like, Duelist's parry, the intent is obviously to block/deflect attacks that would hit.

Why would a Duelist parry an attack that wouldn't hit him? He'd just let the other person miss.

Commando. It says so right in the Duelist parry description.

duelist's parry wrote:
The duelist must declare the use of this ability after the attack is announced, but before the roll is made.

Is that good enough for you?

sigh... ninja'd...

However, there are abilities that aren't so clear, and still others that are absolutely clear in the other direction (like Deflect Arrows and Crane Wing, which explicitly state you can declare their use after the success of the attack is known).


Ravingdork wrote:
However, there are abilities that aren't so clear, and still others that are absolutely clear in the other direction (like Deflect Arrows and Crane Wing, which explicitly state you can declare their use after the success of the attack is known).

If they explicitly state that they can be used after the success of the attack, then it's clear. If they don't explicitly say they can be used after the success of the attack is known, then they can't.

That's how I rule. It only takes one example at the gaming table to get this clear. On that one example I might be very generous to the player. But I'll make the ruling clear. If they don't like it, then we'll talk. Perhaps he/she can make a compelling argument, but we'll reach a decision. Generally though, in this case, if it's not explicitly allowed, then it's disallowed.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I actually rule the reverse, AD. If it's not clear, I usually rule in the player's favor. Ruling the other way risks reducing someone's fun, but this was rarely does. I guess you could say I'm a big proponent of the "Say yes" roleplaying movement. If I don't think it will tarnish someone's fun, or wholly break the game, I will generally say yes.

There are just too many GMs out there that say "no" for no better reason than to exert their authority, which is a complete waste of time and energy (and creates too much potential for ill-will) as far as I'm concerned--it should already be obvious to the players WHO AGREED TO PLAY UNDER THE GM.

james maissen wrote:
Dominate person is a 1 round casting time spell. It would go off at the start of the following round if not disrupted.

I believe I took that into account in my scenario above.

EDIT: Though it occurred to me just now that you can't charge while using spell strike. Oh well, assume the players declaration was flavorful intent, and not a mechanical declaration of action (since they were only separated by five feet anyways).


Ravingdork wrote:


I believe I took that into account in my scenario above.

Not the way you described it.

-James


RD, Ruling in "favor of the player" is not in any way a guarantee of increasing fun at the table. For one thing unless you are playing a one-on-one game of DM and player (not plural) then there are other players at the table who have some skin in the game, and favoring one player in this way is quite likely to be seen by them as reducing their fun. Especially if there is one player who seeks these sorts of advantages repeatedly. Which has been my experience as a GM.

Ruling the way I do is not an attempt to "exert my authoritay!" as Cartman might say, it's an effort to keep the game balanced.

I'm not a "big proponent of the 'say yes' roleplaying movement." I'm a big proponent of the "keep the game fair and balanced for ALL THE PLAYERS" movement. Including the GM. Ruling in a player's favor all the time does not automatically make the game more fun, in fact it runs a very real risk of removing all sense of challenge for the players.

I rule on each individual thing in the way I think makes the overall game experience the most fun and most rewarding (not always the same thing at the same time) for the entire group of people.

Yes, sometimes that means one player doesn't get their way.

Oh well.


By the way RD, you are seeing the "new" AD here. I have now three times deliberately avoided rising to your bait of me being a "controlling DM" and have decided deliberately not to escalate this thread into a battle between you and me because I don't appreciate your snarky, condescending attempts to slyly paint me in a negative "badwrongfun" light.

I've decided to try to let those things roll off my shoulders now. It's just not worth the pissing contests I have been getting into with people far more practiced at pissing than I am.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I was, and always have been, speaking generally in this thread, AD.

Sorry if you misunderstood my meaning and took it as a personal attack. That certainly was not my intent. Still, I'm glad to see that you are no longer responding to potential attacks. It makes for a more peaceful forum.

james maissen wrote:

Not the way you described it.

-James

You sure about that?

Ravingdork wrote:

GM: Seeing that his physical attacks cannot penetrate your defenses, but remaining undeterred, the dark knight takes a different approach, giving himself some distance with a 5-foot step and begins an assault on your mind with dominate person, which you readily identify due to your high Spellcraft modifier. "If I cannot cut your body, perhaps I can bend your mind, witch!"

PC: I let him finish casting the spell, continuing to taunt him without apparent fear or concern. Perhaps I can use it against him. As an immediate action I activate my reflection ability and turn it against him, laughing all the while.


I'd say the PC is right, rules-wise. But, the DM is kinda sorta right; he DID just get blasted by a Fireball spell for 22 damage. This doesn't impede the PC in any way, but unless the particular character actually has some form of Fire-resistance, they at the very least has some scorches and burn marks, and it stings a bit...

I think the DM is being a little over-zealous in forcing a description to have some kind of mechanical effect, basically. But the PC ain't gettin away unfazed either; he just isn't suffering any mechanical penalties. Kind of arrogant of the PC to declare that they didn't get hurt in the slightest when they, in fact, did.


Bardic Dave wrote:
Man, that's some epic narrative RD. If that's how your games actually go, that sounds awesome (except for the shouting match at the end).

I played in a game like that for 3 years. We never leveled hardly, and so I remember the day when one of the guys started to protest when his flavor text became, "I hold out my hands and summon the oh so familiar pinpoint of red light that turns into a column of fire, flying down the hall."


The example strikes me as less a conflict of play styles and more a conflict of rules interpretation, laced with an "I always get to win" attitude on the side.

Ultimately, I go to the core of GMing -- the GM makes the call as to how a mechanic is fluffed. If the GM says you're burned, you're burned (after all, mechanically if you're still not badly injured, that doesn't affect much of anything in the actual outcome of the fight).

If the player and GM cannot trust each other to let the GM make the call, there is a much deeper problem here. There has to be some give and take between the player and GM so the GM can be trusted to make rules calls and avoid arguments but the player knows that generally he will be treated fairly.

And if the player and GM are going to stall combat to throw a hissy fit over something as insignificant as to how to fluff 22 hit points worth of fireball damage, that's also not a playstyle conflict, that's just whining.

So to me, the real issue is "how to deal with whining," and the answer could involve any number of things from ignoring it or asking everyone to take a break and cool off, to shoving the offending players' miniatures up their noses, depending on your mood, your own level of maturity, and how much you like your miniatures.

As an aside, as I would interpret the specific example like this--fireball also sets fire to everything in its path. Even if the witch made his Reflex save, bits of him will be on fire or burned--he's just shaking off the pain because he's so tough. After all, there needs to be signs that he made his save but did not ignore damage as someone with Evasion might do.


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If I may give my feedback, I think that even if the player's HP is represented by magical guards and wards, if the DM says you look singed, you look singed.

Imagine it like this- if you get hit by a Fireball, and the DM says, "and, since you took damage, you now glow blue", you don't argue it, because the DM told you what happened to your character. Just like if the DM says, "he kicks you in the stomach with his +15 unarmed attack" you don't say, "actually, my HP represents by an inability to hit anything but my aura"- the guy just kicked you in the stomach, so he kicks you in the stomach.

I guess my point is, if the DM says you look like you just got hit by fire, then you look like you got hit by fire. If he leaves it completely up to you, it's completely up to you. But what the DM says goes.

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