New House Rule for Rules Lawyers


Homebrew and House Rules


So I am the group rules lawyer, and I am annoying as hell. This is not a troll thread. I like the game to be fair. I like to have a set of expectations so I can make good tactical decisions. If the rules change every 5 minutes, it makes things uneasy, and hesitant in a way that my battle hardened badass would not be.

I know the rules pretty well, and when we first started Pathfinder I was the one who spent most of my time at game and some time out of game researching the rules. Over time our group has become very rules savvy, but things still slip. We recently proposed a pretty interesting house rule(and if my pals read these forums they will know it is me instantly lol), but here it goes:

Rules questions shall not be presented during combat. Ever. Interested parties shall rather record each instance of rules faults on a list, to be addressed at an appropriate time - either after combat or some other time.

If the combat would have been swayed severely towards the enemy, then some minor penalty is incurred to the players - extra HP loss, extra spell slots burned, whatever seems fair - never a player kill or something grievous. If it is swayed towards the player, anyone who died is still alive but wounded, and some amount of HP or resources is restored. Arguments over this part will be heavily penalized and are summarily discouraged. Accept the DM judgement and move on.

IF it is ABSOLUTELY CRITICAL, and a weird or terribly obvious rule interpretation or outright cheat move by the DM will kill your character right now, you can risk a +2 to attack or damage, or a +2 to damage, -2 to saving throw, etc - to address and dispute the rule. If it's worth interrupting the flow of combat, it is worth a -2 or +2 penalty.

This penalty applies both when the players correct the DM and when the DM corrects the players! This way, your FLRL(friendly local rules lawyer) will think twice before annoying everyone at your table. And your DM has to let some things go too.

If you don't have this problem, you don't need this rule. If you do have this problem, this is one potential solution. This is not recommended for new groups - only experienced ones. New groups will have rules issues constantly, and it is better to hash it out. Everyone ought to know the rules - but if they don't, it really isn't worth interrupting combat to fix it. Write it down, or take the +/- 2.


As you say. For rules lawyers. I find the idea ridiculous and would not agree to such a thing. Much better to deal with issues after at all time and be prepared to do a rollback or reinstatement then. The truly toxic part is that it assigns game effects to rules whining. Blah. Double blah.


Sissyl wrote:
As you say. For rules lawyers. I find the idea ridiculous and would not agree to such a thing. Much better to deal with issues after at all time and be prepared to do a rollback or reinstatement then. The truly toxic part is that it assigns game effects to rules whining. Blah. Double blah.

Every group has one. This provides a consistent way to keep them from spoiling the game, while still keeping everyone honest. Like I said, it isn't for everyone.


My rule was simple. We only have X amount of time to game. Rule lawyering and book look ups occur totally in a time outside of X.

The only exception was if the bad result killed a PC.


The presence of a Rules Lawyer whose explicit goal is to not destroy the pace of the game is awesome.

If it were my game, instead of the system you proposed, I'd just have the "defendant" PC toss me a Fate Chip (or Hero Point) for the in-game bonus, and file the complaint for the post-game internet debrief. If the investigation turned out to favor the "defendant" after all, I would toss them back the chip and call it a fair draw.


Sissyl wrote:
As you say. For rules lawyers. I find the idea ridiculous and would not agree to such a thing. Much better to deal with issues after at all time and be prepared to do a rollback or reinstatement then. The truly toxic part is that it assigns game effects to rules whining. Blah. Double blah.

Since it is a roleplaying game, even rules lawyers should be roleplaying, and if they're rules-lawyering instead, technically they're breaking the rules. I don't think it's inappropriate to have a mechanical penalty for doing so (or a mechanical bonus for doing the opposite, like 5e's inspiration).

Although I would ammend the rule slightly to make it more generally appropriate: No rules disputes during combat.


OP wrote:
This penalty applies both when the players correct the DM and when the DM corrects the players! This way, your FLRL(friendly local rules lawyer) will think twice before annoying everyone at your table. And your DM has to let some things go too.

This is the central idea. Think about it. Shudder.


Maybe that part could just get left out.

Although, if your GM is also guilty of such things, maybe it's for the best? The GM can also be a rules lawyer. And should be punished accordingly. :)

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