Punishing Bad RP


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What's the difference between this and...

"I go all CSI on the deceased, minus time lapsed lab testing"


Wei Ji the Learner wrote:


What's the difference between this and...

"I go all CSI on the deceased, minus time lapsed lab testing"

On th. Other hand if you specifically said you wer3 looking to see if he died of wasp stings, and he did, that might be a bonus because you are specifically looking for something which is in fact there rather than a generic ‘something’


MrTsFloatinghead wrote:
Irontruth wrote:

There are merits for it, and against it. Those merits measure differently in different areas, and there is a lot of room to debate that. We could think of it like this: is the rules text or the GM the final arbiter?

If the text: objective
If the GM: subjective

Which is better in a given situation is preference, but whether something is one or the other is factual.

Right, but what I'm saying is that from my perspective it is always functionally the case that the GM is the final arbiter because the decision by the GM to make the rules the final arbiter was ultimately a subjective one.

"I choose to go outside of the pure rules to make this game run as best I can" and "I choose to stick purely to the rules text here to make this game run as best I can" strike me as equivalently subjective choices, and it seems to me that you are saying they are not equivalently subjective, correct? That's the point on which I have been arguing that I would like us to agree to disagree on.

In any case, since this is the advice forums, do you have any good examples of more "light-touch" interventions you use when you see an adventure is going off the rails, particularly ones that you think people like me who are maybe more open to subjective intervention than you are might overlook?

I completely disagree with your premise there, so no, I don't reach your conclusion at all.

Just like you are only beholden to provide me with as much justification as you make yourself, a player is only subject to a GM's rules if they make themselves subject to them. Players have leverage to change the rules, and ultimately can make themselves full not subjected to them if they so choose, meaning that the GM has no inherent ability to enforce anything.

A player subjects themselves to the rules because they want to participate. As soon as the desire to not be subject outweighs the desire the participate, they player will no longer be subject.

My advice would be to play/GM some other games. Games like Apocalypse World, Mythender, Blades in the Dark, Primetime Adventures, and if you want to get really nuts you could try something like Archipelago. But you can't just run them the same way you run D&D, Pathfinder, VtM, or Call of Cthulhu. Read the GM instructions, and run the game they way they were written a few times, and you'll find that it shifts your perspective on what it means to GM, how to GM in completely different situations, and forces you out of habits you have while playing other games.

Sovereign Court

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RDM42 wrote:
Wei Ji the Learner wrote:


What's the difference between this and...

"I go all CSI on the deceased, minus time lapsed lab testing"

On th. Other hand if you specifically said you wer3 looking to see if he died of wasp stings, and he did, that might be a bonus because you are specifically looking for something which is in fact there rather than a generic ‘something’

but how is this (either the question or the statement "I go all CSI") Role Playing?

and would either of these give a bonus for the Heal check? if so, why? if not, why not?


Irontruth wrote:


Just like you are only beholden to provide me with as much justification as you make yourself, a player is only subject to a GM's rules if they make themselves subject to them. Players have leverage to change the rules, and ultimately can make themselves full not subjected to them if they so choose, meaning that the GM has no inherent ability to enforce anything.

I can see players having a civilised discussion with a GM if they would rather some particular aspect of the rules be changed in a given session, but if the differences there are irreconcilable, what leverage are you seeing the player as having beyond choosing to leave?


Wei Ji the Learner wrote:


What's the difference between this and...

"I go all CSI on the deceased, minus time lapsed lab testing"

Time and/or flavor? I'm also basing the idea off of someone who does watch CSI with a character that is the healer of the team. A better question is how would someone rp/describe what their character is doing with a low Heal skill and only crit/rolled high. "I poke it with a stick and look at the skin?"

Did I have to do that? Did the Dm have to ask me? No on both counts. But I've always liked adding more than "My number is X do I win or not?". Mostly because I first got started with play by posts.

And to me no Dm should be that strict. As that also makes me think he wouldn't let you open a door unless you say "I grab the handle and push."


I feel like avoiding uncomfortable situations with people describing certain checks (like intimidate) is better solved by things like Lines & Veils or the X-Card than by saying "don't do it ever" as a hard and fast rule.

Some groups will find certain attempts at, say, RPing intimidation checks very amusing, and I feel like it's better to just tap the x-card when someone is about to cross a line than to say "don't try".


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Muse. wrote:

Then there are some skill checks I would just as soon were NOT described at the table.

By their very nature Intimidate checks bother me. I always just gloss over them. To me a statement "Intimidate Check is a 35" is much better than the graphic threat to someone's body/family/business/friends that is often represented by the skill check. A description of how the PC is going about an Intimidate check? No thanks. I have had to leave a table when another player insisted on getting a bit ... graffic... in the description of an "Intimidate check". I know I would not enjoy someone asking the players "...to describe what their character is doing, exactly,..." when it comes to Intimidate or heck, to a lot of other things....

I've rarely seen a graphic Intimidation check. I guess my group prefers subtlety.

A little "Good Cop, Bad Cop", with the bad cop cleaning his fingernails with a knife and grinning in anticipation, goes a long way.

I've also used Intimidate to get people to back down from a fight by politely asking what funeral rites they preferred.
I've also riffed off of Zelazny's bit: "I feel obligated to point out to you, however, that when you stand before the Highest for judgment, you will be accounted a suicide."

Sovereign Court

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thejeff wrote:
Muse. wrote:

Then there are some skill checks I would just as soon were NOT described at the table.

By their very nature Intimidate checks bother me. I always just gloss over them. To me a statement "Intimidate Check is a 35" is much better than the graphic threat to someone's body/family/business/friends that is often represented by the skill check. A description of how the PC is going about an Intimidate check? No thanks. I have had to leave a table when another player insisted on getting a bit ... graffic... in the description of an "Intimidate check". I know I would not enjoy someone asking the players "...to describe what their character is doing, exactly,..." when it comes to Intimidate or heck, to a lot of other things....

I've rarely seen a graphic Intimidation check. I guess my group prefers subtlety.

A little "Good Cop, Bad Cop", with the bad cop cleaning his fingernails with a knife and grinning in anticipation, goes a long way.

I've also used Intimidate to get people to back down from a fight by politely asking what funeral rites they preferred.
I've also riffed off of Zelazny's bit: "I feel obligated to point out to you, however, that when you stand before the Highest for judgment, you will be accounted a suicide."

Sure, and sometimes I'll play it up as a Monty Python skit with the Spanish Inquisition... but I have also been trapped in a game with a player who enjoyed makeing the other players uncomforatable - and a judge who couldn't/wouldn't put the brakes on the Griefer player.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
Muse. wrote:

Then there are some skill checks I would just as soon were NOT described at the table.

By their very nature Intimidate checks bother me. I always just gloss over them. To me a statement "Intimidate Check is a 35" is much better than the graphic threat to someone's body/family/business/friends that is often represented by the skill check. A description of how the PC is going about an Intimidate check? No thanks. I have had to leave a table when another player insisted on getting a bit ... graffic... in the description of an "Intimidate check". I know I would not enjoy someone asking the players "...to describe what their character is doing, exactly,..." when it comes to Intimidate or heck, to a lot of other things....

I don’t think being graphic is particularly necessary, but I would still want to know something about the nature of their threat. It helps establish the personality and moral outlook of the PC. Plus, if a PC is well-known to be a particular way, like a paladin of Sarenrae, I’d probably question them making certain kinds of threats - at least not without them being backed by a decent bluff.


Bill Dunn wrote:
Muse. wrote:

Then there are some skill checks I would just as soon were NOT described at the table.

By their very nature Intimidate checks bother me. I always just gloss over them. To me a statement "Intimidate Check is a 35" is much better than the graphic threat to someone's body/family/business/friends that is often represented by the skill check. A description of how the PC is going about an Intimidate check? No thanks. I have had to leave a table when another player insisted on getting a bit ... graffic... in the description of an "Intimidate check". I know I would not enjoy someone asking the players "...to describe what their character is doing, exactly,..." when it comes to Intimidate or heck, to a lot of other things....

I don’t think being graphic is particularly necessary, but I would still want to know something about the nature of their threat. It helps establish the personality and moral outlook of the PC. Plus, if a PC is well-known to be a particular way, like a paladin of Sarenrae, I’d probably question them making certain kinds of threats - at least not without them being backed by a decent bluff.

You clearly haven't seen my tiefling paladin of Sarenrae.

"You really want to give us the information. If you don't, you had best believe I will do everything in my power to change your opinion."

"You're bluffing!"

*Paladin starts an hours long lecture on morality, directed at a captive audience*

"Oh dear gods, please, make him stop!"

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