On 2009-04-14, Marshall Burns wrote:
I think there's a thing here with the judgment call thing, but I haven't got it figured out quite yet.
It's, like, not an issue of whether the judgment is objective or subjective, because all judgments in roleplaying are going to be subjective. It's not even who has the right to make the judgment, and why do they have that right.
It's more like, what is the purpose for making a judgment call at this time? And, am I cool with that purpose?
If I'm cool with that purpose, and I trust the guy making the judgment call (and if I didn't trust him, I wouldn't allow him to be in that position in the first place), then I'm gonna be cool with whatever the judgment is, whether or not I think it's "wrong" (read, "I would have made a different call," because that's all it really is).
In the Rustbelt, when "Advantage" is passed out by the GM in fights based on things like high ground and who's got who pinned to the wall and how hard that big sledge-hammer you're about to pummel me with is to maneuver in this hallway—the GM is doing it as part of his job to push the consequences for people's actions, good and (especially) bad, and make 'em stick.
The GM is also given total authority over giving out Advantage. I can disagree, but he doesn't have to change his mind if he doesn't want to. So, the dynamic that Ralph always champions ("We need procedures for what to do when you say something and I don't like it") is present, but it's never been an issue when I play. My players know that when I pass out the Advantage, it's because I'm thinking of action/consequence and pressure/opportunity; if I make a call that they don't like, they know that I'm doing it for what I think is best, and they (so far) trust my judgment on this.
Given that the folks I've played Rustbelt with have only been playing with me for maybe less than two dozen sessions total (including non-Rustbelt), I don't think it's a group-level magic thing.