thread: 2011-06-27 : The Dice & Clouds series from 2009

On 2011-07-12, Moreno R. wrote:

Hi David!

Moreno, I think the only way to make 100% sure that arguments like that never happen is to not care about realism. If a Dogs GM builds their town around a giant immovable stone idol, and then a player decides his character should run off with it, neither Saying Yes nor Rolling the Dice will prevent everyone's fun from being ruined. That guy simply needs to be shouted down, and kicked out if he won't relent.

It's true that discussions about what is "realistic" can happen everywhere (even outside of a game). But I think this is a GOOD REASON to avoid having a system based on a pipe dream like "objective realism imposed by a neutral GM"

In the DitV case, the rules say that if someone even do a puzzled face at that action, the GM should ask the player to change something. "objective realism" is not required: if a single player has objection, even not based on realism, the "move" is not valid. So, the game don't ask anybody to be the supreme arbiter of realism.

What about the social level? If somebody is really invested in the realism of his action, he could protest even after he get overruled. Yes. But I never saw this happen. Playing with the same player that was so problematic before. Why it doesn't happen? Because nobody is saying to that player "you are wrong", and in any case, he is not damaged by the ruling: he still has the exact same dice.

It's not having difference of opinion about what is realistic the problem: the problem is giving mechanical weigh to "realism", and then pretend that nobody will argue.

I am saying that EVERYBODY argue about realism, some time or other. If the game system is build around how real people behave, like DitV, it's not a problem: "change you move" "OK, I still think it was realistic, but it's not a big deal..."

In the Call of Cthulhu situation, ANY decision from the GM had possible lethal consequences to the characters. How many rolls? How many chances to be killed? 4? 5? 6? No matter what the GM decide, the players will ALWAYS try to convince him to lower that number.

It's the way players can help their character survive in "rule-zero land": protest. Always. Not so much to anger the all-mighty GM, but enough to make him lower that number hoping to avid the hassle and the discussion. If you don't protest, you get a higher number, and the GM, being human, probably will attack your character and not the one that can block the game in endless discussions.

It was a constant "buzz" from the players that was always present in every table of traditional rpgs I have ever played: my own, other's, when I wasn't the GM (and now I realize I was annoying exactly like them, to get some protection for my characters), at conventions...  it was so widespread everywhere that I never noticed it (it was "th way to play".  Until it stopped

I noticed it when it stopped. When we began to play games where you don't get anything by bothering the GM. And it stopped, just like that. And I noticed the peace at the table.

But when I hear about the virtue of having a "neutral GM as the arbiter of realism", I remember the buzz, and I really don't want to be in that poor GM's shoes...

About saying directly how many rolls, without talking about how many meter. It can work only in games like DitV where the rolls are not counted by second. In CoC, any player can simply deduce the number of seconds from the weapon table in the book. And, in any case, no matter the number you say, there will be the constant buzzing to lower it.

To put it simply, your method would only work with players where you would not have any need to use it.


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