150

A DM should not think of himself as having the right of Rule 0, which is why he controls the game. A DM should instead think of himself as having the responsibility of controling the game, and therefore being given the tool of Rule 0 in order to do so. Because ultimately, that is what Rule 0 is: a tool given to the DM to keep the game fun, engaging, and ...


110

Definitions We all have our limits and boundaries. Lines and veils are different ways to handle those boundaries in play. A line is, well, a line — a hard limit, something we do not want to cross. Lines represent places we don't want to go in roleplaying. "There is no torture in the events in our game. We don't do it, NPCs don't do it to us or to each ...


106

Yes, that was fine. You're the DM: you're there to challenge them and put them in danger, not to keep them all safe. A lot of this comes down to the kind of game you all play. Statements like "dice rolls should never kill a character" or "you should never have hidden enemies" are total BS. Those are valid agreed-upon social contract items for your group, ...


106

No getting around it, and no need to work with in-game punishments. In-game punishments make the problem just another part of the game, and this is more serious than that. You've got to be blunt here: you have an agreed code you expect players to follow. If the player starts hurting your game like this, you can and should inform them that they're no longer ...


102

The limit to Rule Zero is what the players are willing to accept. It's that simple. Unless you can convince him to change what he's doing, your only option is to walk away.


96

“When you agree who gets it they can use it. Meanwhile back in the dungeon ...” Let the players sort it out however they like away from the table and when they have, the person who gets it can use it. Why should you do this? Because you are the DM, and you can explain to your players two things: By forcing them to get a grip, and to come up with a team ...


91

The DM is charged with making rulings on a huge variety of things that go on in the course of playing the game. You can make your case for why you think it should be a given way, and then await a ruling. Once the ruling has been made at the table, the DM is right1. During play, accept that and then press on as the other players wish to play for fun and are ...


71

I've run a variety of tones of campaigns over time and some could be considered "evil"; in fact currently I'm running a three-year long Pathfinder campaign where the PCs are pirates - not all of them are technically evilly aligned, but murder, torture, rape, slavery, etc. have all come up in the game. Here's how you make it work. Decide on Limits, Within ...


69

Ask more generally about their comfort boundaries Tell the party that you have some ideas you think might be crossing the line, and ask them where they'd like the line to be drawn. In that context you might even give examples and include something similar to your idea as just one of several. Throw in a scaled-down version as a test Use the general concept ...


64

While @kviiri's answer is probably your best bet here, it's the nuclear option. There is a step you can take before going there, based on your description of the problem. You said: one of them started [...] describing explicit sexual actions You're the DM. You can, and have the authority to, put a stop to this by wielding your DM powers to fade to black ...


62

It all comes down to agency. What choices are the players making? If you are spoon-feeding them encounters, which they have no options but to engage, then yes, it's on you to make sure those encounters are survivable. If they are choosing what to do and what to engage, then the responsibility lies on their heads, not yours. Let's look at two possible ...


60

Set a Firm Rule: Disagreements about Rulings are to be handled between Sessions, not during Sessions Generally speaking, a player should not interrupt the DM to quibble about how rules work. What the DM says is final, and if players don't agree with how the DM is handling rules, they should wait until after the session is over to resolve disagreements. So ...


54

No, you didn't. Roleplaying as an activity has a default "fog of war", where players are not necessarily informed of things that their PCs wouldn't know. This is true regardless of whether it's a mystery investigation or a fight. What the players don't know could kill them. In this case, failing to anticipate threats did get one of them killed, and it ...


52

Well the thing is it's not a gaming specific term; there's plenty of definitions outside Ron's Big Model specific one. Social Contract Definition The term "Social Contract" (or "social compact") got its start from Rousseau and those types who defined it as "An agreement among the members of an organized society or between the ...


52

The first thing you need to do is figure out whether this problem needs to be resolved in-character or out-of-character. Is the warrior's player doing this because the player enjoys this kind of PvP activity? Or is he doing it because he thinks it's what his character would do? If it's the latter, then you should take a look at My Guy Syndrome, then use ...


46

Yes and no. The limit to Rule 0 is defined entirely by agreement of the people playing the game. If such a limit existed, it would be created by a philosophical limit on the ability for human beings to cooperate to achieve consensus, which would lie somewhere far outside the scope of the roleplaying game they're playing. So in theoretical terms, there is no ...


46

This is an extremely tricky and delicate situation. As a DM, I generally do not allow social skills (Diplomacy, Intimidate, etc) to be used on other PCs, and while I've never had the issue come up, I don't think I would allow mind-control magic to be used either. The reason? People play RPGs to participate in a group story with a character under their own ...


43

It sounds like you've done a great job handling this thus far. You have talked to the players individually and in a group setting, collaboratively created a set of play guidelines, and made sure that expectations are clear. Good job! While these strategies tend to catch about 90% of interpersonal issues, it's clear that they aren't working in this case. I ...


41

Establishing a Protocol Many RPG groups have a protocol for handling potentially uncomfortable situations. At the start of your game, you give all your players a card with an X on it, and you say: "We might touch on uncomfortable topics in this game. If you encounter a topic that makes you uncomfortable, show us this card. We won't ask why the topic ...


37

Make them realize time is running When you feel that their discussion is taking too long, make them realize the game time was running all the time. PC1: ... I still want these Earclippers of Elven Might for myself PC2: I want them too! GM: While you were arguing for a considerable time, the afternoon ended and shadows now creep around ...


34

As a GM, there is one thing I hate that new players do above all other things: Don't Be Afraid To Ask Questions Or Speak Up One of the things that new players do a lot is... nothing. They don't feel comfortable yet, so they don't say a lot. That's to be expected, and it's okay. But then you get the ones who won't ask questions when they're confused, won't ...


33

Is she dissatisfied? Is she upset by this situation? Does she desire greater involvement, or would enjoy more if there were something different about the game? Or does she like her low level of involvement? There is no way we can answer these questions. They are questions for her. Talk to her, ask her straight out. She may be just fine with things the way ...


32

To set the stage here, I really wish I could say "Oh, it'll be easy, because almost all gaming groups are friendly and inclusive!" Sadly, that is not the case, which is why I'm not going to recommend that you start with generic online group-finders. I do think, though, that there are definitely plenty of inclusive RPG players out there! In fact, you may ...


26

The question is a bit unclear and I’m not quite ready to delete my other answer since I’m not sure it’s inappropriate, but I think this would get lost in it and may be closer to what Zach wants, based on comments. Therefore, I am answering two questions here: How should I tell a player that he’s not playing a character the way he should be played? How ...


26

Welcome, Yoko Msps. First, it is a personal declaration of principles for me that no one should be made to feel uncomfortable at my gaming table. This means, among other things, we're going to keep the tone of the game at a mutually acceptable level. I say this to make this point: I agree with your instincts here that something is wrong (due to your and ...


25

In the style of game you're playing, it behooves no one to pull any punches. Kill the characters, make sure that it makes sense in game, but kill them, without mercy and without heed to who or what they are in the game. That's how Martin writes. That said, based on what you've said here, I'm concerned that the style of game you're playing doesn't match the ...


25

The Code of Conduct sidebar is on page 172 of XGtE. There is a sidebar titled "Code of Conduct" at the start of Appendix A: Shared Campaigns (XGtE, p. 172). It specifically suggests agreeing on one for shared campaigns where the DM role is shared, but the same guidance could be applied to normal campaigns as well. Other aspects like Table Talk and parts of ...


24

To summarize: Players are to find Yoda who is suspected to live in or near a camp. Despite being on a scouting missions, players raid the (up until then peaceful) camp without need or provocation, just for killing fun. Defenders are mysteriously being healed and buffed, evidently either by divine intervention or by a high level spellcaster. The DM is ...


24

As your clarifications to the question suggest you realize, the problem is not Rule Zero; it's your group wanting to change the rules to make the game easier for them, and you not wanting to. That's certainly understandable, but try looking at it this way: Your players are telling you something important about the kind of game they want to play. Specifically,...


24

If something is too dark depends entirely on what your group is comfortable with. To illustrate the point, Let me start with three examples: I have played in at least one group in which destroying an orphanage was totally ok... no, let me rephrase that: We pulled an Exterminatus on a whole planet and it was very much expected because we played rather evil ...


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