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D&D 3E
Metagamer. 
1st-Jun-2005 09:53 am
bitch
What do you do when you have a gamer that knows every book like the back of his hand?
Comments 
1st-Jun-2005 04:58 pm (UTC) - Shoot them in the head.
But seriously, Rules Lawyers are arguably the #1 bane of gamemasters. Tell them to get a life and remind them of Rule Zero:

"The GM is God and all rules are subject to their discretion."

If they don't like it, tell them to play elsewhere.
1st-Jun-2005 08:23 pm (UTC) - Re: Shoot them in the head.
Another thing he's been doing is doing things outside my discretion. Like, I tell them to show me any spell they pick outside of the Player's Handbook, even if its published by Wizards, and sometimes he doesn't do this and memorizes a spell and then wants me to look it up midgame, mid battle. I'm too nice, I think. I really should just have him not know that spell anymore the moment it comes up instead of looking it up.
1st-Jun-2005 05:01 pm (UTC)
remind him why he has no girlfriends...
1st-Jun-2005 08:22 pm (UTC)
lol. I just haven't been that cruel yet. I've hinted, but he hasn't picked it up. I more commonly respond often, "Do you do anything else in your life besides reading those books?"

O_o
1st-Jun-2005 05:03 pm (UTC)
Don't complain about it for one. That guy is your new GM's aid. Anytime a rules situation comes up that you aren't sure of, then ask that guy what the actual rule is. If at that point you need to deviate, then do it then.

The system rewards mastery.
1st-Jun-2005 08:21 pm (UTC)
He's not a GM's aid though when he only gets it right 75% of the time.
1st-Jun-2005 05:10 pm (UTC)
change game systems :)

Seriously, if you have a rules lawyer in the game who actively disrupts the flow of the game by quoting Table 3.1 of Page 44 of the Hackmaster Eight Edition Player's Addendum in order to take issue with a ruling of yours, there are several ways you can approach it; which works best depends on the player, and only you know him best.

Option one, keep the game moving by saying, "I don't like pulling the 'because I said so' card, but I'd like to keep things moving. We can discuss this after the session is over," or something like that. In the short term, keep the game moving so as not to disrupt the flow of story or of combat, otherwise you have two people arguing and the rest sitting around impatiently. After the session is over, you can hear him out and either agree with him or disagree with him. If you disagree with him, or with the rule he's quoting, or the *interpretation* of the rule he's quoting, tell him why, then open the next session by saying, "there was some question last game over Issue X, here is my official take on this" or something.

I personally don't like to get into the "I'm the GM so what I say goes" kind of rivalry with the players, but the bottom line is everyone is there to have fun. If a player's not having fun, he can leave the group. If a GM is not having fun, however, he can stop running the game. Hopefully there are middle grounds that can be reached through compromise.

Option Two, pause the game, look up the rule he's quoting, and make a spot decision. This does disrupt flow, but it prevents future argument. Just make sure you make a note of what rules you're discarding or changing.

Now, if it's a question of creature knowledge, like "Oh, this is a Black Beast of The Great Swamp, I know how to kill it, you smack it's left knee cap with a granite bludgeon and it goes right down," this can certainly ruin an encounter if the purpose of the encounter is to present a challenge the *characters* have not seen before. In such a case, you can always fall back on changing the creature's abilities and vulnerabilities on the fly, if you want to risk frustrating the rules lawyer; or, you can force the player to make a knowledge roll to see whether his character is aware of this weakness.

People who know all the books are not valueless (e.g., if a the GM is not well prepared for a random encounter, and can't remember a particular statistic, having a living reference guide sitting next to you can be beneficial in terms of game fluidity), but they do present interesting challenges to gamemasters in terms of (a) entertaining and challenging everyone, including the rules lawyer and (b) maintaining game flow.

When it comes down to it, the game master does have final say, even if it's "this isn't fun for me anymore, so I'm ending the game" or "this is my way of doing things, you either agree to it or leave the game." Hopefully one can avoid resorting to those.
1st-Jun-2005 08:12 pm (UTC)
The creature knowledge is the problem I have the most of, and it causes me to spend hours ahead of time changing EVERY CREATURE, or relying on the new books like Lords of Madness in hopes he hasn't read it completely through yet.

And we introduced him as a player in our Vampire game when he'd never had any experience in White Wolf before, and he was downloading .pdf books and reading them and basically doing the same thing in the White Wolf game in the matter of weeks (when you're not supposed to know the metaplot!)

But, thank you for the help. :-) Lots of good advice.
1st-Jun-2005 05:10 pm (UTC)
If you're talking about rule books, rely on them. If you don't know a rule, ask them. If you can't think of the relevant modifiers for an action, ask them. You're far better off using their knowledge than fighting against it.

On the other hand, if they know adventures, settings or background material better than you, then change it. You don't need to re-write everything from scratch, but just enough that they don't know what they think they know. Swap over the secret treasure hoard with the dragon's lair. Have Elminster involved in a secret alliance with the Red Wizards to remake the Harpers.
1st-Jun-2005 05:12 pm (UTC)
what wmute said. Far more succinct than my yammering. :)
1st-Jun-2005 05:15 pm (UTC)
Rule 0 - The DM is always right. It is up to s/he to interpret the rules for the current game, house rule what they feel is necessary, and fiddle with the rules so flow and fun persevre over rules.

Don't abuse rule 0, by any means. If it isn't anb issue of pacing or flow, listen to the rules lawyer. You don't anways have to follow their knowledge, but if they do have a good grasp of the rules and aren't pulling it out of their ass, it can be a boon. The rules are (usually) tested and balanced, and having a living encyclopedia can be nice. (Especially listen if what they are suggesting is determental to the group; they're less likely to fudge it then.)

On the other hand, don't rely on them entirely. If they quote a rule that is at odds with your needs, knowledge, or just slows things down 'thanks, but were doing it this way' is fine.

And double check their knowledge (after the game). if they're wrong or selectively remembering things to the PCs or their personal advantage, ignore them entirely.

House rule. if they argue the point, penalize them.
1st-Jun-2005 08:21 pm (UTC)
I find I am double checking about four to five rules after every game session, some of which take multiple books together to properly research. It's exhausting. Perhaps necessary, since a DM is supposed to know their rules anyway, but sometimes it just feels ridiculous.
1st-Jun-2005 05:20 pm (UTC)
It depends on the player. Just knowing the books back and forth doesn't make them a bad or troublesome player. One of my most stalwart long-time players had a nearly photographic memory of the rules text so I could just ask him what the rules were if I forgot one. That was convenient. He was also very good at keeping the line clear between player and character knowledge.

OTOH, if you have a player who tries to act on OOC knowledge, I find that usually they can be reigned in simply by drawing attention to the fact. If they go straight for the vulnerable spot on a brand-new monster, I call them on it. I point out that their character doesn't know that, and perhaps their action is not the apparent most effective one. Most players want to play the game fairly, in my experience, and will settle down under polite guidance.

Someone who's an incorrigible minmaxer, powergamer, disruptive rules lawyer, etc, just gets and invitation to the world.
1st-Jun-2005 08:19 pm (UTC)
...disruptive rules lawyer, etc, just gets and invitation to the world.

*confused* Maybe there's a typo? I invite him to the world?
1st-Jun-2005 05:27 pm (UTC)
Use stuff that isn't in books.

I've got a player that has the monster manual memorized. He tries to keep player knowledge and character knowledge separate, but he's not very good at it.

He's quite surprised when he meets a Troll that's not harmed by fire :-).
1st-Jun-2005 08:20 pm (UTC)
The biggest problem with that is it heartily increases my prep time, and then the other players that I have that are new don't get to experience classic D&D. I want them to be able to be gaming years from now and talk about real trolls, not messed up ones. ~_^
1st-Jun-2005 05:34 pm (UTC)
Hope they're a Lawful Good Rules Lawyer like myself.

I've screwed our party over more times than I can count by citing something that rules in the DM's favour without forcing a Rule Zero.

:D
1st-Jun-2005 08:15 pm (UTC)
I only wish he was like that. If he was, I wouldn't be so bothered about it. But he only speaks when its in his favor/the party's favor, and often forgets the same rule he brought up earlier when it is in my favor.
1st-Jun-2005 05:43 pm (UTC) - Doktor Ruleslove: How I learned to stop worrying and love rules lawyers.
You ask them to remind you of rules that you can't remember off the top of your head? Seriously, I find rules lawyers to be great for reminding me of those rules that I've forgotten or can't find. They speed up combat, make my life simpler, and generally are useful - note this only counts for those rules lawyers that actually know what they're talking about more than 50% of the time, I completely ignore the other ones or quote the rules to them to make them look stupid.

I've never had a problem at my table with people that know all the books. Maybe it's because knowing that the Rakshasa is weak against good/piercing weapons and has SR doesn't help the party when they have no good/piercing weapons?

Or maybe because 99% of the time the DC's are already set before I say anything, so it's nice to have someone that can rattle them off?

Or maybe because just because *he* or *she* may know all that stuff, their character doesn't.

In the end, it doesn't matter. Just because I know everything about every monster, table, or whatever will not make my dice roll any better or help me in the case that I don't have access to whatever widget is required to make the fight easy. And there's always the fact that as the GM I can look them right in the eye and say, "As written that is correct, however things have been changed."
1st-Jun-2005 08:15 pm (UTC) - Re: Doktor Ruleslove: How I learned to stop worrying and love rules lawyers.
Or maybe because just because *he* or *she* may know all that stuff, their character doesn't.

He simply does not know how to roleplay this.
1st-Jun-2005 05:52 pm (UTC)
Use their knowledge to your advantage, mix up the game a bit by throwing in NPCs and monsters that don't follow something in the books, and, if necessary, penalize his XP if he isn't RPing his character properly (or, better yet, reward those players that do).

Also consider having him DM some adventures.
1st-Jun-2005 08:16 pm (UTC)
Why have him DM adventures...? Just curious.
1st-Jun-2005 06:02 pm (UTC)
Personally I always tell the group that this is how I run a game. You dont have to do everything by the book and the point of it is to have fun. Sitting there fighting over something stupid tends to take away from what would otherwise be a good time.

1st-Jun-2005 08:16 pm (UTC)
That's great advice; probably some of the best I've heard.
1st-Jun-2005 06:06 pm (UTC)
It depends on what books you're talking about.

If it's general rulebooks, just house rule that the player has one minute to make his case, and then the DM's call is final. While it doesn't stifle debate, it does keep the flow of the game from being interrupted.

For monster books, I'd be more aggressive. Knowing that fire harms trolls is pretty common knowledge. If he's using OOC knowledge for less-known creatures, for a Knowledge check (nature, dungeoneering, planes, etc) with a DC of 25 or higher. Should the player keep using knowledge (or worse, tipping off the other players), penalize his XP.
1st-Jun-2005 06:19 pm (UTC)
expanding on siege's idea of the knowledge check. Mongoose introduced the knowledge (monster) skill. I very much dislike that one.
I used to have a player that would try to roll wilderness lore / survival to try and know everything about a monster to use it to their advantage before, after, or during combat.
I put into my game Knowledge ([insert creature type here]). This means I allow my players to have ranks in.. Knowledge (Abberrations), for example. Then I set DCs on the knowledge check for what they want to know. 5+HD for this, 10+HD for that, up to 25+HD or higher (esp. for lesser known creatures). I find it that way it's easier to rule in what the character knows, as opposed to just trusting that the player isn't using his OOC knowledge.
I've also been nice enough, that for rangers in my game, knowledges for their favored enemys are in class..
1st-Jun-2005 06:24 pm (UTC)
Every book that I have read, I have essentially memorized (in some cases even down to the page numbers where the information can be found :] but we won't go into that) merely because I've read them an my memory is pretty damn good.

Now, while I do so love to know anything and everything that's going on and exactly how things will work in any given situation...I don't rely on that. My DM has his own set of house rules on the way the game works and things always interact differently. Example: a few weeks ago we were in a "siege" battle against a couple hundred (yes) trolls that were being teleported next to the city by 6 wizards using circle magic. While it was kind of obvious to those of us who knew what Red Wizards were that they were, in all liklihood, Red Wizards and not some other kind of run of the mill wizards (which they were) we never actually found out because nobody ever got close enough to them.

Anyway, these trolls, as they were being teleported in through a teleportation circle had three spell effects on them: one to make them immune to fire, one immune to acid, and one new spell effect that turned all multi-targeted spells into single target spells.

-____- The battle took three game sessions, all of them going from 2PM-3AM.





Just an example. Most of the time, my knowledge of the books comes in pretty damn handy. However, I won't act on any knowledge unless I have a damn good reason to do so. Ie: relevant Knowledge checks, prior experience, somebody just told me, etc. In a much earlier game, I failed one knowledge check and wound up casting a fireball on an Iron Golem. You can imagine how that turned out.
1st-Jun-2005 08:10 pm (UTC)
That new spell; did your DM or one of the player's make it up, or is it published somewhere? Because THAT sounds like a DM's godsend. :-)
1st-Jun-2005 08:06 pm (UTC)
Run paranoia xp for a few weeks. Problem solved.
1st-Jun-2005 08:10 pm (UTC)
Paranoia XP?
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