Page 890 - Tell Me the Odds

4th Apr 2017, 6:00 AM
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Tell Me the Odds
Average Rating: 5 (1 votes)
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Author Notes:

Newbiespud 4th Apr 2017, 6:00 AM edit delete
Newbiespud
Probabilities and statistics are a heck of a thing. Very interesting, too, at least from an abstract standpoint.

I'm starting to wonder if I've asked this before, but any stories about gambling on long odds in a tabletop scenario? One-in-a-million chances, fate hanging in a single die roll, that kind of thing?

78 Comments:

Kaze Koichi 4th Apr 2017, 6:17 AM edit delete reply
There is a skill "fast talking the GM."
But in this situation I believe a better skill would be "punching a GM in the face for being a huge dick."
Digo Dragon 4th Apr 2017, 6:28 AM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
From personal experience, the former has never ended in police involvement. ;)
The Froggy Ninja 4th Apr 2017, 8:58 AM edit delete reply
Clearly you've been doing it wrong.
remial 4th Apr 2017, 9:12 AM edit delete reply
which part?
Digo Dragon 4th Apr 2017, 10:52 AM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
Perhaps wrong, but it has avoided jail time for assault thus far. ;)
Luna 4th Apr 2017, 7:31 AM edit delete reply
Kinda disagree about the GM being a dick here. The situation here was orchestrated on the fly by Rarity without checking in beforehand that it could reasonably be feasible and she then sabotaged the way out the GM provided as a perfectly logical outcome (the wonderbolt going in to save her rather than staying there). Plus, Pinkies intent here is more about squeezing in her idea of a sonic rainboom more than actually saving rarity. I mean, she could just argue that if she succeed, then she saves Rarity, which would have more of a chance to convince the GM than telling her "she'll break the sound wall in such a way it'll cause a rainbow to blast all over the place !"

In my opinion, Pinkie is the unreasonnable one here for asking for way more than what she could get away with. :p And I'd have like the idea of the rainboom to come from the GM, frankly. It's an awesome trick and it's kind of a pity that it'll get included in this webcomic as something that was pretty much forced by another player, and not even RD. :/
Jannard 4th Apr 2017, 8:53 AM edit delete reply
Can't agree more, Luna. For one, even though Pinkie's player brought the idea in the first place, it all feels like the player's pushing too far, considering they brought this insanity on themselves (especially Rarity's player).

Also, arguing about probability after the fact is deliberately malicious, because it just doesn't work that way (any friggin' sequence is just as unlikely, damnit). It's not just fast-talking, its pretty bad fast-talking at that, and the DM has been stricter on more than one occasion.

The players are appearing particularly obnoxious this time around, just to get everything they want on the roll of a single 20. I must say however that the chapter has been pretty interesting in its take up to this point, and I have faith in Newb, even if for now the comic seems to have written itself to a corner in order to accomodate the show's material.
you know that guy 4th Apr 2017, 10:11 AM edit delete reply
"You rolled an 11, a 19, and a 4! You know how unlikely that was? Literally 1 out of 8000!"
Digo Dragon 4th Apr 2017, 10:53 AM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
Me rolling a 19 in an average session is very unlikely. XD
Specter 4th Apr 2017, 11:59 AM edit delete reply
Specter
More or less often then me rolling five "1's" in almost every session I play?
Digo Dragon 5th Apr 2017, 4:40 AM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
Yikes. Okay, my luck isn't That bad yet.
Evilbob 4th Apr 2017, 3:51 PM edit delete reply
Evilbob
It's fine, guys. It's pretty obvious players are being dicks, but dem's the situation sometimes. Good to have a good coverage of even good players sometimes being very unreasonable.
Anon E. Moose 4th Apr 2017, 1:30 PM edit delete reply
I agree completely, Luna. From AJ calling the situation unfair, to Pinkie and the rest of the group trying to fast-talk the DM into letting their crazy plan fly because they don't want Rarity's character to die... they're being rather obnoxious in this situation.

Yeah, the whole "Roll multiple Nat 20s to succeed on this nigh-impossible stunt" can seem a bit unfair, but the one who made it so that the odds were increasingly against RD was not the DM, but Rarity, who pulled off this hare-brained scheme that hinged on the fact that RD would save her, without really hammering out HOW that would happen, and making it up on the fly as she went on. The DM even attempted to save Rarity's character from her player's half-baked insanity by sending the Wonderbolts after her, but then she went and made things even worse by knocking them out, and just adding to the difficulty.

Now the players are pushing for a way for RD to succeed in the most ridiculous manner possible, and I can just see the DM tearing their hair out and just straight up saying "You know what? No." and walking out.

Would it be spiteful to do so? Probably, but given everything that's happened, I'd hardly call any anger on the DM's part unjustifiable.
Dragonflight 4th Apr 2017, 1:37 PM edit delete reply
There's one point I'd have to disagree with everyone on.

The moment when the GM decided it would take multiple natural 20's, that entire conversation reads as the GM deciding, "You know what? I've decided to kill your character. <insert random expletive of choice here> off and just die already."

That's petty, vindictive, and not the sort of behavior a GM should indulge in. I've been in games where the players have abandoned the game in protest against random dick moves like that.
Torquelift 4th Apr 2017, 1:54 PM edit delete reply
It's not that random of a dick move, though. Rarity's player jumped off a cliff, the DM reached out to the character with a lifeline, and the player very deliberately cut the lifeline in favor of a plan that had a bunch of things going against it. In that situation, I have no problems with a DM letting a character die.
Luna 5th Apr 2017, 3:00 AM edit delete reply
@dragonflight : There's a delicate balance to figure out as a GM when it comes to prevent players to kill themselves. If you end up giving them an easy way out everytime, it can lead them to increasingly stupid and suicidal plan on the basis that "the DM will let us get away with it anyway !"

Killing a player or several is never an easy decision as a DM, but sometimes, it's just the logical outcome to the insanity that players can summon on themselves. And giving a difficult extended roll is still fairer than just "nope, you die" and might still actually work out.

Actual example years ago in a vampire : masquerade campaign I ran. One of the player managed to piss off the Prince in such ways that he ended up giving the player's character the trial by sun : tying up oustide in chains just before dawn. If the player somehow manages to free himself in time, then find shelter before burning to cinder, he'd be forgiven. That translated on a series of very difficult, near impossible rolls, with the player needing to roll several 9+ on d10 with penalties. Well, he actually managed to ace all of the rolls and survive that.

Sure, from the player view, it's frustrating, but that from the GM view, giving the players too much of a sense of safety no matter what they cook up can be toxic for a campaign. Sometimes, it's best to slam the hammer hard to draw the line and usually, the next batch of characters tend to be a little more careful. ^^
Anvildude 4th Apr 2017, 3:46 PM edit delete reply
Man, I'm reading this whole situation _way_ different than ya'all.

The way I see it, the GM sees that Rarity has put her character in an untenable situation, for the sake of roleplaying. And the other characters are arguing for the Rainboom to happen for STORY purposes.

GM doesn't want Rarity to die, but she's stopped his/her (what gender are all the players, again?) ability to rationally save her character- this is the GM saying "So you're... suiciding?"- with a slim chance left. It's basically impossible, but by giving that skill challenge at all, the GM is acknowledging the chance is there.

And the characters are now playing from the other side of the RPG equation- what makes the best story.

All too often, players and GMs forget that RPGs are, at their core, merely sets of rules meant to streamline the process of cooperative storytelling. This is why EVERY RPG has a caveat that gives the GM/DM complete creative control over the universe- so situations just like this can be considered, then allowed to happen, even if the skill challenge isn't _technically_ passed.

This is the players putting story above mechanics.

And this is what Pinkie is doing- she's not arguing for self-profit at all. She's arguing for narrative causality- Situation setup, challenge given, challenge increased, quickly heading towards the climax which would be rescuing Rarity.

This is a group still figuring out their dynamics, and a GM finding out just how strict they ought to be in terms of 'Following the Rules'. GM let them get away with the Nightmare Moon thing, and got stricter as a result, but is loosening up a little again.

This is a healthy group, just a young one.
Registered 4th Apr 2017, 4:20 PM edit delete reply
[Rant]
If I remember correctly 2nd and 1st ed of D&D DIDN'T have that caveat and it was specifically written into third ed. It's a blessing and a curse, because that justified the writers throwing balance out of the window which in turn gave the idea that mechanics are inherently unnecessary, which begs the question why one should even bother with a system. On a more positive note, those that still DO care about the mechanical perspective got more toys, however, as the DM is justified in taking these toys away as he sees fit, however hard this wrecks the character concept or idea or whatever, it makes bothering about mechanics futile. Every Rpg has this caveat NOW, though it did use to be this way. Which is part of the reason why I can appreciate earlier editions, because F**K THAT CAVEAT. It adds nothing to the experience and is a moneygrab at it's worst. If you want to play a game where the rules don't matter, just play freeform. No need to consider the rules if there are none, and there might as well BE none if you ignore them anyway. If we say "Well, but narrative casuality indicates this", then why should you run fights anyway? After all "In the fictional universe, tropes exist as fundamental laws of nature", so they are bound to win anyway, right? 'Cause "The Good Guys Always Win"?[/Rant]

Honestly, I'm just happy that the cutie mark thing was established.

It's widely considered one of the worst variant rules, but it's a thing here, so it's consistent if nothing else. I don't know why the sequence or multiple 20s were necessary though. Story and anything aside, if the rules already say you can do something, you don't need to refer to your previous rolls and story reasons in addition to the mechanical side of things.

If she hits a 20, she's good. If not, then not. It feels more like the DM is, understandably, annoyed at the players and tried to pull his weight with the 4 20s...

What I'm trying to say is: That caveat you mentioned isn't technically in this situation, because this situation still follows the established rules. Modified houserules, but still. It was in the "4 nat 20s" thing that the DM pulled out of nowhere.

Also... How comes I only now notice the fact that Newb put "420" in this comic?
Rathonje 4th Apr 2017, 5:07 PM edit delete reply
Rathonje
3.X does not allow skill checks to auto-succeed on a natural 20, only attack rolls and saving throws. At worst, this allows a low-level rogue or monk to live through a nuclear-level area attack without a scratch, and that's more of a problem with Evasion than anything else.

It is, however, common for 3.X and Pathfinder players to assume a natural 20 auto-succeeds on skill checks, and unintentionally create a house rule.

I'm not familiar with later editions.
Registered 4th Apr 2017, 5:26 PM edit delete reply
That is true, though Evasion is at least consistent within a character. Pulling it out of nowhere with no explaination or limit is what's far more worrying to me.

Nat 20s autosucceeding for attack rolls and saves isn't too horrible though: At worst, you got a lucky shot and possibly still inflicted no damage or got lucky and evaded the initial attack (though, in case of a nuke, you should probably have the guy roll Fort for radiation poisoning...). It's bad with Vorpal, but other than that, it's not the end of the world.

Well, compared to a Nat 20 turing people fanatic or the gods turning you into a deity because you "found" a part of the pact primeval that states you are supposed to be one.
Sureen Ink 4th Apr 2017, 11:31 PM edit delete reply
Being a DM for 5th Edition, I can save that that rule is still in play in 5e. Simply put, if a skill check requires a 30 to be rolled, if you have a nat 20 + 5 mod, you still only rolled a 25, and thus failed. That's one thing I like about 5e, though. Just because a player "crits" a skill check, it doesn't mean it'll auto-succeed. However, if I have no established DC already (i.e. the players decide to smash head-first into a wall), and they roll a nat 20, I'll usually have the skill check succeed with a lot of finesse (or in the case of my example... they smash through the wall and keep going another 6 feet).

As for my take on the situation here in the comic... Yes, the DM through out a lifeline and Rarity purposefully sabotaged it. However, the "you need to roll 4 nat 20s" thing is still utter bullcrap. First of all, such a skill check would be labeled simply as "impossible" (like in 5e when you set the skill check to a 30). So, the DM has already determined the check's impossibility. Therefore, there was no reason to even give the check to begin with. "Sorry, but you just can't do it. It's impossible" is a thing I've had to say before to my groups. Giving an impossible challenge is utterly pointless, and really is pretty much dick-ish. On that note, again, a nat 20, even on a skill check (and yes, this is true in 4e, which this is based off of) is still not a crit. As such, saying "You have to roll 4 nat 20s" would be wrong no matter what. The DC would be a set number, and RD would have to roll against that. Yes, she'd have to roll high, and yes, she could have to beat the DC four times, but a "nat 20" just does not exist at all in skill checks in 3, 4, or 5 edition. So regardless of how the players are acting here, the DM is in the wrong.

As for the players, however. I agree that Pinkie Pie is being obnoxious with her idea. I definitely would have prefered if the idea came from the DM using the idea Pinkie had given before on the Rainboom idea. I've absolutely shocked my players by using their ideas in that manner. However, when a player absolutely refuses to let something go (i.e. the one player I had who decided to try to steal something from a GUARD, and then tried to roleplay out of prison, refusing to follow the rules or make checks I asked for), I lay down my foot on the matter. The rules are the rules. However, I do allow rules to slide if need be to allow players to enjoy the game. In a situation like this, though, it's not enjoyment of the game. It's being outright ridiculous and refusing to listen to the DM. Sorry, but not listening to the DM gets you in trouble as they are the law.
Guest 4th Apr 2017, 10:33 PM edit delete reply
@Registered

I don't get how this caveat adds nothing to the experience and is a money grab. It exists for the purpose of story telling, and allows the DM to have more flexibility in that regard. The DM's goal should be to provide a fun experience for his or her players, and that can be really hard when you're bogged down by strict mechanics.

To me the DM has the power to give and take as needed to make things challenging but not frustrating. They aren't strict rules but more like guidelines. They exist because they give a starting point for people to build their game.

The DM has the ability to ignore these if the alternative is simply players dying and everyone being unhappy or irritated. Is it a stretch, completely insane, honestly kind of dumb? Yeah, but some of the best story moments come from things like this.

You ask why should we run fights if the rules don't matter? Because if we always adhere to the rules the narrative gets sacrificed, becomes uninteresting, and eventually it just becomes the players sitting around waiting for the DM to stop talking about some crap so they can get to the next set of combat.

I don't play the game for combat, I play to experience a interesting story within a fantastic world. You don't make the world and the story fit to the formula, you adapt the formula to make the story better.
Registered 5th Apr 2017, 1:19 PM edit delete reply
@Guest
Then my question is as follows: Why do you want to play in a rule-system? Every mechanical problem could be avoided by playing freeform. If that caveat is followed to it's logical conclusion, every rule is voided at all times, which is equivalent to not having any.

The rules are, as far as I can tell, disjoined from actual roleplaying: You can still act out your character in any way you want. It's physical tasks you may or may not be able to complete, depending on your stats.

My question of "why run fights" means the "physical combat". Without any rules, you have no idea about what your character is capable of, what your opposition is capable of and what options you have available. Thus, combat is entirely arbitrary: Everyone can do anything at any time without established limit or explaination. Sure, "good roleplaying" would prevent that, but we don't have an accurate measurement of "good roleplaying". With rules, we DO have a measurement of in-game capabilities though, so if two sides fight, those capabilities (and their respective strategies) determine the outcome instead of arbitrary on-the-spot introduced out-of-nowhere superpowers. No bias exists and the outcome is as fair as it can get.

So if you want to play a purely story-driven game, any mechanic is obsolete from the beginning. The question is thus "why play a rules-heavy system if that is your goal?", and honestly, I can't see why you would. I enjoy a stable, consistent and (outside of the dice) predictable world, and so I like consistent rules. I'm not saying doing it the other way is wrong, but I would very well like to say that enjoying such a world/having my viewpoint isn't necessarily wrong either, which was the message I was getting.

Don't misunderstand: I'm not against houserules. I am, however, against wildly changing rules while in the middle of a game, because that destroys the possibility of planning ahead, as every creature may very well manifest unknown abilities of unknown capacities out of nowhere.

I'm sorry in advance if I misjudged it, but this is how I interpreted it.


As for the cash-grab: If one can expect every rule to be voided at any point, there is no reason to quality-control mechanics as they are to be ignored anyway, allowing the designers to bloat pages with unbalanced stuff knowing that it'll be voided outright. This DOES go against slow power creep, but I'd still prefer it over no quality control at all...
Guest 5th Apr 2017, 8:56 PM edit delete reply
@Registered

I kind of see what you're saying, but I feel you're taking it too far in your mind.

To me the DM takes the mechanics presented to him in the book and uses that as a starting point. If the vanilla rules work without any major conflicts in his world or story, then for the most part it's all fine. When those conflicts do exist, he has the power to adapt the mechanics accordingly, but I do agree this is something that should happen before the campaign begins.

"If that caveat is followed to it's logical conclusion, every rule is voided at all times, which is the equivalent of not having any."

I think I misled you with how I stated the DM has the ability to ignore these. I'm not talking about making sudden and ridiculous changes to the rules and the mechanics, especially in mid game. More like the DM builds his world before the actual session begins, sees the conflict that holds it back, and then makes minor changes to remove that conflict.

In mid game it should be very minor things, like bonuses given to skill checks for proper roleplaying, or penalties for trying something while in a poor position. The kind of stuff not outlined in the rules but would make sense.

I do agree with the nat 20 critical success thing being kind of dumb, mostly because it's led to a lot of really stupid and impossible things that wouldn't normally happen.

"I eat the whole world."
"You can't do that."
"I rolled a 20 to eat the world."

Yeah, no.

But back to my point, I'm not asking for a purely story-driven game, but I also don't want it to be entirely ruled by rigid mechanics. They aren't like the laws of physics that rule the world. I'm asking for a game with an interesting story, and with mechanics that let me play in the world in a way that makes sense and doesn't hinder my enjoyment. If all DMs stuck to the rules without any change, the worlds would all start to feel same-y, if that makes sense.

Trust me, I'm not looking for a game with no mechanics, I'm just saying that mechanics are subject to change as needed.
Registered 7th Apr 2017, 1:16 AM edit delete reply
Sorry I didn't see your comment before.
Yes, what you say is true, and I did misunderstand what you meant (or what Rule 0 meant, apparently).
Stranger 5th Apr 2017, 8:05 AM edit delete reply
@Registered

"F**K THAT CAVEAT. It adds nothing to the experience and is a moneygrab at it's worst."

First, which caveat? Is it, as I am reading into later, the "Natural 20 success" one? Because that's not actually a rule, from what I recall, merely one of those things you can (in theory) do - it is a rule in other systems based in d20 but not inherently in 3.X.

Secondly, I doubt "moneygrab" is the right term, because it doesn't actually cost money to do it or invoke it . . .?

If the caveat is, like I assumed at the start of your post, "Rule Zero" then it's noted it was something which was always the option and only formalized in the rule books - with its own recommendation to not pull that string too much.

Not that the natural 20 autosuccess is what's being referred to in the strip, merely that for the next number to be any better it has to beat a 19 on a d20 - which is a natural 20. It's a GM fiat of "you know what, this is so unlikely, the number might as well be a natural 20 to succeed". Something I have done exactly once to convince someone to back down a VERY bad decision. (Of the "I'm going to moon the king while in full view of the royal court" variety.)

Oh, and somewhat on topic for this thread: This is the GM being frustrated this particular adventure got hijacked by Rarity and the GM was talked into letting it stand, fought on it so the player can orchestrate events to rely entirely on chance . . . and now has the terrible position of either bending things via GM fiat to save Rarity (something she already resisted in character) or letting a character die by her own actions and making everyone upset and unlikely to agree with the position of "folks, she did it to herself you know, from the moment she pulled out the 'thieves' guild made me do this' earlier".

It's not pleasant but sometimes as a GM you have to stick to your guns and show *you* are the one running it. The final say is yours, no matter the input from the other players.
Registered 5th Apr 2017, 1:32 PM edit delete reply
@Stranger
"Moneygrab" because there is no need for a mechanics-quality-control if everyone ignores them whenever convenient, allowing designers to churn out massive amounts of "content".

The caveat is, indeed, "Rule 0". I don't care what houserules someone chooses. Granted, I don't like the "natural 20's always succeed on skill checks"-rule, but I'm absolutely fine with it as long as it was established in the setting document/session 0/beforehand. It's changing rules arbitrarily in the middle of the game that grinds my gears, because it makes any sort of planning entirely impossible: Every rule could change at any given situation with no warning for no reason.

The way I see it is this: He could let Rarity die because a spectacular success would only help her reaching Rarity (she's "racing" to get her), not counter the G-Forces that'll influence the scenario, or he could choose to let the 20 do it's thing and have Rarity rescued because the spectacular success accounts for it out of the kindness of his heart (whether or not that actually produces the Rainboom is irrelevant).

The 4 20s? No established rules support that. The DM is pulling it out of nowhere for no reason. Rarity dying is irrelevant to my comment, it's the way the DM gives a chance that bothers me.
Stranger 5th Apr 2017, 7:53 PM edit delete reply
@Registered

That's not a "moneygrab". 2nd Edition AD&D was full of that even in comparison to the massive amount of d20-licensed material which was decidedly not released by WOTC. If anything it would be the cheap sea of "d20 compatible" stuff which got pushed out through Open Gaming License.

Or Gurps.

And I have not been in *any* campaign-based game, nor have I run *any* such game, where rules did not change "arbitrarily" due to some player requiring a GM fiat on whether something was possible or not, and mechanics made up on the spot if it was possible. One-off adventures or arcs? I've seen two where a player didn't bring up a question which didn't require a GM fiat rule.

And I've seen games from various stripes have events in them where a player was responsible for grinding things to a halt for ten minutes (or longer) because the rules didn't explicitly cover some situation and a ruling had to be made.

That is the nature of the tabletop game versus computer RPGs - on the tabletop, there are seldom rules to cover everything, and on cRPGs you can't do something which was not planned for.

Yes, even if you play Nethack. The Devs Thought Of Everything, there. Yes, even that.
Registered 6th Apr 2017, 3:19 AM edit delete reply
@Stranger Then our experiences really just differ. Even with psionic combat rules in 2nd ed AD&D, I have yet to see something there that comes even close to infinite-ability Pun-Punness. I'll fully admit: I haven't played 2d ed in a while, maybe I'm missing something, in which case the point clearly goes to you.

On topic of rulechanges during a game... I never had that. Emphasis on "changes": Added rules when the question came up, sure, but it's never reached a point where an established rule was modified once it was in play. Personally, I feel like it would ruin the fun when the rules are more random than the dice, because then you have no clue to what's happening.

When you wanted to hit something, you'd always calculate your rolls the same way during the same campaign (albeit with possibly different values), same goes for defending. If a DM decides in the middle of the campaign that spellcasting isn't something he likes, I'd like at least the ability to rebuild my character instead of sitting there with the worst THAC0 and would probably still object. That goes double in a class-based system like 3.5 where your build can fall apart with changes to existing mechanics.

Sorry to say: I just can't agree with that. I prefer my characters progression and capabilities to be understandable and reliable, at least to me. A failed die roll I can deal with, loosing class abilities left and right is something else entirely.
Tempestfury 6th Apr 2017, 7:44 AM edit delete reply
@Registered.

But if you ‘add’ a rule... you are ‘changing’ the rules. The rule didn’t exist originally after all. So by adding it to the game, you are changing the rules that are being played at the moment. Of course, you could mean you are specifically arguing about SPECIFIC rules being changed mid-game... which, is not what Rule Zero is for at all. If the DM suddenly goes ‘Fuck it, Spellcasting is OP. No one can now use spells’, then the game is likely going to grind to a halt very, VERY quickly. Rule Zero isn’t going to help the DM at all if the players don’t like the rule changing their doing.

And I fail to see how Rule Zero = Pun-Pun. Pun-Pun came about because the people creating content for 3.5 Edition didn’t take into account the huge amount of material already in play. They were always meant to be add ons to the main core rulebooks, not really add ons to all the rules and content created thus far. Hence why they never really stopped to wonder how their abilities could help up being excessively abused. Both 4E and 5E have Rule Zero printed in the books, but you never have anything as broken as Pun-Pun. So I cannot fathom why you had jumped to such a conclusion.

To finish this argument off... your argument that Rule Zero, means that basically, everyone should just play freeform if they use it? Taking to the logical extreme, yes that is true. However, that is the logical EXTREME. And most people don’t take situations to a logical extreme. The know what Rule Zero is there for. They know WHY Rule Zero was printed in the books, when beforehand it had been assumed by everyone. Not to to allow the content creators to churn out tons of content as a blatant money grab, but to have a release valve whenever the mechanics get in the way of the collaborative storytelling that is a tabletop RPG.

In other words... I fail to see any reason why someone would be set against Rule Zero, there is nothing to lose, and everything to gain by ahreding to it.
Registered 7th Apr 2017, 1:15 AM edit delete reply
"Of course, you could mean you are specifically arguing about SPECIFIC rules being changed mid-game... which, is not what Rule Zero is for at all. If the DM suddenly goes ‘Fuck it, Spellcasting is OP. No one can now use spells’, then the game is likely going to grind to a halt very, VERY quickly. Rule Zero isn’t going to help the DM at all if the players don’t like the rule changing their doing."

That... is actually precisely what I meant. And it's how the horror stories I've heard about it go. It IS nice to see that, at least for most people, this ISN'T what the rule stands for. Of course, if it's just adding rules, I can see where you are coming from (we had to invent a rule for the artificial creation and harvest of monsterous centipede pheromones once), while I can't see the point in... Well, the thing I just quoted.

"Pun-Pun came about because the people creating content for 3.5 Edition didn’t take into account the huge amount of material already in play."
Well, yes, but then again, in my messed up interpretation of it, they didn't have to. I may have said it a bit wrong then, so let me try to correct that: Rule 0 doesn't mean that there is a Pun-Pun, but without Rule 0, the content is so regulated that there cannot be a Pun-Pun.
Basically, my statement is supposed to say that "for every Pun-Pun is a Rule 0", not "For every Rule 0 is a Pun-Pun", which would be disproven by "there is a Pun-Pun in a game without Rule 0", not by "there is a game with Rule 0 that lacks a Pun-Pun" (like 4e or 5e). If there IS a game that lacks Rule 0 (probably an old one, because as we've said, there aren't many new systems that lack it) and has a Pun-Pun (or something similarly potentially infinitely powerful, yet playable, something)... Well, then you've successfully disproven that and I was flat out wrong.

"To finish this argument off... your argument that Rule Zero, means that basically, everyone should just play freeform if they use it?"
I did say that if Rule 0 (as I perceived it at that time) is constantly used (as in, the rules constantly change), there is no reason to establish a set of rules in the first place, as they are unreliable. It doesn't have to be the absolute "extreme", it's enough for it to occur on a three-times-per-session-basis. And I'm sorry to say, but... From what I heard, such constant changes simply were the norm. Call it a string of my current groups' members' bad luck in finding games, but that was their (and as such, my) exposure to this specific rule. Thus, in my current group, all rules are established at the beginning of the campaign, and should the need arise and rules be added, these rules become the constant application until the end of the campaign.
Also, my argument primarily meant exclusively story-based (or, to be more precise, entirely conflictless) roleplaying... And a lot of mechanics in most games ARE combat based (be it social or physical or any other situation where the outcome is contested and there is a conflict of interest), which means that playing freeform is a pretty quick and good solution to it.
ZzzDJ 9th Apr 2017, 1:48 AM edit delete reply
An interesting debate there, to be sure.... here's my two cents.
Tabletop RPGs are supposed to be fun and enjoyable, in some way.
Some people have fun working strictly within well thought-out rules to solve well-defined problems.
Some people have fun going bananas with no rules whatsoever.
Some people have fun with some, or even a lot of rules, but bending or breaking those rules when doing so seems to be more fun.
Some people enjoy collaboratively making stories whilst role-playing.
Some people enjoy making little numbers into progressively bigger numbers, or the reverse.
Some people enjoy scouring through all the rules available, making omnipotent kobolds or hurling mountains at people or... whatever.
For each of the above, there are also some people who would be really irked and upset if they had to play that way/share a game with someone who played that way...
Therefore:
No one play style or game type or etc is universally Right or Wrong, but could be a poor fit, (ie. Not Very Fun) for a specific person or group of people.

Finally, I'd like to say thank you to all parties being fairly polite despite vastly different opinions.
10 points to everyone!
Jadelynn 6th Apr 2017, 1:45 AM edit delete reply
Jadelynn
@Registered

Honestly, this is the way that most of my friends used to play, we'd have our characters and work out what would logically happen between all of us, and kept a couple of D6 on hand on occasions we decided we needed some quick randomization. It was a very streamlined and fun way to RP.
Registered 6th Apr 2017, 3:22 AM edit delete reply
@Jadelynn Sounds to me like you started at 0/no rules and went along by making them up as you go. I can see why that would be fun... But it's not really what I meant. My question would be: Once you established how something worked, did it change afterwards?
Jadelynn 6th Apr 2017, 9:22 AM edit delete reply
Jadelynn
@Registered Not as far as I can recall.
CocoaNut 4th Apr 2017, 11:49 PM edit delete reply
It reminds me of that one PvP story where one of the characters creates a tabletop gaming system where the characters are tabletop gamers. In one of strips, it was revealed that one of the characters took a skill that allows him to cheat on rolls.
Destrustor 4th Apr 2017, 6:20 AM edit delete reply
Destrustor
Well there was that one time we went in to fight the boss with the following plan:
"we go in, [character] one-shots the boss with a disintegrate crit, and we're good"

And somehow it's exactly what happened.
JSchunx 4th Apr 2017, 12:59 PM edit delete reply
I had a similar plan, once. I went in, the boss disintegrated ME, then I died

Well, it wasn't really my plan, per say, so much as the DM's. I was mostly upset because you can't be reincarnated from a disintegration, as that character had been steadily improving as a result of that spell, going from a gnome, to an orc, to a bugbear. I was hoping for Ogre Mage next, personally.
Digo Dragon 4th Apr 2017, 6:35 AM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
Heh, five-freaking-percent. I was just reminded of Cheerilee's player in the Smarmony gang. :3

I once had a player at the table often say "It all came down to this" believing it would increase his chances of a critical success. It never did, but in two decades of playing tabletops, a lot of players have their little rituals and beliefs that would net them more luck in beating odds.

The only thing that I think might actually have some scientific merit is changing out dice that consistently roll low. Cause dice aren't normally known for being perfectly balanced at creation (unless you specifically purchase the high-end ones that claim they are), and such imbalances may sway the curve a certain way. I have a red d20 that seems to roll a '4' more than any other number. It's pretty uncanny.

I call it my "throw the fight" die, and use it for monster attacks if the players are rolling terrible. It helps them out a bit. XD
Mykin 4th Apr 2017, 6:59 AM edit delete reply
Mykin
Hey, five percent is better an zero. And in all my experience in playing roleplaying games, that's usually enough to tip the balance and give us the win!... or horribly screw us over. But our luck usually held out more often than not.

But yeah, I routinely swap out my dice when they keep trying to kill me. I think everyone has done it at one time or another and I'm not an exception. Though I also have the excuse of having multiple different sets that I like to cycle through as well. Because, dang it! I spent good money on them, I want to let them see the light of day at least once in their lives!

Though I don't think I have a bad set of dice that are worthy of being called a "throw the fight" set. I shudder to think of what would happen if I get a set like that and ended up forgetting which one it was...
Digo Dragon 4th Apr 2017, 10:55 AM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
My 'Throw the fight' set is the only intact one I have. I have a few green, white, purple, and black dice of varying sides, but no one complete set like the TtF one. It's red, by the way, if that adds to the interest.
Evilbob 4th Apr 2017, 3:53 PM edit delete reply
Evilbob
lol. That's great. If ever get the privilege of playing with you as the GM, we'll know what it means when you sigh, reach behind you, and take out a set of red dice, lol.
Destrustor 4th Apr 2017, 4:31 PM edit delete reply
Destrustor
The superstition ritual I've picked up recently is to roll all my d20 at once before the game, put the lowest-rolling half back in the box, and then cycle through the rest during the game. If any of the "good" dice roll a nat 1, they get sent to the box and the rotation gets smaller until the next game.

Thankfully I've never gotten to the point where all the d20 got sent back in the box. I haven't decided what I'd do then.
Some Dude 4th Apr 2017, 6:47 AM edit delete reply
I thought Pinkie was going to remember about cheer-bonuses. This is cooler
Jennifer 4th Apr 2017, 6:55 AM edit delete reply
That's Finagle's Constant, not Murphy's Law. "Everything happens in the worst possible way at the most inopportune time."

Murphy is an engineering rule - "If there is a right way and a wrong way, someone WILL do it the wrong way, so design it so that it can't be done wrong in the first place."
Jannard 4th Apr 2017, 9:07 AM edit delete reply
In its most popular iteration (also the one most cited, and one of the best referenced ones), Murphy's Law states "If anything can go wrong, it will", or "Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong". Another version (not necessarily Murphy's Law but maybe a predecessor) is "Anything that can happen, will happen". Your quote is most likely either another predecessor or a new take that only flies in such fields as engineering and design.

In this particular case, Murphy's Law is perfectly applicable, and far more likely to be brought up by a random person in a gaming table than any one of the more obscure adages.
Draxynnic 4th Apr 2017, 9:26 AM edit delete reply
It's the most popular iteration, but it's a misquotation that makes Captain Murphy sound a lot more pessimistic then he really was. His actual law was "if there are two or more ways of doing something, and one of those ways will lead to disaster, sooner or later someone will do it that way." Jennifer's version is a reasonable summary of the original, while the version that everyone thinks of is a misquotation. Murphy's Law genuinely was an engineering principle.
Jennifer 4th Apr 2017, 9:44 AM edit delete reply
Finagle's Constant was developed to give a name to the popular iteration of "Murphy's Law." Partly because the actual Murphy, an Air Force engineer whose study of G-forces led to the adoption of seat-belts, was disgruntled that the public was taking his quite serious rule out of context and assuming he meant it only for humorous effect.
Jannard 4th Apr 2017, 9:45 AM edit delete reply
That's just the nature of culture, especially considering the less-than-rigorous nature of the law itself. Accounts differ on both the origin of the phrase, *and* its association with Murphy. The only sure thing is that the guy made a remark about the incompetence of a specific individual. From there some say he coined the law in the way you said he did, while others assert that hise colleagues created the second one I mentioned ("if anything can happen, it will happen") as a way of mocking him for his arrogant remark.
Bottom line is, its current iteration is just as valid, as the original. Probably even more so, setting aside association with Murphy himself, at least outside the engineering field; the correction of its use in the comic is kind of out of the blue.
Jennifer 4th Apr 2017, 11:31 AM edit delete reply
I'm not disagreeing with you. It's just that Finagle's Constant was named specifically to make the ironic/humorous version distinct from the serious version.

If there are two ways of interpreting a rule, and one of them leads to hilarious disaster for the PCs, that's Finagle's Constant (popularly known as Murphy's Law). When the game's author recognizes the potential problem and rewrites the rule so that it cannot be misinterpreted in the first place, he is harkening to the actual Murphy's Law by tightening up the game rules. Engineers, lawyers, computer programmers and game designers all pay heed to this original connotation every time they close a loophole.
emmerlaus 4th Apr 2017, 7:50 AM edit delete reply
emmerlaus
I just wish she roll already. Now its just dragging the story.

Its already unbelievable the GM and the players didn't condemn Rarity for it, even if the intentions were good. Its not believable she prevented them to save her life unless shes suicidal (which she isnt).

Sorry, I feel like this episode doesnt translate well with the develloppement where rarity attacked them on purpose. I wish AT LEAST the Gm agreed with the players that he is being cold with them because they did things unbelievable on a psychological level to force him into a ending they want even if its not believable EVEN in a fantasy setting.

I really think that it would have being better with the GM ignoring the players pleas (for exemple, preventing Pinkie Pie to use Haste on Rainbow Dash) in them try to argue or something because ot it.

This way, it would have give the players a lesson and only lucky dies to save the day. It would have being a lesson also that even Twilight, Pinkie and Fluttershy cannot find a way to derail with with her magic. That Rarity have to accept her own choice and the consequence of her own actions.

Sure the players won't like it but what about the GM showing the players they can't try to cheat their way out of the ending they want and disregarding roleplaying for the ending they want.

Sorry... still love your comic but that's not my favorite arc.
Guest 4th Apr 2017, 10:07 AM edit delete reply
So you're saying that nobody has ever deliberately done anything that put their life at risk? Especially not when they don't think much before they act, and expect circumstances beyond their control to save them?

Rarity, the character, firmly believes that Rainbow Dash will save her. She also has formed a rash plan that is entirely dependent on Rainbow Dash specifically being the one to save her. And so all the players are really hoping that she's right.
Registered 4th Apr 2017, 4:30 PM edit delete reply
I gotta agree with you there. I think people like that are stupid and deserve what's coming to them, with said "what" being ironic and cruel, but there ARE enough of them around to make the claim that people like that do exist valid.
Luna 5th Apr 2017, 3:04 AM edit delete reply
@Guest : Yeah, but if they do, they should accept the idea that them dying in the process is a likely occurence as well.

Rarity's plan was based on the assumption that RD's character would be nearby and ready to jump in, which she wasn't and the DM had to take that into account.
Ravian 4th Apr 2017, 8:12 AM edit delete reply
You know if I've learned anything from DMing it's that the more ridiculous the player's idea is, the more likely the dice are to roll a Nat 20.

It's very disconcerting how the laws of probability appear to continue enabling poorly thought out plans.
Registered 4th Apr 2017, 8:58 AM edit delete reply
Watch Pinkie just give RD a weighted D20 :D
Digo Dragon 4th Apr 2017, 11:06 AM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
Hmm... Being a Bard, I think Pinkie has an ability to affect the outcome of die rolls? Maybe like a luck reroll ability?
redwings1340 4th Apr 2017, 11:36 AM edit delete reply
redwings1340
I was thinking the same thing. Could make for an interesting story though.
Solitary Performance 4th Apr 2017, 10:36 AM edit delete reply
This reminds me of many a tale told by my friends about the stuff they managed to pull on their DMs that might have should have been vetoed by said DMs.

The tale that sticks the most in my mind is a 3rd edition AD&D Hexblade with a bracer of Web (basically, it shot Web like Spiderman). Said hexblade's arm with the bracer was broken, and the big bad of the scenario, a juvenile black dragon, had just took to the sky. Hexblade went, "I'm gonna shoot the dragon with the web, and pull him to the ground." DM allows this, player rolls. Nat 20. Twice, back to back. So, a melee with a broken arm just successfully, using said broken arm, pulled the dragon down. DM I guess rolled something behind the screen, because after impact, the dragon's neck was broken.

So yeah, good dice love dramatic stories.
Winged Cat 4th Apr 2017, 11:14 AM edit delete reply
Winged Cat
There is of course the story of a PC in a city hit by a nuke. The player pointed out that roughly one in a million did survive, so the GM said if he could roll three 00s (on percentile dice) in a row, the PC would live. Cue three 00s in a row.
Jennifer 4th Apr 2017, 1:03 PM edit delete reply
I wouldn't have made him roll; I'd have said, "Sure, you survive the blast, but now you have acute radiation poisoning. You have two weeks to find a cure before you expire."
Evilbob 4th Apr 2017, 4:07 PM edit delete reply
Evilbob
You're too generous, Jennifer, lol. The obvious ruling should have been thus: Roll three 00s in a roll. If you survive, you now have acute radiation poisoning. And you're still generous even with the acute radiation poisoning!

With acute radiation poisoning, you also suffer penalties from cognitive impairement/seizures, hypovolemia secondary to diarrhea and vomiting, and opportunistic infections until death (or cure, if there's a cure for radiation in that universe).
Registered 4th Apr 2017, 4:32 PM edit delete reply
Evilbob's got the right idea there. You don't just "survive" a nuke dropping a few feet away without damage^^
Digo Dragon 5th Apr 2017, 4:52 AM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
The few souls that did "survive" a nuke long enough to tell their tale usually were a good distance away behind or inside brick/concrete buildings which shielded them from a lot of the heat, radiation, and blastwave effects.

Even then, they suffered a lifetime of health issues. So yeah, no one goes unscathed.
Jennifer 5th Apr 2017, 7:00 AM edit delete reply
I like the 40K concept of Fate Points. You get a limited amount to spend every session on rerolls and bonuses, and you can burn one permanently for major events such as surviving certain death. But this would mean you just BARELY survive - yeah, you survived that meltagun to the face, but now you're unconscious, 100% 3rd-degree burns and will have to be rebuilt by the Mechanicus. This is how I'd have someone survive a nuke - he'd be severely burnt and irradiated.

There were actually a lot of nuke survivors, particularly at Nagasaki where the rough terrain protected parts of the city from severe damage. Of course those bombs were early, low-yield versions and a modern weapon would probably be worse...
Anaja 4th Apr 2017, 3:18 PM edit delete reply
This could lead into the Rainbow Dash injured in the hospital scenes. Have her literally push herself to the breaking point in saving Rarity.
Robin Bobcat 4th Apr 2017, 4:21 PM edit delete reply
We had a guy at our table years ago who steadfastly *refused* to believe that the Gambler's Fallacy was somehow wrong. He would engage in monumental feats of stupidity, on the basis that his last four rolls had been crap, so therefore this one MUST win, right?
Dave, if you are reading this, never, ever go to Vegas.
Guest 4th Apr 2017, 5:55 PM edit delete reply
“Scientists have calculated that the chances of something so patently absurd actually existing are millions to one.
But magicians have calculated that million-to-one chances crop up nine times out of ten.”

― Terry Pratchett, Mort
Registered 5th Apr 2017, 2:44 PM edit delete reply
Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you: Discworld, where the only logic is narrative logic, which manages to make it awesome and shitty and great and disturbing at the same time!
loyalChaos 4th Apr 2017, 9:32 PM edit delete reply
loyalChaos
We are in the middle of a Sith Empire battle cruiser, just me (the Medic), a mandalorian soldier, a twi-lek scoundrel, and our pilot. The Mando and the Scoundrel are grouped up fighting the same enemy, one he goes down, a thermal detonator lands in between them. The Mando manages to block most of the damage with his armor. The scoundrel? Not so lucky. He goes down at something akin to -40 HP, and takes several critical wounds. At this point its just me and the pilot. Our Mando, the main DPS, is out cold from the hit he shrugged off, and our scoundrel is dying.

Good thing I'm a fucking doctor then. I am close enough to the scoundrel that I can make ONE dice roll for him to ignore one of his critical wounds (his death.) So, i roll Medicine, which is basically my best skill.

I only pass by one. I manage to pick him up over my shoulder, and the pilot drags the mando as I stick him with stimpacks as we run out to the hangar for our parked ship.

MVP Medic. Bringing people back from the dead while under fire.
Evilbob 6th Apr 2017, 10:28 AM edit delete reply
Evilbob
Medics/clerics/healers/supports. They're awesome. Their very existence tends to become an unbalanced advantage especially when the enemy doesn't have one (And GMs tend to opt not to give them one because that makes for some very long, very tedious encounters).

Too bad they're pretty undervalued most of the time.
Shayla Sforzando 4th Apr 2017, 10:15 PM edit delete reply
Minor event involving the "fate hanging in a single die roll" - a couple weeks ago in a 5e campaign, my bard got singled out by a trio of archers with ranged multiattack and went down in a few rounds. As the druid started disengaging and making her way through the combat toward me, I passed two death saves... and then got a natural 1 (counting as two failed death saves). With one d20 roll left to determine if I lived or died (3 passes/fails, whichever happens first), I switched dice and passed with a 14, just barely stabilizing myself. Two rounds later the druid got to me and tossed a Cure Wounds spell.

After leaving the campaign that night I found out that the DM hadn't noticed the failed roll was a natural 1 so he didn't actually think my character was at any risk of dying...
Silka 5th Apr 2017, 1:28 AM edit delete reply
Ooooh, I've got one. The night we wrapped up the first generation of my Rifts: Equestria game, we had entered the opening stages of one of the failure states. Our primary antagonist (feel free to guess who had THAT dubious honor, though if you've read comments regarding this same game, you can guess who it was ;)) had kidnapped princesses Luna and Celestia and was going to magically burn them out, using ley line magic PLUS the power of the Elements of Harmony. Our Mind Melter transferred her alternate personality to my GMPC via a *BOOP!* (a Burster with a recently-reformed sociopath in her head? terrifying XD), and had settled in to melt out her own brain if it meant saving the world. However, fortune smiled, and her player managed to roll enough successes on the skill check so that not only were the princesses okay, but so was SHE.

And oh hey, our antagonist died permanently AND we tested out the custom Nightmare mechanic that is still in development, so success all around. XD
Isenlyn 5th Apr 2017, 5:23 AM edit delete reply
The best I have is a friend whose character died with three consecutive fail.
We were playing with the DK2, critical fail on the attack then critical fail on the defense, then critical fail on the save check. So basically 9 ones on 9 D6.
Karma.
cheat 5th Apr 2017, 8:16 AM edit delete reply
Just use a cheat dice instead with all 20
Exgallion 5th Apr 2017, 11:29 AM edit delete reply
The GM seems to have forgotten that Murphy's Law affects him too.
Xaran Alamas 6th Apr 2017, 9:21 AM edit delete reply
I just want to say, I like how the past few comments have really built up the excitement of this moment to the point of having me on the edge of my seat to see what happens next. This is thanks to the brilliant choice of Pinkie Pie caps and writing. Nice job Spud (ThumbsUp)!
Dusk Raven 7th Apr 2017, 3:59 AM edit delete reply
Closest I have was when some friends were playing Pandemic: Legacy. They had just won a game by the skin of their teeth, but since this was Pandemic: Legacy, they were essentially doing a campaign - and the higher-ups were about to reduce their budget since they'd won.

They couldn't afford that. They needed funding to win. So one of them says, "Can I make a Persuation roll to convince our superiors to fund us?"

The owner of the game (and our DM in a D&D campaign we were and still are in) says, "If you roll a natural 20, I'll allow it."

The player who suggested it - who was also, I note, a Bard at the time - rolls, and gets a natural 20, on cue, while our DM facepalmed.

And so they got their funding and saved the world for another month...