As per usual, the Handbook offers sound advice… up to a point. When it comes to rules disputes and close calls, I will always advocate for a “call the close ones in the player’s favor” approach. Sure your big ol’ GM head is full of nagging thoughts like “I’m not sure that’s how it works” and “this will set a terrible precedent,” but in 99 cases out of 100 players aren’t trying to worm their way into Munchkinland. They’re just after a fun moment right now. Examples from my own table include: Do alchemist wings take an action to activate? Can I move diagonally between two grappling creatures? And of course there’s the ever-popular, “Am I allowed to charge?” Most of the time it’s not worth the argument: Just let the player do the thing. 

But if accommodating quirky ideas in the name of creative play is best practice for GMs, there’s an important corollary for players. Make your case, sure. But once your GM has made the call, don’t be the guy at the table who grinds things to a halt to argue your side. When I’m a player, I make it policy to treat mechanical disputes like pizza delivery. If I can’t find the relevant rule in two minutes or less, it’s on the house. Sure there might be a Jeremy Crawford tweet or some relevant Sage Advice floating out in the ether — Dude, I’ve seen it! Just give me a few more minutes to google it. — but ain’t nobody got time for that. Unless it’s a matter of TPK, you can always drop your GM a follow-up message between sessions. In other words, be right after the game. Have fun now. 

In the specific case of the argument between Street Samurai and the wraith in today’s comic, I think that’s a pretty clear case of “the rules don’t work like that.” Honestly though, if the table busts out laughing at a well-timed invocation of Clarke Rule #3, I don’t think there’s any harm in taking a middle-road. Say it with me GMs: “I’ll allow it, but only once!” 

That of course brings us to our question of the day. Have you ever gone against your rules-instincts as a GM to give a player the benefit of the doubt? And as a player, have you ever managed to sneak a close one past your GM? Tell us all about your “DM’s choice” moments and “expect table variation” rulings down in the comments!


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