When the Writers are Wrong

Organized Play aims to provide a consistent experience, but GMs sometimes find mistakes or errors in a scenario and need to make judgment a call on their own. Here’s how you can a better job resolving errors and grey areas:

  • Check the GM Discussion forums for clarifications from Organized Play leadership.
  • If you don’t see a post, make one. Someone else has the same question — guaranteed.
  • If you don’t see anyone speaking from a position of authority (e.g. from an Organized Play Developer), look for well-reasoned arguments and/or author intent on the forums.
  • You can also reach out to other GMs you respect, or VOs. They may be able to give you guidance or clarity, in an unofficial capacity.
  • Take the players' side. If a clear error will make the game less fun or put the party at risk, don't do it.
  • You don't need an answer on chronicle boon questions right away, and it's OK to tell players you will know later on and ask the forums / VO.

Examples

The text says to apply the weak template, but the stat block is missing it.

Recommedation: Err on the players’ side and apply the weak template on the fly. If you aren’t sure how to apply the weak template for your system, subtract 2 from the creature’s abilities, DCs, and damage.)

There isn’t a DC listed for an environmental factor, such as a swimming or flying hazard.

Recommedation: Determine a DC-based on the scene description. For example, a water hazard that makes no mention of turbulence should be the lowest DC of calm water. A flying hazard (e.g. wind) should be set to the lowest DC that matches the text (for example, a scenario that mentions “strong gusts of wind” can use the Strong wind fly penalty of -2).

A typo removes an important element from an ability or attack, such as x4 on a scythe or deadly on a pick

Recommedation: Check on the forums for clarification and author intent. Often, scenario writers have put in text that a weapon is broken or has special conditions, but it may have been removed from the text in the editing process. In the absence of any better guidance, err on the players’ side.

An ability can be interpreted to work in either of two ways

Recommedation: Use the more lenient interpretation.

A spell or ability, under a certain specific interpretation, trivializes something important to the story. However, there is another valid interpretation where it does not.

Recommedation: Consider what is more fun for the group. Respecting the author's intent and the story is important, too. Make sure to communicate that to your table (“This spell might work like that, but the author posted on the forums that they understood the rule in a different way, and I think this interpretation is both cogent and best for the story.”)

Everything else

If you haven’t noticed a theme, err on the players’ side. Never hesitate to be up-front about the situation either; it's often helpful to let players know you've inerpreted the ruling in one way or the other, and why.


Tagged with:

GMingTable Variation