I've seen some conversations online with people wondering where the line is between bringing up a rules question and with being a rules lawyer. If you're new to the hobby this can definitely be confusing. Very few things in gaming are as loathed and despised as the dreaded 'rules lawyer' player. it is probably the most despised player type that is at least somewhat acceptable to have at the table. At the same time, gaming is also rife with stories of GMs causing players harm and decreasing the fun at the table through bad rulings that seem aimed to make the players lose even when the rules indicate otherwise.
With that in mind, let's break down the ideal way a rules dispute happens and plays out at a table. The order of events for that looks like this:
- The GM states something, makes a call, or otherwise makes a ruling that is counter to expected rules interactions in some way shape or form.
- A player brings up the discrepancy and asks for clarification
- The GM now makes a choice:
- Check the rule, make sure the ruling is correct, and adjust based on how the rule/ruling should work.
- Trust the player and adjust based on player's understanding of how the rule/ruling should work
- Confirm ruling stands as stated, and invite player to discuss in detail after
- The Game Continues