View Full Version : Group Rules?

4 February 2005, 08:24 AM
No, I don't mean house rules, or even necessarily table rules. I mean rules for the group's arrangements to play. Does anybody have their groups' "rules" in writing?

I'm considering implimenting such a concept with my group. Our last game fell apart because the GM decided, midway through, that he wanted to go see a movie with one of the players' younger sister.

So, the player/brother and I, not wanting anyone to become hurt (READ: hospitalized) decided it might be a good idea to lay down some group rules, such as:

Gaming night is a guys-only night. Unless its one of the participants Mommy or wife, females are not supposed to be at the game location, if at all possible.
The gaming location will be chosen on two criteria: (1) relative comfort (enough seating) and (2) lack of distractions (DVD collections, ATVs, 17-year-old sisters, etc).
The decision to change activity (to go see a movie, watch a movie or anything else) must be decided as a group, by a simple majority vote.
The GM for the current campaign must give a minimum of 24 hours notice if he will be unable to attend the session, barring sudden illness or emergency.
Players must call at least one hour ahead if they are unable to attend.
If the GM should decide to go against the popular vote and leave the game session in favor of another activity, he will be temporarily suspended from the game (we'll all "forget" to call him, or even tell him none of us want to play) for a period determined by the rest of the group. Another GM will take over in his place.
If a Player should decide to not show up, and fails to call; or if a Player should decide to leave mid-game for some reaons other than an emergency or sudden illness; his character will be run by one of the other players. This is punishment enough.
The decision to permananetly remove a participant (player or GM) from the group must be decided by a 2/3 majoirty vote.
A list of these rules would be printed up, and each person in the group would have to agree to and sign the printed copy.

It's a sad circumstance that we have to even consider this measure, but I hope it works out for everyone concerned.

Thoughts? Comments? Suggestions?


proxima centauri
4 February 2005, 10:22 AM
You have way too much time on you hand ;)

Just enjoy the game... stop worrying so much.

4 February 2005, 11:36 AM
Yeah, I should.

Kinda hard to focus when the GM decided to bail an hour into the game, regardless of the group's plans.

I'll mellow out, let it slide.

Life is good.

My dice are loaded.


4 February 2005, 12:48 PM
Is she, that sister of your friend at least pretty?
If so, I think you have to forgive him…
I know that you are upset, but I suspect that your friend was watching something other then the film…
On second thought, if I was him I would have done more then watching! ;)
I’d bet he was too!
After all, I am from Sweden! :P

I think that you should watch the same movie, then you can ask your friend intricate questions about the plot and what not… He might have a difficult time to come up with some good answers! This might be punishment enough! :) :) :)

Last but not least, I think that this thread is about venting! That should place it in the Rants and Raves forum… I hope you don’t think it is presumptuous of me to ask that any Moderator that reads this move this tread there?

I wish you the best of luck on your next gaming session!


4 February 2005, 12:53 PM
this is funny.....

you are trying to quantifiy social norms.....

some of these things you cant dictate....others you can try.

a lot of these come down to maturity and common courtesy....

I would reccomend maybe just make some suggestions....like asking folks to let others know if possible if they are not going to be there.....now, if you have a problem with your gm bailing because he is chasing skirts....

well, if he has a date on gaming night, that is his deal...it is rude if there is no notice, but with ample notice, hey, everyeone has priorites...if he (OR SHE) makes it common, then change gm's....

In my grroup (mostly old farts now) several of the players are married and have kids.....upon ocassion we have to make allowances....if we want those guy to be able to play with us....

like tomorrow, we are gaming at an alternate location, to appease one of the players signifigant other.....it is small consoloation, and makes for a smoother long term eperience all around....

now, you might be having a problem NOT related to gaming....some of your friends might just be irresponsible!

well, guess, what....that hapens all the time in life...the challenge is when some of the folks in a group "grow up" slower than the others....eventually the more mature people might just get tired of those who are left behind....gaming or not.

best of luck.


4 February 2005, 01:10 PM
Yes, please move this to the Rants section.

The main reason I was so irritated was that it was my one day off that week, he knew it, we'd planned everything a couple days ahead of time, and an hour in, he decides to go see a movie. Late show, naturally. So, I couldn't go, being as I had to get to work about the same time the movie got out. Totally screwed up my weekend chasing a minor. Freakin' perv.

Dave, that may be the best advice I've gotten from anyone on the subject yet. Thanks.

Actually, thanks to everyone. We've got the situation at gunpoi -- er, I mean, in hand now. If it happens again, he's fired as GM.


4 February 2005, 05:03 PM
Well, we didn't put down so much as hard and fast rules, but I ask that people be courteous in notification. I don't have a problem with someone not showing, as long as they let me know (hopefully at least a day before gaming, if not, then an hour). I realize that people have other things that come up, so I give some slack.

As to your rules you posted, PadawanJohn, I think you're a little harsh on the GM! Of course, this is probably a result of his recent tendencies. As a suggestion, though, I'd make the same rules apply to the players as they do to the GM. There shouldn't be more stingent rules for one person and not for all of them. You're ALL essentially players, one just runs the show.

In regards to some specifics of your rules, I would have to agree with "no distractions". I have a big thing about people being present that aren't gaming. I don't like it. It's distracting to those that know the person, it causes side conversations that distract the normal players, and sometimes a nosey bystander can interject things that they shouldn't into the game, distracting not only me (the GM) but all of the players as well. Now if a person wants to watch the game to see if they want to partake in it, that's one thing I can let happen. But just someone coming over to "kill time" is a no-no in my group. Fortunately, now, I have all married people in my group, and all of the spouses are gamers, so I don't have to worry about non-gamer interruptions.

So, all in all, I say make the punishment and requirements the same for all concerned (not harder for the GM and softer on the players) and then you're probably good.

Also, since I'm posting to this, I'll see about moving it to Rants and Raves. ;)

4 February 2005, 05:35 PM
We've only got two alternating GMs: me and the other guy.

So really, I'm being hard on myself.

This whole incident got started last Sunday, so I've calmed down a lot about it.

Now, if I could just get the other guy to mellow out about his sister . . . .


4 February 2005, 06:48 PM
Honestly, I'd be more worried about your GM if he didn't want to ditch gaming to go see a movie with a cute girl....:)

4 February 2005, 07:17 PM
*Sproing* Hisham's head pops up from behind the bushes.

17-year old sisters, did you spake?

Nova Spice
4 February 2005, 07:41 PM
*Kicks Hish*

17 year-old cisterns! Cisterns!

5 February 2005, 05:54 AM
While i have never wrote them out and had people sign them, i always have 'house' rules. Like..

If you bring food/drink, CLEAN IT UP, otherwise your bringing of food privelages is revoked.

I am a smoker therefore my house is. If you have a problem with smoking, we (the smokers) can sit near the windows with them open, but do not badger us to stop.

Cel phones and pagers, will be turned off unless you have a job requirement to have them or are expecting something emergency related (like you have a relative in hospital and are awaiting word). If you qualify for that exception it will remain on vibrate. And yes i have tossed 2 peoples phones out the window before.

While we all understand sometimes you have no cash, to say, chip in for pizza or sodas, someone who is constantly mooching (3 or more times) off everyone else will get cut off, until both an explaination AND an appology is given.

Beer and other alcoholic beverages are allowed, but no more than 3 pints/double shots for a 4 1/2 hr session of gaming (our standard).

5 February 2005, 06:17 AM
Our group had problems with cheating and some problems with certain players attitudes towards the Gamesmasters. Since as gamesmasters we were putting extra effort into the gaming sessions (since all the players really had to do was turn up), we decided to lay down a charter that all players would have to agree to if they wanted to play in our games. If they didn't agree, we wouldn't let them play, and if too many people didn't agree then we would simply step down and not GM again.

While not 100% successful, it did help a lot, and did eventually force the worst offender out of the group, much to our relief.

The group charter we set was . . .

Group Charter

General Information

These guidelines are to improve the game, by putting boundaries on bad gamesmanship. They are impartial, which (like the rules of individual games) helps to avoid any perception that any player is being picked on - they apply to everyone equally.

Rule Zero

The GamesMaster is always right

Gaming Etiquette

Roleplaying games are not intended to put players and GamesMaster in opposition, so all participants must take their own responsibility in making and keeping the game as an enjoyable and hopefully fun activity.


If a player is absent from a session, the GM will "write the PC out" of that portion of the storyline if possible. Failing this, the PC goes on "minimum autopilot" and accompanies the other PCs, doing little but taking sensible protective measures (under the GMs control). The character gains no experience award for that session since they have taken minimal involvement. As an option, a player can nominate another player ahead of time as a "caretaker" for his PC (either as a one-off or a long-term arrangement), assuming of course that player agrees. In this case, the PC of the absent player will get experience awards for taking part, and for any goals achieved - the caretaker player will be given any awards for ideas and roleplaying no matter which character he was using to gain these awards. In any case, the GM must be notified of the arrangement in advance.

The Five Minute Rule

If a player wanders away from the table for more than five minutes or during any time when his absence will stop the game from continuing, his PC will not take actions, even in combat (he will just have to take his chances). However the player can nominate another to control his character while he is away from the table.

Bad Gamesmanship

This includes repeatedly interrupting the GM, whining, tantrums, and other disruptive/anti-social behaviour. Usually, the GM will warn the player to when it's become annoying, but no more than once per session. Continuing beyond this point WILL result in experience penalties. However this rule is not intended to stop debate on rules calls etc or to give GamesMasters the ability to stop all discussion, so players can call a "time out" if they wish to stop the game for a discussion on the rules or perhaps a rule clarification, however the "time out" ends when decided by the GamesMaster, otherwise the time out could be as disruptive to the game as the interuptions it is trying to avoid.

Grudges from outside the game, or from other games should not be carried across, penalties for poor roleplaying will be incurred for doing this.

Dice Rolling

Dice that go off the book/paper pad are still counted if they come up level. However, dice that go off the table completely are re-rolled, even if they do come up level.

All dice rolls must be available to be witnessed by the GamesMaster or another player, any rolls which get scooped up, knocked over, or otherwise interfered with without being witnessed must be re-rolled, both in game time and during out of game character generation or modification (eg rolls for Hit Points as a character progresses in levels).

When rolling 2 D/10's for a percentile number, if the dice are not marked as percentile dice, then the tens must be declared BEFORE the dice are rolled.

Players may pre-roll dice in combat to speed up the flow of the game, but if they must declare BEFORE rolling if they are trying anything other than a straightforward attack with their current weapon (at their current number of attacks per round, if applicable to the game system). Outside of combat, the player must declare his action to the GM before rolling for it.

Out of Character (OOC) talk

The game table is a social place, and conversation will inevitably drift onto non-game related subjects. Usually, there is no problem with this. However problems can arise in role-playing scenes with NPCs when players make OOC remarks in a way that implies they're said In Character (IC), or say things IC and then want to take them back. As a general rule, players must make rolls against Charisma or social skills to take back a remark in a case where he should have known better - failures mean that the character said what the player said.


To help avoid cheating a "Penalty Point system" has been created, each time a character is caught with more experience points (or other characteristics) than he should, the GM reduces the character to the levels they should be at (the exact skills lost are at the GM's option). If this happens twice in rapid succession (or a single instance is particularly extreme), the player gets a Penalty Point. At one PP, the PC is penalised to the tune of roughly one adventure's worth of experience (in addition to reduction to the proper XP total, of course). At the second PP, the player must create a new character, at half the XP of the old one. At three, the player is out of the game.

Players should not cheat (since it renders the games essentially pointless), and they should report those that do, with as much evidence as possible, GM's will regularly collect Character Sheets, to allow auditing of suspected cheating to take place whenever neccessary.

Players should not read the GamesMasters notes/adventures, or his notes to or from other players (this also destroys the point of the game), penalties for this can be loss of experience for the session or entire adventure as the GM sees fit.

Player creations (classes, races, etc.)

Only 3 submissions on any one topic are allowed. IT IS THE PLAYER'S JOB TO BALANCE IT, NOT THE GM'S - if the submission is far too powerful, it will be handed straight back, but if it is unsuitable in any other way, advice will be given. After the third one is rejected, the matter is closed to the player PERMANENTLY.

Player Knowledge vs. Character Knowledge

Players are expected to try to play their characters without the knowledge that they, the players, possess. While even the best roleplayers can find this difficult, players that don't at make any effort at all may be penalised experience points, or even (only in extreme cases) have their choices for their PCs overruled by the GM.

On the other hand, the PCs may well be in possession of knowledge that the player doesn't have (typically of the gameworld itself), and the player is entitled to be given that information by the GM as the situation arises. If it isn't a case of common knowledge, an Intelligence check or appropriate skill roll may be required. This may also apply in cases where the players have forgotten an important piece of information revealed in an adventure (at the GMs discretion, who may not allow this if the players have made no efforts to take notes).

To make knowledge skills more prized, the information revealed by the skill will (assuming the information is brief enough to be written quickly) be passed to the player on a note. This allows the player the opportunity to inform the other players himself (and withhold or misrepresent the information if he wants).

Replacing PCs

When a new PC is generated for any reason, the replacement typically has around 80% of the XP total of that player's last PC. If the replacement was due to the heroic death of the last PC or retirement for in-character reasons, the XP may be 90%, or even 100% in exceptional cases. A new player's PC will have around 90% of the party average XP. These rules encourage players to stick with a character (and take care with their lives), but also reward role-playing and heroism. Also the GM may waive this rule if given valid reasons for the characters retirement.

The GamesMasters Responsibilities

PCs may die, but they shouldn't ever be forced by the GM into hazards that that are impossible (or very unlikely) for them to survive. The PCs should always have a fair chance to avoid death, unless the characters death is an essential part of the adventure or story, and will be reversed as part of that story.

There will probably be NPCs in the gameworld who are vastly more powerful than the PCs, the GM must not use them to push the players around unless it is essential to the structure of the plot or gameworld. Likewise players should be aware that if they use high powered characters to push weak NPC's around, then the GM may decide to push back.

The GM may have the PCs captured (in a way they can't feasibly avoid) and have their equipment taken off them, but it won't happen too often, and only for reasons of challenge, story, and simple variety. If the PCs had no chance to avoid capture, they will have a fair chance of getting their equipment back.

The GM may occasionally fudge "against" the players to maintain a sense of challenge, but should also occasionally fudge "for" the players when appropriate (to save the PCs from death by bad luck). Players should be aware that both happen although they may not be aware when it happens.

The GM will be as unbiased as possible. For example, plot decisions and judgement calls won't be biased in favour of one player over another (although plots may revolve around one character or another, this will only ever be on a temporary basis) or in favour of the GM over the players. The GM should try to avoid a confrontational attitude towards the players, since roleplaying is not a competitive activity but a team activity.

7 February 2005, 09:58 AM
Honestly, I'd be more worried about your GM if he didn't want to ditch gaming to go see a movie with a cute girl....
Here, here! As long as he doesn't do this every time you go to play...

Wow, writing down the rules. I know I have a bunch of rules lawyers in the groups I play with, but I don't think we've ever gotten that serious about the house rules :P.