What do players/GMs think of the (unofficial) 'Rule 0'?

Which I had explained to me (from a GM of various different TTRPG games) as;
When a rule or mechanic isn’t strictly clear or an aspect is being debated, the GM sets the solution to keep the game moving.

(This can occur when all players are new, or a rule is interpreted in different ways among players, or a variety of different fashions) But does anyone else support/use this?
Or is it unfair/not be encouraged?

I think it discourages learning the rules. If the GM sets a solution, then it becomes Storytime, and removes the game element.

BWHQ games are written to be run out of the book with no house ruling and on-the-fly modifications by the gm. They have lots of playtesting and editing in order to have that ideal met. This isn’t saying that all situations will be covered to the satisfaction of all players, it is instead saying that if you rule-zero Mouse Guard you are no longer playing Mouse Guard.

Actually, rule zero is that the GM has the right to change or override any written rule that doesn’t suit them, not just to arbitrate when a rule is unclear.

And, of course people have the right to play however they want to play, but I generally prefer systems that don’t rely on Rule Zero to be engaging and fun.

My own personal preference is that rule-zero is a heaping load of BS and is primarily used in two situations a) when the game text has massive holes or is unplayable for one reason or another (advancement doesn’t work as written, it’s impossible to hurt an armored enemy, etc); or b) the GM doesn’t actually care about the outcomes as driven by the system and instead wants to have things go “their way.”

The solution to A is: find a different system and stop playing broken stuff. The solution to B is: tell your GM that it doesn’t fly and either play by the rules or get a different GM.

Thank you for listening to Colin’s System Soapbox. Cheers!

Heard it this way also (thanks for writing it better than I could have!)
-Is there a different name for a situation I had described instead, or same/similar category?

And absolutely adhering to the rules where possible is paramount to actually playing a working game!
But in a situation where;
-two players disagree on how a rule/mechanic is played out
-the rest of the group sides with Player A

does that mean majority rules? or should the GM compromise between the two, or simply deduce their own interpretation of the rule listed?
(My instinct would have me favour striking middle-ground in which everyone was satisfied enough to keep moving with, as that seems the most amicable among friends)

The book does have a few things to say on clearing up confusion on page 132. Since Piper and I know each other in real life we’re going to get together sometime to pore over the book and char/GM sheets and make sure we grok all of the rules.

Each time I re-read the book I find I notice more of the mechanism design behind a rule - for example taking turns on using checks in the players turn, encouraging the player with the most checks to go first and have to deal with un-used checks.

I always think its funny when a game tells me that I can change it if I want. Of course, I can change it if I want. It’s the designers job to make me not want to.

Oooooo I very much like that~! what an eloquent way of putting it ^_____^

On the other hand, if there IS confusion about what’s supposed to happen next, it’s generally better for the GM to put a foot down so the group can move on than to squabble about it forever, right?
That’s assuming that 1. The rules really aren’t clear for some reason and 2. The players (inc. GM) can’t come to a reasonably quick agreement as a group.
But this “rule 0” thing mostly has been handed down from the early days of D&D, when the rules for tabletop RPGs tended to be less a set of rules and more a set of loosely organized suggestions, guidelines and principles. (Or so I’m told.)

The thing is, making a quick call to keep play moving is only okay if the group really does go and learn the correct rules later.

Check out pages 78 and 132 for the official rules on rules. :wink: