Honestly Josh I'm still grasping at the nuanced difference between "Fiat" and "Fiat Resolution" with specific regards to my example of D&D 3.5 NPC Wizard Spell selection in all its facets.
I don't know about you, but I prefer to discuss real "in-game" sort of examples; it just resonates much stronger than theoretical examples.
Here you say:
The question you are looking to ask is "what is fiat resolution" which I explained. The key I think you are now missing is "what is a conflict?"
A conflict occurs when one of the participants "character" comes to a situation in which the outcome is disputed. (Now I am just going to talk about DnD because it is more complicated to discuss the general case.) In DnD an example would be "do I hit x with my sword?" And larger "do I win the fight?"
Conflicts are resolved by some mechanisim. Like a roll.
All arbitrary DM decisions are fiat. Not all examples of fiat are fiat resolution.
Does that clear things up at all?
Let me first say that Josh, this is literally the first time that I've ever felt like you've ever addressed something someone has said in a really clear and direct way, so I really do not want to squander what I feel like is a genuine chance at a conversation on the topic. So let me thank you for that; it really changes my overall opinion of you in a very positive way.
I am perfectly fine with accepting as a given that I am not following you on your definition of "Fiat Resolution" versus simply "Fiat". I'd like to try and get on the same page as you. I do not think I agree there is much, if any, really significant difference between "Fiat" and "Fiat Resolution." (Especially when answering the question "Pretty Please, GM May I?")
I want to once again continue using the example I presented because I think it is what is throwing me off the most.
You say a conflict can be many things but you give specific examples, and I love discussing specific examples:
"Do I hit X with my sword?"
"Do I win the fight?"
These are perfectly fine. Using your definition, these situations are "Conflicts". I follow that, agree to it, I'm on the same page here.
Let's change them slightly and we'll see where I start to get lost.
"Do I hit X with my spell?"
"Do I win the fight?"
Okay, clearly I have not bent your words in some kind of crazy way that only a lawyer could re-interpret. Allow me to take this another step.
"Did NPC Wizard hit X with his spell?"
"Did NPC Wizard win the fight?"
Once again I have not intrinsically changed the nature of the conflict - this seems to be "conflict" as you defined. Going back further.
"Did NPC Wizard know spell Y?"
"Did NPC Wizard prepare spell Y today?"
"Did NPC Wizard choose to cast spell Y in round Z?"
"Did NPC Wizard target X with spell Y?"
"Did NPC Wizard hit X with spell Y?"
"Did NPC Wizard win the fight?"
I'm talking about the earlier sections. I think I am beginning to see what you are saying - that it is simply "Fiat" as to which spells the Wizard knew prior to said fight, and also "Fiat" as to which spells the Wizard prepared today - but not "Fiat Resolution". I'm still somewhat failing to understand a significant difference between "This happens because I say so" vs. "This other thing happens because I say so, but that's alright because it's Fiat and not Fiat Resolution." <-----Right there is the TLDR version.
So you are saying since "The outcome is not disputed" regarding what spells NPC Wizard knows, NPC Wizard Prepared today, and NPC Wizard chose to cast in rounds 1,2,3 etc of combat that it matters not at all when it comes down to "Roll a saving throw" or "NPC Wizard has to make a touch attack" - because even though the very actions they are about to take have been so incredibly surrounded with Fiat (but not Fiat Resolution) that doesn't matter because "The disputed action" is what happens when spell X is cast?
Uh, another example I guess using the same basic framework.
DM tells me "you are hit for 8 damage" by an enemy in combat. I ask "Why?" His answer is *because I say so*. Without putting words into your mouth, I believe you would call that "Fiat Resolution."
In the same example if the DM said "you are hit for 8 damage" and I asked "Why?" His answer is *because I made an attack roll, hit your AC then made a damage roll and did 8 damage." I believe you would call that Non-Fiat Conflict Resolution. Moving to another example.
DM tells me "make a Reflex saving throw DC X" from an enemy spell. I ask "Why?" He says *because you have been targeted by a spell*. I ask "Why was I targeted by this spell?" DM answers *Because I say so*. Fiat brought about this Non-Fiat Conflict Resolution - Is that what I've been missing?
Using D&D 3.5 for another example, in the Monster Manual there are numerous write-ups that describe the general tactics of various monsters etc. I definitely see how a DM could use the rules to strongly support his spell-selection, PC targeting and so on based on rules presented in the game.
But in other situations the DM is arbitrarily making choices *that are not based on rules*.
I guess after all that I can see there is *somewhat of a difference* here, but really, I do not see how this is the *opposite* of "Pretty Please DM may I win?" [Re-phrase to "Pretty Please DM Don't Hurt Me!]
If the NPC Wizard constantly targets one particular PC, or does NOT target one particular PC
If the NPC Wizard constantly knows/prepares spells that are *vastly* more effective/ineffective on one particular PC
If the NPC Wizard constantly pre-buffs perfect spells that *vastly* hinder one particular PC
etc. etc. etc.
If NPC Wizard is always kicking the shit out of PC #1 *using the rules*, tell me how *the end result* is not the same thing you're talking about regarding the evils of Fiat Resolution. It really appears to be Bad DM is Bad
in both cases.
To quote you again, since I like examples and you presented good ones I agree whole-heartedly with:
- It deprotagonizes the players
- It subjects them to the GM's interpretation
- It is not a game
Constantly hosing someone "by the rules" is just as deprotagonizing, makes the game no longer a game, and definitely subjects the player to GM interpretation regarding targeting/spell selection etc.
This is what I'm struggling with. Sorry I went on for so long.
Remember your "larger" Conflict Resolution example of "Do I win the fight?" When you fight NPC Wizard the questions of what spells they have, who they target them with and when are vastly important to answering "Do I win the fight" and all of these questions are answered by Fiat.
I guess they are not answered by *Fiat Resolution*, but as I hopefully show above, in real game play is there a significant difference?