my sword glows blue in the presence of rules lawyers

Around the end of last year, I Twittered

Just read this on Board Game Geek: "My sword glows blue in the presence of rules lawyers." I kind of want that on a T-shirt.

I figured that it was very unlikely that I was the first person on all of the internet to combine gaming archetypes with Lord of the Rings references, so I went online and searched for what would be my favorite T-shirt, right up until the moment something new was my favorite T-shirt.

I was astonished when I found nothing on all of the Googles, and decided it was a moral imperative that I correct this giant hole in the potential geek wardrobe. I made a Twitter poll about it to be sure, which received a couple thousand affirmative responses. My course was clear: this shirt must be created … but how, exactly? I have lots of design ideas all the time, but I am pretty horrible at making them into actual things that have anything in common with what I see in my head.

This time, though, I knew how to make it happen, so I picked up the phone …

<Wayne's World Flashback Sound>

A few months earlier, I’d had a lunch meeting with some guys from Jinx, who were interested in collaborating with me to turn some of my crazy ideas into awesome T-shirts. Some of the stuff Jinx makes is just too loud for my taste, on account of me being an old man and everything, but they had made some things I really loved, like Choose Your Weapon, the RPG skeleton, and the Failboat. They also seemed like really nice guys, the kind of people I could feel good about doing business with, which is damn important to me.

I knew that Jinx had already done shirts for The Guild, so I asked Kim and Felicia if they were happy with their experience. They had nothing but good things to say, so I told the guys, “If I come up with some design ideas, I’ll get in touch.”

</Wayne's World Flashback Sound>

Flash forward to the discovery that this combination of Lord of the Rings and fantasy gaming, which delighted me, did not appear to exist in T-shirt form. (If you see where this is going, award yourself 2d6 electrum pieces and 1d4-1 XP.) I called Sean at Jinx and said something like, "Hey, I have a design idea that at least two thousand people agree does not suck. Want to make it?"

I described it to Sean, and he set his team into motion. It took a long time and a lot of back and forth to get exactly what I saw in my head onto a T-shirt I would want to wear. It was a fantastic collaborative process, though, and the end result is certainly better than anything I could have come up with entirely by myself.

I was so happy with the design they produced, I began actively thinking about other things I’d like to see on T-shirts, and a partnership was formed that officially launches today, with this:

My Sword Glows Blue in the Presence of Rules Lawyers

My Sword Glows Blue in the Presence of Rules Lawyers, by Wil Wheaton in collaboration with Jinx.

We have developed four different designs together so far, and we’ll release one a week for the next month, until they’re all available. Assuming that people like them as much as I do, we'll make more, including a few short runs that only appeal to the 2% of people who live in the same exact weird slice of the Venn diagram that I do.

Now, I have an idea that I think could be crazy awesome, and a fun way to celebrate the release of this T-shirt: tell me your favorite rules lawyer story in a brief comment, and you’ll be entered into a random drawing to win the shirt I’m wearing in that picture, as well as one in the size of your choice that doesn't contain trace amounts of my dead skin cells, suitable for eventually creating an army of clones. I'll also pick my favorite story, and read it on Radio Free Burrito next Monday.

I'm sure it goes without saying that we'll have a Rules Lawyer T-shirt meetup and group photo at GenCon, but I'm going to say it anyway: we'll have a Rules Lawyer T-shirt meetup and group photo at GenCon.

129 thoughts on “my sword glows blue in the presence of rules lawyers”

  1. Back during 3.5, I was running a pre-writ adventure from Eberron. I had 3 players, a Half-Giant Monk, a Halfling Rogue, and a Warforged Paladin. They walked into a trapped room, where the rogue proceeded to search for traps. After finding none, the rogue and monk began further searches for secret doors, etc. The Warforged went to a pedestal in the center of the room and pulled open a drawer he found in the pedestal, which triggered a pit trap. The Warforged failed his reflex save and fell. The Half-Giant player became so enraged by the stupidity of triggering the trap, that we spent over an hour debating whether or not this 5 year old machine from the Last War would know better than to pull open a drawer on a pedestal. Finally, I ended the debate with “The DM has spoken” and threatening 5d20 of damage to any player who continued arguing. Naturally, the group fell apart shortly thereafter.

  2. Excellent idea and execution, Wil!
    I was running a game wherein the character being run by a rules lawyer extraordinaire (we’ll call him RL) was chasing after a villain through a dark room. The villain exited via a door, which was closing slowly as our hero reached it. RL wanted to simultaneously:
    1) Open the door silently,
    B) Maintain 2/3 cover, and
    Furthermore) Scan for the presence of the bad guy
    I tried to work with him on it, listening to his explanations of a half move of this, a half move of that, and so on. Originally I was going to try to work out some actual percentages for success (the rules were Basic Roleplaying), but about half way through the page-flipping and negotiating, my patience gave out, and I determined that the villain had simply made a clean getaway.
    The moral of the story: The GM may not be able to change the rules, but he can still change the story.

  3. My wife says…Honey lets join a D&D group.
    I say “But I haven’t played that since Jr. high…:
    “Come on it’ll be fun!” she says…
    We hook up with a group play for a few weeks…
    I am a 4th level magic user with a my other 4th level companions, a fighter, a thief (my wife) and a cleric.
    We are in a castle that is getting sieged by a small army of random evil dudes that has a Red Dragon helping it break down the battlements to get to the nugutty good stuff. I say to my cohorts…Don’t worry, I’ve got this! I stroll out to the field of battle and get the Dragons undivided attention.
    Our GM says “Strombol the Red Dragon finds you amusing. What do you do Jack? What do you do?”
    I look confidently at the Game Master and say in a bold voice
    “I cast Leomund’s Secure Shelter…In his stomach.”
    “WHAAAaat? You can’t do that! That would kill the dragon!”
    (even though I’m a noob, even I know a dragon can’t hold 900 square foot cabin in his tummy)
    “My point exactly” says I. “I want to cast it in his stomach, kill the dragon, scatter the army with fear and take all their gold and stuff. It’s what we do.”
    “You can’t do that!” says he.
    Says I, “It doesn’t say I can’t in any of the books I read.”
    “I am the Game Master. I say you can’t!. In fact, the dragon Jurassic parks you. You are dead. I just rolled it.”
    My cohorts were able to resurect me, but we were short of funds. I came back as a friggin’ Pixie.
    -E

  4. Woah. That's actually the first I've ever heard of any of that.
    Well, shit. I'm not as creative as I thought I was, am I?

  5. I’m kind of surprised that a guy that makes his living off of words would be this careless with credit where credit is due. It’s one thing to pass along an awesome bit of funny that you heard on the Internet; it’s something else entirely to try to cash in on it.
    Luckily, someone downthread found what appears to be the original source…

  6. Hopefully, Jim Butcher will hear about this, because this is *exactly* the kind of shirt Harry Dresden would wear. Maybe Jim could do a product placement? ;)

  7. Make sure to check the sizing chart. Their women’s sizes run small, like American Apparel if you’re familiar with them. A women’s 2XL is only 19″ across the chest, but being a t-shirt it’s probably stretchy. (Hopefully.) They do have a return policy if you order a size that doesn’t fit, FWIW.

  8. Steve Jackson’s live action assassination game “Killer” had an assasination called “Defenstration.” If you could get into a room alone with five enemies, they could agree to throw you out the window. However, this is not a story about Killer. This is a story about the last time I played Car Wars and how I was metaphorically defenstrated by a group of rule lawyers (imagine that.. rule lawyers playing Car Wars?)
    I had helped organize an AADA chapter my freshman year and the big offical AADA duel for our chapter was planned for one Saturday night. I think the winner qualified for nationals in Austin. I spent all week designing my $50k car and thoought I had the optimal balance of armor and turreted lasers (hint: I didn’t but that detail turned out to be inconsequential). I get to the duel and we are playing in a huge arena with about fifteen players. I had given my vehicle a 10 accelleration and with my slightly better than average speed, I was able to avoid getting killed immediately. One of the other players had included a trailer bristling with weapons on hiw vehicle. When he started getting damaged, he dropped the trailer and was able to pick up enough speed to escape his attacker. As I drove past this abandoned trailer, I discovered its true purpose. He had filled it with explosives and triggered them by remote as I drove by. The explosion completely destroyed by barely damaged car and I was out of the game. Then someone piped up,
    “Explosives like that are illegal in officcial tournaments” as he pointed at the rules.
    Everyone quickly agreed that the trailer owner was disqualified (or course they did — it eliminated one of the players). I breathed a sigh of relief. It was an illegal action. That meant I wasn’t dead.
    “No. Sorry. Just because it was illegal doesn’t mean we can reverse the action. You are still dead.”
    Everyone quickly agreed and another player was eliminated.

  9. Usually, I AM the rule lawyer in all of my groups, because I’m always the that introduced the game to the Players/Storytellers…
    But this story, my friends, is set in a time I was only a young geekling, in my first game of AD&D 2nd ed, with my first character, Elfteiroh (see my nick to learn how much this character means to me).
    I was in battle against a skeleton, and he slashed me with a rusted sword. He damaged me a little, nothing too threatening… until I realized something. I then stupidly asked to the MD: “Shouldn’t I catch tetanus?”
    … The MD answer: “Oh! Yeah…” followed by the sound of dices rolling.
    The sound of these dices rolling… It was the must agonizing time I ever had while gaming…
    Luckily I didn’t catch it. But it was my first foray on the path of the rule lawyer (and the first head-banging that usually came with my rule-centric comments). I still don’t know why I still become one with a first experience like this.
    I must stress that, beside the fact that my “book-diving” habit can often drag and slow the game down, I’m not a sucker about it, and usually just look out for the rule while the others continue to play, for the bragging right. ;)

  10. I have 2 brief rules lawyer stories about the Wish spell.
    1)
    I played in my first D&D campaign 5 years ago with my then boyfriend who was DMing for his friends. We were playing with 3.5 rules, and a number of his friends and him were(are) rules encyclopaedia. I dont quite remember what brought about a wish spell (i’m almost certain it was an unlimited wish granted by a demigod after a particular quest) and we decided amongst ourselves on what we wanted, and allowed our party leader to present it to the demigod. As that our session was nearing to a close, my party leader asked if he could just write it out and bring it in next session. My boyfriend agreed, and 2 days before the next session, the party leader brings over a 30-40 page document in full legalese explicitly stating what we wanted. My boyfriend, wanting to screw him over for just doing that at all, read the entire thing, found a loophole…and caused just the party leader to get screwed by the wish.
    2)
    I now play with a local group which used to play two tables each night. One night while playing i overhear that the other table is going through a ridiculous mod but they just got granted a wish spell with 3 wishes. One of the girls playing was very annoying, and was constantly undermining the DM and just generally being stupid as well. two of the party members mention what they’d like to the granter of the wishes (i think it was a Djinn) and then this girl interrupts the party leader while he’s talking to the rest of the party about what the 3rd wish should be. The DM had already given her a card she was supposed to hold up whenever she was speaking out of character, and she didn’t hold it up. she just butted in and said “I wish I had a cookie.” So to follow his own rules, and the ones everyone playing had agreed to, she had said that in character, so she wasted the last wish on a cookie…she later died due to party negligence (the party left her in a room of traps to kill her off in hopes she’d stop coming to the public play sessions)

  11. Sweet, think I’ll have to wait a couple of weeks to order those The Guild t-shirts I wanted.
    My worst/latest rules lawyer story:
    My boss wants me to wear SHOES! to the cafeteria >:(

  12. I highly recommend the “Wee Free Men” series. It’s very good and a great starting point for the Pratchett universe IMO, some of his best work.
    I would love to buy your shirt though, I’m going to be an actual attorney this time next year.

  13. So my rules lawyer story is that one time my friends and I were playing Frag and one of my friends, after building up an arsenal of good cards to use, tried to use a card that lets you teleport and then he also tried to move after that. My other friend insisted on seeing the card and then insisted that he couldn’t move after teleporting because of the way the card was phrased. It lasted for about twenty minutes with them arguing over this card, we even looked on the game’s website to see if they had any more to say on the issue. Needless to say the rest of us lost interest in playing and we wasted a bunch of time on this issue.

  14. Nice, Wil, nice. Glad to see you standing up for all of us 2% that don’t have our perfect shirt design yet.
    Hate to open with a silly question, but are you going to be at PAX this year? Saving up to go, won’t be the same if you’re not around.

  15. Not so much a rules lawyer story, but my most memorable experience with a rules lawyer was when we were trying to vote through a new constitution for our university RP club. Ten hours. At least two of which were spent arguing over changing, ‘don’t’, to ‘do not’. It spawned the quote, ‘yes, I totally agree with the point, I think it is a very good point, but that’s not excuse for bad grammar!’

  16. I DM’d a campaign of 3.0 with my group of D&D friends which happens to include the biggest, most annoying rules lawyer I’ve ever met. He’s normally a nice guy and a loyal friend, but get him with dice in front of him and he’ll argue the colour of the sky for 20 minutes just for a +2 circumstance bonus.
    It got so bad that whenever he got that look in his eye, it got to the point that that’s when we’d order the pizza, because we knew he’d take forever and we might as well be getting food in the meantime.
    So this one night we had been playing for a while, when he pipes up and says, “Look, there’s no way that Orc NPC would know Elvish.” I cast my DM’s gaze at him, and say, “What?” He points at his Players Handbook, like you do, and says, “It clearly states that Orcs…” and trails off. I shake my head and say, “Dude. That’s weak. He has an Elvish wife – it’s like a plot point, how could you have missed it?”
    “I didn’t,” he says with a grin, “I’m just hungry.”
    It took a sec, but we all laughed. It was one of the only times I didn’t want to crack him in the skull with my DM’s Guide.

  17. [Apologies for the long post; you're free to move it elsewhere and link it so it doesn't disrupt the page as much]
    Well, this isn’t really a single story,
    but a saga, complete with
    heartbreak, betrayal, backstabbing,
    and enough paper with rules on
    to crush that fat roleplayer from the game store;
    you know the one I’m talking about.
    For you see, my friends,
    I am a rules lawyer.
    I passed the bar many years ago, when I saw
    Magic: the Gathering played on a school bus
    in elementary school.
    It looked intriguing,
    so I read
    the comprehensive rulebook,
    a detailed, nitpicking document that is
    presently 181 pages long.
    Like all good graduates of law school,
    I had friends. My best friend was
    right beside me at
    the top of the class.
    We became friends almost instantly
    after we met,
    and we quickly discovered
    a mutual love of gaming,
    geekery,
    and most of all, rules.
    Ah, I could wax about the rules of the world,
    from courtroom procedures
    to social contracts.
    But that’s not the story
    I’m here to tell you today.
    For I,
    together with my closest chum,
    have a dark secret.
    We play Star Fleet Battles.
    We don’t play it often, but
    play it we do,
    and it’s quite the sight to see.
    A rulebook two inches think, torn mercilessly
    from its binders
    as if by vultures, all in the name of gaming.
    We sit across the table,
    staring each other down,
    d6s primed, locked, and loaded.
    We decide on a scenario, pick our sides,
    and sift through countless bags of counters.
    We argue over whether
    his featureless blue map or
    my starry black map is better, and
    invariably the visitor relents
    when he realizes he forgot his at home.
    We set the chips down,
    read the terms of battle twice over,
    and finally we are ready to fight.
    We each fill out our forms,
    plotting the demise of the other
    as we work out our strategies.
    We look out at the stars
    (sometimes, anyways)
    and plan our attacks, our defenses,
    our every maneuver.
    When finally we start, to the laptop we go,
    for Perl’s quite useful in space.
    Impulse after impulse,
    we maneuver our ships,
    and once in a while we shoot.
    The dice, poised, and ready, join in the fight,
    tens at a time,
    and one of the sides always loses.
    Usually both.
    At the end of the turn,
    we look back on the hours,
    the performance never quite what we wanted.
    The war looks lost,
    the prospects are bleak,
    unless something new comes along.
    But wait, we both think,
    that just might work.
    “Pass me C7!”
    “I need rule D4!”
    the cries ring out from the silence.
    The papers change hands,
    as we search for the answer,
    all the while trying
    to outsmart our opponents.
    This ritual we know well,
    for it happens each time,
    and we look at each other and ask,
    “Why could you
    “Possibly want to know
    “the energy consumption
    “of a tractor beam
    “from half a million kilometers away
    “at light speed
    “when there’s an asteroid in the way
    “and our shields are both up
    “and you’re in an ion storm?”
    “Oh, nothing”
    comes the reply.
    After much deliberation,
    the game moves on,
    slowly,
    until the cry breaks out:
    “WAIT! You can do that?!”
    “It says right here!”
    “But that makes no sense!
    “It was clearly designed
    “for ships moving forward!
    “We must invert it for
    “ships moving backward!”
    “Find me the rule!”
    and once again,
    we scramble to the binders.
    A winner always rises
    from this bitter duel
    but not for his skill
    nor for his planning.
    For each game bows to
    one master!, one god!
    The victor, of course
    is always the one who
    can best use one rule
    that the failure knew
    not.
    Now you see,
    o dear reader,
    the truest pursuit,
    in our hallowed and true sport
    of gaming.
    Everything has rules,
    and every rule has a lawyer,
    and that is the man who will win.
    Unless, of course, someone brought cash.

  18. The only story that I can think of is when I was playing in a group where the DM being a rules lawer insisted that coins had weight. We then wasted an entire night looking for the weight of the platinum, gold, silver, and copper coins. This eventualy led to determaning the size of each coin then finding the weight of the materal in question. He eventualy came up with a size and weight system for coins and anything else that WOC had neglected to mention. I left the group soon after.

  19. My favorite rules lawyer story involves Star Fleet Battles, one of the ultimate rules-lawyering games ever. In the early 1980′s some friends and I joined a local playtest group for SFB that was actually sanctioned by the publisher, ADB.
    One weekend we’re testing a starbase assault scenario. My buddy the Gorn, affectionately known as Lizard Lips, is tearing across the board at a speed of about 24 and the Kzinti drop a pantload of fast drones (speed 32) targeting him. His only chance to avoid destruction by the tracking weapons is to drop a “wild weasel” shuttlecraft to act as a red herring and draw all the missiles to it. The problem was that the rules only allow that to work if you’re moving slower than speed 6. There was the possibility of emergency deceleration, but then you’re dead in space and can’t get up to speed before more missiles speed over and ruin your day.
    What to do? Easy, the rules for tractor beams state that the speed of a vessel tractored by a starbase is zero. So he used his tractor beam to snag the base, slowing his vessel to zero, deploying the WW then releasing the tractor to accelerate to full speed instantaneously.
    The next published version of the rules fixed the tractor beam rules to prevent the infamous Gorn E-Decel Maneuver.

  20. This isn’t so much a story of tules-lawyerism, as pure oversight on the behalf of the ref team, but anyway. At a LARP game, as part of a linear quest, the big bad at the end of the quest, upon his death, drops an airborne poison, which immediately ages everyone in the area by 500 years – essentially a death sentence to any but unliving creatures. Lots of character death ensues, everyone grumbles and starts to walk back toward the ref tents to start up new characters…until one player suddenly stops and bellows for a referee. Turns out he plays a ‘fey’ creature, who have no upper age limit, instead growing more powerful for each year they live. Oh…and he had also become a weresomething (i think bear?) which, wouldn’t you know it, become more powerful for every year of thier life. The poor guy wasmade to sit out the rest of the event while the plot team tried to work out how the hell to handle what amounted to a level 530 werebear spirit.

  21. Problem is you can’t really put copyright on something somebody wrote on a forum somewhere, especially not if that quote itself is derivative, i.e. if the Tolkien Trust were asshats, they could sue Wil for this shirt as well.
    I’m quite sure that Zazzle don’t have a license from the Big Bang Theory writers for their The Wesley Crushers tshirts.
    However, I do think it’s a little bit off, too.

  22. I second the above recommendation. The series is written for a younger audience but just as enjoyable as the other Discworld books. There’s a lot of wit with oodles of cultural references, some of which might be lost for someone not living or having grown up in the UK.
    The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents, the first children’s book is also wonderful.

  23. My favorite rules lawyer incident happened in university, playing 2nd Edition D&D. One of the players had memorized the monster manual, and complained to the DM “But dragons can only breath fire 3 times per day!”.
    He replied that HIS dragons were not wimpy, and proceeded to prove it to within an inch of our lives.

  24. Well, I was going to refer to the time that I exploited a rules lawyer GM during the original Dragonlance campaign, knowing that Tasslehoff wasn’t “supposed” to die yet and jumping face first into a 1000 foot pit below the Draconian elevators.
    Instead, I’d rather submit my most recent encounter with rules lawyers:
    This thread.

  25. My favorite story comes from gencon and one of the people I knew there was playing the warmachine nationals tournament.
    It was a turn or so into the game when his opponent took a move that was clearly not allowed. He pointed out to his opponent that it wasn’t and as such it got into a small debate. Till eventually the opponent said
    “Well since we disagree let’s just dice off.”
    A flumoxed look later he responded
    “You can’t dice off to cheat.. that’s not how it works..” then after consideration, “fine. On a 4+ I charge my laser, and if you disagree we can dice off,”
    I suppose this is more of a story of fail lawyering though :-)

  26. I used to play in a 4e game with a pretty bad rules lawyer. He once created this character who was a cleric but hit like a striker. He had chosen his magical items carefully along with his weapons to give him max damage and striking capability.
    The best was when one time during an encounter a wizard transported him alone to a room with an ogre. He easily defeated it, but the ensuing battle was interesting to say the least.
    And I must say sir… damn you for ensuring that I will buy yet another t-shirt… :-)

  27. I need one of those swords that glows blue in the presence of police or supervisors. So I don’t get in trouble! lol. Great shirt!

  28. Funny, I thought “oh brilliant. I am always irked by rules lawyers; I must have a hundred tales to tell on the subject.” I can’t think of any. Not a single one. I think it’s been so long since I played D&D at a con (playing with my trusted friends leaves little opportunity for rules-lawyering without the risk of extreme retaliatory mockery) that I only remember the fun stories. I seem to have pushed the rules-lawyering out of my mind to make way for better things, like MC Frontalot lyrics.
    Lovely shirt, though. Waaaaaaaant! You should also not stop at this. There must be some good jokes to be had at the expense of the Turnip Zombies and the Metagamers.

  29. It’s the lack of effort that kind of surprises me. 15 seconds of googling and the original source is right there; another minute to drop the guy a line via a BGG forum message, and everything’s cool. I really doubt the guy would have made a fuss over it; for that matter, maybe he’d heard it from someone else.
    I just feel like people need to start being more conscientious about this sort of thing when profit comes into play. It’s kind of the point of the “noncommercial” part of the Creative Commons license Wil tends to use. And the “attribution” part, for that matter.
    I’m not trying to troll here. I’m a big fan of Wil and think it’s awesome how he CC-licenses stuff so we can play with it without worrying. Which is why I’d expected a bit more followthrough on that idea here.

  30. Back when I was a wee bearded lad my brother and I would play Heroes and Villains. At some point we were in the middle of some random city fighting with my brother the DM Villain. He had some sort of Zombie coming after me as I was unable to move for a reason I can’t remember, so I tossed whatever explosives I had at the zombie. After some dice rolling it was determined the zombie had suffered close to 70% damage, and as an undead creature was still coming forth! (Thus a sword began to glow blue somewhere) I stopped play and queried whether the zombie still had legs, or a head for that matter, after suffering so much damage? How effective could he really be. My brother who was usually very logical (usually to my fault as I am rather illogical) as a DM was taken aback by my sudden awareness of how the world might actually work. He could do nothing but roll to see whether the zombie still had legs, or a head, for that matter. Turns out I rolled the legs off the zombie and he could no longer come at me so fast and was able to move again before he could crawl to me and eat my brains.

  31. This doesn’t have to do with traditional gaming, but it’s a good “spirit v letter of the law” story:
    My husband has this Thing which makes him unnaturally good at recognizing actors from very obscure roles. If that movie extra was in a Jimmy Dean commercial 5 years ago, he’ll remember and obsessively point it out to me. Needless to say, watching Law & Order with him is a chore.
    So, a few months ago we were watching TV and for some reason we were watching the commercials (nothing good on the DVR?!). A Progressive commercial came on and I saw my chance to finally beat my husband to the punch. I triumphantly declared, “Hey, that looks like Tori from Saved by the Bell!”
    “It’s not her.”
    “It looks just like her.”
    “It’s not her.”
    And so a bet was made. By the power of imdb.com we discovered that the actress was… NOT Tori from Saved by the Bell, but her identical fucking triplet, also an actress.
    “They have the exact same DNA! It does look just like her.”
    “Still not her.”
    I believe on my death bed I will hear about the Progressive commercial with not-Tori-from-Saved-by-the-Bell.
    Katie B.

  32. Greatest rules lawyer defeat was when I was playing a rousing game of Magic the Gathering with a cousin of my best friend. We had recently gotten him into the game and he quickly became a mechanics-whore and combo-junky to the point of utter annoyance. One day he had decided to create a deck based around pulling all the artifacts and enchantments he wanted and putting them all on one creature, making it an uber beast all in one turn and using those same attached features to make him invulnerable to harm. I recount from memory and submit the following:
    “And finally I attach Lightning Grieves to my Serra Angel. She has +8/+8, trample, haste, fire breathing, and with the Grieves cannot be targeted by spells or abilities. You’re dead this turn. I’m just going to pick up my cards now.”
    “Wait a minute, I have a disenchant, that removes your lightning grieves and I use Deathmark to kill your white creature.”
    “No, you can’t do that, Lightning Grieves says she can’t be target of spells or abilities.”
    “No no sir, it says your creature can’t be the target of spells or abilities, I’m targeting your Grieves first then hitting her with a Deathmark.”
    “But that’s targeting her with a spell or ability. You can’t do that.”
    “Alas, I can.”
    *He call over Judge*
    *Judge explains how Lightning Grieves works and how disenchant works*
    *Rage persists and he picks up all his cards and storms out of the shop*
    Let this be a lesson kids, pay attention to what combo whores are doing, because it ain’t always right.
    And knowing is half the battle. G.I. JOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOE!!

  33. I like that you have as many as 3 people working under you in this endeavor. Some good stuff should come of this. Funny thing is that my cousin just got hired by Jinx and there he is on “your team”. I love that they hire creative staff who are immersed in teh culture.
    No good “rules lawyer” stories, just a funny DM who had these original Gygax books. You’d think you got a critical hit and all you did was chop a guy’s nose off, reducing his Charisma to 0. :(

  34. First, I am appalled that a MTG combo-whore did not understand the mechanics of Disenchant, as it clearly states on the card itself that it destroys target ARTIFACT OR ENCHANTMENT, the Grieves of course qualifying as an artifact. He is forthwith stripped of his “mechanics- and combo-whore” title for that disappointing blunder.
    Second, I would venture to argue that ‘combo-whoring’ for purposes of deck-building is just good strategy, as opposed to just cold rules-mongering. After all, it is a trading-card game, right? Getting the right cards and combinations to draw from in your deck is a huge part of the game! Although I must admit, I do enjoy actually playing a bit more than my obsessive deck-building husband, lol. Sometimes I wonder if he even likes playing the game at all, or if he’d be content to just go over numbers and mechanics and build decks all day….

  35. Also, what bad form for him to assume his opponent is backed into a corner, starting to pick up his cards like that! In all of his rules-mongering, doesn’t he know that in MGT there’s always…always…ALWAYS the possibility of hearing those accursed two words “In response…”, no matter freaking what?! :P

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