I try to run a challenging game because I think this is exciting. Some of the fights or some of the situations are meant to be tough. I also don’t like to micromanage combat. Perhaps that leads to situations where players feel like I’m cheating on them. They react by quoting the rules back at me, and correcting me.
I also need to root for my monsters sometimes because I need some positive things happening on my side of the screen as well. That’s why you’ll hear the occasional happy “Hah!” or “Sweet critical threat!” from me.
I guess what I’m aiming for is a certain taunting and challenging of my players while they’re in a tight spot. I thought it adds to the excitement and provides a sense of achievement afterwards.
Unfortunately, it seems to have the side-effect of inviting rules discussions in tight spots, which is exactly the opposite of what I’m looking for, followed by “Hah!” or “Take that!” when players win rule arguments. Recently I’ve also gotten some disturbing body language at the table. I’m not enjoying this sort adversity.
I’m not sure where to take it from here. What do you think, RPG Bloggers?