In the Storyteller System (Classic World of Darkness, Orpheus, Trinity, Exalted, etc.) and Storytelling System (New World of Darkness) White Wolf included the Golden Rule (their version of Rule Zero which expressly defines ST/GM Fiat.

So... when questions come up that are not expressly RAW but there is a RAW GM Fiat rule which one takes precedence?

Related question: (?) How to answer a RAW question when the RAW are silent?

I made a valiant (my opinion) attempt at answering a question that consisted of a RAW portion and one that, arguably(?), needs GM fiat for full clarification.

Granted, there are edition issues which I did not know/account for but the root question remains.


2 Answers 2


Just answer RAW with RAW.

Most games explicitly or implicitly don't constrain their GMs to the RAW. But when someone is asking a RAW question, they are wanting to engage just with the game text and not "what you would rule" - any question on the site that's not tagged RAW is answered with a mix of book rules and judgement calls. If you just answer that to a RAW question then it's not different from a non-RAW question.

So even when the game says "or make it up," a RAW question should not be about that. Of course, the more a game leans on that, the goofier it is to ask a RAW question for it, but that's the OP's problem.

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    \$\begingroup\$ +1 for "that's the OP's problem." \$\endgroup\$ Jul 21, 2017 at 19:26
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    \$\begingroup\$ I would like to pinpoint that it's not (or should not be) "any question on the site that's not tagged RAW", but rather "any question that asks for a RAW answer". \$\endgroup\$ Jul 23, 2017 at 15:19

People ask questions because they want answers. If we allow that the people asking the questions are experts in the things that they are asking about unless there's evidence otherwise, the number of situations in which "Rule 0", on its own, is a good answer to a question about the rules of a system is extremely small.

If I ask "What are the rules for vehicular combat in FATE 2.0?" I'm not asking to be told to make up my own rules or that the rulebook says I can make up my own rules. I'm asking about 'the' rules, for some given value of 'the', certainly including the FATE 2.0 rulebook, but possibly including other stuff. An answer can certainly say "Hey, here's some rules, and also I made up some better rules and I use those now" and that's cool, but a good answer definitely needs to talk about any and all rules that the system actually has for the thing, because that's what those sorts of questions are about.

"There aren't any rules, because you're supposed to use GM Fiat for this" is a reasonable answer, though, when it's true. But the part where it talks about the absense of rules is important.

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    \$\begingroup\$ If you ask how is riposte being resolved in V20 Dark Ages, you get a RAW answer and possibly a comment "Did you Ctrl+F in the book yourself?" or a "You should probably reread the combat section of the book" paragraph in that answer. If you ask about the rules of incendiary ammo being applied against vampires in cWoD, you get an answer stating that it isn't mentioned in the rules of Revised and V20 editions, and some suggestions how it should probably work (in this case it was a detailed explanation why should the effect most likely be no different from a normal bullet). \$\endgroup\$ Jul 23, 2017 at 15:24

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