How is it possible that I can affirm that it has nothing to do with GM Fiat?
Clearly there is a disconnect between what I am saying and what people are hearing. Noisms wrote about this last week.
My games do not contain DM Fiat or Pixel bitching. I run extremely light skill play. Players don't roll to search or for many things that are commonly determined in other games.
Decisions are made by consensus. "What do you think is reasonable?" "Does anyone have any life experience about this topic?" "What does the internet say?"
"Nebu Pookins" in the comments in that article gives this example:
What about the situation where your players want to "win"? E.g.
DM: You fall for 30 feet... Hmm, how much damage do you think that is?
PC: Zero damage.
DM: No, that doesn't quite sound right...
PC: One damage.
PC: Two? Three? Look, what's the minimum damage I can say before you accept my answer?
DM: I don't know, I was willing to accept any reasonable answer.
PC: Look, why don't we cut the crap. You already have in mind some idea of how much damage I should get, and now you want me to play this guessing game to see if I can divine what your secret number is?
If they are acting that way they have a disorder.
D&D is a cooperative adventure role-playing game. There is some flexibility in those terms. Adventure to one person could be super-heroic fantasy and to another picaresque adventure.
But to disengage from fictional positioning and verisimilitude from the chosen setting in an 'attempt to win' is missing the purpose of play.*
The above isn't DM Fiat and it's not pixel bitching. It is a human being who is not emotionally mature or intelligent enough to understand that the goal is GROUP enjoyment.
By the player choosing to abdicate his responsibility of engaging in consensus discussion he is being disruptive to the process of play. The fact that he is doing so for the purpose of maximizing the benefit to his fictional positioning makes him petty and self centered.
One, as a general rule, will find enjoyment stymied by the behavior of immature disruptive players.
This is so common during the history of man that there is even a global term for it.
* In order to clarify for those readers who are unable to apply the context of this article in a broad sense, it is certainly possible to play a variety of games to compete and win by thoroughly annihilating your opponent (or even decimating them if you just want to kill 10% of their forces). It is the same. You do not forget the purpose of play is for everyone to have fun. Challenge is fun. Losing a close game is fun. This does not make it ok to engage in sexual harassment, abuse or other negative behaviors.