A good noncall?

I don’t generally watch sports, but I did catch the fourth quarter of the Superbowl.  It held my attention, even though I didn’t really care who would win.  (I have some in-laws in Pittsburgh, so my wife was rooting for the Steelers, but I kind of dislike them going back to when I lived in New Jersey in the suburbs of Philadelphia, and we rooted for the Eagles, and the grapes were sour indeed.   The Packers? Like most sports teams, I couldn’t care much less about them.)

Because I am perverse, I guess, the most memorable thing that happened was late in the quarter when a play looked iffy from one angle but in instant replay from another angle was clearly legal.  The commentators discussed it and agreed that the refs made “a good noncall.”  Obviously they meant the refs were right not to call a penalty on it, despite the reactions of some participants who thought there was some contact before the tackled player actually had the ball.  But it really struck me that the ref was being being praised for not doing something and not doing it so well.  It also got me thinking about whether you can make a “good noncall” (or good nonruling) as a DM, as opposed to just making a good ruling or a bad one.  Are there times when the best way to handle an ambiguous situation, or something not covered by the rules, is to do nothing?

What was the best noncall or nonruling you’ve made or witnessed in an RPG?

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Published in: on February 7, 2011 at 9:36 am  Comments (1)  
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  1. There have been times where I let the players work out through roleplay something that the rules outlined or the dice decided (breaking apart a seashore stilt building with telekinesis to fight some sand golems, for example) but that’s probably the closest I’ve ever gotten to a non-call.


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