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SteveW
12-02-2014, 07:33
A few recent discussions got me thinking(I know, scary) about the term RAI(rules as intended). So I have a few questions for you interwebs people.


How did this term come about?

How are people claiming to know what was intended without there being anything to indicate such in writing?

If it was intended, why was it not written?

Before anyone gets uppity, I really am curious and am seeking sincere answers(and jokes, this place is too serious some times).

daftpunkevo
12-02-2014, 07:37
I did not claim to know anything, but we play from a roleplay logic, so if somethings is debatable, we pick what we agree to be the most "realistic" (in a fantasy world PoV...) solution.
For exemple of the ASF vs ASL+ASF how can a white lion with GW strike at the same time that twin brother with a light 1 hand sword ? Rules says somethings and logic says something else.

Greyshadow
12-02-2014, 07:53
Google The Rules Lawyers. It is an awesome (and somewhat humourous) website that uses the way the US supreme court resolves law problems as the methodology to solve rules problems. Their approach is RAW (rules as written), if unclear RAW + context, if still unclear RAI (Rules as Intended), and so on. I think this is the right approach. RAW is always the best to go on if it is unambiguous. Rules as Intended can be subjective as you are only really guessing what the drafter was thinking. Some thoughts.

Lord Solar Plexus
12-02-2014, 08:02
The terms itself might be particular to Warhammer but the concept is not new. In computer games, the question is Bug or WAD. In judicial matters, the question is very similar; a law can and has been written to contradict its intent and it's plain to see that every codified law leaves room for interpretation.

The question why this is not simply remedied ignores (no negative connotation) the complexity of such systems, and rules writers aren't infallible either. I'm a PR writer, I know how it goes. You write a sentence or para, you know exactly what it means and what you want to say with it, and then the lector (rarely the arch-lector) comes and shows you that it makes no sense, or omits a fact, or that you assumed something the reader wouldn't know...and sometimes a passage is wrong even though five people familiar with the matter have read it.

RAI is indeed often not actually known in the sense that someone has explicitly expressed it but it isn't true that there are no indications. The most important basis to question RAW is often the background. I am the first to admit that this bears huge problems. Still, it does have some relevance. A huge Demon Prince with WS 1? It's likely to be a misprint, and would hopefully be addressed.

NemoSD
12-02-2014, 08:26
I have observed two forms of RAI.

Form One: A rule is written without specifically stating an exception that can develop a grey area. It is normally easy to resolve said problem following the core priority. By this I mean that the core book rules are supreme, sort of a warhammer supremacy clause. The best example of this was the Dark Angel Deathwing Assault rules. Because it was not explicitly stated that those deep striking terminators counted towards the reserve total, there was a grey area that was quickly resolved by the core rulebook which was very specific in the exceptions allowed.

Form Two: RAI really means, Rules as written by I. These you hear most often, either as a result of a rolling a nat 1 on reading comprehension, which we all do sometimes, or the willful application of twisted logic to obtain a desirable situation for the arguing player. I have noticed this form of RAI in table top RPGs more, where the rules are more flexible, spread through out 20 volumes at times, and the rules lawyer in question will reference esoteric books that he only has on PDF at home. In other words, RAI Type II when un-intentional is born from a simple misreading of a term, or passage, and intentionally is a glorified form of cheating.

Sometimes the two get combined, as they did in the Deathwing Assault situation where one side was inventing entire phases and rules to justify their version of the rules.

Tae
12-02-2014, 08:28
The Ogre Kingdoms FAQ illustrates RAW vs RAI.

RAI - no, Butchers weren't intended to be able to buy magic armour

RAW - they can do

Now as to why they didn't use the errata to fix this oversight is another question entirely.

SteveW
12-02-2014, 08:45
The Ogre Kingdoms FAQ illustrates RAW vs RAI.

RAI - no, Butchers weren't intended to be able to buy magic armour

RAW - they can do

Now as to why they didn't use the errata to fix this oversight is another question entirely.

That is what I'm talking about. They came out and said "we didn't mean for it to happen", until that time though nobody could know that was the case.

Them leaving it alone was a bit sketchy...lol

Lord Solar Plexus
12-02-2014, 08:55
And nobody did *know* - but people had a hunch.

BlackPawl
12-02-2014, 09:05
Normally you should use RAW, but in some cases it didn't make sense, so you have to use RAI.

Look at the rules for fast cavallery in the main rulebook. It says that units with "horses" or "wolves" can shoot while marching. If you play RAW no fast cavalry unit in warhammer can shoot while marching (they cann of course use all other benefits from fast cavalry, but in this paragraph it refers to horses and wolves and not to mounts) , because no one uses wolves or horses (empire uses battlehorses, elves uses elvensteeds, goblins uses giantwolves etc.).

But we all "know" what this rule is intended for, or? :)

SteveW
12-02-2014, 09:33
Normally you should use RAW, but in some cases it didn't make sense, so you have to use RAI.

Look at the rules for fast cavallery in the main rulebook. It says that units with "horses" or "wolves" can shoot while marching. If you play RAW no fast cavalry unit in warhammer can shoot while marching (they cann of course use all other benefits from fast cavalry, but in this paragraph it refers to horses and wolves and not to mounts) , because no one uses wolves or horses (empire uses battlehorses, elves uses elvensteeds, goblins uses giantwolves etc.).

But we all "know" what this rule is intended for, or? :)

That is a good point, now only my bretonnian mounted Yeomen can shoot while marching :)

T10
12-02-2014, 11:26
One example from 40k is the two hand flamers available to Sisters of Battle Seraphim.

RAW: Hand flamers are Assault 1. Having two of them provides no benefit what-so-ever for a normal (jump) infantry model since it can only fire a single weapon each turn.

RAI: Hand flamers are Pistols. Though the SoB codex repeats the definition of Assault 1, it immediately goes on to remind how to use a model with multiple template weapon attacks per turn, which only makes sense in that context if the Seraphim model is getting the benefit of the Gunslinger rule for having two pistols.

-T10

Treadhead_1st
12-02-2014, 15:03
RAI can sometimes be more useful than RAW - for example, I think it was the 4th Edition Codex: Space Marines did not list Terminators as coming with Terminator Armour - by the rules as written, those heavily-armoured iconic units had absolutely no armour and could not Deep Strike. That was clearly an oversight, even though allowing Terminators to use Terminator Armour was against the rules-as-written (and I don't think it was ever addressed in an Errata).

However, RAI runs into problems when it comes to genuine grey areas, and trying to determine which is actually an oversight and which is actually intended; and naturally people will twist whatever they can to give themselves an advantage (whether citing RAW or RAI to do so) - the new Pyrovore going nuclear at hitting everything on the table in 40K for example.

IcedCrow
12-02-2014, 16:16
If I ever use the phrase "that was never intended" or "they intended this" it was from a direct quote from one of the designers' mouths at a games day or in a blog or white dwarf.

DeathGlam
12-02-2014, 16:16
My gaming group is of the opinion of RAI including the occasional house rule that we feel it makes sense for an army or regiment to have.

In my experience it is very obvious what the designer's meant when everyone is not of the attitude to get one over an opponent whenever possible.

badguyshaveallthefun
12-02-2014, 17:05
I like to try and play the game (or indeed any game) as close to what is RAW as possible, as I feel that that is the way the game should be played and enjoyed.

However when RaW creates more problems than it solves (like a certain ASF vs. ASF+ASL thread going on right now) I tend to think that it's better to just go with RaI, it's better to be able to actually play with friends argument free than win an argument and lose a friend.

PirateRobotNinjaofDeath
12-02-2014, 21:34
I always have, and always will, play RAW. In RAI you'll find that there will be as many flavours of what is "intended" as there are people in the room, and that's just fodder for arguments.

Can the disagreement be settled with the plain wording of the rules? Does the context help? Are there any analogous situations where this issue has been solved before? If we get that far and still can't get to an agreement, then I'll call someone over to be an impartial arbitrator (or use the dice, if none is available).

SteveW
12-02-2014, 23:44
I like to try and play the game (or indeed any game) as close to what is RAW as possible, as I feel that that is the way the game should be played and enjoyed.

However when RaW creates more problems than it solves (like a certain ASF vs. ASF+ASL thread going on right now) I tend to think that it's better to just go with RaI, it's better to be able to actually play with friends argument free than win an argument and lose a friend.
Actually in that one the RAW is 100% clear as day to everyone but a few people.

theunwantedbeing
13-02-2014, 00:11
How did this term come about?
RAW is a way to abuse shoddy wording legally.
RAI is the counter to that, to give a valid reason not to agree to something that is perfectly legal.


How are people claiming to know what was intended without there being anything to indicate such in writing?
Usually there is something to give away what the intent was.


If it was intended, why was it not written?
Cruddy rules writers for the most part.
Cruddy proof readers are another part.
Human error is also a factor, as it's quite easy after several iterations of a rule to write a rule as one thing but mean something else.

eg. Most people remember that tomb kings always hit on a 5+ with their bows.
This isn't the rule.
But for almost all intents and purposes, it may as well be.

Lord Dan
13-02-2014, 00:23
That is what I'm talking about. They came out and said "we didn't mean for it to happen", until that time though nobody could know that was the case.

Them leaving it alone was a bit sketchy...lol
This example is probably the best one to explain the concept, if only because the designers specifically mentioned their intent and how it contradicted with the rule.


Actually in that one the RAW is 100% clear as day to everyone but a few people.
Must...resist...bait...attempt... :p

PirateRobotNinjaofDeath
13-02-2014, 00:40
RAW is a way to abuse shoddy wording legally.

And RAI is houserules masquerading as interpretation.

Unless you're sitting next to a designer, then your blind stab-in-the-dark guess at his "intention" is just your own personal interpretation - probably wishful - of how you FEEL a rule ought to function.

badguyshaveallthefun
13-02-2014, 01:03
You can do it Dan!

SteveW
13-02-2014, 02:39
Must...resist...bait...attempt... :p

Hahaha! But the hook is so shiny.

SpanielBear
13-02-2014, 06:15
What happened to rolling a d6 to decide rules controversies?

Bergen Beerbelly
13-02-2014, 07:01
What happened to rolling a d6 to decide rules controversies?

Tournament players don't like that rule because it can go one guys way with one roll, and the exact same situation could be happening on another table and the roll could go completely the other direction than the guy on the first table, thus giving one person a win and another person a loss. So from all of the discussions I have had with tournament players the whole roll a d6 to decide a controversy is not something they like to rely on, so they don't use it.

Lord Solar Plexus
13-02-2014, 07:48
And RAI is houserules masquerading as interpretation.

Unless you're sitting next to a designer, then your blind stab-in-the-dark guess at his "intention" is just your own personal interpretation - probably wishful - of how you FEEL a rule ought to function.

But RAW - every reading process - is interpretation, too. You read the rule, you have a feel for how it should work.

Solonor
13-02-2014, 12:55
But RAW - every reading process - is interpretation, too. You read the rule, you have a feel for how it should work.

I agree, and that's the problem right there. If the Warhammer main rulebook (fantasy or 40k), had rules that specifically mentioned every situation or intereaction that could occur we would have an ever ending story. So most rules serve as generalizations that have to be applied in situations that involve a number of variables that constantly change with each new army(codex) launch. So there are many cases in which one has to interpret RAW. Most of the time it's clear what the rule should read, other not quite.

rwphillipsstl
13-02-2014, 18:54
Going from how we interpret statutes as lawyers under current jurisprudence:

RAW--if the rule is unambiguous (which is a threshold determination), then the letter of the rule controls. Period, end of story, good or bad.

RAI--if you determine the rule is ambiguous (which can include being inherently contradictory), then you look at what the rule most clearly was meant to say based on the context of the rules around it and other relevant materials (which, in theory, could include just about anything, with some information worth more than others). Hopefully this gives you a clarified rule by telling you what the rule meant to say but did not do so clearly.

House rules--this is the modified or different rule you write and adopt because you do not like either the RAW or even the RAI result when you think the letter of the rule is ambiguous.

Much of what people call RAI is really a house rule disguised as "clarifying" a rule you simply do not like (though maybe for very good reasons). Pure RAI is not changing a rule, it is merely clearing up an ambiguity/grey area.

Charistoph
13-02-2014, 23:02
Much of what people call RAI is really a house rule disguised as "clarifying" a rule you simply do not like (though maybe for very good reasons). Pure RAI is not changing a rule, it is merely clearing up an ambiguity/grey area.

This is so true.

It gets even worse when people try to claim their RAI based on previous editions because they either read the current edition too quickly, or have never actually read it and going by how they were taught the game by others who didn't teach them properly in the first place.

ewar
13-02-2014, 23:06
And RAI is houserules masquerading as interpretation.

Unless you're sitting next to a designer, then your blind stab-in-the-dark guess at his "intention" is just your own personal interpretation - probably wishful - of how you FEEL a rule ought to function.

I find that generally all the reasonable players I have met are able to agree on RaI interpretations when they take into account the context of the rule. A good example of this was when some players abused the character positioning rules to get their wizards in the second rank. It was the RaW interpretation but everyone I have ever gamed against agreed it was not what the designers intended and that was how it was FAQd in the end.

The simple fact is if you really, genuinely play 100 percent by RaW then the game is actually unplayable and the ruleset completely breaks down, cf the light cavalry example given by someone already.

SteveW
13-02-2014, 23:07
This is so true.

... and going by how they were taught the game by others who didn't teach them properly in the first place.

Like how the other day a guy tried to convince me Bret warhorses were fast cav? Because that was a fun conversation.

Archon of Death
13-02-2014, 23:08
Like how the other day a guy tried to convince me Bret warhorses were fast cav? Because that was a fun conversation.

How. How did he try to convince you. What *********** logic did he attempt to use? BECAUSE THERE IS NO LOGIC THERE, THERE IS NOTHING TO BACK THAT, ANYWHERE, EVER. But, how did he go about it, because that sounds like some interesting dumb.

I just checked the BRB's Bestiary, there was nothing to support this assertion. I checked the Bretonnia Army Book entry for Warhorses, there was nothing to support this argument. I then checked Fast Cavalry, there was nothing to fuel his debate. Finally I looked at the entry for Mounted Yeomen, and they aren't even on Warhorses. You cannot use another Army Book to argue something in an Army Book. You CAN use an Army Book to argue something in the BRB for that Army, you can use the BRB to argue something for any Army, unless there is a discrepancy in an Army Book, then the Army Book takes precedence. But there is nothing within either the Army Book or the BRB... and I'm not even gunna bother with the errata since I am damn sure it isn't in there.

SteveW
14-02-2014, 00:20
How. How did he try to convince you. What *********** logic did he attempt to use? BECAUSE THERE IS NO LOGIC THERE, THERE IS NOTHING TO BACK THAT, ANYWHERE, EVER. But, how did he go about it, because that sounds like some interesting dumb.

I just checked the BRB's Bestiary, there was nothing to support this assertion. I checked the Bretonnia Army Book entry for Warhorses, there was nothing to support this argument. I then checked Fast Cavalry, there was nothing to fuel his debate. Finally I looked at the entry for Mounted Yeomen, and they aren't even on Warhorses. You cannot use another Army Book to argue something in an Army Book. You CAN use an Army Book to argue something in the BRB for that Army, you can use the BRB to argue something for any Army, unless there is a discrepancy in an Army Book, then the Army Book takes precedence. But there is nothing within either the Army Book or the BRB... and I'm not even gunna bother with the errata since I am damn sure it isn't in there.

He had been told that the bret warhorses taking no movement penalties for barding meant all bret warhorses were fast cav. You know, because a horse with no movemenet penalties are fast cav.

The conversation went like this. My friend playing his dark elf fast cav army was telling the bret player what his units could do and the bret player was like "All my units are fast cav as well because bret cavalry take no penalties for barding". I dropped the book I was reading when I heard that and watched as my friend calmly explained how he had been taught that one a bit wrong.

Charistoph
14-02-2014, 03:00
He had been told that the bret warhorses taking no movement penalties for barding meant all bret warhorses were fast cav. You know, because a horse with no movemenet penalties are fast cav.

The conversation went like this. My friend playing his dark elf fast cav army was telling the bret player what his units could do and the bret player was like "All my units are fast cav as well because bret cavalry take no penalties for barding". I dropped the book I was reading when I heard that and watched as my friend calmly explained how he had been taught that one a bit wrong.

Yeah, that would be a good example of bad training, for sure.

And even in Rules forums (and some List/Tactica forums), we see people who continue to ignore their books and try to get justification for doing things their way. Don't get me wrong, I have zero problems with the concept of House Rules, but when people try to force House Rules on me as if they were in black and parchment in the book, that's a problem.

Imperator64
14-02-2014, 14:07
I got told that my use of a redirector to slow down an enemy unit was ' unsportsmanlike' because it's not what the developers intended.

underscore
14-02-2014, 15:04
What happened to rolling a d6 to decide rules controversies?
It only really works if both people are able to see the other's interpretation as having some kind of validity. But some people are just wrong. :)

SteveW
14-02-2014, 15:57
I got told that my use of a redirector to slow down an enemy unit was ' unsportsmanlike' because it's not what the developers intended.
Crazytalk. Why would they make those units and give rules to support the use of them if it wasn't intended? I can imagine the rules development team doing this: RG will mean Rules Guy.

RG1: "Oi, lets make this unit be able to flee from a charge and then auto rally and act normally"
RG2: "Are you daft? What ever could you use that for?"
RG1: "Dunno, but I likes to make rules fer nuffin."

Lord Inquisitor
14-02-2014, 20:22
RAW vs RAI is always a touchy subject, but part of that comes from the terms themselves, which already skew your perceptions. "Intent" is a pretty loaded word to use.

For example "you can't ever know RAI": well, theoretically, no. But that's not really very useful. Sometimes you can infer the intent beyond any reasonable doubt. As an example, when the rulebook came out the ASF rule read: "re-roll failed misses". Now this was corrected by errata eventually but for a fair while there we had to infer meaning. No one actually played it that you re-rolled hits, it was a curiosity on forums and was corrected.

As a more recent case, the daemon rules for having more than one weapon state you have to choose which one you're using. Some genius figured out that per a FAQ (that answers a different question), that means that you can wield one but still gain the benefit of another. I think in this case when discussing intent that if the designer makes a rule saying to have to choose which weapon you have to use, being able to use both is probably not the intent!

In general "RAI" might be better said to be "rules as make the most sense in the contextual framework of the ruleset" but then RAMTMSITCFOTR doesn't roll off the tongue. Even if the intent is unknowable we can make a judgement that takes the context of the rules into account in addition to the letter.

Lord Dan
14-02-2014, 20:47
I got told that my use of a redirector to slow down an enemy unit was ' unsportsmanlike' because it's not what the developers intended.

Oh, I see you opponents are practitioners of PoliteHammer:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZdM44rovn6c

Soulless
14-02-2014, 21:05
Or we start using RAF - rules as fitting - where fitting describes the rule in the context of all other rules and game setting. In some cases this is just self imposing.

shakedown47
15-02-2014, 04:59
Whether I agree if it was the designer's intent or not, I always advocate playing a game Rules As Written. As far as Rules As Intended, some things will clearly be an issue of errata, like a DP with WS1 as another poster stated, or terminators without terminator armour. As much as people bitch and moan about the holes in the rules of this game, the reality is that out of the hundreds of rules interactions that can occur, only a very, very small percentage of them can't be solved by applying Rules As Written.

The biggest problem for me isn't resolving Rules As Written vs. Rules As Intended, it's that pernicious other RAI that's the problem: Rules As Interpreted.

The whole ASF/ASL debate that's taken over the forum of late is a classic example of this. You had the usual RAW vs. RAI arguments, but interestingly the RAW camp wasn't all in agreement; people were reading the same passage from the book but taking away a completely different view than others because they were interpreting the exact same set of words and sentences in a totally different way. This can be for any number of reasons, from a subconscious preference for one outcome or another, or just a different or incorrect view of the syntax of a sentence.

A good example of what I mean is the rules for the Tome of Furion. It says "When the bearer...generates spells from the Lore of Dark Magic, she can choose one spell - the rest must be generated following the normal rules." When I first read that entry, I assumed it meant that a level 4 would pick a spell, then roll 3 dice to generate the other spells following any spell selection rules as normal. After I thought for a second, I realized there's nothing stopping me from rolling three dice first, THEN picking the 4th spell. The truth is that, in the end, it doesn't matter much one way or another, but it's an example of how two different people could read the exact same rule and, using RAW, play it completely different from one another. This is the type of situation where you must either wait for a FAQ, or errata, or simply houserule what you think was intended.