Rule zero or the golden rule may refer to one of several unofficial rules or maxims in the role-playing game hobby, which are (when cited) considered to be so fundamental to the hobby that the precede (hence the number zero) and overrule any other rule in the game.
Maxims that are sometimes referred to as "rule zero" include:
- "If a rule isn't fun, ignore it" (aka "there are no rules" or "have fun")
- "The GM is always right"
- "The GM's job is to give the players meaningful choices"
Views on the use of rule zero (both specific variants and the idea in general) vary among players. Rob Donoghue has said that rule zero (and other contentious RPG ideas like GM secrets) are not inherently bad, but are disliked because they can lead to bad patterns of behaviour among players and GMs when they are assumed rather than explicit.
- ↑ EncounterMitch (2016-04-28). "GM Basics: The Golden Rule". Encounter Roleplay. Retrieved 2020-01-26.
- ↑ Rob Donoghue (2019-12-28). Thread "As I dig through the lore of other games and jam on it, I’m really zeroing in on the idea that a lot of contentious rpg ideas (Rule Zero & GM secrets especially) are not themselves bad, but create bad patterns when they are assumed rather than explicit.". @rdonoghue on Twitter. Retrieved 2020-01-26.