I read this yesterday on a short break between bouts of work.
The 4 Unwritten Rules No Dungeon Master Should Break
Points 1-3 are fair to me. I think those are good rules. I think #2 is a bit overdone, since you can just ask the players what their characters do. You don't have to assume for them, nor punish them for not stating things. You can ask, and hold them to what they say. That's fair.
Overall, 1-3? They're fair enough.
4, eh, maybe not. It's very situational, isn't it?
I would agree that you shouldn't overly contrive situations. But what if I have a situation you can avoid, but if you can't, you lose your stuff? I can't do that?
"None of this applies to today’s game. Never take the character’s hard-won gear. They will resent the loss."
Really? Why? I disagree strongly with that.
I've refereed games where people lost their paper man entirely. Gone. Dead. Irrevocably. Do they resent it?
No, it's a game. And it happened fairly, by the first three rules and two of mine - don't gloat, and remember it's their game, too.
I've have people lose their stuff. Remember Vryce had Gram? He literally carried one of the most storied blades in human history. He lost that along with a bunch of stuff once when he got killed.
I don't think his player did much more than sigh and move on. It's stuff a paper man owns. It's not any more real than the paper man. You're at best a secondary user of it - you have an imaginary guy, who has imaginary stuff. Sometimes that stuff will go away.
I'd say a better rule 4 would be, don't take away the agency of the players to suit your plot. Don't force things to come to a result. This bit encapsulates it well:
"Save your escape-from-the-dungeon scenario for a time when players ignore warning signs, make bad choices, suffer setbacks, and ignore any chance to run. Those times happen—trust me. Then, instead of rolling new characters, have the old characters wake in chains. The players will feel grateful for a second chance."
I agree there. Just let your players make decisions within the confines of the game world and the events of that world and the capabilities of their PCs. And let stuff happen. Don't force it. If their stuff goes away, it goes away - and it's a result of their dumb decisions. It's why my players don't gripe about getting TPK'd by a beholder or losing their stuff to Mungo the Troll or that time Dave tried to end-run around a Black Reaver for loot. They made those choices and bad stuff happened. It's not the stuff, or their backstory dependents, that are the issue. It's that it's their decision or not.