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GM cheating how much is acceptable?


Advice

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Purple Overkill wrote:
I think you recently quoted Mike Mearls on that yourself, correct?

I did, and I could easily quote Gygax or Cook to a similar effect. I also said in the post you mentioned that I generally play very loose with the rules. But I'm upfront about it, so that the players can decide if my game is for them (or probably not) and don't get surprised by me doing anything that's not in the books.

On the other hand, I'm willing to compromise to a degree, because mainly I don't want the rules to come in the way of the actual gameplay and interrupt a session just because of some stupid minutiae.

So yeah, I agree with what you said about what D&D/PF is. But I don't think that this gives the GM the license to ignore the player's wishes and preferences. Which is why certain topics (including fudging) should be discussed before they can grow into a problem.

Though I never had the problem personally. Never had a player who was thinking that the integrity of the rules would be more important than the actual fun at the game table.


Oh, I did. I once had the misfortune to start a group with a bunch of players that all got into the game under the same gm, a guy who operated under the believe that the rules should actually dictate the game and the sole job of the gm is to call out the results of the rolls.


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Ciaran Barnes wrote:
That just gave me an idea for when I game with my kid (if I ever back to that). At each session I'll give her a few tokens she can turn in to re-roll things.

Hero Points work pretty well for this.


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WormysQueue wrote:
Never had a player who felt that the integrity of the rules would be more important than the actual fun at the game table.

I've had players who were thinking that the actual fun at the game table was directly proportional to the integrity of the rules. When I offered to DM for Houstonderek and a small number of other DMs who wanted an occasional chance to play instead, I asked if there were any deal-breakers, so I could tailor my DM style accordingly. "If I do something stupid and don't die, I will walk out the door and not come back" is what Houstonderek said, and further discussion indicated (a) he wanted very challenging tactical scenarios in addition to very immersive role-playing, and (b) he viewed the results of the dice to be sacred.

After DMing that campaign for a number of years, I actually found that I enjoyed that DMing style far more than I'd thought I would, and far more than I enjoyed DMing when I was fudging things. By rolling in the open and letting the dice fall, I had a lot more attention to devote to making the world and the NPCs come alive, planning their next moves and figuring what logical consequences would stem from events. When I tried playing with Houstonderek's mind-set, I found I enjoyed that a great deal as well.

TL;DR: By acceding to the players' requests instead of resisting them, I found an even greater enjoyment of the game.


Ciaran Barnes wrote:
That just gave me an idea for when I game with my kid (if I ever back to that). At each session I'll give her a few tokens she can turn in to re-roll things.

For a while I've been meaning to playtest this:

"The players may reroll any roll up to one time, whenever they want. However, every time a player chooses to take a reroll, the GM gets one reroll subject to the same constraints they can use on the behalf of an NPC or Antagonist whenever they choose."

So players stay alive and NPCs get a chance to shrug of "save or die" effects to extend fights.

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Kirth Gersen wrote:
By acceding to the players' requests instead of resisting them, I found an even greater enjoyment of the game.

That's great and I can relate to that. I'm running games for my kids nowadays and find that that challenges a lot of stuff I've come to take for granted over the years. It's just that I have learned that taking the rules as sacred doesn't do it for me.

This said: I totally understand if someone doesn't want to get saved by fudging the dice,especially if he did something stupid. And I'm not against running challenging games at all, meaning that I also don't have any problems rolling in the open (mostly do that anyways). I don't think though that it's the open roll that makes the game more challenging.

So to me, it's more a matter of degree. If my players want a challenge, I won't invalidate their preferences by fudging the dice to save them. But if a player tells me that the rules are sacrosanct and that I must not bend nor break them under any circumstances, I will take that as the player putting more trust in the rules than he put trust in me. And that, to me, is a dealbreaker and a clear sign that I'm the wrong GM for that player.

As I said, never happened to me, but I certainly appreciate different perspectives on that matter.


Boomerang Nebula wrote:


How do you define GM cheating? Every table I have played or GM'd on has a rule that supersedes all others, that being: the GM's decision is final. Makes it difficult for them to cheat.

I play with that too, but i don't cheat. I hate fudging dice.

Some things i view as not cheating:

If the rules for a situation suck and you have to make something up, that's probably fine if its reasonable

Some monster has a sweet special ability because of story reasons, or is customized in some way.


PossibleCabbage wrote:
Ciaran Barnes wrote:
That just gave me an idea for when I game with my kid (if I ever back to that). At each session I'll give her a few tokens she can turn in to re-roll things.

For a while I've been meaning to playtest this:

"The players may reroll any roll up to one time, whenever they want. However, every time a player chooses to take a reroll, the GM gets one reroll subject to the same constraints they can use on the behalf of an NPC or Antagonist whenever they choose."

So players stay alive and NPCs get a chance to shrug of "save or die" effects to extend fights.

That feels a lot like the Drama Dice from 7th Sea.


GM Rednal wrote:
Ciaran Barnes wrote:
That just gave me an idea for when I game with my kid (if I ever back to that). At each session I'll give her a few tokens she can turn in to re-roll things.
Hero Points work pretty well for this.

Yes I could very easily use the hero print system, but handing out "points" at each gaming session instead of each level.


Kirth Gersen wrote:
WormysQueue wrote:
Never had a player who felt that the integrity of the rules would be more important than the actual fun at the game table.

I've had players who were thinking that the actual fun at the game table was directly proportional to the integrity of the rules. When I offered to DM for Houstonderek and a small number of other DMs who wanted an occasional chance to play instead, I asked if there were any deal-breakers, so I could tailor my DM style accordingly. "If I do something stupid and don't die, I will walk out the door and not come back" is what Houstonderek said, and further discussion indicated (a) he wanted very challenging tactical scenarios in addition to very immersive role-playing, and (b) he viewed the results of the dice to be sacred.

....
TL;DR: By acceding to the players' requests instead of resisting them, I found an even greater enjoyment of the game.

I think it boils down to 2 factors:

1. The ability of players to affect the narrative

and

2. the ability of players to understand how they do affect the narrative

To just fudge or "make up" the numbers relying on rule zero without telling players what you're about is the worst way to go about things because if the players ever find out(and that isn't too hard to do eventually), they will question both of these, possibly to the extent they wonder why they are there or playing in the first place.

Dice rolls are the least ambiguous and easiest part of the rules to understand... you may not know the system, but rolling a twenty probably is a good thing.

I'm not Saying GM's who fudge liberally are bad, but as has often been repeated before in this thread, your players need to understand why you would fudge and be OK with it, you don't need to explain each case, but let players know why you might do so.


Zero gm cheating is acceptable.


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I edited this post, because the original was far too snarky.

I don't think it's possible for the GM to cheat, by definition. If the GM says something doesn't hit, it doesn't hit. The rules are a tool for the GM, and something that tells the players how to interact with the world, and in general what to expect. They don't actually determine anything unless the GM agrees.


People would communicate better if they said things like, "When is it OK for a GM to lie about a dice roll?" rather than using ambiguous and loaded words like "cheat"...


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Redelia wrote:

I edited this post, because the original was far too snarky.

I don't think it's possible for the GM to cheat, by definition. If the GM says something doesn't hit, it doesn't hit. The rules are a tool for the GM, and something that tells the players how to interact with the world, and in general what to expect. They don't actually determine anything unless the GM agrees.

I read your original post, I didn't take it as snarky, I understood your point.

I'll expand on my comment that a gm should never cheat. With a few exceptions, like stealth and bluff, I roll all the dice in front of the players. This changes the way the game plays in a huge way. The players don't feel like they are the starring characters in a story I'm trying to protect with dice rolling behind a screen. They KNOW that their actions will not be manipulated by me by trying to steer things in a certain direction. I create the environment, they decide how to interact with it. If they blow it up, kill themselves, refuse to run from overwhelming odds, and so on, I will not save them. The GM remaining transparent and neutral with the dice changes, in a good way, how the players play the game.


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Matthew Downie wrote:
People would communicate better if they said things like, "When is it OK for a GM to lie about a dice roll?" rather than using ambiguous and loaded words like "cheat"...

The issue is that 'lie' is also a midleading and loaded word in the discussion. The GM looks at the die that was rolled, and looks at the character and NPC/monster stats, and then _decides_ if the attack hit. The GM can't lie, because the GM decides.

I would say that a better way to ask the question is, "Does a GM need to feel completely bound by the dice rolls in determining what happens?"

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Redelia wrote:
The issue is that 'lie' is also a midleading and loaded word in the discussion.

Yep, that was the joke.


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ultimatepunch wrote:
Redelia wrote:

I edited this post, because the original was far too snarky.

I don't think it's possible for the GM to cheat, by definition. If the GM says something doesn't hit, it doesn't hit. The rules are a tool for the GM, and something that tells the players how to interact with the world, and in general what to expect. They don't actually determine anything unless the GM agrees.

I read your original post, I didn't take it as snarky, I understood your point.

I'll expand on my comment that a gm should never cheat. With a few exceptions, like stealth and bluff, I roll all the dice in front of the players. This changes the way the game plays in a huge way. The players don't feel like they are the starring characters in a story I'm trying to protect with dice rolling behind a screen. They KNOW that their actions will not be manipulated by me by trying to steer things in a certain direction. I create the environment, they decide how to interact with it. If they blow it up, kill themselves, refuse to run from overwhelming odds, and so on, I will not save them. The GM remaining transparent and neutral with the dice changes, in a good way, how the players play the game.

I also roll in the open. The changes that I make are small enough to not be detectible to those who don't have the stat block right in front of them. If a character rolls a 3 on an attack and with all the bonuses added in and things, the attack misses by 13, then yes, the attack misses. If a character rolls a lot higher and the attack nominally misses by 1, if a fight has dragged on and everyone is getting bored, I may decide that it hits, instead. Similarly, I may lower and enemy's hit points by one or two to end a fight if everyone is getting bored.

I should probably state that my usual players are 7 and 11 years old, which probably changes things a lot...


M1k31 wrote:


To just fudge or "make up" the numbers relying on rule zero without telling players what you're about is the worst way to go about things because if the players ever find out(and that isn't too hard to do eventually), they will question both of these, possibly to the extent they wonder why they are there or playing in the first place.

I would say this is open to table as well. I never tell my PC's if I'm fudging midgame... I actually didn't tell them the whole campaign. The when one of the PC's wanted to run a game for another group and asked me for some GM advice, I spilled the beans... and he was happy I didn't tell them mid game and he was happy I didn't just kill him off...

So once again this comes down to know your table it seems.

Also interesting thing. I see a lot of "I would walk away from a table"... do people live in some crazy area where there are dozens of GM's gaming with groups of people who you actually get along with that you can just "walk" away from tables... Generally my experience in my area are players are a dime a dozen, but GM's are scarce...so people don't really walk away from tables... (also you know we just chat about things when people have issues and 99% of the time the issue goes away"

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Flamephoenix182 wrote:
Also interesting thing. I see a lot of "I would walk away from a table"... do people live in some crazy area where there are dozens of GM's gaming with groups of people who you actually get along with that you can just "walk" away from tables...

Yes. Kirth's Houston game was literally comprised of all GMs. And no gaming is better than bad gaming.


For whatever it's worth, I will throw in the section of the CRB about the topic:

CRB p. 402 wrote:

Cheating and Fudging: We all know that cheating is bad. But sometimes, as a GM, you might find yourself in a situation where cheating might improve the game. We prefer to call this “fudging” rather than cheating, and while you should try to avoid it when you can, you are the law in your world, and you shouldn’t feel bound by the dice. A GM should be impartial and fair, and in theory, that’s what random dice results help support. Some players have trouble putting trust in their GM, but dice offer something that’s irrefutable and truly non-partisan (as long as the dice aren’t doctored or loaded, of course). Still, it’s no good if a single roll of the dice would result in a premature end to your campaign, or a character’s death when they did everything right.

Likewise, don’t feel bound to the predetermined plot of an encounter or the rules as written. Feel free to adjust the results or interpret things creatively—especially in cases where you as the GM made a poor assumption to begin with. For example, you might design an encounter against a band of werewolves, only to realize too late that none of the PCs have silver weapons and therefore can’t hurt them. In this case, it’s okay to cheat and say that these werewolves are hurt by normal weapons, or to have the town guard (armed with silver arrows) show up at the last minute to save the PCs. As long as you can keep such developments to a minimum, these on-the-spot adjustments can even enhance the game—so the town guard saved the PCs, but now that they have, it can give you leverage over the PCs to send them on their next quest as repayment to the guards!

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I actually do not care how it is called. In fact, if someone insists on calling cheating what I'd call fudging, it's probably better as if we're using the same word but mean different thing.

To me, the explanation behind it matters more than the wording. Just as an example, ultimatepunch just explained, that by rolling openly, "the players don't feel like they are the starring characters in a story I'm trying to protect with dice rolling behind the screen".

Apart from that I disagree that this depends on how the dice are rolled (I can and have easily protected the story just by low-balling encounters, though that can be boring for the players as well), what's more important to me is that that, in my games, that is exactly the feel the players should have, namely that their PCs are the starring character in the story. Not my story, not their story, but our story. Which is important because I would never fudge to protect my story, but I've less qualms about to fudge to protect our story when the need arises.

Not sure, if ultimatepunch and me could find a happy middleground to play together (interestingly enough , all those points seem to be much more solvable in real life than in forum discussions), but not talking about it at all is the easiest way to steer the game into catastrophe. No if ultimatepunch insists that no cheating (fudging, lying whatever) is acceptable no matter what, then we're probably better of with him/her being the GM and me being the player than the other way round. Or we can (hopefully amicably) agree that we both are better off not playing together at all.

Redelia wrote:
I don't think it's possible for the GM to cheat, by definition.

I wouldn't go so far as the rules and their application are only part of it. So if the GM does something against the (explicitely stated or assumed) will of the players without telling them (and worse, because he thinks his own preferences are more important than those of his players), then that's cheating for me. So if your players tell you they don't want you to change dice rolls for whatever reason, you agree not to do it but then do it nonetheless: that's cheating

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TriOmegaZero wrote:
Yes. Kirth's Houston game was literally comprised of all GMs. And no gaming is better than bad gaming.

While I agree that no gaming is better than bad gaming, my question would be if (assuming that Kirth's game was an awesome experience for everyone involved) that game would really have turned into a totally bad game just by him using some liberties with the dice results (assuming everything else didn't change).

To me, that sounds a bit like hyperbole.Because if that would have been the only thing needed to be changed to destroy the game, I would kinda doubt that the game experience was so awesome at all to start with.

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Well, we would have lost houstonderek, that was for sure.

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M1k31 wrote:

I think it boils down to 2 factors:

1. The ability of players to affect the narrative

and

2. the ability of players to understand how they do affect the narrative

Interesting point, because I think that rolling the dice severely impedes the ability of players to affect the narrative. Which is one of the reasons why I prefer a more freeform style of play because that allows me to increase player agency without having to check everytime if the rules (or the dice) have something against it.

Side effect is that I often don't even have to think about fudging the dice because we're simply not using them to solve the task at hand.

You just have to be careful not to take any challenge out of the game this way


WormysQueue wrote:


Not sure, if ultimatepunch and me could find a happy middleground to play together (interestingly enough , all those points seem to be much more solvable in real life than in forum discussions), but not talking about it at all is the easiest way to steer the game into catastrophe. No if ultimatepunch insists that no cheating (fudging, lying whatever) is acceptable no matter what, then we're probably better of with him/her being the GM and me being the player than the other way round. Or we can (hopefully amicably) agree that we both are better off not playing together at all.

Amicably? of course! I'm not sure if we'd be better off not playing together. I'm always willing to give it a try, at least I would if we were talking in person and lived in the same area.

Let me explain the type of games I run, it might put my dislike of fudging in perspective.

The way I run games is antithetical to the Paizo adventure path model. I rarely create an overarching plot. My games are almost always sandboxes. I simply make sure that their are enough factions, interesting locations, dungeons, rumors of powerful magic items to search for, and so on that the party always has choices to make. A story will always emerge from this organically. It is amazingly fun, I get to be surprised in ways that a predetermined overarching plot can not provide.

There is nothing to protect, only a different twist that the emerging story might take.

Maybe if you are running an adventure path and have an endgame that has to happen you might need to do some fudging. I don't think so, but I can see why people would do it.


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TOZ wrote:
Redelia wrote:
The issue is that 'lie' is also a midleading and loaded word in the discussion.
Yep, that was the joke.

Eh, not really. When the dice came up a natural 20 behind the screen and I pretended it hadn't because another critical hit would have killed the most competent PC and threatened a TPK, I'm pretty sure I was lying to my group. I didn't like that, and felt better when I switched to open rolling in my next campaign.

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Totally fine. I'd even be cool with a GM rolling open, seeing the 20, and saying 'guys, these guys are on fire, I'm going to ignore this one to give you a chance to comeback'.


M1k31 wrote:

I think it boils down to 2 factors:

1. The ability of players to affect the narrative

and

2. the ability of players to understand how they do affect the narrative.

I feel like though if I accidentally design a monster,encounter, or antagonist that is too much for the player characters when they encounter it, the best way to protect player agency is not "run it exactly like I originally wrote it down". If the goal of the encounter was "impress upon the PCs the seriousness of the faction they find themselves opposing" I can't really accomplish that if all the PCs are dead.

I find that the most of what players do to affect the narrative is mostly to do with what they choose to do when they're not fighting, and that fighting is largely the gate you need to pass in order to get to the next point where you can affect the narrative. Fighting is the thing you have to get through in order to get back to the fun talking bits.

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TriOmegaZero wrote:
Well, we would have lost houstonderek, that was for sure.

And I'm not advocating for that this should have happened. It doesn't really answer my question, though.

ultimatepunch wrote:
The way I run games is antithetical to the Paizo adventure path model.

First I hope that me using you as an eample didn't look like I was singling you out. If it did, my apologies.

Never played in such a game (mostly because when I started gaming in the early 80s, pure sandboxes had already been replaced by a more narrative approach - at least where I lived). I can imagine that it is fun and for the homebrew I'm working on I plan to take a very similar approach, and part of it will surely be the exploration of that new world (so no story railroads planned, even if I have developments in my mind)

My games so far tend to take place somewhere in the middle of the AP vs. Sandbox continuum. They are more character driven in nature so while I tend to start with an AP plot in mind (official or from my own creation), the plot ideas that the PCs offer me via their stat block and their background are equally important. So the story that comes out of this might vastly deviate from what the AP plot officially suggests depending on the input I get by the players (and like Redelia, my group consists partly of younger kids, and especially my daughter has a lot to say about the way the game should go. Seems she is already training to become a GM in the future :D)


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WormysQueue wrote:

Because if that would have been the only thing needed to be changed to destroy the game, I would kinda doubt that the game experience was so awesome at all to start with.

Gee, that sounds a lot like, "If you don't play the way I do, your game must suck." Which is a very strange thing to assume.

Would my fudging the dice have "destroyed the game?" Well, it would have removed one founding member of the group, lowered my own enjoyment as DM substantially, and violated the trust between me and all of the other players (since I'd already told them I wouldn't do that). And for what? So that I can take over control of the story?

No, thanks.

Shadow Lodge

WormysQueue wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
Well, we would have lost houstonderek, that was for sure.
And I'm not advocating for that this should have happened. It doesn't really answer my question, though.

Hopefully Kirth's answer will suffice.


What I'm curious about is "why even tell the players 'I will absolutely not abrogate die rolls or otherwise try to adjust encounters ad hoc' at the start of the game?"

This isn't something that I would even consider just declaring, and if asked about it I would probably say "well, I certainly don't intend to do it, but I can't know what I'm going to do, and it would probably not be a good idea to just start removing tools from the GM toolbox sight unseen."

I mean, I'm honestly not sure where the boundaries here lie. If I've already stated that I give out circumstance bonuses for good roleplaying, clever ideas, or fantastic descriptions do I need to announce the bonus before the die roll comes up? Or is it fair to tell the player crestfallen because they missed doing their cool thing by 1 that, in fact, they got a +1 circumstance bonus because their idea was cool.

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So they know what kind of game you run? Clear communication? Respecting your players play style?


TriOmegaZero wrote:
So they know what kind of game you run? Clear communication? Respecting your players play style?

I always talk at great length about that but "how I feel about dice" has never actually come up. I guess I've never encountered anybody who feels strongly about this topic IRL.

I talk about tone and themes, how to handle objectionable material, the basic rules of improv, collaborative world-building, how all rules are optional rules, that I'm more interested in "Storygaming" than "wargaming", etc. but never about dice.

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Maybe include it in your next discussion? Players might have opinions if they realize it's actually a topic as opposed to the GMs perogative.


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I feel like the stance on dice is rather implicit based on the "all rules are optional rules".

Assuming you and your groups are all of, or OK with that mindset I would wager the chances of you encountering a player who takes issue with the altering of roll extremely small. So it makes sense that it never really comes up.


I'll put it this way...

I'll put *any* of the games I've run up against *any* other game. I fudge when I GM. My players either don't know or don't care. I never made it a point to say, "Hi guys I will fudge sometimes, I hope that's cool."

Why? Because I started running in 1988 when that was the default state. I assume all GMs fudge unless they say otherwise.

Where Kirth would lose players if he fudged... I would lose players if I didn't, and if I sandbox gamed I'd have lost players... Including myself... Because sandboxing, to me, isn't fun.

Sandboxing is boring. My players are just another brick in the wall. No, instead I run epic narrative stories that have a beginning, a middle, and an end.

In "Reign of the Serpent King" my players, part of a secret society, engaged in a race against another party to gather 5 artifacts to meet the requirements of a prophesy and become the heroes that destroyed the dreaded serpent King 2000 years ago...

In "Heart of Winter" my players banded together and thwarted the plans of a doomsday cult who sought to plunge the world into a new ice age.

In "Heir to the Viridian Throne" my players helped break a curse on an elven prince then dethrone an evil monarch to restore said prince to his rightful throne.

In "The Call of the Wardancer" my players opposed the Wardancer, a would be Good who planned to engulf the world in a war that, if it had happened, would have doomed all.

In "The Balance of the Elements" my players restored the five elemental crystals (Earth, Fire, Wind, Water, Aether) and restored balance to the world.

Each campaign my players loved. They still tell stories of the awesome things they did in them. In each one of them I fudged. In none of them did it ruin anything.


PossibleCabbage wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
So they know what kind of game you run? Clear communication? Respecting your players play style?

I always talk at great length about that but "how I feel about dice" has never actually come up. I guess I've never encountered anybody who feels strongly about this topic IRL.

I talk about tone and themes, how to handle objectionable material, the basic rules of improv, collaborative world-building, how all rules are optional rules, that I'm more interested in "Storygaming" than "wargaming", etc. but never about dice.

I play "with" my (fellow) players and not "against" them, it´s not a tournament, it´s not competitive, it´s 100% pure cooperative gaming and that´s it. So agreed, talking about what part the rules take in this is a thing, but as a tool of communication, not as the outline of what the game is.


TriOmegaZero wrote:
Maybe include it in your next discussion? Players might have opinions if they realize it's actually a topic as opposed to the GMs perogative.

Everybody in my group has to GM at least occasionally and every single one of them fudges more than I do, so I think I'm okay regardless.

Shadow Lodge

Which just goes back to the other part we have said, know your group. You've effectively already asked.

HWalsh wrote:

I'll put it this way...

I'll put *any* of the games I've run up against *any* other game.

As would Kirth and I, I'm sure.


Currently the players are doing, "Agents of Prophesy" where they are working with a being known as Prophesy who has revealed to them that Pharasma was responsible for preventing the return of Aroden and that she broke Prophesy for personal power.

This game will carry the players across time and space to recover the Godslayer blade that they will be able to use to destroy Pharasma once and for all to restore the power of prophesy to Golarion.

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That's nice.

Aviona: In The Kings Guard.


Are "sandboxing" and "story-driven" games really at odds? I think this is a false dichotomy.

I generally run it where the characters are in a place, in this place there are a variety of factions and agendas which intersect with the backstories or goals of the player characters, and there is some inciting crisis that brings the PCs together. Behind the scenes there are a lot of different things going on that helped bring about the crisis, and after the dust has settled whichever hook or hooks the players choose to pursue are going to determine which story outline I have to flesh out. To wit, if the PCs decide necromancers are to blame, we tell a story about a necromancer cult, if it's foreign agents we tell a story about international politics, if it's foreign agents who are also necromancers we mash those stories together. Whatever plots I've sketched that don't end up tying into anything I can just use later in a different game.

This always felt to me like the best way to harmonize "player agency" and "actually having some plot that motivates the players."

What I know, however, is that Players are always going to deviate from the critical plot path you've sketched, and trying to force them to go along with the plot is always worse than trying to adjust the plot so it still relates to what they want to do.


TriOmegaZero wrote:
That's nice.

The point is you can't tell an epic in a sandbox. You might be able to tell a fun story, sure, but it's not going to be a narrative epic. You'll never get your Lord of the Rings if you sandbox. You'll get, at best, a series of short stories set in a fantasy world.

Which is fine and fun, but you need to do things differently to go into full novel territory.


I'm terrible at keeping secrets, and my players have let me know in no uncertain terms that fudging will not be tolerated, so I don't. Interestingly, I've felt less of a desire to than I used to. I'm perfectly content to see how my NPC build handles itself in the moment, whereas I felt a lot less like testing enemies straight out of the book.

Re: walking, I've walked from the only IRL group I knew about that I could regularly access that isn't my immediate family. Well, more accurately, I took a peek inside their metaphorical door and questioned whether I'd ever get outside my personal rollplaying microcosm. Then I helped my friend build a character for that campaign, because I was way more experienced with the ruleset.


The Sideromancer wrote:
I'm terrible at keeping secrets, and my players have let me know in no uncertain terms that fudging will not be tolerated, so I don't.

I've got a reply when/if (as it's never happened) that occurs. That reply is, "Cool. So, here's my GMs screen. I like playing more than running. One of you guys can do it."

Grand Lodge

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HWalsh wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
That's nice.
The point is you can't tell an epic in a sandbox.

I catagorically disagree. And you can see my edit.

Shadow Lodge

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HWalsh wrote:
Which is fine and fun, but you need to do things differently to go into full novel territory.

Oh man, why you gotta make it so easy for me?


TOZ wrote:
HWalsh wrote:
Which is fine and fun, but you need to do things differently to go into full novel territory.
Oh man, why you gotta make it so easy for me?

Because it's true. Maybe if you're good, really good, inhuman even, at improve you can create the illusion of a full complete epic narrative in a sandbox where every player decision feeds into some epic narrative seemlessly without any hiccups, plot holes, or extremely convenient coincidences, but that's going to be a hellish balancing act that I've seen 4-5 GMs try when I was in the game and I could see right through it every time.

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