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GM's how much do you trust them ?


Pathfinder RPG General Discussion

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thejeff wrote:
The Sideromancer wrote:
DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:
Do not play RPGs with people you wouldn't have dinner with, or take a long car ride with.
TriOmegaZero wrote:
Funny you mention that, we played Godsmouth Heresy on a car ride to and from Disney.
I as well get started on "tabletop" RPGs in the car. The campaign is still going at it's extremely low frequency, but as it's PF and I'm DMing, it does become a little cramped with all the rulebooks.

Amber was great for that. No dice. Minimal rules. (lots of campaign notes though)

And since it's not party based, you could run impromptu sessions anytime you had the GM and any players together. The trick sometimes was to keep from getting carried away with it.

I love amber, not much the system, too little practice at it, but the universe... but what I like less with it is that most groups will practice it too adversarially, PVP and the GM out to get you... I know that Corwin and Merlin are there to save the multiverse so we can do our petty things in our corners, but having to be wary of everything is exhausting.


If I don't trust a GM? I won't play with them. If a player doesn't trust me as a GM? I don't want them at my table.

But "trust" can mean so many different things. I do roll my dice behind the screen, I fudge rolls when it would make a TPK, or kill off the BBEG in one shot. I also adjust HP, save DCs, and where things are set to happen. But that's because my players and I aren't looking for a game that's focused on the mechanics. We're focused on creating a story together, and on me being able to give them surprises they enjoy reacting to.

Which doesn't mean it's the "right" way to play. But it is what we're looking for.

I think the important thing is to discuss from the outset what you're looking for in a game. If you want a strictly by the numbers GM who won't deviate from the adventure as written, or change the die rolls, that's fine too. But then I'm not the GM for you, and I'll tell you that right from the outset.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Don't forget about the Rule of Cool. Sometimes as a GM, a player does something so outlandish, but it won't work in any kind of way, but sounds so awesome that I need to let them try it. I call in Rule of Cool, set them a check to pass, and if they do, Rule of Cool dictates that they pulled it off.

It sometimes ignores a few RAW, but the table, including myself, usually has so much fun. And, after all, isn't that what RPGs are about? Having fun?

If a players don't have faith in the GM to run a good, fun campaign, some of the more awesome stories from the table won't happen.

And to switch subjects slightly, I do believe that the GMs need to be able to trust their players too. I check their character sheets when they first make a character or if I think they might have a mistake, but I've heard of GMs to check their sheets every level (I'm not talking about a GM who's teaching new players how to play the game and is helping them out, I'm talking about experienced players). Have some faith in your players too, unless they give you good reason not too.


PossibleCabbage wrote:
Volkard Abendroth wrote:
I also enjoy having my players make random die rolls without telling them why.
To really throw them for a loop, make them truly random die rolls. Ask them to roll 8d7 and you'll really keep them on their toes.

When I ask players to randomly roll a die for me there is always a reason, I'm just not telling them what the reason is at that moment.

I am putting their fates in their own hands. Letting a player roll a die to check who is randomly targeted, a random encounter, a perception check on something that won't be coming up for several more minutes, etc.

Or sometimes that is why I am rolling dice.

But a lot of times, I just like rolling random dice without any meaning.

Overall, trying to metagame die rolls at my table doesn't really work. The party would just wind up wasting resources.


Not a issue.
Is the game fun? If so, why is it a Q?


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Ultimately, this is a game and the point of the whole endeavor is to have fun.

As a player, I have to trust that the GM will run a fun, exciting, and interesting game, and will be open to the player input onto the storyline through their PCs' actions. I have to trust that the GM will incorporate all of the characters' personalities and backstories into the overall plot, in some manner or other. I have to trust that the GM won't sideline PCs unnecessarily without the consent of the player. I have to trust that the GM will respect players' personal boundaries with respect to the content of the game. I have to trust that the GM will respect the players' autonomy. I have to trust that the GM will understand the fundamentals of the game system chosen, even if they don't know every individual rule. I have to trust that the GM will comply with player expectations about the nature of the campaign that were set at the start. I have to trust that the GM will let my character shine sometimes, and that all of the PCs will get their turns in the spotlight. And I have to trust that the GM will be open and honest about explaining their own GMing style and philosophy. (This is not a comprehensive list.)

I've been playing tabletop RPGs for over 35 years now. GMs that I have had problems with in the past have violated one or more of the above.

As for trusting that the GM will always slavishly follow what the dice dictate? Honestly, I don't care... and probably would prefer that a GM who doesn't let a bad die roll derail a perfectly good plotline.

I'm primarily a GM these days. I strive not to break the trust my players have to have in my vis-a-vis the above list. But where the rubber hits the road, it all comes down to one fundamental question: Is everyone having fun?

If the answer is "Yes," then I'm doing my job.

So, the question often comes up: Do I fudge dice rolls?

Yes. Yes, I do.

Not often. Always in the PCs' favor. And always to tell a better and more engaging story than what the dice would dictate.

These days, I only run home games for people that I've played with personally or that have been vouched for by people I've played with. I always have a "Session Zero," in which I talk about my GMing philosophy and style. I also regularly check in with my players out-of-game to make sure that they are enjoying the game, and also to see if there are any character goals they'd like to achieve, so that I can work them into the plot.

And as time goes on, I find that the "rules-light" systems are much more in-line with how I prefer to run a campaign. These systems really require a high degree of trust in the GM to keep the game fun and challenging for everyone... the GM included.


666bender wrote:

Not a issue.

Is the game fun? If so, why is it a Q?

And if it isn't fun?


Matthew Downie wrote:
666bender wrote:

Not a issue.

Is the game fun? If so, why is it a Q?
And if it isn't fun?

Then talk to the other people sitting around the table about why you aren't having fun, and see if you can find a solution.

And the solution may be "Find a different group to play with," if people can't find a compromise. And that's ok. Different strokes for different folks, after all. But if you aren't having fun, then I wouldn't keep playing.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Matthew Downie wrote:
I wonder if 'trust' is the wrong word?

Agreed.


As a GM, I will not spend the time to go through something a player could get in a computer game, something that is very much like a maths test. I am not hiding my intentions. And frankly, owing to the dearth of GMs around, I don't have to play someone else's game. It very much is my way or the highway. And finally, I can take criticism of my GMing style... but not from a player who hasn't GMed a campaign or two.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
Matthew Downie wrote:

I wonder if 'trust' is the wrong word?

Ordinary GM: "I make mistakes all the time. Sometimes these mistakes will doom the party. In these cases I will secretly fudge things to avoid killing you, unless I don't feel like it. I'm not notably competent or honest or fair, but I still expect you to trust me!"

Maybe 'support' is better. 'Trusting' a GM implies that this trust is betrayed when the GM proves 'untrustworthy' somehow. 'Support' implies a forgiving attitude, an acceptance of imperfections, and a recognition of the player's duty to contribute to the campaign.

I don't see that as particularly different from trust. It's just trust in a different aspect of the GM's role or performance. I could trust a GM's encyclopedic knowledge of the rules. Or I could trust a GM's willingness to do his/her best even though we both know they aren't perfect. Fundamentally, they're both trust.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

There's a big difference between playing with your friends, i.e., the people that you would normally spend time with even when you aren't gaming, and playing with a group in organized play, for example. "Trust" might matter more in the latter. You might be at a weekly PFS group and there are some GMs you'd rather not play with. The guys you hang out with and game with every Saturday in your home, however, have likely already settled into a manageable relationship (in terms of the game), and likely already know how much fudging, hand-waving, etc., that the GM runs with.


Bill Dunn wrote:
Matthew Downie wrote:
I wonder if 'trust' is the wrong word? ...Maybe 'support' is better.
I don't see that as particularly different from trust. It's just trust in a different aspect of the GM's role or performance. I could trust a GM's encyclopedic knowledge of the rules. Or I could trust a GM's willingness to do his/her best even though we both know they aren't perfect. Fundamentally, they're both trust.

Right, but asking "Do you trust your GM?" with no qualifiers is too vague (and somewhat hostile). It implies that we ought to rate our GM for trustworthiness on any number of criteria. Do I trust my GM not to trick me? Probably not: they might be the sort who rolls dice when nothing is happening to screw with me. Do I trust my GM not to make mistakes? Of course not. Do I trust them to try their best all the time? Not really; everyone has off days.

That doesn't mean I won't support my GM.


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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
Matthew Downie wrote:


Right, but asking "Do you trust your GM?" with no qualifiers is too vague (and somewhat hostile).

And yet it has generated some interesting discussion because of that vagueness. It has prompted people to bring up different levels and forms of trust.

Quote:


It implies that we ought to rate our GM for trustworthiness on any number of criteria. Do I trust my GM not to trick me? Probably not: they might be the sort who rolls dice when nothing is happening to screw with me. Do I trust my GM not to make mistakes? Of course not. Do I trust them to try their best all the time? Not really; everyone has off days.

That doesn't mean I won't support my GM.

I don't know that it does do that. But it encourages us to interact with the notion of trust and our GMs. On what levels do we trust or not trust them? What criteria do we find important in the trust we place in our GMs?

If the question were narrower or less vague, I think the discussion may be more focused but ultimately less interesting.


Well I don't always explain why I am rolling dice and openly admit I roll initiative ahead of time because otherwise I am quite slow at getting the initiative in order and openly roll dice without telling my players what I am doing.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Do you trust your players?


I trust my gms but i know they'll bend the rules for the sake of the game. The biggest tip off to me was when my character with an AC of 25 at 5th, not even that high, would only be hit by critical hits. Plenty of the other hits flat out missed but when one those crits killed me I just made a character with less AC and more damage.


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KingGramJohnson wrote:
Don't forget about the Rule of Cool. Sometimes as a GM, a player does something so outlandish, but it won't work in any kind of way, but sounds so awesome that I need to let them try it. I call in Rule of Cool, set them a check to pass, and if they do, Rule of Cool dictates that they pulled it off.

I've definitely done this at times; sometimes it lines up with the rules (and I didn't know) and other times it shows a logical flaw in a trap or something like that. I had some Arrow Trap type things, and so the party crawled under them. Seems fine to me!

EDIT: Another example: Jump Attack. while you can technically Move (with an acrobatics check to jump) and then attack; I ruled you could include the fall damage (to yourself and the opponent) with the attack, making it a full round deal. This resulted in my player's Greatsword Wielding Lvl 2 Pally getting a crit the first time he did it and a whopping 42 damage to a small-time bandit wizard not paying attention.

That story has not only provided several laughs but resulted in his character finding more opportunities to do this; those Troglodytes never saw him coming as he lept out of the sewer above. That'll teach 'em.


Oh well, this thread brings out the worst in a lot of us, doesn't it?
Can we let it die please?


Jader7777 wrote:

Basically, if you don't trust me in my game the world will become weaponized against you because I describe the nature of the scene, not what you think I want your character to see.

But this is more complex than a Gotcha! situation, this is trying to get the player to think critically of their decisions in such a way that they might get mastery over their character and their place in the world or lose/die as a consequence of their poor choices.

What exactly do you think not trusting the GM entails?

The only way I see the world becoming weaponized against someone is if you, the GM, deliberately chose to do so. There shouldn't be any way that this is some natural consequence of them not trusting you without any misconduct on your part, at least not for any manner in which not trusting you would manifest in terms of in-game actions that I can think of offhand.

Not trusting you, especially because they're watching to see if you're going to spring some crazy house-rules out of nowhere or start inserting your sexual fetishes into the game or just be a prat, and not considering the logical consequences of their character's actions in-game are two very separate and distinct things.

Volkard Abendroth wrote:
Klorox wrote:
Gygax said dice are something a DM uses to make noise behind the screen, the DM rules, not the dice.

I enjoy randomly rolling dice for no reason.

It keeps my players on their toes.

I also enjoy having my players make random die rolls without telling them why.

Well that's just creating atmosphere, that is.

TriOmegaZero wrote:
Oh, I fudge as necessary. The mulligan has only come up once, however.

Huh. Well, you've certainly succeeded in getting me confused at least with this seeming reversal of your opinion and position.

Matthew Downie wrote:

I wonder if 'trust' is the wrong word?

Ordinary GM: "I make mistakes all the time. Sometimes these mistakes will doom the party. In these cases I will secretly fudge things to avoid killing you, unless I don't feel like it. I'm not notably competent or honest or fair, but I still expect you to trust me!"

Maybe 'support' is better. 'Trusting' a GM implies that this trust is betrayed when the GM proves 'untrustworthy' somehow. 'Support' implies a forgiving attitude, an acceptance of imperfections, and a recognition of the player's duty to contribute to the campaign.

I would agree that trusting your GM isn't really the right word for not flipping out over honest mistakes. That's something that's even more basic than that, like accepting that you're playing a game with other human beings that are fleshy, fallible meatbags. (Boop. Beep.)

I'm certainly not talking about that kind of thing when I mention only slowly building trust over time in completely new players and GMs.

Shadow Lodge

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Coidzor wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
Oh, I fudge as necessary. The mulligan has only come up once, however.
Huh. Well, you've certainly succeeded in getting me confused at least with this seeming reversal of your opinion and position.

That's the problem, too many people argue with what they THINK the other person believes rather than the actual beliefs.


TOZ wrote:
Coidzor wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
Oh, I fudge as necessary. The mulligan has only come up once, however.
Huh. Well, you've certainly succeeded in getting me confused at least with this seeming reversal of your opinion and position.
That's the problem, too many people argue with what they THINK the other person believes rather than the actual beliefs.

Well, there really isn't anything else we could argue with. No matter how many clarifying questions I ask, no matter how many times you restate your beliefs in an attempt to be clear, I'm still responding to my understanding of those beliefs rather than the actual beliefs themselves.

It's a fundamental problem of communication. All we can do is approximate. How close we get varies.

Nor is the failure only on the part of the person misunderstanding. It is shared, with the degree of responsibility varying from case to case.

In this case, several people have mentioned confusion over your stance. Perhaps that's a hint.

Shadow Lodge

All it tells me is that rehashing the same old ground in an unrelated thread is pointless.


captain yesterday wrote:

I don't trust me at all!

I mean, just look at me, I practically ooze suspicion.

Maybe, if I overthrow myself...

I agree you really do ooze...

(I keed! I keed!)


My DM is always up to something, constantly scheming, and staying a step or two ahead. I better keep an eye on that DM.

Now I need to find a mirror...


Daw wrote:

Oh well, this thread brings out the worst in a lot of us, doesn't it?

Can we let it die please?

What? Which post here seemed negative enough for you to want to shut the thread down?

Serious here. All I've seen are some interesting conversations about what trust means to different posters here. What's the problem?


Matthew Downie wrote:
"I make mistakes all the time. Sometimes these mistakes will doom the party. In these cases I will secretly fudge things to avoid killing you, unless I don't feel like it. I'm not notably competent or honest or fair, but I still expect you to trust me!"

I love this line and might just add it to the start of my house-rule document. I especially like the 'unless I don't feel like it'!


Cattleman wrote:
KingGramJohnson wrote:
Don't forget about the Rule of Cool. Sometimes as a GM, a player does something so outlandish, but it won't work in any kind of way, but sounds so awesome that I need to let them try it. I call in Rule of Cool, set them a check to pass, and if they do, Rule of Cool dictates that they pulled it off.

I've definitely done this at times; sometimes it lines up with the rules (and I didn't know) and other times it shows a logical flaw in a trap or something like that. I had some Arrow Trap type things, and so the party crawled under them. Seems fine to me!

EDIT: Another example: Jump Attack. while you can technically Move (with an acrobatics check to jump) and then attack; I ruled you could include the fall damage (to yourself and the opponent) with the attack, making it a full round deal. This resulted in my player's Greatsword Wielding Lvl 2 Pally getting a crit the first time he did it and a whopping 42 damage to a small-time bandit wizard not paying attention.

That story has not only provided several laughs but resulted in his character finding more opportunities to do this; those Troglodytes never saw him coming as he lept out of the sewer above. That'll teach 'em.

Yoink!

Dark Archive

WormysQueue wrote:

you could also do it like me, writing long-winded walls of text in the hope of catching every eventuality.

And still be misunderstood in the end.

The more words you use to attempt to clarify, the more rope you are giving them to hang you with a technicality.


Insapateh wrote:
Matthew Downie wrote:
"I make mistakes all the time. Sometimes these mistakes will doom the party. In these cases I will secretly fudge things to avoid killing you, unless I don't feel like it. I'm not notably competent or honest or fair, but I still expect you to trust me!"
I love this line and might just add it to the start of my house-rule document. I especially like the 'unless I don't feel like it'!

Hey, sometimes your players deserve 3 air-dropped Tarrasques. That'll teach them for constantly interrupting your scenery descriptions and villain monologues.


Well, aside from random games at gaming conventions once or twice a year, I play friends.
Why wouldn't I trust my friends?

Having said that, there are members of the group whom we don't let GM anymore. Not because their unfair, but because they just run really crappy games


Well, they won't improve if they don't run games either, so there's that.

Liberty's Edge

For our group, at least, trust is "I trust you not to make this unfun." But that trust must extend not only to the GM, but to the other players.

- Don't hog the spotlight.
- Don't make characters useless/helpless over an extended period.
- Don't be a jerk.

The fudging question has to do, it seems to me, with the group's definition of fun and whether the game or the story is the priority. There's no wrong choice in that, but the group should all be on board with what the priority is.


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Brother Fen wrote:
110% or go home. That's the only way the game works.

I trust my GM completely and also not at all.

Paizo Employee Customer Service Manager

Removed posts and replies. Refrain from bickering and insults. Remember there are a lot of different styles of game play and what works for you may not always work for other gamers and vice versa.


Scott Wilhelm wrote:
I trust my GM completely and also not at all.

I mean, there's different dimensions of "Trust" in play here. Should you trust your GM to not go out of their way to make someone have a worse time out of spite? Absolutely.

Should you trust your GM when they say "as far as you can tell, the idol appears perfectly ordinary, as idols of dead demon-gods go at least" and then smiles? Absolutely not, and the game is better for it.

Which is to say you should trust them as a person and as a referee, but not necessarily as a storyteller, since things like conflict, unexpected turns, dire peril, etc. benefit stories.

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