Balancing a Player with "Uncanny" Luck


Advice

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Dren Everblack wrote:

My attempt at a brief recap… well maybe not so brief. :-)

So. You don't really want any advice, and are going along with the horrible idea of secretly punishing a player for a crime you're not convinced enough that he's committed to call him on.

That about sums it up?


Slaunyeh wrote:
Dren Everblack wrote:

My attempt at a brief recap… well maybe not so brief. :-)

So. You don't really want any advice, and are going along with the horrible idea of secretly punishing a player for a crime you're not convinced enough that he's committed to call him on.

That about sums it up?

No. I said that was my preferred option, but I could see why it was not a good option.

I said my best and most likely response would be to change the way the players roll. I am going to have them watch each other.


Dren Everblack wrote:
Slaunyeh wrote:
Dren Everblack wrote:

My attempt at a brief recap… well maybe not so brief. :-)

So. You don't really want any advice, and are going along with the horrible idea of secretly punishing a player for a crime you're not convinced enough that he's committed to call him on.

That about sums it up?

No. I said that was my preferred option, but I could see why it was not a good option.

I said my best and most likely response would be to change the way the players roll. I am going to have them watch each other.

And I definitely want advice - that is the reason for the post. I thought I would have more support for the "secretly punish" idea because I feel he deserves it. But I quickly saw this was not considered a good idea due to all the advice.


Slaunyeh wrote:
Dren Everblack wrote:

My attempt at a brief recap… well maybe not so brief. :-)

So. You don't really want any advice, and are going along with the horrible idea of secretly punishing a player for a crime you're not convinced enough that he's committed to call him on.

That about sums it up?

I am convinced he is doing it, but I am not convinced I can prove it. And I am not willing to hurt our friendship with an accusation I cannot prove. Even though I truly believe he is doing it.


Punishing him wont work for two reasons.

A. He's your friend. Secretly punishing him is kind of a jerk thing to do, and will turn out poorly if he finds out.

B. He's cheating for a reason, it may not be reasonable, but he has a reason. The reason is likely either he feels that things are two hard, or he want's to look 'cool'. Punishing him will either reinforce his view that things are too hard, or drive him away cause he no longer feels 'cool'.

If you can get a grasp on why he is cheating, then you can deal with it, without actually dealing directly with him. Talking to him would of course be easiest.


Andy Ferguson wrote:

Punishing him wont work for two reasons.

A. He's your friend. Secretly punishing him is kind of a jerk thing to do, and will turn out poorly if he finds out.

B. He's cheating for a reason, it may not be reasonable, but he has a reason. The reason is likely either he feels that things are two hard, or he want's to look 'cool'. Punishing him will either reinforce his view that things are too hard, or drive him away cause he no longer feels 'cool'.

If you can get a grasp on why he is cheating, then you can deal with it, without actually dealing directly with him. Talking to him would of course be easiest.

Actually I don't think he will do anything if he finds out. In fact that is what I was counting on. I wanted him to see what I was doing, because I know that he would realize why. Then my hope was that he would stop. But knowing this guy, he would probably just pretend nothing is wrong.

The reason he cheats is because he can. This behaviour has spanned many years, campaigns, and GM's. It is most definitely not because he feels things are too hard. He does it because he either thinks we don't notice. Or because he knows we don't want to call him on it and make a scene.

I have known this guy for a long time. In fact he was my best man. We are very close. He is just a ballsy kind of guy. He probably thinks it is just a game, so no big deal if he changes his rolls.


Dren Everblack wrote:

Actually I don't think he will do anything if he finds out. In fact that is what I was counting on. I wanted him to see what I was doing, because I know that he would realize why. Then my hope was that he would stop. But knowing this guy, he would probably just pretend nothing is wrong.

The reason he cheats is because he can. This behaviour has spanned many years, campaigns, and GM's. It is most definitely not because he feels things are too hard. He does it because he either thinks we don't notice. Or because he knows we don't want to call him on it and make a scene.

I have known this guy for a long time. In fact he was my best man. We are very close. He is just a ballsy kind of guy. He probably thinks it is just a game, so no big deal if he changes his rolls.

So you are saying he's only cheating cause no one has said anything to him? And you don't like it? And you wont say anything to him? It seems like talking to him will totally solve the problem, just don't do it in front of everyone.

Lantern Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber

An underhanded-yet-diplomatic way to help keep him honest would be to surprise him [or everyone at the table, to make it less blatant] with a brand-new d20 of a highly visible nature. If it's a gift to all of the players, it's a bit bad form to not use the proffered dice, especially if you can get everyone else to use their new "special DM dice."

Then, when he's not looking, arrange for a playful cat to abscond with the offending polyhedra. . .


Andy Ferguson wrote:
So you are saying he's only cheating cause no one has said anything to him? And you don't like it? And you wont say anything to him? It seems like talking to him will totally solve the problem, just don't do it in front of everyone.

The one thing I don't think he will do is admit to cheating. So when I talk to him about it, he will act wounded and offended. Sure he will probably also stop then, but things won't be the same between us.

I know that is silly because if he is really cheating, how can he be offended? Because he has big brass ones!! He will bluff it out til the end.

If I provide proof that is rolls have been unusually high, that will help. But that is not definite proof. That is circumstantial evidence, and he will act like I am coming down on him for being lucky.

At this point it is no secret to you guys that I am a very non-confrontational person. I know this has its problems, but it works for me. To have him notice I am cheating against him, he would have to confront me, do nothing, or stop cheating. I don't think he would confront me because he doesn't want to have the "you have been cheating" conversation any more than I do. So he would either stop cheating, or live with my secretly punishing him.


If you're bound and determined to have proof of his cheating before calling him on it (which I disagree with...if you're friends you should totally be able to talk to him about it without it blowing up, but that's ok), have one of your other gamers/friends suggest switching seats with him (putting him closer to the middle of the table, as it stands he currently sits at the far end, right?). Surely they can come up with a plausible reason for switching seats.

Then, watch his rolls surreptitiously and have those near him do so as well. Know what his bonuses to the roll are. If he states a roll that is higher than it should be, ask him what he rolled because you thought he rolled lower. Raise an eyebrow when you do (like Spock). Rinse and repeat. If he does it again then you call him on it. But that, to me, is more likely to cause a rift than just a casual discussion about how lucky his dice have been on saving throws over the years.

In any case, good luck!


Stockvillain wrote:

An underhanded-yet-diplomatic way to help keep him honest would be to surprise him [or everyone at the table, to make it less blatant] with a brand-new d20 of a highly visible nature. If it's a gift to all of the players, it's a bit bad form to not use the proffered dice, especially if you can get everyone else to use their new "special DM dice."

Then, when he's not looking, arrange for a playful cat to abscond with the offending polyhedra. . .

We just don't do that kind of thing. As players we can roll whatever die we want - as long as they are normal.

For me to buy dice for him (or anyone at the table) and then expect them to use them would be very unusual and unpopular.


Dren Everblack wrote:

The one thing I don't think he will do is admit to cheating. So when I talk to him about it, he will act wounded and offended. Sure he will probably also stop then, but things won't be the same between us.

I know that is silly because if he is really cheating, how can he be offended? Because he has big brass ones!! He will bluff it out til the end.

If I provide proof that is rolls have been unusually high, that will help. But that is not definite proof. That is circumstantial evidence, and he will act like I am coming down on him for being lucky.

At this point it is no secret to you guys that I am a very non-confrontational person. I know this has its problems, but it works for me. To have him notice I am cheating against him, he would have to confront me, do nothing, or stop cheating. I don't think he would confront me because he doesn't want to have the "you have been cheating" conversation any more than I do. So he would either stop cheating, or live with my secretly punishing him.

I don't understand I guess, you seemed to suggest he was doing it because he knew he wouldn't be called on it. If this is case, why won't he call you out for cheating, if he catches you. He still knows that you wont call him on cheating.


Andy Ferguson wrote:


I don't understand I guess, you seemed to suggest he was doing it because he knew he wouldn't be called on it. If this is case, why won't he call you out for cheating, if he catches you. He still knows that you wont call him on cheating.

If I started to cheat against him, and he noticed, and said something to me - then we would have the conversation. Then I would tell him why I was doing it, and there might be hard feelings then.

But I would take that chance, because I don't think it would go down that way. I think he would pretend he didn't notice, like we pretend we don't notice him doing it.

He would not be able to "catch" me at it any more than I have been able to catch him. So he would have to confront me based on the unusual "luck" I am having against him. But he would never do that because it would also invalidate his unusual "luck".

Let me also repeat that what I am going to do is make all of the players roll in front of each other. When asked I will admit that it is about cheating, but I won't name names. Then I will secretly tell the two new rookie players that it is not about them. The other players will already know.

Liberty's Edge

I've never had a GM demand that the entire table watch each other's rolls, and I've played in a lot of games with a lot of different groups over the years. If I had someone in my group that I couldn't even trust to be honest with his rolls, I'd confront them right then and there over it.

"Hey Frank, I see you haven't failed a save in the last twenty rolls, you realize that's extremely improbable, right?"

"You realize that John, Bill and Bob have failed x/y of their rolls over the last twenty rolls, right?"

Things to that effect. You're either so uncertain of it (despite what you say) or you're just so afraid of confrontation that you can't bring yourself to deal with this supposed 40 year old friend of yours whose ego is so fragile that calling him out on fudging die rolls would destroy the entirety of your past together.

Don't play ridiculous passive-aggressive games, don't punish the whole table by creating a further atmosphere of distrust, deal with the root problem politely and directly.


Brannon Branduin Brighthammer wrote:
Things to that effect. You're either so uncertain of it (despite what you say) or you're just so afraid of confrontation that you can't bring yourself to deal with this supposed 40 year old friend of yours whose ego is so fragile that calling him out on fudging die rolls would destroy the entirety of your past together.

A bit harsh, but I get what you are saying. We are all adults and should be able to work this out reasonably.

So what do you do in your scenario when Franks says, "I don't know man, I am just lucky I guess."


Dren Everblack wrote:
We have a player who use really big dice - no one else likes them. We think they are goofy, loud, and they dent the table.

This is honestly your opening. A felt lined dice rolling box will both protect the table, and give a more central location for rolling if everyone's using the box. We've used this at dining room table games before, where there is so little room for character sheets around the map, that rolling dice was scattering figs across the battle.

Another option would be to have players start rolling the attacks against them themselves or other party members. If he makes all of his saves, but never hits himself on attacks, then something is skewed. If he swaps out dice to attack himself, then you've got an indication that his luck isn't merely verbal creativity with the numbers, but a mechanical advantage.

One thing which helped some of the issues we had at our own table with an improbably lucky player was taking a detour through 4e for a while. Our DM bought new d20's for each of us, not for us to roll, but for his attacks upon us. So, when he needed to roll against everyone's defense, it was just roll a handful of d20, and reference everyone's individual die to see if it had hit or missed.

If you still wish to secretly punish him, then have the god/goddess of misfortune as the opponent in your next game. Give them an ability to either force rerolls, or use rolls made by the players for their minions in later rounds. If his 18's rolled on fort saves start becoming critical threats against him in later rounds, then he will either begin cheating in reverse to lower his rolls, or catch on.


Jaatu Bronzescale wrote:
Dren Everblack wrote:
We have a player who use really big dice - no one else likes them. We think they are goofy, loud, and they dent the table.
This is honestly your opening. A felt lined dice rolling box will both protect the table, and give a more central location for rolling if everyone's using the box. We've used this at dining room table games before, where there is so little room for character sheets around the map, that rolling dice was scattering figs across the battle.

This is exactly what I was going to recommend.

There are other issues but since this is you and your friend I´m not going to get into those.

Announcing that you have this new dice-rolling box that you think is cool, and that from now on ALL dice rolls are to be done in it, isn´t necessarily even suggestive that it´s to prevent cheating as much as to show off the new box, and for other issues about dice-rolling on the table (dice sliding off the table, knocking over other stuff, landing on stuff where they stand up on a corner, denting the table, etc). It´s your box, so you will position it where you can see everything in it perfectly well. Thus, you can read his dice rolls. Since you described how he made sure to quickly remove the dice from the table when you were moving closer to check them, I´m pretty sure he´s not using loaded dice, and thus this will end the cheating. I also assume your assesment that he cheats because he can is accurate, so if he can no longer cheat easily, he probably won´t just find other outlets to accomplish it. Let´s hope.

Of course, back to the real issue of dealing with this guys´ cheating, assuming that he is, and you start using this system, it will be blatantly obvious to all when his rolls now start to fail on a regular basis that he was in fact cheating. I guess you can ignore that, and keep playing with the now ´fair´ system, or you can confront reality with him. Since either way, playing with the new system will ensure fair-play, it seems like there would be a LITTLE bit less interpersonal pressure since it would not be about imposing penalties against his on-going cheating anymore, but just about acknowledging what happened in the past.


Make a lot of encounters with invisible pugwampi gremlins around!
Brilliant! *grin*

Pugwampis, of course, radiate an unluck aura. Everyone in the aura has to roll two d20's whenever a d20 roll is required, and take the lesser of the two rolls.

Sovereign Court

Dren Everblack wrote:
Brannon Branduin Brighthammer wrote:
Things to that effect. You're either so uncertain of it (despite what you say) or you're just so afraid of confrontation that you can't bring yourself to deal with this supposed 40 year old friend of yours whose ego is so fragile that calling him out on fudging die rolls would destroy the entirety of your past together.

A bit harsh, but I get what you are saying. We are all adults and should be able to work this out reasonably.

So what do you do in your scenario when Franks says, "I don't know man, I am just lucky I guess."

You give him a raised eyebrow, and let it go for the time, then, ALL enemy NPCs start scoring hits against him, he fails saves to ALL the spells cast at him...etc...make sure that he ends every combat in the negatives, and have him fail a lot of skill checks. Then when he asks you what is happening, you say:"I don't know man, I am just lucky I guess."

If that doesn't make him stop, then he is an idiot, not worthy of playing with you.


Hama wrote:

You give him a raised eyebrow, and let it go for the time, then, ALL enemy NPCs start scoring hits against him, he fails saves to ALL the spells cast at him...etc...make sure that he ends every combat in the negatives, and have him fail a lot of skill checks. Then when he asks you what is happening, you say:"I don't know man, I am just lucky I guess."

If that doesn't make him stop, then he is an idiot, not worthy of playing with you.

This sounds a lot like my original idea. I was going to:

Roll for him whenever possible. What I mean by that is there are times when a GM should roll a save or check for the player. Like interacting with an illusion, or someone trying to read your mind, or a perception check for someone sneaking up on you. Sometimes I let the players roll anyway, but I was planning to be strict about it and always roll for this player – when appropriate.

Attack him with non-save spells. What I meant was that most spells cast at this particular character would be the type that don’t offer a save. Not that I would cast spells at him more often, just that I would make sure most of them were non-save spells.

More physical attacks than spell attacks. Not that I would attack him more often than anyone else, only that most attacks against him would be physical rather than spells.

Uncanny luck against him. In my opinion this is the one that really qualifies as cheating on my part. Since he is a caster, most (if not all) enemies would make their saves against his spells.

The consensus in this thread is that all of those ideas are really bad, cheating, passive aggressive, and wimpy.

Liberty's Edge

I had the same sort of player in my gaming group about ten years ago. He was a great drinking buddy (or, really, anywhere away from the game), but an awful gaming buddy. He'd always make the saves he had to make, and always manage to crit the BBEG when it mattered. He'd somehow always already have cast whatever abjuration he really needed to avoid save-or-suck attacks (whether he told anyone about it or not); that kind of player. He was also an extreme min/max player. It got to the point where anything that would threaten him would likely kill the rest of the party (I never let it get that far, because I didn't want to hurt everyone else just to give him a challenge). I finally talked to him, separately from the rest of the group, about it. He denied cheating, of course, and said that it wasn't his problem that other players didn't make good characters. We argued a bit, but I finally got through to him. What made him listen to me was this: I told him I wasn't having fun playing in the same group with him the way he was playing. I told him that if the only way he could have fun in the game was to play that way, he'd have to find another group to play with (we gamed at my house, because no one else had a place big enough to host), because his style of fun wasn't fun for me.

I guess what I'm saying is that if his play style bothers you enough to post here, you're not having fun. We play this to HAVE FUN, and if you're not, you owe it to yourself to do something about it.


Dren Everblack wrote:
So what do you do in your scenario when Franks says, "I don't know man, I am just lucky I guess."

I'd respond with, "Well, Frank, the rest of us don't think that kind of luck can really be happening that consistently. Tell ya what... roll in the open and lets us see this luck happen consistently for a few games, and if it holds, then you can keep playing how you want."

He either agrees to go along with it, he'll cop to cheating, or he'll try to find another evasive/defensive response.

But at least you've treated him honestly.

It's what I'd do, anyway.


If you and the rest of the group have been letting him cheat for 20 years, it must not be that big of a deal. If you've decided it is, why not get two or three people in the group to address it together? I just can't relate to your experience, because I wouldn't let someone cheat if I suspected it, but I wouldn't castigate them -- I'd turn it into peer pressure and let him know that cheaters are unfairly taking advantage of the chance element that everyone else there is undergoing, and they just let the whole group down when that happens.


Dren Everblack wrote:

My group has been playing together for a little over 20 years. We have one player who has “uncanny” luck with the dice. Many of us believe he is cheating, but we do not want to call him on it and cause an incident.

He uses clear 20+ dice that you can’t really read from across the table. Sometimes I will go around the table to look at the rolls. I call it “jinxing the roll”. So he will roll and remove the die before I get to him. The last (and possibly only) saving throw he failed was when I was watching.

I want to balance things out without making it obvious – at least not obvious right away.

My thoughts are:
- Most or all enemies will make their saves vs. his spells – he is a wizard.
- Enemies will cast mostly non-save spells at his character.
- His character will be attacked more often with weapons than spells.
- Whenever feasible I will make the rolls for him – secret saves and skill checks.

I am looking for other suggestions of ways to balance things. Trust me that no one in our group wants me to confront him about this.

Another "cheater" thread. Make everyone's rolls be condfirmed by another player. That way he can't be singled out.

Sovereign Court

Dren Everblack wrote:
Hama wrote:

You give him a raised eyebrow, and let it go for the time, then, ALL enemy NPCs start scoring hits against him, he fails saves to ALL the spells cast at him...etc...make sure that he ends every combat in the negatives, and have him fail a lot of skill checks. Then when he asks you what is happening, you say:"I don't know man, I am just lucky I guess."

If that doesn't make him stop, then he is an idiot, not worthy of playing with you.

This sounds a lot like my original idea. I was going to:

Roll for him whenever possible. What I mean by that is there are times when a GM should roll a save or check for the player. Like interacting with an illusion, or someone trying to read your mind, or a perception check for someone sneaking up on you. Sometimes I let the players roll anyway, but I was planning to be strict about it and always roll for this player – when appropriate.

Attack him with non-save spells. What I meant was that most spells cast at this particular character would be the type that don’t offer a save. Not that I would cast spells at him more often, just that I would make sure most of them were non-save spells.

More physical attacks than spell attacks. Not that I would attack him more often than anyone else, only that most attacks against him would be physical rather than spells.

Uncanny luck against him. In my opinion this is the one that really qualifies as cheating on my part. Since he is a caster, most (if not all) enemies would make their saves against his spells.

The consensus in this thread is that all of those ideas are really bad, cheating, passive aggressive, and wimpy.

Wrong, what happened right prior to that? Confrontation about his cheating. You tried the direct approach and if it failed, you go back to making him stop cheating, and you do it HIS way. by cheating against him.


GeraintElberion wrote:
Richard Leonhart wrote:
don't call him a cheater, that sets things in motion that cannot be undone.

I would agree and disagree with this.

1. Don't call him a cheater - then you are criticising him personally.
2. Call him a friend of yours who has fudged the dice - then you are suggesting that he has made a mistake.

LOL - We were doing something similar in our case. When another player would ask me if I thought the player in question was "cheating," I would reply, "Let's just say he is 'okay with compromising his integrity.'"

I didn't want to create a situation where everybody else was resentful of him before we could have a chance to change things. Especially since he was an old friend's boyfriend and she would be most upset if a fight broke out over it. I wanted to keep it humorous (it is just a game, after all).

After I would mention his "okay with compromising" attitude, the other players would laugh and nod their heads. To a one, they volunteered to sit near him, and to a one, they kept him engaged, which seemed to cure the problem.

Again, friendliness and positivity can go a long way. Some cheaters are just acting out.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber
Dren Everblack wrote:
CHANCE THE DICE HE USES

To be fair, I only suggested this because I was convinced there was no way you were going to do anything about your problem. And it is a problem, even if he's not cheating. Broken trust at the table is a bad thing.

Quote:
TALK TO HIM

Usually when there's a DM/player problem that's my advice. In this case I think "people are who they are". He does what he does because he wants to. Calling him on it isn't going to end gracefully. Someone who cheats in a game with friends has a... compulsion. That's not something you overcome easily.

Quote:
GET SOME PROOF

Why bother? Proof or not, the issue is what do you do about it? Proving it just makes your need to act more concrete. And lack of proof doesn't prove lack of cheating, so you'll still be waiting and watching, over and over and over. Lose-lose.

Quote:
CHANGE THE WAY HE ROLLS

Bingo. I didn't suggest this one earlier because - again - I was convinced you'll never do it. I still am, mostly. You're way, way too passive for your own good as a DM. It doesn't matter that it's a break with tradition. It doesn't matter that it's "just not done". If you say it, it'll happen. You're all adults, right? People at age 40 don't throw temper tantrums because the guy who adjudicates their regular RPG games suddenly has a synapse fire and realizes he can make table rulings. Nobody's going to hate you, nobody's going to key your car, nobody's going to say "no". Seriously. "No, I refuse to roll where you can see it." Does that sentence sound like anything anyone you play with might actually say? If so, run. Sociopath.

Now, time to make you feel better about this. It isn't about the cheater. It's about you. In theory it's not important if a PC never fails a save. If the player doesn't want risk, doesn't want potential harm, he's getting what he wants out of the game. That's GOOD. What's bad though is that you're playing the game too. Think about that. The DM is a player. I spent a lot of time crafting encounters. I do it with the expectation and the desire that my bad guys are going to be slain. But I absolutely, positively demand that the bad guys have a chance. They're going to die, but they better hit occasionally. Their spells better get through occasionally. They better rough up a PC here or there and make the players fear. Why? Because as badly as your cheater wants to roll all 20s, I just as badly don't want to roll all 1s. My baddies are my contribution and if they're ineffectual impotent mooks... why am I spending any time on this?

Even if you're running adventure paths, you simulate those statblocks in your head. They're your avatars. They're your method of impacting the world. If they can't win, why are you playing?

Fix your problem Dren. Seriously. Sure it'll be uncomfortable, but just move the heck on. "Guys, new rule. I need to see the dice so make sure you roll on the middle of the table and don't pick it up until I've seen it or it just doesn't count. Sorry to be a dictator but it's got to be this way." The end. Don't bother discussing. Don't bother lying or even justifying yourself. THIS IS NOT AN UNFAIR RULE. This is not a mean rule, a cruel rule, or an unreasonable rule. It is demanding common sense. Just because your group hasn't played using common sense for 20 years doesn't mean you should do it for 20 more.

Please. Just do it. Even if someone's a bit irked because they "get it", it'll pass.

Quote:
SECRETLY PUNISH HIM

Nope. Statistics are hard to fake. There are enough variables that you really don't know how often he should fail his saves. Taking the consequence into your own hands will just make you feel guilty if the PC dies. Nope. Let the player run his PC.

Quote:
LET IT GO

Habit doesn't make right. I trust my best friend to roll when I can't see. He trusts me. But I always roll where he can see because I respect him and am showing he doesn't need to trust. My doors are open because I've got nothing to hide. The desire to hide rolls is aberrant to me.


Dren Everblack wrote:

SECRETLY PUNISH HIM

This is what I proposed at the beginning of this thread. To be honest it is still my preferred option, but I can see how this would be unfair to the other players. My thought was that he would eventually notice the “bad luck” and realize that I am cheating against his character. He would not confront me about it because he would know why, so he would stop cheating himself.

Or, a similar tactic, but one that's not punative:

Change the Monster Tactics.

Have people use spells that still mess with you on saves you pass, or better still, a ray-master type here and there.

If he loses his magic power to make every save because he's not subject to them, you're not ramping up the difficulty of the encounter (which endangers the others and may lead to additional "unnatural luck") so much as negating his advantage -- think of it as throwing a will save at a Fighter. ;)

For instance, if he's always making his save vs. fireball, then see how he likes 3 scorching rays... or some of the fun battlefield control spells.


Anguish wrote:
Quote:
CHANGE THE WAY HE ROLLS

Bingo. I didn't suggest this one earlier because - again - I was convinced you'll never do it. I still am, mostly. You're way, way too passive for your own good as a DM. It doesn't matter that it's a break with tradition. It doesn't matter that it's "just not done". If you say it, it'll happen. You're all adults, right? People at age 40 don't throw temper tantrums because the guy who adjudicates their regular RPG games suddenly has a synapse fire and realizes he can make table rulings. Nobody's going to hate you, nobody's going to key your car, nobody's going to say "no". Seriously. "No, I refuse to roll where you can see it." Does that sentence sound like anything anyone you play with might actually say? If so, run. Sociopath.

Sound advice Anguish thanks. Although I could have done without the less than flattering assessment of my personality. The reason I made the original post was because I an fed up with this situation, and I want to do something about it.

I think to say we haven't played with common sense for 20 years is unnecessarily harsh. But based on the advice you guys have given me, I am going to make changes to the way we roll. I will either go with the felt box idea, or have the players watch each other.

Thanks again to everyone for weighing in on this. It was very helpful.


Tilnar wrote:
Dren Everblack wrote:

SECRETLY PUNISH HIM

This is what I proposed at the beginning of this thread. To be honest it is still my preferred option, but I can see how this would be unfair to the other players. My thought was that he would eventually notice the “bad luck” and realize that I am cheating against his character. He would not confront me about it because he would know why, so he would stop cheating himself.

Or, a similar tactic, but one that's not punative:

Change the Monster Tactics.

Have people use spells that still mess with you on saves you pass, or better still, a ray-master type here and there.

If he loses his magic power to make every save because he's not subject to them, you're not ramping up the difficulty of the encounter (which endangers the others and may lead to additional "unnatural luck") so much as negating his advantage -- think of it as throwing a will save at a Fighter. ;)

For instance, if he's always making his save vs. fireball, then see how he likes 3 scorching rays... or some of the fun battlefield control spells.

Thanks Tilnar, that is one of the tactics I was originally planning to employ. I was going to have most spells that are cast at him be non-save, or the type that hurt/hamper you even if you do save.

However most of the advice I have been given here falls into the "talk to him" category. If I really thought that would work, I would do it. But I know this guy very well. He will just brazenly bluff his way through our conversation, and then act wounded. As it is, I have left open the possibility that he could see or hear about this thread and approach me. But he probably won't.

The felt rolling box is not a bad idea. I don't know if it will work logistically because the board and miniatures are in the center of the table. But I am definitely going to introduce some kind of "roll in the open" house rule.


Pathfinder Companion, Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Another approach to the change the dice ideas are is to talk to everyone, say that you have noticed that some people are consistently rolling low while some are consistently rolling high - likely due to all the old and worn dice that everyone is using.

So, to make it fair to everyone, you have sprung for new dice, so that eveyone will have the same chance of making that crit or for you to influence the dice to roll that 1.

If you ham it up a bit about also not wanting those big dice to keep denting the table (or the owner of the table chimming in with this), it will help deflect the idea that the change is to address the issue of the problem player.

You have stated that several of the others have GMed for the group and are aware of the issue, so if you talk to them, get them on board before you bring it up at table, and if they are enthousiastic about it, then it is less likely that your problem player will object and will use the new dice.


Mistwalker wrote:

Another approach to the change the dice ideas are is to talk to everyone, say that you have noticed that some people are consistently rolling low while some are consistently rolling high - likely due to all the old and worn dice that everyone is using.

So, to make it fair to everyone, you have sprung for new dice, so that eveyone will have the same chance of making that crit or for you to influence the dice to roll that 1.

If you ham it up a bit about also not wanting those big dice to keep denting the table (or the owner of the table chimming in with this), it will help deflect the idea that the change is to address the issue of the problem player.

You have stated that several of the others have GMed for the group and are aware of the issue, so if you talk to them, get them on board before you bring it up at table, and if they are enthousiastic about it, then it is less likely that your problem player will object and will use the new dice.

Thanks for the input Mistwalker. But that idea won't work with my group. I have to say that I am surprised by how many people have suggested the "new dice" approach.

I am sure I have well over 100 dice in my collection. I bring them all to every game, and I roll whichever ones suit my fancy. When I am DMing I just grab some, but when I am playing I roll my favs. In my case my favs are based on the color and style of the die, and not how it tends to roll.

I love my dice. Some look like gems, some are metallic, some belonged to a friend who passed away, some are ugly and I almost never roll them. If one of our DMs brought us dice to use at his game, I would look at him like he was from another planet - as would most of my friends.

In our group a DM will only ban a particular die if he suspects something is wrong with it, or if he suspects it won't roll - normally. For example a few of us have recently acquired these large red d20's that light up if you roll a 20. One of our DM has stated that he may ban that die. So far I have yet to roll a 20 by the way.

So my point here is that we don't give our DM's so much control over the game that they can tell us which dice to use. I would be curious to see how others feel about this. Perhaps I should start a new thread.

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I run a L5R game. The system has exploding dice, and one of my players has the same issue yours does. On a regular basis he would get over 40 on two exploded d10s (Rolled 10 on both, then 2 10s again, then something on the third roll). Regularly this would occur.

I'm not saying this is the best way, but this is how I handled it. I stopped asking him for rolls. I starting writing down his hits as max damage without even bothering to ask him for the pretense of dice. He eventually caught on and we haven't had a problem with his dice for a while.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber
Dren Everblack wrote:

Sound advice Anguish thanks. Although I could have done without the less than flattering assessment of my personality. The reason I made the original post was because I an fed up with this situation, and I want to do something about it.

I think to say we haven't played with common sense for 20 years is unnecessarily harsh. But based on the advice you guys have given me, I am going to make changes to the way we roll. I will either go with the felt box idea, or have the players watch each other.

Thanks again to everyone for weighing in on this. It was very helpful.

Honestly, I'm sorry. I'm just trying to poke you. I'm pretty sure that the number of tables on the planet where honor-rolls are normal is really low. I wasn't trying to insult you, but through dramatic expression motivate you.

So please accept this as an apology for my delivery, deliberately blunt as it was.


Anguish wrote:
Dren Everblack wrote:

Sound advice Anguish thanks. Although I could have done without the less than flattering assessment of my personality. The reason I made the original post was because I an fed up with this situation, and I want to do something about it.

I think to say we haven't played with common sense for 20 years is unnecessarily harsh. But based on the advice you guys have given me, I am going to make changes to the way we roll. I will either go with the felt box idea, or have the players watch each other.

Thanks again to everyone for weighing in on this. It was very helpful.

Honestly, I'm sorry. I'm just trying to poke you. I'm pretty sure that the number of tables on the planet where honor-rolls are normal is really low. I wasn't trying to insult you, but through dramatic expression motivate you.

So please accept this as an apology for my delivery, deliberately blunt as it was.

Thanks Anguish. The apology is accepted and appreciated. :-)

And hey, if I was thinking of wimping out, your motivation defintely helped strengthen my resolve to do something.


Anguish wrote:
I'm pretty sure that the number of tables on the planet where honor-rolls are normal is really low.

I am really surprised by this. I would have thought just the opposite.

I trust all of the other players at the table to be honest most of the time. And if they change the occasional roll to avoid some major catastrophe, I don't really mind.

It took us all a while to realize that our friend was cheating on many of his rolls. For a while we were in denial about it. "Well, maybe he is just very lucky." It is not like he drops 20's all the time, it is just that he rolls so consistently well.

And I took a long break from DMing myself, so I think it did not bother me as much as a player. I did not really think about it much.

When he started picking up the die before I could look at it, I would exchange stares of disbelief with another player, thinking WTF!! It was the sheer audacity of it. That is how i know he would deny it to the end, that is just his way. He is a great guy, and a great friend but he has major balls and often will do what he can get away with.

He probably thinks - who really cares if I lie about some of my rolls - it is just a game. Of course that is pretty much the same reason we think he shouldn't.

So overall I feel sad that he is causing us to forego the honor system.


You could do what my group does to the player who always rolls well and even rolls in his own special little box. We just dont give him any limelight, the DM never gives him any important rolls or challenges his character. During encounters he throws fodder at him until we have all dealt with his actual encounter. Basically his fake rolls dont mean anything, he always survives and likes to boast how he is always the last one alive when we make new characters but as long as he is having fun and his cheating isnt ruining encounters and puzzles for the rest of us then no one bothers to say anything.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber
Dren Everblack wrote:
I am really surprised by this. I would have thought just the opposite.

I could be wrong and it's human nature to map one's views upon others.

That said, I'm pretty sure guys take "friendly" games of poker seriously. Anyone who keeps score at the bowling alley... don't screw with them. Golfers? It's not just a game. Distract them and you're dead meat. (Well, assuming a golfer can actually beat you up.)

D&D isn't exactly competitive but it's still pretty serious as far as entertainment goes.

Incidentally, as I've mentioned elsewhere, I'm generally a roll-in-front-of-the-players kind of DM. Not necessarily every roll but certainly, absolutely anything that matters. Surprisingly I find it (sometimes) creates more drama. I've had casters throw a last-ditch-effort spell at a BBEG knowing he had really high saves but they needed him nerfed. Roll... 3. That's when the players start punching the air and high-fiving one another. They know I didn't fudge. Same goes the other way... when I crit the living snot out of a player, they know it's fair. Sad, but there's never question I'm vindictive.

The Exchange

It seems pretty easy to me. You are the GM and you make the rules.

Normally you would not need to do this, but obviously it has impacted your group in a major way. Who knows if he is cheating or not, but the fact that he picks the dice up before you or anyone else sees it is highly suspicious.

Here is what I suggest.

Rule 1: Anyone who picks up a rolled die before the GM or another player sees it has to reroll the die.

This means that each roll will need at least one other person to verify it. In our games, we can usually see each other's rolls so this would not slow things down anyhow. in fact, we normally let the die sit as rolled until the next person's turn, then we grab our dice.

Rule 2: If nobody can verify it, then you have to reroll it. Everyone will learn not to be so grabby about picking up their dice.

If you want to be passive aggressive, then make it a team experience by adding in a "team luck" rule. Basically, once per game each player can look at another's die and give him some "luck", letting him reroll the die. This encourages everyone to leave their die on the table, and encourages everyone to look at each other's rolls.

Or not, as you see fit. Remember, you're the Gm. Your way or the highway.


Anguish wrote:
Incidentally, as I've mentioned elsewhere, I'm generally a roll-in-front-of-the-players kind of DM. Not necessarily every roll but certainly, absolutely anything that matters. Surprisingly I find it (sometimes) creates more drama. I've had casters throw a last-ditch-effort spell at a BBEG knowing he had really high saves but they needed him nerfed. Roll... 3. That's when the players start punching the air and high-fiving one another. They know I didn't fudge. Same goes the other way... when I crit the living snot out of a player, they know it's fair. Sad, but there's never question I'm vindictive.

I am totally with you on this. I have mentioned in previous posts in this thread that I will often roll in front of the players for dramatic effect on big rolls. Lately I have been using my oh-so-dissappointing light-up red d20 for those rolls.

Still I make most rolls behind the screens for two reasons.

I like to fudge to avoid killing a PC - unless it was really their stupidity that got them killed, or if it will be obvious that I am fudging.

Most of my players are very experienced, and they will metagame from looking at the rolls. Some will actually ask me about the stats later, which annoys me to no end.

Dark Archive

Every now and then, somebody would roll too vigorously, and a die would zing right off the table (most common with those d20s), and there'd be a delay while we fumbled under chairs in the quest for that die, and the neverending 'oh, can I keep the roll?' or 'I'll just reroll it.' depending on what it landed on...

Back in college, we also had a player who was prone to snatching up dice, or rolling multiple dice and declaring which iterative attack was which only after seeing the results, so we came up with a house-rule that everybody had to roll in a special box (the top of a boxed set), to prevent the 'dice rolling off the table problem,' ostensibly, but really, to be able to see the dice rolled more clearly.

It was a cheap non-confrontational way to deal with it, but we already had enough confrontation at the game table, in those days. :)

These days, it's not an issue. None of the people I game with take their character (or the game) so seriously that they do more than threaten their dice with a horrible fate if they get a bad roll.

Sovereign Court

Dren Everblack wrote:


Most of my players are very experienced, and they will metagame from looking at the rolls. Some will actually ask me about the stats later, which annoys me to no end.

The more reason NOT to roll in front of your players. If they can't help but metagame, keep them in the dark.

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