Fudging Rolls


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Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

The Army started mTBI tests a few years ago, do those count?


Kirth Gersen wrote:
On the other hand, "Uh, why no, I didn't change anything! It's just your miraculous luck that prevents any PCs from ever dying! Yes, even though we've been playing for 4 years and every combat ends with everyone at exactly 1 hp!" is something that would make me walk out the door without pausing to pick up my character sheet.

Again, that's not the function of fudging. That's not something fudging always and necessarily causes, nor is caused only by fudging. That's the function of a crappy GM.

Big difference.


mdt wrote:
So, as GM, I have a choice. I can do exactly what the players stated. In which case, the 12 mook archers will unload on him in the surprise round with him probably flat footed (not that it matters, his AC is 14 with no armor or spell)

Ha! That's more or less exactly what happened to my favorite wizard when I wind walked ahead of the rest of the party into the Tabernacle of Worms

Spoiler:
and got hit with 6 simultaneous flame strikes from avolakia ghosts, against my low Reflex save PC
.

I was reduced to like -6 hp from full strength, and realized that my Toughness feat (the one I had begrudgingly taken over something else I'd really wanted sooner) had actually saved my life -- I saw all the d6's rolled, and saw that my foresight had paid off in spades. And I was doubly glad not to have the event fudged; I learned a valuable lesson (not to do that again) and felt validated in my feat choice (I'd have sure regretted taking Toughness otherwise!), and the rest of the party learned a lesson (not to let me do that again).


Eacaraxe wrote:
Again, that's not the function of fudging. That's not something fudging always and necessarily causes, nor is caused only by fudging. That's the function of a crappy GM.

You and I agree there, but it seems that a majority of the "pro-secret fudging" crowd do not.

How many times in 8 pages have we been told that BBEGs dying anticlamactically is no fun, and/or that PCs dying is never fun, and therefore fudging should be done to make all the fights "just right," because the GM knows best that that's the "most fun"?

Liberty's Edge

Zaranorth wrote:
Why does it seem like that everybody that's arguing against fudging claim this is how GMs treat every roll? I think all of us have said it's a rare event.

It's not the commonality of the event that matters, it's the probability of it occurring at any one given moment. It's the fear that the GM simply ignores that roll you just made, regardless of the reason or time.

If you're playing with someone who fudges, they might fudge at any time they see fit, without letting you know at all, totally on a whim. The fudge may or may not actually cause the players to have more fun, but that's almost irrelevant. Your dice don't matter, not because they always don't matter, but because at any time they might not matter.

If you're not playing with people who fudge, then they won't fudge, and you know that. That's the difference.

I get that it's a playstyle thing. I get that YMMV. I'm not trying to judge people who do it, although I have formulated my own opinion that it is a Bad Thing, and I don't feel bad about putting that opinion out there. If my opinion offends people, they are welcome to not pay attention to it. I'm obviously not the only person to have reached that opinion, so I know I'm not insane.


Kirth Gersen wrote:
Zaranorth wrote:
Thank you for immediately proving my point.

What, that you, personally, don't see the point and don't want to be bothered with them?

It doesn't matter to me in the slightest bit if you fudge every roll, or just the ones that make PCs maybe die, or just the ones that happen on alternate leap years. All I want to know is, when you do (regardless of frequancy or anything else), why it's necessary to lie to the players and pretend like you don't do it.

If your "baseline" is so cockamamie there is no ground for a discussion.

And I have said why time and time again. But I'll do it one more time: because that is the group's spoken, agreed upon consensus. It has been asked and answered. Not just once 4 years ago and never asked again, but every few months. I actually have been asked to fudge against the players and have them fail when it turned out something really interesting could happen.


Kirth Gersen wrote:
You and I agree there, but it seems that a majority of the "pro-secret fudging" crowd do not.

Perhaps the problem is the assumption that all fudging regardless of nuance, reason, means or end invariably leads to, or is by merit of being fudging alone automatically, aforementioned crappy GM'ing?

Not that you necessarily endorse that position. Though, it's something that ought to be addressed because several of the more active posters in this thread do.


Zaranorth wrote:
But I'll do it one more time: because that is the group's spoken, agreed upon consensus.

Wait, everyone in your group actually said, "Please make sure I don't die no matter how stupid I am -- but be sure to tell me you didn't alter anything, because my fragile world-view can't handle knowing you did it" -- or something equivalent?

If so, I salute you for accommodating such a group. If not, then my question hasn't really been addressed, because I still don't get it.


Kirth Gersen wrote:
Zaranorth wrote:
But I'll do it one more time: because that is the group's spoken, agreed upon consensus.

Wait, everyone in your group actually said, "Please make sure I don't die no matter how stupid I am -- but be sure to tell me you didn't alter anything, because my fragile world-view can't handle knowing you did it" -- or something equivalent?

If so, I salute you for accommodating such a group. If not, then my question hasn't really been addressed, because I still don't get it.

Quote me where I said I never let a PC die. Otherwise stop taking my statements blatantly out of context of what I've said.

Edit: And I mean any and all PCs. The example of my wife's character doesn't count. I explained why on that one.


Kirth Gersen wrote:
On the other hand, "Uh, why no, I didn't change anything! It's just your miraculous luck that prevents any PCs from ever dying! Yes, even though we've been playing for 4 years and every combat ends with everyone at exactly 1 hp!" is something that would make me walk out the door without pausing to pick up my character sheet.
I (emphasis mine) wrote:
Perhaps the problem is the assumption that all fudging regardless of nuance, reason, means or end invariably leads to, or is by merit of being fudging alone automatically, aforementioned crappy GM'ing?
Kirth Gersen wrote:
Wait, everyone in your group actually said, "Please make sure I don't die no matter how stupid I am -- but be sure to tell me you didn't alter anything, because my fragile world-view can't handle knowing you did it" -- or something equivalent?

Case in point.


Kirth Gersen wrote:

I understand that most people see a need to overrule the dice. I've recommended using hero points, but apparently that puts too much choice in the players' hands and causes their brains to explode, so only the GM can do it. OK, let's accept that as a baseline assumption.

Assuming that's all true, then, can someone explain again why it's so important that you lie to the players and tell them you're not changing rolls, altering results, etc., when you actually are? And the usual response of "so they'll think I'm not doing it" is not one I believe, unless your players are either under 10 years old or are dumber than dirt. So, even if you can't be honest with the players about it, try and be honest answering this question to some anonymous dude on line, OK?

Because if a GM announced, "Guys, is that like five 20's in a row I just rolled for Team Monster? I'm rerolling that crap with a new die!" I'd totally understand. Him/her coming out and saying it is something I could even respect.

On the other hand, "Uh, why no, I didn't change anything! It's just your miraculous luck that prevents any PCs from ever dying! Yes, even though we've been playing for 4 years and every combat ends with everyone at exactly 1 hp!" is something that would make me walk out the door without pausing to pick up my character sheet.

How would hero points affect the following:

1) reincarnate
2) the enemy's stealth check
3) the effect of a critical hit or fumble from the enemy
4) prismatic spray
5) damage the enemy deals
6) initial distance to the enemy based on terrain
7) wandering monsters
8) random determination of magic items
9) miss chance
10) effects of a confusion spell

I can go on but this is a good starting point.

Not a single person has advocated never letting a character die. There are times when you don't and times when you do. The GM who fudges all the time is probably not very good at GMing.

My players know that I retain the right to fudge. They don't know if or when I do it. They have never felt like I was determining their fate. It is a rare event that I fudge.

I know this has been made clear several times by several people. The only people who are saying that fudging happens all the time are those who are against fudging in all circumstances.


Eacaraxe wrote:

Perhaps the problem is the assumption that all fudging regardless of nuance, reason, means or end invariably leads to, or is by merit of being fudging alone automatically, aforementioned crappy GM'ing?

Not that you necessarily endorse that position. Though, it's something that ought to be addressed because several of the more active posters in this thread do.

Before answering, let me point out that I do not ascribe the following to anyone present. That said, I do think there's an awful temptation for a bad GM to not improve, because instead of learning lessons about balancing encounters or foreshadowing overpowered enemies, he or she can just fudge things retroactively instead. It's a convenient (albeit lazy) way out. It also promotes poorly-skilled players not ever improving, because instead of making a tactical retreat and/or trying different strategies, the players can just spam the same approach, no matter how stupid or tactically inappropriate it is, and trust the magic fudge gods to let them win.

I assume that most people do NOT fudge for that reason. I assume that most, if not all, players and GMs on this thread are more highly skilled than that. Rather, the GMs have balanced every encounter more or less right, but there's still a chance for an unlucky streak to ruin the scenario they'd planned... so they make minor adjustments as needed to prevent that from happening. Like I said, I can see that, and even sympathize to a large degree. What I can't imagine is a player actually saying something like "Good thing you never fudge (wink! Wink!) even though I told you to it -- because my luck is just that awesome, right? Isn't it? Huh?"


Bob_Loblaw wrote:

How would hero points affect the following:

1) reincarnate
2) the enemy's stealth check
3) the effect of a critical hit or fumble from the enemy
4) prismatic spray
5) damage the enemy deals
6) initial distance to the enemy based on terrain
7) wandering monsters
8) random determination of magic items
9) miss chance
10) effects of a confusion spell

I can go on but this is a good starting point.

1. Spend hero point to reroll results

2. Spend hero point to reroll results.
3. Spend hero point to reroll results.
4. Spend hero point to reroll results.
5. Spend hero point to reroll results.
6. Spend hero point to reroll results.
7. Spend hero point to reroll results.
8. Spend hero point to reroll results.
9. Spend hero point to reroll results.
10. Spend hero point to reroll results.

Have I left anything out?

Also, you replied to my post but were very careful not to answer my question. Remember this:

Kirth Gersen wrote:
It doesn't matter to me in the slightest bit if you fudge every roll, or just the ones that make PCs maybe die, or just the ones that happen on alternate leap years. All I want to know is, when you are doing it (regardless of frequancy or anything else), why it's necessary to lie to the players and pretend like you aren't.


Bob_Loblaw wrote:
[Not a single person has advocated never letting a character die.

Actually, a number of people have, but you're correct insofar as not everyone advocates that.


Zaranorth wrote:
Quote me where I said I never let a PC die.

Allow me to state that my mock quotation was poor one, I agree -- you and Eacarax were right to call me out on it. That said, I still don't get it. Why would a player point-blank ask you to lie to them? This is the part I can't understand.

  • Fudging occasionally? OK, good.
  • Fudging for reasons other than covering up poor GM prep/exerience? Yes, still with you.
  • Fidging judiciously, not all the time? Still no problem.
  • Players not wanting to fidge for themselves (via hero points or whatever) so they want you to do it for you? I can still maybe see that, although I personally wouldn't.
  • Wanting the GM to claim not to be fudging when he or she is? No, this one I can't figure out.


  • Kirth Gersen wrote:
    Bob_Loblaw wrote:
    [Not a single person has advocated never letting a character die.
    Actually, a number of people have, but you're correct insofar as not everyone advocates that.

    No one has advocated never letting a character die. The only ones who are saying that's what fudging is for are the ones who are against fudging.

    There are people who say that they have fudged and will fudge to keep a character alive. They have not said they will do it all the time. They haven't even said they willl do it most of the time. Only when it is best for the group and the game.


    Kirth Gersen wrote:
    I do think there's an awful temptation for a bad GM to not improve, because instead of learning lessons about balancing encounters or foreshadowing overpowered enemies, he or she can just fudge things retroactively instead. It's a lazy way out. It also promotes poorly-skilled players not ever improving, because instead of making a tactical retreat and/or trying different strategies, the players can just spam the same approach, no matter how stupid or tactically inappropriate it is, and trust the magic fudge gods to let them win.

    I agree. Fudging should not be, and is not, an acceptable crutch or strategy to avoid learning the finer points of GM-craft. That doesn't necessarily mean GM's who fudge will never learn, nor that GM's who fudge are by definition poor GM's who have no other tools.

    I've been GM'ing for 25 years now, give or take. I fudge, when it's necessary. It's a tool in my shed, nothing more. Then again, for me it's a scalpel opposed to the sledgehammer most anti-fudgers claim it is and can never be more than. I've explained how and why this is, repeatedly, in previous posts. I'll not repeat myself here.

    But, as a counter-point, playing the dice as rolled can very well also discourage players from thinking laterally (as the result of such thinking may be poorly-mechanized, require ad hoc arbitration, or outright prohibited as outside the span of RAW) and instead on optimizing modifiers and maximizing what is mechanically supported and most viable. If the core mechanic is a randomized value between 1 and 20, then the burden is on the players to minimize the impact of that randomized value through stacking modifiers. That in its own right encourages lazy play by turning the game into a brute force munchkin-fest.

    Heck, a GM reluctant to kill players or want to give players a free ride can just as easily take every die as rolled, then under-CR every single fight or not play monster abilities to full effect. That will have the same negative effect on players you mentioned as does a fudging GM.

    What I'm getting at is Maslow's hammer takes many forms. Fudging is not the only one.

    Quote:
    Wanting the GM to claim not to be fudging when he or she is? No, this one I can't figure out.

    I'm not exactly sure how this entered the conversation, but the answer I can give is to maintain suspension of disbelief.

    Suspension of disbelief is a funny thing. There are more than a few different ways to fudge that players may even be acutely aware what is going on, but accept it because it is reasonable, within the boundaries of possibility, carries consequences equivalent to the unpolished result, or otherwise well-executed and appropriate.

    I can think of an example in which I was playing and the recipient of a fudge. Long story cut short, my PC ate a delayed blast fireball trap in the face and died. We were in a wild magic zone, and the GM rolled that a major surge happened and decided that instead of the normal results we caused a time loop, but he rolled anyway as a matter of theatrics and preserving the tension in the room. My character lived in the end mechanically without consequence, but not before dying repeatedly to that same trap, and after it stopped being funny to the other characters died a few more times before they figured out a way to break the time loop. We all knew the GM deviated from RAW, but didn't care because it was a fun, impromptu game experience.

    The important thing to keep in mind here is that the logical-extreme theoretical examples many (yourself included) have cited strain credibility, break suspension of disbelief, and ultimately hint to other GM'ing failures even presented in the context of a GM who never fudges and rolls with in plain view with full transparency. The party that always wins combat drained of resources and low on HP for example: is the GM properly matching CR with party numbers and power level? Not every fight is going to be a climactic BBEG battle. That's the first thing I think of in that example, not fudging.


    Kirth Gersen wrote:
    Zaranorth wrote:
    Quote me where I said I never let a PC die.

    Allow me to state that my mock quotation was poor one, I agree -- you and Eacarax were right to call me out on it. That said, I still don't get it. Why would a player point-blank ask you to lie to them? This is the part I can't understand.

  • Fudging occasionally? OK, good.
  • Fudging for reasons other than covering up poor GM prep/exerience? Yes, still with you.
  • Fidging judiciously, not all the time? Still no problem.
  • Players not wanting to fidge for themselves (via hero points or whatever) so they want you to do it for you? I can still maybe see that, although I personally wouldn't.
  • Wanting the GM to claim not to be fudging when he or she is? No, this one I can't figure out.
  • I don't tell my players when I have fudged. I don't tell them most things. Only what they need to know. They haven't asked me to not tell them. I just don't feel that I need to tell them every single thing. They are having fun. The game has more than enough tension. They don't feel cheated or robbed. They come back week after week for more. Sounds like everything is going exactly the way it should.

    Owner - House of Books and Games LLC

    Just call me Captain of the BadWrongFun League.

    Not only do I fudge rolls whenever I feel like it, I also:

    * Adjust hit points.
    * Don't even bother rolling if I don't feel like it.
    * Arbitrarily adjust creatures' skill points.
    * Add or remove treasure if I change my mind.
    * Add or remove creatures from a combat if I decide it warrants it.
    * Avoid setting up ambushes that any sane creature would obviously set up.
    * Make up magical effects on a whim, with no rules basis.

    Heck, I'm even one of those BadWrongFun folks who has the gall to think that I need rules for levels beyond 20.

    Clearly I should just hang up my GM hat right now because I'm doing not only myself, but my players and the entire Pathfinder game system an injustice :)

    Shadow Lodge

    You shameful man!

    Liberty's Edge

    Eacaraxe wrote:
    If the core mechanic is a randomized value between 1 and 20, then the burden is on the players to minimize the impact of that randomized value through stacking modifiers. That in its own right encourages lazy play by turning the game into a brute force munchkin-fest.

    But that is the Core Mechanic. And that burden is on the players, in both high-power games and low-power games.

    Surely they didn't establish page 402 as the Core Mechanic of the game. The clatter of the dice are the Core Mechanic, along with RP. GM fiat is not even a mechanic at all. It's completely arbitrary and, even portrayed in the best possible light, totally subjective.

    Liberty's Edge

    gbonehead wrote:
    Heck, I'm even one of those BadWrongFun folks who has the gall to think that I need rules for levels beyond 20.

    Why? You don't seem to need rules for the levels before 20. :-p


    Bob_Loblaw wrote:
    I just don't feel that I need to tell them every single thing. They are having fun. The game has more than enough tension. They don't feel cheated or robbed. They come back week after week for more. Sounds like everything is going exactly the way it should.

    So, the long and short of it is that GMs try to "bluff" it where they're fudging because either (a) players seem to accept it, or (b) (as Zanaroth claims) they asked you to lie about it to them. I'm still at a total loss to understand this, so I guess the thing to do is ask any players on the thread:

    1. Does your GM fudge stuff without telling you?
    2. Does it annoy you if a GM pretends not to be fudging when, in fact, he or she is?
    3. If not, did you specifically ask to be kept in the dark?
    4. And if so, WHY?

    Owner - House of Books and Games LLC

    TOZ wrote:
    You shameful man!

    Yes. Yes, indeed.


    Ok, why fudge and not tell the players exactly when I do ... I'll try, and I'm being honest and not snarky - if you don't get it, then it's just because it's how you are, nothing more, nothing less.

    It boils down to suspension of disbelief. Which is pretty odd to start with considering we're basically a bunch of adults sitting around playing make-believe.

    I'll try an example that may or may not fit. Take a movie or TV show. We all know it's acting, but we're willing to sit there and pretend that the people on screen are flying in starships, killing orcs, performing surgery.

    Now, what if in every scene there was a mic boom visible? Or every few minutes the edge of the set was seen? Or maybe a camera is seen in the reflection of a mirror? Or the dead guy sneezes? No matter how one tries, or myself at least, it's going to be a distraction, an annoyance.

    Obvious fudging (or saying "hey, I'm changing the result of this roll I just made") is, to me, that mic boom. It draws attention to the fact that I'm ignoring a roll. The players know that every now and then I'll nudge a result. But, I won't save them. I won't even save most encounters; more than once they've had to retreat from an encounter, even a main story encounter, while dragging their fallen to lick their wounds and try again later. They trust me not to over do it, that will lead to a ruined game. It'll devastate the suspension of disbelief worse than telling them when I fudge. Railroading to a GM's private story is bad, we all can agree with that. But they want me to be inconspicuous, they know that there's an outside chance that what I rolled is not what I used, but they also know that the chance of that being the case on that particular role is near zero.


    TriOmegaZero wrote:
    The Army started mTBI tests a few years ago, do those count?

    I guess they would. So as long as you have official docs to prove it, I'm kosher with it.


    mdt wrote:

    Latest example of Fudging in my game (about a month ago) :

    Players are escorting a wagon back to town. The scouts (a witch catfolk and a barbarian half-orc) state they are going to proceed 'about a hundred feet in front of the wagon, and about 100 feet behind' to look for ambushes.

    They get ambushed of course, and I have them roll perception checks. I roll randomly to see who's in front at the time, and who's behind (they didn't specify). The witch comes up in front. The squishy, unarmored, unshielded, I got no hit points, witch.

    The witch who volunteered to be up front scouting, witch? That witch?

    What if they were in a dungeon, and the witch and other PC were taking turns scouting ahead. Would the trap then hit the other person because the witch can't take the role that they elected to be doing?

    mdt wrote:


    Now, the witch rolls a perception check just good enough to notice the ambush as he enters the kill zone.

    So, as GM, I have a choice. I can do exactly what the players stated.

    Or you can ignore their choices, which is what you did.

    The witch who couldn't spot a dozen people in hiding at a distance, that's walking in front out in the open because they elected to do so, and then reacts to seeing them to trigger the ambush?

    We call that a Darwin trap. It leads to character generation and eventually smarter and wiser players. But that might be frowned upon by some.

    What are the motivations of your 12 ambushers? To kill the ONE person in the lead or to ambush the entire group?

    Given their druthers they would let the lead person pass and hit the group in the middle so as to maximize their targets. Certainly they wouldn't bother to fire more arrows at the dropped lead target rather the rest of their healthy friends that they were also ambushing...

    You basically were fine with this as an encounter when you wrote it up. What changed?

    -James


    Kirth Gersen wrote:


    1. Does your GM fudge stuff without telling you?

    I would assume she does, in interests of the story.

    Kirth Gersen wrote:


    2. Does it annoy you if a GM pretends not to be fudging when, in fact, he or she is?

    Yes. I don't mind fudging, I do mind people lieing about it. If they don't say anything, I assume they are, and we're kopacetic. It's the 'I don't fudge' while ignoring a 20 or a 1 that I don't like. Do it or don't do it, but don't lie about it.

    However, I think that while you asked the question I answered, it was not the one you intended. I think you meant 'Does your GM tell you when they fudged'. The answer to that is No, she doesn't.

    Kirth Gersen wrote:


    3. If not, did you specifically ask to be kept in the dark?
    4. And if so, WHY?

    No, I didn't. However, if asked, yes, I would tell her not to tell me if and when she fudged, as it would remove the mystique from the game.

    Kirth Gersen's Unasked Question wrote:


    5. Does it bother you if your GM won't kill a character in a game.

    Damn straight it does. Extremely annoying, right up there with not giving out XP for Roleplaying, only for killing monsters or bypassing traps.


    james maissen wrote:


    Or you can ignore their choices, which is what you did.

    The witch who couldn't spot a dozen people in hiding at a distance, that's walking in front out in the open because they elected to do so, and then reacts to seeing them to trigger the ambush?

    The witch with the +12 perception who rolled a 2, bad night on dice.

    james maissen wrote:


    You basically were fine with this as an encounter when you wrote it up. What changed?

    We added a 6th character to the game right before the ambush, and so I had to adjust the encounter on the fly. So I had a new player who took over an existing character, and a player with a new character, and I had no experience with either (A) The new Player being able to play the existing character, nor (B) the new player's ability to play his new character. So, I upped the encounter by adding 2 mooks and upping the HP of the BBEG's on the fly before the game.

    In other words, the encounter, as I statted it out a month in advance, got blasted all the hades due to changes in party that occured within the last week before the combat, and I didn't have time to rework the encounter in detail (nor experience with the new character/old player or old character/old character combos) due to working 12 hours a day for the previous week.


    james maissen wrote:


    What if they were in a dungeon, and the witch and other PC were taking turns scouting ahead. Would the trap then hit the other person because the witch can't take the role that they elected to be doing?

    Then he'd have been dead. I've fudged twice in this campaign (and it's about 5 months old), once on a random roll during character creation for one player (he'd rolled a 1 for his 2nd level hp, and I rolled another 1 for his 3rd, so I enticed my cat to knock the die over, then rerolled it since the cat interfered), and this fudging. I rarely, if ever, fudge. Only if I feel the issue is partly my fault as a GM, and only to level the playing field.

    A month after the listed incident, they were, indeed, in a dungeon, and the magus ran forward and cast dancing lights in a cavern, attracting the attention of four negative energy elementals, who flew over and hit him for 30 hp and 3 level drains.

    The player is enjoying their new paladin, while the party is enjoying the equipment of the dead magus.


    Zaranorth wrote:
    It boils down to suspension of disbelief. Which is pretty odd to start with considering we're basically a bunch of adults sitting around playing make-believe.

    Heh, I see what you mean.

    OK, I kind of get what you're saying. I don't actually agree with it -- if I get involved in a make-believe world which supposedly follows different physical laws (as represented by the rule set instead of physics), I'm OK with that, because at least there's internal consistency. But if the in-game world rules ALSO change arbitrarily -- and I can see the guy behind the curtain doing it, and yet he has the gall to pretend like he isn't -- THAT'S what kills my suspension of disbelief.

    But it doesn't matter if I agree, it matters if your players do.

    Just a word of warning, though, for the many other GMs who are fudging things, and assume it's hidden: just because you don't announce it doesn't mean the players won't spot it if they look. Almost everyone I meet thinks they have a perfect poker face. Almost all of them are, in fact, childishly obvious. So unless the players specifically tell you they'll go out of their way to put blinders on and not look for it, you sort of have to assume they'll know. That said, it behooves you to make sure -- up front and without reservation -- that they're OK with it, and what the limits are.

    If you can do that, then everything is indeed copacetic, as another poster said.


    Kirth Gersen wrote:
    Bob_Loblaw wrote:
    I just don't feel that I need to tell them every single thing. They are having fun. The game has more than enough tension. They don't feel cheated or robbed. They come back week after week for more. Sounds like everything is going exactly the way it should.

    So, the long and short of it is that GMs try to "bluff" it where they're fudging because either (a) players seem to accept it, or (b) (as Zanaroth claims) they asked you to lie about it to them. I'm still at a total loss to understand this, so I guess the thing to do is ask any players on the thread:

    1. Does your GM fudge stuff without telling you?
    2. Does it annoy you if a GM pretends not to be fudging when, in fact, he or she is?
    3. If not, did you specifically ask to be kept in the dark?
    4. And if so, WHY?

    I so rarely get to play that I can only tell you what I would want.

    1) I hope so
    2) Yes and no. It's going to depend on circumstances.
    3) I would like to be kept in the dark
    4) There isn't any reason to tell me. I don't need to know all the behind-the-screen decisions. I trust that my GM knows how to do his job. I'll be able to tell if I am succeeding too often. From my experience, the GM who relies too much on fudging, he has other issues too.


    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    Kirth Gersen wrote:
    Zaranorth wrote:
    It boils down to suspension of disbelief. Which is pretty odd to start with considering we're basically a bunch of adults sitting around playing make-believe.

    Heh, I see what you mean.

    OK, I kind of get what you're saying. I don't actually agree with it -- if I get involved in a make-believe world which supposedly follows different physical laws (as represented by the rule set instead of physics), I'm OK with that, because at least there's internal consistency. But if the in-game world rules ALSO change arbitrarily -- and I can see the guy behind the curtain doing it, and yet he has the gall to pretend like he isn't -- THAT'S what kills my suspension of disbelief.

    But it doesn't matter if I agree, it matters if your players do.

    Glad we finally found a middle ground. I'm cool that you don't fudge at all. It's your game. And that's the key point, it's acceptable in my group, it's not in yours, but they're not the same group so we're good.

    I also completely agree that a GM that fudges when his players don't want him to is in the wrong.

    Quote:

    Just a word of warning, though, for the many other GMs who are fudging things, and assume it's hidden: just because you don't announce it doesn't mean the players won't spot it if they look. Almost everyone I meet thinks they have a perfect poker face. Almost all of them are, in fact, childishly obvious. So unless the players specifically tell you they'll go out of their way to put blinders on and not look for it, you sort of have to assume they'll know. That said, it behooves you to make sure -- up front and without reservation -- that they're OK with it, and what the limits are.

    If you can do that, then everything is indeed copacetic, as another poster said.

    Yeah, I've got the world's worse poker face. I'm pretty sure that over 90% of the time they know when I fudge, but attention isn't drawn to it, and everyone keeps on trucking. If called, I will reveal if I did or not.

    Owner - House of Books and Games LLC

    Kirth Gersen wrote:
    Just a word of warning, though, for the many other GMs who are fudging things, and assume it's hidden: just because you don't announce it doesn't mean the players won't spot it if they look. Almost everyone I meet thinks they have a perfect poker face. Almost all of them are, in fact, childishly obvious. So unless the players specifically tell you they'll go out of their way to put blinders on and not look for it, you sort of have to assume they'll know. That said, it behooves you to make sure -- up front and without reservation -- that they're OK with it, and what the limits are.

    Wow. You assume a lot.

    Take for example, a combat in which a party of 7 characters if facing seven star-spawn of Cthulhu. Three are advanced to 37HD, making them Gargantuan. Two of those are given the epic pseudonatural template, making them CR37, while one is a wizard 7/warshaper 1, making it CR31. The final four are unadvanced but given the epic paragon template, making them CR32 but just Huge.

    You're really truly saying that you'd have any clue what these things would be capable of, and you would know if the GM running them ran all the rolls straight or skewed one or two if the battle ended up way harder or easier than expected?


    Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
    Kirth Gersen wrote:

    I understand that most people see a need to overrule the dice. I've recommended using hero points, but apparently that puts too much choice in the players' hands and causes their brains to explode, so only the GM can do it. OK, let's accept that as a baseline assumption.

    Or, you know, people just happen to prefer non-hero point methods. But, hey, don't let a reasonable response stop the hyperbole. Hyperbolic arguments are what all gaming-internet-sports-politics discussions are all about.


    gbonehead wrote:
    You're really truly saying that you'd have any clue what these things would be capable of, and you would know if the GM running them ran all the rolls straight or skewed one or two if the battle ended up way harder or easier than expected?

    The thing is, it makes no diffence if I know how many hit dice of starspawn there are, and what CRs, or if I have any idea what starspawn are, or whether a paladin can use a helm of disintegration (to quote the Family Guy). All that matters is if I know the GM.

    And if the latter is true, then, yes, I'll almost certainly know if he's fudging, and when. And not because of the hit dice of his monsters.


    [Or, you know, people just happen to prefer non-hero point methods. But, hey, don't let a reasonable response stop the hyperbole. Hyperbolic arguments are what all gaming-internet-sports-politics discussions are all about.

    @ Bill Dunn:

    Then let's change the order of your sentences:

    Bill Dunn wrote:
    Or, you know, people just happen to prefer non-hero point methods.
    Kirth Gersen wrote:
    I've recommended using hero points, but apparently that puts too much choice in the players' hands.

    And my point still stands, hyperbolic explosions notwithstanding. People don't "just happen" to prefer GM fudging vs. Player fudging. They prefer it if they feel that player fudging mechanisms put too much choice in the players' hands.


    Kirth Gersen wrote:
    [Or, you know, people just happen to prefer non-hero point methods. But, hey, don't let a reasonable response stop the hyperbole. Hyperbolic arguments are what all gaming-internet-sports-politics discussions are all about.

    @ Bill Dunn:

    Then let's change the order of your sentences:

    Bill Dunn wrote:
    Or, you know, people just happen to prefer non-hero point methods.
    Kirth Gersen wrote:
    I've recommended using hero points, but apparently that puts too much choice in the players' hands.

    And my point still stands, hyperbolic explosions notwithstanding. People don't "just happen" to prefer GM fudging vs. Player fudging. They prefer it if they feel that player fudging mechanisms put too much choice in the players' hands.

    When I've used hero points, I still retained the right to fudge. Hero points don't cover enough situations.


    Kirth Gersen wrote:
    And my point still stands, hyperbolic explosions notwithstanding. People don't "just happen" to prefer GM fudging vs. Player fudging. They prefer it if they feel that player fudging mechanisms put too much choice in the players' hands.

    Or they just don't want to deal with yet more rules. It's only a handful in this case, but it's cumulative. Couple new rules here, a couple there, then the game breaks down into trying to remember which book rule X is in.

    Player choice vs GM choice has nothing to do with it in many cases. All of the groups that I know have chosen not to do Hero Points solely because of rule bloat, not because they don't want a fudging mechanic in the player's hands.


    Zaranorth wrote:
    Or they just don't want to deal with yet more rules. Player choice vs GM choice has nothing to do with it in many cases. All of the groups that I know have chosen not to do Hero Points solely because of rule bloat, not because they don't want a fudging mechanic in the player's hands.

    Are you still playing Basic D&D then? That's about the edition with the lowest rules bloat --races are classes, and levels only go to 3rd unless you buy the rules-bloating "Expert" set!

    Or 3.0, just because you're already used to it? PF would only be because you all started playing RPGs within the last year, and no "Ultimate" anything allowed?

    Forgive me if I keep thinking that "rules bloat" is a red herring.


    Kirth Gersen wrote:
    Zaranorth wrote:
    Player choice vs GM choice has nothing to do with it in many cases. All of the groups that I know have chosen not to do Hero Points solely because of rule bloat, not because they don't want a fudging mechanic in the player's hands.

    Are you still playing Chainmail then? 1e? Basic? 3.0? Maybe PF because you all started playing RPGs within the last year, but no "Ultimate" anything allowed?

    Forgive me if I keep thinking that "rules bloat" is a red herring.

    Just because we choose to not do one option rule doesn't mean we choose to do none.

    And explain your intention of stating that it's a red herring, I don't want to misinterpret your meaning.

    Is everything a case of extremes?

    I swear, this is like arguing with Apollo deniers.


    Zaranorth wrote:

    Just because we choose to not do one option rule doesn't mean we choose to do none.

    And explain your intention of stating that it's a red herring, I don't want to misinterpret you.
    Is everything a case of extremes?
    I swear, this is like arguing with Apollo deniers.

    I found it curious that the only example of "rules bloat" you cite is the one rule I said people disagree with for other reasons. "Red Herring" is an effort to come up with some plausible-sounding reason because the real one is offensive to you.

    If you truly were concerned about rules bloat, there are a LOT of other places to start, with much bigger effect. Sticking with 3.0 vs. 3.5/PF would be an obvious choice, and ignoring all splatbooks another. But if a guy lights his cigars with $100 bills and then says he holds the milk in his coffee "to save money," maybe it's really because he can't stand milk in his coffee?


    Kirth Gersen wrote:
    Zaranorth wrote:

    Just because we choose to not do one option rule doesn't mean we choose to do none.

    And explain your intention of stating that it's a red herring, I don't want to misinterpret you.
    Is everything a case of extremes?
    I swear, this is like arguing with Apollo deniers.

    I find it curious that the only example of "rules bloat" you cite is the one rule I said people disagree with for other reasons. "Red Herring" is an effort to come up with some plausible-sounding reason because the real one is offensive to you.

    If you truly were concerned about rules bloat, there are a LOT of other places to start, with much bigger effect. Sticking with 3.0 vs. 3.5/PF would be an obvious choice, and ignoring all splatbooks another. But if a guy lights his cigars with $100 bills and then says he holds the milk in his coffee "to save money," maybe it's really because he can't stand milk in his coffee?

    Because Armor as DC, Called Shots, Words of Power, etc. doesn't have much bearing on this conversation?

    Really, if you want to call me a liar come out and say it rather than dance around the topic. I don't mind, I don't have any emotional investment in this topic.

    Edit: I'm still truly confused as to your meaning. If you're not trying to be offensive, I apologize. But what "real reason" do you think I find offensive enough to try to come up with excuses?


    noone called anyone a liar. try to remain civil people.


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    Zaranorth wrote:
    Edit: I'm still truly confused as to your meaning. If you're not trying to be offensive, I apologize. But what "real reason" do you think I find offensive enough to try to come up with excuses?

    No, I'm not trying to be offensive (although I'll be the first to admit that I often am, even when not trying to be, for which I should apologize).

    I still believe the "real reason" is as I originally stated: that a lot of people -- especially GMs but at least two players have said so as well -- prefer not to put fudging power of any kind into the players' hands. For whatever reason, there is a very deeply-ingrained mind-set that says the GM can do whatever he or she wants, and the players better just suck it up or go home, or they'll risk offending the GM, which must never be done. It's a view I'm very much against, in case that wasn't abundantly clear.

    That's sort of moving into a separate topic, though, of which there have been more than enough acrid threads already -- about where the line is between rightful GM perogative and ego trip. And I firmly believe a lot of GMs are not honest with themselves about where that line is. In the interest of not going there, I'll concede that anyone can claim any reason at all for not wanting to use anything except GM fudging.

    One observation, which is actually sort of amusing if you aren't too offended: is it maybe a bit ironic that the guy defending the GM's important and incontrovertable need to lie to the players at will, is also offended by hints that he might not be admitting the whole truth? ;)


    Kirth Gersen wrote:
    Zaranorth wrote:
    Edit: I'm still truly confused as to your meaning. If you're not trying to be offensive, I apologize. But what "real reason" do you think I find offensive enough to try to come up with excuses?

    No, I'm not trying to be offensive (although I'll be the first to admit that I often am, even when not trying to be, for which I should apologize). The reason I originally stated: that a lot of people -- especially GMs but at least two players have said so as well -- prefer not to put fudging power of any kind into the players' hands. For whatever reason, there is a very deeply-ingrained mind-set that says the GM can do whatever he or she wants, and the players better just suck it up or go home.

    That's sort of moving into a separate topic, of which there have been more than enough acrid threads already -- about where the line is between rightful GM perogative and ego trip. In the interest of not going there, I'll concede that anyone can claim any reason at all for not wanting to use anything except GM fudging.

    The irony of you being offended by hints you might not be admitting the whole truth, when you've been defending the GM's important need to lie to the players at will, isn't totally lost on me, either. ;)

    Well my apologies. However, the irony is all for you because there is no deep, hidden reserve of wanting all the gaming power for myself.

    Let me expand on the choice not to use Hero Points in my group. We tried them. I was the one to suggest using them, had tokens made up and everything. They bombed. One other player was interested, the rest felt they were a waste of time and "too much like attempting to emulate a part of the FATE system." With all the other goodies in the APG, they fell by the wayside. There you go, the whole truth about Hero Points in my group.

    I cannot speak for the other groups, one probably is as you suggested: the GM not wanting to give up "too much power."


    Zaranorth wrote:
    Let me expand on the choice not to use Hero Points in my group. We tried them. I was the one to suggest using them, had tokens made up and everything. They bombed. One other player was interested, the rest felt they were a waste of time and "too much like attempting to emulate a part of the FATE system."

    Thanks for including that -- it clears up a lot. Your players sort of remind me of the multitide of people who condemned the Book of Nine Swords not because of the mechanical content, but because of the names of the maneuvers... but that's their decision. You can lead a horse to water, yada yada.

    In any event, kudos on being willing to give it a shot, as a did one or two others -- which is in sharp contrast to other previous posters who would not.

    Let me also thank you for the generally high quality of your discourse. It's rare to find someone on "Teh Interwebz" who actually asks for clarification, and who also provides it as needed.


    Kirth Gersen wrote:
    Zaranorth wrote:
    Let me expand on the choice not to use Hero Points in my group. We tried them. I was the one to suggest using them, had tokens made up and everything. They bombed. One other player was interested, the rest felt they were a waste of time and "too much like attempting to emulate a part of the FATE system."

    Thanks for including that -- it clears up a lot. Your players sort of remind me of the multitide of people who condemned the Book of Nine Swords not because of the mechanical content, but because of the names of the maneuvers... but that's their decision. You can lead a horse to water, yada yada.

    In any event, kudos on being willing to give it a shot, as a did one or two others -- which is in sharp contrast to other previous posters who would not.

    Let me also thank you for the generally high quality of your discourse. It's rare to find someone on "Teh Interwebz" who actually asks for clarification, and who also provides it as needed.

    You too. And I'm probably going to bow out now. I think this topic has once again run its course. Have no fear though, in about a month some poor new GM is going to wander in and ask about fudging and it'll be off to the races again.

    Grand Lodge

    Sometimes, especially for new players, "fudging" can help the cinematic experience of what might be occurring in the game. For example...

    Just yesterday, I was GM'ing a PFS game for Tier 1-2. Half the table are new to Pathfinder and have only played a handful of times. They were having a blast though and the encounter they were in was very challenging. One of the newbies was playing a Paladin and attempted to climb a 50 foot ladder to get to some archers on top of a tower. Unfortunately for him, his turn ended with him at the top of the ladder but no more actions to actually stand up. An archer then proceeded roll double natural 20's with a Shortbow on the Paladin's face, and of course, I rolled maximum damage on the x3 hit.

    He fell unconscious and proceeded to fall 50 feet down the shaft he had just climbed. One of the other PCs was standing directly below him at the base of the ladder, which would've likely resulted in death for both players from the falling damage at first level.

    I offered the second PC a Reflex save to avoid taking a full on splat from a falling Paladin, but instead he asked if he could attempt a save to either try and catch him, or soften some of his impact. It was clever thinking on his part, even though the rules for falling damage are very clear, so I let him attempt it. He rolled ridiculously high on his Reflex save, so I decided to split the 5d6 falling damage from the Paladin among the two of them. The Paladin survived the fall with only 3 hit points to spare before death.

    It was an epic situation and both characters at the end of the game were talking about how awesome that was. Even though I blatantly bent the game's rules a bit, it resulted in a more satisfying outcome for everyone I think. Especially because they are so new to the game still and probably would've been turned off a bit if their brand new PC that they spent hours on was dead already.

    I always reward creativity at my tables, even if it breaks the rules of the game. It encourages PCs to think outside the box instead of just rolling to attack every turn. :)


    Jeremiziah wrote:

    But that is the Core Mechanic. And that burden is on the players, in both high-power games and low-power games.

    Surely they didn't establish page 402 as the Core Mechanic of the game. The clatter of the dice are the Core Mechanic, along with RP. GM fiat is not even a mechanic at all. It's completely arbitrary and, even portrayed in the best possible light, totally subjective.

    Poor wording on my part, my bad. What I was getting at is that if that mechanic becomes the core focus of the game, then the stuff I mentioned has a very high probability of following. Dice should never, ever, take precedent over role-play, the shared experience/story-craft, or fun.

    I've experienced games and groups in which this occurs. They're disjointed munchkin fests completely stripped of context, replete with hodgepodge characters designed solely for mechanical advantage that make no thematic sense, with no shared experience save an ongoing arms race to see who has the highest numerical values. They're way less tolerable than any game I've seen which encompasses fudging, crappy GM or not. At least they are to me, though if that's the players' opinion of a fun RPG who am I to judge.

    Game mechanics are essentially a "user interface" for the game, if you will. They're a means to represent interaction, nothing more. If someone considers mechanics supreme to other game concerns, or finds themselves in a situation in which role-playing is the convenient justification to sit around a table rolling dice, perhaps they should reconsider whether tabletop RP'ing is the hobby for them.

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