Fudging Rolls


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Forgive me if this has been asked before, but I want to know what people think.

I had a dream last night of trying to save some helpess man from this demon spawn. I was running to him as fast as I could, but right before I got there, the demon did something like a finger of death, and the man died. I started getting upset, but then the man stood back up and said, "Actually, I am okay. The DM changed his mind." Thus my questions.

How often, as a GM, do you just kind of ignore the number on the die you roll and dictate a result based on what you would rather happen? Why did you do it? Or, are you against this sort of thing? Why?


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Vendis wrote:

Forgive me if this has been asked before, but I want to know what people think.

I had a dream last night of trying to save some helpess man from this demon spawn. I was running to him as fast as I could, but right before I got there, the demon did something like a finger of death, and the man died. I started getting upset, but then the man stood back up and said, "Actually, I am okay. The DM changed his mind." Thus my questions.

How often, as a GM, do you just kind of ignore the number on the die you roll and dictate a result based on what you would rather happen? Why did you do it? Or, are you against this sort of thing? Why?

No way is wrong, but how well it works varies from group to group. I hate fudging. Well hate is a strong word but strongly dislike is better. If I figure out a GM is constantly fudging, and many experienced players can, I will excuse myself from the table. When I GM I might fudge to help out a low level party, but around level 4 they are on their own.

I don't like it because it is not the GM's story to change. It is the player's story for the most part. What is the point of rolling dice if they really don't matter?

Dark Archive

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wraithstrike wrote:

What is the point of rolling dice if they really don't matter?

I'm gonna have to unequivocally agree.

Dodgy rolling makes suspense negligible, victory hollow and defeat suspect.

Liberty's Edge

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As a DM, I roll in the open. The players deserve to know whether success is their own or the result of DM fudgery. To fudge a roll takes that feeling of deserved success away from them. If they're having trouble and you need to fudge something, fudge the HP of the guy they're attacking or some other "can't be seen" quantity (maybe the floor the bad guy stepped onto wasn't as sturdy as it looked...)

The key is to avoid letting the players know you're interfering.

However, that isn't to say that I won't rig things that happen off-screen or when they're otherwise not directly against the PC. That I do all the time in the interest of brevity. The only time fudging/rigging is not acceptable is when the PCs are currently influencing that situation in some way.


I favor open rolls and taking the results as they come up without fudging.


I've never fudged.(HA!)

I *rarely* allow re-rolls.


I hate fudging but I have been guilty of it especially if the odds are looking grim for the pcs but then I always get this back by fudging a roll when the pcs are having to easy a time in an encounter. This next campaign that I am preparing is going to be a no-holds bar and the dice will decide the fates of man and monster!


I've had two characters die in the current campaign I'm in. Everyone else but one guy has had a character die as well.

Die rolls were in the open and I can't say the DM did anything wrong. I died. Dieing makes it feel more real. I don't want fudged dice. If I screw up, I want death to be a possibility.

Another issue becomes:

Pc1 should die. DM fudges.
PC2 should die. DM decides not to fudge.

why? The reason we roll for attack and damage is to allow for that little bit of randomness. Without that we might as well chuck out most of the rules and just tell the DM that we want to attack and let him decide the outcome. That is exactly what fudging the dice is. Its the PC declaring his intention and the DM deciding what happens.
Which is fine in some games.. but there's a reason we call this d20...

-S


I like to mix in random loot every now and then. I don't know if anyone else does, but its fun to see what comes up.

Unfortunately, this can lead to bad circumstances. First campaign I ever played, we rolled random loot. Party fighter rolled so well he ended up with a flaming bastard sword at like level 1 or 2.

When I do random loot, I usually ask for rerolls until its something halfway usable (most recently, in a party of two with a rogue and a gunslinger, random loot came up an arcane scroll - I let them reroll that one).

I guess this is an example of fudging the rolls in not such a direct way as "he doesn't hit you."


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber

I almost never fudge. I roll out in the open, which minimizes that opportunity and temptation. That said, players generally don't know modifiers.

My thing is "read the room".

If a sorcerer player is desperately trying to do something to the bad guy, and throws out a bunch of cleverly-thought-out spells but I roll great saves, round after round after round, I start paying attention to the sorcerer's player. If he is getting frustrated and unhappy and I roll a save that's very close to failure and the player hasn't yet figured out what the modifier really is... I might fudge.

The game is supposed to be fun. That doesn't mean success, but it certainly doesn't mean frustration.

That's about it for fudging for me.


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When I DM, I fudge dice rolls if it makes for a better story. No one wants to spend an entire campaign working to defeat the Big Bad only to die to a mook right before the final battle. Its also a really crappy ending if in the boss fight the final boss dies to a single spell in the first round.

The DM is a person for a reason - they can change the outcome of a roll if necessary/desired. If I was forced to play the dice how they rolled, I may as well be playing a video game. Its the DMs game just as much as it is the players, and if fudging some rolls makes for a better game, then that is what I will do.

And when done right, the players will never know you fudged the dice. DMs should be rolling in secret anyway (at least in my opinion). That way, if he rolls the die and needs to fudge it to make a better story, he can and no one will be the wiser.

Scarab Sages

Vendis wrote:

Forgive me if this has been asked before, but I want to know what people think.

I had a dream last night of trying to save some helpess man from this demon spawn. I was running to him as fast as I could, but right before I got there, the demon did something like a finger of death, and the man died. I started getting upset, but then the man stood back up and said, "Actually, I am okay. The DM changed his mind." Thus my questions.

How often, as a GM, do you just kind of ignore the number on the die you roll and dictate a result based on what you would rather happen? Why did you do it? Or, are you against this sort of thing? Why?

95% of the time, the dice will stand as rolled.

But I'm not going to kill off the entire group just because my dice happen to be hot. The ultimate goal of the game is to have fun. Not for me to "win" by killing the party.


I very rarely fudge the dice, but when I've just hit with critical threat, confirmed, and one-shot a newly rolled level one PC that the player spent 3 hours writing a back-story for on his day off from work in the FIRST DAMN ENCOUNTER of the game, you can guarantee I just dropped him to -4 HP instead of -17. (Damn Greataxe wielding Orc)

If my players are being retarded or it's a climactic battle with the BBEG, you probably aren't going to get lucky in the way of me rolling in your favor behind the screen, but if you're in random encounter #1, 20 minutes into the game and trying to stay alert and out of the way but get charged by a monster who gets lucky, you will probably, as a player, be much happier in my games.

I know there are players who don't like this, but mine rarely figure out that I saved them, and instead think I brutalized them (heck being at -4 is still pretty bad, especially when you're an elf and a bloodthirsty orc is looming over your fallen form). But MY players tend to appreciate me not openly slaughtering a PC they worked hard on in 1/10th the time it took them to commit it to a character sheet.


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I typically fudge when 1) a creative and tactically sound player loses his past 10+ minutes of effort due to freak bad luck, or 2) when the snoring players start to drool on the table.


I think the 'Play the Room' advice is probably the best when it comes to Fudging.

Sometimes letting rolls stand even if it means PC death is the way to go. But if you just wrote 5 pages of notes and had 2 killer previous sessions where the party finally start to gel IC'ly and have a solid, personal motivated direction only to off them because someone biffs a roll and it slides into a wipe...well, would killing the players make it more fun for everyone?

I agree with the DM is a person and needs to adjuicate when such things might be needed. But if the DM doesn't let any rule stand, lets every poor or risky decision be hand waved so no harm befalls the PC and if there are no set backs, it will really any sense of accomplishment.

I find I personally fudge in two circumstnaces:

1: When a player comes up with a novel amazing idea that was unexpected and would be awesome if it worked. Not just in combat, but usually in an RP/social/what if we made X happen and got the Duke to come down and dance with Y kinda moment.

Inevitablly, a die roll will pop up, some social check or something and, of course, that's when then the player rolls a 2. And the GM is then forced to make it happen anyway, which kinda kills the flavor or have the awesome idea fail. So I usually don't have them roll for those things any more. Or if I do, it's not a 'success/fail' but a 'it will succeed, but there are degrees of awesome that will come from it.'

the second is player death. You can defeat players without killing them. I am not a fan of Resurection. I find it is a solid thing for major plot moments when the return can be epic and fitting, but because the Fighter got a double crit from the Frost Gaint....eh. Death shouldn't be a revolving door (in my opinion) but killing off characters willy-nilly can make players deinvest. So has to be a fine balance there.

Liberty's Edge

I too roll the dice in the open for most rolls. A few hidden if they shouldn't know the roll - good or bad. I will only fudge a roll in rare situations if the situation dictates it. If a player thinks of doing something really cool, I tell him/her to add a small bonus before they roll (1 to 4) and if they do great roleplaying a situation, I may tell them to add a +2 or so to their diplomacy or bluff roll to incent them to RP better.

Constant fudging is lame. Once in a while is no big deal. The idea behind the game is too have fun, so if a fudged roll preserves fun, then so be it.

Dark Archive

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"Because sometimes the truth isn't good enough, because sometimes people deserve to have thier faith rewarded"


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

This one can become a pretty hot-button issue. There seems to be a fairly sharp divide in play styles from my experience in other threads on the same topic. So I'm just going to post my take, stated as calmly and plainly as I can, and then retreat to observe.

Fudging dice is not to be done lightly. If you get to the point where rolling the dice is a mere formality, you've gone far too far, and your players will probably let you know that in no uncertain times. Like all rules, you should break it only with a knowledge of why the rule exists, and why you want to break it. Beware of making victory seem hollow, and while I approve of making boss fights suitably epic, fudging to beat your players is just bad form. Besides, a DM needs no fudging if he really wants to kill characters.

All that said, I consider fudging to be a vital part of the DM's toolbox. It must be used judiciously, but I find it it far too useful to throw it out entirely.

Shadow Lodge

Dave the Barbarian wrote:


Constant fudging is lame. Once in a while is no big deal. The idea behind the game is too have fun, so if a fudged roll preserves fun, then so be it.

I agree with this, but have also learned to change the outcome in other ways. As a GM I can add or remove creatures, equipment, hazards, you name it. If they didn't know it was there and I want it changed, it is.

Control the outcome? Yes, certainly, within certain social-contract levels of 'fun'. By dice exclusively? Nope.


Artanthos wrote:


95% of the time, the dice will stand as rolled.

But I'm not going to kill off the entire group just because my dice happen to be hot. The ultimate goal of the game is to have fun. Not for me to "win" by killing the party.

This pretty much is my feeling as well. Whether DMing or Playing I have a strong bias towards letting rolls stand. However, I also have a bias against well thought out efforts come crashing down, particularly in TPKs, though random dice rolls. This is, after all, a game and supposed to be fun, not frustraiting. As someone else pointed out, sometimes deciding "X is a success, the roll is for what kind of success" is appropriate.

It seems to me that deciding "the party is taking too many hits, better use 1 less monster this time" is functionally no different that saying "oops, that one monster just can't seem to hit anything today". I'm not sure I see the consistancy is saying "I'll change other stuff but not rolls". While I might prefer to change the other stuff, sometimes the problems start emerging mid-encounter making that impossible.


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Vendis wrote:


How often, as a GM, do you just kind of ignore the number on the die you roll and dictate a result based on what you would rather happen? Why did you do it? Or, are you against this sort of thing? Why?

I'm against it.

Typically doing so means the DM wants to tell their story rather than let the players tell theirs.

I find it selfish and in many cases outright dishonest.

-James


I am pretty firmly in the non-fudging camp. I take the time to learn the rules and craft a character who has a good chance of doing the things I want him to do, but I need the randomness to RP against. I need failure just as much as I need success.

Likewise, if I fudge dice to prevent a character death then I just stole a really cool potential save from my players... it would be a hollow victory. I see my job as having to have made the fight fair in the first place.

While I don't fudge dice, I do adjust tactics. This can have a much bigger, and much more subtle affect on outcomes anyway. If you have DM'd a group with good tactics vs. one with bad tactics you know just how much a difference this can make.

I am also reminded of the adage that if you want to just be telling a story then you should be writing a book, not running a game. Changing rolls to keep the story you want told is just another form of rail-roading.

Prost wrote:
Inevitablly, a die roll will pop up, some social check or something and, of course, that's when then the player rolls a 2. And the GM is then forced to make it happen anyway, which kinda kills the flavor or have the awesome idea fail. So I usually don't have them roll for those things any more. Or if I do, it's not a 'success/fail' but a 'it will succeed, but there are degrees of awesome that will come from it.'

This is probably the best advice in this thread, but I am not sure I am getting from it what Prost wanted me to (though maybe). If you aren't willing to accept the outcome of a roll in one direction then it should not be a roll.

If you can't accept the player gets critted or takes max damage, then don't swing at them... have that creature do something else with their action (attack someone else, attempt retreat, attempt special maneuver, gloat, etc.). Likewise if there is a roll for a social success or to get a piece of information that you need them to have, then you just shouldn't have made it a roll in the first place.

Never roll a die if you can't accept the outcome of the roll, good or bad.

Sean Mahoney


Anguish wrote:

I almost never fudge. I roll out in the open, which minimizes that opportunity and temptation. That said, players generally don't know modifiers.

My thing is "read the room".

If a sorcerer player is desperately trying to do something to the bad guy, and throws out a bunch of cleverly-thought-out spells but I roll great saves, round after round after round, I start paying attention to the sorcerer's player. If he is getting frustrated and unhappy and I roll a save that's very close to failure and the player hasn't yet figured out what the modifier really is... I might fudge.

The game is supposed to be fun. That doesn't mean success, but it certainly doesn't mean frustration.

That's about it for fudging for me.

My players thank me the most when I frustrate them. Well they are not thanking me at the point of frustration*, but after the game they do thank me.

*You should see the evil looks they give me. :)

Liberty's Edge

Not so much into fudging the 'to hit' but damage or the monster's hp's I have no issues with. No fun for a player to get one shoted becuase the dice 'say so'. Also I adjust the monsters hp's on the fly either way. If luck is against them by dice rolls alone then the monsters may lose the few hp from their total. Conversely if the players are having an exciting time doing funny things I may increase the monsters hps' so they can continue to do funny things for a few more rounds.

GM's job is to entertain the players - if the players are smiling and laughing or looking tense then however this was done is the right thing for your group. I had a GM who use to award +'s to hit based on your discription of your attack (never more than +1 or 2 however). I sucked at this but the guy doing the drama degree - b*stard.

We use dice to help tell an interactive story, I only take issue when dice are the story.

S.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Vendis wrote:

How often, as a GM, do you just kind of ignore the number on the die you roll and dictate a result based on what you would rather happen? Why did you do it? Or, are you against this sort of thing? Why?

A few times per session. Mostly to avoid Sudden Player Character Death. If there has been build up, the character getting pummeled, rapidly losing HP/Con score, failing multiple saves, then I let the dice decide. But if I happen to roll a LOLOHKO, I tend to negate it.

Once in a great while, if an enemy has been constantly missing, I might give them a hit on the PC just to keep it from being a total curbstomp. They tend to die soon after anyway.

Liberty's Edge

TriOmegaZero wrote:
LOLOHKO

What dis?


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I am pushing 40 and have been playing or running games since elementary school, I honestly can't remember a time I ever left a Table and thought to myself man I wish the DM/GM would have fudged more.
But I can recall many times thinking that game would have been a lot more fun with the training wheels off.
Or worse, the GMs that think they have a better intuitive idea as to how often a spell casters effects should be useful instead of going by honest save rolls because they are concerned about anticlimactic battles, so the monsters just make pretty much all saves automatically until the monster has had a chance to shine( by causing unmerited amounts of damage and distress.)
Or even worse still when they get caught in the trap of doing both, keep the monster alive and hitting more than it should, and then have to fudge things to mitigate the damage from said fudging.
GM:"now would be a good time for that feeblemind"
Party wizard:"cast that first round and second round and you didn't let it through...I mean you rolled a 20's on the saves, so their gone and I don't have anymore memorized."
GM:"what about that scroll of feeblemind ? "
party wizard:" wrote it into my spell book it's gone remember."
GM:"oh...uh no...it ..uh..had two castings on it."
Party wizard:"fine whatever I cast the other feeble mind from the scroll"
GM:"he definitely failed it this time...you can use healing potions to bring the cleric back from the dead because he just died last round... And then he can raise the rest of the party."
Party wizard: ".....grumble...."

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Stefan Hill wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
LOLOHKO
What dis?

LOL One Hit Knock Out.

Liberty's Edge

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skrahen wrote:

GM:"now would be a good time for that feeblemind"

Party wizard:"cast that first round and second round and you didn't let it through...I mean you rolled a 20's on the saves, so their gone and I don't have anymore memorized."
GM:"what about that scroll of feeblemind ? "
party wizard:" wrote it into my spell book it's gone remember."
GM:"oh...uh no...it ..uh..had two castings on it."
Party wizard:"fine whatever I cast the other feeble mind from the scroll"
GM:"he definitely failed it this time...you can use healing potions to bring the cleric back from the dead because he just died last round... And then he can raise the rest of the party."
Party wizard: ".....grumble...."

Agreed, but that's lame for the GM to be interfering or railroading in such a manner. I too as a player would be upset. Such a GM needs to look up the word 'subtly'.

So feeblemind was the only 'win button' for this encounter and when they decided it should be hit? I would say this GM has more issues than fudging to contend with. This example is a shocker and if that's what people see as fudging then I would be against it too. My fudging is more in line with TOZ fudging. Gauge your players and give them more of what they enjoy.

S.

Liberty's Edge

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skrahen wrote:
I honestly can't remember a time I ever left a Table and thought to myself man I wish the DM/GM would have fudged more.

If the DM/GM was good you would never have known... ;)

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

My wife pointed out my 'tell' after a game, which was having a pause after rolling the dice. Been working on that since.

Sometimes it can be very obvious. I have a player running an eladrin (Savage Species progression) who was the only character without Evasion caught in a dragon's breath. I ended up deciding to pull the old 'yeah, you're unconscious. Really unconscious.' line due to his character being the healer and outsiders inability to be raised. We had the party burn a number of CLW charges from a wand as justification and moved on.

The other side of the coin was an ambush by drow while they were traveling the Underdark. Most of the guys were taken care of handily. It was the drow fighter with serious AC that was the big problem. He and the party fighter went at it for a few rounds, which quickly showed that the PC was outmatched. I let the dice fall where they may, and the PC fighter fell before the warlock could fell the drow.

So I guess the difference between fudging for me is 'could the players have done anything about the death before it happened?'


Stefan Hill wrote:

Agreed, but that's lame for the GM to be interfering or railroading in such a manner. I too as a player would be upset. Such a GM needs to look up the word 'subtly'.

So feeblemind was the only 'win button' for this encounter and when they decided it should be hit? I would say this GM has more issues than fudging to contend with. This example is a shocker and if that's what people see as fudging then I would be against it too. My fudging is more in line with TOZ fudging. Gauge your players and give them more of what they enjoy.

S.

Fudging off scene I have no problem with whatsoever, I just consider that normal world adjustment. But when fudging is done to minimize player impact on the game world... Errg...I go out of my way when I run games to establish a trust with the players, because I know how much nicer it is to play in games were such a trust exists. I pay attention to how new GMs run games when I play with them, I cannot help but remember that the initiative modifier for a bulette is +6 . I the player remember this, my characters of course do not. But when the bulette rolls a 27 on it's initiative to just beat by one a character in the group that happened to actually roll well and had put feats into init, then I wonder... What the heck is the point. As a player I know no one in the party can one shot the monster, and when it was all said and done there seemed to be no reason for it other than, the GM just wanted to go first, presumably so the rogue couldnt catch it flat footed. It's frustrating. Of course I just smile.. And start looking through my spells for things that don't require saves....

Edit: as the party mage up against the bbesorcerer, minions were felled and I was the last good guy standing, feeble mind is what would have ended it early. I didn't have any damage effects left either.


I don't like to fudge, but every once in a while I will.

Not too long ago, we had an ECL+2 fight with a monster in an environment that causes Nausea. The save was low, but everyone in the party save 1 rolled natural ones. The party was getting decimated and kept rolling 1s during the battle and one of the character's was about to be engulfed and I fudged the grapple roll, giving the character a chance to be saved, which he was. (I also allowed the use of hero points to grant a new save vs the Nausea, otherwise it would have easily been a TPK. I'm usually ok with using hero points for things like this.)

I think it is different with every group. There are two campaigns going with my group, one of the other player's is Dming the other one, and we have gone through 2 tpks and a few other pc deaths.

I like my Pc's to have challenge, not to be slaughtered. That's not fun. If the rolling wasn't as horrendous that night, I would have not fudged the roll.


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I'll admit it. When I DM I sling more fudge than a girl scout troop during cookie season. I'll straight up fudge rolls when dramatically appropriate then turn right around and play theater then take what I rolled. Rule of Fun, play the room.

Hands down my favorite trick is when an encounter is going a little too well, making the NPC's attack roll with x4 Crit Multiplier Weapon of Doom. Then I look at the dice for a second, slowly look up at the vic's...I mean player's...face, look back down and roll again. Wait a second, then exhale meaningfully and roll damage. NPC didn't threaten a crit in the first place, it was pure theater to build tension. Alternatively, if an NPC has a x2 weapon make a "confirmation" check then roll damage and be vague about whether I confirmed and rolled low, or didn't confirm and just rolled average to well (either way, there's a brief cathartic moment as the player thinks s/he dodged a bullet).

NPC casts a fireball. Player fails his Reflex save. I roll the damage dice, look over and ask, "uh how many HP do you have again?". I get my response, then just announce the damage I actually rolled.

Another good trick is to roll the actual damage dice in one color and add a bunch of BS dice of other colors just to get the "how many F'ing dice did he just roll?!?!??" response, although that falls less into the "fudge" category and more into the "asinine yet hilarious practical joke" category.

The Random Number God is not favoring me tonight and the PC's are looking a little bored, so the NPC's get a surreptitious "crap, the encounter's becoming a wash, better raise the stakes a little" bonus here and there. The RNG isn't in the players' favor, I'll toss a little surreptitious "PC's need a break" penalty once in a while. Somebody's flubbing left and right and getting frustrated, I'll take an opportunity to give them a brief respite from their own bad luck. The trick there is to keep GM footprint as light as possible and don't break suspension of disbelief.

Though I do have some base rules. I never fudge without reason. I only fudge when Dramatically Appropriate. I never fudge big. Most of all, I never fudge on anything that could result in a character death or TPK. Bottom line is if you're going to fudge, be at least as unpredictable about it as the dice would otherwise be. GM'ing is 95% presentation and theater, 5% middling crap like rules and dice rolls, and in total 100% making sure the players are having a good time; if you're an entertaining and even-handed GM who can strike that delicate balance between dramatic tension and suspension of disbelief, you can fudge every single roll you make during a session and the players will eat it up.


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I don't like fudging, but I do like mechanics that can turn fate around. I'll call it a Nacho Cheese point, players might have 0-2 of them. They can spend a Nacho.Cheese point to reroll a die, get a bonus to a roll, have one more charge on a wand, an extra spell slot, etc. Or, if they die, they could spend it to live, though they are out for the fight, can't be healed until after combat, no actions, etc. If a player is greedy and spends all their Nacho Cheese on attack rolls, they won't have any left to survive, but their fate is in their hands.


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It seems like fudging is the norm. The Games I tend to enjoy the most have the least of it, the worst ones have the most. It's funny though it seems like the ones that do it the most have the most elaborate explanations for them when it is discussed in a friendly post game fashion, and they usually have some list of rules that they try to fool people Into thinking they follow, or even actually do follow, about when they think it's ok and when it's needed and when they won't do it. Usually the longer the list the more they fudge and deux ex machina, the more they tend to bring their own characters into the game, and the more evident that it's their world and the players only get to change anything ever is when they allow it.
Those that have played enough know that the best game worlds are synergies between players and GM. A cooperative. I just hope for the patience to tolerate those that don't, and the insight and inflence to show them the path.


Irontruth wrote:
I don't like fudging, but I do like mechanics that can turn fate around. I'll call it a Nacho Cheese point, players might have 0-2 of them. They can spend a Nacho.Cheese point to reroll a die, get a bonus to a roll, have one more charge on a wand, an extra spell slot, etc. Or, if they die, they could spend it to live, though they are out for the fight, can't be healed until after combat, no actions, etc. If a player is greedy and spends all their Nacho Cheese on attack rolls, they won't have any left to survive, but their fate is in their hands.

I like hero points.

I like the systems used in mutants and masterminds and deadlands HOE I haven't tried the new system for pathfinder hero points yet but I'm thinking about it.
Why the name nacho cheese?


Eacaraxe wrote:
a bunch of stuff about fudging

As long as everyone is having fun then yay.

Fudging to homogenize an encounter that's" going a little too well ....."
I disagree with doing that. Sometimes stuff shouldn't be a challenge, sometimes it's time for a ego boost, it's time to feel tough. Everything looks the same after awhile when you cut out the highs and the lows. No one ever runs because they know the encounters are just right for them, and if they aren't, they'll pull through somehow, but that doesn't help you provide an exciting environment.
A fun example(I think) is that penny arcade podcast from awhile back, when they killed will wheaten(spelling isn't right I'm sure) but once it sank in that the DM was making it stick, and not pulling punches, the other players you can hear audibly panicking IRL, like the one guy sold tee-shirts with his character or something on it and was wigging out because mortality was now a real and looming possibility for HIS character too. It definitely Immersed the remaining players in the game, and bonded them emotionally to their characters.
Course they resurrected him or something in a redo recently I haven't kept up.
Anyway...sorry to drift, if your meta-messing with players helps you with game emotions then once again yay... But like I've said, trust to me is king. Doesn't take long to realize someone is messing with you and then you actually have to follow through on your bluffs or people just get used to it. And don't trust you. They just say.. He's sneering again... And doing the evil chuckle that means he's doing something bad to us....


skrahen wrote:
Irontruth wrote:
I don't like fudging, but I do like mechanics that can turn fate around. I'll call it a Nacho Cheese point, players might have 0-2 of them. They can spend a Nacho.Cheese point to reroll a die, get a bonus to a roll, have one more charge on a wand, an extra spell slot, etc. Or, if they die, they could spend it to live, though they are out for the fight, can't be healed until after combat, no actions, etc. If a player is greedy and spends all their Nacho Cheese on attack rolls, they won't have any left to survive, but their fate is in their hands.

I like hero points.

I like the systems used in mutants and masterminds and deadlands HOE I haven't tried the new system for pathfinder hero points yet but I'm thinking about it.
Why the name nacho cheese?

I just wanted a generic name that was visibly different than any current rule to avoid association, plus lots of people like nacho cheese. While i like some of the various d20 methods, I like my Nacho Cheese points to be rarer and more potent. Basically at it's most powerful it is the player's veto of whatever is going on, but they have to be careful as they only get so many.

Also, if I were a GM, I would only give them out for when bad things happen to characters. Like i might offer one to a player to submit to being captured. Sure, it sucks being imprisoned and losing all your stuff, but you get a Nacho Cheese point (and most likely a chance to get free and your stuff back). If they don't want it, they can figure their own way out of the situation.

Grand Lodge

This DM once said, "The purpose of the DM rolling the dice is for the sound they make on the gaming table." That DM was Gary Gygax.

I would say I use the dice roll 99% of the time in my campaigns. But it is never fun for the party to have a TPK; or for encounter after encounter to be "cake walks", becauce all of sudden I can't roll higher than a 3. This isn't Craps or a Board Game. The DM is the Director and Producer of play. It is his role to make the game as enjoyable as possible for the players. And to use whatever devices he can to make that happen.

I question any DM that says they NEVER fudge a roll. I would question whether they are truly DMs, or simply lack experience.

Later,

Mazra


Mazra wrote:

This DM once said, "The purpose of the DM rolling the dice is for the sound they make on the gaming table." That DM was Gary Gygax.

I would say I use the dice roll 99% of the time in my campaigns. But it is never fun for the party to have a TPK; or for encounter after encounter to be "cake walks", becauce all of sudden I can't roll higher than a 3. This isn't Craps or a Board Game. The DM is the Director and Producer of play. It is his role to make the game as enjoyable as possible for the players. And to use whatever devices he can to make that happen.

I question any DM that says they NEVER fudge a roll. I would question whether they are truly DMs, or simply lack experience.

Later,

Mazra

It is about the why. I have played in very fun games without much rolling at all, but the correlation that I seem to be observing and the one that have been referencing is when a GM wants to keep every aspect of the game world under control, these people tend to fudge a lot, because ,heck they are loathe to let the players have any significant impact on the world so why would they let a thing like chance have an effect. I think many people that have negative associations with fudging do so because of these associations with Power drunk railroaders.


A GM that fudges to allow players to succeed is also guilty of railroading. If dice are being rolled then there should be a chance of failure.


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Mazra wrote:

This DM once said, "The purpose of the DM rolling the dice is for the sound they make on the gaming table." That DM was Gary Gygax.

I would say I use the dice roll 99% of the time in my campaigns. But it is never fun for the party to have a TPK; or for encounter after encounter to be "cake walks", becauce all of sudden I can't roll higher than a 3. This isn't Craps or a Board Game. The DM is the Director and Producer of play. It is his role to make the game as enjoyable as possible for the players. And to use whatever devices he can to make that happen.

I question any DM that says they NEVER fudge a roll. I would question whether they are truly DMs, or simply lack experience.

Later,

Mazra

You should not to make such judgements. Nobody likes to die but many of us don't want to be saved even if it is a TPK. On the flip side sometimes one-shotting a boss can be antidramatic, but the heroes get lucky at times.

Not fudging does not make you a bad GM and any more than saving the party makes you a good one. You have to read your group, and do what works. My group understands that low levels are swingy so they don't mind the extra help at low levels, but later on they want to earn everything. I am the same way. Any GM that can't adjust to the group is one that I would consider to be inexperienced.


skrahen wrote:
As long as everyone is having fun then yay.

Well, that's the very point. Rule of Fun, and everything else is a tool to achieve that singular end.

Of all the sets of dice on the table, the one most capable of wrecking anyone's (or everyone's) fun is the GM's. One of my ironclad rules as a GM is to not yield directorial control to dice; dice are a tool, not the game's central focus. Contrary to stereotype, that doesn't necessarily include extremes like giving a BBEG plot armor nor deus ex machina to help the party.

Quote:
Fudging to homogenize an encounter that's" going a little too well ....."

Re-read what I said. That's when I don't fudge, there's no reason for me to. What I will do is play on player expectation and Murphy's law to create a moment of tension followed by catharsis. Do I do it every time? nope, I pull that trick once every few game sessions when it'll have meaningful impact. Am I intentionally misleading my players? you bet your butt I am.

Quote:
I disagree with doing that. Sometimes stuff shouldn't be a challenge, sometimes it's time for a ego boost, it's time to feel tough. Everything looks the same after awhile when you cut out the highs and the lows. No one ever runs because they know the encounters are just right for them, and if they aren't, they'll pull through somehow, but that doesn't help you provide an exciting environment.

GM'ing is stagecraft. As I mentioned, it needn't or shouldn't be about homogenizing encounters or cutting the highs or lows. Boring is grindy APL-1 or APL-equivalent encounters the party knows they'll generally win without incident, with the only encounter that's in any sense a challenge being the BBEG; that in itself is a low that should be avoided. When you're not getting the highs or lows via dice you need to keep the game interesting, do it yourself. Just don't do it in a way that intentionally screws the party over, leaves a heavy GM footprint, or breaks suspension of disbelief.

Quote:
A fun example(I think) is that penny arcade podcast from awhile back, when they killed will wheaten(spelling isn't right I'm sure) but once it sank in that the DM was making it stick, and not pulling punches, the other players you can hear audibly panicking IRL, like the one guy sold tee-shirts with his character or something on it and was wigging out because mortality was now a real and looming possibility for HIS character too. It definitely Immersed the remaining players in the game, and bonded them emotionally to their characters.

Eh, you can do that without whacking a PC. In a drow campaign I'm currently running, my APL 2 party managed to take down a CR 7 dragon I never intended them to fight in the first place with some truly inspired play and a bit of luck. I only "pulled" two punches that entire fight, one was the dragon being disinterested in a big fight (it was hungry and just attempting a snatch and run on some slaves) and an ad hoc ruling that a wizard could tie an opponent pinned by another PC with animate rope.

Pants were being crapped the entire encounter, and the party was pretty wrecked in the course of it (no deaths, surprisingly enough). More pants were crapped after the encounter when the mid level priestess NPC overseeing the party made her extreme displeasure known to the party for getting slaves killed during the fight, and only after "careful deliberation" allowed the party to live. In reality, the NPC was kind of impressed they killed the dragon, and since its corpse was intact the party scored more value in dragon parts than the slaves were worth she let them live and royally screwed them on compensation by cooking the books. The party's already plotting to kill her, which works just perfect for me.

Quote:
But like I've said, trust to me is king. Doesn't take long to realize someone is messing with you and then you actually have to follow through on your bluffs or people just get used to it. And don't trust you. They just say.. He's sneering again... And doing the evil chuckle that means he's doing something bad to us....

With me, the Evil DM Chuckle means all bets on predictability are off. The last time I did it, the party was ambushed...by a flumph, in the same game they took down the APL +5 encounter. Another noteworthy time was in a Vampire game a couple years back when one of my PC's decided to hit on and try to feed off a werewolf in a bar (he botched his feeding roll something fierce). Sometimes I just thought of something funny and it has nothing to do with the game and nothing happens. Predictability is a bad trait in a GM, and I do everything in my power to avoid it.

Either way, my players trust me to do one thing above all others: give them a great time. My fudging on occasion is something of an open secret, and my players don't care because they're having too much fun to.


I think a lot of it has to do with if you are running for people who have run before. Many players who have a fair amount of experience as a runner can tell you before the dice hit the table how runners who fudge rolls are going to do it, and that is just boring. If you are the only runner in your group it's one thing, MAYBE, but if you have experienced people it just doesn't work as well.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
HappyDaze wrote:
A GM that fudges to allow players to succeed is also guilty of railroading. If dice are being rolled then there should be a chance of failure.

The question is how much of a chance.


dunelord3001 wrote:
I think a lot of it has to do with if you are running for people who have run before. Many players who have a fair amount of experience as a runner can tell you before the dice hit the table how runners who fudge rolls are going to do it, and that is just boring. If you are the only runner in your group it's one thing, MAYBE, but if you have experienced people it just doesn't work as well.

Yup.

Also some people just want to play and will weather suboptimal game conditions because they would rather play than run themselves. It doesn't mean we as player/GM's can't try to gently encourage movement in an even more fun direction.


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Mazra wrote:

This DM once said, "The purpose of the DM rolling the dice is for the sound they make on the gaming table." That DM was Gary Gygax.

I would say I use the dice roll 99% of the time in my campaigns. But it is never fun for the party to have a TPK; or for encounter after encounter to be "cake walks", becauce all of sudden I can't roll higher than a 3. This isn't Craps or a Board Game. The DM is the Director and Producer of play. It is his role to make the game as enjoyable as possible for the players. And to use whatever devices he can to make that happen.

I question any DM that says they NEVER fudge a roll. I would question whether they are truly DMs, or simply lack experience.

Later,

Mazra

If following the rules and dice are detracting from the game, then there is a problem with the rules and dice. There are diceless games, or games where the dice are "interpreted" and the actual roll isn't very important. The point of the dice is to put the results of outcomes in their "hands". If you don't want to trust the dice, there are games where the decisions are always in the GM or players hands.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Irontruth wrote:
games where the dice are "interpreted" and the actual roll isn't very important.

Could you provide a few examples I could look up to explain this?


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I rarely if ever fudge anymore. I used to, but as I've grown older and more experienced at running games, I've found it's not worth it. On the other hand, because I'm more experienced, I rarely have to fudge.

The only time I fudge now is if I, as the GM, screw up big time. One example where I fudged a bit was a small temple with 15 black dragon hatchlings in it. The PCs took so long exploring, after setting off the watch dragons, that the dragons had literally 20 minutes to set up an ambush. They did so with great efficiency, and the PC's ended up in a hallway with four hatchlings at each end, all breathing acid over the group. I finally fudged a bit and doubled the roll on the breath weapons (how many turns between rebreaths) because they didn't stand a chance otherwise. I screwed up by putting them up against something they couldn't handle (this was during a bit of character/player shuffling in the game, so the new team was not the team I was used to putting things up against).

Now, what I do try to do, is interpret reality for the NPCs in the way that is most beneficial for the PCs, all things being equal.

An example of this was a very close TPK, everyone but the magus was down, and he was hurt bad. He vanished, used a cure wand on himself 2-3 times with UMD, and then broke invisibility by throwing Ray of Enfeeblement on the BBEG (A large lizardfolk who'd been smashing people). The BBEG and the Magus begin going at it, and the BBEG's mooks see the magus shrugging on hits from the BBEG that would rip them in half (as far as they know, they're level 2 archer mooks), so they begin pulling back away from the fight, and taking pot shots, one move, one pot shot. By the the time the magus kills the BBEG (with him having like 5hp left himself), the mooks are 300 feet away, and take off running. They had no way of knowing why the Magus was shrugging off those big nasty claw attacks, and he hadn't been hit by the BBEG prior, so as far as they knew, he was just dang scary tough.

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