When should a GM fudge rolls


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Shadow Lodge

I have joined the Gm pool for my local PFS group and I have heard some talk of GM's fudging rolls. I have not fudged any rolls for players, only some mechanics when the players act in a way not defined in the scenario.

When is a correct time to fudge a roll and how often should it be done? Does anyone have an example of when the GM fudged a roll for them or when they fudged a roll as the GM?

Liberty's Edge

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I assume that by fudging a roll, it means in favor of the PC's. I have never fudged rolls against the PC's that I can recall.

As a general rule, I would say never. Mainly for experienced players at higher tiers.

BUT, for a group of new players just getting into the game, I would fudge a roll to not start a death / TPK. New players will never get hooked on a game that they get crushed at the first time out the gate. I ran a game for a group of middle school kids. They did not min/max their characters because they didn't know how (yet). They struggled and the last encounter could have finished them off easily, but I made a few odd tactical decisions and rolled a few attacks behind the screen that may have been hits. In the end, they were on the ropes and one finally crit the boss and the group erupted in cheers. Six more players were made that day, but they could have easily been turned off on the experience. Right or wrong, they had a good experience. Now that they are 4th to 6th level, I have clumped a few of them and I fudge nothing in their favor.

Hope that helps.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Might want to edit the thread title to include a reference to PFS. Folks are going to see this in their Recent Activity sidebar, not know it's PFS, and pop in with commentary (without having read anything but the title) that isn't really pertinent to the discussion.

Liberty's Edge 5/5

I would say you do it very sparingly. I personally would (and have) only do it in the PC’s favor.

Dave the Barbarian has it right, in that you would only want to do it at the lower levels/tiers. Once you get past like level 4, characters tend to have tons of options and abilities, as well as the option to purchase consumables and what not. They are much more equipped to handle crits and special badguy powers and what not. Additionally, they also are much more likely to have the resources to recover life if they need to.

But at the lower tiers, especially tier 1-2 and most especially with brand new 1st level characters, they won’t have the resources to come back. So a death is permanent in this case. Fudging a critical to just be a hit, or doing 9 damage to give the cleric time to stabilize instead of doing 10 to outright kill a character, are things I’ve done in the past.

But do your best to not let the players know you are doing this.


I only fudge a die roll in the player's favor. I rarely decide to fudge a roll but when I do it normally involves a newer player who is getting worked by poor dice rolls. And their body language tells me they are not having fun at all. Poor tactics or failing to retreat when you have the chance never warrant a dice fudge with me. Its a tough call; a new player can learn a lot when his character dies or barely survives. I try to fudge just enough to put a spark of hope and enjoyment back in the player.


I never will. I roll all my dice on the open, and if a player complains about a creature I show them the bab/whatever on the creature. I will not save a character from luck. I feel this takes from the game.

Against new players I use dumb tactics. If a player is on the ropes I will play the villians dumber to give them a chance. I hate the idea of killing someone because of a failed save. So if it comes down to that I try to create opportunities for the team and such to save them.

spoiler example:
In the sanos abduction I had a kelpie charm the high damage samurai. So he jumped into the water after the kelpie. I guess I could have done the harpy coupe de graz or just start beating on him. That would not be fun for the player. So I created a situation where the rest of the team jumped into the water and fought to save him before he drowned. They ended up tying a rope to the axe beak and to him attacked the axe break and started running to drag him out of the water just in time.


Quindo wrote:

I have joined the Gm pool for my local PFS group and I have heard some talk of GM's fudging rolls. I have not fudged any rolls for players, only some mechanics when the players act in a way not defined in the scenario.

When is a correct time to fudge a roll and how often should it be done? Does anyone have an example of when the GM fudged a roll for them or when they fudged a roll as the GM?

I would strongly advise against fudging rolls for any reason. If you're worried about PC's dying, then use any allowed DM discretion with picking targets and tactics e.g. don't gang up on one PC if you don't have to, don't attack PC's with no HP's or AC, don't use coup de grace unless the scenario instructs you to, etc. Absent scenario tactics to the contrary, there's no reason why a creature with three attacks has to use them all on the same character. Spread out the damage if you can.

Death is painful for characters at any level and I'm sure some high level player has quit the game when their character died. I think the important thing is to prepare new players that anytime they enter melee, they should expect that they might get unlucky and die.

Liberty's Edge

I have done it once and that was not to confirm a crit roll and yes it was in a PFS game. It was in fact my first ever time dming (PFS) and the scenario was Prince of Augustana. The player was playing a pregen fighter and was on 1 hp when I critted for max damage.

I personally hate fudging rolls because A) It makes me feel.. 'off' and B)Im a firm believer in letting the dice decide. Again, I did it because it was the guys first ever game. (And I was having a heck of a lot of fun playing a certain self crowned Prince!) There have been other games where the temptation was there.. namely 2 pc kills (and I just realised.. both Paladins!).

5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Georgia—Atlanta aka Yiroep

Finlanderboy wrote:


** spoiler omitted **

Sanos Abduction:
Just remember, technically they can't coup de grace because in the description for the ability the target can still defend itself, although the kelpie can just attack freely in the water.
Silver Crusade

In my experience, fudging should be done rarely, if ever. When to do it is not some "mechanical" algorithm that can be laid out for anyone to use. You should look through a lens of GM experience, and make the soundest decision you can make, and do not approach it lightly. If you feel hesitant, don't do it. Just let the dice fall where they fall.

In hindsight, when I have fudged, I question those moments to this day, because it's incredibly hard to define if your decision was a good one at the time.

I relate fudging to sailing. A lot of it is done with experience and feeling.

Grand Lodge 5/5 Venture-Captain, Arizona—Phoenix aka TriOmegaZero

When you feel it will benefit the game. Do your best not to overestimate how much benefit will come of it.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

I must confess that I'm curious what the difference is between the following two situations:

• BBEG with a +5 Will save needs to save at DC 17, but rolled a 9. The GM alters (perhaps temporarily, perhaps not) the stats of the BBEG so that he has a +8 instead of +5 and therefore makes his save.

• BBEG with a +5 Will save needs to save at DC 17, but rolled a 9. The GM pretends the d20 came up as a 12 instead, causing him to make his save.

The reason I ask what the difference is between the two is that the former is expressly forbidden in the Guide to Organized Play, while the latter is seen by a great many GMs (or at least, it was the last time I posed this question) as being a fundamental tool of good GMing.

But they look like effectively the same thing to me - just deciding that the BBEG made his save no matter what, and then categorizing the increase as changing the bonus or changing the roll based on which one makes the GM feel better about themselves. Still waiting for someone to explain why this isn't exactly what's happening every time a GM declares a BBEG success that was not truly produced.

-----------------------------

Now, I do seem to recall (don't have it in front of me at the moment) that the Guide makes a special provision for fudging in favor of newbies so that they'll come back, so obviously that would be an exception to the above.

Liberty's Edge 5/5

I personally feel that fudging in favor of the badguys is in poor form.

But if you, Jiggy, are ok with a certain amount of GM fudging in the favor of newbies... which semantic are you ok with them changing?

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

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Andrew Christian wrote:
But if you, Jiggy, are ok with a certain amount of GM fudging in the favor of newbies... which semantic are you ok with them changing?

I've said it before and I'll say it again: it would be fantastic to have access to the GtPFSOP on the PRD or some similar online tool! ;)

The semantic I'm okay with them changing is whatever the text I'm half-remembering makes a specific exception for. If that happens to be "nothing", then that's what I'm okay with.

Sorry to be kind of vague, but that's why it'd be nice to have access to the Guide at work. I know it says you can't alter stats (among other things), and I know that the famous and typically half-quoted "only you can decide what's right for your table" clause very specifically does NOT include the ability to alter mechanical things, and I *think* there's a passage which says that in the case of newbies, you get an exception clause to fudge things specifically in their favor.

So... My stance is whatever that all works out to, which to the best of my memory is "Only fudge in the players' favor, and then only in the name of hooking a newbie." Or something approximately like that.

Sovereign Court Owner - Enchanted Grounds, President/Owner - Enchanted Grounds

Jiggy wrote:

I must confess that I'm curious what the difference is between the following two situations:

• BBEG with a +5 Will save needs to save at DC 17, but rolled a 9. The GM alters (perhaps temporarily, perhaps not) the stats of the BBEG so that he has a +8 instead of +5 and therefore makes his save.

• BBEG with a +5 Will save needs to save at DC 17, but rolled a 9. The GM pretends the d20 came up as a 12 instead, causing him to make his save.

I'll take a stab at it, I suppose:

There is no difference.

I think when people are stating that "fudging die rolls is a fundamental tool of a good GM" they are talking about doing so in the favor of players. I.E., in your example above, they would actually roll a 12, look at the situation, and say, "He fails," causing rejoice around the table as the unbeatable bad guy suddenly becomes the wizard's best friend. I don't recall seeing the kind of situation you describe as something people will defend as "good for the game."

Then again, I don't join in on a lot of those threads, so I could certainly have missed those comments.

At any rate, I don't think fudging is ever really necessary. It's pretty easy to make tactically bad decisions for the bad guy instead of faking dice rolls. Don't take the flank that is obvious. Fight defensively to take the -4 to hit (and against most PCs, the +2 AC isn't really going to hinder their ability to hit). Or fight using non-lethal force, so he takes a -4 to hit with no AC bonus.

He can even become a cocky jerk and simply shout out, "Hah! I can defeat you with my eyes closed!" and voluntarily take the blinded condition.

There are plenty of options to lower your dice roll and hinder your chances to "win" that actually utilize the rules. Use those, instead of fuzzy math.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Drogon wrote:

I'll take a stab at it, I suppose:

There is no difference.

That's what it looks like to me, as well.

Drogon wrote:

I think when people are stating that "fudging die rolls is a fundamental tool of a good GM" they are talking about doing so in the favor of players. I.E., in your example above, they would actually roll a 12, look at the situation, and say, "He fails," causing rejoice around the table as the unbeatable bad guy suddenly becomes the wizard's best friend. I don't recall seeing the kind of situation you describe as something people will defend as "good for the game."

Then again, I don't join in on a lot of those threads, so I could certainly have missed those comments.

Indeed, there was another thread (don't recall the title) in which there was a massive derail about how important it is for GMs to be able to "fudge" their way through the first couple of rounds' worth of PC save-or-suck effects. I posed the question, and got no real answers (again, that I recall).

IIRC, it was in that same thread where I also first asked whether any of those GMs (who were all insisting that negating the effectiveness of players' chosen actions would increase said players' fun) had ever actually *asked* their players whether they would find it fun, or if they were instead just psychic or something. Didn't get much response to that, either. (This second topic also came up in another thread recently, and I posed the question again. Still nothing, if memory serves. Come to think of it, I think that thread actually fell suddenly silent.)

Sovereign Court Owner - Enchanted Grounds, President/Owner - Enchanted Grounds

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Jiggy wrote:
Indeed, there was another thread (don't recall the title) in which there was a massive derail about how important it is for GMs to be able to "fudge" their way through the first couple of rounds' worth of PC save-or-suck effects.

Weird. That just seems...ill-advised. I guess that's why I don't get involved in those threads. Debating stuff like that just seems like an exercise in self importance for all involved.

Liberty's Edge 5/5

So basically, you want GM’s to do what most GM’s do right now.

Its actually a rare few that consistently do the things you’ve noted above you don’t like.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

@Andy - Those are probably both fair statements. :)

Still, probably good for there to be awareness of the issue, right?

For instance, this thread contains statements from GMs saying that fudging should occasionally be done, if it seems it would increase the fun of the scenario. As evidenced by posts from you and Drogon, there is some portion of GMs (probably a large portion, as you say) who make that statement with the assumption that "fudging" refers to "fudging in the players' favor in order to not sour newbies". But if it remains an unspoken assumption, it would be very easy for a new GM (or even the occasional experienced GM looking to justify himself) to read the advice as applying much more broadly than that: as license to fudge in either direction at any time.

Thus, I felt the topic was worth mentioning.

Sovereign Court Owner - Enchanted Grounds, President/Owner - Enchanted Grounds

Andrew Christian wrote:

So basically, you want GM’s to do what most GM’s do right now.

Its actually a rare few that consistently do the things you’ve noted above you don’t like.

I'm not sure who you're asking, but I'll reply to what I think is your comment:

I don't know a lot of GMs who do things I don't like. I can actually only think of a couple, and the things they do that I don't like can be chalked up to not knowing the rules or not reading the adventure they're supposed to be running.

So, yes, it's a very rare GM who is consistently bad. In my own experience, it is also a very rare GM who fudges dice rolls (most in my area roll in front of the screen, and most players here are savvy enough to spot fudging, and will call a GM on it).

As for wanting most GMs to do what they're already doing: yeah, I want them to keep playing and having fun. I'd rather they didn't get wrapped up in endless debates about what "fun" means.

Liberty's Edge 5/5

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Drogon wrote:
Jiggy wrote:
Indeed, there was another thread (don't recall the title) in which there was a massive derail about how important it is for GMs to be able to "fudge" their way through the first couple of rounds' worth of PC save-or-suck effects.
Weird. That just seems...ill-advised. I guess that's why I don't get involved in those threads. Debating stuff like that just seems like an exercise in self importance for all involved.

This type of fudging is extremely bad form.

First, what's the point of ever taking those types of spells, if you know the first 2 or 3 are just going to fail by GM fiat? I'd go so far as to say this is unacceptable in PFS and cheating, and even in a home game, I would never go this far. In a home game, I could just use creatures that have a better chance (high SR) to survive a couple rounds.

Silver Crusade

I don't use a screen, so my die rolls are all out in the open.

The closest I've ever come to fudging a die roll was one occasion where a BBEG ranger crited a PC of a newbie played, and I told him the fairly large amount of damage. He was pretty shocked, did the math, and told the table he was at -11 HP with 12 constitution (I forget the exact numbers, but I remember that it was 1 point from death). I double checked the scenario real quick to make sure I had the right numbers, actually hoping I could find a way to lessen the blow, which is when I realized I'd forgotten to add in the ranger's favored enemy bonus, because the PC was exactly the wrong race to be front lining against this particular BBEG. I decided to ignore the bonus instead of adding even more damage to the hit. In the end, the rest of the party were able to heal him before his turn and take down the bad guy, so nobody died.

I can think of two other occasions I've intentionally been lax with rules to let newbies survive when it was really borderline, and I didn't want to scare a new player away. But again, it wasn't the die rolls I was fudging - those are all out in the open.


Drogon wrote:
Debating stuff like that just seems like an exercise in self importance for all involved.

I can understand that perspective. For me, it's about trying to proactively stop a certain mindset from taking hold in the community. One voice in the crowd, but I guess I am a strong believer in what PFS is about and have been so impressed with the wisdom of the authors/designers, I want to support what they have created. Homebrew and DM fiat are the two biggest "fun" killers for me. They are the enemies of Organized Play and will undermine such efforts. I don't want PC's to die, but I don't want the DM deciding who gets the benefit of a fudged dice/stat and who doesn't.

To answer Jiggy's question from before, here is the quote from the 4.2 guide:

Quote:
Given the dangers characters face once they have made the choice to become Pathfinders, character death is a very real possibility (and a necessary one to maintain a sense of risk and danger in the game). Consider, however, that for players new to Pathfinder Society Organized Play, or to the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game in general, a violent death in a first experience can turn them off to the campaign and the game altogether. While we do not advocate fudging die rolls, consider the experience of the player when deciding whether to use especially lethal tactics or if a character is in extreme danger of death, especially when such a player is new to the game. Most players whose first experience in a campaign results in a character death do not return to the campaign.

Emphasis added. The way I read that, PFS is not advocating fudged dice, even for newbies. What they are advocating is the same thing I'm saying and the same thing Drogon is saying. There are innumerable ways to DM the encounter to tip the odds n favor of the player. But even PFS agrees that the threat of death is "necessary" to the health of the game.

One PC death may galvanize the value of surviving in five other players. It may even motivate the player of the dead character to put more effort into the game for the next time. Death of a newbie isn't automatically a a net negative.

But if players witness GM's clearly cheating to let some live, you've opened Pandora's Box. I suppose it's fine if you'll never see said players again, but once you sacrifice your integrity in the eyes of your players you're going to have a tough time getting it back. And if players can't trust you as a GM...good luck with that.

A philosophy that provides preferential treatment to a class of players who are uncommitted to the game neither emotionally nor financially is ill-conceived. One of the fundamental rules of marketing is that it's cheaper to keep a customer you already have than to try and create new ones. If we're worried about losing customers, why not allow veteran players to benefit from fudged dice? Certainly they've earned it more than a newbie.

my .02.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

N N 959 wrote:
Quote:
While we do not advocate fudging die rolls, consider the experience of the player when deciding whether to use especially lethal tactics...
Emphasis added. The way I read that, PFS is not advocating fudged dice, even for newbies.

Ah, interesting. That does indeed read as "Don't fudge, but consider softer tactics for the newbies".

Thanks for looking that up for me.

*cough*Let'sgetitonline*cough*


Yiroep wrote:
Finlanderboy wrote:


** spoiler omitted **
** spoiler omitted **

Well a harpy says the same thing, but people have harpies coup de graz

5/5

Finlanderboy wrote:
Yiroep wrote:
Finlanderboy wrote:


** spoiler omitted **
** spoiler omitted **
Well a harpy says the same thing, but people have harpies coup de graz

Sanos:
Kelpies can indeed coup de grace, though only if the victim is within 5 feet and simply standing offering no resistance.

Jiggy wrote:


Indeed, there was another thread (don't recall the title) in which there was a massive derail about how important it is for GMs to be able to "fudge" their way through the first couple of rounds' worth of PC save-or-suck effects. I posed the question, and got no real answers (again, that I recall).

This says to me GMs favor damage dealing players to status effect players. There is no difference between a cavalier charging in an done hitting the boss or a spell caster cominating it on the first turn.

I think any effect of this wrecks the idea of organized play.

For my spell castor I burn up my daily abilities spell and risk a great deal for my spell to one hit them. I place myself in danger if they can strike back. I spend more resources trying to recover from the DM deciding my spell does nto work vs the dice.

This is garbage for DMs to do this.

Sovereign Court Owner - Enchanted Grounds, President/Owner - Enchanted Grounds

Finlanderboy and Andrew Christian have both hit the nail on the head.

They seem to have some sort of fishy similarities...

In all seriousness, you wouldn't invalidate a barbarian build by doubling a BBEG's hit points, right? That's cheating. So, don't invalidate a wizard build by doubling a BBEG's save bonus. It's cheating.

Again, though, regardless of Jiggy's examples from other threads, I don't think that's what this is about. I think GMs want to be able to "fudge" in the favor of players to keep them alive when things are going bad. Which, I think, N N 959 hit on the head: why show favoritism to the newbie vs the old guard? I know plenty of players who have plenty of experience who become very upset when they feel their character is about to die. Do you start showing those guys favoritism, as well?

Don't go that route. Just use the tools you have available within the rules.

And, hey, there's a bonus to the idea of fighting to deal non-lethal damage: even if you hit and crush that poor 1st level wizard, it's pretty unlikely you'll kill him with non-lethal damage. Not that everyone around the table won't simply see him drop to a mighty blow while the bad guy chuckles and asks, "Who's next?"

Shadow Lodge

Thanks to everyone who contributed to this discussion! It has let me know what few situations I should even consider fudging dice and/or tactics. The rule "Never fudge in favor of the bad guys" is one I will take to heart.

Shadow Lodge

In the last PFS game I ran, we had three new (to PFS) players, one of whom was playing a wizard. In the second encounter, the party got ambushed, and the tactics stated that they went after the most lightly armored targets first, so the wizard ends up being the first target, so I roll the attack on him. Natural twenty.

I'll spare you the first word out of my mouth.

So I roll to confirm. Natural twenty.

And I'll spare you that word again.

So, at this point I roll the battleaxe's crit damage, and get a sixteen. Now, I know that if this player left his Con at 10 and put his favored class bonus anywhere else, that would have been enough to kill him outright.

So I told him he took fifteen damage. If that was enough to kill him, it would have been because he chose to dump his Con.

I did this because I didn't want to kill a new player in his second encounter, in the SURPRISE round, of his first-ever PFS game; I wanted him to come back to play on a regular basis.

So instead of dying without a chance to fight back, the party was able to rally, get him back on his feet, and defeat the enemy, but they definitely felt the danger.

Fromper wrote:
In the end, the rest of the party were able to heal him before his turn and take down the bad guy, so nobody died.

I personally don't like the idea of a character dropping to one point from outright dying, then bleeding out before anyone has a chance to react, so a few weeks back I went digging through the rules as to when a dying character takes that damage. The only thing the Core Rulebook has to say on the subject is this:

Core Rulebook, Dying, page 190 wrote:
A dying character loses 1 hit point every round. This continues until the character dies or becomes stable.

And later it states:

Core Rulebook, Stable Characters and Recovery, page 190 wrote:
On the character's next turn, after being reduced to negative hit points (but not dead), and on all subsequent turns, the character must make a DC 10 Constitution check to become stable. The character takes a penalty on this roll equal to his negative hit point total. A character that is stable does not need to make this check. A natural 20 on this check is an automatic success. If the character fails this check, he loses 1 hit point.

It never states explicitly states when the damage occurs (although it's implicit that it happens as soon as they fail that check), so I choose, in my non-PFS games, to have the damage happen at the same point in the initiative order the character gained the dying condition. Bad guy #3 drops you, you take that damage on Bad guy #3's next turn (or where his turn would have been, if he delays or readies).

This also means that if someone stabilizes them, and they later resume dying (from the Bleed spell, for example), they take the damage at the time they regained the dying condition, meaning stabilizing them did have an effect: it delayed when they take the damage, and gives the players another chance to stabilize the dying character before they take more damage.

Yes, this is a departure from RAW, but it's one I feel is more fair in regards to how quickly characters bleed out. I just wish I had the leeway in PFS to go with something like this.


SCPRedMage wrote:

So, at this point I roll the battleaxe's crit damage, and get a sixteen. Now, I know that if this player left his Con at 10 and put his favored class bonus anywhere else, that would have been enough to kill him outright.

So I told him he took fifteen damage. If that was enough to kill him, it would have been because he chose to dump his Con.

I did this because I didn't want to kill a new player in his second encounter, in the SURPRISE round, of his first-ever PFS game; I wanted him to come back to play on a regular basis.

So how many scenarios does he get before you stop shielding his decision to dump Con? When is said player going to be okay with dying from a crit and guaranteed to come back?

Will my barbarian who dumps Wisdom get the same benefit? Probably not right, because I have to roll that out in the open...how about I let you roll my Will save behind the screen so I can get a fudge in my favor? Obvious it doesn't count if I make the roll naturally, you still owe me a fudge.

Does the fudge rule apply to new player to your table, or new to the game? New to PFS or new to Paizo or new or PRG or new to games?

How young do I have to be 13 and under? 15? What about 15 1/2?

Sovereign Court 5/5 RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

Amusing,

Completely not related to his post NN959, but amusing.

The Exchange

N N 959 wrote:

Does the fudge rule apply to new player to your table, or new to the game? New to PFS or new to Paizo or new or PRG or new to games?

How young do I have to be 13 and under? 15? What about 15 1/2?

I love this, I think it brings up a valid point, why do we try to shield younger players from death. Death is real in this game, all the more so at level one and almost certainly from a crit. I think that is the point of a crit, a lucky blow that caught an organ, arrow that caught a gust of wind and pushed it just in line with an artery.

Crits kill, always have and always will. Don't fudge them, or else it ruins the point of having them.


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You know it occurs to me that the very first mission all people new to PFS should have to run is a PFS version of the Kobayashi Maru. I think this would be far more valuable to providing new and young placers with the proper mental starting point.

Sovereign Court 5/5 RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

I've a friend who runs demos at Cons for Games Workshop. He tries very hard to give someone interested in the demo a tight victory. Why? Because he wants them to have fun playing and become invested in the game.

The same thing for new players applies; If a player is 'learning the ropes' you engage them. Not obliterate them. Letting the PC die to bad choices is one thing, letting a first time player die to 'hot dice' is something else.


Matthew Morris wrote:
Letting the PC die to bad choices is one thing, letting a first time player die to 'hot dice' is something else.

But that's what the game is. It's been that way since day one, back when it was called D&D. Poker is even worse when it comes to luck and it's far more popular.

A player's response to outcomes is all about expectations. Cheating to keep them alive sets the wrong expectation. Your trying to solve a perceived problem from the wrong end. And to whit, this player made an arguably bad decisions and that's what left them vulnerable to perma-death.


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I agree with N N 959 on his point. I know someone that feels you should never take it eays on a new player and to kill them right away so they do not become too attached to their characters. If new or young players are fudged to survive it will not teach them their mistakes fully. Then later when they are higher level those same ideas that failed them before will endanger other players when they are older/higher level/ect.

Plus what is the harm in killing someone with no chronicles attached to them? Much worse to lose a character after like 2 levels.

If you feel killing someone woul dcause them not to come back then what about when they die agfter spending 20 hours with that character in play? How would they act then?

I think killing someone and them not coming back is not preparing that player before hand and after. They should know it is not free and given and they have to earn it. That they can fail.

Shadow Lodge

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N N 959 wrote:

So how many scenarios does he get before you stop shielding his decision to dump Con? When is said player going to be okay with dying from a crit and guaranteed to come back?

Will my barbarian who dumps Wisdom get the same benefit? Probably not right, because I have to roll that out in the open...how about I let you roll my Will save behind the screen so I can get a fudge in my favor? Obvious it doesn't count if I make the roll naturally, you still owe me a fudge.

Does the fudge rule apply to new player to your table, or new to the game? New to PFS or new to Paizo or new or PRG or new to games?

How young do I have to be 13 and under? 15? What about 15 1/2?

First of all, he didn't dump Con; if he had a Con penalty, fifteen damage would have one shot him; the favored class bonus couldn't have helped that, although Toughness could have (which would help make up for dumped Con, anyways). Having a 10-11 Con is not dumping it, even if it is risky. Having such a Con score is common for spellcasters in home campaigns, so when a player new to PFS shows up with a such a wizard, they don't think they're doing anything particularly risky.

Second, he gets ONE. Period.

Third, your Wisdom-dumping Barbarian doesn't get jack, because there is no feasible way a Wisdom-based roll is going to cause your character to outright die without anyone having a chance to actually REACT at first level. Yes, there ARE save-or-die/suck spells that use Will saves, but at first level, the only thing that comes close is Color Spray, which at a fifteen foot cone, isn't going to be hitting you in the surprise round without some inappropriate antics (like a GM forgetting that you don't get a full turn during the surprise round) going on.

Even if there WAS an equivalent situation, you're obviously well-acquainted with PFS, and should know damn well what you're doing is risky; you've had the chance to learn, and this was his chance to learn the hard way.

Fourth, I did it because he was new to PFS (which would means it includes those new to Pathfinder or RPGs in general), and I did wanted his first experience in the campaign to be a positive one; getting one-shotted without a chance to react tends to be the opposite.

Fifth, whether you were intending to do so or not, your post is coming off a bit more than a little dick-ish. If you want a conversation, dial it back. You want to b*&** about how everyone is an having BadWrongFun, go yell at your wall, I don't want to hear it.

Bottom line: this wasn't about "shielding his decision" to do anything, it was about not driving a prospective new player away, a point you seem to have completely missed. Make no mistake: his character got POUNDED, and I could HEAR the worry in his voice. He had one round to live, barring a good Con check or outside intervention. I did not make my fudging public, so the perception he had was not that I was going "soft" on him, it was that he came damn close to biting it, and lucked out by one point. That doesn't set an expectation of things being "easy", it sets the expectation of "oh-s@!#-oh-s*+*-oh-s$#%".

Sovereign Court 5/5 Venture-Captain, West Virginia—Charleston aka Netopalis

Finlanderboy wrote:

I agree with N N 959 on his point. I know someone that feels you should never take it eays on a new player and to kill them right away so they do not become too attached to their characters. If new or young players are fudged to survive it will not teach them their mistakes fully. Then later when they are higher level those same ideas that failed them before will endanger other players when they are older/higher level/ect.

Plus what is the harm in killing someone with no chronicles attached to them? Much worse to lose a character after like 2 levels.

If you feel killing someone woul dcause them not to come back then what about when they die agfter spending 20 hours with that character in play? How would they act then?

I think killing someone and them not coming back is not preparing that player before hand and after. They should know it is not free and given and they have to earn it. That they can fail.

I can't say how wrong I feel this is, from a roleplaying perspective.

If a character were only numbers, fine, sure, whatever. But as a roleplayer, I want to become invested in my characters. As a GM, I want players at the table who are invested with their characters. Not having an attachment to your character encourages sloppy play and sluggish, half-hearted RP. If your character is merely a set of numbers, then frankly, you're missing out on SO much in the game.

As for what the harm is of killing a level 1 with no chronicles, you are killing off a character concept. Even if, by RAW, you can roll up the character's brother and use the same stats and personality and stuff...it'll never be quite the same. You're always going to wonder how things had played out if the die had been just a millimeter to the right and your character had survived. This is a disappointment that could potentially last a player's entire career in PFS. This is not something to be taken lightly. My future characters may not have gold or XP attached to them, but they do have something more valuable - my thoughts and ideas.


SCPRedMage wrote:
First of all, he didn't dump Con;

Okay first, I misread your anecdote. You wrote "because he chose to dump con." Which sounds like he chose dump con. My bad.

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Having a 10-11 Con is not dumping it, even if it is risky.
I completely agree. I wouldn't even say it's risky. I wouldn't even argue that dumping con is unequivocally a bad decision for a wizard, but it does have consequences that player will have to live with.
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Third, your Wisdom-dumping Barbarian doesn't get jack

Awwwwww

*cries softly into his pillow-covered ipad*

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Yes, there ARE save-or-die/suck spells that use Will saves, but at first level, the only thing that comes close is Color Spray,

I seem to recall a certain Haunt compelling characters to leap to their possible death. Let's hope someone beats the 10 init, rolls the necessary Perception (what is the DC, 20?) and is within a Standard action of stopping you from jumping.

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Even if there WAS an equivalent situation, you're obviously well-acquainted with PFS, and should know damn well what you're doing is risky;

Honestly, I've never played before. I mean I've never played here before. Well I mean I've never played in this seat before, I usually sit in that chair. So I'm arguably new...ish....maybe?

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Fourth, I...

Come on guy, the whole thing is tongue-in-cheek. Yes, I get what you think is the point. I'm trying to make another point. You're making an arbitrary decision about who to let live and who to let die which isn't fair. And fairness is the cornerstone of Organized Play. You know what isn't fun? The GM cheating to let someone else live and not me. Especially when I've been coming every week, paying money, buying books.

You're essentially trading the integrity of the game and yourself as a GM on the mere possibility that it might make a first time player come back. So this one person's fun is somehow superior to this other guys fun who has been committed to the game for whom you aren't doing "jack?"

Sorry I don't agree with that. If were ever going to advocate cheating in favor of players, I certainly wouldn't withhold from those who've earned it.


Netopalis wrote:
As for what the harm is of killing a level 1 with no chronicles, you are killing off a character concept...

You wrote a similar thought earlier. I had actually type up a response, then I deleted it. I have three total characters. Took a long time before I made the third. Why only three? Because these three represent the only concepts I enjoy. If one of them dies (and one of the three is one scenario old), it would be hard to remake them. I feel like the name they have now is the only name this concept can have. To remake the same character with the same name and play with the same people would feel false, fake.

My response is I totally agree with you...and i STILL feel that "fudging dice" is a terrible policy.

My only question to you is if you knew (found out) a GM cheated to keep your character alive, would it taint the validity of its existence?

Sovereign Court 5/5 Venture-Captain, West Virginia—Charleston aka Netopalis

N N 959 wrote:
Netopalis wrote:
As for what the harm is of killing a level 1 with no chronicles, you are killing off a character concept...

You wrote a similar thought earlier. I had actually type up a response, then I deleted it. I have three total characters. Took a long time before I made the third. Why only three? Because these three represent the only concepts I enjoy. If one of them dies (and one of the three is one scenario old), it would be hard to remake them. I feel like the name they have now is the only name this concept can have. To remake the same character with the same name and play with the same people would feel false, fake.

My response is I totally agree with you...and i STILL feel that "fudging dice" is a terrible policy.

My only question to you is if you knew (found out) a GM cheated to keep your character alive, would it taint the validity of its existence?

No. I would respect the GM's decision as master of the game world. I consider GMs to be a stablizing force in the game world, as events *generally* happen in a predictable fashion, but less so in gaming. If the variable were smaller (say, d4s or d6s instead of d20s) and the modifier larger, I would consider it to be less valid.


Netopalis wrote:


I can't say how wrong I feel this is, from a roleplaying perspective.

If a character were only numbers, fine, sure, whatever. But as a roleplayer, I want to become invested in my characters. As a GM, I want players at the table who are invested with their characters. Not having an attachment to your character encourages sloppy play and sluggish, half-hearted RP. If your character is merely a set of numbers, then frankly, you're missing out on SO much in the game.

As for what the harm is of killing a level 1 with no chronicles, you are killing off a character concept. Even if, by RAW, you can roll up the character's brother and use the same stats and personality and stuff...it'll never be quite the same. You're always going to wonder how things had played out if the die had been just a millimeter to the right and your character had survived. This is a disappointment that could potentially last a player's entire career in PFS. This is not something to be taken lightly. My future characters may not have gold or XP attached to them, but they do...

What I said was in relationship to as why not to spare a player by cheating as a DM. I do not agree with ever trying to kill a player outright. As a GM you try to play the enemies by how the enemies are.

I honestly hope you are not taking into account what thread I am speaking in.

Or do you think because someone made a story for their character the DMs should cheat for players? So that guy that spends all day thinking of a story should get spared because they have a story?

Sovereign Court 5/5 Venture-Captain, West Virginia—Charleston aka Netopalis

No, I don't think that because a character has a good story they should be spared; I think that all characters should be spared because characters with a good story should be spared and I do not feel that I am qualified to make that determination. I also believe firmly that we should reward investment, not penalize it emotionally.

Shadow Lodge

N N 959 wrote:
Come on guy, the whole thing is tongue-in-cheek.

I'm not your guy, pal.

Seriously, though, your post didn't come across as "tongue-in-cheek", it came across as adversarial. Something to do with being pretty much 90% accusatory questions.

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You know what isn't fun? The GM cheating to let someone else live and not me. Especially when I've been coming every week, paying money, buying books.

Tell me something: if I'm rolling behind a screen, no one ever sees my roll, I didn't announce I'm fudging the dice, and I don't tell the players later, how, precisely, does this impact YOUR enjoyment of the game?

I gave that anecdote specifically to show the circumstances I would even consider fudging; in this case, it was a perfect synergy of wanting to make sure a newbie came back, so we could grow the player base, and not liking the idea of one-shotting a player in the surprise round. Either one of those on its own wouldn't have been enough; had the newbie taken TWO bad hits that killed him, oh well, them's the breaks.

But do you know what isn't fun? Not being able to play anymore, because you've lost most of your players due to the regular attrition life throws your way (new job, new family, move to another area, etc), and you haven't been bringing in enough new players to keep the game day alive. I saw it happen in cycles back when I was running LFR game days; you get a stable group of regular players, but gradually you lose them because they can't show up anymore. If you've been able to pull in new players, and keep them coming back, the group does fine. If not, you start having to run fewer tables, and eventually you end up with awkward numbers that make it difficult to seat everyone who wants to play.

No matter how passionate the player base is, if we don't continually draw in more players, it WILL eventually die off. The longer we can continue to draw people in, the longer we can keep gaming.

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You're essentially trading the integrity of the game and yourself as a GM on the mere possibility that it might make a first time player come back. So this one person's fun is somehow superior to this other guys fun who has been committed to the game for whom you aren't doing "jack?"

THIS IS NOT A ZERO SUM GAME. Taking steps to make sure the newbie has an enjoyable experience does NOT inherently take away from the fun of the veteran. In this case, no one at the table was aware that anything had even been done.

On a side note, you apparently misread my post by not reading the four preceding words: "it would have been"; as in, if he died from that, it would have been his own fault.

And the only haunt I know of like that is in First Steps part 2, which is only 20 feet deep. Yes, they are being mind-screwed into doing it, but it IS still a DELIBERATE jump, meaning they take 1d6 nonlethal and 1d6 lethal, or just 1d6 nonlethal damage with a successful DC 15 Acrobatics check. But even WITHOUT that, twelve lethal damage is NOT going to instantly kill anyone unless they have a 7 Con.


SCPRedMage wrote:


I'm not your guy, pal.

Well shoot. Then I'm not your pal, guy? See what I did there?

Quote:
Seriously, though, your post didn't come across as "tongue-in-cheek"it came across as adversarial. Something to do with being pretty much 90% accusatory questions.

Sounds like you need to put some skill ranks in Sense Motive Forum. We're talking about a game. How is that worth getting in a fight over? And as far as my questions, the were rhetorical, not accusatory.

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Tell me something: if I'm rolling behind a screen, no one ever sees my roll, I didn't announce I'm fudging the dice, and I don't tell the players later, how, precisely, does this impact YOUR enjoyment of the game?

You really think players are so clueless they don't notice a DM's fudge patterns?

The only reason to roll attack and damage dice behind a screen is to give one's self the option of fudging dice. Come'on Francis, players aren't that clueless. In fact, I never roll combat behind a screen specifically so the players know I'm not trying to fudge dice on them. The last thing on earth I want to do is give players the notion I might be making up the results.

Quote:
But do you know what isn't fun? Not being able to play anymore, because you've lost most of your players due to the regular attrition life throws your way (new job, new family, move to another area, etc), and you haven't been bringing in enough new players to keep the game day alive.

That does suck. But if people are leaving because of RL, I don't see how fudging dice for newbs is the way to fix things.

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THIS IS NOT A ZERO SUM GAME. Taking steps to make sure the newbie has an enjoyable experience does NOT inherently take away from the fun of the veteran.

I'm going to say this again. The cornerstone of organized play is fairness. That means everyone plays under the same rule system. There are many ways to ensure newbs have a good time that don't involve fudging dice. In fact, you can do thinks like give a door prize to any newb that dies from a crit. Or post their picture up on a wall of "shame" so they can see all the other people who died in their first adventure. Call it the Hall of Heroes that Never Were. You can also tell them right off the bat they should expect to die.

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In this case, no one at the table was aware that anything had even been done.

So what you're saying is that it's all good if you don't get caught? That the ends justifies the means? You been hanging out with Lance Armstrong?

As far misreading your original post, this is what you wrote:

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So I told him he took fifteen damage. If that was enough to kill him, it would have been because he chose to dump his Con.

Admittedly, I have trouble parsing that. As I said already, my bad.

Look, at the end of the day, it's your life and it's your call. I'm certainly not here create hurt feelings over a game. But if you're going to post an anecdote which advocates a style of PFS that I think undermines the integrity of the game, I am within my rights to advocate against it.

But honestly, I wouldn't want to have been in your position, so it's not like I think you're a bad guy or anything. I can totally understand. I killed a friend's third level monk right in front of his wife and it was an ugly moment. The guy did his best to play it off, but it was a slap in the face for him. Not fun.

Game on.

Silver Crusade

N N 959 wrote:
The only reason to roll attack and damage dice behind a screen is to give one's self the option of fudging dice.

When my GM is rolling behind a screen, I pretty much assume that he is fudging dice. I don't know whether it is in my favor, the bad guys' favor, or a little of both. It doesn't matter; it still bugs me. I have never asked a GM to roll in the open, though.

I used to always roll behind a screen, until I played in a weekly game with a GM who used a screen but made all his rolls on our side of it. He was the best GM I have ever played with, and that was a refreshing way to play the game.

N N 959 wrote:
The last thing on earth I want to do is give players the notion I might be making up the results.

Agreed. I have since ditched the screen altogether. I make all rolls in the open now.

When I am playing, I don't really want my characters to die. But if they must live or die, I want it to be from the rules of the game, not GM discretion. I feel I owe the same courtesy to my players.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

SCPRedMage wrote:

No matter how passionate the player base is, if we don't continually draw in more players, it WILL eventually die off. The longer we can continue to draw people in, the longer we can keep gaming.

True enough, but GMs fudging rolls cheapens the character's life because you're constantly thinking "this character should have died". Whenever that's happened to me I may have played another scenario or two with that character but ultimately I just retire them because it's not the same any more. The spark has gone and I feel like I'm constantly cheating, even through no fault of my own.

Following on from that, simply knowing that the GM 'might' fudge rolls cheapens the game as a whole. It makes me want to play it less because my characters' choices have less meaning. It also leads to characters just charging in and assuming the GM won't kill them, when I prefer a more measured (or realistic) approach to a situation. If we constantly charge in then many of the subtle nuances of the game and several non-combat skills get less exposure than if we spend time thinking around a problem instead. Fudging subtracts more than it adds.

On the other hand a GM should feel free to advise newbies that certain actions will be unusually risky, or offer tactical suggestions such as flanking that they may not be aware of. So long as its not heavy handed then giving the player clear choices and advising them of the risks helps to put them in control. Let them make their decisions and then roll the dice openly.

The biggest issue is with newbies who've played under a GM who constantly fudged, or adjusted encounters to suit their players, so their expectations are very different to those of PFS players. PFS run RAW represents a fixed challenge and the player needs to adjust to that, rather than be lazy and let the GM do the adjusting instead. It can take a while for that to sink in though and for the players to make the mental switch.

Sovereign Court 5/5 RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

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The Fox wrote:

When my GM is rolling behind a screen, I pretty much assume that he is fudging dice. I don't know whether it is in my favor, the bad guys' favor, or a little of both. It doesn't matter; it still bugs me. I have never asked a GM to roll in the open, though.

I just wanted to address this, Fox.

I normally forget to pack my screen, but when I do, I will roll a lot behind the screen. Why? Because not all the rolls I make count.

I ask for perception checks to notice minor details ("I rolled a 24! What do I see?" "You are almost 100% certain the statue didn't move.") Saves for no reason ("I think the room is trapped, I'm going to try running through it." "Make a reflex save." "Aw crap! I rolled a 1!" "Nothing happens, just thought you should sweat.") and sometimes to counter the player who knows everything. "And the fireball does" *grab handfull of dice, with only 5d6 in them making a massive noise.* "Oh come on man! Only 14 points of damage, save for half."

I also randomly roll dice and make notes, so you can't tell if I'm rolling for a hidden foe's stealth, or just making noise.

I've found it adds tension and means the players can't metagame, "He's asking for perception, here it comes!"

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