GM fudging save rolls


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Grand Lodge

I am playing a witch in a hombrew campaign. After the first couple of sessions the bad guys have been on a tear making their saves against my hexes. While they should be making their saves about 30% of the time they are making them about 2/3 of the time now. Over a short time dice can get hot but I am talking about many sessions with multiple combats each with me throwing out hexes more rounds than not. Possible but highly unlikely to be that lucky for that long. I should note that the rolls are behind a screen.

I recognize that that the witch can be a powerful class. I asked the GM if he was uncomfortable with the witch mechanics and would prefer me to switch classes. He told me that it was fine.

Here's the problem. Every time a save is made now I am questioning whether he actually made it or the GM fudged it to balance the fight. It takes a lot of the fun out of it for me. Would it be out of line to ask the GM to roll where we all can see? I respect his right to balance the fight but changing rolls seems like a poor way to go about it.


You could ask him, but that can cause friction. Talk with your GM first. Express your worries and say, what can I (keyword I) do to reduce this fear. Dont ask him to roll in the open at first. Though whatever you do, you will be showing you no longer trust them, which can cause problems.

It might be safer to simply rebuild your character. Save-or dies are VERY anti-climactic and I myself have fugded a few (both for and against the player) so that a situation doesnt become "instant win". GMs dislike "I win" buttons because it turn their encounters into a joke. I dont put too much effort into encounters, so I dont mind, but many folks do, so be careful...

Note: he might also have adapted monsters to better resist your powers, or be using monsters that do naturally. The game is random, so there is no reliable basis in saying "they should only be saving 30% of the time".

Grand Lodge

williamoak wrote:

You could ask him, but that can cause friction. Talk with your GM first. Express your worries and say, what can I (keyword I) do to reduce this fear. Dont ask him to roll in the open at first. Though whatever you do, you will be showing you no longer trust them, which can cause problems.

It might be safer to simply rebuild your character. Save-or dies are VERY anti-climactic and I myself have fugded a few (both for and against the player) so that a situation doesnt become "instant win". GMs dislike "I win" buttons because it turn their encounters into a joke. I dont put too much effort into encounters, so I dont mind, but many folks do, so be careful...

Note: he might also have adapted monsters to better resist your powers, or be using monsters that do naturally. The game is random, so there is no reliable basis in saying "they should only be saving 30% of the time".

Obviously 30% is a guesstimate but reasonably close as I know about the CR of what we have been fighting and also have a good idea of their bonus to save. That is of course assuming no blanket adjustment on his part.

Silver Crusade

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As a Gm I have often dealt with this issue and if you are fighting boss or mini boss in my game who is meant to be rough. He is never going to fall asleep to a witch slumber hex unless he is almost dead. I might roll a 1 but he will pass anyways. Normal encounters I don't care if all the creatures fall asleep, no big deal.

Shadow Lodge

What's your save DC and level, out of curiosity?


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

As a GM, I won't let an inconvenient die roll get in the way of a good story. I invoke that far more for the PCs than the bad guys. The PCs are supposed to win, but I usually want them to at least work for it. If the PCs slaughter a bunch of mooks or a wandering monster in 1 round, that's fine. But the Big Bad is unlikely to fall to a "save or die" effect in the first round of combat-- especially if I've spent more than three hours designing the encounter.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

I love when villians go down like chumps. Saves me so much trouble in running the combat. And highlights what future BBEGs need to protect against.

Catocato, you have to decide if you can trust your GM yourself. If you can't, you need to find a way to play with him that you can trust or leave the game.


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williamoak wrote:
GMs dislike "I win" buttons because it turn their encounters into a joke. I dont put too much effort into encounters, so I dont mind, but many folks do, so be careful...

I once spent the better part of 4 days lovingly crafting an encounter near the end of one campaign, only for the PCs to defeat it in a single round. I didn't mind, though; they used a neat trick to pull it off, and I already had my fun while creating the encounter :)


Pretty much everything that's been said above.

GMs fudging rolls is perfectly acceptable in general in RPGs, but if your group as a whole doesn't like that sort of thing it's important to discuss it together and come to some kind of agreement over it. The groups wishes should always come before anything the rulebook, the devs, or any of us weird strangers on the forum say.

TOZ's trust point is another important factor. Not trust that they're not fudging rolls, but trust that they're playing the way they agree to play.

It feels like this is a fairly new group, or at least that the GM is new to the group. Having a discussion about gameplay styles and expectations is a good thing to have before people start pulling in different directions.


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I think DM fudging is one of those things a group should discuss explicitly. Some people like it, some people dont - no doubt someone has to compromise but I think being aware of that give-and-take is far superior to secret adjustments and/or suspicion of such.

It's also worth noting that our perceptions of odds and probability are notoriously inaccurate. Before I'd accuse him of anything, I'd be sure to keep an actual, objective tally (including every save he makes against your attacks). Over the years I've seen several people swear an oath their dice is "definitely" biased only to be proved wrong after a couple of hundred carefully tallied rolls.


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EDWARD DEANGELIS wrote:
As a Gm I have often dealt with this issue and if you are fighting boss or mini boss in my game who is meant to be rough. He is never going to fall asleep to a witch slumber hex unless he is almost dead. I might roll a 1 but he will pass anyways. Normal encounters I don't care if all the creatures fall asleep, no big deal.

I hope that you explain that to players before they build characters. I had a GM that got annoyed when the monk in our party was constantly putting his mooks on their ass. In frustration he said, "I hope you don't expect to trip my lich, cause that just isn't going to happen." To which the player promptly replied, "I guess that means I get to reroll my character then?"

It worked out better for both of them actually.


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Catocato wrote:


Here's the problem. Every time a save is made now I am questioning whether he actually made it or the GM fudged it to balance the fight. It takes a lot of the fun out of it for me. Would it be out of line to ask the GM to roll where we all can see? I respect his right to balance the fight but changing rolls seems like a poor way to go about it.

This is the problem with GM's who fudge dice. If found out that they cheat it invalidates everything they do and it invalidates players actions as well.

It is not out of line for you to ask. But know that a many GM's see "fudging" dice as ok and they would be right. However that does not mean that it needs to be ok with you.

-MD


I roll all my dice in the open, and usually even state bonuses..since that's fun for me, I like the uncertainty of how my NPCs will preform, and lets me direct a fluid narrative. But that's just me.

I have in the past had players that my dice absolutely hated..make almost every save, and almost always hit, and even with the dice rolls in the open and bonuses etc..the player still accused me of fudging against his character.

Sczarni

I do not see a problem with asking the gm roll in the open or allow the die result be verified on the rolls like that, especially if players roll in the open for everyone to see. I understand certain rolls the players can't see like NPC perception verses our stealth. If the dice decide to keep rolling high, there shouldn't be a problem for someone to verify. But be nice about it at first.

Just know that this is a 2 way street. If the GM's rolls get audited, your rolls can be as well


Steve Geddes wrote:

I think DM fudging is one of those things a group should discuss explicitly. Some people like it, some people dont - no doubt someone has to compromise but I think being aware of that give-and-take is far superior to secret adjustments and/or suspicion of such.

It's also worth noting that our perceptions of odds and probability are notoriously inaccurate. Before I'd accuse him of anything, I'd be sure to keep an actual, objective tally (including every save he makes against your attacks). Over the years I've seen several people swear an oath their dice is "definitely" biased only to be proved wrong after a couple of hundred carefully tallied rolls.

I don't know Steve, I've got this one d20 that I can always count on in a crunch. :)

On a related note, I let my players know ahead of time that I change everything. Even creatures straight out of the bestiary have at least 1 template or class level added.


Matt Thomason wrote:
GMs fudging rolls is perfectly acceptable in general in RPGs

Is it? I've never fudged a roll as GM, and I'm not sure I'd be happy playing with a GM who did. Of course, as far as I know I haven't done so yet, so maybe I would :)

Sczarni

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Just because it is the bbeg, a NPC can be nerfed by a great spell choice or awesome melee guy.


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on a aside note..I do roll things secretly that the players have no way of observing..I also just randomly roll dice to make my players paranoid. :)

Grand Lodge

I have been judicious in using slumber so as to not trivialize encounters. I can understand fudging the odd roll here or there but I am throwing out a save or suck most rounds. Not trusting those rolls puts me in a weird place. With most characters you are rolling your attack and damage or at least damage opposed by the GMs save. With the witch you barely get to roll at all so nearly all of your effectiveness comes at the discretion of the GMs rolls. When you get to a place of questioning the rolls it just is not as much fun. I accept not winning every save battle it is just not knowing if the roll was fudged or not that bothers me. I think I will just have an honest conversation about with the GM. He's a good guy and I'm sure we can work it out.


Are wrote:
Matt Thomason wrote:
GMs fudging rolls is perfectly acceptable in general in RPGs

Is it? I've never fudged a roll as GM, and I'm not sure I'd be happy playing with a GM who did. Of course, as far as I know I haven't done so yet, so maybe I would :)

Well, it tends to be listed under GM techniques in most rulebooks I've ever read - usually when they explain why GM screens are useful, and that rolling dice at random is a good way to put players on edge. However, I *did* go on to say if the group is against it, then it's best not to do it.

It's also not something to get into a habit of doing though. The odd critical moment when it's going to cause the whole game to fall apart from a TPK due to one extremely bad roll, for example, is a good time. Got to admit I don't ever remember fudging a roll for the bad guys, though.

If it happens enough to throw the expected average way out, then yeah it makes the whole idea of rolling dice in the first place kinda pointless.


Are wrote:
Matt Thomason wrote:
GMs fudging rolls is perfectly acceptable in general in RPGs

Is it? I've never fudged a roll as GM, and I'm not sure I'd be happy playing with a GM who did. Of course, as far as I know I haven't done so yet, so maybe I would :)

I see fudging as almost necessary, especially when starting out. If I didnt, I would be constantly TPK-ing my group. I'm getting better, but I have no desire to constantly have them make new characters or be doing constant deus-ex machinas (especially at low level, when you can be killed by a light wind). The CR system is craptastical, especially when you are trying to make dynamic combat with multiple intelligent creatures.

I dont use boss fights in general, so I rarely need to deal with saves ruining an encounter. But I reserve the right not to slay my players because of an unlucky crit.

On a side-note, I NEVER use pre-stated monsters as made (except the simplest creatures). I generally always change monster feats (they are mostly awful). I dont feel the need to tell the players that either; if they wanted to know the monster stats in advance/by heart, they can play a videogame. And for knowledge checks, if they succeed, I give them ideas (resistant to damage=dr, weak of will=low will save, etc.). I will admit that if a player ever says to me "X monster shouldnt have X power!/ X save/ X attack" I will be pissed. It's the worst sort of metagaming.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, PF Special Edition Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
BigDTBone wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:

I think DM fudging is one of those things a group should discuss explicitly. Some people like it, some people dont - no doubt someone has to compromise but I think being aware of that give-and-take is far superior to secret adjustments and/or suspicion of such.

It's also worth noting that our perceptions of odds and probability are notoriously inaccurate. Before I'd accuse him of anything, I'd be sure to keep an actual, objective tally (including every save he makes against your attacks). Over the years I've seen several people swear an oath their dice is "definitely" biased only to be proved wrong after a couple of hundred carefully tallied rolls.

I don't know Steve, I've got this one d20 that I can always count on in a crunch. :)

Your die might be loaded (unfair dice do exist, after all) - but we still suck (as a general rule) at estimating probabilities based on our experiences. Confirming hypotheses and all that... :)

If one is going to make an argument about expected results, it's really worth having facts rather than impressions to back you up.


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Normally fudging the rolls is only done to benefit the PCs not prevent them from doing things.

If you don't like slumber Hex, ban it. Don't stealth house-rule it so that the player accidentally chose a trap option.

That would be like letting a barbar grab superstitious only to arbitrarily bump effect DCs by 6-15 whenever they make a save.


Matt Thomason wrote:
Are wrote:
Matt Thomason wrote:
GMs fudging rolls is perfectly acceptable in general in RPGs

Is it? I've never fudged a roll as GM, and I'm not sure I'd be happy playing with a GM who did. Of course, as far as I know I haven't done so yet, so maybe I would :)

Well, it tends to be listed under GM techniques in most rulebooks I've ever read - usually when they explain why GM screens are useful, and that rolling dice at random is a good way to put players on edge. However, I *did* go on to say if the group is against it, then it's best not to do it.

It's also not something to get into a habit of doing though. The odd critical moment when it's going to cause the whole game to fall apart from a TPK due to one extremely bad roll, for example, is a good time. Got to admit I don't ever remember fudging a roll for the bad guys, though.

If it happens enough to throw the expected average way out, then yeah it makes the whole idea of rolling dice in the first place kinda pointless.

I don't think I've ever seen such advice in a rule book for a tabletop RPG, but I haven't exactly memorized all of the commonly played rule sets.

If I found out that my GM was fudging die rolls to help NPCs, I'd be annoyed. If I found out that my GM was fudging die rolls to help the PCs, I'd leave the table and never come back. Nothing turns me off to gaming in general like the realization that my choices were ultimately meaningless. (Which is why I hated Bioshock Infinite, but that's another thread on another forum.)


I believe this text is relevant to help the OP's situation.

Straight from the Core Rulebook (I couldn't find a section with this on the Paizo website or D20PFSRD):

Cheating and Fudging wrote:

Cheating and Fudging: We all know that cheating is

bad. But sometimes, as a GM, you might find yourself in
a situation where cheating might improve the game. We
prefer to call this “fudging” rather than cheating, and
while you should try to avoid it when you can, you are the
law in your world, and you shouldn’t feel bound by the
dice. A GM should be impartial and fair, and in theory,
that’s what random dice results help support. Some
players have trouble putting trust in their GM, but dice
offer something that’s irrefutable and truly non-partisan
(as long as the dice aren’t doctored or loaded, of course).
Still, it’s no good if a single roll of the dice would result in
a premature end to your campaign, or a character’s death
when they did everything right.
Likewise, don’t feel bound to the predetermined plot
of an encounter or the rules as written. Feel free to adjust
the results or interpret things creatively—especially in
cases where you as the GM made a poor assumption to
begin with. For example, you might design an encounter
against a band of werewolves, only to realize too late
that none of the PCs have silver weapons and therefore
can’t hurt them. In this case, it’s okay to cheat and say
that these werewolves are hurt by normal weapons, or
to have the town guard (armed with silver arrows) show
up at the last minute to save the PCs. As long as you can
keep such developments to a minimum, these on-thespot
adjustments can even enhance the game—so the
town guard saved the PCs, but now that they have, it can
give you leverage over the PCs to send them on their next
quest as repayment to the guards!


blahpers wrote:


Matt Thomason wrote:


Well, it tends to be listed under GM techniques in most rulebooks I've ever read - usually when they explain why GM screens are useful, and that rolling dice at random is a good way to put players on edge. However, I *did* go on to say if the group is against it, then it's best not to do it.

I don't think I've ever seen such advice in a rule book for a tabletop RPG, but I haven't exactly memorized all of the commonly played rule sets.

D&D Red Box, Mentzer Edition, Dungeon Master's Guide, p16, bottom of first column. I don't really want to have to go dig out others right now, though, as this really isn't supposed to be an argument over whether it's ever been printed in a book or not ;) The point is, it's been advised as a technique since time immemorial, but so has "if the group doesn't like something, change it", so not allowing the GM to fudge rolls is perfectly okay too.

I'll also reiterate, though, that saving the bad guys seems a bit weird to me, unless it's to allow the fixed-plot escape of the major bad guy so they can show up again and again and be the bane of the characters' lives throughout the campaign.


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I believe you, especially given Darksol's quote above, but that seems like terrible advice. If the GM screwed up royally and wanted to retcon, there are quite a few ways to do so without fudging the dice--as long as it's a rare occurrence. But the uncertainty of battle and the ever-present chance of failure (or success!) is one of the defining decision points of the game. It's exciting to occasionally one-shot the APL+7 devil or get our asses handed to us by Bob the RNG-Blessed Kobold. I'd rather encourage creative solutions, such as the werewolves above capturing the PCs and infecting them with their lycanthropy.

Conversely, when designing encounters that have no rational failure result but "the monsters kill the PCs", be careful! Make sure the PCs have the means to survive the encounter or avoid it altogether. And make sure the PCs know when something is dangerous. The first sign that Farmer Bob is possessed by god-level aberrants from the Dark Tapestry shouldn't be the party wizard failing her save vs. Exploding Head Syndrome.

Ah, well, to each their own. Just tell your players if that's how you run things so that they can adjust their expectations accordingly. Rule Zero is fine, but not even knowing when it's invoked . . . that's just wrong.


Steve Geddes wrote:
BigDTBone wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:

I think DM fudging is one of those things a group should discuss explicitly. Some people like it, some people dont - no doubt someone has to compromise but I think being aware of that give-and-take is far superior to secret adjustments and/or suspicion of such.

It's also worth noting that our perceptions of odds and probability are notoriously inaccurate. Before I'd accuse him of anything, I'd be sure to keep an actual, objective tally (including every save he makes against your attacks). Over the years I've seen several people swear an oath their dice is "definitely" biased only to be proved wrong after a couple of hundred carefully tallied rolls.

I don't know Steve, I've got this one d20 that I can always count on in a crunch. :)

Your die might be loaded (unfair dice do exist, after all) - but we still suck (as a general rule) at estimating probabilities based on our experiences. Confirming hypotheses and all that... :)

If one is going to make an argument about expected results, it's really worth having facts rather than impressions to back you up.

I prefer to believe. I think it's part of the TTRPG experience.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, PF Special Edition Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

You're not alone. We have one guy at our table with about a dozen sets of dice - as soon as he hits a losing streak, he puts a lot of store in which set to switch to. I think dice selection before crucial rolls is a significant part of the fun for him.


blahpers wrote:
I believe you, especially given Darksol's quote above, but that seems like terrible advice. If the GM screwed up royally and wanted to retcon, there are quite a few ways to do so without fudging the dice--as long as it's a rare occurrence. But the uncertainty of battle and the ever-present chance of failure (or success!) is one of the defining decision points of the game. It's exciting to occasionally one-shot the APL+7 devil or get our asses handed to us by Bob the RNG-Blessed Kobold. I'd rather encourage creative solutions, such as the werewolves above capturing the PCs and infecting them with their lycanthropy.

I agree totally :) For a brand new GM though, they're probably already overwhelmed with all the rules so I've always seen dice fudging as something you can let go of once you've had time to learn the game and all the other creative loopholes you've got access to :)

blahpers wrote:


Conversely, when designing encounters that have no rational failure result but "the monsters kill the PCs", be careful! Make sure the PCs have the means to survive the encounter or avoid it altogether. And make sure the PCs know when something is dangerous. The first sign that Farmer Bob is possessed by god-level aberrants from the Dark Tapestry shouldn't be the party wizard failing her save vs. Exploding Head Syndrome.

Yeah. Again I see that more useful for newbie GMs who have picked up an adventure or AP, didn't read the bit that says "read this through cover to cover first", and just hit the aforementioned absence of silver weapons problem.

blahpers wrote:


Ah, well, to each their own. Just tell your players if that's how you run things so that they can adjust their expectations accordingly. Rule Zero is fine, but not even knowing when it's invoked . . . that's just wrong.

Yup :) I think the easiest way for any group to fail is when everyone sits down and starts playing without having talked about things first. Well, unless it's a one off trial adventure or something. Sometimes you need to get the first game out of the way so you know what *needs* talking about :) But yeah, ensuring everyone at the table is on the same page is the one piece of advice that's missing from far too many rulebooks (they need to slot that in just before the fudging part!)

Grand Lodge

Darksol the Painbringer wrote:

I believe this text is relevant to help the OP's situation.

Straight from the Core Rulebook (I couldn't find a section with this on the Paizo website or D20PFSRD):

Cheating and Fudging wrote:

Cheating and Fudging: We all know that cheating is

bad. But sometimes, as a GM, you might find yourself in
a situation where cheating might improve the game. We
prefer to call this “fudging” rather than cheating, and
while you should try to avoid it when you can, you are the
law in your world, and you shouldn’t feel bound by the
dice. A GM should be impartial and fair, and in theory,
that’s what random dice results help support. Some
players have trouble putting trust in their GM, but dice
offer something that’s irrefutable and truly non-partisan
(as long as the dice aren’t doctored or loaded, of course).
Still, it’s no good if a single roll of the dice would result in
a premature end to
town guard saved the PCs, but now that they have, it can
give you leverage over the PCs to send them on their next
quest as repayment to the guards!

While this is sound advice I feel it applies to the unique odd circumstance which occurs every couple of sessions. If you are questioning multiple rolls in one combat it gets to a point of thinking "just decide and tell me if he saves or not" and the rolling of dice is irrelevant and amounts to a dog and pony show.

In my mind what is the point of rolling dice if the results are arbitrarily dismissed? If you don't like the results change the rules. To change die rolls is a slippery slope and erodes player buy in to the game.


Catocato wrote:


While this is sound advice I feel it applies to the unique odd circumstance which occurs every couple of sessions. If you are questioning multiple rolls in one combat it gets to a point of thinking "just decide and tell me if he saves or not" and the rolling of dice is irrelevant and amounts to a dog and pony show.

In my mind what is the point of rolling dice if the results are arbitrarily dismissed? If you don't like the results change the rules. To change die rolls is a slippery slope and erodes player buy in to the game.

Yeah, when you reach that point you should just be issuing the NPCs with rings of hex immunity or something, so at least there's some kind of explanation as to why it isn't working.


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Three things:

1. Do you know your opponents save bonuses? How do you know? Are you metagaming out of the bestiaries? Is it possible your DM is using non-standard versions of creatures?

2. DM's roll dice constantly. Are the dice hot? Or is he simply making the rolls against the saves? How much coincidence are we talking, here?

3. Are you only using Save or Suck spells/hexes? How about debuffs or damage? Is he making saves against other characters' abilities/spells/etc.?


The problem does very much seem to be not necessarily fudging but the GMs reliance on this and curious whether other players at the table are finding the same thing with their spells or abilities? As with most issues best thing is to talk to your DM about it in a friendly manner. Maybe the DM has done some fudging but hasn't thought about how often he's been doing it and a bit of feedback to the DM should be appreciated.

Scarab Sages

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"Fudging" dice rolls is sort of a gray area and frankly should only be used by experienced GMs. It should be sort of like the saves on those singing elimination shows, where you get only one per season. There are times when it is completely appropriate IMO to fudge things.

I will say this though, I cannot recall the last time I fudged on behalf of the monsters. I usually only fudge if one player seems to be getting piled on by Lady Luck and is starting to get emotional or unhappy about the situation. Is it really so much better to have a player quit or be unhappy over having a bad day in order to "preserve the integrity of the game"? Losing an arm, getting level drained twice and having your super magic sword shattered in the same game session has happened (thank you, nasty crit and fumble deck combined with caryatid columns and wraiths). He is a great player, but honestly I couldnt blame him for being deeply discouraged. One more crit I felt would have been one too many that particular day.

I don't roll in the open for the same reason that I laugh at players who try to recite for me the saving throw bonuses of monsters from memory during a game, Im the GM. I am creating a world where my #1 job is to make sure that everyone at the table has a good time, or at least as good a time as they will allow me to provide them without cutting into anyone else's good time.

Rolling behind a screen is more a force of habit and preference after 20+ years than some driving need, but I think the main thing is trust...if you make your players distrust you, or they you, then there is a problem. If you have a problem, you can't be having a good time. Ergo, trust in inherently required to enjoy the game.

Scarab Sages

As far as witch hexes, assuming the greatest offender is the slumber hex, it is relatively easy as a GM to keep it challenging. If it is too effective and bothers you as a GM, just add a few more mooks to the game, who can kick the sleeping NPC to wake him up. Or you can just let the witch be one of the buttkickers of the party instead of the wizard or barbarian.

to the OP: If you are feeling frustrated with the situation, bear in mind that regardless of what he says, GMs are human and have prejudices. I know one GM that hates illusions and not only do they never work, they get ignored sometimes. Outside of that, he is a terrific GM. Should I quit his game and go somewhere else? Maybe, if I only like playing illusionists. Point is, I am NOT going to roll up an illusionist in his game.

You might try seeing if he will let you swap hexes or roll a different character if you are feeling thwarted and singled out intentionally.


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I don't like fudging die rolls in the exception of extreme cases. If the fudging is happening rampantly, you should either change your class or find another game.


What are the other pcs playing? Do any of them seem to be suffering this problem?


I do fudge dice, but normally only if a random crit would cause a truly catastrophic result. And even then, I generally only do it for the first few levels, where a crit can push towards TPK. Once the PCs have a feel for their skills, and a few hp under their belts, I generally don't fudge anything. I'm much more apt to remove rolls in non combat situations if someone roleplays something out very well.

As far as the PCs crushing an encounter or a BBEG with good tactics or unique uses of abilities, I LOVE that! I tend to almost get more excited about them doing it than they are. "you try what?? HELL YEAH that'll work!"


Can I re-roll on fudge..cause I love fudge. :)


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Talking about fudging dice:

As a GM, I tend to only fudge dice in the players' favour, though I have been known to sometimes turn a miss from a monster into a hit, just to keep the players on their toes.

My "rules for fudging", which I've never actually discussed with anyone, are as follows:

1) Do not fudge a foe success if it will risk random PC death. Only fudge foe success to make an encounter feel more threatening.

2) Fudge damage, not hits. It is better for a PC to be dropped to 1 hp by a faked damage roll than killed by the real result. If they choose to keep fighting, that's their problem.

3) One fudge per foe per fight. This rule is pretty loose, and very rarely matters, and only applies to rule 2. I will save a character once from a foe that turns surprisingly deadly.

4) Do not EVER fudge dice against PC actions. If a PC hits, he hits. If a foe fails a save, he fails a save. If my encounter sucks, I designed a bad encounter. Don't punish the players for my failings.

5) If it doesn't matter, don't fudge. Fudging should only be used to help the story, and to keep players engaged at the table. If it does neither of those things, it shouldn't be done.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Yeah, I fudge rolls as a GM all the time. I have an obligation as a GM to the entire group to present a cinematic story and if your twinked out min-max horror has unbeatable save DC's and destroys any climactic encounter with that, I will do my best to preserve a sense of danger and adventure for the sake of the campaign.

Not saying that the OP is doing that, but I've run into this problem in the past and it deeply colors my perceptions of the necessity of fudging dice rolls. That players do not understand that attitude is okay, but they don't have to deal with the realities of GM'ing, which is that you are supposed to lose, but you have to do it elegantly.

To clarify, I use fudging the dice when I need to keep an encounter going for a round or two more and the villain would be dropped instantly by some spell. Of course I let most spells succeed when they should, but if I feel that this fight and the story overall would benefit from the villain having left an impression of competence instead of going out like a chump, I find it more to the benefit of the players to shake their belief in their superiority a bit, instead of just giving them another stack of overconfidence.


The Crusader wrote:

Three things:

1. Do you know your opponents save bonuses? How do you know? Are you metagaming out of the bestiaries? Is it possible your DM is using non-standard versions of creatures?

2. DM's roll dice constantly. Are the dice hot? Or is he simply making the rolls against the saves? How much coincidence are we talking, here?

3. Are you only using Save or Suck spells/hexes? How about debuffs or damage? Is he making saves against other characters' abilities/spells/etc.?

Q4E


Oh man, talk about fudging rolls in a player's favor...

CSB:
I once had a massive hot streak as a GM. Party of 5 level 2's against a group of 5 hobgoblins. A decent fight, but nothing really major most of the time. But if I hadn't fudged rolls almost from the outset, I would have caused a TPK on round 2. 4 crits on round 1 rolled near max damage and dropped the paladin and the wizard both. Another crit on round 2 hit the barbarian and very nearly dropped him, which would have left a rogue and an Eberron artificer standing. Every round after that I rolled at least one crit threat, and rather than wipe the party out I stopped rolling confirmations, saying they all failed to confirm, and would fudge damage rolls instead. The fight lasted a good 7 rounds or so, and I made the last two hobgoblins run off at over half health, but the party was almost completely beat.

I don't like using a screen, so I tend to roll everything out in the open, and everyone saw every roll I made. The wizard's player was sitting right beside me, and he took my main d20 and made me roll with a different one after that fight. The new one didn't roll as high, but the other guy couldn't get the d20 he took from me to perform its miracles for him.

Anyway, fudging is part of what a GM does, be it out in the open like I did, or in secret like so many others will do. As Magnuskin said, it's all a part of making the story engaging. If you're walking up and basically one-shotting everything that the GM throws at you, you should expect him to fudge some things, be they dice rolls or stats.

Sovereign Court

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EDWARD DEANGELIS wrote:
As a Gm I have often dealt with this issue and if you are fighting boss or mini boss in my game who is meant to be rough. He is never going to fall asleep to a witch slumber hex unless he is almost dead. I might roll a 1 but he will pass anyways. Normal encounters I don't care if all the creatures fall asleep, no big deal.

Did you tell this to players before they made characters?

If I made a witch, assuming that the GM was going to play by the normal rules, and I got this instead, I'd feal cheated. If the GM told be about it upfront, I'd consider if I really wanted to play a witch. But if I then made a slumber witch, I wouldn't complain about it, because I knew about it from the start.

===

I pride myself on not fudging. I like to think that I'm really good at guesttimating the danger level the PCs can cope with. If the party scrapes through a major fight just barely, without me scaling back or forth anything, I feel a GM triumph.

But SoD can get in the way of that, true. There are several general strategies available;
- discourage SoD powers. Can feel needlessly restrictive, especially for non-major fights. And really, any high-level martial PC's attack routine against a lesser monster is also a one-shot kill attack.
- understand the SoD powers of the PCs and make sure encounters can cope with them. Don't have a solo BBEG against a slumber witch; give him a sidekick to wake him with a kick. If the PCs manage to maneuver the sidekick so they can slumber the BBEG without the sidekick waking him up, that's fine: that's not a one-hit kill anymore, that's a checkmate after several moves. That's good.
- use Intrusions. Openly admit to the players that you're fudging a die roll because it's just Too Soon. The Witch's player feels a bit of success because you admitted that he made a powerful move. Also, he gets some sort of reward - I'm thinking a Hero Point is appropriate. But the encounter goes on. Because the witch got a reward, he did achieve some advantage with his SoD power.

I've been in one game where the BBEG came down to us, started a villain monologue, and one PC started a full attack that killed the BBEG instantly. Whereupon the GM said "No, that's not happening.", rolled back the round, and had the BBEG finish telling us just what his plan had been all along. And afterwards we all agreed that it was the right call. (The BBEG ended up owing us a favor which came in quite handly later on.)

I can cope with this honesty. A GM who says "he didn't make his save, so I'm using an Intrusion" is okay with me if it's for the good of the story. A GM who tells me he's playing it straight but is actually lying - that's not okay.

The problem with fudging is that it's not balanced towards the players. It's easy and very tempting to fudge a saving throw. It's much harder to fudge an incoming to-hit roll if a previous roll with a lower to-hit did hit. Classes with SoD abilities seem to face a disproportionate amount of fudging in these stories.

That's like a barbarian actually being what it says on the tin, but the witch not being what it says on the tin. Players can't make a decision on what they'd enjoy playing if half the classes aren't as described in the book the players are choosing from.

You gotta be honest about what you're doing as a GM.


I didnt read all of this but I roll all my dice out in the open because the guy I played with gmed for 10 years always did it. So thats how I thought it was done. I do arbitrarily add feats to my enemies. Im in a game with a witch and I joke that all my enemies have iron will. And hes a good witch who doesnt even have slumber. Misfortune is bad enough.

By rolling out in the open and refusing to fudge rolls I do however fall into the trap where I make a Boss only to see it get facerolled by round 3 with mediocre rolls. At the same time. Ive seen Tuyawera suffocation zombies nearly TPK a group with some incredible rolls from me and bad rolls from pcs.


It's why I like a hero point mechanic. Give them to important 'name' plot critical npcs as well as the pcs. Then the pc's can spend them to fudge their own rolls to prevent death and they are just another resource. And I can use them to fudge the main villain's rolls in the exact same manner to prevent his easy death by bad roll. And I don't have to fudge or hide it. You can just SAY 'he's spending (a) or (his) hero point and move on. The player, instead of having me fudge to save him can fudge his own rolls by spending that resource. Done. Move on.


Unruly wrote:

Oh man, talk about fudging rolls in a player's favor...

** spoiler omitted **

Anyway, fudging is part of what a GM does, be it out in the open like I did, or in secret like so many others will do. As Magnuskin said, it's all a part of making the story engaging. If you're walking up and basically one-shotting everything that the GM throws at you, you should expect him to fudge some things, be they dice rolls or stats.

Yeah, I had to fudge a lot last session.

Cyclops barbarian is in a cell, players harass cyclops and cause it to enter rage. It breaks free. Attacks party with the giant metal door of its cell. The crits start flying, and the players can't roll even minor hits for many rounds.

I had to fudge it that it didn't kill 2 of the party of 4, this was with a door. The players rolls were terrible, the doom of doors was upon them!

So they got roughly handles, but lived thanks to the fudges and on they went.

Now making player's spells fail over and over by fudging saves, that seems really off to me. I wouldn't do it. If you spend a lot of time on your athach hero, and the players go through it with spell, blade or arrow, deal with it. Then move on.

The thread starter knows something is up, because eventually cheating is exposed by ridiculous percentages. It is how I caught a cheating player (his average attack was 17 on d20 over 6 games, what a liar).


RDM42 wrote:
It's why I like a hero point mechanic. Give them to important 'name' plot critical npcs as well as the pcs. Then the pc's can spend them to fudge their own rolls to prevent death and they are just another resource. And I can use them to fudge the main villain's rolls in the exact same manner to prevent his easy death by bad roll. And I don't have to fudge or hide it. You can just SAY 'he's spending (a) or (his) hero point and move on. The player, instead of having me fudge to save him can fudge his own rolls by spending that resource. Done. Move on.

Hero Points in the wrong hands can totally wreck an encounter. They can move initiative order around, grant spells, ugh. I Dominated a fighter only to have the cleric heropoint prot evil and ruined it.


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This is a funny table thing. I am the type of the DM that puts story before mechanics and may fudge a roll so that the Monk PC doesn't die that session because the culmination of his character's story arc may happen later that night. Or, maybe I have a villain that I think is critical as a recurring NPC and may survive the hold person I rolled a 3 on for a saving throw.

But I have also played in tables where I don't even bother memorizing save or suck spells, because unless I cast it on a 1st level Warrior Orc guard, I may as well just say I pass on that round. I found it much more worth my time to cast straight damaging spells.

I think there is a distinct difference between fudging a roll at a pivotal moment in the campaing to invest in a large pay-off for the story later on and having a DM basically "cheat" because he/she doesn't like how powerful your character is.

Edit: I am very reluctant to fudge the roll to allow NPC's to pass certain saves though, as a PC taking out an enemy with a powerful spell can make a player's day, or session...or campaign even.

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