How much cheating do you tolerate?


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Whether you're a GM or a player, at some point in your gaming career you will encounter a cheater. Cheating may include fudging dice rolls, altering character sheets mid game, having illegal builds, and more.

Sometimes, the cheating in accidental, like a person making a mistake on a character build. Sometimes it's intentional, but beneficial to the game, like a GM fudging dice rolls to keep a character alive or to enhance the story. Sometimes it's just someone who wants to have the "best" character and is hoping you won't notice.

I informally surveyed some of my friends and have received responses ranging from "I dont tolerate it at all and the person needs to be confronted by the GM or the group" to "if a person really has to cheat in order to enjoy the game, then so be it."

What's your toleration limit? How do you deal with it - as a player or a GM? If your response is, "It's the GM's job," then how do you deal with it when the GM either doesn't deal with it or is too afraid to confront the cheater? What do you do if the person cheating is the GM? Is it different than if the person cheating is a fellow player?

How much cheating do you tolerate?


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Cheating... None.

But we all make mistakes, and that is why I am open to being corrected as a GM and also audit my players characters regularly.

I also roll in the open for everything and even have my players do most "Secret Rolls". This is all the result of conversations around the table where we decided what we wanted as a group.

We also do use 20 PB and hero points to make games slightly less swingy.


i personally can accept accidental/misinformed 'cheating' (i will usually correct them and that's that), and i'm even willing to roll with a player who does so for the sake of drama (i'll tell them i'm keeping an eye on them).

i can even handle a bit of metagaming--i'll assume the party automatially relays info as they get it if possible, unless that info is very pertinent to a character keeping it secret--i.e. the dhampir doesn't want people to know their lineage. really egregious stuff (like using info a character the next town over learned because they overheard my sidebar with them) gets a hard warning.

when it goes into them doing so solely to 'win' at the game, then they get one warning and then a very swift banhammer if they do so again.

there's exceptions of course, but yeah.


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Anyone cheating is missing the point.

Why cheat? We all know the outcome. Playing this game is like watching the movie Titanic - in the movie you know the Titanic is going to sink. You know the outcome. All you're watching for is to see the conflicts, the drama, the heroics along the way.

This game is the same. We all know the outcome. The PCs are going to find the BBEG and kill him and take his stuff. They'll save the world, save the day, save the cheerleader, maybe even save the Titanic - whatever the plot is, they'll succeed. That's how stories work.

We're all at the table to create that story. The GM creates part of it, the players create part of it, it all comes together to be fun and entertaining. But even if the players don't know exactly how it will end, they know generally that it will end with them being the heroes who save the day.

In a game like that, who needs to cheat? It's pointless.

That said, if a player needs to cheat to have fun, I don't really interfere too much unless it gets ridiculous or it annoys other players (reducing their fun). As long as we're all having fun and the story is being told, then it's all tolerable.

I suppose there are other games where it's more adversarial. PVP games, or PvsGM games, where cheating is a survival necessity (or at least it might seem that way to people who are inclined to cheat). In those games, it would be much less tolerable, but I don't play that way and judging by these and other forums, games like these are very rare.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Come on use Spoilers, not everyone has seen The Titanic yet :-)


If it's accidental I'll fix it. If it's intentional cheating I'll make a query of where they found an option or why they have/can do something. But if it's not over the top or disruptive to the GM or others then it's not really causing an issue. But if anyone does has a problem with it that I'll side with them.


This question comes up because - as a player - I recently audited another player's character sheet. Now this other player is an experienced player. He's played in at least 20 different Pathfinder campaigns as far as I can tell.

Yet when I audited his character, I was amazed at how many things were wrong. Wrong point buy, wrong saves, too many skill points by far, too many spells memorized, stacking same type bonuses, claiming bonuses without having the ability, etc...

When I brought it up to the GM, he tried to do something about it, but this GM is really bad at confrontation and the player just kind of ignored the GM. So I stepped in.

After announcing every little thing wrong with the character to the entire group the player got mad at me for doing something that was the job of the GM. He didn't like that another player would look at his character sheet.

I'm wondering here - was I in the wrong for speaking up? Surely, all these errors isn't just a simple mistake from such an experienced player. This has to be cheating, right?

So I decided to bring it up to my friends, and when one responded with "if someone has to cheat to have fun, then so be it," I decided to bring the question to the forums to see if my anti-cheating attitude is antiquated.


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I would simply leave the table if cheating were to be tolerated.

I don't care about "the story" or whether my character dies or not, what I want is the most accurate simulation of what would happen if given magical characters were presented with given situation. But hey, maybe the obscene amount of time I spent playing Europa Universalis and Crusader Kings might be finally starting to show. :)


If it is an accident I dont consider it cheating. I know the rules pretty well, and I had 2 or 3 mistakes after doing a self-audit last week.

To get back to the question I don't like cheating. As a GM I will bring it up, once I am sure it is no longer an honest mistake. As a player I will do the same thing. GM's do fudge dice rolls, and I don't like it, but I understand it. What I don't like from a GM are favortism, and surprise rules, especially since I ask every GM for any house rules before I join. If they forgot to mention one, I expect to know about it later, so it does not affect my build in a negative manner. If the player or GM continues in this type of behavior we will not game together.

Bookrat: Normally certain duties fall to the GM, but everyone in the group has some responsibility to uphold the social contract of the group, so I don't think you were wrong. If he is not going to follow the rules then nobody else should be obligated to do so, but I am sure the cheating player would not like that.

edit: I don't consider GM's fudging dice to be cheating unless it is against the social contract of the group, but I do consider random surprise rules cheating unless notified up front that he will be running a game like that. In that case however I will just not join the game.


As a GM I "cheat" all the time to make the game the exact level of challenging I want it to be. I run premade APs and don't have the time to modify everything in advance so I will generally fudge rolls from time to time beyond adding the advanced simple template to basically everything (party optimization is decent and most parts of most APs aren't written to be very challenging). So to make it more thrilling for my players and myself I up the challenge. I usually consider a "boss fight" to be successful if I can knock someone out, but not kill them.

As a player I try to avoid cheating as much as I can (though I do sometimes to forget to apply penalties for things). From my fellow players I accept the same. Fudging rolls every once in a while I will turn a blind eye to. Trying to power game hard and using very loose interpretations of the rules pisses my off. A lot. I play with a person who always has to have the best character at the table. He can't be shown up by anyone.

It bothers me quite a bit, and I've confronted him about his loose rules interpretations a lot and we've been through a lot of arguments. He never changes and neither do I. I would actually prefer he not play with the group, but I just deal with it and occasional have a argument with him over it.

C'est la vie.


We have a player that ALWAYS power builds. And essentially makes a one-person-party capable of EVERYTHING (dps, heal, magic, trapfinding) and also immune to everything (SUPER high saves, AC, BAB, etc.) and that sorta annoys me as a player only because my personal play style is to ALWAYS consider: "Could I destroy this party if I needed to?" because I too am a power gamer.

The problem I have is that he does ONE thing that is relatively sketchy. He rolls his dice on his lap-top which without ANY variation at all causes the dice to land in between the keys of his keyboard... which then translates to him picking the number that is best out of the two that appear (because the 20 sided die doesn't precisely fit between the keys of a keyboard)...

So basically he ALWAYS rolls somewhere around a 15 because he can select the greater of two possibilities and when adding something that statistically high to his already overwhelming stats (which are actually built in an accurate or DM approved way) creates this f*ing demi-god with unparalleled potential that succeeds at everything and fails at nothing and why doesn't that toon just do the mission themselves!

So... I have no advice. Just commiserating. The players mostly roll in a relatively secret way- one uses an app, one a dice holder, one a ceramic bowl. I roll mine on the table in plain view- but I also seem to be the only adult capable of such a feat without the dice flying all over the place...

So- I guess I am saying- I tolerate an indefinite amount of cheating. LOL


GM cheating is meaningless. One player arbitrarily decides on the size of the forces. Players cheating is fundamentally the same thing as putting on the game master's hat. Player cheating is wrong because it changes the nature of the activity from group immersion to group story telling.

I just ask the players to take a vote. Would you like to play a story telling exercise instead of Pathfinder? If the answer is no, I kick the cheater out if they do it again.

The only problem with GM cheating (or changing the rules mid game) is that if a player detects it, it creates a breach of the fourth wall that spoils immersion. If the players don't care about immersion, again, you can play a story telling game and forget the tedious rules. GM cheating isn't a problem in that the game is "less fair" because it was already unfair in a power balance sense.

Sovereign Court

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bookrat wrote:


After announcing every little thing wrong with the character to the entire group the player got mad at me for doing something that was the job of the GM. He didn't like that another player would look at his character sheet.

And criminals don't like it that the police have the audacity to arrest them.

This sounds like blatantly cheating - not just mistakes (which is totally different - we all make those from time to time... even me!). Frankly - it was the GM's job to step in - but when he didn't step up to the plate - you took the swing instead.

Good job.

He needed to be called out.


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bookrat wrote:
I'm wondering here - was I in the wrong for speaking up?

Absolutely not. Everyone in the group is playing in the game, and players need to 'police their own' - the DM isn't solely responsible for that (and may not even need to be responsible for it at all), since everyone is playing the game. Everyone might have different views on the matter. (And, I'll reiterate: IMO, players need to step up to the plate and be just as responsible about things in general.) AFAIC, you were right to do so. (Though it still might not be "cheating" - some people really are that incompetent.)

With that said, the group dynamics could be different, so it might work differently for your group (doesn't sound like it though - just because a single player thinks something "was the job of the DM", doesn't mean it actually is).

Quote:
So I decided to bring it up to my friends, and when one responded with "if someone has to cheat to have fun, then so be it," I decided to bring the question to the forums to see if my anti-cheating attitude is antiquated.

I doubt your view is antiquated.


Most errors on a character sheet come from not understanding how to level up. I'm running a game for 6 people now, 5 of which are in their first campaign. When they level up, they are always forgetting things and making mistakes:

Not raising their BAB

Not picking the new spell

Not adding a stat bonus

Not adding HP

When they made their characters, people would miss things like adding their STR to their BAB or their CON to their HP.

When people cheat, they have higher HP, higher strike, more gold worth of magic, spells off the wrong classes spell list at a lower level - that's all s&*% you kind of need to know something about the game to "do wrong." No one just adds more to a stat because they don't know what they are doing.

Sovereign Court

It depends on what you view the GM's role is.

If the GM is nothing more than an anthropomorphic computer that lays out the holy scripture that is the rulebook(s) without regard to circumstances (aka, the "Player, May I?" paradigm), then cheating is pretty harmful to the game on either side of the GM screen.

I personally don't subscribe to that view. I think that almost nothing done on the GM side of the screen is cheating (aka, the "GM, May I?" paradigm). With special regard to Pathfinder, page 402 of the CRB even addresses the appropriateness of GM "cheating". So I'll focus my comment upon cheating done on the player's side of the screen.

Not every instance of doing things the GM forbids is a deliberate, insulting act against the GM. I've GM'd for some 34 years now and one of the universals that apply to every game, not just Pathfinder, is that most cases of player cheating aren't "deliberate" in a willful sense. Once someone has a vested interest in something, they see it a different way. It's human nature, and should be expected.

For example, when someone says they "forgot" that you can't stack same-type bonuses, they usually did actually forget. They'd remember if someone else does it (as did the OP in his example) but they deluded themselves into honestly thinking they found a way to stack these bonuses. A simple correction is all it takes in these cases; it doesn't have to become a federal case. (this is one of the advantages of the "GM, May I?" paradigm: rules arguments are short and settled with "Because I said so.")

Same is true, by the way, of "misreading" dice results. Players will rationalize a reason why they get to reroll a die (it was "cocked") or magically report a "5" as a "15" result, and so on. It's less malice than self-delusion. However misreading dice is pretty black and white stuff, and is harder to give the benefit of the doubt. Proactive policy is the best medicine in this arena: require all (player) die rolls to be out, wiiiide out, in the open. It's not as important that the GM sees it as it is the other players. A GM doesn't need to be the "bad guy" and question the integrity of a roll when the other players at the table will leap to do so.


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What's in the box? wrote:
The problem I have is that he does ONE thing that is relatively sketchy. He rolls his dice on his lap-top which without ANY variation at all causes the dice to land in between the keys of his keyboard... which then translates to him picking the number that is best out of the two that appear (because the 20 sided die doesn't precisely fit between the keys of a keyboard)...

Dude!

That guy would get shouted down and shamed so hard at my table. That is some childish, shady crap right there. He wouldn't last one full session before he was booted permanently from the gaming table.

-----

To the OP -

Cheating? I have next to zero tolerance for actual dishonest cheating.
Accidental miscalculation? One can't really be that upset about it. Just correct the error and move on.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

deusvult wrote:

It depends on what you view the GM's role is.

If the GM is nothing more than an anthropomorphic computer that lays out the holy scripture that is the rulebook(s) without regard to circumstances (aka, the "Player, May I?" paradigm), then cheating is pretty harmful to the game on either side of the GM screen.

I personally don't subscribe to that view. I think that almost nothing done on the GM side of the screen is cheating (aka, the "GM, May I?" paradigm).

In my experience, the former has often led to headscratch moments and sometimes slightly boring games. The latter has produced the most infuriating, un-fun, will-actively-avoid-that-GM-in-the-future games I've ever played.

The former is less than ideal. The latter is terrible, something akin to a disease within the hobby.

The most fun games I've played in are ones where everyone at the table is equal, acting like normal people playing a game together instead of one side or the other needing to feel empowered by having someone else ask their permission to do things.

With healthy people, you get neither of the situations you described. My condolences that you've not yet found such a group.


Cranefist wrote:

GM cheating is meaningless. One player arbitrarily decides on the size of the forces. Players cheating is fundamentally the same thing as putting on the game master's hat. Player cheating is wrong because it changes the nature of the activity from group immersion to group story telling.

I just ask the players to take a vote. Would you like to play a story telling exercise instead of Pathfinder? If the answer is no, I kick the cheater out if they do it again.

The only problem with GM cheating (or changing the rules mid game) is that if a player detects it, it creates a breach of the fourth wall that spoils immersion. If the players don't care about immersion, again, you can play a story telling game and forget the tedious rules. GM cheating isn't a problem in that the game is "less fair" because it was already unfair in a power balance sense.

This is not true. GMing cheating is pretty much just as bad because a player's strategy depends on it. If you're going to allow a GM to fudge a die roll every now and again you have to tolerate from the players; even if the GM does control the other elements of the game.

Ultimately there are different kinds of cheating: 1) systemic cheating; 2) occasional fudging. I am a lot more forgiving of the second. If I am going to change the rules of the game behind the "screen" (I don't use a screen) I make sure the players know it too. It's both story and game. Characters should be built according to rules, for the most part players should be trustworthy. I don't mind the occasional indiscretion, but systematic cheater I would talk to and hope they were just misunderstanding the rules in its build.

But generally speaking what's good for the player is good for the GM.

Sovereign Court

Jiggy wrote:
deusvult wrote:

It depends on what you view the GM's role is.

If the GM is nothing more than an anthropomorphic computer that lays out the holy scripture that is the rulebook(s) without regard to circumstances (aka, the "Player, May I?" paradigm), then cheating is pretty harmful to the game on either side of the GM screen.

I personally don't subscribe to that view. I think that almost nothing done on the GM side of the screen is cheating (aka, the "GM, May I?" paradigm).

In my experience, the former has often led to headscratch moments and sometimes slightly boring games. The latter has produced the most infuriating, un-fun, will-actively-avoid-that-GM-in-the-future games I've ever played.

The former is less than ideal. The latter is terrible, something akin to a disease within the hobby.

The most fun games I've played in are ones where everyone at the table is equal, acting like normal people playing a game together instead of one side or the other needing to feel empowered by having someone else ask their permission to do things.

With healthy people, you get neither of the situations you described. My condolences that you've not yet found such a group.

You're equating "cheating" with doing detrimental things to the game. Obviously GMs can abuse their power, and that's not even what I was talking about. GMs can abuse their position whether or not they "cheat" in ways the players may not. Bad GMing is a completely distinct concept from methods of GMing.

If you've never found a GM who was able to prioritize your own enjoyment of the game experience over the sanctity of what's written on pages of text, then you truly haven't enjoyed everything the RPG hobby has to offer you.

My condolences to YOU that you've never found such a group.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

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To the OP:
Mistakes are not cheating. Deviations from the rules, if everybody's on the same page, are also not cheating.

Cheating is when everybody agrees to X, and somebody deliberately goes outside X in order to make things go how they want.

It might be that there's an explicit agreement to go by printed rules but somebody takes a feat (on purpose) that they don't qualify for because they want to have an ability sooner or on a different character.

It might be that there's an assumed agreement that the save mechanics work a certain way, but the GM calls a different result than those mechanics would produce because he wants the fight to last longer.

I have zero tolerance for either.

Why? Because the difference between "cheating" and "houserules" is honesty.

If a player says "I'd really like to have this feat even though I don't qualify" and the group decides they're fine with it, that's a houserule, not cheating. But if the player either doesn't trust his friends enough to have that conversation, or doesn't respect them enough to abide by what the group decided, then he's cheating, and he's a jerk.

If a GM says "I'd really like the BBEG fight to last a little longer, could we leave out the save-or-sucks?" and the group agrees, that's a houserule, not cheating. But if the GM either doesn't trust his friends enough to have that conversation, or doesn't respect them enough to abide by what the group decided, then he's cheating, and he's a jerk.

I'll make all kinds of allowances for people who ask. But if you try to simply take, then you're being a jerk, and I'm not okay with people treating me like that.


Create Mr. Pitt wrote:
Cranefist wrote:

GM cheating is meaningless. One player arbitrarily decides on the size of the forces. Players cheating is fundamentally the same thing as putting on the game master's hat. Player cheating is wrong because it changes the nature of the activity from group immersion to group story telling.

I just ask the players to take a vote. Would you like to play a story telling exercise instead of Pathfinder? If the answer is no, I kick the cheater out if they do it again.

The only problem with GM cheating (or changing the rules mid game) is that if a player detects it, it creates a breach of the fourth wall that spoils immersion. If the players don't care about immersion, again, you can play a story telling game and forget the tedious rules. GM cheating isn't a problem in that the game is "less fair" because it was already unfair in a power balance sense.

This is not true. GMing cheating is pretty much just as bad because a player's strategy depends on it. If you're going to allow a GM to fudge a die roll every now and again you have to tolerate from the players; even if the GM does control the other elements of the game.

Ultimately there are different kinds of cheating: 1) systemic cheating; 2) occasional fudging. I am a lot more forgiving of the second. If I am going to change the rules of the game behind the "screen" (I don't use a screen) I make sure the players know it too. It's both story and game. Characters should be built according to rules, for the most part players should be trustworthy. I don't mind the occasional indiscretion, but systematic cheater I would talk to and hope they were just misunderstanding the rules in its build.

But generally speaking what's good for the player is good for the GM.

Fudging is the absolute worst because it destroys any point to any decision the players make or any stat they have. "My 50% chance to climb goes up to 100% if my character will die from the fall. 5' off the ground I fall on my butt, 100' off the ground and my hand slips for one round or I get a sudden +5 bonus for finding a hand hold."

I hate fudging more than anything. What a waste of time. I'd rather my character die from a bad roll so if I realize the GM is fudging I just phone it in the rest of the game and then quit the next session.

I like for the things described by the GM to be concrete and for there be "real things" to roll dice on and for decisions to have solid consequences based on the dice. On the other hand, the GM shouldn't be bound by any rules regarding what he writes down.

An example I like to give is that I wrote up some mercenaries that were involved in a battle for a game I was running. Their shtick was coming from the culture with the finest archers, so I made them all 1st level but let them shoot arrows as if 4th level fighters.

One of my players got mad about it and started quoting me the rules. I told him he was right and corrected it by raising their saves and HP to be appropriate for 4th level fighters. He STFU after that.

For that matter, when a GM decides how he should like a spell to work, why should he be bound by the spells in the book. If it isn't the same, then you can just imagine that the wizard casting it wrote it himself and it isn't in the book.


Accidents in math happen. Correct them and move on, no harm done. Ideally you do that without getting confrontational or starting an argument, but people are people. As long as the mistake is corrected we're good.

What happens behind the GM screen is generally cool. If I have to fudge a roll downward to keep a PC alive because they're level two and rocket tag is still a thing, cool. About the only issue I have with GM policies is changing the rules in the middle of a session or reversing a previously-standing ruling arbitrarily. That is to say, if a GM wants to tell me that, oh, Dazed creatures can't make Reflex saves, that's fine. Don't tell me that and then change your mind strictly because I grab Dazing Spell and throw it on Fireball, whip this combination out halfway through the session, and then you don't like it. If you change your mind because you actually looked up the rules and discovered you were wrong? That's fine (and there are probably better examples than that, that's just the first example that popped into my head).

Skype is my current gaming platform, so we have little in the way of options for publically-rolled dice, but it's not all that hard to keep at least a rough track of how people roll. If I did notice a statistically significant tendency for one player to roll drastically above the others, I'd just work on switching to a venue like roll20 that solves that concern. Problem solved. That said, "statistically significant" is a key point; I'm talking over a couple hundred rolls.

Deliberate cheating, I have no patience for. I'm a liberal enough GM that the player would do better off just talking to me, and the same is true for my GM when I'm a player.

In your specific situation Bookrat: you're good in my book.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

deusvult wrote:
If you've never found a GM who was able to prioritize your own enjoyment of the game experience over the sanctity of what's written on pages of text, then you truly haven't enjoyed everything the RPG hobby has to offer you.

Where did you get the idea that I've never found such a GM? Why does the fact that I don't like GM cheating mean that the only GM's I've found are treating text as sacred? There are lots of GMs who are NEITHER the "GM, may I?" type you described NOR trying to preserve the sanctity of the text. The fact that you seem to think those are the only two types of GMs is mind-boggling.

You really haven't been the same since that dhampir paladin ruling didn't go your way. It's as though that one experience of what you thought was an airtight rule in your favor getting overturned, shattered your rules-oriented worldview and convinced you that the final sovereignty of the GM is the only way to go, and launched you on some kind of crusade to show everyone the evils of RAW (seriously, people don't describe rules with terms like "sanctity" or "holy scripture" unless they're on a mission to demonize).

I liked you better before. I'd like you even more if something would break you out of this new mold so you could settle into something more moderate and reasonable. :(


deusvult wrote:
Jiggy wrote:
deusvult wrote:

It depends on what you view the GM's role is.

If the GM is nothing more than an anthropomorphic computer that lays out the holy scripture that is the rulebook(s) without regard to circumstances (aka, the "Player, May I?" paradigm), then cheating is pretty harmful to the game on either side of the GM screen.

I personally don't subscribe to that view. I think that almost nothing done on the GM side of the screen is cheating (aka, the "GM, May I?" paradigm).

In my experience, the former has often led to headscratch moments and sometimes slightly boring games. The latter has produced the most infuriating, un-fun, will-actively-avoid-that-GM-in-the-future games I've ever played.

The former is less than ideal. The latter is terrible, something akin to a disease within the hobby.

The most fun games I've played in are ones where everyone at the table is equal, acting like normal people playing a game together instead of one side or the other needing to feel empowered by having someone else ask their permission to do things.

With healthy people, you get neither of the situations you described. My condolences that you've not yet found such a group.

You're equating "cheating" with doing detrimental things to the game. Obviously GMs can abuse their power, and that's not even what I was talking about. GMs can abuse their position whether or not they "cheat" in ways the players may not. Bad GMing is a completely distinct concept from methods of GMing.

If you've never found a GM who was able to prioritize your own enjoyment of the game experience over the sanctity of what's written on pages of text, then you truly haven't enjoyed everything the RPG hobby has to offer you.

My condolences to YOU that you've never found such a group.

I would argue that not having a GM who can uphold the rules and still deliver a great game is something everyone should experience. Any GM can ignore the rules, and I know from experience you don't have to be great or even good to do that.


On the issue of GM's fudging saves to make boss fights last longer:

As I said I know it happens at certain tables. As a GM I dont like it when my boss is one-rounded, but I accept it as part of the game. As a player, I really do not want my turn to be wasted because the GM wants the fight to last longer. Personally I can impact the game just without using SoD/SoS spells, but I would still prefer to know he fudges up front so they will make up a much smaller amount of my spells.

PS: I don't tend to use SoS/SoD spells anyway because I prefer to do things that are more likely to be effective.


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I'm pretty diligent about screening my players. I tend not to invite people I don't really like, or see eye to eye with, so honestly, I don't worry all that much about players cheating.

As DM, though, I'm usually very careful not to. The BBEG always has rules-legal abilities, strict WBL, and mooks allowable under his Leadership score, for example. NPCs' skill points and other stats are carefully derived. Dice are rolled in the open, no fudging from me. Etc. My rationale is that the DM already has enormously wide areas of creative control; he/she shouldn't need to cheat with the rules on top of that.

Sovereign Court

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Jiggy wrote:
deusvult wrote:
If you've never found a GM who was able to prioritize your own enjoyment of the game experience over the sanctity of what's written on pages of text, then you truly haven't enjoyed everything the RPG hobby has to offer you.
Where did you get the idea that I've never found such a GM? Why does the fact that I don't like GM cheating mean that the only GM's I've found are treating text as sacred? There are lots of GMs who are NEITHER the "GM, may I?" type you described NOR trying to preserve the sanctity of the text. The fact that you seem to think those are the only two types of GMs is mind-boggling.

Well, in order to keep posts from becoming gigantic walls of text, I leave most assumptions as being "safe to assume". In this discussion, I thought that one of those was:

Games where everyone is mature and treats each other with respect are the best. There's an agreed-upon ideal middle ground between "Player, May I?" and "GM, May I?". But when the balance can't be kept, which is the better resolution? I say GM fiat.

So, yes, I totally agree with you there. We disagree, apparently, about what should be done in those situations where the ideal is not met.

Quote:
You really haven't been the same since that dhampir paladin ruling didn't go your way. It's as though that one experience of what you thought was an airtight rule in your favor getting overturned, shattered your rules-oriented worldview and convinced you that the final sovereignty of the GM is the only way to go, and launched you on some kind of crusade to show everyone the evils of RAW (seriously, people don't describe rules with terms like "sanctity" or "holy scripture" unless they're on a mission to demonize).

Well, since they did actually change the rules to say what they say they meant, there's nothing to be sore about anymore. I was sore about the hypocrisy, which has now been addressed. If anything I take a perverse pride in their changing the rule as an admission that I was "right" in the first place.

But, since you brought up that episode, I do indeed think it stands as a lesson about how "canon" isn't necessarily "right". Canon is generally acceptable for use to describe the rules, but you take issue with my use of "holy scripture" and "sanctity"? I don't mean to malign you, but, there's hypocrisy again. Please, take my pointing this out as just pointing it out rather than making some statement about your integrity, as none is intended ;)

Quote:
I liked you better before. I'd like you even more if something would break you out of this new mold so you could settle into something more moderate and reasonable. :(

Well, I'm not so sure there's a "new" mold in play. I don't know you personally, but I'd wager it's likely I've been GMing various games (fairly continually, I'd add) since before you were even born. If that's not a correct guess, it's been a very long time at any rate.

As I agreed eariler, it's best if issues in the game are handled maturely and with respect. I suspect you didn't really get much past my post you had issue with beyond my saying "I think that almost nothing done on the GM side of the screen is cheating".

Just because chicanery isn't "cheating" doesn't mean it isn't harmful to the game. Nor do I condone any and all activities just because "they're not cheating". You appear to think that I WAS condoning the worst sort of behavior that you called "a disease upon the hobby".

I think we're agreeing on 90+% of how things should be done. When it comes to the corner cases is where we diverge. And I'll clarify that I think when reasonableness and respect can no longer resolve a rules issue, the GM not only can but should just solve it via fiat (the "I said so" resolution).

I said in my post that given decades of experience, GMs should give players the benefit of the doubt. I'll add in this post that when players and GM can't come to an agreed upon compromise in the heat of the moment, the best way to resolve the game is to just have the "I said so." put it back on the rails. If a player's dissent is THAT important, the GM should be mature enough to recognize coming back to the issue and re-addressing it outside the mid-game "heat of battle". GMs are just as human as players, and equally prone to deluding themselves into seeing what they want to see.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

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Kirth Gersen wrote:
As DM, though, I'm usually very careful not to. The BBEG always has rules-legal abilities, strict WBL, and mooks allowable under his Leadership score, for example. NPCs' skill points and other stats are carefully derived. Dice are rolled in the open, no fudging from me. Etc.

Heh, I'm running a 5E PbP right now, with a party picked from an open recruitment thread. I announced in the first post of said thread that I owned only the PHB, and therefore all the "GM stuff" like monster stats and environmental effects and so forth would all be shamelessly pulled out of my arse.

We're having a blast. :)


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One other point re: OP; it's the GM's job to adjudicate. If you think a fellow player has something wrong, I would speak to them privately or speak to the GM privately. Calling them out in middle of a game or in front of the table is pretty obnoxious. So is cheating. But one does not invalidate the other. Discretion is always a good a choice.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

deusvult wrote:
But, since you brought up that episode, I do indeed think it stands as a lesson about how "canon" isn't necessarily "right". Canon is generally acceptable for use to describe the rules, but you take issue with my use of "holy scripture" and "sanctity"? I don't mean to malign you, but, there's hypocrisy again. Please, take my pointing this out as just pointing it out rather than making some statement about your integrity, as none is intended ;)

...Huh? What about canon? How is this a reply to me? I didn't say anything about canon, and I don't know what you're trying to communicate here. It looks like you're ascribing the stance of "canon is generally acceptable for use to describe the rules" to me, comparing it to my dislike of your sarcasm about rules, and claiming there's a hypocrisy there... but since I didn't say anything remotely like that, I don't see what the hypocrisy is. Did you accidentally leave a sentence out of your paragraph or something?

Silver Crusade

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bookrat wrote:
I'm wondering here - was I in the wrong for speaking up? Surely, all these errors isn't just a simple mistake from such an experienced player. This has to be cheating, right?

Everyone makes mistakes.

When other players point out a mistake that I made, I thank them.

I am an educator by profession. I have seen my share of cheating. My strategy has always been to give people the benefit of the doubt when talking to them about it, and let them respond.

Spoiler:
"Hey, I know you put your books away before the test, but your notes are still out. Can you put those away too, please?" When its a stupid mistake, the student says something like "Oh, oops! I'm so sorry." When it is more than that, they write letters to administrators complaining that I've falsely accused them of cheating, and they've never been so insulted, and they demand I apologize in writing immediately.

That is the strategy I would use when talking to other players. "Hey, I think you accidentally counted your deflection bonus from your ring of protection and your deflection bonus from your Smite Evil at the same time. They don't stack." Or, "Hey, how are you casting fireball? Aren't you a fighter 1/wizard 4? Did you count Magical Knack as adding spell levels too? Sorry, it doesn't work that way."

I would not use the word "cheat" at all. If they respond with hostility (which is different than disappointment) or tell me that it isn't my place to make rulings, then I tell them that the GM's job is to make the game run. They are there to provide the narrative, and control the actions of all of the non-player characters in the world. It is up to everyone at the table to make sure the rules are being adhered to.

I also would not play again with a player who is unable to be told that they've made a mistake.

Sovereign Court

Jiggy wrote:
...Huh? What about canon? How is this a reply to me?

Walls of text obfuscate. That's why I try (but often fail, I admit) to keep posts succinct.

That bit was directly irt:

Jiggy wrote:
"seriously, people don't describe rules with terms like "sanctity" or "holy scripture" unless they're on a mission to demonize."

I was pointing out that my use of "sanctity" and "scripture" is exactly like the generally acceptable use of "canon".

Silver Crusade

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Create Mr. Pitt wrote:
One other point re: OP; it's the GM's job to adjudicate. If you think a fellow player has something wrong, I would speak to them privately or speak to the GM privately. Calling them out in middle of a game or in front of the table is pretty obnoxious. So is cheating. But one does not invalidate the other. Discretion is always a good a choice.

A lot of players operate under the assumption that it is solely the GM's job to catch any rules mistakes the players might make, either intentional or not.

That is assumption is false.


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wraithstrike wrote:
If it is an accident I dont consider it cheating. I know the rules pretty well, and I had 2 or 3 mistakes after doing a self-audit last week.

Indeed. I don't really count it as cheating unless someone's intentionally breaking the rules. I mean, with as many rules as a game like Pathfinder has, I'm pretty sure everyone's made their share of mistakes at some point.

As for actual cheating, I tend to not be too bothered by it as long as it's non-disruptive. If someone brings a massively overpowered and illegal build that disrupts the game, I'd be annoyed. Another player fudging their roll when they're hit with a save-or-die honestly wouldn't bother me all that much.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

The Fox wrote:
Create Mr. Pitt wrote:
One other point re: OP; it's the GM's job to adjudicate. If you think a fellow player has something wrong, I would speak to them privately or speak to the GM privately. Calling them out in middle of a game or in front of the table is pretty obnoxious. So is cheating. But one does not invalidate the other. Discretion is always a good a choice.

A lot of players operate under the assumption that it is solely the GM's job to catch any rules mistakes the players might make, either intentional or not.

That is assumption is false.

Wait, do you mean the assumption that catching rules mistakes is the GM's only job, or the assumption that the GM is the only one whose job it is to catch rules mistakes?

Sovereign Court

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Jiggy wrote:
The Fox wrote:
Create Mr. Pitt wrote:
One other point re: OP; it's the GM's job to adjudicate. If you think a fellow player has something wrong, I would speak to them privately or speak to the GM privately. Calling them out in middle of a game or in front of the table is pretty obnoxious. So is cheating. But one does not invalidate the other. Discretion is always a good a choice.

A lot of players operate under the assumption that it is solely the GM's job to catch any rules mistakes the players might make, either intentional or not.

That is assumption is false.

Wait, do you mean the assumption that catching rules mistakes is the GM's only job, or the assumption that the GM is the only one whose job it is to catch rules mistakes?

I presume he means he's saying it's ok for players to call each other out on perceived shenanigans.

I totally agree, at least in the case of die-rolling. I think it's possible to cross the line and become be a bit over-zealous/presumptuous in players auditing each others' modifiers, but generally I view such cross-checking as a healthy thing.


I frequently find mistakes on a given player's character sheet, point out the error, make corrections and move on - it happens all the time, but I don't consider that cheating.

Honestly one of our former players distinctly cheated on a regular basis, even abrupting his own dice rolls by stopping the dice from bouncing around with his hand, closed around the dice and state "I rolled a 20". I find those who cheat, cheat all the time, and throughout game play not just on their character sheets. When I find players like that, they become former players at least for our group.

All other instances of "cheating" are generally misunderstandings of some rules and thus misusing their stats, skill points, feat usage, etc - these are mistakes not cheats, and I have no problems with that.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

As a GM I fudge rolls from time to time. Sometimes it is because I screwed up and the encounter was tougher than I planned. Sometimes it is because I think a success would add dramatic tension. I do certainly try to make sure I don't 'pick' on anyone particularly or invalidate any characters, whether I succeed on that or not I don't know. My players do see to have a good time.

I have encountered players who I believe are cheating, and frankly, unless they are disrupting other players fun, I don't care that much. Some of them have had other personality issues (which may have been related to their desire to cheat) and that might cause them to be removed from our gaming, but cheating on a to hit roll or save isn't a big enough deal for me to even worry about. Of all the problems in a group, this seems like a very minor one to me.

I will say though, that it does seem to me that this hobby tends to attract people who are a bit on the obsessive compulsive side of the spectrum, and clearly those people would be likely to be greatly bothered by other cheating players, so to an extent that a group has some of those type of players, even a GM that isn't bothered by it personally might have to deal with the issue seriously.


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The Fox wrote:
Create Mr. Pitt wrote:
One other point re: OP; it's the GM's job to adjudicate. If you think a fellow player has something wrong, I would speak to them privately or speak to the GM privately. Calling them out in middle of a game or in front of the table is pretty obnoxious. So is cheating. But one does not invalidate the other. Discretion is always a good a choice.

A lot of players operate under the assumption that it is solely the GM's job to catch any rules mistakes the players might make, either intentional or not.

That is assumption is false.

Actually, if you bothered reading my entire short post, my point was it was better to call out potential rules violations with discretion whether through the GM or a one-on-one conversation with the fellow player. A lot of people assume that calling someone out on character sheet problems in front of the table is not rude and obnoxious.

That assumption is false.


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bookrat wrote:

After announcing every little thing wrong with the character to the entire group the player got mad at me for doing something that was the job of the GM. He didn't like that another player would look at his character sheet.

Yeah, he was right, you were wrong. First, you should have discussed it with him. Then the DM. Once the DM did nothing- that's exactly what you should have done. Or- walked.


wraithstrike wrote:

If it is an accident I dont consider it cheating. I know the rules pretty well, and I had 2 or 3 mistakes after doing a self-audit last week.

Yeah, I often do my Character sheets by hand, and there's often errors*. No one really cares. No wait, we have one guy who obnoxiously points out what everyone has done wrong, and we had to make a rule no one can critique another persons character anyone, especially as at least two "BIG GLARING CHEATING ERRORS" were special secret DM boons, part of their society.

About 60% in my favor I found, my subconscious seems to like me, but yeah, a lot of errors were not in my favor at all.

Sczarni

There is a difference between misinterpreting something or miscalculating and outright cheating. Usually now, my errors are due to not exactly understanding class abilities and such.

In terms of dice rolls, simple fix: they roll out in the open in the middle of everyone and NO snatched and grabs. Any violation is auto 1 on the dice or auto last in initiative.


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Create Mr. Pitt wrote:
The Fox wrote:
Create Mr. Pitt wrote:
One other point re: OP; it's the GM's job to adjudicate. If you think a fellow player has something wrong, I would speak to them privately or speak to the GM privately. Calling them out in middle of a game or in front of the table is pretty obnoxious. So is cheating. But one does not invalidate the other. Discretion is always a good a choice.

A lot of players operate under the assumption that it is solely the GM's job to catch any rules mistakes the players might make, either intentional or not.

That is assumption is false.

Actually, if you bothered reading my entire short post, my point was it was better to call out potential rules violations with discretion whether through the GM or a one-on-one conversation with the fellow player. A lot of people assume that calling someone out on character sheet problems in front of the table is not rude and obnoxious.

That assumption is false.

It is not really objectionably right or wrong, but the manner in which you do so can be wrong. "

Not rude: "Hey if you use rapid shot and deadly aim those penalties stack".
Rude: WTF is wrong with you. Stop cheating. You know rapid shot and deadly aim both subtract form your attack total.


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I figure that most errors are unintentional. It's the nature of an error. And I figure that most people - when an error is made - wouldn't get angry at it being pointed out (publicly or privately). And for the record, I've had my own errors pointed out while giving a presentation to hundreds of people. So to point out an error in front of 5 or 6 people is really nothing.

But I also expect someone experienced in this game to not make different errors throughout the entire character sheet. I mean, we're all human; we make mistakes. I would expect a couple of mistakes here and there. But this one character had at least 15 different errors - from stacking same type bonuses to choosing two archetypes that replaced the same ability to claiming bonuses from abilities he didn't have and lots more. Almost every single different section of the character sheet had an error. Saves were wrong, attacks were wrong, stats were wrong, archetypes were wrong, spells were wrong, familiar was wrong, skills were wrong. I understand an error; but when you're supposed to have 15 skills points, how is it an accident when your character sheet has nearly 30? How is it an accident to have a higher point buy then everyone else and then when asked about it, the player responds "there's no mechanical difference between those two scores, so I figured it didn't matter"?

For a bit of background, this same player, during character creation, kept trying to convince the GM that his house rules shouldn't apply because RAW says something different.

And for the record, I have not called this player a cheater or have made any accusation against him in the game. All I've done so far (after the GM failed to get it corrected) is list the errors I've found and have asked for it to be corrected.


bookrat wrote:


For a bit of background, this same player, during character creation, kept trying to convince the GM that his house rules shouldn't apply because RAW says something different.

Not following the rules in the point is the point of having house rules. Is he trying to say the GM should never use houserules?

If so it is probably because he has found a way to abuse a rule in a book, and a specific house rule is not in his favor. However he knows better than to go after that specific rule because it would be to obvious.


wraithstrike wrote:
bookrat wrote:


For a bit of background, this same player, during character creation, kept trying to convince the GM that his house rules shouldn't apply because RAW says something different.

Not following the rules in the point is the point of having house rules. Is he trying to say the GM should never use houserules?

If so it is probably because he has found a way to abuse a rule in a book, and a specific house rule is not in his favor. However he knows better than to go after that specific rule because it would be to obvious.

He wasn't against house rules in general. He was against a very specific house rule, and it was very obvious to all of us that he was against it because the RAW version was more powerful. And it's not like a house rule came up in the middle of the game; this was a house rule set before character creation as part of the rules for the campaign.

In fact, during character creation and after the argument over house rule vs RAW, someone caught him trying to use the RAW version instead of the house rule. When they asked him about it, he responded, "oh, I didn't know we were still using that rule."

Silver Crusade

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Jiggy wrote:
The Fox wrote:
Create Mr. Pitt wrote:
One other point re: OP; it's the GM's job to adjudicate. If you think a fellow player has something wrong, I would speak to them privately or speak to the GM privately. Calling them out in middle of a game or in front of the table is pretty obnoxious. So is cheating. But one does not invalidate the other. Discretion is always a good a choice.

A lot of players operate under the assumption that it is solely the GM's job to catch any rules mistakes the players might make, either intentional or not.

That is assumption is false.

Wait, do you mean the assumption that catching rules mistakes is the GM's only job, or the assumption that the GM is the only one whose job it is to catch rules mistakes?

I meant the latter, many people assume only the GM is allowed to catch rules mistakes. That assumption is false.

Of course, the former—that the GM's sole job is to catch rules mistakes—is also false. ;)


bookrat wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
bookrat wrote:


For a bit of background, this same player, during character creation, kept trying to convince the GM that his house rules shouldn't apply because RAW says something different.

Not following the rules in the point is the point of having house rules. Is he trying to say the GM should never use houserules?

If so it is probably because he has found a way to abuse a rule in a book, and a specific house rule is not in his favor. However he knows better than to go after that specific rule because it would be to obvious.

He wasn't against house rules in general. He was against a very specific house rule, and it was very obvious to all of us that he was against it because the RAW version was more powerful. And it's not like a house rule came up in the middle of the game; this was a house rule set before character creation as part of the rules for the campaign.

In fact, during character creation and after the argument over house rule vs RAW, someone caught him trying to use the RAW version instead of the house rule. When they asked him about it, he responded, "oh, I didn't know we were still using that rule."

I figured it was one specific rule he was trying to get rid of.


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I try and give the benefit of the doubt when I can, but I don't care for people who cheat at the game. I'll give a warning, in private, about what behavior is causing a problem and let them know that I'm not interested in excuses or what ifs, just please don't do it again. If it is a mistake, let's not do it again. If it's on purpose, don't do it again.

We had some bad cheating back in the old, old days when you colored in your own dice (remember that?) For people who missed those halcyon days, you'd have a d20 with 0-9 repeated twice, and you'd color them two different colors to indicate 1-10 and 11-20.

One player, who was problematic to begin with, tended to color all his dice in shades that you couldn't tell apart on a bet. He always seemed to manage to get an inordinate amount of high numbers and 20s. Or even better, his dice hit the floor and wouldn't you know it, high number.

We bought him some dice, colored them ourselves and told him he could roll in this box on the table and no where else. He stopped playing soon thereafter.

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