Cheating gm?


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Is that really possible?

I offended if gm doing that !

Like make my spell too useless. Or make my damage small.

There is a rule about that in gm guide book. But when I find out. I feel angry.

I hate cheated :(


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Yes, but it really depends on the social contract of the group.

Mostly the GM makes all the rules, and most groups have an understanding that the rules will work a certain way unless they are told they will change.

Other groups don't care about the rules as much.

I would ask the GM does he intend to always go by the rules. I would also ask him to let you know about any rules he plans to ignore.


wraithstrike wrote:

Yes, but it really depends on the social contract of the group.

Mostly the GM makes all the rules, and most groups have an understanding that the rules will work a certain way unless they are told they will change.

Other groups don't care about the rules as much.

I would ask the GM does he intend to always go by the rules. I would also ask him to let you know about any rules he plans to ignore.

She didnt tell the rules.


wraithstrike wrote:

Yes, but it really depends on the social contract of the group.

Mostly the GM makes all the rules, and most groups have an understanding that the rules will work a certain way unless they are told they will change.

Other groups don't care about the rules as much.

I would ask the GM does he intend to always go by the rules. I would also ask him to let you know about any rules he plans to ignore.

She didnt tell the rules.

Only the basic ones.


If your DM's not playing fair, or is giving you the shaft, talk to them. They may not be meaning to. If you do, and things don't change, find a new DM, or DM yourself and show them how to play fair.


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There are two types of cheating.

I GM often (not PF, but various other games). If my players are having a bad night dice-wise, but aren't doing anything wrong, the NPCs/Monsters/etc. will start "rolling" low as well. If a player's dice are getting very lucky (as in, I think he's cheating, but can't prove it) his opponents will have similarly high rolls.

In the former case this is about not killing a player character because their dice have decided to take the night off. In the latter, the player is walking through situations without challenge - which is rather boring. So, I'm just keeping it challenging.

Another cheat I'll use is to adjust NPC stats (up or down) if I realize they are not suited to the players. (As in too powerful, will kill the players, drop his stats a couple points to make it a fair fight).

Then there is the other type of cheating.

Planning encounters specifically to target and kill a PC is technically legal. But my, isn't it incredible that the NPC in this one room are exactly what is needed to take out a fighter, rogue, wizard and cleric (or whatever the party is made up of), and have a John-Bane Sword+3?

If the enemy has been watching the party, and has prepared for a fight on their terms, then this is not entirely unreasonable. But a random encounter? No, that is poor GMing.

Also, the GM always has the power to say "rock falls everyone dies." Player says "I make reflex save, 59" the GM replies "rock is the size of Rhode Island, no save". Player says "I have 500,013 HP and Regenerate 15. Oh, and immunity to Rocks" GM can still say "your dead." The GM is god at his table.

So fudging dice rolls as GM in order to "win" is lazy and a sign of a poor GM.

The GM's job is not to win. It is to make sure everyone at the table is having fun. If he is the only one having fun, he is doing it wrong. If he is deliberately making the game not fun for a player, for no reason, he is doing it wrong.

What would be a good reason? If the player is cheating, and the GM doesn't feel comfortable confronting him outright? Maybe. If there is no other option. If the player is making every one else miserable, and the GM doesn't want to confront him? Also, maybe. Both circumstances would actually be better for a group discussion, or for a one on one. Or even just asking the player to leave.

But if the GM is playing dirty for his own benefit? Talk to the other players. See if they agree. Maybe talk to him as a group. Or just don't go back.

Final thought though: I've had situations where the encounter was one my character was useless in. It happens. If you are playing an Air Elementalist Sorcerer, and the monsters are immune to electrical damage and has a high SR, you are pretty screwed. I'm citing a personal example there. I literally could do nothing in that encounter. Except, I discovered after the fact the GM was in error on a ruling. Not deliberately, but he assumed a class feature was a spell or spell-like ability and subject to SR, when it was actually a Supernatural ability and would have been useful (for as many times as I could use it). But the point is, the GM wasn't out to get me, it was just an encounter that was bad for my specific character.


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No GM can cheat.
The GM is right the rules are wrong.


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Alright, the discussion is moved. So, first let's get the context.

What was being discussed is called "fudging". This means changing numbers (in this case, dice rolls or statistics) with the goal of some sort of beneficial outcome.

The "pro fudge" side feels that a GM should not be bound by the dice and should be allowed to change them if it would result in an undesirable situation. "It's no fun if the party is wiped out at the first goblin because they can't roll above a 2 and the goblin is only rolling 20s."

The "pro transparency" side feels that the achievements of their characters are cheapened if the results of their dice are not respected. "If we're going to win no matter what I do, why should I even roll?"

Neither side is right or wrong, it's a preference (like rocky road versus mint chocolate chip). There's also a spectrum inbetween, and a variety of other forms of fudging (spreading attacks around the party, not having animals run off with a party member, etc.).

Which version is right for you is something you'll have to decide on your own. The much harder part is getting a clear answer from your GM. It's generally easy to tell if they roll in the open versus rolling in secret, but other forms of fudging are much harder to notice.


Bob Bob Bob wrote:

Alright, the discussion is moved. So, first let's get the context.

What was being discussed is called "fudging". This means changing numbers (in this case, dice rolls or statistics) with the goal of some sort of beneficial outcome.

The "pro fudge" side feels that a GM should not be bound by the dice and should be allowed to change them if it would result in an undesirable situation. "It's no fun if the party is wiped out at the first goblin because they can't roll above a 2 and the goblin is only rolling 20s."

The "pro transparency" side feels that the achievements of their characters are cheapened if the results of their dice are not respected. "If we're going to win no matter what I do, why should I even roll?"

Neither side is right or wrong, it's a preference (like rocky road versus mint chocolate chip). There's also a spectrum inbetween, and a variety of other forms of fudging (spreading attacks around the party, not having animals run off with a party member, etc.).

Which version is right for you is something you'll have to decide on your own. The much harder part is getting a clear answer from your GM. It's generally easy to tell if they roll in the open versus rolling in secret, but other forms of fudging are much harder to notice.

It's not always just about the rolls.

PC: I cast earthquake to take down the keep.
DM: Won't work. NPC Wizard casts earthquake the keep crumbles.
PC: Wait... he's a wizard...
DM: He used wish / uber artifact / ability that's nowhere in the rulebook.
PC: And why is his earthquake working mine isn't?
DM: It's a special earthquake / mythic whatever/ his god buddy taught him.

And that's where you give up cause you can't look up the 500 rules.

I won't even go to getting killed in one hit from npc the same class and level as you, or not rolling saves cause the DMs characters have youll-never-get-this-DC.

I'm all "pro-transparency" and of late I'm even "pro-can-I-see-that-guys-stats-and-abilities". DMs should set clear rules in advance and go by them or state that the rules don't apply for both DM and players. If DM seems like he's "cheating" change groups.

And since I'm ranting I would also like to know what abilities an npc has to overhear a conversation I had after I cast silent table or what wis and perception they had to overhear me three rooms down in a crowded inn. Rant over :)


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Thunderrstar wrote:

No GM can cheat.

The GM is right the rules are wrong.

Ah ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha NO.

There are bad GMs - cheating - all over the place. A GM is supposed to adjudicate the rules; he doesn't make them up, or change them on a whim. He doesn't decide that his NPCs are super-powerful, can do things the players couldn't even if they'd chosen all the right methods, etc. He doesn't make an unkillable, unescapeable foe (unless that's what you signed on for, or knew was coming and went towards it anyhow). A GM who ignores what you do, ignores reasonable arguments, ignores RL examples of mundane tasks, simply says that 'X happens', consistently violates the rules (i.e. Game World Physics) in favor of his villian or his GMPC, or whatever, is not only not right, he's a bad GM, and should be beaten about the head and shoulders with as many copies of the Pathfinder rulebook as the players can manage to get their hands on.

A good GM sits down, plans out his plotline, creates his scenarios and his encounters, then starts the players down the road. He then handles the curve-balls the players throw at him, lets them choose to turn left at the fork instead of turning right (which according to the original plan would lead them to Set Piece Encounter #3, vital to the plot), and simply rearranges how the players run into Set Piece Encounter #3.

The Babylon 5 RPG has a great GM's aide to plot design. I don't recall specifically how they described them, but basically you create 'structure encounters', to which the plot needs to go in a specific sequence no matter what happens (the murder happens before the body is discovered), 'unstructured encounters', to which the plot can go (and which are very relevent and useful in figuring out the plot) in any order at all, and 'sideline encounters', which can help people out on personal goals, be interesting, give information on other things, or which may serve to turn the characters back towards one of the other prime encounters, but which don't have to be plot-critical.

The key thing, though, was flexibility - be able to put 'they discover the body' in where-ever place they decide to go. It doesn't help the plot if the body HAS to be in the Count's Bedroom if they've chosen to go hunt in the woods five miles off; make it so that the Count is tied into the corpse (a scrap of cloth of a type the Count is known to favor is in the corpse's hand, and on investigation it fits precisely to the gap torn in the Count's bedsheet) without requiring a place, time, or whatever.

Or, in short, to be a flexible GM.

Bad GMs will cheat. And lie. And screw players over. Bad GMs are playing against their players, and not doing what they're supposed to be doing - telling an engaging story, or rather, enabling their players to discover and tell an engaging story.

It's the hardest lesson to learn. Once learned, it's the easist thing to do.


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Thunderrstar wrote:

No GM can cheat.

The GM is right the rules are wrong.

You obviously did not read my first post or could not comprehend it.

I will try again. There are game rules, and the rules of the social contract for that group. By stepping outside of the social contract the GM can cheat. Rule 0 does not cover the social contract, only the game rules.


wraithstrike wrote:
Thunderrstar wrote:

No GM can cheat.

The GM is right the rules are wrong.

You obviously did not read my first post or could not comprehend it.

I will try again. There are game rules, and the rules of the social contract for that group. By stepping outside of the social contract the GM can cheat. Rule 0 does not cover the social contract, only the game rules.

+1

It's things you need to discuss with your GM.

In my group for example, i told them i was playing by the rules. I never fudge rolls (always roll in front of them), respect my NPC abilities (i can "forget" to use some feats tho like power attack when the monster is scary enough) but when i start an encounter, my troll isn't going to hurt them less because one player is down.

I only hide scenario roll like random encounters etc (in Kingmakers right now, last week they roll trolls encounter in chapter 2. I was not going to throw them 2d4 trolls in the middle of the night, with fog and no visibility so i made it 3 trolls for APL 5). They survived it and told me this was to easy (good ol'masochist players).

I made this clear with my players, if they are going to have bad luck dices and i will crit so be it. S!+~ happens in life too and i try to keep my games close to real life.
And if my BBEG is gonna do horrible rolls and get caught in the first encounter, then i will adapt the scenario.

Same for Healing spells, one player is down and get healed? Boy you better not get down again or this will be for good this time.
Hard rules but it helps keep the tension bacause my players know that i will kill them with no regret if it comes to it. On the other hand you have to be very careful with what you confront your players with. And prepare for some post-TPK scenario eventually.


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Alright, so please take note of where I say "in this case, dice rolls". I'm just talking about the specific discussion that spawned this thread. I even mentioned later that there are other forms of fudging (who monsters attack and how they behave).

As many others have said, you need to talk to your GM to find out what they do. It's just a playstyle difference. Some people are okay with the GM fudging. Others are vehemently against it. Some GMs will also reserve the right to fudge while generally rolling in the open. As I said, it's a spectrum from "I make up all the dice rolls" to "All rolls out in the open, let the dice fall where they may". Again, neither is wrong, though one may be wrong for you. Personally, my level of fudging tolerance is directly related to the GM. One of them I'd trust with completely secret rolls (not that he does that). The other I regularly double-check what he thinks the rules are, as I need to.

Now, if you're looking for how to identify a fudging GM, we can go all Jeff Foxworthy on this.

If all of your party members get a hit with the same number (and different modifiers)... you might have a fudger.
If you make a save or suck caster and they always save... you might have a fudger.
If every time you get a bonus to hit the GM adds a bonus to AC for the monsters... you might have a fudger.
If monsters always make a save on a 10... you might have a fudger.
If your Stealth roll works exactly 50% of the time... you might have a fudger.

...sadly, every single one of those was something I've seen people complaining about.


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I don't fudge rolls at the moment. I have in the past though, depending on what the players wanted at the time.

However, my fudging has pretty much always been in the players' flavor. The "fudging is anti-player" perspective is strange to me (especially since the DM can do that anyway by just putting in a tougher monster from the get go). I think a DM who fudges to screw you over isn't going to run a great game even if you stopped that behaviour. The mindset is the issue - the fudging is just an enabler, IMO.


Steve Geddes wrote:

I don't fudge rolls at the moment. I have in the past though, depending on what the players wanted at the time.

However, my fudging has pretty much always been in the players' flavor. The "fudging is anti-player" perspective is strange to me (especially since the DM can do that anyway by just putting in a tougher monster from the get go). I think a DM who fudges to screw you over isn't going to run a great game even if you stopped that behaviour. The mindset is the issue - the fudging is just an enabler, IMO.

Basically, yeah. But it's the double whammy of "people remember negatives more than positives" and the fact that the first time people notice fudging will be when it's screwing them in some way. If the GM tells you you hit, you don't question it too hard. If the GM tells you you miss when you hit last time with the same number, you question real hard. Probably more frequently it's "no, that doesn't confirm a crit", but the basic idea is the same. So people who have been burned by bad GMs (who also happened to fudge) are going to link those and remember it more strongly than any positive instances. Also, if the GM does their job right the players shouldn't even notice the fudging, so players probably aren't going to have memories of good GMs fudging for the player's benefit.


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I fudge when I GM.

Have been doing it since 1988 and will keep doing it until I'm done GMing. If a players asks if I fudge I'm up front about it, if they don't like it, they don't have to play.

There is a reason why every DMG, GMG, and STG has encouraged it from day one.

Why do I fudge?

Well there are a number of reasons, but the overall goal is to make things fun for the players.

Some examples:

In a low level group, they are near the start of an encounter, the party Cleric was just hit by a human bandit with a short sword. There was a critical that confirmed.

The Cleric has 11 hp. 8 from level 1, 2 from con bonus, 1 from FCB.

He took a hit earlier and is currently at 8 hp. The hit he just took is a critical that confirmed. The first damage roll was 5 +1 for strength bonus, so 6. The second, for the crit, was 7.

That is 13 damage. Though if he goes down here and now the party is going to have to stop because they have no way to heal until he wakes up.

I might fudge this in 2 ways.

1. I may tell the players, "The short sword bites deep into your abdomen, you can feel your clerical vestments growing heavy with your spilled lifeblood. Take 7 damage."

2. I may let the Cleric go down, only to have one of the enemies have a CLW potion in his gear.

----

Here is another one:

The party will find 4 encounters in this cave area, which is near the end of session. One player has mathematically deduced (read: read a guide) what the best save or Suck spell at this level (4) is and has memorized 4 of them.

Encounter 1 went as follows: Wizard goes first, casts AoE SoS spell. All enemies blinded. Group steamrolls.

Encounter 2 went as follows: Wizard goes second, casts same AoE SoS spell gets 3 of the 4 enemies in range. They all fail. (They need a natural 20 to succeed, the first group couldn't succeed with a Nat 20) the group kills them without anyone taking a hit, again, as the blinded enemies flail around ineffectively. The non-Wizard players are starting to get annoyed visibly.

Encounter 3 goes: Wizard goes first. Casts the same darn spell again. Gets 3 out of 5 in range. The Fighter player across the table mutters, "Does your character even know any other spells?" Players mop up the enemies and proceed forward. Players are noticeably frustrated at this time.

Encounter 4: The players encounter the "big bad" who is a Sorcerer and happens to have the same spell. I fudge the initiative roll allowing the Sorcerer to go just before the Wizard. Sorcerer readies to counter spell. Player casts the same spell again and the Sorc makes the Spellcraft and successfully counters it.

Wizard player's jaw drops. He's never been counter spelled before. The Fighter's player laughs and says, "Dude, I think he just called you out." The Rogue's player snickers, "You going to sit here and let him do that?" The Wizard's player hurls a Cheeto at the Rogue's player, "Oh hell no I got something for this Joker. Just wait until my next turn."

Game goes on as normal. Wizard and Sorcerer engage in a series of back and forth spells while the rest of the party engages the minions.

The party wins. The players still laugh about that encounter to this day.

The encounter was a lot more fun for everyone than, "Oh no. You blind everyone again."

-----

Fudging is a tool. It isn't cheating. It's a way to help improve the experience.


As a GM, I have occasionally fudged things in the party's favor. One time, I was rolling for items in a settlement and nothing the party wanted was available, so I "accidentally" bumped the (digital) table and rerolled them. We got a more balanced result that time.


I fudge only to hasten things. Usually, it is having a creature a few hit points shy of death just immediately drop to 0, and claim the attack was enough to kill them. Or having a particular creature have some kind of item the party needs right now. I definitely never use it against my players, and forcing an encounter a particular way has gone badly in the past.

That said, I have also been on the receiving end of a fudged roll or two AGAINST me. And that soured the game for me with that DM quite a bit. We immediately proceeded to nearly get TPK'd in one particular instance. It was extremely anti-fun and one of the strongest reasons against ever fudging a result against players. Unless you have a silver-tongue and a perfect poker face, your players will also know immediately what you did behind the screen.

The Exchange

The GM needs to make the game fun. The players need to help them do this.

If they do that well (however they do it - playing strictly within a set of rules or guidelines or outside those - or heck, making it up as they go along) and they are enjoying themselves - they will continue to play the game. (and "they" are "we")

If they are NOT doing that (thru "cheating" or strict adherence to the "rules" or whatever), then they move on to something else - hopefully something that is fun, or at least more fun.

"Playground rules." If it's not fun, don't do it.

If you are not having fun (for WHATEVER reason), tell the GM. Tell the other players. Hopefully together you can work it out. This is likely going to require you (as a group or as individuals) to change "things" around. Be that changes to "rules", play style, environment, game time, people, or whatever...

Good luck! Hope things work out well for your game!


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Garbage-Tier Waifu wrote:

I fudge only to hasten things. Usually, it is having a creature a few hit points shy of death just immediately drop to 0, and claim the attack was enough to kill them. Or having a particular creature have some kind of item the party needs right now. I definitely never use it against my players, and forcing an encounter a particular way has gone badly in the past.

That said, I have also been on the receiving end of a fudged roll or two AGAINST me. And that soured the game for me with that DM quite a bit. We immediately proceeded to nearly get TPK'd in one particular instance. It was extremely anti-fun and one of the strongest reasons against ever fudging a result against players. Unless you have a silver-tongue and a perfect poker face, your players will also know immediately what you did behind the screen.

Yeah, those are common ones, I fudge a monster's death if it's already a foregone conclusion, especially if the encounter is running too long.

You do need a poker face, it's a skill that you pick up, when done right the party doesn't know you fudged.

The main way to do it and be subtle is to know what you can and can't fudge.

1. Never EVER fudge a static number. You can change a number on an enemy, like say, give them an 18 AC instead of a 15 AC, but once you set it, it's in stone. Players will notice when someone hits on a 15, but then somehow they miss on a 16.

2. Never fudge beyond what is possible. If the enemy has a +6 Reflex then you can't fudge a 28.

3. Never, EVER, fudge "to win" only fudge if you think it'll help the game. This could be for story purposes or to add challenge.

4. Fudge sparingly. Don't do it multiple times per encounter. Less is more.


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Thunderrstar wrote:

No GM can cheat.

The GM is right the rules are wrong.

Nope nope and nope.

The GM can (and is encouraged imo) to CHANGE the rules, including upfront changing to a more fast/loose type of game based on a more rule heavy system.

But the GM is still a player participating in the game, his character is The World and it is bound by its natural laws [aka rules.]


For myself:
As GM:
I at time's adjust my die rolls down. Why? Well often as a GM I roll very very well or very very poorly. Yes I have roll a nat 20 17 times in a row and I have rolled a 1 5 times in a row.

Players and what they expect:
At times the rules are set up so a player thinks things should happen in such a way and they do not because of something else that is going on.
ie in the earthquake example, maybe there is some sort of spell resistance going on unless you are of a specific class/race/alignment like in a temple or something such as the temple of God X resists being destroyed so an earthquake spell will not function in its surrounding area.

So there are often factors that the players may not know about in my game in which it dramatically affects how things happen and what can happen. (ie players think they are in a fantasy game but in reality they are in a VR game and wake up after 6 sessions and then the real game starts)

MDC


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kyrt-ryder wrote:
Thunderrstar wrote:

No GM can cheat.

The GM is right the rules are wrong.

Nope nope and nope.

The GM can (and is encouraged imo) to CHANGE the rules, including upfront changing to a more fast/loose type of game based on a more rule heavy system.

But the GM is still a player participating in the game, his character is The World and it is bound by its natural laws [aka rules.]

No. The GM is encouraged in even Pathfinder's GMG to fudge dice rolls.


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However, that fudging should be done in moderation. If the GM does it too much, he can seriously throw off the math of the game.

To take an extreme example -- it would be very bad form for a GM to consistently rule that a creature who was the target of a spell cast by a PC spellcaster with Spell Focus actually made his save if he failed by 1 or 2 points. By doing that, he has made the player's choice of a feat worse than useless.


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Obligatory links to Can you cheat at D&D? and its sequel, Can you Rudisplork at D&D 2: Sithsnape and the Orcus of Secret House Rules.


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HWalsh wrote:
kyrt-ryder wrote:
Thunderrstar wrote:

No GM can cheat.

The GM is right the rules are wrong.

Nope nope and nope.

The GM can (and is encouraged imo) to CHANGE the rules, including upfront changing to a more fast/loose type of game based on a more rule heavy system.

But the GM is still a player participating in the game, his character is The World and it is bound by its natural laws [aka rules.]

No. The GM is encouraged in even Pathfinder's GMG to fudge dice rolls.

Cite, please. Preferably in the form of a link.


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Fuzzy-Wuzzy wrote:
HWalsh wrote:
kyrt-ryder wrote:
Thunderrstar wrote:

No GM can cheat.

The GM is right the rules are wrong.

Nope nope and nope.

The GM can (and is encouraged imo) to CHANGE the rules, including upfront changing to a more fast/loose type of game based on a more rule heavy system.

But the GM is still a player participating in the game, his character is The World and it is bound by its natural laws [aka rules.]

No. The GM is encouraged in even Pathfinder's GMG to fudge dice rolls.
Cite, please. Preferably in the form of a link.

I believe he's referring to CRB Page 402 (Can't link because it's not on the PRD):

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-the spot 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!


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Fundamentally this comes down to whether the players want the GM to be a referee or a storyteller. Insofar as somebody wants to test their understanding of the interaction of mechanics against the rules of the game probably does not want the GM interacting either on or against their behalf. People who just show up to experience a fun story they have a part in the telling of, have to have faith that the GM as storyteller will make decisions that benefit the overall experience.

Now certainly there are bad GMs and GMs who make the wrong choice on a case by case basis, and that's not something I want to excuse. But I do want to point out that "throwing out situations where the players' preferred tactics don't apply so they have to do something else" is good GMing, and "what I want to do doesn't work" doesn't always mean that the GM is cheating. If a sorcerer just wants to throw fireballs at everything, having fire immune monsters make an appearance in the campaign is not unfair or unreasonable because sorcerers get a variety of spells, not just fireball.

I will say, 99% of the time I fudge dice it's on monster crit confirmation rolls, where the random ogre with the x4 weapon would have caused a low-level PC death at an unheroic juncture in the campaign. I have no problems killing PCs at narrative climaxes, where their deaths can serve as heroic examples, but against random mooks I'd prefer to overrule the dice from time to time. The real test is "how many resources do they have left when they fight the big bad" more than anything else.


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Firewarrior44 wrote:
Fuzzy Wuzzy wrote:
Cite, please. Preferably in the form of a link.
I believe he's referring to CRB Page 402 (Can't link because it's not on the PRD):

It's also possible he's referring to the Gamemastery Guide (also, to my knowledge not on the PRD):

Cheating:
Gamemastery Guide, p. 33 wrote:

Cheating

Though it's considered more polite to call it "fudging," cheating happens—sometimes a GM will be temped to alter a die roll to make the story go a certain way, or to save a player character from a blow that would kill them and knock a fun personality out of the game. Should the GM give in to the temptation to cheat? And if the GM is truly in control of the world, and making his or her rolls in secret—is it really cheating at all?

There are several schools of thought on the matter. On side says that the dice are there to assist the story, not determine it—if a GM needs to occasionally alter or totally fabricate some die rolls for the sake of making an encounter a perfect challenge for the players without killing them, then he's just doing his job. Others say it's the randomness which creates the realism and sense of danger, and that PCs who believe the GM won't let them die lose half the fun. And a third notes that the GMs who clearly cheat or have too many coincidences—the party's powerful new items always get stolen by sticky-fingered halflings, or villains being saved by miracle rolls when a player comes up with an unexpectedly effective strategy—undermine the players' enjoyment, and subtly encourage players to cheat as well.

Where you fall on the spectrum is a personal call, but if you do decide to fudge rolls for the sake of the game, it's best done in secret, and as infrequently as possible. And only—only—if it results in more fun for everyone.


I don't fudge rolls, instead I usually roll in the open. If something goes horribly wrong, there will be some way to deal with it.

However, I occassionally ignore rules in players' favor, e.g. concealment from dim light. Last session they won a close battle because I didn't notice the AoO vs. the first healing spell - and decided to ignore the further AoOs vs. the second and third. To be fair, throwing a CR 6 girallon at 4 3rd level PCs (without any battlefield controller) was rough.

On the long run, I hope to get rid of any rule bending and let them win tough encounters completely on their own.


Thanks! I like the GMG version better than the CRB's. That there are multiple schools of thought on the matter is important to note.

Can someone confirm my suspicion that PFS is at the "no fudging, period" end of the spectrum?


I like that the GMG calls it cheating. GM is running the game, there's nothing but the social contract stopping him.

Sovereign Court

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Fuzzy-Wuzzy wrote:

Thanks! I like the GMG version better than the CRB's. That there are multiple schools of thought on the matter is important to note.

Can someone confirm my suspicion that PFS is at the "no fudging, period" end of the spectrum?

PFS uses all the rules in the CRB excepting what they specifically exclude (e.g. crafting feats, cohorts, etc). The rules cited above on pg 402 of the CRB are not excluded in this way.

Of course, it's just as impprtant in PFS as in a house game for the gm and players to have compatible expectations. While a PFS GM has every right to invoke dice fudging, he needs to be cognizant of whether the players are used to having GMs that never do so. Much like invoking Rule Zero, a wise GM picks his battles. Just because you're right, it doesn't mean it's the wisest thing to do.


Every single GM that fudges, is not playing rpg anymore. It is a game no longer it is just interactive storytelling at that point. So if you advertised the activity as playing rpg, well then you are liar.

That is all fine and dandy if that is what you do for fun. It isn't what I do, and not being upfront about it(as in telling without anyone asking) in my opinion makes you horrible GM.


Here are two links about social contracts in the context of RPG groups:

Gnome Stew blog article on Social Contract

another one...


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Bigger Club wrote:
Every single GM that fudges, is not playing rpg anymore. It is a game no longer it is just interactive storytelling at that point.

This does not compute. Roleplaying games are nothing more than interactive storytelling and never have been. The rules are just there to prevent "bang, you're dead"/"no I'm not" arguments which could always be prevented through a correctly drafted social contract anyway.

I mean, Gary Gygax wrote the rules and he was a notorious fudger ("A GM only rolls dice because of the sound it makes"- Gygax) so it's not like "GM fiat" hasn't been part of this exercise since the very beginning.

You can say "I would prefer to play with a GM who is little more than a referee" and that's a valid desire, but people who play the game in a different way aren't "doing it wrong."


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My view of Pathfinder has always been that it's a cooperative storytelling game. The rules are guidelines, but can - and should - be changed if there's some kind of problem there. For example, a long streak of terrible roles ruining everyone's fun.


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I think fudging is fine when done to keep the party, or a great (Fun) PC from biting the bullet. There are times where it works well from a narrative standpoint to have a party member die, but many average fights are not that time.

On the other side of things, I once played with a DM who would try to kill party members (fairly, in most cases.) He would publicly declare when he was using the "Hand of God" to change a roll, and by his own rule, was only allowed to use a Hand of God once per [Session, if I recall.] It was actually fairly fun, and I didn't think it was unsporting at all. He always wrote encounters so that we could succeed, and he was up front about when he was giving the enemies a hand. Our Bard also made the enemy get a worse roll after a hand of God, which negated the advantage, and it was a good time all around.

It's all about how you fudge, not necessarily why. That said, I still think in most cases it should be done for the party's benefit.


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Steve Geddes wrote:

I don't fudge rolls at the moment. I have in the past though, depending on what the players wanted at the time.

However, my fudging has pretty much always been in the players' flavor. The "fudging is anti-player" perspective is strange to me (especially since the DM can do that anyway by just putting in a tougher monster from the get go). I think a DM who fudges to screw you over isn't going to run a great game even if you stopped that behaviour. The mindset is the issue - the fudging is just an enabler, IMO.

I think I can at least explain this.

For me, as a player and DM, I'm not a fan of fudging dice positive or negative. I prefer to follow the result of the dice and my actions and react with it. I don't run a story or plot per se, but rather situations and scenarios that organically rise from players' actions. So when a GM fudges my dice roll, whether it is to my benefit or not, I feel it somewhat cheapens the danger and consequences of my choices in order to protect the story. If my fighter dies to goblin arrow fire, I'm okay with that. That failure is part of the story and while losing a character can suck, at least he did the best he could and paid the price for living a life of danger. But if a GM fudged the dice to protect me from the consequences of my choice, I wouldn't be a fan of it. I don't want my characters protected so the story can flow, or to protect me as the player. It makes the victory that I achieve in the game hollow, because it was simply handed to me.

That is why I do not fudge dice, and I'd prefer it if GMs don't fudge my dice results. I feel my choices don't matter as much if victory or defeat is at the whim of GM fiat.

Now as a GM, if a player is having bad luck with rolls, I do offer my "Everyone Gets One" card where you get a quick success on something. It's still the player's choice if they want to use it, and no one really abuses it. Sometimes, getting five ones in a row can suck, so I do offer it. But my players rarely ever take it and I'm okay with it.


I think most reasonable people will agree that keeping a character from dying like a chump is a reasonable use of fudging.

The real question I had is whether the GM is justified in intervening when a player's ability would trivialize a seemingly climactic encounter.

I had this happen recently, we had finally gotten to the end of the dungeon, and my telekineticist was eager to try out her new "suffocate" wild talent she had acquired by a mid-dungeon level-up. She went first in the initiative order, used suffocate and spent burn, big boss (who was an evil wizard) went next and took a fort save in order to cast spells with a verbal component, rolled a 1 and was disabled and reduced to 0 HP, the next turn the archer finished him off. Fight over.

I personally kind of wished the GM *had* fudged there.


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Bigger Club wrote:

Every single GM that fudges, is not playing rpg anymore. It is a game no longer it is just interactive storytelling at that point. So if you advertised the activity as playing rpg, well then you are liar.

That is all fine and dandy if that is what you do for fun. It isn't what I do, and not being upfront about it(as in telling without anyone asking) in my opinion makes you horrible GM.

You're referring to a referee, not a Game Master. If you regard fudging as lying, you need to make your GM and fellow players aware of it. I, for one, regard that as an extreme view I would not want at my table.

The GM is an entertainer, not a computer. He or she should be free to create the most fun possible within the social contract. I'd be uncomfortable with a GM who frequently fudged rolls, because at that point, why roll dice? But I'd regard as either lazy or extremist any GM who -never- fudged to create a better story.

I only very rarely fudge, but when I do, it's in the interests of the GAME. Also, for many years I ran a diceless game. Trust me, it was still a game.

Let me clear. I'm not saying a GM should invalidate the story result your dice are telling. But consider the following situation: It's late, but all the players have stuck around to finish a battle that is now going quite long. It's clear that the monster is just about to fall, but the fighter hits it for just enough damage to leave it at 1 hit point. Is it really more satisfying to make everyone stick around for another ten minutes to play another round than to simply say the fighter took out the monster? Your players...your FRIENDS... are going to be happier with the shorter result and will never know you could have dragged it on several more anticlimactic minutes. I'd fudge that one in a heartbeat.

How about when the module I'm running calls for three monsters in a room, but this week we're playing with one less player than usual. I know the remaining characters can handle those three monsters, but I also know the potential for disaster is heightened with their reduced numbers. Is it right to penalize these players and their characters for showing up to play when their fellow player doesn't? I'm fudging that and only putting two monsters in the room.

What if the player's dice are cold, they run into a tough monster where they didn't expect it and it looks like their lovingly-crafted party is about to get slaughtered? Nope, not fudging that. Sometimes the heroes die, or there is no value to their successes. I'm letting the dice fall where they may in tha situation.

That's the essential difference between good GM "cheating" and bad GM "cheating", in my opinion.


hmmm... I think it's clear that the original poster(OP) was unhappy with his first(?) game and there were several things that were misunderstood along with most likely having english as a second language. Probably just venting some steam.
Perhaps it was understanding the english version of the books by the GM & players? It's complex as is and add in some language issues and things are bound to become interesting.

the discussion has become a wrangling all of its own... lol...

carry on...


PossibleCabbage wrote:

I think most reasonable people will agree that keeping a character from dying like a chump is a reasonable use of fudging.

The real question I had is whether the GM is justified in intervening when a player's ability would trivialize a seemingly climactic encounter.

I had this happen recently, we had finally gotten to the end of the dungeon, and my telekineticist was eager to try out her new "suffocate" wild talent she had acquired by a mid-dungeon level-up. She went first in the initiative order, used suffocate and spent burn, big boss (who was an evil wizard) went next and took a fort save in order to cast spells with a verbal component, rolled a 1 and was disabled and reduced to 0 HP, the next turn the archer finished him off. Fight over.

I personally kind of wished the GM *had* fudged there.

Truthfully, I wouldn't have fudged that. But I generally don't plan for big epic boss fights. I prep the scenario and allow the players to tackle it how they want. If a big epic fight happens, then cool. If they kill the bbeg instantly with something, that's alright too. I feel that not every boss fight has to be a "boss fight". I probably wouldn't have enjoyed the enemy ignoring a natural 1 on an ability I just got.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
Bigger Club wrote:
Every single GM that fudges, is not playing rpg anymore. It is a game no longer it is just interactive storytelling at that point.

This does not compute. Roleplaying games are nothing more than interactive storytelling and never have been. The rules are just there to prevent "bang, you're dead"/"no I'm not" arguments which could always be prevented through a correctly drafted social contract anyway.

I mean, Gary Gygax wrote the rules and he was a notorious fudger ("A GM only rolls dice because of the sound it makes"- Gygax) so it's not like "GM fiat" hasn't been part of this exercise since the very beginning.

You can say "I would prefer to play with a GM who is little more than a referee" and that's a valid desire, but people who play the game in a different way aren't "doing it wrong."

The emphasis of the statement is JUST, rpgs are interactive storytelling GAMES, there is that G in RPG.

As far as I am concerned Gygax was a horrible horrible GM, just because you can desing a game does not necessarily mean you are good at running said game.

Referee is also not what I am looking for, yes that is an aspect of GMing but hardly the only one. You desing the enviorement and also act as all the NPCs.

Tarondor wrote:
Bigger Club wrote:

Every single GM that fudges, is not playing rpg anymore. It is a game no longer it is just interactive storytelling at that point. So if you advertised the activity as playing rpg, well then you are liar.

That is all fine and dandy if that is what you do for fun. It isn't what I do, and not being upfront about it(as in telling without anyone asking) in my opinion makes you horrible GM.

You're referring to a referee, not a Game Master. If you regard fudging as lying, you need to make your GM and fellow players aware of it. I, for one, regard that as an extreme view I would not want at my table.

The GM is an entertainer, not a computer. He or she should be free to create the most fun possible within the social contract. I'd be uncomfortable with a GM who frequently fudged rolls, because at that point, why roll dice? But I'd regard as either lazy or extremist any GM who -never- fudged to create a better story.

I only very rarely fudge, but when I do, it's in the interests of the GAME. Also, for many years I ran a diceless game. Trust me, it was still a game.

Let me clear. I'm not saying a GM should invalidate the story result your dice are telling. But consider the following situation: It's late, but all the players have stuck around to finish a battle that is now going quite long. It's clear that the monster is just about to fall, but the fighter hits it for just enough damage to leave it at 1 hit point. Is it really more satisfying to make everyone stick around for another ten minutes to play another round than to simply say the fighter took out the monster? Your players...your FRIENDS... are going to be happier with the shorter result and will never know you could have dragged it on several more anticlimactic minutes. I'd fudge that one in a heartbeat.

How about when the module I'm running calls for three monsters in a room, but this week we're playing with one less player than usual. I know the remaining characters can handle those three monsters, but I also...

I am quite aware what GM means, so no need for the condescending tone. I said if you advertise the activity as RPG then you are lying because it simply does not qualify for that term. Fudging in itself does not make you liar.

I never claimed that the GM can't fudge. If the players have been told before hand and they are fine with it, go have fun. I just do not consider them to be playing an rpg anymore. Someone else defination of the term might be broader.

As to your examples.

1) Well you are making the assumption that the players would actually enjoy the shorter one more. Even if that is the case, you are sacrificing the integrity of the game(and I do mean the game part of the hobby spesifically) which to me personally matters more than minor inconvenience that is momentary rather than the former that is permanent. Likewise opponents are at full power at 1 hp, that means the monster still gets an action(assuming it is next in initiative), that might very well have big effects and if nothing else likely at least cost some resources of the party. Also if the monster is at 1 HP most likely it will not even be 1 round delay but untill the next players turn.

2) I do not run modules, so I am bit out of my territory here, but don't they usually have actually different encounter for different sized groups? At least they had in pre PF days. Also I would call that modifying the adventure not fudging. I personally also find that way of handling missing players to be 'bad' but I know there are large number of views on the matter.

3) Since this is how I handle all aspects myself I do not see a reason to comment on it.

Only bad GM cheating that I said was when the players have not been informed of it beforehand.


PossibleCabbage wrote:

I think most reasonable people will agree that keeping a character from dying like a chump is a reasonable use of fudging.

The real question I had is whether the GM is justified in intervening when a player's ability would trivialize a seemingly climactic encounter.

I had this happen recently, we had finally gotten to the end of the dungeon, and my telekineticist was eager to try out her new "suffocate" wild talent she had acquired by a mid-dungeon level-up. She went first in the initiative order, used suffocate and spent burn, big boss (who was an evil wizard) went next and took a fort save in order to cast spells with a verbal component, rolled a 1 and was disabled and reduced to 0 HP, the next turn the archer finished him off. Fight over.

I personally kind of wished the GM *had* fudged there.

Then why not just not cast the save or die in the first place. The game is what they players make of it.


I dont like fudging because it personally robs me of an experience.

To provide an anecdote:
A while back a buddy of mine sat down and played a game of RIFTS with a GM Wwhom I deeply respect. For anyone who has never played: if you think Pathfinder gives GMs wiggle room, RIFTS gives them the ability to spasm. There's a handful of rules in the core book alone that just dont work.

Anyways, without getting into too much background our characters ended up in an adabndoned town trying to save about a dozen children that were being used to channel a nightmare creature. We go to tangle with this thing and it's a mess: our armor is torn up and we get locked into melee almost instantly. One of the kids gets hit in the crossfire and the creature reels, so we figure that that's our best shot of making it out alive but we're not about to go and butcher a bunch of kids. Fortubately we had found a bag of flash and smoke grenades earlier and we start chucking them like crazy, trying to knock the little guys out.

The way the actions broke down is that we were essentially one turn behind were we needed to be for everything to work out fine. The creature starts moving for the kill and at the last moment my friend jumps in to take the blow. I cant do proper justice to that moment, tensely watching the GM roll and check his notes without a hint of emotion on his face. Finally the results are revealed and somehow, miraculously, the attack fails to kill by no more than a single point.

We won and made it out with the rest of the survivors. Later I found out that the GM had fudged that last roll to avoid a character death and it immediately made my heart drop. I was so dissapointed. I had just had this hard fought victory taken from me by the knoweldgr that we never were at risk of losing when the chips were down. The taste of joy turned to ash on my tongue and, in the end, I wont be able to remember the session fondly.

I dont play with people who fudge rolls. Especially not if they prop it up as some kind of enhancement to the game. If you fudge rolls often and purposefully, I walk away or at least I put less effort into the game because Ill never be able to shake the feeling that my actions as a character will never really matter in the face of predetermination.


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I don't fudge die rolls, but I equip my players with some house rules that let them smooth over die rolls that don't fall in their favor (a limited pool of points they can spend on things like die adjustments and rerolls that partially refills at the end of each session), therefore empowering the player to decide when something needs to be fudged and taking the choice out of my hands. (If anyone is interested in the system, send me a PM and I'll link you to a doc of it; it's loosely based on a combination of Hero Points, how experience is accumulated in World of Darkness, and how the honor system works in HackMaster 5e).

I make all of my die rolls in secret not because I fudge, but because I don't want to reveal to the players what the modifiers on the roll are, as that would be giving them metagame knowledge. Similarly, I don't reveal monster stats because they're frequently customized (usually just with templates like degenerate or advanced, but sometimes I do ad-hoc adjustments on the numbers themselves to help ensure that the encounter is of the appropriate difficulty). In any case, once I figure out what the monster stats are, I don't further adjust them if the PCs get lucky or unlucky.


Incidentally, one options I've seen for stuff like this is... cards, I think it was? I forget if it was the GMs or the Players who went first, but basically, they had a set of ways to modify encounters. However, once they were used, the card had to be given to the other side and would provide a benefit to them.

For example, if a player used a card to make an attack more accurate, the GM would get to use one of their options on that card against the players at any point they chose. That's not something every table will want to do, but it does offer a formalized, fairly balanced way of fudging things on both sides of the GM screen.


IMHO, it also really depends on the scale of fudging so to say. If it is blatant I would not probably come back or constantly against the player's.
Having said that I did play with a GM who used loaded dice (on occasion) for a while, after I found that out I stopped playing in there game. They did not see any problem with that fact where as most of the rest of us did.
Also know a player with chessex dice that have air bugles in it so it is more likely to roll high and they get mad when others find out about it and ask them not to use said dice.

MDC

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