Cheating gm?


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Grand Lodge

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HWalsh wrote:
I do not want this possibly epic story, as a player or GM, to be ruined because the demon rolled a Nat 1 on a Bluff check in session 1 and a player happened to roll very high.

So don't even roll for that.


A lot of folks jumping on me for the "my story" line, but the fact of the matter is that unless I (or whoever's running the game) has an idea of what the setting, central conflict, dramatis personae, factions and conflicts, etc. are then there is no game. Certainly along the way every player will get to tell their own story, about running away from their tribe, or avenging some wrong, or whatever arc a player sets their character on, but the framework of what happens in the game is the GM's to set.

Just sitting down and saying "y'all are in a place, what do you want to do" doesn't make for a very compelling game. You have to give the players something (goblins are attacking, people are mysteriously disappearing, you've accused of a crime you didn't commit, there's a tragedy at a festival, the monarch has died without a clear plan of succession, etc.) before they can do anything at all.

You can't expect the PCs to come up with the antagonists, their goals, their plans; any mysteries and their solutions, etc. All that stuff has to be done by the GM in advance, and that's the GM's story.


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I do hero points so the fudging is in the hands of the players. Named important npcs and boss sorts get them too which can help with dramatic escapes and the like for annoying enemies. But it's all a mechanics and all right out there for everyone.


PossibleCabbage wrote:

A lot of folks jumping on me for the "my story" line, but the fact of the matter is that unless I (or whoever's running the game) has an idea of what the setting, central conflict, dramatis personae, factions and conflicts, etc. are then there is no game. Certainly along the way every player will get to tell their own story, about running away from their tribe, or avenging some wrong, or whatever arc a player sets their character on, but the framework of what happens in the game is the GM's to set.

Just sitting down and saying "y'all are in a place, what do you want to do" doesn't make for a very compelling game. You have to give the players something (goblins are attacking, people are mysteriously disappearing, you've accused of a crime you didn't commit, there's a tragedy at a festival, the monarch has died without a clear plan of succession, etc.) before they can do anything at all.

You can't expect the PCs to come up with the antagonists, their goals, their plans, etc. All that stuff has to be done by the GM in advance, and that's the GM's story.

I don't think anyone (Or most people, anyway) are disagreeing that you probably want to start with a solid framework like that. I think they're more contesting the word choice of "My story." At least in my opinion, it's good to know the state of the world, and plot of the story the players find themselves in, but the players should ultimately have the steering wheel, and if they want to suddenly veer off the tracks, they should be able to.

Obviously, make there be noticeable consequences in the world for abandoning that plotline, but give them a new plotline to follow if they want.

It's everyone's story. You have the map, they have the wheel.


TriOmegaZero wrote:
HWalsh wrote:
I do not want this possibly epic story, as a player or GM, to be ruined because the demon rolled a Nat 1 on a Bluff check in session 1 and a player happened to roll very high.
So don't even roll for that.

So hypothetically, if you have a demon trying to bluff the PCs into doing something and a PC asks "I want to try to figure out if the demon is lying." What would be the "no fudging" way to get around this?

Do you tell them to roll sense motive, and you roll a die privately and don't even look at it? Do you tell them to roll sense motive, and just not roll at all for the demon? Do you tell them they can't roll? Do you abide by whatever the dice say and try to come up with another plot hook on the fly?

Tyinyk wrote:
It's everyone's story. You have the map, they have the wheel.

"Everyone's Story" is just "A bunch of people's individual stories being told at the same time." Beowulf is a different story from the hero's perspective than the monster's, as Gardner illustrated.

"The story" that is told in a roleplaying game is just the simultaneous telling of the GM's story, Player 1's story, Player 2's story, etc. Everybody at the table is there to tell their own story, it's just that the GM's is the one the game can't start without. It would be beyond presumptuous to attempt to tell one of the player's stories as the GM, but I have to tell my own for anybody else to be able to tell theirs.


Bob Bob Bob wrote:
All the talk of "GMs are rarer, so you'll take what you get and like it" just reads like some kind of toxic relationship. That's... not good. "Nobody's ever complained because they can't replace me" sounds like what a mob boss says before an underling finally gets fed up and offs him, not what I'd like to hear from my GM.

Well I hate to put it this way but whether you like the idea or not its true. The people willing to put up with the extra work, along with occasional frustration of argumentative players, second guessing, surprise adjustments to keep the plot from derailing from a tactic they didn't think of and so on and so forth are a lot rarer to find, and more vital to a group than someone willing to bring a character and play a game.

It only doesn't sound nice if you're the type of person who wants to gm from the players seat.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:

There's one thing I keep coming back to when reading the thread. There are apparently people who expect the GM to obey the dice and the printed rules slavishly, to simply simulate the world without narrative contrivances or plot devices that push the story in the direction the GM wants, but to also have an encyclopedic knowledge of the rules and the setting.

My question is, faced with a group of players like that, what would I actually get out of GMing? Like what's my incentive to put in all the time it takes to develop plots, design scenarios and antagonists, and populate a game world if I'm discouraged from telling my own story.

Like do people who expect their GMs to be like that run exclusively canned adventures?

Since I GM a lot, this is what I get from it.

If I want to share my story as I see it, I wouldn't be a GM. I'd write a novel.

I am not an author. I do not plan out the story because players are their own people that will make their own plans. And I don't push the story where I want. D&D isn't a book or a movie. It's not a video game either. I tell a story, but I tell it with the simple fact in mind that the players will do crazy, unforeseen, and creative things to further their goals. I don't write the plot with a prepared end, only a villain with a goal and a method. And I understand two things.

It's not my story.

The players aren't my characters.

This is everyone's story, whether the GM likes it or not. The players are a big part of it and will play in it and do what they can. Prepping plots and planning out scenarios dependent on a certain action will only lead to frustration, trust me. Your story will never survive first contact with the players. Looking at the Adventure Path forums, you see countless people approaching the same adventure in different ways. And forcing your players to slavishly follow your story and putting the story over their actions and choices is really just not great. It's not fun.

Now, you can still prep scenarios. Like I mentioned before, I generally prep scenarios based on how the villain would react to the group's actions. I'd suggest reading The Alexandrian's article on prepping scenarios, not plots. You can have your villain get away too. No one is denying that. You can still tell a story with the narrative contrivances, but again, you have to remember that this is an interactive hobby with a bunch of players including yourself. So you can't force your players to follow your story. You can have events happen to them, and you can have story elements happen behind the scenes, but they should take into account what the players are going to do. It doesn't requires "slavishly" following the rules or the dice, though I personally prefer keeping things as fair as I can. All you have to do is just watch what the players do and react accordingly. It's much easier than it sounds honestly.

And what incentive do I get from GMing?

I love to see how players handle my scenario. I love to see them succeed despite the odds using a crazy and creative way that I didn't even think of. I love to see their reactions, and then the consequences of their actions and plotting what happens next because of it. That's because despite me challenging them through difficult obstacles, I'm still my players' biggest fan. I'm their biggest cheerleader. And seeing them overcome adversity is the biggest reward for me as a GM. Seriously, I think that people should try sandbox gaming more often. It is a bit difficult, but it is honestly very rewarding, for both the players and the GM. There are many blogs about it, from The Alexandrian to Trollsmyth and such. I can bring together some links, or certainly message people about it.


HWalsh wrote:
Firewarrior44 wrote:

It's the idea that you should play to find out what happens. Your job shouldn't be to make or write the story but to facilitate its creation.

Plot is a derivative of play.

That is your opinion. I strongly disagree.

If it's not then a players choices are rather meaningless.

As a GM you set up the scenario, it's the PC's job to interact with it. The Plot is the culmination of their actions. You're setting and curating the narrative focus but not the narrative itself.


Ryan Freire wrote:

...

It only doesn't sound nice if you're the type of person who wants to gm from the players seat.

Sorry to burst your bubble, but I haven't played Pathfinder as a player in nearly a year, and I 100% agree with him. If the best justification you have for your behavior is "I'm the best you got", then you are probably being a dick.


PossibleCabbage wrote:


You can't expect the PCs to come up with the antagonists, their goals, their plans; any mysteries and their solutions, etc. All that stuff has to be done by the GM in advance, and that's the GM's story.

I do that. Literally all the time. My players have their own goals and drive, though it take a player some getting used to


Snowblind wrote:
Ryan Freire wrote:

...

It only doesn't sound nice if you're the type of person who wants to gm from the players seat.
Sorry to burst your bubble, but I haven't played Pathfinder as a player in nearly a year, and I 100% agree with him. If the best justification you have for your behavior is "I'm the best you got", then you are probably being a dick.

Yeah I'm generally more often than not the GM for the better part of a decade, and yeah, everything in that quote is pretty bull s*$# and textbook bad GMing period. I respect my GM, but if they come in acting like that, you can bet your ass I'd be out, GM a game myself, and bring the players with me to play in a good game.


Odraude wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:


You can't expect the PCs to come up with the antagonists, their goals, their plans; any mysteries and their solutions, etc. All that stuff has to be done by the GM in advance, and that's the GM's story.
I do that. Literally all the time.

How on earth to the PCs come up with a mystery and what it's resolution would be, and then go about the process of solving it? That would be like writing a crossword puzzle for yourself then sitting down to complete it.

There has to be things the players don't know, because "figuring things out" is a big part of the fun in this hobby. Once you've figured them out, pretending you haven't so you can go through the motions of solving it is just a waste of everyone's time.


PossibleCabbage wrote:
Odraude wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:


You can't expect the PCs to come up with the antagonists, their goals, their plans; any mysteries and their solutions, etc. All that stuff has to be done by the GM in advance, and that's the GM's story.
I do that. Literally all the time.

How on earth to the PCs come up with a mystery and what it's resolution would be, and then go about the process of solving it? That would be like writing a crossword puzzle for yourself then sitting down to complete it.

There has to be things the players don't know, because "figuring things out" is a big part of the fun in this hobby. Once you've figured them out, pretending you haven't so you can go through the motions of solving it is just a waste of everyone's time.

Sorry, let me rephrase. I think I may have misread your post.

I let my players come up with their own goals. I still come up with the antagonists and their goals and methods and such. I just don't hard code the whole entire plot from start to finish. I don't have plot threads that completely depend on a certain outcome. I am pretty flexible with my "plots" and can still keep them coherent.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

Flame prevention disclaimer:
The following is my opinion. It is not intended to contradict or devalue the opinions of others. It is simply a philosophy that has worked well for my groups over the past thirty some odd years. I say this as both a player and as a GM.

A GM might do their job poorly, but by definition, it is not possible for the GM to cheat. The GM's job is to facilitate a compelling shared story experience. If that means some fudging is necessary once in while, then so be it. Even excessive fudging isn't cheating, but It is almost certainly bad GMing, So is not fudging when it's called for.

$0.02


They could imagine a mystery where is none, then the DM puts one there because they thought there was one. That's basic plot-improv.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
HWalsh wrote:
I do not want this possibly epic story, as a player or GM, to be ruined because the demon rolled a Nat 1 on a Bluff check in session 1 and a player happened to roll very high.
So don't even roll for that.

So hypothetically, if you have a demon trying to bluff the PCs into doing something and a PC asks "I want to try to figure out if the demon is lying." What would be the "no fudging" way to get around this?

Do you tell them to roll sense motive, and you roll a die privately and don't even look at it? Do you tell them to roll sense motive, and just not roll at all for the demon? Do you tell them they can't roll? Do you abide by whatever the dice say and try to come up with another plot hook on the fly?

If you have the entire adventure hinge on a single roll happening in a single way then you should plan for multiple contingencies, re-think that scenario or plan on what will happen if that roll fails to go according to plan.

Without more Contex on the bluff in question it's hard to say what an alternative is.

You could also just straight up tell the players that the bugger is lying to their face but none of their characters can discern that, let them in on the plan explain what your trying to do instead of deceiving them. Assuming they aren't dicks maybe they'll play along and be good sports about it. If not then they would probably be equally or more offended if they found out you cheated.


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Honestly, these three posts from The Alexandrian really changed the way I GM for the better. GMing became less stressful and my players have had a lot more fun overall. I think people should read them and give them an honest try. You'd be surprised.

Don't Prep Plots

DPP: Villains

DPP: Contingencies


I want to apologize if I came off as 'jumping on you' Cabbage, that wasn't my intention at all. I was merely explaining the contrast in our GMing styles, and how I'm a more appropriate GM for the type of player you were describing.

PossibleCabbage wrote:
A lot of folks jumping on me for the "my story" line, but the fact of the matter is that unless I (or whoever's running the game) has an idea of what the setting, central conflict, dramatis personae, factions and conflicts, etc. are then there is no game.

Sure there is. Pathfinder or Kirthfinder or Cosmos Eclipse [my own creation] or Dungeons and Dragons or Savage Worlds... there's a game. The story remains to be birthed.

Regarding the setting, when GMing homebrew campaigns I almost always start from scratch, creating the initial essence of a story in concert with the players as part of generating their backstories.

In one case, a Dragonblooded Sorcerer was the heir to a tyrant Red Dragon ruling over the sentient peoples of the continent on which the game began.

Another game started with a Monk on a journey of discovery and self-development, who was joined along the way by a Favored Soul and Dread Necromancer, each of whom had their own goals and objectives that carried the party forward.

In yet another case, the party were a group of mercenaries hiring their services out for whatever jobs were available.

Quote:
Certainly along the way every player will get to tell their own story, about running away from their tribe, or avenging some wrong, or whatever arc a player sets their character on, but the framework of what happens in the game is the GM's to set.

Not necessarily.

I don't 'set a framework.' I roleplay the world. The world does what the world does, the players do what the players do, and where they collide is where the story happens.

Quote:
Just sitting down and saying "y'all are in a place, what do you want to do" doesn't make for a very compelling game. You have to give the players something (goblins are attacking, people are mysteriously disappearing, you've accused of a crime you didn't commit, there's a tragedy at a festival, the monarch has died without a clear plan of succession, etc.) before they can do anything at all.

When I'm running a homebrew campaign [as opposed to an AP] I make sure every character has very strong goals and objectives in their lives. Things they want to do, things they are driven to pursue. They do what they want according to their Identity.

Quote:
You can't expect the PCs to come up with the antagonists, their goals, their plans; any mysteries and their solutions, etc.

Of course not. Roleplaying the world is the GM's job. As to the 'solutions' those come up in play. If there's one thing I learned about that 'prepared GMing' stuff from reading advice articles, it's that the players never go the way you expect anyway.

Quote:
All that stuff has to be done by the GM in advance, and that's the GM's story.

Nope, I don't do that stuff in advance, and it's not my story. It's the group's story. I'm just roleplaying the world.

Grand Lodge

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

So hypothetically, if you have a demon trying to bluff the PCs into doing something and a PC asks "I want to try to figure out if the demon is lying." What would be the "no fudging" way to get around this?

Do you tell them to roll sense motive, and you roll a die privately and don't even look at it? Do you tell them to roll sense motive, and just not roll at all for the demon? Do you tell them they can't roll? Do you abide by whatever the dice say and try to come up with another plot hook on the fly?

If you are not going to abide by the dice roll, you don't roll it. You let them roll and say "You don't think he is lying." You can even justify it on the backend by saying the demon has glibness and other bonuses that make it mathematically impossible for the PC to beat the demon's Bluff.

Or you roll the dice, accept that the PC beat the Bluff check, and tell them so. And then you run with that change to your campaign. It's a lot easier if you don't prep a screenplay and instead prepare scenes. Listen to your players arguing about what is really going on and use the theory you like best out of the lot of them.


TriOmegaZero wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:

So hypothetically, if you have a demon trying to bluff the PCs into doing something and a PC asks "I want to try to figure out if the demon is lying." What would be the "no fudging" way to get around this?

Do you tell them to roll sense motive, and you roll a die privately and don't even look at it? Do you tell them to roll sense motive, and just not roll at all for the demon? Do you tell them they can't roll? Do you abide by whatever the dice say and try to come up with another plot hook on the fly?

If you are not going to abide by the dice roll, you don't roll it. You let them roll and say "You don't think he is lying." You can even justify it on the backend by saying the demon has glibness and other bonuses that make it mathematically impossible for the PC to beat the demon's Bluff.

Or you roll the dice, accept that the PC beat the Bluff check, and tell them so. And then you run with that change to your campaign. It's a lot easier if you don't prep a screenplay and instead prepare scenes. Listen to your players arguing about what is really going on and use the theory you like best out of the lot of them.

I like that. Prep scenes, not screenplays. Catchy :)


What, is the difference between a post hoc justification of "oh, he had glibness and other magical effects that made it impossible" and privately rolling a die (to generate that sound Gygax was fond of) and just assuming it was good enough.

It seems either way you're just fiating that the PCs can't succeed on a check, and one method involves an appeal to the rulebook and another simple theatrics, but they're essentially the same. I would assert that the phantom die roll has the added bonus of signaling to the players that the demon is, in fact, lying it's just that your characters don't think that.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

I said you could, I didn't say you had to. I personally don't see a difference either.


PossibleCabbage wrote:

What, is the difference between a post hoc justification of "oh, he had glibness and other magical effects that made it impossible" and privately rolling a die (to generate that sound Gygax was fond of) and just assuming it was good enough.

It seems either way you're just fiating that the PCs can't succeed on a check, and one method involves an appeal to the rulebook and another simple theatrics, but they're essentially the same.

Honestly I wouldn't really do either because there is no choice to make for the player. But if I didn't want the players to know something, then I simply just wouldn't have that scenario or opportunity for them to learn it.

Of course, in truth, I'd give them the chance to learn from the demon

I would let them roll. If they succeed, that's fine. If they fail, that's fine. It was a success/failure that was the player's choice to make. And I would react accordingly.

Shadow Lodge

PossibleCabbage wrote:
How on earth to the PCs come up with a mystery and what it's resolution would be, and then go about the process of solving it? That would be like writing a crossword puzzle for yourself then sitting down to complete it.

In my campaign, the druid began drawing parallels between the locations they had traveled and the four elements. He suggested that the ritual the cult was performing required actions in keeping with the four elements. He was completely wrong, but if I hadn't been focused on using the published material, I could have incorporated that into the actual story.

This is how you run a game that the players write. Listen to what they guess is going on, take that, and add your own touches. You don't have to have the whole story written at the start, you just need hooks to hang the pieces the players author.


I mean, personally if a PC were to roll well on sense motive to see if the demon is lying, I would have the demon just come out and say "Okay, you got me, but what do you expect, I'm a demon. But since you folks are sharp, I'll let you in on what's really happening" and then spin an increasingly elaborate web of lies of varying plausibility until it's sufficient to get the PCs to just take the darn plot hook they've been offered.

I mean, assuming this is an inciting scene in the overall plot, the thing that gets the PCs to just start moving in the overall direction of the narrative. At some point you have to get the PCs to figure out what's going on and what they can do about it, and from then you just let them do what they do.


HWalsh wrote:

See, where some people here have said that they'd leave a group if the GM had a story I'm the complete opposite. I don't sandbox. If the GM has no plot and it's more or less, "Do what you want and I'll just react." Then I get bored. I walk.

I'm here to participate in an epic tale not an alternate reality simulator. I want a threat to the land, ancient artifacts, some reason to put my life in danger other than for gits and shiggles.

But what if it's YOUR epic tale, with threats to the land that evolve during play, ancient artifacts which are revealed during play, dozens if not hundreds of reasons to put your life in danger other than for gits and shiggles.

Quote:
I want to be a big dang hero who saved the Princess from Assassins. Who undertook a quest to destroy the Crimson Shadows (Assassins) who found their lair only to confront their grandmaster. Then have the grandmaster surrender only to explain that the Crimson Shadows are part of a Good organization known as the Keepers of the Eternal Flame and that the person we thought of as the Princess is actually a Demon who possessed her body by removing her soul. Thus I resolve to trek to the Demon's old lair, find the soul, and pledge to return it to the body and force the Demon out where it can be destroyed once and for all!

This sounds like something that would happen in a game I run.

Quote:
do not want this possibly epic story, as a player or GM, to be ruined because the demon rolled a Nat 1 on a Bluff check in session 1 and a player happened to roll very high.

It's not going to be ruined. It might play out a little differently [maybe even better!] but it's not going to be ruined.


TriOmegaZero wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:

So hypothetically, if you have a demon trying to bluff the PCs into doing something and a PC asks "I want to try to figure out if the demon is lying." What would be the "no fudging" way to get around this?

Do you tell them to roll sense motive, and you roll a die privately and don't even look at it? Do you tell them to roll sense motive, and just not roll at all for the demon? Do you tell them they can't roll? Do you abide by whatever the dice say and try to come up with another plot hook on the fly?

If you are not going to abide by the dice roll, you don't roll it. You let them roll and say "You don't think he is lying." You can even justify it on the backend by saying the demon has glibness and other bonuses that make it mathematically impossible for the PC to beat the demon's Bluff.

Or you roll the dice, accept that the PC beat the Bluff check, and tell them so. And then you run with that change to your campaign. It's a lot easier if you don't prep a screenplay and instead prepare scenes. Listen to your players arguing about what is really going on and use the theory you like best out of the lot of them.

See, no. That is silly.

There is no difference between:

Player A: "I want to use sense motive on the Princess."
GM: "Go ahead." (Rolls dice, pretends to look at die and nods head.)
Player A: (Rolls dice) "17."
GM: "You don't think she's lying."

and

Player A: "I want to use sense motive on the Princess."
GM: "You don't think she's lying."

By, "If you are not going to abide by the dice roll, you don't roll it. You let them roll and say "You don't think he is lying." you ARE fudging the dice.

You roll the dice, specifically, to keep the players on their toes.

Like, literally, the PLAYERS shouldn't suspect anything is different between when you fudge, or plot armor, a thing and when you don't. You roll the dice so that the situation, to the player's perspective, is the exact same as when you *aren't* fudging the dice. You want to maintain the illusion that everything is normal so that the players don't realize when you fudge and when you don't so that, specifically, you DON'T take away from their sense of accomplishment.

The reason GM screens hide dice rolls is for this. My players have no idea when I fudge and when I don't. Their enjoyment of the game is not impacted negatively because they don't know. That is the point. It is meant to be seamless.

Heck that is why the Pathfinder GMG (and every such book EVER) always says to give the player the ILLUSION of choice. When done right, with skill and experience, the GM controls everything, predicts what he/she needs to, and when the players choose to do something it is, in fact, what you wanted them to do and what you knew they were going to do all along.

That is actually explained in the books on how to BE a GM.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
At some point you have to get the PCs to figure out what's going on and what they can do about it, and from then you just let them do what they do.

In my campaigns there are hundreds of things that could be going on, several dozen of which truly are going on, a handful of which turn out to be legitimate threats the party gets involved in.

I wrote a bit of a wall of text in my big reply to you, but I feel there was a real gem in it that I'm going to self quote.

Kyrt Ryder wrote:
I roleplay the world. The world does what the world does, the players do what the players do, and where they collide is where the story happens.


TOZ wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
How on earth to the PCs come up with a mystery and what it's resolution would be, and then go about the process of solving it? That would be like writing a crossword puzzle for yourself then sitting down to complete it.

In my campaign, the druid began drawing parallels between the locations they had traveled and the four elements. He suggested that the ritual the cult was performing required actions in keeping with the four elements. He was completely wrong, but if I hadn't been focused on using the published material, I could have incorporated that into the actual story.

This is how you run a game that the players write. Listen to what they guess is going on, take that, and add your own touches. You don't have to have the whole story written at the start, you just need hooks to hang the pieces the players author.

Your comment reminds me of GM advice from Godbound:

Quote:
Position at least some of these ornaments where the PCs are going to run into them on their way to their intended draw. Put a few interesting unrelated rooms in the ruin where the PCs are going to be delving, or let the PCs run into the sweating majordomo of the noble's city manor who's actually being forced into betraying his master by his beloved daughter, who's a secret member of an angelic cult. Not only do these sort of things give more depth and texture to a situation, they also force the players to wonder what parts of the situation are entangled with the others. Sometimes the traditional player paranoia about NPCs can end up leading them to bizarre and highly entertaining plans based on their own iron-clad delusions.


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HWalsh wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:

So hypothetically, if you have a demon trying to bluff the PCs into doing something and a PC asks "I want to try to figure out if the demon is lying." What would be the "no fudging" way to get around this?

Do you tell them to roll sense motive, and you roll a die privately and don't even look at it? Do you tell them to roll sense motive, and just not roll at all for the demon? Do you tell them they can't roll? Do you abide by whatever the dice say and try to come up with another plot hook on the fly?

If you are not going to abide by the dice roll, you don't roll it. You let them roll and say "You don't think he is lying." You can even justify it on the backend by saying the demon has glibness and other bonuses that make it mathematically impossible for the PC to beat the demon's Bluff.

Or you roll the dice, accept that the PC beat the Bluff check, and tell them so. And then you run with that change to your campaign. It's a lot easier if you don't prep a screenplay and instead prepare scenes. Listen to your players arguing about what is really going on and use the theory you like best out of the lot of them.

See, no. That is silly.

There is no difference between:

Player A: "I want to use sense motive on the Princess."
GM: "Go ahead." (Rolls dice, pretends to look at die and nods head.)
Player A: (Rolls dice) "17."
GM: "You don't think she's lying."

and

Player A: "I want to use sense motive on the Princess."
GM: "You don't think she's lying."

By, "If you are not going to abide by the dice roll, you don't roll it. You let them roll and say "You don't think he is lying." you ARE fudging the dice.

You roll the dice, specifically, to keep the players on their toes.

Like, literally, the PLAYERS shouldn't suspect anything is different between when you fudge, or plot armor, a thing and when you don't. You roll the dice so that the situation, to the player's perspective, is the exact same as when you *aren't*...

Illusion of choice really is just not great advice honestly. There has never been a moment in my time GMing where giving the players false choice was more engrossing and rewarding than giving the players a real choice and having them deal with the consequences.


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Odraude wrote:
Illusion of choice really is just not great advice honestly. There has never been a moment in my time GMing where giving the players false choice was more engrossing and rewarding than giving the players a real choice and having them deal with the consequences.

I read such advice as:

Here's all these rules on how to play this game. If they don't do what you like Ignore them and pretend you're playing this game instead of actually playing the game.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, PF Special Edition Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
Firewarrior44 wrote:
GM Rednal wrote:
Stuff im far too lazy to copy paste

Don't roll a dice you're not willing to accept the consequences for.

and don't have encounters that serve no purpose.

In the example the encounters purpose what to be a threat to the PC's and to reinforce that the woods are a dangerous place.

It fulfilled both of it's purposes.

If you really don't want stuff like that to happen then use Hero points, or just don't put a monster there and find some other device to reinforce the danger like say the fresh corpses of NPC's, tracks, gouges in trees etc.

What's the difference between changing the results based on hero points (allocated according to DM fiat) and the DM changing the results by fiat (with player consent)?

I can understand the 'let the dice fall where they may' mindset (it's my preference as a player) but I don't understand the view that some methods of changing the results are fine and others not.

It seems to me to be needlessly focussing on methodology.


Steve Geddes wrote:
Firewarrior44 wrote:
GM Rednal wrote:
Stuff im far too lazy to copy paste

Don't roll a dice you're not willing to accept the consequences for.

and don't have encounters that serve no purpose.

In the example the encounters purpose what to be a threat to the PC's and to reinforce that the woods are a dangerous place.

It fulfilled both of it's purposes.

If you really don't want stuff like that to happen then use Hero points, or just don't put a monster there and find some other device to reinforce the danger like say the fresh corpses of NPC's, tracks, gouges in trees etc.

What's the difference between changing the results based on hero points (allocated according to DM fiat) and the DM changing the results by fiat (with player consent)?

I can understand the 'let the dice fall where they may' mindset (it's my preference as a player) but I don't understand the view that some methods of changing the results are fine and others not.

It seems to me to be needlessly focussing on methodology.

Consistency


Firewarrior44 wrote:
Odraude wrote:
Illusion of choice really is just not great advice honestly. There has never been a moment in my time GMing where giving the players false choice was more engrossing and rewarding than giving the players a real choice and having them deal with the consequences.

I read such advice as:

Here's all these rules on how to play this game. If they don't do what you like Ignore them and pretend you're playing this game instead of actually playing the game.

Yeah, once your players realize that their choices don't matter and that the GM is just socially engineering them into the plot result he wants, to me, it cheapens the experience.

I've caught a GM in the middle of pulling a Quantum Ogre on us and it was pretty bs. It taught me early on that it was something I didn't want to repeat.


Steve Geddes wrote:
Firewarrior44 wrote:
GM Rednal wrote:
Stuff im far too lazy to copy paste

Don't roll a dice you're not willing to accept the consequences for.

and don't have encounters that serve no purpose.

In the example the encounters purpose what to be a threat to the PC's and to reinforce that the woods are a dangerous place.

It fulfilled both of it's purposes.

If you really don't want stuff like that to happen then use Hero points, or just don't put a monster there and find some other device to reinforce the danger like say the fresh corpses of NPC's, tracks, gouges in trees etc.

What's the difference between changing the results based on hero points (allocated according to DM fiat) and the DM changing the results by fiat (with player consent)?

I can understand the 'let the dice fall where they may' mindset (it's my preference as a player) but I don't understand the view that some methods of changing the results are fine and others not.

It seems to me to be needlessly focussing on methodology.

For Hero Points/Fate Points/Bennies/whatever, it's the idea that they are still the player's choice for the re-roll. Though it is still elevating the story over the players, but through the guise of the player's choice.

I'll be honest though, I don't like hero points as a player. At least, as a re-roll I don't like it. Again, I'd rather keep the result and play on through.


Steve Geddes wrote:
Firewarrior44 wrote:
GM Rednal wrote:
Stuff im far too lazy to copy paste

Don't roll a dice you're not willing to accept the consequences for.

and don't have encounters that serve no purpose.

In the example the encounters purpose what to be a threat to the PC's and to reinforce that the woods are a dangerous place.

It fulfilled both of it's purposes.

If you really don't want stuff like that to happen then use Hero points, or just don't put a monster there and find some other device to reinforce the danger like say the fresh corpses of NPC's, tracks, gouges in trees etc.

What's the difference between changing the results based on hero points (allocated according to DM fiat) and the DM changing the results by fiat (with player consent)?

I can understand the 'let the dice fall where they may' mindset (it's my preference as a player) but I don't understand the view that some methods of changing the results are fine and others not.

It seems to me to be needlessly focussing on methodology.

What Johnnycat93 said.

In addition it's the player that's taking that action no being deus ex'd out of oblivion. It empowers the player the player to choose to save themselves (or get mauled to deal if they so choose) instead of stripping them of that agency.


Firewarrior44 wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
Firewarrior44 wrote:
GM Rednal wrote:
Stuff im far too lazy to copy paste

Don't roll a dice you're not willing to accept the consequences for.

and don't have encounters that serve no purpose.

In the example the encounters purpose what to be a threat to the PC's and to reinforce that the woods are a dangerous place.

It fulfilled both of it's purposes.

If you really don't want stuff like that to happen then use Hero points, or just don't put a monster there and find some other device to reinforce the danger like say the fresh corpses of NPC's, tracks, gouges in trees etc.

What's the difference between changing the results based on hero points (allocated according to DM fiat) and the DM changing the results by fiat (with player consent)?

I can understand the 'let the dice fall where they may' mindset (it's my preference as a player) but I don't understand the view that some methods of changing the results are fine and others not.

It seems to me to be needlessly focussing on methodology.

What Johnnycat93 said.

In addition it's the player that's taking that action no being deus ex'd out of oblivion. It empowers the player the player to choose to save themselves (or get mauled to deal if they so choose) instead of stripping them of that agency.

I've played FATE and Savage Worlds and I just can't get behind the reroll aspect of Hero Points and their ilk. I don't know why. I think if hero points let you do cool stuff beyond just a simple re-roll or fixing your roll, maybe I'd like them better.


Odraude wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
Firewarrior44 wrote:
GM Rednal wrote:
Stuff im far too lazy to copy paste

Don't roll a dice you're not willing to accept the consequences for.

and don't have encounters that serve no purpose.

In the example the encounters purpose what to be a threat to the PC's and to reinforce that the woods are a dangerous place.

It fulfilled both of it's purposes.

If you really don't want stuff like that to happen then use Hero points, or just don't put a monster there and find some other device to reinforce the danger like say the fresh corpses of NPC's, tracks, gouges in trees etc.

What's the difference between changing the results based on hero points (allocated according to DM fiat) and the DM changing the results by fiat (with player consent)?

I can understand the 'let the dice fall where they may' mindset (it's my preference as a player) but I don't understand the view that some methods of changing the results are fine and others not.

It seems to me to be needlessly focussing on methodology.

For Hero Points/Fate Points/Bennies/whatever, it's the idea that they are still the player's choice for the re-roll. Though it is still elevating the story over the players, but through the guise of the player's choice.

I'll be honest though, I don't like hero points as a player. At least, as a re-roll I don't like it. Again, I'd rather keep the result and play on through.

I find them best used in 2 cases:

1.) a bonus on a check you REALLY want to succeed. So in essence let's you cheat the dice roll

2.) Don't die card. Which depending on the game can just be basically alleviating a gold death tax. Also as a gimmine when you die due to unfortunate happenstance that wasn't really your fault

I prefer the flat bonus/2point to avoid death usage, the re-roll is and other uses are ehh


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, PF Special Edition Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
Johnnycat93 wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
Firewarrior44 wrote:
GM Rednal wrote:
Stuff im far too lazy to copy paste

Don't roll a dice you're not willing to accept the consequences for.

and don't have encounters that serve no purpose.

In the example the encounters purpose what to be a threat to the PC's and to reinforce that the woods are a dangerous place.

It fulfilled both of it's purposes.

If you really don't want stuff like that to happen then use Hero points, or just don't put a monster there and find some other device to reinforce the danger like say the fresh corpses of NPC's, tracks, gouges in trees etc.

What's the difference between changing the results based on hero points (allocated according to DM fiat) and the DM changing the results by fiat (with player consent)?

I can understand the 'let the dice fall where they may' mindset (it's my preference as a player) but I don't understand the view that some methods of changing the results are fine and others not.

It seems to me to be needlessly focussing on methodology.

Consistency

I don't see why - a DM who is going to be unpredictable and inconsistent with their fudging decisions will probably do the same with awarding hero points.

It seems to me that both sides of this debate tend to argue hyperbole - like those against fudging tend to portray doing so as "just write a novel" when, in fact, those who like to fudge generally do so very rarely. It's not all-or-nothing - if you grant your players a lot of agency, it doesn't mean you have no role to play in generating the story, similarly if you fudge you are not saying "the dice don't matter" since 99% of the time they do - even if you "don't like" the result, most fudge-friendly DMs won't change it every time.


Steve Geddes wrote:
Johnnycat93 wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
Firewarrior44 wrote:
GM Rednal wrote:
Stuff im far too lazy to copy paste

Don't roll a dice you're not willing to accept the consequences for.

and don't have encounters that serve no purpose.

In the example the encounters purpose what to be a threat to the PC's and to reinforce that the woods are a dangerous place.

It fulfilled both of it's purposes.

If you really don't want stuff like that to happen then use Hero points, or just don't put a monster there and find some other device to reinforce the danger like say the fresh corpses of NPC's, tracks, gouges in trees etc.

What's the difference between changing the results based on hero points (allocated according to DM fiat) and the DM changing the results by fiat (with player consent)?

I can understand the 'let the dice fall where they may' mindset (it's my preference as a player) but I don't understand the view that some methods of changing the results are fine and others not.

It seems to me to be needlessly focussing on methodology.

Consistency

I don't see why - a DM who is going to be unpredictable and inconsistent with their fudging decisions will probably do the same with awarding hero points.

It seems to me that both sides of this debate tend to argue hyperbole - like those against fudging tend to portray doing so as "just write a novel" when, in fact, those who like to fudge generally do so very rarely. It's not all-or-nothing - if you grant your players a lot of agency, it doesn't mean you have no role to play in generating the story, similarly if you fudge you are not saying "the dice don't matter" since 99% of the time they do - even if you "don't like" the result, most fudge-friendly DMs won't change it every time.

Yeah, that's probably why I really don't like Hero Points

And honestly, from my admittedly anecdotal experience, I've seen DMs fudge dice more often to prevent their precious encounter from being one shot. Or to protect their plot from any bad rolls. Or punish a build that is seen as disruptive. That last one I've sadly seen DMs do more often than not.

The only time I ever fudge the dice is if the player has had some really bad luck with die rolls. And even then, I ask the player "Hey, you've had some s#&$ty die rolls. You want a freebie?".


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, PF Special Edition Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
Firewarrior44 wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
Firewarrior44 wrote:
GM Rednal wrote:
Stuff im far too lazy to copy paste

Don't roll a dice you're not willing to accept the consequences for.

and don't have encounters that serve no purpose.

In the example the encounters purpose what to be a threat to the PC's and to reinforce that the woods are a dangerous place.

It fulfilled both of it's purposes.

If you really don't want stuff like that to happen then use Hero points, or just don't put a monster there and find some other device to reinforce the danger like say the fresh corpses of NPC's, tracks, gouges in trees etc.

What's the difference between changing the results based on hero points (allocated according to DM fiat) and the DM changing the results by fiat (with player consent)?

I can understand the 'let the dice fall where they may' mindset (it's my preference as a player) but I don't understand the view that some methods of changing the results are fine and others not.

It seems to me to be needlessly focussing on methodology.

What Johnnycat93 said.

In addition it's the player that's taking that action no being deus ex'd out of oblivion. It empowers the player the player to choose to save themselves (or get mauled to deal if they so choose) instead of stripping them of that agency.

I know there's a difference in how it works.

My point was in relation to "If you decide to roll the dice, the result is sacrosanct" argument. If that's your reason for not liking fudging then it should apply to hero points.


Steve Geddes wrote:
Firewarrior44 wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
Firewarrior44 wrote:
GM Rednal wrote:
Stuff im far too lazy to copy paste

Don't roll a dice you're not willing to accept the consequences for.

and don't have encounters that serve no purpose.

In the example the encounters purpose what to be a threat to the PC's and to reinforce that the woods are a dangerous place.

It fulfilled both of it's purposes.

If you really don't want stuff like that to happen then use Hero points, or just don't put a monster there and find some other device to reinforce the danger like say the fresh corpses of NPC's, tracks, gouges in trees etc.

What's the difference between changing the results based on hero points (allocated according to DM fiat) and the DM changing the results by fiat (with player consent)?

I can understand the 'let the dice fall where they may' mindset (it's my preference as a player) but I don't understand the view that some methods of changing the results are fine and others not.

It seems to me to be needlessly focussing on methodology.

What Johnnycat93 said.

In addition it's the player that's taking that action no being deus ex'd out of oblivion. It empowers the player the player to choose to save themselves (or get mauled to deal if they so choose) instead of stripping them of that agency.

I know there's a difference in how it works.

My point was in relation to "If you decide to roll the dice, the result is sacrosanct" argument. If that's your reason for not liking fudging then it should apply to hero points.

I don't know if I'd call it 'sacrosanct', but I agree in disliking Hero Points. I get it puts that power of option in the player's hands, but I still honestly don't like it.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
HWalsh wrote:
See, no. That is silly.

Why do you start with that and then follow up with paragraphs of agreeing with me?


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TriOmegaZero wrote:
HWalsh wrote:
See, no. That is silly.
Why do you start with that and then follow up with paragraphs of agreeing with me?

Keep you off balance. You foolish genius.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, PF Special Edition Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
Odraude wrote:
I don't know if I'd call it 'sacrosanct', but I agree in disliking Hero Points. I get it puts that power of option in the player's hands, but I still honestly don't like it.

I've never actually used them as a player. The last AP I ran had two PCs, so we figured the chance of a catastrophic outcome was amplified ("everyone failed" just became that much more likely). The players elected for 'get out of jail free' cards in that case - one each per AP chapter.

This time around they've gone for "roll the dice in the open and we'll take our lumps".


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You know, the issue for me isn't the fudging itself. Like many things, if everyone is there consensually and there aren't any minors involved (har har), then good for them.

The bit that gets me is when it isn't consensual. When the GM strongly suspects that the player wouldn't willingly tolerate a certain behavior, and then they do it anyway behind the player's back. And then they act as if they have the right to behave however they want because they have the power, and the player is in the wrong for feeling hurt and betrayed at the GM's secretive, deliberate betrayal of trust. When you as a GM start inflicting "whatever works for you" onto people who it doesn't work for, try to keep it a secret, and them blame them for the bad feelings over your deceit, that is where it goes from "whatever works for you" to "you are acting like a cheating &$&hole and a terrible GM".


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

Absolutely agree with that.

I've heard people who want me to fudge tell me they don't want to know the specifics ie exactly which roll was amended (which I can understand).

However, tolerance for fudging is one of those things I think should be explicitly discussed beforehand. However that discussion ends, that's how I think it should be played.


Steve Geddes wrote:
Firewarrior44 wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
Firewarrior44 wrote:
GM Rednal wrote:
Stuff im far too lazy to copy paste

Don't roll a dice you're not willing to accept the consequences for.

and don't have encounters that serve no purpose.

In the example the encounters purpose what to be a threat to the PC's and to reinforce that the woods are a dangerous place.

It fulfilled both of it's purposes.

If you really don't want stuff like that to happen then use Hero points, or just don't put a monster there and find some other device to reinforce the danger like say the fresh corpses of NPC's, tracks, gouges in trees etc.

What's the difference between changing the results based on hero points (allocated according to DM fiat) and the DM changing the results by fiat (with player consent)?

I can understand the 'let the dice fall where they may' mindset (it's my preference as a player) but I don't understand the view that some methods of changing the results are fine and others not.

It seems to me to be needlessly focussing on methodology.

What Johnnycat93 said.

In addition it's the player that's taking that action no being deus ex'd out of oblivion. It empowers the player the player to choose to save themselves (or get mauled to deal if they so choose) instead of stripping them of that agency.

I know there's a difference in how it works.

My point was in relation to "If you decide to roll the dice, the result is sacrosanct" argument. If that's your reason for not liking fudging then it should apply to hero points.

Ahh

It's more a if you are afraid of a dice result then put a system in place that midigates that risk.

The difference to me between hero points and fudging is transparency agency and consistency as previously stated.

I now realize I was projecting how hero points are assigned into games i play into my statement. In games that I play that use them they are gained at a set rate and are not awarded which removes makes them consisstent/impartial.


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

My understanding isn't really important but, to be honest, I still don't understand how it's consistent with "Don't roll the dice if you're (collectively) not willing to accept the consequences". It seems to me that isn't your objection - rather you think the dice rolls should be ignored provided the players get to choose which dice are ignored not the DM.

I don't think there's anything wrong with that - but it seems to me the objection is more clearly expressed as being all about player agency. The reason I think it matters is in the interests of communication - as DM I run whatever game the players ask for. If you said to me "I don't think we should mess with the dice rolls" I wouldn't dream of offering to use Hero Points (and I'd get confused if you asked for them).

If you said you didn't want me to mess with them, since you wanted to hold the fate of your character in your own hands as much as possible and just want me to provide challenges for you to interact with as you wished, based on the objective rules of the game, then I'd have a much better idea of what you are looking for as a player.


Steve Geddes wrote:

Absolutely agree with that.

I've heard people who want me to fudge tell me they don't want to know the specifics ie exactly which roll was amended (which I can understand).

However, tolerance for fudging is one of those things I think should be explicitly discussed beforehand. However that discussion ends, that's how I think it should be played.

Oh I have that.

I'm very open that I'll fudge when I feel it's needed. Though I also make it clear that it's a non-negotiable point. It's how my narrative style works. If a player doesn't like it they don't have to play.

I have 2 full groups right now, so enough people don't dislike it.

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