Cheating gm?


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I don't see what it matters. you guys are pushing the envelope for far out there scenarios.

also trained police interrogators aren't even that accurate look up some research on them you'll be disappointed in their accuracy.


Vidmaster7 wrote:

I don't see what it matters. you guys are pushing the envelope for far out there scenarios.

also trained police interrogators aren't even that accurate look up some research on them you'll be disappointed in their accuracy.

Very true - that doesn't harm my point in the slightest though. The brain is awesome at providing confirmation bias to protect its opinions from being wrong.


Kahel Stormbender wrote:

It's been a long known thing that sometimes the GM fudges the dice. In fact, it's something many RPGs actually encourage the GM to do if it'll enhance the game rather then penalize the players.

Or are you seriously going to tell me that if I rolled a critical hit for maximum damage on the surprise round, you'd rather be bisected in the surprise round and your character die just so you know I didn't lie about what the roll was?

I've GM'd for a few players who would prefer death. I am also one of them. I don't want to be spared as long as the encounter was fair. Sometimes the dice gods are just not with us. Now if we are against an EPL+7 encounter then I would prefer to live and then talk to the GM after the session to see if there was legit reason to run that encounter.


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I was neither arguing for or against your point merely stating a fact I know and my opinion that you are taking this argument to a weird place.

Like for real guys I never take the same amount of time to figure out rolls if its a high number I might go yeah hit if its a low I go miss if its a middle number I might have to pause and check and ask AC. sometimes I stop and make a joke. sometimes I loss train of thought. the scenarios are just innumerable to list.

It goes back to player and dm's will play the game they want to play. If dm fudging is cool for you GREAT if rolls as is is good for you GREAT if theirs somewhere in the middle that it works for you GREAT.

but if your gonna try and make up some strange scenarios where the players time is ruined by one or the other I just have to say what is the point?


Kahel Stormbender wrote:
Players only "pick up on it" if you're constantly fudging the dice to remove danger.

That isn't true for all players. I know bad tactics when I see them, and I have a lot of the monsters memorized. The bad tactics become easier to pick up on when you know the GM has a very solid understanding of the game. The "why didnt he ____" questions start to come up.

As for stats, I might not know he has a +18 to hit, but I might know it is between 17 and 20, and if my AC is only a 23, and I dont get hit over 2 rounds then I will be suspicious. If it happens again the GM is now under more scrutiny.


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RDM42 wrote:
Except for - what makes you think the particular statistical sequence you 'detected' is invalid? Flipping heads twenty times in a row, for example, is a void statistical outcome. And not rolling twenty for two sessions straight has happened even rolling out in the open.

I don't really know how to answer that because I don't think you can detect fudging based on a statistical sequence.


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Vidmaster7 wrote:

I was neither arguing for or against your point merely stating a fact I know and my opinion that you are taking this argument to a weird place.

Like for real guys I never take the same amount of time to figure out rolls if its a high number I might go yeah hit if its a low I go miss if its a middle number I might have to pause and check and ask AC. sometimes I stop and make a joke. sometimes I loss train of thought. the scenarios are just innumerable to list.

It goes back to player and dm's will play the game they want to play. If dm fudging is cool for you GREAT if rolls as is is good for you GREAT if theirs somewhere in the middle that it works for you GREAT.

but if your gonna try and make up some strange scenarios where the players time is ruined by one or the other I just have to say what is the point?

I think you've misunderstood (at least if I'm included in "you guys"). The game isn't going to be ruined by fudging, it's going to be ruined by dishonestly running a game.

I don't care if the DM fudges. I don't care if the DM takes the dice as they come. I care if my friends lie to me (or conceal what they're doing based on what they think I like rather than asking me what I actually like).


Steve Geddes wrote:
RDM42 wrote:
Except for - what makes you think the particular statistical sequence you 'detected' is invalid? Flipping heads twenty times in a row, for example, is a void statistical outcome. And not rolling twenty for two sessions straight has happened even rolling out in the open.
I don't really know how to answer that because I don't think you can detect fudging based on a statistical sequence.

I mean in theory but it would have to be self-report and across such a large number of game. it would not be feasible. plus the data would only relate to the one particular subject or you would have to have a huge number of DM's self-reporting over a large number of games to get anything significant. wait what are we even trying to find?


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Vidmaster7 wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
RDM42 wrote:
Except for - what makes you think the particular statistical sequence you 'detected' is invalid? Flipping heads twenty times in a row, for example, is a void statistical outcome. And not rolling twenty for two sessions straight has happened even rolling out in the open.
I don't really know how to answer that because I don't think you can detect fudging based on a statistical sequence.
I mean in theory but it would have to be self-report and across such a large number of game. it would not be feasible. plus the data would only relate to the one particular subject or you would have to have a huge number of DM's self-reporting over a large number of games to get anything significant. wait what are we even trying to find?

Is that in response to me? I don't understand your point.


There are people here who seem to think they can detect a 'suspicious sequence of rolls' during the course of just one game here.(shrug). I find that unlikely.


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RDM42 wrote:
There are people here who seem to think they can detect a 'suspicious sequence of rolls' during the course of just one game here.(shrug). I find that unlikely.

You can't tell based on a string of numbers, but the context (and body language) is there too.

It's often obvious. For example you fight a tougher than usual monster, it hits hard and often for a while as the PCs roll like they're using d12s. The party starts burning through healing resources, the DM starts asking how many hit points we have before announcing the damage, the battle drags on....the monster mysteriously starts missing almost all the time and doing significantly less damage when it does.

It could happen reading the dice as they fall, but it's much more likely the DM misjudged the difficulty of the encounter, didn't want a TPK just because they screwed up and therefore began fudging.


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The fact that people are advocating lying to their friends because they are confident they won't be caught is, quite frankly, pathetic.


137ben wrote:
The fact that people are advocating lying to their friends because they are confident they won't be caught is, quite frankly, pathetic.

Up next, bluffing in poker is a betrayal of trust, liar's dice is a game for only the most pathetic tools, and we dare not speak about Munchkin.

That bit of sarcasm aside I'll go throw my actual 2 copper at this.

I'm fine with fudging. Been there, done that, may my GM cred burn with Asmodeus for saying so. At least with the groups I roll with, the general desire on both ends is to have a fun story and that's what fudging facilitates. You know what's fun about those characters you've had for 8 levels wiping because my dice got hot (or I miscalced an encounter)? Not a whole lot. No one enjoys having the clone brigade show up and take up the mantle from there. Conversely who also enjoys the BBEG you've hyped for weeks go down because the archer paladin got a first attack smite crit and die instantly?

I'm being somewhat facetious here since some people do dig the style of let the dice fall where they land, but its not for me.

As for people noticing though, either the guy behind the screen is an idiot or the guy in front is too paranoid for his own good. I'll give an example: Players encounter an adult green dragon (AC27) and PC fires off an attack. A critical threat with a total roll of 34! An easy hit that they know because they have the stat block handy. I say it misses. Grumbles and accusations abound and yet I did not cheat. How? The thing had prebuffed with mage armor and shield. Whoops. The general art behind fudging is only messing with intangibles and the d20. People notice AC, DR, and damage fluctuating but who are they to tell me that that 20 I rolled was really a 10, or that 3 a 14? How do they know the evil wizard had 78hp rather than 100 or what buffs the dragon had on him at the start? Be smart about it and don't overdo it and at least in my experience everyone comes out happy about it. However if you/your group doesn't like it, whatever, roll all dice in plexiglass boxes, its no skin off anyone's back except those you play with.


wraithstrike wrote:
Kahel Stormbender wrote:

It's been a long known thing that sometimes the GM fudges the dice. In fact, it's something many RPGs actually encourage the GM to do if it'll enhance the game rather then penalize the players.

Or are you seriously going to tell me that if I rolled a critical hit for maximum damage on the surprise round, you'd rather be bisected in the surprise round and your character die just so you know I didn't lie about what the roll was?

I've GM'd for a few players who would prefer death. I am also one of them. I don't want to be spared as long as the encounter was fair. Sometimes the dice gods are just not with us. Now if we are against an EPL+7 encounter then I would prefer to live and then talk to the GM after the session to see if there was legit reason to run that encounter.

Sometimes that legit reason is you knuckleheads started a fight against a non-hostile creature or force that was out of your league.

As a GM I make a point not to force conflicts that are out of CR range, give LOTS of warnings and take any reasonable opportunity to allow the party to flee...

But sometimes players get it in their head that it must be impossible for them to encounter something they can't at least beat on a long shot. This is one of the few instances I would rather fudge and capture/humiliate the PCs than shred them to death in an unfair fight.


RDM42 wrote:
There are people here who seem to think they can detect a 'suspicious sequence of rolls' during the course of just one game here.(shrug). I find that unlikely.

People are very, very bad at naive estimation of probability but often think they are good at it (there are plenty of academic studies of this and a large temple devoted to this phenomenon in the Mojave desert).

The thing about any series of die rolls is that they are random and thus will almost never be so improbable as to clearly indicate malfeasance. So I think even cultivating suspicion that the GM might be up to no good is a bad idea.


PossibleCabbage wrote:
RDM42 wrote:
There are people here who seem to think they can detect a 'suspicious sequence of rolls' during the course of just one game here.(shrug). I find that unlikely.

People are very, very bad at naive estimation of probability but often think they are good at it (there are plenty of academic studies of this and a large temple devoted to this phenomenon in the Mojave desert).

The thing about any series of die rolls is that they are random and thus will almost never be so improbable as to clearly indicate malfeasance. So I think even cultivating suspicion that the GM might be up to no good is a bad idea.

More to the point, very VERY rarely do enough rolls of any one type, with the same modifiers happen in most game sessions to have a proper statistical curve show up.


Ryan Freire wrote:
More to the point, very VERY rarely do enough rolls of any one type, with the same modifiers happen in most game sessions to have a proper statistical curve show up.

Especially when we're talking something sufficiently subtle as the difference between a natural 20 and any other high roll that would result in a hit but not one of the critical variety.

I mean, I've had considerable streaks of sessions in a row as a player when I've not managed to confirm a single critical hit using an attack that only crits on a 20, and I was rolling my own dice. "Monsters don't critically hit often enough" is something that paranoid players might suspect but no one would ever be able to confirm with any confidence.


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yeah, i think this topic has pretty much run it's course with hyperbole and personal testimony.


Noticing the GM is fudging is alot more about reading the person than statistical analysis. Also context matters, if the encounter is getting steamrolled and suddenly the enemies start being a lot better than they were before raises suspicions. It is not gonna be that in itself that will be 'proof' for lack of better word, but patterns are different thing.

Only time fudging is bad wrong fun* when the people you are playing it are in the belief that the GM will not fudge.(not this particular time I am talking about the habbit at all or not existing.)

* It is no longer matter of preference, when you are deliberately misusing someones trust. That makes you a whole lot of words I am not allowed to use on these boards.


kyrt-ryder wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
Kahel Stormbender wrote:

It's been a long known thing that sometimes the GM fudges the dice. In fact, it's something many RPGs actually encourage the GM to do if it'll enhance the game rather then penalize the players.

Or are you seriously going to tell me that if I rolled a critical hit for maximum damage on the surprise round, you'd rather be bisected in the surprise round and your character die just so you know I didn't lie about what the roll was?

I've GM'd for a few players who would prefer death. I am also one of them. I don't want to be spared as long as the encounter was fair. Sometimes the dice gods are just not with us. Now if we are against an EPL+7 encounter then I would prefer to live and then talk to the GM after the session to see if there was legit reason to run that encounter.

Sometimes that legit reason is you knuckleheads started a fight against a non-hostile creature or force that was out of your league.

As a GM I make a point not to force conflicts that are out of CR range, give LOTS of warnings and take any reasonable opportunity to allow the party to flee...

But sometimes players get it in their head that it must be impossible for them to encounter something they can't at least beat on a long shot. This is one of the few instances I would rather fudge and capture/humiliate the PCs than shred them to death in an unfair fight.

I've had players do that as a GM. They tend to expect "GM protection", but those are also normally the people who expect the fudging to save them.

That is also why I tell people in my games that sometimes it is better to run away sometimes as general advice.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
RDM42 wrote:
There are people here who seem to think they can detect a 'suspicious sequence of rolls' during the course of just one game here.(shrug). I find that unlikely.

People are very, very bad at naive estimation of probability but often think they are good at it (there are plenty of academic studies of this and a large temple devoted to this phenomenon in the Mojave desert).

The thing about any series of die rolls is that they are random and thus will almost never be so improbable as to clearly indicate malfeasance. So I think even cultivating suspicion that the GM might be up to no good is a bad idea.

It is not just dice rolls. Normally it is a combination of dice rolls and bad tactics, which happen to occur at a convenient time for the party.

Example: We had been drain of resources, and came onto a boss fight, where we were severely outnumbered. There were multiple bad guys that were one level below the party so the CR was likely +5 over APL at a minimum. It got to the point where the result was pretty much known, and suddenly the bad guys could not hit us, and they resorted to melee attacks, and stopped casting spells. Had they sat back and used spells they could have killed us, and they had lower level minions to act as a meat shields so we could not just get to them in melee.
This was a case of the GM overestimating the party, but similar things have happened when the bad guys just get lucky and start out with crits, making a fight a lot more dangerous than it was intended to be.
The GM likely doesn't want a TPK to a random encounter so the bad guys go from being special ops level combatants to provoking AoO's and other things that are not needed.


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I think at the point where we're reading people at the table for poker-style tells we're taking the game out of the realm of "friendly cooperative game you play with your friends."

Also, there's nothing remotely weird about a string of lower than average rolls (of unspecified length) being followed by a string of higher than average rolls (of unspecified length). This is, in fact, statistically normal. If you start thinking the GM is up to something if the monsters start hitting after they were missing, then you're probably being unduly paranoid.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:

I think at the point where we're reading people at the table for poker-style tells we're taking the game out of the realm of "friendly cooperative game you play with your friends."

Also, there's nothing remotely weird about a string of lower than average rolls (of unspecified length) being followed by a string of higher than average rolls (of unspecified length). This is, in fact, statistically normal. If you start thinking the GM is up to something if the monsters start hitting after they were missing, then you're probably being unduly paranoid.

Do you think the DM should declare (before the campaign begins) if they will occasionally fudge dice rolls?

Does that answer change if they know one of the players doesn't like fudging at all and would rather their character suffer the results of chance (good or bad)?


Generally speaking, I think if players or GMs have strong feelings about what they want or expect from a game, they should feel free to voice them before the game and we can talk about what we expect. I find, from experience, that most people don't care that much one way or another and people in my age group tend to be generally amenable to the idea of "GM as Storyteller".

One solution I find generally preferable to "fudging to avoid a TPK" is to just steal a rule from 13th Age, specifically that the PCs may, whenever they like assuming the party is in unanimous agreement, escape from the fight with their lives, gear, dignity, etc. intact. Whenever they do this, however, they will suffer a "campaign loss" where the antagonist accomplishes one of their goals because the PCs were unable to stop them (the prince gets kidnapped, the cultists get their hands on the artifact, the assassination is not foiled, etc.) If I'm going to do something like "import a rule from a different, but similar, game" I'm going to have to make that clear to start with. But this solves almost all problems regarding "fudging rolls or adopting bad tactics to keep the party alive".

But I do generally use a GM screen, because I do keep stuff there I don't want players glancing at (notes, etc.) and I usually roll behind it because it's just more convenient to roll the dice in front of me and not over somewhere else. If there's a roll whose outcome is of great interest to the PCs (e.g. whether the bad guy makes his save) I might stand up and roll it right out there in the open just as theatrics to build suspense. What I don't want though is people accusing me, because I'm rolling behind the screen, that I'm engaging in malfeasance based on little more than distrust in the GM.


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I really can't tell if that's a yes or a no.

It sounds like "No" to the first and "Yes" to the second. Is that right?


wraithstrike wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
RDM42 wrote:
There are people here who seem to think they can detect a 'suspicious sequence of rolls' during the course of just one game here.(shrug). I find that unlikely.

People are very, very bad at naive estimation of probability but often think they are good at it (there are plenty of academic studies of this and a large temple devoted to this phenomenon in the Mojave desert).

The thing about any series of die rolls is that they are random and thus will almost never be so improbable as to clearly indicate malfeasance. So I think even cultivating suspicion that the GM might be up to no good is a bad idea.

It is not just dice rolls. Normally it is a combination of dice rolls and bad tactics, which happen to occur at a convenient time for the party.

Example: We had been drain of resources, and came onto a boss fight, where we were severely outnumbered. There were multiple bad guys that were one level below the party so the CR was likely +5 over APL at a minimum. It got to the point where the result was pretty much known, and suddenly the bad guys could not hit us, and they resorted to melee attacks, and stopped casting spells. Had they sat back and used spells they could have killed us, and they had lower level minions to act as a meat shields so we could not just get to them in melee.
This was a case of the GM overestimating the party, but similar things have happened when the bad guys just get lucky and start out with crits, making a fight a lot more dangerous than it was intended to be.
The GM likely doesn't want a TPK to a random encounter so the bad guys go from being special ops level combatants to provoking AoO's and other things that are not needed.

Just to be clear if it is a one time issue of something "strange" happening that can be placed on GM fatigue it might get overlooked, but if it happens more than once then it looks suspicious when you(party) get lucky when you know you(the party) should be dead.

edit: The statistical anomaly of bad rolls and bad tactics happening at the right time more than once is not good. At a certain point people are not going to give another person the benefit of the doubt, and that applies in life, not just gaming.


I use a DM screen also for saves, but I don't fudge saves. They are more for situations where someone cast a spell such as "hold person" on a vampire or an illusion. If I roll in the open and get a nat 1 or I don't roll at all then they players will know something is up. What I do is roll behind the screen and say something like "he didnt fail the save".


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Steve Geddes wrote:

I really can't tell if that's a yes or a no.

It sounds like "No" to the first and "Yes" to the second. Is that right?

Generally, before a game, I have no idea whether I'm going going to fudge a roll, employ questionable tactics for NPCs, declare something a success/failure without rolling, etc. So if someone asks me, I'll probably just shrug and say "If I think it's called for, I might, but it's probably more likely I'll just screw something up by accident."

Like if it's running late, and people are tired or not feeling well and want to go home, and we're in the middle of a perfunctory combat and instead of playing through something that no one is really enjoying, or trying to preserve the exact state of the combat so it won't be lost in the next week or two, I might just hit the proverbial "simulate to finish" button and declare that the players have won. Isn't that just reasonable GMing?

If one of the players states outright that they dislike fudging and they think this should be adjudicated like a board game rather than a cooperative storytelling game, I would probably suggest they're not going to enjoy my games very much as they definitely tilt towards the "storygame" part of the spectrum. They're free to stay, of course, but I'm probably not going to change course and GM the sort of game I'm not good at running and didn't prepare to run because one player has strong feelings.


Generally speaking, the GM sets the framework, its his decision to fudge or not, and they're under no obligation to inform or not. They put in the work to run, they get the say. Players can leave if they aren't having fun in game but again...GM's are rarer than players, the loss of a player isn't going to blow up a game group the way losses of a GM does.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:

I really can't tell if that's a yes or a no.

It sounds like "No" to the first and "Yes" to the second. Is that right?

Generally, before a game, I have no idea whether I'm going going to fudge a roll, employ questionable tactics for NPCs, declare something a success/failure without rolling, etc. So if someone asks me, I'll probably just shrug and say "If I think it's called for, I might, but it's probably more likely I'll just screw something up by accident."

Like if it's running late, and people are tired or not feeling well and want to go home, and we're in the middle of a perfunctory combat and instead of playing through something that no one is really enjoying, or trying to preserve the exact state of the combat so it won't be lost in the next week or two, I might just hit the proverbial "simulate to finish" button and declare that the players have won. Isn't that just reasonable GMing?

If one of the players states outright that they dislike fudging and they think this should be adjudicated like a board game rather than a cooperative storytelling game, I would probably suggest they're not going to enjoy my games very much as they definitely tilt towards the "storygame" part of the spectrum. They're free to stay, of course, but I'm probably not going to change course and GM the sort of game I'm not good at running and didn't prepare to run because one player has strong feelings.

Cheers.

For the record I have no problem with a DM who believes fudging is a desirable part of their repertoire. Nor if they are unwilling to rule it out at the request of the players. I only object to one who says they wont fudge fulliy intending to o so if necessary.


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Ryan Freire wrote:
Generally speaking, the GM sets the framework, its his decision to fudge or not, and they're under no obligation to inform or not. They put in the work to run, they get the say. Players can leave if they aren't having fun in game but again...GM's are rarer than players, the loss of a player isn't going to blow up a game group the way losses of a GM does.

Are they free to ignore the dice completely without disclosure in your view? Or does degree matter?


Ryan Freire wrote:
Generally speaking, the GM sets the framework, its his decision to fudge or not, and they're under no obligation to inform or not. They put in the work to run, they get the say. Players can leave if they aren't having fun in game but again...GM's are rarer than players, the loss of a player isn't going to blow up a game group the way losses of a GM does.

It is his decision, but honesty a good idea because it causes less table drama than if a player figures things out on his own.

Putting in more work does not equate to "I get to lie". And if the loss of the player is that minor then why not just tell the truth so he can leave, and you can get a more compatible player?


Steve Geddes wrote:
Ryan Freire wrote:
Generally speaking, the GM sets the framework, its his decision to fudge or not, and they're under no obligation to inform or not. They put in the work to run, they get the say. Players can leave if they aren't having fun in game but again...GM's are rarer than players, the loss of a player isn't going to blow up a game group the way losses of a GM does.
Are they free to ignore the dice completely without disclosure in your view? Or does degree matter?

Yup. If it isn't fun dont play with them. 9 out of 10 times the loss of a player is less of a death knell than a loss of a gm, or a gm who feels put upon to gm in a manner they arent happy with.


wraithstrike wrote:
Ryan Freire wrote:
Generally speaking, the GM sets the framework, its his decision to fudge or not, and they're under no obligation to inform or not. They put in the work to run, they get the say. Players can leave if they aren't having fun in game but again...GM's are rarer than players, the loss of a player isn't going to blow up a game group the way losses of a GM does.

It is his decision, but honesty a good idea because it causes less table drama than if a player figures things out on his own.

Putting in more work does not equate to "I get to lie". And if the loss of the player is that minor then why not just tell the truth so he can leave, and you can get a more compatible player?

And yeah actually it does, you'll not find "dont fudge" written in any rulebook for the d+d descendants. You'll find a lot of "gms are the final arbiter" though.


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Ryan Freire wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
Ryan Freire wrote:
Generally speaking, the GM sets the framework, its his decision to fudge or not, and they're under no obligation to inform or not. They put in the work to run, they get the say. Players can leave if they aren't having fun in game but again...GM's are rarer than players, the loss of a player isn't going to blow up a game group the way losses of a GM does.
Are they free to ignore the dice completely without disclosure in your view? Or does degree matter?
Yup. If it isn't fun dont play with them. 9 out of 10 times the loss of a player is less of a death knell than a loss of a gm, or a gm who feels put upon to gm in a manner they arent happy with.

What's gained by keeping that predilection secret?


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Ryan Freire wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
Ryan Freire wrote:
Generally speaking, the GM sets the framework, its his decision to fudge or not, and they're under no obligation to inform or not. They put in the work to run, they get the say. Players can leave if they aren't having fun in game but again...GM's are rarer than players, the loss of a player isn't going to blow up a game group the way losses of a GM does.

It is his decision, but honesty a good idea because it causes less table drama than if a player figures things out on his own.

Putting in more work does not equate to "I get to lie". And if the loss of the player is that minor then why not just tell the truth so he can leave, and you can get a more compatible player?
And yeah actually it does, you'll not find "dont fudge" written in any rulebook for the d+d descendants. You'll find a lot of "gms are the final arbiter" though.

Generally next to phrases like "discuss this with your players" and "duty to listen and respect the group".

Why on earth do you think lying helps?


Ryan Freire wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
Ryan Freire wrote:
Generally speaking, the GM sets the framework, its his decision to fudge or not, and they're under no obligation to inform or not. They put in the work to run, they get the say. Players can leave if they aren't having fun in game but again...GM's are rarer than players, the loss of a player isn't going to blow up a game group the way losses of a GM does.

It is his decision, but honesty a good idea because it causes less table drama than if a player figures things out on his own.

Putting in more work does not equate to "I get to lie". And if the loss of the player is that minor then why not just tell the truth so he can leave, and you can get a more compatible player?

And yeah actually it does, you'll not find "dont fudge" written in any rulebook for the d+d descendants. You'll find a lot of "gms are the final arbiter" though.

The rules do say to discuss things with players which is the opposite of what you said.

Quote:
The Game Master and players should always discuss any rules changes to make sure that everyone understands how the game will be played. Although the Game Master is the final arbiter of the rules, the Pathfinder RPG is a shared experience, and all of the players should contribute their thoughts when the rules are in doubt.

So yeah the GM has the last say, but if we are going to use that section then it is good to be honest and quote the entire thing.


Steve Geddes wrote:
Ryan Freire wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
Ryan Freire wrote:
Generally speaking, the GM sets the framework, its his decision to fudge or not, and they're under no obligation to inform or not. They put in the work to run, they get the say. Players can leave if they aren't having fun in game but again...GM's are rarer than players, the loss of a player isn't going to blow up a game group the way losses of a GM does.

It is his decision, but honesty a good idea because it causes less table drama than if a player figures things out on his own.

Putting in more work does not equate to "I get to lie". And if the loss of the player is that minor then why not just tell the truth so he can leave, and you can get a more compatible player?
And yeah actually it does, you'll not find "dont fudge" written in any rulebook for the d+d descendants. You'll find a lot of "gms are the final arbiter" though.

Generally next to phrases like "discuss this with your players" and "duty to listen and respect the group".

Why on earth do you think lying helps?

For the same reason most people don't watch a movie with the commentary on how they shot and planned every scene going over the audio track.

Edit: and the same reason people dont want to go to a magic show where the magician pauses after every trick to explain how he did it.


Steve Geddes wrote:
Ryan Freire wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
Ryan Freire wrote:
Generally speaking, the GM sets the framework, its his decision to fudge or not, and they're under no obligation to inform or not. They put in the work to run, they get the say. Players can leave if they aren't having fun in game but again...GM's are rarer than players, the loss of a player isn't going to blow up a game group the way losses of a GM does.

It is his decision, but honesty a good idea because it causes less table drama than if a player figures things out on his own.

Putting in more work does not equate to "I get to lie". And if the loss of the player is that minor then why not just tell the truth so he can leave, and you can get a more compatible player?
And yeah actually it does, you'll not find "dont fudge" written in any rulebook for the d+d descendants. You'll find a lot of "gms are the final arbiter" though.

Generally next to phrases like "discuss this with your players" and "duty to listen and respect the group".

Why on earth do you think lying helps?

I've noticed over the years that the "final arbitration" quote or "rule zero" gets referenced a lot, and the rest of the paragraph is treated as if it is written in invisible ink.


I find a lot of people take discuss the rules with your players to mean seek their approval for everything you do behind the screen rather than "we're using these books and this ruleset and this is how these mechanical situations will be interpreted"


Ryan Freire wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
Ryan Freire wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
Ryan Freire wrote:
Generally speaking, the GM sets the framework, its his decision to fudge or not, and they're under no obligation to inform or not. They put in the work to run, they get the say. Players can leave if they aren't having fun in game but again...GM's are rarer than players, the loss of a player isn't going to blow up a game group the way losses of a GM does.

It is his decision, but honesty a good idea because it causes less table drama than if a player figures things out on his own.

Putting in more work does not equate to "I get to lie". And if the loss of the player is that minor then why not just tell the truth so he can leave, and you can get a more compatible player?
And yeah actually it does, you'll not find "dont fudge" written in any rulebook for the d+d descendants. You'll find a lot of "gms are the final arbiter" though.

Generally next to phrases like "discuss this with your players" and "duty to listen and respect the group".

Why on earth do you think lying helps?

For the same reason most people don't watch a movie with the commentary on how they shot and planned every scene going over the audio track.

Edit: and the same reason people dont want to go to a magic show where the magician pauses after every trick to explain how he did it.

That is a poor comparison because it is a different medium, and a different experience is expected.


Ryan Freire wrote:
I find a lot of people take discuss the rules with your players to mean seek their approval for everything you do behind the screen rather than "we're using these books and this ruleset and this is how these mechanical situations will be interpreted"

Nobody said "seek approval". The book just said to discuss it. If the player doesn't like the end result of the discussion he is free to leave.


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Ryan Freire wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
Ryan Freire wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
Ryan Freire wrote:
Generally speaking, the GM sets the framework, its his decision to fudge or not, and they're under no obligation to inform or not. They put in the work to run, they get the say. Players can leave if they aren't having fun in game but again...GM's are rarer than players, the loss of a player isn't going to blow up a game group the way losses of a GM does.

It is his decision, but honesty a good idea because it causes less table drama than if a player figures things out on his own.

Putting in more work does not equate to "I get to lie". And if the loss of the player is that minor then why not just tell the truth so he can leave, and you can get a more compatible player?
And yeah actually it does, you'll not find "dont fudge" written in any rulebook for the d+d descendants. You'll find a lot of "gms are the final arbiter" though.

Generally next to phrases like "discuss this with your players" and "duty to listen and respect the group".

Why on earth do you think lying helps?

For the same reason most people don't watch a movie with the commentary on how they shot and planned every scene going over the audio track.

Edit: and the same reason people dont want to go to a magic show where the magician pauses after every trick to explain how he did it.

You go to a magic show knowing it's a magic show though.

I wouldn't expect you to announce after every time you'd fudged a result. I'd expect you to tell a player that you believe in fudging from time to time (especially if you know they'd prefer playing in a game without fudging).

I just don't see any gain in not disclosing your DM style up front.


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Ryan Freire wrote:
I find a lot of people take discuss the rules with your players to mean seek their approval for everything you do behind the screen rather than "we're using these books and this ruleset and this is how these mechanical situations will be interpreted"

Who?

Neither wraithstrike or I are saying that.


More than a few GMs I've played with do that. It makes for as bad a game as when the GM doesn't listen at all.


Steve Geddes wrote:
Ryan Freire wrote:
I find a lot of people take discuss the rules with your players to mean seek their approval for everything you do behind the screen rather than "we're using these books and this ruleset and this is how these mechanical situations will be interpreted"

Who?

Neither wraithstrike or I are saying that.

Some GMs DO though. Such as myself.

I see the game as belonging to my players as much as myself. I will not compromise on game balance or the integrity of the opposition's identity/personality, but I encourage my players to work with me to realize their characters in accordance with their vision.

The Exchange

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Ryan Freire wrote:
Edit: and the same reason people dont want to go to a magic show where the magician pauses after every trick to explain how he did it.

Depends on the players, I think. At home, I've usually played with people who don't know the rules (aka the magician's tricks) as well as I do, and often don't even want more than those things necessary to play their character. Those are most often the players who don't even care if you fudge or not as long as they trust you, not to use fudging against them. Those are also the players who don't care if you consistently use the the rules as written or if you change them at whim if you think it helps the game (again, as long as they trust you, but people I invite into my home or that invite me into theirs generally tend to do that).

The there have been (mostly online) games where all the players were GMs of their own games, meaning they already knew the tricks of the trade. This are the people that most often have quite clear expectations of how the game should go and that are much less willing to put up with any crap the GM of the game might come up with.

In the second case I think it is absolutely necessary to discuss your stance on fudging with the players beforehand to get everyone on the same side. In the first case it might not be as necessary but I still think that it's a matter of decency to try to find out if your players are ok with the way you'll intend to run the game.

And yeah, I've also found that games tend to last longer and be more fun for everyone involved if the GM seeks the approval of his players and sees them as equal co-players rather than as people who should feel lucky that someone is willing to run a game for them.


This is a really odd topic to me. I've been GM ing for decades. If you don't like the way a GM runs their game. Don't play in it. As for me if i'm starting a new group of players or a new campaign. I go over the mechanical rules. If we house rule anything my players need to know that. And know that the rules apply to everyone pc and npc alike.

If we come up with a situation where the rules aren't clear or I want to change something. We use the current rule until that session is over then I discuss it with them. But that's all about the mechanics. That is the shared "game space".

Everything else I do as GM to run an entertaining campaign, is my business and mine alone. If I choose to fudge rolls now and again in the service of making the story more entertaining or not killing the whole party because of an off night. I'm under no obligation to say..Hey guys Im gonna start fudging rolls now. Sorry not gonna happen. Not even gonna tell you about it before we start. If your not having fun, and I would define not having fun as so bored you keep track of every roll the GM makes just to make sure hes not "cheating",then don't play.

There may be players out there who want their characters to die meaningless deaths to random bad rolls. But I've never really met any. That doesn't mean death never occurs. Just not stupid meaningless RNG deaths. On the other hand I have had the misfortune of playing with GM's who just follow "the rules" and never fudge anything. Every campaign i've ever played in like that ended prematurely because of a TPK. Yeah that's super fun.

The last time It was an awesome group cool character concepts really fun game. Right up until the GM overestimated the group and made an encounter we could not have won on a good day. Then crit killed half the party in the first two rounds. And then hid behind this annoying defense of...he was just following the rules. He doesn't fudge the rolls. Well cool. Now the really fun games over man. Good Job. Haven't played with him as GM since. Don't know anyone else who has either.


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kyrt-ryder wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
Ryan Freire wrote:
I find a lot of people take discuss the rules with your players to mean seek their approval for everything you do behind the screen rather than "we're using these books and this ruleset and this is how these mechanical situations will be interpreted"

Who?

Neither wraithstrike or I are saying that.

Some GMs DO though. Such as myself.

I see the game as belonging to my players as much as myself. I will not compromise on game balance or the integrity of the opposition's identity/personality, but I encourage my players to work with me to realize their characters in accordance with their vision.

Maybe I was reading too much into 'everything they do behind the screen'. I thought Ryan was drifting into hyperbole. All I'm asking is that the DM discuss it prior to the campaign - I'm really, really struggling to understand the pushback against that.

For the record, things like fudging are irrelevant to me as a DM - I leave that totally up to the players as a group. I don't even express an opinion.


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Jay0143 wrote:

This is a really odd topic to me. I've been GM ing for decades. If you don't like the way a GM runs their game. Don't play in it. As for me if i'm starting a new group of players or a new campaign. I go over the mechanical rules. If we house rule anything my players need to know that. And know that the rules apply to everyone pc and npc alike.

If we come up with a situation where the rules aren't clear or I want to change something. We use the current rule until that session is over then I discuss it with them. But that's all about the mechanics. That is the shared "game space".

Everything else I do as GM to run an entertaining campaign, is my business and mine alone. If I choose to fudge rolls now and again in the service of making the story more entertaining or not killing the whole party because of an off night. I'm under no obligation to say..Hey guys Im gonna start fudging rolls now. Sorry not gonna happen. Not even gonna tell you about it before we start. If your not having fun, and I would define not having fun as so bored you keep track of every roll the GM makes just to make sure hes not "cheating",then don't play.

There may be players out there who want their characters to die meaningless deaths to random bad rolls. But I've never really met any. That doesn't mean death never occurs. Just not stupid meaningless RNG deaths. On the other hand I have had the misfortune of playing with GM's who just follow "the rules" and never fudge anything. Every campaign i've ever played in like that ended prematurely because of a TPK. Yeah that's super fun.

The last time It was an awesome group cool character concepts really fun game. Right up until the GM overestimated the group and made an encounter we could not have won on a good day. Then crit killed half the party in the first two rounds. And then hid behind this annoying defense of...he was just following the rules. He doesn't fudge the rolls. Well cool. Now the really fun games over man. Good Job. Haven't played with him as GM since. Don't...

I'm really struggling to understand posts like this.

It seems to me uncontroversial that lots of people like fudging. It seems equally uncontroversial that the rules provide that as an option. To me it even seems uncontroversial that it's ultimately up to the DM to make the call.

I just don't see why one would keep that secret from your players. I don't mean telling them each time it happens, I mean at the start of the campaign. Especially since you seem to think they'll shrug and say "Yeah, of course. Nobody wants to die just to some stupid series of random numbers!"

What's the benefit of not declaring that's how you run things?

Especially if you happen to run into a player who says they don't want to play in a campaign where the DM fudges. Why not give them the option to bail early? (This is hypothetical, it doesn't matter if you've never met such a player).

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