Discussion on the Topic of GMs "Cheating"


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Quiche Lisp wrote:
Chess Pwn wrote:
It's a highly contrived scenario where the heroes don't know they are special but the BBEG does.

Says you.

It's a recurring theme in many fantasy series ; e.g in the Belgariad, by David Eddings ; or in The Wheel of Time, if I remember correctly.
Hell, I wouldn't be surprised if there was a TV Trope named after it.

I'm not familiar with most of those.

And just because it happens sometimes in movies and books, doesn't make it not a highly contrived scenario when it happens.


Kirth Gersen wrote:
WHY would you lie about that? Because you think you're oh-so-clever if you can get away with it? Because you're a congenital liar (and judging from other threads this might be the case)?"

Ho, so you're resorting to name calling, now ?

I thought we were having a civil discussion.

Kirth Gersen wrote:

It serves absolutely no purpose at all.

Just say, "I'm going to fudge rolls, OK?" and it's done. You run zero risk of offending your so-called "mate," and he doesn't have to pretend to believe you.

You seem to be paradox-adverse.


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Quiche Lisp wrote:
Chess Pwn wrote:
It's a highly contrived scenario where the heroes don't know they are special but the BBEG does.

Says you.

It's a recurring theme in many fantasy series ; e.g in the Belgariad, by David Eddings ; or in The Wheel of Time, if I remember correctly.
Hell, I wouldn't be surprised if there was a TV Trope named after it.

Attempting to copy fantasy stories is a sure-fire way to end up with a bad game. Pathfinder has abilities that hit a large chunk of the story breakers power list and unlike a story does not care about what works best for the narrative. Gandalf and Frodo can be on the same team in a book, because the writer can balance the two characters out without screwing one over since no one is controlling that character. In Pathfinder, Gandalf's player is going to use his high CR celestial powers to just instantly solve any problem more efficiently and easily than Frodo could. It's like stories that pretend "Batman v. Superman" would end in anything other than an overwhelming victory for Superman. They work fine as stories, but poorly for game scenarios.

For fun take any episode of the Flash (literally *any* episode) and see how easily the problem would be solved if Flash was a player character instead of a story character. It would ruin the series because some episodes would literally be only a few minutes long.

Grand Lodge

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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Omfg, this thread is ridiculous. Lol.

-Skeld


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Kirth Gersen wrote:
Quiche Lisp wrote:
Hence, if I'm talking to a friend, months ahead of the actual RPG session, and I'm saying that I'm an hardcore DM who doesn't fudge dice, while I'm in fact prepared to fudge when I deem it necessary - for my player's enjoyment - I am a terrible liar, whose lie will serve our purpose of having a goood time in a totally make believe world of dragon elves and dungeon princesses.

WHY would you lie about that? Because you think you're oh-so-clever if you can get away with it? Because you're a congenital liar (and judging from other threads this might be the case)? It serves absolutely no purpose at all.

Just say, "I'm going to fudge rolls, OK?" and it's done. You run zero risk of offending your so-called "mate," and he doesn't have to pretend to believe you.

For the same reasons the GMG says "if you do decide to fudge rolls for the sake of the game, it’s best done in secret, and as infrequently as possible."

Because I, as a player, don't want to know the rolls are fudged. I want the illusion preserved.


Chess Pwn wrote:
Quiche Lisp wrote:
Chess Pwn wrote:
It's a highly contrived scenario where the heroes don't know they are special but the BBEG does.

Says you.

It's a recurring theme in many fantasy series ; e.g in the Belgariad, by David Eddings ; or in The Wheel of Time, if I remember correctly.
Hell, I wouldn't be surprised if there was a TV Trope named after it.

I'm not familiar with most of those.

And just because it happens sometimes in movies and books, doesn't make it not a highly contrived scenario when it happens.

My point is that not everything needs to be scripted in advance.

Some of the best RPG sessions I've been in were improvised in the spur of the moment.
Thinking that everything needs to be statted in advance for a game to be fair (and uncheatful, is that a name ? ) is not my way to conceive of rpgs. But that's just my personal preference, of course.


thejeff wrote:
Because I, as a player, don't want to know the rolls are fudged. I want the illusion preserved.

[*Quiche Lisp excitedly flails his arms*]I know ! Crazy, hu ?

Ho : emphasis is mine.
[*Quiche Lisp scratches his head*]
It's almost like...
[*facepalms*]
... like we were playing a game !
[*Exits left, whistling in a very off-tune way*]


Quiche Lisp wrote:
Chess Pwn wrote:
It's a highly contrived scenario where the heroes don't know they are special but the BBEG does.

Says you.

It's a recurring theme in many fantasy series ; e.g in the Belgariad, by David Eddings ; or in The Wheel of Time, if I remember correctly.
Hell, I wouldn't be surprised if there was a TV Trope named after it.

I believed it's called "The Chosen One".


Skeld wrote:
Omfg, this thread is ridiculous. Lol.-Skeld

[*Quiche Lisp huffs and puffs*]

No, no ! We're all very serious here, sir !
[*makes a chastising gesture with a chubby finger*]
It's a question of mo-ra-li-TEE !
[*puts the Fez of Judgment on his head*]
Some have been caught a-cheating and a-lying (congenially, even), and the punishment shall be swift ! I wager...]
[*Quiche Lisp's head and fez explode*]


I have been told it is cheating when you try to outsmart the adventure because it forces the GM to adapt on the fly and that is player vs GM.


That sounds like an unfortunate ruleset to play under.


Is that not normal? I have been through that in several different RPGs and groups.


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Jaçinto wrote:
Is that not normal? I have been through that in several different RPGs and groups.

It is in fact not normal and is the result of several very bad GMs. It is impossible to "outsmart" an adventure as what choices the players make to overcome an obstacle and how they choose to proceed is literally the whole point of the game. As a GM myself, I would like to extend my deepest sympathies and condolences and I ask that you not let these bad GMs poison your love for the hobby.


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There's a few instances where "outsmarting" could be considered cheating. For example if you knew what was coming via reading the adventure and acted on that knowledge in bad faith then that would be cheating.

But if what you describe is just trying to cleverly circumvent challenges using the rules and resources available to you then no, that in no way should ever be considered cheating.

Player ingenuity and unpredictability are traits that should be lauded not punished. (In my opinion)


Player Ingenuity and unpredictability, even though they screw up my g*&&*+n encounters, are wonderful because they result in the best memories of my games.

Ever need to cobble together an entirely separate plane because one of your players decided to jump through a portal that was disgorging enemies, and the rest followed them?

Good times.


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ShroudedInLight wrote:

Player Ingenuity and unpredictability, even though they screw up my g~!%&~n encounters, are wonderful because they result in the best memories of my games.

Ever need to cobble together an entirely separate plane because one of your players decided to jump through a portal that was disgorging enemies, and the rest followed them?

Good times.

Yeah, most of my favorite GM-ing memories are from times when the party did something totally insane, and I wound up desperately improvising to keep the game moving. Like the time my Well-Intentioned Extremist Big Bad was a bit too persuasive in explaining his cause, and next thing I knew the entire party wants to betray their current allies and join up with him instead.

Grand Lodge

Anzyr wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
Anzyr wrote:
If that is a common thing no. If all the other goblins are normal and it's just this one, again YES. And hey if you have the sheet for it, what's the problem?

Do you make a habit to ask to see the character sheets for primary antagonists when they make early cameos in the campaign to set the stage for the eventual showdown later?

Like can you see why that's kind of crossing a line?

Not really no. Because if that Sorcerer/Monk just buffed the goblins AC instead of you know casting spells that could have ended the PCs then and there, I'm going to be very disappointed the GMs abilities. As I should be.

That's exactly not what was going on. The entire premise was that you don't know why the Goblins AC is 25+ and you as a player suddenly decide that the only way that could happen is if the GM is cheating.

Unless of course the goblin was itself a monk/sorcerer of Zarongel, with an Amulet of Proof against Detection and Location, a ring of Protection +2, 18 dex, +1 size bonus, +2 chain shirt, under the effects of Extreme Flexibility and it's Boots of Haste were activated while it waited for you to turn the corner. It had the Qiggong Monk ability of True Strike and was profanely blessed with a +1 to it's AC because the PCs heard goblins have been stealing dogs for sacrifice.

You've already posted that you didn't allow someone to sneak attack and didn't explain to players that the sneak attack was being negated by an item until after the encounter-

So I ask you, as a GM was I cheating by saying that this goblin wasn't hit with a 24? Did you just think it was a CR 1/3 creature because I mentioned it was a goblin?

Wait, even better question. When the PCs attack the enemies do you make the enemies roll knowledge and spellcraft checks and the such? Do you announce this to players?

Shadow Lodge

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Jader7777 wrote:
Wait, even better question. When the PCs attack the enemies do you make the enemies roll knowledge and spellcraft checks and the such? Do you announce this to players?

Yes, and yes.


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Skeld wrote:

Omfg, this thread is ridiculous. Lol.

-Skeld

No, see, I just invented a made up title for myself: I am the Arbiter of LOLing. With my new made-up title, I decree that anyone who Lols in this thread is a cheater. I'm allowed to lol, though, because it's fun, and I support fun. But only when I do it, because I have a made-up title.


Kirth Gersen wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
My question is, that how on earth would the players even know any of this happened?
How would the audience even know if the theatre cut a scene from a premiere movie? Or spliced one in? Shoot, a lot of people even get mad at Director's Cut editions, when the adding/deleting is being done by the creator (I'm looking at Michael Mann and "Last of the Mohicans").

You needed an example of a Director's Cut people got angry about and you choose a 1999 re-release of a movie I hadn't even heard of and needed to look up?

Granted, that's pretty easy to do, since I barely ever watch movies, so chances are most examples you can think of I've never heard of. I mainly stick with plays, which I guess makes me an Old School person. Everything was so much better before those awful rollplaying movie people came along.

But even I can think of an example of a director's cut of a movie that people got angry about. And the example I'm thinking of predates the director's cut of Last of the Mohicans. The Star Wars Special Editions enraged generations of self-proclaimed fans. You could almost say that George Lucas shot first when it came to often-criticized re-edits.

Grand Lodge

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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Sarcasm Dragon wrote:
Skeld wrote:

Omfg, this thread is ridiculous. Lol.

-Skeld

No, see, I just invented a made up title for myself: I am the Arbiter of LOLing. With my new made-up title, I decree that anyone who Lols in this thread is a cheater. I'm allowed to lol, though, because it's fun, and I support fun. But only when I do it, because I have a made-up title.

I unapologetically lol in your general direction, Sarcasm Dragon, because I'm a dirty, dirty cheater. And a liar, apparently. And possibly a terrible person.

If you invite me to game with you, I'll come to your house, drink your milk, and argue that katanas are underpowered. I would probably kill your houseplants. I wouldn't punch you in the face though, because that's not cool and it's a stupid analogy anyway.

-Skeld


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Jader7777 wrote:

You've already posted that you didn't allow someone to sneak attack and didn't explain to players that the sneak attack was being negated by an item until after the encounter-

So I ask you, as a GM was I cheating by saying that this goblin wasn't hit with a 24? Did you just think it was a CR 1/3 creature because I mentioned it was a goblin?

Wait, even better question. When the PCs attack the enemies do you make the enemies roll knowledge and spellcraft checks and the such? Do you announce this to players?

First of all, please read more carefully before responding. Your post contains a number of errors regarding the information presented. First of all, Veil of Undeath is a spell, as you would have known had you read my post. The effect of said spell grants a number of undead traits and immunities including immunity to sneak attack (3.5 remember). The Wizard had permanent Arcane Sight and their spellcraft results to identify the school of the magical aura it gave off did indeed indicate Necromancy. After the encounter was over, because the Rogue had complained I showed the NPCs sheet which included both the spell on the NPCs list, it's inclusion in the NPCs stats including that an 8th level spell per day was deducted. So no this situation is not remotely like yours or how you portrayed it in your post.

Presuming you had a cheat that you could show that indicated that the goblin was in fact possessed and the levels/abilities/etc of the possessor after the fight with the goblin, I would have no issue with that. The goblin in your example changes each time so I am doubtful that you have a consistent version, which is important because the version described above would have different things flagged at different points than the other version. And as previously mentioned, AC is very easy to calculate. Particularly post fight when all the items are accounted for. I made no assumptions that your goblin was a CR 1/3 in my example and merely explained that AC can be calcuated and many GM's that think they are good at maintaining the illusion do not actually take into account information that PCs can or should be aware of when they cheat with the numbers.

Lastly, yes I do make my NPCs roll knowledge and spellcraft checks.


Skeld wrote:
Sarcasm Dragon wrote:
Skeld wrote:

Omfg, this thread is ridiculous. Lol.

-Skeld

No, see, I just invented a made up title for myself: I am the Arbiter of LOLing. With my new made-up title, I decree that anyone who Lols in this thread is a cheater. I'm allowed to lol, though, because it's fun, and I support fun. But only when I do it, because I have a made-up title.

I unapologetically lol in your general direction, Sarcasm Dragon, because I'm a dirty, dirty cheater. And a liar, apparently. And possible a terrible person.

If you invite me to game with you, I'll come to your house, drink your milk, and argue that katanas are underpowered. I would probably kill your houseplants. I wouldn't punch you in the face though, because that's not cool and it's a stupid analogy anyway.

-Skeld

I recommend you read [i]Can you Cheat at D&D?. The whole thing, page 1 through 50, straight through.

Then come back and tell me that you'd be willing to rudisplork an Orcus into my milk while loling in front of a continually-reseting Summon Monster I trap which summons nesting doll Orcuses while chanting hymns to the Almighty Holy Skeld.

Sovereign Court

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There is a lot of self righteousness in this thread.

I DM and I fudge dice. I have never stated in the outset of a campaign that I will fudge. Never thought I had to, or should.

I don't see this as a broken social contract.

I create hits vs the players to add to the tension of a combat, I remove crits vs players to make sure that there are no fluke deaths.

If they are steam rolling a BBEG I will add HPs, if they are getting crushed I remove HPs.

I have monsters fail saves so that status effects will keep players interested in their abilities, knowing that these abilities helped turn the tide of a battle. I make them save for more added tension, especially if it is a SoS/D effect.

I am far from perfect, but my group has fun in my games.

That is the most important part.

Grand Lodge

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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Maneuvermoose wrote:
...Almighty Holy Skeld.

This is the most profound thing you have ever said. You should do more of this.

As for the Orcus splorking, I prefer to avoid the dumpster fire that is GitP. Besides, this thread is exhausting enough.

-Skeld


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Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I obviously have my side in this debate, but I think the thread has gotten to the point where it's spiralling into an unhealthy place :) We've all had our say and anyone who has not changed their mind yet (pro or con) is not going to be persuaded by further posts.


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Ryan Freire wrote:
Talonhawke wrote:
So, and I know I'm going way off topic here, we are gonna just keep using an inflammatory term for no reason other than to beat people over the head with it? I mean that is what it seems like here that until everyone agrees with your definition we are gonna keep on. We can do this with a lot of other threads as well I mean optimization is really just a nice word for being a munchkin, or a powergamer.
And thats basically my beef and a big part of why I'm using absolutist language. When you have two ways of referring to a thing, one has a perjorative connotation, and the other doesn't, the only reason to choose the perjorative is to start a fight. Hiding behind being technically correct doesn't mean it isn't trolling for a reaction

And hiding behind a more benign sounding term is just lying.

Grand Lodge

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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Jhaeman wrote:
I obviously have my side in this debate, but I think the thread has gotten to the point where it's spiralling into an unhealthy place :) We've all had our say and anyone who has not changed their mind yet (pro or con) is not going to be persuaded by further posts.

This thing went pear-shaped before the first page was half over. It's been getting more shrill and less useful ever since.

-Skeld

Grand Lodge

Anzyr wrote:


Presuming you had a cheat that you could show that indicated that the goblin was in fact possessed and the levels/abilities/etc of the possessor after the fight with the goblin, I would have no issue with that. The goblin in your example changes each time so I am doubtful that you have a consistent version, which is important because the version described above would have different things flagged at different points than the other version. And as previously mentioned, AC is very easy to calculate. Particularly post fight when all the items are accounted for. I made no assumptions that your goblin was a CR 1/3 in my example and merely explained that AC can be calcuated...

Of course, calculated- but not actually known.

On my honour I had the entire stat block ready to go (I actually made it up looking at that other thread 'Monk forced to take sorcerer levels') and if you read my previous posts you'll see that I did everything to hint to the players that this was not a normal goblin, at no point did the goblin change and it's AC of 24+ was not edited at all. Please go back and read the posts if you are not convinced.

There is a tinge of cowardice in your expression on this, because I imagine in a game you'd fear the unknown. How often do you actually get to see something and really 'know' what it is in the first round? Even with an amazing knowledge check it's possible that there are things you're not aware of, deviations from the norm that aren't present; this is, of course, assuming you actually get knowledge checks as opposed to a surprise round against you.

If you strike at something for 24 but do not hit, that is part of your gathering of information, you now immediately should assume "this isn't normal" and if it hits you, with the aforementioned True Strike but without being able to identify the supernatural effect in place (Lets says it was +36 to hit) that is also information you have to process and think "How, why..."

... Must be cheating!!

A lot of things can happen that ruin your expectations, and it's not because the GM is cheating, it's because you don't know everything the GM has arranged. Now if you think that is cheating maybe you should play by yourself because no one is ever going to want to play with you on the proviso that "You have to tell me everything that will happen before hand or I won't be ready and that would be cheating"


Brain in a Jar wrote:

Fudging is literally by definition cheating. Using the term "Fudging" seems to make it an easier pill to swallow i suppose for some.

Does that make it a bad thing? Not necessarily.

As long as the group playing is okay with Fudging/Cheating happening then it's fine.

Different play styles are fine. I'm certainly not telling you how to play.

But Fudging = Cheating. That's just a fact of the dictionary.

No. It "literally" is not cheating.

The Pathfinder GMG is one of the (only) books that has ever even dared to use the word "cheating" when talking about the GM fudging dice rolls. Also, yes, when I saw it initially in their GMG I was *angry* beyond belief at Paizo and nearly stopped buying their products right then and there.

No version of D&D (from 1st edition to 5th edition) has ever called it cheating. Paizo simply used very improper, and insulting, wording. Someone at Paizo should have apologized for that but ultimately it is a small distinction.

White Wolf never called it cheating. Palladium never called it cheating. TSR, WotC, and Hasbro never called it cheating.

Since fudging the dice has been around LONG before Paizo ever even thought about Pathfinder their definition is simply incorrect.

Fudging dice is not cheating, calling it cheating is actually a high insult.


Jaçinto wrote:
Is that not normal? I have been through that in several different RPGs and groups.

A good GM will have plotted out what the players can do at their level and would have already thought the proper checks and balances to prevent something from working that they don't want to work. No GM is perfect, however, and there is always the chance that they will miss something. Generally speaking, if the players realize that the key to the plot is the identity of the Dark Prince, they shouldn't sit back and try to whip out back to back communes to "Guess Who" the guy's name.

I usually assume what I call the, "Common knowledge" rule.

Namely if it is something that can be done with a spell, and they know that the spell is potentially available to the people who may be seeking to thwart them, they will take the necessary steps to counter it.


Kirth Gersen wrote:
Ryan Freire wrote:
I suspect most of the people who do it have never actually been punched in the face.
Quite often in fact -- I used to be a fighter. And to this day I'd rather someone try to hit me than stand there and lie to my face.

This is highly illogical when playing a role playing game.

Why? Because you are not a wizard. You are not going to cast a fireball. You are not a barbarian. You are not a ninja master. You are playing pretend, in a game, that LITERALLY has Rule 0 which allows the GM to change the rules on the fly as needed.


By outsmarting I mean ingenuity.

In shadowrun, I figured out a way to take out the BBEG by hitting his resource lines. He was on the board of a corp and I did everything I could as a decker to ruin the corps image and pin it on him so they would have a stock drop and fire him to save face. I was told "no, doesn't work because I have a specific way I want you to beat him." He specifically wanted combat with a cybered up troll that had nanites that would rebuild him from death.

A player character's family was attacked and bleeding out. Surely dead. I had saviour medkits. Before I could apply them the GM said "Oh I didn't remember that you had those. Ok they're just dead."

In Dark heresy 2nd edition I used telepathy to probe someone's mind for information and erase to remove us from ever being there from his mind. GM said not fair and said it doesn't work, then gave me corruption points for trying to mess with someone's mind.

You know stuff like that.

So this stuff is not normal? Cause it has made me give up on being clever at all and now in games, I just sit there and follow the railroad. I don't even bother with backstories anymore.


Jader7777 wrote:
I imagine in a game you'd fear the unknown. How often do you actually get to see something and really 'know' what it is in the first round? Even with an amazing knowledge check it's possible that there are things you're not aware of, deviations from the norm that aren't present; this is, of course, assuming you actually get knowledge checks as opposed to a surprise round against you.

One thing I keep coming back to is that it's entirely within the GM's prerogative to create out of whole cloth new spells, templates, effects, feats, creatures, items, prestige classes, etc. Nor should a GM be obligated to tell you everything about a brand new spell until you get your hands on somebody's spellbook and make some spellcraft checks (merely identifying a spell as it's being cast wouldn't get you everything, I say.)

So what confuses me about the "I can reverse engineer anything and see if you're cheating" stuff is that they presume I'm not using anything that's my own creation (or that doing so would be cheating? That seems to undermine the whole point that this is a creative endeavor.)

I mean, just because there aren't enough modifiers in any Paizo book that would stack to create a certain score in something doesn't mean that there aren't enough in my game. Honestly, I find that having feats, spells, etc. that the players do not know about until they discover it in the world and get someone to teach it to them helps make "choosing feats/spells" exciting in a way that the perfunctory "choose from a list" is not. I honestly think saying "the NPC has a prestige class that I have created, it's not in any book, I'll show it to you later" is not in any way cheating.

Jaçinto wrote:
So this stuff is not normal? Cause it has made me give up on being clever at all and now in games, I just sit there and follow the railroad. I don't even bother with backstories anymore.

This makes me sad. I will excuse "you have to do it my way or not at all" for either really inexperienced GMs and computer programs, but no one else.

Like I have players that regularly try to undermine the very premise of a game's mechanical conceits. It amuses them to do things like, if the party needs to raise some amount of funds to pay for an expedition, instead of raising money by questing, doing favors, or even stealing it, they will instead try to enact political reform in order to modernize a kingdom's economy so that they can create a stock market in order to run a hedge fund in. What I may have originally intended as a tromp through ancient ruins soon becomes a game primarily about politics and economics until the players get bored with that and decide to do something else. It's not exactly heroic fantasy, but if the players are having fun I'll run with it. I've learned a lot from just letting players run with stuff that they know much better than I do. I've had players overthrow a monarch because they needed to secure passage on a ship.

I once completely rewrote the metaphysics of a setting and added inter-dimensional intrigue solely because a player had a funny idea in an offhand comment.


With how many people on here say they love to alter stuff on the fly based on their fancy if I was lv3/4 and found a goblin with that high of AC after we just killed a bunch of normal goblins I'd think something was fishy over the possibility that something was really planned, like the random high level sorcerermonk is possessing it.


I think the idea behind "why won't this goblin just die" is to point to the players that something weird is happening. I mean, "indestructible goblin" is far too clumsy and unsubtle to be something that is an actual fudge in the moment. If the GM wants to keep a specific goblin alive for some reason, they can just have them run away while the PCs are slaughtering the other goblins without any sort of fuss.

You make it weird to highlight ongoing weirdness. I figure you can generally spot "something weird is going on that I want you to notice is weird" by how much the GM is smiling. If they're intervening to protect a narrative, they won't be smiling.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
Jaçinto wrote:


So this stuff is not normal? Cause it has made me give up on being clever at all and now in games, I just sit there and follow the railroad. I don't even bother with backstories anymore.

It's not normal, but there's enough of it out there to be a noticeable thing. I usually only encountered it with fairly immature gamers - mainly kids - who just haven't been playing long enough to develop a more laid back attitude toward the games they're running and the things players will try to do.


Forcing a character to get away, making an encounter unwinnable so that the players get captured for narrative purposes are things that can be seen as acceptable.

It's when you start altering enemy DC, Saves, making up roles where it becomes an issue. If you are going to fudge encounters then you have removed control from the players. If they know you are fudging and die then they will rightfully wonder if they died because you fudged or choose not to fudge.


NoTongue wrote:

Forcing a character to get away, making an encounter unwinnable so that the players get captured for narrative purposes are things that can be seen as acceptable.

It's when you start altering enemy DC, Saves, making up roles where it becomes an issue. If you are going to fudge encounters then you have removed control from the players. If they know you are fudging and die then they will rightfully wonder if they died because you fudged or choose not to fudge.

Which is why you follow the GMG advice and don't let them know. And do it rarely enough it's not as blatantly obvious as some think.


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I don't regard cheating and fudging as the same thing.

Cheating is breaking legitimate rules for personal gain.

Fudging is breaking arbitrary rules for the benefit of others.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber
Saldiven wrote:
Speaking as both a player and a GM, I feel that people who consider a GM's "fudging" a roll hear or there to be cheating are taking this game way too seriously.

Now, wait a minute. If you think about it, a GM is only likely to fudge when it matters.

Bad guy rolls a critical threat that's going to kill the PC? Fudge. Bad guy rolls a natural 1 on a save that's going to end the fight early? Fudge. The GM isn't going to fudge a roll when it doesn't matter.

By definition that elevates the impact of fudging. It's not "a roll here or there", it's "some important rolls". That's serious.

The game is supposed to have a random element in it. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, but it's random. Luck. When the GM intervenes, it stops being about luck and starts being about "what does the GM want to happen"? That's okay for some, but not for everyone.


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Jaçinto wrote:

By outsmarting I mean ingenuity.

In shadowrun, I figured out a way to take out the BBEG by hitting his resource lines. He was on the board of a corp and I did everything I could as a decker to ruin the corps image and pin it on him so they would have a stock drop and fire him to save face. I was told "no, doesn't work because I have a specific way I want you to beat him." He specifically wanted combat with a cybered up troll that had nanites that would rebuild him from death.

A player character's family was attacked and bleeding out. Surely dead. I had saviour medkits. Before I could apply them the GM said "Oh I didn't remember that you had those. Ok they're just dead."

In Dark heresy 2nd edition I used telepathy to probe someone's mind for information and erase to remove us from ever being there from his mind. GM said not fair and said it doesn't work, then gave me corruption points for trying to mess with someone's mind.

You know stuff like that.

So this stuff is not normal? Cause it has made me give up on being clever at all and now in games, I just sit there and follow the railroad. I don't even bother with backstories anymore.

That's some bad GMing.

Which isn't to say it's not 'normal' - good GMing is hard. Ideally you want an adventure where every decision by the players leads to a different but interesting situation, but coming up with even a single interesting situation is difficult.

Looking at your specific examples:

If I'm running a cyberpunk game and one of the PCs is a hacker, and he wants to single-handedly complete the whole adventure by hacking stuff, which would mean the rest of the group just sat around doing nothing, I'd be reluctant to let it happen that way, because that's not fun for the majority of players. But if I was prepared, I'd have anticipated the situation; perhaps the hacker discovers a way to get the bad guy fired, but it involves the group stealing something from an armored car. They get the guy fired for the security breach, but then he starts trying to track you down, seeking revenge. This is dangerous, but not as dangerous as storming his well-defended corporate hideout.

The 'your family was murdered and now you want revenge' is an annoying bit of GM-created motivation, especially if it's unavoidable (and not needed - 'your family was attacked' ought to be motivation enough). The GM here is being particularly blatant. Not even a "They tragically cough up blood and die just before you can use the medkit"?

The third one: they allowed you to make a character with a particular power and then decided that you shouldn't be allowed to use that power and then punished you for even trying. Bad GMing. If my plot relied on you not being psychic, I'd hopefully ask you not to play a psychic. If my plot didn't rely on it, but I found your use of psychic powers morally repugnant, I might give you the corruption points but let you do it.

Find a good GM. If you can't, be a good GM.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
NoTongue wrote:


It's when you start altering enemy DC, Saves, making up roles where it becomes an issue. If you are going to fudge encounters then you have removed control from the players. If they know you are fudging and die then they will rightfully wonder if they died because you fudged or choose not to fudge.

I don't see fudging as necessarily removing control from the players. In fact, it can increase the control players have over the encounter by reducing the amount of control exerted by the dice, which the players do not control.


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HWalsh wrote:
Brain in a Jar wrote:

Fudging is literally by definition cheating. Using the term "Fudging" seems to make it an easier pill to swallow i suppose for some.

Does that make it a bad thing? Not necessarily.

As long as the group playing is okay with Fudging/Cheating happening then it's fine.

Different play styles are fine. I'm certainly not telling you how to play.

But Fudging = Cheating. That's just a fact of the dictionary.

No version of D&D (from 1st edition to 5th edition) has ever called it cheating. Paizo simply used very improper, and insulting, wording. Someone at Paizo should have apologized for that but ultimately it is a small distinction.

That's simply not true.

3.5 Dungeon Masers Guide Page 18, "DM Cheating and Player Perceptions" , they then go on to use the term "Fudge" and assert that it is ok so long as it is for the betterment of the game. But the Point remains that yes a GM can cheat, even if a synonym is used to note that it should not be taken in a negative context. As outlined by Boomerang nebula's feeling on the matter, the issue being to some the distinction is meaningless.

And a lot of the time a GM cheating the dice rolls isn't a negative thing. Its a thing that can vary wildly based on who is doing it and how. As proven by multiple anecdotes in this thread both for and against the act.

I would also note that "The most important rule" (henceforth "Rule 0"), specifically in pathfinder. States that 'you' as the collective should discuss any rule changes and reach consensus with the GM being the arbiter of the implementation. This is not the same thing as empowering a singular player to change the rules on a whim as it suits them.

That's not to say that can be an agreed upon rule but saying the GM has unilateral power to change all rules whenever and however they please out of the box is a far cry from the expectation laid out by "rule 0".

The assertion "it impossible for a GM to cheat in our games because the GM in our games has the power to alter any an all rules at their discussion and without consultation" is most defiantly truth. But it is not a universal truth.


Anguish wrote:


By definition that elevates the impact of fudging. It's not "a roll here or there", it's "some important rolls". That's serious.

Now a question. Can the "fudged" "roll" still be considered important as it has now effectively not happened?


Bill Dunn wrote:
NoTongue wrote:


It's when you start altering enemy DC, Saves, making up roles where it becomes an issue. If you are going to fudge encounters then you have removed control from the players. If they know you are fudging and die then they will rightfully wonder if they died because you fudged or choose not to fudge.
I don't see fudging as necessarily removing control from the players. In fact, it can increase the control players have over the encounter by reducing the amount of control exerted by the dice, which the players do not control.

I would agree with this statement with the assumption that there is some degree of communication or understanding that such influence is possible.


Anzyr wrote:
Bill Dunn wrote:

How about if the GM decides the PCs have had enough punishment and omits a deadly trap in the adventuring area the PCs are traveling through?

How about if the GM decides the PCs have been sailing through the challenges too easily and so adds a couple of henchmen to the climax fight?

How about if the GM decides, on the fly, to cut the BBEG's AC down by 2-3 points for the fight? Or his damage bonus?

Do those count as "cheating" or is the anti-fudging mania limited to reading the dice alone?

Cheating, cheating and cheating.*

That was really easy.

*Unless of course they say "Hey I'm going to X..." in advance of course.

Strongly disagree here.

Changing the encounters to suit the needs of the party are a classic part of the GM's toolbox. It's absolutely not cheating, it's ad hoc game design.

The only one that's remotely debatable is changing the stats of the enemy, but I consider that to be within the GMs right as long as he does it at the beginning of the encounter and is consistent.

And no, the GM doesn't have to say he's going to do that at the beginning. That would ruin the effect.

To a degree, the GM is similar to a magician. Their trade is to make the unreal seem real, and make players believe in that. No magician worth his trade is going to say at the beginning "oh by the way these are all tricks i'm technically lying to you", because that ruins the entire effect. Same with a GM.

(Note that, again, I'm not a fudger and I don't like fudging the dice. But this goes a bit too far.)


PK the Dragon wrote:
No magician worth his trade is going to say at the beginning "oh by the way these are all tricks i'm technically lying to you", because that ruins the entire effect.

I'd be OK with a magician who said that.

Although on the subject of reducing the AC of the boss - if I'm creating him, and I'm making up a number for his Dexterity to set an AC value that feels like a good challenge for the party, how is that different from changing his AC on the fly to improve balance? (I actually feel like it is different, and wouldn't want to do it, but I'm not sure why.)


HWalsh wrote:
Brain in a Jar wrote:

Fudging is literally by definition cheating. Using the term "Fudging" seems to make it an easier pill to swallow i suppose for some.

Does that make it a bad thing? Not necessarily.

As long as the group playing is okay with Fudging/Cheating happening then it's fine.

Different play styles are fine. I'm certainly not telling you how to play.

But Fudging = Cheating. That's just a fact of the dictionary.

No. It "literally" is not cheating.

The Pathfinder GMG is one of the (only) books that has ever even dared to use the word "cheating" when talking about the GM fudging dice rolls. Also, yes, when I saw it initially in their GMG I was *angry* beyond belief at Paizo and nearly stopped buying their products right then and there.

No version of D&D (from 1st edition to 5th edition) has ever called it cheating. Paizo simply used very improper, and insulting, wording. Someone at Paizo should have apologized for that but ultimately it is a small distinction.

White Wolf never called it cheating. Palladium never called it cheating. TSR, WotC, and Hasbro never called it cheating.

Since fudging the dice has been around LONG before Paizo ever even thought about Pathfinder their definition is simply incorrect.

Fudging dice is not cheating, calling it cheating is actually a high insult.

I never even mentioned Pathfinder. I mentioned a dictionary.

Fudging:
": to exceed the proper bounds or limits of something <feel that the author has fudged a little on the … rules for crime fiction — Newsweek>; also : cheat <fudging on an exam>"

Those of the faint of heart might not want to look into the spoiler. Fair warning.

And as I've said Fudging is based on the preferences of the GM AND THE GROUP.

If everyone knows the GM is using a house rule (Fudging). Then no problem.

If the GM doesn't mentions it, and hides their dirty little secret from the group, then it's cheating.

Fudging isn't a bad thing. It's a perfectly acceptable house rule to use as a GM. It's only an issue when a GM decides they know better and assume players are okay with it; hiding their cheating from the group.

What i said only applies to GMs who don't know a players preference. I've played with people (very briefly) who GM like this. It's dishonest and cheating.

If your group is ok with it THIS DOES NOT APPLY TO YOU.

So If after reading all of that your still butt-hurt then maybe...just maybe your cheating.


Jaçinto wrote:

By outsmarting I mean ingenuity.

In shadowrun, I figured out a way to take out the BBEG by hitting his resource lines. He was on the board of a corp and I did everything I could as a decker to ruin the corps image and pin it on him so they would have a stock drop and fire him to save face. I was told "no, doesn't work because I have a specific way I want you to beat him." He specifically wanted combat with a cybered up troll that had nanites that would rebuild him from death.

A player character's family was attacked and bleeding out. Surely dead. I had saviour medkits. Before I could apply them the GM said "Oh I didn't remember that you had those. Ok they're just dead."

This sounds like GM inexperience.

"I forgot the medpacks" becomes "You apply the medpacks but...

hey, roll a d20 for me. (looks at my summary sheets of all of the PC stats).

OK, as you're applying it something seems weird. You can't quite put your finger on it, but something seems weird. He does appear to be <spoken in the best manner that can convey air quotes> "healing"..."

The other side is that daggit, sometimes the PCs just get to win. I was running Hellfire Compact and

Spoiler:
the PCs were coming upon the false fort. They'd captured the rebels weapons, replaced them with dummy, non-working versions, and then posed as rebels with the fake weapons. When the Sentry with the GAWDAWFULLY HIGH Perception sees them, she then rolls Sense Motive to see if she figures it out, and I realie Paizo gave her zero ranks in Sense Motive. Some banter and some good Bluff rolls from the Ninja later, and she not only lets them pass without a fight (bypassing her manticore backup), but they also talked her into telling them exactly where the prison is.
It was a good plan that happened to work exactly towards the weaknesses of the NPC, and I was totally cool with them blowing up the encounter.

It's OK for the players to beat you. Dare I say, that's a part of the game.

NoTongue wrote:

Forcing a character to get away, making an encounter unwinnable so that the players get captured for narrative purposes are things that can be seen as acceptable.

It's when you start altering enemy DC, Saves, making up roles where it becomes an issue. If you are going to fudge encounters then you have removed control from the players. If they know you are fudging and die then they will rightfully wonder if they died because you fudged or choose not to fudge.

OK, wait a minute. Altering enemy DC is "removing control from the players" but forcing them to get captured for narrative purposes is OK?

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