Discussion on the Topic of GMs "Cheating"


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It's a totally valid way to play. Tomb of horrors is written is such a way that it is SUPPOSED to result in numerous deaths to deadly traps and encounters assuming the players are not extremely cautious, it's the entire point.

By changing rolls and or altering that module you are in effect cheating the players of the modules intended play experience. Which is totally fine assuming the game everyone sat down to play was Tomb of Horrors softball edition.

If the players actually wanted to challenge their mechanical an narrative skill with that module then you would be betraying their wishes and trust as they wanted an authentic Tomb of Horrors experience. So again it comes down to communication of desired play-styles.


Kirth Gersen wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
Honestly though, when you were 12 and you were flipping through books at the store to see what's cool, how much time did you spend reading *prefaces*?
Enough that I knew what the module was for as soon as I got it home.

I mean, even today if someone hands me, say, Carrion Crown book 4 and says "take a look at this" the part I'm going to spend the least time on is the part in the front where F. Wesley Schneider talks about his Call of Cthulhu game.


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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
Firewarrior44 wrote:

It's a totally valid way to play. Tomb of horrors is written is such a way that it is SUPPOSED to result in numerous deaths to deadly traps and encounters assuming the players are not extremely cautious, it's the entire point.

By changing rolls and or altering that module you are in effect cheating the players of the modules intended play experience. Which is totally fine assuming the game everyone sat down to play was Tomb of Horrors softball edition.

So now it's cheating to adapt a published adventure for your campaign world/players?!?

Some people are awfully enamored of that cheating word.


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Bill Dunn wrote:
Firewarrior44 wrote:

It's a totally valid way to play. Tomb of horrors is written is such a way that it is SUPPOSED to result in numerous deaths to deadly traps and encounters assuming the players are not extremely cautious, it's the entire point.

By changing rolls and or altering that module you are in effect cheating the players of the modules intended play experience. Which is totally fine assuming the game everyone sat down to play was Tomb of Horrors softball edition.

So now it's cheating to adapt a published adventure for your campaign world/players?!?

Some people are awfully enamored of that cheating word.

It could be cheating in the sense that you are cheating them of a play experience they have expressed a desire to experience

If they expected / expressed desire to play an authentic Tomb of Horrors experience because they wanted to test their skill but then you go and remove a major component of that which which is the sheer lethality then you aren't really playing what you sat down and agreed to play.

They wanted X but received Y while thinking they were getting X. It's deceitful, and disingenuous to not disclose a major shift from expectations like that.

Shadow Lodge

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PossibleCabbage wrote:
I mean, even today if someone hands me, say, Carrion Crown book 4 and says "take a look at this" the part I'm going to spend the least time on is the part in the front where F. Wesley Schneider talks about his Call of Cthulhu game.

Seriously? Those are some of the best parts...

Next you'll tell me you never read Stan Lee's columns when you picked up Marvel comics.


TOZ wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
I mean, even today if someone hands me, say, Carrion Crown book 4 and says "take a look at this" the part I'm going to spend the least time on is the part in the front where F. Wesley Schneider talks about his Call of Cthulhu game.

Seriously? Those are some of the best parts...

Next you'll tell me you never read Stan Lee's columns when you picked up Marvel comics.

I was specifically referring to those contexts where you have like 5 minutes to look at something. If I'm taking it home to read, I'm going to read the whole thing. But I'll probably spend more time thinking about "okay, how would this work in practice" questions with the actual adventure (e.g. "how would I run this scene") than the frontmatter, which is mostly flavor.

Firewarrior44 wrote:
By changing rolls and or altering that module you are in effect cheating the players of the modules intended play experience. Which is totally fine assuming the game everyone sat down to play was Tomb of Horrors softball edition.

I mean, we were like 12 years old and this was before the civilian internet was available to any of us. Nobody else had even heard of "the Tomb of Horrors" and so had no idea what the "intended Tomb of Horrors experience" would be.

Plus if we're going to weight "authorial intent" as though it matters, I would say that the GM's intent outweighs the module designer's intent when it comes to actually running this sort of thing.

Shadow Lodge

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When I was 12, I wouldn't have known what the hell to look for in an adventure period, I'd just have been looking for cool things.


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Firewarrior44 wrote:
Bill Dunn wrote:
Firewarrior44 wrote:

It's a totally valid way to play. Tomb of horrors is written is such a way that it is SUPPOSED to result in numerous deaths to deadly traps and encounters assuming the players are not extremely cautious, it's the entire point.

By changing rolls and or altering that module you are in effect cheating the players of the modules intended play experience. Which is totally fine assuming the game everyone sat down to play was Tomb of Horrors softball edition.

So now it's cheating to adapt a published adventure for your campaign world/players?!?

Some people are awfully enamored of that cheating word.

I'd consider it cheating in that if they expected / expressed desire to play an authentic Tomb of Horrors experience because they wanted to test their skill and then you go and remove a major component which is the sheer lethality and or softball it.

They wanted X but received Y while thinking they were getting X. It's deceitful, and disingenuous to not disclose a major shift from expectations like that.

I will say that I've never had a player tell me (or heard a player tell another GM) "I want an authentic <module> experience" or anything even vaguely similar.

Of course, the groups I've played with most rarely used modules, but still that sounds really strange to me.

I guess I could see it with something like Tomb, once it developed it's reputation. Though my reaction is more "Hell no" than "well maybe if soften it up a bit".
Since PossibleCabbage bought/ran it back in the day before it had the reputation it gained, I doubt their players were looking forward to the authentic Tomb of Horrors experience rather than just "What new adventure does he have ready for us today."


thejeff wrote:

I will say that I've never had a player tell me (or heard a player tell another GM) "I want an authentic <module> experience" or anything even vaguely similar.

Of course, the groups I've played with most rarely used modules, but still that sounds really strange to me.

I guess I could see it with something like Tomb, once it developed it's reputation. Though my reaction is more "Hell no" than "well maybe if soften it up a bit".
Since PossibleCabbage bought/ran it back in the day before it had the reputation it gained, I doubt their players were looking forward to the authentic Tomb of Horrors experience rather than just "What new adventure does he have ready for us today."

Well at that point no expectation has been set so you're not cheating them of anything. Hence the it "could be" considered cheating opposed to the absolute "it is".

But if the players did say "hey we want to play this dungeon its supposed to be super lethal and dangerous that sounds fun" then softening the dungeon up without consulting the players first is cheating them and their expectations.

You can't cheat if you have all agreed to the rules that you playing by (Both socially and mechanically) and then adhere to those rules.


Kirth Gersen wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
I feel like "do not open the door by standing in front of it, open the door with a claw affixed to the end of a 20 pole standing off to the side so that the flying spikes won't instantly kill you" is sufficiently counter-intuitive that the hobby is more accessible now that we don't do that anymore.

You missed the whole point of the module. Gygax went on for like pages on how this thing was meant specifically for players who thought they'd mastered the whole "trap-filled dungeon" thing, and wanted a tougher challenge. It wasn't meant for newcomers to the hobby. If you softball it, you defeat the entire purpose of the module.

PossibleCabbage wrote:
There wasn't a sticker on the front like "do not subject your friends to this."
No, but that's exactly what the preface did.
There's no Preface in my copy. The "Notes for the Dungeon Master" include:
Quote:
As clever players will gather from a reading of the Legend of the Tomb, this dungeon has more tricks and traps than it has monsters to fight. THIS IS A THINKING PERSON'S MODULE AND IF YOUR GROUP IS A HACK AND SLAY GATHERING, THEY WILL BE UNHAPPY! In the latter case, it is better to skip the while thing than come out and tell them that there are few monsters. It is this writer's belief that brainwork is good for all players, and they will certainly benefit from playing this module, for individual levels of skill will be improved by reasoning and experience. If you regularly pose problems to be solved by brains and not brawn, your players will find this module immediately to their liking.

Followed by a couple paragraphs of more practical GM advice.

That doesn't read to me like "meant specifically for players who thought they'd mastered the whole "trap-filled dungeon" thing, and wanted a tougher challenge", but just "It's traps more than monsters, but if you like that sort of thing it'll be fun."


You mean my memory from 1981 or so isn't totally accurate? Next you'll be telling me that eyewitness testimony isn't reliable!


thejeff wrote:
I will say that I've never had a player tell me (or heard a player tell another GM) "I want an authentic <module> experience" or anything even vaguely similar.

Different groups have different preferences. That's almost exactly what was said when we played Age of Worms -- and more specifically "Spire of Long Shadows." Not one but two TPKs in that module -- the third group made it through by casting speak with dead on the bodies of their predecessors to ask what killed them. It was an incredibly memorable experience that I still look back on as one of the high points in 35 years of gaming.

Other groups might have said "please fudge it so we don't die," and that would be good for them, but for me, that would have killed the entire experience.

Which is why, yes, one really probably should discuss these things in advance, and not tell your players you're going to go strictly by the dice but then turn around and fudge them.


Kirth Gersen wrote:
thejeff wrote:
I will say that I've never had a player tell me (or heard a player tell another GM) "I want an authentic <module> experience" or anything even vaguely similar.

Different groups have different preferences. That's almost exactly what was said when we played Age of Worms -- and more specifically "Spire of Long Shadows." Not one but two TPKs in that module -- the third group made it through by casting speak with dead on the bodies of their predecessors to ask what killed them. It was an incredibly memorable experience that I still look back on as one of the high points in 35 years of gaming.

Other groups might have said "please fudge it so we don't die," and that would be good for them, but for me, that would have killed the entire experience.

Which is why, yes, one really probably should discuss these things in advance, and not tell your players you're going to go strictly by the dice but then turn around and fudge them.

Which is the standard advice from people who don't want fudging. Makes sense, since they can turn they game down or argue for no fudging.

Those who do like some judicious fudging however, commonly claim that they don't want to be told. They want the illusion preserved. You can't satisfy both.

I suspect that most of those who are happy with fudging don't have any interest in the legendary killer adventures. I've never had any interest in ToH and from what I've heard of Age of Worms, very little in that either.

So yeah, different preferences.


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thejeff wrote:
Those who do like some judicious fudging however, commonly claim that they don't want to be told. They want the illusion preserved. You can't satisfy both.

You can easily satisfy both. You discuss it up front, then, for groups who want the GM to fudge, you don't mention it again. The illusion, during the game, can be preserved for you that way.

Refusing to discuss it at the start of the campaign -- or, worse, promising not to fudge and then doing it -- means that the people who dislike fudging have no place in the hobby.


TOZ wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
I mean, even today if someone hands me, say, Carrion Crown book 4 and says "take a look at this" the part I'm going to spend the least time on is the part in the front where F. Wesley Schneider talks about his Call of Cthulhu game.

Seriously? Those are some of the best parts...

Next you'll tell me you never read Stan Lee's columns when you picked up Marvel comics.

I buy comic books to read comics. If I wanted to read prose I'd buy a novel.

Shadow Lodge

Ventnor wrote:
I buy comic books to read comics. If I wanted to read prose I'd buy a novel.

I'm sorry, we have no common ground from which to discuss this.


Kirth Gersen wrote:
You mean my memory from 1981 or so isn't totally accurate? Next you'll be telling me that eyewitness testimony isn't reliable!

Yeah, I just got home and pulled out my copy (it's copyright 1981, I think that's the original?) and the notes to the dungeon master is four paragraphs whose semantic content boil down to:

1) This is a module for people who want to think not people who want to fight, there are few monsters and reasoning is paramount.

2) Getting through the tomb will take a while, at least more than one session. At the end of the session assume that the players are resting a number of days until you meet again to play. There are no random monsters.

3) Read the book carefully before beginning, refer to the illustrations, and when players enter an area read aloud the appropriate sections but never give away any additional information. It says specifically "avoid facial expressions or voice tones that might give helpful hints or mislead players." The point of this module is to cope with adversity.

4) The starting point of the module depends on whether you're using it as part of the World of Greyhawk.

It does not speak to how absurdly unfair and arbitrary it can be (that was probably added in later editions.) The "cope with adversity" stuff could cover it, but that phrase is honestly pretty vague and could mean a lot of stuff that isn't "each spike deals 1-6 hit points of damage and the victim must make a saving throw against poison for each spike which wounds him or her. Any failure means the victim is killed by the poison."

Honestly, paging through it the illustration booklet is probably what sold me on this.


My last experience with the original ToH was a long time ago; I remember everyone enjoying the module. Could be we were able to parse "thinking person's module" to mean "be paranoid or die," or maybe others had hinted at its deadliness, maybe some of both? In any case, I do remember we got a lot of fun out of it, even the guy whose fighter got turned to green slime.

(I think only one PC made it to the end, and they ended up turning ethereal to flee, with a demon in pursuit. Good times!)


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Kirth Gersen wrote:

You can easily satisfy both. You discuss it up front, then, for groups who want the GM to fudge, you don't mention it again. The illusion, during the game, can be preserved for you that way.

Refusing to discuss it at the start of the campaign -- or, worse, promising not to fudge and then doing it -- means that the people who dislike fudging have no place in the hobby.

The illusion for some people in that group has already been broken by having the conversation. A game being run with the outright statement that fudging will happen draws a different reaction to unusual circumstances than a game where the topic hasn't been addressed. Not having that conversation before the game leaves me less able to guess whether surprising events happened by GM fiat or by chance, and that's what I prefer.

It's totally fair that a lot of people don't want to have that doubt and want to be definite that fudging will or will not happen. But that just means that not everybody fits in with everybody else with their gaming preferences. There isn't a conversation that will please everybody and that's fine.

(Having played with my group for years I certainly have a feel on who likes the dice to be fudged in their favour now and then and who doesn't. If I'm running I'd take account of that preference and I think our other GMs do too. But the newer group I've joined I've never had any discussion on fudging and haven't encountered any problems.)


Berik wrote:
It's totally fair that a lot of people don't want to have that doubt and want to be definite that fudging will or will not happen. But that just means that not everybody fits in with everybody else with their gaming preferences. There isn't a conversation that will please everybody and that's fine.

Well, it's fine for you, because you're getting what you want. It really sucks for all of us who get assured there will be no fudging, and then two sessions in we're like, "Dude, WTF?"

So, if any of the audience is in West Houston and wants a no-fudging game, let me assure you that (a) I won't fudge the dice without you asking me to, and (b) I'm actually telling the truth about that, and (c) I'm also telling the truth about telling the truth about that. Double pinky swear.


Right, and having the conversation beforehand is fine for you because you're getting what you want in certainty on the fudging question, but not fine for the person who doesn't want to know.

I never advocated assuring somebody that there will be no fudging if that isn't true. I said some people don't want to know either way.

I mean, we could go around and around on that, or just acknowledge that those two desires can't be accommodated at once. I mean, I'm not going to hold it against you for wanting to have a pre-game discussion of all this that puts me off because that's how you prefer to run your game. All I'm asking for is for you not to hold it against somebody else for running things in a way that works for their preferences and those of their group.


I guess you could have a questionnaire ask how people feel about knowing your fudging among a list of questions and then only tell the group that wants to know and then swear them to secrecy.


How About:

Players who knowingly want no fudging pro-actively ask each GM they play with for their stance on the topic.

GMs answer this honestly and politely, as they understand some GMs, which may include themselves, have made this the only way the player can obtain confidence they are in the right game for them.


Artificial 20 wrote:
GMs answer this honestly

Yes, that's the key. Contrary to QL and others who have openly bragged that they lie about that, and that all DMs need to do the same.


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Berik wrote:
Right, and having the conversation beforehand is fine for you because you're getting what you want in certainty on the fudging question, but not fine for the person who doesn't want to know.

The DM can say, "Let's talk about that outside." That way none of the people who can't hear it need to hear it, and that way the DM can be honest with me, instead of lying to my face and thinking I won't know.

Or, if someone asks about it and you can't stand to hear the answer, you choose that time to use the restroom or have a smoke break or go get a soda from the fridge.

There's absolutely no need to ban that conversation wholesale, unless the aim is to enforce One True Wayism.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber
TOZ wrote:
Gamemastery Guide, pg33 wrote:

Cheating

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

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

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

Bolded text is how I run my table.


You still don't ever know when the GM will fudge or not, So him saying he might sometimes still leaves you not knowing if it was chance or fiat. All he's done is confirm your base assumption, the GM may or may not be fudging this.


Talonhawke wrote:
I guess you could have a questionnaire ask how people feel about knowing your fudging among a list of questions and then only tell the group that wants to know and then swear them to secrecy.

It would probably be pretty obvious to the others when someone gets the questionnaire back and says, "I appreciate your time and candor, but I'll have to sit this one out."


I will say this: it's possible to ask without explicitly saying you're going to fudge.

A casual "so, what's everyone's opinions of fudging dice" can work, provided it's done right, not out of the blue, preferably during a session 0 while asking a bunch of other questions about expectations and GM style that is obviously meant to also allow the GM to get a hold on the player's style.

Any player who takes that as proof that the GM is going to fudge the dice, as opposed to figuring out where the players stand on the ethics of dice rolls, is probably being a bit too paranoid.

Shadow Lodge

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Berik wrote:
All I'm asking for is for you not to hold it against somebody else for running things in a way that works for their preferences and those of their group.

And despite the strong language in the thread, I don't believe that anyone on the 'cheating' side has held it against you for enjoying the GM fudging as needed. While I am not convinced that hashing out the question beforehand will have that much impact, it's not my place to question what you enjoy. So I will certainly take that feedback into consideration in future games, as Kirth and Talonhawke have alluded to.


Kirth Gersen wrote:
Artificial 20 wrote:
GMs answer this honestly
Yes, that's the key. Contrary to QL and others who have openly bragged that they lie about that, and that all DMs need to do the same.

What can I say ? I'm a braggart :-), and easily tempted to sin by the pungent smell of self-righteousness.

But I feel obliged to point out that I've never said that all DMs need to do the same as me.

Like the cow-boys said : "Live and let live !"


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Quiche Lisp wrote:
Like the cow-boys said : "Live and let live !"

Living and not letting live is a fundamental part of the hobby.


I remember going to a game where the GM was all about open rolls. All the GM rolls were done in the open so everyone could see. I show up and we start playing. The group gets into a fight and roll of initiative. Monsters gets to go first, charges my character and roll a nat20. So the GM then looks up at me and rolls to confirm, only to roll a 20 again and then proceed with rolling max damage. My character was taken out my a lucky strike on the first combat in my first game with not even 1 hour of play time. I actually spend more hours building my character up with the background and everything than playing it. Spend the almost the rest of the session rolling a new character and writing a crappy background so that I could be reintroduced in the game in the last few minutes.

Yeah, real fun "no fudging" game time!


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Chess Pwn wrote:
You still don't ever know when the GM will fudge or not, So him saying he might sometimes still leaves you not knowing if it was chance or fiat. All he's done is confirm your base assumption, the GM may or may not be fudging this.

I mean, as a GM I don't know when if or when I will be fudging, assuming something where it makes sense will even come up. So if someone asks "what's your opinion on fudging" my honest answer is something like "I'm certainly not categorically opposed to any tool in the GM's toolbox, but it's an inelegant solution and I'd prefer not to. Though I don't know the future and I can't completely rule out doing something that honestly doesn't seem like that big a deal to me."

That's at least the most honest answer I can give.

Shadow Lodge

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Rannik wrote:
Yeah, real fun "no fudging" game time!

The answer there is "that was real b!@$#$+# chance guys, we going to let that stand?". That brings the group into the decision, and if the group was to say "nah, let it stand, tough luck" then you know you have a group not worth your time.


TOZ wrote:
Rannik wrote:
Yeah, real fun "no fudging" game time!
The answer there is "that was real b@@%+##$ chance guys, we going to let that stand?". That brings the group into the decision, and if the group was to say "nah, let it stand, tough luck" then you know you have a group not worth your time.

Yeah, if I was GMing in that situation I'd say the character's down but stabilized.


Rannik wrote:
Yeah, real fun "no fudging" game time!

You knew going into it that was a possibility. If you didn't want a chance of that happening, well, either petition the DM for hero points or fudging, or join a different game, or offer to run one yourself.


PossibleCabbage wrote:

I mean, as a GM I don't know when if or when I will be fudging, assuming something where it makes sense will even come up. So if someone asks "what's your opinion on fudging" my honest answer is something like "I'm certainly not categorically opposed to any tool in the GM's toolbox, but it's an inelegant solution and I'd prefer not to. Though I don't know the future and I can't completely rule out doing something that honestly doesn't seem like that big a deal to me."

That's at least the most honest answer I can give.

That answer would certainly satisfy me.


Kirth Gersen wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:

I mean, as a GM I don't know when if or when I will be fudging, assuming something where it makes sense will even come up. So if someone asks "what's your opinion on fudging" my honest answer is something like "I'm certainly not categorically opposed to any tool in the GM's toolbox, but it's an inelegant solution and I'd prefer not to. Though I don't know the future and I can't completely rule out doing something that honestly doesn't seem like that big a deal to me."

That's at least the most honest answer I can give.

That answer would certainly satisfy me.

All I see with that long statement is. Yes, I may alter rolls. Which definitely is a satisfactory response, it's just that you went a long way around to get there.

Shadow Lodge

Kirth Gersen wrote:
Rannik wrote:
Yeah, real fun "no fudging" game time!
You knew going into it that was a possibility. If you didn't want a chance of that happening, well, either petition the DM for hero points or fudging, or join a different game, or offer to run one yourself.

I saw a similar experience play out in an intro game. The party was ranged from 1st to 5th (I might have made 6th by then) when a girl joined in an spent the first 2 hours rolling a druid. Once she was introduced to the party, one of the first interactions was pulling watch overnight. On her shift, a troll happened into our camp. She sounded the alarm and charged the beast. On it's turn, it claw/claw/bite/rended her for something like 26 damage. 1st level druid torn in half, first encounter.

Now, the way to prevent that would be the GM only rolling the one attack, backhanding the puny creature away. She clearly wasn't a threat. But like my response to Rannik's complaint, the rest of us should have been brought in and discussed how fair that was. This GM had fudged before, so it wasn't off the table. Whether or not we had the experience and wisdom to say "yeah, f@$# that noise, you're not dead", well, it was quite awhile ago.


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TOZ wrote:
Kirth Gersen wrote:
Rannik wrote:
Yeah, real fun "no fudging" game time!
You knew going into it that was a possibility. If you didn't want a chance of that happening, well, either petition the DM for hero points or fudging, or join a different game, or offer to run one yourself.

I saw a similar experience play out in an intro game. The party was ranged from 1st to 5th (I might have made 6th by then) when a girl joined in an spent the first 2 hours rolling a druid. Once she was introduced to the party, one of the first interactions was pulling watch overnight. On her shift, a troll happened into our camp. She sounded the alarm and charged the beast. On it's turn, it claw/claw/bite/rended her for something like 26 damage. 1st level druid torn in half, first encounter.

Now, the way to prevent that would be the GM only rolling the one attack, backhanding the puny creature away. She clearly wasn't a threat. But like my response to Rannik's complaint, the rest of us should have been brought in and discussed how fair that was. This GM had fudged before, so it wasn't off the table. Whether or not we had the experience and wisdom to say "yeah, f%&~ that noise, you're not dead", well, it was quite awhile ago.

And nobody explained to her why such a move might be a bad idea?


I once saw a similar thing happen in a PFS game. New player, playing his ninja. Start of the session, he scouts one of the first rooms in the dungeon. Earth Elemental comes out of the ground beneath him and crits him, instantly killing him. He rolled decent Perception too, it just wasn't enough to detect the Earth Elemental in the ground.

Sadly, since it was PFS the group couldn't exactly say "nah let's ignore that", so the player was done for the night. It felt pretty bad.

Shadow Lodge

Similar event in my PFS game, pouncing tiger, ninja to 1 above neg Con. I looked at the cleric and said "Your turn, he bleeds out next tempo, probably should heal".

thorin001 wrote:
And nobody explained to her why such a move might be a bad idea?

Nope. I think it was my first real encounter with a troll.


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TOZ wrote:
Kirth Gersen wrote:
Rannik wrote:
Yeah, real fun "no fudging" game time!
You knew going into it that was a possibility. If you didn't want a chance of that happening, well, either petition the DM for hero points or fudging, or join a different game, or offer to run one yourself.
I saw a similar experience play out in an intro game. The party was ranged from 1st to 5th (I might have made 6th by then) when a girl joined in an spent the first 2 hours rolling a druid. Once she was introduced to the party, one of the first interactions was pulling watch overnight. On her shift, a troll happened into our camp. She sounded the alarm and charged the beast. On it's turn, it claw/claw/bite/rended her for something like 26 damage. 1st level druid torn in half, first encounter.

That's also one of the problems with mixed level parties. Hard to provide something that's a challenge to the 5th level characters that doesn't one-shot the 1st level ones.

And the standard "stay back and don't draw fire" until you've gone up a few levels might be good advice, but it's also not much fun as an intro for a new player.


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Chess Pwn wrote:
All I see with that long statement is. Yes, I may alter rolls. Which definitely is a satisfactory response, it's just that you went a long way around to get there.

I think it's a more subtle issue than just a yes/no question. The "why you do it", "how much you do it", and "how you feel about doing it" is something that matters if you're not just going to categorically rule it out.

Like there's a big difference who's constantly fudging to keep the plot on track, and a GM who will once or twice a year fudge a crit confirmation roll to keep a character alive in an otherwise uninteresting fight. I think in terms of "performing the best service to my players" I feel worse about "killing their characters for no good reason" than I do about "intervening". The tone of the game is going to affect this a lot too, in a deadly serious game, I likely would never do it. In a farce or a romp though? I think Paranoia has the right idea there.


see to me, the potential for altering dice is a yes/no. I'm not caring how much you do or think you do or why you think you'd do it.

Because you should never be doing an "uninteresting fight". If the fight is pointless then don't do it in actual combat, just story time you doing the boring fights. If the fight has a point and is being done then death should be possible.

All I need to know is that you yes/no may alter dice. Then I'll get in the right mindset if I decide to play to avoid me getting upset when stuff happens.


Chess Pwn wrote:

see to me, the potential for altering dice is a yes/no. I'm not caring how much you do or think you do or why you think you'd do it.

Because you should never be doing an "uninteresting fight". If the fight is pointless then don't do it in actual combat, just story time you doing the boring fights. If the fight has a point and is being done then death should be possible.

All I need to know is that you yes/no may alter dice. Then I'll get in the right mindset if I decide to play to avoid me getting upset when stuff happens.

There's plenty of fights that are intended as resource draining speed bumps. Not every fight is a serious threat.

Shadow Lodge

Quite true. Some are just delaying tactics, some are there to give you a chance to expend some buffs or spell slots so you won't have them in the final encounter. Recognizing true threats versus easy mooks is pretty vital in those cases.


If it's to drain resources then death is possible, If death isn't possible then it's not going to drain any meaningful resources. losing a lv3 spell for a lv12 caster and a cure light charges is not meaningful and thus should probably be skipped.
If the caster is needing to use a 5th or a 6th level spell then the fight should clearly be life threatening, if only just.

If the fight is to just delay, then just narrate that you spend a few seconds killing the worthless peons.

Like, I don't see how the fight can be a cakewalk, and also impact the players.

Even make a deal. "Players, to avoid a stupid pointless death how about you fight X and cross of 1 haste. Or you can fight for real and have the possibility of dying."

Any fight where the players actually fight is one where the player's could potentially die. And any fight the players actually fight should be a fight worth having.


TOZ wrote:

On her shift, a troll happened into our camp. She sounded the alarm and charged the beast. On it's turn, it claw/claw/bite/rended her for something like 26 damage. 1st level druid torn in half, first encounter.

Now, the way to prevent that would be the GM only rolling the one attack, backhanding the puny creature away. She clearly wasn't a threat.

I think we talked about this one before -- if it was an outdoor camp I probably would have had the troll eat one of the big, helpless, delicious horses tethered in place for the taking, giving the others plenty of warning. Charging the thing was also a dumb move -- make it come to you and you avoid a full attack.

Overall, in the case of newbies, even I myself am more likely to fudge things (with the players' knowledge and permission, of course) until they get the hang of it. (Then again, I'm not very secret about it. "New rule: every time Joe rolls another freaking 4, he has to reroll!" is about as subtle as I get.)

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