Discussion on the Topic of GMs "Cheating"


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This is a discussion which arose on another thread, and deserves its own thread.

Due to the nature of the other thread, the subject of GMs "fudging" rolls came about. While some people seem to think this is perfectly fine, and even expected of a good GM, others apparently believe it is dishonest (and even cheating) for a GM to do this.

While I agree it is dishonest, I disagree with the use of the term "cheating". The definition of cheating states: "to act dishonestly or unfairly in order to gain an advantage". I do not feel that GMs can gain an advantage in this way by adjusting rolls, since they are playing a far different game to the rest of the players, and to describe anything the GM does as being "to gain an advantage" implies a strong "us vs the GM" mentality.

So, what do people think on this issue? Does a GM bending rules and fudging rolls constitute dishonest behaviour? Is it cheating? Or simply a sign of a GM who knows how to provide a good experience?

Shadow Lodge

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Since we're going by definitions, here's my favorite.

Merriam Webster, Fudging wrote:

intransitive verb

1
: 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>

So, we can argue the subjective nature of what the proper bounds and limits are, or we can just let it rest.


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People have generally said wrote:


Yes - The GM is breaking the rules by altering the dice acting in bad faith of the rules.

No - The GM's word is law therefore it is impossible for him to cheat

Yes - Changing rolls violates the social contract and cheats the players of a legitimate experience

No - If the Players don't know that the GM is changing the dice then it doesn't matter and the distinction is irrelevant.

No/Yes - Semantic term definition of "cheating" and fudging"

Did I miss any?

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

See also:

Fudging Rolls
Why Fudging Is happening
When should a GM fudge rolls
For Players That Don't Like Fudging Dice

And a bonus, What do you do when you catch a player fudging the dice?


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Firewarrior44 wrote:
Did I miss any?

An excellent summary. Though in the definition war I feel this should also be considered.

Quote:

Fudge

Noun

A soft crumbly or chewy sweet made from sugar, butter, and milk or cream


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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.

On a healthy gaming table, there is no win or lose in the interaction between the GM and the players.

Of course, there are unhealthy gaming tables out there, and there are GM's who are heavy handed in the artistic use of the "fudge."

All that being said, in my 30-odd years of playing and GMing experience, there is one definite thing I can say about a GM who makes all his/her rolls in the open: Those tables are far more deadly to the players.

Shadow Lodge

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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.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case 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.

Or you appear to take the phrase 'cheating' too seriously in relation to the game.


Yeah, there's nothing left to go over. Talk to your table and make sure everyone is on the same page. Many who dislike 1 version will tolerate it if they know upfront that it may/will happen.

EDIT: If the GM can fudge rolls why not have the players be able to fudge rolls too? If the GM is fudging rolls whey have any rolls need to be made, the GM will fudge to get his story going anyways, just have storytime where the GM tells stuff and the players can maybe pretend to interact with the story.


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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

If fudging is accepted around the gaming table, outsiders referring to it as cheating is a dick move because cheating is a pejorative term.


TriOmegaZero wrote:
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.
Or you appear to take the phrase 'cheating' too seriously in relation to the game.

You can hardly blame someone for taking the phrase "cheating" seriously. It has significant negative connotations. If someone cheats they are generally in some way detrimenting others by performing actions they are not allowed to for selfish reasons, a description which is wholly unfit to describe the process of GMs houseruling and making executive decisions.

Also, please stick to posting from a single account. It gets confusing when you're posting under two different aliases.

Shadow Lodge

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Bill Dunn wrote:
If fudging is accepted around the gaming table, outsiders referring to it as cheating is a dick move because cheating is a pejorative term.

If fudging is accepted by the group, it's not cheating.

TheCR155 wrote:
Also, please stick to posting from a single account. It gets confusing when you're posting under two different aliases.

I will not, as I have to keep a specific ratio of posts in this account so that it is identified as an A.K.A. when the default username is moused over. You can hover your pointer over the name to see whose alias the name belongs to help remove that confusion.

Having said all that I need to say, I'll discontinue this discussion as a courtesy to you.


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Hey I learned something today


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I believe by definition "cheating" is only possible when someone is violating some sort of rule, either written or unwritten. If you have an understanding with your players that 'x' is okay, then it's not cheating. If you have an understanding with your players that 'x' is not okay, then doing it is probably cheating. If you have no understanding either way whether or not 'x' is okay with your players, and you do it anyway, then it's in some undecided state and the question should not be "did you violate a rule" (since there is no relevant rule) but instead "what should the rule be?"

If something is not discussed with your players beforehand, you may have a difference in expectations that leads to a clash, but the question is not "has the GM violated some rule that he or she didn't agree to" but "does doing this help or hurt the enjoyment of the game for their players."

I want to underline that being a GM is an awesome responsibility, as you have full license to change or ignore or invent rules whenever you want to, and the only thing to which you are held accountable is your players not God, Lisa Stevens, or Gary Gygax just your players. Indeed, an essential part of GMing is being able to recognize situations where the rule, as printed, is nonsensical, inapplicable, or otherwise the wrong way to look at the situation the players find themselves in and to invent something that will work better for people's enjoyment of the game. The arbiter of "are you doing well" as a GM is not in how well you cling to the trifecta of rulebooks, errata, and FAQs but how good a time your players have in a game when you're running it.

If people are having a great time, absolutely nothing you are doing is cheating or otherwise inappropriate.


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.


I mean, the thing about definitions (particularly anything that's in the dictionary) is that they're generally not normative, they simply reflect use and the thing about the english language is that words with extremely similar meanings in a gross "definition" sense will be used in different contexts because they have different connotations. Which is to say we can describe the same action with a pejorative connotation or a more neutral or even apologetic connotation, to describe both the action and how we feel about it in a single choice of word or phrase.

By way of analogy, fudging by the GM in a tabletop roleplaying game is akin to nudging in pinball. Hitting the table to affect the trajectory of the ball adds skill and depth to the game, but is not strictly within the intended interface of a pinball machine, and too much of it is going to break the game, which is why pinball machines have a "TILT" sensor to tell you when you're going overboard (by ending your game).

I would say Fudging: Cheating :: Nudging : Tilting.

Used with discretion and good judgment, abrogating the printed rules improves a roleplaying game. Go overboard, and you're going to break something. That's specifically why we shouldn't be quick to call things "cheating" because that word has an inherently negative connotation.


I know that at least to me, fudging and cheating are the same as far as negative connotation goes.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16

Whichever makes the better experience.

If fudging will result in a more fun game, then fudge. If the players don't like that, then either don't do it or don't let them know.


It's actually a fairly standard part of childhood development. I think it's like 1-3 years old where they don't really have the concept of rules, only the results (so Chaotic). Then from 4-6 they're super strict about the rules, and it has to be followed exactly (so Lawful). Neither is wrong, but if you play a serious game of checkers with a toddler you're going to be disappointed. Ditto a preschooler and Magical Tea Party. Apparently you can cheat at Magical Tea Party, who knew? Again, all based on half-remembered child development classes and conversations with my parents, I could definitely have the age ranges wrong.

So, long story short, depends on who you're playing with.


Whelp, I suppose now is the appropriate time to link to the two greatest threads of all time:

Can you cheat at D&D?

And the sequel,
Can you Rudisplork at D&D 2: Sithsnape and the Orcus of Secret House Rules

Grand Lodge

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It's not cheating, I'm just taking 20.

Tangental thread edit:

TOZ wrote:
Bill Dunn wrote:
If fudging is accepted around the gaming table, outsiders referring to it as cheating is a dick move because cheating is a pejorative term.
If fudging is accepted by the group, it's not cheating.
TOZ from the thread >What do you do when you catch a player fudging the dice? wrote:
Kill them. They cannot be allowed to pollute the hobby.

This is why it's important to have a session 0.


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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.

I feel like jumping into a conversation where people are talking about "fudging behind the screen to keep the narrative moving" with calling it cheating then falling back on some dictionary definition is a bit disingenuous. Are you claiming you used the term completely unaware that it would be inflammatory? Cause from where i sit it comes across as another passive aggressive tactic to cast disapproval at people playing the game "wrong"

If they mean the same thing why are you picking the word you KNOW is going to pick a fight?


Alright another thread meme i'm going to avoid got it check thanks.

Jots it down next to falling paladins and "why the fighter is weak-sauce"


My questions are for the people who believe fudging dice rolls is a form of cheating:

Are all forms of dice fudging considered cheating? For example is ignoring the result of a random treasure roll cheating?

Is breaking other rules also considered cheating? Are house rules a form of cheating?


Vidmaster7 wrote:

Alright another thread meme i'm going to avoid got it check thanks.

Jots it down next to falling paladins and "why the fighter is weak-sauce"

We are staying away from the most important question:

If a paladin's player is caught fudging/cheating, should the paladin fall?


Derailer of Threads wrote:
Vidmaster7 wrote:

Alright another thread meme i'm going to avoid got it check thanks.

Jots it down next to falling paladins and "why the fighter is weak-sauce"

We are staying away from the most important question:

If a paladin's player is caught fudging/cheating, should the paladin fall?

The depends on whether or not the fighter is useless.


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Vidmaster7 wrote:
Derailer of Threads wrote:
Vidmaster7 wrote:

Alright another thread meme i'm going to avoid got it check thanks.

Jots it down next to falling paladins and "why the fighter is weak-sauce"

We are staying away from the most important question:

If a paladin's player is caught fudging/cheating, should the paladin fall?
The depends on whether or not the fighter is useless.

He wouldn't be if he cheated on the rolls.


Derailer of Threads wrote:
Vidmaster7 wrote:
Derailer of Threads wrote:
Vidmaster7 wrote:

Alright another thread meme i'm going to avoid got it check thanks.

Jots it down next to falling paladins and "why the fighter is weak-sauce"

We are staying away from the most important question:

If a paladin's player is caught fudging/cheating, should the paladin fall?
The depends on whether or not the fighter is useless.
He wouldn't be if he cheated on the rolls.

Oh my I almost fell out of my chair


LOL


Vidmaster7 wrote:
Derailer of Threads wrote:
Vidmaster7 wrote:
Derailer of Threads wrote:
Vidmaster7 wrote:

Alright another thread meme i'm going to avoid got it check thanks.

Jots it down next to falling paladins and "why the fighter is weak-sauce"

We are staying away from the most important question:

If a paladin's player is caught fudging/cheating, should the paladin fall?
The depends on whether or not the fighter is useless.
He wouldn't be if he cheated on the rolls.
Oh my I almost fell out of my chair

That's because you don't know how the magus works.

EDIT: Are you a paladin?


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Boomerang Nebula wrote:

My questions are for the people who believe fudging dice rolls is a form of cheating:

Are all forms of dice fudging considered cheating? For example is ignoring the result of a random treasure roll cheating?

Is breaking other rules also considered cheating? Are house rules a form of cheating?

Yes. Yes. Need more context. No

I'm not against fudging, but I see no difficult in answer the questions as if I were (mental trick; change fudging for something you consider cheating and answer).

Also, the last two has nothing to do with fudging, but to decide what's cheating, and even that can be reasonabily answered:

Is breaking other rules also considered cheating? If I broke it as a player hidding it form the rest of the group, yes. If it has been talk and all agree, no (p.e. Facing a new situation to me "I can't find the rule right now, so we'll do this." later I found I do it wrong).

Are house rules a form of cheating? If talked in advance, no. Is this a serious question? Does anyone think that if all the group decide to use a houserule, that's cheating?

Don't want to sound harsh, but it looks as if you were trying to "lay a language trap" (sorry but I don't know how to say it properly in english), and the next question is: <<Well you said a house rule is not a form of cheating, so if we allow fudging then it shouldn't be cheating>> what is false in the way that if someone feels fudging is bad he will never agree in the house rule.

Derailer of Threads wrote:


If a paladin's player is caught fudging/cheating, should the paladin fall?

Not the paladin, but the player. Maybe suddenly removing the chair from under him?


I'm not trying to lay a language trap. Just asking questions.

I have no issue with fudging. But for those that do I was wondering whether a house rule that grants the GM "x" number of fudge points (for fiat calls, rerolls whatever) would be a palatable solution.


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Cyrad wrote:
Whichever makes the better experience.

This.

Personnaly, I don't care if fudging is cheating or not. If ignoring the result of a dice roll improves the player's experience, I will do it.

My players appreciate keeping a PC they've invested time and feelings in, so e.g if the die dictates that the character die an untimely or ignominous or an otherwise unappealing death, I will disregard the result of the die.

On the other hand, if a player seems to want his character to die, I will repeteadly put his character in dangerous situations, and roll dies in the open, till his unevitable demise.

I consider my role as a GM to be akin to the role of an illusionist. I must persuade my players that Fate or Hazard alone dictate their PC's existence, while in fact I nudge the odds in their favour, to help them tell the character's story they like the most.

Rolling in the open gives the illusion that the game we're playing rests in the hands of Fate, but in reality that's just a very effective trick.

To give the players a sense of danger, and of defying the odds, I pretend to be an uncaring GM in regard to their characters' continuing survival, while in fact I care very much. So, I regularly lie through my teeth by reaffirming to my players that whatever way the die lies, I'll follow its dictate.

In 34 years of cheating with my players, I haven't been caught once, to their delight.


MMM fudge points.. sounds delicious.


Chess Pwn wrote:
Talk to your table and make sure everyone is on the same page.

The problem with talking it over is that I'm only bothered by GM fudging if I'm aware of it.

If the enemy rolls minimum damage on a hit that might have killed me, I would normally think, "Phew! That was lucky!"

But if the enemy gets minimum damage on a hit that might have killed me after the GM has said, "By the way, I will be fudging the dice whenever I think it suits the narrative, is that OK with everyone?" then I will assume I didn't get lucky, the dice killed me and the GM decided to be merciful.


Boomerang Nebula wrote:
I have no issue with fudging. But for those that do I was wondering whether a house rule that grants the GM "x" number of fudge points (for fiat calls, rerolls whatever) would be a palatable solution.

I'd rather grant the characters fudge points (or hero points, or whatever). The boss villain can spend fudge points to prevent himself failing a SoD roll in the first round, and the PCs can do the same.

If there's a mechanism for reducing the chance of an unlucky death derailing the campaign, that's a just a houserule.

If it's a system based on the GM deciding whether or not to fake the dice he rolls behind a screen, I like that a lot less, for a number of reasons. For example, I'm unlikely to die in melee if the GM doesn't want me to, because he can just keep 'rolling' misses. But if I'm fighting a Demilich who can devour my soul if I fail a saving throw, then the GM can't help because I'm the one rolling. Why shoud there be a difference?


[regarding Downie's first post]
This is exactly why I assure my players that I won't fudge the dice under any circumstances, and then I fudge happily behind my GM's screen.


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Boomerang Nebula wrote:

My questions are for the people who believe fudging dice rolls is a form of cheating:

Are all forms of dice fudging considered cheating? For example is ignoring the result of a random treasure roll cheating?

Is breaking other rules also considered cheating? Are house rules a form of cheating?

Absolutely. If you've committed to roll for random treasure and then decide you don't like the result so you change it, that's cheating. If you picked the treasure with no roll, that's fine. If you never committed in any way to following the random treasure table, that's fine. But if you tell the players you're running a game in which treasure is randomly generated and then don't do that, that's cheating.

Yes. No, they're new rules. The game absolutely makes allowances for adding or modifying rules. Just, once you've changed a rule, you need to follow the new rule. Otherwise you're not following the rules.


Rocks fall, everyone dies. Is that cheating? If you don't like falling rocks, you can set up a brutal encounter, it's the same thing.
What about toned-down encounters instead? A group never facing a real challenge will probably survive, with no need of fudging dice rolls. When it's the same GM who crafts the story, the traps, the enemies and everything else, AND/OR decides what's the result of the roll, are the two things really different when the outcome is the same?

What really matters? Expectations and trust.
If the group and the GM agree on a "pull no punches" campaign, fudging = cheating, because it goes against the premises. For good? Maybe, sometimes you tell a white lie to someone, but if that someone finds out, what's going to happen? It varies a lot.


Boomerang Nebula wrote:

I'm not trying to lay a language trap. Just asking questions.

I have no issue with fudging. But for those that do I was wondering whether a house rule that grants the GM "x" number of fudge points (for fiat calls, rerolls whatever) would be a palatable solution.

Glad to hear that. Then take no offense from me please, it's just my past experiences.

But there's no good answer about the house rule, as it depends in who's playing. Some prefer never fudging no matter what happens, some prefer some fudging to make the story go on, some prefer the same but only to players, and so on.

So, if it becomes a problem for a group, talk about it.


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I dislike dice-fudging in part because dice rolls are the fundamental game mechanism. Imagine if you agree to rolling character stats and the GM watches and says (on a whim), "Those stats are too low. Do it again." Then, after you roll a bunch of 18s, "Those stats are too high. Do it again." And you keep on going until you've got something very close to a 20 point buy. Well, in that case, why bother ever rolling the dice except for things that don't matter?

But: I also like narrative-heavy games where beloved characters who have become important to the plot don't die sudden meaningless deaths that derail the storyline.

So, what techniques would you guys accept if a GM wants to keep things going?

Examples:

If one player doesn't turn up, and no-one else is going to play their character for them, the GM secretly reduces the number of monsters.

A character dies. In the very next room there is a prison with a locked-up character who is a PC of the same level as the party. His equipment is in a treasure chest on the other side of the room.

You're fighting a battle and there's a boss monster in the next room. If the battle is going well for the players, the boss monster arrives to help his minions. If the battle is going badly, he doesn't show up until later.

If a PC is weaker than his comrades, he just happens to find unusual magical loot that helps him overcome his weaknesses.

After someone dies, it turns out there is a local high-level cleric who's willing to raise dead for free in exchange for a favor.

The party has found a magical artefact with slightly hazily defined powers. After a character dies, it turns out it has the ability to raise the dead under certain circumstances.


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Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Deep down, what bothers me most about GM-fudging is that it makes some of my decisions as a player irrelevant. Should I take that class with the d8 hit dice or the d10 hit dice? It doesn't matter if the GM will fudge the monster damage rolls so that, either way, my character lives. Should I invest my feats in a Power Attack line or in a non-combat Diplomacy focus? It doesn't matter if the GM will have the monster fall dead whenever he or she thinks the monster should fall dead. In other words, GM fudging makes all options the same, which means many of my choices as a player don't really matter.

If fudging is such a good thing, why doesn't a GM announce it every time he does it? It's because being honest about it would ruin the game for most players; most players want to believe that their choices and the luck of the dice *matters*. They want to believe that success or failure is something more than GM dislike or pity. Thus, fudging is intentional deception. A GM may think it's a worthwhile to make the game "fun", but the fact that many successful GMs do not fudge and their players still have fun show that it's not necessary.

Fudging might be best thought of as a white lie. It's done with good intentions, but it's still a lie.


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"A DM only rolls the dice because of the noise they make. - Gary Gygax"

And before someone says "Gary Gygax is the worst thing to happen to role playing..."

"The essence of a role-playing game is that it is a group, cooperative experience. There is no winning or losing, but rather the value is in the experience of imagining yourself as a character in whatever genre you’re involved in, whether it’s a fantasy game, the Wild West, secret agents or whatever else. You get to sort of vicariously experience those things.
Interview in 2006, as quoted in "Gary Gygax, Game Pioneer, Dies at 69" in The New York Times (5 March 2008)


KujakuDM wrote:

"A DM only rolls the dice because of the noise they make. - Gary Gygax"

And before someone says "Gary Gygax is the worst thing to happen to role playing..."

"The essence of a role-playing game is that it is a group, cooperative experience. There is no winning or losing, but rather the value is in the experience of imagining yourself as a character in whatever genre you’re involved in, whether it’s a fantasy game, the Wild West, secret agents or whatever else. You get to sort of vicariously experience those things.
Interview in 2006, as quoted in "Gary Gygax, Game Pioneer, Dies at 69" in The New York Times (5 March 2008)

You see, he mentions "dice," the plural form. A good many rolls are determined by the result of a die (singular). All this means is that GMs prefer options that allow for more dice to be rolled at once, which lines up with using monsters, etc with 16d6 damage rather than 1d6+53. Opposed checks and attack rolls only require 1d20, and are thus in the realm of assumptions from this particular quote.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Don't you think you're being too literal there.

Just saying. :-)


The Sideromancer wrote:
KujakuDM wrote:

"A DM only rolls the dice because of the noise they make. - Gary Gygax"

And before someone says "Gary Gygax is the worst thing to happen to role playing..."

"The essence of a role-playing game is that it is a group, cooperative experience. There is no winning or losing, but rather the value is in the experience of imagining yourself as a character in whatever genre you’re involved in, whether it’s a fantasy game, the Wild West, secret agents or whatever else. You get to sort of vicariously experience those things.
Interview in 2006, as quoted in "Gary Gygax, Game Pioneer, Dies at 69" in The New York Times (5 March 2008)

You see, he mentions "dice," the plural form. A good many rolls are determined by the result of a die (singular). All this means is that GMs prefer options that allow for more dice to be rolled at once, which lines up with using monsters, etc with 16d6 damage rather than 1d6+53. Opposed checks and attack rolls only require 1d20, and are thus in the realm of assumptions from this particular quote.

I'm assuming some sort of joke here that is not playing out.

If not...


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GMs don't cheat. This subject gets beat to death on these forums. If someone at my table doesn't like how I run my game, they can find another table.


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Well I don't cheat.

My wife was VERY specific about not having an open marriage.


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Jhaeman wrote:
A GM may think it's a worthwhile to make the game "fun", but the fact that many successful GMs do not fudge and their players still have fun show that it's not necessary.

It's not necessary for me, but balancing a game is difficult.

I can run a game rolling dice openly and keeping most battles in the "not too safe, not too deadly" zone, because I'm experienced.

An inexperienced GM might find himself going, "Oh - apparently my level one PCs aren't ready to take on a five orcs / a wight, even though the CR system says they should be able to handle it?" At that point, do you try to make up for your mistake through some form of fudging? Or do you just press on and have a TPK?

Your choices don't matter much if the GM is going to fudge things in your favor. But they also don't matter much if the GM throws a couple of invisible vampires at you and they kill you with fireballs before your first initiative action.


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What's interesting about this issue is that I think most people are okay with GM fiat overruling the need for a roll. If combat is going long, and it's late and there's one enemy left, a GM can just fiat that whatever hits it next kills it so we can wrap up. If an NPC is making a climb check the GM can just fiat that they succeed. These things are normal in the course of play, not everything is interesting enough to bother to roll for. Nobody has time to roll for absolutely everything that one might potentially roll for. If the party is putting camp, nobody asks you to roll survival to see if you know how to put together a tent (because a 5% chance of failure there isn't interesting, since the failure state is "try again" and "how long it takes you to put up a tent" is almost certainly not interesting.)

What's odd to me is when some people get super-indignant when GM fiat is covered by the pretense of actually rolling a die as though what it shows actually matters.

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