GM's how much do you trust them ?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Most of mine just laugh and make a joke about not seeing the floor, then move on.


My trust in a person develops slowly over time, so a new GM I'll generally watch closely as I get a feel for them and decide for myself what kind of person they are and how they approach the game and GMing.

With people I've played with for a fair while, I can generally suss out in advance what they'll think of something or even how to broach a topic to avoid their kneejerk reactions.

I would almost never bring up rules that exist but haven't come up yet and that the GM doesn't seem to know about if I haven't gotten to know them yet. Unless it's fairly core mechanics or very basic stuff.

I don't want to be the guy who lets a GM know that guns are part of the Pathfinder ruleset only to have an explosion and temper tantrum because they hate guns in fantasy with an undying passion. No thank you.


Coidzor wrote:
My trust in a person develops slowly over time

Generally my trust in a GM only declines over time. I start off by giving them the benefit of the doubt, then whenever they make a mistake I remember it. ("That's your idea of fair? I'm going to have to start optimizing more...")

And if they're rolling behind a screen, I'll start to observe any trends that seem to defy random chance.

It's probably better (for me) when I am the GM, because I'm perfectionist enough to avoid most mistakes. (I'm not a good GM, but I am a very careful one.)


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Matthew Downie wrote:
Coidzor wrote:
My trust in a person develops slowly over time

Generally my trust in a GM only declines over time. I start off by giving them the benefit of the doubt, then whenever they make a mistake I remember it. ("That's your idea of fair? I'm going to have to start optimizing more...")

And if they're rolling behind a screen, I'll start to observe any trends that seem to defy random chance.

It's probably better (for me) when I am the GM, because I'm perfectionist enough to avoid most mistakes. (I'm not a good GM, but I am a very careful one.)

Even good GMs make mistakes. There's a difference between a mistake, incompetence, and unfair play. I've GMed for years, and even I make mistakes. Pathfinder has so many rules that it's almost impossible to keep them all straight in your head. Mess ups are bound to happen from time to time.

There have been times where my players have called me out on it, and times I've had to call my GMs out on it. But unless it's a problem that never changes because they're stubborn or something, I don't hold a mistake against them. I hope my players do the same for me.


blahpers wrote:
People play with GMs they don't trust?

well, you have to learn to know them before you know how far you can trust them or if you oughtta run away AFAYC... there's always a first time with a new DM


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Opuk0 wrote:
I've stopped playing with DMs who don't roll out in the open, been burned too many times.

You know the DM can downplay his rolls as well as he can decree a critical, right? I've known several who went out of their way NOT to kill PCs.


Klorox wrote:
Opuk0 wrote:
I've stopped playing with DMs who don't roll out in the open, been burned too many times.
You know the DM can downplay his rolls as well as he can decree a critical, right? I've known several who went out of their way NOT to kill PCs.

For players who like the dice to reign supreme, fudging to save a PC is just as bad as fudging to make the bad guy pass a Will save.


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Gygax said dice are something a DM uses to make noise behind the screen, the DM rules, not the dice.

Shadow Lodge

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Gygax holds no sway over how the game is ran. Plenty of players take issue with GMs saving their characters.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

If the dice reign supreme, then fun does not reign supreme, and that's not a game I want any part of.

Shadow Lodge

Then don't play.


and here's the conflict of the randomizers vs the fun lovers again ;) .

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I think what it comes down to is there are two separate questions about 'trusting a GM.' One of them is trusting a GM's intentions and attitudes about how players and GMs relate. For me at least, on this one, the GM starts out with the benefit of the doubt. The second one is about trusting a GM's abilities and decisions. This one I start out with less of. And this is the level where fudging dice or not happens. Some people believe the dice are inviolable, and accuse a GM of violating their trust if they fudge dice. Others believe the dice are a storytelling tool, and would accuse a GM of violating their trust for letting one bad roll ruin the fun in a game. And there are many position in between. This is why I wish people would use less inflamatory language that doesn't have the feel of making negative remarks on someone's character when someone disagrees with them on this issue.


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I have GMed for decades now. I have played with lots of different people. Some were good to play with, others not. At one point, I got into a game the GM set up only to kill my character. I know about unfairness.

I present a world. I present an adventure. At the core, I cheer for my players. I hate killing PCs, but it must be allowed to happen. Sometimes it happens when I least expect it.

I still roll behind the screen. I fudge when I consider the result entirely meaningless. No encounter is perfectly balanced.

I do not get involved in stuff that is up to the players to decide. That way lies unfairness.

But.

I have absolutely no time for players who consider their trust to be something that must be slowly won by playing a game with no mistakes. GMing is a game, not a test. The game I want to play deals with PEOPLE doing EXCITING THINGS and INTERACTING, not a tactical game measured in DPS and XPM. The rules are there to give us a starting point for what can happen, by no means a straitjacket used to MAKE SURE THE GM DOESN'T TAKE ONE STEP OUTSIDE THE RULES. If the GM missing a -2 penalty somewhere is more important to you that these things, you and I are not going to have a fun game together. And I am going to be quite happy about not having you in my group.

My tip is simply: Learn to trust your GM. The only one you're hurting by not doing so is yourself. Nobody can measure up to your scrutiny, and if you make an issue of it, you'll get kicked.

Shadow Lodge

Klorox wrote:
and here's the conflict of the randomizers vs the fiat lovers again ;) .

You ain't kidding.

Edit: Or just this one.


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The key is you've got to be able to trust the GM to read what his players actually want.

Neither the fudgers or the "dice reign supreme" side* is inherently right or wrong, it's all about how the group wants to play. It's tricky though, because generally the players who like a bit of subtle fudging want the illusion preserved and don't actually want to be told there will be fudging.

*Those really aren't the right terms. Changing die rolls is probably the most obvious and least effective way to adjust things on the fly.

Liberty's Edge

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KingGramJohnson wrote:
I'm playing in a campaign where I have a mask that grants me see inadvisability for a short time.

I know exactly what you meant, but never have I wanted a magic item so much as a mask that grants me "see inadvisability."

"No, Bob, you probably should not do that or you're going to get yourself and your party in a world of hurt."


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Richard D Bennett wrote:
KingGramJohnson wrote:
I'm playing in a campaign where I have a mask that grants me see inadvisability for a short time.

I know exactly what you meant, but never have I wanted a magic item so much as a mask that grants me "see inadvisability."

"No, Bob, you probably should not do that or you're going to get yourself and your party in a world of hurt."

Right?! After someone pointed the typo out to me, I was like, that still sounds like a really cool wondrous item. I might add it into a game of mine just for the fun of it sometime.


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"Bob probably shouldn't do that."


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Are we going to do the fudging argument again?

I thought the conclusion we reached the last two things is that if you have a serious issue with the idea that a GM might finagle circumstances for a game, you should bring that up before the game starts. It's not on the GM to clear things with the table, it's for the player with the issue to bring it up.

GM can't possibly know the pet peeves of all the players in advance, and talking about it before it comes up is better than having to deal with it in the heat of the moment.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

Dungeon Masters are a superstitious and cowardly lot!


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Klorox wrote:
Gygax said dice are something a DM uses to make noise behind the screen, the DM rules, not the dice.

I enjoy randomly rolling dice for no reason.

It keeps my players on their toes.

I also enjoy having my players make random die rolls without telling them why.


Volkard Abendroth wrote:
I also enjoy having my players make random die rolls without telling them why.

To really throw them for a loop, make them truly random die rolls. Ask them to roll 8d7 and you'll really keep them on their toes.


Pathfinder Companion, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Mine would figure something out, equally absurd, of course.


8d8, reroll all 8s until you get 1 to 7.

Grand Lodge

Basically, if you don't trust me in my game the world will become weaponized against you because I describe the nature of the scene, not what you think I want your character to see.

But this is more complex than a Gotcha! situation, this is trying to get the player to think critically of their decisions in such a way that they might get mastery over their character and their place in the world or lose/die as a consequence of their poor choices.

I use dice for tension too. It's a great way to quash metagaming along with bad players. Just roll random d20s, it's less suspicious when something is sneaking around or an effect was triggered. More often than not less mature players try to 'play the GM' as opposed to playing the scenario.

Gygax's words are often taken out of context, he was dealing with the losers (who still hang around today) who try to play D&D one particular weird way where they memorize monster manuals and work out loopholes and make atrocious characters with unrelatable concepts. Tomb Of Horror was a good example of this and you could talk for days on the auteur theory behind all of it.

If you don't trust the GM, the question isn't 'why are you even playing?' the question is 'are you too cowardly to GM yourself?'


Sissyl wrote:
8d8, reroll all 8s until you get 1 to 7.

I've seen d2s, d3s, d5s, d7s, d9s, d11s, d13s,d14s, d15s, d16s, d18s, d22s, d24s, and d30s; they're not platonic solids but neither is the d10. Just keep one of everything in a sack, pull one out at random, and then roll to see how many times the player should roll it.

Grand Lodge

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Matthew Downie wrote:
Klorox wrote:
Opuk0 wrote:
I've stopped playing with DMs who don't roll out in the open, been burned too many times.
You know the DM can downplay his rolls as well as he can decree a critical, right? I've known several who went out of their way NOT to kill PCs.
For players who like the dice to reign supreme, fudging to save a PC is just as bad as fudging to make the bad guy pass a Will save.

One of the challenges I've been faced with is that I'm running an AP that was designed for 4 PC's with 6 players that are mythic and as you can imagine, balancing has been difficult. And yes, I knew what I was signing up for when I decided to run this. I love the challenge of creating challenging encounters but there was a least one encounter in particular I remember where I realized I misjudged and created an encounter that was much too strong for the party.

Had I not fudged the rolls, it would have been a TPK. There was no way I was going to allow a TPK because I built the encounter badly.

How upset would you have been to have your PC die because the GM screwed up the CR of an encounter? Sometimes dice rolls need to be fudged.

Shadow Lodge

Dhrakken wrote:
How upset would you have been to have your PC die because the GM screwed up the CR of an encounter?

Not at all. We would have talked about it after the fact and decided if we wanted to let it stand or call a mulligan.

Dice never NEED be fudged, but you may WANT them to be fudged.


'call a Mulligan'? what does that mean?

and seriously, there are times when it's better to fudge... I've been in just such a situation as Dhrakken mentions, when the DM mistakenly adjusted an encounter too far upwards... it WAS a TPK, and I never got to know what else that particular adventure had in store because after that he decided to give us some Dark Sun fun. Good thing I wasn't already too attached to that char too.

Shadow Lodge

Klorox wrote:

'call a Mulligan'? what does that mean?

and seriously, there are times when it's better to fudge...

Better. Not necessary.

Mulligan.


PossibleCabbage wrote:
Sissyl wrote:
8d8, reroll all 8s until you get 1 to 7.
I've seen d2s, d3s, d5s, d7s, d9s, d11s, d13s,d14s, d15s, d16s, d18s, d22s, d24s, and d30s; they're not platonic solids but neither is the d10. Just keep one of everything in a sack, pull one out at random, and then roll to see how many times the player should roll it.

Wandering Damage Tables!


TOZ wrote:
Dhrakken wrote:
How upset would you have been to have your PC die because the GM screwed up the CR of an encounter?

Not at all. We would have talked about it after the fact and decided if we wanted to let it stand or call a mulligan.

Dice never NEED be fudged, but you may WANT them to be fudged.

See, that's a thing that should probably be brought up anytime you talk about how fudging is never needed. That you're fine with retconning the disaster away changes things. I suspect far more groups are okay with some fudging than with just rerunning fights.

That said, you are of course technically correct. The dice never need to be fudged. Nor is a mulligan ever necessary. You can always let the campaign die in flames. (Of course, by the same token, it's never necessary for the GM to pay any attention to the dice at all.)

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Indeed. And many players will walk from those tables when they learn the playstyle does not match their own.


tony gent wrote:

Hi all probably a fairly silly question but how much do you trust the GM to be totally fair !

I know it often depends on the individual person but as a whole do you think they are a 100% honest.
I only ask as on a few other forums I've been on there seems to be a lot of mistrust as to how the GM will handle things not covered by the rules , and this then leads to a need for everything to be in the rules just in case
Your thoughts please

Here is the thing like 90% of players forget. The GM is not a god he's a guy hiding behind a screen. Know the person trust the person not a made up construct. If the person is a power hungry jerk who is being a GM to lord over others then flip the table and walk away you can not trust them. If they are a story teller you can trust them to tell a story. If they are you buddy trust them to be your buddy. Do not be afraid to call them out on some BS. If they are a good GM they will give an explanation and thats that. If they try to play the GM card or argue then your not playing with a good GM take your group and find another.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Do not play RPGs with people you wouldn't have dinner with, or take a long car ride with.

Grand Lodge

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Funny you mention that, we played Godsmouth Heresy on a car ride to and from Disney.


TriOmegaZero wrote:
Indeed. And many players will walk from those tables when they learn the playstyle does not match their own.

Perhaps, but my main point was that I see the whole "take a mulligan if things went wrong" to be roughly equivalent to "fudge when things are going wrong". Knowing that changes how your take on fudging comes across.

You don't fudge at least partly because you have a different safety valve.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Oh, I fudge as necessary. The mulligan has only come up once, however.


DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:
Do not play RPGs with people you wouldn't have dinner with, or take a long car ride with.
TriOmegaZero wrote:
Funny you mention that, we played Godsmouth Heresy on a car ride to and from Disney.

I as well get started on "tabletop" RPGs in the car. The campaign is still going at it's extremely low frequency, but as it's PF and I'm DMing, it does become a little cramped with all the rulebooks.


The Sideromancer wrote:
DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:
Do not play RPGs with people you wouldn't have dinner with, or take a long car ride with.
TriOmegaZero wrote:
Funny you mention that, we played Godsmouth Heresy on a car ride to and from Disney.
I as well get started on "tabletop" RPGs in the car. The campaign is still going at it's extremely low frequency, but as it's PF and I'm DMing, it does become a little cramped with all the rulebooks.

Amber was great for that. No dice. Minimal rules. (lots of campaign notes though)

And since it's not party based, you could run impromptu sessions anytime you had the GM and any players together. The trick sometimes was to keep from getting carried away with it.


Yeah, but nobody in my family is any decent at storytelling. If we took the game out of the RPG, we'd have nothing left.

The Exchange

I don't think I'm a consummate story teller either...I can't describe scenery/rooms for nuts.


I do not really like fudging but partly I think I have trouble lying. When I gm might forget or misremember things but do not intentionally try to fudge.

Well having players rule poorly on perception checks I have had them be oh you see a can of nuts in the burning building and I think the rest of the party enjoyed the response I know I sure did.


Expectations are also very important when it comes to trusting your DM

If you're introduced to Pathfinder as a roleplaying game with plenty of minutia to account for a lot of variables in order to make player agency more concrete, having a DM that fudges a lot of rolls can be not only jarring but also make you feel cheated, especially when you put a lot of investment into your skills.

I had a DM who, after we had reached around 10th level, told us that he did not like characters with high skill modifiers (+20 etc) and would much prefer us to all be sitting at +10 for every single skill. Otherwise, he'd just not bother including any challenges that required a roll for which someone had a high modifier in. A popular joke became making our skill modifiers become so high that the world became a flat white endless expanse because there was no need to have any sort of terrain because a single character had maxed out climb, swim, fly, and acrobatics.


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I trust my DM when i am a player to do their best to entertain me and the others present so we have a good time. Likewise that's what i try to do when i am in the driver's seat. My style has changed(hopefully grown?) over the 30 years i have been playing RPG's, but even during Year 1 we as a group had a blast.

If the group as a whole is enjoying themselves, you are doing it 'right*'.

/disclaimer
*This is mostly my personal view and motto, and does in no way insinuate that anyone with a different view is in any way false or wrong. /disclaimer

Dark Archive

I'm super transparent as long its not about spoilers(so I will comment on encounter design and "why this encounter exists" backstories players usually don't hear whatever if I feel like it and group doesn't seem to be type where any out of character knowledge breaks immersion), so take that how you will :P I do have to say that I do think fudging takes away from enjoyment since if someone fudges, you can't ever know whether they will fudge against you instead of in your favor for sake of "story". I much prefer story told by the dice rather than "I saw chance for better story so I tried to force it" since not every "chance for great story telling" needs to became something special, so when dice create those special situations they are more enjoyable. And sure, you can say "I only ever fudge in favor of players to avoid tpk", but from player point of view, once you realize gm fudges you can't ever really trust them to not fudge in any situation were you don't see the roll, so I much prefer it that players can trust me. But yeah, your mileage may vary on that.

There is also that, well, if you know that gm will fudge anyway, that takes away the "danger and failure chance is real!" factor and becomes annoying if gm does let character die "hey why didn't you fudge this time" if player disagrees about it making for better story.

That said, "rules fudging" if I understood right what is meant by that is okay in my book. Mainly because all published campaigns do it constantly anyway(we have recurring gag about "plot magic"). I mean, all it means is that backstory or plot has elements player's couldn't replicate themselves if they wanted to, as long the thing isn't plot hole or straight up impossible sounding, it doesn't really matter if doing it doesn't have exact raw for it. Unless rule fudging means ignoring rules in ways like "I ignore your skill bonus ranks, you can't succeed!" or some stuff like that, yeah, thats not okay really.

To clarify what I mean with that, I consider rule fudging like "'Ok, screw this guy, we kick him off the boat and making him swim to beach since its close by' 'ok, he swims to beach'" okay, as long guy knows how to swim, its not really important to simulate whether he will accidentally drown himself with bad rolls :P

Anyhoo, grumpy groggy morning post done, but I also want to add that I don't really like how people in every subject eventually relate back to Gygax. I mean just because he is first prominent GM/DM/D&D writer doesn't mean his word is law, the dude's gming style is questionable by modern sensibilities anyway since quite lot of it seems to be "troll the players"


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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I much prefer a DM make up something roughly right that look something up in order to get it “correct”.

If you can run a game without referencing the rules all the time, I don’t have any explicit objection to someone strictly relying on their version of RAW. I’ve never experienced that though.


As someone who almost always GMs I make mistakes all the time, of course, but if a player doesn't trust me then I do not want them at my table, therefore I do my best to never break said trust by following the RAW and honoring the dice.

*shrugs* I find rolling in front of your players makes it a little easier for them to swallow rules fiat-ing :3


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I wonder if 'trust' is the wrong word?

Ordinary GM: "I make mistakes all the time. Sometimes these mistakes will doom the party. In these cases I will secretly fudge things to avoid killing you, unless I don't feel like it. I'm not notably competent or honest or fair, but I still expect you to trust me!"

Maybe 'support' is better. 'Trusting' a GM implies that this trust is betrayed when the GM proves 'untrustworthy' somehow. 'Support' implies a forgiving attitude, an acceptance of imperfections, and a recognition of the player's duty to contribute to the campaign.

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