PDA

View Full Version : How many DM's cheat?



Pages : 1 [2]

Ashiel
2010-06-14, 12:22 AM
I agree with everything Ashiel says, except under certain circumstances.

I had a bunch of level ones still getting to grips with the game. The idea was to teach them about the game, let everyone have a good time.

I'm not in the business of fudging rules, so that's not what I did.

They'd fallen for a wolf attack: one had appeared in front of the watchman while the others slept - they didn't roll high enough to spot the other 2 behind, and one ignored the listen check that told him there was a rustling back and to his right.

Now, the way they positioned themselves meant the spellcaster wasn't able to cast colour spray (the monk for some reason decided to grapple a wolf) - things a more experienced party probably wouldn't do. So I redirected a wolf. Yes, it would have been an illogical thing to do, but not stupidly unlikely. Wolf 1 lost a flanking bonus, wolf 2 didn't eat the PC alive, and wolf 3 was off being grappled.

After a tough battle, the PCs regrouped and finally won. That could have turned into a TPK, which was the opposite of what I was trying to achieve. And all that was avoided by having a wolf make a slightly illogical decision. No roll fudging, and every player learned not to ignore rustling - at least look in that direction!

I can understand that. But I would pose a question. What do you suppose the players would have learned if you had let the fight go as it would have?

--Lime--
2010-06-14, 12:24 AM
In that particular situation, nearly being killed was as good as everyone being killed in terms of learning - they didn't end up thinking they were invincible, and we didn't undo all the other work up to that point. And if the PCs can get tactics wrong in combat, then a wolf certainly can.

If a DM has to fudge rolls, s/he is the one at fault: they've made an over-powered encounter. I sympathise when the party isn't doing what they should do, but as a DM you need to back off and let the PCs be played by their players, not by you. Control what you can - not the PCs, not the rolls, but the enemies. Realised that you've made a climb check too tough? Well, no reason you can't roll search and find some hand holds beneath the moss. Or if they fell to earth, a rope they hadn't seen in the corner. The whole point of the dice is to introduce a random element, and the whole point of giving PCs soverignty over their choices is to let them all come together to tell a story. The DM is there to provide background so that the PCs don't argue over what is or isn't there, not what can or can't be done.

Ashiel
2010-06-14, 12:33 AM
In that particular situation, nearly being killed was as good as everyone being killed in terms of learning - they didn't end up thinking they were invincible, and we didn't undo all the other work up to that point. And if the PCs can get tactics wrong in combat, then a wolf certainly can.

If a DM has to fudge rolls, s/he is the one at fault: they've made an over-powered encounter. I sympathise when the party isn't doing what they should do, but as a DM you need to back off and let the PCs be played by their players, not by you. Control what you can - not the PCs, not the rolls, but the enemies. Realised that you've made a climb check too tough? Well, no reason you can't roll search and find some hand holds beneath the moss. Or if they fell to earth, a rope they hadn't seen in the corner. The whole point of the dice is to introduce a random element, and the whole point of giving PCs soverignty over their choices is to let them all come together to tell a story. The DM is there to provide background so that the PCs don't argue over what is or isn't there, not what can or can't be done.

Fair enough; and I'm inclined to agree with you. :smallsmile:

I merely asked because I know many players in real life that have been favored in such ways who go on to provoke more risk because they always seem to get out of trouble "somehow".

Introducing new players can be fun though. It's possibly the thing I love about GMing the most. Introducing new players to a brand new exciting experience. :smallbiggrin:

Unrelated to the topic at hand (perhaps), but I find that with inexperienced players, it is often a great idea to throw in some NPCs to "teach" the players. Pull stuff like disarms, trips, readied actions, diving for cover, throwing oil, dousing lights, drawing weapons and objects as part of moving, and other exciting elements. Use statistically inferior NPCs so that the fights will be challenging, and slowly build them into experts without them actually noticing. :smalltongue:

Got any cool GM tricks to share? Maybe we can start a thread about such things. :smallsmile:

EDIT: Also, I wanted to say I commend you on easing their tactics, but not fudging their rolls. It's a lesser of two evils, I'd say. :smalltongue:

--Lime--
2010-06-14, 12:38 AM
Cheers :)

Also, the thing about NPCs - I'm facepalming. I don't know why I didn't think of this sooner.

Ashiel
2010-06-14, 12:55 AM
Cheers :)

Also, the thing about NPCs - I'm facepalming. I don't know why I didn't think of this sooner.

No problems. I tend to start out fairly simple. I generally prefer to use multiple weak creatures that use sound tactics; and pull different tricks. If you're dealing with low-level characters, stuff like 1/2 CR warriors wielding Ranseurs and disarming can really scare players without outright killing them (doubly so if you give the warriors locked gauntlets so they can't be counter-disarmed). Let 'em flank people and try to disarm them. Against particularly green players, failure to overcome their tactics can result in capture and an escape-adventure; while showing them a few tricks. Same with nets.

Also, encounters with invisible foes in a bakery could be a lot of fun. Difficult, but do-able if you're smart and either throw around ground chalk (100 pieces of chalk is 1gp, and could fit into a small pouch or sack makes a great 5ft radius grenade-weapon); or slicing open sacks of flour to reveal the attackers.

Drop a fairly harmless but annoying trap in the middle of an encounter with some kobolds. Perhaps a trip-wire that spills oil all over the floor making it slippery; and for extra fun have one of the kobolds toss a torch on it to make the floor a hot-bed (1d6 fire damage to anyone in the area at the beginning of their turn); falling prone would make getting out of it harder.

Things like these, especially with enemies who aren't really all that strong, make for exceptionally exciting encounters, teach the players to think outside the box and train the players to be experts; but they'll just be learning as they go. Most of my tabletop players have learned a lot of tricks this way. Most of them aren't scared of anything; but they respect everything. (Except one player, but he loves disrespectin' the NPCs. :smalltongue: )

--Lime--
2010-06-14, 01:29 AM
Consider 'em stolen :P

May contact you via PM about something, soon

Ashiel
2010-06-14, 01:30 AM
Feel free. I write short adventures, as well as homebrew material too, if you need it. :smallsmile:

InkEyes
2010-06-14, 08:56 AM
The way I look at it, you break the rules, you're cheating. You cheat, it's dishonest. If you fudge a roll to save my PC, then you're being dishonest with me, and you're cheapening the experience. Maybe you get away with it for a while, but the moment someone begins to expect it or know you will do it; then they'll question it. Your honor as a GM falls under scrutiny.

That question will echo in the minds of the players when they succeed. "Did I really succeed? Did we do that, or did the GM? Did my PC really die, or was that critical hit for plot reasons? Did we fail to save that NPC legitimately, or did she fail her save because he decided it so?"

Yeah. It's cheating. It's dishonest. It's something my players and I don't do. Cheaters will always deny cheating, but some things are black and white. If you're breaking rules or ignoring them, you're cheating. You make a house-rule, that's fine - that's a variant - but the referee doesn't govern a game of soccer how he pleases; just helps it go along smoothly.

It saddens me to see people being disingenuous and hiding behind rule 0 or hiding behind the title of Game Master. It would be more honest to say "I cheat, and I don't care", rather than spouting nonsense such as "the GM can't cheat". CHEAT (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/cheat).

A GM, or DM, or a Storyteller, or whatever's job is to have fun with their friends while playing a game where they pretend to be throwing magic spells around and stuff. They're not referees, this isn't a sanctioned sports event, this is a cooperative narrative game. It's the DM's role to decide what their friends will enjoy, and what will put a damper on the experience.

If players or DMs derive more satisfaction from a game where all dice rolls are genuine, go for it, but saying that a DM's "honor" is at stake is a bit extreme. (Unless you're playing some sort of game where you're all knights or samurai, I guess.) Quoting online dictionaries will only drive this discussion into an unpleasant semantics argument. It's really not worth the effort to take a moral stand on how a DM interprets dice rolls; as long as everyone's having fun who cares?

okpokalypse
2010-06-14, 09:16 AM
As a DM I've rarely fudged the dice. I do however create a lot of custom content that will keep the party on it's toes. Maybe 1/2 of the Monsters, Traps and good NPC Spells are from the books. This takes a lot of the meta-game aspect out. Hell, I've added new damage types, domains, mantles, classes, races, weapons and feats. It's gotten to the point that when the PCs find something "new" to them they will try to capture instead of kill so that they can interrogate the NPC to learn what it is they're doing...

Seriously, after years of gaming, I could probably write 2 books of custom content.

When I have fudged dice however, it's more than not to keep the party alive or, more so than fudging dice rolls, I'll scale an encounter on the fly as it's happening if it turns out to be a non-challenge.

I've had "non-Confirm" confirmed crits to keep the only Cleric in the party alive as a DM, and I've also intentionally failed a NPC skill check when the party's doing something especially cool that I want to see progress. Other than that, I'm pretty straight. But I also put a LOT of effort into giving proper challenge encounters.

I essentially run lists of random encounters by region / locale. Each Random Encounter has it's own large entry that starts at L1 and scales to L12 (No "random" encounter is > L12, but I might chain 2 or 3 in the right circumstance). That way, I can beef up encounters off a single chart for the entire campaign and keep things relatively competative. I similarly do the same with set encounters. They're all built on a +/- 5 L scale to allow competition depending on how early or late in their careers the PCs may enter an area.

valadil
2010-06-14, 09:21 AM
The way I look at it, you break the rules, you're cheating. You cheat, it's dishonest. If you fudge a roll to save my PC, then you're being dishonest with me, and you're cheapening the experience. Maybe you get away with it for a while, but the moment someone begins to expect it or know you will do it; then they'll question it. Your honor as a GM falls under scrutiny.


Here's why I disagree with that. I've had players tell me I don't fudge enough. They didn't feel their experience was cheapened by my changing die rolls. Killing their character and making them start over (even if done legitimately) would have cheapened their experience. I've been playing with that particular group since 2005 and none of the GMs besides me has ever killed a character.

I don't disagree with you in theory though. I think the part of your argument that sticks with me is "cheapening the experience." Particularly, the experience. What experience are your players trying to get out of the game. If it's a matter of overcoming challenges, then you're absolutely cheapening the experience by fudging. If the experience is playing a particular character, then you're enriching the experience by keeping that character alive. I guess it all comes down to what your players want out of a game.


If a DM has to fudge rolls, s/he is the one at fault: they've made an over-powered encounter.

Damn right. I screw up encounters all the time. If midway through a combat I notice that that CR 8 golem is really a CR 18, you better believe I'm going to fix it. I recognize my own fallibility and am prepared to admit mistakes and make corrections.

That said, how badly an encounter gets screwed up depends a lot on the system. As I mentioned, I used to fudge all the time. I stopped doing it in my current game. Part of the reason is I have players who are willing to part with their characters. The rest of the reason is system. I found it really easily to accidentally make an overpowered encounter in 3.5. In 4th ed, the encounters I've made have been much better balanced. Since there's less margin for error on my part, there's less fudging to do later.

AtwasAwamps
2010-06-14, 09:53 AM
You may not realize rules rub you the wrong way until you play with them. For instance, I really liked how 4e handles non lethal damage. You can just do it, no penalties to keep track of, no need to carry a non lethal weapon. It fits in very well with 4e's philosophy of being a game first and a realistic world second.

When I started running 4e I learned to hate that rule. All it means is that when combat ends, the players say "by the way, all that was non lethal damage, so we tie up the enemies and torture them for information." It makes it very hard to use enemies who have secrets. I couldn't have predicted that rule needed changing (especially since I didn't think my PCs would be so torture friendly), so I have to live with it or change it mid game. I'm choosing to change it mid game (albeit between sessions instead of screwing the players during a fight).

I totally have no problem with this because only one of my players ever remembers that non-lethal damage even EXISTS. It's great.

valadil
2010-06-14, 10:15 AM
I totally have no problem with this because only one of my players ever remembers that non-lethal damage even EXISTS. It's great.

I think I'd be okay with this rule with a normal party. My party is far from normal however and wants to knock out and torture every named NPC. I wouldn't feel the need to change this rule with a normal group of adventurers, but for this party it's becoming necessary.

Amel
2010-06-14, 11:16 PM
I have, on occasion, fudged a roll in one direction or another. But for the most part, if something is in the interest of the story, and the story is more important at the time, I will completely forgo the dice and just decide the outcome myself. DM prerogative is there for a reason.

In my opinion; As a DM, it is my job to create a fun and compelling, story driven environment for the players to experience. The dice are really only there to add a balance or fairness to the game, and to provide the challenge of chance and chaos.

tiercel
2010-06-15, 04:41 AM
In some sense, the DM *can't* cheat.

I mean, if you are thinking of fudging that die roll so that BBEG does/doesn't save... you could have just as easily designed your BBEG so that flavor of saving throw just happened to be one or two points higher or lower. But you didn't. But you did... on the fly?

I mean, every DM ad-libs/improvises sometimes. On mechanical matters, I try to carefully and fully design important foes and stick to the literal rules. OTOH, on rare occasions, if I do something that will really wreck the story because I clearly misbuilt the BBEG (a capability that will smash the whole party far too easily that they couldn't reasonbly have any defense for, or a lack of capability that allows him to be defeated easily by a single mechanic), then I might warp reality in the smallest possible way to allow the story to be told.

Even in those cases though, the reality-warp has to be "off screen"; if the party has discovered the BBEG is weak to electricity area effects, he can't suddenly miraculously take less damage just because I want to give him an extra three rounds of combat. If I suddenly realize I totally forgot to give a major BBEG any ability to, say, deal with invisible intruders, though, and the party has no way of knowing that, and he would have reasonably had access to some kind of countermeasures, then they get warped into existence when they would first matter (even if it's only the old flour-bomb trick).

The trick for me is telling the difference between "I screwed up and I'm gonna try and fix the mistake in my preparation before my players can find out" and "um, okay, everything looked okay but those rolls are really hot/cold." In the former case, a little DM legerdemain can make the game a lot more fun for everyone.... in the latter case, well, I allow bad/good luck to kill PCs and BBEGs alike.

So to sum up, I don't like to "cheat" to remove randomness from my game, but I might "cheat" to fix my own screwups as I find them, as long as I can do so without changing anything already established in the game.

Grogmir
2010-06-15, 05:43 AM
A DM never cheats - he rolls exactly what he means too.

Happy Rollin'

Umael
2010-06-15, 10:54 AM
The way I look at it, you break the rules, you're cheating. You cheat, it's dishonest.

The way I look at it, it's a game. The object of the game is to have fun. To listen to the rules at the expense of everyone having fun is to be dishonest to the purpose of the game.

You do play games for fun, yes?

Because... honestly? If the answer to that question is "No," then you can stop reading anything else I have to say, there is no way we can come to any kind of agreement - to me, you will always be a "killjoy" and I will always be a "cheater", no matter how much we might think otherwise of ourselves.


If you fudge a roll to save my PC, then you're being dishonest with me, and you're cheapening the experience.

Cool. You want to play by the rules in order to have fun. I get that, I have no problem with it. If everyone else feels the same way, and I run a game, then that's the way we play.

But if the rest of the group is more interested doing it otherwise, for whatever reason, then you're Odd Man Out. So either you adapt, or you leave.



Maybe you get away with it for a while, but the moment someone begins to expect it or know you will do it; then they'll question it. Your honor as a GM falls under scrutiny.

Um, hello?

Is this the Olympics?

The only qualification I need as a GM is the abilty to make sure everyone is enjoying themselves.



That question will echo in the minds of the players when they succeed.

I love this rhetoric.

It is so subtle, so invasive, and so wrong.

It will? It WILL?

I'm sorry, but the correct answer, the honest answer is, "It MIGHT".

Not everyone thinks the same way you do. Some people might think about it, some people might not bother, some might not even care.



Yeah. It's cheating. It's dishonest.

...it's a molehill.



It's something my players and I don't do.

And I repeat - cool. You and your players don't, good for you, and yes, I'm being honest when I say that. You and your players have a good time, your philosophies fit well together, you have my blessing, dominis bad Latinus.



Cheaters will always deny cheating, but some things are black and white. If you're breaking rules or ignoring them, you're cheating.

Again, the rhetoric. I love it. Seriously, I do. I might mock it, but I do love it.

It's like you take this so seriously, like you are on some crusade. You look very pretty and dashing on your high horse there, but you are going to have to clean up after it, you know.



You make a house-rule, that's fine - that's a variant - but the referee doesn't govern a game of soccer how he pleases; just helps it go along smoothly.

I repeat:
"The only qualification I need as a GM is the abilty to make sure everyone is enjoying themselves."

And for the record, yes. It does make the game more smoothly when everyone enjoys themselves.

Everyone.



It saddens me to see people being disingenuous and hiding behind rule 0 or hiding behind the title of Game Master. It would be more honest to say "I cheat, and I don't care", rather than spouting nonsense such as "the GM can't cheat". CHEAT (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/cheat).

Again, the rhetoric. "It saddens" you, like you are a parental figure and we are wayward children. "Being disingenuous and hiding" only reinforce that image.

By your definition, I "cheat", and I do it because I care. I care that my players enjoy themselves and get the experience they want. Why?

Because it's a game.

GAME (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/game)

(Oh, and by the way? If you elect to use the third definition, I would like to remind you that it includes the term "competitive".)

Totally Guy
2010-06-15, 11:21 AM
You want to play by the rules in order to have fun. I get that, I have no problem with it. If everyone else feels the same way, and I run a game, then that's the way we play.

But if the rest of the group is more interested doing it otherwise, for whatever reason, then you're Odd Man Out. So either you adapt, or you leave.

How do you find that out? For an individual incident of dice fudging you wouldn't be explicit about it. So how can you be explicit about it here?

Umael
2010-06-15, 11:45 AM
How do you find that out? For an individual incident of dice fudging you wouldn't be explicit about it. So how can you be explicit about it here?

Fair enough question.

For the most part, it comes from knowing the players for a long time. I know a lot about what works and what doesn't.

Usually when I run a game, I ask the players what kind of a game they want. Most of the time, they just want something thrown together with a good plotline but where they don't have to worry about the rules. Then again, I know my gaming group pretty well, so it isn't an issue.

But if it is a new group, I have to ask them - "What kind of a game do you guys want?" I ask that question with a lot of variations. "Hey, guys, if I make a mistake and include a monster that's too tough for you, what do you want me to do? Slaughter your PCs? Fudge a few rolls? Have the monster spare you for whatever reason?"

Mind you, I'm asking that question along with others like, "What kind of continunity do you want? How much story do you want? What sort of scale?" Getting a feel for what kind of game the players want is very important. It also means that there are games *I* want to run, but I won't. My playing group would probably hate Tomb of Horrors. Playing with a map is torture for me as I watch how our group plays (big reason why 4E is right out, even if I actually like it).

(As a very important sidenote - I rarely, if ever, fudge dice rolls. However, what I consider "cheating" is very broad - because my games concentrate on interactive story over freeform combat fests. This involves a lot of improvization, especially as I modify the world a little to fit a little closer to what I think the plotline is supposed to be. Technically... that is "cheating".)

Zellic Solis
2010-06-15, 12:31 PM
The purpose of the game is to entertain my players.

I will cheat for my players. My players know this.
I will do so infrequently. My players know this too.
I will ask players for feedback. My players will give it directly or indirectly.
I will not let characters die if the player wishes to keep playing them. They may be bloody, battered, with stumps and missing eyes and have their souls bartered by three or four different powers... but they are the property of my players. I will kill them or retire them only if the player wishes it. I may, however, request that a player play an alternative character if they are open to such.

I will, at my discretion, create, alter, empower, or weaken an encounter to meet the expectations of my players.

My job is not to beat my players. My job is to entertain my players.

valadil
2010-06-15, 12:32 PM
But if the rest of the group is more interested doing it otherwise, for whatever reason, then you're Odd Man Out. So either you adapt, or you leave.


I was actually wondering about that earlier. Is it possible to have mixed fudging in a game? By that I mean, strict dice results for players who want them side by side with fudging for players who want that. I could see it working but I could also see jealousy and resentment rearing their ugly heads.

I'm actually kinda tempted to try it. Just tell all my players that I'm changing my policy on fudging and let them privately answer if they want me fudging rolls in their favor or not. Those who want to know that they succeeded on their own will have that. Those that want to play the character they've put months of effort into regardless of what the dice tell them will have that too. I don't think the fudgers would get resent the dicers (as I choose to call them. If you have another term, please suggest it), but I think the opposite could happen.

valadil
2010-06-15, 12:33 PM
How do you find that out? For an individual incident of dice fudging you wouldn't be explicit about it. So how can you be explicit about it here?

I know how my players feel about fudging because I've played with them and had them GM for me for years. I don't usually GM for people I don't know well. If I did, I'd ask them straight up how they felt about fudging and try to put together a group that had similar feelings on the matter.

Umael
2010-06-15, 12:51 PM
I was actually wondering about that earlier. Is it possible to have mixed fudging in a game? By that I mean, strict dice results for players who want them side by side with fudging for players who want that. I could see it working but I could also see jealousy and resentment rearing their ugly heads.

That's kinda like mixing people who love number-crunching and optimized characters and the roll of dice as they wade through hordes of enemy minions... and the people who prefer to put their character sheets down, sit back, and role-play a scene or two in-character. You can do it... but it's kinda like running two different games at the same time.



I'm actually kinda tempted to try it. Just tell all my players that I'm changing my policy on fudging and let them privately answer if they want me fudging rolls in their favor or not. Those who want to know that they succeeded on their own will have that. Those that want to play the character they've put months of effort into regardless of what the dice tell them will have that too.

...you try that.

I'm on the other side of the continent, so I should be safe from any fallout.

valadil
2010-06-15, 01:02 PM
That's kinda like mixing people who love number-crunching and optimized characters and the roll of dice as they wade through hordes of enemy minions... and the people who prefer to put their character sheets down, sit back, and role-play a scene or two in-character. You can do it... but it's kinda like running two different games at the same time.


You're leaving out a key demographic. There are also the butt kickers. Players who like to beat stuff up without ever feeling threatened. I think they could coexist with the gloves off optimizers.

Mixing optimizers and straight up role players is going to be like running two games at once regardless of your fudging policy. (Well, assuming you have players who only enjoy one or the other. If you have players who do both (and they exist, I'm one of them) they'll participate in both parts.)

Dairun Cates
2010-06-15, 02:13 PM
I was actually wondering about that earlier. Is it possible to have mixed fudging in a game? By that I mean, strict dice results for players who want them side by side with fudging for players who want that. I could see it working but I could also see jealousy and resentment rearing their ugly heads.

I'm actually kinda tempted to try it. Just tell all my players that I'm changing my policy on fudging and let them privately answer if they want me fudging rolls in their favor or not. Those who want to know that they succeeded on their own will have that. Those that want to play the character they've put months of effort into regardless of what the dice tell them will have that too. I don't think the fudgers would get resent the dicers (as I choose to call them. If you have another term, please suggest it), but I think the opposite could happen.

I've done it, actually. It's a bit weird, but it's entirely doable. It's just how well you meld it into the plot and universe. Matter of fact, in a few of my campaigns, the major issue has been that some players want a LOT of story while others want a LOT of combat. It's interesting getting those two to merge.

Ashiel
2010-06-15, 02:52 PM
That's kinda like mixing people who love number-crunching and optimized characters and the roll of dice as they wade through hordes of enemy minions... and the people who prefer to put their character sheets down, sit back, and role-play a scene or two in-character. You can do it... but it's kinda like running two different games at the same time.

I do it all the time. Strait-combat gets boring as heck, and yet we're always here as part of a game; but we're not LARPers either and would like to actually get to play with our characters. Considering neither are exclusive to either side of the fence, I fail to see the problem here.

I'm pretty sure it's more like running the game as it is, rather than splitting it into two incomplete games.

Umael
2010-06-15, 03:07 PM
I do it all the time. Strait-combat gets boring as heck, and yet we're always here as part of a game; but we're not LARPers either and would like to actually get to play with our characters. Considering neither are exclusive to either side of the fence, I fail to see the problem here.

Well, what would it be like if it WAS exclusive?

I know people who get absolutely bored stiff by just role-playing their characters talking with other characters, and different people who get confused by the simplest combat rules and cannot stand them and absolutely loathe combat whenever it happens. So what happens when you put them together?

Totally Guy
2010-06-15, 03:36 PM
"Hey, guys, if I make a mistake and include a monster that's too tough for you, what do you want me to do? Slaughter your PCs? Fudge a few rolls? Have the monster spare you for whatever reason?"

I can respect that. I have a different policy that is specific to my own game which is not combat intensive but it has its moments.

I present a creature as it should be and don't bother myself with what is balanced and what isn't. The players get to see the numbers on the monsters too if they choose to assess it. I always used to feel that my descriptions were inadequate and that I couldn't effectively communicate whether the players were "supposed to" run or fight it. (It's worth mentioning that the system uses wounds rather than hit points so the whole fight damage economy is totally different from D&D.)

If I share the stats along with the description I grant the players the information they require to allow them to gauge a response that is appropriate to the characters.

By doing this I absolve myself of the responsibility of providing a balanced encounter that'll be challenging. It's up to them how they respond.

Since I consciously made this change I have seen a much wider variety of scenes centred around conflicts with monsters and baddies. The players have chosen a lot of interesting ways to interact with those scenes. The "just challenging enough combat" as the assumed default has gone and I think things are all the richer for it.

This post had nothing about fudging rolls in it... whoops. Instead I've presented an opinion that you need never feel guilty for presenting monsters as they exist in the game world (as printed in the game book).

Ashiel
2010-06-15, 03:40 PM
Well, what would it be like if it WAS exclusive?

I know people who get absolutely bored stiff by just role-playing their characters talking with other characters, and different people who get confused by the simplest combat rules and cannot stand them and absolutely loathe combat whenever it happens. So what happens when you put them together?

Dunno. I've never really had that happen. I tend to keep my combats running smoothly, and I teach players combat tricks with NPCs. Combat doesn't usually devolve to slug-fests in my games (I attack, I attack, I attack, I attack, etc), and I find the role-players of the group tend to love them equally.

But if it was exclusive, then you have two similar but very different things. We have Warhammer-lite and we have Improve Story Time; neither of which are RPGs in the traditional sense. One is just a game, the other is just role-play. Neither are Role-playing Games.

But again, I couldn't say. I've never had anyone who absolutely loathed combat, or anyone who absolutely despised role-playing. I doubt such people would have much fun in our (my group and I's) games; since the two are more or less intertwined.

From personal experience, I've been bored stiff just talking to NPCs in a tavern - or even PCs - for a few hours; as nothing exciting happened and after a while you begin to run out of stuff to talk about. At the same time, if you're doing nothing but fighting for seemingly no reason; or running into random battles on the way to the ATM machine, it becomes a hassle as well.

I dunno. I guess I've got an odd perspective. :smalleek:

Umael
2010-06-15, 04:04 PM
I present a creature as it should be and don't bother myself with what is balanced and what isn't. The players get to see the numbers on the monsters too if they choose to assess it.

You show them the monster from the Monster Manual (or the equivalent if you were playing D&D, not sure if you are).



Since I consciously made this change I have seen a much wider variety of scenes centred around conflicts with monsters and baddies. The players have chosen a lot of interesting ways to interact with those scenes. The "just challenging enough combat" as the assumed default has gone and I think things are all the richer for it.

No doubt.

...I have to consider this one. This might work for me next time I game.



This post had nothing about fudging rolls in it... whoops.

*shrug*
I think we'll survive.



I dunno. I guess I've got an odd perspective. :smalleek:

Not that odd. Most people like to mix it up a bit. I know I do.

valadil
2010-06-15, 04:26 PM
I present a creature as it should be and don't bother myself with what is balanced and what isn't. The players get to see the numbers on the monsters too if they choose to assess it....

(It's worth mentioning that the system uses wounds rather than hit points so the whole fight damage economy is totally different from D&D.)


I like that idea a lot. Do you ever hide enemy stats?

I've also been intrigued by the idea of wounds over HP. I was thinking of building a system around it, but haven't had the free time. Have you published details on your system anywhere?

Totally Guy
2010-06-15, 05:40 PM
Do you ever hide enemy stats?

I've also been intrigued by the idea of wounds over HP.

Do I hide stats? Not really. It's not like I read out a whole stat block though. I mention things that are noteworthy. The Golem's Power stat, the Blob Monster's Fort stat, the Troll's amazing Brawling skill. I won't point out the body part with the least armour without an "assess" action. I've been doing this so that the fluff is reinforced by the mechanics. My description alone could be subjective whereas the numbers aren't. "The troll moves about with its massive frame and arms like tree trunks. It greets you with a grumpy stare." It's a good description but if I also mentioned Power=7 then everyone knows what the situation is.

I've not used a D&D wound homebrew or anything like that. I'm playing a small press game called Burning Wheel. And I'll go on and on about it if given the chance. :tongue: But this is probably not the place to do that.

I've not encountered the "acid is its secret weakness" problem. But I know how to use the BW mechanics in that situation. D&D is a different ball game for that.

valadil
2010-06-15, 05:52 PM
I've not used a D&D wound homebrew or anything like that. I'm playing a small press game called Burning Wheel. And I'll go on and on about it if given the chance. :tongue: But this is probably not the place to do that.

I figured it was more like an entirely homebrew system. Burning Wheel sounds cool too. It's at the top of my indie-games-to-try list.

Lord Vampyre
2010-06-16, 06:07 PM
I don't fudge the rolls often. Although, when I do, I do it in the party's favor. I have a hard time gauging the party's power level sometimes. Now, more often than not, if something unexpected happens like a TPK at 1st level, I just warp reality to fix the situation. Killing a 1st level party is absolutely senseless. Now killing a second level party on the other hand has a little more gusto, but still they haven't accomplished very much in the game.

Still if it means the party is able to accomplish something that needs to be done to move the story along, I'm all for changing the die roll or maybe the DC.