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Calthropstu
2017-03-18, 11:44 PM
There's a current thread thread of a person asking to get loaded dice and I shared the fact many people I have played with, now and in the past, alter their dice.
I get it, I really do. You've been looking forward to the game all week, and you're in a position where if you fail this one skill check all hell is about to break loose. You REALLY need to make it and you look at that 1 and *flip* Hey, it's a 17.
But as a GM you should call it out. How do you guys handle it?

Koo Rehtorb
2017-03-18, 11:52 PM
Play with better people.

Anderlith
2017-03-19, 12:00 AM
Everyone i play with rolls in the open. Dont mess with the dice after it lands. Cheaters lose the privilage to roll dice & will instead be rolled by me. After a bit i may return your privilage. No one has ever done this in my games yet.

ShaneMRoth
2017-03-19, 12:00 AM
I would offer to roll the players' skill checks for them, if doing an honest job is just too much to handle.

Tanarii
2017-03-19, 12:30 AM
If it's a player, ask them to please leave. They are not welcome at my table.

If they are the DM, not return to the table. I also won't play with a DM that rolls in secret, since so many use that as a way to hide that they're fudging the dice.

Calthropstu
2017-03-19, 12:39 AM
Play with better people.
The people are great. The atmosphere is fun, everyone, including me, has a great time.
It seems rather silly to me to walk away from a table where everyone is enjoying themselves because of a fudged die roll.

As for the GM doing it, sometimes it's best that way. Letting a tpk happen because the die you were using decided to roll a nat 20 4 times in a row seems a tad harsh to me.

Tanarii
2017-03-19, 12:51 AM
As for the GM doing it, sometimes it's best that way. Letting a tpk happen because the die you were using decided to roll a nat 20 4 times in a row seems a tad harsh to me.Never acceptable to me. I find that the worst way, never the best way. A DM that doesn't play with fair dice is robbing me of my chance to win the game by playing smart.

And TPKs happen. But if that's a problem, either don't use the dice, or don't put the characters in a situation where 4 nat 20s will TPK the party. Don't roll the dice then say 'oops'. Or worse, try to keep it a secret. That's how you remove meaningful player decision making.

Edit: obviously this is my personal opinion. But it's why I won't play with a DM that fudges the dice. He's removed the ability for me to enjoy the game, to have my play experience be challenging and meaningful.

Koo Rehtorb
2017-03-19, 01:50 AM
The people are great. The atmosphere is fun, everyone, including me, has a great time.
It seems rather silly to me to walk away from a table where everyone is enjoying themselves because of a fudged die roll.

Cheating is completely unacceptable to me. If it's not a big deal to you then just don't make a big deal of it. Make dice rolling a ritual. Get a box, put it in the middle of the table, and call for all dice to be rolled in the box and left there, untouched.


As for the GM doing it, sometimes it's best that way. Letting a tpk happen because the die you were using decided to roll a nat 20 4 times in a row seems a tad harsh to me.

If the GM can break the rules when they want to then all the rules are meaningless and the players' accomplishments mean nothing. If an unlucky TPK would ruin the fun for the entire group then consider just playing a different RPG where that sort of thing doesn't happen.

Calthropstu
2017-03-19, 01:57 AM
Cheating is completely unacceptable to me. If it's not a big deal to you then just don't make a big deal of it. Make dice rolling a ritual. Get a box, put it in the middle of the table, and call for all dice to be rolled in the box and left there, untouched.



If the GM can break the rules when they want to then all the rules are meaningless and the players' accomplishments mean nothing. If an unlucky TPK would ruin the fun for the entire group then consider just playing a different RPG where that sort of thing doesn't happen.

Actually, in D&D, rule zero is precisely "The gm can break, alter, fiat, ban or otherwise ignore any rule." The gm literally CAN'T break the rules, because he MAKES them.
So yeah.

Koo Rehtorb
2017-03-19, 02:16 AM
Actually, in D&D, rule zero is precisely "The gm can break, alter, fiat, ban or otherwise ignore any rule." The gm literally CAN'T break the rules, because he MAKES them.
So yeah.

And it's a horrible idea that's badly damaged tabletop gaming for decades and needs to be ripped right out of the hobby's genetics. The sooner we can exorcise it the better off we'll all be.

hencook
2017-03-19, 02:37 AM
I've cheated on a few rolls. Not because I like a good power trip or anything. I never cheat in video games... I just cheat when I reaaally want an encounter to just be over, lol. Like if nobody's having fun. (shrug)

Calthropstu
2017-03-19, 02:45 AM
And it's a horrible idea that's badly damaged tabletop gaming for decades and needs to be ripped right out of the hobby's genetics. The sooner we can exorcise it the better off we'll all be.

We'll just have to continue to disagree there. A game designer can't be expected to catch every possible flaw.
Nor can they be expected to extrapolate everything that will work for every possible group. It kinda sounds like you want tabletop to turn into video gaming... which many, if not most, would think sucks.

Cazero
2017-03-19, 02:53 AM
And it's a horrible idea that's badly damaged tabletop gaming for decades and needs to be ripped right out of the hobby's genetics. The sooner we can exorcise it the better off we'll all be.
Only if your GM can't handle power trips/is an *******. No matter what the rules actualy say about it, you can't remove that kind of power from the GM's hand because the GM is the one creating encounters and managing the environment and NPCs. If you have that much trouble with your GM, find a better one.

Rule zero is about enabling the GM to be creative, not about making him allmighty. He already is.

Koo Rehtorb
2017-03-19, 02:58 AM
We'll just have to continue to disagree there. A game designer can't be expected to catch every possible flaw.
Nor can they be expected to extrapolate everything that will work for every possible group. It kinda sounds like you want tabletop to turn into video gaming... which many, if not most, would think sucks.

There are, in fact, RPG rulesets that will work as written 100% of the time.

However. There's nothing wrong with changing rules when they don't work for what you're trying to do, there's nothing wrong with adding new rules when you want to do a thing that the game doesn't cover, and there's nothing wrong with changing a rule when it's flat out broken because you're playing a game that's badly designed. The problem comes when a GM is doing it unilaterally by fiat, or even worse when he's doing it stealthily and lying about it (like cheating on dice rolls). The rules are not the GM's job, the rules are the group's job and the group can, as a whole, decide to change things. But if the group is routinely deciding to change things it's at least worth considering the possibility that the group may be playing the wrong game.

Kelb_Panthera
2017-03-19, 03:14 AM
Swift, savage beatings. We have very little tolerance for cheats where I'm from.

Mastikator
2017-03-19, 05:50 AM
If you're the GM then it's easy, you have the power to introduce house rules:
1. Bring a set of dice
2. The dice are shared dice
3. All rolls are done openly with the same dice


This way you wouldn't want weighted dice because the enemy NPCs will roll with them too.

Altair_the_Vexed
2017-03-19, 07:22 AM
My favourite way in which cheating was dealt with was with this One Guy - let's call him "Bonrad Clake", to preserve his dignity. He was well known for fudging dice rolls, but no-one wanted to call him out on it (socially awkward and all that), but it was starting to get on everyone's nerves.

One day we were playing with "Bonrad" and a relatively new player, Clare, who was well known then for being a bit - er - crazy. (She's very sensible these days - lecturer at a top university and all.)

So when "Bonrad" rolls, glances round to see if anyone noticed what he'd rolled, then snatches up the die and declares "I hit!" - Clare lets out a mock gasp: "Aw! Bonrad cheated! Look everyone, Bonrad cheated!" *sings* "Bonrad is a cheater! Bonrad is a cheater!"

Unfortunately, it didn't stop him. He just never cheated in front of Clare again.

hymer
2017-03-19, 07:29 AM
Swift, savage beatings. We have very little tolerance for cheats where I'm from.

Baator I take it? :smallwink:


So when "Bonrad" rolls, glances round to see if anyone noticed what he'd rolled, then snatches up the die and declares "I hit!" - Clare lets out a mock gasp: "Aw! Bonrad cheated! Look everyone, Bonrad cheated!" *sings* "Bonrad is a cheater! Bonrad is a cheater!"

Perfectly sensible, positive use of peer pressure if you ask me.


Unfortunately, it didn't stop him. He just never cheated in front of Clare again.

And that's when you went Baator on his hind quarters?

erikun
2017-03-19, 09:36 AM
It would probably depend on the table dynamic. I could think of a bunch of possible ways to deal with the situation, depending on how serious a concern it is.

Just ignore it. This isn't a case of "ignore it and it will go away" as much as just assuming that it simply doesn't matter. If the entire session just involves killing monsters and taking loot just to waste time, hang out, and kill some more monsters, then the exact dynamics probably aren't going to matter too much. If somebody fudges a 1 into a 20 it likely won't ruin the evening, even if some people catch it. Plus, the GM is generally capable of fudging things if they think a player is intentionally trying to bypass an obstacle this way; it wouldn't be the first time some crazy wizard stuck a trapped-and-locked chest inside another trapped-and-locked chest, forcing another one of those Open Lock checks.

As for combat situations running overly long, the GM should realize that retreat (or just fleeing in terror) is an option for enemies. It isn't something to necessarily use all the time, but when 90% of the enemy are dead and the PC party is still at full health, the enemies can just end up getting routed rather than spend all that time rolling until enough HP gets emptied out of the tank. Same thing with non-combat encounters: something can happen to make climbing that cliff, opening that lock, or searching that room more dynamic than just rolling the die again.

Roll in the open, roll on your turn. If you have a problem with players rolling in front of them and then "saving" a particularly good result, then just make a rule where everyone has to roll in the middle of the table, during their turn. Getting a dice box or something similar, placed in the middle of the table, can help wiht this. It also prevents players from rolling out-of-turn, since that would interfere with another player's turn.

One set of dice. If you suspect some loaded dice or something similar, you can just have everyone use a single set of dice, or perhaps bring a few sets and let players pick up whichever colors they want for their rolls. It keeps things fair because enemies get to use the same dice that the players use, so players certainly won't want loaded dice at the table.

Don't invite them to the next game. If the cheating is so bad that it is bothering everyone at the table, then the next campaign that starts up, take a week off and then just don't invite the offending player to it. That's a bit of a harsh response, but if the problem is that bad, then just not playing with the person anymore might be the only solution to the problem.

[EDIT]
I guess I forgot to mention, but just "say something to the offending player" is of course an option. If it is a problem, or even just a concern, then mentioning it and explaining why it is a problem can work at stopping the whole issue. The solution doesn't need to involve re-working the group dynamic just to prevent some people from misbehaving.

Sergio
2017-03-19, 10:41 AM
Hello,
I realized that this topic is probably directed to the topic I made where I asked loaded dice and precision dice.

First of all, I would like to tell you that I do not endorse in any way cheating and I abhor it. It's been 8 months since I've played my first session of D&D, and never such a thought hit my mind. To this day, at least, where I started to realize that being inherently unlucky was actually so counter-productive to my own fun that it actually hit my personal enjoyment of the game.

Okay, so I asked for loaded dice. Why did I ask for them? I'm going to play with a DM that is really into roleplaying, every damn choice I do should be logical for the stats I've got. So what shapes my character is not my own thoughts of it, or what I could make, but the stats that I'm going to get.

So, roleplaying a character to the fullest, means that I practically pidgeon every idea on the rolls I'll be getting. This, for me, is not fun at all: you can say what you want, but knowing that I've got to act as a commoner or act as a brutish mindless warrior because my best roll is 14 and my worst is 8 or 9, means that you cut half of the fun I can be getting from D&D. There is a time where I will be going to play as a bounty hunter, one where I wish to play as a simpleton, one where I want to play a guy with great plans.

Knowing that DUE TO MY ROLLS, I die like 16 times in a session because I've got 51 hp with a level 7 barbarian is not going to make me feel good, because from the instant I'll be rolling I could even be going to metagame. I will act coherently, but I'll always feel like I'm not the frontline I would have loved to do.

Cheating? Why would I cheat if by going mage I could be TIER 1, god wizard with frankly no damn issue about the stats point, if I've got 1 18, and one 16..

But you have to realize that I can't be forced by the dice on what I should play. I wish to have choices. And currently, with the way the dice seems to be rolling, I'm always the worst barbarian, the worst goliath, the worst fighter, the worst ranger

Who cares if during the game I do 1 1 1 on the dice. I can accept it. But making the dice choose for what I'm going to play, instead of making me express my fantasy, is one thing I cannot agree with

I could cheat 1/3 rolls for the stats, so I know that I've got my chance if I wish to play something more complex, but I would never cheat during a session.

But if things go like that and the DM doesn't realize it, I could play mage all day along, never be claimed 'cheater', and be thousand times better than a barbarian with high stats.

regards

Segev
2017-03-19, 10:49 AM
Is the cheating making the game less fun for anyone? Talk to the cheater about it and ask him to stop. If he doesn't and it keeps making things less fun, call him out and either require he do things in confirmable ways or ask him to leave. Or just counter-cheat by assuming his rolls really are what you think they were, if he can't prove his claims.

But first, make sure it really is important. If it isn't ruining anybody's fun, and he needs to cheat to feel good about the game, is it worth calling out?

Slipperychicken
2017-03-19, 11:29 AM
Play with better people.

First post best post. Don't play with cheaters. If you have one at the table, tell him to cut it out, or just kick him out if he's new.



As for the GM doing it, sometimes it's best that way. Letting a tpk happen because the die you were using decided to roll a nat 20 4 times in a row seems a tad harsh to me.

As someone with experience on both sides of the issue, I would rather get TPK'd than be coddled. Seeing my character killed sucks, but being cheated by a friend over a game is a lot worse. At that point why should I spend any time on mechanics? We might as well just roleplay freeform if we're going to cheat on dice outcomes that we don't like. It would save us a lot of time on all those books full of rules.

If you want to cheat your DM rolls, then we can't stop you. But don't try to convince me that it's fair to your players.

If there are certain outcomes that are not acceptable to you and you want to change, then be open about that. Talk to your players about the prospect of you rerolling the monsters' quadruple nat20 combos. That way it's an agreed-upon rules change and not cheating. That kind of transparency can help you build trust with your players and lead to a more enjoyable game.


Hello,
But you have to realize that I can't be forced by the dice on what I should play. I wish to have choices. And currently, with the way the dice seems to be rolling, I'm always the worst barbarian, the worst goliath, the worst fighter, the worst ranger

I recommend giving this speech to your gaming group and ask them about allowing you to use point-buy, pre-gen arrays, or similar. It seems to be affecting you deeply, so if you have a good relationship with them, they should be sympathetic.

Jay R
2017-03-19, 11:45 AM
The people are great. The atmosphere is fun, everyone, including me, has a great time.
It seems rather silly to me to walk away from a table where everyone is enjoying themselves because of a fudged die roll.

If enjoyment matters to you and honesty does not, then fine. I But can't think that way.

That person isn't playing the game. There are lots of ways to enjoy yourselves other than playing the game, including throwing away the dice and just making up a story in which your character always succeeds. And if people want to do that, openly and honestly, then there's nothing wrong with agreeing to do that.

Maybe you could all agree to all dice with two 20s and no 1s. That's completely open and honest.

I ran one game in which I bought a d22 for each player to use for attacks, without changing the to-hit level, thus increasing each PC's ability to hit without doing the same for the NPCs. Everyone agreed to it, and again, that was completely open and honest.

But I won't play the game with people who aren't playing the game with me. And somebody using a weighted or misnumbered die without asking the rest of us for permission is simply cheating.

We're not playing a game together. We're not even playing the same game at all. I'm risking failure. He isn't.


As for the GM doing it, sometimes it's best that way. Letting a tpk happen because the die you were using decided to roll a nat 20 4 times in a row seems a tad harsh to me.

Again, that's only harsh if winning is more important than playing the game. I've lost games of Monopoly, Acquire, Sorry!, and many others because at a crucial moment, I got a bad die roll. I've lost at baseball because of an unpredictable ball hop, at poker because my opponent drew the only card out of 52 that could beat me, and at fencing because my opponent fell over backwards after I'd parried him and before I struck.

That's normal. That's part of playing a game.

Some people don't want to play D&D as a game in that way, and agree that the PCs will never lose. And if everybody at the table agrees to that, it's perfectly decent and honest, even if not to my taste.

But one person privately deciding that he can't lose while I can, using dishonest dice, without letting the rest of us agree whether or not to accept it, is not open, not honest, and not playing with us.

Sergio
2017-03-19, 11:45 AM
I recommend giving this speech to your gaming group and ask them about allowing you to use point-buy, pre-gen arrays, or similar. It seems to be affecting you deeply, so if you have a good relationship with them, they should be sympathetic.

Thanks for your understanding. I could be trying to explain my points, but honestly I feel like they would be falling in deaf ears.

I've even asked a new way to roll hp, instead of the classical one, but it wasn't well accepted.

Another dm I've played with told me that I should just live with it, because what dice do say is law, and that if he wishes, as a dm he can murder my character any time he wants and it is useless to search for better rolls.

I won't lie that I understand the point of people that do say that going this way on stats is cheating, but for me it is hindering my personal enjoyment of the game. To be sincere, I think that my next character is going to be the last one.

If I wanted to become a god character, I would just go mage. No one would accuse me of power-playing, I would be playing mechanically and I would be justified, I could be ten thousand more versatile, I would care little about death because I will never be in the frontline, I would seek magical powers beyond human comprehension (like becoming a lich), I would just relax all the ****ing time, especially in the current place the campaign is located

Sorry if I derailed the topic.


Anyway, if I caught someone cheating in my campaign, I would give him another chance, then if he was to do it again I would just ban him.

Vitruviansquid
2017-03-19, 11:58 AM
Two rules to follow in every situation where you need to ask how to handle cheating, even outside of tabletop RPGs.

1. Do not tolerate cheating.

2. Set up norms that make cheating difficult in the first place, because you neither want people to cheat, nor do people want you to accuse them of cheating.

Dr_Dinosaur
2017-03-19, 12:10 PM
Hello,
I realized that this topic is probably directed to the topic I made where I asked loaded dice and precision dice.

First of all, I would like to tell you that I do not endorse in any way cheating and I abhor it. It's been 8 months since I've played my first session of D&D, and never such a thought hit my mind. To this day, at least, where I started to realize that being inherently unlucky was actually so counter-productive to my own fun that it actually hit my personal enjoyment of the game.

Okay, so I asked for loaded dice. Why did I ask for them? I'm going to play with a DM that is really into roleplaying, every damn choice I do should be logical for the stats I've got. So what shapes my charcter is not my own thoughts of it, or what I could make, but the stats that I'm going to get.

So, roleplaying a character to the fullest, means that I practically pidgeon every idea on the rolls I'll be getting. This, for me, is not fun at all: you can say what you want, but knowing that I've got to act as a commoner or act as a brutish mindless warrior because my best roll is 14 and my worst is 8 or 9, means that you cut half of the fun I can be getting from D&D. There is a time where I will be going to play as a bounty hunter, one where I wish to play as a simpleton, one where I want to play a guy with great plans.

Knowing that DUE TO MY ROLLS, I die like 16 times in a session because I've got 51 hp with a level 7 barbarian is not going to make me feel good, because from the instant I'll be rolling I could even be going to metagame. I will act coherently, but I'll always feel like I'm not the frontline I would have loved to do.

Cheating? Why would I cheat if by going mage I could be TIER 1, god wizard with frankly no damn issue about the stats point, if I've got 1 18, and one 16..

But you have to realize that I can't be forced by the dice on what I should play. I wish to have choices. And currently, with the way the dice seems to be rolling, I'm always the worst barbarian, the worst goliath, the worst fighter, the worst ranger

Who cares if during the game I do 1 1 1 on the dice. I can accept it. But making the dice choose for what I'm going to play, instead of making me express my fantasy, is one thing I cannot agree with

I could cheat 1/3 roll for the stats, so I know that I've got my chance if I wish to play something more complex, but I would never cheat during a session.

But if things go like that and the DM doesn't realize it, I could play mage all day along, never be claimed 'cheater', and be thousand times better than a barbarian with high stats.

regards

This isn't a great argument for using loaded dice, but one of the most eloquent defenses of Point Buy as a superior system that I've seen. We wouldn't even be having this discussion if people weren't so fixated on rolling stats.

Quertus
2017-03-19, 01:15 PM
How do you guys handle it?

**** happens. People I game with know that I let the dice fall where they may. That's me.

If a player cheats? If that's what makes the game fun for them? It's not worth caring about. It means there's one statistically improbable nexus in the universe, and I'm lucky enough to be their ally (or have them in the story, if I'm GM). Sweet!

But the GM controls 99.9% of the world. If the GM cheats, that's not a cool statistical nexus, that's an incoherent world.

As a personal aside, I care about a sense of accomplishment. I want to come by my victories (and my setbacks, and my defeats) honest. If we aren't following the rules, if the GM is cheating, I can't. That removes most if not all of the fun of the game for me.

Now, I can imagine that there are people like me, but who take it one step further. For them, any other player is cheating, it can ruin their fun. In that case, I suppose, if they can't talk it out, I'd fall on the side of not cheating.


The people are great. The atmosphere is fun, everyone, including me, has a great time.
It seems rather silly to me to walk away from a table where everyone is enjoying themselves because of a fudged die roll.

As for the GM doing it, sometimes it's best that way. Letting a tpk happen because the die you were using decided to roll a nat 20 4 times in a row seems a tad harsh to me.

Live and learn. Develop defenses that aren't vulnerable to 4 natural 20s in a row. Or suck it up, and hope it never happens again.



And it's a horrible idea that's badly damaged tabletop gaming for decades and needs to be ripped right out of the hobby's genetics. The sooner we can exorcise it the better off we'll all be.


We'll just have to continue to disagree there. A game designer can't be expected to catch every possible flaw.
Nor can they be expected to extrapolate everything that will work for every possible group. It kinda sounds like you want tabletop to turn into video gaming... which many, if not most, would think sucks.


There are, in fact, RPG rulesets that will work as written 100% of the time.

However. There's nothing wrong with changing rules when they don't work for what you're trying to do, there's nothing wrong with adding new rules when you want to do a thing that the game doesn't cover, and there's nothing wrong with changing a rule when it's flat out broken because you're playing a game that's badly designed. The problem comes when a GM is doing it unilaterally by fiat, or even worse when he's doing it stealthily and lying about it (like cheating on dice rolls). The rules are not the GM's job, the rules are the group's job and the group can, as a whole, decide to change things. But if the group is routinely deciding to change things it's at least worth considering the possibility that the group may be playing the wrong game.

There is a difference between filling in the blanks, and changing what is already written.


Only if your GM can't handle power trips/is an *******. No matter what the rules actualy say about it, you can't remove that kind of power from the GM's hand because the GM is the one creating encounters and managing the environment and NPCs. If you have that much trouble with your GM, find a better one.

Rule zero is about enabling the GM to be creative, not about making him allmighty. He already is.

Not all systems follow that mindset. The banker in Monopoly can't just give players however much money he feels like - there are rules. Not following said rules is cheating. Many RPGs run like monopoly, not like certain interpretations of Rule 0.



If the GM can break the rules when they want to then all the rules are meaningless and the players' accomplishments mean nothing. If an unlucky TPK would ruin the fun for the entire group then consider just playing a different RPG where that sort of thing doesn't happen.

I'm curious about which games have 100% complete and functional rules sets, and don't have a threat of TPK.

Koo Rehtorb
2017-03-19, 01:36 PM
I'm curious about which games have 100% complete and functional rules sets, and don't have a threat of TPK.

Apocalypse World is the obvious one that springs to mind. When a PC takes a lethal amount of harm in AW they have a list of choices they can choose from to see what happens next. Dying is one of the choices, but not mandatory.

Templarkommando
2017-03-19, 01:48 PM
There are two things that I want to cover. First is sort of the motivation for cheating, but the second is the actual mechanics of cheating.

One of the things that you need to do to address the issue of treating is to deal with the cause. A lot of players cheat because the character that they have spent time building is precious to them in some way, and they're worried that you as the DM aren't going to handle the issue of their character's death meaningfully. You need to help your players understand that death in an RPG is simply part of the game as it is a part of life. The life of an adventurer is filled with danger, and if it weren't the game wouldn't be nearly as thrilling as it is. You as a DM should establish that you can be trusted by the players to handle death responsibly and meaningfully, and that when and if their character dies, that some other character (one that they roll) will stand forward to fill the gap left by their departed character.

Another thing to realize is that at higher levels, death is not an end, it is just an inconvenience - at least in games that have resurrection as an option.

Even at lower levels, death can be dealt with in a heroic way. The character doesn't die and wilt away - maybe they are taken by demons to a lower plane, and the party has to rescue them.

There are other issues to deal with. Some players just want all of their gaming experience to be totally optimal. To illustrate the problem with this, try narrating a hypothetical adventure where everything always goes right for the PCs. The fighter doesn't just climb the sheer cliff face, he zips right up the thing as if he were born to just walk up walls. The wizard doesn't just cast a damaging fireball, but he always obliterates every single enemy he ever faces in less than a round. This addition to the story element is basically bad writing. If you read a book where everything always went the protagonist's way, you'd have a very boring book - the same thing goes for games. Imagine a game of Tetris where the blocks just stacked themselves. You'd just be staring at a screen fill itself up. The thing that keeps us rolling dice is not merely the chance for success, it's the chance for failure. Look at the Skinner tests if you don't believe me.The bird pushes the button waaaaay more if food drops down the chute only some of the time.

As many have suggested, rolling in the open helps. Certainly rules about when you can touch the dice helps. Especially on dice that have multiple sides. However, that doesn't stop cheating in its entirety. It is always possible to alter the dice physically to help produce desired rolls - I know for certain that it's possible to always get desired rolls on a d6 even without altering the die or rolling where the result can't be seen. I'm less sure about other types of dice, but one option is to use your own dice to which players only have access during games. This isn't a magic bullet though, because the die can be altered some at the table. An option that occurs to me is to use random number generators. RNG actually doesn't "roll" quite the same as a regular dice does though, because dice already tend to roll a bit higher than average already just because of the way the dice are shaped. Those pips that are carved into the face on a d6 make it so the 1 wants to face down and the six wants to face up just because of the weights of the sides. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it does effect the roll outcomes. There are also systems that use cards to determine the roll outcome, and I've even seen a system that just uses fingers to randomly determine a roll, though I don't recall how that one works, and it may have been for a system that used d10s exclusively.

ImNotTrevor
2017-03-19, 01:51 PM
I'm curious about which games have 100% complete and functional rules sets, and don't have a threat of TPK.

What does a game with a 100% complete and functional ruleset look like?

I'm not sure that's been argued here, though KR did bring up some games can handle everything on their wheelhouse without needing to give the GM All Authority To Chuck The Rules Through The Window As He Sees Fit.

GPS
2017-03-19, 04:31 PM
Hello,
I realized that this topic is probably directed to the topic I made where I asked loaded dice and precision dice.

First of all, I would like to tell you that I do not endorse in any way cheating and I abhor it. It's been 8 months since I've played my first session of D&D, and never such a thought hit my mind. To this day, at least, where I started to realize that being inherently unlucky was actually so counter-productive to my own fun that it actually hit my personal enjoyment of the game.

Okay, so I asked for loaded dice. Why did I ask for them? I'm going to play with a DM that is really into roleplaying, every damn choice I do should be logical for the stats I've got. So what shapes my character is not my own thoughts of it, or what I could make, but the stats that I'm going to get.

So, roleplaying a character to the fullest, means that I practically pidgeon every idea on the rolls I'll be getting. This, for me, is not fun at all: you can say what you want, but knowing that I've got to act as a commoner or act as a brutish mindless warrior because my best roll is 14 and my worst is 8 or 9, means that you cut half of the fun I can be getting from D&D. There is a time where I will be going to play as a bounty hunter, one where I wish to play as a simpleton, one where I want to play a guy with great plans.

Knowing that DUE TO MY ROLLS, I die like 16 times in a session because I've got 51 hp with a level 7 barbarian is not going to make me feel good, because from the instant I'll be rolling I could even be going to metagame. I will act coherently, but I'll always feel like I'm not the frontline I would have loved to do.

Cheating? Why would I cheat if by going mage I could be TIER 1, god wizard with frankly no damn issue about the stats point, if I've got 1 18, and one 16..

But you have to realize that I can't be forced by the dice on what I should play. I wish to have choices. And currently, with the way the dice seems to be rolling, I'm always the worst barbarian, the worst goliath, the worst fighter, the worst ranger

Who cares if during the game I do 1 1 1 on the dice. I can accept it. But making the dice choose for what I'm going to play, instead of making me express my fantasy, is one thing I cannot agree with

I could cheat 1/3 rolls for the stats, so I know that I've got my chance if I wish to play something more complex, but I would never cheat during a session.

But if things go like that and the DM doesn't realize it, I could play mage all day along, never be claimed 'cheater', and be thousand times better than a barbarian with high stats.

regards

What you're basically saying, besides the worst DM story, is that you have to be constantly getting good dice rolls to have fun. Not really the game for that, try free form.

Winter_Wolf
2017-03-19, 04:44 PM
Cheating? Big stick method. Get yourself a baseball bat and knock those dice outta there! Dice, not player.

But seriously, a warning, then ridicule, then das boot to the butt. Or just institute die rolling protocall 180c*: "in the open, don't touch it, and if you don't roll openly and/or you touch it, the roll is an auto-fail."



*I made that up, it's not really a thing as far as I know.

EvilCookie
2017-03-19, 05:02 PM
There are, in fact, RPG rulesets that will work as written 100% of the time.

However. There's nothing wrong with changing rules when they don't work for what you're trying to do, there's nothing wrong with adding new rules when you want to do a thing that the game doesn't cover, and there's nothing wrong with changing a rule when it's flat out broken because you're playing a game that's badly designed. The problem comes when a GM is doing it unilaterally by fiat, or even worse when he's doing it stealthily and lying about it (like cheating on dice rolls). The rules are not the GM's job, the rules are the group's job and the group can, as a whole, decide to change things. But if the group is routinely deciding to change things it's at least worth considering the possibility that the group may be playing the wrong game.

From my experience players much prefer ending that epic fight at the end of a cursed castle with the words "All battered and bruised you see the enemy fall to their knees, unable to fight. The lootz and glory are but a step away as you look back on the hardships you overcame saving the day. Well done heroes!" without adding "But not you Jimmothy, the rules say you die, so screw you, roll a new character while the other players count their gold"

Koo Rehtorb
2017-03-19, 05:07 PM
From my experience players much prefer ending that epic fight at the end of a cursed castle with the words "All battered and bruised you see the enemy fall to their knees, unable to fight. The lootz and glory are but a step away as you look back on the hardships you overcame saving the day. Well done heroes!" without adding "But not you Jimmothy, the rules say you die, so screw you, roll a new character while the other players count their gold"

And my experience is the exact opposite. Victory that was handed to you instead of being earned is without value.

But again, if dying is a deal breaker for the group then just play a game where death isn't on the table. There's so many great games out there where PC death isn't a concern and the game is built around other things being at stake.

Sergio
2017-03-19, 05:25 PM
What you're basically saying, besides the worst DM story, is that you have to be constantly getting good dice rolls to have fun. Not really the game for that, try free form.

if you read well instead of being passive aggressive you would have noticed that I wouldn't care less for rolls if I was a mage, while I care way more about them if I'm a frontliner. It's about getting fun, if you think that I should just go cleric to do the warrior's job just tell me, I will never ever complain about stats, I will get way more enjoyment and all what I'm supposed to get

Donnadogsoth
2017-03-19, 05:39 PM
I told my players I don't care if they cheat.

My players took it upon themselves to self-police.

Everything worked out.

Anderlith
2017-03-19, 06:15 PM
So if you are so concerned about playing a competent character that you are willing to cheat... why not just go with point buy? If you can't make a competent character with point buy then "bad luck" is not the real issue. If you are wanting to do it to "balance" against bad luck then use a random number generator. You can download a billion of them to your phone or find them online.

icefractal
2017-03-19, 07:07 PM
So if you are so concerned about playing a competent character that you are willing to cheat... why not just go with point buy? If you can't make a competent character with point buy then "bad luck" is not the real issue. If you are wanting to do it to "balance" against bad luck then use a random number generator. You can download a billion of them to your phone or find them online.At a guess, because the GM in question doesn't allow point-buy. Now personally, I think not playing in a game with char-gen rules that you hate might be the better option, but OTOH there aren't always a lot of games to choose from.

Asha Leu
2017-03-19, 07:36 PM
As a DM, I don't like to fudge rolls except when absolutely necessary (and on Roll20 I literally can't due to rolling in the open), but I see it as a perfectly legitimate DM tool to use when:

A) You've screwed up the encounter maths and its way too powerful for the players, so you reduce the baddies' HP a bit and turn some hits into misses. An unexpectedly OP encounter may not a big deal at higher levels (PCs will be hardy enough to eventually realise they're outmatched and start fleeing/bargaining/changing tactics), but - depending on the system - can become a quick, no-time-to-even-consider-retreating TPK at low levels. I have nothing against player death and TPKs when they happen due to legitimately balanced encounters or player stupidity, but I'm not letting them happen due my own ****-ups.

B) The encounter is just dragging on way too long and you decide to lop some HP off the bad-guys to speed things up.

Yep, in both cases you could also have the enemies surrender or the cavalry arrive or the TPK'ed party wake up the next day in chains or whatever. But that's up to the judgement of the DM, and sometimes a little bit of fudging is the most efficient way to keep the game enjoyable, moving at a quick pace, and from ending prematurely.

If you don't like to fudge rolls yourself, then that's perfectly fair. Don't do it. But to suggest DMs are "cheating" when they do it is a big leap, IMO.

As for players doing so... Yeah, that's not on. Tell them to stop, make them roll in the open, and if they just keep on doing it, don't invite them back.

I rarely bother checking players' rolls myself - I play with adults, and assume they will act like it - but I would be pretty annoyed (and bemused) if I caught someone doing it. Seriously, what kind of sad person tries to cheat at a game like D&D anyway?

Jay R
2017-03-19, 08:10 PM
... without adding "But not you Jimmothy, the rules say you die, so screw you, roll a new character while the other players count their gold"

When I lose at Monopoly, nobody says, "Jay, the rules say you went bankrupt, so screw you." The rules didn't say that. The dice and the play of the game did.
When I lose at poker, nobody says, "Jay, the rules say you lost money, so screw you." The rules didn't say that. The cards did.
When I lose at baseball, nobody says, "Jay, the rules say you lost the game, so screw you." The rules didn't say that. The number of runs scored did.
When I lose at fencing, nobody says, "Jay, the rules say he hit you, so screw you." The rules didn't say that. He hit me before I could hit him.

That's called playing a game. If your players can't take sometimes losing a game, don't play a game with them.

But I don't recommend pretending to play a game when not really playing it.

Sariel Vailo
2017-03-19, 10:15 PM
well i just ask the cheater to re-roll the dice with disadvantage and maybe redo a skill check at penalties on each subsequent cheat attempt subtracting buffs

Anderlith
2017-03-19, 11:03 PM
At a guess, because the GM in question doesn't allow point-buy. Now personally, I think not playing in a game with char-gen rules that you hate might be the better option, but OTOH there aren't always a lot of games to choose from.

Still doesnt rule out Random Number Generators


Also, just throwing this out there,
In my group i have a houserule. If you roll three columns of lack luster stats, then you can choose for me (the DM) to roll one column but you have to take that one.

Quertus
2017-03-20, 06:29 AM
If you don't like to fudge rolls yourself, then that's perfectly fair. Don't do it. But to suggest DMs are "cheating" when they do it is a big leap, IMO.

Monopoly may be much more fun when the banker hands out arbitrary amounts of money to make it a "close" game, but neither the reason for the action not the effect of the action changes the characterization of the action as cheating.

Chess may be more fun when it is a closer game, but having someone sneak pieces onto or off of the board, or change the pieces' positions to facilitate such a close game is still cheating.

It's not a leap, or even a step, to say that fudging numbers and facts in a game is cheating.

Cluedrew
2017-03-20, 07:11 AM
Any you have pointed out an important point. Cheating isn't the actual issue, making the game less fun is. Personally I would rather come out and say "I'm overriding the game logic in an attempt to make it more fun" that have it be a discreet matter, but breaking and changing the rules is preferable to not having fun.

hifidelity2
2017-03-20, 07:27 AM
3 different issues

Loaded Dice

If I find a PC has been using loaded dice then I will take the dice from them (for the duration of that session) and use them against that PC ONLY. They will only be able to use some of my dice for some time onwards until they have regained my trust

Having said that most loaded dice you buy from normal game shops are quite blatant so would be easily spotted

Players Cheating

I insist that all players dice are rolled in the open. IF cocked / roll off the table, roll again. IF I notice someone “nudging their dice” to a better number I will have a quiet OCC chat esp for the 1st time. IF they keep doing it then I would probably ask them to leave (never had to so far in 30+ yrs of playing

DM “Cheating”

Personally I as a DM roll most die behind my screen but not all – its my choice as a DM. I do not think it is cheating if I fudge my dice rolls – my job as a DM is not to “win” (as I can do that anytime) but to provide an enjoyable game with the right level of risk, tension and rewards (and that can include PC kills if needed). As I play often quire lethal systems I am happy to fudge rolls where and when needed

Segev
2017-03-20, 08:26 AM
Regarding loaded dice being obvious, the least obvious ones I've seen are less "loaded" (in the unbalanced-to-bias sense) than they are "mislabeled." That is, they have 2 20s and no 1s on the d20, 2 6s and no 1s on the d6, etc.

It's harder to notice than you might think.

An even subtler approach would be to replace, say, the 2 on a d20 with a second 20. That way, the 1s still crop up from time to time so nobody ever notices "you never crit fail." People don't really make mental note of natural 2s, so it would take a very long time for anybody to notice their lack. It'd be more likely somebody would notice it when using it, themselves, and just peripherally examining the die.

Quertus
2017-03-20, 08:43 AM
Any you have pointed out an important point. Cheating isn't the actual issue, making the game less fun is. Personally I would rather come out and say "I'm overriding the game logic in an attempt to make it more fun" that have it be a discreet matter, but breaking and changing the rules is preferable to not having fun.


DM “Cheating”

Personally I as a DM roll most die behind my screen but not all – its my choice as a DM. I do not think it is cheating if I fudge my dice rolls – my job as a DM is not to “win” (as I can do that anytime) but to provide an enjoyable game with the right level of risk, tension and rewards (and that can include PC kills if needed). As I play often quire lethal systems I am happy to fudge rolls where and when needed

A player cheating can't ruin the game for me; a GM cheating can. Know your players. Fudging rolls, for me, can kill the fun of the game. What's the point in planning, building, role-playing... doing anything in a game where the GM is just going to arbitrarily determine the outcome anyway?

So, for me, "fudging for fun" is an oxymoron.


Regarding loaded dice being obvious, the least obvious ones I've seen are less "loaded" (in the unbalanced-to-bias sense) than they are "mislabeled." That is, they have 2 20s and no 1s on the d20, 2 6s and no 1s on the d6, etc.

It's harder to notice than you might think.

An even subtler approach would be to replace, say, the 2 on a d20 with a second 20. That way, the 1s still crop up from time to time so nobody ever notices "you never crit fail." People don't really make mental note of natural 2s, so it would take a very long time for anybody to notice their lack. It'd be more likely somebody would notice it when using it, themselves, and just peripherally examining the die.

I still have some dice in my dice box from a player whose d6's included such wonders as "all 5s" and "nothing below a 3". Really hard to spot in a clump of seemingly identical dice rolled for, say, fireball damage.

I also have a bunch of "10 for $1" dice, some of which have defects which almost look like extra pips. I know the difference, but some of my friends still jokingly accuse me of drilling extra holes in my dice, to get a 7 on a d6. :smalltongue:

Beelzebubba
2017-03-20, 09:30 AM
People found cheating get one talking-to. If it happens again they aren't invited back.

Keltest
2017-03-20, 10:29 AM
A player cheating can't ruin the game for me; a GM cheating can. Know your players. Fudging rolls, for me, can kill the fun of the game. What's the point in planning, building, role-playing... doing anything in a game where the GM is just going to arbitrarily determine the outcome anyway?

The GM determines the outcome of most events anyway, up to and including encounter strength. But as was mentioned earlier, sometimes GMs misjudge things, and frequently players jump off the rails, then come back and set those rails on fire, then jump off them again. Adapting encounter strength on the fly is a helpful and at times necessary tool of GMing. Wheres the fun in getting ambushed by kobolds only to lose the party wizard because four of them rolled crits with their opening volley?

Jay R
2017-03-20, 11:10 AM
It's not a leap, or even a step, to say that fudging numbers and facts in a game is cheating.

Not for the DM. In every version of D&D I've ever played, it is neither a leap nor a step. It is a false statement. The DM is doing what the rules say the DM can do.

It doesn't matter how much you wish the rules didn't say that; the rules still say it. You can say that you wish it wasn't in the rules. You can say that you wish everybody threw out that rule. You can say that you won't play with that rule. All those are statements of opinion, on which we can honestly and reasonably disagree.

But you cannot honestly and justly say that following the written rules is cheating. And in every version from original D&D through at least 3.5e. the rules state clearly that the DM can nullify any rule. [I haven't read any later version, so of course I will not make a statement about it.]

[I believe that far too many DMs overuse it. I believe that far too many DMs misuse it to save PCs' lives. I believe that it isn't there to save lives indiscriminately. But I cannot say that they are cheating. They aren't. They are following the rules.]

Geddy2112
2017-03-20, 11:22 AM
I don't believe in cheating on either side-it defeats the point of the game. I did not always hold this belief.
That said, when I was new, did I fudge some numbers(as both a player and a DM) absolutely-I "added" an extra modifier, or as a DM I simply FIAT'ed a roll. I briefly used a screen, but I quickly dropped it as I always roll in the open. Part of the game is a trust you won't cheat and everyone lets the dice fall as they do.

Playing where you always win and there is no chance to lose is boring. It is just like putting in cheat codes for a video game-fun for a little bit, but after a few minutes of running around instakilling everything and being untouchable, loses the fun.

As a DM, I don't need to fudge or fiat. If I want something to happen, I simply say so. If I want a monster/enemy to not get 1 hit killed, I can build it with one million hp. I can make it immune to critical hits, natural 1's, save or die/suck/lose, or whatever else I fancy. If I want to kill the party, I can snap my fingers and they die. However I dang well please. Like above, if there is no chance for my encounters to win/lose, then why play? The DM has all the cheat codes but I don't use them intentionally.

However, I am not infallible as a player or DM. I have forgotten modifiers(good and bad), immunity/resistance, status effects, and countless other things from both sides of the screen. I don't consider this cheating as it is an honest mistake everyone at my table has made. We all have jobs, lives, and we play a rules heavy system(pathfinder) and after a long day, sometimes you just forget this won't stack with that, to add DR to this, and the whatnot.

So, how do I handle cheating?
My table has a zero tolerance policy for it. Cheaters find their characters dying from bolts from the blue, then they either shape up or ship out. If a DM is openly abusing FIAT, we will collectively as a table up and leave. My group loves the fact that it is a game, and that success/failure is a real thing. If you don't, find another group.

Jay R
2017-03-20, 11:32 AM
Wheres the fun in getting ambushed by kobolds only to lose the party wizard because four of them rolled crits with their opening volley?

Where's the fun in losing a baseball game because the last three batters all hit home runs?

Where's the fun of losing at poker because your opponent successfully drew three cards to a straight flush?

Where's the fun of losing at backgammon because your opponent rolled double sixes twice in a row?

In short, throughout the history of games, this question has come up, and throughout the history of games, people have enjoyed games even when they sometimes lose them unexpectedly at the last minute.

This is not a question about D&D. It's a question about playing games at all.

icefractal
2017-03-20, 12:14 PM
Where's the fun in losing a baseball game because the last three batters all hit home runs?

Where's the fun of losing at poker because your opponent successfully drew three cards to a straight flush?

Where's the fun of losing at backgammon because your opponent rolled double sixes twice in a row?

In short, throughout the history of games, this question has come up, and throughout the history of games, people have enjoyed games even when they sometimes lose them unexpectedly at the last minute.

This is not a question about D&D. It's a question about playing games at all.I'm not sure this is a great metaphor. Most games don't have persistent state between sessions, nor does losing a game lock you out from playing for an extended period. And none of them have an ongoing narrative that the character is removed from.

I'm not saying there shouldn't be character death in D&D, but it's a much more impactful (sometimes very negatively so) event than losing a casual game of MtG, for example. It's not irrational to create buffers against that, although those buffers should be agreed on by the whole group, not unilaterally via cheating.

Darth Ultron
2017-03-20, 12:24 PM
Wheres the fun in getting ambushed by kobolds only to lose the party wizard because four of them rolled crits with their opening volley?

Part of the experience of most games is that you might loose. It's not ''fun'' to loose, but it is fun to win...and you can't win without the chance of loosing. If you take away any chance of failure or loss, then your not even playing a game anymore, but something else.

This is very common for lots of kids games, where they just ''do the game'' but either don't keep score or both teams get all the points(so the game is always a tie). Really it's only one more step for things like having each kid swing the bat, ''not'' get a home run, and then have them run around all the bases and count it as if it was a ''real'' home run.

And RPG's have gotten into this trend over the last couple year too. So much so that a lot of game just ignore the combat stuff, like hit points, and just ''have stuff happen'' and ''that character will always make it''.

Keltest
2017-03-20, 12:33 PM
Part of the experience of most games is that you might loose. It's not ''fun'' to loose, but it is fun to win...and you can't win without the chance of loosing. If you take away any chance of failure or loss, then your not even playing a game anymore, but something else.

This is very common for lots of kids games, where they just ''do the game'' but either don't keep score or both teams get all the points(so the game is always a tie). Really it's only one more step for things like having each kid swing the bat, ''not'' get a home run, and then have them run around all the bases and count it as if it was a ''real'' home run.

And RPG's have gotten into this trend over the last couple year too. So much so that a lot of game just ignore the combat stuff, like hit points, and just ''have stuff happen'' and ''that character will always make it''.

Except I'm not saying "players should be unable to die, period" nor have I ever said that. If a player dies, it should be the result of their own choices, not because a seemingly trivial encounter suddenly and inexplicably turned far more lethal than intended by the GM. We are not slaves to the dice.

Tanarii
2017-03-20, 12:35 PM
Not for the DM. In every version of D&D I've ever played, it is neither a leap nor a step. It is a false statement. The DM is doing what the rules say the DM can do.Insofar as I know, the only version of D&D that explicitly said that you might want to consider overriding the dice once you chose to use them was Gygax in AD&D 1e DMG. So ... got any quotes to back that up? Saying "Rule 0" or quoting a Rule 0 isn't anything like saying 'override the dice once you've decided to roll them and seen the result', so a quote effectively saying "Rule 0" isn't sufficient to cover your claim.

One thing that's interesting about the Gygax position on this was it was basically: If the player was stupid, let the dice fall as they may. If they did everything right, overrule them. (I'll see if I can dig up the quote.)

Edit: You have to read between the lines a little but this is the quote AD&D 1e DMG p110:
"Now and then a player will die through no fault of his own. He or she will have done everything correctly, taken every reasonable precaution, but still the freakish roll of the dice will kill the character. In the long run you should let such things pass as the players will kill more than one opponent with their own freakish rolls at some later time. Yet you do have the right to arbitrate the situation. You can rule that the player, instead of dying, is knocked unconscious, loses a limb, is blinded in one eye or invoke any reasonably severe penalty that still takes into account what the monster has done. It is very demoralizing to the players to lose a cared-for-player character when they have played well. When they have done something stupid or have not taken precautions, then let the dice fall where they may! Again, if you have available ample means of raising characters from the dead, even death is not too severe; remember, however, the constitution-based limit to resurrections. Yet one die roll that you should NEVER tamper with is the SYSTEM SHOCK ROLL to be raised from the dead. If a character fails that roll, which he or she should make him or herself, he or she is FOREVER DEAD. There MUST be some final death or immortality will take over and again the game will become boring because the player characters will have 9+ lives each!"

Segev
2017-03-20, 12:53 PM
While a DM is free to fudge die rolls, it is no more or less harmful to a game than when a player does it. Whether for good or bad reasons. It can improve some games. It can ruin others.

A DM can "cheat." Yes, Rule 0 says he's free to change the rules so he's technically not, but he isn't really playing the game when he changes the rules moment-by-moment.

The concept of "fair play" by a DM is that, once he's set the encounter up, he doesn't muck with the underlying rules, but just plays it out. NPCs and creatures now follow their mechanics.


That said, I have quite often had DMs who, after a party has had a string of atrocious rolls that have genuinely made an encounter no fun (even for him), have said "well, aren't you going to roll?" after yet another bad roll comes up. "I didn't see you roll any dice. Go on." I've ALSO seen them decide to do that with their own critters when their critters have gone from "climactic battle" to "comedic slapstick" because they can't hit a leprosy-ridden parapalegic commoner.

(What I've not seen anybody do is say "nope, you failed your save" even when they made it, though.)

It's really table-dependent.

Trebloc
2017-03-20, 02:29 PM
As a DM, I have decided that I do not want to cheat my players. So I roll very few dice behind the screen, generally only things like secret listen/spot rolls along with the occasional red herring. And my players are well aware of this, so when they see me roll 4 20's in a row, they cannot blame me for cheating. The same goes if I roll 4 1's in a row. And to be fair, I feel that this makes the games at my table more memorable.

A real quick example of that would come from a Shadowrun game we ran a while ago. The PCs were breaking into a building and running into security, 4 in total. All 4 security guys glitch their shots (basically critical fail), basically breaking their primary weapons right off the bat. Sure made the PCs feel awesome and it is talked about to this day. However, if there was any sense that I pulled "rule of cool zero", then I don't think it would have been nearly as awesome.

Jay R
2017-03-20, 02:50 PM
Insofar as I know, the only version of D&D that explicitly said that you might want to consider overriding the dice once you chose to use them was Gygax in AD&D 1e DMG. So ... got any quotes to back that up?

Dungeons and Dragons, The Underground and Wilderness Adventures, p. 36: "... everything herein is fantastic, and the best way is to decide how you would like it to be, and then make it that way."

AD&D 1e, DMG, p. 9: "The game is the thing, and certain rules can be distorted or disregarded altogether in favor of play."

AD&D 2E, DMG, p. 3: "At conventions, in letters, and over the phone, I'm often asked for the instant answer to a fine point of the game rules. More often than not, I come back with a question -- what do you feel is right? And the people asking the question discover that not only can they create an answer, but that their answer is as good as anyone else's. The rules are only guidelines."

D&D 3.5 DMG, p. 6: "Good players will always realize that you have ultimate authority over the game mechanics, even superseding something in a rulebook."

-------------------

You don't have to like that approach. Many people don't.
You don't have to play that way. Many people don't.

But it is in the rules.

Tanarii
2017-03-20, 02:51 PM
You don't have to like that approach. Many people don't.
You don't have to play that way. Many people don't.

But it is in the rules.
sorry, those are all Rule 0. So no good, they don't back up your claim.

Lord Torath
2017-03-20, 03:10 PM
Insofar as I know, the only version of D&D that explicitly said that you might want to consider overriding the dice once you chose to use them was Gygax in AD&D 1e DMG. So ... got any quotes to back that up? I'll bite:
The Encounter is Too difficult
The DM has accidentally pitted his player characters against a group of creatures too powerful for them, so much so that the player characters are doomed. To fix things, the DM can have the monsters flee in inexplicable panic; secretly lower their hitpoints, allow the player characters to hit or inflict more damage than they really should; have the monsters miss on attacks when they should have hit; have the creatures make grievous mistakes in strategy (like ignoring the thief moving in to strike from behind).Emphasis mine.
The bolded section pretty clearly instructs you to ignore the dice.

GungHo
2017-03-20, 03:22 PM
We play with mulligans at my table, so we'll let you cheat right in front of us. You don't need to cheat behind our backs. You wouldn't like to be found out as a behind our backs cheater. We'd ring the shame bell on you.

Tanarii
2017-03-20, 03:24 PM
I'll bite: Emphasis mine.
The bolded section pretty clearly instructs you to ignore the dice.
Good one. Now we're cooking with fire. I don't have the 3e DMG any more, but I'll take a look through the 5e one and see what's there.

I don't agree with it at all. I don't want to play in a game with any DM that would do it, because they'd lessen my fun in doing so. But I am interested in what editions of D&D say explicitly the DM should fudge dice when 'appropriate'.

Edit: Looks like I'm just wrong. 5e DMG page 235 in my favorite chapter 8 Running the Game:
What about you, the DM? Do you make your rolls in the open or hide them behind a DM screen? Consider the following:
If you roll dice where the players can see, they know you're playing impartially and not fudging rolls.
Rolling behind a screen keeps the players guessing about the strength of their opposition. When a monster hits all the time, is it of a much higher level than the characters, or are you rolling high numbers?
Rolling behind a screen lets you fudge the results if you want to. If two critical hits in a row would kill a character, you could change the second critical hit into a normal hit, or even a miss. Don't distort die rolls too often, though, and don't let on that you're doing it. Otherwise, your players might think they don't face any real risks-or worse, that you're playing favorites.
A roll behind a screen can help preserve mystery. For example, if a player thinks there might be someone invisible nearby and makes a Wisdom (Perception) check, consider rolling a die behind the screen even if no one is there, making the player think someone is, indeed, hiding. Try not to overuse this trick.
You might choose to make a roll for a player because you don't want the player to know how good the check total is. For example, if a player suspects a baroness might be charmed and wants to make a Wisdom (Insight) check, you could make the roll in secret for the player. If the player rolled and got a high number but didn't sense anything amiss, the player would be
confident that the baroness wasn't charmed. With a low roll, a negative answer wouldn't mean much. A hidden roll allows uncertainty.

Lord Torath
2017-03-20, 03:46 PM
I think it's generally "appropriate" when the DM has screwed up. He sicced a clay golem on a party with no (or only one) magical blunt weapon (I did this once. The magic "weapon" in this case was a Rules Cycolpedia Mystic whose fists count as magical). This was not intended to be a TPK. But even the best DMs are not perfect, and mistakes such as this will be made. Or maybe the DM has the party encounter ghouls in a shallow swamp. It's only 1-2 feet deep. And ghouls are pushovers. What could happen? As soon as the first PC fails a save vs Paralysis, the DM suddenly sees the horror he has unleashed.

So now what? Kill the whole party because because the DM made a mistake? Or fudge a few dice rolls to preserve the PCs from the consequences of the DM's error? I'm fully in favor of punishing the players for their own dumb decisions. But I won't punish them because I goofed up.

It's worth noting that this rule appears under the section "Fixing Things in Play". Just before that there's a section telling the DM to ignore the dice if the encounter reaction they generate makes no sense.

Mystral
2017-03-20, 04:15 PM
I don't cheat as a DM, though I might cut some corners if the story demands it.

When I catch a player cheating, I usually talk to them at a quiet time and explain to them that it's unneccessary and won't ad to his fun. No one is impressed by the ability to roll high, and I will assure him that even if he rolls badly, I won't penalize him for it or take his character away just because of some bad luck with the dice. I'd try to explain that the group comes together to have fun together, and there is no need to cheat to achieve that.

Should I get the feeling that he's cheating because he wants to dominate the game (instead of save his character or spare himself some embarassement), I might come down a bit harsher, but I would never ban a player for a bit of cheating. Only if the group as a whole was upset with him would I kick him out.

The people at the table are all adults, and there are no winners and losers in roleplay, so it's actually impossible to cheat. At least that's how I see it.

Tanarii
2017-03-20, 04:34 PM
I think it's generally "appropriate" when the DM has screwed up. He sicced a clay golem on a party with no (or only one) magical blunt weapon (I did this once. The magic "weapon" in this case was a Rules Cycolpedia Mystic whose fists count as magical). This was not intended to be a TPK. But even the best DMs are not perfect, and mistakes such as this will be made. Or maybe the DM has the party encounter ghouls in a shallow swamp. It's only 1-2 feet deep. And ghouls are pushovers. What could happen? As soon as the first PC fails a save vs Paralysis, the DM suddenly sees the horror he has unleashed.

So now what? Kill the whole party because because the DM made a mistake? Or fudge a few dice rolls to preserve the PCs from the consequences of the DM's error? I'm fully in favor of punishing the players for their own dumb decisions. But I won't punish them because I goofed up.As far as I am concerned, you ARE punishing me if you fudge the dice rolls in the scenarios you're describing. Unless you also made it an impossible to escape from / run away from situation, and ambushed me without any possible warning. But yes, I'd much rather you kill me and the entire party than fudge the dice rolls and try and hide it. Or just say "I goofed guys, I'm going to turn this into a skin of your teeth escape with 2 hps left each". Something. Anything rather than try to secretly turn a TPK into a victory that is hollow, or will be if I ever find out you fudged the dice.

Asha Leu
2017-03-20, 06:55 PM
D&D isn't chess or monopoly or baseball. It doesn't have the same win conditions, and the DM doesn't occupy the same role as the players. The DM isn't trying to "win" the game, he is running the game. A tinsy bit of fudging *when absolutely necessary* isn't about keeping the game close or coddling the players or helping a certain player unfairly win, its about discretely correcting DM screw-ups that could seriously derail the game or turn it into a boring slog without breaking the players' immersion in the process.


As far as I am concerned, you ARE punishing me if you fudge the dice rolls in the scenarios you're describing. Unless you also made it an impossible to escape from / run away from situation, and ambushed me without any possible warning. But yes, I'd much rather you kill me and the entire party than fudge the dice rolls and try and hide it. Or just say "I goofed guys, I'm going to turn this into a skin of your teeth escape with 2 hps left each". Something. Anything rather than try to secretly turn a TPK into a victory that is hollow, or will be if I ever find out you fudged the dice.

Personally, if I was playing in this game, I would be a lot more bothered by being told outright by the DM that they messed up and were changing things than a bit of secret fudging I will probably never even find out about.

I'm a big proponent of the idea that good DMing is like performing a magic trick. And when I'm a player, I hate being shown how the trick is done.

Dr_Dinosaur
2017-03-20, 07:03 PM
I'm a big proponent of the idea that good DMing is like performing a magic trick. And when I'm a player, I hate being shown how the trick is done.

Same here. I hate getting brought behind the curtain when playing unless absolutely necessary.

I don't think rebalancing an encounter on the fly is cheating, either.

Calthropstu
2017-03-21, 04:43 AM
Same here. I hate getting brought behind the curtain when playing unless absolutely necessary.

I don't think rebalancing an encounter on the fly is cheating, either.

To be fair though, there's also organized play where you get assigned gm's who may literally be out to get you. Had that happen more than once.

Hence why I no longer play pfs.

Das_Tabby
2017-03-21, 04:53 AM
I honestly wish my GM would cheat a bit more and roll his dice in secret... but i guess that's mostly because I have to roll a new character about every 3rd round thanks to my terrible luck :smallannoyed:

Darth Ultron
2017-03-21, 06:19 AM
I'm a big proponent of the idea that good DMing is like performing a magic trick. And when I'm a player, I hate being shown how the trick is done.

I agree. The good DM keeps most of what happens ''behind the screen'' and secret.

Tanarii
2017-03-21, 06:39 AM
D&D isn't chess or monopoly or baseball. It doesn't have the same win conditions, and the DM doesn't occupy the same role as the players. The DM isn't trying to "win" the game, he is running the game. Right. The DM isn't trying to win.

The players are.

And a DM that fudges the dice makes it impossible for them to win fair and square. No matter what the win conditions are. A DM that fudges is robbing his players of any chance at a clean 'victory', just as much as a player robs himself of one when he cheats. Worse in some ways, because he's doing a disservice to all his players, not even to himself.

Knaight
2017-03-21, 07:18 AM
Right. The DM isn't trying to win.

The players are.

And a DM that fudges the dice makes it impossible for them to win fair and square. No matter what the win conditions are. A DM that fudges is robbing his players of any chance at a clean 'victory', just as much as a player robs himself of one when he cheats. Worse in some ways, because he's doing a disservice to all his players, not even to himself.

This describes a fairly specific type of play that doesn't work as a generalization for all players or all games. If the game is specifically designed such that the GM presents challenges that the players are trying to beat, then fudging can rob players of a chance at a clean victory (although there are still some grey areas involving realizing that a design isn't working the way it's supposed to and changing it midway through; consider how videogames can still be won if they get patched). In other games this doesn't apply.

Cluedrew
2017-03-21, 07:25 AM
For me I'm not trying to win per-say. I mean I do want my character to live, but getting through encounters and defeating enemies is only a means to an end. You can't win a role-playing game, the whole combat/tactical mastery part is just a tack on I'm not interested in when sitting down to play a game about stories.

A good framework definitely helps, but if we come across a corner case it doesn't work with, cut across it, go right ahead. If it happens too often you might have issues with your system, but I have yet to find the perfect system that gets it right every time. I would rather it be done out in the open, but I am not so much into "GM as the magician".

I play the other game Knaight mentioned.

Tanarii
2017-03-21, 07:41 AM
This describes a fairly specific type of play that doesn't work as a generalization for all players or all games.If there are no possible victory conditions for anyone involved, then it's not a game.

Knaight
2017-03-21, 07:56 AM
If there are no possible victory conditions for anyone involved, then it's not a game.

Which is an argument for using a term other than RPG due to the games being mislabeled by the term "game", but not an argument that they don't exist. On the other hand, any definition of a game which requires victory conditions cuts out a whole bunch of things that are demonstrably games. Tetris can't be won, and it is just one of a large number of arcade games where the engagement isn't whether you win (you can't), but what score you rack up before losing. The direct analog here would be a game where eventually the players will lose, but there's the question of how many non-victory goals they're able to accomplish in the meantime; the broader point is that there's a broader definition of game. Again though, that doesn't matter - the games in question exist, mislabeled or not.

Tanarii
2017-03-21, 07:59 AM
Which is an argument for using a term other than RPG due to the games being mislabeled by the term "game", but not an argument that they don't exist.For sure. Lots of people claim to be playing an RPG when they're playing a version of sitting around a table telling stories.


On the other hand, any definition of a game which requires victory conditions cuts out a whole bunch of things that are demonstrably games. Tetris can't be won, and it is just one of a large number of arcade games where the engagement isn't whether you win (you can't), but what score you rack up before losing.A high score is a victory condition.


The direct analog here would be a game where eventually the players will lose, but there's the question of how many non-victory goals they're able to accomplish in the meantime;Those intermediate goals are victory conditions.


the broader point is that there's a broader definition of game. Again though, that doesn't matter - the games in question exist, mislabeled or not.There is no broader definition of something that's actually a game. There is this thing people do a lot to spend enjoyable time with each other, and have fun, but there are no actual rulesets for anything recognizable as a 'game' that doesn't have some kind of victory condition.

Knaight
2017-03-21, 08:07 AM
For sure. Lots of people claim to be playing an RPG when they're playing a version of sitting around a table telling stories.
While also using the mechanics of an RPG, often fairly extensively. There's an argument to be made that the term "playing an RPG" is used to describe what are effectively several discrete hobbies which have some pretty weird points of overlap (the systems more than the actual hobbies), but the idea that only your version is actually playing an RPG and all those other ones where people sit around a table rolling dice and having their characters do things aren't is ludicrous.


A high score is a victory condition.

Those intermediate goals are victory conditions.
If you use a really broad definition for victory condition, then sure. I'd contest this definition, but again that's beside the point. Once a definition this broad is in effect, there's plenty of room to have a game which includes fudging and still has victory conditions, particularly if all the fudging does is prevent certain loss conditions that aren't necessarily pertinent to the victory conditions in question.


There is no broader definition of something that's actually a game. There is this thing people do a lot to spend enjoyable time with each other, and have fun, but there are no actual rulesets for anything recognizable as a 'game' that doesn't have some kind of victory condition.
If you broaden the definition of "victory condition" enough, then you can encapsulate every game. It's pretty much just an indirect way to have a broader definition of the term game though, which makes this whole line of argument pretty unconvincing.

Cluedrew
2017-03-21, 08:22 AM
If there are no possible victory conditions for anyone involved, then it's not a game.Having fun is the victory condition.

ZamielVanWeber
2017-03-21, 08:32 AM
A thought and an anecdote:
I fudged dice but never felt great about it, keeping it strictly to cover up my mistakes (which, thankfully, became rarer as I got better at running games). That is why I love M&M: there are straight up rules for me cheating and they provide the players with a tangible reward for me doing so. Super nice.

Anecdote: I have a friend who runs a game using the Marvel Saga that uses a deck of cards (whose name I can never remember) and recently his wife lost her character sheet and, upon rebuilding it, simply handed herself a years worth of advancements and claimed that was the number she remembered. I told him privately that she cheated and, as far as I know, he never called her on it. I am removing myself from that game for the time being (for this and other reasons).

DM fudging stuff I can handle; as far as I am concerned it is the prerogative of the game runner to make sure we are adequately challenged and entertained and sometimes that requires tiny on the fly adjustments. On the flip side I hate when players do it; it is disrespectful to your fellow players.

Lord Torath
2017-03-21, 08:45 AM
@Tanarii
No one is trying to force you to play "our" way. We're just trying to get you to see that there are other ways, perfectly legitimate ways even in the eyes of the creators of the games, to play. I can't think of a* RPG ruleset I've come across that doesn't say, somewhere, that the rules are flexible, and you can change them as you see fit. I've also never seen a ruleset without an ultimate victory condition that can be paraphrased as "have a fun and entertaining couple of hours".

Your definition of a fun couple of hours is different than mine. Nothing wrong with that. But if you start trying to say that I'm not playing a real game, I'm going to refer you to the No True Scotsman fallacy. If you start trying to say that your way is the superior way to play, I'm going to have to refer you to Chief Circle (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?275152-What-am-I-supposed-to-do)/Authyr Sue (http://irolledazero.blogspot.com/p/properly-ordered-posts.html). The best way to play is the way that your group prefers. And it's different for every group.

* Attention English Grammar Fiends: If an acronym starts with a vowel sound, but the first word in the acronym starts with a consonant, such as SOF/Special Other Forces, do you precede it with "a" or "an"?

Pugwampy
2017-03-21, 09:03 AM
I agree. The good DM keeps most of what happens ''behind the screen'' and secret.

A DM who hides rolls behind his "screen" has no right to complain about players cheating . Mistrust kills a game faster than rolling badly. A DM has a universe of options to fall back on even if he rolled a 1 .

All dice rolls should be open for everyone to see . You want an honest game ? Lead by example .

Knaight
2017-03-21, 09:06 AM
@Tanarii
No one is trying to force you to play "our" way. We're just trying to get you to see that there are other ways, perfectly legitimate ways even in the eyes of the creators of the games, to play. I can't think of a* RPG ruleset I've come across that doesn't say, somewhere, that the rules are flexible, and you can change them as you see fit. I've also never seen a ruleset without an ultimate victory condition that can be paraphrased as "have a fun and entertaining couple of hours".

Heck, some of us wouldn't even fit in that "our" - I don't personally fudge dice, I roll in the open, and my position on this is less one of defending my preferred style and more one of opposing a set of arguments that I strongly disagree with.

Keltest
2017-03-21, 09:10 AM
A DM who hides rolls behind his "screen" has no right to complain about players cheating . Mistrust kills a game faster than rolling badly. A DM has a universe of options to fall back on even if he rolled a 1 .

All dice rolls should be open for everyone to see . You want an honest game ? Lead by example .

There are plenty of reasons to not let the players see your dice. For example. (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0003.html) It helps prevent metagaming (even inadvertent metagaming) and gives the DM more tools to create an encounter or atmosphere if dice are being rolled and the players don't know what they translate to.

Zanos
2017-03-21, 09:20 AM
There is no broader definition of something that's actually a game. There is this thing people do a lot to spend enjoyable time with each other, and have fun, but there are no actual rulesets for anything recognizable as a 'game' that doesn't have some kind of victory condition.
Use creates meaning, not the other way around. If everyone in the world starts using "potato" to mean "table", guess what potato means now? Propping up an overly technical definition of the term "game" that's only used in very specific academic circles and absolutely not the common meaning of the word and then acting smug because other people aren't even playing a role playing "game" is absolutely ridiculous.

As for how I actually handle cheating, I'll echo the Kelb school of thought. Swift, savage beatings. Obviously there's a difference between "I thought it worked like X" and "I knew it didn't work like X but did it anyway." People who are doing the later don't make it for long.

Pugwampy
2017-03-21, 09:21 AM
There are plenty of reasons to not let the players see your dice.


There is an equal amount of reasons why you should .

Tanarii
2017-03-21, 09:44 AM
@Tanarii
No one is trying to force you to play "our" way. We're just trying to get you to see that there are other ways, perfectly legitimate ways even in the eyes of the creators of the games, to play. I can't think of a* RPG ruleset I've come across that doesn't say, somewhere, that the rules are flexible, and you can change them as you see fit. I've also never seen a ruleset without an ultimate victory condition that can be paraphrased as "have a fun and entertaining couple of hours".You clearly have misunderstood my point if you think I'm talking about rules needing to be inflexible, or for that matter "ultimate victory conditions".

Games requires striving to be a game. They are made up of a series of victory conditions. If there is no goal, no purpose at all, no victory conditions for the Players (not PCs), then there is no game. Some people like to claim that the purpose of an RPG isn't to win, but what they really mean is "there isn't an ultimate victory condition that ends the game forever". That is not the same thing as "there are no victory conditions".

Some people play RPGs as cooperative freelance storytelling instead. Even that is a kind of a victory condition ... you're attempting to write the story of your game. And I will admit, in that case, someone fudging a die roll doesn't matter as much, as the story is still being told regardless, it just includes 'and the DM changed the outcome to ...'. So yeah, fudging dice robbing the players of a fair win only matters if the specific victory conditions require fairness.

2D8HP
2017-03-21, 10:31 AM
I've actually cheated on what rules I was actually using:
.Sometime in the early to mid 1980's my players really wanted to try other games with different settings, chiefly Call of Cthullu (horror), Champions (comic book superheroes), and Top Secret (espionage), since I just didn't care as much about those games (I don't think I ever read all the rules of Top Secret), and I really "phoned it in".
One day after I'd GM'd a little Call of Cthullu, but no Champions or Top Secret yet, my players craved yet another RPG table top adventure game. I studied the Champions rules and just got bogged down learning them, and I barely had time to glance at Top Secret.

So what did I do?

I ran a "Top Secret" campaign using about 10% of the Top Secret rules, 70% of the Call of Cthullu rules (my thinking was that the 1920's was close enough to the 1980's, and CoC proved very easy to adapt), and 20% were rules I made up on the spot to hold it together. I described scenes I remembered from movies, and I made up most everything on the spot with little to no prep work on my part (I did have years of experience DM'ing already though).
It worked great! My players loved it :smile: (they loved it too much, I really just wanted to be a D&D player again, the closest I ever got to that in the next couple of decades was a little Rolemaster, some Runequest, and Shadowrun,. I barely got to play any D&D again until last year).:frown:
I don't know if I can improvise now like I could then, but after that experience I decided that setting is much more important than rules anyway.
.



Big thanks to Jay R for highlighting these
(especially from 2e which I've hardly read, and 3.5 which I don't own)

.Dungeons and Dragons, The Underground and Wilderness Adventures, p. 36: "... everything herein is fantastic, and the best way is to decide how you would like it to be, and then make it that way."

AD&D 1e, DMG, p. 9: "The game is the thing, and certain rules can be distorted or disregarded altogether in favor of play."

AD&D 2E, DMG, p. 3: "At conventions, in letters, and over the phone, I'm often asked for the instant answer to a fine point of the game rules. More often than not, I come back with a question -- what do you feel is right? And the people asking the question discover that not only can they create an answer, but that their answer is as good as anyone else's. The rules are only guidelines."

D&D 3.5 DMG, p. 6: "Good players will always realize that you have ultimate authority over the game mechanics, even superseding something in a rulebook."

-------------------

You don't have to like that approach. Many people don't.
You don't have to play that way. Many people don't.

But it is in the rules.
.


I'm totally going to steal cite as research them.

You may also add:


.D&D 5e DMG, p. 263:: "As the Dungeon Master, You aren't limited by the rules in the Player's Handbook, the guidelines in this book, or the selection of monsters in the Monster Manual

.

Calthropstu
2017-03-21, 10:54 AM
Having fun is the victory condition.

This. All this. If you can look back at your session and smile, you win.

Koo Rehtorb
2017-03-21, 12:17 PM
No. Fun isn't a victory condition. Fun is a byproduct.

If you're planning tennis the victory condition is winning the tennis match. Having fun playing tennis is an enjoyable side benefit.

Keltest
2017-03-21, 12:35 PM
No. Fun isn't a victory condition. Fun is a byproduct.

If you're planning tennis the victory condition is winning the tennis match. Having fun playing tennis is an enjoyable side benefit.

Tennis is not D&D. The analogy doesn't really work because tennis has defined limits on game length and how much you can achieve. D&D... doesn't, for the most part. The only limit for how long you keep going in the same campaign with the same group is how long your group can stand to do it and get together.

Koo Rehtorb
2017-03-21, 01:00 PM
Tennis is not D&D. The analogy doesn't really work because tennis has defined limits on game length and how much you can achieve. D&D... doesn't, for the most part. The only limit for how long you keep going in the same campaign with the same group is how long your group can stand to do it and get together.

The difference is the victory conditions are self-defined and mutable.

A victory condition in D&D might be "Defeat the Dark Lord Sitharax, Slayer of a Thousand Angels". Defeating Dark Lord Sitharax after you decided that he needed defeating is you winning. That might be the end of the game, or you might just set a new victory condition.

ImNotTrevor
2017-03-21, 01:19 PM
I disagree that games require victory conditions to be games.

Games require the following:
1. To be a form of play.
2. To have rules.
3. To have outcomes decided by skill, strength, or luck.

Tag has no victory conditions. (No, ceasing to be It does not mean you win. It means you aren't It anymore and the game carries on with a new one.) It meets all of the above, though.

Victory, definitionally, is overcoming an opponent in combat or competition. If there is no competitive element in a game, it cannot have a Victory Condition. Fall of Magic, for instance, has no Victory Condition because there is no competition. (So it literally CAN'T have one) It's still an RPG.

The issue with the Victory Condition Is Required To Be A Game argument is that it goes nowhere. Because either:
1. Many games that are decidedly games must cease to be such under this new requirement
Or
2. Expand the definition of a Victory Condition to the point where the things you're trying to exclude end up not being excluded anymore.

It's not a good pathway of argument.

Quertus
2017-03-21, 02:24 PM
Right. The DM isn't trying to win.

The players are.

And a DM that fudges the dice makes it impossible for them to win fair and square. No matter what the win conditions are. A DM that fudges is robbing his players of any chance at a clean 'victory', just as much as a player robs himself of one when he cheats. Worse in some ways, because he's doing a disservice to all his players, not even to himself.


This describes a fairly specific type of play that doesn't work as a generalization for all players or all games. If the game is specifically designed such that the GM presents challenges that the players are trying to beat, then fudging can rob players of a chance at a clean victory (although there are still some grey areas involving realizing that a design isn't working the way it's supposed to and changing it midway through; consider how videogames can still be won if they get patched). In other games this doesn't apply.


For me I'm not trying to win per-say. I mean I do want my character to live, but getting through encounters and defeating enemies is only a means to an end. You can't win a role-playing game, the whole combat/tactical mastery part is just a tack on I'm not interested in when sitting down to play a game about stories.

A good framework definitely helps, but if we come across a corner case it doesn't work with, cut across it, go right ahead. If it happens too often you might have issues with your system, but I have yet to find the perfect system that gets it right every time. I would rather it be done out in the open, but I am not so much into "GM as the magician".

I play the other game Knaight mentioned.

I mean, I spent a whole season on in-character conversations, just chatting around the campfire, but, honestly, don't most sessions in most RPGs involve characters pursuing goals, with win and loss conditions? I'm really not sure what an RPG would look like if you removed the notion of conflict. So I'm confused what your games without win conditions look like.

Of course, for me, making the correct in-character choice, that results in my character failing at their goals, is a win...


Having fun is the victory condition.

When halfway through the first season, I've already figured out how the campaign will end, up to how many and which people will be unconscious (but not dead, heavens forbid) after the final fight with the BBEG, remind me again what the point - what the fun - is in spending the time to actually play out the campaign.


A DM who hides rolls behind his "screen" has no right to complain about players cheating . Mistrust kills a game faster than rolling badly. A DM has a universe of options to fall back on even if he rolled a 1 .

All dice rolls should be open for everyone to see . You want an honest game ? Lead by example .


There are plenty of reasons to not let the players see your dice. For example. (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0003.html) It helps prevent metagaming (even inadvertent metagaming) and gives the DM more tools to create an encounter or atmosphere if dice are being rolled and the players don't know what they translate to.

There's good reasons for both. I use both.

Knaight
2017-03-21, 02:55 PM
No. Fun isn't a victory condition. Fun is a byproduct.

If you're planning tennis the victory condition is winning the tennis match. Having fun playing tennis is an enjoyable side benefit.
I'd agree with this, but if Tanarii wants to use a definition of victory condition so broad that it includes having a score when you lose (my tetris example), it includes having fun. I wouldn't use that, having a somewhat more restricted definition of victory condition, but I also wouldn't require a victory condition for a game (again, tetris).


I mean, I spent a whole season on in-character conversations, just chatting around the campfire, but, honestly, don't most sessions in most RPGs involve characters pursuing goals, with win and loss conditions? I'm really not sure what an RPG would look like if you removed the notion of conflict. So I'm confused what your games without win conditions look like.
Nobody is talking about removing the notion of conflict. Even the RPGs that toss such fundamental concepts as player characters are generally still conflict focused (often moreso in my experience, judging by the bloodbath that is the history that comes out of most Microscope games). A lot of this comes down to a definitional mess around "victory condition", but the major takeaway is that not every game can be won, there's stuff that doesn't fit neatly into pursuing goals (e.g. deciding which permanent losses happen), and that fudging doesn't necessarily cheat players out of victory conditions even if present if the fudging doesn't relate to those particular victory conditions but instead to other interactions. To use a fairly extreme example, a rules set that prevents PC death doesn't mean they get what they want, it just prevents one particular type of loss.

Theoboldi
2017-03-21, 02:57 PM
When halfway through the first season, I've already figured out how the campaign will end, up to how many and which people will be unconscious (but not dead, heavens forbid) after the final fight with the BBEG, remind me again what the point - what the fun - is in spending the time to actually play out the campaign.


Well, the journey. How you get there. And what happens along the way. I've played systems where death and permanent injury are actually impossible. And I've had a blast with them. Because all the interactions, all the cool moments and ideas that we came up with still happened.

Heck, I never was at any point certain that the players would even be victorious or gain exactly the kind of victory they wanted, because that still came down to their choices. Sure, they managed to complete the mission. But they lost love, gained love, met new friends, broke a leg and became heroes along the way.



That said, I never fudge dice rolls, cause I do like having a bit of a random element in my RPGs. And honestly, if my GM did so, I'd want him to be honest and open about it. If he did it without my consent, I would feel patronized and lied to. Seriously, I'm an adult. Why are you keeping this from me? Do you think I'll throw a tantrum? Heck, go ahead and kill me! Dying doesn't need to be the end of a character's story, especially in a fantasy setting! It can become a plot hook in and of itself! Just don't try and keep what you're doing from me.

Tanarii
2017-03-21, 03:12 PM
Nobody is talking about removing the notion of conflict.Just so you know, that's exactly what I hear when people say something like "you can't win at [RPG game]". Or try to say that they don't have victory conditions. That these people either play without conflict to be overcome, or they don't recognize that is what is actually happening in their games.

Cluedrew
2017-03-21, 03:40 PM
No. Fun isn't a victory condition. Fun is a byproduct.Well I am being a little silly, but I still have a serious point. Which is that really the idea of victory is really to direct people, it is something to work towards it (resulting in fun) but the whole reason we choose it is that we want work towards that goal is because it creates fun. In other words the in rules victory condition is just a means to an end.


Games require the following:
1. To be a form of play.
2. To have rules.
3. To have outcomes decided by skill, strength, or luck.That sounds pretty good. If I may take a crack at honing it down I would say games are "interactive medium that places constraints on that interaction towards a particular goal, often entertainment". Which tacks on that we do it for a reason, but otherwise is just a rephrasing of 1 & 2. 3 might be implied or merely "highly recommended", not sure. Medium is also funny as they obviously exist over many different mediums, but what else to say? Construct?

Why am I doing this?


When halfway through the first season, I've already figured out how the campaign will end, up to how many and which people will be unconscious (but not dead, heavens forbid) after the final fight with the BBEG, remind me again what the point - what the fun - is in spending the time to actually play out the campaign.I think you might lose.

I mean I don't think any reframing of victory and fun and their relation is going to suddenly make the game fun.

Quertus
2017-03-21, 04:53 PM
Well, the journey. How you get there. And what happens along the way. I've played systems where death and permanent injury are actually impossible. And I've had a blast with them. Because all the interactions, all the cool moments and ideas that we came up with still happened.

Heck, I never was at any point certain that the players would even be victorious or gain exactly the kind of victory they wanted, because that still came down to their choices. Sure, they managed to complete the mission. But they lost love, gained love, met new friends, broke a leg and became heroes along the way.

Hmmm... Let me try again. I've played with several GMs who would make sure that the game worked out to what they considered to be The Best Story. With some if them, I understood what they considered to make "The Best Story" well enough that, halfway through the first session, looking at the characters and their interactions, I could actually predict exactly how the story would end, down to which characters would still be conscious at the end of the "climactic" showdown with the BBEG. Because that's what would make for "The Best Story", in their opinion.

There is no interesting "How you get there", IMO, when, with the framing of every scene, you can predict how the scene will turn out, if you didn't predict the inevitability of that particular scene to begin with. I don't even waste my time on such predictable stories when delivered through much more efficient media, why would I want to experience a whole campaign like this?

Now, to be fair, with the particular GMs I have in mind, there were mutable outcomes and immutable outcomes. Anything that didn't impact how good The Story was was technically fair game, afaict. If I find out they changed the character names in the retelling, I'll rescend that.


I think you might lose.

I mean I don't think any reframing of victory and fun and their relation is going to suddenly make the game fun.

If I understand you correctly, then I suspect you understand how any game where the GM fudges the rolls feels, to me.

2D8HP
2017-03-21, 04:57 PM
What is the purpose of rolling dice in the first place?

I feel it's largely to provide a sense of suspense and a feeling of fate independent of the wills of both DM's and players.

If you don't want a result left to chance, don't roll in the first place.

I can sort of imagine a GM using "loaded dice", so that the adventure proceeds in a certain direction, but players still have the feeling of suspense, but a player using loaded dice?

Maybe they identify with their PC too much?

Just seems weird.

Aetis
2017-03-21, 05:04 PM
First post best post.

Play with better people.

Also, I don't actually care if my DM "cheats" on his dice or even use dice at all and just calls out whatever numbers he feels like.

ImNotTrevor
2017-03-21, 06:23 PM
That sounds pretty good. If I may take a crack at honing it down I would say games are "interactive medium that places constraints on that interaction towards a particular goal, often entertainment". Which tacks on that we do it for a reason, but otherwise is just a rephrasing of 1 & 2. 3 might be implied or merely "highly recommended", not sure. Medium is also funny as they obviously exist over many different mediums, but what else to say? Construct?


My definition is taken from a dictionary but just broken down into simple qualifications. Your attempt at honing it down actually adds additional restrictions, namely forcing games to be a medium.

Play is a unique variety of human interaction and activity all on its own, and it brings with itself the notion of having a purpose. (The same purpose all forms of Play have, which is actually really complicated and we're still creating words to use so we can even talk about it.

Zilong
2017-03-21, 07:16 PM
The takeaway I'm getting from the DM discussion is that most rpgs have provisions for leeway. DM fudging looks to be a preference that can either be safely ignored or incorporated as per the rules. Neither stance should be considered "badwrongfun" or "no-real-rpg".

I know in the games I DM my players are mostly narrative focused so the mechanics and fudging of said mechanics are essentially all up to me and what I consider to be good for the party/narrative. I also happen to DM almost exclusively for real life friends so pretty much everyone is on the same page anyway, which is nice.

As for players, thankfully no group I've been with this far has had cheaters, at least not not noticeable or to the extent where it's a problem. I imagine if it ever comes up I'd just speak to the player in question if I were the DM or let the sitting DM deal with it however he/she wishes.

Koo Rehtorb
2017-03-21, 07:28 PM
If you have to fudge dice to have an enjoyable experience, you are playing the wrong game. This is like, a self-evident fact. Because the mechanics of the game are not giving you the experience that you want.

I don't like playing Monopoly. I think it's dull. The solution isn't to amuse myself by seeing how often I can get away with fudging dice results or sneaking money out of the bank. It's to play a different board game that I enjoy more.

Zilong
2017-03-21, 07:49 PM
If you have to fudge dice to have an enjoyable experience, you are playing the wrong game. This is like, a self-evident fact. Because the mechanics of the game are not giving you the experience that you want.

I don't like playing Monopoly. I think it's dull. The solution isn't to amuse myself by seeing how often I can get away with fudging dice results or sneaking money out of the bank. It's to play a different board game that I enjoy more.

Yes, your opinion is noted, and just as soon discarded for pretty much every rpg player/DM in my local area. Just remember, that there are very few "facts" in relation to rpg games. In any case, this thread seems to be going around in circles at this point so I guess now would be a good time to bow out of reading and posting in it.

Keltest
2017-03-21, 08:04 PM
If you have to fudge dice to have an enjoyable experience, you are playing the wrong game. This is like, a self-evident fact. Because the mechanics of the game are not giving you the experience that you want.

I don't like playing Monopoly. I think it's dull. The solution isn't to amuse myself by seeing how often I can get away with fudging dice results or sneaking money out of the bank. It's to play a different board game that I enjoy more.

I don't know where you live, but it must be a great place where you can, at the drop of a hat, pick any random game you feel like playing and get a crowd of people that you enjoy associating with who also know and enjoy the game you picked together.

I, however, do not live there, so when somebody pulls out the monopoly board and everyone wants to play, my options are either play the game and try and scavenge what fun I can from it, generally enjoying it for the social experience if not the actual game, or sit it out in a huff and not have any fun at all.

For that matter, D&D specifically has a provision that says the rules should be changed for optimal gaming experience. If you don't like the way I change them, I cant force you to play with them, but do not tell me I am playing the game wrong.

Quertus
2017-03-21, 08:13 PM
Neither stance should be considered "badwrongfun" or "no-real-rpg".

Hopefully, I've successfully gotten across the idea that different people find different things fun, while explaining what I do and don't find fun. Know your group. Know what styles they prefer, and what styles don't. Players cheating is fine with me, the GM cheating is not.

Oh, and while I've tried to explain why I personally lose fun in games where the GMs fudge results to match their personal preferences, I'm not sure I understand the mindset that says "yes" to GM fudging, but "no" to player fudging. I can understand everyone cheats, or no-one cheats, or, obviously, my preference, of only players can cheat. But I don't understand why anyone would every want to let the GM cheat, but none else. Yet apparently it's a popular stance.

How could it possibly be a good idea to make the PCs the only things in the world that follow the rules? How could relying only on the most overtaxed person in the game to read everyone's mind and produce results they find fun possibly be a good decision? Why would people want this?

AvatarVecna
2017-03-21, 08:15 PM
A while back, my brother, my dad, and I were all signed up to play in some games at GenCon, some together, some not. All three of us ended up playing in several games together over the course of the convention, but I bring this up because of two games in particular: the first, a low-paragon tier 4e game with us rescuing a princess from a dragon's lair, and the second, a mid-level Star Wars Saga game where we played Rogue Squadron having a dogfight over a key asteroid mining facility.

The first game was going okay (four PCs, decent builds and tactics, a big dragon that should be a "fight this dude then rest for the day" encounter, you get the idea). It was more or less a two hour combat with some fluff at the beginning to justify the fight. Anyway, with some 45 minutes or so to go, the dragon's been rolling a bit high on the damage, but misses fairly often. Unfortunately for us, it takes advantage of some mid-combat healing and buffing to catch three PCs with it's breath weapon, and rolls near-max damage. Due to how the fight's been going so far, all three were fairly low on HP, and all three flubbed their saves. One (the fighter) was still standing, but the warlord and the wizard were down for the count. The DM looked flustered at two PCs going down, but said something to the effect of "I guess that's just the way things go sometimes". We all shrugged, and my dad and I watched on as my brother did everything in his power to try and win that fight with some good old rage. The fighter and barbarian died too...TPK. That was that.

The second game was going well; we had the enemy on the run for the post part, and had spent the better part of an hour blowing up TIE Fighters in our quest to take over the facility. Once the battle in the "sky" was done, we would go down the base and take control. And then the enemy launched a barrage of missiles, as they had at several points in the game. They were low-accuracy high-damage, even against our rather crappy vehicle Reflex Defense, so they'd mostly been scoring only a couple hits per volley, which was more than tankable. This time, though, some of the missiles got crits, and most every one of them hit. A quick check by all three of us, and we informed the DM that our X-Wings were all blown to smithereens, with our pilots either dead or dying in the open space that surrounded the asteroid field (and thus likely to die in seconds). He got this slack-jawed shocked look on his face before scrambling with his rulebooks and stuff. About a minute of frustrated looks from him to his books later, he told us that the rest of Rogue Squadron had managed to clear up everything in the combat (pretty believable, there weren't many enemy pilots left alive), and that they'd managed to help our pilots to safety inside the facility's hanger (FAAAAAAAAR less believable), and that they'd easily taken over the base even without our help (believable, they were all badasses like us). We had a little RP of our characters waking up in medbay and hearing the good news, roll credits, everybody lived.

Which game do you think was more fun?

Tanarii
2017-03-21, 08:24 PM
Which game do you think was more fun?
That's something only you and the other people participating can answer properly. Because only you know what you find fun.

AvatarVecna
2017-03-21, 08:31 PM
That's something only you and the other people participating can answer properly. Because only you know what you find fun.

I was more asking which game other people thought sounded more fun, but I guess "which game do you think we enjoyed?" is a fair interpretation as well. Of course, if that's your interpretation of the question...well, context clues are your friend. :smallwink:

Koo Rehtorb
2017-03-21, 08:37 PM
Yes, your opinion is noted, and just as soon discarded for pretty much every rpg player/DM in my local area. Just remember, that there are very few "facts" in relation to rpg games. In any case, this thread seems to be going around in circles at this point so I guess now would be a good time to bow out of reading and posting in it.

I guess I just inherently reject the inherent premise here that all opinions are equally valid.

If I find a group of people playing soccer with a rock I am going to say that they would probably be having more fun if they were using a ball instead. That doesn't mean I would impose my will upon them and force them to play soccer with a ball from now on, even if I could. I might offer it as a friendly suggestion, though.


I don't know where you live, but it must be a great place where you can, at the drop of a hat, pick any random game you feel like playing and get a crowd of people that you enjoy associating with who also know and enjoy the game you picked together.

I, however, do not live there, so when somebody pulls out the monopoly board and everyone wants to play, my options are either play the game and try and scavenge what fun I can from it, generally enjoying it for the social experience if not the actual game, or sit it out in a huff and not have any fun at all.

For that matter, D&D specifically has a provision that says the rules should be changed for optimal gaming experience. If you don't like the way I change them, I cant force you to play with them, but do not tell me I am playing the game wrong.

I mean, I'd certainly hope any group of people I was socializing with would answer "Hey I don't like Monopoly, can we play something else?" with "Sure, let's play a different game then" rather than "No. Play Monopoly or GTFO". If the answer really was Monopoly or the highway, though, it's probably worth finding some new friends. At least for board game night.

I will admit though, you can absolutely have fun with bad games, or have no fun with good games. The actual game is only half the experience.

Koo Rehtorb
2017-03-21, 08:39 PM
I was more asking which game other people thought sounded more fun, but I guess "which game do you think we enjoyed?" is a fair interpretation as well. Of course, if that's your interpretation of the question...well, context clues are your friend. :smallwink:

They both sound pretty lousy, honestly.

Cluedrew
2017-03-21, 08:43 PM
My definition is taken from a dictionary but just broken down into simple qualifications. Your attempt at honing it down actually adds additional restrictions, namely forcing games to be a medium.I'll admit my "honing" was actually just trying to do a bit of a comparison. I'm not sure why a used that word. I was in a bit of a hurry. Anyways, I got it (not that wording, I was trying to condense it) from a university professor who studies gaming who spoke at a local event a few years back, so it is not completely ad-hoc. Interaction and structure, aka play and rules, where the two features he talked about.

I almost but an X in place of media, but I have to sort put a word there for grammatical reasons and the best one I could come up with. Anyways, we could probably spend a lot of time going through the pros and cons of various definitions but that might be a little much for this thread. Or at least a little bit much for me right now. (In about two weeks, I would love to.)

AvatarVecna
2017-03-21, 09:01 PM
They both sound pretty lousy, honestly.

A perfectly valid answer, and not unexpected.

Potato_Priest
2017-03-21, 09:39 PM
A player who is probably my best friend cheats on initiative rolls. If he doesn't like what he gets, he rolls again. Nowadays I sit next to him and watch him roll to ensure honesty. As long as he's there and thinks I'm watching, he plays it straight.

Quertus
2017-03-22, 01:26 AM
Which game do you think was more fun?


That's something only you and the other people participating can answer properly. Because only you know what you find fun.


They both sound pretty lousy, honestly.


A perfectly valid answer, and not unexpected.

... Well, in one, you were handed a victory; in the other, you earned your defeat. In both, you and the GM hopefully learned something. I know which I would have enjoyed more.

But both were "GM had total control of the scenario, and GM put you in a position where random chance can lead to sudden death in a way no-one finds enjoyable". So I'll echo the "neither" sentiment.

Templarkommando
2017-03-22, 02:22 AM
No. Fun isn't a victory condition. Fun is a byproduct.

If you're planning tennis the victory condition is winning the tennis match. Having fun playing tennis is an enjoyable side benefit.

See, you're confusing me now. If you don't have fun playing DnD, what do you think the primary function of the game is?

Koo Rehtorb
2017-03-22, 02:38 AM
See, you're confusing me now. If you don't have fun playing DnD, what do you think the primary function of the game is?

Of course having fun is is the purpose of sitting down to play a game together. That doesn't make it a victory condition. Those are two distinct concepts.

And furthermore, designing a game to be "fun" is kind of detrimental to the whole design process. You can't design for "fun". You design a game to produce a specific sort of experience, and if you've designed the game well that specific sort of experience will prove fun to some subset of people.

Theoboldi
2017-03-22, 03:47 AM
If I understand you correctly, then I suspect you understand how any game where the GM fudges the rolls feels, to me.

Honestly, after reading that, I just feel a little confused right now. What kind of system did the GMs you are talking about even use on those occasions? And did they get any player input on what kind of story they wanted to tell? Cause honestly, what you're describing just sounds like terrible GMs that focus on their vision of the story above anything else. :smallconfused:

Now, I've got no problem with a pre-planned story, or when a game involves no random elements. Sometimes it's fun to sit together with a bunch of other amateur writers, bounce ideas back and forth, and write up a little story together. Whether it's by the way of freeform RP, or just straight-up collaborative storytelling, both are perfectly fine. Sure, it won't be a particularly good story, but who cares? It's not like we're trying to get people to pay money to read it. And before anyone says it, I'll disagree with the notion that such storytelling is not a game. By that definition, children playing make-belief wouldn't be playing a game either, nor would the vast majority of improv be considered games anymore. I find that ridiculous and utterly useless as a definition.

I myself do include certain pre-planned elements in the characters I play, even in more randmonized, classic RPGs. If I want to play a certain type of character, and have that character go through a certain kind of arc, I'll discuss that beforehand with the other players, and then work with them during play to achieve scenes that will lead to the kind of development that I want. Despite it being predictable to a degree, the scenes are still fun to play and I enjoy the archetypes I play well enough to still enjoy them. And of course, these pre-planned things do not encompass the entirety of the character, nor the entirety of their story.

Most importantly is that I discuss these things OOC before the game, and all the way during it, while making sure to respect the wishes of the other players as well. My issue lies with GMs and players who think that they know what kind of story I'll enjoy the most, and who disregard my own wishes in favour of how they want things to play out.

Darth Ultron
2017-03-22, 06:38 AM
Of course having fun is is the purpose of sitting down to play a game together. That doesn't make it a victory condition. Those are two distinct concepts.

And furthermore, designing a game to be "fun" is kind of detrimental to the whole design process. You can't design for "fun". You design a game to produce a specific sort of experience, and if you've designed the game well that specific sort of experience will prove fun to some subset of people.

I think most people would say it's a lot ''more'' fun to have victories. Sure, you can have fun ''just playing'', a little, but it's much more fun to have positive things happen. And the vast majority of players want to have a victory, not just ''play the game for hours''.

Fun is a big part of design. Now, I'm not talking about the clueless monolithic deep seeded game designers and such making a game on stone tables. I'm talking about more direct like ''making an adventure''. And making the adventure fun is a big part of the design.

Quertus
2017-03-22, 10:17 AM
Honestly, after reading that, I just feel a little confused right now.

Confusing people is what tiggers do best. :smallwink:

But why is it confusing to go from, "every single detail that the GM considered relevant to telling The Best Story, down to exactly who would be conscious at the end of the final battle, was guaranteed to predictably occur" and an acknowledgement that such might not be fun, to a statement that I find all such actions of cheating to force a particular narrative outcome that exact same flavor of unfun?


What kind of system did the GMs you are talking about even use on those occasions?

Mostly but not exclusively D&D. Decidedly not "narrativist" systems.


And did they get any player input on what kind of story they wanted to tell?

Nope.


Cause honestly, what you're describing just sounds like terrible GMs that focus on their vision of the story above anything else. :smallconfused:

Not disagreeing. And that differs from most any other GM fudging how, exactly? Because that's what GM fudging is - the GM forcing their vision of the story on the game.


I myself do include certain pre-planned elements in the characters I play, even in more randmonized, classic RPGs. If I want to play a certain type of character, and have that character go through a certain kind of arc, I'll discuss that beforehand with the other players, and then work with them during play to achieve scenes that will lead to the kind of development that I want. Despite it being predictable to a degree, the scenes are still fun to play and I enjoy the archetypes I play well enough to still enjoy them. And of course, these pre-planned things do not encompass the entirety of the character, nor the entirety of their story.

Most importantly is that I discuss these things OOC before the game, and all the way during it, while making sure to respect the wishes of the other players as well.

I really need to resurrect my thread where I talk about how any attempt I've ever made to get specific themes etc add in have always resulted in ridiculous epic failure. It's not thread necromancy when is your own thread, right?

But, honestly, I find victory sweeter when it is earned, and prefer to come by such scenes everything honest, not because it was part of some preplanned story arc.


My issue lies with GMs and players who think that they know what kind of story I'll enjoy the most, and who disregard my own wishes in favour of how they want things to play out.

That sounds like my beef with GM fudging. So sounds like you understand how I feel, too, even if there's a disconnect on why I feel that way.

Keltest
2017-03-22, 10:49 AM
Not disagreeing. And that differs from most any other GM fudging how, exactly? Because that's what GM fudging is - the GM forcing their vision of the story on the game.

Theres more reasons than just narrative reasons to fudge the dice. Ive got one particular player, whom I shall call C, who plays very aggressively. As a result of this, he's gone through more characters than anybody else at our table, by a healthy margin. That also resulted in significant down time for him while his characters either get resurrected or he makes a new one and waits for them to enter the story. So when the party is fighting some trivial flavor encounter, and he starts taking a bunch of damage, I'm going to start turning critical hits into regular hits so that he has the chance to back out and reconsider what he's doing, or get healed, or something to help keep him alive. And if he insists on staying in there, then its his own choice, and he suffers the consequences. The poor guy suffers enough down time as it is without random criticals and (un)lucky streaks adding to that.

Theoboldi
2017-03-22, 11:07 AM
Confusing people is what tiggers do best. :smallwink:

Darn you! Now that you've made that reference, I have to begrudgingly respect you. :smalltongue:

Really, I was mainly just confused about the kind of game you described, not the logic behind your dislike of that playstyle. I've just had the luck of never meeting that particular flavor of bad GM.



Not disagreeing. And that differs from most any other GM fudging how, exactly? Because that's what GM fudging is - the GM forcing their vision of the story on the game.
The difference is in whether or not they are open and up-front about it, and whether they discuss with the player if it is okay. Different strokes for different folks, and all that. Now, I admit some people may say that it doesn't really count as 'fudging' when the GM admits they're doing it, but I don't care.



I really need to resurrect my thread where I talk about how any attempt I've ever made to get specific themes etc add in have always resulted in ridiculous epic failure. It's not thread necromancy when is your own thread, right?

But, honestly, I find victory sweeter when it is earned, and prefer to come by such scenes everything honest, not because it was part of some preplanned story arc.
If it always ended in failure, it might be that it wasn't planned out all that well. Or rather, that it was too rigidly planned out. It could be either or, or any number of other reasons, really. Honestly, I can't tell you what went wrong in your case without having been there, so I won't even try.

Granted, I don't succeed on all the things I plan out and ask to happen as well, but with some amount of buy-in from all players and the GM I usually get a reasonable approximation of what I wanted. Even if it doesn't happen quite as I expected it to.

That said, these pre-planned things do not always have to be 'victories'. Sure, sometimes you want your character to eventually become a high-ranking member of this or that organisation, or maybe you want them to run a kingdom. Maybe you want them to discover a way to bring a dead family member back to life. Maybe you just want to kill some guy.

But currently, the big thing I have planned for my favorite character is that he learns to let go of his jealousy towards another party member, and that he becomes comfortable with the person that he is. Another party member's planned thing in that same game is that their character becomes less of a bully, and capable of showing her emotions to others.


That sounds like my beef with GM fudging. So sounds like you understand how I feel, too, even if there's a disconnect on why I feel that way.
I do belief we agree for the most part, and there's just a difference in how we define fudging.

I....don't really care about definitions, to be honest. So long as my stance on the matter is understandable now.


By the by, just because I haven't really given my opinion yet on this side of the issue, players who try and cheat deserve to get kicked out. If they don't trust me enough to work with them to achieve an enjoyable game, I don't want them around. Seriously, why would you play with someone you don't trust as a GM? Even if we're otherwise strangers due to playing at a store or by PbP, you should at least trust your GM that much. Previous experiences be damned. >.>

2D8HP
2017-03-22, 11:15 AM
....Ive got one particular player, whom I shall call C, who plays very aggressively. As a result of this, he's gone through more characters than anybody else at our table, by a healthy margin....


Sounds like me when 1e AD&D was current. The other players were cautious, but I wasn't and had a pile of deceased PC's sheets.


IIRC-
To illustrate how this played out, the scene:
A dank almost crypt like basement/garage during the waning years of the Carter Administration, two pre-teens and some teenagers surround a ping pong table, that has books, papers, dice, pizza and sodas on it
Teen DM (my best friends older brother): You turn the corner, and 20' away you see the door shown on the map.
Teen player (who thinks he's all that because he's been playing longer than me with the LBB's, but does he have the new PHB and DMG? No! So who's really the "Advanced" one huh!): With the lantern still tied to the ten foot pole, I slowly proceed forward observing if they are any drafts from unexpected places. You (looks at me) check the floor with the other pole.
Me (pre-teen): Oh man it's late, are we even getting into the treasure room today!
Teen player: You've got to check for traps!
Me: I run up and force the door open!
DM: Blarg the fighter falls through the floor onto the spikes below.
*rolls dice*
Your character is dead.
Teen player: Dude you got smoked!
Me: Look at my next character. I rolled a 15 for Strength.
DM: Really?
Me: Yeah, Derek totally witnessed me rolling it up!
DM: Did he?
Derek (my best friend, another pre-teen who invited me to the game): Are you gonna eat that slice of pizza?
Me: No.
Derek: Yeah I totally saw it.
*munch*
Me: See!
DM: *groan*
:smallwink:

In memory of my best friend, Derek Lindstrom Whaley, who in 6th grade saw me reading the blue book and invited me to play D&D at his house - R.I.P.

Now I play 5e, and I'm the cautious one:

For example recently in a PbP game, a Medusa carrying a PC that had turned to stone (the player dropped out), me PC shouted out (in-character) the names of the other PC's and then "let's get out of here", upon which another player OOC said:



I don't get why you guys are freaking out this hard about the Medusa. Just keep it at range, which shouldn't be hard to do with the NPC turtlefolk around that you can make sure are between you and the Medusa. I doubt GM pitted us against something totally out of our weight class...
(you guys were cool with a dragon and dragons are designed to be more dangerous than other things of their CR value).


Huh?

Does my PC even know what a CR is?

Is the expectation that the DM will always allow the PC's to (sometimes just barely survive) common?

This attitude diminishes my sense of exploring and interacting with a world, as does "fudging", but at least my PC's survive!

Darth Ultron
2017-03-22, 11:54 AM
Is the expectation that the DM will always allow the PC's to (sometimes just barely survive) common?

This attitude diminishes my sense of exploring and interacting with a world, as does "fudging", but at least my PC's survive!

Sadly, it is far too common.

Way too many players think a game is just a endless bunch of endless unconnected events, a lot like a TV show or a comic book. And in that same mindset is the idea that there is always a way to win...always. After all, all fictional heroes always win...

Koo Rehtorb
2017-03-22, 12:30 PM
I think most people would say it's a lot ''more'' fun to have victories. Sure, you can have fun ''just playing'', a little, but it's much more fun to have positive things happen. And the vast majority of players want to have a victory, not just ''play the game for hours''.

Fun is a big part of design. Now, I'm not talking about the clueless monolithic deep seeded game designers and such making a game on stone tables. I'm talking about more direct like ''making an adventure''. And making the adventure fun is a big part of the design.

In the short term, yes, I think people generally prefer winning to losing.

If the GM cheats to let the players win then the players aren't actually winning, though. People instinctively understand that. And players do eventually get a feel for that's what happening. If players understand that they're earning victory on their own merits rather than because the GM let them win then it makes for a more powerful experience for everyone. Having some lows makes the highs so much better.

Keltest
2017-03-22, 12:37 PM
In the short term, yes, I think people generally prefer winning to losing.

If the GM cheats to let the players win then the players aren't actually winning, though. People instinctively understand that. And players do eventually get a feel for that's what happening. If players understand that they're earning victory on their own merits rather than because the GM let them win then it makes for a more powerful experience for everyone. Having some lows makes the highs so much better.

The GM controls the encounter strength. They determine how strong the opponents are, what the terrain available is, whether reinforcements for either side will show up, and how powerful they will be. Whether there are other factors that affect the combat. Fundamentally, every encounter that the PCs win is one the GM lets them win.

Tanarii
2017-03-22, 12:47 PM
Sadly, it is far too common.

Way too many players think a game is just a endless bunch of endless unconnected events, a lot like a TV show or a comic book. And in that same mindset is the idea that there is always a way to win...always. After all, all fictional heroes always win...
Interestingly, my favorite books are the ones that subvert the trope that the heroes (or at least, the 'obvious' protagonist') always win, because it feels far more 'realistic' to me.

But yeah, the appearance of an unearned win (ie being in favor of the PC's survival) ruins the fun for me, which includes fudging dice and always being pitted against things in my weight class. For others, the appearance of fairness (ie being in favor of the PC's survival) is critical to their fun, which means things like not being pitted against things outside their weight class.

I say appearance, because that's what really matters. If you want the appearance of earned wins, a DM might be pitting you against your weight class every single time and doing other adjudication that falls flatly under DM-fiat in your favor, and you might never know it. Whereas if they adjust a single dice roll after the fact, all of a sudden it appears they're breaking the rules in your favor. (And vice versa for people that want the appearance of fairness).

GungHo
2017-03-22, 12:58 PM
The GM controls the encounter strength. They determine how strong the opponents are, what the terrain available is, whether reinforcements for either side will show up, and how powerful they will be. Whether there are other factors that affect the combat. Fundamentally, every encounter that the PCs win is one the GM lets them win.

You're not really in competition with the DM though. I mean, yes, he can put the Tarrasque in front of a lvl 1 party to have a Kaiju Kurbstomp to not "let them win", but the same level of social contract that keeps the Cam Newton Buick commercial from becoming a reality applies.

Knaight
2017-03-22, 01:12 PM
If the GM cheats to let the players win then the players aren't actually winning, though. People instinctively understand that. And players do eventually get a feel for that's what happening. If players understand that they're earning victory on their own merits rather than because the GM let them win then it makes for a more powerful experience for everyone. Having some lows makes the highs so much better.

There's an assumption being made here that if fudging exists it's to force a certain end condition, and that's not necessarily the case. It's much more likely that it exists because everyone is fine with ruleset outputs the vast majority of the time, but for that remaining fraction of a percent it doesn't work, and thus fudging is used to subtly alter the rulesset in effect such that it generates almost the same outcome space but with certain edge cases removed. This also wouldn't prevent people from actually winning, it just means that the game being won doesn't exactly resemble the game in the books (which is already the case, as the books are a tool in the first place and the GM is bringing a whole bunch more into it, starting with every setting element that isn't detailed and the implementation of those that are).

2D8HP
2017-03-22, 01:18 PM
...If players understand that they're earning victory on their own merits rather than because the GM let them win then it makes for a more powerful experience for everyone. Having some lows makes the highs so much better.


....the appearance of fairness....


.....What the players want today is an easy, safe way to beat the encounter. But what they will want tomorrow is to have brilliantly and bravely turned the tables to barely survive a deadly encounter where it looked like they were all about to die.


As a player I crave daring escapes, suspense, and I also crave (and I may now be in the minority in this) a sense of a "world", and this means that they should be foes "out of my weight class" (hopefully with enough hints when that's the case).

They should be Dragons that are too awesome and powerful for my PC to face, if everything is a "cakewalk", why even play?

Koo Rehtorb
2017-03-22, 01:24 PM
The GM controls the encounter strength. They determine how strong the opponents are, what the terrain available is, whether reinforcements for either side will show up, and how powerful they will be. Whether there are other factors that affect the combat. Fundamentally, every encounter that the PCs win is one the GM lets them win.

I mean yes, on some level the GM lets the PCs win by virtue of having the ability to go "ten ancient red dragons show up lol".

In a good game the PCs can do things like scout the opposition and judge if it's a winnable fight or not. They can lure enemies into tactically advantageous terrain. They can hire minions to help them deal with an excessive threat. So many cool options that can give them a leg up on a fight they need to take, or let them avoid a fight that will destroy them. Options that the PCs can use to say that they've won by virtue of their own cleverness instead of a GM giving it to them.

And in a bad game that's just a series of pre-planned encounters strung together, there is still room for the GM to give the PCs fair encounters as defined by the rules of the game and for the players to win or lose based on their skill at D&D + random luck.

Koo Rehtorb
2017-03-22, 01:26 PM
There's an assumption being made here that if fudging exists it's to force a certain end condition, and that's not necessarily the case. It's much more likely that it exists because everyone is fine with ruleset outputs the vast majority of the time, but for that remaining fraction of a percent it doesn't work, and thus fudging is used to subtly alter the rulesset in effect such that it generates almost the same outcome space but with certain edge cases removed. This also wouldn't prevent people from actually winning, it just means that the game being won doesn't exactly resemble the game in the books (which is already the case, as the books are a tool in the first place and the GM is bringing a whole bunch more into it, starting with every setting element that isn't detailed and the implementation of those that are).

That's not fudging. That's changing the rules of the game. Changing the rules of the game is a perfectly acceptable thing to do, if done openly and in advance, and preferably by group consensus.

Knaight
2017-03-22, 01:53 PM
That's not fudging. That's changing the rules of the game. Changing the rules of the game is a perfectly acceptable thing to do, if done openly and in advance, and preferably by group consensus.

What I'm describing is a case where it's not done in advance, and not in a systemic way, but rather by nullification of the results of the rules when they turn out not to work. That's fudging, and while I'd generally consider it indicative of a design flaw (particularly when a solid 90% of these cases could be solved with a decades old player side reroll point mechanic), it's also how most fudging happens.

Take the example given where people are fudging to avoid cases where sheer dumb luck causes low efficacy foes to do real damage due to a series of crits. The best way to avoid this being a problem at all would be to modify the critical mechanics, but the takeaway is that this represents an edge case where the game outcome-space doesn't work for the game the table is trying to play. It's a fairly rare occurrence (needing several high rolls bundled together), so there's a case where this comes up, is an undesirable outcome, and so fudging is used to trim the outcome space not to include it. Another example would be editing homebrew monsters mid-fight. Say an inexperienced D&D 3.x DM is introducing a monster who's schtick is that they're an amorphous nigh immobile blob that basically can't be missed, releases caustic gases when hit, and is really hard to kill. They might be given something like a -5 AC (to make sure nobody misses), a stack of a good 300 HP, and some sort of retaliatory strike attack plus a gas spray. Then the DM finds out the hard way about how Power Attack interacts with ACs that low, and suddenly the system isn't supporting the setting reality of the monster so well. Ideally this would have been caught ahead of time, but odds are the correction would be another stack of HP. Making that correction now is fudging, it's to prevent a particular outcome (where the system produces a setting-incongruant result).

Koo Rehtorb
2017-03-22, 02:21 PM
Take the example given where people are fudging to avoid cases where sheer dumb luck causes low efficacy foes to do real damage due to a series of crits.

Okay, but this doesn't contradict the whole "letting the players win" point so I'm not sure why it's being held up as a counter example. If you're preventing these foes from having a chance at defeating the PCs through dumb luck then you're literally letting the players win. Poor goblins. Aren't their lives hard enough already? :smallfrown:

On a side note, why even have encounters like this in the first place? If they're just there to be fodder that the PCs cleave through effortlessly then why bother engaging with combat mechanics at all? It just sounds like tedious busywork.


Say an inexperienced D&D 3.x DM is introducing a monster who's schtick is that they're an amorphous nigh immobile blob that basically can't be missed, releases caustic gases when hit, and is really hard to kill. They might be given something like a -5 AC (to make sure nobody misses), a stack of a good 300 HP, and some sort of retaliatory strike attack plus a gas spray. Then the DM finds out the hard way about how Power Attack interacts with ACs that low, and suddenly the system isn't supporting the setting reality of the monster so well. Ideally this would have been caught ahead of time, but odds are the correction would be another stack of HP. Making that correction now is fudging, it's to prevent a particular outcome (where the system produces a setting-incongruant result).

So the PCs hack apart the blob monster more quickly than intended. So what? It's not like the DM is going to run out of monsters. The DM learned a valuable lesson about some of the mechanics of the game and will do a better job next time.

I'd say this is also a lesson about house ruling games if you don't have a solid grasp on the mechanics first, though. The default assumption should be that rules exist for a reason and changing them should be done carefully.

Keltest
2017-03-22, 02:38 PM
So the PCs hack apart the blob monster more quickly than intended. So what? It's not like the DM is going to run out of monsters. The DM learned a valuable lesson about some of the mechanics of the game and will do a better job next time.

I'd say this is also a lesson about house ruling games if you don't have a solid grasp on the mechanics first, though. The default assumption should be that rules exist for a reason and changing them should be done carefully.

One, if an encounter's difficulty is too little/too much, it reduces the enjoyment of the players and the DM. Imagine fighting an ancient red dragon, and then it dies in three rounds. That's boring.

Two, while there is no theoretical limit to the number of monsters a DM can write up, when they run out of pre-generated monsters they need to halt the entire game to go roll up some more, or just end the game early. Neither is desirable, as they create periods of time where the game isn't being played. Saying "next time" is all well and good, but it doesn't resolve the issues that are happening this time.

Tanarii
2017-03-22, 02:57 PM
One, if an encounter's difficulty is too little/too much, it reduces the enjoyment of the players and the DM.Not this player. Not this DM. Nor this DM's players. Your statement is not universal, and therefore it is not true.

The way some players handle the situation: If the players want a greater challenge, they attempt to find it. If they find something too difficult, they attempt to evade or flee.

Koo Rehtorb
2017-03-22, 03:04 PM
Two, while there is no theoretical limit to the number of monsters a DM can write up, when they run out of pre-generated monsters they need to halt the entire game to go roll up some more, or just end the game early. Neither is desirable, as they create periods of time where the game isn't being played. Saying "next time" is all well and good, but it doesn't resolve the issues that are happening this time.

I mean, there's literally entire books dedicated to providing you with endless lists of monster stat blocks.

Keltest
2017-03-22, 03:21 PM
I mean, there's literally entire books dedicated to providing you with endless lists of monster stat blocks.

Missing the point. Any time the DM has to say "hold on a minute, lemme find X in this book" is an interruption to the game and thus generally something you want to avoid.

Koo Rehtorb
2017-03-22, 03:37 PM
Missing the point. Any time the DM has to say "hold on a minute, lemme find X in this book" is an interruption to the game and thus generally something you want to avoid.

So, reductio ad absurdum. The ideal session is one in which the DM presents a monster, the PCs fight the monster until the end of the session, the DM ensures that the monster doesn't kill the PCs by faking rolls that would kill them, the DM ensures that the monster doesn't die until the end of the session by inflating its hp. And then the last hit by the PCs at the end of the session kills it.

I would argue that it is entirely acceptable for the DM to call for five minute breaks if he needs them, in service of game quality.

Ornithologist
2017-03-22, 03:47 PM
In my times as both GM and as player; I have found the following Philosophy to be true.

The GM is GOD. The control what the universe is and what inhabits it. The players can make the GM add more (hey, whats on this long road next to this beautiful dungeon you spent hours making we're not going in?) They can effect what happens to a game by their actions. ( Fun fact: in a mag-tek setting I ran, my players accidentally destroyed the entire home-brewed magic system I had created with a magic explosive they buried next to temple that was the font of power for that kind of magic. They did something poorly thought out, and I got to figure out what the results were)

Even with Dice, players can only achieve "victory" if the GM allows it. Your victory by dice and feats can be crushed by badly done GM Fiat. ( Fun fact, I die in games as a player almost once or more per Campaign. Some were backtracked by GM's some weren't. Once I payed as a Book elemental who was surprised by a full-on fireball crit to the face. The rest of the party survived by using my ashes to make a protective barrier spell...)

When I GM, my goal number one is make sure my players have fun. Goal two is provide a good story/world for my players to inhabit and destroy or save. Goal 3 make sure the rules systems are run correctly and without fudging any dice. But if player A has literally no fun because their character died (through no fault of their own), and they are sitting out of the action as a consequence, Goal three becomes make sure players don't sit out more than they have too. I have had games and groups fall apart because some one spends more time on their phone or playing a video game because they are dead. If I have to fudge dice to keep players active in the game, so be it. Look, I try to ascribe player fun first, my story second, and rules third. If we were playing together and you demanded all rolls as final for you to have fun, then I would try to accommodate you. But no promises. And yes, PC's do Die in my games, as do final bosses on the first encounter when lucky crits happen, and player designed ambushes are total curbstomps for their targets when the dice hit that way.

As an aside, the main game I play Tru20 actually has some skills and feats that require the GM roll secretly. so.. I guess we won't play together.

Silus
2017-03-22, 04:28 PM
Personally, I adhere to the Munchkin (the card game) philosophy on cheating, both as a DM and as a player. If one is not caught cheating, then it's all good. You get caught, you're in trouble. So simply: Don't get caught.

Now if a guy keeps throwing crit after crit then I'ma start getting suspicious.

gooddragon1
2017-03-22, 07:12 PM
Everyone i play with rolls in the open. Dont mess with the dice after it lands. Cheaters lose the privilage to roll dice & will instead be rolled by me. After a bit i may return your privilage. No one has ever done this in my games yet.

I like this solution a lot. And I'm a player. I've dm'd a handful of times and if I ever do again and run into this cheating I'll use this method.


Swift, savage beatings. We have very little tolerance for cheats where I'm from.

Not too enamored with this method though. Aside from the obvious reasons, I also have a strength modifier penalty.

2D8HP
2017-03-22, 07:23 PM
...why even have encounters like this in the first place? If they're just there to be fodder that the PCs cleave through effortlessly then why bother engaging with combat mechanics at all? It just sounds like tedious busywork....


Why indeed?


...I'd say this is also a lesson about house ruling games if you don't have a solid grasp on the mechanics first, though. The default assumption should be that rules exist for a reason and changing them should be done carefully.

I'd say that the "rules" exist to facilitate exciting adventures, and to impart a sense of a world to explore, where they help do that keep them, when they don't chuck 'em.



Any time the DM has to say "hold on a minute, lemme find X in this book" is an interruption to the game and thus generally something you want to avoid.

Well said.

Cluedrew
2017-03-22, 08:04 PM
The GM is GOD.One of those gods where if the followers stop praying, the god dies.

Darth Ultron
2017-03-22, 09:31 PM
One of those gods where if the followers stop praying, the god dies.

Or the god could just get other players....

ImNotTrevor
2017-03-22, 10:08 PM
Or the god could just get other players....

There is a finite number of players, and finding them requires effort. I'd rather just not alienate my players and build a relationship based on trust. Like you have with, you know, friends.

Easier in the long run.

Knaight
2017-03-23, 02:44 AM
Okay, but this doesn't contradict the whole "letting the players win" point so I'm not sure why it's being held up as a counter example. If you're preventing these foes from having a chance at defeating the PCs through dumb luck then you're literally letting the players win. Poor goblins. Aren't their lives hard enough already? :smallfrown:

Preventing one particular loss condition is not letting the players win, much the same way that closing one particular victory condition isn't forcing the players to lose. A superheroes game might close the loss condition of the PCs getting killed entirely, and might close the victory condition of the antagonists getting permanently taken out entirely. The stakes of the conflicts in that genre are much more likely to be along the lines of "Save the City from the Plan", and that can still fail even if the route of ensuring the city gets hit by the plan by taking out the heroes is closed, and it can still succeed even if the route of taking out the plan by taking out the planner is closed.

Koo Rehtorb
2017-03-23, 03:05 AM
Preventing one particular loss condition is not letting the players win, much the same way that closing one particular victory condition isn't forcing the players to lose. A superheroes game might close the loss condition of the PCs getting killed entirely, and might close the victory condition of the antagonists getting permanently taken out entirely. The stakes of the conflicts in that genre are much more likely to be along the lines of "Save the City from the Plan", and that can still fail even if the route of ensuring the city gets hit by the plan by taking out the heroes is closed, and it can still succeed even if the route of taking out the plan by taking out the planner is closed.

Yes, that's fine. If the group doesn't want a game in which PCs die there's nothing wrong with that.

The group should play a game that isn't D&D. D&D is designed around tactical combat and the possibility of PCs dying in said tactical combat. It has very little to offer in terms of alternative stakes. But if everyone is really wedded to the idea of D&D for some reason, then at the very least the group should discuss alternative rules openly at the start. Be open. Make it clear that death isn't on the table. Put house rules in place to support this. On "death" the PCs are instead removed from the fight and traumatically wounded, whatever.

Just don't pretend that you're engaging with the rules of the game and then secretly not do it. Changing the rules is a group decision, not the DM's prerogative.

Darth Ultron
2017-03-23, 06:43 AM
There is a finite number of players, and finding them requires effort. I'd rather just not alienate my players and build a relationship based on trust. Like you have with, you know, friends.

Easier in the long run.

Players are not finite....they are infinite. You can always find other people.

And real friends would never act like a jerk in the first place...or I would not be friends with them in the first place. Though, admittedly, the ''not be a jerk'' is a very high bar for friends....but it is worth it in the long run.




Just don't pretend that you're engaging with the rules of the game and then secretly not do it. Changing the rules is a group decision, not the DM's prerogative.

Wow, could be a whole thread about how that is wrong.

Cluedrew
2017-03-23, 06:50 AM
Or the god could just get other players....So can the players, of course if there is enough of them they one of them can be the new GM without even going out and finding a new person.

And I did the analysis of cases: a player leaves > game continues; GM leaves > game changes; all players leave > game ends. The players as a whole have way more clout than the GM. It usually just isn't used by convention.

Swordsage: If the group trusts the GM with that decision, than it is a GM decision.

2D8HP
2017-03-23, 07:38 AM
...if everyone is really wedded to the idea of D&D for some reason....

....Changing the rules is a group decision, not the DM's prerogative.


Upthread were explicit rules citations (from TSR's 0e D&D, 1e AD&D, 2e AD&D, WotC's 3.5, and 5e D&D) where D&D does say that changing the rules is the DM's prerogative (except that no one cited anything from 4e, I'm going to have to get the books and find out what that edition says), plus for much of the history of D&D the players weren't even supposed to know all the rules:

You are a DM aren't you? Because
As this book is the exclusive precinct of the DM, you must view any non-DM player possessing it as something less than worthy of honorable death.

Also upthread I told of "Administrating" a game of "Top Secret", largely using Call of Cthullu rules.

I actually don't think that strict rules adherence is that important in a RPG, more important is if what is presented as being up to chance really is.

Knaight
2017-03-23, 08:04 AM
Yes, that's fine. If the group doesn't want a game in which PCs die there's nothing wrong with that.
The absence of death as a genre trope is an example here, not the point. The point is that loss conditions can be removed without it being giving the players a win they didn't earn; it just changes the parameters of the game (with a similar thing applying to the removal of victory conditions not causing a loss).



The group should play a game that isn't D&D. D&D is designed around tactical combat and the possibility of PCs dying in said tactical combat. It has very little to offer in terms of alternative stakes. But if everyone is really wedded to the idea of D&D for some reason, then at the very least the group should discuss alternative rules openly at the start. Be open. Make it clear that death isn't on the table. Put house rules in place to support this. On "death" the PCs are instead removed from the fight and traumatically wounded, whatever.
Just don't pretend that you're engaging with the rules of the game and then secretly not do it. Changing the rules is a group decision, not the DM's prerogative.

Putting aside how the group decision often is to hand the decisions to the GM as in many groups they're the only person who really cares on the mechanics side, the rules of the game are being engaged with. The vast majority of the time, things play out to the rules of the game, they're a pretty close fit. The exceptions are those cases where the rules aren't the perfect fit. Then we get into group dynamics along the lines of "as players, we've collectively decided we feel like playing this genre. Rules tweaks are all yours to make that happen", which is how my group tend to operate.

Ornithologist
2017-03-23, 10:21 AM
Knaight, you have a weird error on your last post.

Koo Rehtorb, the second your argument becomes "don't play this game" you lose. Just because D&D is a tactical combat game to you and a story telling device maybe third., does not mean that it is the same for others. I mean, why even have a diplomacy stat if all the game is good for is stabbing people.

Can we all agree a good GM needs to have victory options open to the players? No one wants to spend their hard earned time playing a game they cannot win (what ever win means to them).

Essentially, I am saying the GMs have to let the PCs win. They have the ability to shut people down hard: Rock falls everyone dies, Tomb of Horrors (though if you are playing that module on purpose, then you are prepared to die violently most encounters). GM Fiat is what you are really upset about. Though its the opposite side of the spectrum that people normally dislike. But in the end, everything the GM does, says, plans out, or puts into encounters for you is GM Fiat. (That last fight was too hard, lets make this one easier. The party just killed the king I was setting them up to protect, I guess this game is now a fugitive hunt.)

Where is the line between GM makes for fun evening of entertainment, and GM kills any and all fun I might have had?

ImNotTrevor
2017-03-23, 10:38 AM
Koo Rehtorb, the second your argument becomes "don't play this game" you lose. Just because D&D is a tactical combat game to you and a story telling device maybe third., does not mean that it is the same for others. I mean, why even have a diplomacy stat if all the game is good for is stabbing people.

I mean... it is almost universally agreed by players that D&D is really, really bad at social interaction stuff and its mechanics for it are awful. Getting new players to RP in D&D is difficult, mostly because there is no in-game incentive for doing so. You just have to happen to like RP already and be willing to tease it out of the rules.

So yeah. The game can be used for social stuff, sure. But you're gonna have a hard time and it's going to require a lot of hacking to get it to go how you want. On the other hand, you can find a system that is better suited to that kind of thing amd save yourself the trouble.

So.... the argument of "Play something else if this game is failing to meet your needs" is valid. Of someone is trying to run a fantasy adventure with wizards and dragons using Traveller, I'm going to recommend they pick up a different game for reasons that are obvious. This exaggerated example should help you see why such recommendations happen at all.

TL;DR
While I don't agree with Koo on the victory conditions and fudging stuff, telling someone to play a system better suited to what they want out of a game is not an instant-lose when talking about gaming generally. It's a legitimate strategy.

PhoenixPhyre
2017-03-23, 10:45 AM
I mean... it is almost universally agreed by players that D&D is really, really bad at social interaction stuff and its mechanics for it are awful. Getting new players to RP in D&D is difficult, mostly because there is no in-game incentive for doing so. You just have to happen to like RP already and be willing to tease it out of the rules.

That's funny. I play 5e D&D mostly with new players (new to D&D as well as to TTRPGs in general). I've found that for the majority of them, non-mechanical RP is what they do best. They don't remember the numbers, don't really get into the crunch much, but talking and playing in character? That they do almost automatically. Other than being bad about metaknowledge (they're mostly teenagers, so it makes some sense), they RP better than the grognards I used to run with.

Now if you want social combat mechanics, sure. D&D doesn't have those. I think we over-estimate here on the forums how rule-forward most new players are. Most don't care about incentive structures, optimization, or any of those things. Of course, there are some who just want to win (and are willing to cheat), or those who find joy in challenge, etc. All I'm saying is that from my experience, those types are not the majority of new players.

Edit: I'll note that this spontaneous RP is with very little prompting from me. I'm a very rule-focused person by nature, and "RP" in that sense is hard for me. They do it anyway. Lots.

ImNotTrevor
2017-03-23, 10:45 AM
Players are not finite....they are infinite. You can always find other people.
This is factually inaccurate on several fronts.
1. There is a finite number of Humans, total. Around 8 billion nowadays, but finite.
2. The number of those humans within a reasomable distance from you is much smaller.
3. The number of humans within said distance that also want to play D&D is much smaller still.
4. Including the internet as a play option, you get a pretty good bump. But still finite, and you're more likely to build up a reputation wherever you go over time, making it harder.

Thanks for the chuckle, though.

Knaight
2017-03-23, 11:41 AM
I mean... it is almost universally agreed by players that D&D is really, really bad at social interaction stuff and its mechanics for it are awful. Getting new players to RP in D&D is difficult, mostly because there is no in-game incentive for doing so. You just have to happen to like RP already and be willing to tease it out of the rules.

Although some groups get really entrenched - I've managed to dodge this issue, but I get to hear my brother's stories about his other group that will never play anything else, and they're hilarious. You've got people using D&D for science fiction settings, you've got people refusing to use other systems because D&D must be the most balanced as it's the most popular, the list goes on.

Koo Rehtorb
2017-03-23, 11:41 AM
I would point out to everyone that Darth "Railroading is Good" Ultron is on your side. That should make you at least a little uneasy.


Putting aside how the group decision often is to hand the decisions to the GM as in many groups they're the only person who really cares on the mechanics side, the rules of the game are being engaged with. The vast majority of the time, things play out to the rules of the game, they're a pretty close fit. The exceptions are those cases where the rules aren't the perfect fit. Then we get into group dynamics along the lines of "as players, we've collectively decided we feel like playing this genre. Rules tweaks are all yours to make that happen", which is how my group tend to operate.

Okay, yes. A lot of the time the DM is the one who cares most strongly about the rules. That's fine. In an ideal world everyone in the group would be engaged with the mechanics and interested in discussing them but that can often not be the case. The point is the DM doesn't have the inherent right to be in control of the ruleset, but they certainly can be granted that power if the group is all okay with it. Just don't assume that's the default state. And do still document any changes openly in advance and give people a chance to object to said changes if they ever want to.


Koo Rehtorb, the second your argument becomes "don't play this game" you lose. Just because D&D is a tactical combat game to you and a story telling device maybe third., does not mean that it is the same for others. I mean, why even have a diplomacy stat if all the game is good for is stabbing people.

Ironically the reason D&D has things like "diplomacy" and "gather information" is to allow people to skip past those portions of the game and get back to the fighting. Instead of making it a focus of the game what D&D does is give you tools to make it a single roll, and move on. If 95% of the rulebook is about combat then the game is about combat.


Essentially, I am saying the GMs have to let the PCs win. They have the ability to shut people down hard: Rock falls everyone dies, Tomb of Horrors (though if you are playing that module on purpose, then you are prepared to die violently most encounters). GM Fiat is what you are really upset about. Though its the opposite side of the spectrum that people normally dislike. But in the end, everything the GM does, says, plans out, or puts into encounters for you is GM Fiat. (That last fight was too hard, lets make this one easier. The party just killed the king I was setting them up to protect, I guess this game is now a fugitive hunt.)

In a good game the PCs can do things like scout the opposition and judge if it's a winnable fight or not. They can lure enemies into tactically advantageous terrain. They can hire minions to help them deal with an excessive threat. So many cool options that can give them a leg up on a fight they need to take, or let them avoid a fight that will destroy them. Options that the PCs can use to say that they've won by virtue of their own cleverness instead of a GM giving it to them.

And in a bad game that's just a series of pre-planned encounters strung together, there is still room for the GM to give the PCs fair encounters as defined by the rules of the game and for the players to win or lose based on their skill at D&D + random luck.

Anteros
2017-03-23, 11:46 AM
Okay, yes. A lot of the time the DM is the one who cares most strongly about the rules. That's fine. In an ideal world everyone in the group would be engaged with the mechanics and interested in discussing them but that can often not be the case. The point is the DM doesn't have the inherent right to be in control of the ruleset, but they certainly can be granted that power if the group is all okay with it. Just don't assume that's the default state. And do still document any changes openly in advance and give people a chance to object to said changes if they ever want to.


It's really a shame this even has to be said. It's a group game. Of course everyone in the group should have an equal say about how it is played. That's just basic common sense.

Too many DMs forget that the point isn't for them to rule over everything and tell "their story". The point is for everyone at the table to have fun.

Ornithologist
2017-03-23, 11:47 AM
So.... the argument of "Play something else if this game is failing to meet your needs" is valid.


Except his argument is "You should play a different game because you have different needs from me." He is in fact unwilling to play with me in particular, because the rules are not a high enough priority to me as compared to him. Even though D&D does in fact meet all of my needs in an RPG, I should play a different game because of what I prioritize in entertaining my friends.

Yes, I do agree that the argument you are saying is valid. But he is not saying that.

The whole point of this hobby, is on how open it is. He can play a Tactical combat simulator, that has some extra out of combat elements to it. I can play a game with a big story where anything can happen in the story, including combat/death. Turns out, both of those options can be done with the same rule-set. That he thinks I shouldn't play it because my goal is different from his, that's the problem.

Edit: Just in case I did't make myself clear ( and I don't think I did). I do change systems on a regular basis, depending on the group my friends and I get together for. We play everything from TRU20, which is a d20 SRD rehash, to BESM, to All flesh must be Eaten (which I almost feel TPKs are required in that rule system, you know horror game).

Darth Ultron
2017-03-23, 12:09 PM
This is factually inaccurate on several fronts.
1. There is a finite number of Humans, total. Around 8 billion nowadays, but finite.
2. The number of those humans within a reasomable distance from you is much smaller.
3. The number of humans within said distance that also want to play D&D is much smaller still.
4. Including the internet as a play option, you get a pretty good bump. But still finite, and you're more likely to build up a reputation wherever you go over time, making it harder.

Thanks for the chuckle, though.

1.Well, player is just a title and you only need like four of them, not 8 billion. Just four.
2.This depends what a reasonable distance ''to you '' is.....and where a person lives. Some places are very crowded.
3.Again, depends on the distance ''to you'', but sure at anyone time within 50 miles of my home there are only 100-200 players....but then again only need 4.
4.A reputation does work both ways. Sure there are immature jerks that rant and rave that they will ''never play in a game with me'', but, eh. There are also good players (and potential players) that are like ''wow, I heard about your game and how great it is, can I play?''.

Knaight
2017-03-23, 12:23 PM
I would point out to everyone that Darth "Railroading is Good" Ultron is on your side. That should make you at least a little uneasy.

It's an odd coalition to be sure, but it's not like the sides that crop up from an issue necessarily reflect that much similarity in game taste (I've ended up on the same side as Pex when arguing about 5e skill implementation, and that's despite us having utterly irreconcilable philosophies about what we want to see in a game system, how important standardization between GMs is, and basically everything else).

Plus, as long as we're talking about people who's games we definitely don't want to be in, there's one on each side for me, and there would be more if I didn't operate with the assumption that the positions people tend to take in RPG arguments are way more entrenched than the gaming philosophy that actually shows up at the table.

2D8HP
2017-03-23, 12:30 PM
That's funny. I play 5e D&D mostly with new players (new to D&D as well as to TTRPGs in general). I've found that for the majority of them, non-mechanical RP is what they do best. They don't remember the numbers, don't really get into the crunch much, but talking and playing in character? That they do almost automatically.


We've had some similar discussions before:


...I'd argue that the crunch is where most people experience difficulties with RPGs - acting is familiar, storytelling is familiar, and there's no shortage of amateur writers. Similarly the idea of playing a character who tries to solve problems has been hammered in by videogames, which are (again) super ubiquitous, particularly among people likely to try an RPG....


(I hope @Knaight will write some more, since his arguments interest me)


I'm going to respectfully disagree. As I have gotten older most people are more accepting of RPG's...it's not like in '87 when I started and nobody knew what the heck I was talking about. Most people who play computer games know of TT RPG's. Almost ALL new players I have met the last 10 years have a prior experience with computer rpg's. This means that to many crunch is no problem really, they are used to picking talents, distributing points, go on a pissing contests about builds, cry for nerfs etc.

The hard part is usually to get them ROLEPLAYING. Sure I could easily run them through a dungeon...which is more like what our esteemed forum member 2D8HP would call an adventure game....


(OK, maybe I quoted that because as well as being an interesting take, I'm called esteemed")

In my own limited experience D&D players today are generely either better role-players or have better tactical rules mastery than those I played with in my increasingly dim memories of the early 1980's games were (maybe a bit less of non-rules "shenanigans" now).


I consider there to be three primary interaction types in RPGs.

Type 1:
GM: "This is the situation."
Player: "I do the thing!"
GM: "This is now the situation."

Type 2:
Player 1: "I move my pieces in accordance with the rules"
Player 2: "I move my pieces in accordance with the rules"
Player 3: "I move my pieces in accordance with the rules"

Type 3:
Player 1: "A thing happens!"
Player 2: "And then another thing happens!"
Player 3: "And then another thing happens!"

No game is really purely any of these. What you're describing is a pretty strongly "type 1" game. Pathfinder and 3.x are usually played, still on the Type 1 to 2 line (not mixing in much Type 3), but much closer to the Type 2 part.


I argue that while what's in the rulebook's may encourage play of one or another of @kyoryu's "types", it's largely table "tone" that decides.

For myself I very strongly prefer "Type One" (almost total DM/GM fiat) when I'm enjoying the game. If it's a RPG, I actually prefer the GM handle the mechanics after character creation.

If I don't trust the GM, or I'm craving interacting with the rules mechanics, I usually want to play a board game like Risk instead.

"Chocolate in my peanut butter" heavy player interaction with the rules mechanics in a RPG, the way that typical play of 3.5/4e D&D has usually been described to me (I have no personal experience playing with those rules), doesn't appeal to me.

Hopefully my problem isn't common, but I find that the more I think about RAW, the less I role-play and vice versa.


Right - you don't have a problem with rules...as long as you're not expected to know any of them......


If the DM and the players aren't strictly following RAW, I'm unlikely to notice, but... I have left games in which the DM set a price limit on equipment, which I limited my PC to, upon realizing that another player had both a Greatsword and a Longbow, which exceeded the limit.

That kind of cheating really bugs me.

Koo Rehtorb
2017-03-23, 12:43 PM
It's an odd coalition to be sure, but it's not like the sides that crop up from an issue necessarily reflect that much similarity in game taste (I've ended up on the same side as Pex when arguing about 5e skill implementation, and that's despite us having utterly irreconcilable philosophies about what we want to see in a game system, how important standardization between GMs is, and basically everything else).

Plus, as long as we're talking about people who's games we definitely don't want to be in, there's one on each side for me, and there would be more if I didn't operate with the assumption that the positions people tend to take in RPG arguments are way more entrenched than the gaming philosophy that actually shows up at the table.

The point is, dice fudging is fundamentally GM railroading. If you overrule the dice it is inherently saying that the GM's vision of what should happen is more important than anything else.

Knaight
2017-03-23, 01:01 PM
The point is, dice fudging is fundamentally GM railroading. If you overrule the dice it is inherently saying that the GM's vision of what should happen is more important than anything else.

GM railroading is fundamentally saying that the GM's vision of what should happen is more important than that of the players, to such an extent that they want even more influence than they already have by running every NPC in the setting plus the setting itself. Dice fudging is the GM's vision of what should happen overruling the dice in some peripheral way. It's not the same thing, and while I vastly prefer a system where there's player side forced reroll mechanics, concession mechanics, and/or any number of other things to patch dice weirdness I don't have any issue with a GM fudging dice. Being railroaded is a different story. I'd be willing to play in Asha Leu's (who stated that they'll fudge if need be) game despite heavily favoring games that lean towards outright player directed even as a GM, there's absolutely no way I'd go anywhere near Darth Ultron's table (although there's multiple reasons for that).

Koo Rehtorb
2017-03-23, 01:12 PM
GM railroading is fundamentally saying that the GM's vision of what should happen is more important than that of the players, to such an extent that they want even more influence than they already have by running every NPC in the setting plus the setting itself. Dice fudging is the GM's vision of what should happen overruling the dice in some peripheral way. It's not the same thing, and while I vastly prefer a system where there's player side forced reroll mechanics, concession mechanics, and/or any number of other things to patch dice weirdness I don't have any issue with a GM fudging dice. Being railroaded is a different story. I'd be willing to play in Asha Leu's (who stated that they'll fudge if need be) game despite heavily favoring games that lean towards outright player directed even as a GM, there's absolutely no way I'd go anywhere near Darth Ultron's table (although there's multiple reasons for that).

But it is the same thing. Imagine for a moment a situation in which the GM wants the final fight of the game to involve a few PC deaths because it fits his artistic vision that the climax of the campaign is bittersweet. So he just fudges some dice results, lies about some crits, and kills a few PCs before the boss is finally brought down. Is anyone going to argue about this being railroading? This is the GM forcing his preconceived notion about a good story on the players, exceeding his authority as a GM.

It is the same situation if the GM changed dice result in favour of the players instead of against them. Sure people can have a preference about specifics of execution, but those specifics don't change the fundamental nature of what's going on.

Knaight
2017-03-23, 01:24 PM
But it is the same thing. Imagine for a moment a situation in which the GM wants the final fight of the game to involve a few PC deaths because it fits his artistic vision that the climax of the campaign is bittersweet. So he just fudges some dice results, lies about some crits, and kills a few PCs before the boss is finally brought down. Is anyone going to argue about this being railroading? This is the GM forcing his preconceived notion about a good story on the players, exceeding his authority as a GM.

That demonstrates that they can be used as a railroading tool. Here's another case though - the group as a whole wants a tone where the PCs are larger than life heroes who interact with the world in larger than life ways, and who should only go out in a larger than life fashion. The group is playing Savage Worlds with an Arthurian Knight's setting, and a child with a grievance and a knife moves to stab one of the PCs. It's obvious that in the intended tone, collectively decided on by the group, that the question here isn't supposed to be "do they hit?" and "how much damage do they do?", but "how does the PC respond?". Because of the rules of the game*, there's an attack roll, and they hit. Damage then explodes about five times, and it kills the PC. The player group is generally of the immersion first, maintain the illusion perspective**, so the GM fudges the roll to not kill the PC but just grievously wound them. The dice still had an impact there, taking the situation from the likely failure on the child's part to a fairly dramatic success and changing the fundamental question of the scene, but it's hardly railroading for the GM to fudge the roll there. It's them making a decision for how to implement the tone collectively decided on by the group in the face of the game not working.

*Which absolutely doesn't fit what people are going for, but that happens a lot.
**As demonstrated by a decent chunk of people on this thread

2D8HP
2017-03-23, 01:36 PM
....The player group is generally of the immersion first, maintain the illusion perspective**..

......

**As demonstrated by a decent chunk of people on this thread


There's others besides me?

Awesome!

Koo Rehtorb
2017-03-23, 01:40 PM
That demonstrates that they can be used as a railroading tool. Here's another case though - the group as a whole wants a tone where the PCs are larger than life heroes who interact with the world in larger than life ways, and who should only go out in a larger than life fashion. The group is playing Savage Worlds with an Arthurian Knight's setting, and a child with a grievance and a knife moves to stab one of the PCs. It's obvious that in the intended tone, collectively decided on by the group, that the question here isn't supposed to be "do they hit?" and "how much damage do they do?", but "how does the PC respond?". Because of the rules of the game*, there's an attack roll, and they hit. Damage then explodes about five times, and it kills the PC. The player group is generally of the immersion first, maintain the illusion perspective**, so the GM fudges the roll to not kill the PC but just grievously wound them. The dice still had an impact there, taking the situation from the likely failure on the child's part to a fairly dramatic success and changing the fundamental question of the scene, but it's hardly railroading for the GM to fudge the roll there. It's them making a decision for how to implement the tone collectively decided on by the group in the face of the game not working.

*Which absolutely doesn't fit what people are going for, but that happens a lot.
**As demonstrated by a decent chunk of people on this thread

Well obviously the first question is why the hell they're using this game in the first place for the tone they're trying to establish, but you already know that.

The second question is why, in this larger than life Arthurian myth setting, the GM is even rolling for the child with a knife at all. You don't need the combat mechanics for that. You say "The child is coming at you with a knife. What do you do and how does this play out?" The child does not have the fictional positioning to even attempt to hurt the larger than life Arthurian knight.

Third, if the group are responsible players then they've already collectively decided in advance that if the ill-fitting mechanics result in a PC death that's clearly inappropriate for the tone then the result is a traumatic injury instead. There's no harm in house ruling things so long as it's transparent.

Keltest
2017-03-23, 01:51 PM
Well obviously the first question is why the hell they're using this game in the first place for the tone they're trying to establish, but you already know that.

The second question is why, in this larger than life Arthurian myth setting, the GM is even rolling for the child with a knife at all. You don't need the combat mechanics for that. You say "The child is coming at you with a knife. What do you do and how does this play out?" The child does not have the fictional positioning to even attempt to hurt the larger than life Arthurian knight.

Third, if the group are responsible players then they've already collectively decided in advance that if the ill-fitting mechanics result in a PC death that's clearly inappropriate for the tone then the result is a traumatic injury instead. There's no harm in house ruling things so long as it's transparent.

To answer your first question, the people I play with have access to D&D books, and only D&D books. We know the system fairly well, and don't have the finances to go out and pick up a new system, so we use the one we know since it works well enough.

The answer to your second question is because "player gets wounded by angry child with a knife" can potentially be as interesting a scenario as "random child with a knife gets whooped by the PCs." Assassinations and ambushes by unlikely parties naturally happen even to larger than life heroes, made all the more dramatic because it comes from a source theyre probably unwilling to harm. Plus, in your scenario, whether the child is actually successful or not is not elaborated on, so each person could potentially be reacting to a different scenario. By making it a definite "yes he did" or "no he did not hit you" thing, it helps make sure everybody is on the same page and up to speed.

And your third point is in fact a non-point, because a blanket statement at the beginning of the adventure is a worthless gesture. Lets say player A's character dies, they could think its not a dramatically appropriate death, and the table is split as to whether it is. If the vote goes to the DM, then were right back to the scenario youre decrying, where the DM unilaterally decides to ignore the rules in this scenario (or follow them) irrespective of player input. If its run by democracy, you've got a fight at the table and the game has stalled because there is no objective standard for "dramatic appropriateness", which is bad. If its decided to default to the rules during a lack of consensus, then this "house rule" might as well not be a thing.

Koo Rehtorb
2017-03-23, 02:06 PM
To answer your first question, the people I play with have access to D&D books, and only D&D books. We know the system fairly well, and don't have the finances to go out and pick up a new system, so we use the one we know since it works well enough.

Breaking my heart here. :smallfrown:

There are a good number of excellent free games out there too, if finances are getting in the way of tabletop goodness.


The answer to your second question is because "player gets wounded by angry child with a knife" can potentially be as interesting a scenario as "random child with a knife gets whooped by the PCs." Assassinations and ambushes by unlikely parties naturally happen even to larger than life heroes, made all the more dramatic because it comes from a source theyre probably unwilling to harm. Plus, in your scenario, whether the child is actually successful or not is not elaborated on, so each person could potentially be reacting to a different scenario. By making it a definite "yes he did" or "no he did not hit you" thing, it helps make sure everybody is on the same page and up to speed.

Making "Does the child successfully shiv Sir Lancealot in the throat?" an actual question for the mechanics is totally incongruous with the tone of the game! If you're insisting on playing an ill-fitting game then you're going to have to take a lot of burden for the game on yourself. Not using the mechanics for stupid situations like this is one of the prices you're going to have to pay for trying to play The Once and Future King in Savage Worlds.


And your third point is in fact a non-point, because a blanket statement at the beginning of the adventure is a worthless gesture. Lets say player A's character dies, they could think its not a dramatically appropriate death, and the table is split as to whether it is. If the vote goes to the DM, then were right back to the scenario youre decrying, where the DM unilaterally decides to ignore the rules in this scenario (or follow them) irrespective of player input. If its run by democracy, you've got a fight at the table and the game has stalled because there is no objective standard for "dramatic appropriateness", which is bad. If its decided to default to the rules during a lack of consensus, then this "house rule" might as well not be a thing.

Yes, hence why it's vastly preferable to just play a game that actually supports what you're trying to do instead of cobbling together a Frankenstein monster of a system. If the group is actually one that can't agree if a death was thematically appropriate or not then it's a group that has absolutely no business in trying this freakish experiment in the first place.

Lord Torath
2017-03-23, 02:08 PM
But it is the same thing. Imagine for a moment a situation in which the GM wants the final fight of the game to involve a few PC deaths because it fits his artistic vision that the climax of the campaign is bittersweet. So he just fudges some dice results, lies about some crits, and kills a few PCs before the boss is finally brought down. Is anyone going to argue about this being railroading? This is the GM forcing his preconceived notion about a good story on the players, exceeding his authority as a GM. Imagine for a moment a situation in which the GM wants the final fight of the game to involve a few PC deaths because it fits his artistic vision that the climax of the campaign is bittersweet. So he increases the opposition to the point where one or more PCs are guaranteed to die in the course of the battle. He knows his players and their characters well, so he carefully tailors the opposition to match several of the PCs' weaknesses. During the battle, with no dice fudging required, the designated PCs end up dead.

Is there a meaningful difference between these two situations? You seem to be arguing that the version you made up is bad, while the version I made up is just fine, because no dice rolls were changed by the DM.

DM Fiat is responsible for the difficulty level your characters face. Full Stop*.

If you trust the DM to set the difficulty level you want to play at, does it matter how he sets that difficulty level? The DM chooses the monsters and their abilities with an eye to a particular difficulty level. Sometimes the DM will misjudge the monsters or their abilities, resulting in a different difficulty level than he/she intended. Sometimes the dice conspire to increase the difficulty level beyond what the DM intended. Is there a difference between fudging a die roll (without the players' knowledge) to keep an encounter from becoming too deadly and deciding to have planned-on reinforcements not show up (again, without the players' knowledge) to similarly prevent an encounter from becoming to deadly? If so, what is the difference?

* Yes, there are exceptions. The PCs can challenge each other. But in general...

Koo Rehtorb
2017-03-23, 02:17 PM
Is there a meaningful difference between these two situations? You seem to be arguing that the version you made up is bad, while the version I made up is just fine, because no dice rolls were changed by the DM.

Yes. There is. Provided that the DM faithfully sticks to the setup he made and doesn't continue to change that setup based on player decisions. If the PCs look at this encounter and go "This is too much for us to safely take. We're going to do X*" and X turns out to counter the setup that the DM has expected to kill a PC then there is in fact a meaningful distinction. It doesn't matter if the PCs actually do it or not, so long as there existed a realistic possibility for things to have gone in a way that wasn't what the DM expected. Players can take steps to counter fiction. They cannot take steps to counter dice fudging.

Which isn't to say everything a GM does is theoretically okay so long as it doesn't involve fudging dice. There are absolutely other forms of railroading other than dice fudging, and those are also unacceptable. It's just a separate topic is all.

*Where X is some nameless preparation to improve their chances.

Knaight
2017-03-23, 02:30 PM
Well obviously the first question is why the hell they're using this game in the first place for the tone they're trying to establish, but you already know that.
Trust me, I beat the "just find something else" drum a lot when some of the more outlandish hacks go around, particularly when it comes to nominally generic systems (e.g. Savage Worlds) bumping up into the edges of what they can actually do. Just look at this forum though - you've got people putting hundreds out hours of work into their own custom systems without bothering to research more than different D&D editions first.


The second question is why, in this larger than life Arthurian myth setting, the GM is even rolling for the child with a knife at all. You don't need the combat mechanics for that. You say "The child is coming at you with a knife. What do you do and how does this play out?" The child does not have the fictional positioning to even attempt to hurt the larger than life Arthurian knight.
There's multiple interesting outcomes which can be adjudicated off the top of my head, starting with the PC reacting to different varieties of non-fatal (and predicted as minor) injury versus a complete miss, there's the initiative mechanics from combat that could influence which PC gets to react, etc. There's good reasons to run it in the combat system even if it technically can produce some highly low probability event that nobody wants, because most of the results are good. There's that "the dice are the (n+1)th player" quote that goes around, and while I have quibbles with it it works as an analogy here. Like any other player (including the GM) that isn't a problem player, most of what the dice do is fine. Occasionally though the table might need to throw a "Dude, really?" at a player, and that includes the dice. Fudging isn't a particularly elegant way to do that, but sometimes you have to use a kludge.


Third, if the group are responsible players then they've already collectively decided in advance that if the ill-fitting mechanics result in a PC death that's clearly inappropriate for the tone then the result is a traumatic injury instead. There's no harm in house ruling things so long as it's transparent.
There's house ruling proper and then there's on the fly rulings that contradict the rules when necessary. It's in the second one where fudging might be warranted.

Cluedrew
2017-03-23, 02:39 PM
The point is, dice fudging is fundamentally GM railroading. If you overrule the dice it is inherently saying that the GM's vision of what should happen is more important than anything else.Is there an unspoken qualifier of "GM dice fudging", otherwise I think the argument falls pretty fast.



A general question: Is any form of breaking from the rules cheating if it is considered acceptable, at least in that case? Especially in games where there are comments about breaking from the rules as part of the system.

Zanos
2017-03-23, 03:11 PM
Is there an unspoken qualifier of "GM dice fudging", otherwise I think the argument falls pretty fast..
Not sure what you mean here. Are you asking for definition? Dice fudging is when you declare a result other than the face of the die for whatever reason.


Is there a meaningful difference between these two situations? You seem to be arguing that the version you made up is bad, while the version I made up is just fine, because no dice rolls were changed by the DM.
Yes. One scenario is the DM creating a world that responds to the characters actions, and they can alter the outcome of the situation with clever thought, good tactics, luck, or something the DM hadn't had the enemy's plan for or know about. The other scenario is a preordained foregone conclusion, where the players step through a CYOA adventure novel without the C.

ImNotTrevor
2017-03-23, 03:16 PM
That's funny. I play 5e D&D mostly with new players (new to D&D as well as to TTRPGs in general). I've found that for the majority of them, non-mechanical RP is what they do best. They don't remember the numbers, don't really get into the crunch much, but talking and playing in character? That they do almost automatically. Other than being bad about metaknowledge (they're mostly teenagers, so it makes some sense), they RP better than the grognards I used to run with.

Now if you want social combat mechanics, sure. D&D doesn't have those. I think we over-estimate here on the forums how rule-forward most new players are. Most don't care about incentive structures, optimization, or any of those things. Of course, there are some who just want to win (and are willing to cheat), or those who find joy in challenge, etc. All I'm saying is that from my experience, those types are not the majority of new players.

Edit: I'll note that this spontaneous RP is with very little prompting from me. I'm a very rule-focused person by nature, and "RP" in that sense is hard for me. They do it anyway. Lots.

I'll lump a lot of the similar replies in with this, but this one is the longest:

This is all covered in my post when I specified people who arent already interested in RP. People who are interested in the RP side will RP, unless the system actively discourages it. (Which, in my opinion, D&D can sometimes do because what few mechanics it has for RP-related activities are just that bad.)

That you CAN'T RP with D&D is not my assertion. My assertion is that D&D doesn't do a good job of fostering or promoting RP from those hesitant to do so. That much I have lots of experience with. Some systems promote and encourage RP. Some barely say anything beyond "you should do it. We're not gonna help you figure out how or when or why.... but just do it."

Again: People who like to RP, like me, will RP come hell or high water because that is what we find fun. However, I do enough freeform RP and personal writing that I enjoy the inclusion of social mechanics in an RPG because I get enough of the "pure RP" through my other hobbies and want something different. (Hence why I'm kind of a Perma-GM and like to play systems where I can easily improvise and encourage my players to go crazy, because that's fun for me.)

2D8HP
2017-03-23, 04:22 PM
....There's no harm in house ruling things so long as it's transparent.


What is the purpose of the transparency?

IRL if I throw a dart at a board, while I may have a little bit of a sense of my likelihood of hitting a bullseye, I don't know the exact percentage chance of success, why should I know exactly how likely my PC is to hit a target with an arrow?

I want to feel that the GM isn't favoring one PC over another, to feel that some things are left to chance (for the suspense), the sense that the GM's "world" isn't merely a blank page or a thin script, and I want to feel that my PC's choices have some meaning.
But knowing the exact mechanics the GM is using to model the gameworld's reality? What for?

Quertus
2017-03-23, 05:52 PM
Theres more reasons than just narrative reasons to fudge the dice. Ive got one particular player, whom I shall call C, who plays very aggressively. As a result of this, he's gone through more characters than anybody else at our table, by a healthy margin. That also resulted in significant down time for him while his characters either get resurrected or he makes a new one and waits for them to enter the story. So when the party is fighting some trivial flavor encounter, and he starts taking a bunch of damage, I'm going to start turning critical hits into regular hits so that he has the chance to back out and reconsider what he's doing, or get healed, or something to help keep him alive. And if he insists on staying in there, then its his own choice, and he suffers the consequences. The poor guy suffers enough down time as it is without random criticals and (un)lucky streaks adding to that.

Alternately, if C cares about that, C could just cheat on their rolls to survive. If C does not care, they could just accept the rolls. This does nothing to explain the mindset of "only the GM is allowed to fudge rolls", and actually works better as an example against that mindset.

So, again, why would you ever want to only allow the GM to fudge rolls?


In the short term, yes, I think people generally prefer winning to losing.

If the GM cheats to let the players win then the players aren't actually winning, though. People instinctively understand that. And players do eventually get a feel for that's what happening. If players understand that they're earning victory on their own merits rather than because the GM let them win then it makes for a more powerful experience for everyone. Having some lows makes the highs so much better.

This. We each have our religion on how this should be done, so we probably won't get any converts, but I just don't understand the other side. I've explained my reasons: I don't believe people should cheat, but, for my personal fun, the GM cheating can ruin the game, while a player cheating cannot, for reasons I've already explained. If anyone has given me a reason why going the exact opposite way makes any sense, I apologize, but I missed it.


There's an assumption being made here that if fudging exists it's to force a certain end condition, and that's not necessarily the case. It's much more likely that it exists because everyone is fine with ruleset outputs the vast majority of the time, but for that remaining fraction of a percent it doesn't work, and thus fudging is used to subtly alter the rulesset in effect such that it generates almost the same outcome space but with certain edge cases removed. This also wouldn't prevent people from actually winning, it just means that the game being won doesn't exactly resemble the game in the books (which is already the case, as the books are a tool in the first place and the GM is bringing a whole bunch more into it, starting with every setting element that isn't detailed and the implementation of those that are).

That's not my experience, nor why anyone I've discussed the matter with fudges rolls.


One, if an encounter's difficulty is too little/too much, it reduces the enjoyment of the players and the DM. Imagine fighting an ancient red dragon, and then it dies in three rounds. That's boring.

Yeah, no. If variety is the spice of life, is not a variety of challenge levels a good thing? I certainly find that it is. And, for the record, yes, an ancient red dragon taking 3 rounds to die sure does sound boring. I got a 17 on init, and never got a turn, because the party killed the ancient red dragon before I got to go. That was awesome! That party was awesome. :smallcool:

Well, ok, it wasn't my character, it was an NPC my character had press-ganged into service I was running, who had the lowest init in the party at +7, and they probably got a 12 or so total on their init roll. The specific numbers elude me, but, still, the elven archer was too slow to get to attack the ancient red dragon before the party killed it is still a good story.


Two, while there is no theoretical limit to the number of monsters a DM can write up, when they run out of pre-generated monsters they need to halt the entire game to go roll up some more, or just end the game early. Neither is desirable, as they create periods of time where the game isn't being played. Saying "next time" is all well and good, but it doesn't resolve the issues that are happening this time.


Missing the point. Any time the DM has to say "hold on a minute, lemme find X in this book" is an interruption to the game and thus generally something you want to avoid.

I'd say that's the wrong lesson to take away. One valid lesson might be, "don't create custom content until you understand the system". Heck, I'd have a lot fewer horrible GM stories if idiots hasn't tried to "fix" the system.

But other valid lessons include, "don't just have what you expect to be a single night's worth of content prepared". Or "be prepared with a backup plan". Or "learn to wing it". Or countless more lessons that might be valid. "cheat because you're an idiot" just doesn't sound like a good lesson to learn, IMO. :smallyuk:


The point is, dice fudging is fundamentally GM railroading. If you overrule the dice it is inherently saying that the GM's vision of what should happen is more important than anything else.

Yup.


The GM controls the encounter strength. They determine how strong the opponents are, what the terrain available is, whether reinforcements for either side will show up, and how powerful they will be. Whether there are other factors that affect the combat. Fundamentally, every encounter that the PCs win is one the GM lets them win.


DM Fiat is responsible for the difficulty level your characters face. Full Stop*.

Uh, no. Whoever wrote the module is generally responsible for the difficulty level. That person may happen to be the GM.

However, when the PCs decide to go of the rails, the players should generally be responsible for the difficulty level.

Note that most people, myself included, believe that the PCs should live off the rails. Railroading is generally held to be a bad thing.

So, unless the GM cheats, the difficulty should usually be in the hands of the players.

PhoenixPhyre
2017-03-23, 06:50 PM
Uh, no. Whoever wrote the module is generally responsible for the difficulty level. That person may happen to be the GM.

However, when the PCs decide to go of the rails, the players should generally be responsible for the difficulty level.

Note that most people, myself included, believe that the PCs should live off the rails. Railroading is generally held to be a bad thing.

So, unless the GM cheats, the difficulty should usually be in the hands of the players.

As a DM who has had players not only go off script but burn it to ash and stomp on the pieces, I'm still the one who's responsible for the difficulty at the end of everything. By definition, the party cannot encounter something that the DM didn't put there. Now of course the party can modulate the difficulty by good planning, tactics, or otherwise playing smart (or stupid). But that dragon is there because I decided it was there. The idea of a game where the DM just provides a window into a pre-existing world that handles itself is a pipe-dream. A beautiful one, but fake, in the end.

For the discussion as a whole--let me describe a situation and you tell me whether I "cheated" in your opinion. The game system is 5e D&D, the setting a custom one, but no formal house-rules affected the outcome.

The party was fighting a boss-type monster, pulled directly from the MM. I usually set the health at the average of the HD, but have never set that in stone. In this case, once it became clear that the party (through great rolls on their part and my usual crap rolls) were going to burn it down quite anticlimactically (IIRC, before it would even act). I decided after combat began that this guy would have max health. Was that cheating?

What about deciding that circumstances require scaling up or down the damage dice? Or playing the monsters smarter (or stupider) than their INT score warrants? These are done on the fly based on my sense of what will be the most fun for the party. None of these are "transparent" as the players don't know the stat blocks, and I don't necessarily tell them. Would those that have trouble with "fudging" have a problem with those actions? If so, why? If not, what makes them different than other "fudging?"

Quertus
2017-03-23, 07:52 PM
What is the purpose of the transparency?

IRL if I throw a dart at a board, while I may have a little bit of a sense of my likelihood of hitting a bullseye, I don't know the exact percentage chance of success, why should I know exactly how likely my PC is to hit a target with an arrow?

I may have misunderstood, but I think the level of rules change transparency being discussed means you would feel disbelief if your dart flew around the world, and hit you in the back of the head. Or if you went to throw the dart, and instead threw Orcus.


As a DM who has had players not only go off script but burn it to ash and stomp on the pieces, I'm still the one who's responsible for the difficulty at the end of everything. By definition, the party cannot encounter something that the DM didn't put there. Now of course the party can modulate the difficulty by good planning, tactics, or otherwise playing smart (or stupid). But that dragon is there because I decided it was there. The idea of a game where the DM just provides a window into a pre-existing world that handles itself is a pipe-dream. A beautiful one, but fake, in the end.

And, speaking from (second-hand) experience, the 1st level party that chose to attack the ancient red dragon flying overhead instead of letting it pass by selected their difficulty level.


For the discussion as a whole--let me describe a situation and you tell me whether I "cheated" in your opinion. The game system is 5e D&D, the setting a custom one, but no formal house-rules affected the outcome.

The party was fighting a boss-type monster, pulled directly from the MM. I usually set the health at the average of the HD, but have never set that in stone. In this case, once it became clear that the party (through great rolls on their part and my usual crap rolls) were going to burn it down quite anticlimactically (IIRC, before it would even act). I decided after combat began that this guy would have max health. Was that cheating?

What about deciding that circumstances require scaling up or down the damage dice? Or playing the monsters smarter (or stupider) than their INT score warrants? These are done on the fly based on my sense of what will be the most fun for the party. None of these are "transparent" as the players don't know the stat blocks, and I don't necessarily tell them. Would those that have trouble with "fudging" have a problem with those actions? If so, why? If not, what makes them different than other "fudging?"

Let me answer your question with a question story.

Once upon a time, a 2e D&D DM pitted the party - plus an entire army! - against a slightly resurrected god in inconvenient castle form.

One of the other players happened to keep track, and the castle god took over 1,000 damage from the party alone. At full power, 2e gods don't have that kind of HP! And that doesn't count whatever the army did to it.

Do you think anyone felt like they defeated a minor god shard / a semi-resurrected deity? EDIT: our do you think they felt more like the DM was reading them a story?

Koo Rehtorb
2017-03-23, 07:54 PM
There's multiple interesting outcomes which can be adjudicated off the top of my head, starting with the PC reacting to different varieties of non-fatal (and predicted as minor) injury versus a complete miss, there's the initiative mechanics from combat that could influence which PC gets to react, etc. There's good reasons to run it in the combat system even if it technically can produce some highly low probability event that nobody wants, because most of the results are good. There's that "the dice are the (n+1)th player" quote that goes around, and while I have quibbles with it it works as an analogy here. Like any other player (including the GM) that isn't a problem player, most of what the dice do is fine. Occasionally though the table might need to throw a "Dude, really?" at a player, and that includes the dice. Fudging isn't a particularly elegant way to do that, but sometimes you have to use a kludge.

I object to the original situation presented because I fundamentally don't think "Does a child succeed at stabbing an Arthurian knight?" is a question that needs to be answered, nor is it the interesting question in the scene. "What does the Arthurian knight do about the child trying to stab him?" is the real question here.

I can certainly picture a situation in which you might want to use the actual mechanics instead, though. In that case I really do not see the point in this sort of wishy-washy "Well those results are okay but THOSE results aren't" attitude. If you're going to leave it up to the dice then leave it up to the dice. And if the game you're playing has dice results that are unacceptable to the group, then make a rule about them in advance. If you're picking and choosing responses based on how much you like them on the fly then why are you even playing a game with randomness built into it?


Is there an unspoken qualifier of "GM dice fudging", otherwise I think the argument falls pretty fast.

Yes, obviously.


A general question: Is any form of breaking from the rules cheating if it is considered acceptable, at least in that case? Especially in games where there are comments about breaking from the rules as part of the system.

I should probably refrain from saying cheating because of (horrible) decisions to include terrible suggestions like that in some games. Technically not cheating. Still not a good idea. I'm still probably going to keep calling it cheating as shorthand, though.


What is the purpose of the transparency?

IRL if I throw a dart at a board, while I may have a little bit of a sense of my likelihood of hitting a bullseye, I don't know the exact percentage chance of success, why should I know exactly how likely my PC is to hit a target with an arrow?

I want to feel that the GM isn't favoring one PC over another, to feel that some things are left to chance (for the suspense), the sense that the GM's "world" isn't merely a blank page or a thin script, and I want to feel that my PC's choices have some meaning.
But knowing the exact mechanics the GM is using to model the gameworld's reality? What for?

If the rules don't matter then you're not playing a game. You're doing ****ty improv theater at best, and listening to the GM tell you his super cool story at worst.


The party was fighting a boss-type monster, pulled directly from the MM. I usually set the health at the average of the HD, but have never set that in stone. In this case, once it became clear that the party (through great rolls on their part and my usual crap rolls) were going to burn it down quite anticlimactically (IIRC, before it would even act). I decided after combat began that this guy would have max health. Was that cheating?

What about deciding that circumstances require scaling up or down the damage dice? Or playing the monsters smarter (or stupider) than their INT score warrants? These are done on the fly based on my sense of what will be the most fun for the party. None of these are "transparent" as the players don't know the stat blocks, and I don't necessarily tell them. Would those that have trouble with "fudging" have a problem with those actions? If so, why? If not, what makes them different than other "fudging?"

Yes. I object to literally all those situations.

You can certainly make a goblin genius or a chimera with asthma if you want to. Just don't do it as a response to your preconceived notions that the players are killing them too quickly/slowly.

When you play (most) RPGs you are signing up for the idea that random chance is going to play a big part in helping to shape the story. If you change the mechanics based on how you personally want the story to unfold you are sabotaging one of the fundamental pillars of tabletop roleplaying. Maybe your super cool ninja assassin was supposed to be an epic boss for the party. They were supposed to struggle to defeat him while he danced around doing cool flips and **** and mocking the party. Maybe instead he rolled three 1s in a row and fell over and broke his neck. That's fine! That's a moment that the players will be talking about for decades.

Darth Ultron
2017-03-23, 08:30 PM
But it is the same thing.

Odd, your supporting railroading?




Is there a meaningful difference between these two situations? You seem to be arguing that the version you made up is bad, while the version I made up is just fine, because no dice rolls were changed by the DM.

Nope, no difference.

And what about when the players ask for a game or encounter? Is it ok for a DM to ''do things'' then?

Cluedrew
2017-03-23, 08:48 PM
Yes, obviously.Thought so, little wording things like that amuse me though, which is the main reason I bothered.


If the rules don't matter then you're not playing a game. You're doing ****ty improv theater at best, and listening to the GM tell you his super cool story at worst.Since I'm guessing "****ty" is supposed denote lack of quality, I think that is unfair. It could be quite good improv theater. Also I think the point was the exact rules and values don't matter as much as the general feel they create. 2D8HP would have to confirm.

Kane0
2017-03-23, 09:05 PM
I usually handle it by microwaving their dice.

Keltest
2017-03-23, 09:21 PM
Alternately, if C cares about that, C could just cheat on their rolls to survive. If C does not care, they could just accept the rolls. This does nothing to explain the mindset of "only the GM is allowed to fudge rolls", and actually works better as an example against that mindset.

So, again, why would you ever want to only allow the GM to fudge rolls?

By coincidence, I'm fairly certain he does. I let him get away with it because A: I'm not actually 100% positive, and thus not confidant enough to pick that fight with a friend, and B: because he clearly needs all the help he can get. If he were to do it in the open so that there would be no doubt (and not immediately cop to it and roll again) I would tell him to knock it off. Collecting modifiers for your rolls is part of the game on the player side of the screen. Resource management and class progression. The DM picks numbers that seem appropriate, and does what he has to in order to make them appropriate, whether it be templating the monster, adding a DMPC, or fudging the dice.

Quertus
2017-03-23, 09:23 PM
Thought so, little wording things like that amuse me though, which is the main reason I bothered.

Since I'm guessing "****ty" is supposed denote lack of quality, I think that is unfair. It could be quite good improv theater. Also I think the point was the exact rules and values don't matter as much as the general feel they create. 2D8HP would have to confirm.

Actors feed off their audience. Most gaming groups are much smaller than a good audience. So it's not a completely unfounded assumption that it would produce a bad improv experience.

Of course, most role-playing involves more improv than improv theatre, so there's that.

2D8HP
2017-03-23, 10:53 PM
...I think the point was the exact rules and values don't matter as much as the general feel they create. 2D8HP would have to confirm.


Yes, well said. Also my knowing the precise odds of success makes the game "world" less believable/breaks verisimilitude .

As a GM I care if rules help me model something I couldn't improvise on my own. If a player is trying to jump a chasm I can improvise a chance of success and have them roll for it.

But gaming "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight" style moral temptations?

1985's Pendragon rules provided a way to model them that I never would have thought of on my own.

Similarly the 1981's Stormbringer rules gave me a magic system that excited me.

As a player I want rules systems that provide a template for creating characters I want to play in "worlds" I want to explore.

I also want balanced PC's. I thought the Stormbringer RPG better modelled the Swords and Sorcery stories that I loved, but it's flaw was that it's random character creation method typically resulted in a party of one mighty sorcerer and four drooling beggers, and "superhero and comic sidekicks" is not what I want to play (neither the superhero and certainly not the sidekicks!).

But knowing if an arrow my PC shoots has a 58% or a 73% chance of hitting it's target?

No I don't want that much transparency.

A lot of the desire for "set in stone" rules seems to be because of mistrust of the GM, which puzzles me.

Why sit at that table?

Koo Rehtorb
2017-03-23, 11:14 PM
Since I'm guessing "****ty" is supposed denote lack of quality, I think that is unfair. It could be quite good improv theater. Also I think the point was the exact rules and values don't matter as much as the general feel they create. 2D8HP would have to confirm.

Imagine a world in which the default assumption was that the home team in any athletic competition got to make up the rules. And then imagine that not only did they get to make up the rules, but they were allowed to make up the rules and not tell the other team about it. That's why rule transparency is important. Because you're playing a game. And rules are important in games for setting expectations.

If you're the sort of player that doesn't want to learn any rules (then I consider you kind of a lousy player), but the answer isn't to just let the GM make up whatever he wants. It's to play a game with easier intuitive rules. Dungeon World, for example, was specifically designed for a group of 1e D&D players that refused to learn the rules. And again I will suggest that you play Dungeon World, 2d8. I think you'd really enjoy it.

Keltest
2017-03-23, 11:19 PM
Imagine a world in which the default assumption was that the home team in any athletic competition got to make up the rules. And then imagine that not only did they get to make up the rules, but they were allowed to make up the rules and not tell the other team about it. That's why rule transparency is important. Because you're playing a game. And rules are important in games for setting expectations.

If you're the sort of player that doesn't want to learn any rules (then I consider you kind of a lousy player), but the answer isn't to just let the GM make up whatever he wants. It's to play a game with easier intuitive rules. Dungeon World, for example, was specifically designed for a group of 1e D&D players that refused to learn the rules. And again I will suggest that you play Dungeon World, 2d8. I think you'd really enjoy it.

Except the players are not competing against the DM. Both sides of the screen need to work together to make the game work. If one side decides the other is the enemy and needs to be defeated, you end up with a mess that nobody finds satisfying. And that includes when the players fight against the DM. If you don't trust that the DM has your mutual enjoyment at heart, then you shouldn't play with that DM irrespective of how tightly they adhere to the rules.

Koo Rehtorb
2017-03-23, 11:28 PM
Except the players are not competing against the DM. Both sides of the screen need to work together to make the game work. If one side decides the other is the enemy and needs to be defeated, you end up with a mess that nobody finds satisfying. And that includes when the players fight against the DM. If you don't trust that the DM has your mutual enjoyment at heart, then you shouldn't play with that DM irrespective of how tightly they adhere to the rules.

It's a game. If the rules don't matter then you're stripping the G out of RPG. And that's fine, if it's your thing. Humans have been doing collaborative oral storytelling for millennia. But you should probably drop the pretense.

2D8HP
2017-03-24, 12:04 AM
...the answer isn't to just let the GM make up whatever he wants. It's to play a game with easier intuitive rules


For.whatever it's worth I found the rules of Call of Cthullu very intuitive.


Dungeon World, for example, was specifically designed for a group of 1e D&D players that refused to learn the rules. And again I will suggest that you play Dungeon World, 2d8. I think you'd really enjoy it.


I have two copies (one at home and another at work)! Sadly I don't have anyone to play it with.

Of new-ish games, I have been extended an invitation to play FATE, which I hope pans out, Savage World's also intrigues me.


Except the players are not competing against the DM. Both sides of the screen need to work together to make the game work. If one side decides the other is the enemy and needs to be defeated, you end up with a mess that nobody finds satisfying. And that includes when the players fight against the DM. If you don't trust that the DM has your mutual enjoyment at heart, then you shouldn't play with that DM irrespective of how tightly they adhere to the rules.


I agree completely. While the "Killer DM" is kind of an "old school" legend, of the dimly remembered games I actually played in the very late 1970's and early to mid 80's, I really don't remember any, which is not to say me PC's didn't die, they did like flies, but that was because I was a particularly incautious player (but still not as much as many 5e players seem to be now).

Actually while some of it seems familiar, a lot of the ways of the "old school revival" I read about, just doesn't much my memories, maybe things were different in my area?


It's a game. If the rules don't matter then you're stripping the G out of RPG. And that's fine, if it's your thing. Humans have been doing collaborative oral storytelling for millennia. But you should probably drop the pretense.


Ha! I long argued that calling D&D a "role-playing" game was a mistake, maybe we should just call it play?

But to the larger point, collaborative storytelling doesn't give me a sense of exploring a world, and it's getting that sense of exploration as a player that makes me want some of the rules to be murky.

As a GM on the other hand, I've just usually found it easier to improvise a rolling, than to look up or memorize a rule.

It's only when I can't think up something s a GM that I crave explicit rules.

Theoboldi
2017-03-24, 12:13 AM
It's a game. If the rules don't matter then you're stripping the G out of RPG. And that's fine, if it's your thing. Humans have been doing collaborative oral storytelling for millennia. But you should probably drop the pretense.
It's not pretense, though. Just because they don't emphasize the random rolls as much and don't have a clear victory condition doesn't make it 'not a game'. Or would you seriously argue that children playing Tag is not a game either, since theres no real victory condition?

Honestly, I find this all or nothing attitude pretty bizarre. Either you adhere fully to the dice rolls and the GM is an impartial judge of the world against the PCs, or you throw out the dice and the system fully and make up whatever story you like? That's how you're presenting it. And it's ridiculous, since lots of people have made something that lies more in the middle of those two extemes work for them. And I don't think they would be happier if they fully devoted temselves to one extreme.

Saying that they have to, and that anything other than your type of play doeynt count as gaming reeks of pretension for me. I mean, whats even the point of declaring it 'not a game'? That only makes it sound like you want to feel good about being the only 'true', 'pure' gamer in this discussion, and everyone else has no idea or capacity to tell what they really enjoy.

Koo Rehtorb
2017-03-24, 12:34 AM
It's not pretense, though. Just because they don't emphasize the random rolls as much and don't have a clear victory condition doesn't make it 'not a game'. Or would you seriously argue that children playing Tag is not a game either, since theres no real victory condition?

A game doesn't need a victory condition to be a game. D&D tends to have victory conditions, but RPGs in general don't have to have one.

Tag, however, has rules. And you know what? From my memories of playing Tag it sure sucked a lot when people weren't on the same page about if tag-backs were allowed.


Honestly, I find this all or nothing attitude pretty bizarre. Either you adhere fully to the dice rolls and the GM is an impartial judge of the world against the PCs, or you throw out the dice and the system fully and make up whatever story you like?

If you say it's okay to ignore the rules then it's okay to ignore the rules. That's true, by definition.

I find it utterly bizarre that so many people find it acceptable that one player, in a group of players, be the one allowed to change the rules. And not just change the rules, but change the rules secretly. All I've been saying, from the start, is that if you're going to change the rules of the game it should be a group decision, and it should be transparent. This is not an unreasonable stance.

I guess I'm also saying if you're routinely changing the rules then you might be better served by a different system.

Beelzebubba
2017-03-24, 02:41 AM
The way Wish was introduced to D&D has always been lacking, and I think the twisting of them in most cases is absolutely necessary.

Anyone using Wish in their campaign without using it as an abject mortal lesson in hubris is losing an amazing opportunity to make the players have one of the classical literary themes be made real. Wishes have always been a method for people to learn a) not to mess with Fate, b) not be selfish and c) how to handle power responsibly.

Nothing comes for free.

IMC the only way greedy Wishes don't have some sort of equalizing blowback is if the wish is used to grant a boon to someone with no idea who made it, so there is no way for a 'quid pro quo' to develop. Pure generosity. Which, then gets rewarded in an oblique way that lets the character know their virtue was seen kindly by Fate.

Selfish people that, when they have infinite power, only seek to benefit themselves, are shown the immorality of their ways.

Darth Ultron
2017-03-24, 06:37 AM
Except the players are not competing against the DM. Both sides of the screen need to work together to make the game work. If one side decides the other is the enemy and needs to be defeated, you end up with a mess that nobody finds satisfying. And that includes when the players fight against the DM. If you don't trust that the DM has your mutual enjoyment at heart, then you shouldn't play with that DM irrespective of how tightly they adhere to the rules.

This run around is a huge part of the problem. The almost all the DM's characters and whole world does look at the player characters as foes to be defeated and the Player's characters do look at nearly all the DM's characters and whole world as foes to be defeated.

But going into the crazy run around of ''ok, no one is against anyone and we are all playing together to make something special...but, um,er...we are still using the rules so we will be playing against each other (DM vs. PCs), but, um, er, will just say we are not doing that, even though we will be doing that exact thing. '' If the DM has bandits attack the PCs, even if they try and hide behind the dumb ''oh my game world setting on page 22 says I'm allowed to do a bandit attack in location X, but that I what is written (by me..hehe) and I have to follow the (not) ''rules as written'' just like any other player (though I'm not a player...lol)'', it is still the DM going ''against'' the players, right?

So after a while everyone just gets dizzy from going around and the game becomes: DM: "Um, nothing attacks you guys ever or ever does anything even slightly bad''.



I agree completely. While the "Killer DM" is kind of an "old school" legend, of the dimly remembered games I actually played in the very late 1970's and early to mid 80's, I really don't remember any, which is not to say me PC's didn't die, they did like flies, but that was because I was a particularly incautious player (but still not as much as many 5e players seem to be now).

Actually while some of it seems familiar, a lot of the ways of the "old school revival" I read about, just doesn't much my memories, maybe things were different in my area?


Might be your area. I'd be your in an area with a set way.

Killer DM's are common enough across the fruited plain, even today. I'm a Killer DM. I run hard fast lethal game. Even without me as DM killing bad players, the base game is very lethal. The players knows this (but not all understand and have to have dozens of characters dies before they get it) and they don't play the game like a ''awesome video game''. It's common enough for a character to die in almost every game and it brings a whole other level to the game. My players are thinking more ''will my character survive this time'' and not ''Yawn can wait to sit back and watch my super special character is immortal ''.

Knaight
2017-03-24, 06:59 AM
I can certainly picture a situation in which you might want to use the actual mechanics instead, though. In that case I really do not see the point in this sort of wishy-washy "Well those results are okay but THOSE results aren't" attitude. If you're going to leave it up to the dice then leave it up to the dice. And if the game you're playing has dice results that are unacceptable to the group, then make a rule about them in advance. If you're picking and choosing responses based on how much you like them on the fly then why are you even playing a game with randomness built into it?

There's nothing wishy washy about it. There's an incredibly wide range of outcomes that could be described. The outcomes that are acceptable are some subset of them, the outcomes that the dice can generate are a different subset. Randomness is desired*. The point at which the dice-generated subset becomes useful is less than a 100% perfect mapping to the acceptable outcome subset. How high it needs to be depends on the group (and to some extent how nitpicky and perfectionist the player is, and I say this as someone who is by far the most nitpicky perfectionist when it comes to mechanics in the groups I GM), but that still leaves some imperfect mapping to deal with somehow.

*I would say that otherwise people would have picked a diceless game, but let's be realistic here - there's a good chance of some overly elaborate D&D hack to try and remove the randomness.

Floret
2017-03-24, 07:00 AM
If you say it's okay to ignore the rules then it's okay to ignore the rules. That's true, by definition.

I find it utterly bizarre that so many people find it acceptable that one player, in a group of players, be the one allowed to change the rules. And not just change the rules, but change the rules secretly. All I've been saying, from the start, is that if you're going to change the rules of the game it should be a group decision, and it should be transparent. This is not an unreasonable stance.

I guess I'm also saying if you're routinely changing the rules then you might be better served by a different system.

See, I'm in two minds here.
On the one hand? "You might be better served with a different system" is a great mindset! Search for systems, try new ones, that really do what you want them (And don't just CLAIM to do that. There are so many badly designed systems out there...). But, of course, there is a problem: For some, maybe even many people, the "ideal system" where they wouldn't have to adapt the rules, doesn't exist.
And, sure, you can design your own. But hell, that takes time. (I tried. Still try. Took 3 whole ground-up revisions to even come to the current state, since the others were too tied up by assumptions and not doing what I wanted still.)
(Also, quick note: What you describe as reason to be against fudging, I could answer with "Why don't you play a board game, then?". Maybe a Dungeoncrawler, one of those fancy ones with generatable characters maybe. It sounds a lot closer to what you describe you want than most RPGs I know. Then again, I don't really know DnD.)

On the other hand - seeing the GM as "just another player", while probably a healthier attitude than "GM is a god", is also... not true. As people have pointed out: The GM is in control of EVERYTHING. They have the full power - if they want to do something to the player characters, they can (Provided that thing exists in the setting. Or... not even that. They can do it regardless. They are ****heads if they do, certainly, but they CAN). This isn't a game with equal sides. Comparing it to such is bound to run into ridiculousness. In many ways it might be closer to playing Co-op against a Computer. A sentient, maybe benevolent, and fallible computer, who also wants their fun.
So I see little point in claiming the GM doesn't have full control - they do. It's just that they should use it responsibly, and to ends that the entire group wants. If those ends, agreed upon by the entire group, require them to play a bit looser with the rules, and fudge the dice - who am I, who are you to tell them "No, this is WRONG."
I think the problem is: You have a preference for a certain type of game. That's great! But maybe you don't recognize it as a preference, and many other people don't share that, for whatever reason they might. Telling them they are doing it wrong will get you nothing but shaken heads. Because, as Theoboldi said: There is a middle ground here. "I want most of the results these dice can give me, but not all of them" - should I really invent houserules, that might mess with a whole lot of other stuff, just for fringe cases? Should I, just because of fringe cases, change the system? Maybe I'm not even aware that those results are possible before they come up and I have to do the maths. (Most) GMs don't have every possible dice roll outcome planned out.

One other thing, where I'd be interested to hear if you find it to be fudging:
In the Roll&Keep System of, for example, Legend of the Five Rings, you roll any number of dice and keep any number of those to add them up. Now, since you want higher numbers generally, one generally takes the highest dice. But... according to the rules you don't actually have to.
If a GM, after rolling for an NPC finds the highest dice to be too high, and chooses a lower selection, by which now the NPC DOESN'T kill the PC('s lion), but only heavily wound them, for example - is that fudging? It's RAW a legitimate way to interact with the dice - but the general expectation is that one does it differently.

Or, if I - as I so often do, because generating full statblocks bores the crap out of me - I have to improvise some stats for an NPC. Maybe he was never meant to be part of a combat, but now is pitted against the PCs - if I, during the fight, at the first time any stat comes up, spontaneously decide what that stat would be (Which I cannot really do unaffected by how the combat went so far) - would you consider that fudging?

Darth Ultron
2017-03-24, 07:22 AM
On the other hand - seeing the GM as "just another player", while probably a healthier attitude than "GM is a god", is also... not true. As people have pointed out: The GM is in control of EVERYTHING. They have the full power - if they want to do something to the player characters, they can (Provided that thing exists in the setting. Or... not even that. They can do it regardless. They are ****heads if they do, certainly, but they CAN). This isn't a game with equal sides. Comparing it to such is bound to run into ridiculousness.

Very true, the DM is not a player. The people that see ''DM'' and, somehow, see ''Player-DM'' are just odd.

First, it needs to be said that in most games a DM can just make whatever they want to on the spot. If a DM wants a goblin archer, then 'pop' one is there and has all the abilities, feats, skills, items or whatever else a DM wants it to have.

But far more importantly the DM really does control the flow of the game/story/encounter/plot/everything. It is not a group effort. The players can have influence, but not control. A lot of people on the board seem to like a soulless robot DM that follows some sort of agreed ''rules'' and just ''does thinks that make sense'' or something...and yet, at the same time make everything 100% favored for the PCs. So the result is what you'd expect, a lukewarm game where ''everyone has fun''. It's like having pizza for dinner as almost everyone likes pizza.

But the DM's job is huge in controlling the flow of the game/story/encounter/plot/everything. Anything that happens in the game is the DM's doing. Even if the DM wimps out and tries to hide behind the ''it is the NPC Zorn that is doing it not me'' even as they (the DM) roll a d20. Is the game slow and boring? Too fast? Too confusing? all this an more comes right back on the DM.

And yes, the players have to play the game too...but that is not the same thing.

2D8HP
2017-03-24, 07:55 AM
The way some players handle the situation: If the players want a greater challenge, they attempt to find it. If they find something too difficult, they attempt to evade or flee.

Sounds like a world to explore!


As for agreed upon "rules", From: (with my commentary)


.

I consider there to be three primary interaction types in RPGs.

Type 1:
GM: "This is the situation."
Player: "I do the thing!"
GM: "This is now the situation."

(GM as worldbuilder, player as explorer, that's what I want)

Type 2:
Player 1: "I move my pieces in accordance with the rules"
Player 2: "I move my pieces in accordance with the rules"
Player 3: "I move my pieces in accordance with the rules"

(If there is a GM, they're just holding a stopwatch. We not dispense with the GM and just play Risk?)

Type 3:
Player 1: "A thing happens!"
Player 2: "And then another thing happens!"
Player 3: "And then another thing happens!"

(Collaborative storytelling in which that the fictional "world" created is an artifice is just too obvious)

Cluedrew
2017-03-24, 08:32 AM
Very true, the DM is not a player. The people that see ''DM'' and, somehow, see ''Player-DM'' are just odd.They aren't the same kind of player as the others, but they are definitely sitting down to play a game with everyone else. What else would they be? I don't think I have to explain the issue with "GM as computer" (the GM should have fun too) and "GM as storyteller" means that you basically sit down for a computer-free version of Final Fantasy. OK that is a legitimate way to play the game as well, I have also played in those games and they where fun. But following the:
But far more importantly the DM really does control the flow of the game/story/encounter/plot/everything. It is not a group effort.Mindset has lead to more passive games. The players go from one plot point that was laid out ahead of time to the next. If the GM does a good job, it is fun and you want to see the next point. But it is a bit like seeing a play while walking across the stage. At least that is how it feels compared to the characters rushing of to do quests for people that only exist because they are mentioned in the PCs back story. Of course the GM keeps the pressure on, which can very from "roll some dice and we are fine" to "we might actually die" (and we have sometimes), but where we go to face those challenges, that can come from anywhere.

Tanarii
2017-03-24, 08:35 AM
Killer DM's are common enough across the fruited plain, even today. I'm a Killer DM. I run hard fast lethal game. Even without me as DM killing bad players, the base game is very lethal. The players knows this (but not all understand and have to have dozens of characters dies before they get it) and they don't play the game like a ''awesome video game''. It's common enough for a character to die in almost every game and it brings a whole other level to the game. My players are thinking more ''will my character survive this time'' and not ''Yawn can wait to sit back and watch my super special character is immortal ''.That's the difference to me too. "Killer DMs" usually get labeled that way by people that can't stand the idea that their characters will die a LOT if they don't exhibit gygaxian 'player skill', or as I prefer to call it: sufficient player Will to keep the PC the **** alive.

Not all games have to include this element to that extreme, and a serious PC sausage-mill can get induce a feeling of hopelessness if taken too far. But similarly too far in the other direction definitely becomes a case of 'ho hum what shall we do with our demi-god superheroes today' feeling ... even at the lowest levels.


Sounds like a world to explore!Yes. BTW I don't have a problem with less rules intensive rule sets, or more of a burden being put on the DM, or even DM-fiat adjudication based on their best judgement. I just have a problem with a DM changing the out-come of a die roll after they've already decided to pick up and roll the die. Because that gives the appearance of 'cheating', either in favor of the players or against. And IMX, both as a player and a DM, is that the appearance of cheating ruins player fun. This is not exclusive to dice fudging either, there are many ways to create the appearance of 'cheating', either for or against the players.


As for agreed upon "rules", From: (with my commentary)

Type 1:
GM: "This is the situation."
Player: "I do the thing!"
GM: "This is now the situation."
This is how I played BECMI, AD&D 1e, and AD&D 2e (PHB rules).

I shifted into Type 2 (move the pieces) a lot more strongly for AD&D 2e Combat & Tactics, D&D 3e, and especially D&D 4e. Which was fun. But now I'm (aggressively) back into to Type 1 with D&D 5e.

Type 3 isn't for me at all. I don't even consider that roleplaying a character. It certainly can be considered roleplaying the 'story' or 'world', but you aren't making decisions for the character (specifically) at that point. You're making decisions for the story/world.

Knaight
2017-03-24, 08:45 AM
I consider there to be three primary interaction types in RPGs.

Type 1:
GM: "This is the situation."
Player: "I do the thing!"
GM: "This is now the situation."

(GM as worldbuilder, player as explorer, that's what I want)

Type 2:
Player 1: "I move my pieces in accordance with the rules"
Player 2: "I move my pieces in accordance with the rules"
Player 3: "I move my pieces in accordance with the rules"

(If there is a GM, they're just holding a stopwatch. We not dispense with the GM and just play Risk?)

Type 3:
Player 1: "A thing happens!"
Player 2: "And then another thing happens!"
Player 3: "And then another thing happens!"

(Collaborative storytelling in which that the fictional "world" created is an artifice is just too obvious)

Type 2 almost always has a GM, and they're not just holding a stopwatch. They're categorized as one of the players, because once you're in type 2 they basically are. Take combat in a lot of games - you operate in Type 1 most of the time, then combat starts. Out comes the battlemat, and people take their turns moving their pieces (minis, tokens, whatever) according to the rules. For the players their pieces are their PC, plus whatever minions/summons/robot drones/slow moving guided munitions/whatever they're operating (often just the PC). For the GM it's the encounter specific enemies. Still, something like "It's initiative 17, I move the goblin warg rider from this square to this square and roll to attack, 19 beats your AC of 17, I roll 1d8+2 for 6 damage is Type 2, and combat often stays type 2, unless someone pushes it into Type 1 again when they decide to do something that there aren't fully quantified rules for.

Tanarii
2017-03-24, 09:15 AM
Take combat in a lot of games - you operate in Type 1 most of the time, then combat starts. Out comes the battlemat, and people take their turns moving their pieces (minis, tokens, whatever) according to the rules.Yeah, I have found that nothing moves a game from Type 1 to Type 2 faster than using a battlemat for combat. That's why I was so heavily Type 1 before AD&D 2e Combat & Tactics, I never used a battle mat before then. And with 5e I've very intentionally switched back to the rather grandiose 'Theatre of the Mind' to lessen this.

2D8HP
2017-03-24, 09:23 AM
Just to be clear the RPG type classifications are from:


I consider there to be three primary interaction types in RPGs....


And he pointed out to me:


...No game is really purely any of these. What you're describing is a pretty strongly "type 1" game...

Floret
2017-03-24, 09:29 AM
They aren't the same kind of player as the others, but they are definitely sitting down to play a game with everyone else. What else would they be? I don't think I have to explain the issue with "GM as computer" (the GM should have fun too) and "GM as storyteller" means that you basically sit down for a computer-free version of Final Fantasy. OK that is a legitimate way to play the game as well, I have also played in those games and they where fun.

Since I was the one that brought the term up: I did quite explicitly make it clear that the GM deserves their fun, and taking them as the computer is not a perfect analogy by any means. But I think it might be a closer fit than treating them as "just another player", on equal footing with everyone else, because as long as you actually HAVE a GM (And not all games have one, though the ones that don't are ime very much collaborative storytelling), they will do very different things from the players, and have a really different role, more powerful by necessity. Even in the most active games, driven entirely by player backstory and decision making, the GM still has the final say on how the world reacts to these efforts.
Funnily enough, in my experience, "Collaborative storytelling" and "game" do not have to be exclusive of each other. Reflections, for example, does both: It is rather explicitly collaborative storytelling, but there is an explicit win condition at the end, determined by a dice roll (That in turn is based on how well you played the storytelling).

Btw: All of this is from my perspective as a chronic GM - and I don't even fudge the dice. At least not in the traditional sense. Sometimes, in roll-under systems I might decide the exact stats of an NPC (That for some reason I needed, even though I thought during prep I didn't) after rolling the dice (Judging "how high would that stat have to be for that roll to be successfull, and would it be realistic for that character to have it that high").
I just know that I wouldn't much care about dice fudging done by a GM. Because I honestly don't understand why it should bother me on principle. "Because cheating" just isn't good enough a reason for me - I just trust that the people I sit down to play with are not out to get me, and generally agree on what we want out of the experience. If that requires "cheating" on anyones part - so be it. It's just a game, and not one we're playing against each other. It's like cheating in single player video games: Who exactly is harmed by it?
If, of course, in this situation, any one player says "I am", then... allright. Don't cheat, and make sure you play with people that don't, if it is important for you. But I don't see how that means it has to be important for everyone.

Quertus
2017-03-24, 10:50 AM
Except the players are not competing against the DM. Both sides of the screen need to work together to make the game work. If one side decides the other is the enemy and needs to be defeated, you end up with a mess that nobody finds satisfying. And that includes when the players fight against the DM. If you don't trust that the DM has your mutual enjoyment at heart, then you shouldn't play with that DM irrespective of how tightly they adhere to the rules.

This attitude of "trust in the desire for mutual enjoyment", if taken to its logical conclusion, would result in acceptance of everyone fudging their rolls. Is that your stance?


Yes, well said. Also my knowing the precise odds of success makes the game "world" less believable/breaks verisimilitude .

But knowing if an arrow my PC shoots has a 58% or a 73% chance of hitting it's target?

No I don't want that much transparency.


For.whatever it's worth I found the rules of Call of Cthullu very intuitive.

Um... CoC stats are literally X% chance of success in skill Y. How are these two statements not in opposition of each other? Or... is CoC intuitive, but lacking believability?

2D8HP
2017-03-24, 11:48 AM
It's a game. If the rules don't matter then you're stripping the G out of RPG....


Oh! When I was a teenager what have come to be known as RPG's were acronymed as "FRP's".

Anyway it's often been said (always second hand) that E. Gary Gygax said:

A DM only rolls the dice because of the noise they make.

https://groups.google.com/forum/m/#!topic/rec.games.frp.misc/xAEk7Mf3R5c

and..

The secret we should never let the gamemasters know is that they don't need any rules.

http://www.allenvarney.com/rev_04a.html

But my favorite quote along those lines is from the inventor (not the writer) of FRP's

"Don't ask me what you need to hit. Just roll the die and I will let you know!"
- Dave Arneson

There lot's of second hand citations of that quote, and in looking for an early one I stumbled on this interview:

http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/114105/Dungeons__Dragons_Arneson_The_Lost_Interview.php


Um... CoC stats are literally X% chance of success in skill Y. How are these two statements not in opposition of each other? Or... is CoC intuitive, but lacking believability?


Short answer: yes.

Longer answer: I want different things from rule systems as a GM than I do as a player.

As a player I want immersion.

As a GM I want ease of implentation.

My tastes are of course shaped by my experiences.

1978-ish got the "bluebook" and DM'd with my little brother as my first victim player.

1979-ish: Classmate invites me to play in a game him and some teenagers including his big brother who is the DM the "rules" are oD&D, plus the Greyhawk, Blackmoor, Eldrich Wizardry, and the Gods, Demi-Gods and Heroes supplements, and the AD&D Monster Manual, and the Arduin Grimoires (third party), and the third party All the World's Monster's (including the Perrin Conventions). Except for the "bluebook" (and to some extent the AD&D PHB, and DMG that I got 1979-1980) while I get the "gist" the rules are pretty much opaque to me, it's only upon reading later editions that I go, "Oh that's what they meant".

1980's: My circle plays many FRPs, one of which, Chaosium's Runequest just seems to make more sense to me, but I realize I'm just not having as much fun as I did with D&D.

1992: I'm just not finding the games that are available to play (Champions, Cyberpunk, and Vampire) much fun, so no more games for decades.

2015: All too briefly get to play tabletop 5e D&D, love it despite some culture shock.

2016: Start playing PbP.

2017: I may get to play a PbP game that is not D&D.

Stryyke
2017-03-24, 11:53 AM
A baseball bat always works for me. :smallamused:

Darth Ultron
2017-03-24, 12:03 PM
I consider there to be three primary interaction types in RPGs.

Type 1:
GM: "This is the situation."
Player: "I do the thing!"
GM: "This is now the situation."

(GM as worldbuilder, player as explorer, that's what I want)

Type 2:
Player 1somewhat Pointlessly called a DM just out of habit?: "I move my pieces in accordance with the rules"
Player 2: "I move my pieces in accordance with the rules"
Player 3: "I move my pieces in accordance with the rules"

(If there is a GM, they're just holding a stopwatch. We not dispense with the GM and just play Risk?)

Type 3:
Player 1: "A thing happens!"
Player 2: "And then another thing happens!"
Player 3: "And then another thing happens!"

(Collaborative storytelling in which that the fictional "world" created is an artifice is just too obvious)

Eh, fixed a little bit.

I'm Firmly a type 1, and think the other types of games are just wastes of time and not fun at all.


They aren't the same kind of player as the others, but they are definitely sitting down to play a game with everyone else. .

Eh, your just confusing words. Yes, Bob is sitting down to play a game and can say he is playing an RPG. But Bob is not playing the game as a player, he is a DM. Still playing the game, just in a different way then the player.



That's the difference to me too. "Killer DMs" usually get labeled that way by people that can't stand the idea that their characters will die a LOT if they don't exhibit gygaxian 'player skill', or as I prefer to call it: sufficient player Will to keep the PC the **** alive.

I know you take the bad spin on this, but I think having the players be invested in the game and paying very close attention is a good thing. And you don't get that kind of focus when nothing matters. If your character might die taking an action, you will be careful and pay attention, if nothing bad will happen no matter what you do, then it does not matter what you do.

Segev
2017-03-24, 12:37 PM
I know you take the bad spin on this, but I think having the players be invested in the game and paying very close attention is a good thing. And you don't get that kind of focus when nothing matters. If your character might die taking an action, you will be careful and pay attention, if nothing bad will happen no matter what you do, then it does not matter what you do.

The trouble is that the way you present your games, it sounds like it's more "the character might die if the player so much as breathes out of turn and in so doing offends me, and had better remember my notes at least as well as I do because if he doesn't he clearly wasn't paying attention."

In short, your games sound amazingly stressful and belittling to the players, from how you describe your style. As I play games to relax and, frankly, NOT feel belittled by a supposed friend power-tripping over abusing my character and watching it flail helplessly because I didn't play with the precision and perfection of a master-class twitch gamer in StarCraft or Street Fighter.

Koo Rehtorb
2017-03-24, 01:03 PM
There's nothing wishy washy about it. There's an incredibly wide range of outcomes that could be described. The outcomes that are acceptable are some subset of them, the outcomes that the dice can generate are a different subset. Randomness is desired*. The point at which the dice-generated subset becomes useful is less than a 100% perfect mapping to the acceptable outcome subset. How high it needs to be depends on the group (and to some extent how nitpicky and perfectionist the player is, and I say this as someone who is by far the most nitpicky perfectionist when it comes to mechanics in the groups I GM), but that still leaves some imperfect mapping to deal with somehow.

Well, I think we're kind of going in circles at this point and I don't think we're going to make it any more clear than we already have. As a token offering I will say, though, there's obviously different levels of unacceptable fudging to me and the impression I've gotten from yours is on the less objectionable side. :smalltongue:


See, I'm in two minds here.
On the one hand? "You might be better served with a different system" is a great mindset! Search for systems, try new ones, that really do what you want them (And don't just CLAIM to do that. There are so many badly designed systems out there...). But, of course, there is a problem: For some, maybe even many people, the "ideal system" where they wouldn't have to adapt the rules, doesn't exist.

Oh yeah, I know. That's why "you might want to considering finding a different game" is a mild suggestion rather than a firm statement. Sometimes you really do need to house rule stuff.


(Also, quick note: What you describe as reason to be against fudging, I could answer with "Why don't you play a board game, then?". Maybe a Dungeoncrawler, one of those fancy ones with generatable characters maybe. It sounds a lot closer to what you describe you want than most RPGs I know. Then again, I don't really know DnD.)

Random suggestion. Look at Apocalypse World. It's one of the bigger early names that really put the idea of "Rules for GMs, not suggestions" out there. And it's a fantastic game.


On the other hand - seeing the GM as "just another player", while probably a healthier attitude than "GM is a god", is also... not true. As people have pointed out: The GM is in control of EVERYTHING. They have the full power - if they want to do something to the player characters, they can (Provided that thing exists in the setting. Or... not even that. They can do it regardless

It's certainly a game with asymmetric roles. But what else would you call a person sitting down to play a game with a group of friends?


I think the problem is: You have a preference for a certain type of game. That's great! But maybe you don't recognize it as a preference, and many other people don't share that, for whatever reason they might. Telling them they are doing it wrong will get you nothing but shaken heads.

Like I said upthread somewhere. If I see a group of people playing soccer with a rock I'm going to hold a strong opinion that they're wrong to do so and they would be better served with a ball. That doesn't mean I would impose my will upon them and force them to play soccer with a ball, even if I could. Maybe I'm wrong about all this. But I don't think I am.


One other thing, where I'd be interested to hear if you find it to be fudging:
In the Roll&Keep System of, for example, Legend of the Five Rings, you roll any number of dice and keep any number of those to add them up. Now, since you want higher numbers generally, one generally takes the highest dice. But... according to the rules you don't actually have to.
If a GM, after rolling for an NPC finds the highest dice to be too high, and chooses a lower selection, by which now the NPC DOESN'T kill the PC('s lion), but only heavily wound them, for example - is that fudging? It's RAW a legitimate way to interact with the dice - but the general expectation is that one does it differently.

Interesting example. It's not really fudging, no. It might still be unacceptable based on the expectations of the game, though. Or it could also be acceptable if the monsters was deliberately pulling its punches to try to capture the PC alive. It depends.


Or, if I - as I so often do, because generating full statblocks bores the crap out of me - I have to improvise some stats for an NPC. Maybe he was never meant to be part of a combat, but now is pitted against the PCs - if I, during the fight, at the first time any stat comes up, spontaneously decide what that stat would be (Which I cannot really do unaffected by how the combat went so far) - would you consider that fudging?

Why wouldn't you decide all the relevant stats when combat started? I wouldn't consider it fudging, no, given that you had literally no other options at that point, provided that you made a good faith attempt to give them stats you thought made sense. I would consider it kind of a poor habit to get into, though.


But the DM's job is huge in controlling the flow of the game/story/encounter/plot/everything. Anything that happens in the game is the DM's doing. Even if the DM wimps out and tries to hide behind the ''it is the NPC Zorn that is doing it not me'' even as they (the DM) roll a d20. Is the game slow and boring? Too fast? Too confusing? all this an more comes right back on the DM.

This is actually only true in bad railroaded games, though. In good games everyone contributes to the flow of the game. Players need to be aggressive in pushing scenes they want to pursue. In a good session of an RPG the GM should have absolutely no idea what the final scene of the session will be.

2D8HP
2017-03-24, 01:29 PM
For whatever it's worth the last time I successfully GM"d (i.e. the players said it was good), was a game of Call of Cthullu, and I did "fudge" in that I was going to describe the same scene, whether the PC's opened the left or the right door, but if you make "fudging" blatant it ruins immersion and is a buzzkill.

Usually I find that the less I pre-planned and the more I improvised, the better my players liked it, but it's tricky, because as a player I find "empty rooms" even more annoying than "railroads".

Knaight
2017-03-24, 01:30 PM
Well, I think we're kind of going in circles at this point and I don't think we're going to make it any more clear than we already have. As a token offering I will say, though, there's obviously different levels of unacceptable fudging to me and the impression I've gotten from yours is on the less objectionable side. :smalltongue:

I don't personally fudge, I'm just defending use cases that I've seen and don't have an issue with.

Tanarii
2017-03-24, 01:57 PM
I know you take the bad spin on this, but I think having the players be invested in the game and paying very close attention is a good thing. And you don't get that kind of focus when nothing matters. If your character might die taking an action, you will be careful and pay attention, if nothing bad will happen no matter what you do, then it does not matter what you do.
I agree. So I'm not sure I do take the bad spin on it.

OTOH I can understand the coverse, where a DM really is too killer ... if your PCs are constantly dying over and over again no matter how 'careful' you are, then clearly there's no point in being careful or focusing on the game. If something bad will always happen no matter what you do, then it does not matter what you do.

Obviously that's an extreme. Personally I've never played in a D&D game THAT killer, and I've played in some very killer games. OTOH I can see a game of Call of the Cthulhu being that killer. Although from what I've heard the victory condition in CoC is "how long can I stay alive & sane" not "can I completely avoid death & insanity".

137ben
2017-03-24, 02:04 PM
Eight pages in and a search of the thread for "rudisplork" turns up no results? We went through the trouble of creating the ultimate treatise on cheating in RPGs awhile back. Behold:
Can you Cheat at D&D? (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?357981-Can-you-cheat-at-D-amp-D)
and the sequel,
Can you Rudisplork at D&D 2: Sithsnape and the Orcus of Secret House Rules (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?361669-Can-you-Rudisplork-at-D-amp-D-2-Sithsnape-and-the-Orcus-of-Secret-House-Rules)

Anyhow, if someone, anyone, cheats in a game I am playing, then the first time I notice I ask them to stop. If the persist in cheating, I ask them to leave. I don't enjoy playing with people who cheat, and I don't see any point in gaming if I'm not enjoying it.

Zanos
2017-03-24, 02:18 PM
Eight pages in and a search of the thread for "rudisplork"...
I was trying to forget...

Nupo
2017-03-24, 02:23 PM
As a DM there are two situations where I will frequently fudge things, even die rolls.

1. When it's someones very first time playing, their first session, their character will not die. Having your very first character die your very first session would be quite the buzz kill. They, of course, don't know they are essentially immortal, and if they did something completely suicidal I would let their character die, but that's never happened.

2. Playing with very young or mentially handicaped players. I take it easy on them, yes their characters can and do die, but if I treated their character just like all the others, their character would probably die every session.

Experienced players in my group know I do this, and agree with it.

Floret
2017-03-24, 03:11 PM
Random suggestion. Look at Apocalypse World. It's one of the bigger early names that really put the idea of "Rules for GMs, not suggestions" out there. And it's a fantastic game.

Might have a look at that, when I find the time between my other games and sessions^^
I mean, generally, I like rules, I like playing by rules, and am the first to suggest playing different games that better suit people's needs :smallwink:
I'm just also of the opinion that exact following of the rules is less important than player fun, and should the two run in contention, to just fudge it or make things up on the spot.
For a system where the GM literally cannot fudge the dice, might I suggest Symbaroum: They don't ever get to roll anything. Only the players ever roll, NPC stats are just modifiers to the player's, and armor and damage are set at 1/2 the highest number of the dice a player would roll in equivalent situations.



Interesting example. It's not really fudging, no. It might still be unacceptable based on the expectations of the game, though. Or it could also be acceptable if the monsters was deliberately pulling its punches to try to capture the PC alive. It depends.


In the situation I alluded to with a PCs lion, there was no reason of "wanting to capture it". It was simply a case of all three bandits making their Fear roll (Which was unexpected), and rolling exceptionally well on their attacks. Had I chosen the highest damage dice, the lion would have been dead, and the PC without their central class feature for quite a while, not to mention the emotional attatchement to the creature.
I didn't take the highest damage dice. The lion was heavily damaged, and pretty much a non-combatant for the rest of the adventure anyways, but the players were rather thankful for it NOT being dead. *shrug*



Why wouldn't you decide all the relevant stats when combat started? I wouldn't consider it fudging, no, given that you had literally no other options at that point, provided that you made a good faith attempt to give them stats you thought made sense. I would consider it kind of a poor habit to get into, though.


To not interrupt the flow of the game with me making up stats for 10 minutes before we can continue. Some of the games I play have rather extensive statlists. But this applies even out of combat. For example, in my Shadowrun game, my players tend to get creative. They also tend to use that creativity in ways that I, despite my best efforts, didn't anticipate.
(The top of that was that the climax of a Run was in a Location I had to improvise, using two NPCs that also were not part of my original setup, and therefor had most stats improvised (And noted down each time it happened) somewhere along the way.)
In extreme cases (and roll under systems) I sometimes roll before I decide "does the NPC have the skill high enough to succeed". Like, actually define it, beyond "roughly around 15". I think this might be the most questionable thing I do. My players are fine with it. You probably wouldn't be.
(Sometimes, if a player forgets their character sheet (not often, but it happens), they operate with half-remembered stats, and "yeah, probably would have made that". I am fine with that as well, just to specify where I stand on player fudging :smallwink:.)

And, sure. Sensible stats all the way. I'm just a big fan of improvising and reacting to player input, but not a big fan of taking time in the middle of the session for more planning or statting.

Cluedrew
2017-03-24, 04:55 PM
Since I was the one that brought the term up: I did quite explicitly make it clear that the GM deserves their fun, and taking them as the computer is not a perfect analogy by any means.I wasn't actually referencing that, just the idea that the GM as one who simply follows instructions and doesn't have creative input. Basically the thing Darth Ultron fears.


Funnily enough, in my experience, "Collaborative storytelling" and "game" do not have to be exclusive of each other.Depending on your exact definitions, role-playing games could be defined by this intersection. I wouldn't actually use the definitions that cause that, but "storytelling game" is a separate genre that largely includes role-playing games fits into that space quite comfortably.


Eh, your just confusing words. Yes, Bob is sitting down to play a game and can say he is playing an RPG. But Bob is not playing the game as a player, he is a DM. Still playing the game, just in a different way then the player.Player: a person taking part in a game.

Usually we (the role-playing community) use "player" as short hand for "players who are not the GM", but by the GM is definitely still a player because they are playing the game.

On Final Decisions: A lot of people are saying that the GM has final say over what happens. In practical terms most of the time that holds, but really it belongs to the group. Imagine for a moment the GM declares that something happens and then a player points out that something else should of actually happened and all the other players agree.

What happens? Essentially either the GM, as the odd one out, joins the group's narrative or they can force the entire group to change that narrative to match theirs. Some would claim that the latter should happen, because someone decided to use the word master in the job title and it stuck. I think that is a terrible argument. Sure at lot of the time it works out that way because the players trust the GM, but if you are going to insist that it must be that way that is starting to sound like a power trip.

Darth Ultron
2017-03-24, 05:28 PM
The trouble is that the way you present your games, it sounds like it's more "the character might die if the player so much as breathes out of turn and in so doing offends me, and had better remember my notes at least as well as I do because if he doesn't he clearly wasn't paying attention."

In short, your games sound amazingly stressful and belittling to the players, from how you describe your style. As I play games to relax and, frankly, NOT feel belittled by a supposed friend power-tripping over abusing my character and watching it flail helplessly because I didn't play with the precision and perfection of a master-class twitch gamer in StarCraft or Street Fighter.

I get that. After all, your only getting a snap shot.




This is actually only true in bad railroaded games, though. In good games everyone contributes to the flow of the game. Players need to be aggressive in pushing scenes they want to pursue. In a good session of an RPG the GM should have absolutely no idea what the final scene of the session will be.

Yes, like I said the DM controls 99% of the game flow, and the players have their 1%. So it's not equal at all. All players need to do is play a single character, and all the DM has to do is everything.

And there is no reason for a DM (or the players) can't see the final scene. That just makes no sense, unless your game is a random mess of random nothing. Like say the PC's are hunting a dragon, it's not bad to think the final scene is going to be ''find and fight the dragon''.


I agree. So I'm not sure I do take the bad spin on it.

OTOH I can understand the coverse, where a DM really is too killer ... if your PCs are constantly dying over and over again no matter how 'careful' you are, then clearly there's no point in being careful or focusing on the game. If something bad will always happen no matter what you do, then it does not matter what you do.

I'd put that at Jerk Killer DM myself.


Player: a person taking part in a game.

Usually we (the role-playing community) use "player" as short hand for "players who are not the GM", but by the GM is definitely still a player because they are playing the game.


Right, but your still confusing the words. A person talking part in a game is a player....using the verb form of the word. In the game, there are two roles, they are even defined in the rules: Player and DM. So a player is playing the game as a player and a DM is playing the game as a DM.

Koo Rehtorb
2017-03-24, 05:55 PM
I'm just also of the opinion that exact following of the rules is less important than player fun, and should the two run in contention, to just fudge it or make things up on the spot.

I get the temptation, believe me. But undermining the rules is undermining the fun in the long run.


For a system where the GM literally cannot fudge the dice, might I suggest Symbaroum: They don't ever get to roll anything. Only the players ever roll, NPC stats are just modifiers to the player's, and armor and damage are set at 1/2 the highest number of the dice a player would roll in equivalent situations.

Yes, ditto for everything Powered by the Apocalypse. GM does not roll dice, and the target numbers are known to all.


And, sure. Sensible stats all the way. I'm just a big fan of improvising and reacting to player input, but not a big fan of taking time in the middle of the session for more planning or statting.

I think so long as you're making the effort to pick stats based on what you think they should actually have it's "fine", yes.


Yes, like I said the DM controls 99% of the game flow, and the players have their 1%. So it's not equal at all. All players need to do is play a single character, and all the DM has to do is everything.

Yes, Darth Ultron. The forum is well aware that you are a loud proponent of horrifying DM practises and I don't really want to get into it again. So just take my word for it, your DM practises are not normal.

The GM is not 99% in control of game flow in any game that's any good.

Darth Ultron
2017-03-24, 06:31 PM
Yes, Darth Ultron. The forum is well aware that you are a loud proponent of horrifying DM practises and I don't really want to get into it again. So just take my word for it, your DM practises are not normal.

The GM is not 99% in control of game flow in any game that's any good.

See, you say that, but then how do you even play the game?

Like ok, five equal players show up for a game. Just a random RPG. Everyone has made a random character, but no one has made anything else. So the five players sit down at a table and start to vote until they come up with a setting and then eventually an encounter. So the players vote to ''fight bandits''. So then each of the players makes up a couple of bandit thugs. Then each player has their bandit characters attack the Pc? And should any question come up, the players just ''vote'' in their own favor. "I vote the small chest has a billion gold coins'', all the other players agree and it is so.

Now see that is not normal.

Normal: One person, the DM, makes an adventure for a RPG game. The DM approves characters the players make, and creates everything else except the Pcs. Then during the game the DM controls everything in the whole game world, except the PCs. The players just play their character. The DM decides things like when encounters happen and what they are and makes up every single detail of the encounter. The players just play through the encounter.

flond
2017-03-24, 06:43 PM
See, you say that, but then how do you even play the game?

Like ok, five equal players show up for a game. Just a random RPG. Everyone has made a random character, but no one has made anything else. So the five players sit down at a table and start to vote until they come up with a setting and then eventually an encounter. So the players vote to ''fight bandits''. So then each of the players makes up a couple of bandit thugs. Then each player has their bandit characters attack the Pc? And should any question come up, the players just ''vote'' in their own favor. "I vote the small chest has a billion gold coins'', all the other players agree and it is so.

Now see that is not normal.

Normal: One person, the DM, makes an adventure for a RPG game. The DM approves characters the players make, and creates everything else except the Pcs. Then during the game the DM controls everything in the whole game world, except the PCs. The players just play their character. The DM decides things like when encounters happen and what they are and makes up every single detail of the encounter. The players just play through the encounter.

Nah. See the thing you're getting wrong is that you do not argue for the existence of mechanics. Ignoring the fact that free form equality can work if you have good players, most games that share the load use mechanics to pace and guide player input. Generally, so do most challenge focused rpgs.

So let's look at two options.

An Arbitrary game.

The GM preps an encounter and approves characters. Gameplay moves entirely according to their whim. If an encounter is to end in winning, it ends in winning, if it is to end in losing it ends in losing. If a new encounter comes up, it's because they thought it would be a good idea. Rules are tossed aside, and if someone has the terminity to play a magic user, orcus comes down and takes their spells for no reason.

A normal (Dnd, challenge focused) game:

The DM preps their encounter as normal. They approve characters. However, while they make spot calls based on player action, if something was in their prep or is the result of a rules action, it does not change. Players have multiple options on how to deal with or not deal with particular challenges, and the referee's rulings are based on what seems likely at the time.

:P

Tanarii
2017-03-24, 06:58 PM
Normal: One person, the DM, makes an adventure for a RPG game. The DM approves characters the players make, and creates everything else except the Pcs. Then during the game the DM controls everything in the whole game world, except the PCs. The players just play their character. The DM decides things like when encounters happen and what they are and makes up every single detail of the encounter. The players just play through the encounter.This sounds like every game of D&D I've ever played in, ran as a DM, or seen run by others (in game stores at adjacent table, or at conventions) in 30 years of D&D.

Edit:

A normal (Dnd, challenge focused) game:

The DM preps their encounter as normal. They approve characters. However, while they make spot calls based on player action, if something was in their prep or is the result of a rules action, it does not change. Players have multiple options on how to deal with or not deal with particular challenges, and the referee's rulings are based on what seems likely at the time.
This too.

Cluedrew
2017-03-24, 07:02 PM
Right, but your still confusing the words. A person talking part in a game is a player....using the verb form of the word. In the game, there are two roles, they are even defined in the rules: Player and DM. So a player is playing the game as a player and a DM is playing the game as a DM.I'm sorry the verb form? (Although if you just mean the titles, that was actually my point. One of the player titles being player was probably a bad idea.)


Normal: [GM centric play style]Maybe that is normal. But it certainly isn't the only way to play the game and have fun. In the last campaign I was in, one of the players created most of the setting and it was an interesting and fun way to play the game in. It wasn't some random experience. And sure we could have done a bad job, but so could the GM.

Swordsaged: Tanarii: That sounds like many of the D&D games I've played too, but that is just one system, OK a small family of systems.

NINJA_HUNTER
2017-03-24, 07:09 PM
There's a current thread thread of a person asking to get loaded dice and I shared the fact many people I have played with, now and in the past, alter their dice.
I get it, I really do. You've been looking forward to the game all week, and you're in a position where if you fail this one skill check all hell is about to break loose. You REALLY need to make it and you look at that 1 and *flip* Hey, it's a 17.
But as a GM you should call it out. How do you guys handle it?

Everyone including the DM should roll openly
why should you or any player feel bad because you got awesome rolls?
players get good rolls the monsters ought to as well it's gotta happen.
asking a cheater to no longer play is not harsh at all and yes if it's a DM odds are he wont get more players nor be able to play because the word will spread!
i saw your post about a "great atmosphere" with a cheater? phew not where i'm from

Koo Rehtorb
2017-03-24, 07:38 PM
Like ok, five equal players show up for a game. Just a random RPG. Everyone has made a random character, but no one has made anything else. So the five players sit down at a table and start to vote until they come up with a setting and then eventually an encounter. So the players vote to ''fight bandits''. So then each of the players makes up a couple of bandit thugs. Then each player has their bandit characters attack the Pc? And should any question come up, the players just ''vote'' in their own favor. "I vote the small chest has a billion gold coins'', all the other players agree and it is so.

Now see that is not normal.

Normal: One person, the DM, makes an adventure for a RPG game. The DM approves characters the players make, and creates everything else except the Pcs. Then during the game the DM controls everything in the whole game world, except the PCs. The players just play their character. The DM decides things like when encounters happen and what they are and makes up every single detail of the encounter. The players just play through the encounter.

Okay, last session.

We started by finishing dissecting and studying the terrifying creature from beyond the stars that was infesting the site of our future stronghold. We succeeded on the excavation roll to remove it safely from the lair, which would have collapsed the cave on our heads and forced us to go out and recon and clear an entirely different location if we had failed. Most of this could have been predicted as that's where we left off the previous session. We head back to town and the GM asks what we do next.

The wizard randomly decides that he wants to find an apprentice. Based on the setting there were several options. He settles on trying to recruit an elven child, makes a roll to generate an elven child with the appropriate modifiers for it having to be one with the Gift of magic. He succeeds. Some of the elves in the setting are pre-established to be part of an anti-human terrorist group so his older brother is pissed off, but since the initial roll was succeeded it's much less troublesome than it could have been and he gets his way. The GM advances that particular clock, finishing off the elven terrorist clock and generating the problem that the elves are going to attack the city at some point in the nearish future (which we found out about a little later).

We decide we need some cash to build our outpost so I go ahead and roll to discover an easy adventure location and fail, so the dungeon isn't going to be as straightforward as we hoped. We expected to go fight some kobolds, instead we got kobolds riding giant spiders, which was troublesome. Some of the party got horribly injured. We get them back to the doctor PC in town who manages to patch them up, but rolled poorly on their recovery times so they're going to be wounded for a couple months, which sucks.

The wizard got informed by an elven contact that the elves are planning to attack the city. The PCs hold a meeting about it, and decide not to interfere because it's not really our business, we can't afford to alienate the elves, and we're kind of hurt at the moment besides.

Instead we decide that an elven terrorist attack is the perfect cover for us to try to break into the watch house and steal some records we need to sabotage our political opponent in the upcoming election. We decide the best way to get into the watch house is to already have a man on the inside, so we roll to generate a friendly watch sergeant who'd be inclined to help us break in. We fail, so he's not as friendly as we hoped. We end up getting in a huge argument with him, which we barely win thanks to some clever scripting and good dice luck, with the price of us having to tell him some secrets in exchange, which will probably come back to bite us later (new clock started, probably involving people finding out about my PC's weird prophetic powers)

Next session will presumably start with two of us going ahead with the breaking into the watch house plan, and the other two fortifying our house in the slums to prepare for the inevitable retaliation/gas bombing against the slums from the authorities once the elven terrorists attack. What will happen after that initial scene? Nobody knows. The GM might have a few plans, we also might have a few plans. Nobody has a complete picture. Everyone is responsible for making scenes happen.

Some other things that are probably on the table:
I have to get in contact with my informant that I got to infiltrate the cult and find out if she's learned anything useful. If she's finally got some damning evidence I need to put together a plan to capture the cult leader without having to fight through his gang (because that would be suicide). He's known for leaving the town to go adventuring so maybe I can get my contact to get some information in advance about when he's about to leave and slip it to me so we can ambush him on the road.

The witch PC needs to kidnap a certain high ranking government official. It'll be interesting to see what plan she comes up with for that.

The wizard will probably continue to fail at training his new apprentice, leading to all sorts of wacky hijinks.

The ranger is dead broke and needs to decide if he wants to try to hunt animals in the wilds or not. Not doing it will probably mean he's starving and bankrupt. He's hunted at the moment so doing it might lead to him getting ambushed if he rolls poorly, which would be awful for him considering he's also hurt at the moment. Maybe he'll come up with some entirely different non-stereotypical money making plan and surprise everyone with it. Or maybe he really will fail at everything and end up getting captured, which would be a huge political disaster for us and a pain in the ass to deal with. Especially on the eve of an election.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Now this might be an example of something that's a little more tilted towards player driven game play than usual. The game we're playing is specifically designed to support PC initiative very well with mechanics like the ability to generate NPCs and some other stuff I haven't mentioned. There is still room for PCs framing scenes in every game, though.

Calthropstu
2017-03-24, 08:11 PM
Wow, this thread has certainly exploded. Wasn't expecting this level of responses. Going through the thread it looks like:
Players should never cheat, those caught should be reprimanded.

The stickler and argument seems to be wherher the GM should be allowed to alter the rules on the fly to fit the scene. Often refferred to as "rule zero," this has been a staple of role playing games since original D&D. It is listed in every version of D&D ever printed, all of its spin offs including pathfinder, and many other games including Shadowrun and Whitewolf.

Rule Zero has many uses, not just fudging dice but allowing for rules customization where some base rules just don't make sense.

So I feel the arguments people have against it are... watery at best. It seems the people trying to argue against it are advocating roll play over role play because rule zero is the #1 tool GMs have to make their stories, worlds and encounters memorable.

Without it, you may as well be playing a video game.

flond
2017-03-24, 09:13 PM
Wow, this thread has certainly exploded. Wasn't expecting this level of responses. Going through the thread it looks like:
Players should never cheat, those caught should be reprimanded.

The stickler and argument seems to be wherher the GM should be allowed to alter the rules on the fly to fit the scene. Often refferred to as "rule zero," this has been a staple of role playing games since original D&D. It is listed in every version of D&D ever printed, all of its spin offs including pathfinder, and many other games including Shadowrun and Whitewolf.

Rule Zero has many uses, not just fudging dice but allowing for rules customization where some base rules just don't make sense.

So I feel the arguments people have against it are... watery at best. It seems the people trying to argue against it are advocating roll play over role play because rule zero is the #1 tool GMs have to make their stories, worlds and encounters memorable.

Without it, you may as well be playing a video game.

The thing is, this is conflating three different situations.

1. General house rules. (Everything from "these are the rules of the game, here in this binder" to "I'm making the monster with these rules, and then I play it where it lies.")

2. Spot adjuration ("This was unexpected. I'm making a ruling which, while it might be re-evaluated, is intended to be the general response for this sort of situation.")

3. Fudging ("I'm doing this this once, because I feel like it.")

It's usually #3 people have a problem with. Generally, the interesting thing in (Challenge focused) rpgs are where player and GM meet. The interplay, the things that happened that no one expects. While of course it's not a competition, a match between two equal forces, neither should the gm keep a thumb on the scale once the basics have been established. To do so changes the context from interactive event to "cut scenes with combat"

Zanos
2017-03-24, 09:40 PM
So I feel the arguments people have against it are... watery at best. It seems the people trying to argue against it are advocating roll play over role play because rule zero is the #1 tool GMs have to make their stories, worlds and encounters memorable.

Without it, you may as well be playing a video game.
Probably because a lot of people have practical experience with DMs altering rolls because the players do something that deviates from the "script." It's not the DMs job to write a story, that's a task shared by everyone at the table. It doesn't happen before the session, it happens during it. The DM crafts the world.

If the DM fudges the dice or changes the rules because they didn't like the result, the players might as well be reading a book.

Keltest
2017-03-24, 09:51 PM
If the DM fudges the dice or changes the rules because they didn't like the result, the players might as well be reading a book.

Where does this attitude come from? If the DM follows the dice 9 times out of ten, but fudges them once, do the other 9 times not actually happen? It cant be the threat of the DM seizing total control of what happens, they always have that power and don't need to fudge dice to do it.

Darth Ultron
2017-03-24, 09:56 PM
An Arbitrary game.

The GM preps an encounter and approves characters. Gameplay moves entirely according to their whim. If an encounter is to end in winning, it ends in winning, if it is to end in losing it ends in losing. If a new encounter comes up, it's because they thought it would be a good idea. Rules are tossed aside, and if someone has the terminity to play a magic user, orcus comes down and takes their spells for no reason.

A normal (Dnd, challenge focused) game:

The DM preps their encounter as normal. They approve characters. However, while they make spot calls based on player action, if something was in their prep or is the result of a rules action, it does not change. Players have multiple options on how to deal with or not deal with particular challenges, and the referee's rulings are based on what seems likely at the time.

Well, I agree with the second one that think that arbitrary game is pointless.


This sounds like every game of D&D I've ever played in, ran as a DM, or seen run by others (in game stores at adjacent table, or at conventions) in 30 years of D&D.


Of course, this is the normal way to play the game. Yet dozens of posters say that they don't play this way and somehow someway play another, arrogantly better way. But they are vague on the details.




Now this might be an example of something that's a little more tilted towards player driven game play than usual. The game we're playing is specifically designed to support PC initiative very well with mechanics like the ability to generate NPCs and some other stuff I haven't mentioned. There is still room for PCs framing scenes in every game, though.

Ok, here is the thing you might be missing. Sure you can have the players, by using there characters, come up with things to do in the game while the DM takes a nap. Ok, but then after that, it goes right back to a normal game once the DM wakes up.

Assuming a normal game where the players can't just say ''I find a billion gold coins in a small sack'' or ''I trun a corner and find that NPC guy I have been hunting and he is asleep in the middle of the street and is a deep sleeper so I get five free rounds of attacks before he wakes up!''

But if in a normal game a player is just like ''stop! my character will now go forth and assemble the Rod of Seven Parts!'' Then the DM, that utterly controls everything in the game except the PC's will say ''well, you don't see any rod parts in the Dew Drop Tavern, what do you want to do?" Then the player can do whatever they can have their character do in the game to find the rod parts....while the DM, in control of the whole world just Quantum Ogres everything right in front of the character in the worst railroady way.





3. Fudging ("I'm doing this this once, because I feel like it.")



The people that think this is wrong are just odd.

Like the players(all with characters for this example all 1st level in a low magic setting) go through a whole adventure to save a princess...and are at the last act: getting the princess into her castle past the evil army. The players do an amazing plan and it all comes down to a mad dash across a field to an open door of the castle. And as they rush across the field, in a moment of suspense some goblin archers open fire! And the DM rolls a 20 to hit the poor princess with a death arrow(for her as she is a npc noble with like 6 hit points). So what does the DM do:

1.Let the dice fall where they may. ''Thunk! the last arrow hits! the princess dies! You all fail! Adventure over!''

Or

2.Fudge! Either have the arrow miss completely or have it only wound the princess and do like one damage or go full crazy and be like ''Prince Humperdink, inside the castle shoots an arrow that knocks the goblin's death arrow out of the air, just before it hit's the princess!''

Now, in all honesty...I'm very much a #1 DM most of the time. But not always, as on a whim, I'll do the second one...often depending on the gameplay. Though, just about never will the players ever know. If I want to end the adventure good and not let one d20 decide everything: Fudge.

Yet many will say doing the second one is wrong, always. And that goes back to the robot DM that will just be like ''20 rolled--beep--princess dies--game over''. And why people think things must be that way always is just wrong.

Though

flond
2017-03-24, 10:15 PM
Well, I agree with the second one that think that arbitrary game is pointless.



Of course, this is the normal way to play the game. Yet dozens of posters say that they don't play this way and somehow someway play another, arrogantly better way. But they are vague on the details.



Ok, here is the thing you might be missing. Sure you can have the players, by using there characters, come up with things to do in the game while the DM takes a nap. Ok, but then after that, it goes right back to a normal game once the DM wakes up.

Assuming a normal game where the players can't just say ''I find a billion gold coins in a small sack'' or ''I trun a corner and find that NPC guy I have been hunting and he is asleep in the middle of the street and is a deep sleeper so I get five free rounds of attacks before he wakes up!''

But if in a normal game a player is just like ''stop! my character will now go forth and assemble the Rod of Seven Parts!'' Then the DM, that utterly controls everything in the game except the PC's will say ''well, you don't see any rod parts in the Dew Drop Tavern, what do you want to do?" Then the player can do whatever they can have their character do in the game to find the rod parts....while the DM, in control of the whole world just Quantum Ogres everything right in front of the character in the worst railroady way.



But that's just it. The act of Quantum Ogreing is what changes things from Normal game to Arbitrary game. If you're running a challange focused game and the staff of many parts is there to be found, it should be in your prep. It should have its locations written down long ago. And if the players come up with a way to find them. Awesome. And if you put an Ogre there and they tried to death or glory and fail. Them's the breaks. Now if you don't have plans for an area, that can to some extent be change but the core of challange focused play is Once a fact has been established, even in your notes, they should stay established. Otherwise the players aren't struggling against or discovering anything.

(Now if you aren't running a challenge focused game. That's fine. You're in the same pile as Fiasco or other narr focused games, just with more control under the GM. But be upfront about that so people know what they're getting into.)

Koo Rehtorb
2017-03-24, 10:25 PM
Ok, here is the thing you might be missing. Sure you can have the players, by using there characters, come up with things to do in the game while the DM takes a nap. Ok, but then after that, it goes right back to a normal game once the DM wakes up.

Assuming a normal game where the players can't just say ''I find a billion gold coins in a small sack'' or ''I trun a corner and find that NPC guy I have been hunting and he is asleep in the middle of the street and is a deep sleeper so I get five free rounds of attacks before he wakes up!''

But if in a normal game a player is just like ''stop! my character will now go forth and assemble the Rod of Seven Parts!'' Then the DM, that utterly controls everything in the game except the PC's will say ''well, you don't see any rod parts in the Dew Drop Tavern, what do you want to do?" Then the player can do whatever they can have their character do in the game to find the rod parts....while the DM, in control of the whole world just Quantum Ogres everything right in front of the character in the worst railroady way.

I don't know why you keep tilting at this windmill. In the three or four threads on this topic no one has ever said "The GM can't do anything ever", but you keep arguing this weird false dichotomy between that and railroading. The GM plays the majority of the world. The players mostly play the PCs and occasionally a bit of the world. None of this is railroading. And none of that has anything to do with who's setting the pace or direction of the session.

Both the GM and the players can decide when scenes happen. The GM can throw problems at the players. The players can pursue their goals. As a general rule of thumb the players drive action until they fail a roll, and then the GM drives the action until the players deal with the problem that resulted from a failed roll. This isn't always the case, but it's usually a pretty decent indicator. Yes, obviously, the GM can be a terrible railroader and just pretend the players are pursuing things while moving His Story in front of them wherever they go, but it's not the default state, that's an aberration.

Which is why I say in a good game no one should have any clue what's going to be the final scene of most sessions. If the GM does have a clue what the final scene is, he may be railroading. And that's bad.

2D8HP
2017-03-24, 10:36 PM
Um... CoC stats are...



...Short answer:..


@Quertus, did my explanation of how as a GM I prefer the ease and clarity of CoC, but as a player I prefer the murkiness of '70's D&D make any sense to you?


Okay, last session.



Tyraturos is the third-largest city in Thay...


I'm the only one who after reading the description of @Koo Rehtorb's game session, and a little bit of a @Darth Ultron PbP, think that both look fun?


...If the DM fudges the dice or changes the rules because they didn't like the result, the players might as well be reading a book.


If I have the perception that rolls of the dice don't matter, then I lose enjoying the suspense of rolling them which diminishes the game for me.

Tanarii
2017-03-24, 10:38 PM
Swordsaged: Tanarii: That sounds like many of the D&D games I've played too, but that is just one system, OK a small family of systems.its also generally the way I play and see played palladium games played, and shadow run, and gurps. That's the majority of my experience though.

And I don't think the games being played like this is pro or anti fudging, just to be clear. DM / GM generally being in control of world and initial events and resolution of PC actions/reactions and the resulting outcomes and consequences, and players in charge of PC's (and henchmen and followers) actions, both proactive and reactive, doesn't really speak to me of requiring or barring fudging.

ChrisAsmadi
2017-03-24, 10:43 PM
If I have the perception that rolls of the dice don't matter, then I lose enjoying the suspense of rolling them which diminishes the game for me.

Perhaps it would help to think of it less that dice don't matter and more that certain things (the story, people enjoying the game or even the game not ending badly) matter more?

2D8HP
2017-03-24, 10:51 PM
Perhaps it would help to think of it less that dice don't matter and more that certain things (the story, people enjoying the game or even the game not ending badly) matter more?


In cases where the GM would contradict the dice for certain results, I'd prefer that the dice weren't rolled, and the GM would just narrate.

Once dice are rolled, I want the perception that they mean something so I retain suspense the next time they are rolled.

Koo Rehtorb
2017-03-25, 02:27 AM
Funnily enough I was just discussing this very subject with some friends a few hours ago and one of them linked me to this (four minute segment) of a video on this topic. These guys summarize everything I've been trying to say.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bz6-4Bo1fCY&t=25m10s

Floret
2017-03-25, 05:36 AM
My problem with that video is that there are just SO many unchecked assumptions these two espouse, and treat like fact.
Which, fine, it works that way for you, but... Not for everyone.
Thankfully, they do explain why fudging is bad, to a certain degree - but treat that explanation as universal, while it only works if you agree with at least some of their assumptions.

Not everyone's enjoyment of the game is dampened because of a single fudged dieroll. Sure, if it becomes the norm, that might be something else.
The "contract" between players and GM, and the trust in their game, might be perfectly fine. Because some players just care for other things than rules, or challenge.
Like, seriously. "You learn that people are playing FOR that tension [...]", bull****. Some people might. Maybe the majority of DnD players or general RPGers do. But others just don't.
There was a very vivid discussion in some German Larp forum on the topic of projectile-less guns in (Rules-less) Larp (As opposed to Nerf darts or similar). There were people that argued they were inherently wrong, because they were unfair, because the skill of the user to actually hit was irrelevant and that ruined any feeling of fair competition.
And there were those who argued "But we don't care about that. We don't play for a fair, sports-like, competitive experience, so why would we care if something wasn't "fair" in that respect?"
My point is: It can be really hard to see how people actually manage to not give a **** about something one views as fundamental. And some people really, really don't care about fairness, or exact rule usage, or any of that.

Now, sure, there might be better ways to deal with the issues "solved" by dice fudging. Switching systems. General house rules. Maybe even just leave combat out of your games almost entirely. Like, I don't generally want the PCs to die by random chance, so... why would I throw them into combat all the time? But there are also very legitimate reasons for all of this (I mean. There still IS combat in my games, after all...)

I think my objection largely boils down to this:

Where does this attitude come from? If the DM follows the dice 9 times out of ten, but fudges them once, do the other 9 times not actually happen? It cant be the threat of the DM seizing total control of what happens, they always have that power and don't need to fudge dice to do it.

If used in moderation, I don't see how it can be seen as equal to Railroading. As for the question "why roll at all", the answer of "Because maybe 9 out of 10 possible results are perfectly fine, and we don't just wanna decide for one of those."

Pugwampy
2017-03-25, 05:51 AM
Once dice are rolled, I want the perception that they mean something so I retain suspense the next time they are rolled.

There be only the Dice Gods and the Dungeon Master is their prophet .

Doing as the dice bids is half the fun of the game . If you are dead set on your path , you dont roll the dice .

Cluedrew
2017-03-25, 07:05 AM
its also generally the way I play and see played palladium games played, and shadow run, and gurps. That's the majority of my experience though.Right, D&D is a small family of systems, but the general formula it uses is much more widely spread than that. My point was more, that is still not all. I have played with systems that take some very base assumptions (ones people often declare as premises) and just ignore them. And a lot of games have benefit from that. It all depends on what you are going for.

NINJA_HUNTER
2017-03-25, 12:15 PM
Wow, this thread has certainly exploded. Wasn't expecting this level of responses. Going through the thread it looks like:
Players should never cheat, those caught should be reprimanded.

The stickler and argument seems to be wherher the GM should be allowed to alter the rules on the fly to fit the scene. Often refferred to as "rule zero," this has been a staple of role playing games since original D&D. It is listed in every version of D&D ever printed, all of its spin offs including pathfinder, and many other games including Shadowrun and Whitewolf.

Rule Zero has many uses, not just fudging dice but allowing for rules customization where some base rules just don't make sense.

So I feel the arguments people have against it are... watery at best. It seems the people trying to argue against it are advocating roll play over role play because rule zero is the #1 tool GMs have to make their stories, worlds and encounters memorable.

Without it, you may as well be playing a video game.

I am all for gm altering the rules if/when the current players agree that said rule doesn't make sense because after all if the writers were perfect there wouldn't be errata or new editions. That said i am not in favor of the dm "fudging" rolls fudging is a flavorful word for cheating if you rolled 3 crits on a player oh well that's the way it goes.

usorer
2017-03-25, 12:59 PM
I will say try those online RPG games. Everything should be seen by all other people. Try to be with a good game master. It is hard to pick player when play online. But most people are cool.

Quertus
2017-03-25, 03:11 PM
Wow, this thread has certainly exploded. Wasn't expecting this level of responses. Going through the thread it looks like:
Players should never cheat, those caught should be reprimanded.

The stickler and argument seems to be wherher the GM should be allowed to alter the rules on the fly to fit the scene. Often refferred to as "rule zero," this has been a staple of role playing games since original D&D. It is listed in every version of D&D ever printed, all of its spin offs including pathfinder, and many other games including Shadowrun and Whitewolf.

Rule Zero has many uses, not just fudging dice but allowing for rules customization where some base rules just don't make sense.

So I feel the arguments people have against it are... watery at best. It seems the people trying to argue against it are advocating roll play over role play because rule zero is the #1 tool GMs have to make their stories, worlds and encounters memorable.

Without it, you may as well be playing a video game.

Let's skip past how the often horrible rule zero is best interpreted as leeway to create house rules (openly, before the game begins), and create spot rulings for things not covered by the rules. Thanks, @Flond!

Now, as to the mindset that produces each of the four possible fudging conditions:

No-one should cheat - This mindset can come from a sense of fair play, a desire to follow the rules, finding cheating generally abhorrent, or even a desire not to lose immersion. This used to be my stance on the matter.

Everyone should cheat - This mindset can stem from the desire to tell a good story, to let everyone be the master of their own fate, and a general trust in your comrads to work together to make a good game.

Only the players can cheat - This is my current stance on the matter. Cheating makes things unrealistic - it's ok in small, player-sized doses, so if that's what the player needs to do to have fun, why should I stop them? But it ruins the game in 99.99+% of the world GM-sized doses. If anyone else holds this stance for a different reason, please, let me know - I don't mean to exclude other valid reasons.

Only the GM can cheat - ????? I have absolutely no idea why anyone would have this mindset.


The thing is, this is conflating three different situations.

1. General house rules. (Everything from "these are the rules of the game, here in this binder" to "I'm making the monster with these rules, and then I play it where it lies.")

2. Spot adjuration ("This was unexpected. I'm making a ruling which, while it might be re-evaluated, is intended to be the general response for this sort of situation.")

3. Fudging ("I'm doing this this once, because I feel like it.")

It's usually #3 people have a problem with. Generally, the interesting thing in (Challenge focused) rpgs are where player and GM meet. The interplay, the things that happened that no one expects. While of course it's not a competition, a match between two equal forces, neither should the gm keep a thumb on the scale once the basics have been established. To do so changes the context from interactive event to "cut scenes with combat"

Well put.


Probably because a lot of people have practical experience with DMs altering rolls because the players do something that deviates from the "script." It's not the DMs job to write a story, that's a task shared by everyone at the table. It doesn't happen before the session, it happens during it. The DM crafts the world.

If the DM fudges the dice or changes the rules because they didn't like the result, the players might as well be reading a book.


Where does this attitude come from? If the DM follows the dice 9 times out of ten, but fudges them once, do the other 9 times not actually happen? It cant be the threat of the DM seizing total control of what happens, they always have that power and don't need to fudge dice to do it.

Just because the players followed the script 9 times out of 10, and the GM therefore only had to fudge once out of 10 times doesn't make it any less railroading.

But, you talk about only disallowing certain dice fail states. Personally, I think there's an important lesson here about never putting something in the hands of the dice unless all possible options are valid. But, fine, let's pretend that you have a gentleman's agreement - or, heck, let's even make it a House Rule! - that PCs can only die at dramatically appropriate moments, as judged by that PC's player, barring acts of epic stupidity, as judged by a majority vote from the group as a whole. Then, since it's a rule, the GM didn't have to cheat to say, "well, that's enough damage to kill you - should I change it to keep you alive?".

Personally, I'd rather just have my character die. :smalltongue:


@Quertus, did my explanation of how as a GM I prefer the ease and clarity of CoC, but as a player I prefer the murkiness of '70's D&D make any sense to you?

Yes, it made perfect sense. And explains how you can take different stances on things depending on your role.

I probably respond to players cheating slightly differently depending on whether I'm a GM or a player, but I haven't given it enough thought to notice the difference.

I tell the players what I expect (prepared casters to write down their prepared spells for the day, etc), but I never check. If they need to cheat to have fun, why should I call them out on it?

If Duncan's player needs to cheat, and change his prepared spells to ensure he never has anything useful prepared, what is gained by interfering with his player's characterization of his character?

VonMuller
2017-03-25, 04:02 PM
After reading this thread I think the main divide that has been debated is one of simulationism vs. cinematicism.

Or at least those are the terms I like to use when I DM, the terms are not mine, of course, other GMs taught them to me.

A simulationist games is one where you want the rules and the system to dictate the story, even the most relevant parts, like deaths. The GM is just a rules adjudicator and player's on the far end of the simulationist spectrum often want the GM to be just an enforcer of the system. The most extreme simulationist DMs and players often enjoy playing sandboxy campaigns with non-linear stories that are determined by the roll of the dice. Random dungeons, pathfinder exploration rules, random encounter tables, random loot generation, and absolutely no fudging.

The simulationist mindset is clear: "It's us against the game, and we want to have a meaningful victory. If I kill a demon I want to be able to tell that I did, actually, by the rules, kill that demon. We did it. We had awesome tactics, the luck on our side, some of us fell in the process, but by the nine hells, we absolutely did it ourselves".

When I DM, I often end up having campaigns on that side of the spectrum. I love to see the game world come to life by itself, out of my control as GM, being only influenced by my decisions in the most subtle of ways.

On the other hand, cinematicism is all about the story that is being told by the rules. The DM is not only an adjudicator of rules, but a storyteller that uses rules just to provide a relatively free playing field, and while randomness and unexpected wins or losses are encouraged as part of the game, the most important thing here is the Story itself.

Now, if this is done poorly, it's railroading. So as another user said, it's like being a magician. If you fudge a roll behind the scenes a couple of times, that's okey. But if the player's find out you did it, the victories lose meaning. The screen, then, is a form of enforcing the suspension of disbelief. "Hmmm. The DM might be fudging, but he might not be, and the last few encounter seemed pretty fair, we even lost a character, so he probably isn't"

So I guess there is no right or wrong way to play, the rules allow cinematicism, but do not enforce it (nowhere it says "You must fudge" only "you can"). The important thing is for players and DM to know what they are getting into.

I for one, like simulationism and gritty games. I like to tell my DM to let the dice fall where they may. I love the challenge. But not everyone is the same. And it's absolutely stupid to say "Then you should be playing another game, dude" for either of the sides of this discussion.

Are you having fun? Did the players and DM discuss how the campaign was going to be? Are you living up to those guidelines? Then you are playing right at your table, even it not at community defined standard interpretation. No matter how much you change the rules.

Most of us, when we started DMing, didn't know the rules very well. We played entire campaigns using wrong interpretations.

For instance: I played D&D for almost two years without knowing that spells needed somatic and verbal components. Of course that it's not how the game is written. And I'm sure most of you made similar mistakes when you started DMing. (I made characters use previous level character sheets when they gained negative levels!) So... Were you playing "wrong" or just house-ruling without knowing?

Now, I may be a lawyer in real life, but since this game is not competitive, I don't give a rat's buttocks how you play it as long as you are having fun.

I do enjoy playing to the absolute literacy of the rules, though, I'm a lawyer after all. But I wouldn't dare calling those who fudge "unfair" or a DM that doesn't fudge "unfair" either.

Just... Don't be a D---. That's all the world needs.

PhoenixPhyre
2017-03-25, 04:12 PM
Just... Don't be a D---. That's all the world needs.

Amen. I think that the world needs to understand that "I don't like X" is not the same as "X is wrong/bad/evil". A basic attitude of live and let live goes a long way.

Koo Rehtorb
2017-03-25, 04:34 PM
Now, sure, there might be better ways to deal with the issues "solved" by dice fudging. Switching systems. General house rules. Maybe even just leave combat out of your games almost entirely. Like, I don't generally want the PCs to die by random chance, so... why would I throw them into combat all the time? But there are also very legitimate reasons for all of this (I mean. There still IS combat in my games, after all...)

No fair, you already included my response. Switch systems if you can, house rule if you can't. There's no reason to empower one of the players of the game to cheat instead of doing one of those two things.


Only the GM can cheat - ????? I have absolutely no idea why anyone would have this mindset.

If one useful thing has come out of this thread for me, it's making me really consider this point you're making here. I strongly believe no one should cheat, but I guess I do have in the back of my head that GMs cheating is slightly less unacceptable than players cheating. And now I don't know why I think that.


After reading this thread I think the main divide that has been debated is one of simulationism vs. cinematicism.

Or at least those are the terms I like to use when I DM, the terms are not mine, of course, other GMs taught them to me.

A simulationist games is one where you want the rules and the system to dictate the story, even the most relevant parts, like deaths. The GM is just a rules adjudicator and player's on the far end of the simulationist spectrum often want the GM to be just an enforcer of the system. The most extreme simulationist DMs and players often enjoy playing sandboxy campaigns with non-linear stories that are determined by the roll of the dice. Random dungeons, pathfinder exploration rules, random encounter tables, random loot generation, and absolutely no fudging.

The simulationist mindset is clear: "It's us against the game, and we want to have a meaningful victory. If I kill a demon I want to be able to tell that I did, actually, by the rules, kill that demon. We did it. We had awesome tactics, the luck on our side, some of us fell in the process, but by the nine hells, we absolutely did it ourselves".

When I DM, I often end up having campaigns on that side of the spectrum. I love to see the game world come to life by itself, out of my control as GM, being only influenced by my decisions in the most subtle of ways.

On the other hand, cinematicism is all about the story that is being told by the rules. The DM is not only an adjudicator of rules, but a storyteller that uses rules just to provide a relatively free playing field, and while randomness and unexpected wins or losses are encouraged as part of the game, the most important thing here is the Story itself.

I completely disagree with this assessment. I don't tend to like games where PC life is cheap and everything is determined randomly. I'll occasionally play them and have a good time, but it's certainly not where my love is. I've had the most fun with systems where PCs rarely, if ever, die, combat is infrequent, and the focus is on making a good story, and I still think following the rules is the most important thing in a game.

Breaking the rules is antithetical to a good story. RPGs are about making a story together, and empowering one person to force their vision of the story on the group is knocking out one of the fundamental pillars of roleplaying. The GM does not make the story. The GM is one person in a group of people that are all working to make a story together. The story is what you get when you look back on a campaign and remember what happened, it's not something to set out to create in advance. Down that path lies railroading. Nobody at the beginning of a campaign should have any idea what the end of a campaign will look like, including the GM.

If you don't want a story about a group of dirty murderhobos getting randomly crushed by a trap, then the solution isn't to break the rules, it's to play something other than 1e D&D.