View Full Version : Cheaters

2008-06-19, 04:09 PM
I figured a thread that didn't touch directly on the 3e/4e debate would be a nice change of pace.

What're your favorite Cheating stories?

We've got a fellow in our group that does it fairly consistently.

1 - he almost always has stats twice as strong as the rest of the group (the average in our group is 14, he has 22s and 24s), despite being subject to the same racial limitations we are.

2 - he consistently fudges math in skills-based games (ie, if ranged combat is 3 pts / level in BESM 3rd, he'll spend 2 pts/level).

3 - die chicanery; he consistently rolls "nat 20" on attack rolls and crows about it. A lot. So I kept an eye on his rolling, and basically he'll put his d20 ON 20, wait til the DM is inspecting someone else's die, then roll another die and nudge the prepped d20 toward the DM when said DM looks back.

The group refuses to confront him on it since he rounds out the table, but I sincerely detest cheating.

Anyway, what're some of your tales of unfair gamesmanship? I'm not talking about game-breaking or optimization via dubious means (why CAN'T I use d20 Modern feats in this no-magic low-tech universe?!), but rather out and out nonsense outside the rules.

2008-06-19, 04:38 PM
Man, that's rough... I'm not sure, that's a tough one to handle... I mean, it's just more work if you're going to go over what he's doing with a fine-toothed comb... standard etiquette and predictable response is "Talk to him" But I have my doubts on how well that would work. Sorry I can't be much help, this kind of crap is just irritating when no one has the balls to go up and give him a good smack upside the head...

At any rate, I actually admit to doing something a smidgen devious...

I have a friend who would casually misinterpret spells and descriptions, and not let anyone ever see his character sheet for byzantine reasons. All in all, he's just a bit of a blowhard and he's tough to game with. Nonetheless he's our friend so we deal with him... Even if he tries to stack weapon proficiency feats so he can gain the proficiency bonus a half-dozen times...

2008-06-19, 04:41 PM
We had a guy in our Warhammer group who would roll the dice, and before they had a chance to settle, he'd snatch up his dice and declare his roll successful.

Another fellow had phantom feats and magic items. He'd swear in game they were at his disposal, but were never on his character sheet.

I've done the 'double roll' a couple times, the 'roll twice, take largest', but then I feel guilty and declare the lowest roll. Cheating isn't fun.

2008-06-19, 05:01 PM
I've let my players take dice results that fell on the floor. Does that count as cheating?

2008-06-19, 05:03 PM
...was it done in an attempt to subvert the rules of the game?

Seriously, the point of the thread's fairly obvious. We're talking about people who break the spirit of the game by lying about options or doing things they are expressly not permitted to do.

2008-06-19, 05:04 PM
We've never had too much trouble. But then, our DMs have often done character sheet inspections. If it's not on your sheet, too bad. And there are certain people whose dice rolls are more closely watched than others, but so goes it.

2008-06-19, 05:09 PM
My opinion on cheaters in D&D, Warhammer or any other game is simple, and can be described by a quote from Eugene

"Summon Boot!"

2008-06-19, 05:30 PM
I highly recommend making/using a dice tower if you have a case of dice cheaters.
Add in the rule of 'only the DM can remove the dice from the pit'.

It doesn't specifically target anyone, it makes dice more constrained so they don't roll off tables, and it helps to prevent roll cheating.

2008-06-19, 05:39 PM
My opinion on cheaters in D&D, Warhammer or any other game is simple, and can be described by a quote from Eugene

"Summon Boot!"

That's very open-minded and tolerant. More radical options include:
1. Take their character sheet away, give them something gimped instead (a half-elf samurai with the equivalent of 7-point buy in DND 3.5). Preferably of the opposite gender than the previous character and ugly.
2. Make them to run and get pizza for all the other players. And pay for it, of course.
3. Force them to swallow the dice they were cheating with.
4. Traditional and always good: d4 up the nose.

2008-06-19, 06:01 PM
Basically, there's a pretty simple question you have to ask yourself. Which is more inconvenient to you--a player who pays lip service to the rules or the drama that comes from confronting him about it?

If the cheating is bothering you, call him out on it and toss 'im if he won't shape up. Otherwise, assuming you want to keep a full group, just compensate for his fudging behind the scenes. Apply an invisible penalty to his damage rolls and always "roll" high when he takes damage. Never tell him save DCs, and tinker with the numbers so he succeeds and fails as much as the other characters do.

In the future, try using point buys for stat generation and premade gear packages so there's no character sheet tomfoolery, plus use a dice bowl or the like as SweetRein suggested. Overall, though, it's your game, and if someone isn't playing by your rules, they should be escorted out your door.

Inhuman Bot
2008-06-19, 06:01 PM
:smallfurious: Ugh, warhammer. THe guy who measured how far his kroot could move, then gave them a good 3" more..... The guy who insists that a double one isn't a failed psi test. The guy who says "The mark of chaos undivded gives you all 4 other marks benfits,then refuses to show his army book. The rules lawyer....

D&D: Those goddamn optimizers, who say "Yeah I can have that, it's all legal, no theres a variant, Uh-uh, I can use that with this, etc. Then the guy who says "Yeah I can take that magic item! I saw it in a book, the magic tem compendium I think. So what if it can cast wish unlimated times a day." Then complains when he can't have it. The DM's girlfreind, who cheats cause she thinks she can get away with it. :furious:

2008-06-19, 06:05 PM
Wow, I can't imagine that sort of thing lasting very long in my campaign at all. (I certainly would think twice about any player who underestimated my intelligence so severely as to try to present a level 1 character with 22 Strength.) Of course, my players accept that the honor system at our table comes with a few house rules:

* Character sheets are reviewed before play. I scan everything, not to detect cheating, but because most of my players are only casually interested in the ruleset and they do make honest mistakes.
* Character sheets are subject to random inspection. I encourage good note-taking about how you acquired abilities, items, etc. This helps when I ask "where did you get that?" and the player says, "Vrath Keep, panic room." Again, it helps my players ensure they (for example) have the right number of feats, if they wrote down the level they acquired each choice.
* I reserve the right to request the specific rules of any ability, the source of bonus damage, etc. If the paladin's rolling 10d6 on his greatsword damage, I want to know where it came from. (True story.)
* I ask people to roll when I'm paying attention to them, and to roll in the open. I ask that dice that leave the table get rerolled. I ask, politely, that any dice called into question get rerolled. (I would call into question any die rolled, then scooped up immediately. My players do not make a habit of picking up their dice right away, as there's absolutely no reason to do so. They tend to pick it up after I announce results.)

My players are mature enough to understand (and know that only high rolls get questioned, because that's the result a cheater is trying to achieve). The people being honest aren't being inconvenienced at all, and they are nice enough not to take my actions as being overtly suspicious. (As I said, most of my measures are to ensure they're not inadvertedly doing things incorrectly.)

If I ran into this sort of behavior, it wouldn't last; players get the benefit of the doubt, but my suspicions grow exponentially the longer a streak lasts or the more out-of-line something sounds. A person who would be upset at my requests ("May I watch you roll?") would be a bad fit for my otherwise-easy-going group anyway. At any rate, I have no problems telling a player who presents so little respect for myself and other players as to deliberately cheat at D&D, that they're not welcome to join.

2008-06-19, 06:22 PM
A good friend of mine occasionally cheats, but he does it both to help and to hinder himself equally. Sometimes to make things more dramatic, he'll "roll" a natural 20. But just as often, he "rolls" a natural 1, so it really hasn't been a big deal. I know that with him, the reasoning isn't so he can WIN AT D&D, but instead he fudges the die rolls both up and down to make things more fun and interesting for everyone. Yes, it's technically cheating, but not worth making a big deal over.

2008-06-19, 07:14 PM
In Shadowrun 2nd Edition. You had 5 prioroties, A to E if you took A ( the best) for your Stats. you'd have to take a worse one for your Skills and a still worse for cash, etc.
One guy made the mistake of leaving his character sheet behind we discovered to get his character he'd have to have taken Priority A in ALL his options plus added 200 Karma ( average 4-5 Karma a session). Not to mention gaining a first class Fixer to get hold of some of the gear.
Also his magical group only allowed Metahuman, gator shamans in but still had 50 members, which meant every metahuman in the city was a Gator shaman and had joined his group !

2008-06-19, 08:58 PM
Yeah, we caught our cheater when he left his sheet behind while going out to stat up for another game.

See, I don't mind fudging if it's done in the interests of game drama or entertainment. I understand if you've just had a wretched streak for hours and you just don't want your character to keep sucking. I can understand if you want to fudge your HP down a few notches so you can play the wounded gallant for a few hours. These things aren't strictly by the rules, but they're not intended to gain an artificial advantage by flouting the rules with no respect for your fellow players' experience.

That's the biggest part of it, lack of respect. We run two games on Sunday, a 12-5, and a 6-10. We generally have a break between 430 and 6 to have food, clean up, and switch gears. Lately I've been running the evening game. Our cheater is also playing in a Friday game, so he said he was gonna use his dinner break to go stat up a character. I reminded him I'd be starting at six, and this was the last day of my campaign. I also gave him a 10 minute warning at 5:50. He didn't come in until 6:34. So I think a case can be made that cheating and a lack of respect for your fellow player are intrinsic to one another.

2008-06-19, 09:06 PM
I've fudged rolls before and I feel totally fine with it...

I played in one game where the other players had twice the wealth that I had, so I started fudging rolls. I stopped when the DM gave me a shield golem.

The other game that I've fudged rolls in was to ridiculous to not fudge rolls in. We had an uber-optimized crusader trip build, a super optimized archer build with a +7 equivalent bow, and me, a cleric with DMM persist and dozens of nightsticks. We used all my spells to buff ourselves to disproportional and un-dispellable heights (Almost a DC 40 dispel check at level 12).

However, we did this out of necessity. We were facing half-illithid, half-demon drow, each with their own personal cleric who would give them just as many buffs as we had. The floors were like prismatic sphere checkerboards, where we would have to make 4 random saves. At another point, we had to touch 10 different orbs, all of them were save-or-dies except for one which had the key to escape. We fought two colossal shadow dragons, we fought invisible spell casters and flying demons.

AND THIS WAS FOR A SIDE QUEST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I failed one save-or-die out of 30 or so, and I was unable to play the game. They then had two sessions finishing this ONE dungeon, where they fought 10 level 17-18 encounters at level 12...

2008-06-19, 10:03 PM
I used to play checkers and chess with my sister, and right before i'd ever win, she'd flip the board over and say she did'nt want to keep playing and it would be a tie.

2008-06-19, 10:13 PM
Early on in my first group I had to deal with a few characters who rolled rather suspicious scores. I remember one guy that would always make his characters before hand and would complain if I asked him to roll stats in front of me to be sure they were legitimate.

Thats the main reason we started using the point buy system soon after we started playing 3.5 ed.

2008-06-19, 10:47 PM
Wow. This is some pretty inexcusable behavior.

Where do they get the audacity to pull that? I'd almost go so far as to say some of this stuff seems almost sociopathic.

It's not just the cheating, and the lying, and manipulation. It seems like it's become an issue of that they must have power over the group.

If someone pulled that in one of my games, I'd kick them out right then and there. And there's a good chance I'd stop hanging around them altogether. If they're a disgusting enough person to do that in something as innocent as a D&D game, they're probably doing it everywhere.

My thought is that the GM should have the character sheets, and would hand out copies to people. I do a lot of internet games, which makes this a bit easier. Which also makes controlling the rolls a bit easier. Not just for willful cheating, but there might be some mistakes there. And while I say this is the reason the GM should do all the rolling, the fact is that if someone is cheating, they're out.

So yeah, I do find it infuriating.

2008-06-19, 11:33 PM
As far as die rolling goes, the only cheating I've seen has been a player who stood up to stretch whenever a combat started and just happened to get a natural twenty on his initiative while he was off the table. Every single initiative roll. It was obnoxious, but not so bad that we ever said anything to him.

I've seen a lot more character sheet shenanigans. Like a player who forgets to bring his character sheet, but has it all memorized. Or swaps skills around every level. Or ignores level prereqs when making a high level character (for instance, a level 9 character with 4 feats got those feats at levels 1, 3, 6, and 9 and cannot take 4 feats that all have high level prerequisites). Plenty of wizards not keeping track of spells spent either. Most of this all came from one player who I avoid now.

2008-06-20, 02:06 AM
Actually, the reason I don't like cheaters (the ones who do it for selfish reasons) is best summed up in a parable from the Bible, in which managers who prove themselves trustworthy with little will be given more.

If somone can't be trusted in a game, how can they possibly expect me to trust them in real life?

2008-06-20, 02:46 AM
standard etiquette and predictable response is "Talk to him" But I have my doubts on how well that would work.

No, you don't really need to talk to cheaters, you just need to kick them out. It's pretty unlikely they're consistently cheating by accident.

2008-06-20, 03:55 AM
I've seen a wide variety of cheaters over the years (since the early years of 1st edition, circa 1980). Yet, I only recently saw any problem with it. The thing is, I have spent my D&D career focused on DMing for a single player at a time, with only the occasional guest gamer joining us.

Yeah, I know your reaction: "How do you game with only one player? You're missing out on the key party interactions. Etc, etc, etc." Well, it works for us, and more importantly, it's quite off the topic at hand.

But I have noticed sometimes that the person I'm gaming with would cheat, on one detail or another. Never did I 'kick him or her to the street', or even care much at all. After all, who's he hurting?

Some examples:

'M' had this thing about 1st edition fighters, that he considered them useless unless they had at least an 18 (plus percentage score) strength. And quite by coincidence, every single fighter he ever made for my game did have the 18 strength, and the highest possible percentage score available to that particular race. I guess that was balanced out by the fact that he liked Gnomes, who maxed out at 18/50%, fairly weak compared to the other races.

'S' had no such requirements when it came to character generation; some of his fighters were weak, and the other classes were, well, lets just say, 'less than optomized'. But when it came to the hit point roll, he always seemed to be lucky. I once did a test of all his characters (for the storyline and the way we played, there were lots of characters in this game), I noticed that every single one of hid characters were exactly 1 hit point shy of maximum. I guess he felt he'd be caught if he had them all at max, so he made sure one roll was short. :smallwink:

And 'B' didn't cheat per say, he just had a hot dice - but if you buy a die at the store, and find that it's weighted improperly and rolls high, isn't that kinda the same as cheating? Especially if you have to make some low rolls ("Roll under your dex score to keep from falling"), and you immediately select a different dice for that task?

But hey, it was only him/her and I, so what's the big deal. I just made more monsters, and balanced it all out with tougher fights.


Then I joined a group DM'ed by 'MC'. He had pre-made characters for us all to select from, each of which were presumably balanced against each other. That went fine for a few weeks, and he was a really good DM. Then he spent a weekend at a local con, met a guy ('B', different then the one above, I need a bigger alphabet). 'B' rolled his character at the con, right in front of 'MC', and so it was legit. They hit it off, and 'B' joined our gaming group.

That's where the problems came up. You see, legit or no, that character of his was way over powered to all our balanced, premade characters. 'B' started dominating the game. We started seeing the trend that 'B' could swing more often, hit more reliably, score more damage per hit. Then we found a magic item that doubled the number of attacks per round. 'B' reasoned that if he hit more often and did more damage per hit, then the whole party would benefit if he were given that item to use in combat.

Then came the battle. Hordes of Orcs in the dark depths of Moria. We pressed forward into battle, all seven of us. Six of us rolled attacks, three of us hit, two killing their opponent, one just wounding his. Then 'B' attacked four times, scored four kills. 2nd round. Six of us rolled attacks, three of us hit, one kill, one wound, and the third finished off his previously wounded enemy. 'B' rolled four attacks, four kills. 3rd round, repeat. 4th round, repeat. And on it went...

'B' was very helpful that night, accounting for two-thirds of all kills in that battle. Not so fun for the rest of us. :smallmad:

And to top it off, I noticed that this was not all just because of imbalanced characters (he should have been given a pre-made like the rest of us), but in fact, he was also cheating. In Rolemaster, you roll percentage dice for most actions - rolling two ten-siders, one as the ten diget and one as the single diget. He had a red and a blue die. He'd roll a red-6 and a blue-3, it'd be a 63. Then he'd roll a red-2 and a blue-8... and it'd be 82. Whichever die was higher, that was the ten diget.

And of course, he probably did that in the character generation process when he rolled his 'legit' character in front of the DM. :smallfurious:


Still, in 28 years of gaming, I've not really had a problem with cheaters. Heck, I even posted a defense of cheating awhile back, so I can't even get my knickers in a bind over 'B'. It's a game, and moreso it's a roleplaying game. You cheat at Battle of the Bulge, I'll wring your neck. But D&D, I always seem to take it in stride, and just toss a few more monsters your way to compensate. It's only when it affects the balance of power from one player to the next - that's when it's a concern to me. Which is also why I insist on point-buys and limit the splat books. Cheating is small time when compared to the damage that can be done with a few lucky (or unlucky) rolls in character generation.

2008-06-20, 06:01 AM
One of my players used a cellphone-based die roller for chargen. It would never roll low even if he did it in my sight, and he'd get at least one 18 and two or three 16s---and nothing below 12. I just told him to stop using it and use my dice. <_<

2008-06-20, 08:01 AM
Never had a problem with that. The closest was a friend that tends to make up rules on the fly, exagerate them, or misinterpret. A quick discussion (1 or 2 minutes) to point out the correct (or at least non-dumb) way, and we get back on track.

On the other hand, I had a player that didn't like when DM's used DM screens, hide the dice, and, while hiding rolls, "cheered" for a natural 20. "Stop doing that, if you can make up any roll, why you need to be happy with a natural 20? Just say it is and be done with it."