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    Halfling in the Playground
     
    Sarquion's Avatar

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    Post How many DM's cheat?

    Hey i wanna know how often and how severely you guys fake a roll just so somthing happens or someone doesn't die. I try not to but sometime it is irritating when a potential threat to the party isn't at all cos i kept rolling 1's.
    Last edited by Sarquion; 2010-06-08 at 01:55 PM.
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    WhiteWizardGirl

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    Default Re: How many DM's cheat?

    All the time, its necessary to keep the story going in an interesting direction, if you have to fudge a few rolls for the Greater Fun, so be it.

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    Flumph

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    Default Re: How many DM's cheat?

    All the time.

    Adjusting things on the fly is part of being a good DM I think. The trick is to make it LOOK like everything was planned and to NOT change things just to screw over a well thought out plan or tactic on the PC's part.

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    Sarquion's Avatar

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    Default Re: How many DM's cheat?

    Quote Originally Posted by Caliphbubba View Post
    a well thought out plan or tactic .

    that is all i try to get the Pc's to do :P makes every thing so much more interesting and thats my main reason why i fake the roll for their spot check just so they can see the barrels of oil and then the can realise that they have a lantern themselves
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    Default Re: How many DM's cheat?

    I do it quite a bit, when it keeps things interesting. For example, if the players are looking forward to an epic conflict I'll do what I can within reason to keep it from ending anticlimactically on round 1, action 1.

    I don't fudge too much though; I wouldn't be rolling dice in the first place if I weren't mostly willing to do what they said.
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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: How many DM's cheat?

    The DM does not cheat.
    Last edited by Prodan; 2010-06-08 at 02:10 PM.

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    Default Re: How many DM's cheat?

    Ditto. I don't do it as much as most GM's, but I do fudge rolls from time to time.

    A lot of players seem to really hate the idea, but I think a lot (not all) of those players either: 1. Haven't been in the GM's chair for any significant period of time. 2. Really don't consider ALL the players having fun to be the highest priority of the game.

    That's why GM's don't talk about this facet of GM'ing much. When you openly admit to it, people look for it and resent it. They don't mind when they don't know though. Heck, even most GM manuals and sections support a little fudging to some extent.

    The truth of the matter is that sometimes, the GM doesn't just slightly over or under-estimate the players, but does so so severely as to completely ruin the fun of the game. It'll happen to every GM, and at that point, you either decide to fudge things or not (based on whether you really think fun or honesty is more important). Even the most honest GM's will fudge a roll here or there though (albeit in some subconscious ways like being more lenient on what a cocked dice is or such).

    Furthermore, keeping some characters from dying is sometimes not only a good idea, but one of manners. Some people work hard on their characters and do grow an attachment, and while death is a part of life, a good character really does deserve a good send-off if any. Some people may argue that the chance for that random goblin to kill you give suspense, but this is also usually in reference to D&D, a system where death is ridiculously not permanent. Kill off characters left and right in a system WITHOUT ressurection and raise dead and see how much the characters get into their characters (provided this isn't Paranoia XP).

    Now, there's obviously an amount of moderation that has to be used, and you have to be careful to be fairly impartial with your fudging, and you DEFINITELY want to favor helping the players over hurting them, but the truth of the matter is that a bit of fudging really is harmless and does help the game sometimes. It's just a matter of knowing when to do it.

    Consequently, at risk of my players finding this out, 95% of the rolls I fudge are when I have a stupidly lucky roll streak that would kill off over 50% of the party. I go ahead and roll with the bad rolls though. This weird kind of probability stuff happens all the time and can really be unfun for your players if your good luck streak as a GM screws everyone to a point where they never could win.

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    Default Re: How many DM's cheat?

    I never fudge rolls. I do, however, occassionally warp reality to suit my needs. The frequency with which I do so is inversely proportional to the ammmount of time I've had to plan the session.

    For example, sometimes I'll rearrange the city the PCs are in so that the guard barracks are within easy running distance of where ever they are. So when they do something illegal, they have less than a minute to run like hell or have a small army out to squish 'em.

    Or another time, I had a door open backwards so that the unconscious (or dead, I can't remember) body of a PC couldn't inhibit some mooks' ability to escape and get help.
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    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: How many DM's cheat?

    It depends. I readily admit to fudging die rolls for dramatic purposes in minor fights, but once we hit a big, important battle…

    I roll in the open. It’s not just to be honest, but its to add a real sense of terror to the battle. I also break out what’s becoming a legendary tool in my group…the Black Die. Notable for rolling above 10 natural 20s in a single battle. It is responsible for the death of two PCs out of a total of three PC deaths so far. My players are rapidly learning that my games are lethal, and they are learning that the dice fall as they fall.
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    Kobold

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    Default Re: How many DM's cheat?

    I used to fudge rolls. Threw out the screen a couple sessions ago and I haven't looked back.

    The problem with fudging was that I was normalizing the dice. Enemies weren't allowed to crit 3 times in a row. Nor were they allowed to fail spectacularly. Not fudging allows more stuff to happen in my game.

    It's also a function of the group I'm with. The two previous games I'd run were with a group who didn't believe in character death. They'd even fudge away knocking a character into negatives. When I GMed for them I felt the need to fudge. The current group wants a challenge and they don't take it personally if the dice hate them.
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    Post Re: How many DM's cheat?

    I remember i had a really bad DM once and he couldn't take it when rolls didn't go his way or when he realised that the PC's had a spell which ruined his plans and so he'd just go well this happens and then all us PC's at once went but how? he said DM makes the rules or DM says so and we were like ... so i try not to unless obviously it would ruin the fun for the PC's
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    GnomeWizardGuy

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    Default Re: How many DM's cheat?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sarquion View Post
    Hey i wanna know how often and how severely you guys fake a roll just so somthing happens or someone doesn't die. I try not to but sometime it is irritating when a potential threat to the party isn't at all cos i kept rolling 1's.
    DM's never cheat, they just keep the world moving at a pace that meets their needs!

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    Default Re: How many DM's cheat?

    It's not cheating, its impromptu game balance.

    A good DM will not be obvious about it, and never uses the same rule twice. Contingent spells, was just a simulacrum not the real bad guy, spll to force a PC to reroll, devotion-feat-for-a-sudden-AC-boost... And on the other end, if the PC's are getting their asses kicked, make the BBEG arbitrarily fumble to give an attack of opportunity to a PC, make the BBEG leave the battle to his minions and depart, make the BBEG fail to activate some ability.
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    Flumph

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    Default Re: How many DM's cheat?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sarquion View Post
    I remember i had a really bad DM once and he couldn't take it when rolls didn't go his way or when he realised that the PC's had a spell which ruined his plans and so he'd just go well this happens and then all us PC's at once went but how? he said DM makes the rules or DM says so and we were like ... so i try not to unless obviously it would ruin the fun for the PC's
    Yeah, that kind of cheating infuriates me. If I fudge things, I fudge then in the PC's favor as far as dice rolls. When that starts to happen I look to it as being a precedent for house rulings, and find ways to use them to my advantage later. I once had a DM change how an Item functioned 5 different times, because I kept saying "Fine, then I'll use it this way, which you said I could do last time, but this time screws your idiot NPCs over".

    There are other ways to "cheat" than with die rolls for NPCs/Monsters.

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    MonkGuy

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    Default Re: How many DM's cheat?

    Yes, yes, a thousand times yes. Enemies have only as much HP as is dramatically appropriate. Small random encounters won't cause death just 'cause that orc scored a lucky crit. I see my games as being similar to movies, and aim to make everything as fun and awesome as I can. Having your character die because I rolled a 20 when he encountered a basic orc scouting party is not fun. Having someone neuter a fight I"ve been building the entire campaign toward with a single "finger of death" is not fun.

    There are exceptions, of course. If I give out an item that freezes a target solid, and the party uses it right off the bat on the BBEG... yeah, that's a big thing, and it's gonna make an awesome story if they pull that off. Stuff like that I will roll in the open, because the suspense is worth the risk. But things they have been murdering mooks with left and right, shouldn't be able to one-shot the big bag, 'cause that's just plain not fun.
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    Default Re: How many DM's cheat?

    Often times I may overestimate what the party can handle or maybe their luck so I fudge a roll here.


    One common cheat is for a BBEG I may leave a few spell slots empty or a spell known empty just so they happen to have the right spell prepared for what the PC's throw at them.
    I actually recall that bit of advice from the DMG

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    Default Re: How many DM's cheat?

    It's not cheating if the DM does it, that's the thing. What about players fudging rolls? We know when you do it, but we let it go because it's just a game and we are all having fun right?

    What I find my self doing often is giving the bad guy extra HP's just so they last more than a round or two. It's so annoying to build up to a big fight and bam! they are down in the first half of the first round. Now if someone managed to do an epic crit or plane shift him or something that's different, but yeah, DM's try to make the game worth playing.

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    RogueGuy

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    Default Re: How many DM's cheat?

    NEVER EVER on a roll.

    some times things happend for the sake of the story, but those times no roll is needed.

    if i get too much 1, then a survivor (of the bad guys) call for backup or something.

    if they die for stupidity is stupidity.

    if they die cause i get to many natural 20, is part of the mechanic and the game. plus they should know how to handle such scenario.

    that its. never cheat on a roll, is a lame resource, if u dont want to fail on a roll as DM, then dont roll.

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    Default Re: How many DM's cheat?

    Depends on the kind of game you're trying to run.

    Dice are brutal, callous, unforgiving things with no sense of drama.

    If you're running a game to teach players how to function in an unforgiving environment -- as in tournament play -- then the dice rolls can't be fudged. There's no way to spare players from their mistakes or bad luck.

    OTOH, if you're playing with people whose idea of fun is what you typically find in video games or action movies -- exciting escapes, thrilling stunts, reckless behavior -- in short, if this is a beer-n-pretzels game for fun -- then it's probably best to fudge a few die rolls than let the whole session go to Hades because your bard rolled a 4 on his hide check.

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    Default Re: How many DM's cheat?

    I cheated exactly once.

    Character was unconscious. Enemy was insane and casting a close burst attack, hitting everyone. It did not make sense to exclude the unconscious player, but the attack would kill him if it hit.

    I rolled a 13 on the die. "Natural 1." As I was saying it though, I heard one of the players say that I should roll this roll in the open. So after stating that I rolled a Natural 1, I asked, "Oh, that makes sense. Do you still want me to? I can re-roll it." I received a chorus of "No, that's ok" from the entire group.
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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: How many DM's cheat?

    I have a tendency to cheat in favor of my players more than I do for the bad guys. If a player calls me out on a die roll (either cause I stated the wrong number or he just thought I was cheating, I usaly manage to rules lawyer it in my favor, and make the situation worse for the person calling me out. Does not take long for everyone to figure out that you should not question god

    I don't like when my epic BBEG's go down in a hurry and I've been known to errect a Plot Shield over them from time to time (not very often cause people get kinda irked).

    Only acception to this is when I'm planning the game. I do know what every player is capable of (in a lot of cases I have character sheets), so I know their weaknesses, their strengths, etc. When I have smart bad guys they study the PC's. I make sure that they have defenses against the players, and can exploit the players weaknesses. Not every time, again this just tends to anger everyone.

    O and Lastly "He has a +1 cause I said so" is a valid spell in my campaigns. If someone makes me look up a good reason why I'll find something even worse to plague them with.
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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: How many DM's cheat?

    "If the DM does it, that means that it is not cheating."

    Your job as the DM is to make the game fun. The game rules are less important than the overall goal of fun. Therefore if the rules get in the way of fun, then they can be ignored. For example, if you roll an absurdly lucky crit that kills a brand new player 10 minutes into a session, unless you're sure that the new player would like to invest in rerolling or spending time waiting for a rezz, it might be a better idea to forego killing them.. for now.

    Don't call attention to this, though.. on the surface it seems unfair that you're breaking something that the players are expected to abide by. It makes sense but only from a larger perspective. However it remains a rather fourth wall breaking thing to plainly announce. You should probably never tell your players when you "cheated," and only do so in a way that they cannot discover you doing it. This is why rolling behind the screen is a good thing.
    Last edited by Tokiko Mima; 2010-06-08 at 03:10 PM.

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    Default Re: How many DM's cheat?

    I cheat in the name of drama.
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    BardGuy

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    Default Re: How many DM's cheat?

    Banjo feels that being a DM is like being a deity, this means you can do what ever you like as the DM, however people won't want to continue gaming with you if your entire game is fudged rolls. Banjo occasionally fudges rolls, almost always in favor of his players(because sometimes they aren't very bright) but occasionally Banjo has to fudge rolls in favor of NPC's or monsters in favor of story progression.

    All in all Banjo feels that "fudging rolls" should only be done sparingly but staying true to the roll all the time is not as important as having fun and progressing your story.
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    Default Re: How many DM's cheat?

    I don't like to "cheat" or fudge rolls. If I'm going to pull punches, then what's the point of even using the dice? Why use any element of chance at all?

    I don't need to spend money on rulebooks if I'm just going to sit down with some friends and write a story. The "game" element is, to me, an importent part of the game, and I don't like cheating, even if I'm the DM.

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    Default Re: How many DM's cheat?

    No. The players are my friends. I'm not going to cheat them. Not out of winning, not out of losing.

    I'm shocked that so many people do.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: How many DM's cheat?

    i roll in the open. if i happen to misread an attack bonus or something and it benefits the pc's, it stays like that for the encounter. if it hurts the pc's it gets changed and i tell them.

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    Default Re: How many DM's cheat?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nero24200 View Post
    I don't like to "cheat" or fudge rolls. If I'm going to pull punches, then what's the point of even using the dice? Why use any element of chance at all?
    It's for the illusion of fairness. Even going strictly by the dice rolls, it's easy to for a DM to railroad whatever he wants to happen into happening. You could be the most uber Batman Wizard imaginable, but if the DM starts laying down 'null-magic' zones almost everywhere, that ranger/monk might end up actually contributing more than you do. To paraphrase a famous smuggler, "Nice stats and good rolls are no match for the plot on your side, kid."

    Having the dice makes the game seem fair, and hooks the players into getting invested with the DM's story, while still giving the DM free range to tell the story they want. There are diceless systems of course, but they require a more open minded approach to how much you control your character, and most players (in my experience) like the dice so they can feel like they control the story somewhat.

    Edit: On reflection, it does depend on the story you are telling. If you're in a sandbox type game where the players generate the plot on the fly, it makes little sense to fudge rolls or "cheat" in most cases. So I guess it also depends on stylistic concerns as well.
    Last edited by Tokiko Mima; 2010-06-08 at 03:13 PM.

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    RogueGuy

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    Default Re: How many DM's cheat?

    let me ask for all those who love to cheat their rolls in the name of what ever.....


    if u can't allow to fail a roll why to roll ?

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    Default Re: How many DM's cheat?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ruinix View Post
    let me ask for all those who love to cheat their rolls in the name of what ever.....

    if u can't allow to fail a roll why to roll ?
    Because players like to feel like they're in control. Having dice rolled gives them that feeling. Most of the time the dice do determine the outcomes, but when it's important to everyone having fun sometimes it's the DM's call as to what the dice should say. That's part of being a DM.

    You roll anyway because you don't want the players to feel like they have no control. They need that illusion.

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