Jump to content
Imperial_Solaire

Thoughts on Fudging Rolls?

Recommended Posts

17 minutes ago, Dethstrok9 said:

I would assume the correct answer differs from group to group and game to game. Not to mention system to system. It's all very subjective and what works in some cases will not work in others. To reiterate my opinion, there is no end all be all on this specific topic.

Yes, although the issues of openess and trust factor into things. 

 

However every campaign I've ever seen where the GM fudges a lot is one where the players figure it out and either "phone it in" because they know the GM is going to control everything, or take extrme risks, becuase they know the GM won't let them die.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Dethstrok9 said:

Improvisation is key, not being over-prepared with every situation written beforehand.

I don't believe a GM can ever be over-prepared. Underprepared yes, but not over preprared.

1 hour ago, Dethstrok9 said:

Can any GM really believe they can foresee every possible situation and choice?

Certainly not, but a Gm shouldn't just ingore and negate the die rolls and players actions. At that point the players are no longer can affect events and do not impact the storyline. 

1 hour ago, Dethstrok9 said:

 This associates all fudging with plot armor and using an example of action films when referencing Call of Cthulhu: the game of cosmic dread and horror. Neither of these assumptions are correct. I do not generally use dice changes to protect anybody.

Not all fudging, but with most of the reasons/examples listed in this thread. As far as if it should apply to CoC would depend a lot of what sort of CoC game one is running. It probably fits in more with a Pulp Cthulhu game than with a standard one.Frankly I think fudigng to save Investigators in standard CoC is sort of counter prodcutive.

 

 

1 hour ago, Dethstrok9 said:

If you let the tables turn and use both ups and downs effectively, it will not be abused or discovered.

If you use it for both ups and downs, then why are you doing it in the first place? Why not let the orginal ups and downs stand? 

As for it being discovered, yes it will be. Anyone I ever gamed with would have spotted that someone was fudging just by their rolling behind a GM screen. It's really the only reason for a GM to do so.

1 hour ago, Dethstrok9 said:

Characters die, people get captured, the bad guys can win. If it makes a more horrific story, so be it.

Yes, but that justifies not fudging.

1 hour ago, Dethstrok9 said:

No other reason ehh? I beg to differ. How about rolling spot hidden so the players don't know if there's something there or not.

Why can't you roll than openly? I roll the dice all time time in from of my players. I don't tell them what I'm rolling for unless they have a reason to know. 

1 hour ago, Dethstrok9 said:

For example, I always give some info with a spot hidden, the players never see nothing. I roll behind the screen, then tell them what they see. They now don't have the metagame mentality of "I rolled and failed, but there definitely was something there".

If I were running that it would depend on if the player were deliberately looking for something or if they might notice something anyway. If they were deliberately looking, I'd let them roll. I usually wouldn't tell them of any modifiers, such as darkness or camoflague or a crtical Hide roll or whatever.

If it were a secret roll, I'd just mix the roll in with the other open rolls. 

 

Sometime I've even had players make some rolls before play that I can use for secret rolls later. 

 

1 hour ago, Dethstrok9 said:

We seem to be at a misunderstanding. I serve the narrative, not myself, and by not playing fair I misspoke. I meant, "the GM is not cheating". Not only that, but I would never alter rolls in life or death situations. 

I'm not so sure. If the GM is forcing the plot at the expense of the players then that's worse than cheating. I've seen GMs do that, too. THey have some sotry in thier head and no matter what the players do the adventure will play out a particular way. That's bad. 

 

1 hour ago, Dethstrok9 said:

 

Yes my players do. I tell them, as I say in my videos, that in my games the plot comes first.

In that case, why do you need players? I we wanted to be told a stroy we wouldn't need characters, we could just sit back and be entertianed. What makes RPGs sepcial is that they are intereactive, and player characters should have a chance to alter the plot. 

 

1 hour ago, Dethstrok9 said:

 

 

They certainly don't know when I do what I do, but that's fine and even works with the themes of CoC. In my experience, which granted is not much, I have found improvisation and on the fly adjustments to be game savers and keep everything interesting. I can't account for all the players actions beforehand, so when I prepare a scenario, I make a list of NPCs, Locations, and some key events which I need to happen. These events do not need specific people or locations to work, they just are integral to my idea of the story. If the players go down a different road, then I can forgo anything and switch up everything if need be.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I mostly agree with @Dethstrok9 -- people either have a problem with it, or don't, and that's not gonna get resolved.

FWIW I frankly go either way based on game. I'm gonna fudge rolls on occasion in, say, CoC (not necessarily to the advantage of the players!), but I would probably never fudge rolls when playing, say, DCC, because I feel like that's not quite the "style" of that game (and I might even roll dice out in the open instead of behind the GM screen). It all creates a different atmosphere.

What I find ridiculous with the people who feel strongly against fudging rolls is that I never hear them talk about all the times the GM is "fudging the story" without rolling. That time the NPC showed up unexpectedly in the room while the party was searching for secret documents? That's completely the GM's call to make the story more interesting and exciting. Where was the roll on the patrol schedule or whatever to see if there should have been an NPC there? Or that time when the boat the PCs are on suddenly hits a rock and their fight with Baron Morgenstein in the ballroom becomes more cinematic, as the floor starts tilting, furniture moves around, and water comes splashing in? Where was the First Mate's Perception roll, or the Captain's Boating roll? If the GM decides to make it happen it's OK, but if the GM rolls to see if it happens, but then changes his mind and says "fuck it, this duel has gone on too long, I'll just make it happen now", it's not OK anymore? Somehow rolling the dice is a quantum event that changes the ethics of the GM's call? I fail to see the difference.

Dice rolls are a tool in the GM's box for making stories exciting and fun and surprising. It's OK to take out a socket wrench, try it, and then figure that, hey, you know what, I'll tighten that bolt with a monkey wrench instead, it's easier.

Edited by lordabdul
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, klecser said:

And the players that I game with know all the GMs who can't improvise and read a table.

Yup, mine too. Any skilled GM should be able to imrpovise. But there is a different between improviding and fudging.

Fudging is deliberayl altering the ways things would play out for some reason. Either to spare a character from what would otherwise have happened or to prevent a character from succeeding (or failing) at some moment.

1 hour ago, klecser said:

This comment is really strange to me. If you improvise on the fly, you are a cheater, but if you write it out ahead of time it is ok?

Improvise or fudge? 

When someone writes an adventure they set the parameters for the adventure, stat up the opposition and so forth. That's just writing an adventure. If when running the adventure, said GM makes a judgment call on what rental car is available, or what the bad guys will do after the PC unexpectedly run off with the Mystic Artifact, that improvisation.

If a GM decides to alter things becuase he doesn't want to let a player character or favored villain die, that's fudging. 

 

1 hour ago, klecser said:

How can your players know what you write in advance? And if they don't know what you write in advance, how can they possibly know that "it's ok that you altered a narrative because you wrote it in advance?" It really sounds to me like you are stuck in this perception that there is "one right way" to improvise and that GMs have no choices as soon as dice hit table.

No. I never said anything about improvising. I commented on fudging. Fudging tends to get spotted over time because whatever it is that the GM doesn't want to let happen, never happens. 

1 hour ago, klecser said:

I was waiting for this to happen. The idea that GMs can write scenarios that are good enough to be above mistake potential. Anyone who has GMed for any length of time knows that it is virtually impossible to write a scenario that is not subject to curve balls.

We've gone from "fudging is bad because it removes player agency" to "you can avoid bad outcomes by not rolling dice at all."

No you can remove bad situations by not rolling dice at all. By that I mean, if you don't want a bad guy to kill off a player character in the first five minutes of an adventure, don't write that into the adventure.

For instance, let's say that a sniper with a high powered rifle  is going to take a shot at a player character from 1000 yards away. If you don't want the sniper to kill a player character then don't roll for it. In fact, it probably better not to ever set up such an encounter, since there is very little the players can actually do about it.  Remember, the GM is the one who created this situation in the first place. If he didn't want a player character to get shot by a sniper in the first five minutes  he shouldn't have set up the situation in the first place.It's much better not to ambush the players than to have every ambusher turn out to be incompetent. 

1 hour ago, klecser said:

How does that not also remove player agency to some extent?

No. Remember in BRP players are only supposed to make skill rolls in difficult situations where they have a chance of failing. Hence they don't have to roll driving to get back and forth to work everyday. 

1 hour ago, klecser said:

 

You remove a players mechanical skill suite in favor of just the creativity. At the end of the day, does the Keeper not always make decisions that influences a story outcome and that are predicated on creative non-mechanical solutions?

No, not always. If story outcome was the sole reason, then there would ne need need to roll dice or even have players. The Keeper could just write a story. RPGs are intereactive.

 

1 hour ago, klecser said:

You seem to be questioning things that "people who fudge dice" do, but its ok for people who don't fudge to do similar things, so long as they dress it with rhetoric that makes it feel comfortable.

I'm not questing it. I'm simply stating that fudging die rolls is generally done sparingly, if at all. I'm also stating that I've seen it cause more bad that good. 

The best fudging is when no one is aware that the GM ever fudged, which is why it has to be done very sparingly. When a GM fudges alot players will eventually pick up on what the GM is fudigng to accomplish and that will influence how they play.  

1 hour ago, klecser said:

I'm not asking you to agree with me. I know that isn't going to happen. I'm just trying to point out how "potayto potahto" the arguments seem to be. I don't think any GM can be effective without controlling narrative in some way. I think "random rolls make it fun" is just an illusion. Everything in a game is a lot less random than players imagine it to be.

All GMs controll the narrative most of the time. It's intrinsic to the way RPGs play. The GM is everybody's eyes and ears, and there is no way around that. A player cannot see something if the Gm doesn't let them know that they saw it. That's not fudging that's DMing.

 

Altering the narrative, on the other hand is fudging. 

 

1 hour ago, klecser said:

At the end of the day, the goal should be MGF.

Yup. 

1 hour ago, klecser said:

But I think its also worth noting to people that what produces that can be very different in different groups.

Yup. But I also would say that it's not just what, but how. Much as with anything else, skill and style play a big part of this, even within the same group. They key with fudging is the same as with asy sort of trick, namely to avoid detection by the audience.

1 hour ago, klecser said:

And thats why the debate over "fudging" is a problem for the hobby, in my opinion, because it ultimately results in value judgments about what "acceptable" and "unacceptable" table environments are

I don't think there is a debate per say. Just different options.

I think it really comes down to the fact that RPGs grew out of wargames, and most RPGs present themselves are being "fair" and make a big thing about "game balance". Especially with groups using the the older, adversarial style of play common to old D&D.

1 hour ago, klecser said:

. And you get people saying "fudging has helped us have more interesting table story outcomes"

Are any of those people players? I've never once seem players happy about GMs fudging things.

1 hour ago, klecser said:

and the response is: "you're all a bunch of cheaters." That's a real hobby-growing exchange right there. 

Maybe not, but is is an accurate one. While the word "cheater" has negative connotations, that is what fudgers are doing -"acting dishonestly or unfairly to gain an advantage". It's just that in a RPG a good GM is fudging for the benefit of the other players. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
36 minutes ago, Atgxtg said:

Frankly I think fudigng to save Investigators in standard CoC is sort of counter prodcutive.

Let me repeat, "I generally do NOT use fudging to protect anybody". I never use it unless it is imperative I do.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

I think we've got at the heart of the matter: You see "improvising" and "fudging" as mutually exclusive. I don't. I think that "improvising" is a lipstick on a pig word that lets us all pretend that improvisation under circumstances you define as ok are ok, and improvisation under other circumstances that you don't prefer are not. It's a double standard, in my eyes.

15 minutes ago, Atgxtg said:

Are any of those people players? I've never once seem players happy about GMs fudging things.

 

Yes, they are. I've never once seen players happy about a GM who doesn't act to affect an absurd game situation that a dice roll would make for an uninteresting story. I find it hard to believe that any experienced GM would think they can pre-write their way out of any problem that they encounter. That perfect anticipation is a thing. And that if a GM were doing it right, fudging should be completely unnecessary because any fudge-worthy situation can be prevented categorically. In 30 years in the hobby I have sat at hundreds of tables and I have not seen a single game situation that everything could have been anticipated in advance.

Quote

Maybe not, but is is an accurate one. While the word "cheater" has negative connotations, that is what fudgers are doing -"acting dishonestly or unfairly to gain an advantage".

The advantage goes to everyone.

I'm going to bow out at this stage. Sleep easier knowing that cheaters like us aren't welcome at your table.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, klecser said:

I'm going to bow out at this stage.

Perfect timing for it, your post count is now at Justice of God level, haha:)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
28 minutes ago, klecser said:

 

I think we've got at the heart of the matter: You see "improvising" and "fudging" as mutually exclusive. I don't. I think that "improvising" is a lipstick on a pig word that lets us all pretend that improvisation under circumstances you define as ok are ok, and improvisation under other circumstances that you don't prefer are not. It's a double standard, in my eyes.

Yes, that is the crux of it. I'm defining fudging as "altering the results of dice or actions". 

I'm defining improvising as "adapting to changing circumstances, or heading of into unexpected territory".

For instance if the players misread the clues and go off to Cairo instead of Alexandria the GM would improvise what happens in Alexandria. It's a given. Otherwise the adventure would just stop. 

On the other hand if am investigator gets shot and the GM changes the result that's fudging. 

 

 

33 minutes ago, klecser said:

Yes, they are. I've never once seen players happy about a GM who doesn't act to affect an absurd game situation that a dice roll would make for an uninteresting story.

First off what do you consider to be an absurd game situation? It would help me to grasp where you are going with this.

Secondly I've never seen players happy with the GM deliberately stepping in and snatching success from their hands. I've sometimes seen them tolerate it, if there was a reason for it, but they've never been happy about it. The reverse is true as well. If the GM steps in and openly throws something in the characters favor the players will start to question all of their successes and accomplishments. 

37 minutes ago, klecser said:

The advantage goes to everyone.

That actually depends on why the GM cheats. Cheating isn't in of itself bad for an RPG, it's the hows and whys that determine that.

37 minutes ago, klecser said:

I'm going to bow out at this stage. Sleep easier knowing that cheaters like us aren't welcome at your table.

Okay. Why bother to post a reply if you won't be open to replies yourself? One thing about having any sort of discussion is that someone else might not agree with you.

Is is becuase I agreed with the view that fuding is cheating? Well that's because it is cheating. By definition that is precisely what it is. But in an RPG cheating isn't necessarily a bad thing, the way is is in other game because a RPG isn't a competition. It isn't/shouldn't be the GM vs. the players but a cooperative effort.

 

If you read over my early posts I mentioned that fudging should generally be avoided and that if a GM does fudge then it's important for the players not to know about it. 

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
28 minutes ago, Atgxtg said:

Just to throw this into the mix, but what about when a player fudges?

There is a difference between a moderator who runs the game and a player of the game. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
30 minutes ago, Atgxtg said:

Is is becuase I agreed with the view that fuding is cheating? Well that's because it is cheating. By definition that is precisely what it is. But in an RPG cheating isn't necessarily a bad thing, the way is is in other game because a RPG isn't a competition. It isn't/shouldn't be the GM vs. the players but a cooperative effort.

The rules are suggestions imo:)

And yes, I completely agree it should be a co-operative effort.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

Okay. Why bother to post a reply if you won't be open to replies yourself? One thing about having any sort of discussion is that someone else might not agree with you.

We now seem to be going over the same points now, which is likely why. We have been having a very constructive discussion, where klescer (among others including yourself) made lots of points and responded to most everything, it just seemed like it started going in circles. Plus it seemed to take a turn from lets talk subjectively about rules or fudging to you do it wrong. I've noticed that when the shift between subjective and personal happens the "discussion" suddenly becomes finger pointing and generally unbearable.

Not only that, but the very word.

 

Fudging.

 

It's all your fault @Atgxtg, now I'm hungry!

Edited by Dethstrok9
  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would also like to thank you guys for inspiring my latest video:) It is mostly my opinion on it, but I did put a link to the forums in it and hope more shall join:)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 5/19/2020 at 6:37 PM, Dethstrok9 said:

There is a difference between a moderator who runs the game and a player of the game. 

Yes, but that doesn't address the question. What about when a player fudges?

Pretty much all of the the reasons for the GM to do it apply to the player. Namely that said player, and the rest of the group would enjoy the game more if the player succeeded, or didn't die or whatever. 

I think fudging is a slippery slope, becuase once it's allowed in, it then becomes of question of "when and why".

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 5/19/2020 at 6:46 PM, Dethstrok9 said:

We now seem to be going over the same points now, which is likely why. We have been having a very constructive discussion, where klescer (among others including yourself) made lots of points and responded to most everything, it just seemed like it started going in circles. Plus it seemed to take a turn from lets talk subjectively about rules or fudging to you do it wrong. I've noticed that when the shift between subjective and personal happens the "discussion" suddenly becomes finger pointing and generally unbearable.

I don't think it really went that way. In fact, I'd say that somehow my view has been misinterpreted as "Anti-fudging" when in fact its more the "proceed with caution because it's a dangerous path."

 

 

On 5/19/2020 at 6:46 PM, Dethstrok9 said:

Not only that, but the very word.

 

Fudging.

 

It's all your fault @Atgxtg, now I'm hungry!

Mmmm, fudge. :)

  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 5/19/2020 at 6:38 PM, Dethstrok9 said:

The rules are suggestions imo:)

And yes, I completely agree it should be a co-operative effort.

I think that depends somewhat on the game and group. Not everything runs the same or should be run the same, IMO. I run RQ differently from how I run Amber, FATE, Star Trek or Bond. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It occurs to me that CoC has built in official rule for fudging role! :P

You have luck point, you can modify your skill roll with them! 😛 

The GM have the extra power that he/she sometimes use bad luck points! to make roll fails! :o 

Edited by Lloyd Dupont
  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Lloyd Dupont said:

It occurs to me that CoC has built in official rule for fudging role! :P

Very true!  And, unsurprisingly, they are subject of much loud comment, both praise and derision.

Just goes to show you.  You can't organise freedom.

!i!

  • Like 1
  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

I think that depends somewhat on the game and group. Not everything runs the same or should be run the same, IMO. I run RQ differently from how I run Amber, FATE, Star Trek or Bond.

Entirely true, as I said, I think it is subjective on system, group, and preference. I was speaking of Call of Cthulhu specifically.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

Yes, but that doesn't address the question. What about when a player fudges?

According to the way both Chaosium and Wizards of the Coast package their products with GM screens, I believe the intent is for players to roll in the open and GMs to roll behind screens.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
28 minutes ago, Dethstrok9 said:

According to the way both Chaosium and Wizards of the Coast package their products with GM screens, I believe the intent is for players to roll in the open and GMs to roll behind screens.

I think that was the original intent with D&D, but by now it is more of a legacy thing. Screens are pretty easy to make, especially compared to other products, and the screen becomes another "sure thing" sale. Not that having the most common tables on cardstock for reference isn't a good thing. Storminger didn't get a screen until the Elric! edition, and Pendragon still doesn't have one. 

But, it is interesting that stuff like fudging and rolling behind screens isn't actually addressed in most RPGs. If it was intended for GMs to do so, then the games would specifically mention it. There are a few games that do address that sort of thing but not that many. Personally I tend to favor a hero point type of game mechanic as it gives everybody a way to tweak things but within limits. But I also think that mostly accenting the bad results with the good helps to enrich the game as it can force the GM to be more creative, and introduce new ideas. I've got a game going now where I ended up introducing a new subplot just because I goofed and switched group affiliation for one NPC. Rather than try to correct it, I just decided that the NPC left one group for the other and then figured out the reasons why. It ended up making both groups more interesting than they had been.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good topic. Myself, i don't fudge rolls in CoC... the universe or mythos is unapologetic, cold and uncaring. The dice bring what may. You roll good, goody gum drops for you. You stem the inevitable for another day. You roll bad, that's it, game over, you're worm food... if you're lucky. PCs die and that's just the way it is.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i don't fudge dice, but i will alter/fudge narrative to help the PCs along if they are floundering. Once i call for a roll it is in the open and the tension is high as they know PCs die on single dice, and have done several times in my games. I make sure the players always are the ones stepping in the way of risk themselves. They know what they are doing, and i explicitly ask them if they want are sure. Usually i'll hand that player an NPC to play afterwards if someone dies so they can continue to play and join in. My GMing mantra on this is; I don't ask for rolls that i don't want to know the results of, but the Players can ask for any they wish. I understand that isn't for everyone. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...