• The VOIDRUNNER'S CODEX is coming! Explore new worlds, fight oppressive empires, fend off fearsome aliens, and wield deadly psionics with this comprehensive boxed set expansion for 5E and A5E!

D&D General Dice Fudging and Twist Endings


It’s a Dungeon Master’s role to create and populate the many different strongholds, lairs, and other villainous locales that player characters delve within. This means when combat starts it’s also the DM who rolls for the dastardly villains that work against the players. This puts the DM in a rather powerful position as their role is hidden behind the screen.

They are also the one who determines the difficulty of any saving throws a player character must make. Given these factors, the DM has the power to control the flow of combat while never truly revealing their dice rolls to the players. This opens the door for the DM to fudge their rolls, lying about the true outcome in order to push the combat or story in a specific direction.

It’s important to know when best to fudge a number and when not to. The ability to extend an encounter by falsifying rolls is tempting, but there are more satisfying ways to accomplish this. Adding a twist to the end of an encounter is far more engaging for players than simply prolonging it by using fudged rolls. Both of these methods can be tricky to use so let’s look at the do’s and don'ts of each.

Full article link: Dice Fudging and Twist Endings

log in or register to remove this ad


B/X Known World
“Always roll your dice in public. “Let the dice fall where they may,” as the saying goes. The players will learn fear, as they trust in the objectivity of your combat encounters.”

“Let the characters die if the dice so dictate it. Nothing is as precious as a PC's life when it can be taken away— and nothing is so unchallenging as a game where the players know the judge will not kill their characters. The DCC RPG is designed for high character death rates—let this be true in your game as well. Achieving 5th level in the DCC RPG is a true accomplishment.”

—Dungeon Crawl Classics​

The referee is not a storyteller. They setup the baddies and react to the players’ decisions and what the dice dictate. The referee does not fudge rolls and push for certain, pre-determined outcomes.


The referee is not a storyteller. They setup the baddies and react to the players’ decisions and what the dice dictate. The referee does not fudge rolls and push for certain, pre-determined outcomes.
Personally agree, but I know it depends on the DMs style. I'm old school, and see the DM as having 3 hats: author, storyteller, and referee/judge. The storyteller hat is worn during play outside of combat, but once in combat, the DM needs to wear the referee hat instead. Otherwise you might as well just narrate the results of combat instead of taking up all that time to resolve it.


If I screw up, I'm not afraid to change things in the middle of combat. If I design something like a new creature and then in combat find out that it synergies with the other monster to make things deadly, I have no problem dropping its AC or damage. Same if I design something and then find it a cake walk, I will give it more HP or a 'bloodied' power like 4e. Another situation could be simple like having goblins shooting at the PCs and lowering their AC since they would not be using shields at that moment, even though the statblock gives it to them.

If the players screw up, then they are in trouble. If I tell them 5 giants are in the room and there is a river they can throw rocks over so it looks like you should go around. Then the players decide to go in or say, the DM would not put us in over our heads, they might die.

To answer the OP, why not have both? You can choose to fudge where needed and still have a cliffhanger at the end. The beholder can stay alive one more round in order to use its cool death ray power it was going to die without casting and still have the cave start to collapse after his death. There can still be a petrified halfling in the chest instead of gold. I would think this is the same as placing a map to the next adventure on the table for the PCs to find as a clue for a hook.


Never fudge. The best twist endings are the ones the dice generate.
Now I want ice cream for some reason. Twisty cone with fudge.



Magic Wordsmith
At my table, the story is whatever happened during play. I have no particular desire to push it one way or another, but rather to just see how it turns out through collaboration with the players and the outcome of dice, which I roll in the open. That often results in something more interesting than what I could have planned in advance, plus it reduces my prep (or at least allows me to focus on different prep) as well as any strain on me that could otherwise arise during play by trying to funnel the players down a secret plot I planned in advance.


Mod Squad
Staff member
Absolutes (like, "never do this") generally make for poor advice.

Conversational warning first: If the best way you can find to lift up your own preferred playstyle is to tear others down, your argument ain't so hot. Tell people how and why what you do is great without comparing it to other styles.

Remove ads