D&D General Dice Fudging and Twist Endings

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
If I look down behind my screen, and see that the six hits, and realize that my monster is incorrectly statted, functionally, fixing the stat and fudging the dice in this scenario are identical.
The outcome is, and possibly the motivation, but you don't have to fudge the dice here. It's unnecessary.

But I personally take it a step further and don't change my prep either. The players have no expectations that any given fight, for example, will be "balanced" or "level appropriate." It's on them to decide what to do in the face of that reality, not for me to change something midstream because I don't think they can handle it. I have faith that they'll figure it out, and my faith is usually well-placed. And if it goes wrong, that's okay - we already agreed that the cost of failure is fun for the players, if not so much fun for the characters.
 

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Xamnam

Loves Your Favorite Game
The outcome is, and possibly the motivation, but you don't have to fudge the dice here. It's unnecessary.

But I personally take it a step further and don't change my prep either. The players have no expectations that any given fight, for example, will be "balanced" or "level appropriate." It's on them to decide what to do in the face of that reality, not for me to change something midstream because I don't think they can handle it. I have faith that they'll figure it out, and my faith is usually well-placed. And if it goes wrong, that's okay - we already agreed that the cost of failure is fun for the players, if not so much fun for the characters.

If it's my mistake, I don't think I'd feel good about washing my hands of the responsibility. The action may be unnecessary, but that really depends on my goals and agendas for the system at play.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
If it's my mistake, I don't think I'd feel good about washing my hands of the responsibility. The action may be unnecessary, but that really depends on my goals and agendas for the system at play.
At a certain point, I think it's helpful to just let it go in this regard. The d20 is already swingy. The players sometimes make awful decisions. While the DM controls a great deal of the game, there are a ton of inputs into the experience they do not control, and that may as well in my view include the odd "mistake." (Though I could quibble "mistakes" only really occur given certain prior assumptions.) Even so, if I made some kind of mistake that I thought rose to the level of needing to be addressed, I'd do so openly with the players and seek their input on how best to resolve it, rather than try to cover up what I did or failed to do.
 


That’s part of the often mistaken assumption. The DM may not be planning to use a particular result but may be content with a number of other results that may come from the roll. For example, if I’ve been on a hot streak with the dice, I may be rolling to hit, but I’m not going to inflict yet another crit. So I rolled a 20, definitely a hit, but I don’t roll the critical damage. I’m still rolling to see if the attack hits and will abide by results of miss/hit, but I’m treating a crit just as a hit.

Definitely within the purview of the DM to do so, too. Although, I personally prefer a consistency of adjudication when choosing to roll the dice so there are no discrepancies from prior expectations.

Other possibilities to temper said hot streak, that may or may not require rolling, include:
  • having the crit be non-lethal damage that knocks out the PC... you know, to keep them "fresh" for later
  • having the baddie not attack but instead parley at this point, "haven't you had enough? Join me or... else!"
  • not rolling at all and instead narrating, "the baddie swipes at you but misses, as if distracted by something"
  • etc
 

DMZ2112

Chaotic Looseleaf
I see fudging as a kludge to deal with an underlying problem. So if it is a preference, it looks to me like a preference for not going a little deeper to the source of the issue and removing it. It's possible some DMs aren't aware how they are the cause, even though they are regularly setting the very stakes they are at times rejecting.
Yes, your dogged insistence on being wrong about the intentions of people who play the game differently than you and being insulting about it has been noted.

For my part, I'm specifically talking about fudging dice, not changing things in the context of the setting which is perfectly in the DM's remit.
There is no difference, other than pausing to throw a piece of oddly-shaped plastic at a flat surface in the middle of your decision-making process.

The outcome is, and possibly the motivation, but you don't have to fudge the dice here. It's unnecessary.
No one is saying that it is necessary. It is a choice, and a preference.

Roll purists are incapable of having this conversation without shouting down a two-stage straw-man argument, which is that if a dungeon master considers ignoring the results of die rolls acceptable, they must consider it acceptable to ignore the results of any die roll, and that by extension they must ignore the results of die rolls most of the time.

None of this is true. 99% of the time, a responsible dungeon master who ignores the results of die rolls lets the dice fall where they may. That's how the game works. A responsible dungeon master only ignores the result of a die roll when doing so would improve the table's shared narrative, which is something they can recognize and know and the dice cannot.

You are having an argument with yourself.

But I personally take it a step further and don't change my prep either. The players have no expectations that any given fight, for example, will be "balanced" or "level appropriate." It's on them to decide what to do in the face of that reality, not for me to change something midstream because I don't think they can handle it. I have faith that they'll figure it out, and my faith is usually well-placed. And if it goes wrong, that's okay - we already agreed that the cost of failure is fun for the players, if not so much fun for the characters.
Again, what you are describing is a stylistic choice that you are well entitled to make.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
Yes, your dogged insistence on being wrong about the intentions of people who play the game differently than you and being insulting about it has been noted.
I dont't think I'm wrong about why fudging happens: The DM cannot accept the stakes that they themselves created then left to the dice to decide. That's not insulting. That's just what it is.

There is no difference, other than pausing to throw a piece of oddly-shaped plastic at a flat surface in the middle of your decision-making process.
The difference is that if the stakes are set so that success and failure are both acceptable outcomes to the group, then fudging is not needed.

No one is saying that it is necessary. It is a choice, and a preference.

Roll purists are incapable of having this conversation without shouting down a two-stage straw-man argument, which is that if a dungeon master considers ignoring the results of die rolls acceptable, they must consider it acceptable to ignore the results of any die roll, and that by extension they must ignore the results of die rolls most of the time.

None of this is true. 99% of the time, a responsible dungeon master who ignores the results of die rolls lets the dice fall where they may. That's how the game works. A responsible dungeon master only ignores the result of a die roll when doing so would improve the table's shared narrative, which is something they can recognize and know and the dice cannot.

You are having an argument with yourself.
A preference to create stakes DMs cannot accept, then roll for, and subsequently ignore or change the roll. I don't see anything wrong about calling it what it is, nor do I think it's wrong for people to do things in the way they prefer. In a discussion of techniques, I think it's fair to point out where this can all be skipped by addressing the matter of setting stakes everyone thinks is fun and memorable.

Again, what you are describing is a stylistic choice that you are well entitled to make.
I'm aware of what I'm describing as being what you say, which is why I separated it out from the previous paragraph in that post. It is not a statement of any "right way" to do anything.
 

I know that as a player, I can often tell when a DM is fudging, and it severely undermines the stakes for me. We all know the signs:

The DM starts asking how many hitpoints you have left, and then as he rolls deliberately behind the screen, I can see him pondering the result and staring down the dice with frustration. Then he looks away from the dice, as if they betrayed him, and reveals a result that is not that bad at all. And I can't help but feel that I'm being lied to.

Honestly, what is the worst that could happen here? Say I do take lots of damage. I drop to 0 hitpoints, fall unconscious and have to start making death saves. But my party can still save the day. It's not like dropping to 0 hitpoints equals a guaranteed game over. Let me roll a death save every now and then! It's okay to have our butts handed to us by a strong foe once in a while.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
What do you think you have to do with your "time before the game" to avoid fudging? Because I don't do anything, outside of occasionally making house rules at the start of the adventure or campaign. And that seems pretty common in my experience as far as prep goes.
You tell me! You're the one who said...

"I see fudging as a kludge to deal with an underlying problem. So if it is a preference, it looks to me like a preference for not going a little deeper to the source of the issue and removing it."

So by your own statement we who fudge are meant to be "going a little deeper to the source of the issue and removing it" rather than fudging. But when was it you thought we were supposed to make these deep thought considerations and "fix" these issues that are causing us to fudge later? Hmm? During the game?

You can't have it both ways. You can't tell all of us that if there are issues with our games that are being "solved" by us fudging unnecessarily that we should just "go deeper" and solve the problems first... but then claim "There's no extra prep or time before a game needed to just get ready."

I mean... why not just admit the truth of the situation? That other people do not have the same issues with the concept of fudging that you do and there's nothing wrong with other people having their own preferences? That fudging is not some moral failing or a problem to be fixed... but merely a difference in what DMs find important?

I have no idea why that's so hard for some people to accept. I mean I accept that you choose not to fudge and I'm perfectly okay with saying that your choice not to fudge is not a problem or something you need to solve. Why you can't see it back the other way is beyond me.
 

CreamCloud0

One day, I hope to actually play DnD.
I know that as a player, I can often tell when a DM is fudging, and it severely undermines the stakes for me. We all know the signs:

The DM starts asking how many hitpoints you have left, and then as he rolls deliberately behind the screen, I can see him pondering the result and staring down the dice with frustration. Then he looks away from the dice, as if they betrayed him, and reveals a result that is not that bad at all. And I can't help but feel that I'm being lied to.

Honestly, what is the worst that could happen here? Say I do take lots of damage. I drop to 0 hitpoints, fall unconscious and have to start making death saves. But my party can still save the day. It's not like dropping to 0 hitpoints equals a guaranteed game over. Let me roll a death save every now and then! It's okay to have our butts handed to us by a strong foe once in a while.
ah yes, i thought this discussion was missing something, the 'the players always know when you're fudging' argument, maybe we should add 'intense music plays in the background' to that list of 'obvious signs' of fudging. /j :ROFLMAO:
 

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