D&D 5E DMs, how do you fudge?

This is how I, as DM, most commonly fudge during our 5e D&D sessions (choose up to 3):

  • Dice rolls in favor of the PCs

    Votes: 27 22.5%
  • Dice rolls in favor of the monsters/NPCs

    Votes: 9 7.5%
  • Monster/NPC HP during combat

    Votes: 46 38.3%
  • Monster/NPC AC during combat

    Votes: 7 5.8%
  • DCs

    Votes: 17 14.2%
  • Other (comment below)

    Votes: 25 20.8%
  • I don't fudge - what is prepped is what there is

    Votes: 35 29.2%
  • I don't fudge - fudging is cheating

    Votes: 24 20.0%
  • I don't fudge - I prefer other deserts

    Votes: 19 15.8%

The side discussion of fudging in another thread made me wonder how common fudging actually is among the 5e DMs here. The options below include more than just fudging dice, which seems to be the context in which we most commonly hear the term.

To be clear, the definition of fudging I'm applying in this poll is: the act of a DM changing numbers on the fly during game play for... reasons.

Mod Note: There's nothing wrong with this post, but people should be warned: if you approach this topic with accusations of cheating, lying, or dishonesty, you'll be removed from the discussion. ~Umbran
 
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iserith

Magic Wordsmith
I don't fudge. I announce a DC and the stakes (if it's not obvious) before the roll is made and the roll - whatever the result - stands. DCs are almost always 10, 15, or 20 and I aim to keep what DC I assign as consistent with similar situations and tasks as possible. I also roll everything in the open.
 

Oofta

Legend
I adjust monsters and encounters to fit the group all the time, up until initiative is rolled. At that point? I can't say I never change some stat but I can't remember when the last time was.

However, I do occasionally choose less than optimal tactics depending on the monster or if I'm trying to avoid a TPK. In very rare cases I'll not have that planned second wave come in, or just as likely have reinforcements show up. For example in a recent encounter I realized that the fire giant dreadnought was going to kill everyone if I continued using the shield charge attack (they had bunched up and the giant could charge through the group, rinse and repeat every turn), so I had the giant sit there and duke it out. It was a situation where escape would have been difficult at best, otherwise I might have simply let them bravely run away.

In other cases, if it makes sense reinforcements may come in or the BBEG may attempt to escape. Occasionally I'll ignore an ability that recharged.

It depends on the group and campaign of course. If the group is okay with a potential TPK it's kill or be killed.
 

Yora

Legend
Fudging is taking away players' agencies.
Once you start ignoring the dice because the players won't like the result, when will you stop and decide to have something bad happen to them? At that point, everything bad that happens only happens because you arbitrarily decide what you prefer. Why even roll at all at that point?
 


billd91

Not your screen monkey (he/him)
I make adjustments to encounters up to the day of the game session.
I‘ll occasionally drop a crit to a normal hit if the luck’s been a bit one-sided or drop off a die of damage here or there (for example, the PCs were really harried by some bad luck fighting minotaurs, when I rolled a 4d12 crit, I just rolled 3d12). I’ve also had monsters/NPCs fail saves that they otherwise might have made.
 


FitzTheRuke

Legend
I adjust monsters and encounters to fit the group all the time, up until initiative is rolled. At that point? I can't say I never change some stat but I can't remember when the last time was.

However, I do occasionally choose less than optimal tactics depending on the monster or if I'm trying to avoid a TPK. In very rare cases I'll not have that planned second wave come in, or just as likely have reinforcements show up. For example in a recent encounter I realized that the fire giant dreadnought was going to kill everyone if I continued using the shield charge attack (they had bunched up and the giant could charge through the group, rinse and repeat every turn), so I had the giant sit there and duke it out. It was a situation where escape would have been difficult at best, otherwise I might have simply let them bravely run away.

In other cases, if it makes sense reinforcements may come in or the BBEG may attempt to escape. Occasionally I'll ignore an ability that recharged.

It depends on the group and campaign of course. If the group is okay with a potential TPK it's kill or be killed.

This. If I fudge at all, it's usually in tactics or story elements, not die-rolls. If things are going too well for the party, I might have more monsters show up (if it makes sense to do so - only if the newcomers were likely to be around) or if it's going badly, I might make the monsters do something sub-optimal.

Actually, I often overclock encounters but have monsters "too busy" with whatever they were doing before the PCs showed up to rush to suddenly all together be interested in nothing more than killing PCs. The better the PCs are doing, the more of the other monsters will naturally join their allies, y'see?
 

beancounter

(I/Me/Mine)
I try to make a challenging encounter, but if the dice gods are frowning on the PCs, I will fudge rolls in favor of the PC.

However, if they act recklessly, even after I say "are you sure", I will let the dice determine the outcome.
 

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