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%

Jacob Lewis

Ye Olde GM
Some people call it fudging. I prefer to think of it as recalibrating on the fly. You may not even know its happening. Frankly, there's no reason to. My goal isn't to screw anyone over or take away anyone's agency. The game system and the dice already do that. One of my jobs as GM is to help compensate as needed. My primary function is to provide a fun and entertaining experience for everyone. If you don't trust me to do that, then why are you at my table? Simply put, if you don't like my driving then find yourself another ride.

So I'll make no apologies for it. I will not ask for either permission or approval from anyone not at my table. If it bothers you, then we were never likely going to be playing in the same game anyway.
 

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Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
You are confusing everything by lumping everything together.

When we are talking about fudgeing a roll, we are talking about changing a dice roll. It's when the DM has a monster attack a character...rolls 100 damage ...then freaks out as they don't want the character to die so the fudge it...and say "oh, um, 25 damage"

MY point is that is you can't handel the result of a random roll, THEN NEVER MAKE THAT RANDOM ROLL. See, it is easy.

The two examples from a couple pages back:

1.Sad Bob. So poor, Sad Bob rolls low dice and his character misses three times in a fight. Bob is all Sad and not having Fun Would I EVER fudge his missed roll four so Bob's character can hit, and Bob be happy? NEVER. Bob can roll ones and twos for every attack for all I care.

2.The group has an easy encounter or by passes a "planned" encounter so the group has "more" resources then the DM "planned" for the group to have for the final battle. Ok...there is SO much wrong with that whole wacky idea of the DM "planning" all that in the first place. I don't "plan" like that. Some times encounters are easy, sometimes they are hard....and they are hard a LOT more as I'm a Hard Fun type DM. Between that easy encounter will likely be at least a couple other encouters before the "big" one...so the characters will most likely use and loose resources before that. And even if they did it somehow...so what...they might have a slightly less then hard 'big' encounter. Maybe....but there is a good chance it would still be hard.
You're not even addressing my point, which was not about fudging a roll, but about your claim about never needing to fudge because you have an unbelievable ability to predict the outcome of a combat and that it is not swingy.
 

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:rolleyes:

I'm a master-fudger. The DM's dice don't really need numbers on them. They just need to make the noise when you roll them.
 

Oofta

Legend
Fudging is an officially recommended 5e table rule. It's not ignoring the rules of the game to use it.
I can't say I've never fudged I just don't remember the last time because it's not my preferred method of play. I don't remember seeing anywhere it's stated as "recommended". The Role of the Dice says one option is to not use dice at all which is different than ignoring the results of a roll. I know Gygax recommended fudging way back when.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
I can't say I've never fudged I just don't remember the last time because it's not my preferred method of play. I don't remember seeing anywhere it's stated as "recommended". The Role of the Dice says one option is to not use dice at all which is different than ignoring the results of a roll. I know Gygax recommended fudging way back when.
"TABLE RULES
Ideally, players come to the gaming table with the same goal: to have a fun time together. This section gives recommendations for table rules you can establish to help meet that goal."

"Rolling behind a screen lets you fudge the results if you want to. If two critical hits in a row would kill a character, you could change the second critical hit into a normal hit, or even a miss. Don't distort die rolls too often, though, and don't let on that you're doing it. Otherwise, your players might think they don't face any real risks-or worse, that you're playing favorites."

DMG Page 235
 

In a game where failure is part of the fun, there's no need to fudge.

D&D - in my opinion - doesn't do a very good job of making failure fun. I'm not talking about the hilarity of absolute catastrophic failure, or those meat grinders you used to run where everyone came with a pre-rolled four pack of victims, but rather that miserable drip feed of mediocre rolls that leaves a player feeling utterly pointless. They soldier on as their supposedly competent hero whiffs every round, not complaining but also plainly not enjoying themself. They don't chuck their toys, but they are disheartened.

This is a really interesting and important point, imo. I can't speak for everyone, but I think some systems and their stated or implied play styles might unintentionally encourage fudging, because they don't have stuff like mechanics or guidance for failing forward. If the consequences of failure (and success, for that matter) are cut and dry, it's hard to turn bad luck into something fun.

For example, if you roll a critical success when hitting someone in D&D, it's pretty clear what happens--there are rules about extra damage and even feats that rely on a crit. And in a lot of games a critical failure is presented as a fumble--the PC doesn't just fail, they screw up in epic, often embarrassing fashion. But if you roll a miss in most PbtA games, you don't necessarily do a pratfall while also failing. The guidance is often that something bad but unrelated to your own prowess might happen--a friendly NPC takes the hit for you, or while you're circling your opponent you hear enemy cavalry approaching. You can even potentially succeed while some new consequence takes effect--you might finish off a wounded enemy, but you do it with such brutality that nearby NPCs (and maybe PCs) are disgusted and frightened by you in the long term.

PbtA is basically defined (imo) by tons of fun failures. In 5e, something like that disgust-inducing kill would be mechanically possible--you'd roll a 1, and you'd just miss.

Anyway, I'm not advocating for PbtA over 5e in all things, but I do think systems create unintended consequences (including the single d20's lack of curve, making even supposedly competent characters take nothing but wild swings). My preference is for games with rules like what you're describing, where players have some metacurrency for big, meaningful rolls. Lots of great tension there, as they decide when to spend and when to save.
 

Oofta

Legend
"TABLE RULES
Ideally, players come to the gaming table with the same goal: to have a fun time together. This section gives recommendations for table rules you can establish to help meet that goal."

"Rolling behind a screen lets you fudge the results if you want to. If two critical hits in a row would kill a character, you could change the second critical hit into a normal hit, or even a miss. Don't distort die rolls too often, though, and don't let on that you're doing it. Otherwise, your players might think they don't face any real risks-or worse, that you're playing favorites."

DMG Page 235
Thanks, I couldn't remember the reference. Still a preference of course, and I find that after the first few levels even a couple of crits isn't going to kill a PC.
 


DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
Thanks, I couldn't remember the reference. Still a preference of course, and I find that after the first few levels even a couple of crits isn't going to kill a PC.
Yup. And that's I think why at the end of the day the whole fuddging thing is overblown. Even those of us who do say we fudge probably do it rarely anyway. I don't think any of us are changing rolls or statistics every session... it's probably like maybe once or twice a campaign if we ever need it. But we don't feel the need to hardline a "Never do it!" stance even though when you count it up we might as well be saying we never do it.
 

I see different people have different definitions of fudging. In my experience, and personal view, fudging is a dice roll-only thing. Adjusting encounters is not fudging. Not using monsters as they are written in the MM is not fudging. And that said, I have only ever fudged rolls in the favor of the PCs, and only when their dice are being incredibly awful to them. If the players are making dumb decisions for their PCs, then the characters live and die with what happens.
 

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