D&D 5E Do you want your DM to fudge?

As a player, do you want your DM to fudge? (with the same answer choices as that other poll).

  • Yes

    Votes: 47 23.7%
  • Almost never

    Votes: 77 38.9%
  • No, never

    Votes: 74 37.4%


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iserith

Magic Wordsmith
Is your issue with fudging a philosophical one? I.e. just don't roll that die if you're predetermined that you're not going to hit?

For the record, I thought [MENTION=23935]Nagol[/MENTION] summed up my thoughts exactly with regard to fudging in another thread. I will repost part of it below:

Nagol said:
...Fudging is turning to a determination system and then overruling the result -- typically covertly. When making a ruling without turning to dice there is no misunderstanding. The table knows the situation and can question the rationale as desired and the apparent stakes aren't co-opted by the DM to his desires.
 

Tony Vargas

Legend
That implies there are only two options (fudge, or sit by and let the game suck) which is nowhere near true.
That's overly simplistic. It merely implies that any other options are even worse. For instance, you could end the campaign, expel a player, switch systems or quite a lot of other things if dice results started wrecking your players' enjoyment of your game. The kinds of suck that fudging dodges are generally too small and one off to use more drastic measures.

It's not exactly the transparency, but that is a part of it
Fudging is not choosing not to use the dice to decide something; Fudging is telling your players the dice decided even when that isn't true.
Yep. Some players need that. Often the ones who would be most upset about it are the ones who need it the most.

And, no, though it's been implied at times in threads like this, there's nothing dishonest about it. For a game like 5e to work, at all, the DM needs to retain some information that players don't have. That can include whether a roll behind the screen was 'real' or not. Whatever it takes to keep the illusion going.
 

AaronOfBarbaria

Adventurer
how do you feel about things like adding or trimming hitpoints from a monster after the fact?
I don't do it as a DM, and if I gained knowledge that a DM was doing it while running the game for me I would be displeased to the point of ultimatum: cease that behavior, or lose me as a player.

What about unplanned for second waves of bad guys?
Too many factors play into that situation to issue a blanket statement, but in a general sense I can say that it would depend on why the DM is using a second wave of bad guys.

For example, I once had a DM bring in an unplanned second wave of monsters because he had forgotten that one character in the party could get rid of the entire encounter with a single spell. I was entirely okay with that because the DM not only admitted that mistake (he'd have used a different encounter if he'd remembered that capability) but was clearly adding the second wave because "combat is fun and we haven't had one in a while, so let's fight some monsters".

Counter example, I once had a DM that had a second wave come in (and a third) because he wanted the PCs to be defeated and captured but us players were using strategy he hadn't planned for and rolling too well on the dice for it too be plausible for him to tell us we weren't defeating the enemies he presented. That, and many other things that DM did, are not at all cool.

What about ignoring the "written in the book" second wave if things went poorly for the PCs straight out of the gate?
It's the DM's job to adjust whatever is "written in the book" to fit the group, and this hypothetical scenario is no different.

How about deciding to throw a couple of healing potions into the treasure haul after the fact because people got more beat up than you had been expecting?
That is a very acceptable compromise between letting the dice fall as they may, and softening the effects of bad luck during a fight - especially since it still requires player choice, character action, and involves dice luck to utilize those healing potions.

These are all things that I see as sharing shelf space with fudging a die roll in my suite of DM tools. Do you see it as being as dishonest as ignoring a die result?
I don't see these things as dishonest (at least not inherently), nor as ignoring a die result since there often aren't any dice involved - but I also don't see these things as sharing shelf space with fudging or being similar to fudging in any way.
 

AaronOfBarbaria

Adventurer
That's overly simplistic. It merely implies that any other options are even worse. For instance, you could end the campaign, expel a player, switch systems or quite a lot of other things if dice results started wrecking your players' enjoyment of your game. The kinds of suck that fudging dodges are generally too small and one off to use more drastic measures.
You're still missing a whole bunch of options besides fudge or suck - as evidenced by that some of us don't fudge, and yet our tables remain filled with players excited to return session after session.

Yep. Some players need that. Often the ones who would be most upset about it are the ones who need it the most.
You've lost me... are you saying some players, often ones that would be the most upset about it, need to be lied to? If yes, that's absolutely ridiculous. If no, I have genuinely no idea what you are even saying.

For a game like 5e to work, at all, the DM needs to retain some information that players don't have.
That is false. I run my games with full transparency, and everything works just fine.

Also, there is not actually a relationship between information retained by the DM such as a map that indicates where secret doors or traps are hidden, and the outright lie that is telling the players something that isn't true while claiming that it is unquestionably true.

Whatever it takes to keep the illusion going.
The illusion to which you refer is unnecessary in order to keep the illusion that is characters and the events happening to/around them engaging and fun.
 

Tony Vargas

Legend
You're still missing a whole bunch of options besides fudge or suck
There are many cases where you're not presented with that choice. They're not always 'options,' per se.

And, fudging isn't always an option. You can't fudge a roll made in the open. You might fudge the DC, but there are limits...

You've lost me... are you saying some players, often ones that would be the most upset about it, need to be lied to?
They need an illusion maintained, yes. You can think of it as 'needing to be lied to,' if you like. The same way fans of movies 'need to be lied to' by the actors. It's on the level of Daniel Craig saying "Bond, James Bond" in a Bond flick, instead of "Daniel Craig, but I'm playing Bond at the moment."

Also, there is not actually a relationship between information retained by the DM such as a map that indicates where secret doors or traps are hidden, and the outright lie that is telling the players something that isn't true while claiming that it is unquestionably true.
Any resolution the DM describes is true, by definition. Whether he paid attention to the dice he rolled behind the screen doesn't change that.

The illusion to which you refer is unnecessary in order to keep the illusion that is characters and the events happening to/around them engaging and fun.
Depends on the player. Some players don't need that illusion, some do. Some need a very tight coupling of rules to fiction, for instance, while others can handle a more free-form experience - some of the former need every resolution to involve dice and for the dice to be absolute. Keeping those dice behind the screen keeps your options open, while still meeting that need.
 

AaronOfBarbaria

Adventurer
There are many cases where you're not presented with that choice. They're not always 'options,' per se.
How do you reconcile that I have never personally been in a situation as a DM where I had to choose between only the options of fudge or suck?

They need an illusion maintained, yes. You can think of it as 'needing to be lied to,' if you like. The same way fans of movies 'need to be lied to' by the actors. It's on the level of Daniel Craig saying "Bond, James Bond" in a Bond flick, instead of "Daniel Craig, but I'm playing Bond at the moment."
What actors do and saying a die roll mattered when it didn't are not even remotely the same thing - you know, since everyone watching the movie knows, and is even clearly told by the credits, that they are watching Daniel Craig act as a character named James Bond rather than watching a documentary about a guy named James Bond.

Any resolution the DM describes is true, by definition. Whether he paid attention to the dice he rolled behind the screen doesn't change that.
That reads as deliberately missing the point.

Depends on the player. Some players don't need that illusion, some do. Some need a very tight coupling of rules to fiction, for instance, while others can handle a more free-form experience - some of the former need every resolution to involve dice and for the dice to be absolute. Keeping those dice behind the screen keeps your options open, while still meeting that need.
Claiming that you can meet a player's preference through lying to them is absolute nonsense. You aren't magically in a monogamous relationship just because your significant other happens to not be currently aware of your other partners.

I think what it really comes down to for me is that there is one side of this discussion which relies upon the players not finding out what the DM is actually up to - and I can't fathom how a person can't recognize that if you are doing something and feel that it is okay so long as no one finds out, that you are doing something that is not okay.
 

Tony Vargas

Legend
How do you reconcile that I have never personally been in a situation as a DM where I had to choose between only the options of fudge or suck?
I feel no need to 'reconcile' un-verifiable anecdotes from annonymous posters on the internet. Possibility include that you're just on a random-distribution tail, that you & your players prefer a style in which the game having results far outside those representative of the range of herioc fantasy genres is not only acceptable, but desirable, and, of course, obviously, that you feel safe in saying that from behind the shield of anonymity knowing that it can't be confirmed nor denied.

What actors do and saying a die roll mattered when it didn't are not even remotely the same thing
They are, in fact, exactly the same thing: drama. Evoking a feeling in the audience that is a reaction to something that is well-portrayed, but not literally true.

you know, since everyone watching the movie knows, and is even clearly told by the credits, that they are watching Daniel Craig aTct as a character named James Bond rather than watching a documentary about a guy named James Bond.
And everyone knows that RPGs are, as the G suggest, just games, and not real, either. And, if you've read the Basic Set description of how the game is played, you know that D&D is not a game that's played by rules in the traditional sense, since the DM can change, ignore, and over-rule the nominal rules as he sees fit.

That reads as deliberately missing the point.
Maybe you missed the point of it. You're playing D&D, the D&D describes a corridor as being dusty and having a door on the left. The module he has hidden behind the screen describes it as dank with doors on the left & right. He's decided that a dank corridor in a desert makes no sense, and that the portion of the dungeon to the right would be a waste given the time allotted to the sessions. He's not lying, he's just running a game. The same is true if he decides to roll on a wandering monster table, not ignore certain results, or whatever.

Claiming that you can meet a player's preference through lying to them is absolute nonsense.
Again, not lying, just not sharing the details of the resolution method going on behind the screen. ;P

I think what it really comes down to for me is that there is one side of this discussion which relies upon the players not finding out what the DM is actually up to - and I can't fathom how a person can't recognize that if you are doing something and feel that it is okay so long as no one finds out, that you are doing something that is not okay.
The point of the game is to have fun. I can deliver a better experience to my 5e players by using a DM screen and exercising liberal judgement in exactly how things are resolved. If you run 5e as if it were LIFE, and just lay a map out on the table and follow the Dice Gods, you might still have some fun, but there's a lot of the game's potential you're not exploring.

Ultimately, how much you keep behind the screen is just a matter of style. 5e, IMHO&X, like the classic editions, runs very well with a great deal kept behind the screen. Fudging is only one of the legitimate DM techniques that enables, that 5e mechanics benefit from, and that 5e DM Empowerment meshes very well with, indeed.

I consider that a selling point of 5e.
 

AaronOfBarbaria

Adventurer
Again, not lying, just not sharing the details of the resolution method going on behind the screen. ;P
Claiming that a die being heard rolling around behind the screen doesn't say to the player "that die roll meant something" is another lie.

The point of the game is to have fun.
Yes, exactly - and since finding out that you are being lied to by someone and being left to wonder what else they say to you is a lie isn't fun, I don't get why anyone would choose to incorporate risk of that event occurring in their attempts to have fun.

If you run 5e as if it were LIFE, and just lay a map out on the table and follow the Dice Gods, you might still have some fun, but there's a lot of the game's potential you're not exploring.
If you actually think that is how a person that doesn't fudge has to run their game, you are mistaken to a shocking degree.

A potentially interesting thought exercise: If classic D&D didn't include the DM advice that dice are only rolled for the sound they make, if D&D rulebooks had never addressed fudging dice rolls (not in a positive light as they do, nor a negative light), would it be popular opinion that rolling a die when the result of that die has no bearing at all is a sensible thing to do?
 

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