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%

Nagol

Unimportant
Bah, what arrogance. You "help that group out" by not sitting with them. This is the exact problem I have with anti-fudgers in this thread. Your posts don't read like you're interested in a good game, having a good time, or making new friends. Your posts all read like the only person who matters at the table is you and if you're not happy, the DM is an evil Machiavellian jerk whose only intent is to ruin your fun.

Whatever. I don't want to be part of this discussion anymore, too much negativity.

Arrogance would be me thinking I improve any group that includes me -- not that my exclusion is helpful.

What helps the group more, me sitting down and being annoyed/disruptive or them finding someone who better fits their playstyle?
 

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Nytmare

David Jose
There is this one niggling direction that the DM simply refuses to allow. That is inserting a preferred outcome. This is acceptable;that is not. The dice indicate that so I will announce this without allowing the group to know that is prohibited.

I can not speak for every DM who fudges, but for me it is not a question of there being an acceptable or unacceptable outcome. It's a question of an acceptable outcome coming at an inopportune time.

I have no problem creating things influenced or inspired by chance. I do not want to create something that is entirely mandated by chance.

For me it is also entirely dependent on the game being played. In most D&D games, even as a player, I do not see or use combat as a tactical contest. I see it as a (sometimes wonky) narrative tool that grew out of a tactical wargame. There are plenty of other RPGs that I play that I see no reason to fudge, and mostly it's because I see their resolution systems either as an actual contest between the players and DM or as narrative tools better equipped to handle storytelling.
 

Nagol

Unimportant
I can not speak for every DM who fudges, but for me it is not a question of there being an acceptable or unacceptable outcome. It's a question of an acceptable outcome coming at an inopportune time.

If there is a difference between "unacceptable outcome" and "outcome is acceptable but sufficiently inopportune I will unilaterally override it", I fail to see it. It looks like different words with the same meaning. Certainly, the DM may evaluate the outcome in context and come to different determinations for situations with passing resemblances, but I'd say that would make one acceptable and the other not.
 


Noctem

Explorer
In my experience, DM's who alter the roll result often do it because they have a personal investment in the results of the situation, whatever it may be. In what situation would you ever consider forcing a hit or even a crit on a player from a monster attack a good thing I have to wonder? To force the battle of resource attrition already designed into the game? Or how about auto-success vs a save effect on an NPC? Auto-success vs a player using stealth? The list goes on.

No, the answer is totally on the DM side of the equation almost every time: The need for something to happen because of plot, protecting an NPC, taking out a key player with an attack, etc...

Basically, a DM will resort to cheating the dice because of a personal need to do so. I think if we took, at random, a close look at all the fudging done by some of the people who admit here that they do it, almost all of it would be completely selfish in nature. They aren't doing it for the enjoyment of the group.

I've never heard a player say "I really enjoyed when the DM cheated the dice result which then had a negative impact for the group" or "Man, the highlight of the session was when the DM cheated the dice result and downed my character!" or "When the DM just decided that I was detected with my rogue at the worst possible moment, that was awesome!" or "Dude! When that monster automatically saved against my spell effect because he's important to the DM's plot.. EPIC!" etc...
 

Nytmare

David Jose
If there is a difference between "unacceptable outcome" and "outcome is acceptable but sufficiently inopportune I will unilaterally override it", I fail to see it. It looks like different words with the same meaning.

[-]This may only be me reading bias into the things being said, but[/-] what it feels like a lot of people are assuming that DMs who fudge say "I do not want the players to beat this monster, so I will not let them. I will lie when the dice tell me that the monster misses. I will lie and tell the players that their to hit rolls do not beat the monsters AC."

What I am saying is that (at least for me) the things running through my head are usually more along the lines of "Joe's hit kills him, but Steve goes next and it would be way more interesting for him to get the killing blow because this is the guy who killed Father Lucius. I'll have the next hit kill him instead."

That's not me deciding to unilaterally override every every outcome that isn't Steve killing the bad guy, that's me being inspired to give him the opportunity to kill the bad guy after a cascade of random events. Just like how sometimes I'll roll on the Magic Item tables to help me choose magic items to put into a loot pile.
 
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EzekielRaiden

Follower of the Way
I can not speak for every DM who fudges, but for me it is not a question of there being an acceptable or unacceptable outcome. It's a question of an acceptable outcome coming at an inopportune time.

I have no problem creating things influenced or inspired by chance. I do not want to create something that is entirely mandated by chance.

I'm with Nagol on this one. That is, "an unacceptable outcome" and "an acceptable outcome coming at an inopportune time" sounds like a distinction without a difference. Acceptability can be contextual. I don't think anyone in this thread would disagree with that. So "unacceptable" already means "potentially acceptable, if the time were opportune."

I'm also not entirely sure what the difference is between "things influenced or inspired by chance" and "thing...entirely mandated by chance." Isn't that what is done when one rolls a strict-3d6 character? Accepting whatever luck, good or bad, helpful or hindering, that probability provides? Seems like accepting something "mandated" by chance, and in fact enjoying it. I mean, you might not actually DO that, but it is an example of something seen in D&D play. Is that a thing you do?

For me it is also entirely dependent on the game being played. In most D&D games, even as a player, I do not see or use combat as a tactical contest. I see it as a (sometimes wonky) narrative tool that grew out of a tactical wargame. There are plenty of other RPGs that I play that I see no reason to fudge, and mostly it's because I see their resolution systems either as an actual contest between the players and DM or as narrative tools better equipped to handle storytelling.

Odd that a narrative tool would have such heavy, mathematical mechanics, and largely binary resolution (with the exclusion of damage and crits, which are admittedly fairly important, but the latter is still binary in some sense, and the former is digital). And, further, that it should regularly--frequently, even--generate non-narrative-supporting outcomes and thus need to be heavily regulated. It would seem to me, then, that the "sometimes wonky" bit is the result of trying to shove a square peg into a round hole...

This may only be me reading bias into the things being said, but what it feels like a lot of people are assuming that DMs who fudge say "I do not want the players to beat this monster, so I will not let them. I will lie when the dice tell me that the monster misses. I will lie and tell the players that their to hit rolls do not beat the monsters AC."

What I am saying is that (at least for me) the things running through my head are usually more along the lines of "Joe's hit kills him, but Steve goes next and it would be way more interesting for him to get the killing blow because this is the guy who killed Father Lucius. I'll have the next hit kill him instead."

That's not me deciding to unilaterally override every every outcome that isn't Steve killing the bad guy, that's me being inspired to give him the opportunity to kill the bad guy after a cascade of random events. Just like how sometimes I'll roll on the Magic Item tables to help me choose magic items to put into a loot pile.

Well, I haven't been arguing against that particular straw man since...well, probably the beginning of the "would you change HP mid-fight?" thread. Because everybody that wasn't, ahem, excessively vehement was quite clear that fudging "against the party" is something You Just Don't Do, and even got...perhaps not "offended" per se, but miffed at the suggestion that fudging might be used to the detriment of the party.

Even though, as I have said here and elsewhere, fudging to up a monster's HP is identical to fudging a PC's damage downward, which makes it fairly clear that it is "against the party" even if it is done with intent to do something cool/fun/interesting/<insert your preferred positive adjective here> (in the DM's opinion).

If you want the killing blow to come from a particular player, don't have 0 HP mean death in this case. 0 HP can mean lots of things in lots of places (PCs roll death saves, after all). In this case, it means "out of the fight." Then the thematically-appropriate opponent can, outside the context of the combat resolution system, have the witty one-liner or last-breath-conversation, before ramming a sword through some vital body part or blasting the baddie's brains out with a spell (and, if we're being all thematically supportive here, without it costing a spell slot, if it isn't a cantrip).

Same achieved result. No need for fudging, deception, concealment of information, altering the ability of players' abilities to properly affect their targets, or whatever else. You just rule that, in this case, the consequence of a particular mechanical effect (dropping an enemy to 0 HP) is a little different, for story reasons--just like how you can rule that an action which would normally require a check just is successful, but still be curious about how successful. The effects will come in good time--we just need a moment for the Rule of Cool to apply, because Talking Is A Free Action.
 

Quartz

Hero
I've skipped the 16 intervening pages so someone else has already said what I'm about to. :)

If the DM has misjudged the situation, of course I expect her to fudge. And you can fudge without altering the dice. Instead, change the situation. So the killer halfling is bearing down on the helpless PC and will undoubtedly kill her? Halflings are bulette chow, so have one erupt through the earth. And as long as the PC stays stock still, the bulette won't notice her. Purple Worms are always good in a dungeon. Or even just a menacing voice floating in the air, "I want her ... alive..."

On the other side, perhaps the guard has an item with Truesight or Tremorsense that allows her to detect someone sneaking up behind. Or the monster has a spell absorption item. Fudge the situation, not the die roll.
 

EzekielRaiden

Follower of the Way
I've skipped the 16 intervening pages so someone else has already said what I'm about to. :)

If the DM has misjudged the situation, of course I expect her to fudge. And you can fudge without altering the dice. Instead, change the situation. So the killer halfling is bearing down on the helpless PC and will undoubtedly kill her? Halflings are bulette chow, so have one erupt through the earth. And as long as the PC stays stock still, the bulette won't notice her. Purple Worms are always good in a dungeon. Or even just a menacing voice floating in the air, "I want her ... alive..."

On the other side, perhaps the guard has an item with Truesight or Tremorsense that allows her to detect someone sneaking up behind. Or the monster has a spell absorption item. Fudge the situation, not the die roll.

Well, while these examples are a bit extreme for the kinds of things I've talked about, I suppose I would be okay with them if they were suitably justified in-world. E.g. you make it known that death by random bulette is a thing that can happen, albeit rarely enough that it's typically considered an old wives' tale, or that it's always "my friend said his uncle's cousin got eaten by a bulette!" More likely, I might have some other, less-rare and more-friendly deus ex machina fly in to save the day. Probably for a suitable price, of course. TANSTAAFL and all. Even the Good guys always have something they could use some help with.

But I wouldn't call this "fudging"...as long as it is, in fact, justified in one way or another. Altering situations is the core power of the DM, it's how they create literally anything at all for the world. I have yet to see or hear of a situation that couldn't be solved through some kind of change to the situation at hand, rather than fudging (in the numbers or informational sense). And, at least for me, when the choice is between a numerical sleight-of-hand/deception, and an observable/open move, the choice seems pretty obvious...
 

Nagol

Unimportant
[-]This may only be me reading bias into the things being said, but[/-] what it feels like a lot of people are assuming that DMs who fudge say "I do not want the players to beat this monster, so I will not let them. I will lie when the dice tell me that the monster misses. I will lie and tell the players that their to hit rolls do not beat the monsters AC."

Typically, I've experienced the bias on the other side -- it is more like "I don't want the PCs to fail here therefore..."

What I am saying is that (at least for me) the things running through my head are usually more along the lines of "Joe's hit kills him, but Steve goes next and it would be way more interesting for him to get the killing blow because this is the guy who killed Father Lucius. I'll have the next hit kill him instead."

That's not me deciding to unilaterally override every every outcome that isn't Steve killing the bad guy, that's me being inspired to give him the opportunity to kill the bad guy after a cascade of random events. Just like how sometimes I'll roll on the Magic Item tables to help me choose magic items to put into a loot pile.

Players do the darndest things. What happens if Steve misses/decides to do something other than strike/loses his turn? Does the fight continue with non-Steves not managing to drop the bad guy until Steve gets around to finishing him? If not is the outcome any better than giving Joe the kill? Does the bad guy (or anyone else on his side) get to hit anyone else in the meantime?

Robbing Joe to potentially give Steve a payoff looks like a losing proposition to me while at the same time extending the duration of the fight. I don't want my DM to adjust the universe based on his prediction of what I may do next and/or how I (the player) may feel about my role in the current team endeavour.

If it is the group versus a bad guy, why is Steve striking down the bad guy so much more interesting than Joe or anyone else? It may be more fulfilling for Steve -- or not since striking down the bad guy is a team effort still. It's not like Steve's PC called the bad guy out for a duel of honour or anything. If the DM really wants the emotional payoff to occur, arrange the setting and situation such that some form of personal battle makes sense and give Steve the chance to earn that payoff (or not if he feels the need for team support).
 

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