D&D General How do players feel about DM fudging?

How do you, as a player, feel about DM fudging?

  • Very positive. Fudging is good.

    Votes: 5 2.7%
  • Positive. Fudging is acceptable.

    Votes: 41 22.4%
  • Neutral. Fudging sure is a thing.

    Votes: 54 29.5%
  • Negative. Fudging is dubious.

    Votes: 34 18.6%
  • Very negative. Fudging is bad.

    Votes: 49 26.8%

  • Poll closed .


Victoria Rules
I only use that as an example because pro-fudge people have. I would not do that myself--or, rather, if a PC were pushed so close to death by such a string of luck, I would use other methods to address the issue. Like the aforementioned "you KNOW that strike should have killed you, you're too experienced with combat to know otherwise...and yet you are not dead. This is Really Weird, but you'll have time to figure out what the heck is going on after you survive this battle. Assuming you have survived the battle already! 😉 "
I'd just let the dice have their say. Some days are just not your days. :)

That said, very rarely - as in maybe a half-dozen times in well over 35 years - I'll grant some sort of divine intervention if I feel the problem was my fault to start with either through faulty narration or poor encounter design/choice. But sheer bad dice luck? No.
I mean, I guess? I find that that's not very effective in practice. Getting a cool story in the rare circumstances where narrative weight makes it matter and the dice cooperate to let it happen just isn't enough for me. That would mean far, far too low a density of Cool Moments. By raising the level of balance, more Cool Moments happen, and more of the campaign is memorable. Memory is of course finite and fallible, but I don't see a surfeit of Cool Moments as devaluing their coolness simply because there's a lot of them.
I speak from recent experience here: in the game I play in, the last adventure saw me playing a third or even fourth-string character because my more powerful all had bigger things on their plate, or were already in the field elsewhere. The party's PC level range was 7th to 13th - I was the 7th - and the wealth/gear of the PCs was about commensurate. Biggest disparity of all: her hit points were slightly over one-tenth that of the party's main tank.

Even with that, I managed to find ways to make my PC not only contribute but find a way to pull off her share of (to use your term) Cool Moments. It's just a matter of playing within the character's limits and, sometimes, thinking outside the box. Oh, and being willing to take an occasional risk. :)
That's a strangely zero-sum perspective for intangible experiences. There is, of course, a balance (heh) to be struck; it's hard to make literally every single moment intensely memorable (and I'm not sure I would want it to be even if it were possible). But I find the "third-string PC can significantly contribute" thing is the reverse--so few memorable moments that even the ones I do get are drowned out in the noise of "you died"/"nothing happened"/"the much more powerful people actually got things done."
Yet I didn't die, lots happened, and the things that got done were mostly by us as a group rather than by individuals.

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Victoria Rules
My own experience is its possible to learn to let it be beyond what changes you think you really need, but it takes a lot of experience to learn that if you naturally are prone to tinkering.

I'm to the point now where I'm starting to think I need to do some tinkering to either dial back or undo some other past tinkerings.

But oh well, I guess that's what trial-and-error design is all about. :)

Voidrunner's Codex

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