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 .

Thomas Shey

Legend
Anticlimax is a good reason to fudge. As a general rule I don’t want any the BBEG to be a SWEG (Small Weak End Guy). Sure every so often it’s fine for the Players to take down a foe before they get to act, but I do think it’s anti-climactic when that is anything but rare. As both a player and a DM

Of course my reaction to that is "If its not rare, there's something wrong with your GMing, the system you're using, or both."

Suspense is a good reason to fudge. The mystery scenario can fall flat when the player just happens to look in the right place and happen to check for the right thing, for no other reason than dumb luck (or having cheated and read the notes). Session over, sorry guys time to finish for the night.

Hard for me to assess the value as I'm not that big a fan of mysteries that that seems a good reason.

Training is a good reason to fudge. It’s not a problem to go easy on a new character while they find their stride. You can reduce is as they learn the rules. That second crit on the first round of combat that takes the new player out before they have acted isn’t necessary.

I half-agree; I think its better if a system has a built in buffer for this, but if that's absolutely off the table I'd give this one a pass.

Common Decency is a good reason to fudge. If you’ve heard the phrase, don’t kick a man when he’s down. The wizard has a fireball left but casts a scorching ray because if he casts fireball that downed character who was taken out on the first round and who has failed two death saves is dead. It’s gratuitous, it isn’t necessary

Eh. While I think there can be catastrophic failure states, bluntly, if I don't want ones like this to be an issue, don't use a system where its possible. That sort of decision seems a perfectly legitimate one for events to force to me.

Balancing other Players Excesses is a good reason to fudge. If one player is spamming abilities and overshadowing players maybe resistance, appropriate spells, immunity to conditions etc might appear on the monsters stats.

Again, sounds like the signs of a broken system in action if there's that much difference. Patching it after the fact rather than upfront seems a bad reason to do this, and in fact, is a step down the road of turning it into a battle between the player and GM. Better to have gone "Look, this particular kind of character build is overpowered and is going to make other characters look weak, could you not do this?" when the player started to do it.

I agree that fudging is an occasional necessity. But at least some of these seem like using it a band-aid to avoid fixing other problems.
 

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Seems like some folks are getting a whole lot of mileage out of the "Neutral. Fudging sure is a thing" poll result, as though that's tacit approval. I didn't set up the poll, but it has two positive choices, two negative, and then one that's neutral. Take away the wording added essentially for flavor/comedy, and it's just the neutral, midpoint choice. Does that mean someone's okay with it, or just doesn't have an opinion (what would, in a lot of polls, be the "Undecided" choice)? Does it mean they dislike it but have accepted that some GMs just can't help themselves? Who knows? Whatever that result means for each respondent, yanking the neutral choice into a positive position, but saying it means they're ok with it...I don't know. That seems like a textbook misinterpretation of how statistics and polling work.
 
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Thomas Shey

Legend
The reason why a DM may not bring it up in session 0 is that you may find players justifying fudging from their side and at times where the DM is not even aware. What is good for the goose is good for the gander kind of reasoning. I'm not saying its right, I'm saying it can happen. Humans are special that way.
I'm not sure that is wrong, though it more honestly would be put as someone who'd rather not anyone do it, but thinks if someone is going to, it shouldn't be limited to the GM. I'm not sure I buy that (as I've noted, while it can happen at either end, many players are taught to be very centered on their own character early on, and that's not a view that's going to make them use good judgment about fudging), but as I've noted, I'm too old to give a damn unless its egregious. I think its easy enough for the GM to respond to that with "Let's neither of us do it, then." If he's not willing to, that shows there's a dissonance in the group and I'm not sold papering over that is a virtue.
 

Thomas Shey

Legend
It’s conplicated. Some people would consider underplaying the opposition or parachuting in assistance fudging. Or having the successful enemies not fight to kill. Those people are themselves split into pro-fudges and anti-fudges.

Admittedly, it is a bit hard to keep track of who stands where and different axes.

Well, as I noted earlier, conflating people in a discussion is something that will inevitably happen occassionally. You just have to be willing if you misrepresent someone to back up and go "Right, I confused you with Person X."

But that said, I don't think you can draw a brightline between different kinds of brute force interventionism, so I think I'm still willing to call all those options "fudging" for my purposes here, even if they don't involve changing dice. Honestly, they're often even more obvious.
 

Here's another way of thinking about this issue.

Would you, as a player, think less of a GM who you know is fudging dice rolls?

It's easy as a GM to cut yourself lots of slack, to talk about maintaining immersion, keeping the good times going, etc. But step around to the other side of the table for a second. Would it sit right with you?

I'm almost always the GM in my group, but when I have been a player, and I've realized dice-fudging is happening, I definitely lose some faith and respect in the GM. I don't call them out, or flip the table and storm out, but to me it undermines the whole experience. I don't expect anyone to be perfect at GMing, whatever that even means. It just seems like such a tactic of last resort that if I know it's going on--much less if someone fesses up to it later--it feels like an indicator that a whole lot is going wrong behind the scenes. Maybe that it was more of a railroad than we even realized, or that the GM has treasured NPCs they can't bear to part with, that they really were scripting this thing out like a video game level, or that they simply can't improvise, which I think is the hands-down, number one most important skill for a GM to have (or at least develop).

So, for the pro-fudge camp, if you're player, and GM fudging is afoot, are you really as psyched as you are about doing it yourself?
 

Thomas Shey

Legend
Seems like some folks are getting a whole lot of mileage out of the "Neutral. Fudging sure is a thing" poll result, as though that's tacit approval. I didn't set up the poll, but it has two positive choices, two negative, and then one that's neutral. Take away the wording added essentially for flavor/comedy, and it's just the neutral, midpoint choice. Does that mean someone's okay with it, or just doesn't have an opinion (what would, in a lot of polls, be the "Undecided" choice)? Does it mean they dislike it but have accepted that some GMs just can't help themselves? Who knows? Whatever that result means or each respondent, yanking the neutral choice into a positive position, but saying it means they're ok with it...I don't know. That seems like a textbook misinterpretation of how statistics and polling work.

Eh. I can see an argument that if someone doesn't feel strongly enough to chose one of the negative choices, their take doesn't really matter for the discussion materially on either side at least.
 

Seems like some folks are getting a whole lot of mileage out of the "Neutral. Fudging sure is a thing" poll result, as though that's tacit approval. I didn't set up the poll, but it has two positive choices, two negative, and then one that's neutral. Take away the wording added essentially for flavor/comedy, and it's just the neutral, midpoint choice. Does that mean someone's okay with it, or just doesn't have an opinion (what would, in a lot of polls, be the "Undecided" choice)? Does it mean they dislike it but have accepted that some GMs just can't help themselves? Who knows? Whatever that result means or each respondent, yanking the neutral choice into a positive position, but saying it means they're ok with it...I don't know. That seems like a textbook misinterpretation of how statistics and polling work.
I voted that and I don’t care whether the GM fudges. It’s not my business as a player. And the poll options are wonky.
 



Mort

Legend
Supporter
Again, one range of probability is fine, but not the range the game offers in certain situations.

Like when a hit is fine but a crit is not.

Ok, so I'm on page 14 of 28 - this reply may be completely moot/redundant by page 29 but regardless:

If you don't like crits that can completely derail a combat, wouldn't the better solution be to (up front) soften the crit rules?

Or, if you like the crit rules but one character (say the frontline fighter) seems to keep getting REALLY unlucky on that front - well Adamantine armor is a thing for a reason - give the character access to it.
 

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