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D&D General If they thought they could get away with it...

"If the players thought they could get away with it, they would cheat and/or exploit the rules."

  • Definitely would cheat but not exploit

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Poll closed .


Follower of the Way
Rate the accuracy of the following statement for games you have participated in (whether as player or DM/GM/etc.):

"If the players thought they could get away with it, they would cheat and/or exploit the rules."

Should you have participated in many games, consider it a sort of average across all the games you've played/run: in general, which rating would describe the groups you'd been in?

If you simply cannot choose just one answer, I've allowed up to 3, for example if you find that the answer is totally game and/or group dependent (e.g. players are more willing to do these things in D&D but less willing to do them in 13th Age, or whatever.)

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I've played with players who would bold facedly cheat unless constantly monitored (generally this would be the player sitting next to them).

I've played with players who would happily exploit the rules, but who (to the best of my knowledge) would never cheat.

And I've played with plenty of players who (again, to the best of my knowledge) had no desire to do either.

It really depends upon the player, and even sometimes the player's circumstances. I've known players who (from my pov) exploited the rules when they were younger, but gave it up as they matured.


I have absolutely caught people explicitly cheating. Others I strongly felt were cheating but couldn't prove it. Fortunately, it's fairly rare. But there are people who honestly misunderstand some rules and interpret them to their best benefit. Are they cheating if they make an honest mistake? Because I did that with my first 5E PC, giving them an option that was reserved for a different subclass. A lot of people do the math in their head wrong now and then.

Other people just stretch things a bit now and then. If the group and DM are okay with that, is it really cheating? If the DM supports or even encourages using abilities in a way that's far outside of what the rules say, what then?

If I look back to gaming while I was at university, there were some suspiciously good attribute scores rolled at home, but I'm not aware of any intentional cheating directly at the table. And there were often one or two players definitely open to exploiting any loopholes in the rules or bringing completely off-the-charts homebrew classes they found online.
(Voted "Might do either" here)

These days, I have the feeling that cheating is not a thing anymore. If it happens (cannot tell because we are only playing online), then the effects disappear in the statistical noise of dice rolls. And we are all much too lazy to look for exploits ;)
(Voted "might cheat, would not exploit" here, because I cannot be sure about the first one)


One other note - there is no way I can answer this poll because I'd have to check pretty much every box. It's a spectrum. On the one end you have the guy who just made up what their powers did in 4E. Another that had one of those clear dice that he had to pick up and squint at to see the number, who may or may not have been cheating but no one could tell. The person that would never cheat or push the limits of what they can do even if it would fit the style of the game. A lot of people have favorite D20s that seem to roll better than average.

There are all sorts of people. Some would cheat as much as they can get away with, others would feel terrible at the tiniest mistake. It's a spectrum.


We had one player awhile ago who would roll natural 20s a suspiciously high proportion of the time, but aside from that I can't think of any player who's outright cheated.

But "exploiting the rules"? Sure, that happens, and at some tables it's the legitimate way to play.


Generally speaking, when you take a large group of people and give them a label, like "players", and then assume a negative characteristic about them, like cheating, you need to rethink your approach. Even if you just ask whether the group is something negative.

Players are different. Period. Each one brings a different set of characteristics to the game, and part of the fun as a DM is to recognize what makes them different and adjust for it accordingly. That applies to any tendency to 'bend the rules' as much as it does to their style of play.


It depends on the group and maturity is a pretty big factor. In high school, I didn't trust my players as far as I could throw them, since I'd caught them cheating/exploiting rules every chance they got (tbf, I did it too). In college, cheating seemed less rampant, but exploitation was very, very common. Now with more middle aged players, cheating is basically non-existent (although they never do seem to care about container capacity) and exploits are pretty rare (we as a group decide if something is too OP, but it's rare).


He / Him
I think, in my gaming life, my players and I have built up a healthy enough gaming environment that it just doesn't make sense to cheat or exploit the rules. Maybe it's because we have conversations about what we want out of the game, the challenge level we are seeking, if death is on the table or not...

It feels to me that a player cheating is trying to "win" in a way that doesn't match the goals of everyone else at the table. So it's a kind of failure of the gaming environment. Either they need to find a new group, or the table expectations need to be adjusted.

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