Podcast #254: Can the GM Cheat?

Morrus, Peter, and Jessica answer the question, "Can the GM cheat?"

This week, Morrus, Peter, and Jessica answer the question, “Can the GM cheat in an RPG?” In the news, Gloomhaven and Tales of the Valiant break $1,000,000 in crowdfunding, Renegade Game Studios claims they own the word “Renegade”, Diana Jones Award finalists announced, and more! Plus a brand new sketch about reassessing the threat level of a legendary foe.

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News

Renegade Game Studios claims ownership of the word “Renegade” https://www.enworld.org/threads/ren...small-creator-using-the-word-renegade.698312/

News Digest for June 23, 2023 (update on the Renegade Game Studios trademark controversy, Rengade Game Studios and By Night Studios distribution deal, Pirate Borg pre-order, Green Ronin teases Swords of the Shadow Planet, Mayfair Games returning, ) https://www.enworld.org/threads/news-digest-for-june-23-2023.698387/

Who the Devil Are You? from Monte Cook Games https://www.enworld.org/threads/in-who-the-devil-are-you-the-players-do-all-the-work.698392/

Script Change by Beau Jágr Sheldon Script Change RPG Toolbox

Tales of the Valiant Joins the $1M Crowdfunding Club https://www.enworld.org/threads/tales-of-the-valiant-joins-the-1m-crowdfunding-club.698356/

Gloomhaven RPG Crowdfunder Hits $1M in First Hours https://www.enworld.org/threads/gloomhaven-rpg-crowdfunder-hits-1m-in-first-hours.698353/

Artipelago by Hatchling Games on Crowdfundr Artipelago: Colouring book of wondrous floating islands.

Not DnD - INSPIRISLES
Beadle & Grimm’s Deluxe Edition of Phandelver & Below Legendary Edition of Phandelver & Below: The Shattered Obelisk

This Mortal Coil by David Garrett This Mortal Coil by David Garrett

Diana Jones Award Nominees 2023 https://www.enworld.org/threads/thi...s-a-d-d-adventure-and-a-game-designer.698345/

TTRPG Freelancer Writer/Editor Rate Survey https://www.enworld.org/threads/ttrpg-freelancer-writer-editor-rate-survey.698306/

TTRPG Freelancer Artist/Cartographer Rate Survey https://www.enworld.org/threads/ttrpg-freelancer-artist-cartographer-rate-survey.698323/

Search & Rescue: A Mausritter Adventure Search & Rescue: A Mausritter adventure - Hugh Lashbrooke | DriveThruRPG.com

A Case of MisTastin’ Identity by Jeff Somogyl A Case of MisTastin' Identity - Dungeon Masters Guild | Dungeon Masters Guild

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Cheating GMs

TikTok from scxrlet64 on cheating as a GM
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Hosts: Russ “Morrus” Morrissey, Peter Coffey, and Jessica Hancock

Editing and post-production: Darryl Mott

Theme Song: Steve Arnott

Malach the Maleficent played by Darren Morrissey

Check out all the media content from EN World at http://enliverpg.com
 

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Darryl Mott

Darryl Mott

MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
Haven't listened to this episode yet. Playing it in the background now as I prepare for my evening game.

The way I run my main D&D 5e campaign. Yes. The DM can cheat. I roll my dice in the open. I stick to RAW plus my written homebrew. As the referee I obviously have to make judgements often on the fly but I not only allow a bit of rules lawyering, I expect it. I need the players to help me keep on top of the rules. We are all showing up to play a game and the rules are part of what make it a game. We lean to a more tactical style of play and the collaborative story-telling is created by the players decisions and how the dice roll.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
I haven't listened to the podcast, but this always struck me as a false question.

Any one of the hobbyists (can't use the word "player" here) around the table can cheat.

If a D&D 5e DM fudges dice, is it cheating? No, it's listed in the DMG as a valid technique. If they change a rule to fit a circumstance, is it cheating? No, the rules allow the DM to do that. Just because doing things that might be considered cheating in other games does not mean they are cheating in a game where the DM is following the rules to be allowed to change the rules. To cheat is pretty dang hard, such as applying a rule differently to two different PCs in the same aspect. "Well, a fireball only does 5d6 to my significant other's character who's low on HPs, but it does the normal 8d6 to Chris."

Other games don't offer that. For example, it's absolutely clear in a PbtA game that the GM can cheat. They are constrained in many ways, both in what they can't do and in what they must do. Breaking either of these is a GM cheating.

So a GM can cheat in any game, that's never actually been a question except to GMs who have been raised to having 100% authorial and rule control. And even for them, it's a question of optics, the "can they cheat" has always only had a positive answer.
 


Milieu

Explorer
David Frost: So what in a sense, you're saying is that there are certain situations, and a crit that would one-shot a PC is one of them, where the GM can decide that it's in the best interests of the game or something, and cheat.

Richard Nixon: Well, when the GM does it, that means that it is not cheating.
 

Selganor

Adventurer
Speaking of correcting typos and cheating.

I remember one notable typo in the "Lich Lords" book, where a group of liches (the antagonists of the adventure) reappeared and at first were in a weakened state but if they got time to recover they were more powerful.
One place was their hp which were noted like 100-300 but for the last one they missed the "-" so the hp were 100600.
Of course the gm noticed that typo but when the players (knowing that this was the last and most powerful lich) came into the fight with everything they got and hit him for 2000 damage(!) in the first round the gm decided to ignore his observation of the typo and just take the hp as written.

I think the group survived 2-3 rounds but the fight was "rewound" with the agreement that the players would keep the fight "civil"
 

PJ Coffey

PJ Coffey (they/them)
Speaking of correcting typos and cheating.

I remember one notable typo in the "Lich Lords" book, where a group of liches (the antagonists of the adventure) reappeared and at first were in a weakened state but if they got time to recover they were more powerful.
One place was their hp which were noted like 100-300 but for the last one they missed the "-" so the hp were 100600.
Of course the gm noticed that typo but when the players (knowing that this was the last and most powerful lich) came into the fight with everything they got and hit him for 2000 damage(!) in the first round the gm decided to ignore his observation of the typo and just take the hp as written.

I think the group survived 2-3 rounds but the fight was "rewound" with the agreement that the players would keep the fight "civil"
If they're gonna drop 2k damage they clearly spent resources to do it!

In the final session of a Dark Heresy campaign I was in, a Chaos Space Marine showed up.

I burnt through 3 points of my 26 Toughness and then rolled quite well, 66 points of damage, through armour, to head and chest. Turns out they're tough but they're not that tough.

My point being that I'd always favour characters pulling out the stops when the chips are on the line.

But, that aside, thanks very much for listening! 😀
 

PJ Coffey

PJ Coffey (they/them)
I haven't listened to the podcast, but this always struck me as a false question.

I have always said that DMs are players too but I think this episode revealed unspoken assumptions that include they're not the same sort of player and how deep that goes. 😀
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
I have always said that DMs are players too but I think this episode revealed unspoken assumptions that include they're not the same sort of player and how deep that goes. 😀
Absolutely. DMs are playing the game as well, just in a different role than the others. We obscure that a little bit by labelling the others "players", which implies the DM isn't playing.
 


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