As a GM, do you fudge your dice rolls? (And when I say fudge, I mean “change”). Do you do it for the noblest of reasons or do you do it because you are a swine and want to crush your players’ enjoyment and prove to them you are the master?
It’s funny—when a GM “fudges” a die roll he can claim he’s doing it for the good of the game and the story (assuming it is done to help not hinder the players). When a player “fudges” a die roll, he’s cheating. That looks like a little bit of a double standard to me.
This is one of those questions that goes round and round the internet. Effectively, the question boils down to this: is it okay for the GM to cheat? Is it even cheating if it is done for the story or because the dice have not favoured the players? In my experience, you get two basic kinds of GM:
- Some GMs rigidly adhere to the dice; what the dice say goes. If they indicate a random encounter or that a PC is dead that’s what happens.
- Some GMs happily ignore the dice if by doing so the game will be better. This normally involves the PCs getting some boon or advantage.
As a GM I hate killing PCs as much as the next GM—the PC might be a beloved character that has survived untold sessions of gameplay and the players are invested in the PC. Certainly, as a player I hate it when my PCs die—normally death is the ultimate failure and as we tend to stick to relatively low-level games death is also often permanent. PC death sucks.
But—here’s the thing—without any risk, rewards are essentially meaningless. What’s the point in battling for three sessions through a monster-infested dungeon if there is no prospect of death or failure? You might as well save some time and just fast forward to the last fight (or just go to the pub). Fudging dice rolls, to me, seems more than a tad pointless—particularly if the players work out what the GM is doing. I’ve played in games where it has become obvious the GM is fudging things in our favour and it soured our victories—because it’s not really our victory anymore.
What Kind of GM Are You?
So which kind of GM are you? Do you rigidly adhere to the dice or do you change their results to better suit the game? Let me know, in the comments below.