Friday, October 19, 2018

Discussion: How Often Do You Fudge?

On Wednesday I waxed philosophical about how dice vs. story is a big part of running games, and about how sometimes you either have to fudge dice to build tension and drama in a story or accept that your stories will have an unsatisfying end.

Today I'm curious just how often, and in what ways, do you fudge your game?

As a GM I am guilty of this. I don't do it in every game. If we say we're going by the book, I run by the book and that means the dice lay as they lay for good or for ill. However, if we're going for story - or we're deep into a story - I have fudged the dice. Not to alter the big picture outcome of an event, but to make sure it hits the high note.

The most egregious of these I've done is I have, at times, kept an NPC alive in combat longer than they should have - by maybe about a round - because it didn't feel right if the kill went to a particular PC. I've done this all of one times, I balanced it by not even rolling for the NPC on their turn - they'd technically already died, I was just giving credit to someone else for story purposes.

Beyond this though, and while I agree that the dice can ruin stories, the times when everything is played straight and the story still happens can just feell so much better, and I love that. Because of it I'm more and more prone to just letting the dice lay as they may and finding ways to make that satisfying rather than rip away the ultimate feeling of a victory that came not just because of the planning and preparation of the PCs, but because random chance - or fate - was also on their side.

That said, I am guilty of fudging when rolls are called for. If there is something I need to happen, or want to happen for the story - even if by the book it should be a roll - I'll just give it to the players, or have it never available to them depending on how it needs to go.

But what about you?

1 comment:

  1. I don't fudge dice. If there's a result the dice can turn up that I or someone else at the table won't be happy with, then I don't make or call for the roll.

    I will do what some would probably call "fudging" when it comes to things in the game world. I try to give my monsters alternate goals in combat, so if the PCs are being beaten down, the monsters can plausibly return to whatever their actual job was, rather than, say, stomping on an unconscious character.