Dungeons & Dragons Online

Fudging is more nuanced than that

Content of the article: "Fudging is more nuanced than that"

Okay, this post is kind of a reaction to some comments I've seen on another thread, mentioning how fudging is the devil and lessens the game.

I'd like to point out that it's actually a much more nuanced concept.

D&D is…not the best, most balanced game around, and outcomes are often very hard to predict, especially in 5e where bonuses rarely go above 10. It uses a d20, which has a wide, linear range or random outcomes. Added to the quite small bonuses (will rarely go above +7 to hit, most campaigns stop before tier 3), the dice has at least a lot of say in a result, if not just simply more weight than character build or even strategy.

That isn't necessarily a good or a bad thing. I personally think it's a bad thing, but your opinion is yours.

This wide range of outcomes means that any character or monster can be made crushingly useless or brokenly powerful by a string of bad or good luck. Sure, over the course of a campaign, the average of every roll of one player will tend towards 10.5… But often, just a handful of bad rolls on a player's part and another handful of good rolls on a monster's part can end a character. Definitely.

In my opinion, in a situation like this, the average roll doesn't matter, at all. If find the idea that you can simply lose any control on the game just because of bad luck an horrible concept. "Might as well not play", I sometimes think.

Now, the meat of the subject.

"You should never fudge!" or "If your players find out that you fudge, the game will be ruined!" or "Fudging is the worst thing you can do as a DM!" are all completely false.

Read:  (DIY) DM Battle Mat

"You should absolutely fudge!" or "A player dying because of bad luck is the worst!" or "Everyone fudges!" are all… Completely false.

They're false because they're opinions stated as general truths, facts.

Thing is… Do what you want, and what your table is okay with. And please, stop using blanket statements like these. 9 times out of 10, they are completely false.

Do you want the dice to have a huge impact? GREAT! Then don't fudge. Do you want character build and strategy to have a greater impact? Fudge towards the average! Do you want to create a specific situation? Fudge towards the extremes!

And you don't have to stick just to one. Maybe one campaign you want to have more randomness than another, or maybe one time you want the last boss to not appear like a buffoon by rolling the third nat 1 in 5 rounds.

What I do?

As a DM, I don't roll in secret, but I still fudge, and I fudge very openly, with my players inputs. Three sessions in a row I've seen one of my players consistently being unable to roll above a 10 for sometimes up to 2 HOURS. In those situations I'll say "Fuck the dice, you hit/succeed/save.".

I'm not interested in a player wasting hours of their life being unable to contribute anything, or in a lessened way because they got bad luck.

As a player, if an important enemy is being crushed by bad luck, I will openly say "Hey, I think this attack should hit.".

I'm not interested in a slog combat where we're just attacking a useless sack of HP, especially when it's the culmination of a story arc.

Read:  Making Insight a worthwhile skill without giving players meta-knowledge.

But this might not be how you enjoy the game as a DM, or as a player, and that's absolutely fine. Just be aware of how the others at the table feel about this subject. Maybe this is such an important thing to you or them that you don't fit with some of your playmates even, again, that's perfectly fine. Just duck it up, compromise or don't play with them


Source: reddit.com

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