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2009-11-01 Being A Tough DM

Over on the pseudonymous Newbie DM blog there’s an article on fudging dice: To Fudge or Not to Fudge, That is the Question. Interesting question. I used to fudge dice. I also played without a screen for a while, rolling everything in the open. Then I realized as a player that I preferred the GM to have a screen: I don’t want to remind myself to avert my eyes. Once I had my screen back, there’s the temptation to roll behind the screen, and once you have that, I feel uncomfortable when important rolls come up. That’s why I keep rolling important stuff in the open.

Large amounts of damage dice? Critical hits or confirmations? Out in the open!

Random encounter? Minion saving throws? They stay where the dice are, which is usually behind the screen.

As a player, I’m not a powergamer (I don’t plan out my character meticulously and don’t expect a reward for my poor choices), I’m not a tactician (and don’t expect a reward for my decisions), I’m not there to kick ass – but I’m there to play smart and survive. That’s why I want no dice fudging.

I often say: “I’d rather die at the hands of the DM than live by his mercy!”

DM James, for example, is very nice to us players. When my paladin rolled ones for hitpoints, I was told to roll again. At one time I rolled a one five times in a row! I didn’t want to make a big fuss about it and just accepted his decisions. But in the dark corners of my heart I wish my paladin had gotten the lousy hit points the dice had in store for her. It would have moved the story in an unexpected direction. It would have challenged me as a player. It would have been more interesting.

That’s why I’m with Judd Karlman when he comments on the Newbie DM’s post: “I’m a no-fudge, no save’em type of GM. I am fine with the epic tale being a tragic cautionary of lives lost during a dungeon delve. Let the dice fall where they may.” [1]

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I am very much a believer in “let the dice fall where they may.” Its way more interesting when things go wrong in a game then when they always go right. The dice are the “chance”, and without chance there is no game.

John L. Williams 2009-11-01 23:30 UTC


I applaud your commitment to true randomness, but man it can be so hard to lose a much loved PC. It’s all part of the game though!

MisterEcho 2009-11-02 17:59 UTC


Yeah, this goes hand in hand with my reluctance to invest much in characters – they have backgrounds created on the fly. Anything I loose with a characters, I have already enjoyed at the table. No big loss. I’m not saving the cool stuff for later. (But loosing a character still hurts… It has to, if this is going to be a tragic loss, hehe!)

AlexSchroeder 2009-11-02 23:03 UTC


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