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.”