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Old 06-30-2011, 01:16 AM   #121
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Default Re: gun lethality

Of course, there is no one true way to GM and everybody is free to do it in the way it suits the group at hand best.

Still, like others, I would insist that when I as a GM donīt actually use the result the rules declare for what I rolled behind the GM screen is lying. It is not that I tell my players I rolled a 4 when I actually rolled a 17.

Should I roll for a random hit location for a stray salvo from a gauss rifle and the dice come up with a 3 and I know that in all probability this will kill the PC outright (and he didnīt see it coming or deliberatly went into combat without a helmet or something like that), I will declare he was hit in the left leg. Thatīs that. The PC is badly mauled, the player has taken his lesson about the dangers of gauss rifles and the game will go on. Nobody is going to complain, not me as a GM, not the player who has invested a lot of time in this PC (assuming it is a ongoing major camapign, not a one-shot), not the other players. There was no lying or cheating involved. The way I see the role of the GM he canīt cheat.

By the way, this is the default under GURPS rules, anyway.

Quote:
Cheat! When all else fails, roll the
dice where the players can’t see – and
then lie about your roll. “It worked! You
finally got the door open. You rush
through and slam it behind you. The
orcs cannot follow.” When an “honest”
roll would result in a bloody massacre,
it is forgivable for the GM to cheat in
the players’ favor.

Basic Set, p. 497
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Old 06-30-2011, 01:23 AM   #122
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Default Re: gun lethality

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Originally Posted by sir_pudding View Post
Why don't you just fudge as a player then, too?
I do, under the same conditions that I do as a GM. The roll is just killing whatever nice thing we've got going on, everyone agrees to just forget it ever fell, and we can keep playing. As a rule, my GMs prefer to not have to deal with the effects of my character screwing up beyond all expectations. And I won't make them. Of course, if the GM rolls with it, so do I. I trust the few GMs I like to play with implicitly to always chose the option that's more fun in the end. And I have to do that, fudges or no, so they can just as well fudge, and allow me to do so at times.
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If randomness is undesirable why not play a diceless game in the first place?
I do run a bi-weekly game of Castle Falkenstein ;)
No, seriously, randomness is not "undesirable", but it should be accorded its proper place at the gaming table, which is not "to run the game wherever it might", but "to spice up the game". We've all had hilarious scenes come up, due to the dice. But I believe most of us (apparently sir-pudding is one lucky bloke) have had frustrating scenes because of them. My free time is too valuable to spend it with the frustrating parts. I game for fun, not for adherence to some abstract code.
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Old 06-30-2011, 01:36 AM   #123
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Default Re: gun lethality

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I do, under the same conditions that I do as a GM. The roll is just killing whatever nice thing we've got going on, everyone agrees to just forget it ever fell, and we can keep playing. As a rule, my GMs prefer to not have to deal with the effects of my character screwing up beyond all expectations. And I won't make them. Of course, if the GM rolls with it, so do I. I trust the few GMs I like to play with implicitly to always chose the option that's more fun in the end. And I have to do that, fudges or no, so they can just as well fudge, and allow me to do so at times.
Even though I reserve my right to fudge as a GM, I would not openly allow my players to do so. This is because there is a big difference between the fudging player and the fudging GM in the first place - the player canīt know what a terrible screw-up is, while the GM does. A critical failure does not have to be an actual disaster, but a great adventuring opportunity. The PC cannot know whether I have an adventure prepared in the case of, say, a critical failure during hyperspace calculations.
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Old 06-30-2011, 02:10 AM   #124
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Originally Posted by sn0wball View Post
Even though I reserve my right to fudge as a GM, I would not openly allow my players to do so. This is because there is a big difference between the fudging player and the fudging GM in the first place - the player canīt know what a terrible screw-up is, while the GM does. A critical failure does not have to be an actual disaster, but a great adventuring opportunity. The PC cannot know whether I have an adventure prepared in the case of, say, a critical failure during hyperspace calculations.
Now wait. I never said you should give your players discretion to fudge their rolls as they please. Fudging, in the games I play and GM in is always a group decision. So, as a GM I allow my players to fudge on a case-by-case basis. I get the same treatment from my GMs. Basically, the GM (and the other players) see my roll, say "roll that again", and I know I can fudge this one. If everyone could fudge as they please, you could do away with the dice altogether.
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Old 06-30-2011, 03:27 AM   #125
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Default Re: gun lethality

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Originally Posted by downer View Post
Now wait. I never said you should give your players discretion to fudge their rolls as they please. Fudging, in the games I play and GM in is always a group decision. So, as a GM I allow my players to fudge on a case-by-case basis. I get the same treatment from my GMs. Basically, the GM (and the other players) see my roll, say "roll that again", and I know I can fudge this one. If everyone could fudge as they please, you could do away with the dice altogether.
Allright, that makes sense. Now the part about the GM saying to go with the result makes sense, too. Itīs like some kind of inherent level of Luck, isnīt it ?
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Old 06-30-2011, 03:55 AM   #126
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Default Re: gun lethality

I find it interesting how many people say that if they fudge, they don't have players.

In my area, the difference between being a GM and a guy with a stack of books is fudging. That is, if you don't fudge, you don't get players. Nobody is willing to play with a GM that adheres 100% to the dice roll.
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Old 06-30-2011, 03:57 AM   #127
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Originally Posted by sir_pudding View Post
In the other kind of game (without plot protection) the possibility of random death is a significant part of the story. Taking that away by cheating is defeating the purpose.
I'd like a game with a minimum of plot protection, but a significant chance of death in the right situations. A predetermined social contract about fudging is a much easier and less time consuming way to do this than fine-tuning the system. I don't trust the system nearly enough to not retain the option to fudge.
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Originally Posted by Crakkerjakk View Post
Ditto. And I'm not that great a GM. Besides, as the GM even if things are going badly you can spontaneously introduce a new plot element ("everybody freeze, FBI!"), though I'd use that extremely rarely. There is a large difference between "not using the rules we all agreed we would abide by" and "inserting a new story element to deal with an unexpected scenario." I'm extremely reluctant to do the later (and almost never have to) but the former I just won't do, period.
Introducing a new plot element can be a much greater railroading tool than fudging a die roll.
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Having narratively logical or genre appropriate events happen isn't anywhere near the same thing as lying about the dice. Controlling narrative elements is really the essential art of GM'ing. Having a set plan and slavishly sticking to it is the definition of railroading, IMO. You can be an improvisational and fair gamemaster without cheating or railroading. This is possible. I have done this thing.
Dice are a narrative element to me, a way of introducing chance to situations where I would rather not decide the outcome myself. Like any other part of the game, I can change it. I usually won't, but it's one of many tools I have to create a good game. I'll claim that you can also be an improvisational and fair gamemaster with changing dice outcomes and without railroading. Do you agree that this is possible?

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I don't cheat and that never happens. Why is that? Do I not make stupid decisions?
I consider dice rolls more like guidelines than actual results, and yet most scenarios end up wildly different than I anticipated. Why is that? Because the way the players' and the NPCs' actions interact is a much greater random element than the outcome of the dice in themselves. And also, because most often, the rolls produced will stand.

Fudgning can be used to railroad, just as narrative changes can, but it isn't the same. Stop trying to equate them.

Also, stop calling me a cheater for doing this. We clearly play games with different rules, and me changing outcomes are within the rules of my group.

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Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
The difference between fudging and metagame plot-protection being an agreed upon feature is the difference between cheating on your spouse and an open marriage. It's the same thing; but in one case, there is deception involved.
This comparison assumes that there is no social contract among the group that fudging is an acceptable GM tool.

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Originally Posted by Apache View Post
Players, as a rule, don't have to worry about catching the flu, or pneumonia, or the measles, and dying of them.
I've killed off a PC with pneumonia. That's how the dice landed, it seemed like an entirely realistic result and was a rather cool and genre-appropriate ending for him, so I didn't even consider fudging it. He loved it.

The randomness of the dice gave us that situation, and we wouldn't like to be without it, but I wouldn't like them to rule unreigned either.
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Old 06-30-2011, 04:02 AM   #128
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Allright, that makes sense. Now the part about the GM saying to go with the result makes sense, too. Itīs like some kind of inherent level of Luck, isnīt it ?
In a way, but more flexible. That's my problem with all static solutions like Luck. You get so and so many rerolls per session, hour of play or whatever. That's all nice and well statistically, but the problem is not a statistical level of crappy rolling, but the outliers, and Luck simply can't stop those. Also, it works both ways, both promoting and hindering the player characters, as the situation warrants. Took out the big boss in one shot? Lame. Reroll that. Got yourself killed by Kobold #5? Lame too. Roll again.

You simply can't put that into rules, no matter how hard you try. It takes some intuition on part of the players and the GM to regulate it. That doesn't mean drawing up rules to avoid stupid situations in the first place is not a good thing. On the contrary. But it only goes so far.
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Old 06-30-2011, 04:11 AM   #129
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Default Re: gun lethality

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Originally Posted by downer View Post
You simply can't put that into rules, no matter how hard you try. It takes some intuition on part of the players and the GM to regulate it. That doesn't mean drawing up rules to avoid stupid situations in the first place is not a good thing. On the contrary. But it only goes so far.
Itīs an element of collaborative storytelling, isnīt it? The players are granted with some influence on the plot beyond the actions of their PCs. This sounds good - with the right kind of group.

I donīt think my players would want that, though. Some are too lazy and just want me to present the story, and some are too creative in the eyes of their fellow players. That last Iīd want is metagame plot discussion and argument among the players.
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Old 06-30-2011, 09:37 AM   #130
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Default Re: gun lethality

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One rather easy mistake to make is to convert a D&D module to GURPS and run it *exactly* as the D&D module says, including having four PCs up against twenty orcs. If everyone is new to the system, that's a TPK right there unless the GM fudges *something*.
Or the players behave sensibly and avoid the combat. Run away, if that's what it takes.

I'll grant you that the GM's job includes saying: "Actually, guys, behaving suicidally will net the expected result", but that's where it ends. The worst game session I've witnessed was one where the response to a cautious plan was one player saying: "Don't worry. We're not that far into the campaign yet. The GM won't allow us to die."

That, right there, is where having the GM decide whether something is dramatic enough to suit his purposes before he allows it to happen eventually leads. It robs 99% of the game time of all tension because there is no actual danger during those scenes. Until the dramatic climax, the players are sure that the whizzing bullets and flashing steel may inconvenience them, but it will not stop them from getting to the end.

Fudging to make sure that no one dies except during suitably dramatic moments means that most of what you do in game doesn't matter. It's just filler. The consequences are scripted.

And that is not fun to me. It makes it impossible to cultivate a sense of real risk and that, in turn, means that facing down danger isn't heroic. If a day working at 7-11 and a day confronting orcs and zombies both mean that you have the exact same 100% chance of arriving at the climatic confrontation before there is any real risk, then all the combat and heroics until then are utterly meaningless. There was no danger and not even a convincing illusion of danger. The character isn't heroic. He's just a guy with a job and a schedule.

If I wanted a safe job with a boring schedule, I'd do it somewhere I get paid for it.
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