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Fudging Dice Results - Your Thoughts?
So for doing one of my first sessions as a GM, I'm put in a difficult position where there are times where I have to decide if I should fudge a dice roll so it doesn't affect a player THAT badly. I'm a bit confused if I should try to avoid fudging dices in the future or find a way to curve something?
What are your thoughts about fudging dice rolls and how would you go on about this problem?
Depends on the magnitude, there is a personal rule which I always refer to which is the following: Before taking the choice of fudging a roll is there a way to salvage the result of the roll so it applies what a roll of said magnitude would achieve but wouldn't massively screw the player in a way that has no going back.
It may seem hard to understand rule, but here is an example:
The party is trying to sneak into a heavily guarded castle, there is a retractable bridge currently not secured, it's a possible way in, below it a massive fall to a chasm.
The rogue, proficient in such endeavors attempts to, by a series of jumps and rope techniques, swing to the other side and bring the bridge down for the party to enter the castle,
the rogue rolls a skull with no further stars.
Now, what directly comes to mind? At least to a good percentage of GMs it would be, the rogue fails, either the rope breaks or he lets go of it too early,
the rogue falls to the chasm and possibly dies.
You don't want them to die, do you ask for a reroll? Do you ignore it this one time? Neither. You take the roll and adapt it, in this case, you have to make up a consequence as dire as the one that came to your mind first, a consequence that simulates correctly the roll.
I would go with: The rogue makes it, however, on the last second the rope breaks, he manages to get to the other side but the landing is so far out of his control he stumbles and rolls on the ground making too much noise not to attract attention, the sound of armor is heard, the surprise is lost, the guards will reach you any moment.
The same concept applies when trying to think about what to do with rolls against players.
Maybe the Giant rolled a moon while attacking the party Mage that has just 1HP left, maybe the giant doesn't kill it despite the roll, maybe he grabs it knocking them out, and takes it for a meal later on the day, does this change the narrative? It sure does, maybe the Giant was just a quick random encounter and you didn't expect the party to chase it for another session, but hey, part of the fun is the randomness.
I personally never fudge rolls, I feel it breaks immersion and makes it feel like there aren't consequences for risky actions. Further more, dice fudging is normally done in systems like DnD where the GM can roll in secret; in Fabletop the dice are open and the players will instantly know (and possibly feel cheated) if you are fudging results.
The most important thing I can say is; don't roll dice if you can't handle the result. If it's 100% crucial to your plot for the party to climb the cliff face, just narrate that they get up there. It's up to you, the GM, when players do and don't roll dice, so only make them roll dice if failure won't derail your session.
I agree whole heartedly with what first says; you can adapt the narrative to the dice rolls. Exactly what a skull or moon does is entirely at your discretion. I would like to point out, regarding Firsts' examples, that by the default Fabletop rules, player characters cannot die as a result of random dice rolls; they can only die if the player controlling them wants them to.
If a character is doing something that they are meant to be proficient in, I tend to just let it succeed without rolling if it's a small manoeuvre. When it's something that takes a longer time/more effort to complete, I would request for multiple rolls, and should they roll poorly or get a skull, there would be a consequence and an opportunity to recover. In first's example of the rogue falling to their death due to a skull, instead I would narrate a result that sets the character back in some way, but they still have a chance to prevent their demise. The rest of the party can also preemptively prepare for any mishaps and help out in their own way.
The other option is to allow more than one character to attempt the task at the same time. In that way, they become each other's fail-safes. In one of my sessions, the party had to move a boulder uphill, with the risk of being crushed by the boulder should they fail. The whole party pushed together, and they took turns rolling, with a threshold of stars that they knew they had to meet. When the first few characters rolled badly, those who rolled later could bolster the results using pp. If there were skulls, the party gets injured, but no one dies outright. This also gives the party an opportunity to plan and consider who would roll first/later in order to ensure the highest success rate. Granted, there are moments where only certain party members are proficient in certain tasks, but opportunities can be made for other players to assist and share the glory.
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