Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Fudging: I Fail My Will Save (Shoulda Fudged?)

I make two broad assertions: (1) playing with fudging is a difference in kind (not merely style) from playing without fudging, and (2) fudging is not a good solution to the problems that pro-fudging people usually claim it to solve.

In examining arguments here, I point out that there is a problem with how the discussion itself is being "fudged". I do contend that there is potential harm in fudging, and I do think that any pro-fudging position that purports to address the material honestly is going to have to address that factor.

Answering these questions demonstrates a willingness to engage honestly; it does not answer the broad assertions. It may provide data that does help examine the broad assertions, however. In a poll on Dragonsfoot, of 112 respondents, 55% prefer that their GM does not fudge (41% strongly), but 14% did say that they prefer fudging (2% strongly), so if your group consists of that 14%, and especially if your group happens to consist largely of that 2%, not fudging may harm your game, and you will have to take that into account. Those people would, undoubtedly, hate my game.

But, to the degree that the polls discussed here reflect the norm, the odds are in my favour. If Ulan's poll is reflective, and over 40% of GMs fudge die rolls, including combat die rolls, and 55% of players prefer not to have these rolls fudged, there is a large enough spread that everyone might simply line up nicely. We have no way of knowing from Ulan's data how many GMs might be suitable for that 55% of players who prefer no fudging, or especially for the 41% of players who strongly prefer no fudging, because he is not only looking at fudging in the poll, so other material (such as house rules) skew the data.

As to (1) determining what is a difference in kind (not merely style) is a subjective evaluation. Dogs and cats are both mammals, and they are both living things. They are both kept as pets. Is keeping a dog a difference in style or kind from keeping a cat? Are the animals themselves just different "styles" of mammal, or different kind? What about coyotes and wolves? Do you want to cut "kind" off at class, order, genre, or species?

This is no different than examining whether or not different editions of D&D (or related games) are different versions of the same thing, or different things. In both cases, the evaluation is subjective.

As to (2) if you are not fudging to solve the problems that pro-fudging people usually claim it solves, then the reasons why these specific claims fail shouldn't affect you. If you want to argue that pro-fudging people do not claim that they fudge to solve those problems, it is easy enough to find discussions of fudging (including in this thread) where those claims come up.

Or perhaps you take exception to the claim that choosing to accept the result of a die roll does not make you a slave to the dice?

Or do you take exception to the fact that I strongly prefer no fudging, and believe that it makes for a better game? Because I do strongly prefer no fudging, and I do believe that it makes for a better game. While it is certainly true that the type and degree of fudging are important in determining how it may affect a game, I don't believe that fudging does not affect a game. And while one may make a claim that fudging is just another form of GM fiat, and that I am okay with GM fiat in general, it does not follow that I am okay with any form of GM fiat. I would not recommend "Tiamat First" dungeon design, for instance. Nor is "I can do worse than X, therefore X is okay" a valid argument in my book.

(Obviously, I also disagree with Frank Mentzer's assertion that giving these ideas consideration is going to harm your game.  Whether you agree with me or not, thinking about these things is more likely to help your game than anything else.)

Frankly, in the series of posts (blog and forum), I should not have let myself be drawn down the rabbit-hole of ever-finer distinctions.  The point was never "Your game will suck if you fudge!" - and that is a straw man which is easy to burn.

crossposted, with slight alteration, from http://www.dragonsfoot.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=63701&start=420#p1514721

No comments:

Post a Comment