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    DrowGuy

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    Default How Do You Handle Cheating In RPG?

    How do you handle cheating in RPG? Do you talk to the players or kick them out of the game? Like how do you handle cheaters in the game anyway?

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    Default Re: How Do You Handle Cheating In RPG?

    How do you even cheat? Trick dice?
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    Default Re: How Do You Handle Cheating In RPG?

    I don't. People are free to ruin their own fun.
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    Default Re: How Do You Handle Cheating In RPG?

    My general line of thought is that once players start racking up unlikely crits - I start discounting their damage. I let this be known in advance. It seems to put a damper on things.

    Then, if they're ever really in trouble, and actually need to fudge ... well, if that's the case, likely I overtuned something, and it's really my fault. So I let them.

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    Default Re: How Do You Handle Cheating In RPG?

    As a DM, I give my players a single warning. As a player, I notify the GM of my concerns. Generally, it's not a problem with the groups I usually play in.
    All advice given with the caveat that you know your group better than I do. If that wasn't true, you'd be getting advice face-to-face. So I generalize.

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    Default Re: How Do You Handle Cheating In RPG?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mastikator View Post
    How do you even cheat? Trick dice?
    I have seen a d20 with a second 20 where the 1 should be. The player himself mentioned it unknowingly acquiring the die but noticed in game what it was.
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    Default Re: How Do You Handle Cheating In RPG?

    Spies.

    Misinformation.

    Public executions.

    Just like what any god-like tyrannical dictator would do.

    ------------
    Seriously though I speak to them aside if the other players don't know about it, otherwise it's a public warning. There is no second chance. They were told up-front Session Zero that cheating's bad mmkay? They may not even get the warning if they're arrogant about it.
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    Default Re: How Do You Handle Cheating In RPG?

    Talk to them about the why. Are the encounters overtuned? Do they want more squash encounters? A game where their character feels more badass than the rest of the world? Do they feel that this roll is a critical one that their character should succeed at?

    The last point can be solved by changing systems to something with a metacurrency like Fate Points - ingrained into the system is the ability to 'cheat' and succeed on rolls with a limited currency.
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    Default Re: How Do You Handle Cheating In RPG?

    No need to switch, in all cases. Action points in 3.5 are a thing.

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    Default Re: How Do You Handle Cheating In RPG?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mastikator View Post
    How do you even cheat? Trick dice?
    Weighted dice, dice spinning, making math "errors" on your sheet, "forgetting" situational modifiers, metagaming in a certain way, sneaking a look at your GM's notes, fudging dice rolls, etc.

    To the OP;

    If it's a new player to the group and that's our entire relationship, it's not worth the effort to try and correct such behavior. Kick 'em and don't give it a second thought.

    If it's a friend you've had for a while that's new to the game, have a chat about why and give him a warning. Then kick him if he does it again.

    If it's a long-term friend and player, ask the dude what's wrong. Gotta be something if they suddenly start engaging in self-destructive behavior.

    Bottom line, if you and/or your player(s) don't or can't trust one another to actually play fair, you probably shouldn't play with each other at all.
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    Default Re: How Do You Handle Cheating In RPG?

    In a good game I will just kick the player out if I am GM or leave the game if I'm a player. I find talking does little: few cheaters turn into angels just becasue they were talked too.


    If I'm GM and things are more....complcated......I will simply alter the game reality on the fly to compcenate for the actions of the cheater are at best average game actions.

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    Default Re: How Do You Handle Cheating In RPG?

    "Roll 'em where I can see 'em, if I didn't see it you rolled a 1!

    Tends to deal with those who snatch their dice up before anyone else has seen what they rolled.

    Dice droppers I ask to actually roll so the dice bounces off of something.

    That is the warning, if they persist then they're out.

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    Default Re: How Do You Handle Cheating In RPG?

    Quote Originally Posted by Droid Tony View Post
    If I'm GM and things are more....complcated......I will simply alter the game reality on the fly to compcenate for the actions of the cheater are at best average game actions.
    Hahahahaa I did this once in a game with a guy I knew was cheating. Most fun I've had in a while. I just reverse-cheated on my end against him and in favor of the other players/monsters. I rolled a d100 every time they missed (but before I declared it) giving the non-cheating players a 75% chance to actually hit and the cheating player a 75% chance to miss.

    I mean, folks caught on once they started seeing their nat 1's hit and his nat 20's miss.

    Was hilarious though.
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    Default Re: How Do You Handle Cheating In RPG?

    If I notice a player cheating, I'll shrug, and not care. Who am I to judge what they find fun? If I catch a GM cheating, I'll (give them 1 warning, then) boot them from the game.

    OK, I've grown less aggressive since then. Nowadays (which is "for quite a while"), I'll just realize that their world is intended to be "whatever makes the best story", and just ignore everything that actually happens, telling the story however I want in the future. Because that clearly matches their intentions.
    Last edited by Quertus; 2019-11-29 at 04:31 PM.

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    Default Re: How Do You Handle Cheating In RPG?

    If I'm playing and we find out we have a cheater in our midst, it pretty much ruins the game for me. If they don't stop, then they'll stop playing with us, because that's just not the kind of person who is worth being around. We're not jerks about it, so they'll get a few chances to change their ways, but eventually they'll either change or we'll get tired of waiting. But in all likelihood, this type of person is causing other problems at the table besides cheating, and the rest of us will be happy to be rid of them.

    The DM is in a different sort of situation, because they're allowed and expected to improvise and at the end of the day, the rules are what they say they are. This is what makes DM-Player trust so important. Players have to understand that the DM doesn't follow the rules as strictly as the players, while also needing to believe that anything they do will be done fairly and for the betterment of the game.

    When I DM, the most "cheating" that I'll typically do is reducing the amount of damage that I roll when I realize I've made the monsters too strong or just if the Cleric's player couldn't make it that day.
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    Default Re: How Do You Handle Cheating In RPG?

    I was once a player in a game in which another player would read his die the instant it stopped rolling, and then pick it up immediately, while calling out the number. And he seemed to be getting a lot of good numbers. Not super high, but enough to hit, almost all the time.

    I started watching his die and calling out the number as soon as it stopped rolling. Three times in a row, then every other time, then just occasionally. He started getting normal numbers, and leaving his die in place.

    I never accused him of anything. And I don't even know that he was cheating.

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    Default Re: How Do You Handle Cheating In RPG?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay R View Post
    I was once a player in a game in which another player would read his die the instant it stopped rolling, and then pick it up immediately, while calling out the number. And he seemed to be getting a lot of good numbers. Not super high, but enough to hit, almost all the time.

    I started watching his die and calling out the number as soon as it stopped rolling. Three times in a row, then every other time, then just occasionally. He started getting normal numbers, and leaving his die in place.

    I never accused him of anything. And I don't even know that he was cheating.
    It's funny how the lack of ability to see dice tends to lead to convenient rolls. So many times my character has managed to survive because the GM had a good Cure Poison roll

    But yeah, I've stopped fudging as a GM, and started rolling in the open, just so everybody's on the same page when I day that 'when the dice roll we take the consequences'. If needs be I'll show character stats, when I ran a brief UA game online my players got to see every single skill roll I made, alongside the character's skill rating (at which point they tried to tell me about Roll20's Secret Roll function, which I was intentionally avoiding...)
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zelphas View Post
    So here I am, trapped in my laboratory, trying to create a Mechabeast that's powerful enough to take down the howling horde outside my door, but also won't join them once it realizes what I've done...twentieth time's the charm, right?
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    Default Re: How Do You Handle Cheating In RPG?

    I would probably ask why they were cheating. It is usually a none-competitive game, what point is there?

    If they feel powerless and having control over their character outcomes helps them cope with that I would be inclined to help them make a character that doesn't roll (like a Dragonfire Adept in 3.5) or just let them have it as long as it isn't disruptive.
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    Default Re: How Do You Handle Cheating In RPG?

    Quote Originally Posted by Altheus View Post
    "Roll 'em where I can see 'em, if I didn't see it you rolled a 1!

    Tends to deal with those who snatch their dice up before anyone else has seen what they rolled.

    Dice droppers I ask to actually roll so the dice bounces off of something.

    That is the warning, if they persist then they're out.
    I confess I'm a dice snatcher. But only when I roll poorly. I declare my poor result and snatch my die away. But for the good rolls, I want everyone to see! "Look! I rolled a 20!"

    "Dude, you moved you die before I could see it. What'd you roll?"
    "one."

    If dice rolls are the problem, and you don't want to make a fuss about it, make everyone roll in a tray and leave the die until it's been verified.

    I like the idea of talking to the cheater solo and asking why they feel the need to cheat. "Hey, I noticed last session you were fudging die rolls. Is there a reason you feel you need to do that?"

    Of course, they could get defensive and deny it. If you know they cheated, you can say something like "Dude, stop insulting my intelligence. I'm not mad; I just want to know why." And move into a discussion of campaign goals, DM techniques and styles, and such. Maybe you can reassure the player that you'll take prop;er care of his PC, and he'll stop feeling the need to cheat.

    It's important to be honest here. If you are mad, wait until you've calmed down enough that you can say it and mean it.
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    Default Re: How Do You Handle Cheating In RPG?

    Sitting down and talking to the player about what they want out of the game. You started a gritty, lethal campaign, but the player wants a badass in a heroic epic?

    It's always, always a misalignment of expectations.

    Granted, those expectations might be unhealthy or selfish too - a player might steal the spotlight or use the game as a vessel for some social agenda.

    If it's not some kind of negative situation where you just have to cut and run, or some kind of gaming style incompatibility where party ways amicably is the best option, see if you can adapt to the cheater until (s)he no longer feels it necessary.
    Last edited by martixy; 2019-12-01 at 02:47 AM.

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    Default Re: How Do You Handle Cheating In RPG?

    That depends on what you mean by cheating.

    If it's things like die rolls, I don't care. It's not like they're getting the advantage of anyone in the first place.

    If it's things like changing modifiers, or counting degrees, then I'll write up for them on a board what their modifiers are under the assumption that they forgot them.

    If its things like improperly spending XP, I tell them that their next XP has to go into fixing the problem and making their character sheet rules-compliant.
    Last edited by LordCdrMilitant; 2019-12-01 at 08:42 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tvtyrant View Post
    I would probably ask why they were cheating. It is usually a none-competitive game, what point is there?
    You know, that's a good question. It's a question worth answering. So, let me give a few answers from my experience.

    -----

    Why do GMs cheat? Usually, because they feel that they know what makes for a good game better than RNG.

    Think about that for a minute. The GM is "allowed" to cheat, because they know better than Arangee what you find fun. But you are not allowed to cheat, because you do not know better than Arangee what you find fun? So, the GM knows better than you do what you find fun? The hubris!

    No, some players cheat because they know better than Arangee or the GM what they find fun.

    This is why¹ my general stance is that I don't allow GMs to cheat, but don't care if players cheat.

    ¹ OK, that's not quite true. The actual "why" also includes the fact that one person being a "Nexus of improbability" does not harm my "suspension of disbelief" (or whatever), whereas 99+% of the universe not "following the rules" does. Further, 99+% of the universe not "following the rules", whereas my character is / the PCs are forced to? That means we're the least interesting, least important part of the world. Why are we telling a story about the only people in the universe who cannot violate the laws of physics? That's the opposite of the stories I want to tell, and reeks of OP SUE-files GMPCs.

    -----

    Which brings up another reason why players cheat: they want their character to be cool - cooler than what the rules and Arangee would make them. Here, again, my response is "shrug - who am I to judge what they find fun?".

    -----

    Then there's the people whose fun is predicated upon their character being better than everyone else. Not just better than 99+% of the population - no, they need to be better than the other PCs, too. Or, as you might put it, their fun is predicated upon a competitive game, where they are explicitly competing with the other PCs for "who looks coolest".

    In this case, it's a matter of Kantian ethics for me. Are the other players onboard with this? If so, great, have your fun, who am I to judge? If not, GTFO.

    -----

    In short, personally, I'm a "let the dice fall where they may" GM/player. And I would prefer if everyone else played that way, too. But, if some players' fun requires them to cheat at dice, it's no _____ off my _____, it "neither picks my pocket not steals my bread", so I don't care. But the GM cheating at dice ruins the game for me.

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    Default Re: How Do You Handle Cheating In RPG?

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    You know, that's a good question. It's a question worth answering. So, let me give a few answers from my experience.
    Fair, here's mine:

    Entitlement. They think they deserve something they haven't earned. They think they're better than everyone else and the rules don't apply to them. They think their fun is important than anyone else's fun.

    My experience with cheaters is at first they deny. They think they're smarter than you, or in the reverse, they think you're an idiot and they can gaslight their way out of the situation. When denial doesn't work, they'll usually just leave. Because they're not here to have a group game and have a group fun. Cheaters are all about themselves. What they want, when they want it.

    Per Quertus' post this may fall under "they know what they find fun" and sure, maybe they do, but it's not a team-spirit, group-oriented, coop-gameplay fun, it's a selfish fun, it's poor sportsman fun, it's mean spirited fun.

    The individual fun must be valued, but it cannot be valued higher than everything else. Or, conversely, the group fun must be valued and the group fun cannot be the least important thing to any individual player.

    That's not to say the group can't have fun while there's a cheater in the party. But eventually the issue is this: If the cheater keeps cheating, eventually the other players will want to cheat too. And some folks know how to cheat subtly, when it matters, to win a little more often, some people rampantly cheat, overtly, arrogantly. The first sort, in moderation, can be tolerable. The second sort, often the folks who cheat because they see others doing it, are rarely tolerable. Usually resulting in explosive confrontations when you finally call them out on it because it's just become that much of a problem, they in turn call out the original cheater (or someone they think is cheating, sometimes someone who isn't) and it just turns into a mess.

    And that's all IME with cheaters. Clearly not the positive experience Quertus seems to have.
    -----
    Also, this is directed at Quertus, perhaps you are the host or store owner, but assuming you are neither of those things, if a DM is cheater, how do you exert authority to kick them from the table? Again, IME, one singular player does not have that power in someone else's game. Because it doesn't sound like you politely ask them to stop, it sounds like you exercise some kind of authority over them in a way a DM would a player. If everyone else is enjoying the DM cheating do then you in turn leave?
    Last edited by False God; 2019-12-01 at 09:52 AM.
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    Default Re: How Do You Handle Cheating In RPG?

    Quote Originally Posted by False God View Post
    Fair, here's mine:

    Entitlement. They think they deserve something they haven't earned. They think they're better than everyone else and the rules don't apply to them. They think their fun is important than anyone else's fun.

    My experience with cheaters is at first they deny. They think they're smarter than you, or in the reverse, they think you're an idiot and they can gaslight their way out of the situation. When denial doesn't work, they'll usually just leave. Because they're not here to have a group game and have a group fun. Cheaters are all about themselves. What they want, when they want it.

    Per Quertus' post this may fall under "they know what they find fun" and sure, maybe they do, but it's not a team-spirit, group-oriented, coop-gameplay fun, it's a selfish fun, it's poor sportsman fun, it's mean spirited fun.

    The individual fun must be valued, but it cannot be valued higher than everything else. Or, conversely, the group fun must be valued and the group fun cannot be the least important thing to any individual player.

    That's not to say the group can't have fun while there's a cheater in the party. But eventually the issue is this: If the cheater keeps cheating, eventually the other players will want to cheat too. And some folks know how to cheat subtly, when it matters, to win a little more often, some people rampantly cheat, overtly, arrogantly. The first sort, in moderation, can be tolerable. The second sort, often the folks who cheat because they see others doing it, are rarely tolerable. Usually resulting in explosive confrontations when you finally call them out on it because it's just become that much of a problem, they in turn call out the original cheater (or someone they think is cheating, sometimes someone who isn't) and it just turns into a mess.

    And that's all IME with cheaters. Clearly not the positive experience Quertus seems to have.
    -----
    Also, this is directed at Quertus, perhaps you are the host or store owner, but assuming you are neither of those things, if a DM is cheater, how do you exert authority to kick them from the table? Again, IME, one singular player does not have that power in someone else's game. Because it doesn't sound like you politely ask them to stop, it sounds like you exercise some kind of authority over them in a way a DM would a player. If everyone else is enjoying the DM cheating do then you in turn leave?
    So, first off, I wouldn't call my experience "positive", just "non-negative". Although, in the aggregate, if it's a positive for the cheater, then I suppose one could argue it to be a net positive experience.

    I agree with your assessment of selfish cheaters when describing GMs cheating - they rarely have the perspective to see the game from the players' PoV, and their cheating comes off as very selfish, trying to make the game what they want, with no thought for what their players want. Sometimes, it just comes off that way, while actually being well-meaning ("you cheated to make the game this bad?!").

    Players? Yeah, I've seen the mentality that you describe player-side. I tried to simplify, and have it fall under what I termed "competitive", but, you're right, it's bigger than just that. Like I said, I was only listing some of what I'd seen… but what you described certainly deserved explicit mention.

    I'm a little confused by your implied assertion that cheating players are inherently detrimental to group fun. Suppose you know OOC that my character has a superpower "always rolls a natural 20" - does that make the game sound inherently unfun? Or are your games always competitions between the PCs, where giving one PC such an "unfair advantage" would sabotage the fun? Or… what? Because, since player cheating doesn't always destroy the fun at my tables, I cannot grok why it always does at yours. What am I missing? What else is different?

    As to kicking GMs… like I said, it's my old tactic, and I'm more "a man of the people", but also a bully. So, if "the people" want to take the GM out to the parking lot and beat him up, well, no more than 2 GMs got that treatment that I am aware of. My tables didn't take kindly to certain bad GMs. And that threat of "the people" was plenty of leverage to kick GMs who felt that they lacked the support of "the people". Most GMs were wise enough to consider changing their ways, or at least to have a reasoned discussion about gaming theory. Which is all I, personally, asked. "The people" may have had other demands of which I was not aware.

    To more directly answer your question, if the GM did something which was not to my taste, but which the other players enjoyed, I would not kick the GM; at most, I would discuss with the group whether there was a way to increase the net fun, or consider leaving the game if my fun would interfere with theirs. I'm a… conscientious bully, not a selfish one.

    EDIT: also, it's not "someone else's game". Every game I am in is my game, just as every game you are in is your game. Every game belongs to all the participants, not just the GM. Now, I wouldn't kick a GM from something that was actually "someone else's game"; ie, from a game in which I was not an active participant, except for certain gross violations of human rights, or other similar behaviors.
    Last edited by Quertus; 2019-12-01 at 10:49 AM.

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    Default Re: How Do You Handle Cheating In RPG?

    If its a periodic thing, I generally ignore it, both as a player and a DM. Whats the point picking a fight over a cooperative game? Were all more or less friends here, if somebody wants to have a moment in the spotlight that they didn't "legitimately" earn every now and again, why should I be bothered by that?

    If its a fairly persistent thing, the player gets spoken to if im the DM, or the DM gets spoken to if im a player. Persistent cheating means that something, somewhere has broken down, and i'd prefer to get to the bottom of it rather than leave one or more players feeling like they cant enjoy the game without leaving the rules behind.
    “Evil is evil. Lesser, greater, middling, it's all the same. Proportions are negotiated, boundaries blurred. I'm not a pious hermit, I haven't done only good in my life. But if I'm to choose between one evil and another, then I prefer not to choose at all.”

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    Default Re: How Do You Handle Cheating In RPG?

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    So, first off, I wouldn't call my experience "positive", just "non-negative". Although, in the aggregate, if it's a positive for the cheater, then I suppose one could argue it to be a net positive experience.

    I agree with your assessment of selfish cheaters when describing GMs cheating - they rarely have the perspective to see the game from the players' PoV, and their cheating comes off as very selfish, trying to make the game what they want, with no thought for what their players want. Sometimes, it just comes off that way, while actually being well-meaning ("you cheated to make the game this bad?!").

    Players? Yeah, I've seen the mentality that you describe player-side. I tried to simplify, and have it fall under what I termed "competitive", but, you're right, it's bigger than just that. Like I said, I was only listing some of what I'd seen… but what you described certainly deserved explicit mention.
    Ah, fair enough I took it as your experience with cheaters was typically so indifferent as to be a net positive.

    I'm a little confused by your implied assertion that cheating players are inherently detrimental to group fun. Suppose you know OOC that my character has a superpower "always rolls a natural 20" - does that make the game sound inherently unfun?
    Yeah that does sound unfun, which is probably why games don't usually include such an ability.

    My net experience with cheaters is that they reduce the fun of a game. Either because they are arrogant and entitled, or because they're bad at it. Someone who cheats when it matters often increases the fun of a game, because they're cheating to the benefit of everyone. On a spell save that might dominate them and turn their OP character against the party, on a heal check to save a dying party member, on a search check to find the Plot Device.

    I usually leave those folks be. But it is RARE to find someone who cheats for the benefit of others. Cheaters 99.99%-repeating IME cheat only for themselves. The cheater who cheats for others is IME, likely a DM who fudges in favor of the players when random chance might otherwise ruin a good fun experience. I do not believe the dice decide what makes a good game.

    Or are your games always competitions between the PCs, where giving one PC such an "unfair advantage" would sabotage the fun? Or… what? Because, since player cheating doesn't always destroy the fun at my tables, I cannot grok why it always does at yours. What am I missing? What else is different?
    Yes, one player having an "unfair advantage" in the form of cheating would sabotage the fun, but otherwise probably just random chance. I've run into more bad cheaters than good ones. A good cheater you might not even know is cheating. A bad cheater is an arrogant jerk about it who doesn't just roll 20's strangely often but all the time and tries to lie about just "being good at rolling". And again, the issue is that letting someone cheat tends to lead towards other people wanting to cheat. And eventually you're in a bad play-by-post RPG where noone really rolls and everyone is god-modeing.

    That aside, there is limited time in a game which means there is some natural level of competition. Even at a cooperative level everyone wants to contribute. But if Cheater is always winning it reduces the ability for others to contribute, sometimes to play at all. They can't hit it because Cheater killed it. They can't solve it because Cheater solved it. They can't save the Princess because Cheater's been there, done that, with 20's all the way home. Playing the game is why they're here, even if they fail at doing so. But Cheater's winning streak denies them that. Cheater makes it so the only way they can participate is cheering him on. And some people may be OK with that, but IME most people aren't interested in being cheerleaders for someone else, especially someone who is only winning because they effectively said "I win because I said so!"

    As to kicking GMs… like I said, it's my old tactic, and I'm more "a man of the people", but also a bully. So, if "the people" want to take the GM out to the parking lot and beat him up, well, no more than 2 GMs got that treatment that I am aware of. My tables didn't take kindly to certain bad GMs. And that threat of "the people" was plenty of leverage to kick GMs who felt that they lacked the support of "the people". Most GMs were wise enough to consider changing their ways, or at least to have a reasoned discussion about gaming theory. Which is all I, personally, asked. "The people" may have had other demands of which I was not aware.
    Ah, that actually explains a lot about everything I read in your posts.

    To more directly answer your question, if the GM did something which was not to my taste, but which the other players enjoyed, I would not kick the GM; at most, I would discuss with the group whether there was a way to increase the net fun, or consider leaving the game if my fun would interfere with theirs. I'm a… conscientious bully, not a selfish one.

    EDIT: also, it's not "someone else's game". Every game I am in is my game, just as every game you are in is your game. Every game belongs to all the participants, not just the GM. Now, I wouldn't kick a GM from something that was actually "someone else's game"; ie, from a game in which I was not an active participant, except for certain gross violations of human rights, or other similar behaviors.
    Tangent: I understand the line you're drawing between Cheater Player deciding what is or isn't their fun, and Cheater DM deciding what is or isn't your fun. But I find it a strange line, because isn't the Cheater DM also deciding what they find fun? In the same sense that they wanted to run This Campaign because that's what they were interested in running? I understand your feelings but it strikes me as odd that a Player should be able to declare what they find fun, (prioritizing themselves over everyone else) and a DM should not.

    I do like games that utilize an "Fate Pool" where both the DM and the Players have a limited ability to say "I win!" without dice. I don't believe random chance makes a good game, in fact I often find it detrimental to a good game. But if everyone's gotta play by it, then there are no exceptions.
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    "...yeah, but it makes me feel better."

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    Default Re: How Do You Handle Cheating In RPG?

    I tell the DM to please stop rolling behind a screen. If they won't, I leave the table.

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    Default Re: How Do You Handle Cheating In RPG?

    I would like to strike my earlier response from the records, and instead say this:

    How do I handle cheating? Well, the easiest thing of course is to just call out something other than what the dice reads, and hope no one notices. This has the advantage that, if someone does, you simply peer near-sightedly at your roll, then exclaim 'egad! You're right. Good man, that's actually a miss - sorry, my bad!'

    The 'call something else' ploy can be assisted in various ways. Have transparent dice, for instance - that way, no one yourself included can know what you rolled. Snatch up your dice really quickly after rolling.

    Always remember positive modifiers - always forget negative ones. Exaggerate positive modifiers if needed.

    Tell everyone you can remember how much damage you've taken. It's amazing how often you can get away with this. If queried, reply whatever - but with great confidence. Say something like, Well, including the last bite from the Manticore for 12 damage, I'm at 36 points of damage. Still going strong, thank you! Always remember how much damage the last attack did. Somehow that builds confidence that you tracked everything else.

    One of the best ways to cheat is to roll, call out 'Oooh, that's a threat!' - and roll again to confirm. This is good for a number of reasons: It explains you quickly grabbing the dice. Even if someone sees the roll, no one remembers your crit range. And also, it's double-cheating, because if you roll well on the second roll, it's a crit, for tons of damage.

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    Default Re: How Do You Handle Cheating In RPG?

    Cheating players, I find it's easiest to just question their stuff so they know someone is on to them. Asking "Wait, did you make an error? How do you have 3 18's at this level?" or saying dice need to stay on the table, etc. People might cheat to be in the spotlight, but they don't want the spotlight on their cheating.

    I don't really see DMs as able to "cheat". It's their game and they're empowered to run it as they see fit and if that means rolling behind a screen or whatever then that's their choice. I can go find another table but I don't get to dictate how they run their game. Of course, around here there's typically a surplus of players and a scarcity of DMs so a player making demands of the DM or threating to "fire" them is just going to get laughed off the table. If you don't like it, go find another table or run your own game.

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    Default Re: How Do You Handle Cheating In RPG?

    Quote Originally Posted by False God View Post
    Ah, fair enough I took it as your experience with cheaters was typically so indifferent as to be a net positive.
    I mean, I'm ethically opposed, but it's elf games. If that's what they find fun, who am I to harm their fun?

    Quote Originally Posted by False God View Post
    Yeah that does sound unfun, which is probably why games don't usually include such an ability.
    I mean, take me, give me the "always rolls a natural 20" superpower, and put me in a party with (a "weak" modem version of) Superman. Depending on the underlying system, I could be anywhere from UP to OP. But, certainly, even on a natural 20, I couldn't fly, or lift a building. Superman would still have his schtick, whether or not he was top dog.

    Quote Originally Posted by False God View Post
    My net experience with cheaters is that they reduce the fun of a game. Either because they are arrogant and entitled, or because they're bad at it. Someone who cheats when it matters often increases the fun of a game, because they're cheating to the benefit of everyone. On a spell save that might dominate them and turn their OP character against the party, on a heal check to save a dying party member, on a search check to find the Plot Device.

    I usually leave those folks be. But it is RARE to find someone who cheats for the benefit of others. Cheaters 99.99%-repeating IME cheat only for themselves. The cheater who cheats for others is IME, likely a DM who fudges in favor of the players when random chance might otherwise ruin a good fun experience. I do not believe the dice decide what makes a good game.
    Ah. This is one of our fundamental differences, then. I care much less about those who habitually cheat when it doesn't matter. But I'm much more annoyed by those who cheat when it matters.

    Those who cheat when it matters change the story. I game to find out what will happen; I game to have our actions (and, yes, Arangee) determine how the story will go; I game for those moments of failure.

    IME, those who cheat when it matters are usually spotlight hogs, not the unselfish cheaters you describe. They want the story to be about them, they want the tales that are told to be their tales.

    I acknowledge that players (and GMs) may cheat on healing checks to keep people alive, because they think that that's what the players / group wants. Sometimes, they're right. Sometimes, it falls under "you cheated to make the game/story this bad?!"

    Quote Originally Posted by False God View Post
    Yes, one player having an "unfair advantage" in the form of cheating would sabotage the fun, but otherwise probably just random chance. I've run into more bad cheaters than good ones. A good cheater you might not even know is cheating. A bad cheater is an arrogant jerk about it who doesn't just roll 20's strangely often but all the time and tries to lie about just "being good at rolling". And again, the issue is that letting someone cheat tends to lead towards other people wanting to cheat. And eventually you're in a bad play-by-post RPG where noone really rolls and everyone is god-modeing.

    That aside, there is limited time in a game which means there is some natural level of competition. Even at a cooperative level everyone wants to contribute. But if Cheater is always winning it reduces the ability for others to contribute, sometimes to play at all. They can't hit it because Cheater killed it. They can't solve it because Cheater solved it. They can't save the Princess because Cheater's been there, done that, with 20's all the way home. Playing the game is why they're here, even if they fail at doing so. But Cheater's winning streak denies them that. Cheater makes it so the only way they can participate is cheering him on. And some people may be OK with that, but IME most people aren't interested in being cheerleaders for someone else, especially someone who is only winning because they effectively said "I win because I said so!"
    This may be another difference between us, as I'm all about having Thor and Hawkeye in the same party.

    If Thor rolls straight 20s, Hawkeye still has a hideout on earth, and tactical acumen. If Hawkeye rolls straight 20s, Thor can still fly & shot lightning.

    IME, even when dealing with balanced characters, one person cheating does not obviate the utility or capacity for contribution of the rest of the party.

    Quote Originally Posted by False God View Post
    Ah, that actually explains a lot about everything I read in your posts.
    Much like GMs, I lack perspective here. Quite curious for what questions this information proved to be a revelation.

    Quote Originally Posted by False God View Post
    Tangent: I understand the line you're drawing between Cheater Player deciding what is or isn't their fun, and Cheater DM deciding what is or isn't your fun. But I find it a strange line, because isn't the Cheater DM also deciding what they find fun? In the same sense that they wanted to run This Campaign because that's what they were interested in running? I understand your feelings but it strikes me as odd that a Player should be able to declare what they find fun, (prioritizing themselves over everyone else) and a DM should not.

    I do like games that utilize an "Fate Pool" where both the DM and the Players have a limited ability to say "I win!" without dice. I don't believe random chance makes a good game, in fact I often find it detrimental to a good game. But if everyone's gotta play by it, then there are no exceptions.
    Interesting question - and probably an important one.

    Let me start around the edges.

    If one character is a "Nexus of improbability", that's fine. In fact, it kinda has to be, as several of my friends (including my brother, and myself) have rather unusual luck at dice. Granted, for most of those, it's somewhere in the range of unusual to phenomenal bad luck, but still.

    Now, for myself, it's a combination of factors. For one, I often test my dice very carefully, and choose ones with a "favorable" probability curve. One of my friends once tested on of my dice (a particularly lucky d8), and found it just shy of "weighted" (according to some magazine article about "acceptable" probability distribution).

    Further, some people can actually "cheat at dice", can actually manipulate the outcome of an unweighted die. I learned just enough from them to see that it was possible, and to intentionally manipulate the probability rolls, not enough to actually choose the outcome (as they claimed to be able to do).

    I suspect that many people's dice luck is a combination of those factors (imbalanced dice and subconscious manipulation of the roll).

    So, again, given that it happens anyway, I'm not - and cannot be - in the "no exceptions" camp.

    So, why do I make the distinction between the cheating GM, and the cheating player?

    Two - OK, three - reasons.

    1) the player has a player's perspective on the game.

    The GM is in the worst position to choose what will be fun for anyone else.

    2) the player is in a cooperative position; the GM is in a competitive position.

    3) the player has a smaller impact.

    The players control - generally - just a single playing piece; the GM controls the entire rest of the universe.

    The GM already has all the power to set up a scenario that they will find fun¹. After that, they should takes their hands off the controls, and let the players dictate what they find fun. Yes, even if that means cheating.

    If, with all that power, the GM cannot build fun scenarios, then they need to work on their skills.

    ¹ for example, in one game, I had a player build a PC who could grapple really well. This meant that any combat question of "what will they do about…" had a very samey answer: "they'll grapple it". So, to keep things interesting for myself, wherever reasonable/realistic, I had to include at least 2 creatures that asked the question, "what will they do about…".

    ----

    I fear that this more thorough explanation runs the risk of missing the forest for the trees. So I'll give a simpler answer, too: it is, at heart, a matter of one person's fun harming another's. The GM is in the position to do the greatest harm, and the position least suited to knowing what is "right". A player cheating has the least ability to harm the fun of others, and the most ability to know what is fun.

    Further, if a player doing what they legitimately could do is harming the GM's fun, it's probably a sign of a bad GM (usually a railroader who hates player agency).
    Last edited by Quertus; 2019-12-02 at 12:37 PM.

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