So, did you like my pun? Yes, I know it was pretty horrible, but the title was what made me think about writing this article to cover. For those of RPG experience, you have probably already had this discussion and so I wanted to gear this toward the newer GMs that may have asked themselves this question. So, is it alright to fudge results in your RPG?
This question came up when my brother was designing his own session and was very concerned about the difficulty level of the bad guys. He was designing with the Pathfinder system so he was taking in to consideration the Average Party Level (APL), the mixture of Challenge Ratings (CR), and all the movement and maps needed. With all the rules, he had asked me, “Is it alright to fudge the rules in case my enemies are too powerful?”
The answer is yes. The reason that I say this is because the point of roleplaying is the excitement and the adventure. If your players are not being challenged enough (or being to challenged) then it is quite alright to adjust or “fudge” the results so that they do not instantly die or waltz through your dungeon. A total party kill is not good for a GM as they have to handle the fallout among players, while it can depress or upset the players who have vested a lot of time and consideration in to the design of their characters.
Some game systems are inherently friendly toward the player and the GM when it comes to this because the dice system is made in a way that allows for adjustments on the fly. The Fudge System specifically has the fudge point to even give players a chance to change the results. It is a very important give and take between the player and the GM.
The important part is the feeling of adventure and comradery. One of my fond adventure memories was a battle against the undead to protect a city and in the end we lost one of our companions. I do not remember the dice rolling or the mechanics, but the epic battle and loss of our good friend. Even the character’s player was in a good mood in the end because how well our GM handled the death allowing him to be epic in the end.
This is the point of a roleplay, to experience an adventure like no other. If you, as GM of the game, have to fudge the results here and there to bring that about, it is perfectly acceptable!
Have fun gaming!