Cheating in non competitive games

edited November 2009 in Story Games
In the Quick Time Event thread, Andy asks this question about dice rolls over the internet;
Posted By: AndyI imagine in normal RPGs there'd be more failure... so how do you encourage players not to cheat?
This struck a chord with me. I'm a bigger board gamer than I am a role player, and the two hobbies fill very different niches for me. Role playing games don't tend to be about success or failure to me, but the quality of the story. Unless the game you are playing has clear cut win or lose conditions, or a game with a competitive mechanic (Polaris, DiTV, In a Wicked Age, etc) who cares if people "cheat"? Why even call it cheating at all? If the GM is allowed to fudge rolls, shouldn't the players be allowed to as well?

Comments

  • Simple answer: yeah, sure, why not, as long as everyone has fun with it.

    More involved answer: games with Fortune in them are, on some level, trying to provide complication or constraints on the creativity. As such, "cheating" just robs yourself of the challenge of dealing with a setback or complication or finding a creative solution to a Fortune-provoked constraint.

    Special case answer: some games use Fortune to apportion narrative control, which in effect distributes the spotlight (ideally, evenly over a long enough play span or a full sequence of discrete play time units; e.g. episodes in PTA). Cheating in such games, in effect, is saying, "My ideas are better than the theirs." Bad mojo.

    (I use Fortune as it's the easiest to cheat--fudge die rolls--but it could easily be replaced with "resource mechanics" or some other handling element which could be cheated.)
  • Posted By: JacobWhy even call it cheating at all? If the GM is allowed to fudge rolls, shouldn't the players be allowed to as well?
    Simple answer: both of those are cheating. The GM is not allowed to "fudge rolls."

    If the GM is allowed to fudge rolls, why have the GM roll at all?
  • If you're going to fudge the roll, why the hell are you rolling?

    Frankly, I don't think the GM should fudge rolls most of the time.
  • If there is a social contract that certain kinds of resolution are determined by a system which involves chance and one of the players cheats - that is deceives the other players - it's as bad as cheating in any other context. Social contract by mutual agreement can always trump system though. And in the case where anyone and everyone can "cheat" at will, system becomes almost pointless, perhaps just a minor aid to making up stories.
  • edited November 2009
    I sometimes fudge die rolls in Poison'd, openly. The pirates haven't got enough treasure to go ashore, which means they'd have to hunt another ship, which is boring. So I give them more treasure than they actually rolled for.

    I've also known people fudge die rolls in My Life With Master, to stop the endgame lasting forever.

    It's cool. It makes the game more fun. Sometimes, you know better than the designer how to make your game fun.

    Graham
  • Posted By: GrahamSometimes, you know better than the designer how to make your game fun.
    If you delete the word "sometimes", this is the whole, central truth of RPGs, applicable in all situations, forever.
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