My last article, Dice Cheats, brought me a fair amount of feedback. While the majority agreed with my opinions on dice cheating, I was surprised at the amount of people who cheat with their dice and gave some kind of justification for it. Not a single person just said “Yeah, I’m a cheater” and left it at that. Below I’ve listed their general responses one at a time, each with my commentary..
- I cheated because I was always rolling characters with low stats
You get what you roll. That said, there are ways to get around this if your DM is agreeable. You could do a point buy for example. Or instead of rolling 3D6, roll 2D6+6. If your DM isn’t agreeable, learn to love it or find another game.
- I was helping the story along
For the most part, this is not your problem. This is a DM problem. Yes, you should help the story along by taking the obvious story hook the DM has laid in front of you all wrapped up in a nice, pretty bow. I would make the claim that if you’re trusting someone enough to DM your game, to come up with a story, or even to just run a printed module, you should trust them enough to handle the story.
- I cheated because everyone else was getting to kill things
In my Forgotten Realms game, I barely get to kill anything. I don’t know the exact kill count, but if I guessed, I’d say my other party members have killed about three times the amount of things I have, if not more. You know why? Because I can’t seem to roll a high number on a D20 to save my life. We’ve been playing this game for nearly a year. I don’t know the exact stats, but I’d guess I normally hit about 40% of the time. The rest of my group is far, far higher. That’s just my lot, and it’s made for some exciting battles. Our group never really knows if we’re going to survive, and we like it that way.
- I cheated because it’s not fun to suck at dice rolls all the time
It’s also no fun for somebody to decide to cheat and mess with my game. It’s too bad, either suck it up or go play Amber.
- I’m the DM and I let a player cheat unless the other players say something
Do the other players know he’s cheating? If they don’t, you’ve made the decision that it’s OK for this guy to put one over on the rest of the group? It makes you just as bad as the cheater.
- I’m the DM and I let my players cheat on rolls to move the story along
I must ask: THEN WHY USE THE DICE IN THE FIRST PLACE?
This is how your game should go:
DM: As you come out of the forest you see an orc.
Player A: I swing my ax at the Orc.
DM: You need 24 to hit.
Player A: OK, I rolled a 27 on my imaginary dice.
DM: OK, he’s dead. Moving on!
- Some folks said they couldn’t understand people like me who say “they can’t understand why someone would cheat?”.
To clarify: I can understand the desire to cheat. I do not understand the mentality that knows cheating is wrong, but just decides to do it anyway.
- Some took issue with my statement “What do you gain by cheating anyway? You make sure to hit the imaginary monster with your imaginary sword?”
Their take seemed to be if it didn’t matter, we wouldn’t be playing the game at all. I can understand what they are saying, but they missed the point. Of course the game matters. What doesn’t matter is your own personal enjoyment at the expense of everyone else. If everyone else is playing it straight, and you’re cheating dice, you’re the one destroying the integrity of the game. You’re the one who isn’t following the social contract to play fair.
Yes, by cheating you may be help your party easily defeat a monster. But you may very well be robbing them of the drama of battle they can win, but only at great cost. In my experience, the battles players talk about the most, even years after they’ve happened, are the ones where they took some heavy damage or losses. Sure, they also talk about battles where someone killed a fierce monster in one round, but that is a 60 second memory where only one person did anything. A group memory of a hard fought battle can be relived for longer periods, where folks are saying things like “Oh yeah, and then after you fireballed him, I shot him in the throat with an arrow which REALLY pissed him off!” I find that to be a much better experience than, “I cheated so we could kill the monster and move on with the story.”
So, your mileage may vary, but to me, cheating is cheating and if you cheat you are a cheater. I understand that is a very black and white statement and is probably going to piss some people off. I can’t help that, nor would I want to. Good or bad, I look forward to your comments.
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