You would think that in a game without winners or losers, players wouldn’t feel the need to cheat. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. There a more many ways players cheat during game sessions. That’s unfortunate , because cheating violates the GM-player trust so necessary for running a good game.
One common way players cheat is by using false or misleading character sheets, or by lying about what’s on their sheet. They “forget” their character sheets, or suddenly decide to spend experience points in the middle of session (usually just before combat), or they “misremember” a skill score (always in their favor, of course).
It’s usually a good idea to create some firm rules about character sheets:
- Require players to use easy-to-read character sheets. You can choose to require everyone to use the same type of character sheet, or you can let players use one of their choosing. You just want to make sure that you can find the information you need on it quickly and easily.
- Keep a copy of every player’s character. This gives you a couple of advantages: you have PC information at hand when you’re planning the next game session and you have a copy to loan in case a player forgets his.
- Require all experience and character advancement to be done between game sessions. Or, alternatively, you could set aside part of game session for everyone to up-date their characters at the same time and then start play.
- Make a firm rule that your copy of the character sheet overrides a player’s. It should be a player’s responsibility to notify you of any changes to her character and to do so between game sessions. Once play starts for a particular session, if it’s not on your copy of her character, it doesn’t count.
- Require all character changes be approved by you before they’re used in play.
- Add all static modifiers in advance. Have your players write their static modifiers clearly on their character sheets. Check a player’s math from time to time–one sheet per game session until you’ve checked them all, is a good rule of thumb.
- Do the math for the players. Have them give you the “raw” die roll result and add all the modifiers yourself.
- Remind the players of their numbers. At the beginning of each game session, read off the PCs’ critical numbers (initiative, AC, hit points, blood points, etc.) as you currently have them.
- Watch to see if a player has more than one copy of character sheet. Some players have multiple versions of their characters, each “optimized” (read “fudged”) for different situations. A player may have one copy of his character for combat and another (slightly different) for social situations. If you think a player is using more than one version of a sheet for a single character, ask to see all copies and then make them correspond to your copy.
Of course, all of these are suggestions only and you certainly don’t have to use them all. Pick which ones you think will work best for you and your group and, as always, fold, spindle and mutilate to your heart’s content.
Articles Zemanta thinks may be related:
- Greatest Hits 2011: The Importance of Trust and Honesty in D&D (dungeonsmaster.com)
- Why Can’t Character Sheets Be Awesome? (dicemonkey.net)
- Blog – Cheating Spreads Like Infections In Online Mulitplayer Games (technologyreview.com)
- Are Creative Types More Likely To Cheat? (collegecandy.com)