I don't think DM fudging is the issue, I think expectations are the issue. As I ran a Mutants and Masterminds game, one player grew upset that he had to use such mechanical tricks to keep his character alive. This was after he created a violent and criminal vigilante who upset the powers that be enough to be marked for death. He did not expect me to force him to use the rules, he expected me to fudge because he came from the tradition of those older rules.Archon said:Frankly I think the notion of DM fudging as a necessary element is just a holdover from before more elegant rules were developed to handle those situations where either the GM or the players ought to have more 'plot control' to fit a particular game's needs.
This does not mean I should have fudged dice to keep him alive, but it does show we weren't thinking about the game in the same way. There are a lot of gamers out there who expect this kind of consideration in a game. Some players expect the rules to be played as written but don't like the style that leads to in the game (instant death in D&D before 4e). Either the modify their expectations or you fudge dice. Given the attachment players can get to rules, fudging makes the game style change without interrupting the rules players know. It's a house rule under the covers, as it were.