Should Insight be able to determine if an NPC is lying? - Page 16

Poll: Should Insight be able to determine if an NPC is lying?

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  1. #151
    Immortal Sun
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    Quote Originally Posted by iserith View Post
    I'll continue the car metaphor and suggest you consult your owner's manual.

    But in the abstract, the DM describes the environment in a way that presents the basic scope of options sufficient for the player to describe what he or she wants to do with minimal assumptions. The player describes what he or she wants to do with enough specificity (goal and approach) so the DM can decide whether the proposed action is a success, a failure, or whether there's an uncertain outcome and, after adjudication, narrate the result of the adventurers' actions without describing or establishing what the character does, thinks, or says.
    Consulting the manual it is....

    Alright, so I'm done with my household stuff, so I sat down and read through my 5E book. There are, quite literally, two sentences under "Search" in the PHB, which basically amount to "If you're gonna look for a thing, your DM may call for a check, and that check might also use a skill." The 5E DMG doesn't even cover searching. There's no mention of providing "specific information" or "enough information go let your DM know what you're doing" or anything like that. By the text, the player might very well be inclined to declare "I SEARCH!" and nothing more.

    I checked my Pathfinder rulebook for "Perception" and there's no mention of what level of information the player needs to convey, like...at all, again it seems to be the player could declare "I PERCEIVE!" and it is up to the DM to determine the DC and what exactly the player perceives.

    I checked my 3.5 PHB under "Spot" and is is simply a more verbose version of the Pathfinder perception rules, but once again results in no mention of requiring the player to provide sufficient information to the DM, it seems the rules are fully open to a player simply declaring "I SPOT!" and then the DM having to carry the rest.

    I even checked the dreaded 4TH EDITION!!! *horses whinney, lightning strikes* Now in 4TH EDITION!!! *horses whinney, lightning strikes* under Perception it actually specifies that a player should only assume that they are searching adjacent squares. HA! The only edition that actually defines pixelbitching! But, doesn't actually say that the player needs to provide "sufficient information" of any detail level, only the assumption that your search is limited to your immediately adjacent squares.

    NOW. I have just gone through 4 different rulebooks and NOT A SINGLE ONE OF THEM mentions requiring the player to provide sufficient information for the DM to adjudicate the results. They all seem to have a similar, if slightly differently worded answer of: "The player declares they're doing the skill, and the DM does the rest."

    SO. If you believe there is something I have missed, please provide sources, book, page#. Alternatively, you may take this moment to roll back your claim that you do it "by the book."

    And hey, look, it's fine if you don't do it by the book. You obviously expect players to provide some level of specificity to their task. That's fine. But clearly, nothing in the book demands this approach.
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  2. #152
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    Quote Originally Posted by Immortal Sun View Post
    Consulting the manual it is....

    Alright, so I'm done with my household stuff, so I sat down and read through my 5E book. There are, quite literally, two sentences under "Search" in the PHB, which basically amount to "If you're gonna look for a thing, your DM may call for a check, and that check might also use a skill." The 5E DMG doesn't even cover searching. There's no mention of providing "specific information" or "enough information go let your DM know what you're doing" or anything like that. By the text, the player might very well be inclined to declare "I SEARCH!" and nothing more.
    See "How to Play" in the PHB. All of the chapter on "Using Ability Scores," especially the section on Ability Checks and on Finding a Hidden Object (which provides the best example of the standard of specificity). Also the DMG section on "The Role of Dice" and "Using Ability Scores."

    Quote Originally Posted by Immortal Sun View Post
    I checked my Pathfinder rulebook for "Perception" and there's no mention of what level of information the player needs to convey, like...at all, again it seems to be the player could declare "I PERCEIVE!" and it is up to the DM to determine the DC and what exactly the player perceives.

    I checked my 3.5 PHB under "Spot" and is is simply a more verbose version of the Pathfinder perception rules, but once again results in no mention of requiring the player to provide sufficient information to the DM, it seems the rules are fully open to a player simply declaring "I SPOT!" and then the DM having to carry the rest.

    I even checked the dreaded 4TH EDITION!!! *horses whinney, lightning strikes* Now in 4TH EDITION!!! *horses whinney, lightning strikes* under Perception it actually specifies that a player should only assume that they are searching adjacent squares. HA! The only edition that actually defines pixelbitching! But, doesn't actually say that the player needs to provide "sufficient information" of any detail level, only the assumption that your search is limited to your immediately adjacent squares.

    NOW. I have just gone through 4 different rulebooks and NOT A SINGLE ONE OF THEM mentions requiring the player to provide sufficient information for the DM to adjudicate the results. They all seem to have a similar, if slightly differently worded answer of: "The player declares they're doing the skill, and the DM does the rest."
    How are any of these games at all relevant and what point do you imagine it proves? Many of my posts in various threads are specifically against trying to play D&D 5e as if it's one of these games. In my D&D 4e games (a game I happen to like a lot), for example, players are free to ask to make skill checks. But not in my D&D 5e games. These games are different. In fact, the word "skill check" does not exist in D&D 5e!

    A common source of dissatisfaction reported on the forums is when a DM runs or a player plays one game as if it is some other game. As an experiment, try to forget habits you've picked up from other games and avoid reading the D&D 5e rules through the lens of what you know about other versions of D&D. You might be amazed at where you end up with your approach to DMing and playing.

  3. #153
    Immortal Sun
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    Quote Originally Posted by iserith View Post
    See "How to Play" in the PHB. All of the chapter on "Using Ability Scores," especially the section on Ability Checks and on Finding a Hidden Object (which provides the best example of the standard of specificity). Also the DMG section on "The Role of Dice" and "Using Ability Scores."
    These are, literally the sections of the book I just read through.

    I wonder, have you read them? Or perhaps, are you thinking that the edition operates like some other game you're familiar with playing? Because there isn't a single line about a player providing enough specificity as to determine their approach and their goal.

    In fact, there's really not a lot of talk about the player at all. There is however a lot of talk about the DM telling the players when to do this, when to do that, what to do, and what kind of DC any of those things will have. The overwhelming majority of the text here approaches the game from the DM's perspective, and what the DM needs to ask the players to do in order to achieve their goal.

    There are quite a variety of examples of what skills can be used for, but these are all presented in the context of the DM calling for a check on any one of these skills in the appropriate situation.

    The section in the 5E DMG only talks about players being specific or detailed when talking about ignoring the dice. So, I suppose if we're not talking about checks at all and just free-form role-playing an encounter, then there, yes a player needing to supply sufficient information about their task for the DM to determine the result is necessary.

    Though perhaps, you ought to re-read these sections.

    How are any of these games at all relevant and what point do you imagine it proves? Many of my posts in various threads are specifically against trying to play D&D 5e as if it's one of these games. In my D&D 4e games (a game I happen to like a lot), for example, players are free to ask to make skill checks. But not in my D&D 5e games. These games are different. In fact, the word "skill check" does not exist in D&D 5e!
    While technically correct that 5E does not use the words "skill check" but instead uses the words "ability check" it is very well understood that an ability check involving a skill is what most refer to as a "skill check".

    Again, this is the sort of infuriating word games I don't want to play. You are technically correct, but we are not Bureaucrats. We understand what the words are and what the language means. If you're going to approach this conversation with the attempt to be as technical, nit-picky and anal-retentive as possible, please do me the favor of simply relying with "That's how I roll." so I can choose to no longer be part of this conversation.

    A common source of dissatisfaction reported on the forums is when a DM runs or a player plays one game as if it is some other game. As an experiment, try to forget habits you've picked up from other games and avoid reading the D&D 5e rules through the lens of what you know about other versions of D&D. You might be amazed at where you end up with your approach to DMing and playing.
    Pot, kettle.
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  4. #154
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    Quote Originally Posted by Immortal Sun View Post
    These are, literally the sections of the book I just read through.

    I wonder, have you read them? Or perhaps, are you thinking that the edition operates like some other game you're familiar with playing? Because there isn't a single line about a player providing enough specificity as to determine their approach and their goal.
    That's easily disproved. Check the section on Finding Hidden Objects. It tells us exactly the level of specificity the game expects of the player in this regard.

    If you are just looking for the words "goal and approach" perhaps in an effort to disprove my position rather than understand it, I'll save you some time - you won't find them. Those are words that paraphrase the approach necessary to comply with the framework the rules lay out when taken as a whole without reference to other games.

    Quote Originally Posted by Immortal Sun View Post
    Though perhaps, you ought to re-read these sections.
    I know many of them almost verbatim because I have so many discussions like these. There are several threads going right now about how to adjudicate actions. I even wrote a guide on this shortly after D&D 5e came out (though I should probably get around to editing it a bit).

    The really funny part about these discussions to me is that, in the 5e playtest forums, I argued strenuously against this approach being used in D&D 5e. I wanted it to be more like D&D 4e, which was and still is one of my favorite games. But I lost that argument and, true to my convictions, I adopted an approach suitable to the framework these rules lay out. I don't run this game like some other game. I'm very meticulous about that after having some struggles adjusting to D&D 4e after running and playing D&D 3.Xe for about 8 years.

    Quote Originally Posted by Immortal Sun View Post
    While technically correct that 5E does not use the words "skill check" but instead uses the words "ability check" it is very well understood that an ability check involving a skill is what most refer to as a "skill check".
    I generally know what people mean when they say "skill check." It's also a red flag to me that they may treat D&D 5e as if it is some other game as that term isn't in D&D 5e and that they think a task is a check. My point is not to play gotcha with words, but to show that these games' rules are different and different rules demand different approaches to running and playing them. To do otherwise may produce less than optimal results.
    Last edited by iserith; Sunday, 14th April, 2019 at 12:16 AM.

  5. #155
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    Or, conversely, it may, depending on the group, produce more optimal results.

    It's almost like differing play styles and priorities at the table are more important than advice written in RPG books. But, hey, what do I know. I'm not trying to repeatedly prove my way is the better way. I just know that the way I play is the best way for my table.
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  6. #156
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hussar View Post
    Or, conversely, it may, depending on the group, produce more optimal results.

    It's almost like differing play styles and priorities at the table are more important than advice written in RPG books. But, hey, what do I know. I'm not trying to repeatedly prove my way is the better way. I just know that the way I play is the best way for my table.
    I adapt my "playstyle" to the game. If you play in my D&D 4e game, you'll see distinct differences from my D&D 5e game. If you play in my Dungeon World game, it's got much the same content as any fantasy RPG, but again, it is not run or played the same way as D&D 4e or 5e. Different games, different approaches.

    You're free to use the same "playstyle" for every game if you so choose, of course. I don't find that to be the most effective way of doing things, but I also don't present my approach to playing as the best way for everyone since the "playstyle" that a thorough, unbiased reading of D&D 5e suggests may not be enjoyable to some. When imagining it during the playtest and arguing about it on the forums, I certainly did not think I would enjoy it. But as it turns out, I do. For this game, and not others. You won't catch me running D&D 4e or Dungeon World like I run D&D 5e.

    Again, saying how I play and where that approach is supported by the rules is in no way saying the way you play is inferior. Such a conclusion would be the reader attaching intent to my words that I do not have.

  7. #157
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    Quote Originally Posted by DM Dave1 View Post
    If it mattered that the desk had no drawers, then the DM should describe it as such when setting up the scene.
    Quote Originally Posted by Elfcrusher View Post
    And this is where our aesthetic preferences differ. Your "impeding play" is my "playing the game."

    <snip>

    Honestly I thought you were agreeing with me/us, until I read the very last sentence and then I realized you were describing that scene as a bad thing.
    Quote Originally Posted by Elfcrusher View Post
    P.S. The continued invocation of "mother may I" and "pixelbitching" tell me that there are still some really fundamental misunderstandings.
    I think these things are closely related: what for some RPGers is "playing the game" or "framing the scene with sufficient specificity" is, for others, an excessive focus on detail, and an excessive insistence by the GM on precision of description (which is described, pejoratively, as "pixel bitching" or "Mother may I?").

    The Basic PDF (p 61) offers the following on searching rooms, desks and the like:

    When you look around for clues and make deductions based on those clues, you make an Intelligence (Investigation) check. You might deduce the location of a hidden object, discern from the appearance of a wound what kind of weapon dealt it, or determine the weakest point in a tunnel that could cause it to collapse. Poring through ancient scrolls in search of a hidden fragment of knowledge might also call for an Intelligence (Investigation) check. . . .

    When your character searches for a hidden object such as a secret door or a trap, the DM typically asks you to make a Wisdom (Perception) check. Such a check can be used to find hidden details or other information and clues that you might otherwise overlook.

    In most cases, you need to describe where you are looking in order for the DM to determine your chance of success. For example, a key is hidden beneath a set of folded clothes in the top drawer of a bureau. If you tell the DM that you pace around the room, looking at the walls and furniture for clues, you have no chance of finding the key, regardless of your Wisdom (Perception) check result. You would have to specify that you were opening the drawers or searching the bureau in order to have any chance of success.

    There are several things I notice about this. First, the "you" in the description of the Investigation skill pretty clearly refers to the player and his/her PC (treated as something of a gestalt entity) and it refers to certain action declarations involving the making of a check without any suggestion of GM mediation. Presumalby this is a slip on the part of the rules authors, but it does undermine the idea that what we are getting from the rules is anything like a perfect codification of play procedures.

    Second, the discussion of finding hidden objects seems incomplete at best. For instance, if a player declares "I open the bureau drawers looking for signs of anything hidden in them" that seems like it could be a trigger for a INT (Investigation) check rather than a WIS (Perception) check, as trying to deduce the presence of a hidden thing at the bottom of a drawer from the rumpled (because frequently disturbed) clothes that sit on top of it seems to me a paradigm of looking around for clues and making deductions based on those clues.

    Third, looking at the furniture for clues is presented as an action declaration that might trigger a WIS (Perception) check even though the very same page says "When you look around for clues and make deductions based on those clues, you make an Intelligence (Investigation) check" (emphasis added). These second and third points, to my mind, reinforce the sense that we are not dealing with a canonical codification. (Or are we suppose that the player who is looking at the furniture for clues is also resolute that his/her PC won't draw any deductions from them? That's counterintuitive at best!)

    Fourth, the authors of the rules seem to be drawing some fine distinctions that (i) aren't self-evident and (ii) don't to my mind easily generalise. For instance, they contrast looking at the furniture for clues with searching the bureau. That's not a self-evident contrast. For instance, a detective novel which contained the following passage, "Holmes looked at the furniture for clues. As he searched the bureau, he noticed the rumpled clothes in one of the drawers," wouldn't smack of non-sequitur between the first and second sentence.

    Now suppose that, in a game, what is taking place is not the search of a bedroom with bureaus but (say) the search of a workouse that was the site of arson; or the search of a town to see where some stolen horses are stabled; or the search of a library containing hundreds of feet of shelving holding many hundreds of volumes. None of these would be out of place in a D&D game. How is the bedroom search example to be extrapolated to those cases? What details is the GM obliged to narrate in framing the situation? What details is a player obliged to narrate in declaring an action? In the rulebook example, the GM doesn't seem to have described what clothes are in the bureau; does the GM have to describe what books are on the library shelves? Where the shelves are in the building? Whether the building has north or south facing windows? If so, which volumes are faded by the sun to what degree?

    I think framing this discussion as one of following vs disregarding the rules as opposed to, say, @Hussar's and @Reynard's dfferences of preference and playstyle, is actively unhelpful.
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  8. #158
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    Quote Originally Posted by pemerton View Post
    The Basic PDF (p 61) offers the following on searching rooms, desks and the like:
    When you look around for clues and make deductions based on those clues, you make an Intelligence (Investigation) check. You might deduce the location of a hidden object, discern from the appearance of a wound what kind of weapon dealt it, or determine the weakest point in a tunnel that could cause it to collapse. Poring through ancient scrolls in search of a hidden fragment of knowledge might also call for an Intelligence (Investigation) check. . . .

    When your character searches for a hidden object such as a secret door or a trap, the DM typically asks you to make a Wisdom (Perception) check. Such a check can be used to find hidden details or other information and clues that you might otherwise overlook.

    In most cases, you need to describe where you are looking in order for the DM to determine your chance of success. For example, a key is hidden beneath a set of folded clothes in the top drawer of a bureau. If you tell the DM that you pace around the room, looking at the walls and furniture for clues, you have no chance of finding the key, regardless of your Wisdom (Perception) check result. You would have to specify that you were opening the drawers or searching the bureau in order to have any chance of success.

    There are several things I notice about this. First, the "you" in the description of the Investigation skill pretty clearly refers to the player and his/her PC (treated as something of a gestalt entity) and it refers to certain action declarations involving the making of a check without any suggestion of GM mediation. Presumalby this is a slip on the part of the rules authors, but it does undermine the idea that what we are getting from the rules is anything like a perfect codification of play procedures.

    Second, the discussion of finding hidden objects seems incomplete at best. For instance, if a player declares "I open the bureau drawers looking for signs of anything hidden in them" that seems like it could be a trigger for a INT (Investigation) check rather than a WIS (Perception) check, as trying to deduce the presence of a hidden thing at the bottom of a drawer from the rumpled (because frequently disturbed) clothes that sit on top of it seems to me a paradigm of looking around for clues and making deductions based on those clues.

    Third, looking at the furniture for clues is presented as an action declaration that might trigger a WIS (Perception) check even though the very same page says "When you look around for clues and make deductions based on those clues, you make an Intelligence (Investigation) check" (emphasis added). These second and third points, to my mind, reinforce the sense that we are not dealing with a canonical codification. (Or are we suppose that the player who is looking at the furniture for clues is also resolute that his/her PC won't draw any deductions from them? That's counterintuitive at best!)

    Fourth, the authors of the rules seem to be drawing some fine distinctions that (i) aren't self-evident and (ii) don't to my mind easily generalise. For instance, they contrast looking at the furniture for clues with searching the bureau. That's not a self-evident contrast. For instance, a detective novel which contained the following passage, "Holmes looked at the furniture for clues. As he searched the bureau, he noticed the rumpled clothes in one of the drawers," wouldn't smack of non-sequitur between the first and second sentence.
    Yes, the rules for D&D 5e are not as tight as they could be. I doubt anyone would disagree with that. Taken as a whole, however, and considered without the influence of approaches more appropriate to other games, I would say they point to a particular manner of playing that is most suitable to those rules. This is not to say the game cannot be played in a number of ways that are satisfactory enough for many people. In any case, there is no "RAW way to play."

    It's a shame you don't play D&D 5e, pemerton, as I would enjoy discussing the actual game experience further with you, but would currently find most discussions wanting due to your inexperience with it at the table.

  9. #159
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    Quote Originally Posted by iserith View Post
    Yes, the rules for D&D 5e are not as tight as they could be. I doubt anyone would disagree with that. Taken as a whole, however, and considered without the influence of approaches more appropriate to other games, I would say they point to a particular manner of playing that is most suitable to those rules. This is not to say the game cannot be played in a number of ways that are satisfactory enough for many people. In any case, there is no "RAW way to play."

    It's a shame you don't play D&D 5e, pemerton, as I would enjoy discussing the actual game experience further with you, but would currently find most discussions wanting due to your inexperience with it at the table.
    Re playing 5e, my play time is finite and there are some features of 5e that make it quite unattractive to me as a set of RPG rules.

    But as far as the topic of this thread is concerned - roughly, the adjudication of ability checks - is concerned, I don't see what you do in 5e that makes it particularly distinctive from (say) 3E. (I can see the differences from 4e: fewer ways to mitigate the dice rolling; no tendency to assume a closed scene resolution framework.) My experience with 3E is pretty modest, though, so perhaps there's some subtle (or even gross!) feature that I've missed. But I don't see why your approach wouldn't be fairly easily deployable in 3E, perhaps in RQ or Rolemaster, even in 4e if one (as many did) ignored the skill challenge mechanics.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Satyrn View Post
    You and @Oofta are far better at gleaning your e players' intentions than I am.

    I see ""I try to determine if he's lying" and I know you, the Enworld poster, are suggesting the method described in PH in the Insight description because this thread is all about that.

    But at the table, if Insight hasn't even been mentioned during the session, I wouldn't know that you're trying to read his body language or do something else. I might guess you're trying to determine he lying by questioning his aide sitting beside him, or checking the reference library if recorded facts could show the NPC was lying.

    I'm not likely gonna know what you mean if you don't tell me what you mean.
    Well, that's at odds with my experiences.

    At the table we have a detailed context that is often lacking in forum discussions as well as a pattern of behavior and conduct... we have seen how situations and actions have been described before and how they resolved.

    So, at the table, "I try to determine if he is lying." is a much more known thing than that statement here, in a vacuum. At the table, it has common shared recent and current events to be seen against. Additionally, it's well known that asking questions of someone would be said, as in "Really? HMMM... my character will go talk to the aide." Checking records would not be declared as ""I try to determine if he is lying."" but rather as "ok, fine. Mine character will head down to the docks to check the manifests." (These are just examples.)

    So, I suppose that **if** the context and play at the table had never established that you need to say that you are talking to someone or that you are going to a place to look thru records **and** had showed that those sorts of moves might be assumed in very broad general statements, it might be difficult to tell them apart... but that's not an example I have seen of play... ever.
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