D&D 5E Charisma to prevent giving out info during interrogation?

Asisreo

Patron Badass
I would find that to be an unacceptable intrusion upon my right to play my character as I see fit. If you want that to be a thing that happens, make it into a spell or the like, give me a saving throw, and some sense of what is at stake so I can make an informed decision about what resources I want to spend to avoid a bad result (Inspiration, for example).
Perhaps I wasn't clear that that would be my intention.

I'd basically say "The fiend is causing psychological torture to you. To prevent yourself from saying anything, you must make a DC13 constitution check or you speak involuntarily. You are free to say whatever if you fail, but you must say something. If you succeed, you tell the fiend nothing for the interrogation scene and it will give up. "

I might make it a saving throw, the specifics are pretty loose at the moment but I do also want to give the feeling that a player might persuade me to use a different ability with their own justification "I'll rely on my willpower (charisma) rather than my physical fortitude (constitution) to prevent myself from speaking."
 

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iserith

Magic Wordsmith
Perhaps I wasn't clear that that would be my intention.

I'd basically say "The fiend is causing psychological torture to you. To prevent yourself from saying anything, you must make a DC13 constitution check or you speak involuntarily. You are free to say whatever if you fail, but you must say something. If you succeed, you tell the fiend nothing for the interrogation scene and it will give up. "

I might make it a saving throw, the specifics are pretty loose at the moment but I do also want to give the feeling that a player might persuade me to use a different ability with their own justification "I'll rely on my willpower (charisma) rather than my physical fortitude (constitution) to prevent myself from speaking."
It would have to be in the realm of a spell or supernatural ability that compels the character, who gets a saving throw against a charm effect (i.e. fey ancestry would apply here), for it to be okay with me. If we're talking about mundane stuff, then no, I get to decide, full stop.
 

I’ll add that, depending on the character, I might very well have that character break down sobbing and give up more information than was asked for, maybe before the torture even started. Or not. Again, depends on the character and what I think makes a good story.
 


Cadence

Legend
Supporter
It would have to be in the realm of a spell or supernatural ability that compels the character, who gets a saving throw against a charm effect (i.e. fey ancestry would apply here), for it to be okay with me. If we're talking about mundane stuff, then no, I get to decide, full stop.
On the one hand I completely understand and I am decidedly not arguing for a change in your view.

But I find myself wondering why full mental control is sacrosanct, but absolute physical success is not? Is it related to (many of us) living in societies where mental illness and weakness is often looked on as a personal failure in a way that a physical breakdown isn't? I assume everyone posting here has had moments where their will power didn't hold out about something, and similarly moments where they failed physically. Why do we view the former as so much worse than the later. Why is it ok that our character fails some rolls and gets tied up and beaten or collapses from fatigue before achieving their target, but not that they find themselves (to steal from Millay) in a difficult hour, pinned down by pain and moaning for release, or nagged by want past resolution's power, driven to sell love they had for peace, or to trade a memory of that night for food. The speaker in the poem may not think they would, but the runner doesn't think they'll stumble either.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
On the one hand I completely understand and I am decidedly not arguing for a change in your view.

But I find myself wondering why full mental control is sacrosanct, but absolute physical success is not? Is it related to (many of us) living in societies where mental illness and weakness is often looked on as a personal failure in a way that a physical breakdown isn't? I assume everyone posting here has had moments where their will power didn't hold out about something, and similarly moments where they failed physically. Why do we view the former as so much worse than the later. Why is it ok that our character fails some rolls and gets tied up and beaten or collapses from fatigue before achieving their target, but not that they find themselves (to steal from Millay) in a difficult hour, pinned down by pain and moaning for release, or nagged by want past resolution's power, driven to sell love they had for peace, or to trade a memory of that night for food. The speaker in the poem may not think they would, but the runner doesn't think they'll stumble either.
It's a great deal simpler than that for me. The rules say what I control as a player - what my character thinks, says, and does - and it has clear exceptions for when I don't get to control those things (e.g. magical compulsion) and how I might avoid that outcome (e.g. saving throws).
 

Cadence

Legend
Supporter
It's a great deal simpler than that for me. The rules say what I control as a player - what my character thinks, says, and does - and it has clear exceptions for when I don't get to control those things (e.g. magical compulsion) and how I might avoid that outcome (e.g. saving throws).
Do you have a favorite place in the rules that says that it's only for magical compulsion and the like that you don't have control? (my googling found a lot of folks saying "in their game" and my searching of the rule books failed to find what I thought I had read before).

If a game had non-magical things working against characters (persuasion checks, narcotics, torture) would you house rule that they didn't work against PCs? (I think there are clearly cringe-worthy things I'd never pull on a character, but would everything of the type be cringe-worthy?)
 

But I find myself wondering why full mental control is sacrosanct, but absolute physical success is not?

I think your answer here was overthinking it by a mile.

You need to have a boundary between what the player decides for their character, and what is determined by rules/DM. If it's not the boundary between what goes on inside the brain vs. outside, then where is the line? If we take this example of torture and say, "Ok, I'm going to suspend your right to make your character's decisions because (reasons)" then where is the line? How is torture different from non-physical manipulation? If the DM sometimes determines, "Ok, but in this case, for (reasons), you lose your agency" then how are the players to know what the conditions are?

The reason for the exception for magical/supernatural effects is that it maintains a clearly defined boundary. "Players always determine what their characters think and (attempt to) do...unless magic." Simple and unambiguous.

Want your NPC to persuade a PC, and for the scene to play out the way you want? Use magic. (Or just be willing to accept that players may not share your preferences for how the story should unfold.)
 

Do you have a favorite place in the rules that says that it's only for magical compulsion and the like that you don't have control? (my googling found a lot of folks saying "in their game" and my searching of the rule books failed to find what I thought I had read before).

1. Players decide what their characters think and do.
2. Some spell descriptions say otherwise.
3. Specific overrides general.

All three things are in the rules.

If a game had non-magical things working against characters (persuasion checks, narcotics, torture) would you house rule that they didn't work against PCs? (I think there are clearly cringe-worthy things I'd never pull on a character, but would everything of the type be cringe-worthy?)

Same answer. Let's say we're talking alcohol. If you want to impose penalties on dice rolls due to inebriation, go for it. The player will still get to declare actions, but if you require a dice roll to determine success then the alcohol may be a factor.

However, if you think the character should behave certain ways while drunk, in other words, that certain actions should be declared...sorry, that's for the player to decide. Get your own NPCs drunk and roleplay them however you like.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
Do you have a favorite place in the rules that says that it's only for magical compulsion and the like that you don't have control? (my googling found a lot of folks saying "in their game" and my searching of the rule books failed to find what I thought I had read before).

If a game had non-magical things working against characters (persuasion checks, narcotics, torture) would you house rule that they didn't work against PCs? (I think there are clearly cringe-worthy things I'd never pull on a character, but would everything of the type be cringe-worthy?)
As for the rules, @Bill Zebub paraphrases them above. What you seem to be driving at is whether I have some kind of philosophical viewpoint here with regard to who controls what. I do not. I do what the rules of the game say to do, whether that be any of the different versions of D&D or other RPGs or board games or sports or whatever. If that results in a fun game, I continue playing it. In D&D 5e, I get to say how my character responds to torturers seeking information from them, unless magically compelled in some way (and in this case I at least get a save or some other kind of defense).
 

Cadence

Legend
Supporter
1. Players decide what their characters think and do.
2. Some spell descriptions say otherwise.
3. Specific overrides general.

All three things are in the rules.



Same answer. Let's say we're talking alcohol. If you want to impose penalties on dice rolls due to inebriation, go for it. The player will still get to declare actions, but if you require a dice roll to determine success then the alcohol may be a factor.

However, if you think the character should behave certain ways while drunk, in other words, that certain actions should be declared...sorry, that's for the player to decide. Get your own NPCs drunk and roleplay them however you like.
So, are you objecting because it's what the rules say, or is it a general objection to players never losing mental control nonmagically unless the player wants them to? If the former, cool. If the later, still cool - but why is it different than physical control?
 

So, are you objecting because it's what the rules say, or is it a general objection to players never losing mental control nonmagically unless the player wants them to?
Both, in the case of D&D 5e.
If the former, cool. If the later, still cool - but why is it different than physical control?
I thought I explained that up-thread: because it's a clear, unambiguous boundary. The DM and the rules get to make decisions on one side, the player gets to make decisions on the other side. There's never any question of who has authority.

EDIT: I'll add that while in general I prefer games where the player has control, I still do play games where there are exceptions. But I want the circumstances of when that occurs to be codified in the rules, and not left to GM whim.
 

Cadence

Legend
Supporter
Both, in the case of D&D 5e.

I thought I explained that up-thread: because it's a clear, unambiguous boundary. The DM and the rules get to make decisions on one side, the player gets to make decisions on the other side. There's never any question of who has authority.

EDIT: I'll add that while in general I prefer games where the player has control, I still do play games where there are exceptions. But I want the circumstances of when that occurs to be codified in the rules, and not left to GM whim.
Thank you for the clarifying edit.

Do you also prefer the physical actions to be more definitive in the rules and less up to GM whim?
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
Both, in the case of D&D 5e.

I thought I explained that up-thread: because it's a clear, unambiguous boundary. The DM and the rules get to make decisions on one side, the player gets to make decisions on the other side. There's never any question of who has authority.

EDIT: I'll add that while in general I prefer games where the player has control, I still do play games where there are exceptions. But I want the circumstances of when that occurs to be codified in the rules, and not left to GM whim.
Yeah, to some extent it's like, dude, you already control almost all of the game. Can I please just have this one thing?
 

Thank you for the clarifying edit.

Do you also prefer the physical actions to be more definitive in the rules and less up to GM whim?

Hmm. Interesting question.

1. In general I like lighter rules, which usually means that a lot of situations...especially outside of combat...are left to the GM to determine how to apply the rules. This is the case in D&D: the player gets to declare what action they are going to attempt, but the DM gets to make them make an ability score role, with a DC of the DM's choosing, to determine success. Or even just tell them they automatically succeed or fail.

2. However, in parallel with that approach to GM authority, I prefer that the GM describe how they are going to apply the rules (or rule automatic success/failure), what the consequences will be for failure, and then give the player a chance to change their mind. That's to get the player and GM on the same page about how they are envisioning the game world before the player commits.
 

Cadence

Legend
Supporter
Yeah, to some extent it's like, dude, you already control almost all of the game. Can I please just have this one thing?
Your answer before seemed to emphatically be just doing what the rules said. Bringing up DM v. Player control balance seems irrelevant to that.

It feels like a lot of people want a wall around mental control. I'm just wondering why so many folks (most of us) feel that's totally different than physical control. A great musician or craftsman or acrobat needs to make a role to do well at their specialty under trying circumstances. They don't have to worry about being led to the wrong place when drunk or given narcotics or being distracted for even a few seconds by a pretty face.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
Your answer before seemed to emphatically be just doing what the rules said. Bringing up DM v. Player control balance seems irrelevant to that.

It feels like a lot of people want a wall around mental control. I'm just wondering why so many folks (most of us) feel that's totally different than physical control. A great musician or craftsman or acrobat needs to make a role to do well at their specialty under trying circumstances. They don't have to worry about being led to the wrong place when drunk or given narcotics or being distracted for even a few seconds by a pretty face.
My comment refers to DMs with so much control over the game already going for even more control, encroaching on what little the player does control, outside of what the rules say. I'd be more curious about that.
 

Cadence

Legend
Supporter
My comment refers to DMs with so much control over the game already going for even more control, encroaching on what little the player does control, outside of what the rules say. I'd be more curious about that.

There are a lot of things in fiction where the main character is distracted or drugged that don't involve magic. Having those things be impossible seemed odd to me. (I guess those examples might be perception check modifiers though? Is a con save to not pass out from too much alcohol a fair thing in 5e?)
 

There are a lot of things in fiction where the main character is distracted or drugged that don't involve magic. Having those things be impossible seemed odd to me. (I guess those examples might be perception check modifiers though? Is a con save to not pass out from too much alcohol a fair thing in 5e?)
I think disadvantage covers those situations just fine if mechanics get involved. No need for the DM to narrate what the PC is saying, thinking, or how they are acting.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
There are a lot of things in fiction where the main character is distracted or drugged that don't involve magic. Having those things be impossible seemed odd to me. (I guess those examples might be perception check modifiers though? Is a con save to not pass out from too much alcohol a fair thing in 5e?)
Something to consider: Why would I, as DM, put myself in a situation where I would have to set up an interrogation or torture scene and create special mechanics that allows me to control what a character says, when I can just have my NPCs get that information from a divination spell or gathering information on the street or scrying or some other means already at my disposal? Why am I not happy with the player deciding what to divulge in these situations? Like what is going on here exactly?
 

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