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How do you handle insight?

ad_hoc

Adventurer
So in my game, that would go something like this...

DM: Neatly squirreled away under a cleverly disguised false floorboard, Briggs finds the assassin guildmaster's lockbox. What do you do?
Walt: It has to be trapped, there have been traps all over the place. Briggs checks it for traps. I got a... oh. 19.
DM: Briggs does not find the trap that he is sure is there. What do you do?
Walter: Briggs tells Gabriel that the lockbox is probably trapped.
Dave: Gabriel tells everyone to stand back. He breaks the lock.
DM: Gabriel is exposed to the poison when he breaks the lock. Please make a Fortitude save.
Dave: Gabriel is immune to poisons.
DM: Right. Well. The poison tastes a bit like cracked pepper and sea salt. Now that the lockbox is open, what do you do?
Briggs should not have rolled at all. The DM should have just told him that he doesn't find any traps.

Rolling should only happen if the outcome is in doubt (there are meaningful consequences for failure, and it is interesting). If a 19 doesn't do it, it doesn't sound like the outcome was in doubt.

It sucks to roll high and have nothing happen. No one has fun.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
Hmm Ok. Back in 1E Player: I check the chest for traps.75% DM Your Detect Traps is 45% you fail badly.
In 5EPlayer: I check the chest for traps. Perception total is 9. DM the DC was 15. You fail badly.
and back to you.
GM: As you touch the chest, it feels sticky. You are poisoned.
Player: That's not fair! I didn't say I was touching it!..
GM. Ok fine I don't exactly what you did but you are poisoned. Give me a con save. Bob what are you doing.
End of scene.
This would INFURIATE me as a player. What do you mean you don’t know what I did but I’m poisoned??? The mechanics are meant to be derived from the fiction, not the other way around. If you don’t know how I got poisoned, I SHOULD NOT BE poisoned!
 

jasper

Rotten DM
This would INFURIATE me as a player. What do you mean you don’t know what I did but I’m poisoned??? The mechanics are meant to be derived from the fiction, not the other way around. If you don’t know how I got poisoned, I SHOULD NOT BE poisoned!
Because I had people like you. DM "as you rattle the latch you are poison" You, "What I never said I was touching it! And I have gloves on".
So DM ", As you rattle the latch a small needle pokes thru your glove," You," My gloves are quarter of an inch thick."
So DM," As you examine the latch you trigger a pressure plate a cloud of gas..." You, "What. I said I always hold my breath while checking for door traps. And how much weight triggers the trap. Plus I have on a full helm and mask on my nose and mouth".
So DM,"Charlaquin this is a freaking game. You rolled dice. You failed. Now I can spend the next 5 minutes coming up with FICTIONAL reason on what happen. Or you can accept the fact OCCASIONALLY the MECHANICIS derived and create the fiction."
So what words could I use when you FAILED a roll to make you happy.
 

Coroc

Explorer
There was ... <snip>

How would this specific scenario play out in your game? If you have a strict "only the DM calls for a roll" what would Bob have to do or say to indicate that they are suspicious in order for you to call for an insight check? What would Susan have to do or say to indicate her PC believes whatever the merchant says?

*If Bob is asking for an insight check with every NPC they interact with, or if he tries to resolve every situation with a simple roll of the die, that's a separate issue and we'll discuss play style.
I would do it like you. For Bob a little RP advice to be a better roleplayer : Bob" hm gr mumbles nearly incomprehensible into his beard shouldiblieve this guy" And then as a DM you should offer the insight check. But other than that not every one is the RP crack, so it is totally justified for Bob to ask for the check.

Now let us assume, the shopkeeper is telling 100% truth then you could put the DC to 5 (Do not tell Bob, just tell him : Despite your doubts after some thoughts you are wholeheartedly "in char" convinced that this guy is speaking the truth.

Let us assume the shopkeeper is a vampire master illusionist in his everyday disguise and actually the murderer: The DC for Bobs check just is 20 or 25 and you tell Bob what?:

Of course : Despite your doubts after some thoughts you are wholeheartedly "in char" convinced that this guy is speaking the truth.


Let us further assumed in the second case Bob rolls a 20. Now you got to determine how much of the real truth might be discernible for Bob. but I do not want to detail that out any further , anyway you are doing it right but never communicate your DCs upfront or behind, because that's not an info the party has available.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
Because I had people like you. DM "as you rattle the latch you are poison" You, "What I never said I was touching it! And I have gloves on".
So DM ", As you rattle the latch a small needle pokes thru your glove," You," My gloves are quarter of an inch thick."
So DM," As you examine the latch you trigger a pressure plate a cloud of gas..." You, "What. I said I always hold my breath while checking for door traps. And how much weight triggers the trap. Plus I have on a full helm and mask on my nose and mouth".
So DM,"Charlaquin this is a freaking game. You rolled dice. You failed. Now I can spend the next 5 minutes coming up with FICTIONAL reason on what happen. Or you can accept the fact OCCASIONALLY the MECHANICIS derived and create the fiction."
See, you’ve started from the assumption that a roll needed to be made to determine if I was poisoned, and since I failed the roll, you’ll twist and distort the fiction what ever way you feel is necessary to justify that outcome. Or, more likely, you’ll leave what’s actually happening in the fiction abstract to avoid having to justify the outcome. Either way, for you the mechanics come first and the fiction is derived from them. And that’s not a game I have any interest in playing.

So what words could I use when you FAILED a roll to make you happy.
None. As long as you’re deciding that, no matter what action I tell you my character performs, no matter what precautions I tell you my character takes, I’m going to have to make that roll, and if I fail I’m going to be poisoned no matter what, no narration is going to be satisfying. If you enjoy rolling dice and deciding what happened in the story based on the results, I genuinely hope you have a great time, but I won’t be joining you in that. I would much prefer to tell a story together with my group, and roll dice to settle what happens when the outcome isn’t otherwise obvious.
 

jasper

Rotten DM
Ok you are of we telling a story and not playing a game mindset. I understand but do not agree with it.
 

Flexor the Mighty!

18/100 Strength!
Yes, I have. Only twice, but it generated such bad feelings at the table I still remember them years later.

Though I did use slightly the wrong quote above, because both of the instances were statues not chests. One was something like, "I see if there are any secret doors in the statue." The other was something like, "I see if there are any hidden compartments in the statue."

I was thinking that this involved pushing and pulling the statue (to determine if it moved) or tapping it (to find hollow spaces) so I responded with the poison quote above. The players thought that searching for secret doors and hidden compartments just meant standing there and looking at the object.

So now I ask for a bit more clarification.
Yep. I always ask my players to describe what they are doing a bit more than just checking for traps. Are they touching it? Standing back 75 feet and giving it an ocular patdown? Otherwise they never did anything that set off some negative effect.

"What do you mean I set off the trap when I was searching the chest of drawers? I was going to stand 10 feet back!"

"And search though the drawers...from 10 feet without opening them up?"

It would just get silly with some of these chuckleheads. So I tell them, "You are standing in front of this chest. Gimme a basic description of what you are doing."
 

5ekyu

Adventurer
Because I had people like you. DM "as you rattle the latch you are poison" You, "What I never said I was touching it! And I have gloves on".
So DM ", As you rattle the latch a small needle pokes thru your glove," You," My gloves are quarter of an inch thick."
So DM," As you examine the latch you trigger a pressure plate a cloud of gas..." You, "What. I said I always hold my breath while checking for door traps. And how much weight triggers the trap. Plus I have on a full helm and mask on my nose and mouth".
So DM,"Charlaquin this is a freaking game. You rolled dice. You failed. Now I can spend the next 5 minutes coming up with FICTIONAL reason on what happen. Or you can accept the fact OCCASIONALLY the MECHANICIS derived and create the fiction."
So what words could I use when you FAILED a roll to make you happy.
Yeah, there have been players since the start who saw some flavor of the game being them vs GM. So, "winning" was seen as "winning at the player-GM" level. Anything to get around or prevent actual mechanics from applying was the target.

When this applied to enemies getting dead, it most often showed up as trying to find any case in the rules where you could get around HP and AC. Was there ever any gap not covered for what happens when? Dagger to throat, dropping large objects, "chokeholds" - any reason to take it from character and mechanics vs character and mechanics to "what can I argue the GM unto?"

Now, obviously, back in the day, there were many more gaps in the rules so there was a lot more "resolution through GM judgement call" in various aspects of the game.

I think I am supposed to say "but its just a playstyle and all are fine" but really, my fondest memories are not the SOPs and the "but my..." drives to turn the resolutions to the GM call you wanted through arguing.

My fondest memories of "success" are cases where the choices led to favorable resolutions within the mechanics - whole thing coming together, not bypassing things to GM calls it.
 

Beleriphon

Totally Awesome Pirate Brain
I would still call my way of doing things playing a game, but I’m glad we’ve reached an understanding.
I think its more gamifying a story versus storyfying a game perspective. You like the story part to make sense first, and have game elements follow from that. Jasper likes the game elements to come first and makes up a story to justify them (from what I'm reading, please correct me if I'm wrong). Neither is right or wrong, but its hard to do both at the same time.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
I think its more gamifying a story versus storyfying a game perspective. You like the story part to make sense first, and have game elements follow from that. Jasper likes the game elements to come first and makes up a story to justify them (from what I'm reading, please correct me if I'm wrong). Neither is right or wrong, but its hard to do both at the same time.
This isn’t the way I would phrase it, but it’s close enough and it’s not really worth arguing.
 

Elfcrusher

Adventurer
Because I had people like you. DM "as you rattle the latch you are poison" You, "What I never said I was touching it! And I have gloves on".
So DM ", As you rattle the latch a small needle pokes thru your glove," You," My gloves are quarter of an inch thick."
So DM," As you examine the latch you trigger a pressure plate a cloud of gas..." You, "What. I said I always hold my breath while checking for door traps. And how much weight triggers the trap. Plus I have on a full helm and mask on my nose and mouth".
So DM,"Charlaquin this is a freaking game. You rolled dice. You failed. Now I can spend the next 5 minutes coming up with FICTIONAL reason on what happen. Or you can accept the fact OCCASIONALLY the MECHANICIS derived and create the fiction."
So what words could I use when you FAILED a roll to make you happy.
Another fine example of the "Goal and approach could never work in practice because it's not jerk-proof, and you might get jerks at your table" argument.

/sigh
 

Ovinomancer

Flip Nazi
Another fine example of the "Goal and approach could never work in practice because it's not jerk-proof, and you might get jerks at your table" argument.

/sigh
Yup. Needs a pithy name, it shows up so often. Argument from jerkdom? Jerk hominin? What a-jerk-ism? Jerk policing? Ceterus Jerkus?
 

jasper

Rotten DM
….
So DM ", As you rattle the latch a small needle pokes thru your glove," You," My gloves are quarter of an inch thick."
So DM," As you examine the latch you trigger a pressure plate a cloud of gas..." You, "What. I said I always hold my breath while checking for door traps. And how muc………..
Another fine example of the "Goal and approach could never work in practice because it's not jerk-proof, and you might get jerks at your table" argument.

/sigh
jasper sticks on willy Wonka's top hat. "Wrong Sir! Wrong! You are exactly 111% wrong." Because it was not an argument. It was just a rephrasing of real life. I did have a lot of jerks at my table. The exact conversation did not take place. But I had very similar conversations. Now IF you never had a jerk at your table, let me send you $2 and SASE so you can buy me some lottery tickets.
 

Elfcrusher

Adventurer
jasper sticks on willy Wonka's top hat. "Wrong Sir! Wrong! You are exactly 111% wrong." Because it was not an argument. It was just a rephrasing of real life. I did have a lot of jerks at my table. The exact conversation did not take place. But I had very similar conversations. Now IF you never had a jerk at your table, let me send you $2 and SASE so you can buy me some lottery tickets.
Huh?

Never once have I said there are no jerks at the table. What I say repeatedly is that jerk-proof rules are not the way to deal with it.
 

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