If an NPC is telling the truth, what's the Insight DC to know they're telling the truth?

pemerton

Legend
But it's blindingly obvious if the player is making a skill roll to jump across a pit that they will fall if they fail, there is no need to state it, and quite frankly it's an insult to the player's intelligence to do so.

So there are two possibilities: either the consequence of failure is obvious, or the consequence of failure will only be revealed if it happens. In either case, there is no reason for the DM to say anything until it actually happens.
Since the character would see a cat, see a beam and reasonably obvious to them that falling off would have a chance to fall into said , it seems like this is challenging the assertion with an example that fits the category of "what character would know."

<snip>

Unlike movies, the player is a participant, not just a viewer. So, I dont need to hand them outside info to ramp up drama. I want the drama to come thru and from the character and that perspective

<snip>

Unless it's something mysterious or unknown they should get an idea from the scene just like their characters do.
The first of these quotes doesn't describe how I prefer to GM a game.

The second is closer - but I think (given my preferences) that the connection between the character and the scene should be more "intimate" than what I am getting from 5ekyu's post. It's not just that the player gets an idea from the scene - but what's at stake in the scene should be something that issues from the character.

So the example that was given upthread, of discovering without "telegraphing" or implication, that disturbing the magic circle sends you to the far north, wouldn't be something I would do in a game in which location/geograph has any great significance.

The vat wouldn't be filled with acid, nor the pit illusory, without that having some logic in the situation not as conceived by the GM in secret but as conceived by the player in relation to the character.

That's the point of not telling them: let them assume. If they assumed wrong, that's their fault. Life aint predictable, and sometimes failing might lead to a better outcome than success.
This sounds like a game in which the GM is wielding very great control over the outcomes.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
This sounds like a game in which the GM is wielding very great control over the outcomes.
As a DM I build and control the world which responds to the actions (or lack therein) of they PCs. The players help fill in bits and pieces, but it's almost always offline and background information. While they may occasionally ask if there's a chandelier to swing from and **poof** it was always there if it makes sense, they don't get to decide if the pit is bottomless or just an illusion. Or if it truly was bottomless would you just slowly die of thirst? I mean, it would be quite boring after a while if you just kept falling forever. :hmm:

As far as broadcasting, I may tell them it's a 30 ft drop into the alley before they start climbing on the ledge and remind them they have seen the guards patrolling the area. They should know that falling that far onto what looks like piles of broken crates and garbage would hurt in addition to making a lot of noise. But they won't know about the oytugh hiding in the garbage unless they have a good enough perception.

I know some people enjoy building scenes together, but much like the "always say yes" it's just not how I run the game nor would I enjoy it as much.
 
I don’t call for a roll, because there is no consequence for failure.
Untrue. "Everyone laughs at them" is a consequence. Not all consequences have to be life threatening, or do anything mechanical. It's called role playing.

It's also a very odd way to play. The player doesn't know the pit won't kill them, nor does their character. If no one fails they may never discover the pit was an illusion. If they don't discover that illusion they may not be clued in to look out for illusions further in. Like a horror film, D&D relies a lot of false peril to disguise the real peril. There are those statues that don't come to life and attack you; the illusionary wall of fire; the guards who really aren't interested in the party but look menacing. Not rolling the dice is like flashing "don't worry it's only a cat" on the screen whenever there is a strange noise in a horror movie.

You roll the dice whenever the outcome is uncertain. The player decides their character is going to tell a joke in the tavern. Make a performance check. Consequence of success: everyone laughs. Consequence of failure: no one laughs. That's role playing.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
That's the point of not telling them: let them assume. If they assumed wrong, that's their fault.
See, what I always come back to is, how does this improve the game? Telling the players the outcome can make the experience more rewarding, because failure is always the result of a calculated risk the player knowingly accepted. How is the game improved by making the players rely on their assumptions?

Life aint predictable, and sometimes failing might lead to a better outcome than success.
I don’t see that. When does failure on a check lead to a better outcome than success?
 

Elfcrusher

Adventurer
Well, I’ll give you guys credit for consistency: if the players don’t know what the risk:reward profile looks like, nobody can say it’s ‘challenging the players not the characters.’ Hard to be challenged when you have no idea what’s going on.
 

pemerton

Legend
pemerton said:
This sounds like a game in which the GM is wielding very great control over the outcomes.
As a DM I build and control the world which responds to the actions (or lack therein) of they PCs. The players help fill in bits and pieces, but it's almost always offline and background information.

<snip>

I know some people enjoy building scenes together, but much like the "always say yes" it's just not how I run the game nor would I enjoy it as much.
The language of "building scenes together" can be a bit misleading - I was referring to outcomes, not framing.

BUt in any event, you also seem to be describing a game in which the GM wields very great control over the outcomes.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
Untrue. "Everyone laughs at them" is a consequence. Not all consequences have to be life threatening, or do anything mechanical. It's called role playing.
Sure, but “everyone laughs at them” is also a potential consequence of failing to tie your shoes. We don’t make checks for that because it’s not an interesting consequence. Maybe if your game is focused on slapstick, it makes sense to call for rolls to avoid harmless but comical prat falls, but that’s not the sort of conflict I’m interested in playing out. I think you and I also have different definitions of roleplaying, but that’s a whole other discussion.

It's also a very odd way to play. The player doesn't know the pit won't kill them, nor does their character. If no one fails they may never discover the pit was an illusion. If they don't discover that illusion they may not be clued in to look out for illusions further in. Like a horror film, D&D relies a lot of false peril to disguise the real peril. There are those statues that don't come to life and attack you; the illusionary wall of fire; the guards who really aren't interested in the party but look menacing. Not rolling the dice is like flashing "don't worry it's only a cat" on the screen whenever there is a strange noise in a horror movie.
Note, I’m not telling the players in advance that the pit is an illusion and they won’t have to roll if they want to walk across it. I’m describing what the characters can observe - a seemingly bottomless pit - and asking them what they do. They, imagining themselves in their characters’ shoes, decide how to deal with this obstacle, and announce what they intend to do (which is what I consider roleplaying). If I don’t call for a roll, that only tells them that their approach did not have both a reasonable chance of failure and a meaningful consequence for failure. They don’t know that the reason for that is the illusory nature of the pit. In fact, I would think that the more intuitive assumption would be that their approach was effective enough not to need a roll to resolve.

You roll the dice whenever the outcome is uncertain. The player decides their character is going to tell a joke in the tavern. Make a performance check. Consequence of success: everyone laughs. Consequence of failure: no one laughs. That's role playing.
Again, I don’t consider that an interesting enough risk to bother with a dice roll. You can have that laugh, there’s no compelling reason not to give it to you. Now, if there are higher stakes; if, for example, tensions are running’s high, the tavern is on the verge of erupting into a brawl, and a good joke might just diffuse the tension and avoid a fight breaking out, then I’ll call for a roll. But if we’re just hanging out at the tavern, I see no compelling reason not to just let your joke land.
 
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Elfcrusher

Adventurer
Sure, but “everyone laughs at them” is also a potential consequence of failing to tie your shoes. We don’t make checks for that because it’s not an interesting consequence. Maybe if your game is focused on slapstick, it makes sense to call for rolls to avoid harmless but comical prat falls, but that’s not the sort of conflict I’m interested in playing out. I think you and I also have different definitions of roleplaying, but that’s a whole other discussion.


Note, I’m not telling the plauer’s in advance that the pit is an illusion and they won’t have to roll if they want to walk across it. I’m describing what the characters can observe - a seemingly bottomless pit - and asking them what they do. They, imagining themselves in their characters’ shoes, deciding how to deal with this obstacle, and announcing what they intend to do. If I don’t call for a roll, that only tells them that their approach did not have both a reasonable chance of success and a meaningful consequence for failure. They don’t know that the reason for that is the illusory nature of the pit. In fact, I would think that the more natural assumption would be that their approach was effective enough not to need a roll to resolve.


Again, I don’t consider that an interesting enough risk to bother with a dice roll. You can have that laugh, there’s no compelling reason not to give it to you. Now, if there are higher stakes; if, for example, tensions are running’s high, the tavern is on the verge of erupting into a brawl, and a good joke might just diffuse the tension and avoid a fight breaking out, then I’ll call for a roll. But if we’re just hanging out at the tavern, I see no compelling reason not to just let your joke land.
That’s why the consequences aspect is often described as “changing the state of the game world,” right? That is, the consequences need to be something that will affect future decision points.

So if the PCs will eventually need the support of the other people in the tavern, and they know or at least suspect that, then being laughed at is a meaningful consequence.

If they don’t know that being laughed at is the consequence, or that losing the respect of the audience matters, then it won’t feel like anything is on the line.
 

DM Dave1

Adventurer
Yeah maybe I should have put [METAPHOR]big red button[/METAPHOR]. ;)

In a lot of my campaigns there are frequently numerous [METAPHOR]big red buttons[/METAPHOR], and not just related to skill challenges. Whom do you trust? What do you believe when there's conflicting evidence? Who's really behind the metaphorical curtain pulling the levers?

But it really depends on the campaign and the players. Basically it's just one technique I try to use to make the game fun for everyone.
Sounds good.

As far as knowing all possible consequences even though my PC would not, no thanks. Just not the kind of game I would want to play.
Not in my game either. The players are told the consequences for failure that their PCs would know. Not all possible consequences.
 
I don’t see that. When does failure on a check lead to a better outcome than success?
What, in real life or the game?

I've already given an in game example: If a character fails to jump across the illusionary pit they discover it's an illusion. They now know that there are illusions in the dungeon and take precautions that enable them to avoid a more deadly illusion. Or, more directly, the pit is an illusion and so is the "solid" ground on the other side. If the person makes a successful leap the fall through the illusionary floor into a pit of poison spikes. Classic D&D dungeons Like White Plume Mountain and Tomb of Horrors are full of traps of that kind.

Or, in real life, someone is running for the bus. They don't run fast enough so the miss the bus. A few minutes later the bus is in a horrific crash that would have killed the person who didn't run fast enough.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
What, in real life or the game?
In the game.

I've already given an in game example: If a character fails to jump across the illusionary pit they discover it's an illusion. They now know that there are illusions in the dungeon and take precautions that enable them to avoid a more deadly illusion. Or, more directly, the pit is an illusion and so is the "solid" ground on the other side. If the person makes a successful leap the fall through the illusionary floor into a pit of poison spikes. Classic D&D dungeons Like White Plume Mountain and Tomb of Horrors are full of traps of that kind.
Ok, I see what you mean now. Thanks for the clarification.
 
Sure, but “everyone laughs at them” is also a potential consequence of failing to tie your shoes. We don’t make checks for that because it’s not an interesting consequence. Maybe if your game is focused on slapstick, it makes sense to call for rolls to avoid harmless but comical prat falls, but that’s not the sort of conflict I’m interested in playing out. I think you and I also have different definitions of roleplaying, but that’s a whole other discussion.
There is certainly lots of humour in our games, and we spend much of the time laughing. The game, like life, would be pretty grim and miserable if you took it seriously all the time.

Note, I’m not telling the players in advance that the pit is an illusion and they won’t have to roll if they want to walk across it. I’m describing what the characters can observe - a seemingly bottomless pit - and asking them what they do. They, imagining themselves in their characters’ shoes, decide how to deal with this obstacle, and announce what they intend to do (which is what I consider roleplaying).
Sure that's role playing. And it's also role playing if they walk into the tavern and announce what they want to drink.

If I don’t call for a roll, that only tells them that their approach did not have both a reasonable chance of failure and a meaningful consequence for failure. They don’t know that the reason for that is the illusory nature of the pit.
It tells them enough that any player with more than half a brain would be able to deduce the illusionary nature of the pit. As Sherlock Holmes said "the curious incident of the dog in the night time".

Again, I don’t consider that an interesting enough risk to bother with a dice roll. You can have that laugh, there’s no compelling reason not to give it to you. Now, if there are higher stakes; if, for example, tensions are running’s high, the tavern is on the verge of erupting into a brawl, and a good joke might just diffuse the tension and avoid a fight breaking out, then I’ll call for a roll. But if we’re just hanging out at the tavern, I see no compelling reason not to just let your joke land.
Because the story is sometimes more entertaining if a joke falls flat.

Indeed, I specifically didn't give as an outcome "some people laugh and some don't". That's because even though it might be more realistic it doesn't make as interesting a story as "everyone loves you" or "everyone hates you".
 
That’s why the consequences aspect is often described as “changing the state of the game world,” right? That is, the consequences need to be something that will affect future decision points.

So if the PCs will eventually need the support of the other people in the tavern, and they know or at least suspect that, then being laughed at is a meaningful consequence.

If they don’t know that being laughed at is the consequence, or that losing the respect of the audience matters, then it won’t feel like anything is on the line.
But the PCs would not know that they might need the support of the people in the tavern in the future. Maybe it will matter, maybe it won't.

Even the DM might not know. A player might come up with something like "you know those villagers who found us so entertaining the other night? We would like to go back there and try and rally them into a mob to drive out the corrupt mayor".

Butterfly wings. Even the smallest actions might have huge consequences, and not even the gods know which.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Sounds good.



Not in my game either. The players are told the consequences for failure that their PCs would know. Not all possible consequences.
Fair enough. It seems like some of the other posters on this subject would tell the player all possible consequences whether their PCs were aware of them or not. It's just something I've never actually seen in a D&D game although it's certainly par for the course in other games.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
There is certainly lots of humour in our games, and we spend much of the time laughing. The game, like life, would be pretty grim and miserable if you took it seriously all the time.
There’s plenty of humor in my games too, it just isn’t derived from characters failing checks in harmless but comical ways.

Sure that's role playing. And it's also role playing if they walk into the tavern and announce what they want to drink.
Agreed.

It tells them enough that any player with more than half a brain would be able to deduce the illusionary nature of the pit. As Sherlock Holmes said "the curious incident of the dog in the night time".
I disagree. Actions succeed without a roll quite often in my games, and very rarely is it due to the apparent obstacle being an illusion. When you see a pit, you come up with a plan to cross it, and the DM narrates your plan succeeding without further complication, the most natural conclusion to draw is not that the pit must have been an illusion. The much more intuitive assumption is simply that your approach was certain to get you safely across the pit. Now, maybe if you’ve come across other illusory obstacles in this dungeon before, you might suspect this pit of being illusory as well. But in isolation, getting safely across a pit without needing to roll is not such an unusual event in my games as to raise suspicion of illusions.

Because the story is sometimes more entertaining if a joke falls flat.

Indeed, I specifically didn't give as an outcome "some people laugh and some don't". That's because even though it might be more realistic it doesn't make as interesting a story as "everyone loves you" or "everyone hates you".
I agree, which is why I gave an example of a scenario where that might be the case. The appeal of stories lies in conflict. I don’t see any conflict in the scenario where the only difference between success and failure is whether everyone laughs and no one does. Now, if no one laughs and a surly fellow who found your joke distasteful is now giving you the stink eye and cracking his knuckles. That’s a scenario where the consequence for failure is dramatically interesting. But “nobody finds it funny. There are a few moments of awkward silence before the patrons return to their business,” is not narratively interesting to me.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
But the PCs would not know that they might need the support of the people in the tavern in the future. Maybe it will matter, maybe it won't.

Even the DM might not know. A player might come up with something like "you know those villagers who found us so entertaining the other night? We would like to go back there and try and rally them into a mob to drive out the corrupt mayor".

Butterfly wings. Even the smallest actions might have huge consequences, and not even the gods know which.
This doesn’t stop being the case because the success was determined without a dice roll.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
Fair enough. It seems like some of the other posters on this subject would tell the player all possible consequences whether their PCs were aware of them or not.
Which other posters? Certainly not me, I’ve made multiple explicit statements to the contrary.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Which other posters? Certainly not me, I’ve made multiple explicit statements to the contrary.
Maybe I'm misunderstanding things like

Well, I’ll give you guys credit for consistency: if the players don’t know what the risk:reward profile looks like, nobody can say it’s ‘challenging the players not the characters.’ Hard to be challenged when you have no idea what’s going on.

as one recent example. I guess maybe I've just been lumping it into the same "trap here" signs that some people seem to place in their dungeons.

I'm not saying you do anything like that, I'm just stating what I do. As with a lot of things on this thread I sometimes feel like I play and run a different game than other people. But then again, it's just a message board and ideas/intent/concepts get lost.

EDIT: I'm also not saying anyone else is doing it wrong even if they do it differently.
 
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Satyrn

Villager
It seems like some of the other posters on this subject would tell the player all possible consequences whether their PCs were aware of them or not.
I don't get that impression, but maybe I'm wrong. Raise your hands, forumites, if that's what you do!


. . .


*Sheepishly raises his hand*

Oh. I kinda see my method in that. When I tell the player to roll a check, I do tell them the DC and briefly mention what failure will look like. But what I tell them it's probably nowhere near as detailed as you're imagining.

If a player is insighting an NPC to detect a lie, all I'm really saying is "Give me a Wisdom check, DC 10, on a failure you don't learn anything and can't try again."

If he's jumping that illusionary bottomless pit, it's "Give me a Strength check, DC 10, on a failure you fall into the pit."

And, as I've said earlier, this is when the character is in the act of doing. The player doesn''t get to rewind time at this point.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
Maybe I'm misunderstanding things like:(Snip)as one recent example. I guess maybe I've just been lumping it into the same "trap here" signs that some people seem to place in their dungeons. I'm not saying you do anything like that, I'm just stating what I do. As with a lot of things on this thread I sometimes feel like I play and run a different game than other people. But then again, it's just a message board and ideas/intent/concepts get lost.
Placing “trap here” signs is another thing I don’t think many, if any of us, do. There is a world of difference between telegraphing traps and outright telling the players there’s a trap here. I understand it’s hard to picture when you haven’t seen these techniques in actual play. There are actual plays where the DMs use this technique you could watch/read/listen to if you’re curious. I’m pretty sure Iserith has done a few. But with or without an actual play examples, it helps of you start from the assumption that a technique you’re unfamiliar with does work, and endeavor tio understand how, instead of starting from the assumption that a technique wouldn’t work and demanding that its proponents prove to you that it would.
 
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