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

pemerton

Legend
for certain character that type of analysis is perfectly fine. Heck, I do it as a player myself. But not everyone wants to play that way. Sometimes players want to be caught off guard instead of making a cost-beenfit analysis for every roll of the dice.

<snip>

to me, if you say you tell the player the consequences of their actions, so they can make a more informed decision and not get caught off-guard by knowledge they didn't have (ala Hitchcock) then that means to me that when they are about to jump over the pit you tell them that if they fail they will fall on the hidden spikes coated with poison in the bottom of the pit.

<snip>

After all, knowing there are spikes and poison below is the same as knowing there is a bomb under the table, and when the players go to roll, they know exactly what the stakes are. But to me, that is revealing far more about the scenario than they have any reasonable way of knowing, without them having tested things out.

<snip>

If my players want to be cautious and look for answers, to investigate and try and piece together clues about their surroundings, then they are more than welcome to.

<snip>

However, I'm not going to force that mind set on them and I'm not going to assume they would be happier analysising everything. If they do not ask questions and just charge forward, then I assume their character is not asking questions and is just charging forward.
I can only speak for myself.

To me, you are the one who is making "analysis" a focus of play, by requiring "testing things out" in order to establish what is at stake in the play of the game.

My approach is the opposite: the players choices about PC build, thematic and goal orientation, etc, establish what is at stake, and then I as GM build that into the ingame situation. A player can choose to play his/her PC as analytic, or reckless, but either way the player knows that his/her interests/thematic concerns will be at stake in the game. They don't have to choose between playing an "analytic" PC or alternatively guessing what the GM might have in mind.
 

Elfcrusher

Adventurer
I've been to grad school (PhD Astrophysics, University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology).

Einstein had always believed, like pretty much every other scientist of is time, in the Newtonian clockwork universe, where a single cause A always mapped to a single effect B. His own research into quantum mechanics directly contradicted that belief, by showing that a cause could lead to multiple effects, with no way to determine which - randomness was fundamental to the universe, whether you accept the Copenhagen Interpretation or not (personally, I lean towards the "many worlds" interpretation).

In recent years the rise in religious fundamentalism has lead to attempts to explain away observations and restore the clockwork universe, but that belongs with the flat earthers a climate change deniers. People tend to believe what they want to believe, and try to adjust the evidence to fit. Einstein was better than that by allowing the evidence to challenge his core beliefs.

But the bottom line is randomness is part of the universe, and outcomes are fundamentally unknowable. D&D's dice rolling is a fair way to simulate that.
Just like a teacher to bring religion to a physics fight. (Sorry, that wasn't very good, but I was trying to make a funny based on the "knife to a gun fight" saying...)

As the Bell Inequality...and subsequent experiments confirming the Bell Inequality...demonstrate, either quantum is wrong (or at least not complete), or relativity is violated. That's what I mean when I say the Copenhagen Interpretation is crumbling, even if many physicists don't want to acknowledge that.

(And it's odd that you support the Everett hypothesis, because that contradicts "fundamental randomness of the universe.")
 
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robus

Lowcountry Low Roller
As the Bell Inequality...and subsequent experiments confirming the Bell Inequality...demonstrate, either quantum is wrong (or at least not complete), or relativity is violated. That's what I mean when I say the Copenhagen Interpretation is crumbling, even if many physicists don't want to acknowledge that.
Off topic: I'm not a physicist, but I've been enjoying following the resurgence of interest in De Broglie's Pilot Wave Theory/Bohmian Mechanics.

Back to the thread... :)
 

Paul Farquhar

Adventurer
There’sa reason the Newtonian model was so broadly accepted for so long. The probabilistic behavior of quantum particles is not generally noticeable in our everyday experience, outside of experiments specifically designed to demonstrate it, and even those experiments have predictable results. So unless you’re roleplaying as a photon, no, dice aren’t an accurate way to represent physics in the real world. Which is perfectly ok, because it’s a roleplaying game, not a quantum physics simulator.
I would say that the reason the Newtonian model was accepted for so long (if you can call 200 years "long") is that people like to believe that their actions are meaningful and the outcomes predicable.

And sure, macro-scale physics might not seem to be much influenced by interactions on the quantum scale, but the brains of living beings are.
 

Chaosmancer

Villager
But you do agree that the DM judges the efficacy of the approach to the goal, correct?
If we are going to play it this way, sure. The DM is the one who decides what happens after the player declares their actions, and as such they must determine how effective that approach is based off a variety of factors.

And you also accept, even if you do not agree, that the game tells us to call for rolls only when there's a meaningful consequence for failure?
Nope, the game tells me nothing of the sort.

The rules give some suggestions to that end, but the game is what myself and my players make of it. Just as I would disagree that "the game" tells me that a rogue gets a 1d6 sneak attack ability at level one, I disagree that "the game" tells me there must be meaningful consequences for failure before rolling the dice. The rules suggest it, but I am free to do what I like to make the game more enjoyable for myself and my players.




I mean, if I was going to put hidden poisoned spikes at the bottom of a pit, I’d probably telegraph that with an earlier pit where the spikes were not hidden - maybe with the mechanism that hides them visibly jammed. I want to provide players with the opportunity to pick up on clues, and use that knowledge to avoid future danger or assure future success by making smart choices based on that knowledge, not just by getting lucky rolls. I want them to fall into traps and go “Oh! I totally could have avoided that if I had noticed/remembered/thought about [whatever]!” not to just take surprise damage because they didn’t decide to roll a Perception check on this door in particular, or because they got a low roll. This is what I mean when I say, my style aims to put success and failure in the players’ hands rather than the dice’s.

So, sure, if for some reason there’s a pit containing poisoned spikes that the PCs couldn’t reasonably be aware of, no, I’m not going to tell them they’ll fall on the poison spikes they don’t know are there on a failure. But that’s also just not a scenario that’s likely to arise in my games. Again, you already have an example more Germaine to my games: “breaking the door down will alert nearby creatures to your presence,” not “the ogre on the other side of the door will hear you.”
If all you are meaning with "tell them the consequences of failure" is to remind them of the obvious, then I would have far less issue with it at the table. I can't say it would never get aggravating, but that would require sitting at your table to determine for certain.

However, everything else you say seems that it really wants to take the majority of surprise out of the game. If the players are paying attention there will never be a time when they are caught off-guard, you have laid out every clue possible to point out to them what is dangerous and requires extra attention and what is simply window dressing that has no bearing on what they are doing.

I find the idea of that mildly boring. I mean, I love puzzling things out as much as the next guy, and I'm sure you build a mean plot that will keep things moving, but some of my best memories of these games is the moment something I had no way of seeing show up and the scramble to solve it now. That seems harder to come across in a game where everything has been laid out for me to solve beforehand.



Nobody’s forcing mindsets on anyone here. If my players don’t ask questions and charge forward, great, that’s the action I’ll adjudicate. If in my adjudication I determine that the action they are rushing into has a chance of success, chance of failure, and consequence, I’ll tell them what might happen if they fail, and what DC they need to beat with what Attribute to avoid that outcome. Whether they decide to follow through or reconsider is 100% up to them.
That ignores some basic psychology though.

See, if they rush forward and things bad things happen, they may look back and decide next time they aren't going to rush forward. They made a decision, there was immediate repercussions. This might change how they act in the future or act as character growth for them.

If they rush forward, you stop them, tell them the consequences, suddenly they have a choice. Continue doing what they wanted to do, ignoring the potential consequences, or back off and think about it. They must confront this, because you have stopped them and gated their action behind a second decision set, and they must choose to either consider their actions or ignore the consequences. They can no longer just go forward, they must go forward after consciously weighing that they are willing to take the risks associated with that action.

Fundamentally, you have taken control of their character and changed how they act, because you are determining they must slow down and consider the consequences.




I can only speak for myself.

To me, you are the one who is making "analysis" a focus of play, by requiring "testing things out" in order to establish what is at stake in the play of the game.

My approach is the opposite: the players choices about PC build, thematic and goal orientation, etc, establish what is at stake, and then I as GM build that into the ingame situation. A player can choose to play his/her PC as analytic, or reckless, but either way the player knows that his/her interests/thematic concerns will be at stake in the game. They don't have to choose between playing an "analytic" PC or alternatively guessing what the GM might have in mind.
You are going to have to explain this to me. How is not telling the players the immediate consequences of their actions making analysis a focus of play and making them choose between being analytic and guessing what I have in mind?

If a player wants to take time to study a situation, they can make that choice. IF they do not, they can make that choice. I'm not making anything a focus, I'm simply running the game and letting them make the decisions they want to make.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
If we are going to play it this way, sure. The DM is the one who decides what happens after the player declares their actions, and as such they must determine how effective that approach is based off a variety of factors.
Great. I'm glad we agree on this.

Nope, the game tells me nothing of the sort.

The rules give some suggestions to that end, but the game is what myself and my players make of it. Just as I would disagree that "the game" tells me that a rogue gets a 1d6 sneak attack ability at level one, I disagree that "the game" tells me there must be meaningful consequences for failure before rolling the dice. The rules suggest it, but I am free to do what I like to make the game more enjoyable for myself and my players.
It does though. It's right there in writing, plain as day, and there's no need to deny it. Whether or not you implement that rule, however, is a different story. And if someone doesn't implement that rule, it changes the play experience accordingly. Would you agree with that?
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
If all you are meaning with "tell them the consequences of failure" is to remind them of the obvious, then I would have far less issue with it at the table. I can't say it would never get aggravating, but that would require sitting at your table to determine for certain.
I remind the players of what consequences their characters should be able to ascertain, which may or may not be obvious to the players. Usually it is, but on the occasions that it isn’t, the players tend to be glad I did.

However, everything else you say seems that it really wants to take the majority of surprise out of the game. If the players are paying attention there will never be a time when they are caught off-guard, you have laid out every clue possible to point out to them what is dangerous and requires extra attention and what is simply window dressing that has no bearing on what they are doing.

I find the idea of that mildly boring. I mean, I love puzzling things out as much as the next guy, and I'm sure you build a mean plot that will keep things moving, but some of my best memories of these games is the moment something I had no way of seeing show up and the scramble to solve it now. That seems harder to come across in a game where everything has been laid out for me to solve beforehand.
Do you like From Software games? They’re a good example of the kind of feel I aim to capture. Where, sure, you may be surprised by a trap or hazzard, but when you are you can think back and realize what you missed that could have tipped you off. I find that infinitely more interesting than just taking damage from something I could never have anticipated and my only recourse from is a lucky Dexterity save. If that’s not to your taste though, that’s fine, my games probably wouldn’t be for you.

That ignores some basic psychology though.

See, if they rush forward and things bad things happen, they may look back and decide next time they aren't going to rush forward. They made a decision, there was immediate repercussions. This might change how they act in the future or act as character growth for them.

If they rush forward, you stop them, tell them the consequences, suddenly they have a choice. Continue doing what they wanted to do, ignoring the potential consequences, or back off and think about it. They must confront this, because you have stopped them and gated their action behind a second decision set, and they must choose to either consider their actions or ignore the consequences. They can no longer just go forward, they must go forward after consciously weighing that they are willing to take the risks associated with that action.

Fundamentally, you have taken control of their character and changed how they act, because you are determining they must slow down and consider the consequences.
See, I’d say I’m utilizing, rather than ignoring, psychology, to allow you the opportunity to consciously decide if you want your character to behave recklessly, rather than risk you doing so by mistake, due to lack of information. And again, I’ve never had a player protest this. I’ve had players grumble about other aspects of my DMing, most often the fact that I require them to state an approach in terms of what their characters do, but I’ve never had anyone complain that I’m preventing them from making bad decisions by accident. Turns out, players don’t tend to like making bad decisions by accident.
 

Chaosmancer

Villager
It does though. It's right there in writing, plain as day, and there's no need to deny it. Whether or not you implement that rule, however, is a different story. And if someone doesn't implement that rule, it changes the play experience accordingly. Would you agree with that?
You say it like they laid it out on the first page "Rule #1 of DnD, Rule #2 of DnD, ect." That isn't how this works.

And, you didn't ask me about what the rules (even though I would be hard pressed to call that section a rule) said, you asked me about what the game said. As my answer should have illustrated, the game and the rules are two different animals. The PHB has no rules for using Concordance to summon a Servitor of the Faerie Court, that's a 3rd party supplement. The DMG has no rules on what reagents are needed to mix a Potion of Fine Fettle, that is a 3rd party supplement.

There is no rule on when to roll the dice, there is advice on that subject, no rules.

If you want to keep on trying this proccess of slowly getting me to agree with your points so that I must accept your perspective as correct, I'd advise we move on from this point, but I do not agree with you here and rephrasing the question is not going to change my mind on that.

Though, because you will inevitably try and ask this anyways, why yes, I do agree that if you change which rules you are playing by the game will be different. Just like if you change the medium you are drawing with the picture will be different.




I remind the players of what consequences their characters should be able to ascertain, which may or may not be obvious to the players. Usually it is, but on the occasions that it isn’t, the players tend to be glad I did.
I'd ask you for an example of a time when the consequence was not obvious to the player, but after talking with you this long I suspect I wouldn't get a straight answer, since you'd want to know more about where my experiences with the question are coming from and if I'd ever tried it myself instead.


Do you like From Software games? They’re a good example of the kind of feel I aim to capture. Where, sure, you may be surprised by a trap or hazzard, but when you are you can think back and realize what you missed that could have tipped you off. I find that infinitely more interesting than just taking damage from something I could never have anticipated and my only recourse from is a lucky Dexterity save. If that’s not to your taste though, that’s fine, my games probably wouldn’t be for you.
I had to look them up, may I assume you aren't talking about the Armored Core games or the Adventures of Cookie and Cream?

Yeah, I've never played Dark Souls. I've enjoyed watching other people play them online, but a few things have driven me off of them. One is personal (involving my sister's ex-boyfriend and him being a complete @!#$%^#@) but other things have turned me off of ever trying them.

One is this constant reference to them as "the game where they telegraph every trap, and if you just look back you'll see exactly how to avoid it". You are a fan, so you realize part of that is simply because the traps never change, right? Everything resets constantly back to the same state. But also, it isn't like Dark Souls is the only game series to ever do that, if you play Prince of Persia and you see holes in the walls, spikes are going to come out of that. If you are paying attention, you'll see them, and if you get caught off-guard then you can look back and see what you did wrong. It is the exact same concept.

But in every case, until you know what to look for, you are going to set off the trap. And what happens when an intelligent enemy sets a trap that uses a trigger for the first time? How many times in Superhero stories do we see the hero get fooled by a robo-duplicate. Sure, after the first time, we and them begin to suspect it, but it works best when it is a surprise, and intelligent enemies work to reduce telegraphing. Some surprises you can't see coming.

See, I’d say I’m utilizing, rather than ignoring, psychology, to allow you the opportunity to consciously decide if you want your character to behave recklessly, rather than risk you doing so by mistake, due to lack of information. And again, I’ve never had a player protest this. I’ve had players grumble about other aspects of my DMing, most often the fact that I require them to state an approach in terms of what their characters do, but I’ve never had anyone complain that I’m preventing them from making bad decisions by accident. Turns out, players don’t tend to like making bad decisions by accident.
Note your value judgement. To you, going in without knowing the consequences is a bad decision. Whether or not the plan works, whether or not they ever find out what the consequences could have been, in your mind going forward without that information is a mistake.

My players also never complain to me about letting them make bad decisions by accident, because I am not responsible for their decisions. Interestingly enough, my players seem to realize that if they make a poor decision and bad things happen as a result of that, then it is because they made a decision, not because I chose to not step in and prevent their decision. They are responsible for their character's actions, not me.
 

Manbearcat

Adventurer
"Meaningful Consequence"

My take on this will always append "upon the gamestate" to that. Because they don't spell it out in the section on Using Ability Scores, here is the likely best reference point for what the designers meant by "meaningful consequences."

DMG p 27

In constructing a narrative, beware of "false action," or action for its own sake. False action doesn't move a story forward, engage characters, or cause them to change. Many action movies suffer from false action, in which car chases, gunfights, and explosions abound but do little more than inconvenience the characters and eventually bore the audience with their repetition and dearth of meaningful stakes.
I think this is a good working definition that is cribbed from many-a-modern-game.

If the gamestate isn't changed in some appreciable way (if the arrangement of the fiction and the actual table time we spend conversing and rolling dice barely notices a blip on its collective radar screen), "false action" and "consequences without meaning" are what has just transpired.

Whether you think "false action" or "consequences without meaning" have some kind of other utility (I get that some people find these instances of play "immersion enhancing" or something to that effect) is another matter (a gamestate neutral matter).
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
You say it like they laid it out on the first page "Rule #1 of DnD, Rule #2 of DnD, ect." That isn't how this works.

...

There is no rule on when to roll the dice, there is advice on that subject, no rules.
The funny thing about rules books in my experience is people say the rules they choose to follow are rules and the rules they don't choose to follow are advice.

How about we say they're all rules, since they're in a rules book that is telling us how to play the game, and we can follow the rules we like and ignore the ones we don't? Doesn't that seem like a reasonable take instead of arbitrarily calling some rules advice because we don't like them?

...why yes, I do agree that if you change which rules you are playing by the game will be different.
Great. I'm glad we agree on this.
 

Hussar

Legend
The funny thing about rules books in my experience is people say the rules they choose to follow are rules and the rules they don't choose to follow are advice.

How about we say they're all rules, since they're in a rules book that is telling us how to play the game, and we can follow the rules we like and ignore the ones we don't? Doesn't that seem like a reasonable take instead of arbitrarily calling some rules advice because we don't like them?



Great. I'm glad we agree on this.
Or, conversely, we could look at the entire set as advice and not hard and fast rules. Y'know, the way we're told to look at them. :D
 
You say it like they laid it out on the first page "Rule #1 of DnD, Rule #2 of DnD, ect." That isn't how this works.
Page 3 of the Basic Rules pdf, anyway. Under "How to Play," though the Introduction on Page 2 also alludes to it pretty clearly. But, you're right, it's not on Page 1. Page 1 is title & credits.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
Or, conversely, we could look at the entire set as advice and not hard and fast rules. Y'know, the way we're told to look at them. :D
That's not really what they say though. It's very clear on the DM's role as someone who knows the rules and is making sure everyone plays by them, for example, as well as being a mediator between the rules and players, setting limits, etc.

It is also true, however, that the rules serve the DM (and by extension the group) and not the other way around. So I think my stated position of - "these are all rules, use the ones you like when you want to use them" is more accurate. And certainly more consistent than what amounts to "That one's a rule because I follow it and that bit's advice because I don't."
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
For all the calls to authority to justify different people's opinions on how to run the game, they seem to forget this little bit from the first page of instructions in the DMG.

The D&D rules help you and the other players have a good time, but the rules aren't in charge. You're the DM, and you are in charge of the game.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
Well, would you look at that: Common ground!

{end thread}
Nah, my Discord friends are betting this goes to 2000 posts.

Also, Chaosmancer made it clear that when I'm seeking to find common ground, it's some sort of trap. I wouldn't want to disappoint.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
I'd ask you for an example of a time when the consequence was not obvious to the player, but after talking with you this long I suspect I wouldn't get a straight answer, since you'd want to know more about where my experiences with the question are coming from and if I'd ever tried it myself instead.
I mean, I can't remember a specific occurrence off the top of my head, but generally it goes something like this: "Ok, that'll take 10 minutes and a successful DC X [Whatever] check."
"Oh, shoot, maybe I don't want to spend that 10 minutes..."

or

"Ok, make a DC X [Whatever] check, on a failure, [consequence]."
"Hmmm... On second thought maybe I'll hold off on that."

It doesn't happen all that often, but every once and a while it does.

I had to look them up, may I assume you aren't talking about the Armored Core games or the Adventures of Cookie and Cream?
Hardy har. I've just taken to calling the games I'm talking about "from software games" because calling them "dark souls" games leaves out Demon's Souls, "the souls games" leaves out Bloodborne, and now even "Soulsborne" games leaves out Sekiro. And clearly you got what I meant.

Yeah, I've never played Dark Souls. I've enjoyed watching other people play them online, but a few things have driven me off of them. One is personal (involving my sister's ex-boyfriend and him being a complete @!#$%^#@) but other things have turned me off of ever trying them.

One is this constant reference to them as "the game where they telegraph every trap, and if you just look back you'll see exactly how to avoid it". You are a fan, so you realize part of that is simply because the traps never change, right? Everything resets constantly back to the same state.
Yes, but you can still notice and avoid traps the first time you encounter them, if you're playing cautiously and paying close attention to the environment. It helps if you're familiar with the From Software/soulslike style, just like it helps in my D&D games if you're familiar with the conventions and tropes of the genre.

But also, it isn't like Dark Souls is the only game series to ever do that, if you play Prince of Persia and you see holes in the walls, spikes are going to come out of that. If you are paying attention, you'll see them, and if you get caught off-guard then you can look back and see what you did wrong. It is the exact same concept.
Absolutely! Tons of games use telegraphing, which should be a strong indication that it's a piece of design that tends to be well-received by players. And it's no surprise. Avoiding a trap because you noticed it makes you feel smart, and gives you a little shot of dopamine. Falling into a trap always feels bad, but it feels less bad if you can clearly see where it was you who made the mistake, not the game putting you into an unfair situation. The reason I use From Software's Soulslike games as my go-to example is because they are widely known for this, and this way of thinking permeates their design on a large scale. It's been said that where a lot of modern games challenge the players' reflexes (look at Cuphead for a good example of this), Soulslikes challenge their situational awareness, and because of this, they are famous for being difficult-but-fair. This type of difficult-but-fair, awareness-based challenge is something I look to emulate in my D&D games.

But in every case, until you know what to look for, you are going to set off the trap.
Often, but sometimes you can notice that something is fishy. Again, a genre-savvy player sees holes in the floor and thinks, "this looks suspicious."

And what happens when an intelligent enemy sets a trap that uses a trigger for the first time? How many times in Superhero stories do we see the hero get fooled by a robo-duplicate. Sure, after the first time, we and them begin to suspect it, but it works best when it is a surprise, and intelligent enemies work to reduce telegraphing. Some surprises you can't see coming.
And there are some surprises my players don't see coming. But I always want to make sure they could. In my opinion, a surprise you can't possibly foresee is a gotcha. Maybe it's difficult to foresee, but it shouldn't be impossible.

RE: enemies working to reduce telegraphing, I don't agree, at least when it comes to traps. The point of a trap is to protect something from those who aren't in the know, but to allow those who are in the know safe passage. That means there should be a signal for those in the know. Now, since the PCs aren't in the know, that signal shouldn't be obvious. Going back to my example of the statues that mark the locations of spear traps, there's no way someone not in the know is going to pick up on the fact that the statues of dwarves from a particular clan are safe while those of another clan are trapped. Heck, most folks not in the know aren't even going to be able to recognize the clans the dwarves in the statues belonged to, unless they're proficient in History. But a character who is paying attention might pick up on the pattern, and that, to me, is what makes it difficult-but-fair.

Note your value judgement. To you, going in without knowing the consequences is a bad decision. Whether or not the plan works, whether or not they ever find out what the consequences could have been, in your mind going forward without that information is a mistake.
I didn't say that. If the plan works, clearly it wasn't a mistake. If the plan doesn't work though, and you didn't consider the consequences, and they're bad consequences, that might be a mistake. I want to avoid putting players into situations where they make mistakes as a result of lack of information.

My players also never complain to me about letting them make bad decisions by accident, because I am not responsible for their decisions. Interestingly enough, my players seem to realize that if they make a poor decision and bad things happen as a result of that, then it is because they made a decision, not because I chose to not step in and prevent their decision. They are responsible for their character's actions, not me.
Great! Glad to hear your way works well for you.
 

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