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D&D 5E No Equivalent of Detect/Discern Lies in 5E?

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
I was surprised this morning when I was writing up the description of a magical that was going to have the ability to discern lies at will (with some major drawbacks for the wearer - like they too can't lie while attuned, even if they take off the ring - disadvantage on stealth, etc) and was surprised that aside from zone of truth there is no equivalent spell in the 5E PHB and google did not help me find a version in any other printed source. I am not worried about it, because I can make the magical item do whatever I want - I just wanted to compare to the spell in the book, only to find there isn't one.

I was not around when 5E came out. Was there every any reasoning for this omission of a spell that had been around since 1E? Or am I just failing my investigation check and it exists under a different name somewhere?
 

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jgsugden

Legend
You can add it, but Zone of Truth was put in to serve the need and was limited as it was for a reason.

Bob walks into w room in two different multiverses. In one, Tim of Truth has cast 'Zone of Truth' - that prevents lies. In the other, Tim of Lies has cast 'discern lies' - which identifies lies. In both universes, Tim asks Bob whether Tim's outfit makes Tim look portly. The outfit is designed entirely to make someone look portly.

In Universe 1, Bob attempts to say, "No, you look amazing." The DM says, "You needed to roll a charisma saving throw. Failed? OK, Tim, Bob failed the save. The word "No" catches in your mouth when you try to say it, stopping you from speaking. Do you want to respond differently?"

In Universe 2, Bob says, "No, you look amazing." The DM turns to Tim and says, "Bob lied."

Where do you go in each Universe?

In Universe 1, could Bob repeat the same thing and just drop the word No? Can he say something else that is flattering?

In Universe 2, Tim has no idea what the lie was. Does he look portly? Does he not look amazing? Both?

In my experiences across editions, Zone of Truth is less prone to argument, I believe, and creates more clarity.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
any decent DM would never let a single spell to destroy their plot without either having a back up plan or being willing to work with the new broken plot.

"It isn't that the spell causes problems, it is that you suck!" Not such a great way to open a discussion.

How about - a decent game designer leaves out stuff that causes GMs to have to work too much to generate the sort of experience the game is designed to produce.
 


R_J_K75

Hero
"It isn't that the spell causes problems, it is that you suck!" Not such a great way to open a discussion.

How about - a decent game designer leaves out stuff that causes GMs to have to work too much to generate the sort of experience the game is designed to produce.
Telling people they suck is not a good way to reply to a post. Way to moderate there.
 




Mort

Legend
Supporter
Youre entitled to your opinion but I never saw it as a problem in the game.

Whether the mechanic itself is flawed is an opinion, yes.

It is not an opinion to say that the DM being able to fix a problem, in no way elimanates that problem within the system.

Otherwise, you can argue that ANY system is perfect, because a good DM can fix any flaws encountered.

To put it another way : I've run a full (several year long) Palladium RIFTS campaign where everyone had fun. That does not change the fact that RIFTS has numerous system issues that makes running the game quite annoying.
 


ECMO3

Explorer
I was surprised this morning when I was writing up the description of a magical that was going to have the ability to discern lies at will (with some major drawbacks for the wearer - like they too can't lie while attuned, even if they take off the ring - disadvantage on stealth, etc) and was surprised that aside from zone of truth there is no equivalent spell in the 5E PHB and google did not help me find a version in any other printed source. I am not worried about it, because I can make the magical item do whatever I want - I just wanted to compare to the spell in the book, only to find there isn't one.

I was not around when 5E came out. Was there every any reasoning for this omission of a spell that had been around since 1E? Or am I just failing my investigation check and it exists under a different name somewhere?
Detect thoughts can be used for this. It is very effective at detecting lies and can go further to ferret out truths.

Despite being powerful for this, it is not often seen because it is only on Bard/Sorcerer/Wizard and so there is a high price to pay to get it on your list. You need to take it instead of another spell.

I think this is a good compromise and it would be a bit too powerful if it was on a cleric or Paladin list, where they could simply rest to get it.
 
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Reynard

Legend
On the subject of discern lies: regardless of whether the party uses Insight or magic, knowing that someone is not being truthful isn't necessarily particularly useful. First of all,it won't detect lies of omission. Second of all, it says nothing about motive.

Let's say the PCs are investigating the murder of the king's adviser, and the main suspect is the queen. The PCs manage to get in a position to ask the queen directly of she murdered the adviser. She says "no" and they perceive it to be a lie. Now what? They don't have much more information that they did before. They already suspected her. They don't know why or how or who aided her. They don't have any evidence, and they certainly can't just arrest the queen on their hunch.

So, sure, let them detect lies. It doesn't stop anything and probably actually else drive the adventure forward.
 

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