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

I think you are putting too much weight on "detect lies" as a problem solver. All it does is bypass interrogation. It either comes at the end of the investigation which means it doesn't bypass anything, or it is a step in the investigation, which means it is moving the adventure along, not derailing it.
All?

Watch Commander Not-Vimes: "Round up the usual suspects!"
Watch Cleric Not-Cheery: "I cast Detect Lies."
Not-Vimes: "Did you do it?"
Not-Vimes: "Did you do it?"
Not-Vimes: "Did you do it?"
Not-Vimes: "Did you do it?"
Not-Vimes: "Did you do it?"
Not-Vimes: "Did you do it?"
Not-Vimes: "Did you do it?"
Not-Vimes: "Did you do it?"

Obviously, Not-Detritus deals with anyone who declines to answer.
 

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Reynard

Legend
All?

Watch Commander Not-Vimes: "Round up the usual suspects!"
Watch Cleric Not-Cheery: "I cast Detect Lies."
Not-Vimes: "Did you do it?"
Not-Vimes: "Did you do it?"
Not-Vimes: "Did you do it?"
Not-Vimes: "Did you do it?"
Not-Vimes: "Did you do it?"
Not-Vimes: "Did you do it?"
Not-Vimes: "Did you do it?"
Not-Vimes: "Did you do it?"

Obviously, Not-Detritus deals with anyone who declines to answer.
Even if you ignore all the things that have to be in place for this to be standard operating procedure-- not least an infinite number of 5th level and higher clerics, which comes with its own set of problems -- imagine this city and its place in your D&D campaign. The Watch is a monolithic entity, sweeping up whoever it wishes and then interrogating them with magic and hot pokers as necessary.

Sounds like the kind of place heroes come to break.
 

Even if you ignore all the things that have to be in place for this to be standard operating procedure-- not least an infinite number of 5th level and higher clerics, which comes with its own set of problems -- imagine this city and its place in your D&D campaign. The Watch is a monolithic entity, sweeping up whoever it wishes and then interrogating them with magic and hot pokers as necessary.

Sounds like the kind of place heroes come to break.
Sounds like the Thought Police is an inevitable consequence of Detect Lies, unless counters are commonplace.
 

Galandris

Foggy Bottom Campaign Setting Fan
All?

Watch Commander Not-Vimes: "Round up the usual suspects!"
Watch Cleric Not-Cheery: "I cast Detect Lies."
Not-Vimes: "Did you do it?"
Not-Vimes: "Did you do it?"
Not-Vimes: "Did you do it?"
Not-Vimes: "Did you do it?"
Not-Vimes: "Did you do it?"
Not-Vimes: "Did you do it?"
Not-Vimes: "Did you do it?"
Not-Vimes: "Did you do it?"

Obviously, Not-Detritus deals with anyone who declines to answer.

They could walk them through a Zone of Truth area, asking them to say "I didn't kill Lord Salem." for the same effect. If you're wanting to remove innocents from your list of suspects, a spell is already there. Once you have the killer (and the occasional one who declined to say it in order to spite the government's effort to limit the right not to testify against oneself), narrowing the reasons is much more difficult. Important criminal wouldn't identify themselves "Hello, I am Lady Xenia, next-of-kin of this bastard Lord Salem, here is 5,000 gp please kill him" would be replaced by "I have an interest in removing Salem permanently. (So the culprit wouldn't ding as lie when saying "no one" when asked if who asked him to kill Salem). Here is 5,000 gp as a downpayment". Something that should already be done when hiring henchmen in any case, and intermediaries who knows not to ask too many questions would thrive in this criminal business.

Discern Lies also avoid the awkward scenes when the players make sure the suspect is really the one they seek by removing various parts of his body as part of the interrogation scene.

The argument against Discern Lies for plot-protection seems weakened by the existence of Zone of Truth -- misnamed, because it prevents lies to be told but doesn't force people to answer [opening to way to the body-part-removal procedure by the Righteous Heroes]. I think it was more removed because of the risk of duplicate power (it's a subeffect of Detect Thoughts and a very close analog of Zone of Truth except it's less portable) rather than to ensure efficient resistance to interrogation by NPCs.
 
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Reynard

Legend
Sounds like the Thought Police is an inevitable consequence of Detect Lies, unless counters are commonplace.
Out of curiosity, how commonplace are 5th level plus clerics attached to the watch in your typical campaign? How commonplace are 6th level clerics in general? Because 5th level clerics obviate death on a grand scale and that is going to have a much bigger impact on your game world than discern lies.
 

Reynard

Legend
Zon
They could walk them through a Zone of Truth area, asking them to say "I didn't kill Lord Salem." for the same effect. If you're wanting to remove innocents from your list of suspects, a spell is already there. Once you have the killer (and the occasional one who declined to say it in order to spite the government's effort to limit the right not to testify against oneself), narrowing the reasons is much more difficult. Important criminal wouldn't identify themselves "Hello, I am Lady Xenia, next-of-kin of this bastard Lord Salem, here is 5,000 gp please kill him" would be replaced by "I have an interest in removing Salem permanently. (So the culprit wouldn't ding as lie when saying "no one" when asked if who asked him to kill Salem). Here is 5,000 gp as a downpayment". Something that should already be done when hiring henchmen in any case, and intermediaries who knows not to ask too many questions would thrive in this criminal business.

Discern Lies also avoid the awkward scenes when the players make sure the suspect is really the one they seek by removing various parts of his body as part of the interrogation scene.

The argument against Discern Lies for plot-protection seems weakened by the existence of Zone of Truth -- misnamed, because it prevents lies to be told but doesn't force people to answer [opening to way to the body-part-removal procedure by the Righteous Heroes]. I think it was more removed because of the risk of duplicate power (it's a subeffect of Detect Thoughts and a very close analog of Zone of Truth except it's less portable) rather than to ensure efficient resistance to interrogation by NPCs.
E of truth just makes the fascist Watch more so because of the way it works.

I like it. I think ill include a city that has fully embraced the Thought Police/Pre Crime model in my next 5E campaign and watch my players try and dismantle it, since compelled confessions are pretty much the definition of Lawful Evil.
 

And whereas your grognard friends claim that the problem was when the thief was added from what I can tell the problem wasn't the addition of the thief - but that they decided (for whatever reason) to make thieves actively bad in the published rules - with unreliable abilities, low chances of success, and the ability to only do things that normal people could rather than the ability to go above and beyond. But the decision was, certainly as far back as 1978, to make about 40% of the PHB of almost any edition pre-4e into spells and for spells to solve things without drawbacks. Modern D&D is starting to escape.
I think the bigger problem was that once the (terribly bad at their jobs) thieves were added, suddenly all the stuff they could do was taken off the board for other characters.

"Oh, your fighting man wanted to try and pick the lock? Do you not know that's a thing only thieves have the ability to do? Sure, you can try and hide from the guards, but you're going to have to be even worse at it than the thief is ..."

The piecemeal approach to new additions to OD&D, BD&D and 1E meant that there were a lot of systems that were dropped in and changed the game without anyone ever saying "hey, this has a big ripple effect on everything else." That kind of holistic evaluation didn't really happen until 3E came along.
 

Out of curiosity, how commonplace are 5th level plus clerics attached to the watch in your typical campaign? How commonplace are 6th level clerics in general? Because 5th level clerics obviate death on a grand scale and that is going to have a much bigger impact on your game world than discern lies.
According to both TSR and WotC, there are a surprising number of high level casters who just hang out as part of the power structure of cities and kingdoms, which is weird as hell, since discussions about their impacts on the world aren't new.
 

Galandris

Foggy Bottom Campaign Setting Fan
Zon

E of truth just makes the fascist Watch more so because of the way it works.

I like it. I think ill include a city that has fully embraced the Thought Police/Pre Crime model in my next 5E campaign and watch my players try and dismantle it, since compelled confessions are pretty much the definition of Lawful Evil.

I have. It was a blast ; it requires a large amount of spellcasters to work, but Zone of Truth has the advantage of being 10 minute long and working on any number of people. I had the population required each morning to walk through the Citizen Plaza and swear that they didn't break the laws the day before. Having 3 citizens saying "I swear" per round for 10 minutes can allow a fairly large population to be checked. Those who somehow couldn't swear were taken into custody in order to help them correct their antisocial behaviour -- one of the rules was of course that it was forbidden to ask about oathbreakers, who were granted their wish to engage on a pilgrimage of redemption (who, usually, ended in a moat right outside the city). For serious offender, a special version of Modify Memory was cast on the culprit's friends and family, that didn't remove the memory of an event, but of a person. "No, heroes, we don't know why you say our third son was unjustly killed. We only had two sons anyway. And we never lie, because citizens never lie." Asking questions about the inner working of the Watch is also, of course, forbidden.


For particular effect of pre-crime, you could also mobilize the 4th level divination.

"Will a crime, defined as breaking the Major Laws of the Citizens, occur North of Main Street? tomorrow? YES
"Will a crime occur North of Main Street and West of Citizen Plaza tomorrow?" NO
"Will a crime occur North of Main Street, East of Citizen Plaza, and North of Banker Street?" Yes

It require a cadre of elite spellcasters but pinpointing a block can be easy, opening the way to the preventive removal of its population.

Add that unhappiness was removed by alchemical substances in the Citizen's Aqueduct and that all that divination was powered by the sacrifice of people in the moat outside the city and you have a perfectly fine area to live in, where no crime is committed, everyone is happy, safe and hard working. And a steady supply of immigrants that would love to exchange their live of misery for the perfect security afforded to citizen of the Fair City (and lodging, since a block near Banker street was conviently conveniently empty today to be rented by the Council to the new immigrants).

I wasn't dickish enough to make the PC an elite cadre of agents of the Fair City. But I considered it.
 
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Whether or not magical abilities are integral to the solution of mysteries, Detect Lies is clearly easy to counter. If Detect Lies worked the City Watch would have an easy time tracking down all thieves and assassins. Yet the average fantasy city has at least one Thieves' Guild and Assassins Guild, so it is clearly easy to fool magical detection.
You seem to think that the City Watch really wants to track down all the thieves and assassins and that it's well funded enough to do so. And that the thieves guild isn't paying for the policeman's ball and the last time the cops tried clamping down on the assassin's guild the head of the watch didn't receive a basilisk's head in his bed. Also that both are illegal.
 

You seem to think that the City Watch really wants to track down all the thieves and assassins and that it's well funded enough to do so. And that the thieves guild isn't paying for the policeman's ball and the last time the cops tried clamping down on the assassin's guild the head of the watch didn't receive a basilisk's head in his bed. Also that both are illegal.
It would behoove everyone to read Pratchett's Discworld books. Leaving aside the comedy, which I think makes some people not take it seriously, he actually thought a lot about what a world with RPG-style assumptions would look like. (Far more than the official D&D novelists have, ironically.)
 


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