View Full Version : [House] Tell the truth!

2007-06-08, 07:55 AM
I've periodically wondered about how telling the truth ought to work in DnD. It seems to just be a matter of, if it's true, people believe you. But what if it's a really far-out truth?

A few months ago I started in on some rules for using Diplomacy to convince someone of the truth. But the maths got tricky and so I just left it for a while. Then it came up in a game on Sunday night when I shocked and dismayed the other players (whose characters were elsewhere) by telling the truth about our mission to an army captain (who proceeded to give up two detachments to aid us, I might add). Of course, the DM had to houserule on the spot whether he believed my story.

And then tonight, while going to write up a bunch of stuff I've been working on, I stumbled across my old rules. And then a stroke of genius struck, I scrapped half the complexity, and came up with something that should just work.

When trying to convince someone of the truth, you make a Diplomacy check, and your target makes a Sense Motive check. Add the scores together, along with any modifiers. If the total is greater than 20, the target believes you are telling the truth.

The normal bonuses or penalties to Sense Motive vs Bluff now become penalties or bonuses to Bluff or Diplomacy, as appropriate.
{table=head]Example Circumstances|Bluff or Diplomacy Modifier
The target wants to believe you.|+5
The claim is believable and doesn’t affect the target much.|+0
The claim is a little hard to believe or puts the target at some risk.|-5
The claim is hard to believe or puts the target at significant risk.|-10
The claim is way out there, almost too incredible to consider.|-20[/table]

Problems: Low Wisdom always means you're suspicious of the truth and gullible about lies. There's probably more problems than this, but this is the big one that hits me. My original attempt introduced a large 'uncertainty' band when rolling Sense Motive in response to both Bluff and Diplomacy, which would have alleviated this, but was just too darn tricky to balance.

2007-06-08, 08:05 AM
In your chart it says if the bluff is believable. Shouldn't it be the Truth?

2007-06-08, 08:53 AM
Nice catch. Changed that to 'claim', since it can apply to both lies and truth.

2007-06-15, 11:59 AM
The way I usually think of it (and not by the RAW) is that Bluff is the skill that lets a character tell lies convincingly, whilst Diplomacy is the skill that lets a character persuade someone of the validity of their arguments. I often think the DCs should be pretty much fixed based on the subject matter and the target. Sense Motive never made that much sense to me as a Skill (not that I see no sense to it). It's a complicated issue, I think.

2007-06-15, 03:45 PM
Not necessarily. Bluffing someone is by nature getting them to accept a proposition you have set forth: whether that bluff is having a poor hand in a card game; you are a delegate of a the Baron; the Earth is round; there is a dragon that's thinning the sheep herds and you're trying to slay it; or convincing a guard you are priests and transporting sacramental wine to a parish in another county, and not smuggling contraband to be sold by a crime lord. It's not important if any of that's true, bluffing is removing doubt that the proposition is at all false.

You may have a bad hand, you may be a delegate, the Earth may be round, there may be a dragon in a cave, and you may very well be a priest. Or not.

Diplomacy is about the moods of an initial reaction and attitudes. It's about fostering cooperation, or doing the opposite. They don't need to believe you to be cooperative.

2007-06-15, 03:59 PM
Sure, but that's not necessarily the way I prefer to run it. I try to keep as much of a distinction between the two skills as possible, but that's probably because in my House Ruled and Home Brewed (A)D&D Games, these Skills are Deception and Persuasion.:smallwink: