dnd 5e – Is it ok to lie to players rolling an insight?

A successful Insight check should reveal useful information to players, and an unsuccessful check should emphasize uncertainty

My guiding principles with Insight are:

  • That it reveals information about the immediate situation being
    examined, and not necessarily about the world itself
  • Success suggests a keen understanding of the circumstance, while
    failure indicates poor understanding

I feel it is important to include both elements.

In your specific example, I would present these elements as the bloodthirsty servant being sincere in his belief that he works for the paladin on a successful Insight check. Players should not learn the true state of the world (definitively discovering the relationship between these NPCs just based on evaluating the servant’s claim) from examining what the servant says.

In the case of a failed Insight check I would narrate the outcome as a lack of information, rather than being certain that incorrect information is definitely accurate. The failure of insight just means that they have no particular understanding of meta-information about the servant and the assertion the servant has made. The narration I favor would emphasize that– “he doesn’t seem to be obviously lying to you, but you can’t get a good read on him at all.”

I recommend not forbidding checks because there is no dishonesty to discover. This directly reveals to players the same information they would get on a successful Insight check, but without having to roll. When something seems off to players, or they want to double-check information they receive, they should be encouraged to try to find out via their characters’ ability to examine what they know and perceive.

I suggest not giving false information on a poor roll for similar reasons: players will know they rolled poorly (unless you use a hidden-roll mechanic), and so telling them definitive information pretty clearly marks that information as unreliable. I also advocate not directly lying to players more broadly, but that’s out of scope here.


My experiences with running Insight checks this way have been that they help situate players in the game, even if it doesn’t shed much light on the plot. They want more information, and if an Insight check doesn’t provide it they either have to hope for the best and stay wary, or they try to verify claims in other ways (like investigating the claim after the conversation). The opportunity for NPCs to lie to or otherwise deceive the PCs is a part of the adventure, distinct from the players’ dependence on me, the GM, to provide the information necessary for the players play the game at all.

dnd 5e – In term of game balance, what repercussions should players expect if DM wouldn’t count Grapple and Shove as “an attack”?

This is how Player’s Handbook (p. 194) describes what counts as an attack:

If there’s ever any question whether something you’re doing counts as an attack, the rule is simple: if you’re making an attack roll, you’re making an attack

There are ambiguous exceptions from this rule though — so-called “special attacks”. There are only two of them — Grapple and Shove from the PHB.

As a DM, for the sake of clarity and consistency I want to call Grapple just “an action” or “a contest”, not “special melee attack”. So instead of

you can use the Attack action to make a special melee attack, a grapple

the text of the house rule (or the errata proposal, if you wish) will be

you can use the Attack action to make an action in combat, a grapple

So does for Shove. This is also consistent with the PHB “Contests in Combat” (emphasis mine):

Battle often involves pitting your prowess against that of your foe. Such a challenge is represented by a contest. This section includes the most common contests that require an action in combat: grappling and shoving a creature. The DM can use these contests as models for improvising others.

So the lowercase “attack” is changed to “action” or “contest”. For instance, the next passage in the Grappling description will be “If you’re able to make multiple attacks with the Attack action, this contest replaces one of them”. The rest of the rules remains unchanged.

I want to figure out what possible impact this will make to the game balance. For instance, will some feats/class features change substantially.

In terms of the game mechanics, what consequences/repercussions this change will have? For sanity’s sake let’s confine ourselves to the the Player’s Handbook.

dnd 5e – What do players and GMs like about combat?

What exactly is it that people are looking for out of RPG combat? I’m talking about their deep-down psychological motivations and desires.

If we’re going to assume a game being played, let’s assume D&D 5e, because I have some examples and some player-type buzzwords that we can all relate to. However, I can only speculate. I would love to see someone more qualified answer this.

My friend, first time DM, did a good job running Curse of Strahd. He was receptive to feedback throughout. After the campaign, I asked him some pointed questions as feedback (playing devil’s advocate). I was wondering what he thought his next step was for improving his GMing. He said something like “Combat could always be improved”, “ok, how so?” (he did an AMAZING job with running combats and literally knows all the rules very close to 100% accuracy), “Encounters could be a bit more balanced”, “ok, why do they need to be balanced?”, “I don’t know, you don’t want combat being too easy, and not too hard” (red flag, this is showing lack of intention in his game)

I went on to analyzing all the players at the table, which I determined none of them cared about “combat balance”:

  • 2 players just want the dungeon-crawl feeling of looting and gaining power through gear
  • 1 player is only interested in seeing all the interactions play out – the damage types, resistances, critical/fumble table rolls, counterspelling a counterspell, effects of being prone+grappled+blind+swallowed+unconscious+exhausted, etc.
  • 1 player likes the low-RP and spending time together at the table, and kicking-ass together

I pointed this all out to the DM, which to me looks like our table would benefit from having more “easy” encounters that pump us up, but all he could respond with was “Well, combat is a big pillar in D&D. Too easy, and it’s not a lot of fun. Same thing with being too hard”. There were plenty of red-flags in his responses over the entire conversation, all of them indicating a need to defend D&D and the D&D mentality at all costs instead of identifying things that could improve his game and GMing.

My takeaway from that text conversation was a theory – an idea that maybe most players don’t care about combat, and rather that they like some other aspect stemming from combat. In the case of the DM, it looked like his enjoyment of playing and running both stemmed from exercising control. As a DM, he naturally has control. As a player, he’s a power-gamer, trying to gain control by gaming any advantage possible out of the rules or out of his back-story, sometimes adversarially. Deep-down inside, this DM has a psychological need to exercise control to protect his poor self-confidence and insecurities. It’s sad, but it’s a reality that I want to explore and understand better.

It makes me sad to see player insecurities manifest negatively at the table, especially since I do so much to promote an environment free of judgement.

probability – Three players A,B,C throw dice in turns

Three players A,B, and C take turns to roll a dice; they do this in the order ABCABC….
Show that the probability that the first 6 to appear is thrown by A,the second 6 to appear is thrown by B, and the third 6 to appear is thrown by C is 46656/753571.

I’m new to this problem,the best clue I could find is a similar problem which calculating the probability A throws 6 first,B second and C third,but this problem is more complicate when A could throws 6 first and cann’t throws multiple 6s until B did.I don’t know how to tackle this case.Can you suggested me the way to do this problem.much appreciated

algorithms – How to calculate the total number of acceptable configurations using C++ code of N players sitting around a round table?

Consider the fact that each player can either sit on their desired chair or on the neighbouring chair. Two configurations are distinct if at least one person is sitting in another chair.
My attempt
For example, if there are 4 players sitting around a circular table there can be 9 distinct arrangements.

  1. F1,F2,F3,F4
  2. F2,F1,F3,F4
  3. F2,F1,F4,F3
  4. F4,F2,F3,F1
  5. F1,F3,F2,F4
  6. F1,F2,F4,F3
  7. F4,F1,F2,F3
  8. F2,F3,F4,F1
  9. F4,F3,F2,F1

Now, I am stuck here. How can calculate this in c++ code and what about larger values of N such as 50.
I tried using vectors and pushing back every element and do the reverse operators and swap elements but I am not sure whether this is correct or not.

system introduction – Is there a summary of Nobilis 3rd edition rules for new players?

I want to start a game of Nobilis, but the 3rd edition book is huge (more than 300 pages) and I clearly can’t ask my players to read it, even only the rules chapters.

I found What are the basics of the Nobilis 2e system’s mechanics, in a nutshell? but it is only about the 2nd edition. Having read both I feel like the 3rd edition rules are quite better (even if the 2nd book is a wondrous object).

Is there any good summary of Nobilis 3rd edition rules for new players?

dnd 3.5e – Lore Jockey players

“Serrated edges and other aspects of normal weapons are included in the 1d4 slashing hitpoint damage that a dagger does inherently. A well made dagger, which may include dwarven-made serrations or other aspects, is considered Masterwork – being considerably more difficult to make, and more expensive, and granting +1 to hit (increasing the chance it does damage).”

What your player is doing is called arguing for advantage. It is not really related to pre-existing setting lore at all – this particular argument for example is at least partially related to real-world history, or at least common misconceptions about real-world history (serrated edges on edged weapons).

Your player wants to gain a mechanical advantage in order to succeed more and is attempting to do so by exerting social pressure. On you directly, or via convincing other players. This is generally solved in a few ways, the most common of which is just to say ‘no’. As the GM you have authority over the game and the rules used in the game. If you just repeatedly say no to his attempts to ask for homebrew that favours him, preferably while saying yes to more reasonable suggestions from other players (to provide a comparison to him of the kind of thing that is more acceptable to ask for) (like a player asking if the town has an inn, you say yes – or a church of pelor – or if a blacksmith can forge together his broken sword, or his ranger can roll survival to know whether dragons eat carrion etc), arguing for advantage players will typically rein it in, since their goal (of gaining advantage) is not being met.

You can also discuss it out of game with them. Or explain to the entire table that you’re going to be running the rules as they are and not modify them based on what people consider ‘lore’ or ‘realistic’ unless you decide to do so on your own. There’s a myriad of ways to deal with what is effectively a social problem with someone treating the game as ‘they have to win’ rather than ‘a fun thing to do with friends’.

However viewing this as some kind of thing it isn’t will generally stop you dealing with it. Regardless of what is claimed about lore or whatever, this is someone trying to use social arguing to gain advantage in a game, and if you approach the problem from that angle, you will generally quickly see how to resolve it.

I would recommend not simply handing out bonuses to this player any time they say ‘but my sword has a hilt guard so I should chop off the orc warlord’s fingers’ or whatever. Rarely are such players happy with a situation that doesn’t have them wildly overshadowing the party and often such arguing for advantage both takes people out of any roleplaying or storytelling that is occurring and at the same time lowers their investment in the game and bores them. You generally don’t want any of that to happen if you are the GM, and it doesn’t particularly add anything to the game if this guy gets 1d2 bleed damage because of his serrated dagger and +5 to scent checks because he cleared his sinuses with lemon juice or whatever. Just say no.

social – A player’s character has spent their childhood in a brothel and it is bothering me. What can I do?

When dealing with personality conflicts, one of the best orders to do things, is start in a private discussion with the person. Explain how it makes you feel, using lots of “I” statements and avoid blame or any kind of accusatory language. Present it as you are trying to improve things for both of you. Be specific, and reference behaviors. A person can change a behavior, but they can’t change something vague like “generally being an asshole”. Gotta be super specific for this to work.

If this person gets defensive, do your best to stay calm. People tend to match the emotional state of the person they are talking to, so if you are calm, they are more likely to join you, but if you start to get upset, the emotions will just escalate. You can’t control how they feel or react, but you can control how you react.

If that doesn’t help or change things, talk to the GM in a private conversation. Once again speak in “I” sentences and phrases and avoid blaming. Say things like “This is how I feel.” And “I don’t enjoy this specific behavior.”

If the GM is unable or unwilling to help, then you only have 2 choices: sacrifice some joy to stay in the group, or sacrifice time with the group for your joy. (Over simplified sure, but that is ultimately still your choice. You have the power to choose not to put up with jerks. And you deserve better than to put up with a jerk)

What to avoid:

  • calling this person out in front of everyone if you haven’t talked privately
  • turning the group against the person. You can ask how they feel and start the conversation but don’t push anyone into a conflict.
  • don’t blame. This just makes people defensive and rarely helps.

This sucks, and people like that are everywhere. This is an opportunity to learn how peacefully change your circumstances.

Good luck!

A players character has spent their childhood in brothel and it is bothering me. What can I do?

When dealing with personality conflicts, one of the best orders to do things, is start in a private discussion with the person. Explain how it makes you feel, using lots of “I” statements and avoid blame or any kind of accusatory language. Present it as you are trying to improve things for both of you. Be specific, and reference behaviors. A person can change a behavior, but they can’t change something vague like “generally being an asshole”. Gotta be super specific for this to work.

If this person gets defensive, do your best to stay calm. People tend to match the emotional state of the person they are talking to, so if you are calm, they are more likely to join you, but if you start to get upset, the emotions will just escalate. You can’t control how they feel or react, but you can control how you react.

If that doesn’t help or change things, talk to the GM in a private conversation. Once again speak in “I” sentences and phrases and avoid blaming. Say things like “This is how I feel.” And “I don’t enjoy this specific behavior.”

If the GM is unable or unwilling to help, then you only have 2 choices: sacrifice some joy to stay in the group, or sacrifice time with the group for your joy. (Over simplified sure, but that is ultimately still your choice. You have the power to choose not to put up with jerks. And you deserve better than to put up with a jerk)

What to avoid:

  • calling this person out in front of everyone if you haven’t talked privately
  • turning the group against the person. You can ask how they feel and start the conversation but don’t push anyone into a conflict.
  • don’t blame. This just makes people defensive and rarely helps.

This sucks, and people like that are everywhere. This is an opportunity to learn how peacefully change your circumstances.

Good luck!

camera – What is the term for making an object transparent when it blocks the player’s view?

In many games if your camera gets too close to certain objects, or the object starts to block your screen, the game turns it transparent so you can still see.

What is the name for this effect? It is not occlusion culling. The model does not reduce its polygons, it simply just gets transparent so that you can look through it.