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Determining whether or not an NPC is lying

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I've recently returned to Fantasy Hero after a couple of decades away.

 

Which skill helps a hero sense the motivation of an NPC or determine if that NPC might be lying to them?  I'm looking for the equivalent to D&D's Insight or Pathfinder's Sense Motive.

 

Thanks!

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As discussed on page 250 of The Ultimate Skill / HERO System Skills, telling believable lies is a function of the Persuasion Skill. Depending on the situation, the text on that page suggests that any of the following Skills might be appropriate to determining that the character using Persuasion is lying:

 

--INT Roll

--EGO Roll (which is typically used to resist Interaction Skill rolls)

--Deduction

--Perception

--Persuasion (the idea here being that if you're good at lying, you might also be good at determining when someone's lying to you)

 

Alternately, if you think that lying/uncovering lies will be a significant factor in the campaign (in other words, that it will happen frequently), the GM might want to create a Skill especially for that (probably an INT-based Skill, but that's up to the GM creating it).

 

See also TUS/HSS pp. 65-67, which discusses how to handle Interaction Skills in general (especially when used against PCs).

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Of the defined skills, Conversation or Interrogation could serve.  Neither is perfect.  The other option would be a custom skill.  APG gives Leadership, another fairly staple (if marginal) skill.

 

Basically, define the name...Sense Motive.  Define the characteristic...should probably be Int.  Agree on when it's useful...a side aspect here might be serving as a complementary role for Interrogation, Conversation, and in some cases Gambling. (Where bluffing is a factor, as in poker, but arguably even in some skill games  Reading hesitations, or intonations if speech is part of the game.)

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If you want to go into Power Builds, stuff like Telepathy could do it.

Telepathy that only tells if you something he jsut said was a lie might be a suiteable limitation. And a sutieable implementation of stuff like "Wonder Womans lasso of truth".

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Although the rules say you shouldn't do this the obvious power is Detect (lies).  Why do the rules say you shouldn't do it?  The stated reason is because it is somewhat subjective and you should use Telepathy, but the truth is because its pretty cheap and in some campaigns it would be game-breaking or at least tough for the GM's storyline for you to cheaply and easily find out if someone is lying or not.  But that's up to you as the GM, since you can allow powers in a game even if the rules say you ought not.  And since the detect can only tell about the lie, not the motivation or the story behind it, the ability is limited.

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More than that:  you can detect a person is lying. 

 

How much is he lying?  Which part is he lying about?  Is his body language lying, or are his words lying?  If they don't match, one is a lie.  Which one?  Both? 

 

What part of his statement was a lie?  The name?  The place?  The verb tense? 

 

It's useful, but-.. Well, I'd like to say that it is nowhere near as effective as people are worried that it will be, I suppose that's going to vary greatly from group to group, as it's almost entirely drama-based, and that's not something all groups make equally important, nor do equally well. 

 

If you have skilled dramatic group and a GM who is talented with stories, multiple plots, and cagey bad guys, then Detect:Lies is not only _not_ harmful to the story, it can actually add a bit to the mystery and the fun of the session. 

 

If complexity or in-character personal interaction is simplified or unimportant in your group, the Detect:Lies can rip a hole straight to the climax in no time. 

 

I wouldn't "stop sign" it out of hat (in truth, not only have I allowed it, but one of my youth group characters currently has it), but I would suggest that you think a bit about the style of games you run before allowing it. 

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This just came up in my Fantasy Hero Campaign.

  • Persuasion can be used to lie or detect if someone is lying.  We all know when we have been lied to and we all know how to lie.
  • A certain class of mages, mainly focused on mercantilism (they also have some telekinetic type spells so they can defend and attack) have a spell called Truth Seeking.  It is a 5d6 telepathy with the caveat that it can only be used to tell if someone is lying.  It won't reveal what the lie is.  I will allow resistance to be used as a mental defense for this spell.

This forces the characters to come up with good questions and then use the appropriate skills (or spell if they have access to it) to determine if the answer is the truth or a lie. 

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On 12/16/2018 at 6:59 AM, IndianaJoe3 said:

I like using Interrogation. OTOH, if you want a more direct analog, Analyze Social Interaction would work.

 

I like that.  Analyze:  Social Interaction, or perhaps Motive.  Analyze isn't worded as being appropriate, but it's workable.

 

I'd rather keep it as a skill vs. skill contest, rather than sense vs. skill, so I'd prefer not to have a Detect Lie sense.  And, what exactly are you detecting, when it's a sense?  If it's a skill, then it's firmly in the cognitive range where I think it belongs.  YMMV, of course.

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15 hours ago, unclevlad said:

I'd rather keep it as a skill vs. skill contest, rather than sense vs. skill, so I'd prefer not to have a Detect Lie sense.  And, what exactly are you detecting, when it's a sense?  If it's a skill, then it's firmly in the cognitive range where I think it belongs.  YMMV, of course. 

What are you percieving if you got absolute range sense, Perfect Pitch or any other Talent build as a Detect?

Detect Lie would depend on wich adders are there. Without any form of Discriminatory (partial or Full) you propably do not know wich part of a sentence is a lie. Propably. A GM might also argue it requires targetting (you need to home in on the lie). It really depends on the GM/How expensive he wants such a ability to be.

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Absolute Range Sense and Perfect Pitch are both related to simple, physical properties.  Heck, both even exist.  Some people have, or at least claim to have, perfect pitch.  I hear it can be quite annoying for a musician to have, actually, because they *know* when someone else misses.  I can order a rangefinder from Amazon right now;  looks like they start around $80.  Frequency or distance, tho...straightforward.

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23 hours ago, unclevlad said:

Absolute Range Sense and Perfect Pitch are both related to simple, physical properties.  Heck, both even exist.  Some people have, or at least claim to have, perfect pitch.  I hear it can be quite annoying for a musician to have, actually, because they *know* when someone else misses.  I can order a rangefinder from Amazon right now;  looks like they start around $80.  Frequency or distance, tho...straightforward. 

Perfect Pitch is a human definition.

Range is a human defition. Or several ones, as we can not even agree on one measurement approach (Imperial/Metric) to use.

So both are as subjective as "Detect Lie".

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9 minutes ago, Christopher said:

Perfect Pitch is a human definition.

Range is a human defition. Or several ones, as we can not even agree on one measurement approach (Imperial/Metric) to use.

So both are as subjective as "Detect Lie".

 

WHAT???

 

If your comprehension on measurement is this flawed then we have no basis for discussion.  

 

Whether it's 10 feet or a bit over 3 meters, it's the same thing.  The units are not relevant to determining the distance between me and whatever the subject of my ranging is.  They're only relevant in my ability to communicate that distance to someone else.  I have to use a mutually understood unit.  But that has NOTHING to do with determining that range.

 

And in what manner is perfect pitch a human definition?  The specific notes, fine...but again, so what?  Perfect pitch is recognizing that the frequency of the sound you're hearing, does or does not match what it is supposed to be, based on the conventionally agreed musical scale.  The scale is a human definition, yes, but the concept of matching it is NOT.

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26 minutes ago, Christopher said:

Perfect Pitch is a human definition.

Range is a human defition. Or several ones, as we can not even agree on one measurement approach (Imperial/Metric) to use.

So both are as subjective as "Detect Lie".

That's ridiculous. The distance something is from you is not subjective regardless of what system of measurement you use. You can convert measurements between systems because they are physically defined things observable and measurable in the world. To say they are just as "subjective" as the concept of a lie is crazy. You can not physically measure a lie or observe it.

 

You also seem to be missing the point that the person had clearly stated they want this ability to be a skill contest, presumably a skill anyone could learn, not a special power, so insisting that "detect lie" is the only/best way to do this and justifying that argument by pointing existing Talents isn't really helpful.

 

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1 hour ago, bigbywolfe said:

You also seem to be missing the point that the person had clearly stated they want this ability to be a skill contest, presumably a skill anyone could learn, not a special power, so insisting that "detect lie" is the only/best way to do this and justifying that argument by pointing existing Talents isn't really helpful.

No, I did not. At no point in fact. Wich is why I explicitly prefaced my participation in this thread with a IF.

And frankly I am unsure what the distinct of a "Skill" and a "Sense" is anyway.

Or a "Sight vs Stealth" vs a "Detect Lies vs Liying" test.

Senses and Skills use the same base roll, the same cost structure for increasing the roll and just about anything else is equal too.

 

1 hour ago, bigbywolfe said:

That's ridiculous. The distance something is from you is not subjective regardless of what system of measurement you use. You can convert measurements between systems because they are physically defined things observable and measurable in the world. To say they are just as "subjective" as the concept of a lie is crazy. You can not physically measure a lie or observe it. 

"We have not figured out the formula for it yet" != "It can not be measured."

We are actively working to get computers to understand speech. We are activtly trying to figure out that formula.

The "lie formula" is just another part of that deal. After all Sarkasm and Irony do overlap with a lie to a large degree, and both are very important to understand speech.

Meter jsut recently got a new formula. It is a simple formula (X nanoseconds at c), but a formula none the less.

 

It is also telling that you did not adress "Perfect Pitch" at all :)

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On 12/19/2018 at 7:28 PM, Christopher said:

And frankly I am unsure what the distinct of a "Skill" and a "Sense" is anyway.

Or a "Sight vs Stealth" vs a "Detect Lies vs Liying" test.

Senses and Skills use the same base roll, the same cost structure for increasing the roll and just about anything else is equal too.

Just to make certain I do not come across as talking out of my behind, I want to quote this part of Stealth:
" Stealth typically applies to all Senses, including Combat Sense and Danger Sense, unless the GM rules otherwise in a particular situation based on considerations of game balance, common sense, and dramatic sense.

For example, an ordinary human probably couldn’t use Stealth to avoid the Normal Smell of a dog, since there’s no real way to “hide” body scent. However, the GM might allow it if the character could, for example, rub himself with something to disguise or conceal his normal body scent."

So as long as the sneaking Character is aware he needs to hide from a certain sense, he can do so.

The perfect example has to be Batman pulling a "sneak up on Superman". Superman, whose hearing is so good he can detect lies by the heartbeat. And who has senses in every single sense group.

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On December 19, 2018 at 11:44 AM, Christopher said:

Perfect Pitch is a human definition.

 

 

On December 19, 2018 at 11:44 AM, Christopher said:

Range is a human defition. Or several ones, as we can not even agree on one measurement approach (Imperial/Metric) to use.

 

Neither of these examples is subjective.

 

There are clearly-defined notes for music and signing. Just because I can't hit them with a barn doesn't mean they aren't real.  We have all sorts of measuring and comparison devices to determine what is and is not on key.  It is not subjective.  The only thing human-defined about it is the name of the note, and the only thing subjective about it is wether or not it is pleasant to hear. Having given a particular thing a name and having spent untold eons arguing its merit do not in any way change the nature of the thing, nor in any way alter its existence.

 

The range assumption is ludicrous.  If someone hands me a steel rod of a given length, it doesn't matter _what_ unit I use to measure it in, the length does not change.  It could be measured to determine that it is 1.4 meters or it is 14 decimeters.  You postulate that because we can't agree on what terms to measure it in that the length cannot be accurately determined.  So it follows that no one could reasonably expect 1.4 meters to be 14 decimeters. 

 

Deciding on units of different origin doesn't change the length of the rod, either.  Calling it 55.1181102 inches still doesn't change the length of it.  We could take a  page out of Roy D. Mercer's book and call it "right fine ass-whippin' size" and it would not in any way, shape, or form alter the size of the rod.

 

Make the rod a thousand yards.  Same rules apply, only now one end of it is far enough to classify as "long range."  Doesn't matter what you call it, that distance is absolute.

 

 

Not subjective.  Not even a little bit.

 

On December 19, 2018 at 11:44 AM, Christopher said:

So both are as subjective as "Detect Lie".

 

 

I agree completely.

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5 hours ago, Duke Bushido said:

The range assumption is ludicrous.  If someone hands me a steel rod of a given length, it doesn't matter _what_ unit I use to measure it in, the length does not change.  It could be measured to determine that it is 1.4 meters or it is 14 decimeters.  You postulate that because we can't agree on what terms to measure it in that the length cannot be accurately determined.  So it follows that no one could reasonably expect 1.4 meters to be 14 decimeters. 

 

Deciding on units of different origin doesn't change the length of the rod, either.  Calling it 55.1181102 inches still doesn't change the length of it.  We could take a  page out of Roy D. Mercer's book and call it "right fine ass-whippin' size" and it would not in any way, shape, or form alter the size of the rod.

 

Make the rod a thousand yards.  Same rules apply, only now one end of it is far enough to classify as "long range."  Doesn't matter what you call it, that distance is absolute.

 

 

Not subjective.  Not even a little bit.

It technically requires a little more to get truly objective length measurements (thanks, relativity), but defnitions such as  "The metre is the length equal to 1 650 763.73 wavelengths in vacuum of the radiation corresponding to the transition between the levels 2p10 and 5d5 of the krypton 86 atom" allow for unambiguous length measurements. 
If I give the aforementioned definition of a meter (and krypton 86, and the levels, etc) then I can say that the metal rod I'm holding is 1.234 meters in my reference frame and every single observer (with accurate information) will agree. 

 

Pinning down a "detect lie" power simply requires a bunch of definitions.  Take the statement 2+2=5. 

Is it a lie if somebody honestly believes that 2+2=5?  Is it a lie if they misspeak and intended to say 2+3=5?  Is it a lie if they don't speak English and are just reciting words they don't know the meaning of?  Is it a lie if they really quietly whisper the word "doesn't" before "equals"?  Is it a lie if they meant to say 2+2=5 but accidentally said 2+2=4 instead?  Is it a lie if they postfix it with "I think" and honestly do think such? 

The problem isn't that "lie" is impossible to make objective, the problem is that there's many competing definitions and methods of lying.  There may be a lot of questions needed to properly define "lie", but once those are out of the way you can easily have an objective "detect lie" power.  It's just very questionable as to if it's worth the time.  And if your GM even wants you to have it. 

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7 hours ago, Gnome BODY (important!) said:

It technically requires a little more to get truly objective length measurements (thanks, relativity), but defnitions such as  "The metre is the length equal to 1 650 763.73 wavelengths in vacuum of the radiation corresponding to the transition between the levels 2p10 and 5d5 of the krypton 86 atom" allow for unambiguous length measurements. 

 

First and properly,

 

Thank you.  I'm not particularly knowledgeable about such things, most likely owing to my complete and total lack of interest in the metric system, since-- like pretty much everyone who doesn't work in a lab, it has absolutely no relevance to my day-to-day life, and I will _never_ need that level of precision on anything I do professionally, ever.  Please understand that I don't say that dismissively, but instead as method of explanation.

 

 

Moving on to the topic:

 

It really doesn't require any of that for someone with an appropriate sense to "know" or to "feel" exactly what that distance is.   If I can sense (and therefore apply appropriate skill levels) the exact distance, it doesn't matter what anyone names that distance.  Realistically, for those who might absolutely insist that a character be able to spit out a mathematical value under nine different definitions, well then if we're playing 6e, we don't need any more granularity than "one meter" and if we're playing 5 and back, we can get as course as "two meters" and still be dead-on accurate, because only hexes count.

 

 

But of course, you're not disagreeing with that.  I am simply rambling because my brain is trying very hard to drown out the Christmas music behind me, and my focus keeps jumping around.  I apologize.

 

A lot.

 

 

7 hours ago, Gnome BODY (important!) said:

 

 


Pinning down a "detect lie" power simply requires a bunch of definitions.  Take the statement 2+2=5. 

Is it a lie if somebody honestly believes that 2+2=5?  Is it a lie if they misspeak and intended to say 2+3=5?  Is it a lie if they don't speak English and are just reciting words they don't know the meaning of?

 

 

 

 

Personally, I'd run with the idea that it is a _willful_ deception.  This lets you go with a broad "Detect: Lie" ability.  If you want to rein in the Power, or introduce granularity:

A willful spoken deception or body language that signifies willful deception.

 

That's as far as _I_ would go.  The rest would be on-the-fly stuff, but there's a simple reason:

 

 

 

7 hours ago, Gnome BODY (important!) said:

  Is it a lie if they really quietly whisper the word "doesn't" before "equals"? 

 

Depends.  Is he doing it as a willful deception, or does he have Tourette?

 

 

7 hours ago, Gnome BODY (important!) said:

Is it a lie if they meant to say 2+2=5 but accidentally said 2+2=4 instead? 

 

Is it a willful deception?

 

7 hours ago, Gnome BODY (important!) said:

Is it a lie if they postfix it with "I think" and honestly do think such? 

 

Same question.

 

7 hours ago, Gnome BODY (important!) said:

The problem isn't that "lie" is impossible to make objective, the problem is that there's many competing definitions and methods of lying. 

 

Well I'm almost done with this thread. :lol:   Not because there's been any arguing or uncivil behavior, but I want to get out of it before Steve decides with need a seven hundred page book with a single definition (The Ultimate Liar!), and two supplemental seven-hundred page books (Liar's Guide!  Advanced Liar's Guide!  More than suggestions; they're now canonical rules!)  making judgements on every possible grunt in nine different circumstances each so we have something canonical on the subject.

 

And of course there will be those folks who will spend two hours trying to come up with something specifically difficult, and expect someone to believe it comes up all the time, every game, every group, forever and ever. :lol:

 

 

7 hours ago, Gnome BODY (important!) said:

There may be a lot of questions needed to properly define "lie",

 

I agree.  And while it's absolutely anathema to internet discussion boards, I think this question-- like pretty many others that aren't related specifically to "official peripherals," is best answered by a group for it's own group, without regard to what other groups have decided is "the one true way." 

 

I think this because, as I've noted before, this power's scale and influence is so deeply affected by the dramatic side of the game-- the actual "role-playing" part of a role-playing game.  And, as noted above, there is massive chasm, filled with tiny little pedestals of gaming groups, all of them separated by the infinity of what they enjoy in the game, and how they enjoy doing it.

 

 

Far, far more critical here than hammering out a universal definition of "lie," is an acceptance that this definition isn't going to matter at all to some groups ("A lie is a lie.  Everyone knows what a lie is!") while others will wait for Steve's three-book definition before considering the ramifications of the Power at all.

 

7 hours ago, Gnome BODY (important!) said:

 

but once those are out of the way you can easily have an objective "detect lie" power.  It's just very questionable as to if it's worth the time.  And if your GM even wants you to have it. 

 

 

That last part means a lot.  None of it matters if the GM has a solid case that it will spoil the story.  As you note, though, that doesn't mean the Power is particularly hard to build, or even particularly useful.

 

 

Okay, folks-- I'm out.

 

Holiday things to do today. :D

 

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