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  • Lanic
    started a topic Dice pools for lying

    Dice pools for lying

    I know that this topic appeared at least a couple of times, but I am not sure whether it's been systematically discussed, so I'm opening the thread.

    One of glaring omissions, almost surely intentional, is that there no skill responsible for lying and deception. In some cases, this can be reasonably represented by using standard social system framework. However, the whole system does seem to be aimed towards representing genuine persuasion.

    So let's look at some example of "pure lying": a character pretends that she is a messenger which was supposed to take an important letter from a high-ranked officer. She presents some suitable evidence confirming she is who she claims to be (for examples, presents some mark of a prince she claims to serve) and possibly some convincing story of why she isn't the guy that used to be a messenger for last half a year, but the officer is a grizzled veteran. He maybe kind-of-suspects something, but has no good reason, to actually not trust that person, other than gut feeling and it would be potentially ruining to impede the whole communication because of a mere gut feeling. Now the situation essentially depends on how convincing the alleged messenger will be, and how able to mask the stress.

    How do you model this mechanically?

    The situation seems poorly modeled by the standard social interaction system. The messenger doesn't try to convince the officer to like her (although this might be potentially helpful), but to convince the officer of what is the matter of fact, so this is rather not an instill action.

    It could be persuade action. However, again it is not simply a matter of nudging the officer to pursue one course of action or another. Moreover, it fits strangely into the standard interaction system: giving an important letter to someone is a big deal. It's definitely not a "trivial or risk-free action", so RAW, there should be some intimacies supporting this course of action. Incidentally, there could be some such intimacies: maybe something along the lines "One should not be distracted by gut feelings" could be helpful and "There's more to this position than the protocol" could hinder the task. However, in general not everyone has such intimacies, they are typically not strong, so it doesn't fit the standard mechanical solution of persuasion. There could be some persuasion actions involved: an old servant who doesn't trust the impostor, could try to convince the officer to not pass the letter no matter she is lying or not, so that to avoid the unnecessary risk; to do so, would be a conscious choice of the officer and already falls into the territory of usual social interaction. But in our case, it shouldn't really be a matter of decisions of the officer, but simply of how convincing the impostor is. If you like, you can think of a situation, where a cunning enough manipulator could simply give no reason to suspect her, so the modeling by persuasion could be even more awkward.

    It could be a simple roll or an extended action. What to roll then? It's almost surely Manipulation + something. Possibly Manipulation + Socialize or Manipulation + Larceny. Is it then an opposed roll and what is it opposed with? There is no "Empathy" skill in Exalted after all.

    Alternatively, we could say that the active side in this story is not the impostor who tries just to say everything as plain-faced as possible, but the officer. So maybe it should be modeled as a resisted roll of officer's Perception(?) + Investigation(?), Perception + Socialize(?) at Difficulty [imposter's Guile], possiby modified with relevant Intimacies. I think this might be a natural fit, since there is a lie-detecting charm in the Investigation tree. Then, if the officer remains unconvinced, there's still a lot of options. One could persuade the officer to pass the letter along the lines of "Procedures are to be followed" or to interrogate the alleged messenger.

    How would you resolve it, mechanically?




    Last edited by Lanic; 06-23-2019, 08:01 AM.

  • Kerredai
    replied
    As I read it, the Challenge a Fact rules use Lore-based information to expose the lie, but the lie itself doesn't necessarily have to be academic in nature. So, like, at my table I'd allow a character with an appropriate Lore background to say "You're not actually an Imperial courier, your badge is fake, Imperial courier badges are all made from metal mined in a certain Prefecture and that badge is the wrong alloy, I can tell because I'm a metallurgist" or something, but it'd be tough to sell me on a Lore-based challenge to "I saw him betray us and I killed him".

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  • JohnDoe244
    replied
    Originally posted by Kelly Pedersen View Post
    Challenging a fact is based on Lore, so I wouldn't allow it to work against most lies, only those based on false academic information.
    Agreed.

    Word of Vance: http://forum.theonyxpath.com/forum/m...24#post1321924

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  • Chausse
    replied
    Thanks for your answers, I'll think about next time I'm confronted. Especially challenge a fact, trying to overturn influence, profile characters, these are actions I always forget.

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  • Kelly Pedersen
    replied
    Challenging a fact is based on Lore, so I wouldn't allow it to work against most lies, only those based on false academic information. A master scholar should be able to easily tell that someone is making up false information about the properties of jade, but not whether they're cheating on their spouse. In the case Chausse described, I would not allow a Lore-based challenge fact roll. "Is this person likely to betray us?" is not an academic question.

    Now, I could see, as a house rule, allowing other abilities to be used in place of Lore to challenge some types of facts. I'd allow Investigate to challenge facts about a person's background, abilities, etc., if you've already done a profile character action on them, and allow it to challenge facts about a location that you've done a case scene action for. I'd also allow Socialize to challenge facts about a person's personality or essential nature. However, I would never allow a challenge facts roll to challenge someone's direct statements about their own actions or observations - that devalues Guile too much. So, again using Chausse's example, if Tla'shi told his friends "That NPC was planning on betraying us from the start!", I'd allow them an (Intelligence + Socialize) roll to see if that rang true, or an (Intelligence + Investigation) roll if the lie was something like "The NPC was actually from the Realm, they were a spy!" But I'd never allow Tla'shi saying "I saw him betraying us, so I killed him" to be challenged as a fact.

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  • Klaek
    replied
    Originally posted by JohnDoe244 View Post
    That's an excellent point, but I'm not sure how widely applicable it is.

    It's based on learning and knowing things.

    "I didn't poison him: arsenic is a medicine."
    "All Realm corriers wear green berrets."
    "Pouring salt over your wheat field will protect your crops from fae."

    Any of those falsehoods could be challenged with Lore (with an appropriate background/speciality).

    "I killed him because he betrayed us." Is unlikely to be challengable.
    Certainly challenge fact is not always applicable, especially when not much is said at all to challenge. Unfortunately here context is everything and even a simple statement like "I killed him because he betrayed us." may be challenged based on knowledge your character feasibly could have about either the accused or the accuser. Even Chausse's example had NPCs that knew for a fact otherwise. That said there is not much value in a back on forth over making up a circumstance where it can be vs can't be challenged. Just if you are lying the less you say the less likely you will present holes in your statements.

    When dealing with Lies I believe the current tools available in game are adequate enough. These are first used to understand the context of a social influence roll. I already mentioned changing application of intimacies depending on knowing if a statement is true or not, but there is also changing the seriousness of the task. Also even if you know the truth the social influence may still be valid.

    In the example of Tha'Shi what kind of connection did these NPCs have with the accused? This is important in understanding how they would respond to Tha'Shi's influence and what path they would take. Maybe they really didn't like the guy and would just drop it and not care for questioning anyway. However if they where to try to persuade the others as to the truth then I would consider it an influence action for an inconvenient task of listening and scrutinising what they are saying. Tha'Shi would have a chance to use the "overturn influence" rules to persuade everyone else to ignore them. Perhaps there is somewhere important to be and things to get done? If they still succeed and the other players don't choose to resist in any way then they would roll read intentions - presumably against a guile lowered to 0, so just require 1 success. Note this is why Eminent Paragon Approach is such a useful charm, it can cut through all the bias people may have and see your character for who they are. Even in this circumstance this doesn't convey to the other players that Tha'Shi was lying, just that the NPCs here genuinely believe otherwise.

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  • JohnDoe244
    replied
    Originally posted by Klaek View Post
    I am surprised challenge fact hasn't been mentioned yet, given it is explicitly the rule used for noticing falsehoods.
    That's an excellent point, but I'm not sure how widely applicable it is.

    It's based on learning and knowing things.

    "I didn't poison him: arsenic is a medicine."
    "All Realm corriers wear green berrets."
    "Pouring salt over your wheat field will protect your crops from fae."

    Any of those falsehoods could be challenged with Lore (with an appropriate background/speciality).

    "I killed him because he betrayed us." Is unlikely to be challengable.

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  • Klaek
    replied
    I am surprised challenge fact hasn't been mentioned yet, given it is explicitly the rule used for noticing falsehoods.

    I have always considered it a case of if you are using a falsehood in social influence, then you are counting on an intimacy to help based on that lie. If someone is able to pick up on the deception, either via Challenging a Fact(knowing better), Read Intentions(picking up on intent), or Profile Character/Case Scene(their story doesn't add up) then the social influence is not using the intimacy initially intended. This potentially pushes any attempted social influence into the Unacceptable influence category due to not exploiting a strong enough intimacy. Also it may enable other intimacies to help resist the influence.

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  • JohnDoe244
    replied
    Originally posted by Chausse View Post
    What would you have done to handle Tha'Shi's lies, and how would you have modeled the NPC's trying to expose him ?
    Exalted's system is results based, not really method based.

    Tha'shi is trying to convince people not to punish him for murder. That's a persuade roll. It's a persaude roll if he confesses everything and begs for mercy. It's still a persaude roll if he tries to lie his way out of it.

    Persaude rolls need supporting Intimacies. His lies are trying to lower people's opinion of the person he's killed. That's an Instill roll. They know he's lying so the Instill roll takes a -5. If the NPCs had no Intimacy toward the Now-Dead-Ally, they now form a minor negative intimacy for Tha'shi to exploit. If they had a minor positive intimacy, they lose it. If they had a stronger Intimacy, then they are likely unmoved by Tha'shi's lies, no matter how well he rolled (and I fully support giving them a minor tie of distrust toward him).

    It seems to me that Tha'shi is "passing off lies as the truth [...] mak[ing] a false argument [...] through outright lying [...] where the character is purely trying to evoke a desired response rather than to express his own feelings or outlook". That means he's using Manipulation.

    It appears that he is trying to "persuade through force of personality" much like " a thief [who] blurts a convincing explanation for how she came into possession of a carved jade idol". That means they're using Presence.

    So a Manipulation+Presence Instill action to damage his victim's reputation, at a -8 penalty (unbelievable claim plus multiple targets) vs Resolve(+any applicable Intimacies as normal). Followed by a Manipulation+Presence Persuade action (to convince people not to punish him for his crime) vs Resolve; and without an applicable Intimacy (like a positive Tie towars Tha'shi or a negative Tie towards the victim, or some murder supporting Principle) it automatically fails.

    Now I would say that "suspicion" is an emotion. So if Tha'shi lies are aimed more at creating reasonable doubt than damaging Now-Dead-Ally's reputation, I'd allow an Inspire roll* (using Manipulation+Performance) to be made (instead of an Instill action) to create an Inflammed Passion of suspicion for the Persuade roll (instead of targetting an Intimacy). Inspire is much easier than Instill (no group penalty, and casting doubt is easier than convincing people, I'd say a -3 penalty), but the effects are temporary, not precisely under Tha'Shi's control and when passions cool Tha'shi is going to be back in trouble (and the suspicion could easily backfire or have unintended consequences).

    Anyone who wants to read his intentions can roll Perception+Socialize against Tha'Shi's Guile. Situational penalties apply directly to static values, so wildly improbably known to be false lies reduce his Guile by 5. Success doesn't reveal Tha'Shi is lying par se, but rather what Tha'Shi's intent is -- that he is trying to get out of trouble. After five minutes of interaction, a Profile Character action (Perception+Investigation vs Tha'Shi's Guile) could reveal clues about his character and his crime -- certainly that he was madly in love with the apprentice and wildly jealous, perhaps that it is clear that he'll say anything to get out of trouble, or that he is suffering turmoil over his inner rage, or that the lack of evidence behind his false claims is apparent.

    ****

    To flick back to the OP.

    Major Intimacies are those which "hold more influence over your character, coming into play even if the subject is only indirectly or tangentially related to the situation at hand". Most people don't Define themselves by their job, but your job is a Major influence in your life -- it determines when you wake up, whether you can buy food, it dominates your daily activities. Most NPCs are going to have a Major Intimacy towards doing their job.

    ****

    *The iconic example of this is Gaston in The Mob Song. Which you all know but I'ma link you to anyway because it's the theme song for every Dynast I've ever played and would be totally appropriate inspiration for Tha'shi: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=TYO-qEb6MnI

    It's not about facts or making a lasting impression, but whipping up passions.
    Last edited by JohnDoe244; 09-13-2019, 05:47 PM.

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  • BrilliantRain
    replied
    Originally posted by Kelly Pedersen View Post

    The latter is precisely how I'd handle it - Read Intentions is a codified action to take, and covers discerning what a character wants to accomplish in a scene. That will cover "They're trying to deceive you about their real identity" nicely. If the officer was really suspicious, or wanted to get even more detail on who this "messenger" actually was, they could go for a profile character action, rolling (Perception + Investigation).
    This is probably the “Rules as intended” way to handle things, yeah.

    That said, how I would do it would depend on the circumstances. Is the PC a Night Caste Con Artist trying to convince some random person of something minor? A quick Manipulation and Presence, Socialize, or Larceny roll is probably the best way to handle it, if you don’t want to just let the solar succeed. Attempting something important to the game, I’d probably want to use more detail and would either do the above or let the Liar try an Instill roll, yeah.

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  • Kelly Pedersen
    replied
    Originally posted by Chausse View Post

    What would you have done to handle Tha'Shi's lies, and how would you have modeled the NPC's trying to expose him ?
    I would have had the other characters who didn't know the truth roll Read Intentions (if they were questioning the story), to see if they caught on to the fact that he was trying to deceive them. I would probably have called for an inspire roll from Tla'Shi, aiming to inspire a feeling of suspicion in everyone, and then an instill roll to create a negative intimacy toward the other person, or a persuade roll to get the others to take some kind of immediate action against them. The NPCs who knew Tla'Shi's claims were impossible would simply have been immune to the inspire attempt, and I'd probably have had them develop an immediate intimacy of distrust towards him as well. The intimacy of distrust toward Tla'Shi would boost their resolve against any instill on his part, and without the major-intimacy equivalent of a successful inspire action, they'd be impossible to persuade to take anything more than an inconvenient task against the other NPC.

    The NPCs could then try to use the rules for Overturning Influence to convince the others that Tla'Shi was actually lying. As a note, the Overturning Influence rules assume that someone has already been persuaded, and you're trying to change their mind. In a circumstance where there are two different parties trying to sway a third one way or the other, I'd generally have both sides make relevant social rolls, and the person with more successes would treat their net successes as their actual successes for overcoming the target's Resolve. So if the NPCs immediately started arguing against Tla'Shi, rather than waiting until he convinced the others, I'd use that system.

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  • Chausse
    replied
    So I have a concrete case for you, since it happened in my last campaign, and I don't think I handled it very well.

    One of the characters, Tla'Shi, the Eclipse Wizard-Shaman-Guru , went Limit Break full Berserk when one of the allies of the Circle went and claimed it was time he get back his apprenctice Tla'Shi was madly in love with. He killed lots of people throwing butterflies everywhere, including the sorcered, but finally got stopped by his not-friend-but-not-ennemy Dawn Circle mate. After this, and with other NPC involved, they decided to ask "Why on earth did you do that ?", and Tla'Shi, being a little manipulative rat, answered "I discovered his scheme ! It was him who summoned mortal ennemies against us in a former story, and I decided to strike when he was the most vulnerable !" (He couldn't accept the fact he gave in to his inner rage and was trying his best to deny he failed to do so). At this point, I almost never had any lying situation in my game, so I asked for opposed Socialize rolls from everyone present, which Tla'Shi won because he had 18 successes or so. Except, 2 of my NPC knew for a fact their now-dead ally killed by Tla'Shi couldn't have possibly done what Tla'Shi claimed he had done. I was kinda lost at this point because I didn't know if I should consider that their certainty Tla'Shi was lying should be shaking from the sheer amount of successes, so I wanted to have them try to persuade everyone he was a liar, except I didn't know if it was appropriate since they already failed their opposed roll to Tla'Shi. It didn't end poorly from a dramatic stand, but I know for sure I didn't get all the good drama I could have got.

    What would you have done to handle Tha'Shi's lies, and how would you have modeled the NPC's trying to expose him ?

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  • The Wizard of Oz
    replied
    Originally posted by Kelly Pedersen View Post


    Well, I'd argue that most of the questions that The Wizard of Oz just suggested are really better handled by Read Intentions rather than Profile Character. But both Read Intentions and Profile Character are absolutely part of the social system, I'd say. Read Intentions is for, well, reading someone's intentions. It tells you immediately what they're up to, at least in broad terms, and lets you know what intimacies apply in the scene. Profile Character, on the other hand, is useful for giving you details about someone that aren't necessarily brought up by their actions in a scene. As a Storyteller, I would certainly be willing to give you answers to questions like "does it seem like this character is in a relationship?" on a successful Profile Character roll, even if the relationship wasn't brought up or relevant to their actions in the scene. And that, in turn, lets you do more to bring that information out. For example, if the answer to the question above with Profile Character was "Yes, she's wearing an amber pendant that you know is the sort of thing given in the Haslanti League to the same-gender parent when a child achieves their majority". And now you can drop a mention of a daughter into the conversation, and that makes the intimacy relevant, so you can use Read Intentions to determine it and its context.
    Oh, sorry, yeah, I was confusing that with Read Intentions.

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  • Lioness
    replied
    Originally posted by Lioness View Post
    Which one's the player character?
    The more you roll dice as a Storyteller the more you're telling the players what's going on.
    This wasn't me trying to be rhetorical so I'll elabourate further.

    PC is the veteran-
    The player will see how many dice the messenger is rolling to persuade their character that they're just a messenger, which means that the better they are at this the more of a red flag this presents for the player. It's probably better to model the skepticism as a Read Intentions action so the player gets info but doesn't know for sure if they beat the NPC's Guile rating or had their attempt deflected by some charm. I've seen otherwise well behaved player's characters develop gut feelings towards NPC that have too detailed descriptions or are rolling too many dice.

    PC is the 'messenger'-
    It should be more about the PC having an opertunity to Persuade or Instill a belief in the veteran that they're nothing out of the ordinary. Having their intentions read as well is something I'd reserve for 'hard mode' infiltrations that are circumventing scenes of Exalt vs. Exalt combat.

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  • Kelly Pedersen
    replied
    Originally posted by Chausse View Post
    I didn't think to use it for this, I reallt thought that was questions to solve with the social system

    Well, I'd argue that most of the questions that The Wizard of Oz just suggested are really better handled by Read Intentions rather than Profile Character. But both Read Intentions and Profile Character are absolutely part of the social system, I'd say. Read Intentions is for, well, reading someone's intentions. It tells you immediately what they're up to, at least in broad terms, and lets you know what intimacies apply in the scene. Profile Character, on the other hand, is useful for giving you details about someone that aren't necessarily brought up by their actions in a scene. As a Storyteller, I would certainly be willing to give you answers to questions like "does it seem like this character is in a relationship?" on a successful Profile Character roll, even if the relationship wasn't brought up or relevant to their actions in the scene. And that, in turn, lets you do more to bring that information out. For example, if the answer to the question above with Profile Character was "Yes, she's wearing an amber pendant that you know is the sort of thing given in the Haslanti League to the same-gender parent when a child achieves their majority". And now you can drop a mention of a daughter into the conversation, and that makes the intimacy relevant, so you can use Read Intentions to determine it and its context.

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