Insight in D&D

NOTE: Trusted friends told me my math was off. Hence the crossed off numbers. This is a work in progress.


Your character meets an NPC and you don’t trust them, not one bit. They are hiding something but you aren’t sure what. Roll the dice, then role-play a bit and step out of character to ask the DM questions as they occur to you or role-play through and ask the questions at the end.

DC 5 – a little detail, if you are going against a skilled liar and they rolled better than you, it might be something planted to lead you the wrong way. The DM can ask 1-2 questions to get information that the NPC has picked up about you.

DC 10 7 – Ask the DM one question about the NPC you are evaluating but the DM may ask you a question because the NPC gets a read on you too.

DC 15 12 – Ask the DM one question about the NPC you are evaluating.

DC 20 17 – Ask the DM two questions about the NPC you are evaluating.

DC 25 22 – Ask the DM three questions about the NPC you are evaluating.

DC 30 27 – Ask the DM three questions about the NPC you are evaluating and they will tell you any remarkable statistics.

The questions should be things Sherlock Holmes could pick up about a suspect. The DM might ask you how you picked up such information from your interaction with the NPC; feel free to make up cool shit about how your character picked that up.

An opposed Deception roll can add to the DC and/or let the NPC pick up details on the character trying to learn about them. (NOTE: A trusted friend says this opposed roll will make this endeavor all but mathematically impossible. Noting this here while we discuss it).

From Matt Weber:

So, here’s the deal. By RAW, to make an Insight check against an NPC, you roll their Deception against the PC’s Insight. Many GMs will also just use the NPC’s Passive Deception, which is 10+(whatever their modifier is). Either way is valid, but that of course is using a binary pass / fail model, rather than your more interesting gradations.

If you have a set DC *and* the NPC gets to add their entire roll to that DC, that’s “double dipping” because fixed DCs are essentially supposed to replace a roll of the d20+(skill mod). Many NPCs don’t have much in the way of Deception, it’s true, but those that are trained in it could easily have +9 or higher.

UPDATE: Rather than a Perception vs. Insight roll…

If the villain has Deception, roll to see how ensconced they are in the area. Their Deception check is an optional roll to get an idea of how well their lies are covered. A good roll could get local NPC’s covering for them or insisting that their lie is truth, depending on the context. You don’t need to roll for this kind of thing but if you are building this situation on the fly, it can help give background.

When the dice hit the table, the status quo is going to be upended, tables will be flipped and secrets will be spilled.

Inspired by Apocalypse World moves.

Check out these designs and more at my shop…

Moons of Leviathan: Space Drugs

Inspired by the Visions of Death move in Apocalypse World: Burned Over in the Volatile playbook and in Apocalypse World 2nd Edition in the Battlebabe Playbook.

Moves are gained through using technology.

When you take Trance before battle, roll your approporiate training:
On a 10+, name one person who will die and one who will live.
On a 7-9, name one person who will die or one who will live.
On a miss you see a vision of the monster you become as a result of this battle and the fell havoc your hand brings to the universe, take -1 for this battle and hold 3 moving forward after the battle is done.
[ ] +1 to a roll that brings this vision to reality.
[ ] +1 to to a roll that brings this vision to reality.
[ ] Roll this move again as if you were entering battle. Either retire this character as the destiny is made real or prove you have free will by changing the course of destiny.

“I live in an apocalyptic dream. My steps fit into it so precisely that I fear most of all I will grow bored reliving the thing so exactly.”
― Frank Herbert, Dune Messiah

True Sword, a networked blade with an AI embedded in its core.

Link to t-shirt

Knife Fights in Space t-shirt, all profits go to the Trevor Project

Training and Moves in Moons of Leviathan

Riding a wave of inspiration from Morgan, we’re playing Traveller(ish). We’re using the skills as a way to resolve conflicts using Apocalypse World moves. So far it is working

What about skill improvement?

In Book 2: Starships of the Traveller Little Black Box, it talks a bit about getting education and training. Easy enough to Apocalypse it up a bit. Here’s a different way to say something similar, drawing inspiration from ( or ruthlessly pillaging, depending on your POV) Apocalypse World and Burned Over:

“Muad’Dib learned rapidly because his first training was in how to learn. And the first lesson of all was the basic trust that he could learn. It’s shocking to find how many people do not believe they can learn, and how many more believe learning to be difficult.”
Frank Herbert, Dune
When your character wants to train, either gaining a new expertise or improving an established skill, talk to the Referee about the people who offer such training.
Then the Referee will tell you 1 to 4 of the following:
[ ] It is going to take X weeks/months/years of consistent training
[ ] First, you will have to hire a tutor through [an in-game faction]
[ ] You will need X to help you with it.
[ ] It is going to cost dearly.
[ ] There is ancient tech that is said to condition the brain in this manner.
[ ] You’re already the best in the sub-sector; you’ll have to venture deep into the void or take on a massive under-taking in order to improve.
[ ] It is illegal to train the brain in such a manner; you will be risking imprisonment, excommunication or worse.
[ ] Those who safeguard these training methods are rigid in their orthodoxy and will guard them dearly but there are always rebels and heretics at the fringe of the worlds…
Once your training is complete you can add the skill to your sheet or increase the skill you already have. The Referee will tell you what you will need to do to keep this skill sharp so that this expertise does not become covered in rust and decay.

But, Judd, you ask, what about stats?

I like that we’re saying that the limits of the human body aren’t interesting to us. What you use to change the world is your training and in order to gain training you have to go out and interact with the world.

What about non-basic moves?

Non-basic moves are all tech. Maybe the True Sword, a networked blade with an embedded AI, gives you a move like the Gunlugger’s Not to be Fucked With, where you fight as a gang. Certain drugs give you access to psychic powers.

A True Sword and a cool way to show the end of the blog post

Can you get a mask with this on it?

Yes, you can. LINK

Moons of Leviathan, Session 1, Remembering Morgan

That game was special and strange. Thank you, Sean and the Actual Play team. Thank you to everyone in chat.

Thank you, Morgan, for the cool character and cool everything. Thank you for continuing to inspire us.

Ithaca Station’s True Sword

That is exactly what we did, Morgan. There was a duel out on the ship’s hull, in the void of space under the baleful glare of the Leviathan’s eye.

I think you would’ve loved it. What you made and you inspired us to make was too cool for one session. We’re going back.

Revisiting Planescape

I’m running a Planescape game tonight using the Bingo XP Variant and Five Torches Deep and here’s what I sent to the players and a Portal move inspired by AW: Burned Over.

I have no idea if tonight’s game is going to work. It has been a minute since I’ve played a d20 D&Dish game. We’ll see! Thank you for giving this a shot with me.

Planescape was this cool setting where the game implied in the boxed set was this city at the center of all worlds and the players take part in these oddly philosophical factions as they venture out into the Outlands and adventure. The adventures in the Outlands were supposed to ripple out into the rest of the planes of reality.

Made by me with Affinity Design, inspired by the map from the 3E Manual of the Planes Outlands map by Todd Gamble

It seemed to me that NO ONE PLAYED IT THIS WAY. Everyone was excited by this city and ended up being a bodyguard for a dwarf crime lord with fire for hair or doing security for an ogre opera house. I dig that but I’ve done my faction-minded fantasy crime saga stuff already. So, I’m trying to play it this way. – into the Outlands.

When folks go out into the Outlands in our game everyone knows. Word gets out. It is DANGEROUS out there. You could get dragged to hell – literally dragged to hell. In our game there is no money nor fame to be made in Sigil. Real fortune is made in the Outlands (and of course we’ll visit Hells or Heavens or Elemental Planes of Fire as needed). The cool thing about Sigil, the City of Doors, is that you can get anywhere from here. If you are interested in a world you learn about on your adventures, opening a gate is something anyone can do if they are willing to expend the will and time to do so.

When you get back from your adventure the philosophical factions will gather in a plaza near where you live and debate your actions with you. No judgment, just a spirited debate on how this made the planes better or worse. It is a big event. Everyone gets dressed up.

But first an adventure…

Thank you for playing.

Image by Peter H from Pixabay

When you want to find a portal to another world, sit down with your friends and figure out everything you all know about this place and how you learned it. Consider your sources. If anyone you know might know more, invite them to this palaver.

Names, anything made in that place. Lay it all out on the table. Where in the planes are you guessing this place might be? Make a map of the planes as you understand it and put your guess on the map.

NOTE: I’m not saying sit down and make up a place. I’m saying you must’ve heard of this place in-game. Sit down and discuss that before heading through the portal to otherwhere.

What do you have that could be a key to this place?

The DM will saying, “Sure, you could try to get there but…”

  • your guess as to where this place is in the planes is a little off, you’ll end up somewhere dangerous but nearby
  • you need more lore about this place, you’ve heard X knows about this or has info on it
  • you need an item/spell/artifact made from this place, in the Outlands, there is a place that you can get more
  • you need more items made from this place, it is going to cost you a devil’s ransom in gold
  • someone else in Sigil or beyond wants to go there too and you’ll need to pool your resources to open the portal

Inspired by Tinkering in AW Burned Over by Meguey and Vincent Baker et al.

I’ve got an adventure outline, taking what I’ve learned from a year of Trophy Gold incursions, written by me, written by others, adapted from modules and turn it towards Outlands adventures.

Incursions for Trophy Gold? Here ya go.

What the eff is Trophy Gold? We’ve got a podcast all about that.

Where’s Judd?

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These are the places you can regularly hear and/or see me talking about gaming or doing the thing and streaming some play. Links are both in the pictures and in the text beneath.

Here’s the link where I store my links.

I’ll update this as more comes up.


The logo for my podcast, Daydreaming about Dragons

In which I have a conversation with you about techniques that are shaking out at the tables where I sit and inspirational media.

Daydreaming about Dragons Podcast


In which Jason and I discuss the Trophy RPG and in doing so end up talking about game culture and techniques that link up to all kinds of tabletop RPG’s.

The Sixth Ring, a Trophy Podcast


I’m often gaming on the Actual Play twitchstream channel.

My first time getting back to Marr’d since I playtested the Dictionary of Mu almost 2 decades ago.



Inspired by our friend, Morgan Ellis’ character that he never got to play, we’re playing something Traveller-ish.

I’ve been honored to play so much on the Actual Play channel, a place where I’ve made wonderful friends and played wondrous games.


I have a Threadless shop. Design examples below:

Cyberpunk Thoughts with Daniel


Having just recorded an episode of Daydreaming about Dragons about finding common ground in your genre expectations, this video spoke to me. We probably should have had this conversation before we started playing but I was eager to get a move-on and try this asynchronous thing. We got a little lucky in our cyberpunk thoughts aligning but there’s also a bunch of years of friendship and play in the mix.

As we began play I listened to the Neuromancer Audiobook, read Neon Leviathan, and rewatched Blade Runner. I’m listening to the Burning Chrome audiobook.

The first NPC we met was an AI who Daniel named, Stat. I’m thrilled that he decided that Lip considers AI people and wants to save Stat from corporate indentured servitude. Lip has a bit of an exhausted nurse’s cold streak; I really didn’t know what he’d do.


The game continues as Lip meets with a freelance broker for the Stat Job in a local Mongolian food joint. The Cyberpunk Nurse youtube playlist is here.

The rules we are using are from the Apocalypse World: Burned Over Hackbook.


More Campaign Book Covers

Sean has our Bina Janos Burning Wheel Campaign from a youtube playlist to a podcast. He’s breaking it down into bite-sized chunks and offering commentary as he goes. If AP is your thing please check it out.

The ribbons coming off the wheel might be my crowning artistic achievement. You’ve gotta start somewhere.


Lip, the Cyberpunk Nurse, is at TTI HQ, talking to a mid-level exec and getting a feeling that not all is well. Playlist here.


Ell, the Mars Operator, is caravaning through a dried out riverbed and hoverbikes are attacking; shit is getting Fury Roadish. Playlist here.


Cyberpunk Nurse and Mars Hustle were made with templates from Canva.com and then turned into old books with Affinity.

The Ballad of Bina Janos was made with the following pixabay items and then turned into an old book with Affinity:

Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay

Mars Times / Financial Predator

Just one of those things where you play with Affinity by putting city lights on Mars, start playing an AW Burned Over game via video play-by-post and then you look at Canva.com again and there are magazine templates and here we are…

…in-game magazines.


Mars Operator Playlist


Cyberpunk Nurse playlist


Attribution

Picture of Mars: Image by Alexander Antropov from Pixabay

City lights torn from 3 different images by skeeze from Pixabay

Image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay (altered heavily with Affinity)

Magazine Templates from canva.com


Links for Reply Show Summertime and Livin’ Ain’t Easy

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Links from Episode Reply Show Ain’t Easy

Intro

Luke Speaks and Reply

Outro Links

Reply Show Ain’t Easy