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Adventure Authors and immunity to Intimidate


Pathfinder Society Roleplaying Guild

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Scarab Sages

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ok... now, about intimidating GMT:

Silent Tide interaction with GMT:

from the scenario:
After requesting an audience, the PCs are brought before the Grandmaster, a charming, soft-spoken man, but one whose entire body is covered in horrible burn scars. Grandmaster Torch (N male human bardic sage 6/rogue 5) lounges in a shallow pool nursing his scars while two servants gently recycle the water over his charred form. His two heavily armored, half-orc bodyguards remain close at hand. After a brief introduction, Grandmaster Torch concedes he does in fact know where the upstart Nessian has carved out his new base of operations. Torch is reluctant to sell the information, and the price to rat out a potential future underworld leader of Absalom is steep indeed: 6,000 gp, an amount the PCs are unlikely to be able to afford.

If the PCs attempt to bargain, flatter, or trick Grandmaster Torch, roleplay the session accordingly, permitting them to make any social skill checks they wish to attempt. They might also pique his interest if they attempt to sell him the Gut Wither poison from Act 2. If the PCs succeed in amusing or impressing Grandmaster Torch, or perhaps explain why for the good of Absalom he really ought to help them, he relents on his pricing and offers an alternate solution:

"I’ve recently come into possession of a series of safes. Unfortunately, the safecracker I employed has turned out to be quite useless. If you can coax even three of the five safes open, I could be persuaded to disclose Nessian’s location and dispense with my regular fee entirely. These chests are remarkably unique and I have the foreboding suspicion that, in this case, the receptacles just might be worth more than their contents, so I’d rather you didn’t smash them open. Oh! One more thing: if my diviner warns me you have crossed me and stolen the contents, there will be repercussions."

let us examine the above.

The PCs need information, so they go to an information broker. He has the information - and the normal price is high (above what someone in this tier will have, but not really unreasonable for an 11th level guy - which is what GMT is. Price is less than the GP earned in one scenario for a PC of his level).

But wait - there are other options presented. You can talk him out of the information. With any social skill you wish to use. And there is no DC set, so whatever you try is likely to work (depending on the whim of the Judge).

PC#1 "I'll try Diplomacy - I've got a 20... I appeal to his pride - and the fact that this will get into a Pathfinder Chronicle, he'll be getting LOTS of free publicity. Does he tell us?"
PC#2 "I'll use Bluff - with a 27! ... I point out that I'm with the Lord Mayors office, and he needs to do this or we'll send inspectors down to check on his perrmits. so he tells us right?"
PC#3 (a Paladin) "I just tell him that we are trying to save the City from an invasion of undead - some of whom are already being seen in the Puddles district above. I appeal to his Civic Pride... Does that work?"
PC#4 "I'll try Intimidate - I've got a 25. I point out we are with the Pathfinders, and if he doesn't fork over what we need to know, it could go bad for his business in the future. Does he tell us?"

all of the above actually work to net the PCs the ability to get the answer. even the Intimidate.

And just as a "face saving" move, he hands the PCs a set of easy puzzles to solve - so that rumors of what a big softy he is don't get spread around. And even then the PCs only have to get 60% of the puzzles solved! Sheesh!

GMT: "Wow, you solved this 'really hard task'! (air quotes and wink-wink) So I guess you won the prize! Here's the Information (list price 6K gp) - and if you got more of the puzzles I'll throw in some extra (over cap) gold!"

Yeah - in this one GMT comes across as about 1/2 game show host for "Let's Make a Deal"

Did the Intimidate work? I'm not sure, after all - shortly after this, GMT was working full time (for free) for the Pathfinders... I figure The Ten got a pretty good Intimidate check result.

Wow - does this mean the entire Shadow Lodge story arc in Seasons 1&2 was as a reaction to the PCs pulling Intimidate Checks on GMT?

Shadow Lodge

Friendly grand master torch does not part with gold.

Helpful MAYBE.

The Exchange

Tallow wrote:
nosig wrote:

Intimidate can be so subjective too - it's very dependent on the person being Intimidated and person intimidating.

Player as Barbarian PC: "I threaten his family with death and hold a severed finger before his face from my necklace of trophies,"

Judge as Goblin Mook: "No thank you, I not hungry right now. And you not able to buy me off with offers to kill my siblings for me - I not that stupid - I been in this situation before, you adventurers make offer to kill them then when I answer your questions you don't deliver."

Threaten a Zon Kuthon worshiper with torture? ... yeah... I think you bombed that Intimidate Check. Now, threaten to inject them with long lasting pain killers? or getting them hooked on Flayleaf? yeah, that would worry them.

Exactly.

but my point is, often the Players have no idea what "person being Intimidated" would be Intimidated BY. In the Goblin example above, the poor creature didn't even realize the PC was trying to be threatening, it thought the PC was trying to bribe it with food (an aged lady finger) and promises of aid in killing off it's rival goblins.

If the player wants to Role Play the encounter - and gets a good check and has fun playing it up (strait or campy), yeah that works. If the player doesn't want to Role Play being a "Physical Persuasion Specialist" (torturer), they don't have to, it can be glossed over with just a skill check. That works too (or should work just as well).

or it can as long as we as judges and scenario authors allow the skill check to work as the rules state normally they do. Can you make a Intimidate check? yeah, I guess - but in answer to the OP, yeah, sometimes an Author will prohibit them. But more often (in my experience) the judge might just say they are prohibited. It's all about restricting player options - being sure "the story" goes down the expected path and ensuring the train get's to the station at the appointed time.

Scarab Sages

BigNorseWolf wrote:

Friendly grand master torch does not part with gold.

Helpful MAYBE.

?? I don't understand this comment. Please expand on your statements above.

Scarab Sages

Matthew Downie wrote:
TOZ wrote:
Because that level one character isn't a threat, and no amount of bluster can change that?
That's reasonable... as long the person being intimidated knows for sure that the PC is level 1 and has no allies (supernatural or otherwise) who would be a threat.

Grandmaster Torch would know, and for [redacted] he isn't afraid of the Decemvirate either.

Scarab Sages

nosig wrote:
Tallow wrote:
nosig wrote:

Intimidate can be so subjective too - it's very dependent on the person being Intimidated and person intimidating.

Player as Barbarian PC: "I threaten his family with death and hold a severed finger before his face from my necklace of trophies,"

Judge as Goblin Mook: "No thank you, I not hungry right now. And you not able to buy me off with offers to kill my siblings for me - I not that stupid - I been in this situation before, you adventurers make offer to kill them then when I answer your questions you don't deliver."

Threaten a Zon Kuthon worshiper with torture? ... yeah... I think you bombed that Intimidate Check. Now, threaten to inject them with long lasting pain killers? or getting them hooked on Flayleaf? yeah, that would worry them.

Exactly.

but my point is, often the Players have no idea what "person being Intimidated" would be Intimidated BY. In the Goblin example above, the poor creature didn't even realize the PC was trying to be threatening, it thought the PC was trying to bribe it with food (an aged lady finger) and promises of aid in killing off it's rival goblins.

If the player wants to Role Play the encounter - and gets a good check and has fun playing it up (strait or campy), yeah that works. If the player doesn't want to Role Play being a "Physical Persuasion Specialist" (torturer), they don't have to, it can be glossed over with just a skill check. That works too (or should work just as well).

or it can as long as we as judges and scenario authors allow the skill check to work as the rules state normally they do. Can you make a Intimidate check? yeah, I guess - but in answer to the OP, yeah, sometimes an Author will prohibit them. But more often (in my experience) the judge might just say they are prohibited. It's all about restricting player options - being sure "the story" goes down the expected path and ensuring the train get's to the station at the appointed time.

Absolutely. You elucidate, quite well, exactly why Intimidate won't always work, even if there isn't anything in the scenario saying it won't for whatever reason.

GMs need to play the NPCs as they interpret the NPC backstory and the scenario background. Not every intimidate check is going to work, no matter what you roll, because some things just don't intimidate some creatures.

Scarab Sages

Katisha wrote:

ok... now, about intimidating GMT:

** spoiler omitted **...

GMT was "Intimidated"...

Scarab Sages

Tallow wrote:
Matthew Downie wrote:
TOZ wrote:
Because that level one character isn't a threat, and no amount of bluster can change that?
That's reasonable... as long the person being intimidated knows for sure that the PC is level 1 and has no allies (supernatural or otherwise) who would be a threat.
Grandmaster Torch would know, and for [redacted] he isn't afraid of the Decemvirate either.

actually, I think he is "afraid" of The Ten - at least a little bit...

Rivalry's End:

How the heck did The Ten get him to work for them anyway? I figure he was being blackmailed in some way, and once he got enough on the 10 to quit he did. And what's the last thing he says to the Agents?

"Thanks."

and the Shadow Lodge

"And especially to you, who enabled me to get away from the 10."

and he disappears (while many PCs try to kill him, 'cause, you know, "this isn't an organization you can just quit. We're not going to let you just walk away."

The Exchange

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Tallow wrote:
nosig wrote:
Tallow wrote:
nosig wrote:

Intimidate can be so subjective too - it's very dependent on the person being Intimidated and person intimidating.

Player as Barbarian PC: "I threaten his family with death and hold a severed finger before his face from my necklace of trophies,"

Judge as Goblin Mook: "No thank you, I not hungry right now. And you not able to buy me off with offers to kill my siblings for me - I not that stupid - I been in this situation before, you adventurers make offer to kill them then when I answer your questions you don't deliver."

Threaten a Zon Kuthon worshiper with torture? ... yeah... I think you bombed that Intimidate Check. Now, threaten to inject them with long lasting pain killers? or getting them hooked on Flayleaf? yeah, that would worry them.

Exactly.

but my point is, often the Players have no idea what "person being Intimidated" would be Intimidated BY. In the Goblin example above, the poor creature didn't even realize the PC was trying to be threatening, it thought the PC was trying to bribe it with food (an aged lady finger) and promises of aid in killing off it's rival goblins.

If the player wants to Role Play the encounter - and gets a good check and has fun playing it up (strait or campy), yeah that works. If the player doesn't want to Role Play being a "Physical Persuasion Specialist" (torturer), they don't have to, it can be glossed over with just a skill check. That works too (or should work just as well).

or it can as long as we as judges and scenario authors allow the skill check to work as the rules state normally they do. Can you make a Intimidate check? yeah, I guess - but in answer to the OP, yeah, sometimes an Author will prohibit them. But more often (in my experience) the judge might just say they are prohibited. It's all about restricting player options - being sure "the story" goes down the expected path and ensuring the train get's to the station at the appointed time.

Absolutely. You...

I think you are actually missing my point.

the PLAYER may not know how to (or may not be able to verbalize how to) Intimidate the target... but then the PLAYER may not know how to pick a lock either. They just make the check... the game system does the rest. Unless we (authors and/or judges) disallow it.

The OP is appealing to us (authors and/or judges) NOT to do this.

I understand the OP ... and can sympathize (and in my games I try to do just that).

Scarab Sages

Katisha wrote:
Tallow wrote:
Matthew Downie wrote:
TOZ wrote:
Because that level one character isn't a threat, and no amount of bluster can change that?
That's reasonable... as long the person being intimidated knows for sure that the PC is level 1 and has no allies (supernatural or otherwise) who would be a threat.
Grandmaster Torch would know, and for [redacted] he isn't afraid of the Decemvirate either.

actually, I think he is "afraid" of The Ten - at least a little bit...

** spoiler omitted **

originally, sure, afterwards, nope

Scarab Sages

nosig wrote:

I think you are actually missing my point.

the PLAYER may not know how to (or may not be able to verbalize how to) Intimidate the target... but then the PLAYER may not know how to pick a lock either. They just make the check... the game system does the rest. Unless we (authors and/or judges) disallow it.

The OP is appealing to us (authors and/or judges) NOT to do this.

I understand the OP ... and can sympathize (and in my games I try to do just that).

You are correct. You were not making it clear (or I misunderstood you) that you were agreeing with the OP.

In this case, you are actually advocating doing away with roleplaying and the consequences of doing so (that +/- 2 for good/bad choices in roleplaying). Don't need to hear about your and your wife's experiences on GM's who've enforced doing this poorly, I've read and completely understand that point.

I think we have a fundamental disagreement on what a GM's job is when it comes to adjudicating social situations in game. My opinion, is that the GM has the job to make the world live around the PCs, and part of doing that is making sure the NPCs all have personalities, reasons for being where they are, and wants/needs. Those matter to how they are going to react to even a vague, "I roll intimidate!"

I will choose to not GM for people who expect me to just make sure some dice are rolled.

Shadow Lodge

Katisha wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:

Friendly grand master torch does not part with gold.

Helpful MAYBE.

?? I don't understand this comment. Please expand on your statements above.

Intimidate makes the target "Friendly". The Listed dc attitudes are

Hostile | Will take risks to hurt you | Attack, interfere, berate, flee

Unfriendly | Wishes you ill | Mislead, gossip, avoid, watch suspiciously, insult

Indifferent | Doesn’t much care | Socially expected interaction

Friendly | Wishes you well | Chat, advise, offer limited help, advocate

Helpful | Will take risks to help you | Protect, back up, heal, aid

At friendly, some NPCs will part with gold for you.

Torch is not one of them.

Silver Crusade

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Or better yet sometimes intimidate works, but not how you wanted. It was a dark day on the plains of Nerosyan. Demons were everywhere, and I was leading a Seeker team when that dragon showed up. I looked up at him (checked my boon sheet that gave me no size penalties to intimidate) and stared that dragon straight in the eye. He was so scared he promptly flew over and proceeded to try and eliminate the worst threat and eat me. Things looked grim from inside the dragons mouth, but the next round when I just walked right out of his mouth, he knew that he'd been beat and promptly took off for Georgia (OK the special ended, before he could breath on my nearly dead body).

Overall I'm pretty sympathetic to giving the GMs some help on adjudicating the social skills. There are times at the table the best I can muster is a quick line describing my diplomatic/intimidating angle but the most fun is when you get some real dialogue going and affect the story that way. I also know that sometimes as a GM despite prep time you don't have an immediate answer to an unconventional approach from a PC. And having something in the scenario to support a GM not getting intimidated into allowing intimidate to make people do whatever is not a bad thing.


Anyone know how to handle a good cop / bad cop interaction within the rules? I mean using intimidate to make them friendly, and then diplomacy to make them helpful (at the reduced 'friendly' DC).

Had this come up accidentally in a game, the players intimidated a target before finding out that they weren't the true enemy. So they switched to diplomacy. (And of course there was information the enemy would not share unless they were helpful.)

I gave them the benefit of the doubt and had the diplomacy increase his attitude to helpful after the intimidate made him act friendly. But am still not sure what to do if it comes up again. (Or if I should do that as a player.)

Shadow Lodge

Ward Davis wrote:

Anyone know how to handle a good cop / bad cop interaction within the rules? I mean using intimidate to make them friendly, and then diplomacy to make them helpful (at the reduced 'friendly' DC).

The target ACTS friendly. It doesn't mean that they ARE friendly. If you're diplomancing someone wetting their pants you're still using their original starting attitude if not the hostile that they're actually at.

Ultimate intrigue has a feat that lets you assist a diplomacy check with an intimidate check to do this, or you could consider the feat a prone shooter option, or just include the indimidate check as a circumstance bonus that just happens to be the same +2 you would get for aiding otherwise.

Silver Crusade

BigNorseWolf wrote:

i want to cart in blackbears to bellyrub at all my sessions for wild empathy che..OW OW OW down boy....

You bring in a black bear and let me belly rub it (Safely) and you can have whatever bonuses you want to whatever skills you want as long as you want them :-) :-) :-)

Silver Crusade

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HWalsh wrote:

I don't think the issue with intimidate is the writers so much as the players. Players don't understand how intimidate works.

Intimidate is not mind control.

By the rules, it pretty much is.

As I've said, I TOTALLY agree with everybody (including Paizo authors :-)) who don't want it to be and don't let it be.

But that is because I personally think that the social rules, as written, are pretty much totally broken. I won't (this time :-)) speak for Paizo but I don't like that part of the Pathfinder game system.

In practice, there is HUGE table variation with how successful social skills can be. Varies by GM AND scenario. Sometimes the GMs will embrace the rule of funny and let you get away with just about anything with a high bluff check, sometimes the skill is all but useless. Most GMs try very hard (and very often succeed) in walking that line where social skills are useful but not overpowering. But they very, very often do it by essentially just ignoring the rules as written.

And in quite a few scenarios Paizo mostly takes the choice away from the GMs by creating new mechanics that actually WORK in the scenario. And are fun and balanced.

Scarab Sages

BigNorseWolf wrote:
Katisha wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:

Friendly grand master torch does not part with gold.

Helpful MAYBE.

?? I don't understand this comment. Please expand on your statements above.

Intimidate makes the target "Friendly". The Listed dc attitudes are

Hostile | Will take risks to hurt you | Attack, interfere, berate, flee

Unfriendly | Wishes you ill | Mislead, gossip, avoid, watch suspiciously, insult

Indifferent | Doesn’t much care | Socially expected interaction

Friendly | Wishes you well | Chat, advise, offer limited help, advocate

Helpful | Will take risks to help you | Protect, back up, heal, aid

At friendly, some NPCs will part with gold for you.

Torch is not one of them.

but... in Silent Tide GMT actually does "part with gold" - "over cap" gold, which at that time (Season Zero) was gold above that listed as the limit on the CR (this was a holdover from 3.5 and LG days). Though the players had to solve more tan 60% of the puzzles to get the "friendly" gold ...

Silver Crusade

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Tallow wrote:


Someone mentioned above that PCs can't be bluffed. That's not true. Player Characters can be bluffed. That's what the Sense Motive skill is for. Players may not believe things their characters do. But that's where roleplaying comes up, rather than meta-gaming.

One rule in Pathfinder that I absolutely LOATHE and absolutely REFUSE to follow is the rule for PCs that "you fail your sense motive, you believe the other person" rule.

No.

The game doesn't get to tell me what my character thinks (absent magic).

In real life, I have a low sense motive. I can not tell when people are lying. That does NOT mean that I believe something, it means that I know that I can't tell if the person is lying to me.

Edit: I've come moderately close a couple of times but I've never had a GM force the issue. In PFS, I'd leave the table. In a home game, I'd walk.

Silver Crusade

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Ward Davis wrote:
Anyone know how to handle a good cop / bad cop interaction within the rules?

I just allow diplomacy to aid intimidate or intimidate to aid diplomacy when the good cop/bad cop approach seems reasonable to me

Not 100% sure that is legal but I'm 100% sure that I don't care :-)

The Exchange

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Tallow wrote:
nosig wrote:

I think you are actually missing my point.

the PLAYER may not know how to (or may not be able to verbalize how to) Intimidate the target... but then the PLAYER may not know how to pick a lock either. They just make the check... the game system does the rest. Unless we (authors and/or judges) disallow it.

The OP is appealing to us (authors and/or judges) NOT to do this.

I understand the OP ... and can sympathize (and in my games I try to do just that).

You are correct. You were not making it clear (or I misunderstood you) that you were agreeing with the OP.

In this case, you are actually advocating doing away with roleplaying and the consequences of doing so (that +/- 2 for good/bad choices in roleplaying). Don't need to hear about your and your wife's experiences on GM's who've enforced doing this poorly, I've read and completely understand that point.

I think we have a fundamental disagreement on what a GM's job is when it comes to adjudicating social situations in game. My opinion, is that the GM has the job to make the world live around the PCs, and part of doing that is making sure the NPCs all have personalities, reasons for being where they are, and wants/needs. Those matter to how they are going to react to even a vague, "I roll intimidate!"

I will choose to not GM for people who expect me to just make sure some dice are rolled.

no I am not "...actually advocating doing away with roleplaying...", I am actually advocating disassociating the link between rewarding the PLAYER for having good social skills and the Roll of the dice. Want to reward me for doing a fabulous in character description of a skill check (be it an Intimidate, a Perception check, or even an Escape Artist check)? Don't give me a (+2) on the check. Give me a smile. Maybe even a chuckle, or even better, give me a Role Playing, In (Non-Player) Character response right back at me.

I in fact preach making the check FIRST, then making the Role Play match the Roll Play. I love the Role Playing part of this game (and I've watched over the years as it get's steadily eroded away by the Roll Play parts of the rules, going from something the Player Controls totally, to something done with dice checks). And I've seen/played with players who really don't understand when I cry when my Guard Dog dies, or laugh when a complex puzzle falls into place for me. Who are just doing Roll Play - because that is the way they play. But I don't want to try to force them to play MY way - to Role Play their PCs... I don't use the Carrot/Stick reward of a Judges +2/-2 when they "Play Right)... I think it's just wrong to try to force people to "play the Right Way".

SO - imagine that the judge is a Roll Player who plays for the combats - who knows the mechanics of the game and has no skill or even understanding of the Role Playing part of the game. And give them a bunch of players like me... players who want them to "just skip past mechanics parts and get to the story - I mean, it's not like we can't handle this challenge! Come on! They are just nameless thugs! Can't we just mark off the 'resource tax' and get on with the REAL GAME...." (Cue the scene from Austin Powers Gold Member - with the Nameless Mook just laying down his gun and "falling over").

Hopefully, as a player or a judge, I am going to be able to give the other people at the table - be they Roll Players or Role Players or some mix of those things - a game they will enjoy. And I'm going to try to enjoy it myself (which should be easy, as I have the most fun as a judge when my players are having fun). (And I will try to do all this while remaining true to PFSOP and the "run as written" rule.)

And I try really hard not to tell (even non-verbally) players at my table (or at a table I am playing at) that they "are not having fun the right way". What is fun for them might not be what is fun for me... But they sat down hoping to have a fun time... and that's what I'm hoping we will all have.

So... if the rest of the table is a bit more Roll and a bit less Role? I'll tone down the voices and pay more attention to the mechanics of how the rules work. Maybe I'll trot out a couple fancy rules gimmicks (some "cheese" maybe) and show them off to everyone. "Yeah, you can cast invisibility on an object - like a door..."...

If the rest of the table is a bit more Role and a bit less Roll? More "In Character" voices, method acting and props (pulling out a handful of 1$ coins to "drop a handful of gold on the bar..." or my matchmaker asking "are you currently in a long term relationship? No? Would you like to be?").

"Sometimes we role play, sometimes we roll play. It's all part of the game."

Starfinder Society Developer

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Can we please try to stay away from “I think X/Y rule is dumb and don’t use it” posts. Such commentary is outside the scope of this conversation, and is not Organized Play specific. It’s also confusing to new players and sets up a false expectation of ignoring rules they choose to ignore.

Thanks!

Scarab Sages

Paul Jackson wrote:
Tallow wrote:


Someone mentioned above that PCs can't be bluffed. That's not true. Player Characters can be bluffed. That's what the Sense Motive skill is for. Players may not believe things their characters do. But that's where roleplaying comes up, rather than meta-gaming.

One rule in Pathfinder that I absolutely LOATHE and absolutely REFUSE to follow is the rule for PCs that "you fail your sense motive, you believe the other person" rule.

No.

The game doesn't get to tell me what my character thinks (absent magic).

In real life, I have a low sense motive. I can not tell when people are lying. That does NOT mean that I believe something, it means that I know that I can't tell if the person is lying to me.

Edit: I've come moderately close a couple of times but I've never had a GM force the issue. In PFS, I'd leave the table. In a home game, I'd walk.

So example time:

If some badguy was disguised and was using insane bluff and disguise rolls to fool your character, but you (the player) decide that you are going to remain suspicious for whatever reasons, but your character can't suss out the lie or the fact the badguy is disguised.

You are saying that you'd walk from a table if a GM said you couldn't act on YOUR (the player) suspicions?

Good bye...

Seriously. That's meta-gaming and breaks games, immersion, verisimilitude, etc. It makes any type of circumstance, encounter or scenario where the badguys lie or whatever completely moot, if as a player you just get to decide what the lie is and act on it.

The Exchange

wait! I got an example for this Sense Motive check too!

I encountered a "little kid" in a dungeon crawl a while back. yeah, sure, little kid in a bad place - like how'd you get here kid? Glance around at the rest of the party and they are all buying into this creatures story. Clearly they missed the Sense Motive here! But I know, this kids a shape-changing demon - got to be. I read about these things before you know.

So, first excuse I get I splash her with holy water! Yeah! Holy Water burns more than undead you know! I carry it for extra-planer creatures too. You know, just an "opps! sorry 'bout that!" and... what do you know. No hsss and burn. Darn it. It wasn't a demon after all. Guess I missed my Sense Motive check....

So I just glanced around at the rest of the guys looking at me for splashing the kid and said... "what? I got a low CHA, so sue me..." and stocked off back to the head of the party.

sometimes you guess wrong, just because you THINK you know what's going on, doesn't mean you do. And it can be fun to miss a guess sometimes too...

Silver Crusade

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nosig wrote:
...or even better, give me a Role Playing, In (Non-Player) Character response right back at me.

This is very much what I want too. This is what I want rather than codified social skills that (imho) foster Roll Play.

I realise that this is my gaming preference.

Grand Lodge

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Jane "The Knife" wrote:

wait! I got an example for this Sense Motive check too!

I encountered a "little kid" in a dungeon crawl a while back. yeah, sure, little kid in a bad place - like how'd you get here kid? Glance around at the rest of the party and they are all buying into this creatures story. Clearly they missed the Sense Motive here! But I know, this kids a shape-changing demon - got to be. I read about these things before you know.

So, first excuse I get I splash her with holy water! Yeah! Holy Water burns more than undead you know! I carry it for extra-planer creatures too. You know, just an "opps! sorry 'bout that!" and... what do you know. No hsss and burn. Darn it. It wasn't a demon after all. Guess I missed my Sense Motive check....

So I just glanced around at the rest of the guys looking at me for splashing the kid and said... "what? I got a low CHA, so sue me..." and stocked off back to the head of the party.

sometimes you guess wrong, just because you THINK you know what's going on, doesn't mean you do. And it can be fun to miss a guess sometimes too...

I found a little girl hiding outside a house that had been overrun by demons. I made her a cake and lent her my backup gun...

This turned out to be a very poor idea.

The Exchange

Paul Jackson wrote:
Tallow wrote:


Someone mentioned above that PCs can't be bluffed. That's not true. Player Characters can be bluffed. That's what the Sense Motive skill is for. Players may not believe things their characters do. But that's where roleplaying comes up, rather than meta-gaming.

One rule in Pathfinder that I absolutely LOATHE and absolutely REFUSE to follow is the rule for PCs that "you fail your sense motive, you believe the other person" rule.

No.

The game doesn't get to tell me what my character thinks (absent magic).

In real life, I have a low sense motive. I can not tell when people are lying. That does NOT mean that I believe something, it means that I know that I can't tell if the person is lying to me.

Edit: I've come moderately close a couple of times but I've never had a GM force the issue. In PFS, I'd leave the table. In a home game, I'd walk.

bolding mine.

I'm confused on this. What rule are you talking about?

Now, if I'm the judge and the players miss their Sense Motive checks (which are on my Initiative Cards as a Pre-roll) - I'm going to present the "world view" the way the Bluff is presented. "Yeah, you actually found the Duke of Parma in the bandit camp. The bandits have been holding him for ransom...".

Now I might tell one of the players "you don't believe he is telling you the truth...". If most of the players make their checks, I'll do the "shifty eyed sleaze bag" act for my NPC. "Really guy, you can trust me! That's a Low Mileage Camel, or my name isn't Honest Ahab the Camel Merchant!
<.<
>.>".

Sometimes the PLAYERS might know when the NPC is lying to them - after all "Replays" are a thing, or someone may have even run this scenario before they got to play it... but I would expect the PLAYER to keep that strait. To play it as I (as the judge) present it to them.

And heck, I've often been in a scenario and said something like "boy, this one is really stretching coincidence... How much you wanna bet the BBE is actually (insert real stretch of coincidence)." and been expected to have my PC act like they believe it (see post by Jane the Knife above).

The Exchange

Natalya wrote:
Jane "The Knife" wrote:

wait! I got an example for this Sense Motive check too!

I encountered a "little kid" in a dungeon crawl a while back. yeah, sure, little kid in a bad place - like how'd you get here kid? Glance around at the rest of the party and they are all buying into this creatures story. Clearly they missed the Sense Motive here! But I know, this kids a shape-changing demon - got to be. I read about these things before you know.

So, first excuse I get I splash her with holy water! Yeah! Holy Water burns more than undead you know! I carry it for extra-planer creatures too. You know, just an "opps! sorry 'bout that!" and... what do you know. No hsss and burn. Darn it. It wasn't a demon after all. Guess I missed my Sense Motive check....

So I just glanced around at the rest of the guys looking at me for splashing the kid and said... "what? I got a low CHA, so sue me..." and stocked off back to the head of the party.

sometimes you guess wrong, just because you THINK you know what's going on, doesn't mean you do. And it can be fun to miss a guess sometimes too...

I found a little girl hiding outside a house that had been overrun by demons. I made her a cake and lent her my backup gun...

This turned out to be a very poor idea.

yeah, and later when it turned on me too, I had real problems excepting that it wasn't a good idea to trust her... after all, in the words of Warren Buffet:

"What the human being is best at doing is interpreting all new information so that their prior conclusions remain intact."

Scarab Sages

well one thing I'll agree with you on nosig, is that a GM should tailor their table to the players present. If they want dice and mechanics and that's what they find fun, you should do your best to present the game that way. If they want roleplay and dice-lite, you should do your best to present the game that way.

In either circumstance, however, it should not obviate the need to eventually resolve the situation per the rules of the game or the need of the GM to know what the player wants their character to do/say and their intended outcome.

Silver Crusade

Tallow wrote:


So example time:

If some badguy was disguised and was using insane bluff and disguise rolls to fool your character, but you (the player) decide that you are going to remain suspicious for whatever reasons, but your character can't suss out the lie or the fact the badguy is disguised.

You are saying that you'd walk from a table if a GM said you couldn't act on YOUR (the player) suspicions?

Good bye...

Seriously. That's meta-gaming and breaks games, immersion, verisimilitude, etc. It makes any type of circumstance, encounter or scenario where the badguys lie or whatever completely moot, if as a player you just get to decide what the lie is and act on it.

Yup.

If the GM has unfortunately given me meta knowledge by suddenly calling for a Sense Motive roll the situation is harder but usually the GM only gives sense motive rolls if the player asks for one.

Almost all of the time that I decide that I'm suspicious there is no meta knowledge involved. The player and character have access to the same knowledge.

Note, I try very hard to act in character where my character detects no lie. But "detect no lie" is NOT the same as "Believe what you are told is true". The rules do NOT get to tell me what my character believes. Ever. (again, absent magic). They get to tell me what I PERCIEVE, NOT what I think or believe.

Its a roleplaying game. I am the one playing the role NOT the GM.

As an aside, my characters fairly often believe things that I the player know are completely false. Because that is how they'd evaluate the evidence. Sometimes this is beneficial

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

...and sometimes it can 'shut a table down' for two hours as characters chase 'the red herring'.


The PFS format and module format are big limiters here. It would be great if they had the word-count to give a background and motivations for each NPC. Still, I think there should often be room for "When intimidated, he'll try to flee or fight before giving up information." or "X has a +10DC against intimidation when he's in his throne room" Over a simple, "X is immune to intimidate." But if they have to cut, cutting out something that only affects one specific tactic is better than cutting something that will affect every table.

Another issue that the format doesn't cover is things outside of the module. If you intimidate GMT, you might find a price on your head in a non-PFS game. But PFS inherently isolates you from these types of consequences.

If you are playing PFS, you are tacitly accepting that your choices are more limited. These modules are usually not complete railroads, but you are travelling from X to Y to Z.

Disk Elemental wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:
The dcs for intimidate are just too low to deal with reasonably unless you want to have all NPCs with important information be paladins.

That's the real reason.

Diplomacy and bluff both have RAW circumstance modifiers that prevent them from working in certain situations; Intimidate has no such restriction, an has a ludicrously low DC.

This is why giving a circumstance modifier to NPC's and a list of suggested actions is better than simply saying no. Being on your home ground, having armed guards, knowing you're part of an organization that will avenge you to save face - these are all factors for a circumstance bonus.

But if I'd have written the rules, I'd have also given a bonus/penalty for level differential.

HWalsh wrote:

The other reason why intimidate doesn't work is because, again, NPCs don't have the same traits as players do.

Player Characters are immune to social interaction "demands" so you, as a PC can be immune to Intimidate, as far as forcing you to behave favorably toward an NPC. You are immune to being bluffed into believing an NPC. You are immune to being Diplomancied into selling your sword to an NPC at a loss.

PC's are not immune to interaction skills. The player chooses the PC's actions, but that should be influenced by the skill. Just like NPC's will be influences, but won't always do what the player wants.

nosig wrote:

I think you are actually missing my point.

the PLAYER may not know how to (or may not be able to verbalize how to) Intimidate the target... but then the PLAYER may not know how to pick a lock either. They just make the check... the game system does the rest. Unless we (authors and/or judges) disallow it.

My go-to is to have the roll and the RP. I then filter that RP as if it were being said by somebody with that roll. The points you make are important. Stroking the ego of a narcissist is a better tactic than insulting him.

Scarab Sages

Wei Ji the Learner wrote:


...and sometimes it can 'shut a table down' for two hours as characters chase 'the red herring'.

Or ruin the adventure because players lock the little girl in a closet and set their animal companion to guard said closet, all because they, the player, are suspicious, for no good reason other than they think things are suspicious.

Player made a 40+ Sense Motive check (after THEY asked to make one) and I told them that everything the NPC was saying seemed believable. And they still did the actions above because the player just couldn't let it go. Things did not go quite how they expected them to after that though.

Grand Lodge

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GM: The cultists offer you sumptuous looking food & wine.
Player: We eat and drink nothing.
GM: But you haven't even tried a Sense Motive?
Player: Don't care. We still aren't eating or drinking anything.
GM: Okay, give me a save vs. poison.
Player: What? I just said we weren't eating or drinking anything.
GM: Yes. But, unfortunately, the evil innkeeper you insulted last night poisoned your breakfast. The cultists are aware of the innkeeper's proclivities and so they always add the antidote to the food and wine they offer guests. Too bad you didn't eat it.

Scarab Sages

I think limitations of the format of PFS, which the scenarios in discussion are meant for, is part of the key dissonance I see here. Lets take my GMT example, which lacks the established in rules limitations. See GMT is no more resistant to intimidate then any other NPC with class levels, as there are no modifiers for having spent years involved in organized crime to get those items he wants. So, from a rules perspective, even a level 1 or 2 who put focus into intimidate could in theory, intimidate Torch. But it only lasts a short time. And if you actually frightened Torch, he would likely have you ‘dealt’ with. And its how I would shut down that kind of funny business in a home game. In fact, you might not even finish your attempt before the 10 guards in the room deal with you. But due to various rules in PFS, including the don’t be a dick rule, I am discouraged from attempting you from being a dick in a game I run.

Several times I have had to dissemble because I don’t know what the target of the intimidate knows, Or I am trying to determine how the guard is going to murder my players. As a PFS GM I have been told I am wrong because an intimidate target did not give up info from intimidate because it would cause harm to the target (as explicitly stated in the intimidate rules). I have been told I am wrong to interpret Intimidate as an aggressive action. I have been told I am wrong to have negative consequences for actions which should have negative consequences. Why do writers ban intimidate? Because long term consequences aren’t a thing. Intimidate should often lead to long term consequences for your characters. But the Format of PFS makes introducing long term consequences impossible, and you also often can’t deal with it during the session either. The format often ties a GM’s hand. Writers ban intimidate because the real downsides to that skill don’t exist in this format. Low DC skill with none of the built in downsides? I'm surprised PFS continues to allow it as written.

The Exchange

could someone please give a spoiler-ed example of an instance in a PFS scenario where Intimidate is banned/disallowed? Because I am actually having trouble coming up with one... and I have been checking. I'm finding some where it is given a penalty, or with a high DC or even with the note that trying it will mean the PCs are "reported to authorities" after they end the "interview" and the target feels safe again... but not outright banned.

plop in the scenario name as the spoiler, then if we have played that scenario we can click the spoiler tag and read HOW it is Banned.

First Steps:
Auntie Baltwin is said to "stand up to bully fighters, as if daring them to hit an old lady". But I would not call that Banning or preventing Intimidate from being used against her.


Tallow wrote:
Paul Jackson wrote:
Tallow wrote:


Someone mentioned above that PCs can't be bluffed. That's not true. Player Characters can be bluffed. That's what the Sense Motive skill is for. Players may not believe things their characters do. But that's where roleplaying comes up, rather than meta-gaming.

One rule in Pathfinder that I absolutely LOATHE and absolutely REFUSE to follow is the rule for PCs that "you fail your sense motive, you believe the other person" rule.

No.

The game doesn't get to tell me what my character thinks (absent magic).

In real life, I have a low sense motive. I can not tell when people are lying. That does NOT mean that I believe something, it means that I know that I can't tell if the person is lying to me.

Edit: I've come moderately close a couple of times but I've never had a GM force the issue. In PFS, I'd leave the table. In a home game, I'd walk.

So example time:

If some badguy was disguised and was using insane bluff and disguise rolls to fool your character, but you (the player) decide that you are going to remain suspicious for whatever reasons, but your character can't suss out the lie or the fact the badguy is disguised.

You are saying that you'd walk from a table if a GM said you couldn't act on YOUR (the player) suspicions?

Good bye...

Seriously. That's meta-gaming and breaks games, immersion, verisimilitude, etc. It makes any type of circumstance, encounter or scenario where the badguys lie or whatever completely moot, if as a player you just get to decide what the lie is and act on it.

The problem with this logic is that Paizo doesn't necessarily write scenarios that way. One of my more favorite scenarios has a bad guy with a 50 disguise check who is as subtle as a sledgehammer.


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Tallow wrote:
Lucy_Valentine wrote:
Thomas Hutchins wrote:
Why? WHY? Why is the lv1 that mechanically able to intimidate grandmaster torch somehow stopped? That guy must be FREAKING TERRIFYING to pull it off. Why would someone that has all rights to be afraid somehow not be afraid?

Well, one good reason is to protect the PC. If PCs start threatening Torch when he's briefing them, then bearing in mind that the action takes one whole minute, the logical choice is for him to call the guards five seconds in, have the PC killed or arrested, and that's that.

If he's "immune to intimidate" then Torch can afford to look unimpressed at their threats and not bother calling the guards to end their career. Result: PC protected from incredibly bad player ideas.

---

Somewhat separately the inequality that already exists - that NPCs can't intimidate PCs into being friendly - almost requires an inequality of resistances. PCs effectively DO have an immunity to intimidate, at least to that aspect of it.

Someone mentioned above that PCs can't be bluffed. That's not true. Player Characters can be bluffed. That's what the Sense Motive skill is for. Players may not believe things their characters do. But that's where roleplaying comes up, rather than meta-gaming.

The thing is, the book actually says you are immune to them. They can bluff you, and you can fail your sense motive, and you can be told, "You don't think he's lying."

But that doesn't make you trust him.

Like, an enemy can't run in on you, and talk to you (and your party) for a minute of hurling threats at you, and then have the GM say, "Okay he's threatened you for a minute, now he's got a +15 Intimidate and rolled a 16, so all of your characters surrender and throw down your weapons."

Scarab Sages

But it would be pretty poor role play to ignore a sense motive fail


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Tallow wrote:
But it would be pretty poor role play to ignore a sense motive fail

You aren't poorly role playing ignoring the sense motive.

Sense Motive works as follows:

You get a Hunch about the person. Failing the Sense Motive does *not* mean you believe him. It simply means you don't get a hunch. It isn't a roll to believe them or not. It is a roll to see if something feels off.

From the text:
"Hunch: This use of the skill involves making a gut assessment of the social situation. You can get the feeling from another’s behavior that something is wrong, such as when you’re talking to an impostor. Alternatively, you can get the feeling that someone is trustworthy."

You make a DC 20 Sense Motive check. If you succeed and the person is trustworthy then you are told the person is trustworthy. Failing doesn't tell you the person *isn't* trustworthy. If you succeed and are told the person isn't trustworthy, then that is what you know, if you fail that doesn't mean that you think they *are* trustworthy. You just don't get a hunch.

-----

Now, you can use Bluff to try to convince someone that you are telling the truth, but it still works the same way. If the PCs fail to make the Sense Motive then they don't know.

This doesn't mean the PCs believe you, it is just that they don't catch you. The GM can say, "He seems to be telling the truth" after your sense motive, pass or fail, but that is the limit of Bluff. What the PCs do is up to them.

The main thing is, unlike with an NPC, the PC's don't have an "attitude" to affect, with things like, in this case, Intimidate. You can't "make a PC friendly" to you with Diplomacy/Intimidate because the PCs don't have those settings.

Sovereign Court

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Tallow wrote:
But it would be pretty poor role play to ignore a sense motive fail

?? What?

Wait - if someone comes into the room and says "Good morning Pathfinders!"

And I say to the judge: "This is the middle of the night - I'm going to do a Sense Motive check - Taking 10 I get an 8... so is he trying to conceal something? Is he an imposter?!!"

Judge: "You can't tell, you failed the check..."

Me: "AH-HA! I knew it! This old coot is an IMPOSTER! He's no Venture Captain! I draw my weapon and attack!"

Yeah, I can tell this is going to really improve those late night VC Briefings!

Dark Archive

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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I think a more *telling* one would be...

"Greetings, Pathfinders. I have a mission for you." A certain

VC:
Drendle Dreng
begins.

Party looks out the window, realizes it's daylight.

Party: "We're initiating combat."

GM: "W..what? I haven't even started the *briefing yet*"

Party: "CLEARLY he's an imposter!"

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
Bill Baldwin wrote:

GM: The cultists offer you sumptuous looking food & wine.

Player: We eat and drink nothing.
GM: But you haven't even tried a Sense Motive?
Player: Don't care. We still aren't eating or drinking anything.
GM: Okay, give me a save vs. poison.
Player: What? I just said we weren't eating or drinking anything.
GM: Yes. But, unfortunately, the evil innkeeper you insulted last night poisoned your breakfast. The cultists are aware of the innkeeper's proclivities and so they always add the antidote to the food and wine they offer guests. Too bad you didn't eat it.

Maybe don’t use the word “sumptuous” next time?

Shadow Lodge

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Overflow Archives:
Or better yet, the imposter was acting more like kreighten shane than kreighten shane... by dancing around the room splashing puddles with a pet crocodile. I had TWO parties see that, go dammit, shut the door and go back to confront the "impostor"

Grand Lodge

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Pawns, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
HWalsh wrote:

Now, you can use Bluff to try to convince someone that you are telling the truth, but it still works the same way. If the PCs fail to make the Sense Motive then they don't know.

This doesn't mean the PCs believe you, it is just that they don't catch you. The GM can say, "He seems to be telling the truth" after your sense motive, pass or fail, but that is the limit of Bluff. What the PCs do is up to them.

Do I get to do that as a GM then too? Your PC comes up and tries to bluff they are with the guard or some other potentially legitimate lie. The NPC fails the sense motive so they don't detect the lie, but they choose to be suspicious and refuse to comply with the intent of the bluff. Feels very underhanded and meta-gamey to me.


Bob Jonquet wrote:
HWalsh wrote:

Now, you can use Bluff to try to convince someone that you are telling the truth, but it still works the same way. If the PCs fail to make the Sense Motive then they don't know.

This doesn't mean the PCs believe you, it is just that they don't catch you. The GM can say, "He seems to be telling the truth" after your sense motive, pass or fail, but that is the limit of Bluff. What the PCs do is up to them.

Do I get to do that as a GM then too? Your PC comes up and tries to bluff they are with the guard or some other potentially legitimate lie. The NPC fails the sense motive so they don't detect the lie, but they choose to be suspicious and refuse to comply with the intent of the bluff. Feels very underhanded and meta-gamey to me.

As the GM you absolutely can and it isn't metagamey at all.

The bluff is telling a lie, it isn't mind control. It doesn't control how a character reacts to information.

Here is a classic example:

-----
The PCs come up to a guard at a warehouse or something, the guard tells them that they aren't permitted to be here.

PC 1: "We're inspectors for the city of Magnamar! You have to let us in!"

PC 1 rolls bluff, Guard NPC fails sense motive.

The Guard NPC doesn't believe that the PCs are lying, but he was told not to let anyone in here. He could lose his job if he lets the PCs through without permission from his boss.

Guard: "I'm sorry inspector, but I was told not to let anyone in here. You'll need to ask the manager, he's over there in his office, I can't let you in without his say so."
-----

The bluff works fine, the NPC has no reason to doubt the PCs, but he's still not letting them in.

Example 2:
-----
A PC has been caught red handed, in a shop, he had a fight with an NPC and it turned fatal. The NPC is dead but the sound alerted the sheriff who was nearby. The Sheriff has now burst in on the PC and sees him standing over the dead body.

PC: "It wasn't me officer! I swear! He attacked me!" (Rolls bluff)

The Sheriff fails the Sense Motive check. The PC is in a room with a dead body, he seems to be telling the truth, regardless of that however the Sheriff still arrests him. Why? Well, the PC was found in a building standing over a dead body, he has to be taken in, at least until an investigation can be completed. If he doesn't he could lose his job, and if the PC is lying to him, which he has to know is a possibility, the PC wants to bluff to get out of trouble, but that doesn't mean that he gets away.
-----

Sovereign Court

Interesting. I used to think that Bluff was to "don't get caught that you're lying", if you fail the Sense Motive check you don't know for sure if someone is telling the truth or not. But actually it says:

CRB wrote:
Check: Bluff is an opposed skill check against your opponent's Sense Motive skill. If you use Bluff to fool someone, with a successful check you convince your opponent that what you are saying is true. Bluff checks are modified depending upon the believability of the lie. The following modifiers are applied to the roll of the creature attempting to tell the lie. Note that some lies are so improbable that it is impossible to convince anyone that they are true (subject to GM discretion).

So the proper GM response if players fail a Sense Motive check would literally be "he's speaking the truth"; much more like telling players what to believe than I thought.

Of course all those circumstance modifiers for unlikely/impossible lies should be applied to attempts to bluff players too, and given player paranoia the threshold would be high.

Scarab Sages

There are tons of examples why a failure to detect a bluff is a lie would not automatically reduce suspicion or whatever. But having your character directly act against the information gained in a physical and violent way (in some cases against alignment) breaks the point of even giving PCs the sense motive skill.

PC: is she really a little kid? Her being alone and safe in this demon infested place is suspicious.

GM: It is a child and she's telling the truth.

PC: I grab her, tie her up, shove her in the closet, shut and lick the door, and set my leopard to guard against her coming lout of the door.

GM: dude, she's a child.

PC: I don't believe that.

GM: but your character does.

PC: so.

GM: <headdesk>

Scarab Sages

Can someone cite the page number where it says PCs are immune to social skills? I cannot find it.

Silver Crusade

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Tallow wrote:

There are tons of examples why a failure to detect a bluff is a lie would not automatically reduce suspicion or whatever. But having your character directly act against the information gained in a physical and violent way (in some cases against alignment) breaks the point of even giving PCs the sense motive skill.

PC: is she really a little kid? Her being alone and safe in this demon infested place is suspicious.

GM: It is a child and she's telling the truth.

PC: I grab her, tie her up, shove her in the closet, shut and lick the door, and set my leopard to guard against her coming lout of the door.

GM: dude, she's a child.

PC: I don't believe that.

GM: but your character does.

PC: so.

GM: <headdesk>

So, there was one scenario (I strongly suspect we're thinking of the same PFS scenario) where we did essentially the above (forced her to stay in the closet, albeit without a leopard and unguarded). We BELIEVED that she was a child, a child in a VERY dangerous place (demon infested and all). She'd survived in the closet for 2 days so we KNEW it was fairly safe. We honestly thought that she'd be far safer in a known hiding spot than travelling with us.

No meta knowledge either. Every single player at the table had neither played nor ran the scenario. We were just reacting to the information our characters had in the way that we thought our characters would. I was playing a Paladin, I did what my character honestly thought was the safest thing for the child. The GM had rolled our sense motives secretly so we did NOT suspect, at the player level, that we'd been lied to.

So, yeah. She made her bluff roll. We then reacted in an appropriate way (just one that happened to screw over the scenario. Well, it would have but the GM cheated (in a good way) :-)).

I'll repeat myself : The GM does NOT get to tell me how my character reacts to information. They don't tell me what my character thinks.

PCs do unexpected things all the time, for all sorts of reasons. Its a large part of the fun.

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