Skill rule adjustment request: Sense Motive


Skills, Feats, Equipment & Spells


Having played in countless adventures and GM'd as many - I'd like to spot focus on sense motive for a moment. I don't like to generalize but I do feel like every table has this moment:

NPC tells you "something important"

Player A - I sense motive

GM: You think they are truthful

Players (collective): Stare blankly

GM: So.... do you have any questions?

Players (collective): "oh... do you have any good cookie recopies?"

Look I've also been at tables where I've seen people memorize a list of standard questions and rattle them off machine gun style at every NPC - I don't find either of these situations fun (personally).

Suggestion: Change to sense motive - You can make a roll against a target DC (difficulty depends on how friendly a NPC is to you) - if you beat the check you notice inflections in the speaker that suggest further topics that may reveal more information - by every 5 you beat the DC you get another topic or hint.


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I have definitely seen scenarios just like this one. Back in the day I had a DM that would roll my sense motive secretly to gain a hunch on someone and inform me if anything came out of it during the conversation.

If someone was trying to bluff he would roll sense motive to oppose it and tell me if I detected a hint of the lie. Circumstance modifiers for things going on that I've dealt with applied as needed. Otherwise everything else should have been taken at face value.

When it comes to secret rolls like this, stealth, disabling and detecting traps, and knowledge checks I have found that it can very much fight the urge a lot of modern gamers have to use out of game knowledge to meta-game.

I can definitely see something akin to what you're suggesting in PF2 as some sort of skill feat for Deception though!


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I would definitely like this.

I've been burned more than once by not knowing the right questions to ask.

Then again, I've been burned by asking questions. D&D 5E's adventure Window to the Past has the worst social encounter I've ever seen. I'm not making this up:

Every question the players CAN ask and every spell or skill check the players CAN make has the same result: You learn nothing. If you Gate an extraplanear entity in, it admonishes the players for interfering in the affairs of gods and still doesn't provide any useful or actionable information.

After five or ten minutes of being forced to puzzle out a puzzle that refuses to give any clues you're told by an NPC that there are some ruins he wants you to investigate. Anything you could attempt to learn he already knows (that is, nothing).

Check it out for yourself, page 10 and 11.


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Draco18s wrote:

D&D 5E's adventure Window to the Past has the worst social encounter I've ever seen. I'm not making this up:

Wow, that really is abysmal. It's clear that you're talking to someone that has a touch of insanity and is excited and in fear.. but there are options to deal with things like that.

The fact that even divination or planar assistance can offer no information is terrible.

I don't think I've seen a worse social encounter written.


Gloom wrote:
I don't think I've seen a worse social encounter written.

That particular league session had other issues later as well. For a 5-15 adventure with an average party level of 8 the guy ran it as a "hard 10." And then misread the regional effects.

Quote:

While within 500 feet of the Dark Obelisk,

healing magic is only half as effective while
necrotic magic is twice as potent (double
duration or twice the number of dice for a spell’s
effect). This does not stack with the effects of
the mythal.

(The mythal effects mentioned are that healing magic is half as good.)

Bolded section is what the module actually said the guy ran it as "all damage to the players is doubled." Because "all the damage is necrotic" and "necrotic effects are doubled."

No, necrotic magic is doubled.

It was a miracle that the two level 5 players (me and my roomate at the time) didn't die (but two 8th level characters did).

Oh yeah, and it was only within 500 feet of the obelisk...which meant it should have only affected the boss fight...

(Can you tell I didn't much care for that session? Anyway, enough on that.)

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