Why is Lie a secret check?


Rules Discussion


And not Make an Impression or Coerce. After all, without a Sense Motive check, I can't know if I really managed to scare or befriend.

Most uses of Lie are obvious, like when I try to sell a trinket for the price of a magic item.
And there are cases where Make and Impression and Coerce should also be secret. Someone can act nice to trick me, the prisonner can give me false information after a failed Coerce check.

As a result, if I want to go past a guard I can use Lie, Make an Impression or Coerce but if I fail the check I can't reroll if I choosed to Lie. It makes Lie a worse problem solver than the other two, without any valid reason.

In my opinion, all three should be secret or none of them.


Well, if you try to coerce or befriend someone that's eliciting an emotional response, and emotions are prerational so the target would generally not be able to hide their initial response.

Whereas "deciding whether the thing you are told is a lie or not" is not prerational and you can make that decision without showing your hand.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:

Well, if you try to coerce or befriend someone that's eliciting an emotional response, and emotions are prerational so the target would generally not be able to hide their initial response.

Whereas "deciding whether the thing you are told is a lie or not" is not prerational and you can make that decision without showing your hand.

That's what I say, you need a Sense Motive check to know if you managed to Make an Impression, Coerce or Lie to someone, it's not written on his face. Otherwise, the person can act "as if". And there are emotional response to a lie (frowned eyebrows for example). On the other hand, emotional responses to Make an Impression are far from obvious. Speak 10 minutes to someone and then try to know if he likes you or is indifferent to you, good luck determining that.

Most lies are obvious. If the guard says you can't enter or the client tells you you're trying to bluff him, you know your lie failed. The only cases where someone won't tell you is if he tries to deceive you.


SuperBidi wrote:
Most lies are obvious. If the guard says you can't enter or the client tells you you're trying to bluff him, you know your lie failed. The only cases where someone won't tell you is if he tries to deceive you.

I have to disagree with this.

The success of the lie isn't obvious unless the person you're lying to chooses to make it so.

That guard could have just as well let you in, then alerted the people inside to do away with you. Or, maybe that client decides to double cross you because he thinks you're lying to you, and thinks that you're such a bad liar that it should be easy to pull one over on you.

Seriously, in real life, do you really know as soon as you tell a lie whether or not the person believes you? If you lie in a job interview, you don't even really know if they believed you if you eventually get hired. If you lie to your girlfriend, you may not find out until after she's dumped you when you find out she's telling all her friends that you're such a liar.

From a game mechanic standpoint, the reason your checks to lie to someone are to prevent you from metagaming the situation. If you know the person has believed your character, you will have your character behave in a different fashion than you will if you know your character's lie was not believed. This is information your character would not have until such time as the NPC takes an action to reveal it.

Now, if you lie to an NPC and fail, and then that NPC tries to pretend like he believes you, that NPC would need to make their own check to lie successfully.


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Why is anything a secret check? That's why Lie is.

And to provide the answer to the rhetorical question: there is a belief that certain rolls, more so than others, a player seeing the result immediately rather than through role-play changes the way the player is trying to portray their character

Things where a player seeing that they rolled low can result in the player attempting to change the narrative, such as the common anecdote of a player saying they want to sneak up on a guard, rolling poorly for their stealth check, and then saying "I guess I'll just talk to the guard instead."

With Lie a player could, presumably, see the bad roll and try to mitigate the effect by changing what they are saying whether that is to try a different lie or to abandon the lie and move on to something else, while the next move should actually be up to the NPC being lied to - they might not care that you're lying to them, or might have a response not quite what the player would expect, and can simply respond to the lie immediately without any chance for the PC to realize they've been caught in that lie prior to the response in question. So it's a secret check.

My personal take: secret checks are a waste of time. let players roll them just like any other check, and if problems arise as a result address the cause (the player's attitude) rather than just removing the symptoms.


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Saldiven wrote:
If you lie in a job interview, you don't even really know if they believed you if you eventually get hired.

Actually, it's a very good example. During a job interview, you have no way to know if you made a good impression or not.

Hence the fact that either the 3 checks should be secret or none of them. Because there are no more ways to know if you've made a good impression, managed to coerce someone or properly lied to him if the person doesn't want to show it. On the other side, in most cases (like if I lie to my girlfriend) you'll immediately know it as the person will act accordingly.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
SuperBidi wrote:
Saldiven wrote:
If you lie in a job interview, you don't even really know if they believed you if you eventually get hired.

Actually, it's a very good example. During a job interview, you have no way to know if you made a good impression or not.

Hence the fact that either the 3 checks should be secret or none of them. Because there are no more ways to know if you've made a good impression, managed to coerce someone or properly lied to him if the person doesn't want to show it. On the other side, in most cases (like if I lie to my girlfriend) you'll immediately know it as the person will act accordingly.

Presumably, at a certain point, we have to let the players roll for something.

Dark Archive

When Ha'ash is Lying, at least one party is trying to hide something deliberately, and I don't know if I succeeded until I am not getting arrested for theft from merchant.

If Ha'ash is trying to Make an Impression, Ha'ash is not hiding, Ha'ash is interacting with the person trying to get a feel of the situation. They usually give clues they hate me... If one has training in skill they can notice these things.

If Ha'ash is trying to Coerce agent into giving me information, even a veiled threat is overt enough to understand the threat. Agent either gives me information, or tells me to bugger off and pay better in a week.

Job interviews for Ha'ash feel terrible or great. Hint, never got a job at the terrible one. Usually interviewers don't care enough to hide feelings.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

The things that I find surprising is not that Deception (Lie) is a secret check, but that Diplomacy (Make an impression) and Diplomacy (Request) aren't secret checks. I was convinced they were.


After thinking more about it, maybe they did that for balance purpose.
If you want to go past the guard, you can:
- Coerce. The best method, but the guard will hate you afterwards.
- Lie. Second best method, as you can't reroll using a Hero Point. But the Secret part may cause issues.
- Make an Impression + Request. Worst method as you need 2 checks and 10 minutes to succeed, but only method that doesn't decrease the guards opinion about you unless you critically fail.


Lying being found out can usually have unforeseen consequences that will change the whole party's approach to a situation (even for good roleplayers)

Coercing or making an impression are less directly impactful if the party sees it not working imo.

Meta, but that is why secret rolls exist.


SuperBidi wrote:

...as you can't reroll using a Hero Point.

Why not? The rules for secret checks say you can use fortune effects on a secret check so long as you are aware that one is happening, which if you are the one lying is definitely the case - you just tell the GM you're interested in using the fortune effect and they handle it from there.


You're right... I missed this rule. I thought, as the GM was rolling the die, that you couldn't possibly use a Hero Point on it.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
SuperBidi wrote:
- Make an Impression + Request. Worst method as you need 2 checks and 10 minutes to succeed, but only method that doesn't decrease the guards opinion about you unless you critically fail.

Thing is, you don't necessarily *get* a second check at this, unless your DM is being particularly generous, or you come up with something *more* to help convince the NPC to re-evaluate his attitude.


Wheldrake wrote:
SuperBidi wrote:
- Make an Impression + Request. Worst method as you need 2 checks and 10 minutes to succeed, but only method that doesn't decrease the guards opinion about you unless you critically fail.
Thing is, you don't necessarily *get* a second check at this, unless your DM is being particularly generous, or you come up with something *more* to help convince the NPC to re-evaluate his attitude.

If you want the guard to let you through, you have to make a Request. But you can make a Request only if the guard is friendly or helpful to you. So you first need to Make an Impression to raise its attitude and then make your Request. 2 checks to get to pass, unless I'm missing something.


Wheldrake wrote:
The things that I find surprising is not that Deception (Lie) is a secret check, but that Diplomacy (Make an impression) and Diplomacy (Request) aren't secret checks. I was convinced they were.

Yeah, I would argue that those two should be secret as well as Deception (Lie).


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
SuperBidi wrote:
If you want the guard to let you through, you have to make a Request. But you can make a Request only if the guard is friendly or helpful to you. So you first need to Make an Impression to raise its attitude and then make your Request. 2 checks to get to pass, unless I'm missing something.

Sorry, I thought you meant multiple Diplomacy (Make an impression) checks. IMHO, you *could* possibly get a retry on that check, but only if you bring something new to the table, like a hefty bribe or something the NPC really wants. Same deal for Diplomacy (Request): normally only one check is possible, retries would be totally at DM discretion.

And Claxon, I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one who assumed they were secret checks. Perhaps they are not secret because you immediately see the results, in their changed attitude or in them acceding to your request.

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