A Versus Skill for Falsehood?

Is there a skill a player can use to oppose someone’s Falsehood role if they are suspicious? Or is the Obstacle of the Falsehood roll simply the Wills of the players being lied to?

I’m looking for the equivalent of Insight from D&D 4E, basically, but I’ve been through the skill lists and I’m not seeing one. Would it be a Wise? Observation?

According to the RAW, the Obstacle is going to be the character’s Will. Incidentally, you’re generally going to be safer using your Will as the obstacle than you will testing anyway. If you really want to test, you can do a Duel of Wits–the stakes can be “I fool you into believing” and “I see through your lies”.

Yeah, that’s what I saw under the Falsehood skill, I just wasn’t sure if there was something I was missing. Thanks, Hirram.

Sure you can oppose with a versus test of a skill of your own. Depends on what your character wants. Task is determined by Intent.

The trouble here is the opposing character’s intent. You need an intent besides “I don’t get lied to.” That’s not really an intent, you can’t put a task to it in an active way.

If you have another intent, like “I catch you in a lie where your boss can hear, so you get fired,” now we’re cooking. If you don’t have another intent, it’s a static test.

The advantage here is that if I’m trying not just to see through your lie, but to a) be able to prove it, and b) do so in front of your boss, now we see why I’m more likely to get suckered.

I believe the task is “discern from his body language and tone whether he appears to be lying,” which sounds on the face of it like Observation. You’re right that the intent “correctly interpret his statement as a falsehood” is fairly passive.

I’ve actually always been a bit skeptical about using Will exponent as the Ob for Falsehood in any case; since the test is generally to determine if your intent of getting someone to act a certain way by the task of deceiving them verbally, making Perception (the effective “intelligence” attribute) the Obstacle always made more sense to me.

Yeah, that’s just a “don’t be convinced intent.” so, static test using will. But if you had an active intent, you could roll to get what you wanted.

Only if there are goblins lurking in his body language. Observation is not Perception, it is only used for seeing people who are sneaking and objects that have been hidden.

My problem with that intent is that it’s not an intent. It’s “I don’t want him to get what he wants,” not “I want X.”

Something like “I’m going to question him closely about his claims and see if I can catch him in a contradiction” might work, but “I’m gonna try not to be lied to” is pretty much everyday behavior. It’s like if you said that you wanted a versus test for a Throw because your guy (presumably unlike other guys elsewhere) was trying not to be knocked down. Of course he is! That’s why his opponent must use Falsehood, or script a Throw, in the first place.

Darren- Generally, Will is the social stat. Note that most social skills are rooted in Will, it’s used in the DoW mechanics, and so forth. Perception is more physical than Will, it governs vision and coordination and spatial intelligence, but Will is social and emotional intelligence, along with formal logic.

I could accept that except that Rhetoric, the skill that practically defines using formal logic as a means of social argument, is rooted in Perception as opposed to the more “emotional” convincing skills, as is Ugly Truth which is stripping a situation down to it’s most blatant, unpalatable reality. With that basis I prefer to allow Perception to be a valid passive defense to Falsehood as a means of using logic and intelligence to identify lies being told. Note, I’m fine with Falsehood itself being rooted in Will, as it’s more a skill of delivery and presentation than logic. I just prefer a different target for the Ob.

Getting the intent right is important, if only because it’s glass half empty versus glass half full. “Discern if he is lying” is different to “Discern if he is telling the truth”.

I agree with Darren (and have for a long time). But everyone is right, too: unless there is a legit counter-intent, then the liar simply needs to beat the lie-ee’s Will (or Perception if you want to change it to work like that).


Yeah, there’s a definite argument for doing it the other way. Perception would be the obstacle to fool you, Will to convince or steamroll you. In my experience, though, an awful lot of Falsehood tests aren’t so much about “you have no clue whatsoever that I am not 100% on the level” (since usually if you don’t know anything, I can just lie to you without testing) but more “You’re a bit suspicious, but I seem upstanding/you can’t afford to ignore me/your boss thinks I’m on the level/you can’t prove I’m lying.”

I can definitely see the rationale between the two “types” of Falsehood… once again, the answer probably lies in Intent and Task, more specifically Task in this case. You use Falsehood to perform a task of lying to someone with the intent of making them behave in a way you want, but taken a step further the player has to define how they’re performing the task. Just bold-facing it with an unspoken “Go ahead, tell me I’m lying if you dare.”? That’s a Will Ob. Crafting an elaborate and difficult to penetrate fabrication? Perception Ob.

But again, if the reason it’s difficult to penetrate is that I know you and I know your emotions and desires? Will Ob. And therein lies the problem: it’s a very fine distinction with a lot of potential for getting bogged down, especially when you add in the possible “but his Will is higher so I want Perception,” or “but his Will is exactly what I need for that Difficult test” scenarios. I would strongly encourage sticking with one or the other exclusively. Personally, Will makes somewhat more sense to me, and has the added benefit that it is consistently used as the social resistance stat (the Ob for other static social tests, the Body of Argument for duels, etc.)

If you switch it to Perception, that looks sensible enough when we consider Falsehood in isolation, but it has odd properties in the system as a whole. Suddenly new players are looking at social tests and going “Okay, so Will defines how hard you are to convince?” “Well, mostly, except for Falsehood, which uses Perception” and you have a circumstance where someone might purposely inject unnecessary lies just so they can test Falsehood with a Persuasion FoRK against a lower Perception, when in fact the truth provides a solid grounding for a Persuasion-based argument.

Perhaps, though I’d still argue that Will is how hard you are to convince through argument and inspiration, and Perception is how hard you are to fool; either physically by virtue of Stealthy and Inconspicuous or verbally by virtue of Falsehood. Either way, it’s an interesting point of system minutiae. I think with an experienced group you could go the route of determining the target Ob by interpretation of Task description, but with a less seasoned group you’re probably right, one way or the other as a hard rule. I’d just have defaulted to Perception instead of Will if it were me.

I’ll stick with the Will exponent. No need to make this harder than it has to be. We’re all a bunch of newbies in my group. :wink:

Interesting argument for Perception though.

It occurs to me no one has given an Intent that would be valid in their own eyes. I can’t think of one, which is probably a sign that using a stat is the proper course both logically and by RAW. But can anyone else?

Honestly the easiest counter-intent to come up with would probably be an opposing lie, leading to Vs. Falsehood.

When in doubt in BW, go for a Versus test, even with unusual stuff. Once in a con game I was running, I had two PCs both try to find a guardsman sympathetic to their own side. I just had them do a Versus Circles test and it worked out fine. I asked Luke about it later and he said it was a fine call.


A lot of the time, with Falsehood, once you generate an opposing intent it becomes a whole different can of worms. I could question you closely, but then it’s not Falsehood anymore, it’s like Interrogation instead. I could run and go check your story, but that’s not versus-Falsehood, it’s either independent of or totally contingent upon the success of the Falsehood test (depending on whether not being checked is key to the intent or not, and whether you’re the target).

I can give intents that would generate versus-Falsehood tests, but they’re not intents that deal with contesting the task at hand. They’re about contesting the intent. Like, you want the King to fund your mercenaries, so you lie about an invasion. I want that money for my bridge repair project, so I argue about budgetary constraints. Falsehood vs Administration.

Sure. You could use intimidation to cow them into giving up their attempts to fool you. You could try lying to them while they are lying to you. You could seduce them. You could try flattering them into helping you. All depending on context of course.