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Broc27

Managing character VS player knowledge: how would you handle this specific case?

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Hey there!

 

I am GMing a new game and for our next (and second only) session my PCs will be tasked by their current employer to learn more about a specific NPC.

 

One twist I am thinking about is that the NPC they are investigating is coming from Corulag while everybody thinks he's from the Outer Rim. I'd like my PCs to be ABLE to find this out (but it is not a necessity for my story to unfold in the short term; it's just a bonus for them).

 

So my first thought was that while talking to him I could have them roll their knowledge (core worlds) skill to give them a chance to find out he's not from the Outer Rim like he pretends he is (and pinpoint exactly where he's from with a good roll). However by having them roll this specific skill that mystery is no longer secret for the players, even though their characters could fail the roll.

 

Of course I could just let them handle this in their roleplay; they are intelligent enough to understand the difference between their character's knowledge and theirs. But still I have a bad feeling about revealing a key plot point this way.

What would you do in this situation? Could I have them make a knowledge (underworld) or streetwise check first to have them realize the guy is not from where he claims to be, and then have them make a knowledge (core worlds) check to try and pinpoint where he is from? Or could I make a secret roll using the PCs skill, and just tell them about it if they succeeded? These seem to be the two best options I have.

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Another solution if your really concerned this will spill into metagaming or spoiling the plot could simply be to roll for them, ie write down their stats then roll each accordingly and don't tell them what you're rolling for unless one succeeds. It's a bit more tedious for you as the gm but should get the job done

Edited by Dark Bunny Lord

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Chances are if all of them roll, someone is going to have a little success, if not a straight up success, then an advantage. The advantage tells them that something isn't right about what this guys is saying, but nothing substantial.

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Or have the NPC roll a Deception check using the best Knowledge (Core Worlds) of the PC's as the difficulty.  If he fails, the PC gets the feeling something is off.  With enough threat they could catch a bit of a Corulag accent.  If he succeeds on the check, they're none the wiser.  With advantage, he could have some quality tales from the outer rim to give his deception even more validity.

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Or have the NPC roll a Deception check using the best Knowledge (Core Worlds) of the PC's as the difficulty.  If he fails, the PC gets the feeling something is off.  With enough threat they could catch a bit of a Corulag accent.  If he succeeds on the check, they're none the wiser.  With advantage, he could have some quality tales from the outer rim to give his deception even more validity.

hadn't even thought of this, I like it

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Or have the NPC roll a Deception check using the best Knowledge (Core Worlds) of the PC's as the difficulty.  If he fails, the PC gets the feeling something is off.  With enough threat they could catch a bit of a Corulag accent.  If he succeeds on the check, they're none the wiser.  With advantage, he could have some quality tales from the outer rim to give his deception even more validity.

hadn't even thought of this, I like it

 

i have heard of this option a lot and keep forgetting it.

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Or have the NPC roll a Deception check using the best Knowledge (Core Worlds) of the PC's as the difficulty.  If he fails, the PC gets the feeling something is off.  With enough threat they could catch a bit of a Corulag accent.  If he succeeds on the check, they're none the wiser.  With advantage, he could have some quality tales from the outer rim to give his deception even more validity.

hadn't even thought of this, I like it

i have heard of this option a lot and keep forgetting it.
Ive used it plenty of times for other situations ie an enemy sneaking by the players or something else generally with the thought of whoevers provoking the situation that calls for a roll is the person that rolls just hadn't considered pairing knowledge checks in that way but given the context of the situation it makes a lot of sense

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For such a minor thing, how about have the most appropriate PC just know the truth?

 

"I can get us IDs.  'grew up in a transfer point near Korsk, in the rim - lots of people lookin' to get lost so plenty of work for forgers."

[GM turns to Dave (playing a Politico)] He says he's from Korsk, but the ring on his finger says he went to the same University you did...

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Of course I could just let them handle this in their roleplay; they are intelligent enough to understand the difference between their character's knowledge and theirs. But still I have a bad feeling about revealing a key plot point this way.

 

well, i think you just answered your own question. provide hints (make hidden checks. the better they roll, the better the hints), if they figure it out through roleplaying, great. if not... great! ;)

Edited by shlominus

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The problem is that in this case character knowledge (which the players don't possess) is the problem.

 

Just because your character has an appropriate skill or background package, doesn't mean the person playing them knows what colour the boat house at Hereford is, and the only way you can determine if their character does is somehow using their knowledge skill.

 

I'd agree with deception versus the best knowledge (core worlds) by the player; It's directly akin to sneaking past a sentry and using their vigilance as a deception - albeit that the thing being snuck is a big fat lie rather than a heavily armed wookie.

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This is a good place to use index cards. When a player is successful. Let them know the information that you deem that success warrants. If the roll knowledge (Outer Rim) and the succeed. Depending on how well or what advantage they may know yes he is not from the Outer Rim outright or that his story does not add up to a certain degree. Aka he is hiding something.

 

That player's character can then share that knowledge with other Characters or not.

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The only problem with telling them that something is up or to roll for something is that it turns into a thing where the players keep hounding the same scenario over in over, unless they as players already know about some of it and can roll play. You just need to be careful, and not let each player continue rolling a different attribute to try and figure it out.

 

But I have seen some very good suggestions above and would say that as GM you could play it any way you want and still be successful with how ever it turns out. If it doesn't go smoothy or the way you want it to, then you will know with for the next time, and you improve as a GM

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I love these boards. Thanks for the many suggestions. I think I will go with the "Deception vs Core Worlds" check, choosing the player with the best rank in the skill and not telling him what exactly he rolled if he fails the check (thanks Bren). Nice job.

 

I will also take a listen to the Order 66 podcast (episode 32 I presume?) about knowledge checks. I listened to my first episode in the last few days and I find them to be VERY interesting in their content but also VERY long to listen to because of all the bad jokes (a matter of taste), haha.

Edited by Broc27

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Another option (depending on the group) is simply to allow the players to know something their characters don't.  Talk to your group--as a GM you should have an idea whether they can handle knowing something without their characters knowing.  If so, you can just say something like "you don't realize that he's not from the Outer Rim at all..."

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I will also take a listen to the Order 66 podcast (episode 32 I presume?) about knowledge checks. I listened to my first episode in the last few days and I find them to be VERY interesting in their content but also VERY long to listen to because of all the bad jokes (a matter of taste), haha.

 

Heh, I've been (not) listening so long (2011, I think?) that I find most of their jokes funny by now :)

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Im surprised how many  people would try tell the players. I guess it makes it easier if they are aware they just have to roleplay not knowing

but i would like the players to know as little as possible about anything in the future they dont figure out themselves. just to keep them curious but i haven't Gmed much so i guess i dont know if my opinion would change

Edited by Peroxis

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Im surprised how many  people would try tell the players. I guess it makes it easier if they are aware they just have to roleplay not knowing

but i would like the players to know as little as possible about anything in the future they dont figure out themselves. just to keep them curious but i haven't Gmed much so i guess i dont know if my opinion would change

 

On my humble opnion, this is great in theory and everyone wants or wanted to do this at some point.

 

On practice, there is many frustrating scenarios. Sometimes the story doesn't go the way you expected or doesn't go anywhere at all (canceling the play group). Some other times you finally get to the point where you reveal your big surprise and they're all like "oh, right. soooo... i roll what next?"... is kind sad.

 

So is better to keep it as simple as possible for you and the GM.

Edited by N4n0

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Im surprised how many people would try tell the players. I guess it makes it easier if they are aware they just have to roleplay not knowing

but i would like the players to know as little as possible about anything in the future they dont figure out themselves. just to keep them curious but i haven't Gmed much so i guess i dont know if my opinion would change

On my humble opnion, this is great in theory and everyone wants or wanted to do this at some point.

On practice, there is many frustrating scenarios. Sometimes the story doesn't go the way you expected or doesn't go anywhere at all (canceling the play group). Some other times you finally get to the point where you reveal your big surprise and they're all like "oh, right. soooo... i roll what next?"... is kind sad.

So is better to keep it as simple as possible for you and the GM.

Such player RP reactions usually amount to this, for me:

tumblr_m7di5qeEBw1qdv0syo10_r1_250.gif

Edited by awayputurwpn

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