Do insight checks get disadvantage when the target is wearing a mask?

  1. Disadvantage makes sense, however you could also just make it a higher DC to indicate that they're mostly basing the Insight check off body language and voice rather than facial expression.

  2. Mechanically, advantage/disadvantage is the same as ±5 to your roll—this is why Passive Perception takes a -5 in dim light. So a DC 13 Wisdom (Insight) check should now be a DC 18 at least, given that this shopkeeper is accustomed to dealing with shady, sneaky customers.

  3. I would do both disadvantage due to the mask, and a high DC due to general lack of knowledge about who their insighting

  4. It depends on how you as the DM want to do it. Masking the race can make it more difficult, but general body language and attitude is also a give away

  5. Remember that Insight is a Wisdom check, while everyone tends to think of it as a Charisma check with how emphasized reading body language and tone of voice is when talking about it. It being Wisdom implies to me that knowledge of the world in general can be part of it.

  6. I like your explanation of the wisdom aspect. I liken it to the IASIP meme where Mac says “I don’t think that’s right, but I don’t know enough about stars to say for sure” or whatever the quote is. They may get the sense that something is off. But they may not necessarily be able to place it, because the mask makes reading the situation harder. Or, they just don’t know enough about the situation.

  7. Per rules as written, there isn’t a reason for the PC to have disadvantage. Does that stop you from using it? No. But I found that giving a player disadvantage often feels like a punishment for them. Unless the shopkeeper has a reason/ability to impose disadvantage, then I wouldn’t use it.

  8. Legend Lore is kinda the wrong spell for that. Unless the shopkeep is of legendary importance as the spell states.

  9. I just can't see where a mask would aide in hiding a lie. Hiding physical appearance, sure. But a mask doesn't make a person more trustworthy, it makes them less.

  10. While I agree with your overall point, there absolutely are many players who will just say "I want to make an insight check" (or even just "I make an insight check") rather than "can I tell if he's bluffing?"

  11. Nahhhh. You can glean a whole lot about someone's intentions with zero facial prompts. Pace of talking, body language, what's stuck to the bottom of their boots etc.

  12. I mean I disagree that wearing a mask would offer no change to someone’s ability to lie. If people can’t see your face, and your words are muffled, they cannot be as sure of the truth even with additional input like their pace or their movements. You don’t have to give the players disadvantage if you don’t want to, but if you want your game to have a bit more logic to it then I think it makes sense for a mask to grant a bonus to deception or a higher dc for checks. Reward players for doing something that makes sense.

  13. Could also just be a higher DC. I think that telling them they have disadvantage implies there is a way to get rid of the disadvantage. Which might make them push him to remove the mask or ensue other banter to se him without the mask.

  14. Personally I would rule against disadvantage since there are several things about body language and speech which can be analyzed. Also, if you give disadvantage on insight checks when the other person wears a mask, your PCs will simply put on a mask to make their deception checks much easier every time - the target will have a -5 penalty to their passive insight to detect the deception.

  15. From the SRD: "Your Wisdom (Insight) check decides whether you can determine the true intentions of a creature, such as when searching out a lie or predicting someone’s next move. Doing so involves gleaning clues from body language, speech habits, and changes in mannerisms."

  16. Body language is a type of communication in which physical behaviors, as opposed to words, are used to express or convey the information. Such behavior includes facial expressions, body posture, gestures, eye movement, touch and the use of space.

  17. You can disguise body language by giving them any kind of obscuring clothing, something as simple as a cloak would work and not be enough to draw any attention (depending on setting of course). Combined with a mask it would only leave voice which anyone properly trained in subterfuge would be able to control.

  18. I would vote on not really RAW, but also if you want this guy to have that ability then let him have it, but be careful as to how you let him have it.

  19. Thats really not metagaming. If wearing a mask makes it easier to lie in that world (which, it obviously does, it gives disadvantage mechanically), and especially if the characters had been on the receiving end of that, of course they'd do it too if they wanted the same advantage. How is it possibly metagaming?

  20. It’s ultimately your choice. There’s a compelling argument for disadvantage but I can think of several things that’d be unaffected by insight as the ability is not limited to reading someone’s face. It could be based on tone of voice, body language, speech pattern, pure vibes. It might affect what information would make sense to give but in the end, your pcs are extraordinary and that’s why they are the adventurers, so you can reasonably give them any info you’d like disadvantage or not. Also keep in mind that just because they roll low doesn’t have to mean they get no info, just the quality of info or the accuracy or the amount of info changes. Some stuff might have a dc of 5 but the juicy stuff probably is closer to 15-20

  21. I wouldn’t say so personally. It depends if they specifically say they’re trying to tell something from their facial expressions. If not, then no. There are plenty of other ways to try to interpret intentions other than facial expression.

  22. Depends on context of the check, I would base it off of whether they are checking a statement made by the npc or just trying to read their body language. If you went disadvantage I would say only give it for reading body language. It wouldn't be much harder to tell if someone is lying with a mask on but reading body language would be a lot harder.

  23. No. Facial expression is only one of many components that can be used for insight. The lie is usually told through the eyes anyhow.

  24. Personally, I would make it a higher DC. I tend to use advantage/disadvantage for scenarios where something about the pc in particular would help or hinder them. Eg. They grew up in that part of the world and know the mannerisms, advantage. They're actively doing something which would make it harder to observe, disadvantage.

  25. I'd do like +2 to the DC, because insight isn't purely based on facial cues, it's also body language, voice inflexions etc. I'd say maybe disadvantage if you have more than one cue that is obscured, for instance if you were talking to someone through a wall or door

  26. I would take the proficiency grade of the player into account. Someone without proficiency is not trained to look for the clues and so on. A simple mask may stump their usual facial recognition of the tell tale signs of lying etc. Someone with proficiency will take the body language into account and expertise might even be fine by only hearing the voice without disadvantage.

  27. insight is a lot of things. voice, facial expression, body language, i'm sure more stuff i don't get as an autistic idiot. now some facial expression would be obscured by a mask, but that's only part of it. it'd say no. if you want it to do anything increase the DC by 1.

  28. If you want to do something special grant advantage on the NPC's deception checks instead of imposing disadvantage on players' insight checks. Rules as written a mask doesn't do anything, but if facial expressions or facial features are especially critical to the result, then it sould make sense that they wear it specifically to better deceive. Before applying any new rule consider similar situations and decide if there is any benefit: a knight with a full helm, a person wearing a large scarf, a person holding a hand over their own face, a hood that shadows a person's face, a voice talking from out of sight. In every situation other people can still observe their body language, their possessions, or take guesses at why they are obscuring themselves.

  29. Disadvantage for mask sounds great. If their in charge of a thieves guild, you can also give them expertise in deception. If thye have decent charisma your looking at something of a +9 to their checks. If they're high ranking, thye could have reliable talent or passive deception of like 19. That's a lot to just cover yourself mechanically. You can make it as hard as you want to read this person but if your players roll well or make a clever choice, let them know thye may have heard of a very wanted criminal a while back and their might be a reward. Bam, boss fight at the thieves guild.

  30. They run a physical shop, like a blacksmith, that only sells illegal and/or tools for criminals, and they wear a mask to avoid detection? At the shop they run in town every day, with neighboring businesses, regular customers, etc? If this were me (and it is not) I would move the black market seller to either a camp of thieves, where he deals from his trunk or whatever, and ditch the mask. Illegal sellers and buyers tend to have an understanding that they are all criminals and ratting one another out is, let's say, frowned upon. Wearing a mask to your illegal transaction makes it seem more like he doesn't want the buyers to see his face because he is going to cheat them and doesn't want them to be able to find him after.

  31. I wouldn’t do disadvantage, but would up the DC. Depending on the person, body language and ton of voice can also say a lot about someone if they are lying.

  32. I don't think that the Insight checks would be at disadvantage. Just make the check harder. DMG provides this check difficulties

  33. Insight isn't strictly reading facial expressions. There is a lot more to reading body language than what's displayed on your face. Nervous people sometimes rub their wrists, hold their hands, or tap their feet. People on edge often square their shoulders, puff their chest out slightly and hide their vulnerable spots like their neck and the underside of the wrists where your veins are. And these are just a few examples.

  34. It's your choice ultimately. That said, I wouldn't give them any bonuses on the mask alone. The problem is it'll give your players permission to use masks all the time to get their advantage on deception and lead to an arms race. If the npc is a rogue type that happens to be good at lying, you can use the mask as a narrative flavor but that's it.

  35. Depends on the DM ruling and on what specifically you’re looking at/for. In this case though, probably yes, unless they ask something specific like “tell me about his body language, his hands, are they fidgeting? Is he hiding something on him?” Something like that. But if they’re going for the face, and/or aren’t specific, then yeah, disadv. Makes sense to me

  36. I mean, poker players wear as much shit on their face as they can to make sure their opponents dont get any sort of read on them. This is however at the highest level of play. Does it confer disadvantage? Maybe not, but perhaps a +2 or something.

  37. RAW there is no hard statement it has disadvantage, so I would say RAW it’s just a high DC (probably 20+). This will be prohibitive for most players except your high wis / high insight PCs

  38. Well there’s no concrete rule on this, so it falls to whatever makes sense for you. I save disadvantage for situations where I’m expecting to work with a bad roll, usually for when something is actively working against you while your attempting it (e.g. someone swinging a sword in your face while you’re trying to line up an arrow shot). For this, I would probably just increase the DC, unless the PCs have a reason why not being able to read facial expressions wouldn’t hamper them. Maybe a rogue gas historically gathered most of their intel by eavesdropping on conversations, or a PC with the noble background has long since learned not to trust the smiling faces of their peers.

  39. I think it depends on what are they trying to do? Insight check is very vague. Are they trying to recognize him? Either disadvantage or not even possible. Are they trying to see if he’s lying/hiding something? Disadvantage assuming the NPC is using body language. If the NPC is a stick (doesn’t move) and is monotone then there’s no purpose of an insight check. Really this is all circumstantial and at the end of the day, up to you on how you want to rule it.

  40. As a DM myself I would simply assume that the check already accounts for it. My reasoning being that there are several different races with different cultures in dnd that could cause the same disadvantage in most conversations. Culture shock would cause it. Same words meaning different things could cause it so I assume it's been thought of and accounted for

  41. I'd raise the DC a bit for each obscured body park (mask, cloak, hood, etc). Things like voice tone, stuttering and such also acts as tells. And don't underestimate the importance of body language.

  42. I think it’s valid. Personally I wouldn’t and it’s all about personal discretion. Your reasoning makes sense. I wouldn’t do it at my table because I’d reason there are a lot of other opportunities to discern information like body language and tone of voice.

  43. After reading the replies to others I also agreed that the DC should be raised instead of giving Advantage. It's too simple of thing to have everyone automatically get Advantage otherwise. If someone finds an actual ruling for insight checks and masks in some material that is published, please post it here of course.

  44. It depends - how common are masks in the setting? If I walked into my local 7-11 and the person behind the counter was wearing a mask, my suspicion of that person would increase more that advantage grants.

  45. Are you expecting your players to be able to figure out who this person is through insight? Have they met them before, without the mask? If not, there's no way they'd be able to figure it out even with an insight roll of 500.

  46. I would say no, insight is based on a lot of things. Voice tone, body language, facial expressions, ect. Disadvantage/advantage is too strong to be given out for just putting on a mask.

  47. Depends. Inisght also includes the ability to read body language. That can tell you alot, as well as the choice of words or how people say it. If they were trying to only read a facial express then sure disadvantage. Other wise maybe just increase the DC slightly.

  48. Given that Insight reads many things, body language, tone of voice, possibly even word choice, attire, accessories, in addition to facial expressions to gather insight about a person, I feel like disadvantage is too steep.

  49. Would you give your player advantage on deception checks if they decided to wear a mask? Neither is RAW, and I'm not saying you should go one way or the other, but if you tell them they have disadvantage because mask, they may want to replicate the technique.

  50. So, my honest opinion is that you shouldn't give them disadvantage. Reasons being is that it will incite the players to have a natural disposition to not trust whatever is going on or that you are intentionally hiding something. My players throughout the years have learned that insight is not necessarily a lie detector. I am of the inclination that most merchants, especially those in the illegal trades, are naturally charismatic for the most part. If they wear a mask, it is for story reasons, not mechanical reasons. If they wish to insight the trader, (or in some cases the general situation), I will allow them and already have something typed out for that. And I would start at the description that I would give at 30+ and work my way down at intervals of 5. So, you only have to type up one paragraph with at least six details and subtract from the paragraph for each "tier" of insight.

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