[RPG] How to handle a player who tries to actively use the Insight skill


I have a cleric player. Every time the party has an NPC dialog, he announces something like "I looked at him carefully, trying to understand if he is telling the truth", implying using Insight.

Normally I ask him to roll the Insight check. Sometimes I try to give a hint, make it sound vague, but on clear success he just gets more information.

That doesn't feel right to me. Every roll has to have some kind of negative consequences, but in this case the character takes no risks. He either gets information (and draw his conclusions) or not (and continues the dialog normally). Repetitive announces feels unneeded and too straightforward.

On the other hand, I want to keep his ability to use his character's social skills. The cleric is proficient in Insight and is supposed to "read" people.

How can I improve this situation as a GM? Giving advice to the player is an option.

Before you mark this as a duplicate

I've seen this question prior to my asking. It has an answer, very broad, about how to make Insight checks as a DM. It doesn't cover two points though:

  • aside from misleading hints, what negative consequences a failed check should have
  • how can a DM handle the described "problem player" situation

Best Answer

Good question!

I think that what you have to remember is that the DM decides when checks are called.

From the sounds of it you have already got your answer in your question! I think it's great that you have already established how insight would or should work, what you should consider is that if there is no negative potential then there is no need for a dice roll, you could simply explain what the PC gets a feel for from the conversation.

The negative outcome from an insight check could be a false positive. Example:

"If you go through that door, certain death awaits you!"

I want to look him over and see if I believe what he is saying

Roll insight

A high roll, may reveal that the NPC is scared or that he is being deceitful. A low roll however may reveal that as far as the PC can tell, the NPC seems confident or that he is absolutely telling the truth.