Anybody used to playing older versions of D&D (pre-4e) is probably wondering what the heck an Insight check is.
Imagine for a moment that your PC is interacting with a NPC and you want to know whether the NPC’s motives are pure. Are they lying to you? Are they hiding something? Are they being forthright?
So you look at your character sheet, find the Insight skill, and roll a d20 adding any bonuses.
Here’s the definition of the Insight skill from 5e…
“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.”
Honestly I have to admit that playing 4e and 5e, I have fallen into the lazy trap of using this skill frequently. It’s easy to rationalize it. My character will notice things I won’t. Why not use the skill?
Well, this skill doesn’t exist in Mazes & Perils, nor should it in my opinion. Unless you’re a Thief, you don’t really have skills anyway in M&P. So it’s not an option. 🙂
And I need to quit being a lazy roleplayer myself and using it for other editions.
A Hacky Fix
If you really want to do 4e/5e-style Insight check in M&P, you could go with a Wisdom attribute check. Grab 4d6, roll under the Wisdom score, and then react as you might in the other editions.
Let’s say you have a bandit who is trying to negotiate with your party and you want to know if he’s exhibiting any of the traditional signs of lying such as not wanting to keep eye contact or getting all twitchy. Your Cleric (usually the PC with the highest Wisdom) decides to take a closer look at the speaker and does a “Wisdom check.”
The player rolls 4d6. He either misses the roll, in which the GM says that he doesn’t notice anything wrong, or he makes the roll, and the GM can give him specifics on things the character may have noticed.
The Better Way
The better way to do this is without any die rolls at all. The player is role-playing the character. If the player senses something is off and believes the character would also notice it, he needs to speak up. But this also requires more investment on the part of the GM. The GM can inject some description of behavior or even just some weird slip-up in what the character says — and if the player picks up on it, they can react. If they don’t, then the NPC accomplishes whatever goal he had in mind.
This, to me, is more the “Old School” way to approach this. It’s less about “roll-playing” and more about “role-playing” again.