Discern Realities

When you closely study a situation or person, roll+Wis. ✴On a 10+, ask the GM 3 questions from the list below. ✴On a 7–9, ask 1.

Either way, take +1 forward when acting on the answers.

  • What happened here recently?
  • What is about to happen?
  • What should I be on the lookout for?
  • What here is useful or valuable to me?
  • Who’s really in control here?
  • What here is not what it appears to be?

To discern realities you must closely observe your target. That usually means interacting with it or watching someone else do the same. You can’t just stick your head in the doorway and discern realities about a room. You’re not merely scanning for clues—you have to look under and around things, tap the walls, and check for weird dust patterns on the bookshelves. That sort of thing.

Discerning realities isn’t just about noticing a detail, it’s about figuring out the bigger picture. The GM always describes what the player characters experience honestly, so during a fight the GM will say that the kobold mage stays at the other end of the hall. Discerning realities could reveal the reason behind that: the kobold’s motions reveal that he’s actually pulling energy from the room behind him, he can’t come any closer.

Just like spout lore, the answers you get are always honest ones. Even if the GM has to figure it out on the spot. Once they answer, it’s set in stone. You’ll want to discern realities to find the truth behind illusions—magical or otherwise.

Unless a move says otherwise players can only ask questions from the list. If a player asks a question not on the list the GM can tell them to try again or answer a question from the list that seems equivalent.

Of course, some questions might have a negative answer, that’s fine. If there really, honestly is nothing useful or valuable here, the GM will answer that question with “Nothing, sorry.”

Omar: I don’t trust this room—I’m going to poke around a little. I take out my tools and start messing with stuff. I pull candlesticks and tap the walls with my hammer. My usual tricks.

GM: Discern realities?

Omar: Oh yes. I discern all the realities. I got a 12. I want to know “What here is not as it appears to be?”

GM: Well, it’s obvious to you that the wall on the north side of the room has a hollow spot. The stones are newer and the mortar is fresher, probably a hidden alcove or passageway.

Omar: I want to ask another one. “Who sealed the room.”

GM: That’s not on the list, so I’m going pretend you asked “What happened here recently.” Looking at the stonework, you notice the wall actually bends out in places. The work is shoddy and awful—looks to you like the work of goblins. The only way it’d get bent out that way, though, is if there was something pushing it from within.

Omar: So either the goblins blocked it from the other side, or there’s something in there that tried to get out.

GM: Bingo.