Dungeons & Dragons Online

Using emotional literacy to amp up your Insight checks responses

Content of the article: "Using emotional literacy to amp up your Insight checks responses"

So I am certainly not an individual who has any sort of expertise in this subject.

But several months ago my social media began getting flood with tips to help communicate with family members during isolation. My local region has been on extended lockdown due to COVID. Something that comes up often are talking about understand ones own emotions, and emotional literacy seems to be a key concept in this.

One post that struck me was this image of an Emotional Wheel. In the context of the post it was to help family members be more descriptive to understand their emotional state and communicate it to their family to help reduce the stress of isolation. And while this is not exactly a subreddit where we discuss mental health (although we have in regards to our players and DMs occasionally), I feel like this chart is an excellent way to find the emotional state of our NPC/Monsters.

I often struggle with Insight checks as a DM. I either get too cagey, not wanting to give away a secret or I get too descriptive and derail a situation or misrepresent the situation. For example:

A little girl survivor is found after her family appears to be gruesomely killed.

Party: We roll insight!!
Party: We get a roll that's not exactly enough but enough to warrant some information!
Me: Uh… she seems really quiet and you can see that she seems to be dealing with guilt?
Party: SHE MUST HAVE KILLED HER FAMILY. WE STAB HER.
Me internally: Wait, what? I was trying to describe survivors guilt…

But using this wheel, I can help find words and descriptions that more accurately describe the mood. I can say that this little girl in the example above is dealing with grief, and seems lonely and isolated. Which is much more accurate for a child dealing with survivor's guilt, without explicitly saying it's survivor's guilt.

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I tend to be fairly stoic, so this chart has been helping me a great deal with coming up with emotional states when my PCs hit me with an insight check on one of my NPC/Monsters. I can quickly start in the middle of the wheel and work my way outwards for a proper more accurate description of the situation.

It also means that I can blurry the situation by giving two conflicting, but potentially accurate readings if the roll isn't quite up to DC. Please note, I do not ever give the opposite/false information for a failed insight roll, at worst I'll say that it is hard for the players to get a read on this NPC/Monster.

While this might not help those DM who are more emotionally aware, this has helped me a great deal in refining my descriptions for an insight check, and I even shared the wheel with several of my players who are also DMs and they liked the idea, so I thought I'd share wider on Reddit.

Source: reddit.com

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