I ran my first session of Unknown Armies the other day, and this came up. Lying is one of the standard skills that all characters get. However, it is not defined in the rules as to whether using the skill is a flat roll, or whether it should be opposed by whoever you are lying to. If this is the case, I would expect the opposed skill to be Notice, but again this is not explicitly stated. Also, what about other manipulation skills such as charm?

So, is the use of the Lying skill opposed with a skill by the target? If so what is it, and is there a general rule for this type of skill use in Unknown Armies?

Note that although I am primarily interested in RAW answers, I would also find answers that covered peoples personal experiences of house rules that cover the same ground useful.


1 Answer 1


For me, it depends on who the target is.

If it's a throwaway encounter I use a Minor, Significant or Major unapposed test, with generous modifiers for description. I find this keeps the game flowing better.

If it's an established NPC or a Player I tend to do a roll-off, generally using Mind or Soul to oppose depending on if they are picking up on tells or disproving their arguments (remember those generous modifiers for describing the lie). If they have a skill in "Spot Bullsh*t" or similar they can roll that, and get the same generous modifiers. The modifiers are what makes using the skill better than using the stat.

I don't find notice to be a good default skill for this, partly because it further favors mind-heavy characters, and that it is already a very broad skill.

For reference, I don't usually roll social skills against players, just give them a vague assessment of how savvy the other person is, but it does need doing on occasion.

Hope this helps.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Rather than Notice, I would recommend rolling Lying to defend against Lying, Charm to defend against Charm, etc.; this, IMO, would be covered as a Penumbral Skill. As they say, "you can't con a con-man." A good liar knows how to spot a lie. Of course, if a character has a more specialized skill ("Spot Bullsh*t" as you so eloquently put it), they could use that instead. \$\endgroup\$
    – Brian S
    Jun 19, 2014 at 14:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ Good point, there. \$\endgroup\$
    – Dave
    Jun 19, 2014 at 15:03

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