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I was reading the description of the the 8th-level spell Glibness the other day and its wording seemed to be pretty broad in scope. The specific passage I'm interested in is this:

Additionally, no matter what you say, magic that would determine if you are telling the truth indicates that you are being truthful.

That seems like a pretty powerful, absolute statement. It leads me to believe that the spell completely renders any attempts at interrogation by magic completely useless. On the other hand, despite that power, it seems to also indicate that a lucky Insight check can still detect lies just fine because an Insight check isn't considered magic. Are these conclusions correct? Consider the following situations.

  1. Let's say there are two Warlocks, Bob and Jim. Bob casts Glibness on himself, and Jim casts Detect Thoughts on Bob. Jim asks Bob a question to which he doesn't already know the answer. Bob lies. Can Jim tell Bob lied, or does Glibness beat Detect Thoughts because Jim is using magic to determine Bob's truthfulness?

  2. Same scenario. Two Warlocks, Bob and Jim. Bob casts Glibness on himself, and Jim asks Bob a question to which he doesn't already know the answer. Bob lies again. This time Jim casts Dominate Person on Bob and orders Bob to reveal whether or not he lied. He then orders Bob to answer his questions truthfully. Can Jim tell Bob lied, or does Glibness beat Dominate Person because Jim is using magic to determine Bob's truthfulness? Can Jim use Dominate Person to compel Bob to tell the truth despite the effects of Glibness?

  3. Same scenario. Two Warlocks, Bob and Jim. Bob casts Glibness on himself, and Jim asks Bob a question to which he doesn't already know the answer. Bob lies again. Despite rolling a 3 on his Deception check, Bob gets to act as though he rolled a 15 thanks to the effects of Glibness. Assuming his CHA modifier is at least a +3 and at most a +5, then Jim would ordinarily need to roll somewhere in the range of 18-20 on his opposing Insight check in order to determine Bob is lying. Assuming he succeeds, can he tell Bob is lying?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I’m surprised you didn’t ask what happens in those scenarios if Jim does already know the answer. (It might be a clue that glibness is in play, although an unsophisticated Jim might think he was simply mistaken.) \$\endgroup\$ – Bradd Szonye Oct 30 '14 at 1:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ @BraddSzonye Well, if he already knows the correct answer, he can tell whether or not Bob is lying (or at least wrong) without having to do anything; I just wanted to be specific for the sake of narrowly focused answers. \$\endgroup\$ – Dyndrilliac Oct 30 '14 at 1:58
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    \$\begingroup\$ As a historical note, at least one previous edition's version of glibness made lies undetectable by magical means and increased the difficulty of detecting the lie by mundane means (without making it impossible). \$\endgroup\$ – GMJoe Jun 17 '15 at 0:07
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I believe you are correct on both counts. To answer your scenarios though:

  • Glibness definitely beats detect thoughts as it would be exactly the type of thing that the spell intends to prevent. The person with Glibness cast on them would read as having thoughts consistent with truthfulness.

  • I don't think Dominate Person here will work either. For similar reasons to why Detect Thoughts doesn't work. The person who has glibness cast on them at least in appearance to spell effects is completely truthful. Thus the dominated person's response would be that they were being truthful. I don't think that Dominate would work to compel the truth as again, as far as the magic is concerned the person is already convinced it's true.

  • Yes. I believe he would be able to. Since he is attempting to use a mundane means of defeating glibness it is subject *only to the opposed Deception check, and not the auto failure of magic.

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I'm going to offer a dissenting opinion on Scenario #2.

Glibness makes everything you say sound truthful. It does not change the caster's perception of the truth and it does not influence whether the caster decides to tell the truth or not. Someone under the effects of Glibness can still speak truthfully.

If Jim casts Dominate Person on Bob (who has cast Glibness on himself) then asks Bob his question, Glibness doesn't force Bob to lie in order to maintain consistency with prior lies. Whatever Bob says will appear to be magically true, but Jim knows Bob is speaking the truth because Dominated Bob knows the truth and doesn't have the option to lie.

It gets a little murkier if Jim asks Bob whether he lied before he was Dominated (is Bob protected from being magically compelled to recognize his lies as such?), but Glibness shouldn't offer any defense against a direct question.

Bonus thought: Depending on the nature of the lie, the weakness may be in the content of the lie rather than the telling. Glibness allows you to lie convincingly, but Encyclopedia Brown-style Investigation aimed at uncovering logical inconsistencies in your story might not be opposable by a Charisma skill.

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