Truth and Lies

Truth: Noun. That which most easily appeals to the fears, hopes, and prejudices of the hearer; in essence, a lie.
Lie: Noun. That which causes its utterer to be reviled; in essence, the truth.
Deceit: Noun. Example: A dog rolls on the carcass of a dead possum in order to deceive other animals regarding his identity as a dog (whereas) a man lolls in the scents of church in order to deceive himself regarding his identity as a thief, an adulterer, and a liar (the difference is that the dog does not first have to endure being bored by the possum).
Thorax, 9 Chickweed Lane

Truth, lies, and deception. If only it were easier to tell them apart. Listed are multiple tropes that fall into one of the three categories. And The Shades of Fact offers insight into their fictional equivalents.

Tropes of Truth

First, recognize honest intent, whether expressed as the plain truth or a technical falsehood.
See also A Trusting Index and the Information Desk.

Tropes of Deception

Second, learn the myriad shades of deception, purely for self-defense, of course.
See also Espionage Tropes and the Infauxmation Desk.

  • 2 + Torture = 5
  • Bluffing the Advance Scout
  • Bluffing the Authorities
  • Bluff the Eavesdropper
  • Bluff the Impostor: Tricking an impostor into exposing themselves by making an obvious mistake.
  • Bluffing the Murderer
  • Cassandra Gambit: Invoking a Cassandra Truth to hide something.
  • Confronting Your Imposter: An impersonator is exposed by the person they're impersonating.
  • Consummate Liar: "Looks are only skin-deep," "The Earth is doomed," "No one who has drunk my tonic has ever died" — all carefully selected truths, intended to deceive, the hallmark of advertisers and politicians. Expect anyone unable to lie whether due to magic, Applied Phlebotinum, or just being a Manipulative Bastard type, to be good at this.
  • The Coroner Doth Protest Too Much: When someone in authority claims a suspicious death is due to an accident, suicide, or natural causes.
  • Cover Identity Anomaly: Missing some basic piece of information about someone you're pretending to be, often forcing you to make up something on the spot.
  • Deliberately Cute Child: Using a cute façade to get what one wants.
  • Did Not Die That Way: A character finds out they have been lied to about a loved one's death.
  • Embarrassing Cover Up: Where the cover story goes into territory that makes the questioner regret asking.
  • False Reassurance: A lie that is the truth in its Exact Words. A guard at a railroad track back in the 1920s was testifying that he was swinging his lamp when the automobile crashed into the train at 3 in the morning. It was determined later that while he was swinging his lamp to warn oncoming traffic, the lamp was not lit at the time.
  • Fiction As Coverup: Hiding the truth in plain sight by calling it fictional.
  • Forged Message: Writing a message but making it look like someone else wrote it.
  • Gaslighting: Using deceit to intentionally convince someone that he is insane.
  • Gas Leak Cover-Up: A simple, dull, believable excuse for something that is none of those.
  • Half Truth: A statement that is technically true, but extremely misleading if you don't have all the information.
  • Hypocrite
  • Ignorance Is Bliss: A character or characters are told that what they are doing is something completely harmless or beneficial when it's actually dangerous or evil.
  • I Never Said It Was Poison: Tricking a suspect into revealing something only they would know.
  • Infraction Distraction: When someone confesses to or commits a small crime in order to cover for a bigger one.
  • I Surrender, Suckers: A character pretends to surrender but attacks once the opponent lowers his guard.
  • Minor with Fake ID: An underage character uses a forged identity document to buy alcohol or something they're otherwise too young to access.
  • Move Along, Nothing to See Here: A Stock Phrase for authority figures wanting to prevent people from seeing something.
  • Multiple Identity IDs: When someone has several fake IDs for several fake identities.
  • Mysterious Backer: The characters are only being told as much as they need to know.
  • Outright Lie: 'I am trustworthy', 'The Earth is mine to sell' — both are falsehoods knowingly spoken with intent to deceive. This is the trademark of the Con Man and the schemer, resorted to by anyone covering up a Big Secret. However subtle they may be, Pull the Thread and they collapse (which is why the liar often takes Refuge in Audacity, to keep someone from pulling the thread).
  • Obfuscating Disability: Faking a disability to mislead onlookers or throw off suspicion.
  • Obfuscating Insanity: Likewise a character could fake insanity...
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Or a lack of intelligence
  • Playing Sick: Pretending to be ill to avoid responsibilities or consequences.
  • Propaganda Hero: A hero either embellished or made up out of whole cloth for propaganda purposes
  • Propaganda Machine: A program or agency that exists to promulgate an official (and often misleading) version of the truth.
  • Propaganda Piece: Publications geared to influence the public first and foremost, with journalistic integrity as an afterthought or completely absent.
  • Recorded Spliced Coversation: Manipulating a recording to make a target think they're speaking to a real person.
  • Reverse Psychology: Getting someone to do something by telling them to do the opposite.
  • Sarcastic Confession: A truth that will not be believed. Often used to support the masquerade, this both deflects attention from the truth now and makes one less willing to accept the truth later.
  • "Scooby-Doo" Hoax: Using supernatural myths and Urban Legends to scare someone for whatever reason.
  • Seamless Spontaneous Lie: A quick, incredibly detailed and not easily disproved lie.
  • Social Engineering
  • Sure, Let's Go with That: Alice confronts Bob, who is obviously hiding something, and she concludes something wildly different than the secret Bob is actually sitting on, but Bob confesses to Alice's accusation only because he's covering up something darker or just embarrassing.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Name: This innocent sounding group are not a secret organisation of any sort, you won't even question their involvement or even notice their existence. The name is likely to be technically correct though.
  • You Didn't Ask: When a character simply doesn't tell/mention something that's particularly large, hard to avoid in conversation, or just really should have been mentioned.
  • You Said You Would Let Them Go: A villain lies to someone to get them to go along with a plan that will ultimately hurt those that they care about, or otherwise makes a promise that he has no intention of keeping. Often involves use of loopholes.

Tropes of Lies

For outright fabrications that may never be discovered as such.
See also Dirty Social Tricks.