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Dec 18

Giant in the Playground: This Old Rule: The Diplomacy Skill

An interesting take on the D&D Diplomacy skill (in 3.5), and an alternative take:

I have never liked the D&D rules for the Diplomacy skill. Now, let’s be clear, I’m not one of those people who says that any mechanic for social interaction is a Bad Idea That Limits Roleplaying. Quite the opposite; I want a clear and concise mechanic for determining how people react to specific requests and negotiations. Here are my problems with the current skill description:

1.) It has a flat DC that is too low; a 2nd level bard turning a hostile character to indifferent is DC 25; seems “tough, but doable”. But it’s actually child’s play. With a 16 Charisma, 5 ranks in Diplomacy, 5 ranks in Bluff (which grants a +2 synergy bonus), and 5 ranks in Sense Motive (which also grants a +2 synergy bonus), and (new in 3.5!) 5 ranks of Knowledge (nobility) (which yes, ALSO grants a +2 synergy bonus), the 2nd level bard already has a +14 and only needs a 11 or better to succeed. And that’s without spending a feat on Skill Focus (Diplomacy) or Persuasive. Now here’s the real problem: at 11th level, that same bard will have 9 more ranks in Diplomacy and probably at least an extra +1 from Charisma; he can now succeed on a roll of 1, which means he doesn’t have to roll. He can automatically turn all hostile people indifferent by talking to them. He has 9 more levels of adventuring before he goes epic, but he can already make every enemy he meets apathetic to his existence.

Read the rest at Giant in the Playground

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