House Rules: Skills - Diplomacy

< House Rules: Skills

You can use this skill to persuade others to agree with your arguments, to resolve differences, and to gather valuable information or rumors from people. This skill is also used to negotiate conflicts by using the proper etiquette and manners suitable to the problem.

Uses


Gather Information (Novice)

You can use Diplomacy to gather information about a specific topic or individual. To do this, you must spend at least 1d4 hours canvassing people at local taverns, markets, and gathering places. The DC of this check depends on the obscurity of the information sought, but for most commonly known facts or rumors it is 10. For obscure or secret knowledge, the DC might increase to 20 or higher. The GM might rule that some topics are simply unknown to common folk.

Action: Using Diplomacy to gather information takes 1d4 hours of work, searching for rumors and informants.

Retry? Yes. You can retry Diplomacy checks made to gather information.

Proficiency:

  • Expert: The time required gather information is halved.
  • Master: You can gather information in 10 minutes by taking a –5 penalty.
  • Legendary: You can gather information in 1d4 minutes with no penalty.

Influence Attitude (Novice)

You can use this skill to persuade others to agree with your arguments, to resolve differences, and to gather valuable information or rumors from people. This skill is also used to negotiate conflicts by using the proper etiquette and manners suitable to the problem.

You cannot use Diplomacy against a creature that does not understand you or has an Intelligence of 3 or less.

Propose or Request
You can propose a trade or agreement to another creature with your words; a Diplomacy check can then persuade them that accepting it is a good idea. Either side of the deal may involve physical goods, money, services, promises, or abstract concepts like "satisfaction." The DC for the Diplomacy check is based on three factors: who the target is, the relationship between the target and the character making the check, and the risk vs. reward factor of the deal proposed.

The Target: The base DC for any Diplomacy check is equal to the 15 + CR of the highest CR creature in the group that you are trying to influence + the Wisdom modifier of the creature in the group with the highest Wisdom. High-level characters are more committed to their views and are less likely to be swayed; high Wisdom characters are more likely to perceive the speaker's real motives and aims. By applying the highest modifiers in any group, a powerful king (for example) might gain benefit from a very wise adviser who listens in court and counsels him accordingly. For this purpose, a number of characters is only a "group" if they are committed to all following the same course of action. Either one NPC is in charge, or they agree to act by consensus. If each member is going to make up their mind on their own, roll separate Diplomacy checks against each.

The Relationship: Whether they love, hate, or have never met each other, the relationship between two people always influences any request. Your relationship with the subject modifies the DC of your Diplomacy check.

Table: Relationship

Relationship DC Modifier Description
Intimate -10 Someone who with whom you have an implicit trust. Example: A lover or spouse.
Friend -7 Someone with whom you have a regularly positive personal relationship. Example: A long-time buddy or a sibling.
Ally -5 Someone on the same team, but with whom you have no personal relationship. Example: A cleric of the same religion or a knight serving the same king.
Acquaintance (Positive) -2 Someone you have met several times with no particularly negative experiences. Example: The blacksmith that buys your looted equipment regularly.
Just Met +0 No relationship whatsoever. Example: A guard at a castle or a traveler on a road.
Acquaintance (Negative) +2 Someone you have met several times with no particularly positive experiences. Example: A town guard that has arrested you for drunkenness once or twice.
Enemy +5 Someone on an opposed team, with whom you have no personal relationship. Example: A cleric of a philosophically-opposed religion or an orc bandit who is robbing you.
Personal Foe +7 Someone with whom you have a regularly antagonistic personal relationship. Example: An evil warlord whom you are attempting to thwart, or a bounty hunter who is tracking you down for your crimes.
Nemesis +10 Someone who has sworn to do you, personally, harm. Example: The brother of a man you murdered in cold blood.

Attitude: The subject's attitude is their disposition towards you; this is separate from your relationship with them. You may be a Friend with someone, but you may have angered them recently and they are currently Unfriendly with you due to recent actions. The subjects starting attitude towards you depends on your relationship, as shown in Table: Attitude. If a subject's attitude towards you remains unchanged for a week, then your relationship with them shifts upward (if the attitude is positive) or downward (if the attitude is negative) until it settles at the appropriate level (see table below).

Table: Attitude

Attitude DC Modifier Description Relationship
Helpful -5 Your target is ready to help you with anything you need. Intimate, Friend
Friendly -2 Your target is willing to help you within reason. Ally, Acquaintance (positive)
Indifferent +0 Your target is has no personal feelings towards you. Just Met
Unfriendly +2 Your target is unwilling to help you, but may be convinced with sufficient incentive. Acquaintance (negative), Enemy
Hostile +5 Your target is completely unwilling to help you, and will require a great personal cost to you to even consider it. Personal Foe, Nemesis

Risk vs. Reward Judgement: The amount of personal benefit must always be weighed against the potential risks for any deal proposed. It is important to remember to consider this adjustment from the point of view of the NPC themselves and what they might value; while 10 gp might be chump change to an adventurer, it may represent several months' earnings for a poor farmer. Likewise, a heroic paladin is unlikely to be persuaded from his tenets for any amount of gold, though he might be convinced that a greater good is served by the proposed deal. When dealing with multiple people at once, always consider the benefits to the person who is in clear command, if any hierarchy exists within the group.

Table: Risk & Reward

Risk vs. Reward DC Modifier Description
Fantastic -10 The reward for accepting the deal is very worthwhile, and the risk is either acceptable or extremely unlikely. The best-case scenario is a virtual guarantee. Example: An offer to pay a lot of gold for something of no value to the subject, such as information that is not a secret.
Favorable -5 The reward is good, and the risk is tolerable. If all goes according to plan, the deal will end up benefiting the subject. Example: A request to aid the party in battle against a weak goblin tribe in return for a cut of the money and first pick of the magic items.
Even +0 The reward and risk are more or less even, or the deal involves neither reward nor risk. Example: A request for directions to someplace that is not a secret.
Unfavorable +5 The reward is not enough compared to the risk involved; even if all goes according to plan, chances are it will end up badly for the subject. Example: A request to free a prisoner the subject is guarding (for which he or she will probably be fired) in return for a small amount of money.
Horrible +10 There is no conceivable way the proposed plan could end up with the subject ahead, or the worst-case scenario is guaranteed to occur. Example: A offer to trade a bit of dirty string for a castle.

Success or Failure: If the Diplomacy check beats the DC, the subject accepts the proposal, with no changes or with minor (mostly idiosyncratic) changes. If the check fails by 5 or less, the subject does not accept the deal but may, at the DM's option, present a counter-offer that would push the deal up one place on the risk-vs.-reward list. For example, a counter-offer might make an Even deal Favorable for the subject. The character who made the Diplomacy check can simply accept the counter-offer, if they choose; no further check will be required. If the check fails by 10 or more, the Diplomacy is over; the subject will entertain no further deals, and may become hostile or take other steps to end the conversation.

Adjust Relationship
You can spend time with the subject and get to know one another to improve your relationship with them. You may need to make a successful Diplomacy check to request the subject to spend time with you. You must spend 1d4 hours in direct communication with the subject within 24 hours (these hours need not be consecutive). At the end of that time, make your Diplomacy check as if you were making a request. If you succeed, you improve your relationship by one step. If you fail by 4 or less, then your relationship remains unchanged. If you fail by 5 or more, then your relationship worsens by one step, and the subject is unwilling to spend any more time with you in the future without you succeeding a Diplomacy check to Propose spending time together. Relationship changes persist until changed by outside actions.

Adjust Attitude
You can temporarily change the subject's attitude towards you in the short-term. If your Diplomacy check is successful, the subject's attitude towards you improves by one step. For every 5 by which your check result exceeds the DC, the character’s attitude toward you increases by one additional step. A creature’s attitude cannot be shifted more than two steps up in this way, although the GM can override this rule in some situations. If you fail the check by 4 or less, the character’s attitude toward you is unchanged. If you fail by 5 or more, the character’s attitude toward you is decreased by one step.

Any attitude shift caused through Diplomacy generally lasts for 1d4 hours but can last much longer or shorter depending upon the situation (GM discretion).

Performing Favors
A sure way to improve another person's attitude towards you is by doing favors or tasks for them, or by giving them gifts. The number of favors or gifts you need to improve the subject's attitude depends on their current attitude towards you. Doing favors and giving gifts also improves your relationship with the subject. The number of favors and gifts to improved your relationship depends on your current relationship level. Favors and gifts count toward both improving attitude and relationship at the same time. Only one favor or gift per day counts towards improving the subject's attitude and relationship.

Be warned, performing a favor or giving a gift that the subject hates can insult them and worsens their attitude by one step.

Like improving attitude through Diplomacy, attitude changes persists for 1d4 hours, but relationship changes persists.

At GM's discretion, some favors or gifts may count for more than 1.

Table: Attitude & Favors Needed

Current Attitude Number of favors or gifts needed1
Helpful None
Friendly 2
Indifferent 3
Unfriendly 4
Hostile 5

Table: Relationship & Favors Needed

Current Relationship Number of favors or gifts needed1
Intimate None
Friend 2
Ally 2
Acquaintance (positive) 3
Just Met 3
Acquaintance (negative) 5
Enemy 7
Personal Foe 7
Nemesis 10

1These numbers are not the total number of favors or gifts. After your target's attitude or your relationship has changed, you must start anew, and perform new favors or give new gifts a number of times as listed to improve to the next step.

Action:

  • Proposal or Request: Making a request or proposing a deal generally requires at least 3 acts. In many situations, this time requirement may greatly increase.
  • Adjust Relationship: You must spend at least 1d4 hours in direct communication with the subject within 24 hours.
  • Adjust Attitude: You must spend at least 1 minute in direct communication with the subject within 24 hours.
  • Favors or Gifts: The amount of time a favor takes varies. Giving a gift takes 3 acts.

Retry?

  • Proposal or Request: If you alter the parameters of the deal you are proposing, you may try to convince the subject that this new deal is even better than the last one. This is essentially how people haggle. As long as you never roll 10 or less than the DC on your Diplomacy check, you can continue to offer deals. If a request is refused, the result does not change with additional checks, although other requests might be made.
  • Adjusting Relationship: You must wait 24 hours before attempting to spend time with the subject again. If you failed by 5 or more on your previous attempt, you must make a Diplomacy check to make a request to get the subject to accept spending time with you again.
  • Adjusting Attitude: You cannot use Diplomacy to adjust a creature’s attitude more than once in a 24 hour period.
  • Favors or Gifts: You must wait 24 hours before another favor or gift counts towards improving the subject's attitude or relationship.

Proficiency:

  • Expert: The time required to influence a creature’s attitude is halved.
  • Master: You can attempt to make a proposal or request with 2 acts with no penalty. If you take 1 minute to adjust a creature’s attitude, the duration of the resulting change is measured in days, not hours.
  • Legendary: You can attempt to adjust a creature’s attitude in 3 acts with no penalty. If you take 1 minute to adjust a creature’s attitude, the duration of the resulting change is measured in weeks, not hours.

Modifiers


Feat—If you have the Persuasive feat, you gain a +2 bonus on Diplomacy checks. If you have 10 or more ranks in Diplomacy, the bonus increases to +4.

< House Rules: Skills

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