Page 58 - Extend the Olive Branch

20th Dec 2011, 5:00 AM in Friendship is Magic, Part 2
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Extend the Olive Branch
Average Rating: 5 (3 votes)
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Author Notes:

Newbiespud 20th Dec 2011, 5:00 AM edit delete
Usually, a DM will make it clear whether words and Diplomacy are an alternative to combat. It's not often that players themselves will stop the battle halfway to find a diplomatic solution.

The reverse - players suddenly attacking NPCs they were negotiating with - is slightly more common.

Notice: Guest comic submissions are open! Guidelines here. Deadline: February 20th.



Ranubis 20th Dec 2011, 5:11 AM edit delete reply
In a fighter-heavy group, I tend to be the person who tries to negotiate, which tends to result for less loot and XP for the rest of the team. The absolute worst time came when I was sent into the den of a wererat gang to distract them so the rest of the party could set up for an attack.

With the rest of the party at the end of a long hallway, I was supposed to lure the gang towards them. Problem was, my attempt to distract them with diplomacy was working so well that I was convincing the gang to help us, which our DM had not planned for. While the DM tried a few things to sour the negotiations - a wererat sees a glint of metal down the hall, a badge given by the king falls out of my pack - the diplomacy was succeeding.

Then our ranger, claiming she was 'saving' me, shot a wererat in the eye, so that the rest of the party had to spend a round running down the hall as I fended off 6 wererats screaming about betrayal. Suffice it to say my Paladin hasn't spoken with the ranger for a while.
NekoLLX 20th Dec 2011, 2:04 PM diplomacy edit delete reply
Speaking of diplomacy in my story, based on chat log rping, our Ranger, who due to events beyond her control but that she feels guilty for, has a wererat, a former knight/player charmed to keep her from you know...eating people...eventually charms a Orgre Ranger who was acting as guardian to the library of the dungon boss Lothor, and essentialy recruits him and accquires his one of a kind magic crown
TaraSwanwing 13th Mar 2012, 5:57 PM edit delete reply
In one of our campaigns that we play when we don't have many players, or the GM isn't prepared, there is a hobgoblin paladin. Now, We're playing by Pathfinder, so hobgoblins are military slavers. So the hobgoblin paladin is OK with slavery. Our first GMPC was a goblin snake the paladin enslaved. Then we got a white dragon. And an ogre. Ya, it's pretty much like that.
Please let this show up! It keeps glitching.
sheridan 20th Dec 2011, 5:42 PM edit delete reply
first off I tend to hit randomize on the character creator make small adjustments so powers and weapons work together and live with the consistences. I seem to have more fun that way. This time i managed to get a halfling warlock... and i thought it was awesome. he was surly and his life goal was to eventually take over the world.
anyway we came up to a town guarded by a pair of Gnolls our wizard was trying to figure out whether the Gnolls owned the town or had invaded it. then and i quote the dm "a Larger gnoll wearing a Mohawk helmet runs up shouting about trespassing and your party you must pay a fine of 30 gold each and then you will be allowed to enter freely"
at this point Paco (my halfling warlock)says "I don't like your face" and i cast Flames of phlegethos
both the gnoll (and our DM were) were caught completely off gaurd i believe the dm's words were "really? are you serious..OK"
yes i succeeded but it still took three rounds for him to die.
Chakat Firepaw 21st Dec 2011, 9:48 AM edit delete reply
If you are getting fewer XPs because you are dealing with threats by talking rather than fighting, your DM is doing it wrong.

Any decent DM will also have the non-XP rewards balance out. You might not get the gold and the magic doodad the monster had but instead you get a useful contact and/or ally.
Nezumi 23rd Feb 2012, 6:22 PM edit delete reply
In d20 System (and in 4e, unless my information is way off), the EXP reward for an encounter/monster isn't actually for defeating it. It's for overcoming it -- you get the same EXP reward whether you kill them, knock them out, talk them down, or -- when none of those are real options -- even just managing to make it through alive. The last one tends to come up a lot in d20 Call of Cthulhu.
Namagomi 20th Dec 2011, 5:33 AM edit delete reply
I sympathize with Rainbow Dash's player here. There have been times in the past where all I want is to be awesome in a fight; do something awesome and generally kick ass and take names.

And then the GM's all over letting the Diplomacy guy stop the fight before I do so.

Tjprower 21st Dec 2011, 7:12 AM edit delete reply
Not as frustrating as the diplomacy nut that creates unwanted confrontation. A duskblade in my current party has unreasonably high intel giving him a rediculous number of languages. So he is ALWAYS trying to be diplomatic to EVERY FREAKING CREATURE. "Oh hey, you wanna help our cause Mister Dragon? How about you Mister Orc? Master Goblin? Ms. Hydra?" He gets us into more fights and problems than any other player I've ever played with. Why the moron hasn't died yet is beyond me. The DM probably thinks it's funny. =P
Dediles 20th Dec 2011, 5:48 AM edit delete reply
man, hearing all of these D&D/pathfinder/whatever tabletop rpg stories is making me sad. i am trying to start my own D&D group, but some of my friends are not sure that they would like it.
GuestM 20th Dec 2011, 6:16 AM edit delete reply
I know that feeling.

I actually only had one gaming group and it kinda didn´t work out. It was one of those groups who thought they were roleplaying and had rules to stop powergaming and stuff.
In hindsight the host just wanted to be the only munchkin in the group.

I don´t even miss those guys.
Jeez 20th Dec 2011, 2:32 PM edit delete reply
Generally, the better roleplayers they are the fewer solid rules they will need. I know one guy whose approach to combat is "say how you want to attack and we'll roleplay the effects", effectively reducing the combat rules to a modified attack roll and perhaps dodge or parry rolls where applicable. He tends to attract the kind of players who stay religiously in character and have an epic adventure fighting off a gang of bandits or perhaps a corrupt aristocrat. (Well, realistic combat damage means that comparatively pedestrian stuff IS immensely dangerous.)
Yinan 20th Dec 2011, 7:31 AM edit delete reply
Yeah, i once had a D&D 4 group, but after a few evenings we lost our location (the new Neighbour always complained because we played so long and so late...). Then we tried via internet, but 2 in the group had a bad internet connection that broke up every 15 minutes on average... and it took us almost 10 minutes to get startet again...

But hey, if you gonna start a online D&D 4e group, i would really like to join if you need some players :D
Kaleopolitus 20th Dec 2011, 8:13 AM edit delete reply
Hey, gimme a ring-a-ding if you actually ever put that into practise.
I've been wanting to do a tabletop campaign for sometime now but I don't have the connections for it.

Just a slight warning, I have no experience outside of a LOT of mmo rp.
E-Mail: (Here's to hoping there are no spam bots out to get me now >.>)
Dediles 20th Dec 2011, 9:07 AM edit delete reply
how do you even do that over the internet? besides i want to play in person, and doubt you live near me.
Yinan 20th Dec 2011, 9:19 AM edit delete reply
There are 2 tools i know, first is MapTool and the other ist Virtual Daivve... those allow you to connect to other persons via the internet and have a virtuakl tapletop to place your figures on... Then you can use Teamspeak or Skype or whatever to talk to the others... but yeah, if you want to play in person, then you won't need that ^^ i am from Germany so no, i probably don't live near you :P
Werekitty 21st Dec 2011, 3:19 PM Maptool edit delete reply
Maptool is pretty awesome. There is a chat tool in the actual program that allows for OOC chat, and RP. You could also use IM's for OOC interaction. We also use Maptool to play Warhammer, and we set up on Skype for the talk-through. Takes less time than typing things out, and I discovered that my DM has a really sexy voice.
ToonNinja 20th Dec 2011, 7:44 AM edit delete reply
Oh man, I could count the number of times my D&D group has tried to solve a fight diplomatically on one hand. The opposite is far, far too common. In one of our early games, our local power gamer (a drow assassin/vampire) was all too eager to be all sneaky and stab the orc chieftain in the neck... in the middle of a dinner... with all his finest warriors in attendance... when we were on a diplomatic mission.

Granted, we got the orcs to stop attacking caravans, but that was because they spent the rest of the campaign hunting us down demanding "blood for blood," something we weren't quite willing to deal with seeing how we killed seventeen orcs and there was only seven of us. The only upside is that the assassin lost his flaming dagger in the process, as well as creating the inside joke "Drow-kebab" (long story).
Kaleopolitus 20th Dec 2011, 8:16 AM edit delete reply
Let me guess, he stabbed the chieftain, and while he was trying to run away he made a critical fail, set himself on fire with the flaming dagger and ran all across the orc camp screaming obscenities?
ToonNinja 22nd Dec 2011, 7:06 PM edit delete reply
Close. He stabbed the chieftain several times, and then threw his flaming dagger at a berserker. The kebab began with the berserker (now on fire) lobbing his spear (also on fire) at the drow (soon to be on fire), pinning him to a tree and VERY nearly killing him. Our cleric was of the forgiving sort, so he got out of it okay... ish.
ToonNinja 20th Dec 2011, 7:44 AM edit delete reply
Oh man, I could count the number of times my D&D group has tried to solve a fight diplomatically on one hand. The opposite is far, far too common. In one of our early games, our local power gamer (a drow assassin/vampire) was all too eager to be all sneaky and stab the orc chieftain in the neck... in the middle of a dinner... with all his finest warriors in attendance... when we were on a diplomatic mission.

Granted, we got the orcs to stop attacking caravans, but that was because they spent the rest of the campaign hunting us down demanding "blood for blood," something we weren't quite willing to deal with seeing how we killed seventeen orcs and there was only seven of us. The only upside is that the assassin lost his flaming dagger in the process, as well as creating the inside joke "Drow-kebab" (long story).
Urthdigger 20th Dec 2011, 7:58 AM edit delete reply
In one of our recent Pathfinder sessions, we scaled a wall only to find a group of hobgoblins up top. We stopped to fight them, taking quite a long time (We were supposed to be rushing to stop the big bad). Well, when the big bad's plan starts going into motion (Turning the fort into a giant mecha to mow down our army), the DM asks "...why didn't you guys just run past the goblins?"

It had never occured to us as players that ignoring combat is an option. Though, this group is fairly used to being railroaded in campaigns, and it's generally accepted that if the DM says we do something, we're locked into it until it's resolved.
banjo2E 20th Dec 2011, 8:38 AM edit delete reply
I'm one of the lucky ones, it seems: My group has absolutely no problem with bypassing fights with diplomacy. There was one time where we were conscripted by some king or such to go root out this criminal organiation. Well, we got to their lair and things almost came to blows between the bouncer and the Lawful Stupid knight, when I got to make a Streetwise check. I succeed, and convince the bouncer (and everyone else) that we're totally cool and should go talk to the boss. According to the DM, that would've been a very, VERY hard fight.

Of course, the gang had been murdered in advance ANYWAY, but that's another story. :V

...Come to think of it, our fights are generally more challenging than baseline. We just started a 4e campaign at level 14...without any magic items at all. We paused the campaign in the middle of a fight with four Fae spider monstrosities. So far we've bloodied the smallest one.
CommandoDude 20th Dec 2011, 9:19 AM edit delete reply
You started the campaign without magic items? When you're specifically suppose to pick 3 uncommons of your level or lower, and buy items with level appropriate starting gold?

Well that is why it is harder. 4e is built ASSUMING you have magical items. You're playing severely handicapped.
Mecryte 20th Dec 2011, 11:06 AM edit delete reply
But there is another word for handicap. A challenge. And what gamer worth their mettle wouldn't want a challenge.
Hennith95 20th Dec 2011, 9:00 AM edit delete reply
Sometimes getting past a fight with diplomacy is even more fun than the alternative. Those ogre guards want to know what we're doing here? We're here for the pizza party, of course! Our cleric used Create Food and Drink to conjure up some pizzas and soda, and we were let into the fortress with no problem.

Then again, there are times when the DM will just want you to fight the darn enemy he spent time making stats for. What's that? You saved the guy attacking you from the mind control spell? Too bad, he's a paladin of the god of slaughter and he still wants to kill you.
kriss1989 20th Dec 2011, 9:27 AM kriss1989 edit delete reply
My groups warlock gained the loyalty of a crew of pirates by promising them ice-cream.
littlebeast 20th Dec 2011, 9:12 AM edit delete reply
Let's see, in our last session, we had...
two fights
two diplomatic avoidals of fights
three kidnappings

Not really sure what to think about that.
CommandoDude 20th Dec 2011, 9:15 AM edit delete reply
If DnD wasn't rigged in a way that absolutely incentivized violence as the best option, there might be more violence. You barely ever get any loot or XP from talking your way out of a fight. And it doesn't help that fighter characters are usually gimped when it comes to skills, so why would they ever want to do a skill challenge?

The treasure and XP system in LFR really goes a long way to making parties less violent.

Nevertheless, the fighter sometimes DOES do diplomacy. During my last gaming session, our Warlock AND our Warden were out of the encounter due to being sick. Just as the party is getting ready to assault a flying Earthmoat using a spelljammer, we get spotted. So I get a disguise from the Captain, everyone goes below deck, and I try to bluff the patrol into thinking that I am the Captain and my crew is drunk and indisposed below deck. I came up with a pretty funny story actually, about a birthday party and I played a pretty good hand at Obfuscating Stupidity. It ALMOST worked too, I had the guard fooled, but not his highly intelligent dragon mount. A successful perception check at least let me get a surprise round in and hack the rider.
kriss1989 20th Dec 2011, 9:25 AM kriss1989 edit delete reply
That whole 'no XP loot' deal was a major obstacle to Diplomacy in one group I ran. They basically made a bad situation worse and worse by never going for diplomacy. Finally, the Cleric realizes that diplomacy is actually an option. But instead of trying to patch things up with their potential allies, he instead negotiates with the orc hoard. He succeeds. The fighter's player starts bitching at him about the XP lost, until I give a massive XP bonus for halting the war. Except to the fighter who opposed it and tried to sabotage the peace negotiations; since he wanted the war he gets no XP for peace being declared.
Yinan 20th Dec 2011, 9:26 AM edit delete reply
hm... isn't it that avoiding a battle with diplomacy or something else counts as "defeating the encounter"? So technically you should get the whole XP... and depending on the DM he might give you extra XP for good RPing or something like that ^^

I think it mostly depends on the DM if a game is more violent or less
Shikome Kido Mi 20th Dec 2011, 12:44 PM edit delete reply
Yeah, provided the monsters really were going to attack before the diplomat convinced them not to, that seems like overcoming the enemies to me. It's the same reason you get XP for fearing monsters away instead of fighting them.

You would get less loot, but then you'd need to spend less on things like healing items. It probably works out to slightly less money in the long run but sometimes it's probably worth it, especially if you can start convincing your enemies to pay you to do things you were going to do anyway or help you overcome foes you couldn't beat on your own. That's not even counting the "which makes for better RP at the moment" argument (sometimes fighting, sometimes talking).
Chakat Firepaw 21st Dec 2011, 9:57 AM edit delete reply
Yes, you should get XPs for successfully resolving an encounter. If you get rid of the ogres blocking the bridge it shouldn't matter if you kill them, trick them into going and bothering the people in the next kingdom over or get them to enlist in the Royal Guard.

However, there are too many players and DMs who have gotten stuck with the idea that XPs come from kills. While this problem does predate CRPGs, they have served to make it worse.
Gwaihir Scout 20th Dec 2011, 9:40 AM edit delete reply
I started playing Pathfinder Society online last month. The nice thing about the PFS modules is that each module is a set amount of XP (a 1-session module is worth 1 XP, and you need 3 XP to get to level 2), so diplomatic approaches are more useful. The loot system is weird, so I don't know how that's affected by looting corpses.

We were exploring a dungeon looking for an item and came across a den of kobolds. My rogue just happened to speak Draconic, and overheard that the kobolds weren't happy with their new (non-kobold) leader. So I used Bluff to convince them that we were there to kill the leader, they went and got him, we killed him and took the item which he conveniently had on him, and we didn't have to fight about a dozen kobolds.
Nezumi 23rd Feb 2012, 6:41 PM edit delete reply
Why are people talking about not getting as much EXP for talking your way past encounters? Since 3e, if not even farther back, you get EXP on the basis of overcoming the encounter, not killing the monsters. "Overcoming" can mean anything from fighting, to talking, to managing to drive off or endure the assault of a monster that's too powerful to actually defeat outright, to completing the ritual or grabbing the important item without letting Mega Adventurer Squisher 9000 stop you.

If your DM doesn't give you EXP for encounters if you don't actually defeat the monsters, they're not actually going by the book. They're doing their own weird, unfun house rules.
kriss1989 20th Dec 2011, 9:20 AM kriss1989 edit delete reply
In our most recent 4E battle, we fought a mummy riding a manticore. Yes, a mummy ON a manticore.
Kiana 21st Dec 2011, 6:06 PM edit delete reply
Try fighting a mummified manticore some time. =D
kriss1989 21st Dec 2011, 11:10 PM kriss1989 edit delete reply
The did I forget to mention that the mummy was a spell-caster?
Wayra Hyena 20th Dec 2011, 9:40 AM edit delete reply
One of the characters in my campaign I have dubbed "Theresa the magical Palabard" seems to be pretty good at doing this…
Okay, the team had gotten two quests from a call board. The first one was to clear out a nasty infestation of giant roaches and the other was to retrieve a little girl's missing pet. The little girl in question was the daughter of a family of druids who (it was believed) had not gotten a companion yet. Everyone decided that it was a much better prospect to delve into the roach den than go running about looking for a puppy or something (Except for the Palabard who really wanted to help the girl), and so they did.
Now, before this episode had started, Theresa the magical Palabard and I had a special pre-game moment where she got to talk to the girl's father. He asked her to keep an eye out for his daughter because she'd been mysteriously disappearing for long periods of time lately. As Theresa followed her, she came to the edge of the forest and the girl began to sing something. This was a special song she'd written to her pet to call her whenever she wandered.
Cut back to the roach den. They slaughtering their way through until they find big mama roach and they finally realize they miiiight be in a little over their head. Without skipping a beat, Theresa's player asks for a perception check on the roach looking for a collar and tags. The giant roach was the little girl's pet. The guys were too busy fighting off the smaller roaches to really listen, but Theresa started playing the girl's song for the roach. She tried twice, I'm pretty sure the first being a 3, and the second being a 6 (I was looking for a 12 on die or higher)
AND THEN… Theresa the Magical Palabard who had been rolling below a 7 regularly this session suddenly DOUBLE CRITICALLED a Perform check to play the little girl's song. I wrote in a way for them to get out of this without fighting their boss battle, and by god they used it. I am proud.
This has also earned Theresa some other nicknames like Sings to Roaches, as well as the joke that if she ever crits a bardic performance again, I will have her accidentally summon the two baby roaches they didn't kill as backup dancers.
Kaleopolitus 20th Dec 2011, 9:48 AM edit delete reply
Shook half the building reading that last line

Good job xD
Ranubis 20th Dec 2011, 4:20 PM edit delete reply
All hail the Insect Intoner, Serenader of the Scuttling Ones!
Nezumi 23rd Feb 2012, 6:47 PM edit delete reply
Thank you. I need to create a character who actually deserves that title, now. Might tie it in with my idea for a little girl who's some manner of living arthropod nest.
magewolf 20th Dec 2011, 10:32 AM edit delete reply
ahm allways lookin fer sum new gamers so anyone thats neer lansing MI can find me at capital city colectibles most friday nights.(weather permiting.)
Azureink 20th Dec 2011, 12:00 PM edit delete reply
Why Fluttershy? Why deny Rainbowdash her victory in battle?
Kuro Fox 21st Dec 2011, 2:29 AM edit delete reply
Because Fluttershy is a lover, not a fighter.
Akouma 20th Dec 2011, 12:29 PM edit delete reply
As a DM, I actually can't recall ever telling the players when fighting is an alternative to combat. I only ever tell them "look, if you guys attack people in sessions where I have no combat planned (I tell them up front most of the time whether or not this is the case) then regardless of what you are attack it WILL become a level 30 solo and TPK you in seconds."

However, if I have combat stats written for something, they're totally allowed to attack it, even if I WANT them to be friendly. I allow this because they usually seek the diplomatic route until the character's intentions are clear.

Although there was one time recently where I was having the PCs as part of their king's entourage for a parley before a battle, and I made it a point to ignore the half of the party saying "I attack the enemy king." THAT was annoying. It is a parley, you DON'T ATTACK PEOPLE DURING A PARLEY UNLESS THEY DO FIRST.
Shikome Kido Mi 21st Dec 2011, 8:30 PM edit delete reply
Sure you do.

Then your alignment changes to Evil and you alienate many of your old allies with your new reputation as faithless oath-breakers.

It's best to let the players live with the consequences of their actions, otherwise you're railroading them. Maybe they want to be dishonorable or they're just too dumb to think it through, but the nice difference between pen and paper and computer games is that in pen and paper you can do or at least try to do almost anything.
Ember_Glow 20th Dec 2011, 12:34 PM edit delete reply
Don't you still get xp for 'overcoming' the foe?
Sailorleo 3rd May 2018, 7:36 PM edit delete reply
Depends on the edition.

Original D&D and 1st ed AD&D were designed to be very different from the modern versions of the game. Parties were expected to avoid combat and the main source of XP was for class-related activities (thieves, for example, earn XP for recovering valuable treasure; 1gp = 1xp rate) because the important antagonists were expected to be nearly unbeatable. Trying to murderhobo your way through the original Tomb of Horrors was a path to a quick TPK.

2nd ed shifted to combat as primary XP source, but only actually defeating monsters counted according to rules as written (the rules did, however, allow for non-combat awards under other circumstances that many DMs Rule Zeroed into more general use).

Generic survival awards didn't officially come in until 3rd ed.
MrGrieves 20th Dec 2011, 1:47 PM edit delete reply
I'm new to RPGs but I've yet to run into the "attack instead of diplomacy" issue. Of course, that might be because my gaming group is working through a campaign using our GM's set of homebrew rules based on the Hero system that doesn't give XP or loot for beating up every NPC we come across.
Also, while our GM doesn't tell us directly whether to use combat or diplomacy in situations, he's really good at setting up scenarios where it's very obvious which we should use. Such as trying to rescue a kidnapped nobleman from an enemy castle IN ENEMY TERRITORY (i.e. combat = suicide) or fighting off the "all Dexterity all the time" assassin henchman who is standing on the backs of the two horses pulling our escape carriage and throwing knives at us. The likelihood of engaging in successful diplomacy with a badass of that calibre is shockingly low.
terrycloth 20th Dec 2011, 5:21 PM edit delete reply
Huh. I would have thought being in enemy territory would be 'diplomacy == suicide', since you need to leave no witnesses.
MrGrieves 21st Dec 2011, 8:37 AM edit delete reply
Exactly how many soldiers do you think would be in a castle in enemy territory? In this case diplomacy = nobody knows we've infiltrated the castle whereas combat = hundreds of soldiers surround and systematically murder us.

I suppose I should have mentioned: we're playing a kind of 3 Musketeers inspired duellists game rather than a sword 'n' sorcery one, so we don't have any AoE nuking or crowd control spells/powers/whatever available to us.

And if someone says "But the 3 Musketeers fight hundreds of guys at once all the time!" I will be forced to quote the latest movie and say "It was an off day." :)
kriss1989 21st Dec 2011, 11:15 PM kriss1989 edit delete reply
Also "stealth=they don't know we're here at all, even under false pretense'.
daemosblack 20th Dec 2011, 2:05 PM edit delete reply
In the 4e campaign I run the player's aversion to diplomatic solutions is more geared towards the fact that one of the players - A Tiefling Paladin of Bahamut - has a penchant for saying incredibly rude things to the other party of the conversation (I don't tell the player not to cause he's says he's roleplaying his pally's poor intelligence, it seems a perfectly logical line of conversation to this character) and the party's other charisma heavy character - an eladrin Sorcerer - is often caught digging them out of some social flub the Pally has instigated. in once instance in particular the Paladin convinced one of the major leaders of the evil organization that the name of the adventuring party was... and i Quote.... "Pimplicious" against all the efforts of the other parties to stop him.
Blade Tiger 20th Dec 2011, 2:08 PM edit delete reply
In one of the campaigns I play in, set in the world of Pokemon, (I'm a dork, I know.) I'm trying to focus on non-combat alternatives just because the PCs are part of a hated and feared people, and positive PR is worth far more than winning fights. One event in particular, though...

Someone who worked for the bad guys had found the PCs' hideout, and was trying to get away. Obviously, we had to pursue him. In the resulting fight, the other PCs captured him, but his Noctowl companion kidnapped my character and flew her away. Rather than try to plot a daring escape or overpower the owl with brute force, I spent the next week of in-game time trying to use Diplomancy on an unfriendly Pokemon who was becoming increasingly agitated and worried that his trainer may already be dead.

My character ended up making a break for it when the PCs staged a raid on the farmhouse where she was being held, but she botched a Stealth check and alerted the owl. He could have raised an alarm and alerted two guard dogs. He didn't. He could have attacked the PCs on sight. He didn't. My character made one last, desperate attempt to convince him to return to the PCs hideout with them, promising that his trainer was still alive.

GM asks me to roll Diplomacy. I pass the check.

Not only did the farmhouse raid go off without a hitch, not only do we now have two more potential allies (the owl AND his trainer), but the GM told me after the fact that she'd planned two future fights which were now completely averted by my actions.

Under the system we're using, you don't get XP from fighting so much as from playing to character and scoring victories. For those keeping score, that's three fairly tough fights that the party DIDN'T have to go through, because I was a stubborn fool and never gave up on Diplomacy.
Wayra Hyena 20th Dec 2011, 2:16 PM edit delete reply
And if anyone's curious, this is MY stubborn fool, and I still can't believe how many future fights (we're up to three now) you've averted just by talking things through and actually paying attention.
You are an awesome diplomancer.
Sora 20th Dec 2011, 6:25 PM edit delete reply
... I would LOVE to play a pokemon based campaign. I wonder if I can forcibly draqg some of my current players into one sometime...
Kyronea 20th Dec 2011, 7:05 PM edit delete reply
I have to say, I'm impressed by how well you've used Diplomacy.

One thing I'd like to add: you don't need to tell us you're a dork. You're commenting on a comic about My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic being interpreted as a D&D campaign. We're all dorks here.
Guest 20th Dec 2011, 8:37 PM edit delete reply
*takes a bow* Thank you, I like to think I've learned the art of diplomancy well.

Heh, well when you put it like THAT... Seriously, though, I love how dorky everyone here is...
InvisibleDale 20th Dec 2011, 9:00 PM edit delete reply
Hey, I resemble that remark! I'm proud to be a dork, nerd, or any of supposed slang word for "different".
Kyronea 20th Dec 2011, 9:40 PM edit delete reply
As am I. I meant it as a compliment.
kriss1989 21st Dec 2011, 11:16 PM kriss1989 edit delete reply
Are you playing Pokemon Tabeltop Adventures, or a homebrew system?
xuincherguixe 22nd Dec 2011, 3:34 AM edit delete reply
I've heard of worse campaign settings than Pokemon.

...most of which were mine.
Steel 20th Dec 2011, 2:57 PM edit delete reply
in my current game there is really limited chances to "Talk things out" as my Paladin has found out. Goblins, Kobolds, and sundry other beasties tend to frown on the party going through their turf it seems. Its pretty bad for my guy since he is Lawful Good (not stupid GOOD)so he tends to leave the women and children alive and works to see them to safer lands..... doesn't help the fact that he now has a band of "War Orphans" who might form a evil party to kill him later on in life.
Izandai 21st Dec 2011, 6:16 AM edit delete reply
Actually, given that your paladin spared them and moved them to safe places, they ought to come to his aid in a time of need. Maybe you're defending a stronghold against an impossible force (a-la Helm's Deep) and you go enlist their aid as reinforcements (a-la Gandalf and Rohan). Just a thought.
Lord Nannershy 20th Dec 2011, 3:13 PM edit delete reply
This is an excellent comic. I'm not into D&D at all but I'm enjoying the hell out of this.
leafia6 20th Dec 2011, 6:30 PM edit delete reply
Cheer up Rainbow Dash. There's still the Sonic Rainboom.
DeadManSleeping 20th Dec 2011, 7:45 PM edit delete reply
I'm always trying to stop/prevent fights with diploma(n)cy. Half the members of my party are always trying to make this as impossible as they possibly can.
AK 21st Dec 2011, 12:46 AM edit delete reply
Awesome comic... Keep up the great work! :D

Thanks for creating material for us role-playing Bronies to enjoy!
DjOrange 21st Dec 2011, 12:50 AM edit delete reply
In my campaign my brother runs we run across a badly injured Silver Dragon. I offer to help the Dragon in return for access to his horde of goods. He refused me, so I pull my morningstar (I am a warforge artificer) to repeat my demand again, and prepare for attack. When I start to say it, our wizard blurts out "I cast heal moderate damage on the dragon!" So we end up helping the dragon by pleading his case to the town council. While there I interrupt and say "Are we really going to let this dragon move into your lands and live amongst you? He could be dangerous!" A random npc added that he was a silver dragon, and thus good. My response was "Ever heard of an illusion? That orc in my party is actually a gnome illusionist, it is a simple spell!" (The orc actually was a gnome illusionist, and so at this point he dropped the illusion) Well the council decided to let the dragon live near the town (My brother was not prepared for my "interruption", but he liked my idea) but the next day the dragon did infact turn out to be a red dragon that was using an illusion to turn silver, and pillaged the town, that we left shortly before.
Kuro Fox 21st Dec 2011, 12:15 PM edit delete reply
I haven't played D&D more than once and it was 3.5e, but shouldn't one of you have had some way to dispel the illusion on the dragon? Like your Gnome Illusionist?
David 21st Dec 2011, 1:26 PM edit delete reply
It'd only work if they'd tried to do so at some point. It doesn't matter how many special powers you have if you don't use them.
Kyoko 21st Dec 2011, 8:57 AM edit delete reply
This story has made me want to start playing Dungeons and Dragons. Well done.
Kaleopolitus 21st Dec 2011, 9:56 AM edit delete reply
You're not alone in that. It's pretty hard to find out how to, though. :O I have no idea where to start.
Thomas Anastasio 21st Dec 2011, 2:08 PM edit delete reply
I'd start by trying D&D Encounters
MirrorImage 21st Dec 2011, 4:19 PM edit delete reply
Per my own curiosity, where do you live? I DM a weekly session at the local game store where I live, and if you happen to be nearby, we gladly welcome newcomers.
PikalaxALT 21st Dec 2011, 11:57 AM edit delete reply
Great. Now Fluttershy can use HNNRG to kill the beast!
Aurabolt 21st Dec 2011, 1:43 PM edit delete reply
as I said before, while I understand the notion of diplomacy by roleplay and being helpful...
Aurabolt 21st Dec 2011, 1:43 PM edit delete reply
The problem is that, and I tend to agree and that Diplomacy doesn't tend to lead to a removal of a threat when it could just decide to kill and loot you...and even then, you tend to miss out on whatever things they had if you talk if their information is the only thing we can give them. Sometimes, and this was very rare is my experience, you can barter with those you diplomaize with..but more often than not, you don't get much.
Squeejee 21st Dec 2011, 4:10 PM edit delete reply
See, but if you play diplomacy RAW (at least in 3.5), then it is child's play to make everyone you meet allies who would die to protect you, for free, FOREVER.

IMO, the real problem with diplomacy is that no GM in their right mind would ever run it as RAW, so it generally boils down to "i roll my modifier, and the GM may or may not take it into account when he pulls the result completely out if his ass."

It's like taking Track and survival - whether you have the skill or not, the GM will ultimately just decide whether you get to the next encounter or not, and whether your characters are late or just in the nick of time.
Aurabolt 21st Dec 2011, 8:29 PM edit delete reply
While true, the GM Rule Zero does have its addendums, let's just all keep that in mind. While his word is law, there are sometimes where-like with Applejack eariler when she came up with an idea the DM liked-that he can't just pop things out of his head immediately that could cause the party umbrage.

I see Rainbow Dash's player to be rather distinct and unique amongst the group. I wonder how the DM is going to placate her obvious player understanding to show that she can be rewarded outside combat and taking the opponent's stuff. Because that is always very cool, let me tell you. At the same time, it sounds like the DM wanted more than that with this campaign.
Chono 21st Dec 2011, 8:56 PM edit delete reply
My DnD group is currently running a ponified version of 4e , and because I knew no one else in my group would roll a diplomacy character I decided to roll a Discordic bard. So my character does chaotic things. even when being diplomatic. So when we had to gain access to the mayor's manor and talk to him I attempted to convince his guards that the 7 person adventuring party was really a group of farmers looking to buy land. However this quickly dissolved and the rest of the party had to salvage the situation while I continued to attempt the farmer cover story. To the point that when we did finally make it to the mayor I introduced myself as a farmer and instated this was are story up until I was dragged out of The mayor's office screaming That I was a farmer and that everyone else was doing a horrible job at maintaining the cover story.
Sage 21st Dec 2011, 9:58 PM edit delete reply
In the last campaign I was in, we were running a city game in which we were supposed to stay relatively lowkey and not reveal our true terribly horrible natures in order to further corrupt the town. Our diplomatic forays were often cut short by one of our players inexplicably yelling "Join Battle" during a contract negotiation, or a rescue mission with no discernible nearby enemies, or rescuing a mutated kitten or something. Needless to say, it got old real quick.
Your Obedient Serpent 21st Dec 2011, 10:03 PM Stop, or I'll negotiate! edit delete reply
A few years back, I was in an IRONCLAW campaign. My character, Lord Nikulai, was, in fact, a Bat Diplomat.

At some point, our party actually found ourselves in a traditional dungeon -- something that's MOST unusual in an Ironclaw game -- an ancient and abandoned underground complex, built centuries ago by long-departed wizard-kings. The place was illuminated by torches that had been burning all those centuries, and seemed, in fact, inexhaustible.

As one might expect in such surroundings, we encountered bizarre and magical adversaries, and combat ensued. They were mindless, animated stone statues, and neither Lord Nik's mind magics nor his rapier would have been much use in the conflict, so he stayed at the back of the party, near Tybalt, a Ferret mage of diverse and sundry powers.

Tybalt, for his part, was busy summoning a fire elemental ... and, just as the enchantment was finalized, got himself knocked unconscious. Thankfully, our more physically-adept comrades had largely dispatched our adversaries by this point ... but that left me alone, in the back of the party, where an uncontrolled fire elemental had just manifested.

Tybalt may have had a glass jaw, but he was no paltry dabbler in the Art; this could have been as deadly a challenge as the adversaries we'd just dispatched. As the Salamander took form, a seething, serpentine figure of fire's very essence ... I immediately grabbed one of the Everlasting Torches from the wall and offered it to the creature as a present.

It was DELIGHTED. Usually, when an Elemental is summoned, it's "burn this" or "slaughter that" or "heat up that teapot, be a dear, won't you?"

WE called it up to give it a TOY!

And with that, Lord Nik's reputation was made.
Aurabolt 22nd Dec 2011, 3:53 PM edit delete reply
So, you wasted a useful magical item to gain the respect of a Fire Elemental? I hoped this somehow helped you in the longrun?
Zeeth 22nd Dec 2011, 6:27 PM edit delete reply
The character's still alive, right? That's a long-term success, right there!
Aurabolt 24th Dec 2011, 2:17 PM edit delete reply
Well, fighting it would likely have kept you alive, possibly. I don't know, I'm not used to situations where if threats are commonplace and treasure comes afterwards, that you would negate the encounter and get nothing from it.
Nezumi 23rd Feb 2012, 7:06 PM edit delete reply
Notice the part where he says that they had just gotten off of fighting an encounter that was likely equal to this sole elemental. Even if they didn't die outright -- and Ironclaw combat can be fairly lethal once you're already injured and have expended your "get out of death free" cards -- it would take more resources that would be better put to work against fights they couldn't talk their way out of.

Ironclaw is also very much [not] a "Kill Monsters And Take Their Stuff" setting, so getting into needless fights doesn't actually help you much anyway.
Vulpis 22nd Jul 2012, 12:26 AM edit delete reply
Keep in mind that from the description there were *plenty* of spares.
Mecryte 21st Dec 2011, 11:22 PM edit delete reply
Where is the one with the human Pinkie Pie picture? I haven't seen it post in a while.
xuincherguixe 22nd Dec 2011, 3:50 AM edit delete reply
I tend towards martial pacifists myself. This works better in games that are not D&D.

Ask the monsters politely. Then not so politely. Then knock out their teeth.

It's not killing so it's okay! That's what Powerpuff girls has taught me!
Matty-chan 7th Mar 2012, 11:25 AM edit delete reply
A solo adventure I was once in had an example of using Animal Empathy to defang a foe. I was playing a lvl. 1 ranger named Blaze (DnD 3.5), whose favoured enemy was orcs. When I say she didn't like orcs, I mean she REALLY, REALLY didn't like them. I should also mention that I was ten and my dad was the GM.

The gist of the adventure was that these orcs were threatening a town and Blaze had to save them. Well, on the way there I wandered through a wood while thinking on how to beat up the orcs. I got lost and ran into a bear.

I used Animal Empathy to make friends with the bear. Nat 20. My dad was thrown, but eventually decided to let me have a look at what was making it so upset, which was the same as this Manticore - thorn in the paw. I asked if I could pull it out and had to make a Heal check. I succeeded.

Well, my dad had expected this to be my first combat round, but I'd role-played my way out. Suddenly, the god of the forest appears and explains that this was a test of the heart! The bear's attitude towards me was changed to "Fanatic" and it got its Intelligence bumped to 4.

Five minutes later, and I find the orcs - they've got this tower. I still had my bear friend in tow. The orcs NEVER saw it coming!
Lenora 4th Dec 2012, 10:13 AM edit delete reply
I once played a campaign as a good human cleric who gained at least one goblin follower every time we fought them. They would raid, the last couple would surrender, and I would convince the group to show mercy, and find a place for them to work somewhere. One of the goblins was convinced I had brought him back from the dead after I merely healed him (goblins are not known for intelligence, but this one had a stunning score of 2) and he stayed by my side the rest of the campaign because I was his goddess.
It was annoying at first to my teammates, who would much rather just crush them, but a little ally army of goblins turned out to be a very good thing. And very fun to play.
Carvin 11th Jan 2013, 1:40 PM edit delete reply
Comics like Goblins! and OOTS have left me questioning the usual 'kill everything' mentality of RPGs. I now always play characters that will try to negotiate with EVERYTHING sapient, and will negotiate mid-battle if they will reconsider. DMs seem to hate it more than the players, oddly enough...
Trae 9th Jan 2014, 10:22 AM edit delete reply
The latest session of my 3.5 game ended up with the party at dinner with a group of lesser nobles led by a Duke. The Duke's wife was secretly an evil sorceress and had been trying to use mind control spells on the townsfolk and the party to make everyone her minions. We exposed the Duchess for what she was to everyone and fully expected combat to break out with guards. The LG paladin was the one outing the sorceress but wouldn't start the fight himself, and we fully expected the Chaotic characters to get bored with the talking and start attacking things. For some reason they never did and the dinner just sorta of petered off with everyone going to respective retirements.
Guest 9th Sep 2019, 6:36 PM edit delete reply
So, what you're saying is, she was an evil enchantress who did evil dances, and if you'd look in her eyes, she'd put you in trances?