Page 72 - Straight to the Point

21st Jan 2012, 5:00 AM in Friendship is Magic, Part 2
<<First Latest>>
Straight to the Point
Average Rating: 4.5 (2 votes)
<<First Latest>>

Author Notes:

Newbiespud 21st Jan 2012, 5:00 AM edit delete
If nothing else, roleplaying is a good way of practicing real-life persuasive (and deceptive) skills. Though it's somehow hilarious when a player makes a heart-moving Diplomatic appeal (or a spine-chilling Intimidation)... and then rolls a critical failure. Justifying that can be a lot of fun for the DM.

Notice: Guest comic submissions are open! Guidelines here. Deadline: January 27th, 2023.



Godna 21st Jan 2012, 5:03 AM Diplomacy edit delete reply
All hail the Diplomancer
Kiana 21st Jan 2012, 9:40 AM edit delete reply
Low Insight, worse foresight. =P

The reason all my characters tend towards having at least decent Wisdom is so they DON'T get taken in by fast talkers...
Godna 21st Jan 2012, 3:33 PM edit delete reply
I never Fast talk my fellow party members.

It's bad juju
Kiana 21st Jan 2012, 8:56 PM edit delete reply
After a couple jerks taking advantage of my better nature* I keep social villain on hand. If a player thinks they can make himself a combat god and just not talk outside of combat? Bring up a situation where in he doesn't have a choice. Force him to deal with a villain who hits every weak point he has, turning every instance of him ignoring the other players and being a combat hungry bastard against him.

Rarely will the player himself learn, but every other player, looking in from the outside, tends to get the hint that I don't tolerate that crap. Not anymore.

*That is to say, they bypassed having piss poor Charisma and character social skills by playing to my sympathies and trying to 'roleplay' through encounters. I now make a point of making private rolls when my players talk. It both avoids breaking the flow and ensures no more BSing like that.

Before, I was so desperate to keep a campaign going that I'd let my players walk over me a LOT. Not helped by the fact that I had to rely on one of them to host GameTable. (I no longer have to, thank Celestia.) Several players used that against me.

Before, it was "Oh, you're talking to them. Well, it's better than you punching everything, I guess." Now? Now it's "Oh, you have 8 Charisma and a total of +0 to Diplomacy? Congratulations, you just made things worse."

Before, I'd let it slide if a character basically ceased to exist until initiative was rolled. Now? Now they lose out on rewards for lack of participation. Be a team player or PAY! =D
Godna 22nd Jan 2012, 7:54 AM edit delete reply
I find that neither absolute is best.

I mean really making matter strictly worse just because they have no chance to succeed with a diplomacy roll is just a dick move.

Then again I'm not sure I know your players. It just seems to encorage them to play a diplomancer if your going hold fast to the rule like that.

Kiana 22nd Jan 2012, 5:24 PM edit delete reply
It's more "You are REQUIRED to interact with your own flippin' party!" and "If you're going to try talking your way out of encounters/get better rewards/make friends, you damn well better have the skills to back it up!"

One guy NEVER interacted with the party. His character being mute isn't an excuse, since the character was a shape shifter AND relatively intelligent (if not exactly sane), so they could pantomime or HOLD UP SIGNS, or SOMETHING! Instead, he literally only commented (this being an IRC based campaign) when combat came around.

The other guy made an empty headed, nigh invulnerable brick with 8 Charisma and zero social skills... But took advantage of how I was desperate for players, how he hosted GameTable and how I was desperate for a party that actually TRIED diplomacy more than once in a blue moon, that I got forced into letting him get away with talking his way through shit without making rolls.

These players are also why I've stopped being a 'nice' DM. Previously, I cared exclusively for player happiness. Well, I didn't have any fun when they took advantage of it, so now I don't hesitate to tell someone off if they do something stupid. One example is a player not knowing that skill rolls were a d20 check. It took a very long time for me to stop bringing that up to him. I only stopped once he started making skill rolls properly.

Also, the jackass hosting GT used gave me an ultimatum that amounted to "Let me have my way or I'm taking my toys and going home." I do not like ultimatums, so I told him to get out.

This player is also the reason why I tell all new players "If you're hanging over a pit and try to clap your hands, YOUR CHARACTER DIES. I don't even care if it's only ten feet down, YOU DIE." Because the dumbass made a huge fuss over not being allowed to do just that. I tried talking him out of it. I no longer try talking my players out of doing something suicidal.

In fact, "Don't be like THAT guy" is also in my introduction to new players. He's a great measuring stick for a jackass player.
Vulpis 22nd Jul 2012, 8:45 PM edit delete reply
Hmm. No offence, especially seeing why you have tha view...but if that was the sort of introduction I got as a new player to your group, my response would likely be 'Uh, right.' followed by packing up my books and gear and going someplace else. Or 'Vulpis has disconnected.' in an online situation.
Kaleopolitus 21st Jan 2012, 5:05 AM edit delete reply
Looking forward to all the stories about people talking their way through the big bad encounters :D
Anthonox 21st Jan 2012, 5:10 AM edit delete reply
One time a wizard of mine straight up bribed a pair of smugglers to turn on their leader right in front of him. Ten gold each and they tossed him right off the ship. From then on they were some of the most loyal and frequently reaccuring NPCs in the game.
Godna 21st Jan 2012, 5:30 AM edit delete reply
I've talked my way out of more encounters in 3.5 then I ever fought.
Ranubis 21st Jan 2012, 6:08 AM edit delete reply
For the most part, I like to try using Diplomancy in encounters. Emphasis on 'try'. (It's harder to do in a group where the ranger interprets 'protect the paladin' as 'Shoot the bandits he's in negotiations with')
legomaster00156 21st Jan 2012, 8:18 AM edit delete reply
Well, I have personally had a character who used Bluff frequently and with a fair chance of success (Drow, Trained, and +4 modifier). He was fairly violent, however, so he usually only pulled out the social skills when there was no way he was going to win the fight.
In the latest Pathfinder session I'm DM'ing, the party broke into the Drow caverns. When the Rogue broke the lock and they walked in, they were confronted by Drow Guards. Cue the Antipaladin beginning his bluff. He lied that he was a Paladin, and that he and the Dwarf were being taken to the Underdark as slaves. Due to the black-and-white color when using darkvision, the Drow believed this, since they obviously had a Drow among them (actually a Half-elf). They were free to go, and even got useful information out of the encounter.
I hope that made sense.
Aurora_Moon 21st Jan 2012, 8:31 AM edit delete reply
been keeping up with this for awhile, gotta say, it and Darths & Droids make me wanna give D&D a try. eventually. but, ever since the new ep ive been quite curious how Derpy will be portrayed whenever ye get there. IF the comic lasts that long, that is. btw any tips for a D&D newbie to keep in mind for their first time giving it a shot? seemed like the best place to ask, honestly. there needs to be a forum to discuss this webcomic. seriously.
Tempest Fennac 21st Jan 2012, 11:05 AM edit delete reply
I'd say the best way to learn is to find someone who's willing to guide you through character creation while running a relatively simple game either in real life or over a chat program like IM (I find I learn best from doing things, and Play By Post games are too slow to work well for teaching a new player).
Kaleopolitus 21st Jan 2012, 1:59 PM edit delete reply
Regarding Play by Post systems, ignore Tempest Fennac (no offense intended). It works perfectly fine. You just need PATIENCE. I only just dipped into my very first D&D campaign which is tailored specifically to new guys, these pop up every week or two on the PbP forums and are not a rare sight.

The dm's running these games are ussually really cool guys and will run you through what you need to know in a smart and efficient way.

I HIGHLY recommend you try PbP out first because you do not need to invest any money at first.
Bronymous 21st Jan 2012, 1:43 PM edit delete reply
Find a DM willing to let things slide, rule wise, at least at first. If you get someone who throws every rule at you in your first encounter, get out as quick as possible. You won't have any fun if you have to learn like that.
Bronymous 21st Jan 2012, 1:46 PM edit delete reply
Also, keep things simple while you learn. Be a base class, like a fighter, so you don't have to over-complicate your first game with all those extra rules, rolls and details until you have the basics worked out.
Akouma 21st Jan 2012, 4:56 PM edit delete reply
Actually, my second campaign I was ever in, our DM knew pretty much every rule in the book, and was more than willing to rules lawyer us. Thing is, what you should really be looking for is a DM who will both keep the players honest, and do his/her best to keep him/herself honest as well as listens to players when corrected on rules.

Also, being a base class in 4e isn't necessarily the way to go. The base classes in Player's Handbook 1 are Wizard, Cleric, Warlord, Fighter, Paladin, Rogue, Ranger or something very close to that. Warlords are not good for first timers, nor Wizard nor Paladin. I'd even hesitate to hand them a Fighter with how confusing marks can get.

I'd recommend Bard, Cleric, anything in the striker category except Monk or Vampire, and if your new player is a fairly smart cookie, maybe a simple defender class for a newbie.
Akouma 21st Jan 2012, 4:56 PM edit delete reply
Also, that second campaign I was in? I still didn't know ANY of the rules since the first one was season 1 of encounters, which was very short and easy.
Bronymous 21st Jan 2012, 8:35 PM edit delete reply
I play 3.5, so my advice is for that system. I cannot even fathom 4e, so yeah, listen to Akouma if your going that direction.
Kiana 22nd Jan 2012, 5:21 AM edit delete reply
My advice is to try out different systems, preferably in one shot campaigns, to find which one fits you best.
magewolf 27th Jan 2012, 1:21 PM edit delete reply
wen making yer first character base it on yerself, that way instead of trying 2 think of what yer guy would do you can say what would i do.
kriss1989 21st Jan 2012, 9:08 AM kriss1989 edit delete reply
Beguilers in 3.5 are FORBIDDEN in my campaigns for reasons of being stupidly good Diplomancers.
MarianLH 21st Jan 2012, 9:30 AM edit delete reply
In my group, we make the skill roll first, and *then* roleplay the result, good or bad. Sometimes players get pretty creative about how they fail, too--it almost makes blowing a roll fun.
J 21st Jan 2012, 2:31 PM edit delete reply
The way my group does diplomacy is that the rolls indicate things like body language. So you might say something unconvincing, but have a very open, trustworthy expression on your face that reminds the guy you're negotiating with of his mother, making him more receptive. Or you could say something convincing, but the way you're fidgeting makes the guy think you're lying.

This system usually works pretty well, but one time the party went to see a king and ask a pretty huge favor--they wanted to borrow the king's sword, the only weapon that could kill the antagonist of the campaign, but which also made the king immortal. The party rogue made a long, eloquent speech to persuade the king that the risk would be worth it. Unfortunately, he rolled a natural 1, so we ruled that the entire time he was speaking, he was also staring at the queen and masturbating furiously.

The king did not give them the sword.
Kaleopolitus 22nd Jan 2012, 12:26 AM edit delete reply
Wow. Just wow.
Kiana 23rd Jan 2012, 5:03 PM edit delete reply
And that's why the rogue is now a eunuch?
kriss1989 23rd Jan 2012, 9:29 PM kriss1989 edit delete reply
We do the same thing. Critical Failures are hilarious. And so are a lot of successes.
Bronymous 21st Jan 2012, 9:58 AM edit delete reply
In my last campaign, Diplomacy worked out one of two ways:

1- Small scale encounters where our "Diplomats" (Rogue and Wizard) would start off, but would ultimately be unable to convince anyone of anything. My Hexblade would then speak up, no Bluffing, no deception, just a simple make a deal or I slit your throat offer. Always worked.

2- Decidedly large scale encounters, above mentioned "Diplomats" sent to a neighboring city-state, offer a peaceful negotiation for a "this is whats gonna happen" ultimatum. Never worked, and I being the Combat Leader and Tactician, would then have to begin to plan out a huge battle. Then of course, to demonstrate my awesome battle skills, initiative, etc., I would sit back and watch while the "Diplomats" finally earned their keep.
J 10th Mar 2012, 10:48 PM edit delete reply
It's a good thing your DM likes you. In my campaigns, a character who can't do some pretty slick talking doesn't make it to second level.
Urthdigger 21st Jan 2012, 10:00 AM edit delete reply
As I've mentioned before, sadly I am a Diplomancer in a party full of Rainbow Dashes.
Star_Sage 21st Jan 2012, 10:16 AM edit delete reply
This, ladies and gentleman, is the ultimate double blind gambit. The DM can indeed grant a player a lot of power, on their own, but if it involves betraying the party, is it worth it?

Remember, if you join the badguys, everyone will be playing against you, unless you secretly put a mole into the good guys. Of course, you could also be faking, allowing yourself to join the DM's side to undermine it from within. That's Paranoia's entire point there.

My plan? Do all the goody two shoes things you can, save every damsel, get every cat out of the tree, and then, when everyone hails you as the virtuous hero, reveal that you're working for a demon(If not in fact one yourself) and go on to found an evil empire.

Heck, hoping to be able to do something like that with my 100% Paragon Shepard in Mass Effect Three. Turn on the Galaxy, join the Reapers, and laugh as the worlds burn at my FEET!!! MWA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!!! Who's laughing now Turian Councilor? Who's LAUGHING NOW!!!
Arzoo 21st Jan 2012, 11:39 AM edit delete reply
If you're not at least a triple agent in Paranoia then you're doing it wrong.
Masterofgames 21st Jan 2012, 2:18 PM edit delete reply
If you play Paranoya at ALL, you're doing it wrong! This fact may, or may not actually be written in the rules that nobody is ever allowed to see.
Kiana 21st Jan 2012, 8:01 PM edit delete reply
As I recall, knowledge of the rules is grounds for EXECUTION.

The game is clearly not meant to be taken seriously.
Dragonflight 22nd Jan 2012, 10:37 AM edit delete reply
Heh. No, Paranoia is not serious. In fact, a well-executed game has everyone losing all their clone lives while still in the briefing room, much less going anywhere else in the complex.

I recall an Rifts game I ran one, where I was goofing off a little, and introduced a few goofy elements to liven up an otherwise by-the-numbers game. They came across an air force base with what looked like the world's first partial-conversion cyborg in suspended animation. Colonel Steve Austin was understandably upset to wake up to Rifts Earth.

But the best part was when they went on a mission to discover the secret behind the Coalition States' massive war potential, not to mention the Prosek family's apparently ludicrous luck in becoming emperor of the remaining human civilization. They traced it all back to an abandoned underground survival arcology which was badly damaged, and partially fire-scorched. As they investigated, they came across a badly damaged sign that said "ALPHA COMPLEX" on it...
Consumer Unit 5012 22nd Jan 2012, 11:33 PM edit delete reply
<i>No, Paranoia is not serious. In fact, a <b>well-executed</b> game has everyone losing all their clone lives while still in the briefing room</i>

Was that a (deliberate) pun?
Guest 21st Jan 2012, 5:04 PM edit delete reply
I call foul!

There are SEVEN words in a single sentence in the first box. That's two over the limit Rainbow dash will listen to!
Azureink 22nd Jan 2012, 10:57 PM edit delete reply
I think the "five word limit" only applied to the first speech.
Matticus 21st Jan 2012, 6:17 PM edit delete reply
A couple months ago I was in a 4.0 game using OpenRPG and Skype with some friends. I was playing a dedicated fighter tank with a drinking problem and few social skills.

Anyway, the party was coming into the town where our Dwarf Druid grew up. The Druid decided to stay in bear form the entire time, as his character had been disowned by his noble family for becoming a druid. As we enter the town, who should greet us but members of the druid's family. They ask us whether we'd seen the druid, as they'd heard that he was part of our quest.

For some reason, the Rogue (who was riding the bear-form druid) and the Bard both look at me and make me be the one to bluff. My response over Skype went as follows:

"We, uh...left him in the forest?"

I then rolled a natural 20 on the bluff check, so the family totally bought it. Skype was full of laughter for the next five minutes.
Colin 21st Jan 2012, 8:13 PM edit delete reply
Discosure: I'm a newbie GM in a half-newbie, half-semi-experienced group, so I make shit up half the time.

The group's tiefling warlock ended up with a truly ridiculous +12 in Bluff (this is what happens when beginners let WotC's Character Generator decide for them). I half-jokingly said she could convince God he didn't exist.

In their very first combat, the lvl. 1 group is faced with 2 deathjump spiders and an ettercap. The dice aren't behaving and it isn't going well. Then the tiefling's player asks if she can use Bluff to convince the ettercap to break off. I'm scared and hopeful at the same time - this could break the game - and decide to use a bit of GM fiat: "You can, but you'd better make it convincing or I won't allow it." Rising magnificently to the challenge (it was only her second session ever) she rolls a total of 29, passing by miles, gives this little speech about how they honestly never intended to hurt his spider pets. I was so impressed at the RPing I 'neglected' to mention that Ettercaps don't speak common; "He stops, looks surprised, chitters to the spiders and they back off."

Sadly, she wasn't as inclined to RP on subsequent sessions, no matter how much I begged. My fault,I think. :-)
Darkside 21st Jan 2012, 8:46 PM edit delete reply
I actually managed to impress an enemy agent with how my character stood his ground in a fight, which later convinced him to stand aside so the heroes could escape while the King caused an artifact to overload and blow up his capital city.

Everyone made it out alive, except for one party member who deserted because his player decided to switch characters.
Darkside 21st Jan 2012, 8:50 PM edit delete reply
Something else to note, I had also switched characters, and a player who couldn't make it was travelling with my old character.

My old character was a Paladin of Bahamut who wore shiny plate. My new character was a Dark Pact Warlock/Fight Hybrid who wore black and spiky armour.

The player who couldn't make it had his character be suspicious of my new one.
Akouma 22nd Jan 2012, 3:32 PM edit delete reply
Ugh. A HUGE peeve of mine is players who have their characters hold grudges against your characters for something a totally different character did. If they have a problem with something, they should come to the player about it, and talk about it, not make your character's life miserable.

Example: We were running Tomb of Horrors, 4e version. My character and my friend's character are the only survivors of a group that went a certain direction, but are now trapped in a room with no exit except one with the monster that killed everyone else outside. We come up with a plan, but when it's time to enact it, she's on vacation in Maine since we were doing it over several sessions. I decide to do it anyway, and the DM rules that the monster basically instagibs her character, while mine escapes without even taking damage. Even though the DM let her back in at the exact point where the rest of the party had progressed to, with the same character, and no repercussions whatsoever, she refuses to let it go. Her character, a healer, refuses to heal me, the tank, for the entire rest of the campaign, then in all future campaigns where we're both players she intentionally leaves me to die at every opportunity she gets, usually with some snide comment about how now "I get to feel what it's like to have my character die" or the like. This tends to lead to other players doing everything in their power to prop me back up just to spite her, especially when they have a fast and easy solution to the problem.
JRKlein 22nd Jan 2012, 4:20 PM edit delete reply
I would be suspicious of that character too. "Black spiky armor" usually means "evil".
Kiana 22nd Jan 2012, 5:12 PM edit delete reply
Or "Got it off the evil guy we just killed."
CommandoDude 22nd Jan 2012, 12:44 PM edit delete reply
Why do Fighters hate out of combat interaction? Because they're extremely gimped when it comes to skills, so there's nothing they get to do.

It's the same even for 3.5
Kiana 22nd Jan 2012, 5:13 PM edit delete reply
It's the same ESPECIALLY for 3e/3.5, since they have a terrible skill list on top of terrible skill points.

At least in 4e they can take a skill training feat. It's not the most EFFICIENT method, but at least the possibility is there.
Misc. 22nd Jan 2012, 5:37 PM edit delete reply
I agree with Akouma, and have atory to share regarding that and critical failure: I had an Exalted campaign where I played a Zenith who was high on the resistance and survival, but not so much on the presence and performance. So we were sailing down a river, and the river-god pops up and asks me to give him a prayer and he'll give us swift and safe voyage. I thought it was gonna be easy, since I was a Zenith, and he was right there, so it's not like he wouldn't hear.

I then botched. After a second the DM has him go "My name is not PHIL!" and then leave, really angry at our group. We were attacked by crocodiles later, and now I get called 'Phil' by our then-dawn every I do something badly. Botch Manse attunement? PHIL.(I gave him that manse afterward, by the way) Miss the Infernal with laughing wounds? PHIL. My awesome familiar almost dies? PHIL. It was incredibility annoying, especially considering that his character was a combat-god with an artifact 4 sword, so he looked down on everyone who couldn't destroy armies in less than five minutes.
Chronologist 22nd Jan 2012, 9:43 PM edit delete reply
In my experience in all editions of D&D, Diplomacy works best when you think of it as more of a "safety net" than a blunt force object like most players treat it. It won't make what the player says sound any nicer, but it'll offset the large, large penalties you might give that player for saying something stupid. If the player makes a great argument, but doesn't have much skill, it'll still convince the target. It just won't WOW them like a good argument AND a good roll will.

In the grand scheme of things, Diplomacy should not give a character any more advantage than, say, Knowledge (Arcana) will. Sometimes, you'll be in a situation where you need to know if that's a magma elemental or a boiling acid elemental, and your life depends on it. Sometimes, you need someone who can convince the local sheriff to barricade the town against the gnoll attack you claim is coming. You shouldn't be able to use Diplomacy to convince others to do anything you want, any more than Knowledge (Arcana) shouldn't be able to help you fight every kind of monster.

Me, I prefer playing a character with Bluff, Intimidate, Disguise, Diplomacy, Handle Animal, and Sense Motive. It's easier to justify being able to do more things socially when you're investing in several skills. Maybe the sheriff needs the threat of gnolls burning down his home to get him into gear. Maybe disguising like the king and taking his sword while he sleeps is the best way to acquire it.

Of course, All Rainbow Dash needs is five words. Five ego-stroking words, and maybe the promise of wealth and glory. And stabbing things.

Rainbow Dash needs an axe.
Guest 22nd Jan 2012, 11:36 PM A strange and effective guide to diplomacy edit delete reply
I run my games specifically for interacting with interesting characters. Thus, Diplomacy is one of my favorite skills for my players to use and I've had to come up with my own way to handle it. Here's what's worked best for me.

1) Not all things require Diplomacy Checks. This is really important. Just talking to a person doesn't require Diplomacy. You only use Diplomacy when you are actively trying to convince someone of something. You can chat up your jailor for a long time, ask him about his wife, whatever, but you only need to roll once you're actually trying to convince him to let you go - or share some information with you that he might not be willing to. This encourages the flow of conversation and doesn't force players with low charisma to play mute... Which is the fastest way to make those players want to get back to fighting anyway.

2) What you say matters. You can't just roll a diplomacy check, you have to say something too... And what you say will give you a bonus or penalty to your diplomacy check. If you want to convince your jailor to let you out of your cell you might say, "Please let me out of my cell"... Which will probably give you -2 to the roll or keep it flat. If on the other hand you know the jailor really wants to be a knight you can say, "You aren't getting any glory down here, your superiors will never notice a chance for your heroics. You'll never get a chance to prove yourself. If only someone were to escape his cell... And you were to apprehend them heroically. Wouldn't that do wonders for your career?" I'd give the player +4 or maybe even +5 or +6 to the diplomacy check in that case. This encourages the players to think about what they're saying, making them think about the NPC's character... Instantly building interest in your world. Suddenly even munchkins begin to roleplay.

There's a bit more to my system, like keeping track of NPC disposition towards the players which gives them further bonuses or penalties tot heir rolls, but that's the core of it. Thus far, it's worked very, very well.
Guest 23rd Jan 2012, 12:47 PM edit delete reply
"You can chat up your jailor for a long time, ask him about his wife, whatever, but you only need to roll once you're actually trying to convince him to let you go" - But knowing a bit about him personally might add a bonus to your roll.
Guest 23rd Jan 2012, 5:38 PM edit delete reply
Absolutely. That's one reason people talk to him in the first place. Diplomacy is only used for active persuasion. If it's a chatty jailor, no need to roll. If the jailor needs to be persuaded to speak in the first place - that would require a roll.

After all, you don't need a diplomacy check to thank someone for a mug of beer or ask them "how's it hanging". Persuasion skills only need come into play when you're trying to... well... persuade. =)
Kiana 23rd Jan 2012, 7:09 PM edit delete reply
Unless you're a halfling, then you may have to roll Diplomacy to convince the barkeep you're of legal age. =P
Stairc (Original Guest) 23rd Jan 2012, 7:14 PM edit delete reply
I'll have to remember that one to pull on the halfling in my next game.
Digo 23rd Jan 2012, 7:44 PM Diplomancer edit delete reply
I tend to have the opposite problem-- I roll a great Diplomacy check, and then blow it with a poorly worded statement that has an unintended double-meaning. This tends to leave people looking at me as if I have a Gelatinous Cube for a hat. XD
Kaleopolitus 24th Jan 2012, 12:31 AM edit delete reply
I'll have to remember to put the next slime I find on my head, just to see how people react xD
Rentok 24th Jan 2012, 2:11 AM edit delete reply
The main problem I have with making diplomacy checks, or having players make them if I'm DMing, is the difficulty in deciding on just where to draw the line between the roll, and the dialogue. Does the dialogue affect the roll, or does the roll affect the dialogue?

If the dialogue affects the roll, how heavily does it? I don't want to make it so that the 8 Charisma barbarian has a higher chance than the 18 Charisma diplomacy trained bard just because the barbarian happened to mention something the NPC like. At the same time, I want to reward good roleplaying, and if I make it not affect the roll enough, then the bard can convince people with a shrug and a grunt, because of his skill with words, while the barbarian can't convince anyone of anything no matter how eloquent she is.

If the roll affects the roleplaying, I don't really like the idea at all. I mean, that basically forces most characters to roleplay as foot-in-mouth mutes. Not everyone can make their character skilled in diplomacy, but they might still want to roleplay as a likeable person.

If the two are completely separate, which do you use to determine if the persuasion was successful? You can't use both, because then rolling the dice literally replaces good roleplaying if you have a character trained in it, but their skill is useless entirely if another player catches onto what the NPC wants.

What I ended up deciding, and I don't really like this method but it does the job, is to just roleplay out the persuasion in its entirety, then have the character roll, and hope the roll reflects how well they roleplayed. If it reflects accurately, I can just go with it, if the roll is contradictory, I just sort of wing it and make stuff up as I go.

Alternatively, have a bystander throw a chair every time a player tries to roll diplomacy, and eliminate the entire situation. The best way to see if a player convinces an NPC to like him is to count how many commoners/imps/goblins/dragons the player saves said NPC from.

As a player, I find that a good intimidation roll usually simplifies things. If you make the check, they do what you want. If you fail the check, then you get to retry, only the d20 roll for that is called initiative.
Strill 16th Feb 2012, 5:01 AM edit delete reply
If someone got a bad roll with good roleplay, think up some extenuating circumstance that might have ruined their persuasion, like they had a booger dripping out their nose the entire time, or they mentioned something that offends the NPC.
Stulexington 6th Feb 2013, 5:29 PM edit delete reply
I find the best way to run diplomacy checks is to basically give a preferred method of persuasion. As good as I'm sure every DM thinks we are, we can not expect our players to pick up on every nuance to understand how best to convince someone. A diplomacy roll gives a good base approach: aggressive, complementary, ingratiating, ect. I also find a player confronted with having to negotiate "blind" puts them off their game just enough to bleed into RP as well so it seems to work well.
Guest 21st Feb 2012, 9:59 AM edit delete reply
It really annoys me when game mechanics interfere with good roleplay. I once had my wizard be convined to walk through a portal by another pc with the phrase "There's punch and cupcakes on this side!" simply because cha was their primary stat, so they had ridiculously high bluff whereas my insight goes off wis, and my primary stat is int.
Nezumi 24th Feb 2012, 4:39 PM edit delete reply
Depending on how low their Wisdom is, that's not an unreasonable reaction. Int is the stat to tell that this portal is to the Tentacular Abyss. Wisdom is the stat to realize that no, no matter what your friend says, the Tentacle Gribblies (TM) have not decided to start serving punch cupcakes to guests instead of sucking their innards out their ears.