What's the EL when no combat is involved?
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  1. #1
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    What's the EL when no combat is involved?

    When (unless the PCs are impressively violent) an encounter doesn't involve fighting, how do you assign it an encounter level? When all an encounter calls for is roleplaying, how do you determine the experience awarded? Would the EL be based on the length of the encounter, the level of the PCs, both ? I'd really appreciate any answer because I need it in order to correct the mini-encounter I sent in for the contest.

    If the EL depends on the level of the PCs, would an appropriate EL for the contest entries page be "Any," like some of the encounters have?

    Thanks in advance for any replies.

  2. #2
    I think it is mnore of a judgment call, base it off what the standard Exp should be fore el=to the parties, i think. Never could really figure out EL...

  3. #3
    I tend to improvise. Basically, I guestimate based on the number of skill checks required and the severity of failing any single check, adding modifiers for good player roleplaying.

    For roleplaying without skill checks, determine how many potential stumbling points there are in the conversation and how difficult they are to avoid - I usually have some idea of the likely outcomes of any purely role-play encounter so this isn't too difficult.

    But for hard-and-fast rules, I can't help you there...

  4. #4
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    As a rule of thumb, you can use the CRs of the enemies the characters would have fought if they hadn't succeeded in their roleplaying and skill checks.

  5. #5
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    If theres no combat, I would just assume the EL is equal to the party level, maybe a little above or below if it is longer or shorter. If it has alot of skill checks that won't be scaled to the PC's level, then just use their difficulty, I guess.

  6. #6
    If the diplomacy involved in the encounter allows the PCs to deal with the encounter without fighting when without diplomacy they would have had to fight, the EL could be considered the same as if they had to fight.

    If the encounter involves only RPing... well, you have to judge it somehow. The best way to do this is to look at what was accomplished/avoided by the RPing and use that as a base, or something.

  7. #7
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    Well, there are skills that apply even to pure role-play scenarios. Even if you don't use those skills, take a look at them. Think about them. Think about what kind DCs you'd use. What level character would be able to hit those DCs reliably? That might give you an idea to the EL....

  8. #8
    "Ask not elves for counsel, for they will tell you no and yes."

    My particular take is that role-playing encounters that do NOT involve avoiding a fight should be given CR's in a fashion similar to traps. They share many of the same mechanics: one or two rolls by a PC decides whether or not he takes a hunk of damage (perhaps "social damage"). Along those lines, I'd put the CR of a role-playing enounter at about (main skill DC - 18). This is assuming a level 1 character can reasonably get about a +8 in the key skill if he worked at it (better results are possible with racial mods and Skill Focus, of course). Thus, a CR 1 encounter would be one where a skilled level 1 character can't quite get away with taking 10 to succeed at the key skills.

    The previous assumes one actually uses skill rolls in role-playing situations. I recommend doing so, because the reactions of the NPC's should be based on the character's Charisma, not the player's Charisma.

    However, if the PC's negotiates with potential foes in such a way that (1) avoids a fight, and (2) provides a result similar to winning that fight, I would award XP equal to the actual strength of the monsters. If they avoid a fight, but don't particularly solve the problem the potential foes would have posed, I'd give half XP at most (less if the PC's didn't give it a good effort).

    For example, avoiding an encounter with animals should probably yield full XP because the animals will probably not go out of their way to trouble anyone else. Letting a group of bandits walk away without a fight means they are still a possible source of trouble to the PC's, so they are not yet entitled to a full XP award (half, or less if the PC's were actually sent to STOP the bandits).

  9. #9
    I take the approach that everything is an obstacle to be overcome (even if that obstacle is just getting a good price on a sword, getting information out of the town drunk, getting past the gate keeper or killing the Red Wyrm the guards the Eye of Darbok)

    As such the el for overcoming the obstacle with RP is the same as killing it in a fight (based on the CR etc)

    the rationale

    A PC can get access to the Throne room by
    a. Killing the guard
    b. bluffing her way in passed the guard
    c. sneaking unseen passed the guard

    in all 3 options the PC has overcome the guard (or at least his purpose - ie not letting the PC into the throne room)

    Same guard Fighter10 (with appropriate skills too) so why shouldn't the PC get the same XP as she would killing him?

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