Numbers on the Sheet or Foot in the Mouth?


First Post
Role playing well gets you a +2 circumstance bonus to the roll. Role playing poorly gets you a -2. Then you describe or RP the result on the basis of the role and the RP. Come up with some typical reactions so you have a stock response in case you are stuck:

  • PC reminds NPC of his daughter.
  • NPC does not listen to a word the PC says, so entranced is he with her beauty.
  • NPC thinks that the PC's faux pas is a joke.
  • NPC is slightly intimidated by obvious ease of the experienced hero, and puts down her mistakes to tiredness
  • PC had NPC at "Hello."
  • NPC thinks that PC is acting like the bumbling fool and thus is cunning.
  • NPC has agenda that makes PC's mistakes moot (wants a story of heroism, advice on a social problem, etc.)

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Not your screen monkey (he/him)
I wouldn't tell a low charisma player he can't play a suave character anymore than I would tell a paraplegiac he can't play an acrobat. The only caveat being that the player needs to be able to tell me what his character is trying to achieve (and I have met one or two roleplayers where is became an issue.)

Find out what he wants to do, and let the dice speak for him.

That's pretty much the way I see it too. I'm not going to hold someone's inability to actually be their character against them when deciding how successful their character actually is whether in combat or not. That said, I will take into account the approach the character takes to the problem, again, whether it's in combat or not, and allow reasonable modifiers as appropriate.


First Post
I'm not a trained thespian.

I sucked when I did theater in school (high and collegiate).

It's not my natural mode.

My group is a little more immersive in role-play than I am. I'm more used to GMing, where I take a narrative approach for the most part. I run out of fun accents and mannerisms pretty quickly, so I only break them out when it is appropriate or we're focusing on an NPC for some time.

(Like the "Learned English Doctor" who I voiced with a low-class urban English accent, because it turned out in the end that he was actually a low-class assassin and not a doctor at all!)

So we tend to switch, depending on the person. If one of the big role-players goes into a long bit for an unimportant roll, we just let it ride on the strength of the delivery. If I'm not into it that night, I just narrate and roll for myself and go with it. Sometimes, for an important or pivotal roll, we'll let the acting influence the roll, at GM's discretion.

I wouldn't ruin somebody's fun because they're a narrativist player, or just not great at being an immersive player. Since I'm both of those. :)



First Post
I'll chime in, at the risk of repeating the wisdom of previous posters....

If the player simply says what her character wants to do or accomplish then let the dice (and common sense, of course) determine the outcome.

If the player wants to try to roleplay and does a decent job then add a +2 bonus to the dice rolls. You may want to consider being generous with your criteria of "decent job" so as to encourage the player to try roleplaying more.

In my opinion, anything less than a decent job at roleplaying should NOT earn the player a penalty to the die roll. I think that a player's inability to do what a character can do should never result in a penalty.

There may be exceptions to "no penalties," though. Like, if the PC knows that Duke Dunderhead hates jokes and the player tries to roleplay telling a joke to him anyway (or even says "I try to tell him a joke"), then a -2 penalty to any related rolls may be appropriate.

YMMV, etc.




A lot of the responsibility for making the awkward-player-charming-character work can fall on the rest of the party, too. When the charmer says something that was INTENDED to be inspiring, but falls flat, the other players can pick up where the charmer left off. "Jozan's right. We CAN beat these orcs! Who's with me?"


Enemy of the State
Treat the character's skill level, or die roll, as a modifier to the player's roleplaying.
I do the reverse, the roleplaying gives a modifier to the die roll, usually +/-2.
Do either of you require players to lift weights and use that to determine their character's success at opening a door? Do you have foam weapons (or otherwise) handy to help adjudicate combat?

My current preferred method is "describe or RP what you want to do then roll the dice." "Good" or "bad" acting on the part of the player does not in any way affect what their character can do.


First Post
While I don't require someone to be an expert roleplayer or orator, I do expect them to make an effort to role-play the situation, then make a skill check. If they do a great job, using persuasive arguements and roleplaying well, I might give them a +1-4 to the roll, while a poor job recieves a -1-4 to the roll, and might be an outright failure, depending on how the player states his case.

Here is one case that actually happened where the player outright failed, even though he rolled a 22 on his Diplomacy roll:

Me: "Baron Marcellus has agreed to an audience with your party. When you enter he says "I trust you've not found any evidence of a hidden cult in the city?" (there actually was a cult, but the Baron didn't want to believe rumors his cousin might be involved.)

Player: "I tell Baron Asswipe he's a dips**t, and he better give us men and an extra 1000 gold each to take care of the mess he left on his doorstep." While technically true (the baron was more insterested in courtly affairs than running his lands), the player didn't RP at all, and didn't offer convincing arguement for his position. This guy was a jackass out of game as well, and he tried to dominate other players (as well as the PCs) occasionally. When I told him he failed, he blew up saying he rolled a 22, but to me, he was basically trying to bully me and the group- and when he threw a temper tantrum, we forced him to leave.


Do either of you require players to lift weights and use that to determine their character's success at opening a door? Do you have foam weapons (or otherwise) handy to help adjudicate combat?
That would be impractical, not too mention dangerous indoors. Also, RPG's aren't a test of one's physical strength or actual fighting skill. They are, however, often tests of a person's verbal and problem solving skills. So, to summarize, what you wrote is silly.

Here's my equitable solution: use different task resolutions systems depending on the player (uniform task resolution system are the hobgoblins of little minds). Let the stumble-tongued bum who is playing a silver-tongued devil roll for success in social situations, without undue penalty for his or her lack of verbal deftness and charm. Conversely, when dealing with the legitimately witty and/or clever, then the players actual words decide (or at least significantly influence) the outcome. I think gamers should encourage that kind of play at the table. Mainly because I like it.

Rafael Ceurdepyr

First Post
Let the stumble-tongued bum who is playing a silver-tongued devil roll for success in social situations...

OK, I'm outing myself here. I'm the aforementioned player, although I don't think I'm *quite* a stumble-tongued bum. :) I do love to roleplay and I am all in favor of getting into the character. I just don't always know what words to say. The main difficulty is being extemporaneous. I'm as eloquent as all get-out in writing (although that sentence is not a good example!), but in off-the-cuff speech...not so much.

I like the +2/-2 circumstance bonus for roleplaying the encounter. Short of thinking WAY more about my character between sessions than I do now and planning these sorts of situations in my head (ah, obsession), any advice on improving chances of getting a +2?


First Post
Buck up. As a debater, I can tell you that It's something that comes only with practice. A bit of prep can help a bit, however.

What I'd do is write out short gambits or phrases on index cards for you to consult during games: an inspiring battle cry, a few mottos, a word of encouragement, a pickup line, some bits of flattery, etc. Look them over before game then set them aside. If something would fit, it'll come to you at the table and you can use it then. Simply having these cards as a security blanket can often help.

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