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D&D 5E Persuasion - How powerful do you allow it to be?

Nebulous

Legend
I think this is a general problem with the d20 skill system in general, not just persuasion. We have been conditioned to think that a natural 20 (or an 18 or 19) is autosuccess because it beats the DC, but in many, many, many cases, a check should be unwarranted or the DC too high to beat, regardless of the roll. What I hate most is when someone rolls poorly, then everyone else jumps on the bandwagon, trained or not, and tries to roll high.
 

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iserith

Magic Wordsmith
It bears repeating:

Players don't get to say whether there's an ability check. That role is assigned to the DM only. Players can only describe what they want to do.

And if the DM is only calling for ability checks when there's a meaningful consequence for failure - which is a requirement for there to be an ability check at all - then players will tend to try to avoid rolling.

This issue solves itself by simply following the rules of the game.
 

robus

Lowcountry Low Roller
Supporter
What I hate most is when someone rolls poorly, then everyone else jumps on the bandwagon, trained or not, and tries to roll high.

The way to nip that in the bud is to ask the players who want to make another attempt what is different about their approach. Same approach = same result, no roll required.

Edit: You can also remind them that given enough rolls any reasonable DC is beatable so just rolling until you win is quite boring and really takes the challenge out of the game.
 

ad_hoc

(they/them)
The way to nip that in the bud is to ask the players who want to make another attempt what is different about their approach. Same approach = same result, no roll required.

Edit: You can also remind them that given enough rolls any reasonable DC is beatable so just rolling until you win is quite boring and really takes the challenge out of the game.

I prefer what is suggested by the rules - If there is no consequence then don't roll.

Or in other words, if there is no drama in a roll it shouldn't be happening.
 



I think, if you are persuasive enough, you might be able to persuade someone to do things that might be against their morals. Here's the problem, it's not going to be one check.

If it is something that is against their morals, like the priestess, it might take many, many private conversations, over an extended amount of time (weeks, months or years) against a dc of 'hostile NPC'. (Even though the Priestess, herself, might not be hostile)

A success might nudge that NPC towards less hostile or Indifferent. In other words, your arguments have managed to sway them enough to doubt their beliefs or, at least, see another perspective. It certainly won't make them go against their vows.

Then, after more time and discussions, you might be able to move them to a 'friendly' disposition. At this point, you might be able to convince them to break their vows. Maybe You've earned their trust and, possibly, managed to make them fall in love with you.

I wouldn't let a single roll in a single night dictate an outcome like that.

So, before you have them roll, ask yourself this: what is their disposition towards what's being asked? How long will will it take to change said disposition? Do they have enough time?

If there's an NPC looking to for a good time and wanting bring someone home for the night, it might only require a 15 minute conversation and a roll against 'friendly'.

So, if you get ambushed by bandits, you might be able to persuade the bandit leader to let you live and maybe let you keep your wedding ring. There's no way you're going to convince him to give you all his stuff and be your bff.

I don't let players roll against other players unless the other player agrees to what is being rolled and is uncertain of how their own character might react. Or, if it's a combat happening (which is rare) like one PC is grappling another(maybe his buddy is charmed), I might let them roll persuasion to escape the grapple instead of athletics as he 'persuades' his ally to let him go.
 

Mycroft

Banned
Banned
It bears repeating:

Players don't get to say whether there's an ability check. That role is assigned to the DM only. Players can only describe what they want to do.

And if the DM is only calling for ability checks when there's a meaningful consequence for failure - which is a requirement for there to be an ability check at all - then players will tend to try to avoid rolling.

This issue solves itself by simply following the rules of the game.

"How to Play
2. Sometimes, resolving a task is easy. If an adventurer wants to walk across a room and open a door, the DM might just say that the door opens and describe what lies beyond. But the door might be locked, the floor might hide a deadly trap, or some other circumstance might make it challenging for an adventurer to complete a task. In those cases, the DM decides what happens, often relying on the roll of a die to determine the results of an action."

 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith

"How to Play
2. Sometimes, resolving a task is easy. If an adventurer wants to walk across a room and open a door, the DM might just say that the door opens and describe what lies beyond. But the door might be locked, the floor might hide a deadly trap, or some other circumstance might make it challenging for an adventurer to complete a task. In those cases, the DM decides what happens, often relying on the roll of a die to determine the results of an action."


You'd think it'd be obvious, given it's right in the front of the book and entitled "How to Play."
 

Mycroft

Banned
Banned
You'd think it'd be obvious, given it's right in the front of the book and entitled "How to Play."

Though it may seem revolutionary to some, I have been DMing this way since I started with AD&D back in the day. I just assumed that of course no one would roll dice if there was nothing at stake, nothing would change, regardless of the result, so why would you bother to exert the energy?

I recall one of my first experiences with 3rd Ed, and being a player for a change, in the middle of the DM talking in character as an NPC, one of my fellow players bellowed out "Sense Motive!" sort of incredulously and picked up his d20...well, I was confused, slightly offended, and a bit irritated.

I was like, what, are you having a stroke?
 

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