Social Encounters: Does it Matter What and How PCs Speak to NPCs?

Distracted DM

Distracted DM
Supporter
Does it matter how they talk to characters in the world? Of course it does! But in the case of your gate guard, I'll also use their characters insight as justification to tell them "he's not going to do anything unless you tell him your business with his boss."

I think context is important, and players can be somewhat disconnected from what might be obvious to their characters in the world- so clarifying that can be important.
 

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MGibster

Legend
Hostile NPCs should do everything in their power to kill PCs, but they should be working off the information they can reasonably obtain, not what the GM knows.
That's usually how I run things. I know what the bad guys are going to do if the PCs don't do anything to interfere with their plans. I do sometimes metagame and make changes based on the planning the PCs have made, but it's in their favor because they came up with a great plan and/or idea that was better than mine. I don't punish my players for coming up with good plans and thwarting threats either through dumb luck or excellent thinking.

But back to the core topic, I handle my PC-NPC interactions off skills and stats. That way, a player who is not a great roleplayer can still play a 'face-man' PC. And we don't waste precious table time RP'ing a discussion. Just give me the gist and skill approach, and roll.
Broadly speaking, that's how I handle things as well, but when the player has their character deliberately talk smack I feel as though I can't help but penalize them and I usually talk to them first. I was playing one scenario where the PC, a police detective, wanted to intimidate a mid-level mafia boss by threatening to lock him up for the night. That wasn't going to work, and I explained to the PC that his character would know such a threat wasn't going to work, so he had a chance to attack the problem from a different angle.
 

cranberry

Adventurer
Yes, it does matter. There should always be consequences (favorable or unfavorable) for for how they interact with the world and the NPCs within. And talking rudely to someone is certainly worth a roll of the dice.

It's OK for the GM to drop hints and act as a "second thought" for the PCs - but if they are (or choosing to be) thick, then they should get what's (potentially) coming to them.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
That comes from GMs who allow NPCs metaknowledge, which IMEO is a very bad way to run a game.

Hostile NPCs should do everything in their power to kill PCs, but they should be working off the information they can reasonably obtain, not what the GM knows.
Very much agree.
If a player is trying to hide his cards from me, that means he doesn't trust me, and that situation needs to be fixed immediately. I loathe the 'players versus GM' mindset, and its half-brother, rules-lawyering.
Not so much agreed; in that I see it as the players' job to do what they can to "win" by having their characters survive and prosper, and it's you-as-GM's "job" to put some varying-degrees-if-significance obstacles in their way. And thus, of course it's players-vs-GM; or perhaps more accurately players-vs-game.
But back to the core topic, I handle my PC-NPC interactions off skills and stats. That way, a player who is not a great roleplayer can still play a 'face-man' PC. And we don't waste precious table time RP'ing a discussion. Just give me the gist and skill approach, and roll. Same for gather rumors: give me your interests, skill, and roll; I'll tell you the money and time it cost, and what, if anything, it produced.

Because talking directly with NPCs leads another condition I hate: players trying accents.
Completely disagree. Not being able to actually roleplay my character in character would, I think, defeat the whole point of the exercise. Might as well play a computer game.
 

Not so much agreed; in that I see it as the players' job to do what they can to "win" by having their characters survive and prosper, and it's you-as-GM's "job" to put some varying-degrees-if-significance obstacles in their way. And thus, of course it's players-vs-GM; or perhaps more accurately players-vs-game.
I see it as POE: Player versus environment. They chose a path, its the GM's job to populate that path. But that's mostly just terminology

Completely disagree. Not being able to actually roleplay my character in character would, I think, defeat the whole point of the exercise. Might as well play a computer game.
Which is why I've never invited you to join my weekly game. :cool:

I prefer a summarized exchange that avoids five players building dice stacks while we get, however passionate, a middle-aged man's interpretation of 'A Dwarf arguing with the Captain of the Guard'. That sort of behavior leads to accents.

YRMV.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Which is why I've never invited you to join my weekly game. :cool:

I prefer a summarized exchange that avoids five players building dice stacks while we get, however passionate, a middle-aged man's interpretation of 'A Dwarf arguing with the Captain of the Guard'. That sort of behavior leads to accents.
And therrr's nothing wrrrong with accents! :) (you have to imagine the rolled-r faux Scottish in there, it doesn't come across well in text)

And if the other players are building dice stacks instead of following (and laughing) along and-or joining in, then you and the player just aren't being entertaining enough. :)
 

And therrr's nothing wrrrong with accents! :) (you have to imagine the rolled-r faux Scottish in there, it doesn't come across well in text)

And if the other players are building dice stacks instead of following (and laughing) along and-or joining in, then you and the player just aren't being entertaining enough. :)
That was, for me, true enough in the first few years I gamed, back in 1979 into the low 80s. But no more.

To each their own. I haven't allowed that sort of thing at my table since Reagan was in his first term.
 


I literally cannot fathom the idea that there are roleplayers who genuinely think that speaking in character is a bad thing and should be avoided...
I am utterly flabbergasted. o_O :eek:
There are plenty of us.

Its a timesink. Keeping interactions abstract gives the extra same results quickly and smoothly, and shares the spotlight far better.
 


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