D&D 5E Using social skills on other PCs

This topic gets re-hashed a lot, it seems, and in general my stance is that social skills don't 'work' on other PCs.

But I was just reading some of the early materials for Stonetop, a kickstarted PoA game, and came across this:

View attachment 147502

I like that a lot. It leaves the target PC fully in control of the player, but also provides a framework for Cha skills to 'work' on other PCs.

I don't have an elegant way to map that to 5e rules, but thought I'd throw it out there as a middle ground between the two sides of the debate.

EDIT: Try again on the attachment....
Parley.png
 
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HammerMan

Legend
I use social skills as an RP aid for players but not force.

"The orc tries to initmadate you and gets a 24" means the orc is scarier then the "The oger tries to initmadte you and gets a 12" what those numbers mean are up to the player...

I do however penelize xp of fearless players... if they literally say "Nothing can scare me" or never react I start taking 10% of xp for the whole group..
 

HammerMan

Legend
Also, back in 3e I had a DM do "reverse checks" like with bluff...

so if I wanted to bluff an NPC I would roll bluff the DM would roll sense motive (I think that was the name of the insight skill)
so if the DM wanted to bluff us he wouldn't use a skill unless one of us asked if we could trust the NPC then we would roll sense motive he would roll bluff (even if telling truth) and compair numbers...
initmadate, pesrrsuade, diplomacy all worked the same way, we RPed until we had a quastion but once we rolled we had to go with the rolls.
 

payn

Legend
I use social skills as an RP aid for players but not force.

"The orc tries to initmadate you and gets a 24" means the orc is scarier then the "The oger tries to initmadte you and gets a 12" what those numbers mean are up to the player...

I do however penelize xp of fearless players... if they literally say "Nothing can scare me" or never react I start taking 10% of xp for the whole group..
This is how I roll too. Minus the XP stuff cause I dont use it anymore.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
Looks like a broken link, but ultimately for anything like what you suggest to work in D&D 5e, it would require changing the rules around the player being the sole person who can decide what the character does, says, and thinks (short of magical compulsion or the like). I would not care for such a rule. I never roll dice when the outcome is certain and, given that the player always decides how their character responds to an attempt at deception, intimidation, or persuasion, there is no need to roll.
 

5e PvP - combat or social - while possibly fun is best avoided, IME.

That said, one resolution method is to have the player of the target PC decide if it worked or not or if they want to roll for it. This tends to eliminate the possibility of hard feelings that might arise when someone else essentially controls another player’s PC.

EDIT: ninja’d by iserith!
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
5e PvP - combat or social - while possibly fun is best avoided, IME.

That said, one resolution method is to have the player of the target PC decide if it worked or not or if they want to roll for it. This tends to eliminate the possibility of hard feelings that might arise when someone else essentially controls another player’s PC.

EDIT: ninja’d by iserith!
Yes, agreed. Players can decide amongst themselves how they want to resolve these things. They can flip a coin or do rock, paper, scissors for all I care - just leave me out of the resolution process. I don't call for rolls where the result is certain and the rules establish that how the character responds is up to the player.
 


iserith

Magic Wordsmith
Is this a rule of the game? RAW? Or a conventional play style? Or implicit to our understanding of what is an RPG.
It's under the definition of roleplaying in the PHB, page 185, and the delineation of roles in the play loop in How to Play on page 6. Taken together, only the player gets to decide what their character does, says, and thinks establishing it via description. The DM has no say here, short of magical compulsion or the like.
 

HammerMan

Legend
Looks like a broken link, but ultimately for anything like what you suggest to work in D&D 5e, it would require changing the rules around the player being the sole person who can decide what the character does, says, and thinks (short of magical compulsion or the like). I would not care for such a rule. I never roll dice when the outcome is certain and, given that the player always decides how their character responds to an attempt at deception, intimidation, or persuasion, there is no need to roll.
um, how is the outcome certain, do your players never ask for more information, in my example above "how intima dating is the orc?"
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
um, how is the outcome certain, do your players never ask for more information, in my example above "how intima dating is the orc?"
If I'm doing an adequate job of describing the environment, which I should be doing as DM since that's part of my role, how the orc tries to intimidate the PC will be evident in the description. It's up to the player to decide how they respond. From the perspective of adjudicating the action the orc is taking, the outcome of the attempt at intimidation is certain - whatever the player says is the outcome. So there's no roll needed here.
 

I see nothing wrong with it if used responsibly. I actually used it to save a fellow player's pc from getting brutally murdered/killed by a new player's PC because the rogue peeved the other guy off by being a bit too chaotic as a rogue. My fighter Battle Master managed to make a Nat 20 CHA roll to pull it off. It also acted as a teaching tool for the new player by showing how skill rolls happen and what not in 5E. The new player seemed to accept it as a good answer. The DM then had a talk with the Rogue player about being disruptive and all that.
 
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SkidAce

Legend
Supporter
If the players haven't decided how to react to things, a simple roll like a 15 on a scale of 1-20 (i.e. intimidation) shows how intimidating the Orc is in comparison to other intimidation attempts ("The orc would seem to be pretty darn scarey!")

But it remains up to them to decide how their character reacts.
 

billd91

Hobbit on Quest (he/him)
Social skills working on PCs, whether between me as DM and my NPCs or between fellow PCs, follows the same basic convention - the player decides what to believe and do unless there is a game mechanical result for the situation, then the game mechanical result applies if the PC's defenses/target number were met.

For example, lying to a PC - if a deception check exceeds the PC's insight check, they don't necessarily believe the lie, rather I tell them that "they seem to be sincere, or if they're lying, you can't detect any tells that they are". I'll tell them the same thing if they apply their insight against someone telling the truth too. The player can decide for themselves what to believe based on that.

For second example, persuasion on a PC - I have no problem with describing the attempt to persuade the PC based on the outcome of the persuasion check such as "they make a strong argument with no obvious holes in it" or "the idea isn't bad, but they don't seem to press it with conviction". They can then decide whether or not to agree or comply with the request/entreaty.

For a 3rd example, intimidation on a PC - there are little/no obvious mechanical results in 5e, but in editions where there are (shaken status in 3e), then yeah, PCs are totally intimidatable in the sense that an enemy with a good intimidation check could leave the PCs shaken if they hit the appropriate target number with their intimidation check. The player may still claim to have bravado, but that -2 still applies to their PC's attacks.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
5e PvP - combat or social - while possibly fun is best avoided, IME.

That said, one resolution method is to have the player of the target PC decide if it worked or not or if they want to roll for it. This tends to eliminate the possibility of hard feelings that might arise when someone else essentially controls another player’s PC.
This is how I handle PvP actions. It’s in my table rules that if you take an action that could harm or otherwise interfere with another player’s character, that player decides if your action succeeds, if it fails, or if you need to make some kind of check, and if so, what you need to roll. Basically, they’re in the DM seat for the purpose of resolving this specific action.

When it comes to NPCs trying to socially leverage PCs though, I skip the dice. I tell the player what the NPC says or does, and I let them decide how their character responds to it,
 


Oofta

Legend
Deception works as a normal, everything else the player running the PC decides how they respond. Occasionally that still means rolling the dice if the player is unsure how their PC would react.
 

That said, one resolution method is to have the player of the target PC decide if it worked or not or if they want to roll for it. This tends to eliminate the possibility of hard feelings that might arise when someone else essentially controls another player’s PC.

Yes, the system in Stonetop is essentially just that, while also leaving room for the mechanics.

I mean, I suppose a 5e interpretation would be "go ahead and roll, and I'll decide how to interpret the roll", but I like that there's a mechanical reward for allowing yourself to be persuaded.
 

Voadam

Legend
I think it is a rulings not rules situation that is not defined RAW in 5e but with an implication and base of player autonomy over the character, but there is ambiguity about using skills on PCs.

5e PH Page 6 says "2. The players describe what they want to do. Sometimes one player speaks for the whole party, saying, "We'll take the east door," for example. Other times, different adventurers do different things: one adventurer might search a treasure chest while a second examines an esoteric symbol engraved on a wall and a third keeps watch for monsters. The players don't need to take turns, but the DM listens to every player and decides how to resolve those actions."

Page 185 says "Roleplaying is, literally, the act of playing out a role. In this case, it's you as a player determining how your character thinks, acts, and talks." It does not say except for magic and it does not mention skills one way or the other. Neither are addressed there.

It also says "The DM assumes the roles of any characters who are participating in the interaction that don't belong to another player at the table. Any such character is called a nonplayer character (NPC)." It then goes on to discuss PCs trying to influence NPCs.

on 186 it says "In addition to roleplaying, ability checks are key in determining the outcome of an interaction." This does not say whether it is restricted to an interaction with an NPC only and not with another PC.

It does not seem to address the use of social skills on a PC outside of not mentioning the situation at all.

Similarly in the skills section.

The section on contests under using ability checks on page 175 seems like it could cover player versus player actions.

"Sometimes one character's or monster's efforts are directly opposed to another's. This can occur when both of them are trying to do the same thing and only one can succeed, such as attempting to snatch up a magic ring that has fallen on the floor. This situation also applies when one of them is trying to prevent the other one from accomplishing a goal-for example, when a monster tries to force open a door that an adventurer is holding closed. In situations like these, the outcome is determined by a special form of ability check, called a contest.
Both participants in a contest make ability checks appropriate to their efforts. They apply all appropriate bonuses and penalties, but instead of comparing the total to a DC, they compare the totals of their two checks. The participant with the higher check total wins the contest. That character or monster either succeeds at the action or prevents the other one from succeeding."

Under page 178 for Charisma checks it says "A Charisma check might arise when you try to influence or entertain others, when you try to make an impression or tell a convincing lie, or when you are navigating a tricky social situation."

There is no explicit limitation on others. It does not say whether others means NPCs only or anyone other than you including PCs.

None of the charisma skills say explicitly they only apply to NPCs, they use language like "someone" or "audience".

The DMG gives guidelines a DM can use for NPC reactions and does not address PC to PC use of social skills or NPC use of social skills on a PC.

All of the social skill things are not defined as hard mechanics, they are usually phrased as a DM could call for a check, etc.

A DM/group would be completely justified under 5e RAW in saying a skill check does not tell a PC how to act, they determine their own thoughts and actions. There is also support for an interpretation that a skill check can affect PCs and there can be a table understanding to roleplay out check results the same as if magic induced an influence on the character.
 

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