D&D 5E Using social skills on other PCs

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
So don’t say that. They can decide for themselves if they have reason to suspect it isn’t Lord Frogmouth or not. Literally all you have to do if Not-Lord-Frogmouth succeeds at his Deception check (and/or the PCs fail their Insight check) is not say that they can tell it isn’t Lord Frogmouth.
...given the approach they offered to determine that. Maybe some other approach will reveal the disguise.
 

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This is also why I leave color and adjectives completely out of my descriptions of scenery. If I tell PCs that a chair is red, old, ornate, beautiful, or even a chair at all, then I risk telling them what their characters think!

While I can see the humor here, this argument has been used so many times as a serious (if not necessarily honest) rebuttal, that I can also understand missing the humor.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
"Your Charisma (Deception) check determines whether you can convincingly hide the truth, either verbally or through your actions." So, seeing the overall definition of an ability check, it's not about whether the other party believes or does not believe, it's about seeing whether you can succeed or not at being convincing.
The charisma check never comes into play UNLESS doubt has been established. The check itself does not and cannot by RAW constitute doubt, or there would never be anything BUT doubt. The fact that charisma checks can be certain and need no rolls, means that certainty must established prior to a roll happening.
I have given you the opposite example, haggling using persuasion. In that case, it's an opposed checked and the DM determines the result.
Haggling can't force a PC to think anything, though. Nor is there a check unless the outcome is in doubt.

PC: I'd like to purchase this horse statue. How much is it?
Merchant: it's 25 gold.
PC: I'll give you 20 for it.

At this point as the DM I can have the merchant just accept that amount. Maybe the statue is only worth 5g and he was hoping for 12, but the PC's counter was so high that he'd rather just take it than argue further, so the outcome is in not in doubt. No haggling roll.

Alternatively, the merchant might have paid 20 and only had a 5 gold margin for profit and 20 isn't going to be taken, so he counters with 24 gold. If we get to a point where nobody is willing to budge through roleplay, but the merchant can still make a profit, I might determine that a roll is necessary, because the outcome of whether he will settle for 22 gold or not is in doubt. Success and the PC gets it. Failure and he doesn't unless he decides to change his mind and pay more.

At no point is the PC being forced to think or act, though.
I would argue that as a player, your reaction would totally depend as to whether I describe a whining goblin or an enraged pit fiend trying to intimidate you.
And an whining goblin isn't attempting to intimidate. If a goblin is going to try intimidation, it's not going to be by whining, so that's not a good faith description of goblin intimidation. But.....as a player my reaction would still be different if I were being intimidated by an enraged goblin or an enraged pit fiend. It would still be my choice, though. I'm just far more likely to decide my PC is intimidated by the pit fiend.
And yet, as a DM, I might roll the NPC's persuasion check to see whether he finds new information, or whether I can roleplay him more persuasive. Remember, I'm not rolling to see whether you accept the information, I'm rolling because I'm just not sure how persuasive my NPC is, it's only his success of failure on his attempt that I'm interested in.
Ability checks are explicitly only called for if the outcome is in doubt and failure has meaning. They are not under any reading of the rules called for just to see how persuasive you should roleplay the NPC. I mean, it's certainly a valid way to play it, but it's a homebrew method for ability checks.
 


Aldarc

Legend
While I can see the humor here, this argument has been used so many times as a serious (if not necessarily honest) rebuttal, that I can also understand missing the humor.
I do recall some past conversations that seemed to suggest that descriptions of scenery or the environment in some old adventures or modules was so timid out of fear of suggesting anything that the characters may think about any of it. If what you say is true, then there may be some truth to that.
 

Hriston

Dungeon Master of Middle-earth
We may have to agree to disagree here. I can already anticipate a back-and-forth that goes nowhere.

I will point out that Stonetop also has "Seek Insight" as a move alongside Persuade (vs. PC/NPC), so I don't think that it's necessarily as clear cut of a distinction as you make it out to be.
Maybe this will shed some light on the distinction I'm making: I'm not sure if it was posted up-thread, but I'm assuming Persuade (vs. NPC) does carry some binding resolution as to the target's decision making? Because that's the role I would expect a Charisma check to inhabit in D&D. Or is it just left up to the GM to determine what an NPC does in response to such a move?
 

Aldarc

Legend
Maybe this will shed some light on the distinction I'm making: I'm not sure if it was posted up-thread, but I'm assuming Persuade (vs. NPC) does carry some binding resolution as to the target's decision making? Because that's the role I would expect a Charisma check to inhabit in D&D. Or is it just left up to the GM to determine what an NPC does in response to such a move?
From Stonetop:
PERSUADE (vs. NPCs)
When you press or entice an NPC, say what you want them to do (or not do). If they have reason to resist, roll +CHA: on a 10+, they either do as you want or reveal the easiest way to convince them; on a 7-9, they reveal something you can do to convince them, though it’ll likely be costly, tricky, or distasteful.
It also comes with a list of ideas for things that may convince a NPC. Also, on a 6- result (2d6 + Attribute), the GM makes what's called a "hard move," which adds some sort of major complication or pressure on the situation. (In case you were curious about why 6- wasn't included.)
 
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Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
From Stonetop:

It also comes with a list of ideas for things that may convince a NPC. Also, on a 6- result (2d6 + Attribute), the GM makes what's called a "hard move," which adds some sort of major complication or pressure on the situation. (In case you were curious about why 6- wasn't included.)
Yeah, that’s Stonetop though. @Hriston can correct me if I’m wrong but I believe they were talking about D&D 5e.
 

Hriston

Dungeon Master of Middle-earth
From Stonetop:

It also comes with a list of ideas for things that may convince a NPC. Also, on a 6- result (2d6 + Attribute), the GM makes what's called a "hard move," which adds some sort of major complication or pressure on the situation. (In case you were curious about why 6- wasn't included.)
Okay, so is there no way in this system to influence an NPC to do something without the GM's agreement or imposing conditions? If not, I would be a little surprised, but like I said, I'm completely ignorant when it comes to PbtA.
 




I do recall some past conversations that seemed to suggest that descriptions of scenery or the environment in some old adventures or modules was so timid out of fear of suggesting anything that the characters may think about any of it. If what you say is true, then there may be some truth to that.
?

I just meant that posters too frequently use a reductio ad absurdam argument, that if you can’t tell players what their characters think then you can’t describe the environment. Because sensory input affects the nervous system, etc.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
I just meant that posters too frequently use a reductio ad absurdam argument, that if you can’t tell players what their characters think then you can’t describe the environment. Because sensory input affects the nervous system, etc.
When the question is “where does it end,” the answer is always “fing somewhere.”
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
There are even rules (I forget if they’re in the DMG or the MM because I never use them) for adding class levels to monsters. However, monsters are still built differently than PCs in a few fundamental ways, the most obvious being the rules for calculating their hit points and hit dice.
Sure, no problem with that. Non-PC-playable monsters can be whatever they want as long as they're consistent with themselves.

It's when a PC and an NPC of the same playable species (e.g. two Elves, or two Gnomes, etc.) are built differently that problems can and do arise with setting consistency: if a PC can be it or do it then an NPC should be able to also, and vice-versa.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
Sure, no problem with that. Non-PC-playable monsters can be whatever they want as long as they're consistent with themselves.

It's when a PC and an NPC of the same playable species (e.g. two Elves, or two Gnomes, etc.) are built differently that problems can and do arise with setting consistency: if a PC can be it or do it then an NPC should be able to also, and vice-versa.
🤷‍♀️ I haven’t found asymmetry there to cause meaningful gameplay issues. Just seems like an aesthetic preference to me, and a perfectly valid one, but not one I share.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Funny that you don't even reference the passage on 185, which is the root of all of this.

If you start trying to prove basic geometry theorems (about parallel lines, sum of angles in a triangle, etc.) it will also become circular. You need a starting point, a basic axiom that you assume but can not prove.

The "PC's make their own decisions" theorem is built upon the text of page 185*. If you ignore it, you're going to have a hard time reconstructing the proof.

But I think you know that.

*Which, admittedly, reinforces my own deeply held beliefs.
There's nothing at all wrong with "The PCs make their own decisions". Bravo. Preach it!

What makes me shake my head is that some of the same people pushing that stance are also pushing for PCs to retain the ability to use social skills/abilities to influence (if not outright force) NPCs' decisions, via the DM calling for a roll. To me this just sounds like trying to have one's cake and eat it too.

If "the PCs make their own decisions" is true then "the NPCs make their own decisions" should also be true. No rolling required unless someone - player or DM - wants to do a non-binding self-informative roll if truly uncertain how their character(s) would react.

Or (the much-worse option):

If the NPCs can be mechanically influenced/forced into certain decisions then the same should apply to PCs.
 

Faolyn

(she/her)
A silly thought (obviously one that would need to be discussed with and agreed to by the players): Give PCs an "Intimidated" score. It would be something like 10 + PB + the modifier of their class' main stat, so a wizard would use Int, a fighter would use Strength*, etc. You could make it be 12 or 15 or even higher instead of 10; I'm just spitballing here.

This is the DC an NPC would need to beat in order to intimidate the PC. If the PC has a trait that gives them advantage on saves against being frightened, the NPC rolls at disad.

Then, the PC should RP being intimidated. This doesn't mean that they have to cower or agree to whatever the intimidator is demanding--it's perfectly logical for an intimidated person to lash out in some way. But at least this should prevent PCs from being totally blase about NPCs.

(I came up with this idea a moment ago. I clearly haven't playtested it.)
 

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