• The VOIDRUNNER'S CODEX is LIVE! Explore new worlds, fight oppressive empires, fend off fearsome aliens, and wield deadly psionics with this comprehensive boxed set expansion for 5E and A5E!

D&D 5E What is a Social challenge, anyways?

I would love nothing more than for conversations about social challenges to never again use price negotiation as a meaningful example.

I’d think a social challenge would have more at stake than saving a few gold pieces.
A good point that I came across reading the Monster of the Week guide (which is different than stakes), is “what is the PC offering?”.

I think that would reduce the number of times when players just roll persuasion to save 5 gp on plate mail.

In real life, you aren’t going to get far if your approach to haggling is “Ok, I’ve picked out what I want, how about I pay less for it?”
 

log in or register to remove this ad

James Gasik

We don't talk about Pun-Pun
Supporter
A good point that I came across reading the Monster of the Week guide (which is different than stakes), is “what is the PC offering?”.

I think that would reduce the number of times when players just roll persuasion to save 5 gp on plate mail.

In real life, you aren’t going to get far if your approach to haggling is “Ok, I’ve picked out what I want, how about I pay less for it?”
Isn't that how haggling works? The merchant wants to charge you more, you want to pay less?
 

One problem with this debate, IME, is that some people can only imagine social mechanics as "roll to win" without roleplay involved. However, this flies in the face of direct experience that I have had with games that integrate more robust social mechanics: e.g., Fate, Cortex, Stonetop, Masks, Blades in the Dark, Mouse Guard, etc. I think that it's perfectly fine and valid if people prefer free form social interactions in their roleplaying games. However, holding that preference doesn't require misrepresenting roleplay in other games with social mechanics or how such mechanics could look like in a game like D&D.
My experience once a player realizes that if they say something "Dumb"* but they make a good roll they wonnt be penelized, or if they just can't think of a good way to do something there character SHOULD be good at they wont be told the character wont be able to... they try,

It started for us back around the end of 2000 beginning of 2001 with 3e. I tell these stories alot. We had a VERY clear divide before that between willing to try to RP and no... those that were smooth talkers ALWAYS did and the shy awkward people didn't... until we ended every discussion with "now roll for it"

DId sometimes we get a good laugh about someone saying something that SHOULD or at least FELT like it should work not work... or something that felt like it shouldn't did... yup

in the long term none of the players from even 6 years ago (let alone 20+) that were shy and awkward still are... in 3 different cases I can even say that it improved there out of game social skills... and I still see it with new players. Once you find you can try, you keep trying... and the more you try the better you get at it... and once you try a few times (sometimes a lot) at the game you find your confidence builds to try things not in the game... One player going so far as to say she would not have met her now husband had we not gone to rolling cha skills, cause her confidence allowed her to say "Hi" to the cute guy she would have a few years before not dared talk to.
 

Isn't that how haggling works? The merchant wants to charge you more, you want to pay less?
haggling begins with if the person CAN or will even entertain the idea of haggling. However rare is it that a DM has the back story of the shop keeper worked out (although I wont say I never do... I remember a time I had a whole sub plot built around one)
 

James Gasik

We don't talk about Pun-Pun
Supporter
haggling begins with if the person CAN or will even entertain the idea of haggling. However rare is it that a DM has the back story of the shop keeper worked out (although I wont say I never do... I remember a time I had a whole sub plot built around one)
That's fair, I live in an era where store prices are non-negotiable, so my only experience with haggling was back before we had readily available MtG card pricing, lol, back when the value of a card was what it was worth to the guy wanting to offload it, and not some arbitrary number based on playability, rarity, and sunspot activity.

I think "ah, a world based on Earth of yesteryear" and in media I've encountered, there's almost always some negotiation involved. One could, I suppose, just say "haggling is assumed, this is the price you end up at", though that does leave glib talkers out in the cold.

Personally, I'm still confused how merchants make money, if you can only sell things for 1/5th their market value...
 

Personally, I'm still confused how merchants make money, if you can only sell things for 1/5th their market value...
our house rule for years has always been "its assumed you can get x% without trrying but if you want to put the effort and time and maybe a bit of investment into it you can get up to full value plus thatt same x%

so if we assume that a PC can sell any PHB item for 20% (1/5th) the phb cost that means if you take some time some RP some skill checks and maybe some cash investment you can get up to 120% the PHB listed value.

Although I remember a 3/5 game where the DM was going to "show us how it's done" and insisted there was no 'magic item shop' to buy items... and at one point my buddy jon wwent to sell a +1 sword and the shop keeper (DM) made the mistaake of saying "it's only worth 1,000gp" and whne jon's character pushed he wanted 15x that the NPC (DM) said "please you can at best sell those for 2,000gp" and Jon jumped at it "If you show me where people sell magic items like that I will GIVE you this sword?"

Funny enough one of the other things he was "showing us the right way" about was not allowing any cha skill checks...
 


M_Natas

Hero
Upthread I shared a recent experience where we were all roleplaying, and one character made such a logical argument the NPC just went with it, and it wasn't until later the DM realized it. While it's all well and good to say "no automatic success", are all the players and the DM on the ball enough to go "wait, point of order, persuasion check?" if something like this occurs?
No automatic success is a dumb rule. Sorry for my choice of words here, but Player skills matter. You wouldn't penalise a player for making optimal choices in combat by saying the character wouldn't be able to strategise this well, wouldn't you?
If you remove playerskill from the game, there is no game anymore.
 

Red Castle

Adventurer
Upthread I shared a recent experience where we were all roleplaying, and one character made such a logical argument the NPC just went with it, and it wasn't until later the DM realized it. While it's all well and good to say "no automatic success", are all the players and the DM on the ball enough to go "wait, point of order, persuasion check?" if something like this occurs?
Well, from my 30+years of roleplaying, I honestly don’t recall it ever happening.

But hypothetically, if it were to happen, I don’t think it would be a real problem. DnD is not a competition and nobody is perfect, so honest mistake can happen. First of all, if a situation that could have necessitate a roll would pass under the radar, you should start by asking yourself if a roll was really necessary. If everybody missed the window, could be that a roll was not important in the sense that it would not have change much regardless of the result.

Then, if it was really important and somehow we would have all missed it, there would be two options. Either me as a DM accept that I made an error and move on, or we all discuss it and try to find the best solution together that benefit the story.

As a GM, one of my first personal rule is to not punish the players for my mistakes. So just like in a combat if I forgot to roll for additional damage a round or two ago, I won’t suddenly roll it to damage the player, I will accept my mistake and move on. So if I forgot to ask for a roll in a social challenge because we somehow all missed it, I won’t suddenly go back and reverse the call. I’ll roll with it. Mistakes happen, the important thing is that nobody feel cheated.

It might help that I don’t play with strangers, only with friends, or people that a friend vouch for. And we are all approaching the game as a cooperative game, not competitive. As a DM, I don’t play against my players, and players don’t see me as their opponent. We’re all in this to try to have the best experience as possible.
 

No automatic success is a dumb rule. Sorry for my choice of words here, but Player skills matter. You wouldn't penalise a player for making optimal choices in combat by saying the character wouldn't be able to strategise this well, wouldn't you?
If you remove playerskill from the game, there is no game anymore.
the thing is (IMO, from my POV) you have this argument backwards... if your player described the best tactic, the best sword swing you would not give them an auto success in an attack roll (OKAY, I don't know you most wont)
I'm not penalizing the player or the character by saying "Wow, sounds great, now roll cha+ persuasion to see how well it goes" anymore then I am penalizing the player if I say "Wow, sounds great, no roll an attack roll to see how well that goes"


Player skill can never be brought to 0, nor do I think it should... but I think the lion's share should be the character's skill not the players.

Now the thing I see some bring up (and I often play in games that do this and have in the past allowed as a DM) is make teh DC a little easier or give a bonus or give advantage for good RP... my go to rule of thumb as a DM is "If I would give advantage in combat for that cool a thing, I should try to give advantage on a skill or social thing too"
 

Voidrunner's Codex

Remove ads

Top