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ADVANCED RULES: DIPLOMACY

D20 Rules by Justin Alexander

This material is covered by the Open Gaming License.

Design Notes

DIPLOMACY (CHA)

CHECK: With a Diplomacy check a diplomat can persuade someone to accept a deal or, at the very least, convince them to listen to them. The difficulty of the check depends on the relationship between the diplomat and the other character and the quality of the deal being offered.

Convince: A diplomat can make a Diplomacy check (DC 15) to convince someone of something that they believe. (If they're trying to convince them of a lie, it's a Bluff check.) This DC is adjusted by the relationship between the diplomat and the person they're trying to convince (see table). If the check succeeds, the other character believes what the diplomat is telling them. (Or, at least, believes that the diplomat believes it to be true.) Of course, what they choose to do with that information depends on the character.

The character the diplomat is trying to convince makes a Sense Motive check (DC 10) as an automatic reaction. If the check succeeds, the diplomat gains a +2 circumstance bonus to their Diplomacy check (the other character has sensed the diplomat's honesty). This works just like an Aid Another check.

Overcome Intransigence: Some characters simply wonít listen to any attempts at negotiation or deal-making. To overcome their intransigence, you can make a Diplomacy check with a DC of 15 + the subjectís HD + the subjectís Wisdom modifier + the subjectís relationship modifier. If the check succeeds, you can then make a Diplomacy check as normal.

Persuasion: A diplomat can propose a trade or agreement to another creature with their words; a Diplomacy check can then persuade them that accepting it is a good idea. Either side of the deal may involve physical goods, money, services, promises, or abstract concepts like "satisfaction". The base DC for a persuasion check is 15, modified by the diplomat's relationship with the character they're trying to convince and the risk vs. reward factor of the deal being proposed (see table).

When the deal is proposed the character the diplomat is trying to convince makes a Sense Motive check (DC 20) as a reaction. If the check succeeds, the bonus or penalty provided by the risk vs. reward factor of the deal is doubled. (A failure on this check has no effect.)

If the Diplomacy check beats the DC, the subject accepts the proposal, with no changes or with minor (mostly idiosyncratic) changes. If the check fails by 5 or less, the subject does not accept the deal but may, at the DM's option, present a counter-offer that would push the deal up one place on the risk-vs.-reward list. For example, a counter-offer might make an Even deal Favorable for the subject. The character who made the Diplomacy check can simply accept the counter-offer, if they choose; no further check will be required. If the check fails by 10 or more, the Diplomacy is over; the subject will entertain no further deals, and may become hostile or take other steps to end the conversation.

Just because a deal has been accepted, it doesnít necessarily mean that the other character is happy about it. If you use your relationship to take advantage of someone, it may affect their future relationship with you (at the DMís discretion).

MODIFIERS:

Quick Diplomacy: You can make a Diplomacy check as a standard action by accepting a -10 penalty to the check.

TRY AGAIN: No, unless you can significantly change the circumstances of the check. For example, if you fail to convince a caravan owner that there is an orc ambush on the road ahead, presenting the caravan owner with the body of a dead orc might justify a new check. When making a persuasion check you can attempt to alter the parameters of the deal to make it more appealing to the target -- if you do so, you use the same check result but compare it to the DC set by the new deal.

SYNERGY:

  • A character with 5 or more ranks in Bluff gains a synergy bonus on Diplomacy checks.

  • A character with 5 or more ranks in Sense Motive gains a synergy bonus on Diplomacy checks.

DIPLOMACY CHECKS

TASK DC ACTION
Convince 15* 1 minute
Overcome Intransigence 15 + target's HD + target's Wisdom modifier* 1 minute
Persuasion 15** 1 minute
 
* Modified by relationship.
** Modified by relationship and risk vs. reward.
 
MODIFIER CHECK MODIFIER
Quick Diplomacy -10

RELATIONSHIP

DC Relationship (Example)
-15 Intimate (someone with whom you have an implicit trust; a lover or spouse)
-10 Friend (someone with whom you have a regularly positive personal relationship; a long-time buddy or sibling)
-5 Ally (someone on the same team, but with whom you have no personal relationship; a cleric of the same religion or a knight serving the same king)
-2 Acquaintance -- Positive (someone you've met several times with no particularly negative experiences; the blacksmith that buys your looted equipment regularly)
0 Just Met (no relationship whatsoever)
+2 Acquaintance -- Negative (someone you've met several times with no particularly positive experience; the town guard that has arrested you for drunkenness once or twice)
+5 Enemy (someone on an opposed team with whom you have no personal relationship; a cleric of an opposed religion or the orc bandit robbing you)
+10 Personal Foe (someone with whom you have a regularly antagonistic personal relationship; an evil overlord you're trying to thwart or a bounty hunter sworn to track you down)
+15 Nemesis (someone who has sworn to do you, personally, harm; the brother of a man you murdered in cold blood)

 RISK VS. REWARD  

DC Risk vs. Reward Judgment (Example)
-15 Fantastic (The reward for accepting the deal is very worthwhile; the risk is either acceptable or extremely unlikely. The best-case scenario is a virtual guarantee. Example: An offer to pay a lot of gold for information that isn't important to the character.)
-10 Good (The reward is good and the risk is minimal. The subject is very likely to proift from the deal. Example: An offer to pay someone twice their normal daily wage to spend their evening in a seedy tavern with a reputation for vicious brawls and later report on everyone they saw there.)
-5 Favorable (The reward is appealing, but there's risk involved. If all goes according to plan, though, the deal will end up benefiting the subject. Example: A request for a mercenary to aid the party in battle against a weak goblin tribe in return for a cut of the money and first pick of the magic items.)
0 Even (The reward and risk more of less even out; or the deal involves neither reward nor risk. Example: A request for directions to a place that isn't a secret.)
+5 Unfavorable (The reward is not enough compared to the risk involved. Even if all goes according to plan, chances are it will end badly for the subject. Example: A request to free a prisoner the target is guarding for a small amount of money.)
+10 Bad (The reward is poor and the risk is high. The subject is very likely to get the raw end of the deal. Example: A request for a mercenary to aid the party in battle against an ancient red dragon for a small cut of any non-magical treasure.)
+15 Horrible (There is no conceivable way that the proposed plan could end up with the subject ahead or the worst-case scenario is guaranteed to occur. Example: An offer to trade a rusty kitchen knife for a shiny new longsword.)

 

SUPPLEMENTAL RULES

Charm Spells: A charmed creature is treated as having a Friendly relationship to the caster (-10 to Diplomacy DC ), which replaces any previous relationship modifier (unless the target already had an Intimate relationship with the character). Thus, by charming an enemy, the DC drops from +5 to -10, a decrease of 15. The caster can now talk the creature into anything this improved relationship allows. Because the effect is based on the spell, the caster can make a Spellcraft check in place of a Diplomacy check when dealing with charmed creatures.

Cons: In order to pull a con a character simply makes a Bluff check to convince the target that a deal is better than it actually is. The Bluff check is opposed by a Sense Motive check, just like any other Bluff check, but this Sense Motive check result replaces the normal Sense Motive check made as part of an honest persuasion check. If the Bluff check is successful, the DC of the Diplomacy check is set using whatever the target believes the deal to be. If the Bluff check fails, the DC of the Diplomacy check is set using the actual quality of the deal and the check itself suffers an additional -20 penalty (it is practically impossible to work a deal with someone who has caught you trying to con them).

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