Speechcraft

This system is designed to cover all forms of social interaction, specifically using the skills Bluff, Diplomacy, and Intimidate; the Perform skill also uses a similar system.



Persuasion

Persuasion is used for situations where the character needs to get someone to do something immediately (get a guard to let him into the castle, e.g.). Using persuasion, the character can attempt to convince an NPC to follow a course of action (or not), or to sway his opinion of another person or thing. Unlike influence (see below), persuasion has an immediate effect, but it also doesn't last that long.

The DC for this check is 1d20 + NPC's level/HD + Wis modifier + the modifier from Table 1. The DM can add in situational modifiers to this check, such as risk/reward for the NPC (See Attitude Factors, below) or his attitude toward the given course of action. (Note that the attitudes are adjusted slightly for abstract ideas – see Attitudes, below.)

An NPC's attitude cannot be increased or decreased more than two steps, with the exception of fanatics. Due to their extreme devotion to the character, someone with a fanatical attitude cannot be convinced to be less than Helpful, though the character could use influence (see below) to slowly adjust his attitude. There are also special circumstances by which an NPC's attitude can be reduced more than two steps, but these don't usually involve Speechcraft and should be adjudicated by the DM – killing someone close to the target, for example, or destroying an item he holds dear.

Persuasion can also be used to lower an NPC's attitude toward another person or creature, an idea, or a course of action. In this case, the modifier from Table 1 used for the check can be found by cross-referencing the NPC's attitude toward the character (Initial Attitude) and his attitude toward the person, idea, or course of action (New Attitude).

Persuasion can used on a group of people. In this case, the check is 1d20 + the highest NPC's level/HD + the highest Wis modifier + the modifier from Table 1. The strongest member of the group is generally the one who makes the decisions, and he is often advised by the one who is most likely to speak up with a dissenting opinion (the one with the highest Wisdom).

For example: Kurth finds out that the newest member of his adventuring group, a woman named Larana, has infiltrated the group to spy on them and report their activities to their enemy, the lich lord Zurbraxes. Unfortunately, she's won over all the other members through her (nonmagical) charm and wit, reinforced with very subtle magical effects. Larana knows that Kurth knows about her and has made sure to discredit him when possible. The group's attitude toward Larana is Helpful, but their attitude toward Kurth is only Friendly due to her efforts. The DC for Kurth's persuasion check is thus 1d20 + 10 (the highest PC level) + 4 (the cleric's Wis bonus) + 10 (the modifier from Table 1). Kurth has only a +11 bonus, so he's got his work cut out for him.

If the check either to improve or worsen an NPC's attitude fails by 4 or less, the NPC is not swayed either way, but the character can make another attempt.

If the character is attempting to improve the NPC's attitude and fails by 5 or more, he has insulted the NPC in some way; the NPC's attitude worsens by one category, but the character can still make another attempt. If he is attempting to worsen the NPC's attitude and the check fails by 5 or more, the NPC sees through the blatant attempt to manipulate him; his attitude toward the PC worsens by one step, but his attitude toward the other person or course of action doesn't change (and might even improve, at the DM's discretion).

If the character rolls a natural 1 to improve an NPC's attitude, the NPC's attitude toward the PC worsens by one category. If the attempt to worsen the attitude toward someone else fails, the NPC's attitude toward the PC worsens by one step, and his attitude toward the other person or course of action increases by one step (reverse psychology – most people will go opposite the direction they're pushed, if they are especially hostile toward the person doing the pushing, regardless of what they actually think). In either case, the character cannot make another attempt for 24 hours.

The NPC's new attitude remains for 1d6x5 minutes, then returns to normal. If the check succeeds by 10 or more, the time is doubled. The PC can make one attempt every ten minutes (an attempt requires a full minute) as long as he doesn't fail by 5 or more (see above), but he can't improve the NPC's attitude more than two steps higher than its original position in a 24-hour period.

If the NPC was fooled into thinking something false (via the Bluff skill) there's a good chance that his attitude toward the PC will worsen (DM's discretion, depending on circumstances). Someone who is intimidated will always view the PC in a worse light (i.e., his attitude will drop by one step). In either case, the attitude shift remains until it wears off with time or the PC improves it via influence.

[[size large]]Influence[/size]]

Using Diplomacy, a PC can attempt to improve an NPC's attitude toward him over the long term. This requires semi-regular interaction (at least once a month); if the PC repeatedly influences the NPC's attitude for the better, the DM can rule that it remains at the higher level. This is subject to how often they interact, and how well the PC represents himself.

The PC can make up to two checks in a 24-hour period to improve an NPC's attitude; more than that will actually have a negative effect as the NPC comes to the conclusion that the character is trying too hard to get into his good graces (any further checks always fail, and the NPC's attitude will lower by one step).

Table 1: NPC Attitudes

Initial New Attitude (DC modifier)
Attitude Hateful Hostile Unfriendly Indifferent Friendly Helpful Fanatical
Hateful (5 or below) +0
Hostile (6-20) +10 +0 +10 +20
Unfriendly (21-39) +20 -5 +0 +10 +20
Indifferent (40-59) -10 -5 +0 +10 +20
Friendly (60-79) -10 -5 +0 +10
Helpful (80-89) -10 -5 +0 +40
Fanatical (90+) -20 +0

Hateful: The NPC actively hates the character and will attack her whenever they meet. Nothing would make him happier than seeing the PC dead, and there's a good chance he will risk his own life, if necessary, to do so.

Any NPC whose attitude is Hateful gains a +2 morale bonus to Strength and Constitution, a +1 morale bonus on Will saves, and a -1 penalty to AC when attacking the character.

A Hateful attitude toward an idea or course of action means the person is fanatically opposed to it – he will do everything in his power to see the course of action does not come to fruition, sacrificing anything and everything (himself included) in pursuit of his goal. Depending on his means, abilities, and alignment, even murder is not too high an obstacle to overcome to fight this ideal.

Achieving this level of hostility is very difficult; usually it is a temporary state reached by goading someone who is already Hostile (via taunts, insults, etc.). It is very rare to see someone who is actively willing to kill someone on sight, and these circumstances are usually part of a plot – the PC killed one or more of the NPC's friends/relatives, the NPC believes the PC is evil and must be eradicated, or the NPC is simply insane and the PC is opposing his plans.

If the NPC is goaded into attacking the PC, his reaction remains Hateful for 2d10 minutes after they are separated (if neither one is killed) and his attitude remains at Hostile for the next 24 hours. After that, if he doesn't see the PC, it returns to its normal attitude, but one step lower (which may well be Hostile, but cannot be Hateful).

Hostile: The NPC actively hates the character, and takes every opportunity to show it – spitting on the ground as the PC walks by, actively avoiding her, spitting in her food (if the NPC is a cook/servant), etc. He may even try to hurt and/or kill the PC if he can do so without significant risk to himself, or may take other actions depending his abilities, alignment, and social station. For example, a noble could hire thugs or bandits to attack the PC and her friends, or spread vicious rumors among other nobles that create a scandal and disgrace her. Someone of lower social standing could simply pick a fight, frame her for a crime he committed, or undertake other courses of action that would ruin her.

A Hostile attitude toward an idea or course of action means the person is actively opposed to it – he will not, under any circumstances, endorse the idea, undertake the course of action, or even think about supporting either. He will even go so far as to speak negatively about it to friends and others who express interest, and argue with those who support it. How far he will go in order to see the idea fails depends on the person; it could vary from simple verbal disagreement to murdering or otherwise removing supporters.

Unfriendly: The NPC doesn't like the character. He avoids her whenever possible; when forced to interact with her (meeting at a social function, e.g.), he will keep it as short as possible. Depending on his social ability/station and alignment, he may express this dislike through sneers, sarcasm, and barbed insults, or mask it behind a veneer of civility, plotting against the PC behind her back. An Unfriendly NPC will never provide help unless it directly benefits him, and even then, he'll limit the contact and help to as little as possible.

An Unfriendly attitude toward an idea or course of action means the person does not think well of it – if asked, he will state his opinion, but he doesn't care enough about it to actively protest under most circumstances. If asked to support it, he will (politely, or least quietly) refuse, but will bear little or no ill will toward those who wish to see it succeed.

Indifferent: The NPC either doesn't know the character or doesn't care about her because she is so far below his notice that there is little she could do to affect him. Indifferent NPCs will engage in socially expected interaction – greetings if passed on the street, polite conversation, etc. – but they generally won't go out of their way to help or hinder the character unless it benefits them in some way. The vast majority of NPCs fall into this category when first met.

An Indifferent attitude toward and idea or course of action is much the same – either the person doesn't know enough about it to have an opinion either way, or doesn't care.

Friendly: The NPC likes the character. He could be a long-term acquaintance, someone the PC has helped before, or someone who thinks well of the PC through his associations or actions. A Friendly NPC will actively help if it doesn't put him at too much risk or detriment. He may lend the PC money (generally no more than 5% of his total worth), provide limited aid (hiding the PC and possibly his friends somewhere if someone is after them), or offer reduced prices for goods. A friendly NPC may offer lesser degrees of aid for the PCs' friends, even if he doesn't know them.

A Friendly attitude toward an idea or course of action means the NPC is supportive of it – he will speak favorably of it to friends or those who ask, and may devote some of his time, money, or other resources (servants or other hirelings) toward the goal (for example, donating money to help build an orphanage, or sending a few men-at-arms to bolster an expedition to a recently discovered cave complex).

Helpful: The NPC is good friends with the PC or is in love with her. He could be a childhood friend, a blood brother, someone in the same organization, or someone for whom the PC has done repeated good deeds. A Helpful NPC will actively help even if it puts him at risk, but he will generally not lay his life on the line for the PC. This help can take the form of money (up to 20% of total worth), aid (backup in a fight, healing, or even free drinks/meals at the local tavern), or reduced prices for services (spells, gear, etc.). Helpful NPCs may often offer the same or lesser degrees of help for the PC's friends, even if he doesn't know them. This is the highest attitude people can normally get.

A Helpful attitude toward an idea or course of action means the NPC is very much in favor of it – he will speak favorably of it to friends and neighbors and will actively attempt to sway those who are indifferent or even opposed to it. He will donate time, money, or other resources according to his means to see that the idea remains viable or that it succeeds (for example, sending along a few craftsmen to help build the orphanage along with a generous donation of money, or providing arms for others in the expedition and sending several battle-hardened men along to help).

Fanatic: The NPC is fanatically devoted to the character. He will do anything that is within his power to aid the PC, up to and including laying down his life. Any NPC whose attitude is fanatic gains a +2 morale bonus to attack rolls, a +1 morale bonus on Will saves, and a -1 penalty to AC when fighting for the character or his or her cause.

It requires extraordinary circumstances to acquire fanatical followers. In order to move an NPC's attitude score past Friendly, the character must achieve a Diplomacy check result of 50 or better. It is also hard to maintain; it requires constant attention on the character's part (a DC 40 Diplomacy check every day - the lower DC is indicative of simply maintaining an existing hold over the followers), or the follower's attitude to will slowly decrease into the range of Friendly. This varies by circumstance, but a good rule of thumb is that it takes 1 day per 4 days the follower's attitude remained at Fanatic. For example, someone who was fanatical for a month (30 days) would remain that way for 7 days before falling back to Friendly. Even though the PC can neglect daily checks, the DC increases by 2 every day the follower goes without a check, until his attitude reaches Friendly (in the previous example, the DC to retain the follower's loyalty would increase to 42 on the second day without maintenance, 44 on the third, etc.). A failed check in any case will reduce the follower's attitude to Friendly and requires a DC 55 check to restore his faith.

Treat the fanatic attitude as a mind-affecting enchantment effect for purposes of immunity, save bonuses, or being detected by the Sense Motive skill. Since it is nonmagical, it can't be dispelled, nor will any effect that suppresses or counters mind-affecting effects affect it. A fanatic NPC's attitude can't be further adjusted by the use of skills.

A Fanatic attitude toward an idea or course of action is very difficult to achieve – people like this are usually either the one(s) who came up with the idea in the first place, or are brainwashed (magically, psionically, or through simple manipulation). Someone with a fanatical attitude will always speak of the idea in the best possible terms (often ignoring the fact that he usually sounds like a fanatic) to anyone who seems even slightly interested. He will vehemently shout down those who are opposed and may even physically attack them or otherwise attempt to prevent their dissenting opinions from being heard. He will donate everything within his power to see that the idea or course of action succeeds – all of his money, time, effort, whatever it takes; for him, there is no higher goal.

Attitude Factors: These factors can be used to adjust an NPC's base attitude toward the character, either when the NPC is created or when the PC encounters him for the first time. Some factors are listed below, along with explanations and modifiers.

NPC thinks well/poorly of the PC: +2 to +10

The character asks the NPC to do something that has little impact on him or requires little effort on his part (going to one tavern instead of another): +0

The character asks the NPC to do something mildly distasteful, or that requires some effort (eat or drink something that doesn't look very good, but is obviously not harmful): -3

The character asks the NPC to do something that has a small negative impact (going out of his way to help the PC when he has other plans): -6 to -10

The character asks the NPC to do something that has a major negative impact (putting his reputation on the line to help, or donating something dear or valuable): -11 to -20

The character asks the NPC to do something that's downright dangerous (risking his life or the lives of those he loves): -20 or more. This penalty does not apply if the NPC's attitude is Fanatic.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License