Bluff/Diplomacy/Intimidate; what does each cover? - Page 2 - Myth-Weavers


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Bluff/Diplomacy/Intimidate; what does each cover?

Bluff provides a synergy bonus to the other two..

True in 3 or 3.5, not so in Pathfinder which dropped synergy entirely. I'm actually with PF on this one, kind of. Synergy has some problems; you can't benefit from it until 2nd level, the benefit never varies no matter what the relative skill levels are, it's limited to very specific combinations of skills. I prefer something more like the way Hero System/Champions handles Complimentary skills, if you can convince me it's related in this particular instance, it is. And if you roll really well (or have a very high skill level), the bonus can be larger. It does rely a good bit on GM fiat and can slow play down a bit as players argue for just why Knowledge: nobility is going to help with this Stealth check (probably a lost cause). One of the things I really like about this is that it often makes some of those meaningless background skills at least marginally useful.

For starters, the each skill has specific functions that are called out in their individual descrptions:

-Feint in Combat
-Create a Diversion to Hide
-Deliver a Secret Message

-Influencing NPC attitudes

-Demoralize an Opponent

Beyond those uses, their more general functions are generally left in the hands of the DM, with the skill descriptions serving as guidelines for use:

Used for when you are short on time and need to momentarily convince an NPC to go along with your suggestion. These comprise situations where you engage in fast-talking someone into giving you something that you want, but will generally not stand up to any kind of scrutiny. They key with this use is the length of time involved. It's done very quickly, and can fall apart very quickly.

This is for extended and in-depth negotiations where you are attempting to persuade your target to see things from your point of view. The shortest amount of time you need for an attempt is one minute, with penalties applied to the check for any shorter length of time spent. Note that nothing in the rules requires you need not be honest in your negotiations, you are simply spending a greater amount of time on them. A commonly missed rule here is that during extended negotiations Diplomacy is an opposed check, with the side that rolls higher succeeding. This is also the case when two opposing sides are making a case to a third party. Two other commonly overlooked rules are a) the DM is within his purview to arbitrarily establish a limit for how far any given NPC's attitude might be swayed with regards to a player character, and b) NPC's are never required to act as their new attitude dictates. Persuading a prison guard to helpful does not mean that prison guard will unlock your cell and let you out, though he certainly might try to sneak you some extra food at dinner. Similarly, persuading the head of an evil empire into helpful does not mean he won't still try to kill you for opposing his plans. He might just feel really bad about it afterwards.

Beyond it's specific use in combat, this skill functions exactly like Diplomacy, except with a hard limit on the duration of the results. Intimidating someone immediately sets their attitude to friendly, with all of the above limitations that entails. But after you leave and the target comes to their senses (again remembering that they are not required to attack you on sight the next time they see you, despite being hostile).

Diplomacy>Bluff>Intimidate, unless you're talking combat specifically. Diplomacy is great because there's no penalty if it doesn't work - failing a Bluff or Intimidate is often worse.

It’s all about context and circumstance.
You won’t convince a zealous cultist to renounce his faith.
You won’t intimidate a dragon.
You won’t bluff a devil.
Etc etc etc.

actually, you can bluff a devil, some are rather low brow... it all depends on the small print YOU put into the compact.


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