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Social skills in Pathfinder: How many members of the party need to be good at it and any other social topics?


Pathfinder RPG General Discussion

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Silver Crusade

When it comes to social skills in Pathfinder we usually end letting the person with the best scores do the talking. If you have a Bard or Sorcerer who have maxed out their Charisma, social skills, and have taken spells that further enhance this then why would anyone else even bother? I could understand helping out for a +2 but that's all you get, it's not like you can double team someone and annihilate them.

Shadow Lodge

The problem is not knowing if you'll have 4 people showing up with social skills or if you'll get the party where EVERYONE dumped CHA.

you can usually both make separate checks. That usually gives you a statistically higher chance of succeeding.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber

Personally, everyone should have some social capability, unless being socially handicapped is a big thing for a specific character. It's no fun to shut characters out of roleplay simply because one character has Diplomacy cranked up to the max.

That and it shouldn't be the entire group(or rather the max'd social character) on every social situation all the time. If the group of four PCs is in a tavern, they can easily wind up in their own situations that only they themselves can resolve.

Then again, I'm also a big believer in roleplaying not boiling down to a simple roll of the dice. The skill/stat investment helps, but it isn't the be-all and end-all to roleplaying or its results.

currently playing a barbarian with a +12 or so in Diplomacy


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Why a new thread? We have a perfectly-useful-but-totally-inappropriate monk thread with 3~4 pages of this discussion... ^^

But, seriously, I really like social skills because I love solving problems in creative manners, and Diplomacy/Bluff are great for that. I think that's the reason I like Sorcerers.

Right now I'm playing a druid with max ranks in Diplomacy (and a trait too!), because I talking to animals is not all that stimulating. And from the character's POV, conving people to respect nature is more effective than forcing them to do it.

Besides, diplomacy and intimidation are not mutually exclusive.

Heh...

EDIT: Just noticed I didn't answer the OP's question.

Well, I think everyone should be able to do something in social encounters, even if it's simply putting some ranks in Intimidate. And at least two characters shoudl be at least decent in Diplomacy.

Sometimes the Bard will roll badly, or its player may be absent... So having a "secondary party-face" is very useful.

Silver Crusade

Mikaze wrote:

Personally, everyone should have some social capability, unless being socially handicapped is a big thing for a specific character. It's no fun to shut characters out of roleplay simply because one character has Diplomacy cranked up to the max.

That and it shouldn't be the entire group(or rather the max'd social character) on every social situation all the time. If the group of four PCs is in a tavern, they can easily wind up in their own situations that only they themselves can resolve.

Then again, I'm also a big believer in roleplaying not boiling down to a simple roll of the dice. The skill/stat investment helps, but it isn't the be-all and end-all to roleplaying or its results.

currently playing a barbarian with a +12 or so in Diplomacy

I say there is a difference between role playing and using a social skill. Using a social skill is meant to be used against certain things, or whatever that certain skill en-tales, and role playing is just role playing.


I personally (as a DM) prefer to roleplay first and (If neccesary) to roll dice later.

It is not like the 7 cha barbarian without any social skill would be very convincing, but a lot of times i have seens in this forum the opinion that if a character do not have +x to diplomacy then is a social inept, and i do not like that extreme.

Silver Crusade

Social skills are supposed to be your boundary. Let's face it, some player's could talk the king into giving up his throne, his wife, and his daughter for a life on the road but his character could not.

It keeps people from metagaming and staying with in their limits.


shallowsoul wrote:

Social skills are supposed to be your boundary. Let's face it, some player's could talk the king into giving up his throne, his wife, and his daughter for a life on the road but his character could not.

It keeps people from metagaming and staying with in their limits.

tatally aceptable, what I do not like is when those limts becomes too narrows.


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At bare minimum, one. Ideally, I'd say everyone should be at least able to make an aid another check in case the party face rolls a 1. Every little bit helps.

I wouldn't say that low diplomacy automatically equals socially inept; it could just be that the character is less convincing. Heck, I've known some very socially adept people who have difficulty convincing people to another viewpoint. More than one way to RP.


Depends on the size of the party. In a 4 player game, usually everyone usually picks a couple of specialties and sticks to their niche. Its hard to cover all posibilities unless there is a division of "labor".

In a 6 player game, the group has more freedom in character development, and you see a lot more "jack-of-all-trades" characters. Its not unusual in a larger group to have a "primary" and "secondary", and possibly even a "tertiary" character for nearly everything. Plus, in larger groups, it is more likely that the party may split up at some point (most GMs hate splitting the party, BTW).

So, to answer your question, it all depends on how many characters are in the party.


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Roles i think would require 1 of every 4 PCs in a group to cover. assuming you count pets and cohorts as Separate PCs. some of these roles might overlap with others in some cases. the first 2 are critically important roles and the others are mostly optional, but greatly appreciated.

Support Caster, this role generally entails things ranging from buffs and debuffs to healing and battlefield control. i would recommend that the support caster have some means of healing both hit points and common conditions reliably. though exceptions can be made for wizards and sorcerers due to battlefield control and their better offensive spells.

Damage Dealer, this role deals damage. it can be a secondary role for other primary roles without too much issue (a recommended thing actually) and is a fairly valuable role. it is a general rule that they have multiple types of damage. such as a variety of weapons for different DR or ranges, or different energy types for damage dealing spells. a damage dealing support caster could be for example, a martially inclined cleric, or even a sorcerer with a few blast spells. though the ability to quickly slay one foe is commonly appreciated, being able to wound multiple weaker foes can also be appreciated in some circumstances

Face, this role generally overlaps with others, and is needed for negotiation, spreading reputation, or infiltration, depending on circumstances. it's also recommended that the face be at least trained in sense motive and appraise to get more out of transactions.

Scout, this guy has the stealth bonuses to sneak around, the perception bonuses to notice things, and any combination of the following, the disguise skill to infiltrate enemy camps, the survival skill to follow tracks, or the disable device skill to deal with traps. they generally need some way to keep attention away from their self, some way to avoid traps, or some way to inform the party of incoming threats.

Sage; an optional secondary role for most classes, this is the guy with the relevant knowledge skills, and maybe spellcraft or appraise. he identifies stuff and might have divinations to help out.

the crafter; an optional secondary role for most support casters, if crafting isn't banned, this a recommended 1 in 4 PCs role. essentially, the minimum consists of a maxed spellcraft, craft wondrous item, and craft magic arms and armor. though forge ring could also be useful because all the decent magical rings are so expensive. the reason you need multiple in a large party is to speed up crafting so you don't spend multiple years of downtime between adventures abilities that speed up crafting help greatly.

the Defender, Also known as the tank, and despite common opinion, this is not the dwarf in plate with a tower shield and maximized AC. this is the guy who keeps the enemy focused on him and keeps the attention away. either by dealing lots of damage, or by punishing those who move away from him. such as by having abilities that deny withdrawing, abilities that stop movement, or just by having many nasty attacks of opportunity with reach and a large threatened area.


Depends.

I like my players to try and be as self sufficient and well rounded as possible as it really opens up gameplay options for the campaign. The more specialised they become, the less comprehensive the campaign gets.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

IMO, social skills are just one aspect of a well-rounded party, like battlefield control, buffing, combat (melee and ranged), healing, knowledge skills, etc. There should be at least one character good at it (or good at one aspect), plus another with some basic ability in it (so that you don't have all the eggs in one basket).

It's relatively easy for several characters to use social skills, just as it's relatively easy to have basic healing ability (Use Magic Device and a wand of cure light wounds; a half-elf can take the Arcane Training alternate racial trait in bard and not have to worry about Use Magic Device checks). As long as you don't over-specialize a character, at least.

Shadow Lodge

Mikaze wrote:
Personally, everyone should have some social capability, unless being socially handicapped is a big thing for a specific character. It's no fun to shut characters out of roleplay simply because one character has Diplomacy cranked up to the max.

You can have fun role playing a BAD diplomacy/social skills as well as good ones.

Mind you its not that much of a stretch for some of us...

Andoran

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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Need to be?

None.

Shadow Lodge

Dragonchess Player wrote:
IMO, social skills are just one aspect of a well-rounded party, like battlefield control, buffing, combat (melee and ranged), healing, knowledge skills, etc. There should be at least one character good at it (or good at one aspect), plus another with some basic ability in it (so that you don't have all the eggs in one basket).

I agree. You can roleplay just fine without high charisma or ranks in Diplomacy - just because the bard is the party Diplomat doesn't mean the Fighter can't voice an opinion. But if you're in a game with a decent amount of social interaction it's still a good idea to have a backup talker. For example, what if the party face is an elf and you need to talk your way into an orc bar?

Lemmy wrote:
Right now I'm playing a druid with max ranks in Diplomacy (and a trait too!), because I talking to animals is not all that stimulating. And from the character's POV, conving people to respect nature is more effective than forcing them to do it.

Yup. In a recent campaign, a corrupt businessman had designs on clear-cutting an old-growth forest, so my Diplomacy Druid and the Witch with ranks in Profession (Lawyer) had the forest declared a sovereign nation under control of a local goblin tribe. No more logging for you...


I think there should be some overlap in non-combat skills among the whole party. Yes, the Bard might be good at Diplomacy and have that whole Bardic Knowledge thing going for him, but that doesn't mean he isn't going to roll s@!@ on a critical Knowledge Religion check or something at some point and your Monk/Cleric could fill the gap, or your Sorcerer who likes Diplomacy can't fill in if he's having a bad dice day.

Weirdo wrote:


Lemmy wrote:
Right now I'm playing a druid with max ranks in Diplomacy (and a trait too!), because I talking to animals is not all that stimulating. And from the character's POV, conving people to respect nature is more effective than forcing them to do it.
Yup. In a recent campaign, a corrupt businessman had designs on clear-cutting an old-growth forest, so my Diplomacy Druid and the Witch with ranks in Profession (Lawyer) had the forest declared a sovereign nation under control of a local goblin tribe. No more logging for you...

Wouldn't that mean he could just convince the local sovereign to declare war on the goblin tribe (on his dime, ofc), kill them all, claim the land for himself, and continue logging anyway?

Shadow Lodge

No, the goblins had good PR since they allied with us to defend our town from an army of hobgoblins and allied liches. The party had even better PR for having lead the defense and defeated the army's leaders. No one local would have sided with the businessman, and national authorities had more important things to deal with. The businessman might still have been able to work around it given time, but previously the forest had no legal protection.


There's really no right answer to this question.

In general a character with average charisma and no ranks in any social skills should be considered to be an average bluffer/diplomat, etc. Dumping charisma is another issue and if everyone in your party is dumping charisma, I'm pretty sure the lack of social skills won't be your most compelling difficulty to work through.

In my experience most of the groups I have been in have not had a "face" who invests heavily in social skills. Usually we'll have one character who might put a few ranks in bluff or diplomacy, and if we have a sorcerer or paladin, they generally become the "face" by default just due to their charisma boost.

I will try to avoid the "role play vs roll play" argument here and just say that usually if someone in our group is investing in social skills, it's a character concept issue and it is done deliberately to try to gain an advantage using bluff and diplomacy. Most GMs tend not to reward such builds, so over time people tend to stop them.

Silver Crusade

Adamantine Dragon wrote:

There's really no right answer to this question.

In general a character with average charisma and no ranks in any social skills should be considered to be an average bluffer/diplomat, etc. Dumping charisma is another issue and if everyone in your party is dumping charisma, I'm pretty sure the lack of social skills won't be your most compelling difficulty to work through.

In my experience most of the groups I have been in have not had a "face" who invests heavily in social skills. Usually we'll have one character who might put a few ranks in bluff or diplomacy, and if we have a sorcerer or paladin, they generally become the "face" by default just due to their charisma boost.

I will try to avoid the "role play vs roll play" argument here and just say that usually if someone in our group is investing in social skills, it's a character concept issue and it is done deliberately to try to gain an advantage using bluff and diplomacy. Most GMs tend not to reward such builds, so over time people tend to stop them.

Well the "reward" should be your gains on those social situations that call for certain social skills to be rolled.


shallowsoul wrote:


Well the "reward" should be your gains on those social situations that call for certain social skills to be rolled.

Yeah, and I have been in many entire campaigns where those skills are never once needed because the GM simply doesn't offer the opportunity. In others the opportunity may come up two or three times in the course of months of play.

Some GMs just don't do the social stuff, for whatever reason. I've had entire campaigns that were just one fight after another. And they've been fun, I'm not saying you HAVE TO HAVE social encounters. I'm just saying I know some GMs who wouldn't have a clue how to rule on them anyway. They just don't use them.

And I've also had a few GMs who ignore social skills and tell the players to "role play it". I don't like that approach, but I've encountered it.


I find that everyone should have at least a marginal investment in social skills. Not necessarily enough to turn every hostile encounter into a helpful NPC but at least enough to get stuff done in a social situation.

Unlike combat or even exploration social interaction is something that can involve all of the party doing separate things simultaneously so having a single face character with everyone else with 7 CHA and no social skills is problem because it means that 3-4 players are sitting around doing nothing during social phases which creates this expectation that social phases shouldn't last that long.

I'd much rather have everyone be capable of interacting with various NPCs pretty much on their own, so the wizard might be negotiating with the alchemist for reagents, the fighter is carousing with the mercenary company, the rogue is gathering information from underworld sources and the cleric is checking out what the temple hierarchy knows.

Yeah really important social interactions with key NPCs might still be funneled through a chief spokesperson but the NPCs will active seek out all the party rather than going exclusively to one.

If someone absolutely has to play the minimum charisma, no social skills, mute half-orc monk then sure they can do that but that's a distinct character choice and I emphasize that they should still find some method of getting their point across.


It is silly to say every character needs a social skill. Just like every table needs a healer and a tank, the same can be said with the skills. Because you are unsociable does not mean you are stupid and ignored., but you make your statement rudely and it turns people off.

If you have no social skills makes sure you have some skills the party may need. If you are all strenght then you better tie people to you that can not swim or climb.

Shadow Lodge

I agree with vuron. I believe that the characters who haven't heavily invested in social skills should still take part in social encounters, just like a character who isn't optimized for combat should still take their turn in initiative. Presenting them with areas of personal interest is a good way to do this.

Adamantine Dragon wrote:
shallowsoul wrote:
Well the "reward" should be your gains on those social situations that call for certain social skills to be rolled.

...

And I've also had a few GMs who ignore social skills and tell the players to "role play it". I don't like that approach, but I've encountered it.

This is the one thing I find frustrating about the social skills. I don't like avoiding social encounters or reducing them to single die rolls. But a character with high Cha and lots of ranks in social skills should get some benefit from that. Even if they never make a single social roll, the GM should make sure that people react more positively to them.


Nicos wrote:

I personally (as a DM) prefer to roleplay first and (If neccesary) to roll dice later.

It is not like the 7 cha barbarian without any social skill would be very convincing, but a lot of times i have seens in this forum the opinion that if a character do not have +x to diplomacy then is a social inept, and i do not like that extreme.

Well by Pathfinder rules he is. Trying to convince someone involves making a diplomacy check. If you are at a -2 because you have 7 charisma and no ranks in diplomacy, you aren't going to make many checks to convince someone to do something they weren't planning on doing.


johnlocke90 wrote:
Nicos wrote:

I personally (as a DM) prefer to roleplay first and (If neccesary) to roll dice later.

It is not like the 7 cha barbarian without any social skill would be very convincing, but a lot of times i have seens in this forum the opinion that if a character do not have +x to diplomacy then is a social inept, and i do not like that extreme.

Well by Pathfinder rules he is. Trying to convince someone involves making a diplomacy check. If you are at a -2 because you have 7 charisma and no ranks in diplomacy, you aren't going to make many checks to convince someone to do something they weren't planning on doing.

unless you roll a natural 20. and with a -2, you can just roll a 12 (45%) to assist the primary diplomat of the group.


shallowsoul wrote:
Adamantine Dragon wrote:

There's really no right answer to this question.

In general a character with average charisma and no ranks in any social skills should be considered to be an average bluffer/diplomat, etc. Dumping charisma is another issue and if everyone in your party is dumping charisma, I'm pretty sure the lack of social skills won't be your most compelling difficulty to work through.

In my experience most of the groups I have been in have not had a "face" who invests heavily in social skills. Usually we'll have one character who might put a few ranks in bluff or diplomacy, and if we have a sorcerer or paladin, they generally become the "face" by default just due to their charisma boost.

I will try to avoid the "role play vs roll play" argument here and just say that usually if someone in our group is investing in social skills, it's a character concept issue and it is done deliberately to try to gain an advantage using bluff and diplomacy. Most GMs tend not to reward such builds, so over time people tend to stop them.

Well the "reward" should be your gains on those social situations that call for certain social skills to be rolled.

Even if a DM presents social challenges to the player, DMs will generally care much more about how well your character articulates himself and the arguments he made while the actual diplomacy/bluff rolls having little impact.

I think you are generally better off focusing on other skills that are more likely to show returns, like knowledge checks or perception checks.


Shuriken Nekogami wrote:
johnlocke90 wrote:
Nicos wrote:

I personally (as a DM) prefer to roleplay first and (If neccesary) to roll dice later.

It is not like the 7 cha barbarian without any social skill would be very convincing, but a lot of times i have seens in this forum the opinion that if a character do not have +x to diplomacy then is a social inept, and i do not like that extreme.

Well by Pathfinder rules he is. Trying to convince someone involves making a diplomacy check. If you are at a -2 because you have 7 charisma and no ranks in diplomacy, you aren't going to make many checks to convince someone to do something they weren't planning on doing.
unless you roll a natural 20. and with a -2, you can just roll a 12 (45%) to assist the primary diplomat of the group.

12 is 40 percent. And while yes you can, you also make things worse if you fail by 5 or more, which happens 35 percent of the time.


I say specialize. A group needs a(one) face, not two, three or four faces. Having everyone in a group waste ranks in diplomacy when the paladin has a +15 is a waste of your skills. If you feel that your character needs it, then fine put some ranks in it. But do not feel you have to have a social skill and chunk ranks into.

We are nerds, how many of us do not have social skills? I know everyone one of you know a player that has little to none of these. I am sure many adventures would not either.


johnlocke90 wrote:
Shuriken Nekogami wrote:
johnlocke90 wrote:
Nicos wrote:

I personally (as a DM) prefer to roleplay first and (If neccesary) to roll dice later.

It is not like the 7 cha barbarian without any social skill would be very convincing, but a lot of times i have seens in this forum the opinion that if a character do not have +x to diplomacy then is a social inept, and i do not like that extreme.

Well by Pathfinder rules he is. Trying to convince someone involves making a diplomacy check. If you are at a -2 because you have 7 charisma and no ranks in diplomacy, you aren't going to make many checks to convince someone to do something they weren't planning on doing.
unless you roll a natural 20. and with a -2, you can just roll a 12 (45%) to assist the primary diplomat of the group.
12 is 40 percent. And while yes you can, you also make things worse if you fail by 5 or more, which happens 35 percent of the time.

a 12 is 45 percent. 20 sides on a d20. 100 divided by 20 is 5. 20-11 is 9. 12+ is 9 possible sides. 9x5= 45. in other words, 45%. you fail by 5 or more 35 percent of the time.


Well, our DM sometimes has us, as a party try to impress someone, whereupon everyone must make their Diplomacy (altho if you play it right, Bluff can substitute).

Sure, a Bbn with a 7 cha can make the roll once in a while. But a guy with just a 12 CHA and Dipl as a class skill (super easy with traits) is +7 @ 1st level. @ 10th he is +16.

Mind you, it you're playing in a 15 pt buy game, I can see occassionally dumping CHA. But heck, why not burn one little trait and one SkP?


DrDeth wrote:

Well, our DM sometimes has us, as a party try to impress someone, whereupon everyone must make their Diplomacy (altho if you play it right, Bluff can substitute).

Sure, a Bbn with a 7 cha can make the roll once in a while. But a guy with just a 12 CHA and Dipl as a class skill (super easy with traits) is +7 @ 1st level. @ 10th he is +16.

Mind you, it you're playing in a 15 pt buy game, I can see occassionally dumping CHA. But heck, why not burn one little trait and one SkP?

even if you dump charisma, if you invest enough skill ranks. your skill bonus will outweigh the attribute penalty in that skill.


johnlocke90 wrote:


Even if a DM presents social challenges to the player, DMs will generally care much more about how well your character articulates himself and the arguments he made while the actual diplomacy/bluff rolls having little impact.

Ah, so then once you get into combat, the jock Player (wizard) should be able to outhit the nerd player (Bbn) player, since the jock can actually show the swings of his weapon better, right?

Your personal social skills should be of little significance.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Tales Subscriber

I roll first, speech second. So if I roll bad I know to just be like: "C'mooon. Please?"

Every character should have at least one interaction skill, even if its just Sense Motive.


I generally encourage actual roleplaying in addition to the use of the hard social skill use. Basically if you just give circumstance bonuses or penalties to the diplomacy, bluff, intimidate check equal to how well they articulated the speech, lie, threat.

I find that using DM fiat for everything just encourages everyone to ignore social skill investment and furthermore limits the choices people have because not everyone is a great orator but they might want to pretend to be one in the context of a game.

Seems like it works well in practice and after all it only takes a pretty minimal effort in social skill development to be able to interact with most social encounters. It's pretty rare encounters that require massive bluff or diplomacy skill bonuses.


DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:

I roll first, speech second. So if I roll bad I know to just be like: "C'mooon. Please?"

Every character should have at least one interaction skill, even if its just Sense Motive.

As a DM I hate this. I think it is a roleplaying game not a roll playing game.

It is also metagaming adjusting the strategy based on the roll.


DrDeth wrote:
johnlocke90 wrote:


Even if a DM presents social challenges to the player, DMs will generally care much more about how well your character articulates himself and the arguments he made while the actual diplomacy/bluff rolls having little impact.

Ah, so then once you get into combat, the jock Player (wizard) should be able to outhit the nerd player (Bbn) player, since the jock can actually show the swings of his weapon better, right?

Your personal social skills should be of little significance.

Mechanically yes and balance wise as well but honestly rolling without rping is plain boring and rolling then trying to RP is extremely hard for some players who lack the skills so you end up with the guy who walks up and says, "Hey I know I was just considering stabbing you in the face but really why don't we just be friends ... until I can stab you in the back?" and the npcs have to respond with "Deeerp sure you're a swell guy!" because he has a +40 mod.


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Finlanderboy wrote:
DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:

I roll first, speech second. So if I roll bad I know to just be like: "C'mooon. Please?"

Every character should have at least one interaction skill, even if its just Sense Motive.

As a DM I hate this. I think it is a roleplaying game not a roll playing game.

It is also metagaming adjusting the strategy based on the roll.

So even if a character invests in Bluff, Diplomacy and Intimidate and have a high Charisma score, it's completely useless if her player is shy of not very well-spoken?

Do you also force your Barbarian players to be temperamental body-builders? Or your Wizard players to have an IQ of over 200?

Also, it seems to me that rather than adjusting his strategy to the die roll, Dudemeister is role playing it.
In fact if he was metagaming negatively (because there is good metagaming!), he'd do the opposite: A full speech when he rolls poorly, so he gets some bonuses and a short sentence when he rolls great, because he doesn't need to put the effort anyway.

Shadow Lodge

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Finlanderboy wrote:
DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:

I roll first, speech second. So if I roll bad I know to just be like: "C'mooon. Please?"

Every character should have at least one interaction skill, even if its just Sense Motive.

As a DM I hate this. I think it is a roleplaying game not a roll playing game.

It is also metagaming adjusting the strategy based on the roll.

That's not metagaming. That's saying "Well, clearly my character's appeal wasn't very effective, so let me roleplay what my character sounds like when he's making a bad speech." For example, the wonderful moment when a character who was literally raised by wolves botches a Diplomacy check, so he calls the person he was talking to a "b!*+*." Hey, why are you offended, my mother was a b#@*~?

The problem is, it's easy to roleplay a botch (though perhaps not so easy to roleplay a clever botch), but it's next to impossible to roleplay an oratory success that you as a player are unable to achieve. I have a hard time playing a high-Bluff character because I have a hard time thinking up plausible lies on the spot. If I have to rely on my own skill instead of my character, I could be playing Loki and still be unable to trick my way out of a wet paper bag.


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Weirdo wrote:
Finlanderboy wrote:
DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:

I roll first, speech second. So if I roll bad I know to just be like: "C'mooon. Please?"

Every character should have at least one interaction skill, even if its just Sense Motive.

As a DM I hate this. I think it is a roleplaying game not a roll playing game.

It is also metagaming adjusting the strategy based on the roll.

That's not metagaming. That's saying "Well, clearly my character's appeal wasn't very effective, so let me roleplay what my character sounds like when he's making a bad speech." For example, the wonderful moment when a character who was literally raised by wolves botches a Diplomacy check, so he calls the person he was talking to a "b~$@&." Hey, why are you offended, my mother was a b!+$&?

The problem is, it's easy to roleplay a botch (though perhaps not so easy to roleplay a clever botch), but it's next to impossible to roleplay an oratory success that you as a player are unable to achieve. I have a hard time playing a high-Bluff character because I have a hard time thinking up plausible lies on the spot. If I have to rely on my own skill instead of my character, I could be playing Loki and still be unable to trick my way out of a wet paper bag.

I agree with this. It is annoying how if I need to make a stealth check or swing a sword I can just roll, but if I want to bluff, I need to make up convincing lies.


Yes it is metagaming. You are checking to see if you win your roll and then attempting another try at success without consequences of failing.

Plus a bluff has to have some basis to bluff with. Some lie will always fail. Convincing a gaurd you are the one and only captain of the gaurd will fail if you are talking to the captain. While speaking to other people that do not know him or know him well would effect the difficulty of your bluff.

The ananology about you do not decide how you swing your sword or stealth is false because you do say how you do it. I make players show me what squares they cross when they stealth and move. How you use your weapons blunt/piercing. Plus there is a understanding of I stab the guy. I lie to guy does nto have a universal understanding.


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Finlanderboy wrote:
Yes it is metagaming. You are checking to see if you win your roll and then attempting another try at success without consequences of failing.

That's not what they're doing at all. They see that they've rolled a low check, then act it out. The acting it out has no change on the situation because they've already rolled the result.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Tales Subscriber
Darigaaz the Igniter wrote:
Finlanderboy wrote:
Yes it is metagaming. You are checking to see if you win your roll and then attempting another try at success without consequences of failing.
That's not what they're doing at all. They see that they've rolled a low check, then act it out. The acting it out has no change on the situation because they've already rolled the result.

This.

I love to roleplay and inhabit my character. Part of that is accepting the dice arbitrate the character's success and failure. If I make an amazing empassioned speech and roll a 1, even with a good Diplomacy skill completely botching the check I've wasted that moment.

Roll first, describe second. That means the rules always matter but how it plays out that's the Roleplay.

Additionally I always use Take 10/Take 20 rules wherever I can. It means I can say to the Guard:

"We're escorting a prisoner. Captain said you can take your break. Taking 10, Bluff result is 20. More if bonuses for a reasonable lie apply." The GM rolls Sense Motive, and the scene continues. The rules matter (otherwise social skill points are wasted) and I get to make my character appear clever.

Really try it some time you'd be amazed at how great the game works when you accurately describe your successes and failures.

Shadow Lodge

Finlanderboy wrote:
Yes it is metagaming. You are checking to see if you win your roll and then attempting another try at success without consequences of failing.

You're not attempting another try - you're expressing the initial result (success or failure) in appropriate roleplaying terms.

Finlanderboy wrote:
The ananology about you do not decide how you swing your sword or stealth is false because you do say how you do it. I make players show me what squares they cross when they stealth and move.

That's like saying that because someone has told you that to drive to your house you need to turn right, then follow Main St for a mile, then make a right and the next left, they have explained how to drive a car. Giving basic descriptive directions is not the same as possessing technical expertise.

There is a ton of technical knowledge and practiced skill going into "I stab the guy." You need to know how to strike without telegraphing, why it's important not to hold your limbs too close to your body when in a combative stance, what stances make you more difficult to trip, how to commit to your attack without over-committing and making yourself vulnerable.

I can say "I stab the guy" without having any sense of the technical skill needed to actually execute an effective sword strike.

I can say "I lie to the guy" or "I tell the guy I have a good reason to be here" without actually having a sense of what would make a convincing lie, or what good reason I have to be where I am.

Just like a good swordsman should have the skill required to actually implement "I stab the guy," a good liar would have the skill required to construct a plausible lie. For example, rather than risking impersonating the captain, the skilled liar might tell the guard that he is a new officer transferred from the next city over. If the player doesn't have this skill, the character shouldn't be penalized any more than a swordsman should be penalized for holding his prop sword wrong.

Because I lack the ability to come up with plausible lies, I eventually invested in Glibness. You don't have to come up with a believable story when you Bluff at +40. (You're not the captain, you're under magical compulsion! I should take you into protective custody.)


I am sorry I misunderstood. I call that the venture lieutenant special. Since two of the VLs I know cheat that way. Then cry and complain claimign they are VLs and it was a mistake when their dice roll is held against them until the DM relents.

They also roll the dice off their books and claim that any low die that falls of thier book is a mis-roll and rereoll.


I think it is important for every party member to be able to represent.

If you only play APs, then having just one person with skill x high is all you need. Same for social, you only need one person with high social. APs though are very RP lite, and i would bet most of the pary is using dump stats. So mechanically no sense in wasting by overlapping skill areas.

Outside of APs,
Many many many times characters are not there as a group; every character has his own agendas and doesnt want someone else always solving his problems, or trying to do it their way. For eg the face of the party style group, say has a bard for that, and the bard speaking for every other player will say it how he wants regardless of what the player specifically wants. We give xp for OoC skill / problem solving, even treating them as CR so characters more focused on skills like a rogue really shine here.

I always finding it surprising that OoC CR's are not very common on these boards if at all. Sinse the basis was intro'd in 3.5, we have used it heavily and it makes the people that only created combat sluts feel useless for more than half the games.

Also a group of characters are/should be somewhat sociable themselves, doesnt mean they need to max any social skill, and cha should be enough for those that dont focus on such to show if they are likeable or not.

I am also against dump stats, one it just makes a bad character concept usually, two, most players will not play their stats, three, most dump stat characters are literally mentally retarded, and the number of social retards (characters) in PF is astounding.


shallowsoul wrote:
When it comes to social skills in Pathfinder we usually end letting the person with the best scores do the talking. If you have a Bard or Sorcerer who have maxed out their Charisma, social skills, and have taken spells that further enhance this then why would anyone else even bother? I could understand helping out for a +2 but that's all you get, it's not like you can double team someone and annihilate them.

It's a really good point. I think my group is mostly aware that the unspoken way I handle social situations is to let anyone who wants to contribute do so, and when time comes for a check, I look to the relevant player and ask him to make the roll. Mostly they leave such things up to the face, but occasionally some things are asked by non-face PCs.

As for the role-playing aspect of it, I basically eschew rolls until they're trying to do something (or get information) that the person has issues with (for whatever reason). When I need a roll, I say "What do you say" or for bluffs I ask more like "What are you trying to accomplish?" My players can get the point across, I don't require them to be real-life ambassadors for their characters to be good at talking, and I encourage (I think subtly) them to role-play out the check (which we do the entire encounter anyway).

Remember - if someone bothered to put ranks in a skill, it's because they want an opportunity to use it. As a GM, you need to give them that opportunity.


Finlanderboy wrote:

It is silly to say every character needs a social skill. Just like every table needs a healer and a tank, the same can be said with the skills. Because you are unsociable does not mean you are stupid and ignored., but you make your statement rudely and it turns people off.

If you have no social skills makes sure you have some skills the party may need. If you are all strenght then you better tie people to you that can not swim or climb.

And no matter how rude your character may be, if he saves the day in the end he will still be remembered as a hero.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

How important is it to have at least one character with charisma and at least moderate social skills? Very.

Recently started a game where every single player used charisma as a dump stat. And no one took any social skills. Any! It's pathetic when the party struggles to make DC 15 gather information checks.


For those who play in PFS, it's more important. Especially with lots of time constraints or mediocre GM's.

NOTE: not all, or even most PFS GM's fall into this category.

In my experience, most PFS sessions start with a blurb intro, 10 mins of dice rolling relevant knowledge/diplo/gather info rolls, a list of other facts you get from those rolls, and then "game on."

Home games are much more varied, I like to have those characters built as a group together, so that everyone knows the basics of everyone else's skillsets, and can compensate for them.

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