Paizo Top Nav Branding
  • Hello, Guest! |
  • Sign In |
  • My Account |
  • Shopping Cart |
  • Help/FAQ
About Paizo Messageboards News Paizo Blog Help/FAQ
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game

Starfinder


Pathfinder Society


Pathfinder Adventure Card Game

Diplomacy Apologia (and of lazy gaming)


Pathfinder RPG General Discussion


I'm having a beef with my GM regarding various uses of diplomacy, and charisma based skill in general, because he thinks that they will unbalance the game.
In this topic I posted an example of such a strong use of Diplomacy.
Long story short: in a week of daily encounters a character (level 9) can sweet talk a wizard into selling a 2k gp worth item for the cost of the raw materials.

Opinions on whether this would be legit vary, but what is unanimous is:"At my table, I won't allow it."

Is that really that strong it should not be discouraged but straight forbidden?
I gave it a thought from a different angle.

Angle 1
Could a Rouge (level 9), specialized in burglary, break into a wizard (level 5) shop and steal what he wishes?
I haven't run the numbers but if I were a 5th level PC wizard, and the master threw at me a ninth level rouge sent by some bad guy to steal my belongings, I reckon my chances look pretty dim. By analogy, in a night work, the rouge PC can have a 100% discount on everything he manages to throw in his bag of holding.

Angle 2
What about a wizard: can he, through charms, illusions, suggestions, do the same?
There are probably a dozen ways.

So, with some preparation and the right tools, or the cover of the night you can, in a few hours, get 100% discount on everything, against the 50% on a single item, and a week dedication using diplomacy.
Still diplomacy is seen as too strong.

Angle 3
Would it be possible, in real life, to do something similar?
Most of the famous and rich people are charismatic types that get things the way they want, and they don't hat the +20 Diplomacy some PCs can muster.
And what about conmen? Have you ever heard of Frank Abagnale, Charles Ponzi, Joseph Weil, Victor Lustig? Just to name a few. They were artists, they didn't just made a living with other people money, but a great one too.
People who can sell 200 stores skyscrapers that they don't own, real estate that don't exist. Without magic, in full daylight. Damn, there is who sold the Eiffel Tower! Twice!

Playing a conman would be so interesting and can add new interesting aspects to the game.
And how would a hustle work? Well, I would say that, over a certain amount of time, the character must succeed in a series of diplomacy and bluff checks. Wait! That is just the procedure proposed in the post linked above, and if you are saying: "mmm, not convinced" instead of "no way!" is because I just presented it in a different way. Presentation might not be everything, but is a lot. : )

So, if it is not as powerful, and impossible, why the hostility?

I see two reasons for this.
First one is that charisma and diplomacy work in a way we don't perceive directly. We are not aware of how much they influence our lives, so we deem such exploit as unreasonable. For example, there are people that are able to influence others to do what they want, and they get even thanked for it. Or, we always think how much money is the big, tough football player making for his skills and sweat, and we don't realize that the men managing the advertising in the stadium is doing tenfold the money just with phone calls from his comfortable couch.
Is funny how magic works with the clockwork precision of math, and the scientific proved power of nonverbal language, influence and charisma can't be expressed in a couple of tables : )

The second reason I see is a "laziness" problem. All in all, the game is about math. A +1 BAB bonus get nullified by a consequent +1 AC from the opponent. No matter how much damage the barbarian can deal, the combat can always be interesting if the GM puts the monster on steroids.
For angle 1 and 2 above, a GM just needs to place better traps or alarm systems to discourage the procedure. But with diplomacy he can't, the DCs are fixed, and no matter the level of the victim, a good diplomacy skill will get through. At this point the GM feels powerless, the player is basically saying that he can have what he wants, without failure, no matter what, a few exploits and the game would spiral out of control.
So the first GM's reaction is "NO!" After all he has godlike powers, and he can do that, but that in storytelling and game design would be accounted as laziness.
Forceful imposed bar is not his only option. The alternatives are not straightforward as adding a +1 BAB, and would require some thinking, but could open new plot hooks and stories never investigated. A character (and a player) should learn that abusing his power can lead to heavy consequences. What if the wizard you robbed goes bankrupt and has to turn to the dark side to survive? And starts helping a bad guy to kill people? Is not just the old story about stopping a bad guy, the character is morally responsible for each of the death caused.
Hustle and Leverage are just two example that show that there is enough material on the subject to tell more than just a few stories.

I know the post will probably stir already debated topics, and I'm sure lot of people will say that I'm just trying to power-play a character. I just hope to hear a few siding with me, a couple of GMs that will say they get excited, not bothered, if a character/player finds new exploit that subvert the game, and challenge the GM for once, instead of him always challenging them.


I don't think it's abusive or incorrect to see in the rules how the NPC professional enchanter can make (Profession check) profit in a time period, and set that as the profit you can talk him out of with your Diplomacy.

I also can see how you imagine the 'cost' and 'market' values given in a magic item description are the only values that matter in the conversation. And I agree, they might be, for a PC enchanter.

Between these two charged spheres, sparks fly. Funny, how no matter how many sparks fly, the spheres don't move.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Well , it all falls down to what the story is about and how much what you do interfere with the group play.

Sure , there are people that could do those things , but by allowing the PC to do it , how much does it interferes with the story? Does the fact that later people send bounty hunters after the PCs because of the actions of one of them become a problem? Does the fact they become rich become a problem to the fights? And so on.

It all goes back to the game you are playing , that is all.

Hell you could make a char that got that background and you go around doing it. If the GM and the other players are all into it , then it can happen , if it becomes a bother because the others are trying to save the kingdom and you are selling fake castles , then it is a problem.

Liberty's Edge

I think part of the problem, mechanically, is that you're using a skill to emulate the power of a feat - specifically, the item creation feats.

Don't get me wrong, I love Diplomacy and its many uses to upend the standard "kill the monster and take its stuff" Pathfinder tactica, but this particular use can quickly turn the party Diplomat into something of a Do-it-all-for-you Dolly. Why take item creation feats if I can persuade a crafter to make things for cost? Why take the Leadership feat if I can talk people into following me into dangerous places?

Additionally, unless our crafter in question has another source of income, the diplomat is, essentially, asking him to sacrifice his livelihood on behalf of the charming fellow at the counter. The crafter receives zero compensation for their time and effort, and that's not the reaction of a reasonable person. It's also ethically shady, but that's par for the course in some adventuring parties.

Those who want discounted magic items should make them themselves, take Leadership and come to an arrangement with their cohort (or use SGG's pretty cool alternate Leadership rules)" or take them from dead monsters. Put me in the "not at my table" book.


I think another issue is that there is no mechanic to limit the efficacy of the skill. As a sales person (even of my own goods) I know what I need to sell a product for to make a living. I may or may not be asking more than I need, so a diplomacy check may cause me to discount it. But, no matter how much I like you, or how good your story is, I'm not selling that product below my preset number(and that sure as hell isn't cost). If your story is good I may even feel bad about it, or offer to do something else to help you, but I got to make a living.


Big DT Bone sets me up to say this:

The guy can only give up so much. We all agree, you can probably talk him into giving it up. Just like the fighter can probably beat him up and take whatever is not being (or needs being) tied down. Nobody is debating that you can seize it by force, either brute force or force of personality.

I'm debating what is available to steal. If that guy is really making as disposable, stealable profit, half the cost of your magic item, and we should believe that he has been making such profit all along, not just only when you walk into his shop...

Then he owns the block his building is on. And he's got front-desk people who meet people like you, and manager people those people talk to about personable people like you, before those manager people maybe arrange to meet with the charmer, and then try to find time to schedule a meeting with the enchanter.

This guy's time is so valuable, the ten minutes it takes you to use your Diplomacy is worth a small fortune.

Or maybe I'm way off base, and he runs the storefront himself, and sweeps the floors, cleans the chimney, and could in fact make thousands of gold on one enchantment, and his Profession: Enchanter 'job roll' value represents how well he manages to find such gigs (or how resistant he is to smooth talkers).

If as a GM I let you work this the way you want, then for the deals you aren't involved in, I have to weight the impact of the thousands of 'extra' gold. The barbarian buys a magic sword made custom, but he can't go back there, because the wizard he hired has bought himself an island with the profits from the sword, and moved to that island.

The game has to be built around some basic assumptions, and if one of those is that since the sword-magicking wizard doesn't cash out, then he's doing something with that cash. Whatever and whoever he's spending it on, when you start charming him into not doing it/them, people will take notice. It's not lazy to refuse your gambit, it's lazy to allow your gambit and then have it have no effect on the enchanter and his family/creditors/mistresses/bookies... his world.

So... since this is too cool a gambit not to use at least once, what makes more sense? The possible score is half the cost of the magic item, and the damage/heat/payback will be that size? Or the possible score is the value of his Pro: Enchanter check, and the damage/heat/payback will be that size?


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Simon Hayes wrote:

I'm having a beef with my GM regarding various uses of diplomacy, and charisma based skill in general, because he thinks that they will unbalance the game.

In this topic I posted an example of such a strong use of Diplomacy.
Long story short: in a week of daily encounters a character (level 9) can sweet talk a wizard into selling a 2k gp worth item for the cost of the raw materials.

Opinions on whether this would be legit vary, but what is unanimous is:"At my table, I won't allow it."

Is that really that strong it should not be discouraged but straight forbidden?
I gave it a thought from a different angle.

Angle 1
Could a Rouge (level 9), specialized in burglary, break into a wizard (level 5) shop and steal what he wishes?
I haven't run the numbers but if I were a 5th level PC wizard, and the master threw at me a ninth level rouge sent by some bad guy to steal my belongings, I reckon my chances look pretty dim. By analogy, in a night work, the rouge PC can have a 100% discount on everything he manages to throw in his bag of holding.

They could try. A 5th-level shop probably has 5th-level security, and lots of it. So the rogue might easily make most of their checks, but has a high likelihood of failing one. Which will set off the alarm (waking up the wizard, who is asleep upstairs, and keeps a staff of Murder Death Kill handy) plus a bunch of traps, including dispelling, summoning, etc. But no spells above 3rd-level, and the save DCs would be pretty low.

A 5th-level shop is a 5th-level encounter (or maybe even more) and shouldn't be resolved with a couple of dice rolls.

Quote:

Angle 2

What about a wizard: can he, through charms, illusions, suggestions, do the same?
There are probably a dozen ways.

Yes, but all are at least theoretically counterable. If the wizard keeps doing this (without moving) someone will wise up and start countering those methods. Charms work... for a period of time. Probably long enough to get away with the loot, but the victim will tell his rich friends and pretty soon everyone is getting one-shot items of Protection from Evil/Good.

Quote:

So, with some preparation and the right tools, or the cover of the night you can, in a few hours, get 100% discount on everything, against the 50% on a single item, and a week dedication using diplomacy.

Still diplomacy is seen as too strong.

The problem isn't that you're getting it without spending money. The problem is Diplomacy isn't challenging unless the DM gets a lot of time to prepare. Furthermore, a PC doing all that (doing a con by themselves) is taking away table time from other players.

Quote:

Angle 3

Would it be possible, in real life, to do something similar?
Most of the famous and rich people are charismatic types that get things the way they want, and they don't hat the +20 Diplomacy some PCs can muster.
And what about conmen? Have you ever heard of Frank Abagnale, Charles Ponzi, Joseph Weil, Victor Lustig? Just to name a few. They were artists, they didn't just made a living with other people money, but a great one too.
People who can sell 200 stores skyscrapers that they don't own, real estate that don't exist. Without magic, in full daylight. Damn, there is who sold the Eiffel Tower! Twice!

How do you know they don't have Diplomacy +20? They might. We don't know what levels these people were (since levels don't exist in real life). Certainly they were probably cranking their Bluff and Diplomacy at the expense of, say, combat skills.

These guys are also doing well-organized cons, taking lots of prep, in order to rack up significant bonuses to their checks... because they should be taking penalties to Bluff (or opponents get bonuses to Sense Motive) due to the outlandish lies they're saying. For instance, tricking someone into thinking something was their idea probably gives you +5 to further checks relating to that idea... which won't completely counter the -10 penalty you're taking to convincing them to buy something worthless. Do something else to counter the rest of the penalty, and that's probably something that will take time and skill checks... You might even have to target secondary people (possibly with allies) to get them to plant ideas for you to rack up those bonuses.

Quote:

Playing a conman would be so interesting and can add new interesting aspects to the game.

And how would a hustle work? Well, I would say that, over a certain amount of time, the character must succeed in a series of diplomacy and bluff checks. Wait! That is just the procedure proposed in the post linked above, and if you are saying: "mmm, not convinced" instead of "no way!" is because I just presented it in a different way. Presentation might not be everything, but is a lot. : )

So, if it is not as powerful, and impossible, why the hostility?

The DM is probably not familiar with the above procedure. They're just picturing an unstoppable Diplomacy check.

Speaking of which, you should find and show the DM the Giant in the Playground alternate Diplomacy rules. The skill as written is broken, and even with an organized skill challenge-style system, the conman can't possibly fail. The DM "knows" you will succeed at every check, as there's no real defense against Diplomacy. Not even a lack of time, as you can speed up the check (for penalties, but still).

And finally, the DM needs time to build up a system, which means you need can't drop a con on them during a session. You need to give them at least one session advance notice, assuming you get permission.

Speaking of which, unless this con involves all the PCs, the DM might still say no, and be justified for saying so.

Quote:
But with diplomacy he can't, the DCs are fixed, and no matter the level of the victim, a good diplomacy skill will get through. At this point the GM feels powerless, the player is basically saying that he can have what he wants, without failure, no matter what, a few exploits and the game would spiral out of control.

Exactly. Point out the GitP system.

Liberty's Edge

You have a false equivalency in force of arms and force of personality. One creates a "profit or life" decision, while the other is a "profit or less profit" decision. All the charming talk in the world, absent something that subsumes my free will, is unlikely to eliminate my recognition of the value of my own labor. If I'm threatened with a sword, I might give over items for free - that's at the heart of armed robbery. But charming chatter caries no such burden.

If, however, you're talking more about some manner of swindle, that moves more into the arena of Bluff, though that still needs to be a hell of a bluff, with some grounding, in all likelihood, of some sort of threat that makes our crafter think that giving his item away (as that is what he is effectively doing when selling at cost) is worth it in the larger calculus.


Diplomacy lasts a few hours (by RAW).

Half way through making your item the Diplomacised wizard comes to his senses and thinks "WTF? Why am I giving up this months wages for that smooth talking fellow for?" and charges full price.

No I'd not allow Mr Diplomacy to pull what you have described.

Shadow Lodge

Long story short: in a week of daily encounters a character (level 9) can sweet talk a wizard into selling a 2k gp worth item for the cost of the raw materials.

Half the DM's job is banhammering that sort of thing.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
PRD wrote:
Some requests automatically fail if the request goes against the creature’s values or its nature, subject to GM discretion.

I'd say a request to give you something for free, when the sale of that something for profit is his livelihood and basically his entire raison d'etre, is pretty much the definition of "against its nature."

Also, the word is Rogue. Rouge is what women (and some men) put on their cheeks.

Liberty's Edge

Is there any reason people prefer the GM to run the NPC's as mindless and dumb?

As MyTThor pointed out above, there is a very good reason for the "against it's nature" clause.

Shadow Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Conning commoners out of a few copper for some snake oil, sure. Conning a high intelligence wizard out of his livelyhood, nope.

It all comes down to the PCs not being mindless chumps. You assume that just because the GM can crank hit point doesn't mean he can crank diplomacy checks. Have you thought maybe GMs don't want their players to have ridiculous wealth because they have a +20 diplomacy at level 2? Its not lazy gaming, its rational gaming.


I personally think it's possible to get a discount on an item or group of items in the order of 10% to 20% as that's possible in RL as well. There's no way any shopkeeper worth his salt will sell off inventory at the same price, the shopkeeper purchased items him/her-self(unless it's contraband or 'hot' and they feel the heat of the authorities).
So the problem here is a GM not paying attention.
I think that it should be possible to use the diplomacy check as some kind of haggle skill. And let the difference of an opposed skill check, provided that you make the check, be the factor in % that a player can 'haggle' of.
I'd make sure though that one or two items will never have more then 10% discount while a large number of items may have up to 20% discount. In the early stages of the game players are unlikely to get a full discount out of their skill (simply let the shopkeeper defend by taking 10). And later, as they are most likely a bit famous as well, let them take some advantage of the hero status as well.
Always remember the raw costs of an item. Mundane crafted items are made at 1/3 of the price and anything above 2/3 of the price will most likely be profit. Magic items are made at 1/2 price and are expensive so the overhead will be substantially less then mundane items, so again a profit margin starting at 2/3 of the price is not unreasonable.
Always remember that shopkeeper rather have a profit of 20 gp on an item with full cost of 100 gp then no profit for not selling it. This doesn't mean that they will always give maximum discount, but they will now and again, especially if the PC's trade with him/her more often. Check out shows like pickers and pawn shops on TV, they haggle away and will give a larger percentage of discount on more expensive items. But they will never pay more then an item is worth or sell something for the price that they bought it themselves.


So, you want the GM to break wealth by level because you have skill points?

There is a set of rules that can tell you just what a helpful NPC might do for you. They are called NPC Boons. If you get to be friends with a Merchant, he might grant you his NPC Boon of a 10% discount. (Like all things, this is up to GM discretion)

Seems pretty straightforward.

Diplomacy is a very good skill, but you have to be reasonable about what someone being "helpful" means. A guy who takes the time to give me directions when I am lost is being helpful. A guy who gives me all of his money is going well beyond helpful.

You can note that diplomacy has friendly as a limit. The skill doesn't let you get them up to devoted, or oathsworn etc. This sort of character interaction and relationship building falls outside of the realm of a skill check.


Diplomacy is not a form of nonmagical mind control, and it does not make people do what you want them to do. It just improves their attitude toward you. Just because I like you, and I think you are a nice guy, that does not mean I am giving you a 50% discount on a magic item.


Simon Hayes wrote:

I'm having a beef with my GM regarding various uses of diplomacy, and charisma based skill in general, because he thinks that they will unbalance the game.

In this topic I posted an example of such a strong use of Diplomacy.
Long story short: in a week of daily encounters a character (level 9) can sweet talk a wizard into selling a 2k gp worth item for the cost of the raw materials.

Opinions on whether this would be legit vary, but what is unanimous is:"At my table, I won't allow it."

..

Well, "Opinions on whether this would be legit vary" is an interesting way of putting it. You say it's legit, the Rules say otherwise. Pretty much the various posters agree with the rules.

The Rules (see Ultimate Campaign) give you a 10% discount.
Indeed there are rules for bargaining:
http://paizo.com/pathfinderRPG/prd/ultimateCampaign/campaignSystems/bargain ing.html#_bargaining-rules

Just reverse them. Basically, you can get a 10% discount with a DC 20 diplomacy check, a 50% discount is rejected out of hand. The devs saw this coming & the rules cover it. Your "charming" character gets a 10% discount. Which isn't too bad, either, and is realistic.

Diplomacy simply does not do what you think it does. Now sure, if your DM goes along with this, fine. But the skill per RAW is not too strong.

As others have pointed out, it also break WBL. Mind you that's a guideline not a hard and fast rule. So, sure, if your DM wanted to run a con-man game, why not? or if your PC was lower on WBL than the rest of the party for some reason, he might let this work once- why not?


It all comes down to what is fair.

I mean, I can cast glibness and use a super high bluff skill to convince someone that I already paid them for an item, or I could have a different party member sell an item and then lie to the shopkeeper that the item was stolen from me and that they need to give it back.

I could intimidate/strongarm someone into giving me an item, though this is just outright robbery.

But what the GM is going to allow is what is fair. You want to use diplomacy to get comped rooms at the Inn and some free food and drink (I have done this with bluff+diplomacy, because I was "famous" and my staying at one particular inn would drive up business) that is not breaking the game.

You want to get a 10% discount? Sure
You want to get some information? Entrance to a high society ball? A carriage ride to the next town? A hot meal? Some medical attention? A bit of patching up for your armor? All pretty reasonable.

The rules only exist as a framework. Think of them like the game's Constitution. They don't have all the answers, but they provide guiding principles. At the end of the day, the GM is the supreme court. You are congress. You can make proposals. You can even point to precedent, but the GM has final say as to what is fair.


This is a game design problem. If you were to face that shopkeeper in combat, there's a whole series of rules about how that works. Entire chapters.

On the other hand, diplomacy is a single roll. That's weird. Imagine a combat system like that:

"Make a fight check"
"I got a 18"
"Your enemy dies"

It's a bit...anticlimactic. And too easy, your GM is right. There's no complexity whatsoever, and therefore almost no player skill is involved.

Take a look at systems like Burning Wheel or Necropunk, and you'll see that social encounters can be as comples as combat encounters. Even The revised Diplomacy rules that Rich Burlew came up with at GITP are an improvement, because they give the GM guidance on how to adjudicate things in a fair and consistent way.

Without that, it's really a mess. Again, if we draw the analogy to combat, this is like deleting the weapons table, and telling players to describe how they attack, and having the GM just pick a damage number that matched the coolness of the description.

Great if you already know how to do it, and worthless if you don't.


I dunno, man. Last session a PC tried to sweet talk a character that didn't want to be sweet talked. The DC was really high, so he was probably going to fail outright. And he did, and was told in no uncertain terms to piss off and go cause trouble else where. Thing is? If he'd succeeded he'd still have been told to go plough himself, only in the nicest way possible. The NPC would have been genuinely apologetic that things had to fall out this way, the PC seems like a good guy, and would the PC consider getting out of the area rather than turning up at the fight? But years of loyalty and friendship beat any non-magical diplomacy role. The NPC is still going to stick with his buddies in a fight.

Now, the PC could have tried something clever. "Neither of us wants this fight. Why don't you make sure everyone oversleeps?" or "Neither of us can back down, but if you got me the key we wouldn't have to fight".

If the example charmer asked the example wizard "Hey, can you do this one for me on credit?" or "I know this is a big favor to ask you, but I'll owe you a big favor in return" or even "Hey, wouldn't it be awesome to make this wacky device? If you want to take a crack at it I'll put up all the materials costs and help you with all of the research and dirty work" they might have a chance. Even a good chance. But just saying "Hey, can you take a couple of weeks out of your life to make me this thing for no compensation" would fail. The PC might be denied very, very politely, but they would be denied. The NPC has no reason to do it and this isn't something simple like asking to borrow the horse and cart for an evening. This is literally big mojo, magical artisanship of the sort that only a tiny fraction of a percentage of the people in the world are capable of.

TLDR; Gotta give a little to get a little. In a fight you're giving up hit points and risking death. In a social encounter you've got to give up favors, prestige, sex, fame - Something has to be staked against the prize.


Well, I can't answer every each point made in the discussion without being very boring so I'll try to summarize.

First of all I'll thank everybody for taking time to bring your opinion to the table. I'll surely read the GitPG article, and try to find out more about Necropunk. I know already Bunring Wheel and also "A Song of Ice And Fire" rpg has such a system.

Somebody thinks the problem is mechanical-based
Diplomacy lasts for few hours, and that is the reason the PC has to go back every day to nurture the relationship and have things done.
The bargain system doesn't apply here because is not an unique or "important for the story" item.
I understand that on the long run it could lead to balance problems, but my point is that this should be fought not forbidden. Arm robbery and fraud are both punished with jail, unless the target is a mobster, then you risk your life.

Other are concerned that it is implausible.
I don't agree that only commoners can be scammed and diplomacy can get max 10% discount.
The whole point of a con is to target someone with a lot of money (or a lot of people with little) and big CEO are the preferred targets.
When I go around I see a lot of 10% sales, even higher, and that is not because I have sweet talked the shopkeeper, I haven't even been inside the shop. 10% is what normal people get so they are lured to the store.
For a small company doing a small job without gain, or even in loss, for a big customer is quite a common practice. It's a gamble they take hoping that they will be called for the next big project, or maybe for the publicity they gonna get.

When I introduce this "Diplomacy trick", GMs react negatively because, as I pointed out already, it seems there is no way they can counterbalance it. When I hear "Diplomacy will get you 10% discount, tops" I feel the same: a first level character can kill goblins (maybe), intimidate grannies, and maybe get a 10% discounts. If he maxes out BAB, Intimidate and Diplomacy he will kill dragons, scare the hell out of terrasques, and get 10% discount. Basically there is no point in putting more than a few ranks in Diplomacy anyway.


If there's no way to counterbalance it, it's a sign that the rules for diplomacy simply are not very good.

You'll notice no one says that about BaB, for example.


Simon Hayes wrote:

Well, I can't answer every each point made in the discussion without being very boring so I'll try to summarize.

First of all I'll thank everybody for taking time to bring your opinion to the table. I'll surely read the GitPG article, and try to find out more about Necropunk. I know already Bunring Wheel and also "A Song of Ice And Fire" rpg has such a system.

Somebody thinks the problem is mechanical-based
Diplomacy lasts for few hours, and that is the reason the PC has to go back every day to nurture the relationship and have things done.
The bargain system doesn't apply here because is not an unique or "important for the story" item.
I understand that on the long run it could lead to balance problems, but my point is that this should be fought not forbidden. Arm robbery and fraud are both punished with jail, unless the target is a mobster, then you risk your life.

Other are concerned that it is implausible.
I don't agree that only commoners can be scammed and diplomacy can get max 10% discount.
The whole point of a con is to target someone with a lot of money (or a lot of people with little) and big CEO are the preferred targets.
When I go around I see a lot of 10% sales, even higher, and that is not because I have sweet talked the shopkeeper, I haven't even been inside the shop. 10% is what normal people get so they are lured to the store.
For a small company doing a small job without gain, or even in loss, for a big customer is quite a common practice. It's a gamble they take hoping that they will be called for the next big project, or maybe for the publicity they gonna get.

When I introduce this "Diplomacy trick", GMs react negatively because, as I pointed out already, it seems there is no way they can counterbalance it. When I hear "Diplomacy will get you 10% discount, tops" I feel the same: a first level character can kill goblins (maybe), intimidate grannies, and maybe get a 10% discounts. If he maxes out BAB, Intimidate and Diplomacy he will kill dragons, scare the hell out of...

At no point does diplomacy make someone do whatever you want. It makes them want to help you and be sympathetic to your situation maybe, but just because I feel sorry for someone that does not mean I am doing work for free, if we have never met.

There is also nothing in the book to support that a person will just do whatever you ask.

Otherwise you would have this:

Quote:

PC-Diplomancer: Look dude you don't really want to rule the world. People will start to depend on you, and blame you for problems. You have to deal with revolts, assassination attempts, and who knows what else. Really it is not as good as it sounds, and is nothing but a thankless job. You could have power, money, and pleasure with a lot less trouble through other means. Just give me that Mcguffin and I will make sure it is put away so this incident does not repeat itself. What da ya say pal?

<rolls really high>

BBEG:Well since you put it that way I guess you're right.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I think you ought to think of it (a little bit) in terms of real-world diplomacy. In the real world, diplomacy isn't just about winning the other guy over by being charming. It's also about giving up something at your end to strike a bargain.

In PF system/RP terms, I'd put it this way: "You want me to make this item for you ... at cost? Hmm ... now why would I do that?" This gives you an adventure hook for a fetch quest. Get the enchanter some rare liquer, spread scandalous rumors about his competitor, or convince the duke's daughter to marry him, and he'll do you the favor in return.

Alternatively, a player might get his "discount" by wining and dining the enchanter. The tavern bill ought to come to less than the difference between item cost and list price, but it still ought to involve effort.


Simon Hayes wrote:
When I introduce this "Diplomacy trick", GMs react negatively because, as I pointed out already, it seems there is no way they can counterbalance it. .

Yes, simply by playing with the Rules As Written.


Anonymous Visitor 163 576 wrote:

If there's no way to counterbalance it, it's a sign that the rules for diplomacy simply are not very good.

There's a simple way to counterbalance it- play the Rules as Written. His trick is against the rules.


There's a really simple way to deal with any sort of wealth-by-level exploits.

Ultimately it does make sense from a realism standpoint that someone with high social skills ought to be able to talk his way into getting some free stuff.

"Excuse me Mr. Lawful merchant, I know you have worked hard for all these goods you have. But surely you have heard of me and my companions; we have undertaken many brave quests in service to the realm. Now the Lord of Chaos threatens to destroy the world and we are pledged to defeat him or die trying. We need every advantage we can get. As you know, his minions are vulnerable to cold, and we see you have a +2 freezing burst longsword for sale. Sadly, we have little money and cannot afford to pay for it, but it would be greatly valuable in our quest and if you could see your way to giving it to us you would be helping save the very world we all live on. If we survive we will try to return it to you. Yes, thank you, Mr. Merchant, and may the gods bless you."

Yes, quite plausible with the right character. If the above information was true, a diplomacy check would be the roll to make. A bluff check if it was all a lie.

But of course the problem is that the wealth of the party is a factor of the party's power level, which is based on experience level. So here's the answer:

Award the party experience when they get money this way, in an amount that reflects where the party now stands on the WBL scale. Then explain to your players that if they end up leveling up this way it just makes the later encounters harder and shortens the game since they will reach max level faster. Explain that it is up to the players if they would rather level up this way or if they would prefer to do it by adventuring.

On the same note though, when a character takes money and uses it to buy things in the game that have no mechanical benefit game-wise, like buying a nice house, or gifts for his fiancée, or yet another set of nice clothes, you can see this as the character voluntarily reducing his total wealth. If a character takes his own wealth out of the game this way, he should be able to get some "credit" towards earning some off-the-books gold.

Peet


If the PC's can do it, then NPC's can do it so that means that shop keeper has already given all of us things away, so he has no choice, but to charge the PC's to feed his family.


wraithstrike wrote:
If the PC's can do it, then NPC's can do it so that means that shop keeper has already given all of us things away, so he has no choice, but to charge the PC's to feed his family.

Of course! But then if the party is of a mid-to-high level there won't be too many people around that can match the level of their skill checks. And those checks won't be easy.

Mind you, if he has already given all his goods away then there won't be anything for the PCs to buy, so the point is moot.

Peet


Peet wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
If the PC's can do it, then NPC's can do it so that means that shop keeper has already given all of us things away, so he has no choice, but to charge the PC's to feed his family.

Of course! But then if the party is of a mid-to-high level there won't be too many people around that can match the level of their skill checks. And those checks won't be easy.

Mind you, if he has already given all his goods away then there won't be anything for the PCs to buy, so the point is moot.

Peet

That was just me using silly rational for someone trying to get mind control, but as his GM I would just let a player know that helpful does not equal "do anything you ask".


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Let me get this rigth. You are having beef with your GM because you want to use this "trick"?
If yes. I think your other thread about this use of Diplomacy is suggesting that these forums may not be the place to look for support.

It have been pointed out by several folks both here and on the other thread that it is not in the rules that folks abandon their day job and work them self in to the ground for nothing and a stranger. More likely if you cultivate your friendship with the dude he may have time to help you in the winther season where buisniss is slow any way.

I will tell you what i would do, as a GM and as a player.

But that aside. If i was your GM and you came to me with this, in game first, i would properly allow it to happen the first day and the second but the third day when the wizard snapped out of his "friendship" with you i would have him use a scorching ray on the projekt in a moments anger.

As a player. I would hope my GM, would make my trying to be a lazy conman, and not an adventure, be part of the story in a entertaining, pehaps even comic, way.
I like to think i would think of somthing more clever but if i wanted the conman thing i would make sure my GM was in on it.

Any way if you are having Beef with the GM back down or walk away. there is no fun in player entitelment.


Yes and the 3 angles
1. Yes he most likely can do that but at some time he will slip and will have to suffer the consequenses and pehaps derail the entier campain( and the other players will want him to leave the game)

2. Yes he most likely can do that but at some time he will slip and will have to suffer the consequenses and pehaps derail the entier campain( and the other players will want him to leave the game)

3. Yes there was and is folks like that. and if you want to play somthing like that then suggest that you GM next time and tell folks that it will be a Hustler/conman campain. But if you are in the middel of a game? Starting with arguments like this, is imop just like the figther demanding that he can be the Fantasy version of Rockefella because he have intimidate and profession(ruthless merchant).

And the reasons
No GM like players coming on to them saying: "I have found this exploit and now i want to use it!" the GM is using lots of time to prepare the game dont piss on him.
Player entitelment is bad. Back down or walk away.


Diplomacy is not bluff

If you become my best buddy in life , I will certainly lend you money without interest as long as I can afford to but I won't endanger my lifehood if it means I will need that money to pay bills . And when I don't see the money coming back , our relations would not stay the same.

If you succeed in making me believe that by giving you money I'll become richer , I will indeed give you that money but when I'll find I have been swindled , I'll go to the police and have the law on you . and I am a law-abiding non-violent person. Swindling A crime boss like Al capone could get you your own plot of land permanently ... Swindling a wizard could be even more dangerous...


The thing about diplomacy is of course you can't use Diplomacy to lie to someone. That's Bluff, not Diplomacy.

But if you are really going on a big quest to save the world, asking people to chip in and help any way that they can is quite reasonable.

If I was a merchant and the town hero told everyone he's off to save us all from certain death but he needs certain equipment, I might well give it to him, or at least lend it.

The problem for the game is the power distortion that happens when people get more stuff than is intended for their level. The simple solution is to give them more levels, or XP towards that.

I think your average player when he realizes that the game will turn into a skill-a-thon if he pursues this road will probably decide he'd rather just go on adventures.

If you are playing in sandbox mode though, out-of-adventure income is quite legit.

Peet

Paizo / Messageboards / Paizo / Pathfinder® / Pathfinder RPG / General Discussion / Diplomacy Apologia (and of lazy gaming) All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.

©2002-2017 Paizo Inc.® | Privacy Policy | Contact Us
Need help? Email customer.service@paizo.com or call 425-250-0800 during our business hours, Monday through Friday, 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM Pacific time.

Paizo Inc., Paizo, the Paizo golem logo, Pathfinder, the Pathfinder logo, Pathfinder Society, Starfinder, the Starfinder logo, GameMastery, and Planet Stories are registered trademarks of Paizo Inc. The Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, Pathfinder Player Companion, Pathfinder Modules, Pathfinder Tales, Pathfinder Battles, Pathfinder Legends, Pathfinder Online, Starfinder Adventure Path, PaizoCon, RPG Superstar, The Golem's Got It, Titanic Games, the Titanic logo, and the Planet Stories planet logo are trademarks of Paizo Inc. Dungeons & Dragons, Dragon, Dungeon, and Polyhedron are registered trademarks of Wizards of the Coast, Inc., a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc., and have been used by Paizo Inc. under license. Most product names are trademarks owned or used under license by the companies that publish those products; use of such names without mention of trademark status should not be construed as a challenge to such status.