Telling the truth in a nice way: Diplomacy or bluff?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion


Sometimes you are asked questions you would rather not answer but have to. This happens in real life every day:

Q(from girlfriend): Do you think this woman is more attractive than I am?
- In most cases the true answer to this is just: Yes. But that would be impolite and bad for you. So you try to give another answer. Sure saying no would be lying and for that needed bluff in pathfinder.
But if your answer is true but not really an answer to the question?
A: It doesn't matter if she is, I love you and would not want her as my girlfriend.
Bluff or Diplomacy? If it is the truth.

I don't have a better example right now. But you know that kind of thing. You do not want to tell the truth but you don't want to tell a lie either. So you take the truth and wrap it up in niceties until it is barely recognizable. But if looking closely the truth is still there.


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I usually leave the decision to the player -- mostly from a mechanics standpoint that they're related skills and lets face it everyone has a finite number of skill points to allocate.

If you want a more nuanced answer... Is your intention to deceive? Or is it to help smooth things along? That's as close to a separation between bluff and diplomacy as I can think of.


Passing a secret message via Bluff? Some kind of Frankenstein's monster roll that combines both?


If a half truth (i.e. "She is attractive, but I find you very attractive)? I'd call it bluff.
If trying to convince someone of a truth they don't believe (i.e - the question is a trap, folks, always), diplomacy.


Neither. Tell her it's a stupid question and move on.


the secret fire wrote:
Neither. Tell her it's a stupid question and move on.

It was just an example, and maybe not even a good one.

@Trekkie90909: That was the separation I had in mind, too. But I wanted to see if others see it the same way.
My question was about telling the truth but in a way that lessens the consequences.


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I would call that diplomacy. I think that intention is important. If you want to deceive then it is bluff. If you want to control mood then it is diplomacy.


bluff should be called convince, and do that. this way people stop trying to equate it only with lying.


Mathius wrote:
I would call that diplomacy. I think that intention is important. If you want to deceive then it is bluff. If you want to control mood then it is diplomacy.

Yeah, I agree. If forced to put such a real-life situation into game terms, I'd probably resolve a non-deceptive answer like the one I suggested above (which can certainly work) with a diplomacy roll, even if it doesn't fit the typical mold of what one would describe as "diplomatic".

Sovereign Court

Depends on your response.

"You're much more attactive" = bluff (assuming it's a lie)

"I only have eyes for you" = diplomacy


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Navigating awkward and delicate social situations, where a direct answer would not be politically expedient but outright duplicity is not an option, is pretty much the dictionary definition of Diplomacy.


for me

diplomacy: make people like you more, or make them accept a deal

bluff: change or cement people's views or beliefs on things.


Mmmmmmmmeh.

An example in real life, that arose out of a separate discussion - it wasn't a direct question of which was more attractive, but, organically, the comparison was made between my wife and and Megan Fox (or however her name is spelled) - the answer to which is more attractive isn't difficult, and is entirely honest: my wife.

I know next to nothing about Meagan Fox (spelling? anyone?), except she's an ostensibly lovely mouth-breathing woman who isn't a very good actress, and has rumors of... well, I'll leave out the rumors, but suffice it to say that they do not paint her in a kind light.

On the other hand, I love my wife, she's the mother of my two children, and the only woman I've ever slept with. She is kind, clever, and (to me) lovely in every way. She's also quite physically pretty.

Fox, on the other hand has no quality displayed that can be considered attractive outside of physical symmetry and... I dunno, a slightly unbalanced weight distribution likely to hurt her back long term? Nice, sure, but... exceedingly shallow. Enough to go, "Hey, she looks good." but certainly nothing to base attraction on.

Most people would not feel similarly to me. I personally feel that, in this case, it's because most people are suckers.

It really isn't a contest.

Frankly, the fact that she is my wife means that she wins the attractiveness contest, regardless of whoever else comes up, or whatever other entity we're talking about, hands down, for any purpose other than "mass appeal" - and "mass appeal" is, ultimately, rather empty.

To be clear, there is no deception in the above: only honesty.

To me, that sounds a lot like Diplomacy - using words to get accurate and honest meaning across in such a way as to be persuasive and clear.

But that's just my take (and real-life example).

EDIT: to be clear, my wife never asked a question. It was more a natural segue in conversation based on the things each of us had said, specifically in regards to the Ninja Turtles movie and whether or not Vernan was stupid, awful, neither, or (to a certain, limited extent) justifiable in several of his actions (though still making several poor choices). She successfully convinced me that he was likely the latter. I successfully convinced her that Meagan Fox isn't, by any reasonable metric, 'hot'. I think we both walked away with a little wiser.


Neither. You're not lying, so it's clearly not bluff.

And you're also not trying to change her relationship with you, gather information or make a request, so it's not diplomacy either.


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Next time my girlfriend asks me a question like that I will LITERALLY claim a Diplomacy roll, roll the die in front of her and see how it turns out.

I expect interesting results


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It's the very definition of diplomacy.

Well, not really, but the common connotation of the word.

Putting information delicately so as not to arouse resentment in the other party definitely falls under purview of the diplomat -- except if you're outright lying, as you've mentioned.


Intent.

If the intent is to hide the truth then even telling the truth is a bluff. IE- Yes we are hiding Jews under the dining room table, leaving out that there is a rug covering the trap door and they are in the basement.

If the intent is to curry favor then it is a bluff.

Its a grey area I might pick either one or allow both based on what was said and the overall situation. If the RAW addressed every situation there would be no gm.


Where did this house-rule where you roll diplomacy to speak come from? I see it everywhere and it's pretty strange. Diplomacy has four uses outlined in the rules and "I'm speaking so I roll diplomacy to see how good I spoke" isn't one of them... and never has been.

In any case, the OP's statement is misdirection and therefore bluff.


It doesn't matter. There's no skill check against that question--it's auto-fail.


Brox RedGloves wrote:

Next time my girlfriend asks me a question like that I will LITERALLY claim a Diplomacy roll, roll the die in front of her and see how it turns out.

I expect interesting results

Please keep us posted on how this goes!


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
blahpers wrote:
It doesn't matter. There's no skill check against that question--it's auto-fail.

It's not auto-fail -- it just has an absurdly high DC that the average husband has no chance of making even if he rolls a natural 20. But there are a few guys who are so smooth that they can even succeed at this task.


For GF, etc, I reccommend no roll. Just say, You know I don't answer questions like that, Beautiful.

In addition to Diplomacy and Bluff, you use P:Act as well. :P


David knott 242 wrote:
blahpers wrote:
It doesn't matter. There's no skill check against that question--it's auto-fail.

It's not auto-fail -- it just has an absurdly high DC that the average husband has no chance of making even if he rolls a natural 20. But there are a few guys who are so smooth that they can even succeed at this task.

The Few, The Proud, The Bards.

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