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Diplomacy (Skill)


Use this skill to persuade the bouncer to let you into the exclusive club, to negotiate peace between feuding gangs, or to convince an enemy agent to release you instead of killing you. Diplomacy includes etiquette, social grace, tact, subtlety, and a way with words. A skilled character knows the formal and informal rules of conduct, social expectations, proper forms of address, and so on. This skill represents the ability to give the right impression, to negotiate effectively, and to influence others.

Check: You can change others' attitudes with a successful check. In negotiations, participants roll opposed Diplomacy checks to see who gains the advantage. Opposed checks also resolve cases where two advocates or diplomats plead opposing cases before a third party.

Diplomacy can be used to influence a GM character's attitude. The GM chooses the character's initial attitude based on circumstances. Most of the time, the people the heroes meet are indifferent toward them, but a specific situation may call for a different initial attitude. The DCs given in the accompanying table show what it takes to change someone's attitude with the use of the Diplomacy skill. You don't declare a specific outcome you are trying for; instead, make the check and compare the result to the table.

Attitude Means Possible Actions
Hostile Will take risks to hurt/avoid you Attack, interfere, berate, flee
Unfriendly Wishes you ill Mislead, gossip, watch, insult
Indifferent Doesn’t much careAct as socially expected
Friendly Wishes you well Chat, advise, minor help
Helpful Will take risks to helpProtect, back you up, heal, aid

Try Again?: Generally, trying again doesn't work. Even if the initial check succeeds, the other character can only be persuaded so far. If the initial check fails, the other character has probably become more firmly committed to his position, and trying again is futile.

Special: You can take 10 when making a Diplomacy check, but you can't take 20.

A character with the Trustworthy feat gets a +2 bonus on all Diplomacy checks.

Time: Diplomacy is at least a full-round action. The GM may determine that some negotiations require a longer period of time.


Offering money or another form of favor can, in the right situation, improve a character's chances with a Diplomacy skill check. Bribery allows a character to circumvent various official obstacles when a person in a position of trust or authority is willing to accept such an offering.

An illegal act, bribery requires two willing participants-one to offer a bribe and the other to accept it. Business isn't normally conducted in this fashion, but you can sometimes find someone in authority who is either willing to accept a bribe or actually demands a bribe to perform a normal function of his or her position. Of course, if you offer a bribe to an unwilling participant, you run the risk of punitive action, including fines, imprisonment, or both.

Tipping a waiter to get a better table or to circumvent a reservation line is an example of a minor bribe. Slipping money to a bouncer to gain entry to an exclusive nightclub, offering cash to expedite processing by a bureaucrat, and paying an informant for information are other examples of bribes.

In all cases, getting help from another character that requires either a change of attitude or a nudge to get things moving on a time frame other than the one the character normally works on demands a Diplomacy check. You want to change the character's attitude to helpful to get the character to let you skip ahead in a line, to expedite your passport or customs check, to let you off without submitting an official report, or to provide you with information that you couldn't otherwise lay your hands on. Sometimes, you can do this with just a Diplomacy check. Other times, a bribe must be included to get the ball rolling.

When a corrupt official requires a bribe to render services, then a character's Diplomacy check automatically fails if a bribe isn't attached to it. If the official isn't necessarily corrupt, you can add a bribe to get a bonus on your skill check. This can backfire, as some officials will be insulted by a bribe offer (their attitude changes one step for the worse) and others will report you to the proper authorities.

To make a bribe, decide how many points you want to reduce your current Wealth bonus by. Each point by which you reduce your current Wealth bonus provides a +2 bonus on your Diplomacy check when making the bribe. The maximum bonus you can buy is +10, which requires a reduction of your Wealth bonus by 5 points.

Initial AttitudeNew Attitude DC
Hostile19 or less20253540
Unfriendly4 or less5152535
Indifferent -0 or less11525
Friendly - -0 or less115
diplomacy_skill.txt · Last modified: 2013/11/16 18:39 by storyteller