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Diplomacy (Cha)


Skill Group: Social

Diplomacy is the skill of negotiation. It is used to convince people of things and make them think better of you. It is not mind-control (that's magic), it does not involve threats (that's Intimidate), and it does not involve lies (that's Bluff). While all of these may be used in conjuction with it, Diplomacy itself is merely the art of befriending and debating.



Diplomacy has three basic uses: Befriending, Bargaining, and Arguing. Befriending is used to change someone's attitude. It is the most general use of Diplomacy. When you are simply getting people to have a better opinion of you, but not directly angling for a deal, you use Befriending. Bargaining is used for simple, one-sided deals and negotiations. When it's simply a matter of one party offering and the other party accepting, you use Bargaining. Arguing is used for complex negotiations, haggling, and debating. When both parties have a strong interest in the outcome of a deal, you use Arguing.



To Befriend, you roll 1d20 + your Diplomacy skill. The defender rolls 1d20 + 10 + their Wisdom modifier. If you win the roll, you gain 1 success toward changing their mood for the better. If you fail the roll by at least 10, you gain one failure toward changing their mood for the worse. For every 10 points you beat the roll by, you gain an additional success (and the equivalent for failures, if it is possible for you to roll that low).

If you have at least one success or failure, the target has a temporary attitude change. They act as if they are the improved (or worsened) attitude in most ways, but they will revert to the previous attitude if a week passes without you gaining an additional success (or failure). Gaining a failure removes any successes you may have built up, and vice versa.

Once you have built up 4 successes, the target's attitude changes permanently to the higher value. They will remain this attitude indefinitely, unless something special occurs to change it further. If you accumulate 2 failures, the decline in attitude is permanent as well, so beware.

You can normally only make a Befriending check once a day, but special circumstances that force the target to reevaluate their opinions of you may allow you to gain additional Befriend attempts, possibly changing their attitude much faster than normal.



To Bargain, you roll 1d20 + your Diplomacy skill. The defender rolls a 1d20 + 10 + their Wis modifier. In addition, the defender gains various modifiers to their roll based on several factors, such as attitude, their history with you, and the quality of the deal, according to the following tables:

Target's AttitudeBonus/Penalty
Helpful -20
Friendly -10
Indifferent +0
Unfriendly +10
Hostile +20


Positive Acquaintance-2
Negative Acquaintance+2
Personal Foe+7


Deal QualityBonus/Penalty

If the target has a temporary attitude towards you from a previous Befriending attempt, the bonus they gain from their attitude is halfway between their original and temporary attitude. So, an Indifferent target who is temporarily Friendly would have a -5 to his roll.

If you win this roll, the target accepts your offer. If you fail by 5 or less, you may reattempt the check immediately, but you must increase the deal value by one step (which decreases the defender's bonus). If you fail by more than 5, the target refuses the deal. If you fail by more than 10, the target refuses the deal and becomes angry with you (giving you one Befriending failure, with all the normal effects as if you had badly botched a Befriending attempt).



To Argue, you roll a 1d20 + your Diplomacy skill. The defender may choose to roll a Diplomacy check of their own, or they may roll using their Bargaining modifiers. If they choose to use their bargaining modifiers, they're not seeking to convince, merely resist the argument. Arguing is always an extended check. Depending on how extreme the request, each participant may need to accumulate 5, 10, or even 15 successes to win the argument.



Making a single Diplomacy check generally takes at least one full minute (10 consecutive full-round actions). In some situations, this time requirement may greatly increase at your DM's discretion. The party you speak with can take actions as normal while you attempt to complete the check; he does not automatically stop and patiently listen to you.


Try Again:

In general, you cannot retry a failed Diplomacy check unless the situation changes significantly. However, certain uses of Diplomacy have special rules for retrying their checks.



If you have 5 or more ranks in Bluff or Sense Motive, you enjoy a +2 bonus on Diplomacy checks. You gain the bonus only once, not for both skills.


Take 10/20:

You can take 10 on a Diplomacy check in a calm situation, but you cannot take 20, because failure carries a drawback.


Extended Skill Checks:

Any Diplomacy use that should logically require an extended skill check should already be covered under the Arguing mechanic, which involves extended skill checks naturally.



The Diplomacy skill uses the standard skill challenges noted on page 77 with one exception. You can decrease the time needed to use this skill from 10 rounds to 1 round in exchange for a +10 DC modifier.

For those poor souls without IH, the standard challenges are decreasing the time to use the skill by 25% for a -5 penalty, or by 50% for a -10 penalty.

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