Content of the article: "Don’t let CHA-based skills dominate in-game conversation."
So full disclosure I’m not the DM who came up with this system, but I am a player so I’ll talk about why these skill checks help:
I had played in 4 campaigns before linking up with my current forever DM. One of the biggest turn-offs in former campaigns was the lack of things to do during in-game conversations, or worse, the unwillingness to even engage with them.
My problem was that I just didn’t play charisma based characters, so me having great persuasion/deception/intimidation just wasn’t going to be likely. However my current DM introduced conversation skill checks. Basically, if a situation allows, I can leverage my character’s knowledge of something else to use in lieu of a charisma-based skill check in conversation:
NPC: I can’t just give you these antidotes for next to nothing. I need to make money, and as much of a pain as it is for your barbarian’s strength to be affected by the poison, it’s not my problem.
Me, with a high wisdom stat and a proficiency in medicine: Can I roll medicine instead to try and get him to sell for lower?
14 plus modifiers to get a 22
DM: You know the ingredients for the antidote are super cheap and easy to find, but the antidotes are worth 500GP. He is upselling only to make a profit. That’s something the guards would like to know, since he seems to be marking prices up for them too on basic medical supplies like antiseptic and sterile bandages.
Me: I relay that to him.
DM: He starts sweating and cuts the price in half. —- While it doesn’t seem huge, my other DMs would have left me at the mercy of my extremely low charisma score. However, people — even awkward people — can be savvy. If a meek Druid with extensive knowledge of medicines spots bullshit it shouldn’t take a high persuasion/intimidation roll just for them to say what they know.
Edit: some clarifications: – my character knows the composition of the antidote. It is just a lot of work to go do nature checks in the wilderness outside the city. I had already made a comment about how high the price was before I asked about the medicine roll. – It very well could have been a better nature roll, but my DM doesn’t nitpick very much when it comes to those kinds of things, especially when I have the same modifier in each — it’s one of the things I like most about him. – I’m not saying to COMPLETELY ERASE persuasion/deception/intimidation checks. Our bard still does a TON of work when it comes to dealing with things that have no connection to a specific skill. (E.g. stubborn nobles, nervous informants, angry barkeeps, etc.) – Finally, we might fish for some rolls, but our table is pretty chill so when we ask for something that goes above and beyond our DM just goes “Lol no.” and that is the end of it.
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