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  1. #1
    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
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    Debate and Diplomacy

    Debate can enhance any decision that requires NPC cooperation.

    A diplomacy check reflect the persuasive abilty of the characters involved, and a success means a disposition to do what one can to help as described under the headings friendly and helpful. But what is possible? Even helpful characters won't do what is impossible. So if your plan has elements that can be thought as not practically possible even helpful allied might not agree to the aid you have asked for.

    Debate is based on a knowledge skill you have. In theory you could debate with any skill, but a debate over the best application of the Hide skill is probabaly not a good use of time, if in fact the Hide skill is called for. Some skills like Warcraft, Administration, or Appraise could be subjects of debate. Winning a debate does not persuade people to do things that your Diplomacy check was unable to get them to do. The idea of having a debate is to add depth to a diplomacy encounter by having skeptics challenge your plan without having to be hostile. After all, friends don't always agree on the best course of action.

    Suppose Adelstan the Just, noble Rjurik, is sent by his king to the friendly court in Hogunmark to win their cooperation in an upcomming war. Due to game history, Queen Freila is helpful to both the realm of your character and your PC, Adelstan, as well. Making the Diplomacy check is not a problem. The Queen and the court want to help and share you desire for victory over this foe. However, suppose Hruthwulf, the High Steward, objects that at the given time of year an army of Hoguns cannot cross the Hjarring river as you propose.

    Hruthwulf has stated a thesis and the DM selects a knowledge skill that reflects the skill most associated with the thesis. If a non-knowledge skill is more appropriate then use that skill, but for similar skills, a knowledge skill is better suited for debate. The DM might select either Knowledge (Nature) or (Geography) based in whichever Hruthwulf has more of. People argue from what they know best (if they are wise).

    Hruthwulf is a 6th level ranger (or more likely a Noble 1/Ranger 5, but let's put that aside). He has 12 ranks of Knowledge (Nature), so the DM selects that skill as the issue being debated. Hruthwulf has 12 knowledge points, as many as he has ranks in the skill. Your PC, Adelstan, has 5 ranks of Knoweldge (Nature) and you realize you have a problem. Your character has 5 knowledge points. As you debate, the character who loses an exchange loses knowledge points.

    An exchange is basically an opposed skill check based on the skill being debated.

    Hruthwulf as 12 ranks, a +2 Int bonus, and a +2 synergy bonus from his many Survival skill ranks, for a +16 bonus made to his objections and replies.

    Adelstan has 5 ranks, a feat that allows him to use his Charisma bonus whenever addressing groups, so applies a +3 bonus, also gets a +2 synergy bonus for Survival ranks, and so has a +10 bonus for objections and replies.

    If you want a long drawn out debate, each knowledge point can be contested individually. Or you can assume that each exchange resolves 1d4 knowledge points. If this is the case, Adelstan will probabaly be able to lose only two exchanges before he is revealed to have proposed a plan that is simply impossible because of the depth and speed of a major river. It would probabaly take six or so failed exchanges for Hruthwulf to be silenced on this matter.

    If Adelstan loses this debate, and he probabaly will (because no one anticipated Hruthwulf's opposition), Hogunmark still wants to join your PC's realm in attack, but a new plan must be proposed, either by the PC, the Hogun court, or by word from home. Perhaps Thorjak promices to quiet the river so the PC's plan can proceed. Perhaps the Hoguns propose collecting many boats to cross the river and delay the attack by a month (as well as allowing enemy scouts to notice a large collection of boats and anticipate a river crossing). Perhaps they just offer you a few GB to purchase mercenaries on the other side of the river.

    If you have already seen my description of Harald Khorien, you might have noticed that he had memorized two books as feats, and that these books gave him bonuses in disputations.

    Normally on a subject like Knowledge (Natural Philosophy) - what we might call science today - Harald Khorien has 13 ranks of Knowledge (Natural Philosophy) and so has 13 knowledge points in such a debate. His +4 Int modifier applies, and having memorized Questiones Naturales, he gets a +4 bonus to K(NP) during disputations (debates). He also has Knowledge Focus for this skill for an additional +3 bonus. So his bonus for Objections and Replies is +24. Having memorized Timeaus he recives an additional 10 knowledge points on subjects of natural philosophy, so he now has 23 knowledge points. Harald Khorien is a formidable debater of natural philosophy indeed.

    You can attempt to use Bluff in arguments. There are two kinds. You can bluff on the facts, but these must refer to conditions that cannot be verified in the debate. You can claim to have a catch of boats assembled secretly in Jankaping. Of course when the Hoguns show up expecting boats, you will still need to get them across the river. Second, you can make an ad hominem attack. You could suggest that Hruthwulf was a coward or traitorous. This would be a Bluff as well, although doing such a thing would breech any friendship with Hruthwulf and might result in his excercising his rights to physical combat to settle this calumny. Generally using a Bluff in a debate is a dishonorable act and will generally have consequences now or later. Scoundrels might hope to bluff now and fill in the gaps later, but that's obviously a risk.

  2. #2
    Birthright Developer irdeggman's Avatar
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    Almost sounds to me like a feat. Similar to Tracking which allows use of a skill for a special purpose.

    Could also be a "trick" (based on skill tricks from Complete Rogue) {essentially x amount of ranks in diplomacy and 2 skill points spent to acquire the "debate" trick.
    Duane Eggert

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    Site Moderator AndrewTall's Avatar
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    I saw it as a mechanic to aid the resolution of a talkie interaction - all too often a very articulate player playing a cretin would win arguments against a novice player playing a genius - this system recognises the skill of the character more.

    A feat could certainly add to checks, 'keen insight: +2 to the relevant skill when debating against an intelligent opponent', 'bloody minded: take only 1d2 skill subdual if you lose an argument in a debate instead of 1d4' for example.

    There are a lot of rules in most game systems to resolve physical conflicts, very few to cover more subtle contests. If you play a game involving a reasonable amount of negotiation and debate its a lacking in most systems.

    The use of the skill as hit points rather than a 'one roll win or lose' scenario makes the game a lot less random however - just as a contest between two high hp beings is less random than one between one hit wonders; as the need for multiple rolls reduces the impact of fluke rolls.

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    Since you are in The Royal Library I hope that my post will not offend anyone. I am going to reflect on several non weapon proficiencies that serve in a manner similar to subject of Debate and Diplomacy as it was handled in 2nd edtion.

    Although some of the material is now covered in erck...."Feats", in 2nd edition the material was pretty well handled with the following proficiencies.

    Here are a couple of high points from the original post that I am relating to with the proficiencies I am listing below.

    A diplomacy check reflect the persuasive abilty of the characters involved, and a success means a disposition to do what one can to help as described under the headings friendly and helpful. But what is possible? Even helpful characters won't do what is impossible. So if your plan has elements that can be thought as not practically possible even helpful allied might not agree to the aid you have asked for.
    With the proficiencies (or make them feats if you must) below you can see your influence point by point, although you will have to judge reactions visually unless you possess magic to gain insight into actual reactions. The prof check will offer a step by step altering of reactions that otherwise might be unfavorable.

    Debate is based on a knowledge skill you have.

    &

    Winning a debate does not persuade people to do things that your Diplomacy check was unable to get them to do. The idea of having a debate is to add depth to a diplomacy encounter by having skeptics challenge your plan without having to be hostile. After all, friends don't always agree on the best course of action.
    This is where a point by point debate strategy can be helpful for regents who intend to change a large group of leaders/peoples minds about a subject. I would only disagree, in that, you might be able to sway people with a well worked debate and personal charisma to gain (at least a short term) commitment to a cause of debate point.

    After some time of personal introspection some of course will revert to their personal belief set, but it is possible to sway most with good oration.

    To my points and proficiencies......


    During the course of a debate or diplomacy action/event the Regent or his/her proxy should have the ability to use any number of proficiencies that are useful in resolving the points of a debate/issue.

    There are a series of individual checks made vs each of the proficiencies to show the success or failure of such actions. Without magic, an orator will have to judge reactions by the actions after the point is made. Maybe by asking a couched question that will yield some hint as to the viewpoint of the chosen targets of the oration. It doesn't always work, but it can yield some results.

    The idea in a planned oration/debate is that some will be able to be swayed, by the technical aspects of the game system, for a period of time.

    Most of these proficiencies are of course, CHR based. The power of the persona of the orator will often spell the success or failure of the encounter.
    Here is a list of non weapon proficiencies that would yield better results for such Debate/Diplomacy checks.

    Story Telling....part of any good oration is the ability to ply the crowd with a resounding oration of the subject material. (I.E. It doesn't put people to sleep). With this proficiency a speaker can do many things including spinning heroic aspects of a subject, or to even weave a believable lie that will sway the listeners at least for a time. The prof is a CHR base 0 check. Roll your CHR or less and succeed.

    Oratory....is almost dead on to what you seem to be trying to achieve. It is a base CHR 0 check, and it allows the speaker to gain favorable reaction modifiers in a non combat setting through the use of oratory/rhetoric. With multiple uses of this proficiency, a speaker can set the stage for a number of positive reactions in a specific situation. Such as a vote on some point.

    Bluffing, Debating, Embolden, Incitation, Intrigue, Manipulation, Negotiation, & Seduction are all mentioned as proficiencies in Dragon #243. They are a full set of prof's that would accomplish exactly what you are trying to achieve. You use an individual proficiency to alter a subjects beliefs, but you can only do so in increments. It is part of the Incitation prof, but I think your could use if for all of the debating skills.

    You don't sway someone immediately, instead you move them from calm to excited to rowdy to wild to out of control (well lets say more supportive). It would be a step by step system that you could easilly quantify, so that influence in this manner doesn't get out of hand.

    Debating....in this form of debating an INT check allows the user to hold their own in "heated discussions, remaining quick-witted and cool tempered". It allows the user to engage in meaningful arguments, impressing others witht ehir mental faculties. It leads to a +2/(10%) reaction bonus. It would form the backbone for what you are trying to achieve.

    Interrogation.... (of an orational nature) could be a good prof for finding out what someone truely feels. It is a WIS check (-1). Some types of this prof are good cop/bad cop; repetition, evoking emotional responses, and several methods that are based of the "fears" of a subject.

    Analyze Information....could also be used in conjunction with the interrogation in order to find out the possibilities of success of their oration. It is an INT (-2) check.

    Diplomacy.....1) is another one that is spot on for what you are trying to achieve. It is a CHR 0 proficiency with the following description. Quote...."An individual who know the art of diplomacy had a unique way with people that draws them to his person almost irresistably. He/She has a flair for words, an extensive vocabulary, and is articulate and practiced in the arts of suble and over coercion."

    In BR diplomacy.....it is a WIS (-1) check, but is far more concerned with diplomatic protocol, and far less in the actual influencing of the issues at hand It is allowed to influence the events in a far more general manner that allows for a single step alteration of reactions to the subject that the user is trying to achieve. It is far less versatile. I might combine the two for a better mix.

    A success check gains the speaker an uninterrupted round of conversation, with several positive adjustments.

    Fast Talking.....is a prof that some may find useful for the short term, for with a simple CHR check the target is distracted, and possibly conned into something. Of course this won't allow for great scrutiny, but if the subject is something that needs immediate support then it might be useful.

    Crowd Working.....is a proficiency that some may have access to that allows them to tailor their performance/oration to the crowd/diplomats. It is a CHR (0) check. With it you could possbily alter a groups by 2 steps in the direction they are trying to influence them in.

    Leadership.....as offered by the Barbarian class would allow for influencing of others with a CHR + level check to affect the reactions of those in his/her homeland. This could influence locals if not foreign diplomats.

    Persuasion......In a CHR (0) proficiency check and if successful the user makes a compelling argument to convince NPC's!!! to see things thier way, responding favorably to them, or comply with a request. This one is pretty much what you're trying to accomplish with debate/diplomacy...persuade others to your point of view..


    These proficiencies allow for a pretty good mix in how you could alter a debate/diplomacy action in a step by step alteration. It might not be "Feats" but you sure could access your Ability scores and accomplish the same things, with lets call the psuedo proficieincies.

    With even a few of these your debates will more favorably follow your PC/Regents wishes.

    Later


  5. #5
    Birthright Developer irdeggman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MatanThunder


    Since you are in The Royal Library I hope that my post will not offend anyone. I am going to reflect on several non weapon proficiencies that serve in a manner similar to subject of Debate and Diplomacy as it was handled in 2nd edtion.
    There are a lot of difficulties in trying to equate 2nd ed proficiencies with 3.5 mechanics. In 2nd ed there were weapon proficiencies (which are now feats) and there were non-weapon proficiencies. Most of which are now skills. Skills have ranks and are used to make checks - feats in and of themselves have no d20 mechanic check to be made (they can, however tie in a check to an ability score or a specific skill). For exampel the "track" feat. It allows you to use a "survival" skill roll to follow "tracks".


    With the proficiencies (or make them feats if you must) below you can see your influence point by point, although you will have to judge reactions visually unless you possess magic to gain insight into actual reactions. The prof check will offer a step by step altering of reactions that otherwise might be unfavorable.
    IMO you need to spend some time reading the SRD (or PHB to catch up on the 3.5 mechanics. I don't mean to be denigrating on this point but the mechanics are very different and very much more quantified (and scaled) in 3.5 then they were in 2nd ed. In 2nd ed it was almost impossible to increase your ability to make a non-weapon proficiency roll as you wen't up in levels. IIRC adding another non-weapon proficiency slot to an existing non-weapon proficiency made the check easier by 1 - which was usualy an extrememly difficult check in the first place - since they were all based on ability scores and usually with a minus on them. You had to roll less than that number to get a success and you couldn't increase your ability scores as you leveled up without some major magical items.


    Story Telling
    .
    A perform skill in 3.5.

    Oratory....
    is almost dead on to what you seem to be trying to achieve. It is a base CHR 0 check, and it allows the speaker to gain favorable reaction modifiers in a non combat setting through the use of oratory/rhetoric. With multiple uses of this proficiency, a speaker can set the stage for a number of positive reactions in a specific situation. Such as a vote on some point.
    Oratory is now perform (oratory).

    You don't sway someone immediately, instead you move them from calm to excited to rowdy to wild to out of control (well lets say more supportive). It would be a step by step system that you could easilly quantify, so that influence in this manner doesn't get out of hand.


    Which is reflected in the 3.5 mechanic of attitude.


    [quote]These proficiencies allow for a pretty good mix in how you could alter a debate/diplomacy action in a step by step alteration. It might not be "Feats" but you sure could access your Ability scores and accomplish the same things, with lets call the psuedo proficieincies.

    Check out what a feat and what a skill is in 3.5 terminology. I tried to give a quick explanatin earlier.


    IMO trying to make a direct corollary between the 2nd ed mechancis and the 3.5 ones will only lead to and a mix of the two systems.
    Duane Eggert

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    I would say that first of all you may be working under a misconception.

    I am NOT trying to make it a 3.?? mechanic. I am relating that you might be able (with adjustments) make straight Check's off the proficiencies based on they massively upgraded stat limits.

    I do something about 3.?? mechanics........lets just say I find is wanting...I will always only ever play 2nd ed. I was presenting a set of Proficiencies, which you might calls skills, but proficiencies they remain.

    Although 3.?? might want you to only rely on a 3.?? mechanic, I would suggest that when you run up against this type of problem, that you find a way to use a "Better" older way to acomplish the idea. Convert it to skills, and such, then you would have some type of workable system.

    It seems that some of your later post information is garbled, you might edit it so that I makes more sense. I did get this one point.

    Check out what a feat and what a skill is in 3.5 terminology. I tried to give a quick explanatin earlier.
    I do understand them and find them wanting in the extreme. This is the Royal Library and not the 3.absolute posting area. I am under the impression that any version of the game may have information placed here for others to review and Use (on Not)as they feel fit.

    We all don't play 3.?? and never will.

    Later



    PS I have converted a number of 3.? combat mechanics to 2nd edition because they were good ideas.......feats just........are too over the top.

  7. #7
    Birthright Developer irdeggman's Avatar
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    MatanThunder,

    The point I was attempting to make was that Kenneth was using a 3.5 mechanic and that you were trying to go back to 2nd and at the same time talking about combining feats, skills and non-weapon proficiencies into one mish-mash.


    With the proficiencies (or make them feats if you must) below you can see your influence point by point,
    This was one that made a direct comparison between non-weapon proficiencies and feats.

    So my point about "reading up" so that the relatinship betwen feats and skills is clearer is important. What I mean is that if as you are saying, you are proposing to go back to 2nd ed mechanic for certain "checks" then how that fits in with 3.5 mechanics is exptremely important.

    Kenneth generally (based on past posts) has a fairly detailed set of house-rules that are based on 3.x mechanics for the most part. Which is why his posts tend to talk about using them.

    Just saying that the 2nd ed mechanics worked fine is totally accurate - but only so if staying within the 2nd ed game mechanics. The reason being that classes and races were handled very differently. In 2nd ed the ony class that could readily take advantage of the non-weapon proficiency mechanic was the guilder (and Kenneth has another thread on his take for re-capturing the guilder class in 3.5 mechanics.)

    The "garbled" part of the post was referring to what the current skill is for the said non-weapon proficiency. So if trying to use a combination of 2nd ed and 3.5 mechanics there are some pretty big obstacles to overcome. That was the real gist of my post. I recommend either fully embracing 3.5 or staying with 2nd ed but attempting to combine the two only leads to internal inconsistencies.

    The part about "attitude" reflecting the method of moving people's opinion being captured in 3.5 as the "attitude" mechanic. Now there is a, IMO, a weakness in the diplomacy versus attitude mechanic in 3.5 in that you can move several steps at once. But it is an internal mechanic that needs to be consistent in the game - so if using 3.5 rules then they should be consistent in their application.
    Duane Eggert

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    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
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    3rd edition and its family (d20, and settings based off of it) don't share the 2nd edition assumptions about the rate of power increase, but such things don't normally translate from game system to game system anyway. I've played games where the system was pretty flat and games where the system ramped up power pretty quickly. Any of these games can be controlled by regulating how much experience you give, but Birthright has additional outlets to regulate power, because rewards can be in-game effects to one's domain (whether as master or champion) rather than to one's own person.

    Given that the current system is so modular, elegant, and regular, its got natural advantages over 2nd edition. If the power level is a concern, as it is for many of us in this particular setting (see the various threads using he key search word low level) then its easy to adjust the system to get the desired power level. If there are simply aesthetic reasons for prefering 2e, some of those will fall away with a switch to 3e, and some may not.

    I know I was prefectly happy with 2nd edition before I had 3rd edition materials, and while my shift to 3e was more practical than anything when I made it, now that we are in 3.5, I must say that 3.5 has so dramtically improved over 3.0, mostly be realizing the potential in the stystem (thank you OGL), that I would never go back to 2e, unless someone was running a 2e game, and I wanted to play in that game. But let's face it, if you want to play in a game, you'll learn most any system to sit at the table.

    3rd edition is different, but its a conscious attempt to improve 2nd edition. Some things were fixes for someone else, but the basic organization of the game material is a benefit to all players.

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    Given that the current system is so modular, elegant, and regular, its got natural advantages over 2nd edition.
    Hardly....2nd edition is just fine for me. It took care of the problem of point by point negotiations, which is what you were originally posting about.

    I was simply trying to show a number of proficiencies that could be used to accomplish the problem you were having in your negotiation process.

    I was trying to help, but I do have a question. Why can't 2nd edition be posted here in "The Royal Library". In fact, isn't this the area for such materials since there is a thread set up for the d20 or 3.????? crowd.

    I am just asking, because the thread rapidly degenerated away from whether individual skill/feats/proficiencies could be used to address the problem and became somewhat of a rah rah 3.???? and the old system is ****.

    Have either of you ever played through a full blown Diplomacy using any of the proficieinces I mentioned?????????????

    Just wondering.

    To be honest it has worked fine for me as a DM or PC.

    I noticed that irdeggman has played a role in the 3.??? handbook. Is this the hostility I seem to be getting for bringing up the earlier material.

    I was just trying to put labels on some parts of the diplomatic process, and it had degenerated into the feats/skill vs weapon proficiencies/non weapon proficieincies.

    Lets all try to get back to the subject of the thread, and stop the needless banter of the game systems. This parts of the site allows for some posting of 2nd edition materials, and I think there are still gamers out there able to use the system.


    Hence I post to that issue at time.

    Later


  10. #10
    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
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    Have either of you ever played through a full blown Diplomacy using any of the proficieinces I mentioned?
    Yes

    See this post from 2000, wherein I write:

    Quote Originally Posted by Kenneth Gauck
    I have created a huge number of proficiencies, and allow them to be purchased up to a maximum of three times. Consider the effects on Diplomacy when characters can also purchase Rhetoric (INT-1), or Oratory (CHR-1), or Persuasion (WIS-1), or Logic (INT).

    Imagine the poor regent who shows up to sway the duchess of Tuornen only to confront the representitive of the Prince of Avanil who has purchased Diplomacy x2, Etiquette, Oratory, and Persuasion. If you haven't made diplomacy your specialty, you're out of your league. It doesn't mean you can't win, it just means you need to set your sights low, because a high success number will be modified out of reach in a competative contest of diplomacy.
    Further examination of the archives will reveal still more.

    Hardly....2nd edition is just fine for me.
    Which does not refute my premise.
    Quote Originally Posted by Kgauck
    Given that the current system is so modular, elegant, and regular, its got natural advantages over 2nd edition.
    For instance, my '83 Honda is a fine car for my purposes. Yet I will not deny that many models are more effecient, elegant, or reliable.

    Further, I will suggest that its much easier to imagine a pure social campiagn in 3rd edition than it is in 2nd edition. You can certainly homebrew 2nd edition up to the task, but 3rd edition comes that way out of the box.

    Why can't 2nd edition be posted here in "The Royal Library".
    It can. The objection posted was based on the constant combination of 2nd edition and third edition terms. I would suppose that it was your intent to translate for the benefit of those who are only familiar with 3rd edition. However, I also see the point that those same persons might find the references to both systems more confusing than illuminating.

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