RPing persuade and bluff (not 2b confused with Roll playing)
I've often wondered how other people RP their Persuade/Bluff skills and while I know there are older threads on the subject, I'm more interested in a general modern view of these seldom (apparently!) appreciated skills.
Myself, with both of those skills in the double digits, I play Sarah as being generally quite smooth, confident (even when she's got no earthly idea what she's doing) and fairly pleasant to be around, even (I think) charming if she wants to be. Conversely she can be very crude or apparently simple minded until something gets said to spark her interest.
Yes, I know it's largely on the ability of the player to have ranks in those skills themselves but I'm less interested in the numbers and more how people play them.
Basically they are just there to support your characters personality. If my character is generally a smooth talker/charismatic I will put some points into the "Speech Skills". If he is just a brute of a warrior, I won't. Generally I think of the personality first, then the skills. Not visa versa. As far as actual points and rolls, those are only really used by DMs to help determine a NPCs reaction.
Mr.Moloch last edited by
I tend to look at characters from books or movies and take a rough guess as to how persuasive or not they are–and then try to emulate how they do it.
Take Gandalf, very persuasive-because he cared about people and let it show.
Ghandi and Hitler, very persuasive because they had huge, encompassing dreams you could believe in (or not).
Chewbacca, not all that persuasive or intimidating. Even when he roared and C3PO, it was HAN who convinced him that Chewie was a danger, so Han is persuasive because he's charming and typically finds situations he's in humorous.
Mal Reynolds is very not persuasive, but has terrific charisma. Even though he couldn't convince or talk you into anything with eloquence, his pure charm and sincere honesty convinces people they can stick with him and rely on him.
Pick an archetype of persuasiveness, and stick to it.
To me, persuade and bluff are just microcosms of the overall character in question. I feel that just because someone doesn't have a ton of skill points in either category doesn't mean they are necessarily incapable of persuading someone or outright lying, they just can't do it to any expert or extraordinary degree.
Think of how people are in general: sure you can tell a white lie or two easily but most of us are not con men or ad executives - people who can conceive extremely elaborate deceptions in mere moments. It's their job to lie, so they would have extremely high bluff, but it doesn't mean folks in general don't have a basic amount of bluff themselves.
It's the same with persuade. Persuading someone, fundamentally and without further question, is an extremely difficult thing to do on a personal level. Usually, the persuader has to have some sort of proven intelligence and/or station of power for normal folks to go along with what they're saying. That would be high persuade in my eyes. Still, most people at least have the ability to convince their friends, family, customer, etc on small things, based on common experience, like "this contraceptive is better then this one" or "I've been to quite a few Bennigans in my day and this one is just aces. ENDLESS FRIES!".
Of course, even having the common persuade/bluff that might not require mechanical points would depend heavily on the persons charisma. I'd say 11 or higher, without points in persuade/bluff, you could squeak off a few small lies and testimonials on occasion. That means taking the responsibility for not lying all the time and not trying to convince people of big concepts all the time. If you did want to have a abundantly sly, cunning type of character then absolutely make sure to throw some ranks into persuade/bluff. There's no excuse not to.
Of course, even having the common persuade/bluff that might not require mechanical points would depend heavily on the persons charisma.
I'd disagree with this. Bluff and Persuade being skills, you have to put some technical verbal effort into it. Force of personality is a more generic kind of magnetism, in my opinion.
My character doesn't react with high-pitched squeals when someone shoots a tell saying they have 535 Intimidate, when all they emoted was narrowing their eyes.
Likewise, when I roleplay conversations like that, I generally like to try and make an effort when it comes to actually making a persuasive argument. I try not to sit back and say "I make a compelling argument, my persuade modifier is OVER 9000! I win the conversation?" because, well, thats not role playing, that's cutting corners.
I play a 10 Charisma character, who has been by happenstance and circumstance, pushed into the role of leader.
He leads by committee, and shared values, not great inspiration. He's smart, and insightful, and speaks honestly. He doesn't lie, and doesn't try to, because he's no good at it.
He invested in a ring of +1 Charisma, +2 Bluff/Intimidate/Persuade. Since this, he has made efforts to improve his ability to lead and inspire, but he's not great at it.
The skills should reflect at least in part, the abilities of the character, but remember, everyone can lie a little. The only time people have any reason to believe that something isn't to be taken at face value, especially with people they don't know well, is when they know otherwise, or have reason to suspect otherwise.
That said, the bigger the lie, or the more you try to persuade someone, especially against their better knowledge, or in difficult situations, the more you should have invested in such skill wise, AND the more realistic your case should be.
What I've managed to convince people to do, has been based on the merits of argument, not on the persuasive and charming nature of my character.
It's important to remember the difference between inspiring, and simply being right. Both are important.