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How to challenge a pacifist party

Discussion in 'Social' started by Shem, Oct 8, 2018.

  1. Shem

    Shem Guest

    Ok, so the title is a bit of hyperbole. But my party has recently been using persuasion abilities (backed with RP) to turn otherwise combat encounters into social ones.

    To be clear, I have nothing against this kind of play.

    But, I don't know how to challenge the player(s) who are doing the persuasion.

    I don't simply want to turn up the DC on persuasion checks. That's not challenging, and defeats the purpose of the player who built his character to persuade. How can I challenge this PC in a way that feels satisfying to the PC, without reducing it to "roll to defeat entire encounter in 1 check".

    As an example: (spoilers for the Lost Mines of Phandelver module)

    Not wanting to trivialize what was the only combat encounter of the night, I made the dwarven NPCs racist against the half-elf PC, so that they would not choose to work for him (the module has been modified to sit inside the dwarven kingdom in my homebrew world).

    In hindsight, this was a mistake, and it took away what was a smart play for the PC in exchange for giving the rest of the party something to do. At the time, I felt the need to give the rest of the party something to do.

    We are using 5E, so any 5E specific solutions are appreciated, but I suspect the solution is a system agnostic one.

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