Ever since Aziens diplomatic encounter with General Cactus I have heard grumblings along the lines of “diplomacy doesn’t work, don’t bother trying it.”
This statement isn’t true at all but I can understand where the confusion has arisen from. I don’t want the diplomatic part of the game ignored so in an effort to remedy this I figured I would do a bullet point rundown of how the whole thing played out, from my perspective anyway. Hopefully with some perspective and discussion we can make some sense of the situation.
Please note this will include a lot of metagame information that your characters shouldn’t know, but is necessary for the process.
Sorry for the incoming text explosion
So in summary, from my point of view, JD sent Azien to visit Cactus, with only a vague plan in his head but a clear concept of what he wished to achieve with his dealings. Azien had very little to offer during the dealings except unproven claims and his negative opinions of the Ruby Courts actions. While not achieving what he wanted initially he did procure himself some positives:
Firstly he built a respectful relationship with General Cactus.
Secondly he secured some alternative avenues to follow for fixing the issues at hand. (Being the Generals willingness to help and his sealed message.)
JD decided to attempt the same strategy he used on Cactus on the Ruby King. He had a little more to offer (the letter) but aside from that he was largely in the same situation as before. The Ruby King was a much more skilled diplomatic combatant then Cactus and the dice were not so much in Azien’s favour this time. While he did not secure his main goal of removing the Ruby Courts troops from Iron Kingdom land he did secure aid for the eastern border. As it turned out, unfortunately, these two goals ended up counter acting each other.
What did all this achieve?
My players now belive that diplomacy doesn’t work. Sweet! *sadface*
I guess I should make one final point.The diplomacy skill is not a Domination spell.
It will not make NPC’s completely ignore their own interests, beliefs or morals. And you guys should be happy about this. Because if it did you could never trust NPC’s like Peach to handle even the simplest orders for fear of them running into an opposing NPC with any points in Diplomacy. “Hey guys, why are Peach and his men running around naked, burning and pillaging our land?”
“Well funny story, they encountered an NPC with the diplomacy skill and he convinced them it was the best thing to do.”
“Damn you diplomacy! DAMN YOU!”
With time, hell, maybe you could have diplomatically fixed the situation completely. As with all social interactions some decent leverage would have helped. Unfortunately you didn’t have a ton of time so maybe diplomacy was not a solution by itself. It did however buy you some alternative avenues to explore.
I don’t really know how to finish this post. So I will ask you guys for your input. Post your view of the situation up here.
If this is not how you remember the situation please feel free to post up your account.
A hundred years from now, D&D 99.5E will have pared the game down to four skills - Hurting, Breaking, Living, and Talking. Talking will be a dump stat for most classes.