Support the GITP forums on Patreon
Help support GITP's forums (and ongoing server maintenance) via Patreon
Results 1 to 9 of 9
  1. - Top - End - #1
    Firbolg in the Playground
    Join Date
    Feb 2011

    Default Mechanics Advice: Oratory & Combat

    Iím looking for advice on how to link the results of a stirring speech with the number of opponents in a subsequent combat.

    I have a scenario in which a low-level party needs to stop the farmers of a region from using a damaging practice. The details arenít important here; what matters is that the farmers are profiting nicely from this practice, itís how theyíve always done it, and they hate the idea of outsiders telling them what to do.

    Because of all this, the farmers will pool their resources to hire a gang to take out the party. However, before that happens, the party will have the chance to address the farmers at a local assembly.

    If one of the PCs is able to make a successful oratory check, that will sway a certain percentage of the farmers to reconsider what theyíve been doing, with the result that those farmers wonít contribute to the pool to pay the gang. Fewer farmers paying into the pool means less money, and thus fewer gang members in the subsequent fight with the PCs.

    In essence, the better the oratory, the fewer opponents in the fight. But this is where I need advice, because Iím not sure how to structure the mechanics. How do I reflect the results of the oratory check? One fewer opponent for every 5 above the DC, or some other approach? How do I account for other speakers at the assembly making oratory checks of their own?

    All constructive advice is appreciated. This is for a very low-level party, first or second level at most, so Iím looking for specific advice on the mechanics Iím trying to implement. If there are examples in any official Wizards or Paizo sources Iíd be glad to give them a look.

    .
    Last edited by Palanan; 2020-06-05 at 06:53 PM.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Orc in the Playground
     
    PhantasyPen's Avatar

    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Location
    East of Hell

    Default Re: Mechanics Advice: Oratory & Combat

    Quote Originally Posted by Palanan View Post
    If one of the PCs is able to make a successful oratory check, that will sway a certain percentage of the farmers to reconsider what theyíve been doing, with the result that those farmers wonít contribute to the pool to pay the gang. Fewer farmers paying into the pool means less money, and thus fewer gang members in the subsequent fight with the PCs.

    In essence, the better the oratory, the fewer opponents in the fight. But this is where I need advice, because Iím not sure how to structure the mechanics. How do I reflect the results of the oratory check? One fewer opponent for every 5 above the DC, or some other approach?
    (Emphasis mine.) This is probably one of the better ways to do it, it's the route I'd most likely go through I think.

    Quote Originally Posted by Palanan View Post
    How do I account for other speakers at the assembly making oratory checks of their own?
    This is where it gets weird though. Any potential "oratory" checks of the other members of the assembly should have been factored in to the initial DC for the PCs to make, even ones that technically come after the PCs speak. Letting them make the check, getting a good roll, and then taking it away with an NPC's roll is going to completely ruin the moment for everyone at the table, I know from experience.
    (WIP) For Massive Damage! (Critical Hit Handbook) It's back!

    Check out my Patreon! I do a lot of D&D-inspired Fantasy stuff.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Barbarian in the Playground
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    Alabama
    Gender
    Female

    Default Re: Mechanics Advice: Oratory & Combat

    Have the opposing speaker go first, then allow the party to reduce the DC set by his speech by directly addessing his points

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Troll in the Playground
     
    Planetar

    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Perth, West Australia
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Mechanics Advice: Oratory & Combat

    Observing here that if they're very low level, then unless someone in the party is heavily optimised with a CHA-heavy race and with specific ranks in Perform (Oratory), the results of their check is going to be very swingy. Max skill rank even for a Bard at level 2 is 5. Add maybe a +2 for a masterwork ... um ... lectern or something that the bard happens to carry around with him, maybe add a +4 at tops for CHA, that leaves you with a total of +11, meaning the results can only be in the range of 12 and 32 if you force it to one person's roll and don't allow any Aid Another checks. But even if you did, assuming a party of four that's only another +6 to the roll, so again an absolute maximum score of 38 if everyone hot-hands the dice and Elvis Presley is leading the choir.

    So if your DC says "one less gang member for every 5 above the DC" it doesn't actually allow them to significantly lower the number of gang members they're facing. Setting it at DC 15 - and I don't know if you want to set it that low - means you can only take out about 4 of the gang members for the subsequent fights. Not sure how many people you've got planned to come fight the party, but that might be worth thinking about.

    And that's assuming they've actually got the skill. If not, then the person with the best CHA is going to make the roll, let's say a Sorcerer in the party, so again let's say a +3 or +4 tops, let's assume no masterwork lectern, so a range of results of 4 through to 24 or so, before Aid Another is taken into account.

    As P.Pen was saying, the RAW way to set it is to adjust the DC, assuming you want to wrap it all up in one Perform check. The party is dealing with a bunch of farming rubes who don't like outsiders, so you're already signalling the DC ain't likely gonna be the sort of thing a party can take 10 on and be assured of doing, and you're saying there will be jerks in the town hall meeting trying to throw the party off their game, i.e. stupid rubes as well as insular rubes. But my guess is that you're worried the logical DC that follows from that is going to be too high for a low level party to meet, and in the real world, you'd be pretty much right; this is a job for Anthony Robbins or other public-speaking grifter/politician, not an amateur bunch of passing murderhobos ... unless of course Anthony Robbins is in their party.

    Or alternatively you're wondering whether the party should be able to take on social combats against the hecklers and thus change the result. RAW D&D 3.5 doesn't allow for that, but who cares about RAW.

    A scoring system doesn't have to be overly complex. It just has to provide a goal for the players to meet and allow some choices to the players in how they reach the goal. My suggestion, off the back of an envelope:

    - Set a threshold at which point the rubes are persuaded. Say a score of 3. Set a threshold at which they cannot be further persuaded and it's all over, say a -3.
    - Set a number of 'rounds'. Say 10 rounds. Set the initial score to 0. If at the end of 10 rounds the score doesn't get to 3 or -3, the community is, by default, not persuaded to remove their gold from the gangs, full stop, no further opportunities.
    - At the start of each round, there is a probability that some random jerk speaks from the audience, say 6 out of 10. Every time they do, it puts a -1 to the score. Sorry, they don't have to check. They're members of the local community and have been lording it over their fellow rubes for ages, there's no possibility they'll fail on that.
    - When the party gets a chance to speak, then every time a character puts forward what you consider as a DM to be a solid point, have them roll a Perform check to see how they do putting the point across. If they make the check, the party's score goes up by 1. If they do stunningly well on the check, the score goes up by 2.
    - If the party got a -1 from the jerks at the start of the round, they have a choice to make: if they address the speaker's concern directly, the DC for that Perform check is say 2 higher, but it allows the party to add 2 to its score. Or they can just try and make a solid point and add 1, which doesn't get them further but neutralises the idiot's earlier point.
    - The message you're putting across to the party is that if they want to take the risk on of cowing the bullying leaders of the rubes in the crowd, you win the crowd over even stronger than if you just stand there and blithely make points.

    As said, back of an envelope stuff, refine it a little to your needs, but it sets an idea for how to track the encounter. Set a condition for success, set a condition for failure, then stick to it. As for how many gang members you remove from the encounter, don't rate it by Perform checks. Just tell the party that their efforts at persuasion meant half the gang doesn't show up: that way they get a feeling their actions matter, without having to calculate the precise numbers.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    tiercel's Avatar

    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location

    Default Re: Mechanics Advice: Oratory & Combat

    Mechanically, it seems that you are really talking about a Diplomacy check here (and certainly more characters have a chance to have ranks in Diplomacy than Perform-Oratory specifically, though Iíd certainly allow a Perform check or at least give, in this instance, a synergy bonus to Diplomacy for having Perform-Oratory ranks).

    Having said that, I think a general idea along the lines of what Saintheart said above would work ó first, ask yourself what the hardest and easiest fights youíd want your PCs to face, then set realms of DC in broad categories, with adjustments for RP or anything else the PCs try to sway the decision outside of ďI give an eloquent speech.Ē You can kind of even fudge this behind the DM screen, of course, to simply give a level of success that you think is generally appropriate to your playersí roll and effort, e.g.

    Disastrous: Terrible roll AND (essentially no roleplay or extra effort taken by players OR such roleplay or effort is likely to actually give extra offense)

    Worst case scenario in terms of number and strength of anti-PC gang, plus, they fight dirty (coming after the PCs when they are asleep or otherwise tactically disadvantaged)

    Minimal success: Mediocre roll plus little extra effort, Strong roll plus counterproductive effort, or terrible roll with strong effort

    Anti-PC gang is still strong as above, but instead confronts PCs directly, calling them out to simply leave town or get their heads bashed

    Moderate success: Strong roll plus little extra effort, Mediocre roll plus strong effort

    Anti-PC gang acts as in Minimal success, but now has fewer members, fewer levels, or less equipment due to less money being chipped in

    Outstanding success: Strong roll plus strong roleplay and/or additional extra effort

    Anti-PC gang is weakened as with Moderate suceess, plus PCs have swayed at least one wavering individual farmer so much that they are warned what/when/where an attack is coming, allowing the PCs to have a tactical advantage

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Troll in the Playground
     
    GreenSorcererElf

    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Oregon
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Mechanics Advice: Oratory & Combat

    How many farmers? Sounds to me like this should be rolling a diplomacy check for each farmer, with each having a certain DC to make them back down. This can be spun into a more interesting social puzzle where doing X could make A easier to sway which makes B easier and C is more important so maybe you just focus on them and so on, or not. The more rolls you make, the less chance all the rolls will be low and thus the more chance the party's diplomacy bonus will actually get them some wins. Even if there's supposed to be dozens or hundreds, at the end of the day most of those people will still follow certain locals of influence, who are the ones the checks matter against.

    But if there's nothing the players can actually do to influence this other than roll the dice or use abilities that affect skill bonuses or die rolls, it's not really a choice. Might as well just roll 1d6 thugs or whatever. If the players can roll so bad it makes things worse, but choose not to roll for a middle result, that's the bare minimum. If there was a set of DC/bonus modifiers being tracked since they started dealing with these people and thus their previous actions affected the roll, that would be something, but you're just coming up with it now.

    As for other people making rolls: traditionally these would be opposed checks, but that just makes it even more random. Using the smaller set of significant NPC targets, the hecklers just have particularly high DCs to talk them down and failure means you don't convert the people listening to them.
    Attention Imgur Users! Imgur apparently doesn't like hosting images anymore and only works in certain places or for people who already have the image cached: No one can see your avatars or images!
    Also Photobucket users? Don't know if it's a bandwidth or region lock or something, but I'm seeing some avatars blurred out with a watermark that looks like the photobucket icon.
    And Tinypic went down a while back, seeing plenty of old avatars showing their downed image.
    Quote Originally Posted by Violet Octopus View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Fizban View Post
    sheer awesomeness

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Spamalot in the Playground
     
    Psyren's Avatar

    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Mechanics Advice: Oratory & Combat

    Instead of tying the # of opponents to the oratory check directly, I would tie that check to the farmers' total payout. That gives you freedom to tailor the encounter to the party more granularly for the right level of challenge - less currency contributed could mean fewer hired opponents (as you originally planned) - or it could mean the same number of opponents, but they're now less-skilled or have worse equipment, because that's what the mob can afford now. It could also mean a different mix of opponents - maybe it's the same number, but fewer of them are archers now because archers are more expensive, so they need more melee warriors to try and make up the difference. And maybe the evil spellcaster they were going to hire is no longer affordable at all, or he only provides some token buffs or consumables to the mercenaries without actually showing up himself.

    One way you can calculate this is to estimate how much combat ability the party lost in order to invest in Oratory, and base your own tweaks on that.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    But really, the important lesson here is this: Rather than making assumptions that don't fit with the text and then complaining about the text being wrong, why not just choose different assumptions that DO fit with the text?
    Quote Originally Posted by gogogome View Post
    Cheers to Psyren the MVP "naysayer".
    Plague Doctor by Crimmy
    Ext. Sig (Handbooks/Creations)

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Firbolg in the Playground
    Join Date
    Feb 2011

    Default Re: Mechanics Advice: Oratory & Combat

    I keep meaning to come back to this, and I appreciate the suggestions so far. Thereís some good ideas here.

    Originally Posted by Saintheart
    A scoring system doesn't have to be overly complex. It just has to provide a goal for the players to meet and allow some choices to the players in how they reach the goal. My suggestion, off the back of an envelopeÖ.
    Thatís an interesting approach, although at first glance it looks a little more fiddly than Iím looking for. But Iíll certainly keep this in mind.

    Originally Posted by tiercel
    Mechanically, it seems that you are really talking about a Diplomacy check hereÖ.
    Agreed, I was using ďoratoryĒ in the broadest sense.

    Originally Posted by Psyren
    Instead of tying the # of opponents to the oratory check directly, I would tie that check to the farmers' total payout.
    I may try some version of this, essentially a list of potential thugs and muscle, starting with the most skilled and expensive, and working down to the lowbrow bruisers.

    I could still use some advice on how exactly to do this, since Iím not sure how to estimate the range of values for the farmersí pool.

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Spamalot in the Playground
     
    Psyren's Avatar

    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Mechanics Advice: Oratory & Combat

    Quote Originally Posted by Palanan View Post
    I may try some version of this, essentially a list of potential thugs and muscle, starting with the most skilled and expensive, and working down to the lowbrow bruisers.

    I could still use some advice on how exactly to do this, since Iím not sure how to estimate the range of values for the farmersí pool.
    I'd start from the worst-case scenario for the party (i.e. their opposition has full resources available to hire the most skilled and largest number of enemies possible, including spellcasters), calculate the CR of that, then work backwards. I don't have specific numbers for you, but you know your own group best - each degree of success (say, every +5 over the base Perform DC?) should feel different to fight.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    But really, the important lesson here is this: Rather than making assumptions that don't fit with the text and then complaining about the text being wrong, why not just choose different assumptions that DO fit with the text?
    Quote Originally Posted by gogogome View Post
    Cheers to Psyren the MVP "naysayer".
    Plague Doctor by Crimmy
    Ext. Sig (Handbooks/Creations)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •