Belluna Session Plans: Negotiation Skill Challenge
With Deo about to meet Fra Otto Piedini — who could be either a valuable patron or a relentless antagonist — I’m ready to construct my first skill challenge of the game. I don’t want Deo dancing at Otto’s whim just because the friar tells him what to do. I’d rather he had a little room in which to negotiate, to better secure an outcome for himself other than “This NPC says to go fetch, so hop to it.” As well, as a player, I’ve built Deo with certain skills, so I’d like to test those skills with a possible favorable outcome rather than just have Deo suck it up because he didn’t make a synchronistic choice.
That said, this shouldn’t be easy. He’s going to need to hustle a priest who’s designed to be a manipulator.
With those principles in mind, I make the following design choices about this skill challenge.
- It’s a level-one challenge. Piedini knows how well this individual fared against his temple guards, so his expectations are in accordance. At moderate difficulty, that makes the DC for this challenge 15.
- It’s a complexity 2 challenge. Deo will need to accumulate six successes before he fails three times. He needs to effectively sell himself to Piedini, but not indenture himself. Thus, this challenge is a little more complex than a simple conversation, but not so complicated that he’s negotiating a treaty between nations.
- In a certain sense, Deo has the edge. He’s a thief, and while Otto may have ordered a few larcenies in his time, he’s not exceptionally insightful as to how the criminal underworld works. Thus, I’m going to let Deo negotiate using his Streetwise skill (which currently has a +5 bonus) rather than forcing him to use Diplomacy or Bluff (ahem… +0). Of course, he can choose those methods if he wants.
- I’m going to need to have Fra Otto Piedini’s stats on hand. If things go awry, Deo’s going to attempt to fight his way out of the situation. Without knowing anything about his captor-slash-patron, he’s going to consider this a last resort, but perhaps a necessary one.
So there I have it. Deo’s negotioation with Fra Piedini is level one, complexity two, and has Bluff, Diplomacy, and Streetwise as the primary skills.
With Deo’s +5 to Streetwise, that means he has a 50 percent chance of succeeding or failing on any given roll. Since he needs six successes before three failures, he’s more likely to fail than succeed, given the even split of the probabilities of any given roll. While that’s certainly not optimal for him, it’s part of the challenge. As a player, I need to accept that he may fail. As a DM, I need to think about what’s in store for him if he botches this negotiation with the friar.
Session to transpire Monday, and perhaps an adventure log if time permits.