Chester McChestwound there is clearly a messenger of some kind, which means that Fighter has joined the ranks of Leonidas and Aragorn in taking a direct approach to diplomacy. The difference is that Chester was threatening neither Sparta nor Frodo. Rather, he was threatening to slow the game to a crawl with all that dreary talking.

Bear with me on this one, but I’m actually going to support Fighter here. We all derive pleasure from these games in different ways, and I like to think I’m fairly balanced in my approach. I enjoy a good in-character gab session as much as the next adventurer, just like I enjoy busting out the dice and fishing for crits. It’s just that conflict without violence can slow play to a crawl. Here’s what I mean:

Chester: “My master the Bandit King requires tribute from all who enter this town. 100 gold pieces apiece.”

Wizard: “Your master would be wise to court our friendship rather than our enmity.” *rolls 11 on Diplomacy*

Chester: “Sorry, friend. You would be wiser still to pay.”

Wizard: “We shant.”

Chester: “You shall.”

Wizard: “What about half?”

Chester: “100.”

Fighter: *SPLORCH*

If the diplomatic approach isn’t working, it does no good to continue on with the same line. You can rehash your request any number of ways, and in real life you might eventually convince your opponent. But I’ve seen players drag an irreconcilable conflict of interests out over a quarter hour, and it takes nowhere near that long to bore me to tears. The real trick in these situations is to try a new vector of attack. Lie, intimidate, bargain, or even do like Fighter and stab. All can move the game in new and more interesting directions.


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