There’s been talk recently on various forum & discussions boards about role-playing and social interaction and how the actual players own actions, how well they performed and how convincing they seemed to be, and how all of that should apply to the end result, despite the disparity between the player’s abilities and the character’s.
This is a subject that creeps back up on a semi-regular basis, and I believe that perhaps it’s something that some RPG rulebooks should address in as much detail as combat, gear or spells.
I believe that DMs should not require that the player of the charismatic character possess nor demonstrate the level of skill or charm that his character possesses, just like the DMs does not expect the player of the martial artist to perform complex combat manoeuvres.
For example; If a group consists of a para-military squad similar to the A-Team, you have the pilot, the weapons expert, the strategist/leader and the face. If I’m the DM, I will not ask the pilot-player to tell me exactly what he does to start the helicopter’s engine, he would just tell me ‘’I start-up the bird’s engine’’. Same thing with the weapon-spec-player, I don’t need to know all the little details that goes into the cleaning and maintenance of his machine gun. The players, even if they do have knowledge in these fields, can just describe in broad strokes what they intend and then we can make a roll, if required.
So why would the DM force the Face-player to go into a full soliloquy or intense debate when trying to convince the guard to look the other way, or the fence to lower his price for supplies, or convince a group of villagers to follow him into combat. In the past, I've played a hacker-type character but my own knowledge of computer sciences is severely lacking. My DM never forced me to actually start writing code or hack a computer system.
I think that just asking for the high points or the main thrust of his arguments or intentions is enough, then the DM may ask for the rolls, and apply any modifiers that the situation may warrant, just like the above examples.
Let’s just stop trying to force ‘’real-life’ social interaction that are most probably out of the players league in skill level. Or else, be fair and ask your cleric-player to actually invoke the wrath of Thor when battling undead and force your wizard-player to actually conjure arcane energy to blast his enemies with fire or to teleport far away.
Thanks for reading.