Soo… I just ran a combat where one of the players wanted to calm down an attacking earth elemental by talking to it. I called for a defy danger with charisma. They succeeded, calmed the elemental and eventually convinced it they were after the same thing. Working as intended? Or did I mess up, somehow?

9 thoughts on “Soo.”

  1. Working as intended, for sure! Might be a good idea to make sure the party are in alignment about how they want to engage with monsters in the future, would be my only advice. If this one player wants to play open-minded diplomat while someone else wants to shoot first and ask questions later, that could frustrate at least one of them later down the line.

  2. Did you legitimately think that talking to/at the earth elemental would have any impact on its behavior? That the earth elemental could understand those words? That the earth elemental would actually stop and listen?

    If the answer to all of those was “yes” (either based on your prep, or because you making this all up on the fly and it sounded good at the time), then, yeah, cool move!  Awesome.

    What I would caution you against is falling into the trap of thinking “any zany thing my players come up with has an equal chance of working.”  Like if, in your mind or in your prep, this earth elemental is barely sentient force of nature magically compelled to SMASH INTRUDERS, then the PC standing there talking at it isn’t triggering Defy Danger–they’re giving you a golden opportunity. Me, I’d probably go with tell them the consequences and ask as my GM move (“Dragolir, you don’t even know if this thing thinks, much less whether it can understand you. You just go out their jawing, it’s probably gonna pound on you. You sure?”), followed by some serious pummeling if they carry through.

    And if you’re not sure? Ask the wizard, the dwarf, or whichever other character that you think would have reason to know about earth elementals.  Or ask the player why he thinks that would work; maybe his answer triggers Spout Lore.   

  3. As an aside, this is one case where I might just tell the person before they do this “just to be clear, if you do not convince the Earth Elemental to calm down, it will kill you.  Just smash you flat.  You are just standing there, talking, trying not to be threatening, making yourself an obvious target.  Smashed flat.”  Very Hard Move territory.

  4. Dragolir uses jaw

    It’s super effective!

    Earth Elemental stops attacking.

    (But yeah, if they were willing to get all up in the earth elemental’s fries with nothing but some fancy talk between them and a beat down, I’d have given them something. A pause, and then Parley maybe to Get To Yes)

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