I have troubles with handling non hostile social interactions with NPCs that have information or items important for the story, but who are not willing to hand it out for free.
Imagine a situation where the party comes into a tavern and the owner knows some information the party would like to acquire.
My players are alined good and normally one of them starts talking to them to get some information. After recognising that the owner is unwilling to tell them what he knows they try to persuade him. Now I let them roll d20 and they fail on the check.
Then most of the time another one tries to persuade, bribe or intimidate him. Sometimes 3 or 4 of them try to persuade the owner one after another. How can I handle this situation?
PCs enter a tavern, I narrate it to them explaining the owner is behind the bar cleaning mugs.
PC1: "Maybe he has information about subjectX"
PC2 talks to him: "Good day Sir, we are travellers looking for accommodation and maybe you have heard of subjectX"
Owner: "Then you came to the right place, I have enough beds for you. And about subjectX…it depends on who is asking"
PC2 tries to persuade him; He talks a bit and I let him roll a check. He fails
Owner: "It's not worth getting in trouble for giving you this information"
PC1: "Let me try talk to him" – fails too
Now PC3, PC4 and PC5 will attempt the same
as interacting with an NPC is different than interacting with an item