[RPG] Is it possible to effectively use Diplomacy in combat


Diplomacy is generally ineffective in combat and against creatures that intend to harm you or your allies in the immediate future.

“Generally” means usually, commonly or ordinarily.

But still there is a chance to change someone's attitude by 1 or 2 steps from hostile to unfriendly or indifferent.

“Hostile” means aggresive or antagonistic.

Using Diplomacy to influence a creature’s attitude takes 1 minute of continuous interaction.

Combat is resolved on a round-by-round basis.

How is it possible to change someone's attitude from hostile to unfriendly, when there is no time to do that? Does hostile mean always combative?

Best Answer

No, “hostile” doesn't always mean “I am attacking you now”. A creature can be aggressive or antagonistic without actually attempting to harm you right now. An aggressive creature may attack, but aggressive behaviours include more than attacking; for example, an aggressive dog will growl and bark, may lunge and attempt to intimidate, and may attempt to bite, but it is still aggressive without attempting to bite. Note that the PHB's definition of Hostile (p. 72) lines up with the real word's meaning, in that more than half of the example behaviours are not combat and it allows for attempting to hurt non-physically:

Attitude: Hostile
Means: Will take risks to hurt you
Possible Actions: Attack, interfere, berate, flee

The same in D&D: hostile means that the creature doesn't like you, may attempt to hurt you, and is likely to communicate their intention before doing anything by displaying aggression behaviours right now. This is when you can use Diplomacy to change their attitude to Unfriendly or Indifferent.

So yes, Diplomacy has a use for Hostile creatures without trying to figure out how to use it in combat. The fact that you can't use it in combat doesn't indicate that there is a problem using it with Hostile creatures.