[RPG] What are the rules for PC-PC seduction attempts


Last session we came to a very weird situation. Now, its outcome was meaningless and we argued friendly and politely, having fun and settling the matter with ease, but it's likely it will happen again under more important circumstances.

One of the players is playing an extremely attractive female character. She's a 1st level rogue with 18 CHA (maxed out, half-elf and the DM allowed it to get 1 bonus point in exchange for a pitiful 6 STR) who is well aware of her charming beauty and willing to use it without any kind of moral sense. Last time she tried to seduce my character.

I'm playing a male (kind of, but this is for an other post) paladin. He's not an "asexual" character, but he's very focused on his goals – he swore an oath of vengeance – and perceives such things like carnal pleasure as useless distractions.

When this little conflict escalated, the DM ruled that the seduction attempt deserved a die roll. Nobody, myself included, was against it, so my guess is that all of my party agrees that the DM CAN take away players' agency under the right circumstances. That said, none of us has any idea how to make the roll, but that wasn't a problem since I decided to do what she was asking as it was perfectly in line with my character's behaviour.

What do the rules say about how to handle this situation?

  • What ability/attribute/whatever roll is required?

  • Do the rules say how long a seduction attempt should take and what situational bonuses (or negatives) to apply to it?

  • To what point do the rules allow your DM to "take control" of your character during this seduction check?

Best Answer

There are no official rules for this, and there never will be, because

Under absolutely no circumstances should rules be used for this ever

A PC–PC seduction attempt succeeds if, and exactly as much as, the target’s player says it does. No other answer is appropriate. No player should ever be forced “by the rules” into roleplaying a seduction, or even having a fade-to-black followed by them roleplaying a character who had been seduced. Your “guess [...] that the DM CAN take away players' agency under the right circumstances” may well be true, but this is never going to be the right circumstance.

And yes, I have read your question and I understand you’re perfectly comfortable to use dice for this. I am arguing that this is, even in that circumstance, a mistake. It sets an extremely uncomfortable precedent, one that is not appropriate to a game of Dungeons & Dragons. There are game systems where this kind of thing is part-and-parcel with the system, exactly what players should expect when they agree to play. But D&D is emphatically not one of them. Which is, again, why rules for this will never see print.

Almost all groups I have played with have actually refused actual skill or ability checks for any PC–PC social interaction. Rolling Diplomacy to persuade a fellow PC, rolling Intimidate to scare them, these are opportunities for one player to dictate another’s character. That is not, in my experience, considered appropriate even in quite banal circumstances. A seduction is anything but.

So roleplay it. Decide for yourself what you think is an appropriate reaction for your character, that you (and the table) are comfortable with, and do that. Don’t leave it up to the dice. Decide for yourself just how much Cha 18 matters to your character. This is not an appropriate place to insert randomness.