Persuasion Overhaul by
Oblivion » Gameplay Effects and Changes
Added: 08/07/2006 - 02:48AM
Updated: 09/07/2006 - 07:56PM

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1.1 Latest version

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Uploaded by ericpar


Last updated at 19:56, 9 Jul 2006 Uploaded at 2:48, 8 Jul 2006

Persuasion Overhaul 1.1

Eric Parsons ([email protected])

NOTE: I highly recommend that you install the Oblivion patch before using this mod. See the "Known Issues" section.

Change History
- Fixed a faction-related bug that caused creatures to attack each other
- Swapped journeyman and expert perks
- Changed some of the racial bonus modifiers

This mod gets rid of the persuasion mini-game in Oblivion and replaces it with a system that is more realistic and better balanced. I feel that the current system is deficient in a number of ways:
- It's relatively easy to raise someone's disposition at or near 100 with only an average speechcraft skill, making it nearly pointless to raise this skill to its highest level.
- While the security mini-game simulates picking a lock, the persuasion game is a completely abstract exercise in lining up rotating wedges. You must say the same things to every character, and your success is only dependent on the order in which you say them. R-i-i-i-ight.
- Persuasion as implemented leaves little room for role playing. You must coerce, boast, admire and joke with every person you meet, regardless of your character's personality and values, or the type of person you are talking to.

Instead, this mod implements persuasion through regular dialogue. You are free to pick any option you want, and either try the same one over and over or alternate between many. Each time you pick an option, you have a base chance of success based on your speechcraft skill. Then, your chances are modified based on the current disposition of the NPC. The higher their disposition, the harder it is to raise it further. Finally, each option has an individual modifier based on a number of factors (see the Modifiers section below), making it easier or harder to use that option with a particular NPC. For instance, you will have a much easier time coercing a farmer than you will the Arena Grand Champion, and the burly Nord in the local tavern will be more impressed by your boasting than will the Countess of Chorrol, etc. In this way, there is some amount of player skill and role playing required for successful persuasion rather than randomly clicking options.

Simply unzip the contents of the zip file to your oblivion/data directory. Then activate the mod the way you would any other. I recommend using the Oblivion Mod Manager utility (http://timeslip.chorrol.com/obmm.html) and setting this mod to load AFTER all other mods (see "Known Issues" below).

More Information
Once you install the mod, most NPCs will have a new dialogue option labeled "Persuade." From there, you get the four persuasion options (admire, joke, boast and coerce).

If you go into the old persuasion screen, you will still see the infamous mini-game, but it should be disabled with a message saying "Disposition maxed." Ignore this, that's the only way I could disable it short of hacking oblivion.exe (something I'd rather avoid). You will still need to access this screen if you wish to bribe someone.

Each time you select an option, you have a chance of success as previously described. If you succeed, their disposition goes up, otherwise it goes down -- simple as that. Although the outcome each round is random, your odds are governed by in-game factors. There is no longer any maximum disposition; any character can in theory raise someone's disposition to 100. In practice, however, it is quite rare to get someone's disposition that high if you're not an expert in speechcraft. What usually happens is that you'll reach a point where it becomes very difficult to get past; the disposition will alternate between going up and down. Part of the "game" is learning to recognize when you're ahead and stop, else you risk undoing some of your progress. Or, you may get lucky and raise it further...

The other part of the game is figuring out how to read each NPC's personality and determining which option(s) work best. If something isn't working, try a different option, or consult the "Modifiers" section below for hints. The apprentice and journeyman perks (see below) will also help greatly in guiding your choice.

Characters who choose speechcraft as a major skill will have a significant advantage over those who don't. At the starting speechcraft value of 5 for a minor skill, you'll have a tough time increasing anyone's disposition. In fact, odds are you'll decrease it. This will feel frustrating, especially compared to the current system. Stick with it -- your skill level will increase rapidly at lower levels. Just practice on people that don't matter to you as much, or get training, drink potions, etc.

Below is a list of factors that affect how different NPCs react to different options. There is probably too much information here to memorize -- just glance over it to get a feel for how things work. While I tried to stick to things that make sense or fit common stereotypes, some decisions were made purely for gameplay balance, so that there is more variation from person to person. For each of the sentences below, it's implied that the converse is also true.

NPC Factors:
- People of the opposite sex are easier to admire, and people of the same sex are easier to boast to.
- The lower a character's willpower and confidence, the more susceptible they are to flattery, and the easier they are to push around.
- NPC's with a low level of responsibility and intelligence are easier to joke around with.
- Stronger characters respond well to boasting but poorly to coercion.
- People with a high intelligence are likely to be skeptical when you boast.
- NPCs with a low personality are harder to joke with.

PC Factors:
- If you have a high personality, you'll have an easier time admiring and joking with people
- Higher levels of fame and fortune (luck) makes it easier for you to boast
- Infamy and strength help with coercion
- Intelligent players are better at telling jokes

NPC Race Factors:
- Nords and Orcs are easier to boast to, but harder to coerce
- High Elves and Wood Elves are easier to admire, but harder to joke with
- Imperials, Bretons and Redguards are easier to joke with, but harder to boast to
- Argonians and Khajiit are easier to coerce, but harder to admire
- Dark Elves are easier to admire, but harder to coerce

Apprentice: When trying to persuade a character, you intuitively sense which of your options has the worst chance of success.

Journeyman: When persuading a character, you gain a little more disposition when you succeed and lose a little less when you don't.

Expert: When trying to persuade a character, you intuitively sense which TWO options have the lowest chance of success.

Master: When raising a character's disposition to 100 through persuasion, the character will befriend you, and there is a chance that you will receive a personal gift. In the case of coercion, the character will instead attempt to pay you off with a sum of gold.

More about the master perk:
- The type of gift you receive will depend on the class of the NPC. So if you are befriended by a mage, for instance, you'll get something appropriate for a magic user. Commoners and merchants tend to give less valuable items than the more specialized classes (but some people that you think are commoners are actually warriors or thieves etc). Some of the items are quite nice, so there is now an incentive to max your speechcraft skill!
- The coercion payoff is based on the character's social class. So if you shake down a beggar, don't be surprised if you don't get much gold! Unlike a gift, you are always guaranteed to get money.
- The master perk only happens once per NPC. You cannot receive multiple gifts or payoffs from the same person.
- All of the audio for this perk (from "You know, I like you..." onwards) is unique to this mod. It was mixed from existing audio in the game, in some cases from 4 or 5 different sources per sentence per voice actor. I spent a LOT of time making it sound seamless and natural, unlike those automated telephone voice systems. Let me know what you think!

Other Changes
I also changed the settings relating to initial disposition. In the original game, it isn't uncommon to run into a complete stranger that has a disposition of 100 towards you, even though your personality and fame aren't that high. I toned down these settings so that you start with a lower disposition. Although the initial disposition is lower, your personality attribute is now the dominant factor in determining it (previously, faction and fame were contributing WAY too much). So if you don't plan to use persuasion or bribery at all, having a high personality attribute is still useful, though you will never see dispositions as high as you would by working at it. The way the original game was balanced, personality and speechcraft tended to overlap each other too much, i.e. the more you raised one, the more useless the other became. Now they work well both individually and together.

Known Issues
- Due to a bug in the unpatched game, if you use this mod for a while and then uninstall it, your speechcraft skill will appear to be "stuck" for some time. For this reason, I recommend only using this mod on the patched version of oblivion.
- Because of a scripting limitation, you won't be able to see your progress towards your next level of speechcraft in the skill window (the skill level will be correct, but the progress bar will always be at 0). Internally, however, the mod keeps track of your progress using the same formulas as the game engine. If you really want to know how far you have to go, open the console (type "~") and enter "setstage persuasion 99" without the quotes.
- If you use another mod that changes perk descriptions (e.g. Oscuro's Oblivion Overhaul) or speechcraft skill rate (e.g. Level Rates Modified), then they show as being in conflict. Don't worry, this is harmless. However, you should set this mod to load AFTER any of the above, since their changes make no sense in the context of this new persuasion system.
- The level rate for speechcraft will only be affected by mods that change skill rates globally, not by mods that change rates on a skill by skill basis (e.g. LRM). With this mod, you will level up in speechcraft roughly 1.5 times faster than vanilla Oblivion. Don't worry -- you will still need to do a LOT of talking to get your skill up to the level of Master. In the default game this was almost impossible. And, lets face it: despite my efforts, persuasion isn't the most exciting aspect of the game. Generally you will use it a lot less than other skills.

Possible Ideas for the Future
I'm thinking of also adding a taunt option in the future. It would work in the opposite direction of persuasion, i.e. the higher your speechcraft skill, the more likely you are to provoke someone into attacking you. Your chances would also be modified by NPC attributes such as responsibility and aggression levels. When you succeed in starting a fight, it wouldn't count as a crime (which is the whole point, otherwise you could just start bashing them), but your infamy would go up. I'd appreciate some feedback on this.

To report bugs, suggestions or general feedback, post in the thread for this mod in the elder scrolls mod forum (http://www.elderscrolls.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=501309) or email me at [email protected]