PDA

View Full Version : Help me make a system for bribery (3.5)



Harperfan7
2009-04-19, 08:12 AM
Basically, I wanted to make a viable mechanical process for the influence of sentient npcs with the use of items/services of value. I'm running a campaign in a metropolis known for its thieves and corruption, so I want detailed rules for bribery.

Bribery is the rendering of something valuable to get someone to do something they ordinarily wouldn't and is often used in conjunction with diplomacy (or in some instances, bluff or intimidate [or even enchantment]). So, bribery is a diplomacy check (most of the time) where the rendering of valuable items/services gives a bonus to the check, but where the check requires something of value in the first place. You could offer something in between a little X with a lot of diplomacy (as in, high diplomacy bonus) or a lot of X with a little diplomacy. The more of each, the higher the result.

But how do you know how the bribe reciprient will react to being bribed? A lowly city watchmen might accept a bribe, but the royal guard? What are the DC factors for things like that? How do you find a given DC? Also, how much of a bribe is required?

Personally, I think something like DC 10 + half HD + Wis Mod +miscellaneous. The DC should also stand for how much of a minimum bribe is required (but how do we calculate that?). Alignments would be a big factor, like +5 for lawful, +5 for good, -5 for chaotic, -5 for evil, these representing the recipients scruples in general. If you fail by 4 or less, they refuse the bribe, if you fail by 5 or more, they turn you in or the equivalent.

Miscellaneous factors would include unusual alignment mixtures, such as a lawful city watchman guarding the jail cell of a CE murderer against a vigilante - I would think the DC might be a little lower than if he was guarding a LG prisoner against a criminal wanting to kill the prisoner. If the watchman could be spared the blame, a lower DC, if he would be punished harshly, a higher DC. Also, if the bribe is especially wanted, a lower DC, such as if there was a famine and the guard was starving, food would be worth far more than PHB prices and may even provide a bonus. Conversely, well paid guards would require something beyond normal.

I need help filling in gaps and working out kinks in this system. I appreciate any help and input.

Harperfan7
2009-04-19, 06:53 PM
Bump-ing for bribery...

Godskook
2009-04-19, 07:55 PM
Um, of everything you're looking for, what isn't covered by Rich's diplomacy fix (http://www.giantitp.com/articles/jFppYwv7OUkegKhONNF.html)?

Diagoras
2009-04-19, 09:16 PM
The Call of Cthulhu game had a nice bribery table, outlining what bribing with a week's wages, a month's wages, and a year's wages could get you.

That actually may have been one of the supplements, actually. I'll let you know if I find it.

Harperfan7
2009-04-19, 10:32 PM
Um, of everything you're looking for, what isn't covered by Rich's diplomacy fix (http://www.giantitp.com/articles/jFppYwv7OUkegKhONNF.html)?

...huh. The sad thing is, I've read that before.

Zeta Kai
2009-04-20, 09:58 PM
1) Determine Alignment Factor

Lawful Good = 1
Neutral Good = 2
Chaotic Good = 3
Lawful Neutral = 4
True Neutral = 5
Chaotic Neutral = 6
Lawful Evil = 7
Neutral Evil = 8
Chaotic Evil = 9

2) Determine Level Factor

Add briber's total character level to bribee's total character level

3) Determine Charisma Factor

Subtract briber's Charisma bonus from bribee's Charisma bonus
This value cannot go lower than 1

4) Determine Monetary Factor

Insignificant Favor = 2gp
Minor Favor = 10gp
Moderate Favor = 50gp
Major Favor = 250gp
Monumental Favor = 1,250gp

5) Multiply Alignment Factor 5 Level Factor Charisma Factor Monetary Factor; the result is the amount of money needed to bribe the target bribee.

The Mentalist
2009-04-22, 10:49 PM
Zeta I think your alignment table is backwards, It's easier to bribe a LG person than a CE?

xanaphia
2009-04-23, 05:15 AM
For the first time, I think Zeta got it entirely wrong.

To start with, your alignment table has got it backwards.

Also, I don't think that evil people are necessarily easier to bribe than good people.

As a previous poster said, this could all be done by Rich Burlew's Diplomacy system. In fact, the example itself is taking about bribery. I don't think many people could do better than that.

Bulwer
2009-04-23, 05:21 AM
Especially when dealing with the lawful, some people will not be bribed. Offer the true believer the world, and he'll say no. If he's DC 20 Diplomacy to convince, and you hit 19 + any amount of gold, the answer is still no. In fact, if you hit 21 and offer gold, he'll say no. That's something worth noting, even if it's just an exception to a set of rules.

sigurd
2009-04-23, 01:03 PM
I'm sorry. I can't see alignment having anything to do with it. As an example, good heroes bribe bad guys they can't afford to fight.


Why don't you just make it a bluff check. Add a figure to the bluff based on the amount of the bribe. Sense motive represents self deception in this case - looking the other way.

So Lou offers Mary a bribe to get out of jail. The DM looks over Mary's background and determines she might be bribable. Lou rolls his bluff +30 for the bribe. He makes it sound really great.

Mary fails a sense motive. She knows its a bribe but she is not alarmed by Lou and his idea of the bribe & and the money he offers doesn't disturb her - she takes the money and lets Lou out.

One issue might be that developing your sense motive skill reduces your chance of accepting the bribe. For some characters this might not make sense because they morally are looking for bribes. In that case, or if you don't like the 'sense motive' check create a sliding scale.

Loyal +10
Already wealthy (the bribe means less) +10
Poor & starving -10
etc. etc.

After you've determined a resistance level use it to oppose the bluff check.


I should note that in this case the bluff is probably not a lie about the nature or truthfulness of the bribe. That might require a second check.


Sigurd

Thane of Fife
2009-04-23, 03:43 PM
I'll start by saying that these DCs are probably entirely messed up:

Base Bribe DC is 10. Everything modifies this. It might be based on Diplomacy, or it might be it's own skill.

First, we identify modifiers - types of modifiers are as follows:

1. Devotion - How devoted is the person being bribed to the thing he is being asked to betray?

2. Monetary Risk - How likely is it that accepting the bribe will hurt the target's financial prospects?

3. Personal Risk - How likely is it that accepting the bribe will cause physical harm to the person accepting it or to people whom they care about?

4. Relations - What does the person to be bribed think of the PCs?

Going more in-depth into each:

Devotion:

Decide the devotion of the target to whatever might be affected by his acceptance of the bribe:

An Opposed target disagrees with whatever would be affected, and would like to see it disadvantaged. The spy from a hostile power in the king's bodyguard is opposed to protecting the king's life.

A Neutral target is largely indifferent to whatever might be affected. A bouncer at a tavern might be neutral towards the tavern's well-being.

A Supportive target agrees with the basic principle of whatever might be affected. The prison guard who thinks criminals deserve to be locked up supports their remaining locked up.

A Favoring character has a personal stake in whatever might be locked up. A prison guard whose wife was killed by an escaped convict might favor keeping criminals in prison.

A Devoted character believes strongly in what might be affected. A devout priest is devoted to keeping his temple safe.

An Ironclad character bases his life around what might be affected. A devout priest is ironclad about keeping his temple from desecration.

Also decide how the act might affect what the target is thinking about. Note that it is more important what the target thinks might happen than what might actually happen.

Critical means that the target thinks the bribing party is going to do something necessary for what might be affected. Killing a disguised do-gooder is critical to a demon-summoning ritual's success.

Something Helpful will benefit whatever is going to be affected, but is not necessary. Laying some wards about the sleeping king is helpful to keeping him alive.

Something with No Effect is unlikely to do anything. Looking around a closed tavern might have no effect to the safety of the building next door.

A Slightly Harmful effect has some chance of being bad, but won't necessarily be that way. Looking around a closed tavern under a watchful eye might have a slightly harmful effect on that tavern's safety.

A Very Harmful effect may a significant negative impact on whatever the target is thinking about. Looking around a closed tavern without any supervision might have a very harmful effect on that tavern's safety.

A Critically Harmful effect could end catastrophically for what the target is thinking about. Letting an unknown person into the king's bedchambers with no supervision would be critically harmful to his well-being.

Find the two appropriate descriptors on the table and apply them to the Bribe DC.

{table=head]Effect|Opposed|Neutral|Supportive|Favoring|Devoted |Ironclad
Critical|+15|0|-3|-6|-9|-12
Helpful|+10|0|-2|-4|-6|-8
No Effect|0|0|0|+1|+1|+2
Slightly Harmful|-2|0|+2|+4|+8|+16
Very Harmful|-4|0|+4|+8|+16|+32
Critically Harmful|-12|0|+6|+12|+24|+48
[/table]

Monetary Risk:

Here, you must decide how significant an effect accepting the bribe might have on the target's financial well-being. Decide how long it would take the target to make as much money as is being offered, and look it up on the table below. If the target would risk losing his source of wealth for accepting the bribe, then check the second column.

Some individuals possess large sources of wealth already, rather than making money over time. If the offered bribe is small enough that they have it many times over, use the Insignificant row of the table.

{table=head]Length of Time|Safe DC Mod|Risking Loss DC Mod
Insignificant|+8|+24
1 Day|+6|+18
1 Week|+4|+12
1 Month|+2|+6
1 Year|+0|+2
1 Decade|-2|+0
Never|-8|-8
[/table]

Personal Risk:

Decide how significant a risk the bribed party would be putting himself or his loved ones in.

Check the table and add the modifier to the DC. Note that circumstances may cause a specific kind of risk to mean less to a certain individual (normally, death would be a High risk, but to an old man who knows he's dying, it might be only a Low risk, or not even one at all). In all cases, it is what the target believes might happen that counts.

An Extreme risk entails torture or a painful execution. It could also entail eternal damnation, or something similar. A drow male betraying a powerful priestess might be taking an extreme risk.

A High risk entails a relatively quick execution, permanent imprisonment, or a significant and permanent decrease in social standing. A prison guard who looks the other way to allow convicts to escape is taking a high risk, as is a noble-born betraying his family.

A Medium risk entails a painful punishment, significant imprisonment, or a relatively small decrease in social standing. A naval officer who permits something unacceptable and risks court martial or flogging is taking a medium risk.

A Low risk is something relatively meaningless, such as a several day imprisonment, a demotion, or anything which can be relatively easily made up for. A person hiring someone for favors as opposed to merit might be taking a low risk.

{table=head]Risk Type|DC Modifier
Extreme|+18
High|+12
Medium|+6
Low|+0
[/table]

Relations:

How the party to be bribed thinks of the attempting briber is also important. Find the NPC's attitude on the table below and apply the appropriate DC modifier.

{table=head]Attitude|DC Modifier
Hostile|+12
Unfriendly|+4
Neutral|+0
Friendly|-2
Helpful|-6
[/table]



Alright, I think that that pretty much covers it. It's possible that I've completely screwed up somewhere, though.

Zeta Kai
2009-04-26, 07:04 PM
For the first time, I think Zeta got it entirely wrong.

To start with, your alignment table has got it backwards.

Also, I don't think that evil people are necessarily easier to bribe than good people.

As a previous poster said, this could all be done by Rich Burlew's Diplomacy system. In fact, the example itself is taking about bribery. I don't think many people could do better than that.

Well, I did just slap those rules together in 10 minutes. :smallredface: I stand by most of the crunch, with the exception of the alignment factor (which most people seem to point out as a glaring flare, to the exclusion of other factors' analysis). I'd say if the alignment factor was replaced with a flat 5 multiplier, it would serve reasonably well in most situations.

I agree, though, that Rich's Diplomacy rules are exponentially better than the RAW from WotC, & are perfectly suited for a bribery scenario. But if you want something other than a slavish copying of his work or just a link to it, then my slapdash crunch could suffice.

Dixieboy
2009-04-26, 07:19 PM
1) Determine Alignment Factor

Lawful Good = 1
Neutral Good = 2
Chaotic Good = 3
Lawful Neutral = 4
True Neutral = 5
Chaotic Neutral = 6
Lawful Evil = 7
Neutral Evil = 8
Chaotic Evil = 9

2) Determine Level Factor

Add briber's total character level to bribee's total character level

3) Determine Charisma Factor

Subtract briber's Charisma bonus from bribee's Charisma bonus
This value cannot go lower than 1

4) Determine Monetary Factor

Insignificant Favor = 2gp
Minor Favor = 10gp
Moderate Favor = 50gp
Major Favor = 250gp
Monumental Favor = 1,250gp

5) Multiply Alignment Factor Level Factor Charisma Factor Monetary Factor; the result is the amount of money needed to bribe the target bribee.

So it's harder to bribe chaotic evil or neutral than Lawful Neutral?

How does Level factor in?
Modifiers in wis or something maybe, but not levels.

Zeta Kai
2009-04-26, 09:01 PM
So it's harder to bribe chaotic evil or neutral than Lawful Neutral?

How does Level factor in?
Modifiers in wis or something maybe, but not levels.

OMG, are you kidding? I just said in my previous post to scratch the alignment thing. So what do you do? You harp on the alignment thing. Amazing. I even pointed out in my previous post how I noticed people were harping on the alignment thing to the exclusion of other parts of the crunch. Incredible. :smallsigh:

Also, the level factor forces the bribe to relate to WBL. Because a 1st-level character will care about 250gp bribe, but it's insignificant to a 20th-level character. Conversely, a 50,000gp bribe may be appropriate for a 20th-level character, but it's wildly excessive for a 1st-level character. Now do you see why level might be a minor factor? Also, like Rich's Diplomacy rules (which also take the character's levels into account), you don't want a 1st level Commoner winning out over a 25th level Cleric. Nothing in the game works that way, & we're not starting now.

Dixieboy
2009-04-27, 03:10 PM
{Scrubbed}

You are the one who proposed something that makes absolutely no sense, not me.

While it makes sense to do it by WBL, it seems to make a weird impact.
a 2th level commoner would want twice as much money as a 1th level Aristocrat. :smallconfused:

Mewtarthio
2009-04-28, 08:14 PM
While it makes sense to do it by WBL, it seems to make a weird impact.
a 2th level commoner would want twice as much money as a 1th level Aristocrat. :smallconfused:

The system probably assumes you're bribing someone important. Granted, that still leaves a few oddities, like say the President of the United States having to bribe a bouncer more than an average Joe off the street, but that's where DM fiat comes into play.