What does a discussion that utilizes Interpersonal Abilities look like?

I don't know what a conversation looks like to other GMs.

Do you have players start out each conversation by saying, "I'm using [I]Flattery[/I]" before proceeding to flatter?

My players don't really do this. Instead they just roleplay with the NPCs, which is good since it doesn't break immersion... should I just assume they're using an ability?

I guess I'm confused, really. It doesn't impact my game too heavily, but I want to know what it's supposed to look like... or what it looks like on your end of the table.


  • I tend to do what you do, determine which skill is being used by the actual conversation. I don't require players to say which skill they are using, but frequently players will describe which interpersonal skill they intend to use before the conversation starts. Sometimes players will interrupt an in character discussion to say they are spending a point of a skill (or will spend if it helps). Some players don't like to actually speak in character, so those dialogues are much more generic-Player--"My character flatters him..."
    GM--"OK, that work...this is what he tells you..."

    As a plug for my podcast, Virtual Play, Bill and I have recorded a few samples of Gumshoe games (TOC, Ashen Stars, etc.) as well as put some complete games at the Internet Archive.
    This episode includes Ashen Stars: http://virtualplay.libsyn.com/episode-67-dreamation-2014-games, at about the 19 minute mark, with excerpts from Trail of Cthulhu following. The don't focus on dialogue in Gumshoe, but that is a great idea for a future show.
  • My players also prefer to talk to NPCs in character. Most of the time it becomes obvious what they're trying to do, so if they have an applicable ability, I just let the NPC act accordingly and give them the information they need. But sometimes they just talk on and on to see where the conversation leads. This is good for atmosphere, but also makes it easy to miss the bits of information among the meaningless patter, so at some point I'll just interrupt and ask them what approach they're choosing.

    If there is an opportunity to spend points, I'll usually signal that with the money counting gesture (rubbing your thumb against your index and middle finger). If they pay, I'll just let the conversation turn to the additional information, otherwise I'll end the conversation quickly so the players are not confused with bits of talk that holds no relevant hints.
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