- Feb 4, 2020
I don't think that's exactly true, and Disco Elysium showed a better way. The players really do hate a closed door, and will either reload or bitch and moan until it opens and they can taste that sweet, sweet content. But they don't really care which door opens, as long as one does open.Put otherwise, it seems to me that in the post-Planescape: Torment RPG community, for narrative RPGs the only acceptable use of dialogue skill checks is (1) to let the player choose which key opens the door (not whether the door gets open) or (2) to let players skip a few squares of the Candyland board that they otherwise would have to grind through without having passed the skill check. What is not acceptable is a door that you can't open and what is definitely not acceptable is a door that you can open, but only if you roll the right number. The last scenario will just lead to save-scumming or, in TTON's case, a mix of save scumming and Effort.
So basically, what you need to do is make failure as interesting as success. Failing a check and being told "no" to your face is boring. Savescumming is guaranteed because people want to play a game, not have a roll determine whether you can play it. But if you make that failure interesting? If you have it move the discussion to a different direction, or have your character do something entertainingly bad, or whatever? Then you've solved savescumming. For most people at least.
This is what good tabletop GMs have been doing for decades. It is certainly more difficult in a cRPG where you have to actually write and program all those different outcomes instead of coming up with them on the spot, but it can be done. And it is the only correct way to do it.