Understanding the persuasion dialogue system in Starfield

Understanding the persuasion dialogue system in Starfield
Images via Bethesda

Written by 

Joshua Boyles


1st Sep 2023 12:05

The persuasion dialogue system in Starfield has come a long way since Bethesda’s previous RPG outings in Fallout 4 and Skyrim, and we've got everything you need to improve and pass skill checks in the game. While persuasion skill checks used to be a simple pass-or-fail affair, Starfield throws in a mini-game to keep the stakes interesting.

However, while the game briefly explains how to use the persuasion system at the beginning of Starfield, it can still be somewhat confusing if you’re unfamiliar with how skill checks work in other RPGs, like Baldur’s Gate 3.

So, here is everything you need to know about using Starfield's persuasion dialogue system. We’ll also go over how you can improve your persuasion skills, so you can pass nearly every skill check that comes your way.

How does the persuasion dialogue system work?

When entering a persuasion dialogue with a Starfield NPC, the speech option widget will expand slightly to reveal more information.

Next to each dialogue option, you’ll see a colour-coded system, including green, amber, and red:

  • Green - easier difficulty with a high likelihood of passing successfully, but a low persuasion score reward
  • Amber - medium passing difficulty, but with a slightly higher persuasion score reward
  • Red - hardest difficulty with a very high persuasion score reward, but the least likely to pass successfully

Persuasion dialogue in Starfield
Click to enlarge

Alongside these colors, you’ll also see a number. To successfully persuade someone in Starfield, you’ll need to achieve a certain number of persuasion points in an allotted number of turns. This information is displayed beneath the dialogue options, showing how many turns you have left to successfully persuade the person you're speaking with.

So, to successfully persuade someone in Starfield, you need to decide how risky you’d like to be with your dialogue options. You could choose a red option first, which has a very small chance of succeeding, but will mean that you could pass the persuasion check on the first try.

Choosing a red option is extremely risky, and could end up in a firefight. Instead, it’s a better idea to choose a mixture of green and amber options to persuade the Starfield NPC more slowly, with a higher chance of success.

It’s also worth noting that there is a very small chance that, with any chosen dialogue option, it’s possible to roll a critical success. This is completely up to chance, but if rolled, you’ll pass the persuasion dialogue instantly - even if you chose a Green difficulty option.

How to improve your persuasion skill

The persuasion skill tiers in Starfield
Click to enlarge

Similarly to how skills worked in Skyrim, the persuasion skill can be leveled up simply by engaging in as much persuasion as possible.

If you've chosen a certain background for your character, you may start the game with persuasion already unlocked. The backgrounds that include persuasion are:

  • Diplomat
  • Industrialist
  • Sculptor
  • Space Scoundrel

If you haven't yet unlocked persuasion, you'll need to spend a Skill Point to unlock it. You get your first one at Level 2.

From there, you can complete challenges to unlock additional ranks of the persuasion skill. Skill Points can then be spent on these extra tiers to level the skill up further.

The challenges are fairly simple, with the first challenge being to complete three persuasion conversations successfully. Here are all of the tiers that you can unlock for the Persuasion skill in Starfield, as well as what each new tier unlocks:

Tier Reward
Rank 1 10% increased chance of success when persuading someone
Rank 2 20% increased chance of success when persuading someone
Rank 3 30% increased chance of success when persuading someone
Rank 4 50% increased chance of success when persuading someone

So, that’s everything you need to know about the persuasion dialogue system in Starfield. Now you know exactly how to pass the persuasion skill checks, and how to level up the skill even further.

Joshua Boyles
About the author
Joshua Boyles
Joshua is the Guides Editor at GGRecon. After graduating with a BA (Hons) degree in Broadcast Journalism, he previously wrote for publications such as FragHero and GameByte. You can often find him diving deep into fantasy RPGs such as Skyrim and The Witcher, or tearing it up in Call of Duty and Battlefield. He's also often spotted hiking in the wilderness, usually blasting Arctic Monkeys.
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