Starfield persuasion explained: How it works and passing speech checks

(Image credit: Windows Central)

Throughout many of the conflicts you'll find yourself involved in while exploring Starfield's vast universe, resorting to violence will be an effective and efficient way to handle things. However, there are also multiple situations where you stand to benefit greatly from taking a more diplomatic approach. Not only do you avoid using up ammo and healing items by resolving problems peacefully, but you'll also often earn the approval of companions and progress quests in unique ways.

Persuasion in Starfield works similarly to how it did in previous Bethesda RPGs like Fallout 4, but it's been expanded with a few additional mechanics that are important to be aware of before you try and smooth-talk your way across the Settled Systems. In this guide, we'll go over everything you need to know about persuading people in Starfield, including how it works as well as how you can improve your chances of success.

Starfield persuasion explained: How it works

(Image credit: Windows Central)

While speech checks in previous Bethesda games were determined by a single roll of the dice that you could weight in your favor with Charisma or the Speech skill and persuasion-related perks, things are a bit more complicated in Starfield. Under the new system, you'll need to pass multiple speech checks within three "turns" (dialogue options) to successfully persuade someone.

You can begin trying to persuade someone by selecting a dialogue option that has the [Persuade] tag on it. Then, you'll be presented with a variety of different things to say, along with a color indicator of how difficult each option is (green is easy, yellow is medium, red is hard), how many points each option will award you if you're successful, and the number of points you'll need to ultimately persuade who you're talking to. Green options only give you one point, yellow ones give two, three, or four, and red choices will award you either five or six.

Notably, your remaining turns are displayed as well. Each thing you say will use one of these turns, but if you're on your last turn and pass a check, it won't be used, and you can continue until you either get the points you need or fail again. Once you're all out of turns, the persuasion attempt fails.

The difficulty of an attempt is determined by the number of points you need to get. If three or four points are all that's required to win over the character you're conversing with, you can persuade them with a few easy green dialogue options or a single yellow one. If you need five, six, or more points, though, you'll need to win a lot of green speech checks, a few yellow ones, or a very difficult red one. It's worth noting that you can let the game pick an option for you by using auto-persuade, but you'll need to pass a check yourself before this option can be selected.

In our experience, green speech options can fail even though they're the easiest type, so we don't recommend trying to complete hard persuasions with them and them only. Remember, you only have three turns, and it's a bad idea to try and bank on the mechanic that saves your final turn if you pass a check.

Starfield: How to improve persuasion chances

(Image credit: Windows Central)

While you start the game decently capable of convincing others, it's important to build into your persuasion if you want a silver tongue. This can be done in one way: investing skill points into the Persuasion skill, which you'll find on the top row of the Social skill tree.

There are four ranks of the Persuasion skill in total, with each one raising the chance that your speech checks will be successful higher and higher. You'll need a skill point from leveling up to get the first rank, and will need additional skill points as well as a number of successful persuasions for each of the three ranks after that. We've listed each rank below, along with how much each one improves your persuasiveness.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Skill RankBonus
Rank 110% increased chance of success when persuading someone.
Rank 220% increased chance of success when persuading someone.
Rank 330% increased chance of success when persuading someone.
Rank 450% increased chance of success when persuading someone.

If you want to make persuasion a core part of your Starfield play through, we highly recommend ranking this skill up right away by putting your skill points into it and trying to persuade everyone that you can. Doing so will make you an effective diplomat and negotiator early on, allowing you to reap the benefits of your charisma for the majority of your adventure.

Starfield is finally here, and it's undoubtedly one of the best Xbox games and best PC games for lovers of space exploration, deep RPG gameplay, and the sci-fi genre as a whole. 

Starfield Premium Edition

Starfield Premium Edition

Get your hands on Starfield early with the Premium Edition. This version contains several cosmetic items, instant access to the game's first DLC expansion when it comes out, and five days early-access to the full-game.

Buy at: Amazon | Best Buy | Steam (GMG)

Brendan Lowry

Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer and Oakland University graduate with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.

  • GraniteStateColin
    Thank you. I was a little confused what I was doing in the first persuasion challenge. I got past it successfully without any real strategy, but only because I think it was probably intended to be quite easy as the first one.