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Starfield persuasion

Speech checks have been reworked in Bethesda’s latest title, so be sure to check our guide on how Starfield persuasion works.

Starfield persuasion

If you want to be a deep space pacifist in Bethesda’s epic deep space RPG, you’re going to need to get your head around the Starfield persuasion mechanics. In this game, Persuasion relates to one of 82 skills, but to truly win people over with your speech options, there are a few others to get under your belt before you can truly master your way with words. So, we’ve put this guide together, making it easier for you to prove that the sword is mightier than the laser pistol across the Settled Systems.

Another good port of call before heading out into the expanse of space is our Starfield map hub. There you can find interactive versions of the Neon map, Cydonia map, Akila City Map, and New Atlantis Map, with more on the way. Or, if you’re more concerned with your mode of transport, our Starfield ships hub is the place to be, with individual guides for ship components, ship manufacturers, and ship designs.

How does the Starfield persuasion swork?

Previously, speech checks have taken several different forms in Bethesda titles. There were speech pie charts in Oblivion, skill levels thresholds in Fallout New Vegas, and random chance (%) in Fallout 4.

Starfield is different. Provided you have the Persuasion skill, you need a number of persuasion ‘points’ per conversation, and several ‘turns’ in which to get them. Each ‘turn’ presents you with several dialogue options, with riskier speech options earning you more points while a tame approach earns you fewer. However, this does change slightly with the addition of the Negotiation skill, offering you the ability to bribe some NPCs rather than waste time trying to win them over with words alone.

In terms of other useful skills for putting together a persuasion-orientated Starfield build, there are a few. Manipulation can get you out of a jam with enemy NPCs, giving you the ability to command them at your will. There’s also Diplomacy, with which you can cool off any aggressive conversation participants to make it easier to persuade them. Or, if you want to turn Spacer against Spacer, the Instigation skill allows you to make enemies fight each other as you get away with all of their not-so-safely stored weapons and ammo.

Funnily enough, you can also persuade Starfield creatures to do your bidding with the Xenosociology skill. This doesn’t work in quite the same way as persuading a human NPC, but it still saves you from having to get into combat when you’re busy collecting resources.

What backgrunds are the best for a Starfield persuasion build?

If you’re going for a purely persuasive build, better known as a pacifist or social build, there are a few options for the best backgrounds at the beginning of the game. You can check out our recommendations in the list below, including the three skills associated with each.


Boosting your Starfield persuasion

While you can get to Rank 4 pretty quickly, especially if you start the game with one of the backgrounds from above that unlock Persuasion instantly, it’s still worth making note of the quickest ways to level up. For this, you need to complete individual challenges across each Rank to unlock the next. This means you want to opt for the persuade option every time it presents itself in in-game dialogue, even if it means quicksaving before each conversation. The bright side is that you’re going to save lots of ammo from consistently avoiding combat in favor of a more gentle, or more expensive, way of dealing with things.

There you have it, our guide to Starfield persuasion. For more assistance making your way through the Settled Systems, check out our guides to legendary weapon effects and legendary armor effects, or our piece on how to get rid of your Starfield bounty.