Starfield: How to Use the Persuasion System & Upgrade Persuasion Skill

Persuasion can be a huge part of Starfield if players want to avoid as much bloodshed as possible, but it can be tricky to master.


Screenshot by Gamepur

While traveling across the stars and interacting with the thousands of people living on the planets around them in Starfield, players need to talk their way out of situations occasionally. Sometimes, their background helps them out, but more often than not, they’ve got to persuade someone not to start shooting a firearm.

Persuasion works differently in Starfield than with all other Bethesda titles. It requires players to take risks sometimes but play it safe at others and think about how hard they want to push someone when trying to achieve their goal. This guide explains how the system works and how to make it easier for a character as they level up.

Related: Starfield Complete Guide – Quest, Lore, Story & Trailers

Starfield Persuade System Explained

Screenshot by Gamepur

Starfield’s persuasion system is based on tweaked dialogue choices. After choosing the dialogue option with [Persuade] at the start of it, the conversation will shift to the persuasion system. Players will then see a selection of options, each with a number next to them. They’ll have three chances to get these choices right.

Screenshot by Gamepur

As shown in the screenshot above, the choices range in difficulty from easy to medium and finally hard. Easy choices award +1 or +2, medium choices award +3 or +4, and hard choices award +5 and +6. The numbers relate to the persuasion meter underneath these options, which should have at least four bars that must be filled.

Players pick dialogue choices based on the score they need to achieve to persuade a character in a given conversation. Easy choices are most likely to succeed, and hard choices are least likely to succeed. If a choice succeeds, then the number of points associated with it will be added to the persuasion meter.

It doesn’t matter how many times a player fails a persuasion choice with this system. It’s possible to fail two turns at persuading a character, then succeed on a hard dialogue choice and succeed. As long as players persuade a character with enough successful points, they’ll get what they want. It’s also possible to get a “Critical Succes,” which is like rolling a 20 in Baldur’s Gate 3 and will award more points for the success than was shown on the dialogue option.

We’ve had a lot of success with this system where we were able to complete a persuasion with two choices, one for +1 and one for +3, but there’s another factor to consider.

How Does Auto-Persuade Work in Starfield

Screenshot by Gamepur

Every persuasion gives players the chance to Auto-Persuade by holding the dialogue action button, provided it’s charged. Auto-Persuade charges up each time players get a successful persuasion. Using it should lead to success in a persuasion, though it’s never guaranteed. Once the Auto-Persuade function has been used, it’ll need to charge up again before players can use it in the future.

Are Some Characters More Difficult to Persuade Than Others in Starfield

Screenshot by Gamepur

While there’s nothing in Starfield that suggests some characters are more difficult to persuade than others, in our experience, some seem more challenging to persuade. For example, the pirate captain players will meet soon after starting the game felt very easy to persuade, and we managed to do so using only medium or orange choices for +3 and +4 points. Later in New Atlantis, we needed to persuade a spaceport guard, and even green choices failed against him. This is why we believe some characters are much more difficult to persuade than others in Starfield.

Of course, upgrading our character’s persuasion skill may have mitigated some of the difficulty with that second character. We hadn’t done much to help it since it’s not very clear how players can upgrade that skill until they dive deep into the skills and traits available.

How to Upgrade the Persuasion Skill in Starfield

starfield jacob persuaded
Screenshot by Gamepur

Players can upgrade their persuasion skill in Starfield in a couple of ways. First is the Persuasion Skill in the Social tab in the skill tree. Unlocking the skill and all four ranks will increase the chances of each dialogue choice succeeding when players next try to persuade a character.

Some certain foods and drinks can enhance a player’s persuasion skill. Anyone struggling with persuasion should hoard these items and hold onto them for when they encounter a persuasion opportunity. It’s easy enough to save and load before every conversation. Those who want to live with their mistakes will have to take their chances with when to use these items though.

Finally, there are a few starting backgrounds that players can choose which will improve their persuasion skill without the need to spend any skill points. The Industrialist, Space Scoundrel, Sculptor, and Diplomat backgrounds all improve a character’s persuasion skill from the start of Starfield’s story.

Best Drugs for Persuasion in Starfield

Screenshot by Gamepur

As mentioned above, there are many drugs and other items, such as alcohol and food, that can increase a character’s persuasion skill. The best drugs are Paramour, which gives players +25% Persuasion Chance for 10 minutes, and Hippolyta, which gives players +20% Persuasion Chance for 5 minutes.

Most alcohol has an impact on a character’s persuasion skill. We’ve listed all the alcohols that increase Persuasion Chance in the list below.

  • Chandra Cabernet Sauvignon: +12% Persuasion Chance for 5 minutes.
  • Chandra Malbec: +12% Persuasion Chance for 5 minutes.
  • Chandra Pinot Noir: +12% Persuasion Chance for 5 minutes.
  • Chandra Riesling: +12% Persuasion Chance for 5 minutes.
  • New Arrival: +12% Persuasion Chance for 5 minutes.
  • Sparkling Wine: +10% Persuasion Chance for 5 minutes.
  • Supernova: +12% Persuasion Chance for 5 minutes.
  • Chunks Wine: +8% Persuasion Chance for 3 minutes.

Can You Attempt to Persuade a Character More Than Once in Starfield

starfield persuade natan
Screenshot by Gamepur

As far as we’re aware, if a player fails all three turns in their persuasion, they won’t get another chance to persuade that character. We haven’t been able to initiate a persuade option a second time in dialogue once we’ve failed it, and we believe this is because the game is designed to make these characters as realistic as possible. Therefore, they’re made to remember that players already attempted to persuade them to do something.

After all, Starfield would be too easy if players could wait a few hours and then return to try to force an NPC to do things their way after already failing to do so once. The only way to re-attempt a persuasion is to save before the attempt, and load that save if the player fails the persuasion the first time.