Didn't mean to start a thought provoking discussion.
I brought up the thinness of the d20 social skills because it irks me. If you love it, great.
I'm hoping BR will have some thicker social roleplaying sauce. I've always liked the way World of Darkness devotes 1/3 of the character sheet to social powers. Of course I've always liked the 1/4 of the Call of Cthulhu sheet being devoted to the inevitable slide into madness, but that's another topic.
I think insulting the wrong people should stay with the character, same with chatting up the right people. It should have an effect on the future options and situations for the character.
Here's what works for me and my group: When we have a role playing opportunity, I let them just role play. I just rule with a DM Fiat if I'm very convinced they've botched it or won it. If I have any doubt, I give them a dice mod. (Unless the game is bogging down, then I just DM Fiat whatever it takes to get moving again.) I do the dice mod often enough that it rewards players who put the points in the skill, and DM Fiat enough that it rewards great roleplaying no matter what.
We call it role playing, not roll playing, but it's an interesting problem. Should the puzzels be solved by an Int roll? I think most DMs would say no. What about role playing problems?
Should I have my players convince a sexy vampire drow wizard, whose great love the party (inadvertently) helped find a new lover many game sessions ago, just hand over a powerful magic item to the players with a single die roll? Not at my table! Make them sweat! Make them all talk!
(This was part of last nights game, fresh in my mind.)
Oh, thanks to Chairman Aeon for the suggtion about real swords. We're kind of cheap, so we're just poking each other in the eye now.