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View Full Version : Wait, why is charisma a main stat?



RavKal
2009-06-02, 07:07 AM
In my next campaign I am thinking of getting rid of Charisma. Now, such a thing would require a lot of homebrewing and changing, but I just can't understand why charisma is a primary statistic.

In a roleplaying game, why do we have a stat and skills that we can use to replace actual roleplaying with a simple roll of the d20? Further, at midlevels and up, it becomes almost pointless to roll, as almost anyone is putty in the hands of a PC's bluff, diplomacy, or intimidate check.

As a casting stat I can sort of wrap my mind around what the designers were thinking, but I do not see why the Force of Personality of a person can control their aptitude for innate magic. Why does every person "gifted" with magic have to be likeable (provided they wish it and roll a d20 to find out)? Why can't we have Gumpy, the mentally impaired, hideously disfigured person who hates everyone and just wants to be left alone, be a genius with innate magic?

And then when I look at all the other primary stats they all seem vital to life in one way or another, and before anyone says anything, yes, I checked the SRD, and if you have 0 Charisma you fall unconcious....but it never says WHY.

Tl;DR, Pros and Cons of having Charisma as an actual stat, ways around using Charisma for anything.

Zherog
2009-06-02, 07:11 AM
Tl;DR, Pros and Cons of having Charisma as an actual stat, ways around using Charisma for anything.

Are any of your friends really shy? Or bad with words? Do they ever want to play the dashing and debonair hero who sweeps women off their feet and talks the party out of being hung at dawn?

That's why Charisma (and the associated skills) exists.

Thanatos 51-50
2009-06-02, 07:12 AM
Well:
What if you have a group of people with a low real-life Charisma?
What if your player group has one person with tremendous Real-life Charisma?

How are you, as the DM, going to be able to treat players on an even keel, in relation to NPC reactions?
Real-life player Charisma shouldn't have an effect on the gameworld.

Plus, it can be kind of entertaining for a high-charisma person in real life to play a low-charisma character and vice-versa.

I know I've had troubles with accidentally making my low-charisma characters hit on shopkeeps (and do so well), for example.

ShadowFighter15
2009-06-02, 07:13 AM
Also I think the reason you fall unconscious with 0 CHA is because you're hit with catatonic depression. I kind-of see Charisma as also representing a character's self-confidence.

kamikasei
2009-06-02, 07:13 AM
In a roleplaying game, why do we have a stat and skills that we can use to replace actual roleplaying with a simple roll of the d20?

Perhaps it's not intended to be used like that.


Why does every person "gifted" with magic have to be likeable (provided they wish it and roll a d20 to find out)?

Illithids have high charisma. They're certainly not pretty. Are they likeable? Or do they just have forceful personalities?


Why can't we have Gumpy, the mentally impaired, hideously disfigured person who hates everyone and just wants to be left alone, be a genius with innate magic?

He can! But when he speaks, people will tend to listen. They won't necessarily like him or what he says, they'll just have a hard time ignoring it.


And then when I look at all the other primary stats they all seem vital to life in one way or another, and before anyone says anything, yes, I checked the SRD, and if you have 0 Charisma you fall unconcious....but it never says WHY.

Because Charisma reflects your sense of self. With no Charisma, you have no concept that you are distinct from your surroundings. You have no internal drive or will of your own. You're nothing.

Yuki Akuma
2009-06-02, 07:13 AM
Charisma is a main stat for the same reason Intelligence and Wisdom are - so that people can roleplay characters who think differently from themselves without having to put too much effort into trying to think in ways they're not used to.

Plus, charismatic heroes are pretty common in stories, the same as smart and wise heroes. Why shouldn't it be a stat?

OverdrivePrime
2009-06-02, 07:14 AM
And then when I look at all the other primary stats they all seem vital to life in one way or another, and before anyone says anything, yes, I checked the SRD, and if you have 0 Charisma you fall unconcious....but it never says WHY.


I know people who've successfully gotten rid of Charisma. They've made sorcerers a constitution-based class and bards and intelligence-based class. The various charisma skills can be split up into Intelligence and Wisdom as appropriate.

I think we've got three mental stats to compliment the three physical stats because social intelligence is a fairly complex and vital part of being sentient. Falling unconscious due to a 0 charisma makes sense because Charisma encompasses your strength of ego and personality. If it's at zero, you lose your capability or will to affect the world outside your own mind and lapse into an unconscious state.

daggaz
2009-06-02, 07:14 AM
Two things:

High charisma doesn't necessarily mean that you are likeable. It means you have a determined way of getting your point across so that people accept it, whether they like it or not. Hitler had a very high charisma, but he wasn't exactly the nicest guy on the block. Stalin as well. And these examples work before they rose in power to the point where it was the threat behind their words alone that influenced people.

You dont "fall unconscious" if your charisma hits zero in the sense of somebody who gets "knocked out." You become a willless vegetable with no power to act on any decisions, as your ego has been utterly destroyed. Basically, you are two steps away from being a mindless undead. Just need to die and be reanimated, and then have your empty shell of a mind overtaken by the will of something else.

Narmoth
2009-06-02, 07:19 AM
How to use cha while ROLEplaying an encounter:

- roll diplomacy
- modify with what the character said
= reaction of npc

continue the encounter. The diplomacy roll (with modifier for friendly/unfriendly and so on) is the baseline to which you apply a bonus or penalty depending on what the PC says to the NPC

Yuki Akuma
2009-06-02, 07:25 AM
Charisma also reflects your ability to differentiate yourself from your surroundings, by the way. This is why every creature, even animated objects, have a Charisma score.

I suppose when you get drained to 0 Charisma you fall unconscious due to apathy.


You dont "fall unconscious" if your charisma hits zero in the sense of somebody who gets "knocked out." You become a willless vegetable with no power to act on any decisions, as your ego has been utterly destroyed. Basically, you are two steps away from being a mindless undead. Just need to die and be reanimated, and then have your empty shell of a mind overtaken by the will of something else.

You're worse off than a mindless undead. At least a zombie has a Charisma score (of 1, but still). A zombie can tell when it's getting attacked. Something with 0 Charisma? Nope.

Tsotha-lanti
2009-06-02, 07:30 AM
Are any of your friends really shy? Or bad with words? Do they ever want to play the dashing and debonair hero who sweeps women off their feet and talks the party out of being hung at dawn?

That's why Charisma (and the associated skills) exists.

This. You can't tie PC abilities to player abilities. You can't get around making them do their own thinking (although games can and should allow regular joes to play super-geniuses and enlightened masters), but you can't require people to actually be great actors and speakers if the want to play one.

It still shouldn't replace anything. You can expect even the stutteringest player to come up with the gist of what their character says, even if you don't require them to speak in-character word for word (I never require it, and do it about half the time). If they try to roll Diplomacy while threatening someone, you fail their ass with an ad-hoc modifier; if they try to Intimidate someone while saying please and thank you, you do it again! It supports and enables, rather than replacing. It also lets a player who isn't the best speaker in the group play a character who is - why should the fighter be a better speaker than the bard who focuses on diplomacy just because one player happens to be a celebrated motivational speaker and one happens to be shy and and quiet?


In D&D, specifically, Charisma represents something way past social ability; it represents force of personality, and "self" (at Charisma 0 you are unable to distinguish yourself from the rest of the world; you have no conception of self). It represents power, or the apperance or feeling of it. Likeable? Hell no. Impressive? Hell yes. That's why so many undead have high Charisma. The most grotesquely terrifying monsters should, if anything, have high Charisma, because they're impressive. You won't like them, but you sure as hell will be affected.


If anything, Intelligence is the odd one out. At least Wisdom is willpower and perception, but Intelligence could just be replaced by skills (which is literally what the cognitive psychology - AKA "psychology that makes sense" - view on intelligence is: sets of skills).

Wulfram
2009-06-02, 07:56 AM
One thing I've thought about is scrapping both charisma and social skills, and replacing them with a few feats (or something), which would simply serve as something to tell the DM what the character is good at.

Narmoth
2009-06-02, 08:01 AM
It still shouldn't replace anything. You can expect even the stutteringest player to come up with the gist of what their character says, even if you don't require them to speak in-character word for word (I never require it, and do it about half the time). If they try to roll Diplomacy while threatening someone, you fail their ass with an ad-hoc modifier; if they try to Intimidate someone while saying please and thank you, you do it again!


Sometimes, saying please as part of intimidation can be threatening. You just have to do it the right way :smalleek:

Swordguy
2009-06-02, 08:08 AM
If anything, Intelligence is the odd one out. At least Wisdom is willpower and perception, but Intelligence could just be replaced by skills (which is literally what the cognitive psychology - AKA "psychology that makes sense" - view on intelligence is: sets of skills).



Intelligence measures how quickly you learn and how efficiently you retain information. That differentiates it from both Wisdom and Charisma, and accounts for why it gives you bonus skills (you can learn more in a given amount of time than someone with less Int).

Kurald Galain
2009-06-02, 08:19 AM
In my next campaign I am thinking of getting rid of Charisma. Now, such a thing would require a lot of homebrewing and changing, but I just can't understand why charisma is a primary statistic.
I would take the opposite point of view. D&D has three physical stats, two mental ones, and one social. This already reflects the principle that D&D is primarily about (physical) combat and that other things are less important, although this of course depends on the DM. Most other systems I can think of have a more balanced division between mental, physical and social stats (e.g. White Wolf has 3 of each).

So unless you want a campaign focused almost entirely on fighting, I would really not recommend removing social stats.

Tengu_temp
2009-06-02, 08:25 AM
If the word "charisma" simply doesn't feel right, then why not simply rename it as "spirit"?

JeenLeen
2009-06-02, 08:37 AM
Charismatic casters or ability-users seem to fuel their power through their force of personality, the ability to exert their will upon others and let that have tangible results. A sorcerer manipulates reality through force of will. A bard manipulates others through his ability to exert his personality through his voice or music. A paladin or other using Smite is using his convictions to deal extra damage.

Charisma is not very closely linked to physical appearance or even diplomatic skill. As said above, it can be how impressive or impacting their are by their presence.

Thanatos 51-50
2009-06-02, 08:39 AM
Sometimes, saying please as part of intimidation can be threatening. You just have to do it the right way :smalleek:

Hasty and poor example:
"Now, would you please hand over that MacGuffin? I'm getting rather tired of cleaning your blood off my sword."

Philistine
2009-06-02, 08:44 AM
In a roleplaying game, why do we have a stat and skills that we can use to replace actual roleplaying with a simple roll of the d20?

You know, you could use the plausibility and/or sheer awesomeness of the players' descriptions of the characters' combat actions to determine the group's success or failure at killing things and taking their stuff. So why do we have multiple stats and skills that we can use to replace actual roleplaying with simple rolls of the dice?

I look at the die roll as "factors outside the character's knowledge and control." A low roll could reflect that a given NPC who I'm trying to influence has an irrational hatred for redheads, or that the NPC has noticed that my character has a visible "tell" when trying to lie; a high roll could reflect that the NPC has some secret reason for wanting to do what I asked already, and was just looking for an excuse (or a scapegoat :smallbiggrin:).

Narmoth
2009-06-02, 09:22 AM
Hasty and poor example:
"Now, would you please hand over that MacGuffin? I'm getting rather tired of cleaning your blood off my sword."

"Now, after almost killing your queen the shapechanger-dragon, thus proving that I were right about there being a princess kidnapping dragon, would you please help me find the princess before I have to kill anyone?"

Said by my NG ordained champion/blackguard ecl 14 to an LG king.
I had 20 in intimidate, I had aura of evil, and I had earlier killed a 800 hp extraplanar in front of the whole court

KillianHawkeye
2009-06-02, 09:54 AM
Why do we have Charisma? It's tradition!

Seriously, though, besides all the great reasons everybody else has already stated, I have something to say about social skills. The social skills aren't supposed to replace roleplaying, although I guess that that happens in some groups. The way I do it is to have my players roleplay their bluff or argument or whatever, and then roll their relevant skill. Then how well they roll (with situational modifiers, etc.) tells me how the NPC percieved what was said and their reaction to it. Basically, it means that the player still roleplays WHAT their character says, but it is the die roll that tells me HOW WELL they actually said it. Get it?

ghost_warlock
2009-06-02, 10:20 AM
Why do we have any mental stats for characters? Or stats at all, for that matter?

Certainly it's incredibly inconvenient when the high-Int character makes a Knowledge check and thereby knows a monster's weakness.

And it really sucks when a character makes that Wisdom-based Spot check to notice a monsters sneaking up on him. Really, the DM should have a buddy try to sneak up on the group and only the one that first notices gets to react in the surprise round. I can't believe characters can make Survival checks to find food in the wilderness when all of their rations are gone; the characters should just eat when the players do!

Furthermore, I know people who are really smart, studied for years and years in college, and they certainly can't throw around fireballs and force cages. If they want to play the kind of characters who can, they'd better be able to do it in real life!

tl;dr - player abilities and character abilities are not the same thing. Charisma may exists as a stat to model abilities the character has that the player does not.

bosssmiley
2009-06-02, 10:23 AM
In my next campaign I am thinking of getting rid of Charisma. Now, such a thing would require a lot of homebrewing and changing, but I just can't understand why charisma is a primary statistic.

Once upon a time, in the distant days when D&D wore its wargaming roots a little more comfortably (see also: any retro-clone), the Charisma stat directly governed:

how many henchmen and hirelings (ie: secondary and/or replacement characters) you could have at one time
NPC and monster reactions to the PCs.

Charisma - through reaction checks - meant the difference between fighting hostile groups who outnumbered you on their home turf, or potentially turning factions of the enemy against one another, thereby leaving you and your buddies to loot the bodies and treasuries in peace.

So, yeah. A big deal.

Of course, this all went to pot when focus shifted away from a meaningful reaction and morale system into the realms of DM fiat. Cha was thereby emasculated and left as the feeble eunuch stat in search of a role that we all know and despise today.

@V: back in the day you got a pittance of XP from fighting monsters. You got your major XP from finding (and squandering) treasure. This was D&D as treasure-hunting game in which the passage of time is a critical factor and combat is something to be avoided. You were, to borrow a phrase, engaged in The Great Dungeon Caper (http://superheronecromancer.blogspot.com/2009/04/great-dungeon-caper_19.html). :smallcool:

Tengu_temp
2009-06-02, 10:30 AM
Charisma - through reaction checks - meant the difference between fighting hostile groups who outnumbered you on their home turf, or potentially turning factions of the enemy against one another, thereby leaving you and your buddies to loot the bodies and treasuries in peace.


Of course, not fighting the enemies also meant you didn't get experience from defeating them, so in the end charisma might not have been such important after all...

Arakune
2009-06-02, 10:39 AM
Of course, not fighting the enemies also meant you didn't get experience from defeating them, so in the end charisma might not have been such important after all...

Wasn't back in the day XP=GP?

DamnedIrishman
2009-06-02, 10:43 AM
Of course, not fighting the enemies also meant you didn't get experience from defeating them, so in the end charisma might not have been such important after all...

High enough charisma score to befriend Tucker's Kobolds? Now you have an army.

Telonius
2009-06-02, 10:57 AM
In my next campaign I am thinking of getting rid of Charisma. Now, such a thing would require a lot of homebrewing and changing, but I just can't understand why charisma is a primary statistic.


Five is an odd number, and odd numbers are ugly. You have three physical stats, but without Charisma, you have two mental stats. No symmetry! Not aesthetically pleasing at all. :smalltongue:

Burley
2009-06-02, 11:02 AM
I find that charisma is especially useful in speeding up uncomfortable encounters. Like when that player decides to try to pick up chicks.

"Roll a Charisma check"
*roll* "27"
"You pick up 27 chicks."
"YEAH!"
*roll*"Unfortunately, 28 of them are dudes."
"Huh?"

Ackward situation resolved.

Nerd-o-rama
2009-06-02, 11:03 AM
Of course, not fighting the enemies also meant you didn't get experience from defeating them, so in the end charisma might not have been such important after all...Who said you had to fight people to defeat them? As long as you have an encounter (rather than avoiding it) and aren't totally routed by it, you get the XP. At least when I run D&D. This includes persuading a group to let you pass, or do your dirty work for you.

Alternatively: "Do I not also destroy my enemy when I make him my friend?"

Zenos
2009-06-02, 11:04 AM
Wasn't back in the day XP=GP?

Yeah, I was thinking about posting that you got most of your exp from the treasure back in the days.

Person_Man
2009-06-02, 11:11 AM
A somewhat common/well known variant is to give PCs a number of Action Points (www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/adventuring/actionpoints.htm), or something like it, equal to their Charisma bonus. I've used my personal spin on this before (you can use an Action Point to re-roll any one die, fuel any limited use ability, or bend the rules to do something heroic or interesting) and they had a great effect on the game.

Talya
2009-06-02, 11:33 AM
Of course, not fighting the enemies also meant you didn't get experience from defeating them, so in the end charisma might not have been such important after all...

You get experience from overcoming an encounter of any kind, based on its challenge rating compared to your character level. Overcoming the challenge does not need to take the form of combat.

Narmoth
2009-06-02, 11:50 AM
yeah, therefore all the attempts on seducing succubi rather than fighting them...

MickJay
2009-06-02, 12:13 PM
Even if you fight, you don't have to kill enemies to get XP, it's enough to subdue them/make them surrender/stun them - any DM who doesn't give full XP for that doesn't know the basic mechanics. If you can defeat encounter, you get exp. Sneaking past enemies worth 2000XP and getting what you were after gets you 2000XP.

And yes, back in the good old days you could get to top levels without ever physically hurting anyone (it was enough to rob them blind). In this respect, the newest incarnation of D&D goes even further away from its roots than 3.x.

Talya
2009-06-02, 12:17 PM
yeah, therefore all the attempts on seducing succubi rather than fighting them...

Attempting to seduce a succubus is a very, very, bad idea. Especially if successful.

GreyMantle
2009-06-02, 12:21 PM
Charisma as a stat is kind of annoying. Mechanically, it's annoying because it (like Strength) can be dumped in many builds without ever encountering any real problems. Likewise, I find it kind of funny that some hardcore warrior of death still has problems convincing his mother to let him stay up past his bedtime, or convincing the king that his vizier is actually a shapeshifted sentient rat. (Really, how many heroic fantasy stories have some dull, unsexy loser as their main character?) However, it is useful in giving non-charismatic people the chance to play charismatic characters.

If I was designing a massive rebuild of D&D (which I'm not), I would probably eliminate both Charisma (moving its various functions into Int and Wis, possibly with a couple feats to represent being really persuasive), and Constitution (Or rather, combine Con and Strength into one Body stat). Higher level characters would probably get some latent bonus to diplomacy checks as well.

Choco
2009-06-02, 12:22 PM
The simple answer:

Charisma is a main stat because all the non-charisma based classes could use a dump stat that will not affect them much in a game system built on combat and using violence to get everything you want :smalltongue:

Sstoopidtallkid
2009-06-02, 12:22 PM
Attempting to seduce a succubus is a very, very, bad idea. Especially if successful.So you say. The proper PCs, however, have no worries. Necropolitans and similar, or just good and holy Clerics with Death Ward active.

Zherog
2009-06-02, 12:41 PM
The way I do it is to have my players roleplay their bluff or argument or whatever, and then roll their relevant skill. Then how well they roll (with situational modifiers, etc.) tells me how the NPC percieved what was said and their reaction to it. Basically, it means that the player still roleplays WHAT their character says, but it is the die roll that tells me HOW WELL they actually said it. Get it?

This is how I do it as well. If I particularly like what you say, I might secretly give you a +1 or (rarely) a +2 to your roll. I won't ever give you a penalty based on your roleplaying, though.

Narmoth
2009-06-02, 12:48 PM
Charisma as a stat is kind of annoying. Mechanically, it's annoying because it (like Strength) can be dumped in many builds without ever encountering any real problems. Likewise, I find it kind of funny that some hardcore warrior of death still has problems convincing his mother to let him stay up past his bedtime, or convincing the king that his vizier is actually a shapeshifted sentient rat. (Really, how many heroic fantasy stories have some dull, unsexy loser as their main character?) However, it is useful in giving non-charismatic people the chance to play charismatic characters.

On the other hand, I can use intimidate to scare away powerful magicians, use diplomacy to get the evil vashar empire to provide me free food and lodging, and use bluff to weasel me away from the paladins sent to slay me for having abandoned my god, or use diplomacy to get the archmage to bend over backwards to give me some special magic items I need
Remember, charisma isn't only diplomacy, but it's bluff and intimidate, and gather information as well

ghost_warlock
2009-06-02, 01:21 PM
Attempting to seduce a succubus is a very, very, bad idea. Especially if successful.

Nah, never caused any problems for my characters. (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/deathWard.htm) Really, no problem at all. (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/mindBlank.htm) :smallcool:

*insert distasteful joke about wearing protection here*

shadzar
2009-06-02, 01:24 PM
In my next campaign I am thinking of getting rid of Charisma. Now, such a thing would require a lot of homebrewing and changing, but I just can't understand why charisma is a primary statistic.

Good question. In a game where scantily clad women appear at every turn, that is played by overweight outcasts of society, and one in which you get to be something you are not; charisma is there for these homely gamers to finally have the looks of Adonis.

STR, DEX, CON: all exist for the physical attributes of a character.

INT, WIS: are the mental.

What else could you have for mental to balance out the stats to 3 of each?

Don't forget Comeliness that was included for a short time that was purely looks.

When looking at the stupid stuff in 4th specifically versus the stupid stuff in other editions, just how in the world can your looks and mannerisms allow a warlock to cast spells? :smallconfused:

Crap~ Have to continue later...need to update something on this computer real quick before a storm hits.

Eldariel
2009-06-02, 01:25 PM
What else could you have for mental to balance out the stats to 3 of each?

Easy. Awareness/Perception. A stat that's somehow lumped into Wis in this game even though the two have nothing to do with each other.

Samb
2009-06-02, 01:45 PM
Why have any non-physical stat? Just role play a smart person. Who needs wisdom, just play with common sense. You do not equal your PC, hence you need a stat that will reflect what you want your character to be, not how you really are.

If this was a war game were nothing but fights mattered then CHR is pointless but this is a role-playing game, and some people have roles that involve interacting with people that do not involve hacking people up.

CHR as the primary stat for classes that are "naturals" makes sense thematically. What would a wilder be if not forceful in personality? Rock stars should have an intangible charm to them. None of the other stats can adequately capture this.

Theodoriph
2009-06-02, 01:56 PM
Why are Wisdom, Intelligence, Strength, Dexterity and Constitution main stats too?

You can roleplay those as well.


Your character's been poisoned??? Don't roll a save. Grab a bottle of rubbing alcohol and drink up!

It's all about roleplay people!

chiasaur11
2009-06-02, 02:00 PM
Good question. In a game where scantily clad women appear at every turn, that is played by overweight outcasts of society, and one in which you get to be something you are not; charisma is there for these homely gamers to finally have the looks of Adonis.

STR, DEX, CON: all exist for the physical attributes of a character.

INT, WIS: are the mental.

What else could you have for mental to balance out the stats to 3 of each?

Don't forget Comeliness that was included for a short time that was purely looks.

When looking at the stupid stuff in 4th specifically versus the stupid stuff in other editions, just how in the world can your looks and mannerisms allow a warlock to cast spells? :smallconfused:


Easily. The Warlock is all about a deal with alien powers. Being able to convince them to give a better deal means better powers.

Drascin
2009-06-02, 02:24 PM
If the word "charisma" simply doesn't feel right, then why not simply rename it as "spirit"?

Only if you give fighters Valor.

Aaanyway, I have to agree with previous posts. Charisma is useful in letting uncharismatic people (such as myself) play characters who can actually convince others to do stuff, much like Int allows people of barely average intellect (again, like myself) to play smart characters. If you do eliminate it, you should probably expect the same person to always be the party face in your group, forever, as the shy/uncharismatic people will just realize they're bad at it and not want to screw the party out of good quests by talking too much, while having had a high-charisma character would have meant they had to say something, even if only the gist of it.

Devils_Advocate
2009-06-02, 02:32 PM
In my opinion, Wisdom and Charisma don't generally do all that much compared to Dex, Con, and Int, so I don't see anything terribly unbalancing about combining Cha and Wis into a single "street smarts" stat. (It boosts Clerics too much, but that's because Clerics can already get too much out of both Wis and Cha. Limit exotic uses of Turn Undead and it's not really a big deal.) Especially if you're going to get rid of most of the Charisma skills; then it only makes sense. Just get rid of the idea of Wisdom as common sense (which, unless I'm missing something, isn't mechanically enforced at all) and it works.

shadzar
2009-06-02, 03:27 PM
Easy. Awareness/Perception. A stat that's somehow lumped into Wis in this game even though the two have nothing to do with each other.

Good call, sadly they are just your "take-10" kind of things. Some games actually do switch up the stats for making more sense, sadly this was never done, and the search check added Spot, then 4th the two you mention....The list of stats could grow really big if you aren't careful and make stupid people feel stupid for not knowing what they all are there for.

And I mean that with the potential list of 100 base stats, not anyone using any system with 10 or so stats that exists now.


Why have any non-physical stat? Just role play a smart person. Who needs wisdom, just play with common sense. You do not equal your PC, hence you need a stat that will reflect what you want your character to be, not how you really are.

Then the game isn't fair for all those people that don't have the elvels of INT for themselves that the character should have.

I have a problem playing middle-of-the-road character rather than high INT/WIS or low ones. Because stepping outside myself for the mid range is hard to do. While I can play a dumb character easily.

Other people who don't have the personal background to use INT of their own person wouldn't be able to play those character that need it...but they neglect if the stat doesn't exist, then you don't have anything in-game based on it.

Likewise Diplomacy, should never be in the game as a rule or mechanic, because it is part of the roleplaying. People should be trying to use diplomacy....

This makes Charimsa the most stupid of stats, since it is looks and manners. This is what you are portraying through roleplaying the character, as well as what your imagination says. Really it does not need a stat for it. :smallconfused:


Easily. The Warlock is all about a deal with alien powers. Being able to convince them to give a better deal means better powers.

Then why don't clerics use charisma? They are dealing with gods to grant them their powers. You would need better charisma than wisdom to appease the gods for their favor. You really think WIS should help when a mere mortal is less than likely to outsmart a god? :smallconfused:

So the stats are just there as a backbone for the game, even if some of the mechanics never made sense.

Again this is where Comeliness came form because people felt charisma was dipping to much into character development and you needed something you couldn't represent with words, but a quantifiable stat for how you look outside of charisma.

Also a main reason that for many charisma was a dump stat. It wasn't needed for anything, and shouldn't be outside of roleplaying. Only outside of combat should charisma come into play. The pen may be mightier than the sword, but a verb cannot block a sword. :smallwink:

Zeful
2009-06-02, 03:32 PM
Nah, never caused any problems for my characters. (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/deathWard.htm) Really, no problem at all. (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/mindBlank.htm) :smallcool:

*insert distasteful joke about wearing protection here*

Yeah, but she doesn't need to sleep. You do. And a Fanatical Succubus will want you all night long, most of the next day, and that night to.

Good luck with that.:smallbiggrin:

AmberVael
2009-06-02, 03:37 PM
Why have any non-physical stat? Just role play a smart person. Who needs wisdom, just play with common sense. You do not equal your PC, hence you need a stat that will reflect what you want your character to be, not how you really are.

For that matter, why have any physical stat? When your DM complains that you aren't strong enough to pick up the boulder, just reach across the table and punch him in the face. See? You can substitute real strength for DnD strength scores! :smalltongue:

Sstoopidtallkid
2009-06-02, 03:39 PM
Yeah, but she doesn't need to sleep. You do. And a Fanatical Succubus will want you all night long, most of the next day, and that night to.

Good luck with that.:smallbiggrin:Why I sugested Necropolitan over Death Ward(Mind Blank really isn't necessary if you play with nat 20s or have a save of at least +2, the Suggestions do not last past the kiss).

Heck, if Succubi never grow tired, and undead last forever...ewewew.

CheshireCatAW
2009-06-02, 03:47 PM
Originally Posted by GreyMantle
Charisma as a stat is kind of annoying. Mechanically, it's annoying because it (like Strength) can be dumped in many builds without ever encountering any real problems. Likewise, I find it kind of funny that some hardcore warrior of death still has problems convincing his mother to let him stay up past his bedtime, or convincing the king that his vizier is actually a shapeshifted sentient rat. (Really, how many heroic fantasy stories have some dull, unsexy loser as their main character?) However, it is useful in giving non-charismatic people the chance to play charismatic characters.

A common misconception about literary heroes is that they have Charisma as their dump stat. Odysseus wasn't kept on an island by Calypso because he could kill a Cyclops, he was kept there because he was attractive to her. Additionally, he had a very strong personality. I mean.. he traveled for what, 20 years to make it home through hell and high water? Beowulf, similarly, had a high Charisma. When you see a grizzled war veteran who inspires fear in those around him, who women secretly fantasize about and breaks people with his gaze, he has a high Charisma. When you have a grizzled war veteran who stumbles around because he loses himself in the drink too much, simply says or does the wrong things at the wrong time or has difficulty expressing his opinions and getting the group to agree, he has low Charisma.

The hardcore warrior of death doesn't have difficulty convincing his mother to stay up late because he's great on the battlefield, that's irrelevant. He has trouble because he cannot drum up the force of will to confront his mother. The king does not doubt him because he's a noteable warrior, but because he keeps stuttering, making false or confusing allusions or just dancing around the point for so long that he's lost credibility.

Many people play their characters' charisma much higher than it is. An 11 CHA is normal for a peasant, and how forceful and individual are they?

Doc Roc
2009-06-02, 03:50 PM
Tl;DR, Pros and Cons of having Charisma as an actual stat, ways around using Charisma for anything.

Now, I did read your post. But it's simple:
Sometimes we like to play roles we're not actually good at. I want to play a charismatic sorcerer. I'm only moderately charming at best and the only magic I can work requires a python interpreter or C compiler. I like knowing that the game will allow me to exceed myself. What better argument do you need?

CheshireCatAW
2009-06-02, 03:54 PM
Originally Posted by shadzar
When looking at the stupid stuff in 4th specifically versus the stupid stuff in other editions, just how in the world can your looks and mannerisms allow a warlock to cast spells?

I was under the impression that the warlock did not cast because of the looks and mannerisms, per se, but due to his force of personality. Much like the sorceror. They will the universe to do what they want. Where Wizards learn to harness magic like a giant machine (if I do this ritual now, say these words, I can balance the equation later and cause things to explode!), and Clerics search their beliefs and seek a higher understanding of those who they worship (How can a world so dark exist when there are such great gods about?), the Charisma based casters manifest their overpowering ability to (I hesitate to say) inflict their will on reality.

Kris Strife
2009-06-02, 03:56 PM
For that matter, why have any physical stat? When your DM complains that you aren't strong enough to pick up the boulder, just reach across the table and punch him in the face. See? You can substitute real strength for DnD strength scores! :smalltongue:

And violence solves yet another problem!

shadzar
2009-06-02, 04:41 PM
I was under the impression that the warlock did not cast because of the looks and mannerisms, per se, but due to his force of personality. Much like the sorceror. They will the universe to do what they want. Where Wizards learn to harness magic like a giant machine (if I do this ritual now, say these words, I can balance the equation later and cause things to explode!), and Clerics search their beliefs and seek a higher understanding of those who they worship (How can a world so dark exist when there are such great gods about?), the Charisma based casters manifest their overpowering ability to (I hesitate to say) inflict their will on reality.

Can you tell me where this mechanical bit of "fluff" comes from?

It has to be tied to the mechanics, but sounds too much like fluff reasoning for something outside of common sense realm. Because a wizard could be using higher understanding of the laws of the universe as the cleric does of the understanding of beliefs then, so why don't both use WIS rather than INT? :smallconfused:

darkblust
2009-06-02, 06:04 PM
sometimes i think rollinglow on a cha. based skills mean your kind of grouchy,upset or tired when you do watever ur doing.

AslanCross
2009-06-02, 06:24 PM
Can you tell me where this mechanical bit of "fluff" comes from?

It has to be tied to the mechanics, but sounds too much like fluff reasoning for something outside of common sense realm. Because a wizard could be using higher understanding of the laws of the universe as the cleric does of the understanding of beliefs then, so why don't both use WIS rather than INT? :smallconfused:

None of these are in RAW. I think they're safe interpretations of how the abilities interact with the game mechanics.

It's really hard to draw the line, true, but from what I understand, the wizard studies and learns the processes of the universe, using intricate words and gestures to press the right buttons.

The cleric studies and learns from texts that ultimately point to faith in a deity; I'd say it's more of an understanding of the his own place in the universe. Faith becomes submission to the will of the cleric's deity, and his magic is not done by understanding the process, but by letting the deity work through him. As such it's not applied knowledge like the Wizard's.

Sorcerers and Warlocks are slightly similar in that they can simply make the world work for them (arguably, Warlocks don't even really need Cha as it only affects the DCs of their invocations). Sorcerers can innately push the buttons of the Universe as opposed to Wizards who need to study how to do it, but they can only push a very small part of it and can't really learn more than that.

shadzar
2009-06-02, 06:33 PM
None of these are in RAW. I think they're safe interpretations of how the abilities interact with the game mechanics.

It's really hard to draw the line, true, but from what I understand, the wizard studies and learns the processes of the universe, using intricate words and gestures to press the right buttons.

The cleric studies and learns from texts that ultimately point to faith in a deity; I'd say it's more of an understanding of the his own place in the universe. Faith becomes submission to the will of the cleric's deity, and his magic is not done by understanding the process, but by letting the deity work through him. As such it's not applied knowledge like the Wizard's.

Sorcerers and Warlocks are slightly similar in that they can simply make the world work for them (arguably, Warlocks don't even really need Cha as it only affects the DCs of their invocations). Sorcerers can innately push the buttons of the Universe as opposed to Wizards who need to study how to do it, but they can only push a very small part of it and can't really learn more than that.


Learning and casting spells require long study, patience, and research. Once his adventuring life begins, a wizard is largely responsible for his own education; he no longer has a teacher looking over his shoulder and telling him which spell to learn next.

Copyright 1999 TSR Inc.
This shows how the wizard should probably use both INT and WIS, yet INT is only for the wizard.


The priest is a believer and advocate of a god from a particular mythos. More than just a follower, he intercedes and acts on behalf of others, seeking to use his powers to advance the beliefs of his mythos.


Copyright 1999 TSR Inc.

The cleric on the other hand reads more like he should be using charisma to gain followers and aid from his god.

These are both from 2nd edition.

I agree these things can be interpretted in many ways, but the problem has always been with the "fluff" not matching the "crunch" as a Cleric uses WIS rather than CHA, but by description it would seem more than CHA is what would be used.

It would seem more then that Sorcerer and Warlock would be using WIS....but again, I don't make the games and only go with what is presented as the fluff and have to rewrite it to make sense thematically with the mechanics. :smallconfused:

So your ideas, aren't wrong, they just never seem to put the right fluff with the right thing for the mechanics the way they work. :smallconfused:

AslanCross
2009-06-02, 06:44 PM
I'll level with you---I think you're taking these idiosyncrasies way too seriously. If you're not happy with the way the existing rules do it, you may just want to homebrew them as fits your interpretation or play another system. In my opinion, homebrewing to "fix" this is more trouble than it's worth, or may simply be superfluous. "Oh, Wizards use Wis instead of Int in your games? Ok, I'll drop Wis and Cha, then."

CheshireCatAW
2009-06-02, 08:24 PM
The information on the stats is taken from the SRD, however, the 4E PHB echo's the SRD for the most part, except one interesting point under Charisma.

Intelligence/Wizards

Intelligence (Int)
Intelligence determines how well your character learns and reasons.
SRD


Wizards depend on intensive study to create their magic. They examine musty old tomes, debate magical theory with their peers, and practice minor magics whenever they can. For a Wizard, magic is not a talent but a difficult, rewarding art.
P. 55 PHB 3.5

I think this adequately explains why Intelligence is the stat for Wizards. Especially the first sentence.

Wisdom/Clerics

Wisdom (Wis)
Wisdom describes a character’s willpower, common sense, perception, and intuition. While Intelligence represents one’s ability to analyze information, Wisdom represents being in tune with and aware of one’s surroundings.
SRD


Clerics do not acquire their spells from books or scrolls, nor do they prepare them through study. Instead, they meditate or pray for their spells, receiving them through their own strength of faith or as divine inspiration. Each Cleric must choose a time at which he must spend 1 hour each day in quite contemplation or supplication to regain his daily allotment of spells.
P. 32 PHB 3.5

While not as clear as the Wizard, I think it's easier to make the case for Wisdom after the above than Charisma or Intelligence, in particular with the mentions of meditation and contemplation.

Charisma/Sorceror

Charisma (Cha)
Charisma measures a character’s force of personality, persuasiveness, personal magnetism, ability to lead, and physical attractiveness.

Interestingly enough, 4E has basically the same description, except it leaves out physical attractiveness.

This one is the most ambiguous, however, it definitely does not say that they cast spells from their mannerisms or good looks. While this isn't precisely the description for the Warlock, I decided to keep it simple for purposes of examples.

A lot of it IS fluff, true, and not much in the mechanical aspect, however, your question is mainly about fluff anyway, so I think it should count. However, AslanCross brings up a good point. If you really feel that the stats should be swapped, do it. After all, it's your game. :)

RavKal
2009-06-02, 08:25 PM
OP here after a long day of school and study.

I've read everything thusfar posted and I see pretty much everyone's points, and many of you make very valid arguments.

I will take a moment to discuss the origin of my conflict. I have a player in my group who plays a high charisma sorceror 9/10 times, with an emphasis on abusing that charisma score. A good example is when his character (a short, stereotypically attractive female) tried to intimidate a 6' 4" barbarian...which really doesn't make any sense.

I'm not saying I have a problem with the player, it's just that he seems to be the epitome of the troubles associated with Charisma. And to those of you who said it could be based on the people wanting to be something they're not, I understand completely, however, my players are suitably skilled to whatever role they choose.

So does it all come down to modifying the rolls?

CheshireCatAW
2009-06-02, 08:35 PM
Intimidate and Diplomacy are really hard to manage because of problems such as this. If the woman is charismatic and intimidating she should be played to her strengths. Now, I don't mean she'd be the Freddy Kreuger or Vin Diesel type of intimidating, but she could definitely be the quiet, subtle, scary intimidation. The barbarian may have a very low wisdom meaning he should be easy to manipulate. It may seem strange, but it does make sense. I'm a fairly large man, and some of the scariest people I've worked with are the small Air Force intel people. It doesn't mean that he'll run screaming like a frightened child from her, but he won't sleep with her around if she's successful.

In the end, yes, I believe it comes down to circumstance modifiers.

RebelRogue
2009-06-02, 08:44 PM
OP here after a long day of school and study.

I've read everything thusfar posted and I see pretty much everyone's points, and many of you make very valid arguments.

I will take a moment to discuss the origin of my conflict. I have a player in my group who plays a high charisma sorceror 9/10 times, with an emphasis on abusing that charisma score. A good example is when his character (a short, stereotypically attractive female) tried to intimidate a 6' 4" barbarian...which really doesn't make any sense.

I'm not saying I have a problem with the player, it's just that he seems to be the epitome of the troubles associated with Charisma. And to those of you who said it could be based on the people wanting to be something they're not, I understand completely, however, my players are suitably skilled to whatever role they choose.

So does it all come down to modifying the rolls?
No, it comes down to the player having spent skill points in Intimidate and therefore is trained in the use of the skill - no better or worse than someone else with the same skill ranks/Charisma/misc. modifiers! It might not make sense at first glance when considering the character (or what you perceive the character to be), but remember that Intimidation can be subtle! Speak to the player about the character's style of Intimidation and use that as a basis for the roleplaying.

Olo Demonsbane
2009-06-02, 09:21 PM
I often use Strength as a secondary attribute to Intimidate or against Intimidate, when dealing with large barbarians and such.

However, if your character is, say, a sorceress, here is a good threat:

If you do not do what I say now, nothing will happen to you...yet. But soon, long after you have forgotten about this, things you love will start to get hurt. Your loving wife will wake up screaming...or not wake up at all. People who once were your friends will start avoiding you, for you will cause trouble wherever you go...you will lead a life so desolate that you will kill yourself to escape it. Why waste all that life if you could instead just do me one small favor?
Or, depending on your play style:

Give me that right now or, so help me Boccob, I will stuff my fingers up your nose and cast a Twinned Fireball!

Zeful
2009-06-02, 09:40 PM
OP here after a long day of school and study.

I've read everything thusfar posted and I see pretty much everyone's points, and many of you make very valid arguments.

I will take a moment to discuss the origin of my conflict. I have a player in my group who plays a high charisma sorceror 9/10 times, with an emphasis on abusing that charisma score. A good example is when his character (a short, stereotypically attractive female) tried to intimidate a 6' 4" barbarian...which really doesn't make any sense.

I'm not saying I have a problem with the player, it's just that he seems to be the epitome of the troubles associated with Charisma. And to those of you who said it could be based on the people wanting to be something they're not, I understand completely, however, my players are suitably skilled to whatever role they choose.

So does it all come down to modifying the rolls?

Your thinking about this the wrong way to be honest. A 6' 4" barbarian isn't really that threatening, doubly so if he has no idea how to be scary (no intimidate ranks), or he lacks the presence to be scary (cha penalty). The first is the most important, as learning how to be scary can easily overcome the lack of presence.

And a Sorceress, even a short and attractive one, threatening you period would be scary. The Barbarian can just kill you. The Sorceress can deny can steal your soul, forever separating you from your loved ones and your patron.

Devils_Advocate
2009-06-02, 09:56 PM
I will take a moment to discuss the origin of my conflict. I have a player in my group who plays a high charisma sorceror 9/10 times, with an emphasis on abusing that charisma score. A good example is when his character (a short, stereotypically attractive female) tried to intimidate a 6' 4" barbarian...which really doesn't make any sense.
Well, it's not like a pretty sorceress can't be intimidating. Magic users can be damn scary if you know what they're capable of. But maybe the Barbarian doesn't...


So does it all come down to modifying the rolls?
Probably. Officially, you get a +4 bonus on your Intimidate check for every size category that you are larger than your target, and you take a -4 penalty for every size category that you are smaller than your target. The basic idea is that seeming threatening, independent of what you say, can make a big difference.

So, take that as a baseline: Roughly how the average commoner would be effected by someone threatening to beat him up. Then rate the Indimitator's threatening-seeming on the same subjective scale of scariness. To an archmage, size might hardly matter, while subtle hints of profound magical skill could make all the difference. For a barbarian, it's probably closer to the opposite. But actively demonstrating how big a fireball you can produce might significantly shift his attitude.

Social skills in general probably need to have a lot more circumstance modifiers applied to them than those listed in order to seem realistic.

Skill ranks and big differences in ability scores are supposed to make a big difference, though. Remember, being Large instead of Medium only gives you +4 to your Intimidate against the above-mentioned average commoner. Maxing that skill out at level 1 is supposed to be just as helpful. So is having Cha 18 intead of Cha 10. Cha 18 means that you're very unusually naturally persuasive.

Rutskarn
2009-06-02, 10:21 PM
The real use of charisma, and charisma-based skills, are to convince your grumbling and curmudgeonly DM that your character can occasionally persuade someone to do something that doesn't entirely fit with the DM's plans.

chiasaur11
2009-06-02, 10:29 PM
The real use of charisma, and charisma-based skills, are to convince your grumbling and curmudgeonly DM that your character can occasionally persuade someone to do something that doesn't entirely fit with the DM's plans.

I thought that's what a large blunt instrument is for.

Learn something every day.

Saph
2009-06-02, 10:36 PM
I would take the opposite point of view. D&D has three physical stats, two mental ones, and one social. This already reflects the principle that D&D is primarily about (physical) combat and that other things are less important, although this of course depends on the DM. Most other systems I can think of have a more balanced division between mental, physical and social stats (e.g. White Wolf has 3 of each).

This. For reference, the White Wolf system has 3 sets of 3 stats:

Physical: Identical to D&D. Strength, dex, con.
Mental: Intelligence (same as D&D), Perception (maps more or less to D&D's Wisdom), and Wits (ability to think fast, as opposed to deeply; no equivalent in D&D)
Social: Appearance (how good you look), Charisma (how good you act), and Manipulation (exactly what it sounds like).

It says something about typical D&D games that they only have 1 stat to cover the entire social sphere, just as it says something about typical White Wolf games that they have an entire stat based around lying and deceiving. :)

- Saph

shadzar
2009-06-02, 10:51 PM
I thought that's what a large blunt instrument is for.

Learn something every day.

I thought that was what a DM-screen was for...or wait the DM-screen is for something else.....so...to go backwards....

I thought that was what a handful of d4's was for? <--- This is what the DM-screen is for!

Harperfan7
2009-06-03, 01:02 AM
Ok, I didn't read all the earlier posts and I'm not going to, so I'll just say this and gtfo.

It helps if you look at wisdom as defensive willpower and charisma as offensive willpower.

GreyMantle
2009-06-03, 11:42 AM
A common misconception about literary heroes is that they have Charisma as their dump stat. Odysseus wasn't kept on an island by Calypso because he could kill a Cyclops, he was kept there because he was attractive to her. Additionally, he had a very strong personality. I mean.. he traveled for what, 20 years to make it home through hell and high water? Beowulf, similarly, had a high Charisma. When you see a grizzled war veteran who inspires fear in those around him, who women secretly fantasize about and breaks people with his gaze, he has a high Charisma. When you have a grizzled war veteran who stumbles around because he loses himself in the drink too much, simply says or does the wrong things at the wrong time or has difficulty expressing his opinions and getting the group to agree, he has low Charisma.

The hardcore warrior of death doesn't have difficulty convincing his mother to stay up late because he's great on the battlefield, that's irrelevant. He has trouble because he cannot drum up the force of will to confront his mother. The king does not doubt him because he's a noteable warrior, but because he keeps stuttering, making false or confusing allusions or just dancing around the point for so long that he's lost credibility.

Many people play their characters' charisma much higher than it is. An 11 CHA is normal for a peasant, and how forceful and individual are they?

That is what I'm saying. There are no (or almost no) cool warriors with dump stat Charismas in mythology or really even fantasy literature, only RPG's. And the main reason for this is because, like Strength, Charisma is effectively meaningless unless some aspect of your character is based on it.

How fun or interesting is it to play some hardcore warrior who can kill the king's entire court but can't get anyone to listen to him? If you're like 3rd or even 6th level, okay, you're still kinda minor and people won't necessarily want to listen to you, but if you're 10th or 12th level, you should really be a legend that anyone who's not as powerful or well-known as you is going to hang onto every word you say. Characters like Odysseus or Beowulf, people who are heroes and leaders, are so rare in D&D because, unless you're a paladin or some other class that has Cha abilties, or you just rolled really well, it's far more important to buff every other ability other than Charisma if you want a mechanically viable character.

I've found that in most games I've heard about, read about, witnessed, or played myself, Charisma is either (a) ignored altogether for anything but numeric purposes, (b) used to justify stupid roleplaying decisions ("I have a Charisma of 6, so I'm just going to sit in a corner and ignore the rest of the party...(gets bored) ooh, I stab the main NPC!" or (c) used far too much as a crutch instead of doing actual roleplaying ("I tell the guard that I am allowed here" "Roll bluff" "27" "He lets you in")

Looking at the Charisma-based skills, Bluff and Disguise could easily be Int-based, I could make a good argument for Diplomacy being Wis or Int, Gather Information just needs to die and be absorbed by another skill, Handle Animal should be Wisdom, Intimidate could be Intelligence or Strength, Perform is kinda tricky (but that could just be resolved with Magical Tea Party), and Use Magic Device could be Wisdom or Intelligence. It helps if you think of Intelligence as sort of a basic Cunning, not just academic-smarts. For players who really want to be talky people, you could easily whip up some feats that give you greater diplomatic (or bluff-o-matic or whatever) power.

And if you ditch Con and Strength for Body, then you have 2 mental and 2 physical stats, which gives you symmetry for the win.

The other option would be to adjust the rules so that it is as mechanically damaging for your Charisma to be low as it is for your other stats to be low. I find option 1 a bit simpler, though.

Dagren
2009-06-03, 11:53 AM
Ok, I didn't read all the earlier posts and I'm not going to, so I'll just say this and gtfo.

It helps if you look at wisdom as defensive willpower and charisma as offensive willpower.On that note, one variant I've seen is to make will saves against charm or dominate based off charisma instead of wisdom since it's supposed to be force of personality. Will saves against illusions and the like would still we wisdom based, of course. This would provide a little discouragement for people dumping Charisma.

Deepblue706
2009-06-03, 12:36 PM
As a casting stat I can sort of wrap my mind around what the designers were thinking, but I do not see why the Force of Personality of a person can control their aptitude for innate magic. Why does every person "gifted" with magic have to be likeable (provided they wish it and roll a d20 to find out)? Why can't we have Gumpy, the mentally impaired, hideously disfigured person who hates everyone and just wants to be left alone, be a genius with innate magic?

And then when I look at all the other primary stats they all seem vital to life in one way or another, and before anyone says anything, yes, I checked the SRD, and if you have 0 Charisma you fall unconcious....but it never says WHY.

Tl;DR, Pros and Cons of having Charisma as an actual stat, ways around using Charisma for anything.

If we use this definition:

cha⋅ris⋅ma  /kəˈrɪzmə/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [kuh-riz-muh] Show IPA
–noun, plural -ma⋅ta  /-mətə/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [-muh-tuh] Show IPA . 1. Theology. a divinely conferred gift or power.

Then we can basically say Charisma is your Awesome stat. I believe we can say this has such strong relevence as a primary attribute because the game is based on the premise of there being Gods, Magic and Dragons; High CHA characters could have their strengths justified by simply being liked enough by the Gods to be have been granted such innate power; not-so-much "Here's power for being a Servant of Mine", but moreso "Hey, I like you. Here's a lucky break." This needn't actually be direct doing of gods, but instead perhaps people thinking upon their involvement, because you have to be "lucky" to have the traits of someone with high CHA.

You can certainly be annoying, disfigured and other traits that High-CHA characters would presumably lack, and still have High CHA; it's a very broad attribute. Your attitute, I imagine, would also shape the use of your attributes, including CHA. You CAN have Super-Charisma and still occasionally say to people "Piss off, I hate you", and they CAN have a negative reaction to you. It's just that you have an inherent ability to make your Bluffs, Diplomatic meetings, and attempts at Intimidation to have much more an impact than other people's.

sofawall
2009-06-03, 01:35 PM
Just addressing the issue of intimidate, take two fictional characters. Say, Fezzic from the Princess Bride, and Heath Ledger's Joker.

Now, Fezzic is pretty intimidating, with his size bonus and all. But he has low Cha, therefore, he's less intimidating then, say, Inigo Montoya, even. (My name is Inigo Montoya etc.)

The Joker, on the other hand, is average size, average strength, but absolutely MASSIVE charisma. He is a scary dude. Not to mention the pencil giving him a circumstance bonus.

GreyMantle
2009-06-03, 01:36 PM
That is what I'm saying. There are no (or almost no) cool warriors with dump stat Charismas in mythology or really even fantasy literature, only RPG's. And the main reason for this is because, like Strength, Charisma is effectively meaningless unless some aspect of your character is based on it.

How fun or interesting is it to play some hardcore warrior who can kill the king's entire court but can't get anyone to listen to him? If you're like 3rd or even 6th level, okay, you're still kinda minor and people won't necessarily want to listen to you, but if you're 10th or 12th level, you should really be a legend that anyone who's not as powerful or well-known as you is going to hang onto every word you say. Characters like Odysseus or Beowulf, people who are heroes and leaders, are so rare in D&D because, unless you're a paladin or some other class that has Cha abilties, or you just rolled really well, it's far more important to buff every other ability other than Charisma if you want a mechanically viable character.

I've found that in most games I've heard about, read about, witnessed, or played myself, Charisma is either (a) ignored altogether for anything but numeric purposes, (b) used to justify stupid roleplaying decisions ("I have a Charisma of 6, so I'm just going to sit in a corner and ignore the rest of the party...(gets bored) ooh, I stab the main NPC!" or (c) used far too much as a crutch instead of doing actual roleplaying ("I tell the guard that I am allowed here" "Roll bluff" "27" "He lets you in")

Looking at the Charisma-based skills, Bluff and Disguise could easily be Int-based, I could make a good argument for Diplomacy being Wis or Int, Gather Information just needs to die and be absorbed by another skill, Handle Animal should be Wisdom, Intimidate could be Intelligence or Strength, Perform is kinda tricky (but that could just be resolved with Magical Tea Party), and Use Magic Device could be Wisdom or Intelligence. It helps if you think of Intelligence as sort of a basic Cunning, not just academic-smarts. For players who really want to be talky people, you could easily whip up some feats that give you greater diplomatic (or bluff-o-matic or whatever) power.

And if you ditch Con and Strength for Body, then you have 2 mental and 2 physical stats, which gives you symmetry for the win.

The other option would be to adjust the rules so that it is as mechanically damaging for your Charisma to be low as it is for your other stats to be low. (This could include some sort of "Edge" bonus that other people have talked about in this thread.) I simply prefer option 1, and think it might be more mechanically viable.

Oops. I clicked on "quote" instead of "edit." Sorry, kids.

Xuincherguixe
2009-06-03, 03:15 PM
D&D is a bit weird in that Willpower can kind of both fall under Wisdom and Charisma.

Charisma should in theory be a useful stat if a PC has some creativity. Being able to influence monsters and such.

Even though they represent more or less the same thing in Shadowrun (mind you SR drops wisdom for willpower, and assumes wisdom comes from skills), Charisma is much more useful in it.


Unless you're abusing, or you're have charisma dependent class features, there's not much reason NOT to dump Charisma.



As to what it represents? I would say general awesomeness, coolness, and style. But more than that, I would say it also reflects an understanding of other people. Not necessarily empathy mind you, because real jerks can be pretty good at manipulating others.

That being said, it's fairly open to interpretation. Someone with a high charisma should certainly be able to influence people, but not to make them do something they normally wouldn't. Just because you're good at talking doesn't mean others are always going to listen. Some of us learn how to tune out manipulative bastards.

Of course, high charisma also implies knowing how to say things anyways...

Nerd-o-rama
2009-06-03, 03:32 PM
Oops. I clicked on "quote" instead of "edit." Sorry, kids.If you ever do find that edit button, there's a "delete" option at the top of the edit screen for occasions like this.

Theodoriph
2009-06-03, 03:50 PM
I've found that in most games I've heard about, read about, witnessed, or played myself, Charisma is either (a) ignored altogether for anything but numeric purposes, (b) used to justify stupid roleplaying decisions ("I have a Charisma of 6, so I'm just going to sit in a corner and ignore the rest of the party...(gets bored) ooh, I stab the main NPC!" or (c) used far too much as a crutch instead of doing actual roleplaying ("I tell the guard that I am allowed here" "Roll bluff" "27" "He lets you in")



I've found that in most games I've heard about, read about, witnessed, or played myself, the same could be said for Strength, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom and Dexterity.

shadow_archmagi
2009-06-03, 07:52 PM
I've found that in most games I've heard about, read about, witnessed, or played myself, the same could be said for Strength, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom and Dexterity.

The inherent difficulty is that the game is played using the Player's WIS, INT, and CHA, while the PC has STR, DEX, CON, INT, WIS, and CHA. There's never a question of whether you're properly roleplaying your strength; either the character can or can't lift something. There is a question of whether the PC's mental stats can possibly replace the Player's mental stats, since you've got two CHA's right there.

Now, it seems like it can go really badly either way. If you rule that writing 18's on your character sheet can make up for being stupid, or unwise, or uninteresting in real life, problems arise immediately. "Oh gee I talk my way past the guards or something" or even "I come up with a cunning plan."

Of course, the other extreme is when the character gains two extra dump stats.

Personally, I think it might be interesting to just do away with mental stats altogether. Let's face it; the most fun part about being charismatic was being awesome; it can't really be *that* fun to say "I convince the king of the plot against him." Video games already use this format; the game gives me an ogre and I'm left to his him as cleverly (or not) as I feel necessary.

On another note, there's a huge kid in my class. Like, well over six feet tall and quite muscular and on the wrestling team and all that. He has anger issues and could easily break desks in half. He's terrified of my friend Andrew, who is about five feet tall and two missed meals away from emaciated.

DamnedIrishman
2009-06-03, 08:27 PM
I will take a moment to discuss the origin of my conflict. I have a player in my group who plays a high charisma sorceror 9/10 times, with an emphasis on abusing that charisma score. A good example is when his character (a short, stereotypically attractive female) tried to intimidate a 6' 4" barbarian...which really doesn't make any sense.


An option might be adding the 'Attractiveness' rules from BoEF. Generate it like any other stat (or by adding 13 points to a point buy).
Disguise becomes an appearance-based skill. Bluff, Gather Information and Intimidate are either CHA or Appearance-based depending on the approach to the task.

Mark Hall
2009-06-04, 12:26 AM
Once upon a time, in the distant days when D&D wore its wargaming roots a little more comfortably (see also: any retro-clone), the Charisma stat directly governed:

how many henchmen and hirelings (ie: secondary and/or replacement characters) you could have at one time
NPC and monster reactions to the PCs.



You left out another benefit, from very early in the game: Whichever PC had the highest charisma was in charge. If there were a variety of plans, the group did what the highest charisma PC wanted, by default.

Oracle_Hunter
2009-06-04, 12:55 AM
You left out another benefit, from very early in the game: Whichever PC had the highest charisma was in charge. If there were a variety of plans, the group did what the highest charisma PC wanted, by default.
Gee, in my games we always used Strength instead :smalltongue:

bosssmiley
2009-06-04, 03:34 AM
You left out another benefit, from very early in the game: Whichever PC had the highest charisma was in charge. If there were a variety of plans, the group did what the highest charisma PC wanted, by default.

Wow. That is old school. :smalleek:

edit: Oh, the rich potential for (DM) hilarity when Biff the tactically inept munchkin realises Cha is a "get my own way" stat. Comedy gold! :smallcool:

Mark Hall
2009-06-04, 09:29 AM
Wow. That is old school. :smalleek:

edit: Oh, the rich potential for (DM) hilarity when Biff the tactically inept munchkin realises Cha is a "get my own way" stat. Comedy gold! :smallcool:

One of the benefits of hanging around Dragonsfoot: You learn how they did it back in the day.

@Oracle Hunter: :smallbiggrin: Our group was in a pretty locked pattern. My younger brother or my friend Matt was usually in charge (though, to be fair, he had the stats to back it up). Matt or my brother would play second fiddle. Thomas would play a thief. Even when he was a wizard, he was part thief. And dressed in black. The other players would play the barely controlled psychopaths who thought they were good guys. (http://www.editors-wastebasket.org/nexx/tsr/contract.html) I would show up late (since I was in school in Kansas, and they were based out of College Station, Texas) and make up a slightly oddball character who filled some holes in the group.

Knaight
2009-06-07, 07:15 PM
This. You can't tie PC abilities to player abilities. You can't get around making them do their own thinking (although games can and should allow regular joes to play super-geniuses and enlightened masters), but you can't require people to actually be great actors and speakers if the want to play one.

Of course, you don't need any mental stats for this. It works better if you just play the character as smart, sensible, and charismatic as you envision them. If they are smarter, sensible, or more charismatic then you get the other people at the table involved. If your trying to play a brilliant tactician, but aren't adept at strategy, then loop in everybody else, including the GM. Five people working together over an extended time can make characters make decisions that seem brilliant to the five of them when they are made in an instant. It is all relative, you don't actually have to be a brilliant tactician, you just have to be a lot better than what the GM has set as normal tactics. If your trying to play a smooth, suave, charismatic character, you just have to outdo the people in the group. A discussion with the most socially adept person in the group would allow this. For common sense, discuss it with the GM. Tell him/her that you want to play a character with common sense, street smarts, whatever, and ask them to warn you if you do anything stupid. Done.

Role Playing Games are primarily mental games. Physical limitations don't actually come up except for blindness, missing limbs and such. If your blind it could be hard playing somebody who can see well when using a tactical grid. If you have no arms, you would have some trouble with dice. However action is controlled by talking in these games. Talking, incidentally, is also controlled by talking. Thus if you have trouble talking, then you shouldn't be able to bypass this by rolling dice. The game is about thinking and talking, maybe with gestures. However, if the other people in your group have any compassion at all, they will be willing to ignore a lisp or stutter and be forgiving with word choice when your trying to play a character who is gifted in the oratory arts. No die rolling substitution needed. You don't need any stats to play a character smarter, wiser, or more charismatic than you.