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    Default I Need A Charisma mechanic

    I'm trying to work Charisma into not being a dump stat, and I don't know how.

    Wisdom has a Will Save
    Intelligence has skill points

    So what does Charisma have? Nothing. Nil. It benefits magic (occasionally) but doesn't do crap for anything else. This makes it a dump stat for everyone except the guy who uses it for casting, and optimized groups look really stupid with everyone except the party leader having 8-3 charisma.

    Ideas I've got for a Charisma mechanic:

    Healing Surges
    1. expend a Healing Surge to roll half your HD (10d12 for a level 20 barbarian)
    2. expend a Healing Surge to increase your HP by 1/4 max
    3. Heal yourself from your Healing Surge Pool


    The first two ideas for a Healing Surge work off of some flat value (based on your class) plus your Charisma modifier--this makes your Healing Surge Value. You can use these surges a certain number of times per day equal to your Healing Surge Value.

    The third idea runs off your Charisma modifier and works by adding your flat value to your Charisma modifier and adding that to your current Healing Surge Value (eg. A barbarian has a flat value of 10 and a ChaMod of -2. At level 1, he has a Healing Surge Pool of 8. At level 2, he has a Healing Surge Pool of 16, etc. If he takes a level of Druid (flat value 4), his Healing Surge Pool at level 3 is 17. At any given point, as an Immediate Action, he can heal as much of his HP as he wants by subtracting those points from his Healing Surge Pool.).

    Alternate Attack Bonuses

    This is pretty simple. Any time you perform a bullrush, covering fire, disarm, feint, or grapple check, add your ChaMod. I dislike this idea (not that I like my first idea any better) because it only applies to combat and has limited use. Skills and Will Saves are still more prioritized.

    -----------
    So what ideas would make Charisma a useful stat... or at least one that people don't want to drop?
    Last edited by For Valor; 2010-07-12 at 05:26 PM.

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    Default Re: Charisma mechanic

    If you have less than 9 Charisma, everyone you meet is hostile. Done.

    I'm not serious.
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    Default Re: Charisma mechanic

    heh... makes me laugh.

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    Default Re: Charisma mechanic

    Charisma supplements a bonus with certain items. Such items have a minimum Cha requirement - if you don't meet this, the affects of wearing said items becomes negative (ie. people are hostile towards you, or they won't listen to you or take you seriously, or they have a bonus on intimidate checks versus you, or you take a penalty on diplomacy checks, etc.).

    Most of these items are outlandish and ridiculous - however your charisma makes wearing them seem cool.

    The items can be anything - ie. shades. Or a mohawk. Or multiple body piercings. Or a punk leather jacket with spikes. Or a bikini.

    Finally, a reason to dress up as excessively as a character from final fantasy.

    Other idea: Charisma supplements certain feats, besides leadership. Heroic surge (if you want to add that feat) can be supplemented by charisma.
    Last edited by imp_fireball; 2010-07-12 at 05:28 PM.

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    Default Re: Charisma mechanic

    Quote Originally Posted by Temotei View Post
    If you have less than 9 Charisma, everyone you meet is hostile. Done.

    I'm not serious.
    Im taking this and making it into a workable mechanic now.
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    Default Re: Charisma mechanic

    Best one yet is to have Charisma modify the number of action points. This even matches all the relevant tropes, as the star of the story in any action movie tends top be charismatic - its why the movie is about him after all.

    Of course, this solution does assume you use action points.

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    Default Re: I Need A Charisma mechanic

    @Imp Fireball: I like that idea, but it requires bookkeeping. Unless you can think of a way to make it simple, I'm disinclined to follow through.

    EDIT: On the topic of action points... well, I sort of like that idea, but the system is bothersome to use--it's hard to get good mileage out of it without encouraging going nova and then resting after each fight. Daily is too close, as is weekly.
    Last edited by For Valor; 2010-07-12 at 05:55 PM.

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    Default Re: I Need A Charisma mechanic

    For a while I toyed with the idea of making Charisma the source of luck bonuses in general and the prerequisite for luck-based feats. You could change Charisma from "interactions with people tend to go your way" to "things in general tend to go your way". I'm not sure of the mechanics of it, but you need a big flavor change like that to justify any meaningful mechanical changes.
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    Default Re: I Need A Charisma mechanic

    I've always though that Charisma should be the modifier for one's Will save. Running on the assumption that Charisma signifies one's force of personality & strength of character, it just makes more sense to base Will off of it, rather than Wisdom. Wisdom has little to do with Willpower, IMO. One could be wise, but weak-willed, or foolish but will a lot of conviction. Charisma is not mere physical attractiveness, or the power to charm people into your bed, so basing Will off of Wisdom seems like a mistake on WotC's part.

    Also, if done this way, Wisdom doesn't suffer much. Many of the most important skills (Listen, Spot, Sense Motive, & Survival) still are keyed to Wisdom, & CoDzillas still need it for their spellcasting. But not every meatshield will need to have the Wisdom score of a Zen monk in order to avoid domination. I've played a couple of one-shot games where we used Charisma for the Will save modifier, & other than making characters slightly MADer (which was counteracted with a slightly higher point-buy), it worked pretty well for all concerned. My players afterward agreed that it made a lot of sense (vindication of a theory is always nice).

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    Default Re: I Need A Charisma mechanic

    Quote Originally Posted by Zeta Kai View Post
    I've always though that Charisma should be the modifier for one's Will save. Running on the assumption that Charisma signifies one's force of personality & strength of character, it just makes more sense to base Will off of it, rather than Wisdom. Wisdom has little to do with Willpower, IMO. One could be wise, but weak-willed, or foolish but will a lot of conviction. Charisma is not mere physical attractiveness, or the power to charm people into your bed, so basing Will off of Wisdom seems like a mistake on WotC's part.

    Also, if done this way, Wisdom doesn't suffer much. Many of the most important skills (Listen, Spot, Sense Motive, & Survival) still are keyed to Wisdom, & CoDzillas still need it for their spellcasting. But not every meatshield will need to have the Wisdom score of a Zen monk in order to avoid domination. I've played a couple of one-shot games where we used Charisma for the Will save modifier, & other than making characters slightly MADer (which was counteracted with a slightly higher point-buy), it worked pretty well for all concerned. My players afterward agreed that it made a lot of sense (vindication of a theory is always nice).
    Wisdom still suffers because of this change.

    Also, clearly they did intend for wisdom to relate to will power.

    Force of personality does not equa pluckyness. Wisdom indicates the ability to controls one's own emotions, hence exert will over themselves, hence will power.

    or foolish but will a lot of conviction.
    Conviction in D&D is morale. Because most people have morale +0, most people are possessed with equal conviction unless they are intimidated or whatever. In fact, opposing intimidation is a will save, thus the wise are more convicted.

    The charismatic only make it seem like they are convicted. They are using charisma to make it seem this way, see?

    The wise person is weak because he hasn't gotten off his arse in years.

    Charisma is not mere physical attractiveness, or the power to charm people into your bed, so basing Will off of Wisdom seems like a mistake on WotC's part.
    Charisma isn't physical attractiveness at all. If anything, it's purely mental.

    Also, I believe TSR declared that wisdom would relate to will. Or I could be wrong - I remember in 1st edition that there were like 7 different saves that everyone had (saves versus wands, poison, projectile etc. - of course that was less universal).
    Last edited by imp_fireball; 2010-07-12 at 07:53 PM.

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    Default Re: I Need A Charisma mechanic

    The problem with Wisdom correlating to willpower is that it doesn't necessarily make sense. Being exceedingly wise doesn't help prevent mind control; it might help one understand when s/he is being manipulated but there's no method of comprehending and subsequently avoiding direct domination. In fact, that's what force of personality is really about, and that's what Charisma is described as being. Nevertheless, since willpower = Wisdom, Charisma is more often than not misinterpreted as physical attractiveness, since it sees little more use than that in-game.

    Since it will inevitably come up anyway, the TTGL scenario:
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    When Lordgenome - shown to be a good leader, capable of great acts of self-control, obviously having a high Wis - is charmed into fear of the Spiral Nemesis by the Antispiral, he kills his entire army and forces humanity underground for 1,000 years. When Simon - shown to be a poor government official, lazy, obviously having a low Wis - is confronted with the same challenge, he plows through it with sheer force of will.


    It's not unique to just that one show, though; it's probably as old as fiction. Charismatic idiots who repeatedly fall into stupid traps, get duped by unskilled conmen, and generally make a mess of strategic battles are often the only ones left standing when worst comes to worst and all their allies have given into the fear effect or charm or whatnot. Just because tradition says that Wisdom represents will doesn't mean that it makes sense.
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    Default Re: I Need A Charisma mechanic

    In fact, opposing intimidation is a will save, thus the wise are more convicted.
    Opposing intimidation is a level check, modified by any bonuses against fear. Will has nothing to do with it (beyond any bonuses to fear you may have), neither does Charisma. Which I find unfortunate.

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    Default Re: I Need A Charisma mechanic

    Quote Originally Posted by Genzodus View Post
    The problem with Wisdom correlating to willpower is that it doesn't necessarily make sense. Being exceedingly wise doesn't help prevent mind control; it might help one understand when s/he is being manipulated but there's no method of comprehending and subsequently avoiding direct domination. In fact, that's what force of personality is really about, and that's what Charisma is described as being. Nevertheless, since willpower = Wisdom, Charisma is more often than not misinterpreted as physical attractiveness, since it sees little more use than that in-game.

    Since it will inevitably come up anyway, the TTGL scenario:
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    When Lordgenome - shown to be a good leader, capable of great acts of self-control, obviously having a high Wis - is charmed into fear of the Spiral Nemesis by the Antispiral, he kills his entire army and forces humanity underground for 1,000 years. When Simon - shown to be a poor government official, lazy, obviously having a low Wis - is confronted with the same challenge, he plows through it with sheer force of will.


    It's not unique to just that one show, though; it's probably as old as fiction. Charismatic idiots who repeatedly fall into stupid traps, get duped by unskilled conmen, and generally make a mess of strategic battles are often the only ones left standing when worst comes to worst and all their allies have given into the fear effect or charm or whatnot. Just because tradition says that Wisdom represents will doesn't mean that it makes sense.
    Those tropes don't pay attention to logic unfortunately.

    And it does make sense for wisdom to = will power. If you can realize that you are being manipulated, you can overcome it. Chances are you have practiced this. The same is true of real life. Meditation teaches self control. Meditation require awareness of one's self and surroundings. It's wisdom.

    But if you want to imitate the plucky dumb hero - combine iron will with heroic surge. Helps for succeeding on will saves with low Wis.

    neither does Charisma. Which I find unfortunate.
    I don't know why everyone is so inspired to buff charisma by cheapening wisdom. Wisdom is actually one of the greatest assets attainable in the real world. Shouldn't D&D remain so too?

    Find some other way to buff charisma. Use my items idea - it only requires the creation of new items. Not even a rules variation (which would have to consider balance alot more).

    Just because tradition says that Wisdom represents will doesn't mean that it makes sense.
    I like how you are trying to make sense of fiction.

    Wis = will makes sense because that's how it works in real life. The mature adult has a lot more will power then the little kid. Adults, by age alone, have a wisdom bonus over kids.

    Don't give me the 'D&D is fantasy' argument. Real life (at least a standard outline) is a lot more easy to go by then fiction, since fiction is so apart from itself according to venue and how the writer chooses to write it.
    Last edited by imp_fireball; 2010-07-12 at 09:42 PM.

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    Default Re: I Need A Charisma mechanic

    But the thing is that we're not talking about something so simple as mundane manipulation, though; we're talking about magic that actively compels you to perform in a certain manner, regardless of any sort of reservations that you might have. I can understand having the save to oppose an unthinkable order might be Wisdom, but not to resist it initially. After all, no degree of understanding the inherent methodology of charming someone will protect you from alien mind control. That's what mad belief in the power of tinfoil's for. And of course, as part of force of personality is concerned, that's Charisma.

    As far as adults gaining a Wisdom bonus, they also gain a Charisma bonus, so it's kind of moot. On the other hand, I agree with you that using "it's fantasy" as an argument is both cheap and resolves nothing; it's a way of avoiding admitting a mistake. What I was referring to was D&D tradition. Open Lock. Seriously?
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    Default Re: I Need A Charisma mechanic

    Quote Originally Posted by imp_fireball View Post
    I don't know why everyone is so inspired to buff charisma by cheapening wisdom. Wisdom is actually one of the greatest assets attainable in the real world. Shouldn't D&D remain so too?
    The wisest people tend to live like paupers. The most charismatic people tend to live like movie stars. Gee, what's the appeal?

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    Default Re: I Need A Charisma mechanic

    You could punch everyone in the face (except classes that rely on both Wisdom and Charisma, like the paladin and sometimes the cleric) and say Wisdom modifier plus Charisma modifier divided by two equals Will save.
    Last edited by Temotei; 2010-07-13 at 12:16 AM.
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    Default Re: I Need A Charisma mechanic

    The most charismatic people tend to live like movie stars.
    Many of those movie stars were ones that were spotted amidst a crowd of wannabes who ended up thrown in a ditch. They were all quite charismatic.

    and say Wisdom modifier plus Charisma modifier divided by two equals Will save.
    Now you're just making spells that require will saves more powerful by increasing MAD defense.

    The wisest people tend to live like paupers
    That's stereotype. Not every wise person is Ghandi. Not every wise person is yoda either. And not every wise person is good even.

    An example of a wise famous person that is none of those might be Les Claypool or the artists of Tool (a band). Both tend to create very funky, introspective music.

    As far as adults gaining a Wisdom bonus, they also gain a Charisma bonus, so it's kind of moot.
    In real life, would you consider an adult's maturity a result of their wisdom or their charisma? Do you get it now?

    Charisma is the ability to win a beauty pageant as a little girl by putting on a good performance for the judges and indicating your love for the audience.

    like the paladin
    The paladin's divine grace gives them massive saves in everything... we'll ignore the paladin since they also can't feel fear.
    Last edited by imp_fireball; 2010-07-13 at 04:49 AM.

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    Default Re: I Need A Charisma mechanic

    Keying off of Zeta, I think that one of the mechanical things that 4E got right was making will boosted by the higher mod between Wis and Cha.
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    Toho has retroactive powers of awesome. He makes things that he hasn't done, and have already happened, better by his existence
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    Default Re: I Need A Charisma mechanic

    Quote Originally Posted by Hadrian_Emrys View Post
    Keying off of Zeta, I think that one of the mechanical things that 4E got right was making will boosted by the higher mod between Wis and Cha.
    Still makes no sense. Unless they decided to make Fortitude the higher between Str and Con.

    If you put a gun to a celebrity's head, I'm sure they'd pee their pants. Do the same to a yoga master who has trained themselves, through introspection and meditation not to feel fear or pain, and see what happens.

    If you guys are arguing charisma, then I think Wis should apply to reactive initiative checks and reflex saves. After all, both those things require self control and judgement to an extent. Initiative checks made after you surprise somebody would use your dexterity rather then wisdom (that way rogues can still go for iterative sneak attacks).
    Last edited by imp_fireball; 2010-07-13 at 04:53 AM.

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    Default Re: I Need A Charisma mechanic

    They did.

    -and using a movie celebrity vs a yoga guru is more than a little unfair methinks. I think a better Cha candidate for comparison would be someone like a field commander. This is force of personality we're talking about after all. I mean, an equally unfair inversion would be to take that officer and compare him to a bird watcher.

    -and^2 I completely agree with you on using Wis for those reactive checks.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Innis Cabal View Post
    Toho has retroactive powers of awesome. He makes things that he hasn't done, and have already happened, better by his existence
    Quote Originally Posted by Ganurath View Post
    If anything, the term should be What Would Toho Do?
    Of course, in all situations the answer is Be A Badass.

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    Default Re: I Need A Charisma mechanic

    As for the will save issue:

    The problem is that will saves cover two things in D&D, really: resisting mind control and seeing through illusions. For the second part, wisdom makes sense.
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    Default Re: I Need A Charisma mechanic

    -which only goes to show that illusions should be opposed by listen and spot checks.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Innis Cabal View Post
    Toho has retroactive powers of awesome. He makes things that he hasn't done, and have already happened, better by his existence
    Quote Originally Posted by Ganurath View Post
    If anything, the term should be What Would Toho Do?
    Of course, in all situations the answer is Be A Badass.

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    Default Re: I Need A Charisma mechanic

    I don't see what charisma has to do with healing.

    You could do something like Fantasycraft, where having a higher charisma increases your capability to acquire and retain wealth. Or it provides other, similar benefits, like discounts in stores (which makes sense, actually). Of course, that still might mean only the party leader 'needs' it, but it would make charisma more useful. Just a suggestion.

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    Default Re: I Need A Charisma mechanic

    Quote Originally Posted by Skycroft View Post
    I don't see what charisma has to do with healing.


    Will saves and skill checks are not one and the same.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Innis Cabal View Post
    Toho has retroactive powers of awesome. He makes things that he hasn't done, and have already happened, better by his existence
    Quote Originally Posted by Ganurath View Post
    If anything, the term should be What Would Toho Do?
    Of course, in all situations the answer is Be A Badass.

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    Default Re: I Need A Charisma mechanic

    Will no one think of the action points?

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    Default Re: I Need A Charisma mechanic

    Quote Originally Posted by imp_fireball View Post
    Still makes no sense. Unless they decided to make Fortitude the higher between Str and Con.

    If you put a gun to a celebrity's head, I'm sure they'd pee their pants. Do the same to a yoga master who has trained themselves, through introspection and meditation not to feel fear or pain, and see what happens.
    Good call on both counts. I remember once reading (on these forums) a comparison between physical and mental stats. To put it in my words:
    • Int = Dex (Mental "agility", adroitness, ability to reason and work out -- or around -- problems)
    • Wis = Con (mental steadiness and stability; intuition, perceptiveness, and hold on reality)
    • Cha = Str (mental force, personality, forthrightness, conviction)
    I hope these descriptions make it clear why I support Wis mod to Will saves. I can understand the argument for Cha to Will saves, but I think it's suitable for a feat (which I'm positive exists -- can anyone think of what it was called?) rather than the default.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hadrian_Emrys View Post
    -and using a movie celebrity vs a yoga guru is more than a little unfair methinks. I think a better Cha candidate for comparison would be someone like a field commander. This is force of personality we're talking about after all. I mean, an equally unfair inversion would be to take that officer and compare him to a bird watcher.
    Why? Field commanders would, in my opinion, have to have a good balance of all three mental stats -- and Cha would be a good candidate for the lowest. Many, many field commanders have been abrasive, unlikeable people who just happen to have the insight (Wis) and cunning (Int) to gain the upper hand.

    A stereotypical celebrity is a great example of a high-Cha, low-Int, low-Wis character: ditzy, no higher education, but exuding confidence and personality that makes them adored and watched and imitated.

    Bird watchers might have great Spot ranks, but aren't necessarily high Wis. Now, if an untrained person surprised actual bird watchers, by spotting a green parrot perched in a tree, or the fine details of a diving hawk's markings, then you'd say that they have good Wisdom. And then it makes more sense (to me at any rate) that they'd have the perceptiveness, unfazeability, and sense of reality that implies good Will saves.
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    Default Re: I Need A Charisma mechanic

    As always, Charisma != appearance. The character who looks attractive but can't act her way out of a paper bag has a low charisma score, as does the stereotypical 'dumb blonde'.

    In fact, how people react to someone's appearance is the really important bit here -- an attractive character with poor charisma will be perceived as something of a 'bimbo', whereas an attractive character with a halfway-decent charisma will be perceived as being a lot deeper and significantly more sophisticated.

    Force of will doesn't really work brilliantly when attached to any mental stat, and I don't really mind the current "charisma == aggressive willpower; wisdom == defensive willpower" split that the game currently uses.
    Last edited by lesser_minion; 2010-07-13 at 08:17 AM.

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    Default Re: I Need A Charisma mechanic

    Quote Originally Posted by Ashtagon View Post
    Will no one think of the action points?
    I do.

    In my games, players get 2+Cha Mod action points per level (min. zero).

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    Default Re: I Need A Charisma mechanic

    Quote Originally Posted by lesser_minion View Post
    As always, Charisma != appearance.
    And I never meant to suggest otherwise.

    The character who looks attractive but can't act her way out of a paper bag has a low charisma score, as does the stereotypical 'dumb blonde'.
    Not the stereotype I was aiming for, though I can see on reflection how it read that way. Ultimately I think I can best express what I meant in one word: "Elan".

    The kind of "ditzy" celebrity I meant wasn't the "*facepalm* Oh my goodness, why won't this person just shut up" sort. I more meant the ones who go on talk shows and do interviews that have pretty much zero depth, but still come across as likeable and entertaining.
    I support paladins and the alignment system.

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    Default Re: I Need A Charisma mechanic

    Quote Originally Posted by Peregrine View Post
    Not the stereotype I was aiming for, though I can see on reflection how it read that way. Ultimately I think I can best express what I meant in one word: "Elan".
    A character doesn't behave like Elan thanks to any particular charisma score, only because they have low wisdom and low intelligence.

    In reality, Elan's behaviour is only tolerated because of his high charisma -- a lower-charisma character who acted that way would be perceived as incredibly annoying, whereas in Elan's case that same behaviour comes across as mildly endearing (at least, to some characters).

    Essentially, a low charisma but attractive character inspires jealousy and generally comes across as a few bolts short, whereas an attractive, high charisma character comes across as a genuinely nice person.
    Last edited by lesser_minion; 2010-07-13 at 09:04 AM.

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