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Why are animals' charisma scores so low?


Pathfinder RPG General Discussion

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Silver Crusade RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16

Simple question: Why do all of the creatures of the animal type (especially the ones that you can choose as familiars) have such low Cha scores? An example: the description of a monkey says they're highly social creatures... shouldn't they have a Cha score to reflect that?

The slightly ridiculous reason I ask: I'd like to make a witch character that focuses almost solely on making her familiar super badass thanks to the beast-bonded witch's ability to transfer feats to her familiar. One way I thought of doing that would be to give the familiar Eldritch Heritage, but it would seem that I can't do so until the witch gets to a high enough level to take Improved Familiar, then choose something with a higher Cha score.


How high can your charisma be when humans "handle" you instead of vice versa? I think that is the answer.

Andoran

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Monkeys don't need a high Cha score to socially interact with other monkeys. The negative modifiers cancel each other out.


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David knott 242 wrote:
How high can your charisma be when humans "handle" you instead of vice versa? I think that is the answer.

Cats still have only a 7 charisma :)

Silver Crusade RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16

I just don't understand why it was decided that animals have low Charisma. Their low Intelligence should be completely independent of Charisma, right?


1D20-2 for intimidating isn't much, but some would probably get bonusses from other things like size, look, sound, smell, ...

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Wisdom is, of the three mental stats, the one that most closely approximates instinct, and that's why that's the one that's typically the highest stat for animals. Intelligence is usually the lowest because that's classically been the big difference between animals and people in the game—animals are the ones who have an intelligence that a person simply can't roll up on 3d6 (an Int of 1 or 2).

Charisma's right between those two because it's the one left over after you pick a stat to be the one animals are best at and the one animals are worst at.


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Would you follow a monkey into battle?

I think my cats have pretty good charisma, but I would be much more easily persuaded by a dwarf than a cat, on average, exceptional dwarves and cats aside.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

It's also unclear just how much personification a human is projecting onto an animal when someone says "this animal is very charismatic."

I happen to think cats are VERY adorable, but I know plenty of folks who think they are not. Adorability isn't a function of the cat's Charisma score, as a result, but a function of personal preference in the person observing the cat.


Charisma represents self-awareness. I think the description in the book says something like: "Charisma represents your ability to tell things that are yourself from things that are not yourself."

As far as I know, Animals are less self-aware than humans. Hence the low charisma.


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TriOmegaZero wrote:
Monkeys don't need a high Cha score to socially interact with other monkeys. The negative modifiers cancel each other out.

well... not exactly. they are all just equivalently bad at using social skills.

CHA doesn't oppose CHA in any skill check, it's usually opposed by WIS based skills/stats.
so low-CHA races just end up with way more failed Diplomacy checks, etc, on each other.

low CHA makes sence for non-social species.
social species (wolves, monkeys, humans) should have average or higher CHA.
i don't really see this rationale in the bestiary stats (at least not as prevalent as it should be),
so it seems like CHA was mostly relegated to the 'in between' stat.

a species being highly social represents an evolutionary adaption, i.e being socialy organized (with the CHA to match) makes them a stronger foe, so creatures meant to be social should justifiably be put into higher CR categories and given the stats to make their social societies work, thus making their social combat strategies work... that doesn't seem to be factored into the stats so much either.


But then, familiars should probably have an enhanced charisma, given that they are magical beasts with all sorts of communication abilities and enhanced intelligence.

I don't think it would be unreasonable to give a familiar a charisma score equal to its intelligence score.


I think its funny that some rabid snarling wolf has the same Intimidation ability as Steve Erkel.

I think I liked the old rules (2nd Ed) of Str OR Cha as the modifier.

Andoran

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Quandary wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
Monkeys don't need a high Cha score to socially interact with other monkeys. The negative modifiers cancel each other out.

well... not exactly. they are all just equivalently bad at using social skills.

CHA doesn't oppose CHA in any skill check, it's usually opposed by WIS based skills/stats.
so low-CHA races just end up with way more failed Diplomacy checks, etc, on each other.
Quote:
You can change the initial attitudes of nonplayer characters with a successful check. The DC of this check depends on the creature's starting attitude toward you, adjusted by its Charisma modifier.

Since the target monkey's Cha modifier lowers the DC, the monkey making the check has the same chance of success as if they both had a 10 Cha.

Shadow Lodge

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Unless it's an awakened Animal, I doubt it'll succeed in convincing me for a lot of things.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Knight Magenta wrote:

Charisma represents self-awareness. I think the description in the book says something like: "Charisma represents your ability to tell things that are yourself from things that are not yourself."

As far as I know, Animals are less self-aware than humans. Hence the low charisma.

This is to a certain extent true.

AKA: The higher your Charisma, the more likely you are to realize that the person in the mirror is you.


There's a test used on animals occasionally: whether or not they can tell that the reflection in the mirror is theirs. Some can, some can't. IRL this is one of the tests they use to try and determine animal intelligence. Here it sounds like it'd be a CHA check of some kind.


Hannya Shou wrote:
Unless it's an awakened Animal, I doubt it'll succeed in convincing me for a lot of things.

Wake you up when the house is on fire?

Shadow Lodge

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C. Nutcase wrote:
Hannya Shou wrote:
Unless it's an awakened Animal, I doubt it'll succeed in convincing me for a lot of things.
Wake you up when the house is on fire?

Guess that counts as one of the few. + Circumstance bonus.


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Convincing someone to take action isn't solely a matter of charisma. My youngest nephew definitely has me solidly in the helpful category. That doesn't mean he can convince me to take specific actions beyond "play," "feed," and "change diaper."

As another example, there is a certain politician. He or she will go unnamed, but he has been called charismatic in real life. I am so completely unmoved by his or her arguments it's not even funny. I guess there's a -100 diplomacy modifier for "I think the person trying to influence me is a buffoon."

In fact I'd say there's a universal diplomacy penalty for influencing people who do not think you know better than you. Charisma and even diplomacy don't matter. Try convincing a doctor of a field you have no more than baccalaureate education in to change his or her mind about something in his or her field of study some time.


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It's a remnant from days when the Charima score defined actually important character traits. Charisma wasn't supposed to be about being social, you see- It was more of a force of personality, or an ability to lead or intimidate or exert your will on others, and more importantly, yourself. (Sorcerers)

Then Pathfinder decided to go with "It's how people see you" and effectively screwed up the stat for any sensible purpose. Hence why converted animals have low charisma score. It used to be that they were less "self aware" than sentient creatures. Now apparently they're all just ugly.


Only a sucker follows a cute animal into war.


Hannya Shou wrote:
Unless it's an awakened Animal, I doubt it'll succeed in convincing me for a lot of things.

Do you have any pets? If so, do you feed them, walk, them, etc?

Lantern Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:
Knight Magenta wrote:

Charisma represents self-awareness. I think the description in the book says something like: "Charisma represents your ability to tell things that are yourself from things that are not yourself."

As far as I know, Animals are less self-aware than humans. Hence the low charisma.

This is to a certain extent true.

AKA: The higher your Charisma, the more likely you are to realize that the person in the mirror is you.

I think the only animals that have demonstrated that example of self-awareness are the dolphin and Koko the gorilla. Most animals who look in mirrors just see another animal.

Silver Crusade RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16

moon glum wrote:

But then, familiars should probably have an enhanced charisma, given that they are magical beasts with all sorts of communication abilities and enhanced intelligence.

I don't think it would be unreasonable to give a familiar a charisma score equal to its intelligence score.

Yeah, I think this is what I was getting at. Familiars, given their higher intelligence, should also have higher charisma.


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Quatar wrote:
David knott 242 wrote:
How high can your charisma be when humans "handle" you instead of vice versa? I think that is the answer.

Cats still have only a 7 charisma :)

So do most Wizards and Fighters XD


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Darigaaz the Igniter wrote:
Quatar wrote:
David knott 242 wrote:
How high can your charisma be when humans "handle" you instead of vice versa? I think that is the answer.

Cats still have only a 7 charisma :)

So do most Wizards and Fighters XD

Fighters and wizards can't tell a reflection in a mirror is themselves- they think it's another fighter or wizard. It's really neat to see a fighter fluff up and try to intimidate the fighter in the mirror.

Andoran

A few animals have higher charisma scores.

I believe Dire Bears have a 10.

Cheliax

The Deinonychus has 14.

Silver Crusade RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16

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Jadeite wrote:
The Deinonychus has 14.

Huh. That's an interesting one. So if you had a Deinonychus animal companion, and you raised its Intelligence above 3 (which is easy to do), it would qualify for Eldritch Heritage. Now I know what my next Sorcerer is gonna do. Sylvan bloodline and magic-wielding dinosaur for the win!

Edit: Wait wait... I love it.. OK so the Deinonychus picks Eldritch Heritage when it hits 4 hit dice, thanks to the ability score increase going into Int. It picks Eldritch Heritage (Arcane). Now my animal companion has a familiar... who is more intelligent than himself.

GAME BROKE! DONE! LOL!

I love it. I WILL play this in PFS.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Shah Jahan the King of Kings wrote:

It's a remnant from days when the Charima score defined actually important character traits. Charisma wasn't supposed to be about being social, you see- It was more of a force of personality, or an ability to lead or intimidate or exert your will on others, and more importantly, yourself. (Sorcerers)

Then Pathfinder decided to go with "It's how people see you" and effectively screwed up the stat for any sensible purpose. Hence why converted animals have low charisma score. It used to be that they were less "self aware" than sentient creatures. Now apparently they're all just ugly.

I'm not sure where you're getting the idea that Pathfinder "screwed" up the stat for any sensible purpose. Firstly... the core rulebook defines it as:

Core Rulebook wrote:
Charisma measures a character's personality, personal magnetism, ability to lead, and appearance.

That's pretty much a verbatim duplication of the same line of text from the 3.5 Player's Handbook. And as emphasized by me above... personality is actually the FIRST thing on the list when it comes to what Charisma is measuring.

Furthermore, I did a spot check of several animals... and the Charisma scores (boar, bear, dog, orca, wolf) are all pretty much the same as they were in the 3.5 Monster Manual.

AKA: Paizo changed pretty much nothing about what Charisma means (except that we added that it functions as undead life force) or what animal Charisma scores are (although I did boost the deinonychus as a present to myself, because I like them! :-P).

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Which actually means that if you want the REAL reason animals have low Charisma scores... you'll have to ask Monte Cook, Jonathan Tween, or Skip Williams. We merely carried that over from D&D into Pathfinder. I've given my reasons why I agree that animal Charisma scores are middling between their Intelligence and Wisdom above... but I have no idea if that gels with the design theory of the guys who wrote 3rd edition D&D.

Osirion

LazarX wrote:
I think the only animals that have demonstrated that example of self-awareness are the dolphin and Koko the gorilla. Most animals who look in mirrors just see another animal.

Also crows, magpies, bonobos and chimps, so far. I imagine they'll find more, as the 'mirror test' is tried on more species.

In any event, the only mechanical effect that matters for the game is the use of Charisma for Intimidation, and many species live or die by their ability to put on a convincing threat display (not to mention the whole 'attracting a mate' thing, which doesn't have any sort of game mechanic, but is also occasionally useful for a species that wants to last more than one generation).

Self-recognition seems less relevant mechanically than the ability to influence the behaviors and actions of others, at which some animals are champs.


I've always thought that intimidation should either use both charisma and strength as a modifier or the high of the two.

Silver Crusade RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16

James Jacobs wrote:
Which actually means that if you want the REAL reason animals have low Charisma scores... you'll have to ask Monte Cook, Jonathan Tween, or Skip Williams. We merely carried that over from D&D into Pathfinder. I've given my reasons why I agree that animal Charisma scores are middling between their Intelligence and Wisdom above... but I have no idea if that gels with the design theory of the guys who wrote 3rd edition D&D.

Fair enough, carrying stuff over is fine obviously, I was just curious. Now that I found an animal with a higher Cha mod, I'm gonna have fun. Thanks for the Deinonychus!


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Personally, I disagree that strength is a major factor in intimidation. Look at Hodor from the Song of Ice and Fire series. He is enormously strong, but he's not very intimidating. Sure, when he gets angry and smashes stuff that's scary, though I think that's more of a circumstance bonus.

Also, Intimidate is not always used in contexts where strength even matters. Say you are an ambassador trying to intimidate the king of another nation into a, for him, bad treaty. It doesn't matter how tough you are, but how much you can play up your country's military might. That's charisma/

Osirion

Knight Magenta wrote:
Also, Intimidate is not always used in contexts where strength even matters. Say you are an ambassador trying to intimidate the king of another nation into a, for him, bad treaty. It doesn't matter how tough you are, but how much you can play up your country's military might. That's charisma/

Or intelligence, if you cannily convince him of the size and superiority of your army, seizing upon his lack of knowledge on tactical or military matters to sound like more of an authority than you are.

Or wisdom, if you intuit and take advantage of his own uncertainty or lack of trust of his allies, and play against that weakness, using his own doubts to ensure his defeat before the first blow has even landed.

With the right situation, I could even make an argument for dexterity (dazzling display of grace at arms) or constitution (they ran non-stop for two days to reach the battle and then fought like cornered angry momma badgers when they got there!) as the source of an Intimidate check.

Don't mind me, I've got my Ring of Contrariness on today. :)


I'm with Set on this one, pretty much every stat could be used as a base for intimidation... Also, Diplomacy could also be covered by more stats than CHA ~ great feats of strength, dex, int, etc have often made people more like-able to others, even if their force of personality left much to be desired.

Of course, this would make CHA even MORE of a dump stat than it is today, which I don't think PF is looking to do. So... good luck! :P


3.5 Loyalist wrote:
Only a sucker follows a cute animal into war.

Challenge accepted.


We don't actually need six stats. If charisma can be folded into intelligence and wisdom let it go. It means more skill points for sorcerers and bards and higher will saves for paladins. It means wizards and fighters and monks and, well, everyone who isn't a spontaneous caster or a paladin, has one less stat to dump. It wouldn't be the end of the world.

We actually don't really need wisdom either. It exists so that when you roll 3d6 in order the same stat array doesn't qualify you for both wizard and cleric. Hardly anybody does that anymore anyways.


This whole discussion kinda makes me want to create a cute, fuzzy magical beast whose survival strategy is to get intelligent humanoids to (slavishly) take care of it. Perhaps Charm Person as a spell-like ability.


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Shadowdweller wrote:
This whole discussion kinda makes me want to create a cute, fuzzy magical beast whose survival strategy is to get intelligent humanoids to (slavishly) take care of it. Perhaps Charm Person as a spell-like ability.

There's already a spell for that.

Pup Shape


Set wrote:


Or intelligence, if you cannily convince him of the size and superiority of your army, seizing upon his lack of knowledge on tactical or military matters to sound like more of an authority than you are.

Emphasis mine. Convincing is a function of charisma. Ever seen two people debate where one person had data backing his point of view, but the other person was more confident but clearly wrong? That's why "being right" is not how you convince people. In a major negotiation, it rarely involves just one die roll. A good knowledge (military) check may give you a bonus, but in the end its your force of personality that matters.

Set wrote:


Or wisdom, if you intuit and take advantage of his own uncertainty or lack of trust of his allies, and play against that weakness, using his own doubts to ensure his defeat before the first blow has even landed.

There's already a mechanic for that. Its called sense motive. You might use that check to figure out that diplomacy would work at all, but its your charisma that does the heavy lifting.

Set wrote:


With the right situation, I could even make an argument for dexterity (dazzling display of grace at arms) or constitution (they ran non-stop for two days to reach the battle and then fought like cornered angry momma badgers when they got there!) as the source of an Intimidate check.

Don't mind me, I've got my Ring of Contrariness on today. :)

Sure, just like strength, I can see how some other ability is applicable in a given situation, but charisma is always applicable. Just like sometimes in combat you can dexterity (weapon finesse + light weapon) or intelligence (telekinesis)to attack, but the default is strength because it always makes sense.


Knight Magenta wrote:
Set wrote:
Or intelligence, if you cannily convince him of the size and superiority of your army, seizing upon his lack of knowledge on tactical or military matters to sound like more of an authority than you are.
Emphasis mine. Convincing is a function of charisma. Ever seen two people debate where one person had data backing his point of view, but the other person was more confident but clearly wrong? That's why "being right" is not how you convince people. In a major negotiation, it rarely involves just one die roll. A good knowledge (military) check may give you a bonus, but in the end its your force of personality that matters.
Set wrote:
Or wisdom, if you intuit and take advantage of his own uncertainty or lack of trust of his allies, and play against that weakness, using his own doubts to ensure his defeat before the first blow has even landed
There's already a mechanic for that. Its called sense motive. You might use that check to figure out that diplomacy would work at all, but its your charisma that does the heavy lifting.
Set wrote:

With the right situation, I could even make an argument for dexterity (dazzling display of grace at arms) or constitution (they ran non-stop for two days to reach the battle and then fought like cornered angry momma badgers when they got there!) as the source of an Intimidate check.

Don't mind me, I've got my Ring of Contrariness on today. :)

Sure, just like strength, I can see how some other ability is applicable in a given situation, but charisma is always applicable. Just like sometimes in combat you can dexterity (weapon finesse + light weapon) or intelligence (telekinesis)to attack, but the default is strength because it always makes sense.

Let say that two person using Diplomacy had the same CHA and rank+bonus, one has 8 in INT and WIS, the other has 12 in INT and WIS, the one with the higher INT and WIS should realistically have more chances of winning.


Depends on what they are trying to convince each other of. I could see a circumstance bonus if they are in a situation where int and wis matters. Maybe if they are deciding what job pays more or something like that.

Otherwise, that's what we have the d20 roll for. :)

Taldor

Set wrote:


Or intelligence, if you cannily convince him of the size and superiority of your army, seizing upon his lack of knowledge on tactical or military matters to sound like more of an authority than you are.

Or wisdom, if you intuit and take advantage of his own uncertainty or lack of trust of his allies, and play against that weakness, using his own doubts to ensure his defeat before the first blow has even landed.

Yeah, you can be as intelligent or wise as you want and make great points like those above ... but you will achieve nothing if you cannot get it across the other party.

And THAT's why an ambassador needs a high charisma. No, in truth it needs all three if he wants to be effective.


pH unbalanced wrote:


There's already a spell for that.

Pup Shape

Great for defense, not so great for encouraging creatures to take care of you. I'm thinking of something a little more parasitic in nature...


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Atarlost wrote:


As another example, there is a certain politician. He or she will go unnamed, but he has been called charismatic in real life. I am so completely unmoved by his or her arguments it's not even funny. I guess there's a -100 diplomacy modifier for "I think the person trying to influence me is a buffoon."

That's a reflection of you, not of the unnamed politician. Clearly, you made your mind up about this person, you belong to an ethos or a social position opposite his, and you are predisposed to reject what he has to say. This is not a failure of his charisma. It is just you embracing your own confirmation bias. We all are capable of putting up walls, and convincing ourselves of things with or without even the slightest shred of evidence about those things.

Thousands and thousands of people marched on Washington, all convinced that the President had raised their taxes, when in fact he had been responsible for them receiving more money back in their tax returns. Was that his failure, or theirs? The failure was partly perpetrated by his opponents, who sorely wanted them to be believe in a lie. But mostly it was their fault for falling prey to the lie, and then continuing to embrace it even when confronted with factual evidence to the contrary.

Charisma does not work in real life like it does in the game. No matter how much truth or niceness you throw at somebody, if they simply WANT TO DISLIKE YOU, they are going to. If they DON'T WANT TO HEAR WHAT YOU HAVE TO SAY, then they won't. And if they would PREFER TO BELIEVE IN LIES, they are going to, with gigantic tents in their pants.

As to animals, it is not even a question that they have low Charisma scores. The OP is confusing being pretty or attractive, or knowing how to beg for food, with real Charisma. Animals simply do not possess all the of myriad, millions of subtle emotional levels humans do, nor the capacity for expressing them.


LazarX wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
Knight Magenta wrote:

Charisma represents self-awareness. I think the description in the book says something like: "Charisma represents your ability to tell things that are yourself from things that are not yourself."

As far as I know, Animals are less self-aware than humans. Hence the low charisma.

This is to a certain extent true.

AKA: The higher your Charisma, the more likely you are to realize that the person in the mirror is you.

I think the only animals that have demonstrated that example of self-awareness are the dolphin and Koko the gorilla. Most animals who look in mirrors just see another animal.

I believe balooga whales and bottlenose dolphins are both able to recognize their reflections. There are a few other animals who can, actually. I believe ravens/crows fall into this category. Also, there were recently tests run on dogs - in the old days they would note that dogs learned to simply ignore their reflections, and they figured this meant they were not self-aware. Then it occurred to some scientists that they were testing the dogs not as dogs, but as human beings. Humans recognize primarily by sight. But dogs are scent-driven. So they tested dogs using urine. Sure enough, dogs are able to recognize their own urine. In the dog's mind, this scent is "me, mine, so I can ignore it, and continue searching for other things." By that definition, the dog is able to recognize itself. Other animals can't do that.

Osirion

TriOmegaZero wrote:
Monkeys don't need a high Cha score to socially interact with other monkeys. The negative modifiers cancel each other out.

Thus the feces-flinging.

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