Adjudicating the Social Trait "Charming" at the Table


Pathfinder Society

4/5 5/5

Under Social Traits, the PRD wrote:
Charming: Blessed with good looks, you've come to depend on the fact that others find you attractive. You gain a +1 trait bonus when you use Bluff or Diplomacy on a character that is (or could be) sexually attracted to you, and a +1 trait bonus to the save DC of any language-dependent spell you cast on such characters or creatures.

I'm curious. What criteria would you use to determine when the bonus(es) from this trait should be applied?

Silver Crusade 1/5

I think the obvious answer is any NPC of the opposite gender, unless the scenario specifically points out the NPC is a homosexual (not sure if any actually do).

Any NPC that has taken a vow of celibacy should be excluded from the effects.

Lantern Lodge 3/5

I usually have my NPCs be bisexual and make them react to the preference of what the player's characters prefer.

This makes it more fair to players.

5/5 *** Venture-Agent, California—San Francisco Bay Area North & East

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Player: I've got a 24 diplomacy (25 if they might find me sexually attractive)

(assuming DC 25)

GM 1: They seem unaffected by your charm and decline your request.

GM 2: They seem hesitant at first, but your good looks seem to have won them over.

If the NPC is not clearly defined either answer seems both reasonable and appropriate. No need to further add rules or requirements.

Sovereign Court 5/5 5/5 ** Venture-Captain, West Virginia—Charleston

I believe that it has been stated by Paizo that, unless otherwise stated, all NPCs are considered to be bisexual.

4/5 5/5

Pirate Rob wrote:

GM 1: They seem unaffected by your charm and decline your request.

GM 2: They seem hesitant at first, but your good looks seem to have won them over.

If the NPC is not clearly defined either answer seems both reasonable and appropriate. No need to further add rules or requirements.

I'm not really looking for additional rules in order to adjudicate this trait at the table, but rather soliciting opinions from GMs as to the criteria they might use to decide if an NPC could be sexually attracted to a PC with this trait or not.

Your example above, Pirate Rob, is a perfect example of how I would expect the trait to be run at the table, but how did GM 1 and GM 2 arrive at their decisions?

My personal thought (trying to be less restrictive as Secane implied above) is that any sentient creature with the equipment and mindset to be sexually attracted could be sexually attracted. Of course, I can certainly understand a GM more narrowly defining sexual attraction (as Bigdaddyjug seems to do above).

4/5 5/5

Netopalis wrote:
I believe that it has been stated by Paizo that, unless otherwise stated, all NPCs are considered to be bisexual.

Interesting. Would you (or anyone else, for that matter) happen to recall where that was stated?

Liberty's Edge 5/5

For a pretty extreme example:

God’s Market Gamble:
Somehow the PC’s have not set the warehouse on fire and have captured the BBEG Ranger alive before she even knows they are there. So no combat happens except for the couple rounds where they sneak up, grapple, pin, and tie her up.
Salacious the Cleric of Callistria: My dear lovely woman, wouldn’t it be nicer to be “friends” if you know what I’m saying? <with a roll of 29 or 30>
BBEG: I spit in your general direction stupid heathen worshiper! Your ilk make me want to puke!

--OR—

Salacious the Bard: <same thing with a roll of 29 or 30.>
BBEG: Yes, take me back to your place immediately!


Netopalis wrote:
I believe that it has been stated by Paizo that, unless otherwise stated, all NPCs are considered to be bisexual.

Oh? I'd very much like to see your proof. This would have quite a large impact on the world of Golarion.

4/5 5/5

Andrew Christian wrote:

For a pretty extreme example:

** spoiler omitted **

In your example, I'm assuming both PCs had the Charming trait, but one's religious affiliation killed any chance at a sexual attraction, yes? I can get behind such a ruling.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

As a GM, I would be fairly lenient as long as the PC didn't somehow expect to squeeze the bonus out of every encounter. I think it would have more role playing opportunities. For example, if the +1 bonus did mean the different between success and failure, I would grant it based on how the PC acted toward the NPC. If he or she were flirtatious, warm and understanding, or otherwise 'winning', it would definitely count. If the PC were an ass and just expected his or her OOC 'charm' statistic to win the day, I'd say no.
Of course, to switch things up, I might just have an NPC turned on by a PC who is mean to him or her.

5/5

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Well, Andy, first of all, remember that a diplomacy check can only move someone 2 degrees more friendly towards you. So it would never be as extreme as you describe :-)

Graypark, these are the factors I would personally consider:

1) Is the NPC of a type/subtype that would reasonably find the PC attractive? If the PC is a human, I would say it's unlikely that a goblin would find him/her attractive. Usually if it's a standard PC-race, then I would say yes. Note: just because a dwarf does not want a human to be their marriage partner, does not mean they couldn't find them attractive, and respond well to their diplomacy. See Lord of the Rings.

2) Would the NPC culturally be inclined to see the PC as sexually attractive? In general, if the NPC lives in a city and have reasonable exposure to other races, then probably yes. But if the NPC lives in some sort of culture of extreme xenophobia, it might exclude it. But as the previous example, I could see a situation in which the highly insular dwarf, having a culturally conditioned standard of sexual attraction, would NOT find the human PC to be attractive.

3) Does the NPC have some sort of lifestyle choice that would prevent them from finding the PC attractive? As mentioned above, do they have some sort of vow of celibacy?

4) Lastly, sexual orientation. I would actually categorize this into more of a "table reading" deal. What orientation does the PC making the diplomacy check seem to be? How well would your current players respond to this? I had actually not head of the "all npc's are bisexual" comment before, but I can certainly see Paizo saying as such. To be quite honest, that's not how I play my NPCs. They are mostly heterosexual, but not always, as the situation and table requires.

In the end, the vast majority of the time it comes down to what the first reply said. Is it an NPC of the opposite gender...or the gender that the PC seems to be attracted to?

Scarab Sages 5/5

GermanyDM wrote:

As a GM, I would be fairly lenient as long as the PC didn't somehow expect to squeeze the bonus out of every encounter. I think it would have more role playing opportunities. For example, if the +1 bonus did mean the different between success and failure, I would grant it based on how the PC acted toward the NPC. If he or she were flirtatious, warm and understanding, or otherwise 'winning', it would definitely count. If the PC were an ass and just expected his or her OOC 'charm' statistic to win the day, I'd say no.

Of course, to switch things up, I might just have an NPC turned on by a PC who is mean to him or her.

"darlin', you want me to be 'mean' to you? Normally, this costs extra..."

Grand Lodge 4/5 5/5

GermanyDM wrote:
Of course, to switch things up, I might just have an NPC turned on by a PC who is mean to him or her.

Maybe that why Shackles' courtship of Zarta not go well. Shackles be too nice.

1/5

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My female half-elf pirate has the Charming trait. When she makes a Diplomacy check, I usually preface reporting the result to the GM with, "Does he think I'm cute?" If so, I add the +1. :-)

4/5 5/5

Thanks, Nani Pratt. That was very helpful. Your reply, too, GermanyDM. Thanks.

Shadow Lodge 4/5 5/55/55/55/5 **** Venture-Captain, Indiana—Southern

Nani, as usual, has excellent points!

Locally, if a GM is unsure based on the NPC writeup/backstory in the scenario, it comes down to a % roll in the middle of the table, giving the player a fair (50%) chance that they are, regardless of NPC gender.

Liberty's Edge 5/5

Nani Pratt wrote:

Well, Andy, first of all, remember that a diplomacy check can only move someone 2 degrees more friendly towards you. So it would never be as extreme as you describe :-)

Rules Lawyer ;b

Liberty's Edge 5/5

Nani Pratt wrote:

In the end, the vast majority of the time it comes down to what the first reply said. Is it an NPC of the opposite gender...or the gender that the PC seems to be attracted to?

To actually add constructively to this...

If you think it will add for fun at the table, do whatever you feel is appropriate.

Sometimes having a gruff rebuff is fun.

Sometimes having a paramour possibility is fun.

It comes down to reading the table, the player, and the PC.

Sovereign Court 5/5 5/5 ** Venture-Captain, West Virginia—Charleston

I just looked up the quote that I was looking for,and I apologize. James Jacobs said that it was safe to assume that all pregens are bisexual unless clearly stated otherwise. That doesn't apply to all NPCs. This is another area where table variation is bound to occur.

4/5 5/5

Netopalis wrote:
I just looked up the quote that I was looking for,and I apologize. James Jacobs said that it was safe to assume that all pregens are bisexual unless clearly stated otherwise. That doesn't apply to all NPCs. This is another area where table variation is bound to occur.

Regardless, thanks for taking the time to look for the answer; even if it didn't support your original belief, I appreciate your doing so.

Sovereign Court 5/5 5/5 ** Venture-Captain, West Virginia—Charleston

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A follow-up thought....

Clearly, Charming is not the best Diplomacy trait out there. There are others that are more powerful - either they give extra bonuses, they are untyped or they add one as a class skill. (Or, in the case of Extremely Fashionable, all three). People take Charming because they want something to roleplay. Therefore, it should be adjudicated as a roleplay question and not a rules question. In the vast majority of cases, it won't matter - but in the rare event that it does and the situation is questionable, the GM should err on the side of giving it to the player as a reward for taking a flavorful choice when more optimal ones are available.

Shadow Lodge 4/5 5/5 RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 8

Netopalis wrote:
I just looked up the quote that I was looking for,and I apologize. James Jacobs said that it was safe to assume that all pregens are bisexual unless clearly stated otherwise. That doesn't apply to all NPCs. This is another area where table variation is bound to occur.

Good stuff! If the comic is canon at all, then Valeros and Merisel are looking mighty straight ;)

(I think their little flirting/romance is pretty AWWdorable!)

Grand Lodge 5/5

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Just remember: Miss Feathers is only attracted to fighters, barbarians, and half-orcs.

And none of those size-smalls. What am I supposed to do with that? Psh.


My Cleric of Iomedade has a 18 charisma and the Charming trait. I usually tell the DM "I rolled a 19, 20 if they think I'm sexy!" Since he ends up being the "faceman" in most sessions, I get to say this a lot.

This also plays into why he took the free faction switch from Taldor to the Silver Crusade when it was offered. He got tired of being whored out for the equivalent of a new throw rug for Baron Taco.

4/5 5/5

Netopalis wrote:
People take Charming because they want something to roleplay.

Some players might take Charming because it increases the DC of certain spells under certain circumstances by 1.

That would be an instance in which a ruling on the NPC's sexual attraction might fall more under the resolution of a rules question as opposed to a role play question.

That extra +1 to the DC of a spell save could be the difference between life and death.

Grand Lodge 4/5 5/5

Miss Feathers wrote:

Just remember: Miss Feathers is only attracted to fighters, barbarians, and half-orcs.

And none of those size-smalls. What am I supposed to do with that? Psh.

Shackles be more than one of those things!

1/5

Shackles wrote:
Shackles be more than one of those things!

Shackles, this is your lucky day!

Shadow Lodge 4/5 5/5 RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 8

graypark wrote:
Netopalis wrote:
People take Charming because they want something to roleplay.

Some players might take Charming because it increases the DC of certain spells under certain circumstances by 1.

That would be an instance in which a ruling on the NPC's sexual attraction might fall more under the resolution of a rules question as opposed to a role play question.

That extra +1 to the DC of a spell save could be the difference between life and death.

While you might get some guidance as to what certain NPCs orientations are (GLBTS, etc), you aren't going to get that sort of guidance for the common goblin, harpy, human guard, etc etc.

Also, orientation does not equate with attraction. NPC 1 might like dudes, but there's a big difference between finding that dwarven barbarian with a CHA of 5 attractive and that Taldan aristocrat with a CHA of 20 attractive.

So, given all that, I think that getting an official "here's how this works PFS" ruling would be more detrimental than beneficial. Table variation should be in place for a trait like this, I think it makes it more fun and random than just another flat mechanical advantage.

4/5 5/5

Walter Sheppard wrote:
Table variation should be in place for a trait like this, I think it makes it more fun and random than just another flat mechanical advantage.

Exactly. I couldn't agree more. And I believe this is the consensus, too. Thanks, everyone, for sharing your thoughts and opinions.

Sovereign Court 5/5 5/5 ** Venture-Captain, West Virginia—Charleston

graypark wrote:
Netopalis wrote:
People take Charming because they want something to roleplay.

Some players might take Charming because it increases the DC of certain spells under certain circumstances by 1.

That would be an instance in which a ruling on the NPC's sexual attraction might fall more under the resolution of a rules question as opposed to a role play question.

That extra +1 to the DC of a spell save could be the difference between life and death.

The list of language-dependent spells is laughably short. To my reading, there are only 6 or so that require a saving throw. If someone is taking the trait for that purpose, then they have more important problems than whether or not the target is attracted to them.

Shadow Lodge 4/5 5/5 RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 8

graypark wrote:
Walter Sheppard wrote:
Table variation should be in place for a trait like this, I think it makes it more fun and random than just another flat mechanical advantage.
Exactly. I couldn't agree more. And I believe this is the consensus, too. Thanks, everyone, for sharing your thoughts and opinions.

Its what the boards are for :)

Shadow Lodge

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Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
Netopalis wrote:
I just looked up the quote that I was looking for,and I apologize. James Jacobs said that it was safe to assume that all pregens are bisexual unless clearly stated otherwise. That doesn't apply to all NPCs. This is another area where table variation is bound to occur.

The one time I can think of this being specifically addressed is in Jade Regent, where romancing the named NPCs (if desired) is part of the plot and has defined rules mechanics. All of the romanceable characters are specifically called out as being at least potentially bisexual.

Which is very important as my character's primary goal in that AP is to spend the rest of her life with Ameiko.

Shadow Lodge

Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
graypark wrote:
Under Social Traits, the PRD wrote:
Charming: Blessed with good looks, you've come to depend on the fact that others find you attractive. You gain a +1 trait bonus when you use Bluff or Diplomacy on a character that is (or could be) sexually attracted to you, and a +1 trait bonus to the save DC of any language-dependent spell you cast on such characters or creatures.
I'm curious. What criteria would you use to determine when the bonus(es) from this trait should be applied?

It's also worth mentioning that there is a Changeling Race Trait (Green Widow) that has a +2 to Bluff in the same circumstances. I actually have a first level Changeling Sorcerer who has both that *and* Charming, and her Bluff can be +11. (Well, since she's Rakshasa-blooded I can get that up to +16.) She's scary.

Edit: Whoops, just noticed this was the PFS board. So I guess Changeling wouldn't be an issue there after all.

Grand Lodge 5/5

Shackles wrote:
Shackles be more than one of those things!

Come see me in Kaer Maga, big boy.

Grand Lodge 4/5 5/5

Miss Feathers wrote:
Come see me in Kaer Maga, big boy.

Next time Shackles be there, Shackles be there!

4/5

pH unbalanced wrote:
graypark wrote:
Under Social Traits, the PRD wrote:
Charming: Blessed with good looks, you've come to depend on the fact that others find you attractive. You gain a +1 trait bonus when you use Bluff or Diplomacy on a character that is (or could be) sexually attracted to you, and a +1 trait bonus to the save DC of any language-dependent spell you cast on such characters or creatures.
I'm curious. What criteria would you use to determine when the bonus(es) from this trait should be applied?

It's also worth mentioning that there is a Changeling Race Trait (Green Widow) that has a +2 to Bluff in the same circumstances. I actually have a first level Changeling Sorcerer who has both that *and* Charming, and her Bluff can be +11. (Well, since she's Rakshasa-blooded I can get that up to +16.) She's scary.

Edit: Whoops, just noticed this was the PFS board. So I guess Changeling wouldn't be an issue there after all.

FYI--the bonuses from those two traits do not stack with each other, though you still get +1 Diplo +2 Bluff from having both.

Scarab Sages 5/5

Miss Feathers wrote:

Just remember: Miss Feathers is only attracted to fighters, barbarians, and half-orcs.

And none of those size-smalls. What am I supposed to do with that? Psh.

Darlin' that's what alter self is for! (isn't it?)

And the spell enlarge... person. You can get some AMAZING results with casting the spell in the ...ah... middle.

just practiceing one of my day jobs, craft courtesan

Grand Lodge 4/5 5/5

Katisha wrote:
And the spell enlarge... person. You can get some AMAZING results with casting the spell in the ...ah... middle.

Shackles have potion do that. But potion make all Shackles big, not just middle. What Shackles do wrong? Shackles think Katisha have lots to teach Shackles.

Sovereign Court 5/5 *

Shackles wrote:
Katisha wrote:
And the spell enlarge... person. You can get some AMAZING results with casting the spell in the ...ah... middle.
Shackles have potion do that. But potion make all Shackles big, not just middle. What Shackles do wrong? Shackles think Katisha have lots to teach Shackles.

Shackles, you need to find some oil of enlarge person darling. Potions are so last year~

Sovereign Court 5/5

Having reduce person is also useful if your partner's an aasimar.

Grand Lodge 4/5 5/5

Viscountess Nelyna Rellos wrote:
Shackles, you need to find some oil of enlarge person darling. Potions are so last year~

Maybe that what Shackles do wrong. Shackles drink oil. Shackles think it potion. Now Shackles know why potion taste slippery.

Grand Lodge 4/5 5/5

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Mayim Qadir wrote:

Having reduce person is also useful if your partner's an aasimar.

Shackles not do it in aasimar.

Shadow Lodge

Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
Rogue Eidolon wrote:
pH unbalanced wrote:
graypark wrote:
Under Social Traits, the PRD wrote:
Charming: Blessed with good looks, you've come to depend on the fact that others find you attractive. You gain a +1 trait bonus when you use Bluff or Diplomacy on a character that is (or could be) sexually attracted to you, and a +1 trait bonus to the save DC of any language-dependent spell you cast on such characters or creatures.
I'm curious. What criteria would you use to determine when the bonus(es) from this trait should be applied?

It's also worth mentioning that there is a Changeling Race Trait (Green Widow) that has a +2 to Bluff in the same circumstances. I actually have a first level Changeling Sorcerer who has both that *and* Charming, and her Bluff can be +11. (Well, since she's Rakshasa-blooded I can get that up to +16.) She's scary.

Edit: Whoops, just noticed this was the PFS board. So I guess Changeling wouldn't be an issue there after all.

FYI--the bonuses from those two traits do not stack with each other, though you still get +1 Diplo +2 Bluff from having both.

Green Widow is a Racial Bonus, not a Trait Bonus, so they do stack.

And the difference between a Race Trait and a Racial Trait rears its ugly head again. I think I said the wrong one. :)

1/5

Shackles wrote:


Shackles not do it in aasimar.

ROFL. Another episode of "Absalom After Dark"...

4/5

pH unbalanced wrote:


Green Widow is a Racial Bonus, not a Trait Bonus, so they do stack.

And the difference between a Race Trait and a Racial Trait rears its ugly head again. :)

Aha, thanks!--I've taken to calling them Racial Abilities. It's not the actual name, but that way it doesn't sound like a trait.

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