How to punish characters with low Charisma


Advice

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Zahir ibn Mahmoud ibn Jothan wrote:
kyrt-ryder wrote:
Reminds me of a build I once made for a Strength-focused Bard with a Barbarian Cohort on whose shoulders she was going to ride around (the plan was to request a variant Gnome race that didn't have Strength as a penalty, to match the Pink Hair of the inspiration character)
Sounds like Master-Blaster to me.

This is what I was going for

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Ability Damage is always a risk for any PC with a low score.

By the way, I doubt anyone would be having such a fit over a PC who had a very low Constitution.


Phoebus Alexandros wrote:
kyrt-ryder wrote:
Absent any magic is a little disingenuous when you noted one was low level but one had 13 ranks :P
You misread my post. Only Strong Character is low level. ;)

That was actually a joke about the fact that the physically weak, high level character would logically have extradimensional storage.

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Try presenting a scenario with any other stat and (most likely) I will debate with you until I'm blue in the face on the subject, because I refuse to reject a player's right to breath life into a character without being held back by the stats.

I'm not saying you shouldn't! :)

This honestly feels like we're having a conversation about real-world children and not allowing them to feel hampered by any limitations - perceived or real - in attaining their goals. What I'm getting at is that any player should go for any concept they want for their character. Depending on the attributes they roll up or the point spread they buy, some of those concepts may not be viable.

For instance, there are no ability score requirements whatsoever for the Sorcerer class. That having been said, a starting character who is not Charismatic enough (whose score is 10 or less) will not be able to cast 1st level spells until he finds some item that raises his ability score - or until he gains a level-based ability increase, etc.

There's an app for that.

Those aside, however, the necessity of certain ability scores to perform a job well (Strength or Casting Stat > Constitution > Dex > misc) is a big part of the reason I refuse to force my players' characters to be defined by their stats. Be smart with low Int, be wise with low Wis, be sociable/likeable/pretty/respected with low Cha. A person's stats are not their personality, their just stats.


Kazaan wrote:
It's incorrect to say that a character that dumps Int can't be witty. A character with 7 Int will be more witty, on average, than a character with 3 Int.
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wit·ty

ˈwitē/
adjective
showing or characterized by quick and inventive verbal humor.

Ignoring that wit might be a function of Charisma rather than Intelligence, you're comparing an individual with below-average intelligence to someone who, at first level, possesses the bare-minimum mental ability to speak.

Is the Intelligence 7 character wittier than the Intelligence 3 one? Only by a stretch of language. More accurately, neither is witty (at first level). "Quick and inventive" are positive values. A negative modifier is the opposite of that. Can a low-Intelligence character develop quick and inventive verbal humor? Sure. Through experience and training.

A better way to describe the relationship between the two is that the challenges the Intelligence 7 character will face in meeting life's demands at 1st level are simply not as great as those of the Intelligence 3 character. At the end of the day, though, a 1st level character with an Intelligence of 7 probably won't be considered "cerebral" by those who interact with him (assuming they possess average or greater Intelligence).

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And, if it's a straight Int check, a character with 3 Int has a 30% chance to roll high enough to beat the 7 Int. The correct answer from an idiot is no less correct. The wrong answer from a genius is no less wrong.

But ultimately you're citing the exception to the rule.

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"Strong" is a relative term so, with 7 cha and some social skills, you could easily be the face of a party of 5 Cha characters with no social skills.

And, as offered earlier, that's a function of skill and experience overcoming the limitations of having a low Ability score.

Consider, if you will, "The King's Speech":

The future George VI is a perfect example of a below-average Charisma being overcome by skill and practice. The prince seemed to be a likeable individual who suffered from a debilitating speech impediment. This impediment affected his confidence and caused him to withdraw from public activities. The thrust of the movie is that he overcomes this impediment through extensive training. He's never able to completely overcome this problem, but through his training he rises to the occasion and delivers a speech that inspires the British people at a pivotal moment of their history.

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The ability score isn't about what your character can attempt ...

Absolutely it is. As I offered earlier, your Strength 5 Fighter can't even attempt to carry or lift past a certain amount of weight. Your Intelligence 10 Wizard can't even attempt to cast 1st level spells. So on, so forth.


kyrt-ryder wrote:
That was actually a joke about the fact that the physically weak, high level character would logically have extradimensional storage.

And, ironically, looking back on it I was the one who misread your post! Consider me humbled! :D

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There's an app for that.

I think you get my point all the same.

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Those aside, however, the necessity of certain ability scores to perform a job well (Strength or Casting Stat > Constitution > Dex > misc) is a big part of the reason I refuse to force my players' characters to be defined by their stats. Be smart with low Int, be wise with low Wis, be sociable/likeable/pretty/respected with low Cha. A person's stats are not their personality, their just stats.

Again, this comes down to experience and training overcoming one's ability scores.

With a low Intelligence, you're not going to be cerebral - but you can be trained to learn things. A less-intelligent Fighter can still invest ranks in Craft and become a great artisan.

With low Wisdom, you're not going to rely on your common sense - but you can rely on past experiences. A less-wise Bard can still invest ranks in Sense Motive and spot con artists.

As for low Charisma, see my previous post. :)

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Well, there is actually a Human NPC in Kingmaker, with a 3 Intelligence, that seems to be capable of speech.

Also, the GameMastery Guide "Village Idiot" NPC has a 4 Intelligence.


Intelligence 3 is noted as the bare minimum for human speech... so that would make sense. And it's not as if I said an Intelligence 3 character couldn't speak... ;)

And when the GameMastery Guide qualifies (rather rudely, I think) someone with an Intelligence of 4 as an "idiot", then that to me further qualifies the relationship between low ability scores and high ones.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Well, for as "stupid" as Goblins are, they don't have any penalties to intelligence(or wisdom), and the statblocks reflect this.


The standard Goblin has an Intelligence score of 10. Why should they have a penalty there? Their Wisdom is a 9... and their stat block shows a -1 Will save.

The stat block is quite accurate in those regards!


blackbloodtroll wrote:

Ability Damage is always a risk for any PC with a low score.

By the way, I doubt anyone would be having such a fit over a PC who had a very low Constitution.

If I take a low con, do I have to roleplay my heavy breathing?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
Phoebus Alexandros wrote:

The standard Goblin has an Intelligence score of 10. Why should they have a penalty there? Their Wisdom is a 9... and their stat block shows a -1 Will save.

The stat block is quite accurate in those regards!

I meant penalty, as in racial modifiers.


Phoebus Alexandros wrote:
kyrt-ryder wrote:
That was actually a joke about the fact that the physically weak, high level character would logically have extradimensional storage.

And, ironically, looking back on it I was the one who misread your post! Consider me humbled! :D

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There's an app for that.

I think you get my point all the same.

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Those aside, however, the necessity of certain ability scores to perform a job well (Strength or Casting Stat > Constitution > Dex > misc) is a big part of the reason I refuse to force my players' characters to be defined by their stats. Be smart with low Int, be wise with low Wis, be sociable/likeable/pretty/respected with low Cha. A person's stats are not their personality, their just stats.

Again, this comes down to experience and training overcoming one's ability scores.

With a low Intelligence, you're not going to be cerebral - but you can be trained to learn things. A less-intelligent Fighter can still invest ranks in Craft and become a great artisan.

With low Wisdom, you're not going to rely on your common sense - but you can rely on past experiences. A less-wise Bard can still invest ranks in Sense Motive and spot con artists.

As for low Charisma, see my previous post. :)

Or it comes down to creating a complete character and then roleplaying them, stats be damned.

I think that's our disconnect here, for me there's the RP, and then there's the game. Two entirely different worlds only very loosely related.

I might have a monk or cleric with a High Wisdom who's a total ditz and acts 100% counter to what a high wisdom should mean.

I might have a Wizard who's the village idiot despite his High Int (and I'm actually talking about processing in terms of intelligence, not just being unwise)

I might have a Sorcerer with sky high Cha who is a wallflower that nobody notices or gives the time of day to or even bothers to notice until she commits herself to a course of action and puts herself out there.

These are all character concepts which- if bound to the stats- could not happen. I refuse to play in such a restrictive game.


Phoebus Alexandros wrote:

Intelligence 3 is noted as the bare minimum for human speech... so that would make sense. And it's not as if I said an Intelligence 3 character couldn't speak... ;)

And when the GameMastery Guide qualifies (rather rudely, I think) someone with an Intelligence of 4 as an "idiot", then that to me further qualifies the relationship between low ability scores and high ones.

Yet a 4 int bard or rogue could still be swimming in skills, capabilities and knowledges, perhaps that would make them not an idiot in a range of areas.

Of course the reverse is having a 20 int char, loads of investment and failing an int check. Makes you feel pretty stupid if it keeps happening.


blackbloodtroll wrote:
I meant penalty, as in racial modifiers.

The Advanced Race Guide's entry to Goblins gives them the follow racial attribute bonuses/penalties:

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+4 Dexterity, –2 Strength, –2 Charisma: Goblins are fast, but weak and unpleasant to be around.

Goblins being "stupid" is an inaccurate statement. Goblins are as "stupid" as a human.

Where the ongoing topic is concerned, the racial descriptions simply reinforce the idea that ability scores serve as descriptors for characters and creatures. Goblins have a bonus that grants them a higher-than-average Dexterity; they are "fast". They also have a penalty that potentially leaves them with a lower-than-average Charisma; they are "unpleasant to be around."


Pretty sure they aren't 'unpleasant to be around' to other Goblins, they just have an unpleasant culture.

As far as 'fast' goes, they have 30 foot movespeed, which is 50% faster than most small humanoids.

Can't argue the weak bit, but Strength has always been the most transparent stat as relates to the character.


kyrt-ryder wrote:

Or it comes down to creating a complete character and then roleplaying them, stats be damned.

I think that's our disconnect here, for me there's the RP, and then there's the game. Two entirely different worlds only very loosely related.

Not quite. I'm pointing out that your style of game - as described - is contingent on ignoring a part of the game system. And that's your prerogative! :)

Meaning, if you tell me "I don't care what Chapter One of the Core Rulebook has to say about abilities; this is how my group plays," I will wholeheartedly recognize your group's right to play the way that is most fun for you.

That, however, doesn't mean that the abilities don't matter, though - or that there isn't a qualified and quantified difference between a high ability score and a low one.


DM Under The Bridge wrote:

Yet a 4 int bard or rogue could still be swimming in skills, capabilities and knowledges, perhaps that would make them not an idiot in a range of areas.

Of course the reverse is having a 20 int char, loads of investment and failing an int check. Makes you feel pretty stupid if it keeps happening.

Again: that's a function of skill and experience overcoming the shortcoming that a low ability entails. That bard is hardly intelligent, but he has received extensive training. Given enough experience and skill ranks, he should be able to overcome the constant challenges* that his low Intelligence score impose on him.


kyrt-ryder wrote:

Pretty sure they aren't 'unpleasant to be around' to other Goblins, they just have an unpleasant culture.

As far as 'fast' goes, they have 30 foot movespeed, which is 50% faster than most small humanoids.

Can't argue the weak bit, but Strength has always been the most transparent stat as relates to the character.

Regarding their low-on-average Charisma and the resulting "unpleasantness", you're adding a qualifier that is not present in the text, kyrt-ryder. Furthermore, your qualifier is contrary to the context of the background text in said racial entry.

Furthermore, the qualifier the entry adds about being quick is in relation to their Dexterity - not their move speed.


Phoebus Alexandros wrote:
kyrt-ryder wrote:

Or it comes down to creating a complete character and then roleplaying them, stats be damned.

I think that's our disconnect here, for me there's the RP, and then there's the game. Two entirely different worlds only very loosely related.

Not quite. I'm pointing out that your style of game - as described - is contingent on ignoring a part of the game system. And that's your prerogative! :)

Meaning, if you tell me "I don't care what Chapter One of the Core Rulebook has to say about abilities; this is how my group plays," I will wholeheartedly recognize your group's right to play the way that is most fun for you.

That, however, doesn't mean that the abilities don't matter, though - or that there isn't a qualified and quantified difference between a high ability score and a low one.

Indeed, this is one of those times that a too-literal interpretation of the rules is bad for gaming. It's how I run the game, and I'm highly prone to walking out on games that are too restrictive in that regard.


Force them all to play sorcerers and oracles.


"Too-literal" is an opinion.

Adhering to a part of the game isn't being "too-literal" - not any more so than adhering to the combat system in the Core Rulebook.

Saying that Strength 18 is always indicative of a strongman might be a case of being "too-literal", or saying that Charisma 18 is always indicative of flawless looks.

Scarab Sages

Agian, Charisma has nothing to do with looks. There hasn't been a Comeliness score since 1st edition AD&D, and even then, it was an optional rule.


Insain Dragoon wrote:
All I learned from this thread is that if you aren't playing a Paladin, a 3rd party class that makes all your stats valuable in a way that doesn't make you MAD, or a full caster who didn't need to dump any stats then you are a dirty mongrelman whos awkward and terrible to be around.

I think your real problem is that you're up against a game system that don't give you enough points to build your character the way you want. I personally can't get behind <25 PB, since I find it overly restrictive in terms of the characters I want to play.

If you give people generous enough arrays or point buy to stat out their characters, you're more justified in being annoyed at people who dump stats instead of just leaving them at 10. So if your players want higher stats, I say let them have those stats. Just if I'm giving you a 30 point buy, please don't put your charisma at 7, unless it's actually important to your character concept to do so.


kyrt-ryder wrote:

That being said though, Carrying Capacity is one of very few functions of a stat I believe in which has nothing to do with dice rolls.

Try presenting a scenario with any other stat and (most likely) I will debate with you until I'm blue in the face on the subject, because I refuse to reject a player's right to breath life into a character without being held back by the stats.

Int lower than 3 incapable of speech? Here's my only issue with the idea of attributes being divorced from character concept, is that the stats themselves clearly relate to in-world character abilities aside from dice rolls (directly or not). Con represents your health and hardiness, not because it's a modifier on hp but because it itself represents how much damage you can take before you die.

Int represents your intellect because it determines 1) How quickly you learn skills, and 2) How many languages a character can know at level 1 (max Int modifier +1)

Now I'm not saying a character concept should be defined by your stats, Str this, Dex that, etc. here's your character concept, but I'm a firm believer that they should inform the character concept.

That's why I suggest thinking about the modifier as a difficulty the character has in each skill, rather than some all encompassing stamp on your character.


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The point Kyrt is ignoring is one of terminology - 'Ability scores' and 'skills'. Yes, they both contribute to your character conception. One, though, describes what you are before you learn new things, potentially allowing you to overcome deficiencies. But to deny a deficiency there is silliness. To ignore the RP opportunity of having two ways of adjusting things is a missed opportunity.

Even the argument about the size of the d20 is fallacious - ability score penalties affect your average performance over a lifetime. They range in execution from ~20% worse than average to ~20% better than average for fairly normal folk. Given that, a -3 in an ability score reflects being 3/4 of the way below average to the lowest category, or 7/8 of the way from the top. That's (for CHA) in some way unattractive. I don't care how you've compensated for it by sinking infinite points into social skills, that should be reflected in your conception somewhere.

A talking dog, no matter how well spoken, remains a talking dog when he tries to convince you that a flower smells good. Since he still may greet others by sniffing butts, and you may question his taste in smells because of that context. It may not always effect the outcome of a specific interaction, but often it will, and it will always provide interesting context to people's reactions. Boiling it down to the results of a die roll rather than interpreting the outcome in context makes it so you might as well be playing a MMORPG rather than a RPG. This is why it bothers me to dump a stat for Munchkin reasons rather than for true RP reasons.


Phoebus Alexandros wrote:
DM Under The Bridge wrote:

Yet a 4 int bard or rogue could still be swimming in skills, capabilities and knowledges, perhaps that would make them not an idiot in a range of areas.

Of course the reverse is having a 20 int char, loads of investment and failing an int check. Makes you feel pretty stupid if it keeps happening.

Again: that's a function of skill and experience overcoming the shortcoming that a low ability entails. That bard is hardly intelligent, but he has received extensive training. Given enough experience and skill ranks, he should be able to overcome the constant challenges* that his low Intelligence score impose on him.

Yeah, but it is hard to accept a character is an idiot, if they are no longer an idiot because of what they can actually do.

You could claim the char is an idiot-savant, but what if the char is really good at 5 skills and some of those represent knowledge and understanding. "That guy, he is an idiot, except he actually really knows a lot across a range of areas, and helps us all a lot, he can read people like they are books (sense motive is not governed by int) and his capabilities are really quite developed".

What I am getting at is int isn't the whole story on intelligence, and while a low int rogue or bard can come across as quite adept and knowledgeable, a moderate intelligence fighter can really struggle with any but a small group of checks.

You can also be clumsy, easy to hit, uncoordinated, and shoot people in the face over long-distances because you aim with your "wisdom" not your dexterity. That was a fun character I tell you, not even aiming just knowing where they were.


Kwauss wrote:
The point Kyrt is ignoring is one of terminology - 'Ability scores' and 'skills'. Yes, they both contribute to your character conception. One, though, describes what you are before you learn new things, potentially allowing you to overcome deficiencies. But to deny a deficiency there is silliness. To ignore the RP opportunity of having two ways of adjusting things is a missed opportunity.

There's nothing wrong with seeing it as an opportunity, but to see it as mandatory offends me at an instinctual level. Don't let the stats be a straight-jacket of how you can depict a character.

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Even the argument about the size of the d20 is fallacious - ability score penalties affect your average performance over a lifetime. They range in execution from ~20% worse than average to ~20% better than average for fairly normal folk. Given that, a -3 in an ability score reflects being 3/4 of the way below average to the lowest category, or 7/8 of the way from the top. That's (for CHA) in some way unattractive. I don't care how you've compensated for it by sinking infinite points into social skills, that should be reflected in your conception somewhere.

And I don't care what your stats OR skills are. Present your character as you see fit, and when its time to roll the dice your stats and skills will come into play.

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Boiling it down to the results of a die roll rather than interpreting the outcome in context makes it so you might as well be playing a MMORPG rather than a RPG. This is why it bothers me to dump a stat for Munchkin reasons rather than for true RP reasons.

This is so far the opposite of my position that it's pretty pathetic people continue to come to this conclusion.

Here I am advocating for players to immerse themselves in a diverse swath of effective, unique, dynamic characters- rather than pin their character's personalities down by game rules- and people get the impression I'm talking about boiling things down into a text-based MMORPG.

Some days I wonder why I bothered logging in.


I think largely my issue is that if a player tells me that their character is the smartest, strongest, toughest, most charming person in all the land, but they can't consistently back that up with what they roll, then the concept is flawed. Let's face it, ceteris paribus a high CHA character is going to succeed at social skills much more often than a low CHA character, and that to me makes the high CHA character "more charming" than the low CHA character regardless of the relative concepts.

Succeeding on a single diplomacy roll doesn't mean that you're persuasive, it just means that you happened to persuade someone in that situation, just like succeeding on a knowledge roll doesn't make you smart, it indicates that you happened to remember the relevant fact in one situation.

You only become "charming", "smart", "tough", "clever" through the game mechanics by consistently succeeding on rolls associated with those characteristics, and not only that but a wide variety of different applications not just covered by one skill. If you are only good at persuading people, but not at lying to them, then you're not really charismatic so much as "skilled at rhetoric."

It's just like no matter how many ranks in Knowledge(history) a character takes, he's never going to be truly brilliant if he's an INT 7 character, he's at best a guy who knows a lot about history.


PossibleCabbage wrote:
I think largely my issue is that if a player tells me that their character is the smartest, strongest, toughest, most charming person in all the land, but they can't consistently back that up with what they roll, then the concept is flawed.

Here you're conflating 'flexible character conceptualization' with 'wants to play a mary sue/gary stu.' At no point have I EVER suggested a character should be 'the ANYTHING in the land.' Only that players should be allowed to create their characters the way they want them. Allow me to quote myself from upthread.

Kyrt-ryder wrote:

I might have a monk or cleric with a High Wisdom who's a total ditz and acts 100% counter to what a high wisdom should mean.

I might have a Wizard who's the village idiot despite his High Int (and I'm actually talking about processing in terms of intelligence, not just being unwise)

I might have a Sorcerer with sky high Cha who is a wallflower that nobody notices or gives the time of day to or even bothers to notice until she commits herself to a course of action and puts herself out there.


kyrt-ryder wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
I think largely my issue is that if a player tells me that their character is the smartest, strongest, toughest, most charming person in all the land, but they can't consistently back that up with what they roll, then the concept is flawed.

Here you're conflating 'flexible character conceptualization' with 'wants to play a mary sue/gary stu.' At no point have I EVER suggested a character should be 'the ANYTHING in the land.' Only that players should be allowed to create their characters the way they want them. Allow me to quote myself from upthread.

Kyrt-ryder wrote:

I might have a monk or cleric with a High Wisdom who's a total ditz and acts 100% counter to what a high wisdom should mean.

I might have a Wizard who's the village idiot despite his High Int (and I'm actually talking about processing in terms of intelligence, not just being unwise)

I might have a Sorcerer with sky high Cha who is a wallflower that nobody notices or gives the time of day to or even bothers to notice until she commits herself to a course of action and puts herself out there.

What you're talking about that is someone who is RPing below their stats for concept reasons, that's fine. It's easy for a smart person to act dumb when it suits them, but a stupid person isn't going to be able to convincingly appear smart on a consistent basis.

If you want to play a concept with a high stat that behaves as though they are deficient in that attribute, then that's fine. The stat measures more "inherent potential" than anything else. But if you're going to play a concept with a low stat and behave as though it's actually high, then I have an issue.

Like no matter how many skill ranks you put in bluff and diplomacy, your CHA 7 character is never going to be truly witty, charming, lovable, beautiful, and inspiring. He's mostly just a guy who is skilled at rhetoric and practiced at lying and uses this to overcome his inherent deficiencies.

Like I would be okay with a low CHA character with lots of ranks in social skills being someone who deep down lacks self-confidence, but does a really good job putting on a public face and hiding it from people. That's just fine. I just think your concept is better insofar as you reflect your inherent limitations and talents, as well as your learned ones. It's vastly more interesting to play a character that has weaknesses, but overcomes them through hard work, than to play a character that lacks weakness because you said so.


You're conflating 'RPing below their stats' with 'exists below their stats.' These characters ARE NOT as their stats dictate. The Wizard IS an idiot, the Monk/Cleric IS a ditz, the Sorcerer has zero presence at all.

These are character concepts, not a character holding back.


PossibleCabbage wrote:

I think largely my issue is that if a player tells me that their character is the smartest, strongest, toughest, most charming person in all the land, but they can't consistently back that up with what they roll, then the concept is flawed. Let's face it, ceteris paribus a high CHA character is going to succeed at social skills much more often than a low CHA character, and that to me makes the high CHA character "more charming" than the low CHA character regardless of the relative concepts.

Succeeding on a single diplomacy roll doesn't mean that you're persuasive, it just means that you happened to persuade someone in that situation, just like succeeding on a knowledge roll doesn't make you smart, it indicates that you happened to remember the relevant fact in one situation.

You only become "charming", "smart", "tough", "clever" through the game mechanics by consistently succeeding on rolls associated with those characteristics, and not only that but a wide variety of different applications not just covered by one skill. If you are only good at persuading people, but not at lying to them, then you're not really charismatic so much as "skilled at rhetoric."

It's just like no matter how many ranks in Knowledge(history) a character takes, he's never going to be truly brilliant if he's an INT 7 character, he's at best a guy who knows a lot about history.

So it is governed by successes, not the stats?

You say here "You only become "charming", "smart", "tough", "clever" through the game mechanics by consistently succeeding on rolls associated with those characteristics".

So if a high charisma character failed rolls associated with those characteristics again and again (as I have seen), they would not be charming?


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Stats are simply numbers. There's no reason to punish them or force them to do anything. At that point, you're just making arbitrary and unnecessary restrictions on them that adds nothing to the game. Characters are a lot more than an array of number.


kyrt-ryder wrote:

You're conflating 'RPing below their stats' with 'exists below their stats.' These characters ARE NOT as their stats dictate. The Wizard IS an idiot, the Monk/Cleric IS a ditz, the Sorcerer has zero presence at all.

These are character concepts, not a character holding back.

It really strikes me that what you're describing here is a nurture overcoming nature thing. Like a high INT character who has been cast into the village idiot role for whatever reason, and has come to believe that he or she actually is stupid, may act like an idiot, sure, but deep down this character has the potential for brilliance and may come to realize that they've been done a disservice by being told what an idiot they are.

The monk with the high wisdom who acts like a ditz is potentially someone who has been molded by social expectation and cultural mores to behave unconsciously in a manner that is contrary to their basic nature, but in overcoming this sort thing they can achieve true wisdom.

The sorcerer may have no real understanding of other social expectations at all (maybe she was raised by wolves), but at his or her core there is a strong personality that can be channeled in whatever direction she wants if she ever realizes that this is a thing that she can and may want to do.

I think the problem I have with your approach is that having a low stat, but exceeding it through hard work, or having a high stat, not acting like it, but coming into it over the course of the campaign, are fantastic roleplaying opportunities and you're cheating yourself if you go with the "he's really charming" for the CHA 7 character with max ranks in bluff/diplomacy rather than the "he lacks self-confidence, but he fakes it masterfully." Characters, after all, are often defined best by their flaws.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
Like no matter how many skill ranks you put in bluff and diplomacy, your CHA 7 character is never going to be truly witty, charming, lovable, beautiful, and inspiring. He's mostly just a guy who is skilled at rhetoric and practiced at lying and uses this to overcome his inherent deficiencies.

Don't tell me what kind of person my character is. That is NOT your decision to make. I come to the gaming table having invested hours upon hours upon hours of my life painstakingly crafting an identity to roleplay, I will not have that belittled by someone who is not inside my head.

If I bring a character who has a high OR low stat but who's identity and roleplay don't reflect it, then by the gods that's exactly how that character will be until a check is called. Try to tell me otherwise, and I will be walking. Guaranteed.


DM Under The Bridge wrote:
So if a high charisma character failed rolls associated with those characteristics again and again (as I have seen), they would not be charming?

I would expect a high charisma character with lots of ranks in social skills who fails at this again and again to come up with an in-character justification of why they've lost their mojo, and try to do something (in character) to get said mojo back.

In the long run, the CHA 18 character with the same number of ranks in Diplomacy as the CHA 7 character is going to succeed on a lot more diplomacy rolls, but everybody has their bad days, weeks, months, etc.


kyrt-ryder wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
Like no matter how many skill ranks you put in bluff and diplomacy, your CHA 7 character is never going to be truly witty, charming, lovable, beautiful, and inspiring. He's mostly just a guy who is skilled at rhetoric and practiced at lying and uses this to overcome his inherent deficiencies.

Don't tell me what kind of person my character is. That is NOT your decision to make. I come to the gaming table having invested hours upon hours upon hours of my life painstakingly crafting an identity to roleplay, I will not have that belittled by someone who is not inside my head.

If I bring a character who has a high OR low stat but who's identity and roleplay don't reflect it, then by the gods that's exactly how that character will be until a check is called. Try to tell me otherwise, and I will be walking. Guaranteed.

You decide your character's backstory, how your character behaves, and how your character perceives him or herself. You are not in control of the game world itself and you do not have the ability to control how anybody else in the game world perceives your character. If you want to play an idiot with a high INT, but you consistently come up with smart solutions to tricky problems, people are going to treat you as though you're smart regardless of the fact that you came to the table with the idea that your character is an idiot. How you act, in the course of play, is going to affect how people perceive you, regardless of what your concept is.

If you come to the table married to a concept, and you're not willing to let that concept grow, change, and evolve based on bouncing it off the world for a while, then you're not welcome at my table to begin with.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
kyrt-ryder wrote:

You're conflating 'RPing below their stats' with 'exists below their stats.' These characters ARE NOT as their stats dictate. The Wizard IS an idiot, the Monk/Cleric IS a ditz, the Sorcerer has zero presence at all.

These are character concepts, not a character holding back.

It really strikes me that what you're describing here is a nurture overcoming nature thing. Like a high INT character who has been cast into the village idiot role for whatever reason, and has come to believe that he or she actually is stupid, may act like an idiot, sure, but deep down this character has the potential for brilliance and may come to realize that they've been done a disservice by being told what an idiot they are.

Or he's just stupid. He has occasional sparks of genius, but he really is an idiot. He doesn't process information quickly, he's bad at math, he sucks at puzzles and can't think his way through a paper bag.

But he has a savant-like talent at Arcane Formulae and ability to retain pure facts, being very good at Wizarding.

Quote:
The monk with the high wisdom who acts like a ditz is potentially someone who has been molded by social expectation and cultural mores to behave unconsciously in a manner that is contrary to their basic nature, but in overcoming this sort thing they can achieve true wisdom.

Or she really is an airhead who doesn't think before she acts and can't be relied upon to intuit a damned thing or give the slightest damn about what's going on around her.

Quote:
The sorcerer may have no real understanding of other social expectations at all (maybe she was raised by wolves), but at his or her core there is a strong personality that can be channeled in whatever direction she wants if she ever realizes that this is a thing that she can and may want to do.

Or she really does simply have no presence, is genuinely BAD at expressing herself/communicating to people in general/getting attention.

Quote:
I think the problem I have with your approach is that having a low stat, but exceeding it through hard work, or having a high stat, not acting like it, but coming into it over the course of the campaign, are fantastic roleplaying opportunities and you're cheating yourself if you go with the "he's really charming" for the CHA 7 character with max ranks in bluff/diplomacy rather than the "he lacks self-confidence, but he fakes it masterfully." Characters, after all, are often defined best by their flaws.

These ARE fantastic roleplaying opportunities, but... wait for it... they are only a tiny subset of all the roleplaying opportunities available.

It's the player's right to choose which roleplaying opportunities to pursue, and I will never allow that right to be taken from me or take it from a player of mine.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
kyrt-ryder wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
Like no matter how many skill ranks you put in bluff and diplomacy, your CHA 7 character is never going to be truly witty, charming, lovable, beautiful, and inspiring. He's mostly just a guy who is skilled at rhetoric and practiced at lying and uses this to overcome his inherent deficiencies.

Don't tell me what kind of person my character is. That is NOT your decision to make. I come to the gaming table having invested hours upon hours upon hours of my life painstakingly crafting an identity to roleplay, I will not have that belittled by someone who is not inside my head.

If I bring a character who has a high OR low stat but who's identity and roleplay don't reflect it, then by the gods that's exactly how that character will be until a check is called. Try to tell me otherwise, and I will be walking. Guaranteed.

You decide your character's backstory, how your character behaves, and how your character perceives him or herself. You are not in control of the game world itself and you do not have the ability to control how anybody else in the game world perceives your character. If you want to play an idiot with a high INT, but you consistently come up with smart solutions to tricky problems, people are going to treat you as though you're smart regardless of the fact that you came to the table with the idea that your character is an idiot.

If he's an idiot, he wouldn't consistently come up with smart solutions to tricky problems. That's where the roleplaying comes in. You assume I as a player will always do everything within my character's statistical capability to help the party, but I put characterization above success/failure.

Quote:
If you come to the table married to a concept, and you're not willing to let that concept grow, change, and evolve based on bouncing it off the world for a while, then you're not welcome at my table to begin with.

I want my character to evolve from contact with the world. What I don't want is to have my character perverted by some GM's opinion of what the stats supposedly say about them.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:


...But if you're going to play a concept with a low stat and behave as though it's actually high, then I have an issue.

Like no matter how many skill ranks you put in bluff and diplomacy, your CHA 7 character is never going to be truly witty, charming, lovable, beautiful, and inspiring. He's mostly just a guy who is skilled at rhetoric and practiced at lying and uses this to overcome his inherent deficiencies...

I now feel sorry for the I-know-and-insist-how-you-should-play-crowd. Your argument is grounded in sheer subjectivity, i.e. you have a group of related assumptions that your brain thinks is The Rule and has virtually no reference to rules. I don't really care about your string of assumptions and least it's creative- it could even be great for you and more power to you. However, crossing the line and having the ghosts in your head dictate what others should or should not being is not only offensive but weak.


DM Under The Bridge wrote:

Yeah, but it is hard to accept a character is an idiot, if they are no longer an idiot because of what they can actually do.

...

People of below average intelligence are able to process information and retain knowledge.

Ultimately, here's what this comes down to: certain concepts are made mechanically possible by this game system despite being logically implausible. This is because we're dealing with a simulation that resolves itself on percentages of probability than logic.

In the real world, an individual whose mind functions a little better than what is needed to communicate would be lucky to function, period - much less be the repository of vast amounts of knowledge and skill. In Pathfinder, though, such an individual will be significantly troubled for maybe 10% of his possible career (a couple of levels out of 20) before repetition and investment in training helps him overcome his vastly lower intellect.

The fact that the latter is the reality of this game, however, is not mutually exclusive from the qualified fact that abilities do measure a character's physical prowess, mental aptitude, force of personality, etc., and that they measure them on a high-low scale. As offered earlier, you're more than entitled to ignore this part of the game for the sake of your own, but the fact that you do so doesn't mean that it wasn't designed that way.


kyrt-ryder wrote:
If he's an idiot, he wouldn't consistently come up with smart solutions to tricky problems. That's where the roleplaying comes in. You assume I as a player will always do everything within my character's statistical capability to help the party, but I put characterization above success/failure.

If your character has a high INT, he will consistently succeed at INT checks and INT based skills, at least more often than a character with a lower INT. So people will come to perceive him as intelligent, regardless of your initial conception that he's an idiot. He may be a really smart guy who says some dumb things a lot of the time, but people are still going to learn when to listen to him. That's all I'm saying.


You assume I will make those rolls. Last I checked players were allowed to voluntarily fail rather than roll a d20 except in corner cases like a Barbarian's Superstition.


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kyrt-ryder wrote:

You're conflating 'RPing below their stats' with 'exists below their stats.' These characters ARE NOT as their stats dictate. The Wizard IS an idiot, the Monk/Cleric IS a ditz, the Sorcerer has zero presence at all.

These are character concepts, not a character holding back.

Ok so an honest question, if the character stats have no bearing on character actions outside of rolls, how can they have any bearing on character actions within rolls?

If the character concept need not have any relation to their stats, than how do their stats serve as a representation of that character through gameplay? If the Wizard is an idiot where does the +3/+4 come from on Knowledge or Craft checks? How do they master complex arcane mysteries?


Purplefunk wrote:

I'm starting a game with my friends this Thursday and two of them are starting with vertu low rolled charisma, the lowest being 5. If it was intelligence, they would be 3 points away from not being able to speak!

So I feel like prices will be higher for them off course and randomly fights will stay because they looked at someone wrong but I'm wondering if any of you have good ideas how to punish these people.

Thank you

Lots of pretty ladies.


Dannorn wrote:
kyrt-ryder wrote:

You're conflating 'RPing below their stats' with 'exists below their stats.' These characters ARE NOT as their stats dictate. The Wizard IS an idiot, the Monk/Cleric IS a ditz, the Sorcerer has zero presence at all.

These are character concepts, not a character holding back.

Ok so an honest question, if the character stats have no bearing on character actions outside of rolls, how can they have any bearing on character actions within rolls?

If the character concept need not have any relation to their stats, than how do their stats serve as a representation of that character through gameplay? If the Wizard is an idiot where does the +3/+4 come from on Knowledge or Craft checks? How do they master complex arcane mysteries?

That's for each player to decide for themselves. In my case, the Wizard's only crafting might be Magic Item Crafting via Spellcraft (talented with Arcane Formulae), and his bonuses on the Knowledge checks come from his talent for remembering pure facts. He knows 'stuff' but he can't process it well.


kyrt-ryder wrote:
That's for each player to decide for themselves. In my case, the Wizard's only crafting might be Magic Item Crafting via Spellcraft (talented with Arcane Formulae), and his bonuses on the Knowledge checks come from his talent for remembering pure facts. He knows 'stuff' but he can't process it well.

I would point out, however, that you are still doing what has been suggested by the people you are arguing with: you are reflecting your character's ability scores (in this case high INT) in the concept (idiot savant, talented at arcane formulae and has impressive recall.)

There's no one way to interpret any stat, but they still ought to (and generally do) end up reflected somewhere in the entire concept of the character.


Dannorn wrote:

Ok so an honest question, if the character stats have no bearing on character actions outside of rolls, how can they have any bearing on character actions within rolls?

If the character concept need not have any relation to their stats, than how do their stats serve as a representation of that character through gameplay? If the Wizard is an idiot where does the +3/+4 come from on Knowledge or Craft checks? How do they master complex arcane mysteries?

I believe it was already mentioned, but there's a option of making them an idiot savant. All you need in order to be good at wizardry (at least in terms of preparing and casting spells) is a good memory. That idiot wizard? He probably doesn't actually have that many points in Knowledge skills, or if he does, it gets played like Fish-Legs from the How to Train Your Dragon movie. He sure had his facts memorized, but whenever he "rolled" a knowledge skill, he either recited raw facts from memory or he pulled out a manual of sorts and leafed through it to find the answer. Unless the answer to the problem was written in the book, Fish-Legs simply spouted out facts, and didn't actually explain HOW to utilize it; that was the domain of his more tactically minded teammates. The craft skill, once again, can be easily be explained by memorization. He might know the procedure he was taught for making items, and can follow them very well. However, chances are his work will feel uninspired and inartistic, and he'd be highly unlikely to try and invent something new.

Stats are only numbers, and a character is a lot more than that.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
I would point out, however, that you are still doing what has been suggested by the people you are arguing with: you are reflecting your character's ability scores (in this case high INT) in the concept (idiot savant, talented at arcane formulae and has impressive recall.)

Would you say the same if I said I had a Barbarian or Fighter Orc PC with 5 Int who had a natural knack for tactics, a quick whit and was generally good at processing information on hand, but who was bad at retaining pure facts and couldn't be expected to piece together a puzzle under pressure?

Or would you call me a munchkin because my character concept doesn't fit your standards of what a stat should mean?

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