Charisma, the Step-Child Stat (houserules to redeem it)


Homebrew and House Rules

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Vidmaster7 wrote:
Leadership is such a pain. Only time I allow it is if we are short on people in a game and we need some extra oomph. 6 person game leadership creates such a drag.

It doesn't have to be. Look at the Loyal Aid ability of the vigilante. "The vigilante gains the service of a number of loyal allies who can help him gather information, cover for his two identities, or perform minor tasks." Having followers doesn't mean they are on scene most times or helping in combat.

PossibleCabbage wrote:
I mean, the big problem with leadership is that it is so much more powerful than any other feat if one person takes it that kind of pressures everybody to take it.

It doesn't have to be a feat does it? If it's something everyone can try, power isn't an issue. Add this to the new dynamic were NPC's don't have to follow a class and you can have helpful followers that aren't also combat assets by default. You can make a high hp npc with some cool out of combat skills and no real attack potential: you could have them research info, gather rumors, take care of mounts, ect while the party is in the dungeon. Doesn't seem uber-powerful and it does what the OP wants: a reason for everyone to want some cha.


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Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

It probably won't come to the surprise of anyone but I'm still very much under the opinion that Charisma is already impactful enough as is.

Charisma should very much influence the social abilities of your character and should result in more difficult social encounters when it's low and easier social encounters when it's high.

I find that there are typically two types of opinions that disagree with this assumption.

1) Those who believe that tying social encounters too much to Charisma and penalizing those with low Charisma too harshly is stifling to the roleplay that is presented by players, or who believe that a high amount of RL social skills should be able to overcome weaknesses in a character's charisma attribute and social skills.

2) Those who believe that Charisma will always fall short of other attributes if it does not offer a direct combat advantage to a character in the way that Strength adds more attack and damage or that Constitution adds more health and fortitude saving throw.

My only real suggestion in the cases listed above would be that denying the advantages that Charisma already provides or watering them down is specifically what lowers the value of Charisma to them in the first place, and that once you have done that you're better off just not having the stat at all.

So that suggestion would be to simply take the bonuses that Charisma does provide currently and to simply split them up between the other stats and kill Charisma as a stat entirely.


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Gloom wrote:
Charisma should very much influence the social abilities of your character and should result in more difficult social encounters when it's low and easier social encounters when it's high.

The effect of that tends to be:

(1) "Who's got the best charisma? The Cleric? Right: You're the 'party face'."
(2) Whenever there is an NPC to be interacted with in any way other than murder, the party face does all the talking.
(3) Nobody else in the party ever talks to anyone.

Liberty's Edge

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Gloom wrote:

It probably won't come to the surprise of anyone but I'm still very much under the opinion that Charisma is already impactful enough as is.

Charisma should very much influence the social abilities of your character and should result in more difficult social encounters when it's low and easier social encounters when it's high.

In addition to Matthew Downie's point above, the other issue with this is that, frankly, Wisdom is probably as essential in social encounters as Charisma due to Perception covering what Sense Motive used to.

And, in many cases, Intelligence is even more important since it allows you to actually have social skills Trained, which provides a bigger bonus than Charisma does alone starting at 3rd level. If you don't already have all of the social skills, you gain more of a net bonus to them by increasing Int than Cha.

And both of those also have other applications in non-social situations as well, most especially Wisdom, but Intelligence as well. For this reason, I feel strongly that Charisma needs something to make it the equal of other Ability scores.


Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Matthew Downie wrote:
Gloom wrote:
Charisma should very much influence the social abilities of your character and should result in more difficult social encounters when it's low and easier social encounters when it's high.

The effect of that tends to be:

(1) "Who's got the best charisma? The Cleric? Right: You're the 'party face'."
(2) Whenever there is an NPC to be interacted with in any way other than murder, the party face does all the talking.
(3) Nobody else in the party ever talks to anyone.

The same thing can be said about a party that has someone with a high strength or intelligence when you're dealing with physical or mental heavy lifting.

When it comes to these scenarios then their rules for "Following the Expert" and other party roll mechanics would probably be very important here.

Does that mean that the party would have a better time in social scenarios with their "face" character? Sure. Why though? Is it maybe because... Charisma would be more important in those scenarios?


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Deadmanwalking wrote:
Gloom wrote:

It probably won't come to the surprise of anyone but I'm still very much under the opinion that Charisma is already impactful enough as is.

Charisma should very much influence the social abilities of your character and should result in more difficult social encounters when it's low and easier social encounters when it's high.

In addition to Matthew Downie's point above, the other issue with this is that, frankly, Wisdom is probably as essential in social encounters as Charisma due to Perception covering what Sense Motive used to.

And, in many cases, Intelligence is even more important since it allows you to actually have social skills Trained, which provides a bigger bonus than Charisma does alone starting at 3rd level. If you don't already have all of the social skills, you gain more of a net bonus to them by increasing Int than Cha.

And both of those also have other applications in non-social situations as well, most especially Wisdom, but Intelligence as well. For this reason, I feel strongly that Charisma needs something to make it the equal of other Ability scores.

It will be possible to gain your level bonus to untrained skills through the acquisition of several different feats.

If you do not do that and you have a character with no bonus to charisma or social skills, then you should not expect to be able to control most social encounters.

When it comes to Intelligence or Wisdom playing a role in social encounters... I mean, they do? But Charisma is still clearly the most impactful of the three mental stats provided you actually have the skills trained.

Liberty's Edge

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Gloom wrote:
The same thing can be said about a party that has someone with a high strength or intelligence when you're dealing with physical or mental heavy lifting.

Not in quite the same way. Having one Int specialist does not result in everyone else having only Int 10 or less, because Int still provides a tangible benefit to people other than the Int-specialist (it gives them extra skills and languages).

The same is true of Str as well (in the form of everyone needing to deal with encumbrance and make their own Athletics checks), though to a lesser degree.


Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

There is nothing right now that encourages a party to have only one character with a high charisma rather than building their own characters organically.

If your groups are really doing that then I would suggest your issue is more with the players than the actual mechanics.

Saying that you'll only ever invest into Charisma if you're the designated one person in the party to deal with social encounters or if you've got a spellcasting class that uses it as a primary stat is baffling.

What happens if a social encounter happens that is specific to a character, or when the "face" of the party is not currently the lead or they're busy?

It's always advantageous to invest in Charisma and at least one or more social skills so you can have the toolkit to approach those encounters confidently.

Liberty's Edge

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Gloom wrote:
It will be possible to gain your level bonus to untrained skills through the acquisition of several different feats.

We know of only two, but yes, it's possible. Taking the skills still gets a +2 on top of that, while Cha only grants +1 (albeit to all Cha skills).

Gloom wrote:
If you do not do that and you have a character with no bonus to charisma or social skills, then you should not expect to be able to control most social encounters.

That is...kind of the opposite of the point I was making. Which was that an Int 10, Cha 10 character is, in many cases, better off raising Int than Cha if he wants to succeed at social stuff, as it will grant a larger bonus to a single social skill, and a single skill is often all a social secondary character needs.

Gloom wrote:
When it comes to Intelligence or Wisdom playing a role in social encounters... I mean, they do? But Charisma is still clearly the most impactful of the three mental stats provided you actually have the skills trained.

More impactful than knowing when you're being lied to and being resistant to the manipulations of others? I'm not convinced.

And both of those are Wisdom-based.


Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

If you're really running into situations where you have one character in the group with a high charisma and everyone else regularly dumps it to let them take the point in every social encounter, and that there is seemingly no penalty for that style of play..

Then my suggestion would be to just kill the Charisma stat entirely in those games.

Tie the current mechanics of the Charisma attribute to other attributes by splitting it up and then let people put points they would have put into Charisma into other attributes instead.


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Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Saying that Int is more important to social encounters than Charisma because "Without intelligence you wouldn't be able to train your social skills, and would thus be hit with a harsher penalty" means that you really don't care much about social encounters to begin with as a character.

Pretty much everyone will get at least 5 skills right out of character creation, even with dumping their intelligence stat. At least one of those skills can be put into a social skill without any real major issues.

For those that are tighter on skills, there are other ways to gain skill training such as multiclassing or picking up skill training feats or in some cases just taking a feat that lets you add your level to untrained skills. While it may not give you as much of a bonus to your social skills as skill training it would give you a better overall bonus to all of your other skills if you wanted to use them.

Liberty's Edge

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Gloom wrote:
There is nothing right now that encourages a party to have only one character with a high charisma rather than building their own characters organically.

Yes there is. The rules encourage that by making other options less effective.

Gloom wrote:
If your groups are really doing that then I would suggest your issue is more with the players than the actual mechanics.

Groups creating characters together and making sure to cover a variety of roles is completely normal and expected behavior. Making sure at least one person is good at social stuff is also quite normal.

In fact, I don't think I've played an RPG in the last decade where this wasn't at least discussed. Only in games with perverse incentives like this problem we're addressing is it remotely a problem.

Gloom wrote:
Saying that you'll only ever invest into Charisma if you're the designated one person in the party to deal with social encounters or if you've got a spellcasting class that uses it as a primary stat is baffling.

Not really. It's a common pattern in many games in PF1.

Gloom wrote:
What happens if a social encounter happens that is specific to a character, or when the "face" of the party is not currently the lead or they're busy?

Frankly? These situations are rare enough that they wing it. If they're smart, someone is at least Trained (or the equivalent) in a social skill or two, and they make a decent job based on that.

Gloom wrote:
It's always advantageous to invest in Charisma and at least one or more social skills so you can have the toolkit to approach those encounters confidently.

It isn't, though. It would be if that investment didn't cost resources, but it does. And in many cases it's more useful to know when you're being lied to as well as getting bonuses to initiative and Will Saves in general than it is to be good at talking people into things. And again, all that is Wisdom.

Liberty's Edge

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Gloom wrote:

Saying that Int is more important to social encounters than Charisma because "Without intelligence you wouldn't be able to train your social skills, and would thus be hit with a harsher penalty" means that you really don't care much about social encounters to begin with as a character.

Pretty much everyone will get at least 5 skills right out of character creation, even with dumping their intelligence stat. At least one of those skills can be put into a social skill without any real major issues.

For those that are tighter on skills, there are other ways to gain skill training such as multiclassing or picking up skill training feats or in some cases just taking a feat that lets you add your level to untrained skills. While it may not give you as much of a bonus to your social skills as skill training it would give you a better overall bonus to all of your other skills if you wanted to use them.

This really just reinforces my point. Having a Skill is better than raising Charisma, and as you say Skills are easy to get, while stat points are much harder. Why not just get the skills and ignore Charisma, then?

That was my core point for everyone but a dedicated face character, anyway. This will make you competent rather than great at social stuff, but being great at it is what a face is for.


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Gloom wrote:
It's always advantageous to invest in Charisma and at least one or more social skills so you can have the toolkit to approach those encounters confidently.

Sadly no. Rather than invest in 16 CHA I can just leave it at 10 put one of my skill points in Diplomacy and be done with it. At level 1 it's the same bonus and it only gets better. And with the saved 3 boosts I can make my character better in other places.

It's not that social abilities are unimportant. It's that CHA only is important for some (not even all) social interactions. And sacrificing your ability boosts for such a narrow field is not really inviting.

Investing in WIS makes you also good in social encounters because you can spot lies and hidden motives, something CHA doesn't help with. But it ALSO improves your will save and your initiative. And those might also be important in social encounters.

Investing in INT gives you more skills and languages, both good generally and for social stuff. And it improves those nice Lore and Knowledge checks. Knowing stuff also helps you in social interactions. It just gives more - and INT is already seens as a weaker ability.

Apart from skill bonusses, CHA gives nothing on its own. Not in combat, not in exploration, not in downtime. That's the problem some people have.


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Gloom wrote:
Saying that Int is more important to social encounters than Charisma because "Without intelligence you wouldn't be able to train your social skills, and would thus be hit with a harsher penalty" means that you really don't care much about social encounters to begin with as a character.

The not caring part is absolutely not true. Just take a moment and think about it.

Say, I have fleshed out my fighter character concept at level 1 - only fighty stuff. I still have 3 ability boosts left and I have both INT and CHA at 10. And I decide that I also care for social encounters.

If I raise CHA to 16, I'll have +3 to social skills. Ever.
If I raise INT to 16, I can get Diplomacy, Bluff and Intimidate to trained. This also gets me +3 at level 1 too and gets better.

I know, one could expect for CHA to be more important... it's just that the mechanics don't support that so much.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber

Or you could do one of the middle grounds: INT 12 and CHA 14 - get Diplomacy trained and +2 to all social skills.
Really good at Diplomacy (+5), but not that good in Bluff and Intimidate (+2).

Or INT 14 and CHA 12 - Diplomacy and Bluff (+4) training, but Intimidation (+1) isn't your forte.


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Interestingly enough the previous way of doing skill with only the +1,+2,+3 probably embraced having a higher charisma more so then a higher int slightly.

I think resonance should of stayed at least part of it. It should of been a pool to get more use of magic items. I think the idea of using charisma pool of points to super charge magic items is also viable.


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Personally, I feel gravely insulted as a socially awkward player when my 18 CHA character has little to no influence in a social encounter compared to the hyper-social player's 8 CHA character. Why do I invest on CHA (or any proactive social skills to roll) anyway, then?

In such cases, I'd rather have that sacred cow named CHA terminated (and split Agility from DEX to make up the new set of six stats, for personal preference).

Liberty's Edge

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Franz Lunzer wrote:

Or you could do one of the middle grounds: INT 12 and CHA 14 - get Diplomacy trained and +2 to all social skills.

Really good at Diplomacy (+5), but not that good in Bluff and Intimidate (+2).

Or INT 14 and CHA 12 - Diplomacy and Bluff (+4) training, but Intimidation (+1) isn't your forte.

Sure. And all those are valid options for a character who wants some social skills, and more or less equally good ones, IMO. The issue is that the high Int ones are objectively superior at a variety of other stuff (having higher bonuses on Int skills and more languages), while still being on par socially.

The high Cha character should have some compensatory advantage. Which he does not.

Lucas Yew wrote:
Personally, I feel gravely insulted as a socially awkward player when my 18 CHA character has little to no influence in a social encounter compared to the hyper-social player's 8 CHA character. Why do I invest on CHA (or any proactive social skills to roll) anyway, then?

For the record, I agree with this entirely. As, by the evidence, do most who are debating Gloom's point.

We're just not collectively convinced that Cha 18 is remotely close to worth it for anyone but Cha casters even given its impact on social stuff (since you can be okay at social stuff with even Cha 10 and it does nothing else).


Siro wrote:
....Bring back ‘Leadership’. Ok, no need to get the bouncer, I’ll leave now. :p

I believe that Matt Colville uses something similar in his 5e book Strongholds & Followers where the number of personal retainers a player has is equal to their Charisma bonus.


Lucas Yew wrote:

Personally, I feel gravely insulted as a socially awkward player when my 18 CHA character has little to no influence in a social encounter compared to the hyper-social player's 8 CHA character. Why do I invest on CHA (or any proactive social skills to roll) anyway, then?

In such cases, I'd rather have that sacred cow named CHA terminated (and split Agility from DEX to make up the new set of six stats, for personal preference).

I don't think situations like that are a bad opportunity to learn to improve one's social skills. Always work to improve yourself Is my motto.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber

I don't remember from the playtest, were there any social skill feats that had CHA requirements?


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Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Gloom is correct. It depends on the game how valuable Charisma is. Obviously some people run different styles.

Keep in mind:

No one needs all the social skills. Typically my characters choose an approach and if that fails they need to find a non-social approach to the problem. So one trained social skill is often fine.

You can get training from background, so an extra skill training from Int might not even matter.

Certain classes like Rogue already have almost too many skills.

You can Follow the Expert in many social encounters, if it comes to that.

Once you have training in the skill, Charisma becomes very important. Remember, in PF2 every +1 really counts.

A GM really should enforce consequences on a party of four silent muscle following one talkative person. Do you realize how weird that is? I go out of my way to ensure everyone makes some social interactions of various levels of importance throughout the campaign. If you don't do this as a GM I can see why your players don't value Charisma.

Liberty's Edge

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Franz Lunzer wrote:
I don't remember from the playtest, were there any social skill feats that had CHA requirements?

There were not. Nor are there likely to be. Skill Feats don't seem to ever have stat prerequisites.

WatersLethe wrote:
Once you have training in the skill, Charisma becomes very important. Remember, in PF2 every +1 really counts.

True. Of course, all other Abilities do a lot more than just give you bonuses on one skill. Perception is at least as important as Diplomacy even in the most social game possible, and raising Wisdom ups both that and Will Saves at a minimum.

WatersLethe wrote:
A GM really should enforce consequences on a party of four silent muscle following one talkative person. Do you realize how weird that is?

A noble or merchant with bodyguards? No, that isn't unusual at all. Certainly no more unusual than most PC groups are on the face of them.

WatersLethe wrote:
I go out of my way to ensure everyone makes some social interactions of various levels of importance throughout the campaign. If you don't do this as a GM I can see why your players don't value Charisma.

If every other stat is valuable almost any way the GM runs the game, but the GM has to run the game a specific way to make one valuable? The latter stat needs buffing.

A GM can make anything valuable by crafting the game to make it so. The skill list could have 'Underwater Basketweaving' alongside Thievery and I could say 'Well, if your GM has a lot of basket making contests underwater, then they're just as valuable.'

Your example is obviously vastly less contrived than that, but requiring each and every character to make lots of social checks (and fairly hard ones if you're talking Cha being useful...they could all just grab Trained in Diplomacy and do fine if they're easy ones) is a pretty specific style of Pathfinder.

I don't think that's true of most APs, nor most games I've run or played in personally. And I run pretty non-combat games of Pathfinder all things considered. This is not to say my games don't feature social stuff (they do), but they are usually social stuff initiated by the PCs, meaning they can have their social specialist handle it.


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WatersLethe wrote:
A GM really should enforce consequences on a party of four silent muscle following one talkative person. Do you realize how weird that is?

Is it? I think people would see it as a fairly commonplace 'leader and followers' or 'master and servants' or 'boss and bodyguards' situation.

WatersLethe wrote:
I go out of my way to ensure everyone makes some social interactions of various levels of importance throughout the campaign.

So do I, but I don't necessarily make dice rolls important to those interactions. Conversation can be about exchanging information or expressing individuality, not just about persuading people to do things through force of personality.

Doing this just to make Charisma important seems like saying, "I don't want Wizards dumping Strength, so I make sure the entire party are constantly having to pick up big rocks."

Personally I'd make Charisma more important with 'Charisma saves'.

In my homebrew system (codenamed Awesomefinder), I had:

Break save: For breaking out of entanglement effects, etc. Strength based. You can take a feat to use Dexterity instead.

Reflex save: For dodging spells. Based on Dexterity. You can take a feat to use Constitution to resist the spell instead.

Fortitude save: For resisting poison, disease, etc. Based on Constitution. You can take a feat to use Strength for this.

Reason save: For spotting illusions, escaping magical mazes, etc. Intelligence based. You can take a feat to change this to Wisdom.

Will save: For resisting charms and mental control. Based on Wisdom. You can take a feat to change this to Charisma.

Confidence save: For fear and similar effects. Based on Charisma. A feat can change this to Wisdom.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Even when social skills are important I still find its an area where you want to minimize rolls because its often were the best roleplaying is taking place.

Like my cuurent vampire game is very social (1 1/2 fights in three sessions) but I only ever make a player roll once unless circumstances change (often we roll at the start at then the players use their success as a guideline for their roleplaying.)


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Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I'm fine with people arguing that Charisma needs a boost for their own game styles. Arguing that it's not pulling its weight even in games such as mine is where I draw the line.

Charisma enables obviating large swathes of encounters, it can get you extra wealth, it can get you the most important commodity in the game: information. If Charisma gets too much on top of that, for my games at least, it would be overpowered.

I understand that people want it to have the same kind of mechanical impact as other ability scores. That appeals to the need for symmetry in all of us. I don't honestly believe it needs it, but to each their own.

And yes, a group of totally silent guards and a leader *is* bizarre for an adventuring party in a lot of situations.

If you incorporate a party member's background into the game, why is the bard speaking on behalf of the fighter to his long lost brother? Why is the sorcerer chiming in on the conversation between two druids in Druidic?

If you're brought before the king to answer questions, how much patience is he going to have for the bard running interference and playing lawyer?

What if you disagree with what your party's face is saying? What if they're missing or incapacitated? What if you're mingling at a party? What if you're splitting up to ask around town for info?

The point is, your party is a group of fully functional individuals. If you play games where a party face goes out and hires the gruffest, tongue-less bruisers he can find, then obviously Charisma has a different role. Make sure you roleplay your low Cha characters as the hired muscle they are though.

And while we're talking about it: Of course if you play games where important social scenes aren't rolled for then Charisma as a social stat is going to be useless. That's what I'm saying.


WatersLethe wrote:

I'm fine with people arguing that Charisma needs a boost for their own game styles. Arguing that it's not pulling its weight even in games such as mine is where I draw the line.

Charisma enables obviating large swathes of encounters, it can get you extra wealth, it can get you the most important commodity in the game: information. If Charisma gets too much on top of that, for my games at least, it would be overpowered.

I understand that people want it to have the same kind of mechanical impact as other ability scores. That appeals to the need for symmetry in all of us. I don't honestly believe it needs it, but to each their own.

And yes, a group of totally silent guards and a leader *is* bizarre for an adventuring party in a lot of situations.

We're not saying it's not pulling it's weight at YOUR specific table, it's that at all of ours, and at tables we've seen, it isn't; Information can be gained in variety of ways, the wizard reading at the library, the cleric/fighter/rogue eavesdropping at the bar, bunch of different ways, some of which are anti-social, and thus don't need CHA, as for wealth and obviating encounters, there are other skills that do that as well, like Stealth, Thievery, Lore, Crafting, the like. Those also get used in situations outside of town, like crawling a dungeon; It's not even the >same kind< of mechanical impact, just LITERALLY ANY USE OUTSIDE OF TOWN! Yes, there's Intimidate, but that's it, scaring the crap out of a bear/bandits/that one necromancer at the back of the dungeon is useful, but that's where the train ride ends for good ol' CHA outside the city walls.

Quote:
If you incorporate a party member's background into the game, why is the bard speaking on behalf of the fighter to his long lost brother? Why is the sorcerer chiming in on the conversation between two druids in Druidic?

The Fighter talking to his bro probably isn't gonna need a skill check, he's just holding a conversation. The druids talking, well that's the secret language of secretness, you can just take the druid character away from the table and talk to them 1 on 1, plus, unless you're requesting aid or telling them to scram, no roll needed.

Quote:
If you're brought before the king to answer questions, how much patience is he going to have for the bard running interference and playing lawyer?
A lot I hope? It's not that weird for the "squad leader" or "representative" to speak on behalf of the party, especially if the bard knows royal lingo
Quote:
What if you disagree with what your party's face is saying? What if they're missing or incapacitated? What if you're mingling at a party? What if you're splitting up to ask around town for info?

Tell them their wrong; Have a backup, we're not saying everyone WILL dump CHA, it's just very likely, but you're almost bound to have that second guy with a half decent score (In my game, I'm the 'face' Sorcerer, and our Champion is the backup); Then talk to the party guests, but don't try for anything. A great example of this is the royal gala in Log Horizon, you see Krusty and Shiroe schmoozing with the royal family, and then Akastuki, Henrietta and the crafters are talking to nobles, but they're only making small talk; You can use other skills to ask around down, Perception, Intimidate (which the fighter or barbarian are bound to have), Lore/Society in some circumstances.

Quote:
The point is, your party is a group of fully functional individuals. If you play games where a party face goes out and hires the gruffest, tongue-less bruisers he can find, then obviously Charisma has a different role. Make sure you roleplay your low Cha characters as the hired muscle they are though.

How many shows have the "boss" walk around with the bodyguards, and they sit there and just stare, rarely interjecting, but in the scene at the bar, they're party animals. When a bodyguard is "on the job" they sit, watch, and GUARD, when "off the clock" they can be who they really are, acting silly, serious, however.

Quote:

And while we're talking about it: Of course if you play games where important social scenes aren't rolled for then Charisma as a social stat is going to be useless. That's what I'm saying.

No real response to this, other than social scenes aren't that common outside of the typical buying stuff/asking the guild leader for a job/seeing what's up with that snobby royal. None of those truly necessitate a skill check aside from that last one.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:


WatersLethe wrote:
A GM really should enforce consequences on a party of four silent muscle following one talkative person. Do you realize how weird that is?
A noble or merchant with bodyguards? No, that isn't unusual at all. Certainly no more unusual than most PC groups are on the face of them.

Amusingly enough, this is a pretty common scenario on both sides of the screen. Acting as multiple NPCs engaging the party in conversation is very hard to do.

The other big contrast point charisma skills have with others is Charisma skills quite often only allow for one character to attempt them. Everyone can roll Perception to search a room or to try and Sense a Motive. If you find some runes, everyone trained in the party can attempt the knowledge skill to decipher them. If the wizard fails to Identify an item, the bard trained in arcana can give it a shot. Everyone in the party can attempt to use Nature or Survival to recognize what kind of beast left those tracks.

By contrast, the party often only gets one swing at a given diplomacy check, and almost certainly only gets one attempt at Deception. There's significantly less incentive to double up these skills. As weird as one person doing all the talking might be, it feels even weirder if the whole party takes turns asking for the same thing.


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Since the topic of this thread is on how to redeem Charisma, not on whether Charisma should be redeemed, is there any chance these arguments against adopting such houserules might be moved to a different thread?

I've found people's suggestions regarding possible houserules, and discussions regarding the merits of these suggestions, to be interesting and helpful. And it would be a shame to have this helpful discussion drowned out by an orthogonal discussion on whether to have such houserules at all.


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nick1wasd wrote:
We're not saying it's not pulling it's weight at YOUR specific table, it's that at all of ours, and at tables we've seen

I was responding to DMW who countered my post about table variance by insinuating that Cha isn't as relatively powerful at my table as I suggest. Sure other stats have mechanical benefits, but in my games which are homebrew, it would be an overpowered stat if it receives too much love.

nick1wasd wrote:
None of those truly necessitate a skill check aside from that last one.

I'm just saying if you play a game where this quote is true, it's a no brainer that Charisma will need buffing.

Charisma is uniquely sensitive to game style, which is a consequence of narrative power. Arguing that it should receive wholesale buffs so that every game can extract value from it no matter the type of campaign is risky because it neglects how powerful it already is in some games.

Sure, it can use some more weight for other styles of play, but one must acknowledge that doing so will have an impact on perfectly legitimate games where social checks happen with regularity.

I also don't appreciate the insinuation from DMW that making social checks common is somehow a rare, uncommon, custom game style that can be handwaved as niche.

It boils down to either:

1. Charisma should get modest buffs that don't make it overly powerful in social heavy games.

or

2. The entire social interaction system should be overhauled, which, as Gloom suggested, might entail removing Charisma as a social stat altogether.

People who say that there should be fewer social checks are unknowingly arguing for option 2.

TL;DR:

Charisma as it stands is in a unique position, and can't be treated like the other stats without consequence. The only way to bring it in line is to formalize some alternative means to handling the narrative power of social skills and their interaction with ability scores.


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WatersLethe wrote:

It boils down to either:

1. Charisma should get modest buffs that don't make it overly powerful in social heavy games.

or

2. The entire social interaction system should be overhauled, which, as Gloom suggested, might entail removing Charisma as a social stat altogether.

People who say that there should be fewer social checks are unknowingly arguing for option 2.

TL;DR:

Charisma as it stands is in a unique position, and can't be treated like the other stats without consequence. The only way to bring it in line is to formalize some alternative means to handling the narrative power of social skills and their interaction with ability scores.

100% Agree with this here.

My biggest concern about going with option 1 is that you'll either have such lackluster bonuses that you're better off not bothering, or more likely you'll offer bonuses that will offer an edge to charisma based casters without any real necessary investment.

Some of the suggestions that were mentioned here were:

1. Adding bonus Hero Points.
2. Adding bonuses to Magic Items.
3. Allowing a substitution of Wisdom for Will Saves.

The first two of those are non-starters IMO since it would basically be saying that Bards and Sorcerers should have an advantage over other casters without any sacrifice.

Having a four or more hero points above the other caster classes or being able to cast more times per day from a wand can be pretty powerful depending on what they're used for and requiring your Wizard or Cleric to raise Charisma just to obtain those bonuses to be on the same level playing field is a bit extreme.

The third of those options I wouldn't necessarily disagree with but I don't really want to start a trend of swapping out core mechanics like which stat gives bonuses to a save. Things like that are what contributed to the bloat in PF1.

If saves were changed then I wouldn't really want it to be related to buffing up Charisma. It should be something more along the lines of the following.

Fortitude uses the higher of Strength or Constitution.
Reflex uses the higher of Intelligence or Dexterity.
Will uses the higher of Wisdom or Charisma.

The goal there would be to improve build diversity and it's something that was already done with the Star Wars Saga Edition books that were made roughly off of D&D 3.5 mechanics with their own spin on things.

Honestly though the cleanest option out of all of them would be to just remove Charisma as a stat entirely and split the bonuses that it gives among the rest of your stats which is why I'd vote for that option if it really came down to it.


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WatersLethe wrote:


Charisma as it stands is in a unique position, and can't be treated like the other stats without consequence. The only way to bring it in line is to formalize some alternative means to handling the narrative power of social skills and their interaction with ability scores.

That uniqueness is the problem in many cases. Every GM I have had in the past 5 years has subscribed to the "roleplay, not rollplay" philosophy of social encounters, meaning that charisma rolls never come up, and high Charisma is nothing but an ability penalty for my Sorcerer or Summoner (and even if they did do charisma roles, I don't want to play "the face"). So it stands out as the only ability that requires the GM to adjust their playstyle to make relevant.


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Bluescale wrote:
WatersLethe wrote:


Charisma as it stands is in a unique position, and can't be treated like the other stats without consequence. The only way to bring it in line is to formalize some alternative means to handling the narrative power of social skills and their interaction with ability scores.

That uniqueness is the problem in many cases. Every GM I have had in the past 5 years has subscribed to the "roleplay, not rollplay" philosophy of social encounters, meaning that charisma rolls never come up, and high Charisma is nothing but an ability penalty for my Sorcerer or Summoner (and even if they did do charisma roles, I don't want to play "the face"). So it stands out as the only ability that requires the GM to adjust their playstyle to make relevant.

It is not possible at every table especially if you play at events or online. But when I GM I take the PC's charisma into account when role playing an encounter. No dice rolling needed.

Not a hard or fast rule and somewhat arbitrary on my side. It also allows me to more easily do things like a noble that only respects other nobles or a barbarian warlord that only respects strength to make more sense.


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Bluescale wrote:
That uniqueness is the problem in many cases. Every GM I have had in the past 5 years has subscribed to the "roleplay, not rollplay" philosophy of social encounters, meaning that charisma rolls never come up, and high Charisma is nothing but an ability penalty for my Sorcerer or Summoner (and even if they did do charisma roles, I don't want to play "the face"). So it stands out as the only ability that requires the GM to adjust their playstyle to make relevant.

So what you should consider is a houserule to overhaul social interactions, and then really juice up Charisma. Formalize the "roleplay, not rollplay" stance, because the half-measure of letting Charisma maybe someday be useful maybe for social stuff isn't cutting it.

I think a system where every social skill can be boosted by the best of two or more ability scores would be sufficient to free up Charisma to be some really potent item or hero point attribute, or something else entirely.

You could also remove Charisma altogether, as Gloom suggested, and make everything based on it based on another stat. More work though.

In my games we went the other way, and made sure Charisma mattered and used the social rules as written in the book. It helps people who aren't as comfortable with roleplay or not as charismatic as their characters do things suitably influential. In our case a minor boost like bonuses to hero point rolls or overcharge rolls would still be welcome.


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masda_gib wrote:
Gloom wrote:
Saying that Int is more important to social encounters than Charisma because "Without intelligence you wouldn't be able to train your social skills, and would thus be hit with a harsher penalty" means that you really don't care much about social encounters to begin with as a character.

The not caring part is absolutely not true. Just take a moment and think about it.

Say, I have fleshed out my fighter character concept at level 1 - only fighty stuff. I still have 3 ability boosts left and I have both INT and CHA at 10. And I decide that I also care for social encounters.

If I raise CHA to 16, I'll have +3 to social skills. Ever.
If I raise INT to 16, I can get Diplomacy, Bluff and Intimidate to trained. This also gets me +3 at level 1 too and gets better.

I know, one could expect for CHA to be more important... it's just that the mechanics don't support that so much.

Which leads to where I find Cha having its major problem (and the slight concept behind the my ‘Leadership’ joke earlier in the thread). Unlike other stats, Cha is dependant upon other things in order to be useful. For example I could invest nothing having to do with Dex, save for the stat itself, and I will still gain benefits in the from of AC and Ref saves. With Cha I need to use other resources to receive some useful benefit from the stat (ie training in skills, being a class that relies such as the bard or sorcerer, hacking in the ‘Leadership’ feat and hoping no one notices my magical item crafting heal bot, along with my small army of disposable meat shields/ walking supply of human sacrifices to the Love Craftian horror of my choosing. :). Now I have heard arguments in other threads that Cha is still fine, because these options are very powerful in them of itself, enough to make up for the extra work. For example, during the Playtest, most people pointed out the ‘Intimidation’ and how powerful an assit it was, even before the ‘Scare to Death’ skill feat. Now, I will not argue if this is actually the case or not, however the (possible) problem with this concept is, if you are using Cha (which unlike other stats need something to kick start it) your going to have to use your character resources to invest in it. Which means those planing to use Cha in a greater role have less character options to invest in other things, as these limited options are currently earmarked for Cha, something which other stats do not need in order to be useful. It also means anyone not planing to invest in any of these skills has no reason to invest in Cha. (apologies for the spacing working off of a phone)


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Gloom wrote:

Some of the suggestions that were mentioned here were:

1. Adding bonus Hero Points.
2. Adding bonuses to Magic Items.
3. Allowing a substitution of Wisdom for Will Saves.

The first two of those are non-starters IMO since it would basically be saying that Bards and Sorcerers should have an advantage over other casters without any sacrifice.

While I had an entire post saying essentially that you should ask yourself if that kind of free advantage was a problem, to counter myself somewhat it's also worth looking at that same perspective from other classes.

Str melee classes tend to be better at carrying things. Wizards get lots of skills, and there's no requirement for them to be taken as knowledge skills, so they can be better at social/physical. And so on.

Obviously those bonuses are already "costed in" to the class abilities, whereas a houserule wouldn't be. I'm just saying that it's not inherently bad for them to get an advantage, it just needs to be considered.

If saves were changed then I wouldn't really want it to be related to buffing up Charisma. It should be something more along the lines of the following.

Gloom wrote:

Fortitude uses the higher of Strength or Constitution.

Reflex uses the higher of Intelligence or Dexterity.
Will uses the higher of Wisdom or Charisma.

There was a weird D20-based system that never quite got finished called Legend that took that approach, using those exact attributes for the saves. It did similar things with class abilities. I think for PF2, it would devalue Dex a bit (which is likely fine) and Con a lot (which is maybe problematic).

You could also mix it up a bit and then add some other benefit, like making your hero point bonus the better of Con and Cha (although I'd probably make it a bonus to rerolls and/or dying checks, not the number of points received).


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RicoTheBold wrote:
There was a weird D20-based system that never quite got finished called Legend that took that approach, using those exact attributes for the saves. It did similar things with class abilities.

I thought you were going to say 4E for a second there. They did have the same dual stat to fort, ref, will thing as well.


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masda_gib wrote:

If I raise CHA to 16, I'll have +3 to social skills. Ever.

If I raise INT to 16, I can get Diplomacy, Bluff and Intimidate to trained. This also gets me +3 at level 1 too and gets better.

This doesn't have to be true though. We know that there are going to be feats that return + level to untrained skills. So in fact you might run into a situation where a 10 cha and trained is worse than a 16 and not trained at higher levels.


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WatersLethe wrote:
RicoTheBold wrote:
There was a weird D20-based system that never quite got finished called Legend that took that approach, using those exact attributes for the saves. It did similar things with class abilities.
I thought you were going to say 4E for a second there. They did have the same dual stat to fort, ref, will thing as well.

Lol, shows what I know. I've tried to be aware of kind of the broad strokes of what 4E and 5E so that I can respond meaningfully to system design discussions through the playtest, but I never actually played 4E.

I bounced off the 4E class structure changes pretty hard, and ended up going 3.5 -> Pathfinder and never really looking back for fantasy games. Over the last decade, as my professional life and friends' lives got busier, my view as a GM on some of those design choices is a little different, but I've mostly tried to look at systems with wildly different design philosophies to broaden my perspective, so I still have huge D&D 4+5 ignorance.

Back on the Cha ability train of thought:
One other fun combat thing that the playtest Charisma had going for it was the Demoralize action, especially pumped with a few skill feats. Even without taking it all the way to the Scare to Death feat, that whole set of skill feats was super cool, and my playtest group had a paladin who liked to stare things down. If monster saves are relatively lower compared to the playtest (as has been mentioned I think), then it should be even more effective.

Also, my group didn't really leverage it, but don't sleep on the Feint action either. For an action you can have a decent chance at making an enemy flat-footed; unfortunately it's melee only. Even for fancy rogues with loads of class feats to make enemies flat-footed, Feint as an alternative can free up those slots for something else.


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It still feels like Charisma has lost something (i.e. UMD) compared to PF1, and should be given something else to compensate.

Use Magic Device was useful in a wide variety of situations, after all, not just social ones.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:

It still feels like Charisma has lost something (i.e. UMD) compared to PF1, and should be given something else to compensate.

Use Magic Device was useful in a wide variety of situations, after all, not just social ones.

I was thinking of how to implement my suggestion of a bonus to flat wand checks as a Skill Feat (since those are the smallest design currency in PF2). I came up with something like:

Use Magic Device: Skill Feat
Prereq: Arcana, Nature, Occultism or Religion at Expert
Benefit: Add your Charisma modifier to flat checks after you use a wand for the second time as a day. [Maybe a "critical success" of the wand not being broken if you get 21+].
Sure, skill feats require an investment, but less so than other sorts of feats.


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RicoTheBold wrote:

I think a lot of these are super cool ideas. The Cha bonus to hero point rerolls thing seems kind of up my alley, but there's one big issue I have with most of these:

Some classes don't consider Charisma a secondary stat.

For each thing that you're considering adding Cha bonus to, ask yourself a question or two. (This is kind of the inverse of what Porridge is suggesting.)

Should all sorcerers get a bonus of +4 to +7 on this thing just because? Is this more powerful than what you would take as a level 1 class feat for any given class?

Yeah, good. I agree that this is another important question to assess when considering the viability of a given houserule.

RicoTheBold wrote:

Str melee classes tend to be better at carrying things. Wizards get lots of skills, and there's no requirement for them to be taken as knowledge skills, so they can be better at social/physical. And so on.

Obviously those bonuses are already "costed in" to the class abilities, whereas a houserule wouldn't be. I'm just saying that it's not inherently bad for them to get an advantage, it just needs to be considered.

Unfortunately, I don't think we'll be in a position to make that judgment until we get our hands on the new ruleset. Part of the difficulty is that the devs seem to be inconstant with respect to whether they "price in" the relative strength of a class's main ability score or not:

  • In PF1, the devs generally seemed to assume that all main stats were equally valuable. For example, they frequently offered archetypes that allowed classes to swap their main stats with little re-balancing, power-wise. (This, of course, led to archetypes like the sorcerer's Sage archetype, which replaced Charisma with Intelligence, being very popular.) So my feeling was that in PF1 Charisma-based classes tended to be effectively being weaker than classes with more useful main stats, since the devs weren't pricing in the relative weakness of Charisma.

  • In Starfinder, the devs seemed to have actively priced in Intelligence when assigning skill ranks to different classes. (I.e., Int-based classes get fewer skill ranks than you would think, to balance off the bonus of their high Int score.)

    It's less clear how much pricing-in of other stats there was. But Dexterity is the best stat, and the one Dexterity-based class is the class that has generated the most complaints about being overpowered (Operative). And Charisma is the weakest stat, and the two Charisma-based classes are the two classes that have generated the most complaints about being a little lackluster (Solarian and Envoy). So my (admittedly vague and hard to quantify) feeling is that, Intelligence aside, the relative strength and weakness of main attributes weren't really priced into the classes in Starfinder.

  • And we're not yet in a good position to make these judgments with respect to PF2...

    So our assessment of various houserules will be necessarily incomplete until we have our hands on the rules. But that doesn't mean that it's not worthwhile to start exploring the possible options ahead of time!


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    PossibleCabbage wrote:

    It still feels like Charisma has lost something (i.e. UMD) compared to PF1, and should be given something else to compensate.

    Use Magic Device was useful in a wide variety of situations, after all, not just social ones.

    I think what it lost in UMD it gained in Demoralize: the skill option rivals class feat options for your actions in a round. I know we had the action before but, IMO, it's much better right out of the gate instead of a 'focused specialists only' tactic.

    On UMD... Your mileage can drastically vary on how high your level got. With the lowest DC a 20 and a 1 locking you out of tries for a day, it often wasn't much if any use at the lower levels. Myself I didn't really think about putting any points into it until 5th or 6th and that was if there wasn't something else I wanted. Now if you're 10+ and can reliably do the lowest DC's, now it's starting to get good. Since my games tend to die around 8-12, I don't have a lot of feelings of lose over UMD.


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    Gloom wrote:

    Some of the suggestions that were mentioned here were:

    1. Adding bonus Hero Points.
    2. Adding bonuses to Magic Items.
    3. Allowing a substitution of Wisdom for Will Saves.

    The first two of those are non-starters IMO since it would basically be saying that Bards and Sorcerers should have an advantage over other casters without any sacrifice.

    I agree that these are potential worries. But I would think this kind of worry is hard to assess until we have the rules.

    1. These boosts would only give Bards and Sorcerers an advantage if the relative weakness of Charisma has been "priced in" to these classes. And it's hard to assess that until we have our hands on the rules. (E.g., that kind of thing pretty clearly wasn't consistently priced in to classes in PF1.)

    2. The relative strength of these options will depend on features of the rules that (as far as I know) haven't been revealed yet.

    For example, consider the hero point suggestion.

    Suppose (a) you typically start each session with around 3 hero points (I think the Order of the Amber Die, in their playtest runs, reliably allocated 3 hero points to each PC per 4 hour "session"), (b) you have to use 3 hero points for a re-roll (as in the playtest rules), and (c) you have to burn them all to automatically get back up after having been dropped to 0 hit points (which I think we've been told is the case in the new rules), then it's not clear there's a big difference between having 3 hero points (with a Cha of 10) and having 7 hero points (with a Cha of 18). (Indeed, if things end up like that, then one could reasonably worry that adding Cha to Hero Points would still leave Charisma too weak to give one much of an incentive to invest in it.)

    Whereas if you (a) typically only have 1 hero point, and (b) you can use a single hero point to automatically get back to full hit points, or to automatically bring one of your companions back into the fight, or to automatically garner a critical success on a roll of your choice, then the difference between having 1 hero point (with a Cha of 10) and 5 (with a Cha of 18) would be enormous. (And adding Cha bonus to hero points would not be a viable.)

    I've been assuming hero points will end up being somewhere between these two extremes, and would land in a spot that make +Cha hero points boost a nice perk, but not an overwhelmingly powerful one. But it's hard to make conclusive judgments regarding the viability of these proposals before we have our hands on the rules.

    3. This is an aside, but FWIW, I'll note that I'd strongly prefer a +X bonus to my will saves over an additional X uses of wands. So your option 3 strikes me as a stronger boost to Cha than your option 2.


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    First World Bard wrote:
    PossibleCabbage wrote:

    It still feels like Charisma has lost something (i.e. UMD) compared to PF1, and should be given something else to compensate.

    Use Magic Device was useful in a wide variety of situations, after all, not just social ones.

    I was thinking of how to implement my suggestion of a bonus to flat wand checks as a Skill Feat (since those are the smallest design currency in PF2). I came up with something like:

    Use Magic Device: Skill Feat
    Prereq: Arcana, Nature, Occultism or Religion at Expert
    Benefit: Add your Charisma modifier to flat checks after you use a wand for the second time as a day. [Maybe a "critical success" of the wand not being broken if you get 21+].
    Sure, skill feats require an investment, but less so than other sorts of feats.

    I REALLY like this idea, so much. I am going to present this to my GM when the full rules come out if there isn't anything like this baked in. Beautiful design, and you're right with skill feats being the lowest form of buy-able tech, makes me think of a bunch of different things that could become skill feats..... MUAHAHAHA


    Gloom wrote:
    The same thing can be said about a party that has someone with a high strength or intelligence when you're dealing with physical or mental heavy lifting.

    Well, yeah. The difference is that Strength and Int do more than just enable specific skills, while that's all Charisma does.

    WatersLethe wrote:
    Arguing that it's not pulling its weight even in games such as mine is where I draw the line.

    Nobody was arguing that? But in turn, arguing that nothing needs to be changed because the specific way you happen to play is designed to deal with the problems other people has is presumptuous too.

    WatersLethe wrote:
    I thought you were going to say 4E for a second there. They did have the same dual stat to fort, ref, will thing as well.

    Though 4e also turned Fort/Ref/Will into defensive stats rather than saving throws.


    Squiggit wrote:
    Well, yeah. The difference is that Strength and Int do more than just enable specific skills, while that's all Charisma does.

    Well you have to also look at the quality and quantity of skills that they enable too. Con is the odd one out with NO skills, strength only has a single skill and one that can often be avoided with magic entirely. Dex has 3 skills, wis and cha tie at 4 and int is the winner at 5 but one is lore.

    IMO "just enable specific skills" doesn't seem too bad when you compare as they seem like skills that are rolled on a more consistent basis and have combat uses on top.


    graystone wrote:
    masda_gib wrote:

    If I raise CHA to 16, I'll have +3 to social skills. Ever.

    If I raise INT to 16, I can get Diplomacy, Bluff and Intimidate to trained. This also gets me +3 at level 1 too and gets better.
    This doesn't have to be true though. We know that there are going to be feats that return + level to untrained skills. So in fact you might run into a situation where a 10 cha and trained is worse than a 16 and not trained at higher levels.

    Yeah, but that's an extra feat I have to take. The example was 3 boosts here or there. So if you take the Level-to-untrained-feat, I'm 1 point worse at social skills but take e.g. Toughness.


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    masda_gib wrote:
    graystone wrote:
    masda_gib wrote:

    If I raise CHA to 16, I'll have +3 to social skills. Ever.

    If I raise INT to 16, I can get Diplomacy, Bluff and Intimidate to trained. This also gets me +3 at level 1 too and gets better.
    This doesn't have to be true though. We know that there are going to be feats that return + level to untrained skills. So in fact you might run into a situation where a 10 cha and trained is worse than a 16 and not trained at higher levels.
    Yeah, but that's an extra feat I have to take. The example was 3 boosts here or there. So if you take the Level-to-untrained-feat, I'm 1 point worse at social skills but take e.g. Toughness.

    It's a single feat but it covers EVERY untrained skill. That's the difference between being better in EVERY social skill if they are untrained vs toughness: then it also boosts every other skill you don't train so focusing on a single skill + feat isn't looking at the whole picture.

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