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


Homebrew and House Rules

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Deadmanwalking wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
Medicine, Religion, and Nature are potentially as strong as Deception, Diplomacy, and Intimidation when you take rituals and "treat wounds" into account.
True enough if you focus on them. Perhaps a better phrasing would be 'I'm not sure Perception is as good and essential as a Save'.

I'd say it is. It used to be three separate skills plus initiative in 3.5 and they were all fairly powerful in their own right, Perception as a class skill is one of the most used trait benefits in PF1, Improved Initiative is still an awesome feat after 10 years of content printed, and so on... There's a reason it got turned into a feature rather than an option.

Liberty's Edge

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Certainly that's true in PF1.

I mean, some of Improved Initiative's quality comes from it being a +4 to the Save Boost Feat's +2 and Skills only getting +3/6 from Skill Focus rather than exclusively because of initiative's quality point for point, but Initiative and Perception do both remain really relevant.

On the other hand, moving initiative to other Ability Scores is pretty doable in PF2 (admittedly, Dex is the easiest to make generally applicable, but you can do it with Cha and other stats as well). Making Perception always serve as initiative under all circumstances would make Perception more equivalent to a Save, but also makes the system less encouraging of inventiveness and flexibility.

Liberty's Edge

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Perception being the most -common- way to roll initiative is certainly not saying it's the -only- way to roll initiative, I'll point out. It really depends on the situation; I imagine stealth is going to still be pretty often used by people that have it for initiative, when they can, depending on the exploration activity going on before combat.

What I wonder, though, is how often a Charisma based skill would be used for initiative outside of social situations; does that raise its value at all or push it back to being really only useful for social situations? I lean towards the latter, but I guess it's worth noting that Wisdom isn't the ONLY initiative stat out there? I feel like I'm grasping at straws.

Liberty's Edge

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I'm personally still in favor of having the Cha Mod set the starting attitude of NPCs who are unfamiliar with the PC until they actively make a social skill check against them to raise the attitude level.

I have no idea if the starting attitudes are codified for PF2 or not but I personally plan on running with the following.

Most NPCs start as indifferent to Characters they do not know of or have a prior relationship with. Unless otherwise stated NPCs begin as indifferent. Depending on the Characters Charisma score NPCs have their starting attitude adjusted as follows:

Unfriendly -2 or less
Indifferent -1, 0, or +1
Friendly +2 or Greater

Having an NPC treat Characters differently based on how powerful or influential their personality seems natural to me and I hardly think having most strangers treat the ugly, uncouth Barbarian with -2 Cha badly to start is unreasonable (Given how hard it is to even achieve such a score), and on the inverse, if an attractive well-spoken Bard walks up they should gain some benefit from this.


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I don't like "your charisma automatically determines starting attitude" because I feel like a lot more things should affect that. Even a very charismatic halfling is not going to be able to make Chellish nobles friendly right off the bat, for example. Being an outsider in a dwarf city should put you at more of a disadvantage than "being an 8 Cha Dwarf." Walking around with the holy symbol of Zon-Kuthon is going to make people dislike you everywhere except Nidal (and certain circles in Cheliax) no matter what your Cha is. An arcane sorcerer is going to be seen with tremendous suspicion in Oprak, likewise a divine one in Rahadoum etc.


PossibleCabbage wrote:
I don't like "your charisma automatically determines starting attitude" because I feel like a lot more things should affect that. Even a very charismatic halfling is not going to be able to make Chellish nobles friendly right off the bat, for example. Being an outsider in a dwarf city should put you at more of a disadvantage than "being an 8 Cha Dwarf." Walking around with the holy symbol of Zon-Kuthon is going to make people dislike you everywhere except Nidal (and certain circles in Cheliax) no matter what your Cha is. An arcane sorcerer is going to be seen with tremendous suspicion in Oprak, likewise a divine one in Rahadoum etc.

Add to that there is a nightmare of paperwork to track: you go up a level, buy some cha and you have to recall who you met before and after that. Now add in temp effects that might lower or raise your cha or it's modifier. And that's before modifiers like PossibleCabbage is talking about like regional, national, racial, caste, rank, wealth, ect...


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Deadmanwalking wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
Medicine, Religion, and Nature are potentially as strong as Deception, Diplomacy, and Intimidation when you take rituals and "treat wounds" into account.
True enough if you focus on them. Perhaps a better phrasing would be 'I'm not sure Perception is as good and essential as a Save'.

Like I mentioned before, recall how many illusion spells require you to roll a perception check (specifically using the Seek action) before you're even able to roll a save. I would also want to just make those a perception check to disbelieve instead of a will save at all (I might do that anyways, just to simplify things), but it's not fully necessary to keep the value of perception high under those circumstances.

Between those two changes, I think it would smooth out the value of perception and will, and wisdom and charisma, but you're certainly correct about needing to see the full rules before making that call.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber
Themetricsystem wrote:

I'm personally still in favor of having the Cha Mod set the starting attitude of NPCs who are unfamiliar with the PC until they actively make a social skill check against them to raise the attitude level.

I have no idea if the starting attitudes are codified for PF2 or not but I personally plan on running with the following.

Most NPCs start as indifferent to Characters they do not know of or have a prior relationship with. Unless otherwise stated NPCs begin as indifferent. Depending on the Characters Charisma score NPCs have their starting attitude adjusted as follows:

Unfriendly -2 or less
Indifferent -1, 0, or +1
Friendly +2 or Greater

Having an NPC treat Characters differently based on how powerful or influential their personality seems natural to me and I hardly think having most strangers treat the ugly, uncouth Barbarian with -2 Cha badly to start is unreasonable (Given how hard it is to even achieve such a score), and on the inverse, if an attractive well-spoken Bard walks up they should gain some benefit from this.

There's already a skill feat to try to improve someone's attitude when first meeting them. This would just let charismatic chars double up


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
graystone wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
I don't like "your charisma automatically determines starting attitude" because I feel like a lot more things should affect that. Even a very charismatic halfling is not going to be able to make Chellish nobles friendly right off the bat, for example. Being an outsider in a dwarf city should put you at more of a disadvantage than "being an 8 Cha Dwarf." Walking around with the holy symbol of Zon-Kuthon is going to make people dislike you everywhere except Nidal (and certain circles in Cheliax) no matter what your Cha is. An arcane sorcerer is going to be seen with tremendous suspicion in Oprak, likewise a divine one in Rahadoum etc.
Add to that there is a nightmare of paperwork to track: you go up a level, buy some cha and you have to recall who you met before and after that. Now add in temp effects that might lower or raise your cha or it's modifier. And that's before modifiers like PossibleCabbage is talking about like regional, national, racial, caste, rank, wealth, ect...

And we are adding what is almost always a group event to individual stats.

"Alright you walk into the shop, Eric [8 Cha] the Shop Keeper scowls at you before turning to Lisa [10 Cha] to give a curt smile. Lastly George [16 Cha] he claps is hand and welcomes you to his store!" Oh look the Cha of the lower characters doesn't matter again, George does the shopping.

Quote:

Unfriendly -2 or less

Indifferent -1, 0, or +1
Friendly +2 or Greater

And we keep suggesting ranges like this that give you no reason to raise your Cha if it is at 8, unless you are going to raise it to 14 or higher. That isn't making Cha less of an easily dumpable stat, its just adding more rewards to people who are already investing in it, which is not the range of characters that need Cha incentives.


Isnt there a feat to get better carrying capacity, better perception, better X save, etc.? I dont see how doubling up on this is game breaking.

I also agree that it would help with the trope of attracting people until they start to talk (for high Cha that dont use Cha skills). Reversly, it helps with the unattractive person, who everyone likes talking to (for low Cha that use Cha skills).

Liberty's Edge

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Temperans wrote:
Isnt there a feat to get better carrying capacity, better perception, better X save, etc.? I dont see how doubling up on this is game breaking.

Probably not in the final version (well, maybe carrying capacity). Proficiency comes more often from Class in the final version and we know that the Alchemist has Iron Will as a Class Feature. It's very unlikely that would be called that if there were still a Feat of that name.

Temperans wrote:
I also agree that it would help with the trope of attracting people until they start to talk (for high Cha that dont use Cha skills). Reversly, it helps with the unattractive person, who everyone likes talking to (for low Cha that use Cha skills).

It's just not super meaningful in terms of actually making the stat worth taking for more than one person.


Well no it's not super helpful if the full team is made up of attractive/very friendly looking people. But, it's great individually.

Also, I would expand the friendlyness to be 0-Indifferent, 2-aproacheable (people want to approach you), 5-friendly (people want to treat you well, 10-helpful (people want to help you out), 20+-infactuated (people want to follow you around).

****************
As for the location/miscalenous negatives. Those should already be part of any campaign doing diplomacy/RP, codifying it better doesn't hurt and makes it easier to apply modifiers consistently.

Btw, do you go around as an inreedemable Kuthite in a temple of Sarenrae in a game without this rule?


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I feel like making Charisma affect first appearances (before anyone opens their mouth) runs the risk of tying Charisma overmuch to physical appearance. When, in fact, it should be possible to play a drop dead gorgeous character with low charisma because they were raised by wolves and have literally no clue how to interact with people, or a frankly hard-on-the-eyes person who is nonetheless charming and persuasive and thus has a high Cha.

Shadow Lodge

Temperans wrote:
Also, I would expand the friendlyness to be 0-Indifferent, 2-aproacheable (people want to approach you), 5-friendly (people want to treat you well, 10-helpful (people want to help you out), 20+-infactuated (people want to follow you around).

The issue with this is that generally you just need one person to be the party face. You could be playing a dwarf and dump your charisma to 4 with no benefit and hardly notice because you didn't invest in charisma skills and were going to have the party's bard do the talking anyway. It's only going to make charisma better for those already investing in it. We need to see reasons for people to not dump it to an 8 when possible.

Also aren't those modifiers completely out? I thought the highest stat you can get is 24, so a +7 modifier.


I wasn't sure of the cap so I just expanded it a lot. Also the point for expanding was that it's much easier to increase stats now.

As for Cha dumping dwarf, isn't the usual effect of dumping Str for mages just to hand their loot to the high Str character? In this case the obviously rude and generally unpleasant to be around dwarf is sitting out on asking for favors. If he does try, it'll most likely result in some negative.


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Problem posed by several people:

"There benefits for raising Charisma are substantially outweighed by the benefits of raising any other attribute and there are no detriments to simply dumping the stat entirely."

Offer suggestions on how to use Charisma to penalize people in social interactions.... No go. People reply that those detriments are too harsh and are simply not feasible in respects to world building and that it hurts the roleplay dynamic that they're used to.

Offer suggestions on how to reward players for higher levels of Charisma when it comes to social interactions.... No go. People reply that the bonuses are redundant and not realistic.

From what it seems like the topic of this should be changed to finding more combat applications for players that have higher levels of Charisma. This is a really tall order considering Charisma has possibly one of the most powerful functions outside of combat factoring in what you're capable of doing with good social skills.

The only thing that I can think of here would be some General/Skill Feats that allow you greater use of your Charisma and social skills in combat. Though over time there will likely be more and more of them as additional combat comes out.

The easiest General Feats that I could see are something similar to what other people have been asking for of being able to use Charisma for Will Saves. I could see something like these.

Force of Personality
Prerequisite: Charisma 14
Effect: Substitute your Charisma Modifier in place of your Wisdom Modifier when determining your Will Save.

Strong Constitution
Prerequisite: Strength 14
Effect: Substitute your Strength Modifier in place of your Constitution Modifier when determining your Fortitude Save.

Insightful Reflexes
Prerequisite: Intelligence 14
Effect: Substitute your Intelligence Modifier in place of your Dexterity Modifier when determining your Reflex Save.

Additionally, I can see skill feats and general feats that allow you to maneuver people in combat as sort of a "Leader" type of character sacrificing your actions to grant them specific additional actions such as spending 2-3 actions to have an ally step up to an enemy and strike.


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Honestly, my biggest fear here is that they push the game closer and closer to having abominations like this.

https://www.reddit.com/r/Pathfinder_RPG/comments/5771il/all_charisma_everyt hing/


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Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

How about reducing your focus time? As it stands, it takes 10 minutes to regain one point from your focus pool. What if that was reduced by your charisma modifier?

On the surface, that wouldn't seem to mean much, but even a +1 means you get a full minute while others are sitting around to investigate the vicinity, set traps, assist on other people's checks...

I only bring it up because people wanted some sort of focus interaction.

Shadow Lodge

Temperans wrote:
As for Cha dumping dwarf, isn't the usual effect of dumping Str for mages just to hand their loot to the high Str character? In this case the obviously rude and generally unpleasant to be around dwarf is sitting out on asking for favors. If he does try, it'll most likely result in some negative.

Currently we have Sorcerers and Wizards that are going to be able to dump strength and not notice any real side effect. Maybe finesse rouges will be able to get away with it too, I can't remember item weights and the encumbrance rules off the top of my head. All other classes benefit from having strength in some way or another, even if it's just to avoid being encumbered by your gear.

Compare that to charisma that can be ignored completely by 9 out of the 12 classes unless you're looking to use social skills.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

So here are my general rules for what makes a good attribute mechanic.

1) It is generally desirable to have. (Social penalties don't apply here)
2) It advantages naturally scale (gaining a +1 modifier equates to the same increase regardless of whether that is going from 8 to 10 or 22 to 24)
3) It scales open endedly (allowance for mythic style rules etc that break the current stat caps)
4) Is valuable whatever your current bonus is (so the suggestions that apply penalties at low Cha but just sort of stop at 16 is a no go for me)
5) It is not reliant on expending attidional resources (so the whole "Charisma has good skills" arguement doesn't work for me)
6) It is intuitively easy to understand, this is a base mechanic we are talking about.
7) Stat choices don't piss of other players/stat choices aren't made redundant by one other player being slightly higher.

All of the proposed "first contact" or "use in all social situations" fail on pretty much all of those points for me.


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Charisma is the force of a character's personality. With a strong force of personality you can easily inspire your allies or demoralize your foes, though those are trained and focused applications of your Charisma.

Having a low Charisma means that your ability to manipulate and control others is limited. Having a Charisma that is lower than average you may even give people the wrong impression when you try to communicate with them. They may feel creeped out by you or you may simply say the wrong thing at the wrong time.

That's why I believe a "First Impression" mechanic is a helpful and important one. While it may not play an immediate role in a conversation it would definitely flavor future conversations.

I also think that character prejudices should play into these scenarios where applicable such as characters who favor or dislike certain races, professions, genders, or nationalities.

It may not fit your criteria for what qualifies as a "Good attribute mechanic" but it definitely does fit mine.

If someone wants to play the surly Dwarf with an 8 Charisma and zero social skills then they should be prepared for some NPCs to have an unfavorable opinion of having to speak with them.

On the other side of that scenario if someone else is playing a very Charismatic Bard with a high level of proficiency in their Diplomacy skill then NPCs would probably have a favorable opinion of speaking with them.


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Just to clarify, my first impression mechanics would likely be the result of a secret roll with applicable bonuses/penalties when it comes up.

It wouldn't be as simple as "If you have 8 Charisma no one likes you, and they have a progressively better opinion of you as it gets higher".


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Gloom wrote:

Charisma is the force of a character's personality. With a strong force of personality you can easily inspire your allies or demoralize your foes, though those are trained and focused applications of your Charisma.

Having a low Charisma means that your ability to manipulate and control others is limited. Having a Charisma that is lower than average you may even give people the wrong impression when you try to communicate with them. They may feel creeped out by you or you may simply say the wrong thing at the wrong time.

That's why I believe a "First Impression" mechanic is a helpful and important one. While it may not play an immediate role in a conversation it would definitely flavor future conversations.

I also think that character prejudices should play into these scenarios where applicable such as characters who favor or dislike certain races, professions, genders, or nationalities.

It may not fit your criteria for what qualifies as a "Good attribute mechanic" but it definitely does fit mine.

If someone wants to play the surly Dwarf with an 8 Charisma and zero social skills then they should be prepared for some NPCs to have an unfavorable opinion of having to speak with them.

On the other side of that scenario if someone else is playing a very Charismatic Bard with a high level of proficiency in their Diplomacy skill then NPCs would probably have a favorable opinion of speaking with them.

All of which is already covered by the Diplomacy skill.


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When it comes to other bonuses for Charisma, I'm not sure if it's already a mechanic but I could see a player substituting a Deception Roll when initiating a combat unexpectedly from a social scenario in place of their Perception roll.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Gloom wrote:
When it comes to other bonuses for Charisma, I'm not sure if it's already a mechanic but I could see a player substituting a Deception Roll when initiating a combat unexpectedly from a social scenario in place of their Perception roll.

Yup already a mechanic, almost any skill can be used for Initiative given proper context. E.G Lore: Golems could be used for initiative when a member of your party accidentally activates some golem sentries. A player in my group used Athletics for Initiative because they had climbed up the cliff behind an enemy camp.


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If it's already a standard to use an appropriate skill roll for Initiative then the argument that Wisdom is the attribute used for Initiative is misleading.

Perception may be the most common but provided you are the one initiating combat then you have much more control over it.


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Gloom wrote:

If it's already a standard to use an appropriate skill roll for Initiative then the argument that Wisdom is the attribute used for Initiative is misleading.

Perception may be the most common but provided you are the one initiating combat then you have much more control over it.

Oh yeah I wouldn't argue that Initiative is a strong point in Wisdoms favour. But it also has Will Saves and even if not used for Initiative, Perception was considered such a pivotal stat that it has become its own thing separate from the other skills. Even if you can engineer situations to use your own skill choice, every single time you are caught unawares it will be Initiative and disregarding that it is still probably one of the most rolled "skills" in the game.


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Gloom wrote:

If it's already a standard to use an appropriate skill roll for Initiative then the argument that Wisdom is the attribute used for Initiative is misleading.

Perception may be the most common but provided you are the one initiating combat then you have much more control over it.

Perception is the default and the ONLY one you can be sure the DM will allow: as such, people make an argument for wisdom alone. ANy other stat/skill is 100% DM fiat


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Porridge wrote:


And I definitely agree that a proposal using a flat number of attunement slots (like Cha+8) does little to incentivize investing in Charisma. So that's no good.

The hope was that a level-adjusted proposal (like Cha+lvl/3) would get around this issue by imposing non-trivial limits on the number of items one can equip at lower levels. So Charisma would still be desirable.

I like the Cha+lvl/3 (1 minimum) magic item formula very much. I also like the flavour of a sorcerer decked out in all kinds of minor magic items ("magic just loves me...."), as well as a bard with a lots of minor magic bling ("I looove magic!"), so even at the far end of the scale it works for me. I need to mind this is a GM though, and not be stingy with the small magic trinkets in the loot. I'm not that bothered by the high Cha characters, I'm more interested in removing the easy choices for my players. Cha = dump stat (unless x) is just bad design in my book.

I made a spreadsheet for the formula and it looks good. The only downside I can see to the Cha+lvl/3 is that it's a bit fiddly. I prefer simple and elegant systems, but this just might be worth it anyway.

So I'll think i'll go for this, along with the wand bonus and the bonus to Hero Point rerolls, unless the great collective here (or maybe even I) comes up with something even better.

I'm not very fond of the Cha for Will saves idea. It just does not sit that well with me flavour wise, even though I understand why Wis could do with a nerf in PF2. And also, as a minor quibble, it might become a bother to use this in Hero Lab (which my players use) and Combat Manager (which I use - If there'll be an update to PF2, that is).

Liberty's Edge

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graystone wrote:
Perception is the default and the ONLY one you can be sure the DM will allow: as such, people make an argument for wisdom alone. ANy other stat/skill is 100% DM fiat

We factually know this isn't true. Stealth can be used via an Exploration Mode tactic, something we know is still true in the final version. That's explicit and allowed (though not universally applicable). There may well be other Tactics that likewise give this effect with other skills, though we can't know that until the book's out.

But Stealth is definitely available.


Deadmanwalking wrote:
graystone wrote:
Perception is the default and the ONLY one you can be sure the DM will allow: as such, people make an argument for wisdom alone. ANy other stat/skill is 100% DM fiat

We factually know this isn't true. Stealth can be used via an Exploration Mode tactic, something we know is still true in the final version. That's explicit and allowed (though not universally applicable). There may well be other Tactics that likewise give this effect with other skills, though we can't know that until the book's out.

But Stealth is definitely available.

I know it's there and available. I was referring to "If you’re Sneaking at an encounter’s start, you usually roll a Stealth check instead of a Perception check". Note the word "usually" instead of just 'you roll stealth'. The DM isn't required to allow stealth by declaring it an unusual case: hence it not a skill you are SURE the DM will allow you to use when you want to.

PS: It's like the PF1 take 10 non-rule where the DM can at any moment tell you you can do it for... reasons.


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I'm probably going to print out the reaction table from GURPS Lite and use it with maybe slight modifications.

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