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Abolishing Charisma

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I am designing a sort of sci-fi RPG and I was doing stats yesterday, when I thought of something. Charisma (which is used in most RPGs) is non-existent in real life. I''m not necessarily trying to be realistic, but Charisma is really illogical. I''ve never noticed anyone to actually be charismatic. Some people can talk with skill, can seem like good people (even if they''re not), some can even convince you to sell your mom, but they all have skill, maybe even talent. Charisma cannot be a base stat. I have decided to abolish Charisma from all the games that I''ll ever design as a base stat.

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I disagree. Charisma can certainly be measured on a relative scale because one person can be more charismatic than another, and it most certainly esists in real life. Anyway, out of curiosity, which RPGs use charisma as a stat? I don''t play too many RPGs, but I''ve never seen charisma in the ones I have played.

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I disagree. I know several people I would consider uncharismatic. You can be well spoken/read and still not possess an atractive personality. I agree there are many different aspects to charisma but so are there for strength, agility, intelligence, and all the other stock stats.

When you find yourself in the company of a halfling and an ill-tempered Dragon, remember, you do not have to outrun the Dragon...

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vnillabrent, All D&Ds for starters... Stats=attributes


[edited by - frostburn on April 16, 2004 5:48:02 PM]

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Fallout 1 and 2 used charisma as a stat (I forget if it was a base stat or one of the extra skills set though). It used it pretty well too. A high charisma level would open up conversation options that otherwise were impossible. These would usually allow you to complete quests without resorting to violence. Or perhaps to gain bigger bonuses from completion of quests.

The only real drawback to charisma as a stat is that an RPG game has to be freeform and cannot rely on charisma being levelled up in order to complete the game. Therefore charisma can only have "nice" bonus effects instead of any major impacts. However you could say the same about any stat - there''s no guarantee the player will level up any particular stat. But most players level up combat stats first and foremost because most RPGs boil down to beating various things to death with pointy sticks.

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Also remember that a large part of charisma is just being physically attractive, and that''s not a "skill" any more than having big muscles is a "skill".

But I wouldn''t mind if you got rid of it, simply because I''ve never played an RPG where it actually felt useful to have a high charisma. Either a) your charisma stat just didn''t affect anything useful, or b) it would affect useful things, but it was completely unintuitive and you would have to know the game mechanices in detail to know how to take advantage of it.

The one exception I remember was KOTOR, charisma was actually useful in KOTOR.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Charisma doesn''t exist? WTF? I think your INT and WIS are a little low.

Charisma is how the slimeball salesman gets you to leave the lot with the car you can''t afford. Just one for instance... there are a million more I can think of.

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Bill Clinton had an 18 charisma. Sadly, he was also lawful neutral.

Charisma does exist. I''ve often wondered at its components, and how to ''increase'' my own ''stat.''

Perhaps putting too much thought into it ensures you never can?

I like pie.

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quote:
Original post by NecroMage
Charisma (which is used in most RPGs) is non-existent in real life. I''m not necessarily trying to be realistic, but Charisma is really illogical. I''ve never noticed anyone to actually be charismatic. Some people can talk with skill, can seem like good people (even if they''re not), some can even convince you to sell your mom, but they all have skill, maybe even talent. Charisma cannot be a base stat. I have decided to abolish Charisma from all the games that I''ll ever design as a base stat.


I don''t disagree with this decision. Charisma is probably more of a skill than anything else, as anyone can take a Toast Masters course and through practice, become a very effective, charming and humorous speaker.

For a sci-fi game, I think stats should be limited to biological factors only and everything else relegated to skills.

If you have aliens in your game, as I do, then this makes even more sense. What''s all your charm, facial expressions, eye contact, pheremones and body language going to do for a being with NO EYES that "sees" and hears through electromagnetic resonances. And what about beauty standards, body language and customs across multiple human cultures: What is beautiful in Kenya probably isn''t beautiful in Samoa, and thus it''s possible that Europan Charisma is wholey different from Martian Charisma, and that Earthers just don''t understand either.

Consider my approach: You have Persuasion as a skill, then you have Culture skill for each unique culture in the game. Culture acts as a modifier for Persuasion, with you getting 100% on your own culture as default. So if you raise your Persuasion skill, you''ll be effective in your own culture, but not others. If you raise your Culture skill, you''ll know about other cultures but not necessarily be persuasive. Only when you raise them both can you sell used leaky reactors to sun-dwelling Solarians for a mint and seduce that Centaurian princess.



--------------------
Just waiting for the mothership...

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quote:
Original post by Wavinator
I don''t disagree with this decision. Charisma is probably more of a skill than anything else, as anyone can take a Toast Masters course and through practice, become a very effective, charming and humorous speaker.



I disagree. This is similar to the situation with intelligence, strength, and dexterity. Through practice you can become better at all of them. Read, lift weights, stretch. Heck, even learning better technique can make you able to put what intelligence, strength, and dexterity you have to better use. Having a new way to look at a problem can make you seem smarter (Einstein''s theory of relativity began by just saying "Well, the experiments and theory say the speed of light is constant, so maybe it is"). Learning karate can make you seem much stronger and more agile than you really are because you know how to properly do things.

quote:

For a sci-fi game, I think stats should be limited to biological factors only and everything else relegated to skills.

If you have aliens in your game, as I do, then this makes even more sense. What''s all your charm, facial expressions, eye contact, pheremones and body language going to do for a being with NO EYES that "sees" and hears through electromagnetic resonances. And what about beauty standards, body language and customs across multiple human cultures: What is beautiful in Kenya probably isn''t beautiful in Samoa, and thus it''s possible that Europan Charisma is wholey different from Martian Charisma, and that Earthers just don''t understand either.



But being pleasant to talk to, posture, and a smile are all pretty universal. Sure, you may make a faux pas because you don''t know the culture, but people are much more willing to forgive it if you''re pleasant otherwise, and that''s really the nature of the Charisma stat in many games.

Also note that other races may be so much stronger than we are that our strongest may as well be our weakest. Or so advanced that our greatest minds may as well have dropped out of kindergarten. A fluid race would almost certainly laugh at our idea of dexterity. I realize the weakness of the analogy in that these don''t so much counter the stat as make it irrelevant, but I am pointing out that it fairly well makes it as irrelevant as beauty that another culture doesn''t see.

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quote:
But I wouldn''t mind if you got rid of it, simply because I''ve never played an RPG where it actually felt useful to have a high charisma. Either a) your charisma stat just didn''t affect anything useful, or b) it would affect useful things, but it was completely unintuitive and you would have to know the game mechanices in detail to know how to take advantage of it.



In 3rd Edition D&D, charisma is the essential stat for the sorcorer class. In this sence, charisma is treated more as the characters ''presence'' though - you can have a very high charisma and still be evil for example.

However, I tend to agree that in most game designs it really isnt needed, and most things that reply on this stat can instead use a skill.

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quote:
Original post by Kazgoroth
In 3rd Edition D&D, charisma is the essential stat for the sorcorer class. In this sence, charisma is treated more as the characters ''presence'' though - you can have a very high charisma and still be evil for example.



Deliciously evil

quote:

However, I tend to agree that in most game designs it really isnt needed, and most things that reply on this stat can instead use a skill.


The thing is, in the (admittedly few) cRPG''s I''ve played, your stat scores are just used as a base for your skills. You rarely, if ever, "roll" against your actual stat. Strength affects the base of your melee skill, agility the base of your guns skill, charisma the base of your speech skill, intelligence the base of your "tinker" skill (what "tinker" means depends on the setting. Usually computers in Sci Fi, magic in fantasy). Unless you''re going to have to make frequent strength checks, perhaps you should remove it as well?

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What role would charisma play in a mmorpg?

I have actually thought through this a few times, mainly because it comes to my attention that I can have a merchant with high charisma, but act like a total dueche to other players. In a game so reliant on player-player interactions, is having a number representing the nature of the avatar when it is useless to any non-npc justifiable? It would just seems wrong to have a low charisma character who cannot barter with NPC''s because he doesnt have enough points, while at the same time he is an EXPERT at bartering with other players. Those points just cant reflect the reality of the game.

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quote:
Original post by NecroMage
Charisma (which is used in most RPGs) is non-existent in real life. I'm not necessarily trying to be realistic, but Charisma is really illogical. I've never noticed anyone to actually be charismatic. Some people can talk with skill, can seem like good people (even if they're not), some can even convince you to sell your mom, but they all have skill, maybe even talent. Charisma cannot be a base stat. I have decided to abolish Charisma from all the games that I'll ever design as a base stat.


I disagree with you like everyone else for this fact: there are charismatic people (like me just joking) and they can act like real charm on people.

But

I agree with you for this fact: Charisma is not something that you can build up like strength, defense or magic after every battle. You are or you are not...

But into your games, maybe you can do that beautiful cloth help to increase charisma, or by overtalking to people in villages
----------------------------------------------
Nice game projects www.blossomsoft.com

"I've never dared handle it, but I've seen it. Felt its power. Christ the Man Jesus help me, I have Black Thirteen under the floorboards of my church. And it's come alive!"Dark Tower V


[edited by - BlackThirteen on April 18, 2004 4:23:52 AM]

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Sorry I took so long to reply, but anyways... All the stats I currently have influence a number of derivitives (ie Internal Health), but I cannot really think of anything for charisma (excluding skills). Really, charisma doesn''t influence ANYTHING without other people. It''s a social stat, and useless if you''re alone. Going off a little, here is my current list of stats and derived stats (it''s not really formatted for publishing , but what the hell). I''d love your input on these, tell me if I screwed up or am missing something vital.

---------------------------------------------------------------

Character Stats:
All Character Stats are based on 20 as maximum.
Strength: Physical aptitude of the body; the intensity of physical work the body can accomplish.
+4 to External Health. +2 to Internal Health
+1 to Nimbleness
+5 to Appendage Power
+1 to Stamina
Dexterity: Physical aptitude of the body; the skill of physical work the body can accomplish.
+3 to Nimbleness. +3 to Agility
+3 to Reaction
+.5 to Calmness
+1 to Appendage Power
+2 to Stamina
+2 to Physical Efficiency
Endurance: Physical aptitude of the body; the amount of physical work the body can complete.
+6 to External Health. +8 to Internal Health
+8 to Stamina
+1 to Physical Efficiency
Intuition: Mental aptitude to use the subconscious mind; does not affect conscience.
+12 to Mental Energy
-2 to Morale if Temperament is equal or less than 10. +2 to Morale otherwise.
+3 to Confidence
+1 to Reaction
+1 to Calmness
Comprehension: Mental aptitude to efficiently solve problems and collect information.
+5 to Mental Energy +2 to Mental Efficiency
+1 to Attention
+3 to Focus
+1 to Confidence
Logic: Mental aptitude to reason and calculate ability to use information successfully.
+5 to Mental Energy +3 to Mental Efficiency
+1 to Focus
+.5 to Calmness
Perception: Generic aptitude to sense surrounding environment and notice details.
+1 to Focus
+4 to Attention
+5 to Physical Sense
+1 to Reaction
Temperament: Generic aptitude of self-control and of resistance.
+3 to External Health and Internal Health.
+2 to Physical Efficiency and Mental Efficiency.
+4 to Stamina
+4 to Morale
+4 to Confidence
+1.5 to Calmness



Derived Stats:
Most of these statistics are percentages. Exceptions are noted.
External Health: Average ability of exterior layers of the body to handle damage. 100+ Max
Internal Health: Average ability of interior layers of the body to take damage. 100+ Max
Stamina: Amount of physical energy immediately available in the body.
Mental Energy: Amount of mental energy immediately available for use in the body.
Physical Efficiency: Ability to transfer stamina to work without loss; cannot be below 20.
Mental Efficiency: Ability to transfer mental energy to use without loss.
Confidence: Directness and assertiveness of normal mental state. Okay to be above 100
Morale: Internal mood or feeling; indirect favor of certain options. Stat cannot be below -100.
Focus: Ability to change mental concentration onto details at hand. (100 is total attention to detail, 0 is total attention to subject as a whole) Focus is the degree of change possible starting from 50.
Nimbleness: “Lightness” of the body, the ability to move carefully and gracefully.
Agility: Speed of the body, how fast the motor functions work.
Reaction: Mental reaction speed of the body; reflexes.
Physical Sense: Aptitude of physical sensor functions.
Attention: Mental ability to percept details, and mental awareness.
Calmness: Mental ability to stay under control; the degree of unchanging mood.
Appendage Power: Physical strength to hold and use various objects. 50 is normal, 100+ Max

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quote:
Original post by The Reindeer Effect
What role would charisma play in a mmorpg?



What about charisma being a measure of how well the player interacts with the other players in the world? If you go around using internet speak and complaing you would have low charisma.

Charisma could effect buying prices from npcs, success with speeking skills, etc..



-----------------------------------------------------
"Fate and Destiny only give you the opportunity the rest you have to do on your own."
Current Design project: Ambitions Slave

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While we're on the topic, intelligence, wisdom and similar stats have always struck me as odd.

The person making decisions, recognizing monsters and solving puzzles is *me*, not my character. My character does all the interaction (hit the monster with an axe, try to pick the lock and so on), so it makes sense to give him strength, agility and constitution stats. But he never ever uses or shows any kind of intelligence, he doesn't have a mind. I do. So why should he get the intelligence stat?

If I create a strong character, he's strong no matter what I do. That's a meaningful stat. If he hits someone, it's gonna hurt. He can lift heavy things.

But if I create an intelligent character, I can easily make him do unintelligent things.

Or I can create a braindead hulk who'd have difficulty finding his own nose, and make him perform advanced tactical manouvers in battle, say exactly the right things to the right people at the right time, recognize everything in the world instantly, and solve any puzzle in the same time as a char with high intelligence.
A high-intelligence character has no obvious advantages. The developer seems to be grasping at straws to provide something meaningful "Give him a bigger mana pool. Let him learn skills faster. Let him get a few extra dialogue options".
What they can't do, is make the character actually act more intelligent, which kinda undermines the stat.

However, charisma is a very "real" stat, although yes, it only makes sense when interacting with other people. In multiplayer games, this makes it useless, since another player isn't going to be impressed and like you better just because you have 84 charisma.
But when dealing with NPC's, charisma makes good sense.


---------
Life is like a grapefruit. It's sort of orangy-yellow and dimpled on the outside, wet and squidgy in the middle. It's got pips inside, too. Oh, and some people have half a one for breakfast

[edited by - Spoonster on April 19, 2004 6:27:46 PM]

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quote:
Original post by TechnoGoth
quote:
Original post by The Reindeer Effect
What role would charisma play in a mmorpg?



What about charisma being a measure of how well the player interacts with the other players in the world? If you go around using internet speak and complaing you would have low charisma.

Charisma could effect buying prices from npcs, success with speeking skills, etc..



Hmm... so sort of like ebay''s feedback system? The stat is determined by what other PC''s say of you (or mods), and the stat determines what NPC''s think of you (and will be a quick way for PC''s to get an idea of your personality). In the right community, and the right rules, I like it

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For those of you who didn''t read my last post, my RPG has no intelligence stat. Instead, it has Comprehension and Logic. A person can still act and talk intelligently even if they cannot solve problems or calculate very quickly.

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quote:
Original post by Way Walker
quote:
Original post by TechnoGoth
quote:
Original post by The Reindeer Effect
What role would charisma play in a mmorpg?



What about charisma being a measure of how well the player interacts with the other players in the world? If you go around using internet speak and complaing you would have low charisma.

Charisma could effect buying prices from npcs, success with speeking skills, etc..



Hmm... so sort of like ebay''s feedback system? The stat is determined by what other PC''s say of you (or mods), and the stat determines what NPC''s think of you (and will be a quick way for PC''s to get an idea of your personality). In the right community, and the right rules, I like it


You could even allow player to choose to auto ignore player below X charismia.

-----------------------------------------------------
"Fate and Destiny only give you the opportunity the rest you have to do on your own."
Current Design project: Ambitions Slave

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quote:
But he never ever uses or shows any kind of intelligence, he doesn''t have a mind. I do. So why should he get the intelligence stat?


Well, that depends on the game itself. Does the game have any mind affecting agents or spells? How about a search skill? Any sort of assess or lore skills for new found items? All these activities can be based on character intelligence, wisdom, logic, etc. Many RPGs do indeed use these stats behind the scenes, but in a way that is not obvious to the player. You see your bonus to damage and attack from str and dex, but what you don''t see is your bonus to resisting a paralysis spell, or seeing through an illusion as a result of your high int or wis. These are things that cannot be based on the players abilities, and require some rating of the characters themselves to be used. Of course, if the game doesn''t take advantage of any of these stats, then they are indeed useless.

Things like persuasion and culture knowledge are just a more advanced form of charisma. It''s origins are in D&D, where things were kept simple because everything was done by the players with pencil and paper. With computers doing all the work, far more advanced and realistic forms of the concept can indeed be developed and used with success (again, so long as they are actually used and are actually useful).

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