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NecroMage

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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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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