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D&D (2024) Change in Charisma Description

I know... I know... We've been down this road before. But please hear me out: Charisma should include beauty. Right now it's "confidence, eloquence, leadership" and "... your ability to interact effectively with others. It includes such factors as confidence and eloquence, and it can represent a charming or commanding personality." Beauty needs to be included. Here's why.

  • Deception, performance, persuasion, and yes, even intimidation deals with a character's looks. There is a reason performers look the way they do. Many, if not most that do well, are very good looking. Sting could not be Sting without his looks. The same is true for Tina Turner, Cher, or many other famous artists. And are there ones that aren't? Sure. But they are far outweighed by the ones that stand out from the crowd. One only needs to look at the recent Therenos scandal to understand that it wouldn't have worked if it was run by someone that looked like a normal person. Performance is a no brainer, as that is half the sales of a performance. Persuasion, same thing. I mean, advertising uses looks, especially sexy looks, to convince people to buy things. And looks, particularly beauty, is paramount to true intimidation. The old Greek stories, Roman stories, and pretty much every ancient culture's stories laid the groundwork for this.
  • Another reason is that there is nothing on the sheet to measure beauty. Yet, beauty is one of the very first things anyone sees in a person. A tall, dark and handsome guy walks into the room and people stare. A lady with perfect features walks into the room and people stare. It seems silly to not have it listed on the character sheet somewhere since it is so (soooooo) prevalent among all societies across the world. And before anyone starts talking about beauty norms changing, please let's discuss. Because it leads to the third reason. The one that is most important. The one that is the glue to this entire claim.
  • D&D, being a different universe, must have created a different norm for beauty. I mean, if you have elephant people, turtle people, cat people, dragon people, merfolk people, silver skinned people, orange skinned people, green skinned people, robot people, demon people, devil people, bearded women, etc. AND, all these people manage to live together, side by side, with nary a remark about how ugly the others are, then it stands to reason that they have a universal definition of beauty. One that translates across species. Of all the adventure paths and NPCs created by WotC, there is never a character that spouts stuff like: "Those dwarven women are hideous. Kissin' a scratchy beard - gross!" Never a disparaging remark about tails, horns, scales, or cloven feet. So they must have a universal view of beauty. Which, in my opinion, sounds kind of nice.
There you go. Charisma should include beauty. It's just a beauty we have a hard time wrapping our head around. ;)

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He'll flip ya...Flip ya for real...
No. I want my scar faced pirate captain that looks fugly, but has a commanding presence over his crew. I want a very attractive PC who just happens to not be very confident and is often lost in the crowd.

You have a hard time wrapping your head around the beauty part because its not actually the beauty. ITs the person using their charisma to accentuate it.

So I think that this is a can of worms best left unopened (having beauty reflected in Charisma, that is, not discussing why or why not do so).

That aside, I think it links PC game-mechanical capabilities and appearance in a way that's going to be obnoxious to players, especially when you roll low on Charisma or play with point buy/standard array and feel you can't afford to have a high Charisma.


I'm drawing a blank on actual examples, but have you never seen a movie/tv show where the drop dead handsome/gorgeous actor is giving that inspirational speech and it just falls flat? There's something about the delivery, the force of personality that just isn't there. Just because someone draws the eye, it doesn't mean that they have that "it" factor.

D&D being D&D, this is all vastly oversimplified of course and not particularly representative of the real world. Much like there are many types of intelligence, there are many types of charisma. It's the nature of a game that tries to describe all aspects of a person with 6 easy to grasp categories.

There have been many political leaders in the past that knew how to inspire and lead their populace that were far from beautiful. But they had that force of personality that just made people listen. Physical attractiveness gives people a leg up, but the rubber really hits the road when they open their mouths.

I've seen so many players who have characters with low charisma but describe their characters as 'strikingly beautiful until they open their mouth'.

The opposite is true for ugly characters who have lots of sway over people.

If it's an issue for your group, put Comeliness back into the game, which is a straight value for how attractive a character is.


No. Completely, absolutely not. Personal appearance should be completely up to the player to decide. Also, history is full of incredibly charismatic people who were not particularly attractive in a conventional way, and incredible jerks who were considered gorgeous.

If Lyle Lovett could marry Julia Roberts back in the day...


If it's an issue for your group, put Comeliness back into the game, which is a straight value for how attractive a character is.
And was completely sexist and widely considered one of the low moments in the game. What folks want to do at their table is up to them, but there is zero chance of WotC opening that particular can of worms again. Besides, they have their hands full at the moment, as far as controversy goes.

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