OneDnD Change in Charisma Description

James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
I am simply trying to have the rules reflect the D&D universe. If you feel that beauty isn't appreciated, desired, admired, or even looked at in the D&D universe, then more power to you. But I believe anecdotally, more people believe it exists in that universe. So why not add one simple word to the already list of words that define charisma?
A Lich and a Night Hag, as examples, have 16 Charisma.

EDIT: actually, let me add to this. So D&D is, as noted, full of things that aren't attractive but have high Charisma. If we add "beauty" as a possible descriptor for Charisma, but note that one need not be pretty to have a high Charisma, would we also have to include the potential for low Charisma creatures to be very attractive?

That would bring us right back to where we are now.

Another wrinkle- let's say a character uses disguise self or a Disguise Kit to disguise themselves as an attractive person. Would they gain more Charisma as a result?
 
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I think any issue here is solved by just asking the players:

"Your character has high charisma... How does that manifest?"

"They are stunningly beautiful and know how to use it to manipulate people."

"They are plain looking, but have a powerful voice that can command armies."

"They are hunchbacked and pockmarked, but have an air of mystery that catches your attention and makes you pay attention to their quietest whisperings."


Or even just:

"They're an experienced traveler who is good with people."

Appearance can be a part of it, but doesn't need to be. Leave it up to the player instead of deciding for them.
I'm sorry, but this even further strengthens my argument. And the fact that so many people like this, simply means beauty should be a part of charisma's definition. I mean, literally, your bolded statement says it should be part of the definition. The part I italicized is "confidence" or "eloquence" or "leadership" - you know, the other words they use to define charisma in the PHB.
 

BookTenTiger

He / Him
I'm sorry, but this even further strengthens my argument. And the fact that so many people like this, simply means beauty should be a part of charisma's definition. I mean, literally, your bolded statement says it should be part of the definition. The part I italicized is "confidence" or "eloquence" or "leadership" - you know, the other words they use to define charisma in the PHB.
But you ignored my three other examples which don't have beauty, one of which doesn't even mention appearance. Beauty is not charisma, it's surface.
 


But you ignored my three other examples which don't have beauty, one of which doesn't even mention appearance. Beauty is not charisma, it's surface.
I didn't ignore them, I said they are already included in the PHB's definition of charisma. Then, the first example you used literally uses beauty as the example. So you too must feel beauty is part of its definition. If you don't, why use that example?
 

James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
Because, as per its definition, they have "commanding personalities." I am not abdicating that it only be about beauty, I am merely stating that it should be part of the attribute's definition.
I added an Edit to continue on this point, but I'll repost here for everyone's benefit.

So D&D is, as noted, full of things that aren't attractive but have high Charisma. If we add "beauty" as a possible descriptor for Charisma, but note that one need not be pretty to have a high Charisma, would we also have to include the potential for low Charisma creatures to be very attractive?

That would bring us right back to where we are now.

Another wrinkle- let's say a character uses disguise self or a Disguise Kit to disguise themselves as an attractive person. Would they gain more Charisma as a result?
 



Another wrinkle- let's say a character uses disguise self or a Disguise Kit to disguise themselves as an attractive person. Would they gain more Charisma as a result?

If appearance can dictate Charisma, then you should be able to use illusions, alter self, etc. to boost Charisma to max, and equally to drop it down to minimum.
These are good situations to bring up. I think there is an easy solution, and that is to limit the charisma score one can use for alter self. And as they progress with the ability, maybe increasing it in level, then charisma increases as well.
So D&D is, as noted, full of things that aren't attractive but have high Charisma. If we add "beauty" as a possible descriptor for Charisma, but note that one need not be pretty to have a high Charisma, would we also have to include the potential for low Charisma creatures to be very attractive?
I don't see why you would need to add that. One can look at a monster from the monster manual and infer why their charisma score is the way it is. A high charisma would mean they are beautiful, commanding, eloquent, etc. whatever the definition is. There are no reasons to state why a charisma is low. No one says, "Why does this hill giant have such a low dexterity or low wisdom.
 

And if Charisma dictate appearance, then you rob players of choosing what their character looks like.

I'm just not seeing anything this proposal does that's positive for the game.
I fail to see why it dictates the appearance. There are many people on here that argue a halfling can have a 20 strength, yet not look like a muscle bound titan. That is because we accept the fact these attributes are many things, not a singularity. The same has been argued for intelligence and constitution and wisdom. So if it can be accepted for all of those, why not charisma?
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
First, to the OP: I suspect you'd gain a bit more traction were you proposing the word "appearance" be used, rather than "beauty".
And if Charisma dictate appearance, then you rob players of choosing what their character looks like.
Not at all.

What it does force is that your choice of what your character looks like will have knock-on effects elsewhere, as its Charisma is made up of an amalgam of your personality, appearance, persuasiveness, charm, and so forth. What this means is that unless your Cha score is a low or high extreme, enhancements to one of those components (e.g. appearance) would by default strongly suggest a drawback somewhere else (e.g. persuasiveness).

I like these kinds of choices.

I should probably point out that I've never really bought into the idea of Charisma being a stat that mechanically helps (or hinders) spellcasting a la the 3e Sorcerer or similar, with the exception of specific spells e.g. Charm Person where Charisma could and would be an obvious modifier.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
Charisma can be appearance or beauty. But Charisma is just more than beauty.

Or in simple words

Beauty is Charisma Easy Mode.

Same how having a good memory is Intelligence Easy Mode

A beautiful person can come of as attractive or unattractive easier than an ugly person.

But a charismatic ugly person can express themselves more accurately than an uncharismatic beautiful person.
 


Vaalingrade

Legend
I fail to see why it dictates the appearance. There are many people on here that argue a halfling can have a 20 strength, yet not look like a muscle bound titan. That is because we accept the fact these attributes are many things, not a singularity. The same has been argued for intelligence and constitution and wisdom. So if it can be accepted for all of those, why not charisma?
Because strength doesn't necessarily equate to muscle, but you're trying to say charisma equates to beauty.

So my CHA 20 character is beautiful* no matter what I say about it.

*Beautiful to.... I dunno. Scott, can you please write a commiserate beauty guide to let us know what beauty looks like? Does every dragon have a giga-Chad face? Does it matter that I find the Giga Chad off-putting a repulsive in an uncanny valley sort of way?
 

see

Pedantic Grognard
Why does a silver tongue help you manipulate your magic genes?
Bah!

A sorcerer doesn't have special "magic genes", any more than a king has special "royal genes". The sorcerer has the power to tell reality what to do, whether inherited by bloodline or acquired by some other method (including "some otherworldly influence" and "exposure to unknown cosmic forces"), just as a king has the power to tell his subjects what to do, whether he inherited his social position by bloodline or got it some other way (conquest, election, or whatever).

And so, just as a king with higher Charisma is better able to get his subjects to do what he commands, a sorcerer with higher Charisma is better able to convince reality to do what he commands.
 

Bill Zebub

“It’s probably Matt Mercer’s fault.”
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. ;)

Wrong.
 

Because strength doesn't necessarily equate to muscle, but you're trying to say charisma equates to beauty.
Strength does equate to muscle for part of its definition. I mean in the PHB, it states: "bodily power" and "raw physical force." Those are musculature characteristics. It also is "athletic training" and "natural athleticism." Those do not denote extreme musculature. It is more than one thing, which is what I am proposing charisma to be.
So my CHA 20 character is beautiful* no matter what I say about it.
Maybe you didn't read anything I wrote. Your charisma 20 character can be a scarred soldier with a commanding presence, because a commanding presence is part of the definition. Your charisma 20 character can be incredibly confident or extremely eloquent. I am proposing that they can also just be drop dead good looking.
*Beautiful to.... I dunno. Scott, can you please write a commiserate beauty guide to let us know what beauty looks like? Does every dragon have a giga-Chad face? Does it matter that I find the Giga Chad off-putting a repulsive in an uncanny valley sort of way?
And again, this makes me think you didn't read anything I wrote. I specifically stated:
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.
 

Clint_L

Hero
These are good situations to bring up. I think there is an easy solution, and that is to limit the charisma score one can use for alter self. And as they progress with the ability, maybe increasing it in level, then charisma increases as well.
Or...we could stop adding complications to the game for the sake of making beauty part of charisma, which no one aside from you seems to think is a good idea. You have not yet identified a single way in which your proposal makes the game better, while lots of folks are pointing out ways that it makes the game worse, and doesn't fit with how they see charisma working.

At a certain point, you just have to admit that maybe your idea is better suited to the idiosyncrasies of your table, rather than mandated for everyone else. We all have home brew rules. There's nothing wrong with it.

Edit:
Your charisma 20 character can be incredibly confident or extremely eloquent. I am proposing that they can also just be drop dead good looking.
No one disputes that. They can also be ugly as sin. The player can decide that.
 

BookTenTiger

He / Him
Maybe you didn't read anything I wrote. Your charisma 20 character can be a scarred soldier with a commanding presence, because a commanding presence is part of the definition. Your charisma 20 character can be incredibly confident or extremely eloquent. I am proposing that they can also just be drop dead good looking.

But what's stopping that character from being drop dead good looking with the current rules?

I really don't see a problem in need of fixing here.
 

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