D&D General The Charisma Conundrum

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Horwath

Legend
This is why we have rolls for Diplomacy, Persuasion, Intimidation or whatever.

if someone makes very good speech you might give them an advantage for rewarding good roleplay, but if someone just wants to "rollplay" then just ask for Charisma roll with whatever proficiencies could apply and treat PCs from NPCs able depending on that roll.

how players roleplay 20 Int in your campaign?
Do you just go to nearest Mensa office and recruit there?
 

James Gasik

We don't talk about Pun-Pun
To be fair, Intelligence is another candidate for this.
I don't know, I've seen a lot of people be rather indifferent when it comes to Wizard players. And I've met my fair share of "Fireball or Nothing" types, lol. Let me must say that I've seen a lot of high Int characters over the years, and there's rarely been any requirement for their players to be smart to cast spells or make knowledge checks.

About the only debate I can recall with regards to Intelligence is whether or not someone can accurately place an area spell in real time so as to not subject their allies to friendly fire.
 

Incenjucar

Legend
I don't know, I've seen a lot of people be rather indifferent when it comes to Wizard players. And I've met my fair share of "Fireball or Nothing" types, lol. Let me must say that I've seen a lot of high Int characters over the years, and there's rarely been any requirement for their players to be smart to cast spells or make knowledge checks.

About the only debate I can recall with regards to Intelligence is whether or not someone can accurately place an area spell in real time so as to not subject their allies to friendly fire.
Intelligence tends to be replaced by metagaming.
 

Zaukrie

New Publisher
So with spring nearly upon us, lots of local games are breaking up. One, the DM just decided to dump the game and walk away. Her last act was to kill all the PCs and end the game. Well, the players were not so happy. They are half way through "Dragon Heist" and would like to finish it. DMs are scarce, so eventually they come to me. And I say yes.

In order to do a soft restart at my suggestion, they all make new characters that are family members of the killed PC, and we pick up the adventure.

So, this a group of five 20 somethings, four young women and one guy: Doug.

Doug is the classic shy, awkward, not social sort of guy....he got into D&D as one of the other players is his sister. So when they make new characters, Doug dives into making a bard character so he can be the "Face" of the party. I know this will not work out.....

And sure enough when the game starts, Doug's character stays way in the back and does not role play or interact with any NPCs. Other then his sister, he does not speak much to anyone at the table. So he is sure not playing the Faceman of the group.....but he "wants to". The most he does is when the adventure calls for something like a charisma check he will roll that.

So, over the course of the next three games...Doug comes out of his shell a bit. He make some very sad attempts to role play the Faceman, but as he has very little real life charisma, he does this very poorly.

So all NPCs react badly to Doug's character, and when the rolls come up, he makes minuses for himself by his bad style of role play. And he has no interest in talking about it...or anything...and refuses to change.

So....today....the other three players(not Doug or his sister) come to me after the game to talk about this. They want me to just "let Doug be the Face". So that when role playing, no matter what Doug says "for real", all NPCs act like his character is the Greatest Guy of All Time...and he never gets a minus to a roll.

I said no. I require players to put at least a little effort into role playing or just play the dull robotic way. As soon as a player starts to role play, I hold them to the high standard.

And this is the Question as Old as the Game: what to do about the players that won't....or can't play the character they "want to be"? If the player "wants to be" something...does the DM alter game reality to make it so? Or not?

If a player with a Low Charisma Score "wants" to play a Faceman, do you as the DM "just make it happen"? I'm not a fan....and worse I think it's harmful. Sure Doug could mumble something and I could have NPCs go all "wow" and I could completely prop Doug up as a False Faceman. And sure he will "feel good" for a few seconds. But it won't be real. He will KNOW he just mumbled some random words.....and he will KNOW I just "made the NPCs fo all 'wow' " just because he wanted me too. So he "wants to play a Faceman", but the only way he can do it is a completely false way. And I don't think that is good or healthy.
Do you require your fighter players to be strong? I've never understood why we require it of charisma, but not other stats. It's a game.. .
 

MGibster

Legend
I just started a thread a few days back that is kind of related to this. As a DM, I don't expect my players to be the same as the characters they're playing. i.e. It's fine that my couch potato friend is playing a virile, athletic Fighter and it's okay that my lukewarm personality friend is playing the Bard. In my other thread, I did lament players who would deliberately say rude things to NPCs and how I would penalize them for it, but as a general rule, I don't penalize a character because the player isn't good at talking to people.

What I would do is try to work with Doug as best you can. It might just take even longer for him to come out of his shell. He might never come out of his shell. He might just interact with the game differently from how you or I might prefer. I'm in the "make it happen" camp, but I do expect the player to make an effort to help me make it happen.
 


DrJawaPhD

Adventurer
how players roleplay 20 Int in your campaign?
Do you just go to nearest Mensa office and recruit there?
Roleplaying high intelligence is easy, the difficulty is roleplaying a characters who dump int (so basically everyone but Wizards). Many DMs even use puzzles which explicitly ONLY test the intelligence of the player and not the character - but it also consistently comes into play in more subtle ways when deciding on strategies and tactics.
 

Wolfram stout

Adventurer
Supporter
I have also noticed that some of the most popular streaming games (and others I enjoy very much) the players aren't in character all the time. They switch to third person often to describe what the character does including social interactions. And that seems to work really well

Also, I don't make spellcasters memorize or even quote verbal components I allow them to just say I cast firebolt, why would I make a player be pursavive?
 

Thomas Shey

Legend
It's like something another poster said recently (apologies for not being able to credit them properly). Charisma is unique among ability scores because there are people who require you to personally possess it to use it in game.

No, there's people who feel the same about Intelligence. And probably Wisdom, though that comes up less often.
 

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