D&D General The Charisma Conundrum

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Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
We have had many threads about this and my position is known. What the player says in social situations matters, in the same way that it also matters in combat where you move and what powers you choose to use etc. Players must make decision in a game with their own brains, and those decisions should matter.

That being said, note how I I said "what the player says" rather than "how they say it." Player needs to offer a reason, an angle or a rationale why the NPC would do what they want, and this determines the DC. But they don't need to present this super eloquently or convincingly, that's what the roll is for. If the player invests in their character's social skills, that should obviously improve the character's chances in social situations!

I would also say that if a player wants to try a thing they're not terribly comfortable with, especially if the player is new, the GM should help them. If a person is nervous about speaking in character, then it definitely doesn't help if the GM trashes them when they try!

But as noted, given the OP, I don't think good faith effort on the GM's part can be expected, nor I think they seek genuine advice.
I like to say “players decide, characters act.” In a combat context, the player decides where to move, what to attack, etc. and we roll dice to determine if the character performs those actions successfully. In a social context, the player decides how they want to try to leverage the NPC into doing what they want (e.g. making a persuasive argument, fast-talking, making threats, offering bribes, etc.) and we roll dice to determine if the character performs those actions successfully.
 

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James Gasik

We don't talk about Pun-Pun
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.
Indeed, puzzles are almost exclusively not designed to be solved with die rolls!
 

bloodtide

Legend
If I was to stat up @bloodtide as an NPC in my RPG, charisma would definitely be low. I don’t mean any offense by that, it just is my perception.

And it begs the question - how can someone really low in charisma really judge how high charisma functions in game?
I rolled an 18 for Charisma!

if the player rolls well enough (don't adjust the DC because you think how they said it wasn't good enough) and has made somewhat of an honest attempt to have their character say something vaguely apropriate to the situation then YES have the NPCs respond well to them, DO NOT attempt to undermine the player's actions and desires because they don't live up to your standards or because you think you know best for them @bloodtide .
I do not play the robotic D&D of just rolling dice and doing what the rule say.

Approaching the situation already convinced it will fail? That's not a good way to start out. How about, instead, thinking of ways to help Doug? And ways to alter your approach?
Yes, I'm not the type of person that just agrees anyone can be anything if they just sit there and "say they want to be".
So? If he rolls when appropriate, that's how some people game. Why do you hold the face man to a higher standard than the muscle? I mean, you don't judge the muscle's success by how much the PLAYER can dead lift, do you?
Do I hold all players to the same standards? Yes. A player with a character in combat can get modifiers to rolls by talking and describing set actions.

It sounds like you're so ready for him to fail you're looking for ways for him to do so. Why not help him succeed instead?
This is what I'm asking.... My way of helping would be to sit him down and explain reality to him: You can not play this character: make another one. And if he really wanted to learn I would be happy to teach him how to role play a "Faceman" character. So what else is there other then those two?
Bad style of role play? By what standard, why are you imposing minuses? His charisma is what his stat says.
I use the ancient Old School Style where you can modify a roll with descriptive actions.
It sounds like you hold charisma to a much higher standard. That's the real problem.
I hold everything to a higher standard then most people.
It's not healthy? Really? For me as long as the player can tell me what he wants to accomplish, that's more than enough. I don't expect them to be actually eloquent, persuasive, etc. just like I don't expect the fighter to actually know how to swing a sword or the wizard to actually know how to cast fireball.
This is a lot more on how you play the game.

As others have noted, the GM creates the penalties, not the player. You are making that choice here.
I think people are talking in circles here.

Ok, when the player takes actions this can create boons or penalties. Yes, the DM assigns them, but the player is making the choice to do the action.
And, you seem pretty solidly set on how you feel roleplay has to happen, and how it impacts the mechanics - you don't seem eager to change for a compromise either.
I don't change myself or my game play style for one player...no.
Allow the player to describe the approach and desired result in a social interaction, rather than enact it personally. Just as, "I try to run the orc through with my sword," is generally an acceptable way for a character to declare a combat action, "I try to pretend I'm a minor official to get the guard to allow us to pass," should be acceptable.
As I said, I do allow this robotic non role play....he chooses not to.

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.. .
If it helps, I do require it of the other stats, and in the same way.

Wuh? Yea, you should just tell the players that you are not the right DM for them because, well reasons.
This is true. Doug wants a DM that rolls out the Red Carpet for him and Alters Game Reality for him. I am not that DM.
If I remember right, this is not the first group you've run a game for that you have come to us with this time of issue. i.e. the players don't do what you want the way you want so you feel as DM that you have to penalize the characters.
This is more my Game Style. I do the same thing in every game to all players.
This does not make OP a bad person, in no way am I implying such. It just means that it seems more likely that perhaps you should not be offering to 'help' so many groups by running games for them. Perhaps your efforts could go more into teaching others how to DM and develop their own style, not copy yours.
And I do. I am mentor to fully half of all local gamers. Though there is that other half....

Bloodtide, I think you should stop offering to DM for groups where you already know that they have fundamental differences of playstyle. Given that you already know that your playstyle is controversial and has a very high rate of player attrition, it seems to me that you are setting up both yourself and your newly-adopted players for, at best, a subpar experience.
To be fair...other then the Doug problem...everyone else is having a great time. Even Doug...as remember he has not complained....it was three of the other four players.
Given you continue to pass some pretty harsh judgment on perspectives that don't match yours--"bad style of roleplay", "I don't think that's good or healthy", "sure he will 'feel good' for a few seconds. But it won't be real"--it just doesn't seem productive or beneficial to anyone involved that you do this sort of thing.
I know many like to only game with people they are best friends with and that agree with nearly everything they think nearly all the time. I'm just more opened minded then that.

And, of the five players, two are really enjoying my game style....so there is a good chance I can bring them over to my side.
 




CreamCloud0

One day, I hope to actually play DnD.
I do not play the robotic D&D of just rolling dice and doing what the rule say.
yes it's quite plainly clear from many of your posts on enworld that you don't do that and you feel quite free to impose your own judgements and alterations to the rules but notice how my original post didn't say to do that.
if the player rolls well enough (don't adjust the DC because you think how they said it wasn't good enough) and has made somewhat of an honest attempt to have their character say something vaguely apropriate to the situation then YES have the NPCs respond well to them, DO NOT attempt to undermine the player's actions and desires because they don't live up to your standards or because you think you know best for them bloodtide.
also note how 'have the NPCs respond well to them' is NOT the same thing as 'have them be enamoured at everything the player says and do exactly as they ask for', the middle ground DOES actually exist.

edit:
I use the ancient Old School Style where you can modify a roll with descriptive actions.
yes but what we're saying is base those modifications based on the quality of the actions in the description rather than the quality the description itself is presented in
 
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bloodtide

Legend
1: Genuine ignorance on my part, why does spring mean games breaking up? Is DMs killing the whole party so they can walk away from the game more common in springtime?
The way it works here for the semi organized games at the Rec is games roughly run November to May. As most people "do things" during the late spring-summer-early fall. A typical group of five would have 2-3 missing players or the DM, every week. So most groups just call a "summer vacation" and pause their games, or end the game before summer.
2: I don't require players to speak in character, but I do ask them what their character is trying to do. In order for a roll to be called, there is something done to call for said roll... But yes, some people are more shy than others, and sometimes they do want to play the "face" character for that exact reason.
And I'm fine with this too......but this is not what he is doing

You can't make minuses for yourself when you play or role-play. Only the DM can impose penalties. And you should not impose penalties for his "bad style of role play". He's trying, right? That's the important part.
He is trying, poorly. He wants to get the bonus or plus, of course......but that comes with the risk of the negative.

You aren't altering "game reality". Again, a player is not his character. The player can just tell you what they want the PC to do, and then roll. For example, suppose he wants to convince some guards on a patrol to tell him some information they normally wouldn't. The player can say, "My character approaches the guards and says something pursausive to convince them to tell me what we need to know." You respond, "Ok, roll a Charisma (Persuasion) check." The player rolls, you check versus whatever the DC you decided should be.
Again, I would be fine with him doing the dull, robotic game play.

Players should never have to "role-play". If they choose to, you shouldn't penalize them if they can't do it well. You let the rolls decide if you find the "role" is insufficient.
I don't....but if he tries for the bonus, he must also accept the bad side.
So, what are you doing to help Doug? What are you doing to help Doug?
Nothing so far. It is not my job as DM to "help" or "fix" players. And Doug has not said anything to me, complained or asked for help in any way.

This means your game style sucks.
You can't make everyone happy....

The guy who refuses to ever compromise or adjust his DMing style in any way for any reason describes himself as “open minded”
🤣
My definition of "open minded" does not include "change everything and anything on the whim of another person".
 


CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing (He/They)
It's very hard to roleplay more charismatically (or wisely, or smartly) than what you actually are.

One method is the third person/objective driven description. For example

"My character attempts to charm the elven alchemist. I flatter the excellence of his glass work and imply I may have information he needs"

This way, the player tells you what they want to happen, without having to be able to do it themselves.
This is the best advice I've seen in the thread so far.
 

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