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Whisker89

Alternate uses for CHA?

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Hi everybody! :D

To make a long story short, I've seen that Charisma tends to be understimated by players / used as the "dump stat". The reason is, compared to the other 6 stats a high CHA doesn't give any substantial advantage. STR boosts damage output w/SIZ and with DEX grants access to bigger weapons, DEX and INT determine combat order, CON grants more health points and POW does the same with magic points (and raising the limit for the magnitude maximum for Battle Magic).

...and Charisma? Yes, I know it's always good to be good-looking, but it seems like it's almost unused. charisma based skiils are just a few, and using two mere Improvement Points you can easilly fill the gap in a skill between characters who have 9 and 19 CHA.

Does anyone ever thought about other practical uses for CHA? I know in RQ6 a high CHA gives more Improvement Checks. Maybe there could be something like the D&D Leadership value, a reputation system... Or it could be used to put a limit on how many Magic Points Stores a character could be "attuned" at a time...

Just my two cents, I'm waiting for yours ;)

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In BRP, Charisma (APP) gives you a bonus for Communication skills (bribery, bargain, persuade, status etc), although I think even there the bonus is less important than INT. However, the main advantage probably in play, where a good Charisma can make a favourable impression on NPCs, let you 'borrow' resources from your clan or cult, persuade neutral creatures to help you, get the 'foot in the door' to a strange guild, temple or organisation, or even negotiate with faeries and demons (a Charisma roll could mean the difference between a pot o' gold and a long nose when dealing with the fey folk). If you have a status or fame or reputation system (I do), those with high CHA could mysteriously acquire more of it than their compatriots, and therefore rise higher in the eyes of their society.

Of course it depends on your style of play, and your referee's, but CHA is far from a useless stat. Even a warrior needs to impress others from time to time, to recruit or lead armies for example.

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Are you wanting to use RAW to emphasise CHA or are you looking to add/tweak rules to do so?

 

For the RAW route: just call for lots of CHAx5% rolls during the game (intimidate the wounded enemy to lay down sword rather than fight to the last, make the right impression when entering an unfriendly bar, catch the eye of the dancing girl, calm a skittish horse, etc, etc)

 

For extra rules those I have used are:

Don't roll or allocate CHA. It is the average (mean) of every other characteristic other than SIZ (a rule I first used in a Ancient Greek game, I noticed that the heroes in the Homeric stories were impressive and able to influence others. Some of course were also very handsome whilst others ugly but in all cases the more they stood out the more powerful they were)

Use CHA in place of STR for calculating combat skills (projection of indomitable will and ability to terrify with a single look is more important than muscle mass even for Druss and Conan)

Starting characters start with as many points of armour as their CHA score (the handsome fashionable warrior wears handsome fashionable armour; the boorish oaf wears tattered furs)

Starting characters start with as many points of Battle Magic as their CHA score (they are not only more beloved by the spirits but also better able to persuade mortals to share their cantrips)

 

Al

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You could take bits from POW and make CHA the Willpower/Resolve/Composure stat.

Borrowing an idea from D100 Revolution, you'd have "Willpower points" for mental and social conflicts. Those would be equal to CHA or (INT+CHA)/2, or (POW+CHA/2). Optionnally, CHA (or CHA+POW) could be the base for "Social combat damage" (for instance : (CHA/6) d6, or (CHA+POW/12) d6).

Edited by Mugen

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20 hours ago, Whisker89 said:

Hi everybody! :D

To make a long story short, I've seen that Charisma tends to be understimated by players / used as the "dump stat". The reason is, compared to the other 6 stats a high CHA doesn't give any substantial advantage. STR boosts damage output w/SIZ and with DEX grants access to bigger weapons, DEX and INT determine combat order, CON grants more health points and POW does the same with magic points (and raising the limit for the magnitude maximum for Battle Magic).

...and Charisma? Yes, I know it's always good to be good-looking, but it seems like it's almost unused. charisma based skiils are just a few, and using two mere Improvement Points you can easilly fill the gap in a skill between characters who have 9 and 19 CHA.

Does anyone ever thought about other practical uses for CHA? I know in RQ6 a high CHA gives more Improvement Checks. Maybe there could be something like the D&D Leadership value, a reputation system... Or it could be used to put a limit on how many Magic Points Stores a character could be "attuned" at a time...

Just my two cents, I'm waiting for yours ;)

For the record Charisma is not just a measure of looks.Quoting from the rule book: "Charisma (CHA): This quantifies a character’s attractiveness and leadership qualities." 

While CHA lacks a big Secondary Attribute (like Hit Points, Magic Points or Damage Modifier) that it directly feeds into it plays a big part in determining the starting base for all the game's Social Skills i.e. Influence, Performance and Relationshps (if you are using that optional rule). As other posters have pointed out that if you are makeing players roll for social situations this is a big deal. Especially in games, like mine, where combats are few and far between because the players realise how deadly they can be.

Even if you are not making rolls for social interactions, there's still the guidance in the rules about using Charactersistics as a guide for roleplaying. If a character has CHA 10, I would be well within my rights to tell the player he can't charm and smooth talk his character out of every situation, no mater how well he acts it out, because his character is a bit dull socially :)

Some of the other suggestions you are making are over thinking the situation as far as OpenQuest goes. Its meant to be a system which is direct and to the point, and the rules surrounding Charisma in play get this across, and makes it not a dump stat.

 

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You could possibly use CHA to calculate starting Hero Points, perhaps 1 Hero Point per 5 CHA. 

Additionally, when Hero Points are awarded, then perhaps some of those are automatic awards, whereas others may require a CHA x 5% to gain the Hero Point. 

I agree with keeping OQ simple and straight-forward, that's the charm of it.

If you are using the social skills in game play as outlined above then I cannot see it being a dump stat at all.

Edited by Mankcam

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First: thanks everyone for feedback and ideas, much appreciated :)

Don't get me wrong: I ALWAYS been a maximum CHA player (my classic roles in D&D are bard and paladin, rocker and media in cyberpunk and so on...) and I don't consider it a dump stat at all. But, let me go back on the starting point with an example:

10 hours ago, Questbird said:

Of course it depends on your style of play, and your referee's, but CHA is far from a useless stat. Even a warrior needs to impress others from time to time, to recruit or lead armies for example.

yes, but imho we're not talking about CHA anymore: I guess it's more a matter of skills (Persuade, or a specific Relationship). Why should I bother to spend 3 of my Improvement Points to raise CHA of 1 point while I could get a +15% in one of the aforementioned skills?

Sigh, maybe I'm a bit too rule-dependant... :(

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34 minutes ago, Mankcam said:

You could possibly use CHA to calculate starting Hero Points, perhaps 1 Hero Point per 5 CHA. 

Additionally, when Hero Points are awarded, then perhaps some of those are automatic awards, whereas others may require a CHA x 5% to gain the Hero Point.

Not bad at all! it could be fun to have a little gambling for one extra Hero Point :P

Edited by Whisker89
edited after Manckam reply
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Yes, however upon reflection I think it may work better with 1 Hero Point per 4 CHA, the break points are better as the characters will really see the difference having a higher CHA this way.

It means some people start with slightly more Hero Points than suggested in the OQ rules. OQ suggests starting a beginning character with 2 Hero Points, however under these rules you would start with 1 Hero Point at CHA 4; 2 Hero Points at CHA 8; 3 Hero Points at CHA 12; and 4 Hero Points at CHA 16. So it's not a big issue, and it does gives weight to the CHA characteristic right from the start. 

However I think making ongoing Hero Point or Improvement Point gain based upon CHA rolls is probably the best way for players to see another practical benefit to having a high CHA. I would deem some some awards as being automatic, based upon the achievement (ie: plot goals achieved), whereas others as only opportunities to acquire awards, dependent upon a CHA x 5% roll ( ie: awarding good role-playing and creativity etc). This is would certainly make CHA much more appreciated.

I also tend to use Social Rolls quite prominently in my games as well, granting bonus or negative modifiers based upon the player's descriptions and creativity. It not only highlights good opportunities for roleplaying, but it is a constant reminder of how important social skills are (and thus how important CHA is). Most of my sessions are focused on social rolls with players trying to avoid physical combat (at least hand to hand melee) as much as possible, due to the consequences of being wounded. So this puts a big importance on the social skills, and makes the more charismatic characters quite valuable at times.

Edited by Mankcam

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Another issue is Magic Points. The default value is equal to POW. However this could vary from setting to setting. For example, if wanting to play a classic high fantasy style Bard you may give them Magic Points based upon their CHA for example. This could potentially work with other magic as well, such as a Wuxia style Warrior-Monk whose Magic Points are based upon DEX perhaps.  So I guess it depends on how much you want to deviate from the RAW. I find OQ (and other BRP games) to be simple enough to tweak things here and there for individual settings and not cause any dramas.

Edited by Mankcam

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On 8/5/2016 at 11:47 AM, Newt said:

While CHA lacks a big Secondary Attribute (like Hit Points, Magic Points or Damage Modifier) that it directly feeds into it plays a big part in determining the starting base for all the game's Social Skills i.e. Influence, Performance and Relationshps (if you are using that optional rule).

This is what bugs me with this system. Attributes are not important - it's all about skill value and the natural talent is so underestimated. Attribute is only (CHA + 10) or (CHA + INT) etc. So two characters with CHA:6 vs CHA:12 (one is half amount uglier) end up with only 6% skill difference on social skills. They are practically as good.

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Yes that is a big issue with BRP games in general, perhaps even worse in the classic line as opposed to the MRQSRD line. 

I would have possibly preferred BRP based on core Characteristic Rolls with bonuses for particular skills, which is what a reasonable proportion of RPGs do. 

The other option would be to have no Characteritics at all, and base everything on Skills. Just assume any untrained action has a default roll as the characters are within normal limits, and if they have particular aspects that place them outside of this range then they could be expressed as Traits which could provide bonuses or penalties, depending on the Trait.

I have seen this issue raise its head in forums quite regularly, and there is always a good debate on boh sides

Edited by Mankcam

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It actually does not bother me so much for OQ, as it is rules light game. Fast and simple ruleset takes the priority here. But for more detailed BRP games, I find this to be an issue.

One thing I like CoC7 has, is the ability to have an attribute check. So I am fine when one has good training for streets-wise, influence, but generally lacks talent to be generally charming (giving first impression, etc) - so it would be good place for attribute check. My be I will ask attribute x 5 checks in future OQ games too for chits and giggles.

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11 hours ago, jux said:

This is what bugs me with this system. Attributes are not important - it's all about skill value and the natural talent is so underestimated. Attribute is only (CHA + 10) or (CHA + INT) etc. So two characters with CHA:6 vs CHA:12 (one is half amount uglier) end up with only 6% skill difference on social skills. They are practically as good.

and that's exactly my point! and the main reason of this topic :P CHA should have it's own attribute... or something similar to actually mean something.

I know that characteristics are linked to roleplay, but what if I raise a character with CHA 7 (socially inept) to have a Influence skill of 97%?

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2 hours ago, Whisker89 said:

and that's exactly my point! and the main reason of this topic :P CHA should have it's own attribute... or something similar to actually mean something.

I know that characteristics are linked to roleplay, but what if I raise a character with CHA 7 (socially inept) to have a Influence skill of 97%?

There's always the Charisma roll (CHAx5) which is quite different for a CHA 7 vs CHA 16 person. In the case of the socially inept but high influence person; it could be inherited weath, blue-blood family reputation or royal connections landing on a person who is personally repellent and squanders it all. Never heard of that happening before...;)

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One houserule could be that no communication skill can be effectively used with a skill higher than CHAx7. So a character with a Cha 8 cannot use his Fast Talk above 56%, even if he has a higher percent.

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6 hours ago, el_octogono said:

One houserule could be that no communication skill can be effectively used with a skill higher than CHAx7. So a character with a Cha 8 cannot use his Fast Talk above 56%, even if he has a higher percent.

You could go a step further and make this pertain to ALL skills by ruling that Skills cannot go beyond a maximum value (equal to a specific Characteristic x 5%).

However my preference would be to make it a 'threshold' rather than a maximum value. Once the relevant Characteristic x 5% threshold is exceeded, the rate of % gain is reduced for Skill Checks (ie: a successful Skill Check only yields a 1D3% gain, rather than the usual 1D6% gain).

That's an easy way to make all Characteristics meaningful.

Edited by Mankcam
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10 hours ago, Mankcam said:

You could go a step further and make this pertain to ALL skills by ruling that Skills cannot go beyond a maximum value (equal to a specific Characteristic x 5%).

However my preference would be to make it a 'threshold' rather than a maximum value. Once the relevant Characteristic x 5% threshold is exceeded, the rate of % gain is reduced for Skill Checks (ie: a successful Skill Check only yields a 1D3% gain, rather than the usual 1D6% gain).

That's an easy way to make all Characteristics meaningful.

Oooo!  We likes this, my precious, yesssss....

Elsethread, I had suggested that the improvement roll be 2d4 -- 2 dice eliminates the "rolled 1pt = suck" experience, it bells (many folk like their sum-of-dice bell), and the abverage / most-common is that sacred 5% ...   Then skill-gains above Stat X 5% can be 1d4.

Might also offer something like:  rolls where the skill is at or below (Stat / 5) -- and/or where Stat is at or above 18 -- as best-2-of-3d4...

 

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11 hours ago, Mankcam said:

You could go a step further and make this pertain to ALL skills by ruling that Skills cannot go beyond a maximum value (equal to a specific Characteristic x 5%).

However my preference would be to make it a 'threshold' rather than a maximum value. Once the relevant Characteristic x 5% threshold is exceeded, the rate of % gain is reduced for Skill Checks (ie: a successful Skill Check only yields a 1D3% gain, rather than the usual 1D6% gain).

That's an easy way to make all Characteristics meaningful.

And by making a threshold, you can increase grain if you want to. For example, instead of one threshold level, you could have two: one could reduce as Mankcam has shown; a second higher threshold could lower the increase to 1% (or some other progression... say 1d6, 1d4,1d2). This somewhat reigns in insane skill levels and some of the pitfalls in bonus/penalties vs. lower skilled opponents. It also allows continued learning by the character, and lessens the likelihood that a player would simply drop efforts to improve in that category and move on to the next. 

SDLeary

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I would like to see something like this in the next edition of RQ. The thresholds would have to be based on the primary Characteristic x 5% for each Skill Category.

I think I've finally found my legacy contribution to BRP, heh heh. Although I really can't claim credit for the concept. I lifted the idea from Savage Worlds rpg and just applied it to BRP. Seems like it may work just as good here!

Edited by Mankcam
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The skill limit based on the characteristic value (which is one of the best features of the Elder Scroll saga system, IMHO) is a good point but 1) it makes things difficult when a skill depends on two characteristics 2) complicates things more than I wanted.

What about a maximum limit / starting number of Relationships?
Something like:

CHA        maximum        starting
1-9                     1                0
10-12                2                1
13-15                3                1
16-18                4                2
19-21                5                2

It would reflect the fact that a low-charisma character, even when convincing (high Influence skill), generally cannot estabilish a lasting relationship with a group of person.
On the other hand, a charismatic character is endowed with a natural magnetism which will attract a lot of friends / help him to estabilish long-lasting relationships.

10 hours ago, Mankcam said:

I would like to see something like this in the next edition of RQ. The thresholds would have to be based on the primary Characteristic x 5% for each Skill Category.

Not bad, but the maximum for characteristics is 21 so the limit would be just 105%... unless you make another rule that once you hit the 100% and become a master you have no limits to your skill's growth

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If CHA is taken as a measure of the character's personality, then it could be used as the basis of range and area of effect of certain spells, as these are often governed by POW. If there's one thing all practitioners of magic agree upon, it's that magic is an intensely personal business ^_^

Colin

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On 09/08/2016 at 7:33 AM, Mankcam said:

You could go a step further and make this pertain to ALL skills by ruling that Skills cannot go beyond a maximum value (equal to a specific Characteristic x 5%).

However my preference would be to make it a 'threshold' rather than a maximum value. Once the relevant Characteristic x 5% threshold is exceeded, the rate of % gain is reduced for Skill Checks (ie: a successful Skill Check only yields a 1D3% gain, rather than the usual 1D6% gain).

That's an easy way to make all Characteristics meaningful.

In a game with starting skills based on the sum of 2 characteristics, I'd make this optimum value equal to 3x the base value.

Or perhaps, base experience increments on a rule such as:

If Skill < 2x Base : +1d8 per roll

2x Base <= Skill < 3x Base : +1d6 per roll

3x Base <= Skill < 4x Base : +1d4 per roll

4x Base <= Skill < 5x Base : +1d2 per roll

5x Base <= Skill : +1 per roll

And I would definitely make it an optimum value, and not a maximum one. It hurts characters with low Characteristics too much to have maximum value so far under 100%

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Chipping in a bit late here, but I like the suggestion of linking improvement to characteristic as I am one of those people who are annoyed by the weakness of the link between characteristics and skills.

For example, Athletics is based off STR+DEX. Say a character has STR and DEX of 11 each. The skill starting value is 22%. Up to 44%, it improves at 2D4 each time. After 44%, improvement slows to 1D4.

You could tweak this to govern the rate at which characters improve in the campaign. To take another example, you could put the improvement cap at 3x the starting value and then use 2D6 and then 1D6 for your improvement throws, if you wanted a faster pace.

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We have always used CHA as a basis of how many spirits a character may have bound to them (1/2 CHA). In previous systems bound spirits were a major sources of extra Magic Points so it was very important. Using it to measure how many people you could influence/order around/intimidate at one time, or how many animals you can command seems reasonable.

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