Charisma and How It Affects You
These are some thoughts I’ve had on Charisma. You might have seen them when I posted them on Reddit, but I wanted them here on my blog. They’re a good read for anyone as I’ve seen a lot of my players decide not to RP based on their low Charisma stat. Honestly, most people aren’t aware of how Charismatic they are, unless they’ve got a high score or a high Wisdom and even then not always.
Charisma is your force of personality. It represents how easily you can impose your will or emotions on others through talking, lying, performing, and more. It’s why Use Magic Device has it as a base stat (as opposed to Wis or Int) because you’re forcing your personality on the device and ‘tricking’ it into thinking you’re a magic user.
High Charisma doesn’t mean you are great at talking to people (that’s diplomacy,) it means you have a strong personality that could bend others. A person with high Charisma might be very passionate but they lack some communications skills. That fiery passion however could move others to action, despite their lack of diplomatic skills. You could also just have great non-verbal communication (like a winning smile,) you could just be so friendly and fresh that everyone can’t help but like you (like Primrose from Hunger Games,) or maybe you have charming sense of humor that makes others feel at ease.
Alternatively, having a low Charisma doesn’t mean you don’t like to talk. How many people do you know LOVE to talk, but aren’t very good at it? They might be annoying people or just salt of the earth types who are extroverts but lack a certain tact. Think of the loud boisterous man at the bar, laughing it up with his friends. He probably can’t talk his way out of a speeding ticket, but he loves chatting up his friends (with his 8 Cha).
Better yet, think of all the times you’ve gone to karaoke and you get the loud annoying people who sing poorly. Should they sing with 8 Cha? Hells no. Do they? Yes. On the other hand, the shy girl who doesn’t talk to anyone (same 8 Cha as the annoying ones) might have a beautiful singing voice because she’s got 3 ranks in Perform (sing). Likewise, a factory foreman who is gruff and unfriendly might be able to give a rousing speech to his workers due to ranks in Diplomacy.
Low charisma could also be totally or partially out of your control. Maybe you’re a sweet-hearted person who knows how to butter someone up but you have a grating voice or have a speech impediment (like a stutter.) Maybe you have an unfortunate manner of speaking (like every other word is a swear word because you grew up on the docks,) a thick accent (have you heard some of the Scottish talk?) or you baby-talk people.
Take a look at Josephine here in this video. She’s cute, nice enough, but oh dear heavens that voice could peel paint off the wall. 6 Charisma, easily.
Charisma also doesn’t mean you’re physically attractive, just that your personality is magnetic, when it wants to be. Your charisma COULD come from physical attractiveness though, assuming your personality isn’t repulsive. People might just fall head over heels for you to give you want you want because you’re pretty.
However, take a look at this video here. Susan Boyle is NOT an attractive lady by any means, but look at her personality, let alone her singing voice. She’s a sassy lady and can hold her own with millions of people watching. She’s obviously has high Charisma, not to mention many ranks in Perform (sing).