You’ve Got ChaRAZma!: The Charisma Check
I’ve always felt Charisma got short shrift as an attribute. Defining Charisma as personal magnetism and a type of willpower is a better way of creating a useful score instead of just physical attractiveness based on a 3-18+ number. In order to continue with the series of attribute checks, I’ll discuss this attribute that frequently gets ignored the most. The Victorious rules define the Charisma attribute thusly:
Charisma: The Charisma attribute is a compilation of the Hero’s bearing, personal magnetism and physical attractiveness. As well as power slots, the Charisma attribute modifier can also affect the reactions and loyalty of others to the Hero. Charisma can also allow the Hero to resist some types of Psychic and Magickal effects as well as any saving throws or attribute checks that fall under the purview of the Charisma attribute.
The last sentence is where we’ll start. Most players never consider the concept that the Charisma attribute can be used offensively. Scientific Romances as well as comic books are replete with examples of the hero(ine) trying to use intimidation, seduction, or some kind of persuasion to get what they want out of a Non-Player Character (NPC).
Intimidation: This can be used to force information out of an opponent, to perform an act the intimidated person wouldn’t normally do, or become so afraid that they will no longer be a threat to the heroine. Depending on the level of success, a Genteel Magistrate can rule that opponents are so intimidated by the hero’s bearing and threats that the enemies simply run away or surrender without a fight. Even if the roll isn’t that successful, it might cause opponents to hesitate, giving the heroine the initiative for the initial round of combat.
Seduction: This has always been an awkward role inside a RPG, regardless of the skill of the various players and GM. Most (though not all) groups try to defer the actual role playing of the seduction in question and wish to roll as an attribute check. The effect of a seduction, calculated by considering each character’s appearance, personal tastes, and availability can result in everything from a faithful ally or paramour to a bitter lifelong enemy if the roll goes badly. But remember, if all else fails that’s what Victory Points are for!
Persuasion: This is a tricky one to perform, as this can mimic in a very small way the Mesmerism power. In fact, it can be treated as a 0-rank Mesmerism in that the character will add their attribute modifier (or penalty) to the roll, and their skill level if the GM believes it appropriate to the character’s background. Unlike Mesmerism, the recipient of the persuasion isn’t at the persuader’s beck and call. Instead they are convinced to do an act, and will do so as soon as possible. For every hour the person is away from the persuading heroine, they get a Charisma saving throw to try to throw off the suggestion. Unlike Mesmerism, you’ll note the save is against Charisma—not Wisdom—since this is a more subtle act than simply imposing your will through Supernatural powers.
It is hoped that the above gets both players and Genteel Magistrates thinking about expanding the use of the Charisma attribute in ways other than just getting more power ranks. Used correctly, a high Charisma can be a potent power in its own right!
2 thoughts on “The Charisma Check”
Interesting. I agree with you mostly on this. However, I think that power slots should be unparented from Charisma as it simply creates a lot of high charisma characters running around who can overwhelm normals with their very presence. Charisma is no longer a “dump stat”, but now it’s the most important one in the game as it determines how many power slots the player has. That means that every character is going to be a Batman, or Captain America, simply to have the power slots available to them. Toad and Felix Faust are comic characters with unusually high powers but low charismas.
I see your point, and must admit the Charisma influencing power slots was based on my personal interpretation of SuperMankind. To me, like the demigods of old, they are very charismatic to mortals; even the horrific ones. I’d say characters like Toad could be made with a shortcoming of “repellent; only -3 on Charisma checks” or some such to create that individual character.
AKA that Mike Stewart guy