Translating Stats into Roleplaying

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Note: Do not read this as demanding characters play their characters according to this, it is just tips on trying to get people to actually roleplay their characters with accurate depictions of their characters stats. These are not rules by any imagination, just guidlines.

Something I noticed is a problem at least in my games is that people don't know how to roleplay obvious character traits of their characters. I mean when i 16wisdom archery ranger is reckless charging into melee or shooting enemies before even considering talking to them just because he doesnt like their affiliation. So I have been looking at something I have always taken for granted, the way stats effect roleplaying.
The way I see it the higher ones score in a given attribute the more that character will use this atribute to solve problems. The higher the score the more likely you are to go to that attribute to solve problems
a 8 will be almost never. Dont use this attribute. Failure is high.
10 once in a blue moon. you are normal.
12 uncommon usage. You can use this attribute but only use it when you have to. proficient.
14 common usage. You use this attribute often.
16 You solve most of your issues with this attribute. You an expert with it.
18+ Heroic. (do i really need to add anything more than that?)

So what do the 6 attribute mean?
Strength- Physical might. How often does your character use physical might to solve problems? A low strength characters would strive for isolation or distance knowing there pysical might will most likely not help. A high strength character should be bold, in combat be willing to enter melee, and willing to physically putthemselves in danger because they know they can handle themselves.

Constituion- Toughness. How much can your body take. Low constitution characters are fragile, they cant take much damage and are probably timid or at least careful. Its not that they wont take risks they just know their survivablity is less than others. High con characters are much the opposite, they probably are more fearless knowing they can take what ever is thrown at them. Its not that they dont have fears but their surviability often makes them not care.

Dexterity- Speed.  How fast is your character? A low Dexterity character, should not move around a lot, they arent prown to high speed thinking and know if they get into a fight escape is not an option. A high Dex character, knows they can slip by every one, provoking a fight but getting away before the fight actually starts. They are slick and get things done before anyone else even starts and know it.

Intelligence- Planning- How far do you think ahead. A low Int character focus only on what is going on right now, almost incapable of seeing what will happen next. A high Int character is a schemer can see a much larger picture and always takes action based on what is most effective for the long term picture.

Wisdom-Practical- Are you were you are most needed? A low wisdom character will focus on doing what they feel like doing and are very self absorbed, A high wisdom character always looks to be where they are most needed, that includes being aware of their surrondings for that purpose.

Charisma-Passion- How motivated are you to accomplish your goals? A low charisma character is lethargic and dispassionate. A high Charisma character is energetic and vibrant.

Now what does this mean for characters? Well lets take a look at an elven archer build using the array.

Str   11 Stays back rarely presents himself to enemies
Con 13 Somewhat tough, will take a little physical risk
Dex 18 Extremmely fast, is probably quick to react and make decisions immediately
Int  10 Very limited planning ability
Wis  16 Very practical, likely to always contribute in a postitive way.
Cha  12 Somewhat passionate, can be emotional but rarely to the point where it causes problems

Notes: The Mental attributes indicate how the character will likey interact with the party: He doesnt make plans (int 10) but he will do his best to accomplish his task and provide value to the effort (wisdom 16) and on occasion will be vocal about support of opposition to the plan though most often goes through with the plan (cha 12). Physically the character is a little timid about putting himself in danger (Str 11) but knows they are fast enough to get themselves out of most dangerous situations (dex 18) and is confidant they can get out of stressful situations if they arise though is likely to not want to stay in them for long (con 13). His top two attributes (dex and wis) indicated that we have a character extremmely capable of noticing and reacting to problems before others.

Another example: Dwarven Fighter

Str  16- Strong, capable of out musceling most foes
Con 16- Tough,  is capable of taking more than a few hits
Dex 12- Somewhat fast- Is legs may be a little stubby but he is a quick witted warrior
Int   11- Limited planning ability
Wis  15- Knows his place as a defender and will be there
Cha  10- Not really an individual,

Notes: Mental attributes- Doesn't have much of an oppinion or knowledge to contribute (Int 11 cha 10) but is very capable of pulling out his role in things (wis 15) and is likely to see things through. Physically He is willing to put himself in danger and knows he can survive it thus battle is not a scary thing for him (Str 16 and Con 16) he his always ready to get into a fight even he is occasionally cought off gaurd (dex 12). His top three attributes while not extrodiary by any means do indicate someone is capable and able to stand his ground if it is needed and someone who can be relied on.

Lastly a more interesting case A gnomish warden using a point buy.

Str 16- Strong- Capable of out musceling most foes
Con 16- Tough, is capable of taking more than a few hits
Dex 10- Slow
Int 14 A planner may have a few tricks up his sleeve
Wis 8 Selfish and unaware
Cha 14 Passionate

Notes: Mental attributes he has an agenda (int 14) that doesnt involve the party (wis 8) and he is very absorbed by decisions (Cha 14) He often does what no one is expecting but is often a wild card. Physically he is capable of holding his own in melee (Str 16) as well not worried about takeing a beating (con 16) but is one of the last people to actually get into combat as he is slow (dex8) His highest two attributes while they do make him a fine warrior is the interaction of his other attributes that make him interesting. The moderate charisma and low wisdom make a very eccentric character who makes brash choices and sticks to them, these bad choices may even be dangerous one as he beleives he will likely survive due to his high constitution. His moderate intelligence and low dexterity often mean that he cant make quick plans as he may too slow to get them into motion but his low wisdom may mean he tries anyway. When his plans dont come to fruition he will probably blame others as his high charisma indicates that he will have an emotional reaction but the low wisdom mean he will probably displace responsibility from himself to others. He is likely to take extremmely risky moves as he is both passionate (14 cha) but also thinks he can survive any consequence (con 16) though often those plans can work spectacularly (int 14)
The difference between 8 and 10 is minimal, a -1 difference.  10 is average, 8 is very slightly below average, nowhere near incompetent or 'an idiot at this'.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
Your right not an idiot perse, but its a bad idea if they were to use that skill. A str 8 wizards is in a bad place if he is cought in melee or where he needs to use athletics.
Your right not an idiot perse, but its a bad idea if they were to use that skill. A str 8 wizards is in a bad place if he is cought in melee or where he needs to use athletics.



This is true, and it's already covered with the skill roll penalty.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
I've always considered that ability scores should affect character quirks, but aside from that, shouldn't dictate gameplay to the exclusion of what the player wants to do.  Plenty of 'wise' people in the world make reckless decisions -- some on a pretty regular basis.
first off crabcrouton and salla these are not hard fast rules. Like at all. These are roleplaying tips. And in fact its helped my game by talking with my players as i have explained them as most players ignore their attribute entirely. they tend to act like high intelligence robots even if they have an int 8 and a high charisma. I mean obviously a player can do as he pleases but this is a sign of bad roleplaying. I mean it doesnt matter if they are a slayer or power game player but for someone interested in roleplaying this is of extreme importance.

 Any yes wise person can make reckless decisions, all i am saying is that if a character has a high wisdom he should in general be roleplayed that way.

The problem Eladran Ranger in my group who got me thinking about this, roleplays high charisma low wisdom but his stats are reversed from that. Should on occasion the character be passionate and aggresive? sure. But if that is his primary attitude his stats dont fit his character.
I'm in agreewment with Crabcrouton. Stats will affect what a player will likely do already as it presents a scheme for optimal decision making. Character's (and real life people too!) often make sub-optimal decisions. Just because I don't have herculean strength doesn't mean that I won't beat someone with a claw hammer if they attacked one of my friends. And just because I'm not a super genius doesn't mean that I won't try to understand complicated things, or that I won't try to make reasonable plans.

People's histories and personalities tend to inform their desires, which inform their decisions. I'd be torqued if a DM told me that I'm not allowed to run into combat because I have a high wisdom....having an awareness of subtlties and subtext does not obviate my desire to help a friend out in a tight spot. I may be aware, as I am doing it, that it is not a great idea...but that doesn't mean I won't do it period.
Just a quick question about causal ordering.

When you say, for example, "14  common usage. You use this attribute often," do you mean that it is because you use the attribute often that it is a 14, or do you mean that its is used often because it is a 14?
You said this about Dex: 

"Dexterity- Speed.  How fast is your character? A low Dexterity character, should not move around a lot, they arent prown to high speed thinking and know if they get into a fight escape is not an option. A high Dex character, knows they can slip by every one, provoking a fight but getting away before the fight actually starts. They are slick and get things done before anyone else even starts and know it."

I don't understand your reasoning on the highlighted point.  Why would dexterity have anything to do with high speed thinking?  A character with low dex might think extremely quickly and be able to respond to all sorts of outside stimulus very rapidly, mentally, though he may not be able to get his body to move as quick as his mind, it doesn't mean that he didn't see the opening, only that he wasn't able to exploit it.  Seeing the opening would be more a function of intelligence or wisdom than it would be of dex.
Malphaeus... youre really not getting this. Of course I wouldn't restrict your actions. you obviously dont get what i am trying to say.

I am talking about roleplaying here, If i play a low int dwarf he may try and understand complicated things but to properly roleplay the character he doesnt. If you act like he gets it automatically its bad roleplaying or at least one that require explanation. If my character obviously has no social skills cha 8 and he is trying to be social the math as you point out already shows how bad of an idea it is to use diplomacy. But if i have that character always be a social character and is the group voice and always giving amazing passionate speaches than i am obviously roleplaying the character incorrectly. Will sometimes a socially backward character speak up and try and be a diplomatic? sure it happens and it will be important when it does sure. If i have a str of 8 and a friend of mine get killed does it mean i dont pick up a hammer and try and kill the person responsible? no you might, indicates distressed emotional state, but your character knows its not going to work and do it anyway. For a str 8 character to be roleplay badly is to play them like they are physically intimidating people when obviously they arent. To play them like the first answer to a problem is to throw a rock at someones head. A wizard in rage wont attack with a hammer, they throw a spell. The only exception i can think are divine characters whos passion and faith is turned into physical might by their gods will.

Hammersmithpalais the answer is yes to both. It 14 because you use it often and because its a 14 your going to continue to use it often.
Saring.

I understand what your saying. And let me put in a better. They are prown to think while at high speed. The quality of thought is not in the dex i will agree, but they can react at those speeds while other smarter people may need a little bit longer to make a decision. This is why the initiative bonus applies to Dex not Int in my opinion.

Mind you the way i see the dex vs Int for ac is that the dex person jumps out of the way in the nick of time. The int guy simply takes a step, it wasnt speed just accurate prediction.

Wisdom is incapable of controlling reaction. A person with high wisdom may be able to notice the speed of an opponents attack but that does not make them capable of knowing how to counter that. Though a person with both dex and wisdom is extremmely capable at knowing how to avoid foes. There is a reason monks need both dex and wis.
I'm still kind of hung up on the whole roll-penalties not accurately depicting roleplaying. If I want my Dwarf Hell-Lock to try Bluffing, with the 8 Cha, by all means. Yes, i'm more than likely going to fail, and the Half-Elf Bard should have done it. If it does succeed, that means whatever I was Bluffing probably has an Insight thats ridiculously low, or the DC was marginal, so my Bluff was based partly on truth somehow.

My point being, if you have an 8 Cha Dwarf who wants to be the party face, let him. He's going to fail 2/3's, if not more, of his Cha-based checks, obviously showing he's bad at it, which is where the roleplaying aspect presents itself. You failed the check, so you come up with a terrible lie, that noone believes, showing how you just failed that check.
*jaw drop*

Why are so many of you hung up on a non-issue? Of course you can use bad skills for your character... Sometimes you HAVE to. WHAT i am talking about is FREQUENCY. A cha 8 dwarf may bluff sometimes yes. BUT he probably is not going to go out of his way to bluff. If he gets questioned by the city gaurd for being in a place he shouldnt he may have to lie, but a cha 8 dwarf is not going to try and barter with a local merchant.

Making bluff checks when your not good at is not bad roleplaying I really really agree. But as i said a low charisma character indicates someone who is shy and dispassionate. Would a shy and dispassionate person be a party face? he may be forced to at times but not on his own violition!

Example- a dwarven warlock has a cha of 8 but he is trained in bluff. He can lie at times, but is he a party leader? No, though if his wisdom is low enough I can see him trying. More likely (especially with a dwarf) If he has to he will be social but most likely will try and avoid those situations. My guess based on backstory we have a person who doesnt like lying who has to learn how to do it to survive, especially as a dwarf which means a more practical character due to higher wisdom.

But of course if your going to make the argument that stats shouldnt translate into roleplaying, then fine i am wrong. Then again i see most people try and pretend their character is themselves and never accurately portray their characters mental stats. Which of course creates the situation you described, with a cha 8 dwarf trying to be a leader.

Youre not thinking from the characters point of view, your thinking from your point of view.
I don't think you're wrong. I think i just misunderstood what you were saying, and I think I may disagree with some of your interpretations of what high and low stats mean and how those translate into character traits.

For example, we'll do the CHA 8 dwarf warlock. His low charisma may not be indicative of shyness...It could also be a tendency to be say highly inappropriate things at all the wrong times, or a it could be a tendency to always sound mean and angry even if he's trying to be nice. Anyway route that is taken be it shyness, inappropriateness, or generally venomous...it gives life to his low charisma, which is nice. It's always refreshing to have people roleplay their weaknesses as well as their strengths.

What I find at the table is that people often have a hard time roleplaying the middle ground. This is especiallu true of intelligence in my experience. A lot of my friends are wicked smart and they play high INT characters well...but they tend to play low or moderate int characters as being slightly less smart than the player is, or they play them as gapped toothed thalidomide babies...That middle ground seems really difficult for some people to find. That's kind of an aside...but that's what I usually find to be the case.

It's easier to capture with physical stats, as those play out in combat easily, and they are the most mechanically reinforced. But, during a roleplaying scene where no one is thinking about dice, an eloquent player playing a moderate (10 or 11) CHA and INT character may get caught up in the atmosphere of the scene and say something along the lines of "Indeed, our Falicitations are boundless, and as prudence demands, our hearts are humble. But we beg Your Grace to reconsider such tact and be genuine to such dangers as lie ahead". A nice bit of speech, for sure, and it probably adds something to the exchange...but it isn't something that the Character is liable to say.

But, it would break the scene to say "Dude? WTF? You have a charisma of TEN?!? And an INT of 11...does your character even know what Falicitations means? or how to freaking pronounce it?". I wouldn't quite know what to do...Roleplay the NPC as reciving the sentiment poorly, or tell the player that while they try to have their character say come out plesantly, the character trips over a few words, or his or her voice cracks? Something along those lines.

Now, a rude dwarf hell-lock with a charisma of 8 could -try- to be the face of the party. Maybe he feels that, having made a Pact with the Infernal Powers has given him an insight into the pettiness of mortal species, thus he can leverage that to bend the puny mortals to his will...that's a fesable way to RP trying to be the face of the party, but failing at it.

Something like this:
The dwarf, while entreating a patron could say "I have seen eldritch terrors that would destroy your very soul! I know the secret names of the Lurker on the Thresh Hold, and That which Cannot be Named! Now, give us more gold, or I shall invoke these terrors upon thee!" His player is well aware of the fact that the dwarf has a CHA 8...and so he's playing him  like a prick. He rolls his intimidate check, and gets a 7...with a -1...yielding a 6. The patron laughs heartily at the dwarf, and truning to the more appealing Bard asks "Are all of you as obnoxious as this tiny man that smells of cow fart and brimstone?"...Everyone has a good laugh, the Dwarf warlock, humbled, keeps his mouth shut while the Bard actually negotiates a deal.

That seems like a good way of recognizing that the dwarf warlock -wants- to be taken seriously, and -tries- to be taken seriously, but isn't because he says things like the above...and he rubs people wrong, and he is all in all, not likable and comically overly dramatic.

Is this more the kind of thing you were talking about?
Yes thats is what i am talking about.

Though it actually gets MORE interesting for a dwarven warlock when you look at acutal stat blocks:

Example lvl 1 dwarven warlock using standard point buy

Str   12 Slightly Physical
Con  18 Supernaturally tough
Dex  11 average Speed
Int   14 Good planner
Wis  16 Very Practical
Cha  8  Socially inferior

Now think of your "eldritch terrors" comment. Does it seem like someone with a 16 wisdom would say that? Think it absolutely. Abd might say it, but the wisdom indicates a person who understands their own strengths and weaknesses and would not risk himself so foolishly . With the int and wisdom you get a more calculating character. He just seems like a common sense character with infernal plans and immense power. Though this character i would love to play his stats also indicate someone with supreme confidance and little fear of danger.

On the other hand A Minitour Warlock
Str   16 very physical
Con 18 supernaturally tough
Dex 12 decent speed
Int   14 Good planner
Wis  8 normal wisdom
CHA 12 Slighlty social

Would do the whole "Eldritch terrors" comment. well I think he be more likely, his low wisdom indicates that he is a self absorbed jerk, though with his physical might and toughness his cockyness is easily understood. He is not very social but you can see him using intimidation constantly. IS he a leader? well no, but is his personality felt? Yes him and his hulking frame. (to make him creepier he is wearing chain armor and weilding a scythe) I see him actually more like a evil bodygaurd or second in command who is always taunting the heros by beating them up physically (like picking and throwing the wizard) or with stealing their souls with magic.

Third example Tiefling warlock (star pact)
Str    8 Physically weak
Con 16 Very Tough
Dex 10 average speed
Int  16 Very Smart
Wis 13 decent wisdom
CHa 16 Very Passionate

Would this warlock use the "eldritch terrors" speach? Yes, Even with a slightly higher wisdom his high charisma indicates we have a very passionate character and beleives what he says. When the dwarf says it sounds like he has something to prove or is crazy. The tiefling on the other hand seems to be in control and saying it. He is beleiveable. This is a much more brazen warlock, a lot less in the shadows and is much better at showing his power.  If his wisdom was a little higher he probably would find a way to be "more subtle" about it. but i dont think he cares. I see this character also as a little lazy, his low strength indicates someone who does not do things himself and the dex shows someone not in a rush.

Note: There are other ways to roleplay these character stats and honestly i am interested in how other would.
DrackCove - I think you're getting so many negative reactions because this game has a long history of DM's telling players "You're doing it wrong!" when they play their PC's.  DMs who demand that a PC has to be an ugly slob and completely antisocial because his charisma is 8, and DMs who throw a fit if an 8 Int character ever says something smarter than "Me crush orc!".  I know you personally aren't taking it that far, but I'm guessing lots of the people in this thread are having bad flashbacks of DM's who forced them to play their characters a certain way because of the same justification.

In general, of course you're right, stats should determine some of your character's personality.  But at the same time, you need to realize that 10 is average and 8 is only slightly below average, which means that compared to normal people, the PC's are good at everything.  They're heroes.  They can be fully capable at a wide range of things, like swimming across a river, giving a speech, or figuring out a math problem, even if they have an 8 in the related stat.  It's fine to say that an 8 Int PC shouldn't be a genius, but it's not ok to say that he has to be an idiot, or even kind of dumb, especially as he goes up in level.  Keep in mind that every two levels, the PC's get better at everything.  A level 10 8-Int character is going to be more knowledgable in a lot of things than a level 1 16-Int character, both mechanically and in character.
Makeshiftwings, I absolutely agree. Your playing heroic characters after all. I actually changed the language in the original post to show this. Idiots is the wrong word. Plus i dont actually see say having a 8int as making you stupid. You just  not one for making plans or thinking longterm.

Though about 10 being average, i do see the "average person" to have a stat block more like 13 12 11 10 10 8, mostly average stats.  A  farmer would have stats like 13 str 11 con 10 dex 8 int 12 wis 10 cha. Hes an average joe who knows his place in the world and requires being physical to do his job. compare this to a elven fighter with 16 str 13 con 16 dex 8 int 16 wis 10 cha who is a lot tougher, stronger, faster, and more aware...though they still are just as smart as each other (they arent really well educated) and have the same social skills.

though say someone is an idiot savant str 8 con 10 dex 8 int 20 wis 6 cha 4 very smart,  and very gifted but truely incapable of doing anything. The closest you get in a D&D character Human wizard but they have a str 8 con 11 dex 10 Int 20 Wis 14 cha 10, normal guy who has a little more self discipline and A LOT more intelligence, but in anyother aspect there is nothing of note. still just as social as the farmer though.

I'm going to use Charisma as an example. You say a character with low Charisma is shy and hangs back, but that completely defies the definition of Charisma. A charismatic person is well liked, and people are inclined to trust him. A low Charisma doesn't necessarily translate into being shy, it can just as easily translate into being gruff and abrasive in your interactions with others, or cold and haughty, ect. That rough and tumble Dwarven Fighter who shouts obscenities and starts a fight every half block or that Eladrin Wizard who looks down her nose at absolutely everyone and everything, and doesn't hesitate telling you you're inferior can just as easily have an 8 Charisma as that shy, reserved Goliath Warden who only speaks when absolutely necessary.

Now this is where I say stats shouldn't necessarily impact roleplaying, not that they can't or shouldn't, just that there are far more important aspects to consider while roleplaying. Take the Eladrin Wizard. She thinks she's Correllons gift to the world, and actively acts as the party face, because she believes herself superior to all of her companions, and believes everyone should be at her beck and call. Shes going to be a terrible party face, stats reflect this, but she is anyway, because of her personality.

As has been said, physical stats are easy. Its the intangibles that get iffy. That doesn't mean however that the Archer Ranger can't be reckless and bloodthirsty, even with his 16 Wisdom, or the Artful Dodger Rogue can't conceive a brilliant plan to commit a theft or assasination, even with his 8 Intelligence. The Rogue may not know anything about local history or arcane matters of any kind, but saying he can't be meticulous and plan every detail of an upcoming heist is just off, as long as thats you're vision of the character and they're personality.

I actually really disagree when it comes to charisma, yes charisma can be used to get people to like you, but the people who make the most threatening or the most cruel also have high charisma. A sorcerer is often a **** but to say he is uncharismatic would be lie. Those rough dwarf types are actually some of the most like characters, because despite being "gruff" they are actually very charismatic. I think people actually stat the dwarf archetype incorrectly.

I agree with most everything else except that the artful dodger rogue with an 8 int shouldnt have  complicated plan. His plans should consist of "get to the mansion and steal the jewels ill figure out the rest later." He is probably one for thinking things out while there and not one for thinking it out before hand.
I always let the mental stats be more generalized. Intelligence means that you know information, Wisdom means you know yourself, and Charisma means you know other people. This lets people with low Int still be sensible and articulate; they're just the kind of people who skipped class, or school altogether. Likewise, a character with low Charisma is rarely shy; usually boorish and obnoxious.

Edit: Yeah, characters with low Int usually aren't good with advance planning or scholastic ventures, but they can be good at thinking on their feet. Likewise, a high-Int character would likely be good at advance planning, but might not be good at impromptu plans. 

The original core books said that this was our game too. It doesn't feel like that anymore.

While I understand and agree with your premise, I still think the way a character is played should be up to the whims of the player.  Why? 

For example, I knew a girl who was easily far and beyond the brightest person I've since encountered, even to this day.  The problem was, she desperately wanted to fit in with the 'it' crowd, and she dumbed herself down to meet their expectations.  In D&D terms, she had a high Int but almost never resorted to it, using her lower Charisma score to do the work for her problems.

The reverse then, is also true.  There are many people in our society with naturally low Int and Wis scores, yet they make a living as advisors, trainers and counselors!  Despite their ridiculous Intellect and/or Wisdom handicaps, they act as if they have all the answers to the point that millions hang on to their every word.

PCs are no different than people.  A PC with a starting score of 20 Strength could end up being the governor of a city-state in Faerun, continuously making (and failing) Int-based checks...
That makes sense. But the governor of the said city state probably got his job by being a warrior hero and now his job doesnt match his credentials.

Yes ive encountered peopole in real life who dont play to their strengths in general those people are extremely unwise (read low wis).

And sure players should play to their whims, I just think its okay to push (not force or demand jusk ask) that my players step up their roleplaying a little bit more. Playing directly on whims player tend to play 2d characters. and while that is acceptable for their gaming needs it does not make the game any better or more interesting.
Touche.

I think you've convinced me that making occasional suggestions can't hurt.  Have you considered raising the DCs?  When players start to wize up to their continuous failures for using skills they're not good at, they might start to rely on their primaries instead.  Nothing can be helped about the fatalistic strikers though.  =P

I don't see the problem with a talkative, outgoing character with a low CHA, or a would-be brilliant schemer with a low INT score.  An attribute score isn't a categoric quality or deficiency.

A low CHA score does not indicate shyness.  A low INT score does not indicate inability to grasp complicated concepts.  A low DEX score does not translate directly into clumsiness.

"When Friday comes, we'll all call rats fish." D&D Outsider

I don't see the problem with a talkative, outgoing character with a low CHA, or a would-be brilliant schemer with a low INT score.  An attribute score isn't a categoric quality or deficiency.

A low CHA score does not indicate shyness.  A low INT score does not indicate inability to grasp complicated concepts.  A low DEX score does not translate directly into clumsiness.




If a guy with no physical strength tries to lift a concrete slab his chances of succes are a whole lot less than a guy with a lot of physical strength. This is also reflected in the chances of succes with checks.

The same thing occurs with talking and CHA and scheming and INT. If I DM I do want a check if someone acts talkative so being talkative if you have no CHA is a dangerous trick with me.

This does make it less easy to play a talkative character if cha isn't a primary stat but I do reward good roleplaying. If you roleplay very well I will often let you pass the check even if you epic fail the roll.
Kamikazegerbil wrote: Coke Spill Level 1 Encounter Attack Power Trigger: You must be pouring yourself a drink Range: Close Blast 1D10 from Player Target: All creatures and objects within blast Attack: Any vs. Reflex Hit: 1d6 Fizzy damage and target is wet (save ends) Aftereffect: Target is sticky (save ends)

I don't see the problem with a talkative, outgoing character with a low CHA, or a would-be brilliant schemer with a low INT score.  An attribute score isn't a categoric quality or deficiency.

A low CHA score does not indicate shyness.  A low INT score does not indicate inability to grasp complicated concepts.  A low DEX score does not translate directly into clumsiness.




If a guy with no physical strength tries to lift a concrete slab his chances of succes are a whole lot less than a guy with a lot of physical strength. This is also reflected in the chances of succes with checks.



The point is, the low STR score does not dictate that the character won't routinely attempt feats of strength. It only indicates that he isn't very good at them.

The same thing occurs with talking and CHA and scheming and INT. If I DM I do want a check if someone acts talkative so being talkative if you have no CHA is a dangerous trick with me.



There is no connection between CHA and likely attempts to engage in conversation. A motormouth who frequently interrupts other people, doesn't know when to let a conversation end, argues over trivia... low CHA. Really cute and visibly bashful... possibly high CHA. Eloquent and sensitve... high CHA. Gives you a feeling that he thinks he's so far above you he'd soil his shoes by talking to you... low CHA.


"The world does not work the way you have been taught it does. We are not real as such; we exist within The Story. Unfortunately for you, you have inherited a condition from your mother known as Primary Protagonist Syndrome, which means The Story is interested in you. It will find you, and if you are not ready for the narrative strands it will throw at you..." - from Footloose
I tie charisma to personal passion and energy. That motormouth may indeed have a low charisma but he also probably has a low wisdom too, if his wisdom was higher hed probably shut up. the cute and bashful girl does have low cha not high at all, she may be attractive but is she charismatic? hell no. In a social situation she'd be drowned out and no one would listen to her, she just isnt assertive enough to be charismatic.

in short warrl and others who want to claim your stats shouldnt effect your roleplaying, stop trying to justify bad roleplaying!
         charisma is about charisma, not physical attractiveness (a trait i would actually apply to high and balanced physical stats), not amiability (wether your character is likeable by others, a more wisdom trait), or personal ettiqute (a more intelligence thing). someone with a high charisma when they enter a room every one notices, they have a passion for life and they inspire it in others. this is why they make good leaders. There personalities are like sunshine touching everything.

Elloquent and sensitive are results of intellegence and wisdom not charisma. Many poets i know have no charisma at all as in a social situation they would wither and die. If you want someone aware of other feelings thats a wisdom skill called insight.

Just look at the skills involved for every ability score and you will see what that ability score DOES. Wisdom is involved in healing, perception, and insight all skill dealing with awareness. Charisma is involved in bluff, diplomacy, intimidate, and streetwise skills dealing with social manipulation.

Of course you are not just one abilty score you are many and they interact so i understand that characters are more complex than me stating how they should act, but still there are times in which people play a min maxed character with no attention to what their stats actually are and then demand to play their character any way they like even if it doesnt make sense. I try and give my players good rp tips to get them think about their stats, as i dont they are meaningless.
There is nothing wrong with giving suggestions, as in the idea behind the original post, as long as they are just that, suggestions.  However, with roleplaying, if the player can justify it, they should be able to roleplay however they want. 

It is possible to have a quiet and reserved character that still has a high Charisma.  Take Strider from the LOTR.  Most would agree that he had a high Charisma, which is why so many were willing to follow him.  When we first meet him though, he is hiding and trying to go unnoticed.  He stays back, keeps his hood up and generally is quiet and reserved, some might even say shy. 

The justification for this is that he is, in fact, hiding, trying not to be noticed.   Good roleplaying would be having a reason for what you do, not just making stats dictate your decisions.
To be fair, since running 4E, I've pretty much thrown out the idea of the six stats having any real impact on how the players should roleplay their characters.  Classes in 4E have a group of stats tied far too closely to certain build options that I'm not going to, say, tell the light blade fighter that he can't play his character as a well-educated, suave aristocrat because he didn't have enough points left to pump up INT and CHA after he made sure to have the STR, DEX, and CON needed for the character to work mechanically.

Now, if said character is actually called to make a Charisma check then that penalty is going to apply, but I see no reason why a player should be forced to sacrifice any of their combat ability just so that they can write "is the life and soul of any gathering, with a quick wit and ever ready with an insightful comment" on the background section of their character sheet. 
Cragglerock, the reason is simple: because thats like saying oh I am a genius even though i am not. They made a archetypal character and they need to stick with it. The lightblade fighter could easily have a decent cha, i mean heck multiclassing rogue is a good idea and with a cha of 13 he should be fine picking up fun rogue powers. Heck pick up bluff with the sly dodge feat and volia you have your aristocratic rogue.

Example Aristocratic warrior
Race:Human
Str 16 Con 11 Dex 16 int 10 wis 12 cha 13
Feats Rapier, and sly dodge
Background: noble trained in history
Skills- Athletics History Bluff and Streetwise
Equipment- Rapier Scale Armor

On the otherhand your try and min max your character completely shifts

Str16 con 12 Dex 18 Int10 Wis 12 Cha 8
Race:Human
Feats Rapier Sneak of the Shadows
Background: Noble trained in history
Skills- Athletics History Theivery Streetwise
Equipment- Rapier Hide Armor

notice the change in feats and skills! The first in a aristocratic warrior thats a bit of a socialite, the second is a aristocrat who forsake his noble blood and became an assasain. The Socialite actually has a +6 to streetwise! The assasain like -1.  Almost indetical builds except those little differences that make all the world Very different characters. The stats are different, so too should be the characters.
 Heck the change in stats even changes how the characters are played mechanically. To optimize the first you need to stay in heavy armor, but the second has high enough dex he can switch to light armor.
But okay you claim that the assasain build should be played like the socialite build because the player wants to? You allowing bad roleplaying, which may be okay with you but i am trying to increase the quality of my groups rp.
I shifted my view point since starting DMing in 4E that the stats represent the way in which the character interacts mechanically with the world, not actual representations of that character.  I see no problem with a player claiming they are playing a "genius" character while having an INT stat of 10 and roleplaying out the knowledgable sage, just when it comes time to figure out that eldritch machine, all his information of tax law (or whatever) proves no match for the task.  Or the suave charmer with a CHA of 10 who just has the frequent misfortune of getting a bit of spinach stuck in his teeth or being unlucky enough to look like the ex-lover that jilted the duchess at the alter many years ago.

I understand this might not be to everyones taste, but good roleplay comes from having consistant, believable characters that take on a life of their own, not adherence to a set of statistics on a piece of paper.  If that were the case, it would be impossible to roleplay in systems such as Dread where the character sheets have not a single numerical figure beyond character age, or to claim that free-form roleplay is not every bit as valid as any other type.
Once again, in systems like dread you do have stats, your character age. Roleplay it. How could anything interfere with freeform rules, when it has none? how could a dm even say your character wrong at all in a free form setting.

You dont have to have stats to roleplay i agree. But i think if you have stats you should roleplay them. Though I will agree with you stats are mostly mechanical, a person with a super high strength may not look strong at all. I just think your stats should be the place you start when you define how your character interacts with the world.

MY question CraggleRock how would you define bad roleplaying?
To be honest, I wouldn't.  There may be styles that aren't to my taste, but if people have fun roleplaying in whatever way, I don't see how it is my place to say they are bad at it or doing it wrong.  That said, everyone at the table should be having fun, and things that run counter to that for our group have no place at our table.  It's possible to have this with "too good" roleplaying (any other case where douchery is met with "But that's what the character would do!"). 

At our table, immersion-breaking, inexplicable changes in characters aren't fun for us: the character who has sworn an oath to exterminate goblinoids suddenly being okay working for the orc cheiftain without a single grumble; the heretofore shy character who suddenly starts chatting up every barmaid in town; sudden 180s on the morality compass.  Such ill-defined characters (once the character traits have been defined; it's understandable that sometimes people take a few sessions to "get a feel" for a new character and may be a little more scattered at the start of a campaign) are the sort of thing we wouldn't like to see in a game.
I agree in all of what you say. I just tend to notice a lot of that incostitancy comes when people dont create a stable idea of what their character is. Stats are an excellent starting ground.

I suppose I am also pushing for more variaty in character concepts from my players most of whitch just play super murderers and dont care about stats or concept.

Maybe they don't buy into your interpretations of the stats?  The mental stats don't fit neatly into separate divisions, as you've already pointed out.  In the game, CHA is the ability to influence people, but as you've noted, doing that effectively requires a knowledge of human nature, an ability to feel out your audience and adapt to its mood, the right vocabulary for the audience and the situation - a mixture of attributes that are classified by the game system as INT, WIS and CHA.

You want a real life example? Take Adam Sandler.  It's really easy to relate to him - he's self effacing and approachable and humble, but really loud and boisterous.  Is he the kind of guy you'd loan your last dollar to?  Yeah.  Is he the kind of guy who could get an army to march?  Not likely.  Do you think he'd be able to deliver a threat really well?  He's got plenty of charisma; just not the right kind for the job.

So back to outgoing low CHA guy.  Level with the player.  Tell him that he can have a winning personality, but it's not going to work on the people in the game.  He makes friends quickly and easily; just not with the right kinds of people to get things done.  He's just too approachable to be very intimidating, and that's going to keep him from being a good leader.  Now find a way to express that if he tries to use it to his advantage in the game despite that.

Let them build their stats into an effective character, and then find a way to fit it into the concept they want to play.  If they keep making conceptually bland characters, it might be because they think they have to sacrifice effectiveness for flavor.  That's the impression I'm getting from you.

"When Friday comes, we'll all call rats fish." D&D Outsider
Kaganfindel finnally someone who i think understands. Yes that is exactly what im trying to say.

Perhaps they're just not big fans of roleplaying? Not everyone is, or only roleplay to certain degrees. There are alot of people who enjoy creating the character, and seeing how they play out mechanically, rather than the roleplaying aspect.

Now if they were huge roleplayers in 3.5, and the beginning of 4e, then started creating mechanically optimized characters and the roleplaying suffered, maybe. Having a mechanically sound character is absolutely unrelated to consistent roleplaying, its the person behind the character.

Comparing stats to character types is actually one of the ways my group manages to try and play different characters. If they're stats and class are too similar, they will probably feel the same - and probably feel like a rehash of an older character; well at least that's what I've kinda felt. It was amusing to see players trying high charisma characters after seeing them play low scores; or vice versa. Though it makes it difficult to deal with enemy NPC's when you start using this method, as some of the enemies have outrageous stat scores. Though one thing I do enjoy is the wide range of possibilites and how to compare such things like they used to have in the 3.5 stat comparison in the beginning section of the book.

That's where it rather stated the norm of human society was a score of 10, and it would compare lower and higher. Utilizing that same set though, I like to look at the scores for fourth, and think about say an epic fighter with 30 strength - the strength to battle dragons to a stand still and such. Of course though, you are going to run into situations where the player simply is not able to portray the stat - I mean, how does one portray a Wisdom of 24 or what not? Or even Intelligence that high? So the group I'm generally moves to working together. After all, its a story, and everyone's part of it. If you have a character that is trained in Arcana, and has an intelligence of like 18, the player might have a headcold and not be able to respond aptly; or for instance another player might remember a ritual that the one in control was not aware of - though the character would be.

That's not to say that control of the character would shift, but in as much as in DMG 2, it was suggested to have a sort of modular story line, where everyone contributed; to also modular characters - where the party helps pitch in the parts of it. Of course, as the DM gets the say on the mechanics and world proper, the player gets the say on their character. Though the contribution makes it amusing to see someone with a charisma of 8 go up to the priestess of Gruumsh and say she was probably an ugly baby.

Just a thought,

Take
An 8 Intelligence doesn't mean a chararacter cannot come up with a complicated plan. You have to be smart to cut out all the unecessary crapola to come up with a streamlined plan.

A low Charisma doesn't equal lethargy. Nor does it mean you're gruff or haughty instead. It could be something a simple as someone who's a bit different and doesn't care what others think of them. Plenty of high charisma types who are gruff, haughty or some other type peronality flaw. Take Han Solo for example. He's sarcastic, abrasive and a loner. But he's also very charismatic
An Orc walks into a bar. The Human and the Elf laugh at the hapless Orc. The dwarf walks under it scowling and doesn't laugh. He doesn't see the humor. It was all over his head
For me it's always been about the roleplaying (as opposed to the roll-playing.) Now, my Paladunce (sic) has an Intelligence of 8. Now, playing low Intelligence can be quite difficult. The enjoyment that I derive from RPGs is the opportunity to play difficult personalities - i.e. personalities that are different from myself, whether that be through statistics, creed and values, or just general outlook.

I wasn't keen to play the sort of 'Duhhhh me smash' character that a low Intelligence implies, as it can often completely cut one out of any problem solving tasks. (Which I enjoy!...However, it can be a fun challenge to roleplay a certain level of 'I don't get it', whilst as the player totally getting it.) So, how do you play a low Intelligence character, while at the same time not being a total dummy? I chose to interpret a low Int. score as a reflection of his lack of book-learning. So, what I end up playing is someone who is ignorant and naive (due to his sheltered, Church-only upbringing). It's also meant that he ends up being fairly narrow-minded and bigoted, again due to his lack of knowledge.

I try to convey this sort of ignorance through the occasional use of malapropisms (using the wrong word for something) and solecisms (grammatical absurdities).

Equally, his high Charisma isn't necessarily interpreted as him being friendly, charming or good-looking. Charisma (in our game) is the double-take factor. If someone walks into a room, whether they be Darth Vader or Elle Macpherson, and the people gathered stop what they are doing to look at them, what you're seeing is high Charisma.

Just my 2c. (Which, as Australia is in a base-5 monetary system, gets rounded down.)
I don't see what business of the DM's it is how the character's are roleplayed.  Unless things are drastically inconsistent (such as CraggleRock went into), it's not an issue the DM should be involved with regulating.  Is it the DM's job to tell them how their character's look as well?

Want to play a genius fighter, able to untangle the deep mysteries of the cosmos, but don't want to burn an 18 in intelligence?  It's all good.  Your character possesses an intellect of truly epic proportions that he cannot bring to bear in any practical way.  Pick up a couple of knowledge skills if you want the sort of codified learning and intellectual capability to be practically effective.

Want to play a chatty wizard, comfortable in almost any social situation?  Sure, your personality and wit make you into a virtual social chameleon.  You won't be noticed unless you attempt to manipulate or force your will on someone (bluff, diplomacy, intimidate, streetwise).  If you try that, well you're likely to be noticed for all the wrong reasons.

If a player wants to run a character to their own tune, by all means let them; just make sure you enforce the dice-roll penalties where appropriate.  By the same token, the characters and the world itself are more than the sum of their numbers.  If a given character pulled a farmer's child from the jaws of death, the farmer should be inclined to help the character whatever the character's social capability.  But what if the character is a drow (generally charismatic and evil)?  The farmer's reaction might be totally different still, though it's no fault of the character's social (mis)steps.

No, having the DM enforce his idea of what the character should be is a bad idea.  Tying it to a limited resource, such as ability scores in a point buy, is an even worse idea.