...and sees this stunningly beautiful woman. The player decides to have some fun with it and tries to seduce her. Normally in D&D this calls for a charisma check. But why, could one ask, doesn't he use his intelligence to impress her? He's an academic, after all. It's his thing. As a DM you could be inclined to let it roll this way. And the next thing you know, is that the barbarian at the table sees the wizard go all intellectual on the hottie, looks at his charisma score and decides to use his impressive strength to even the odds. Well, he might have a point, too. It's hard to imagine Conan display some charme on the ladies, while being all macho and muscular might do the trick just fine. Then comes the thief of the group and wants to whisper her in the ear what his dextrous fingers could do for her...
The point is: no one needs charisma, ever. You shine with what you have. You could say, everybody being famous for his charisma (in the real world, mind you) shines just through an intelligent display of his advantages. Any diplomatic endeavour in politics? You might just as well use your intelligence, wisdom or your strength (if you are a bully and like that sort of thing). Your cleric needs some henchmen? Why not opt for wisdom? He might have it reasonably high and the kind of people he gets along with tend to like religious stuff. It's much more believable.
But where to go from there?
Some time last year all this buzz about the new Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG hit the OSR and one particular post peaked my interest (Jeff's Gameblog is all awesome, by the way, but you might know that already). It was about the features of the new game and someone in the comments wrote this wonderfull idea:
"Looks like a great houserule:
1. Add a new statistic to any classic D&D: Luck, generated normally.
2. At the beginning of each session role a die on a chart for what it effects.
You could even include reversing effects. What if your luck will modify damage roles against you for this session?"Great! One cigarette on the balcony later Charisma was dumped and instead we had Luck in our game. And to make it all stick, I let the players roll a d6 before every session with the following benefits:
- Luck adjustment to every to hit roll
- Luck adjustment to Armor Class
- Luck adjustment for special actions*
- Luck adjustment for saves
- Luck adjustment to fatigue**
- Luck adjustment to damage rolls
They liked it a lot. And it gave me the opportunity to steal (er.. borrow, really) another idea from Hackmaster. Because in Hackmaster you could sacrifice 90 % of your accumulated honor to avoid certain doom. It was a perfect fit. From then on a player could spend 8 points of his luck to cheat death. It would regenerate as soon as he gets a new level. Until then he had to live with the penalty thereof. His luck had changed!
So what about the woman at the beginning who was lucky enough to be that genetically compatible (spell: beautiful). Well, your answer is right there...
Also read: Part 1
*We use that in fights, but that is a story for another post (sorry).
**Need to write something about fatigue, too.