PC Role Book
Your character in a tabletop rpg can be usefully understood in terms of certain roles. This Role Book series explores some of the ways these various roles can help enrich the roleplaying of your character – things like background, tactics, and story. These posts will help both the single-role min/maxer get more mileage out of their abilities as well as help the multi-faceted PC more effectively don a variety of hats.
Whether by empathy or deceit, by rhetorical flourish or astounding beauty, charismatic characters excel at steering social interactions in their favour. If you’re playing an even remotely charismatic character here are some things to consider beyond your shining persuasive dialogues.
Contacts, Contacts, Contacts
As a face, you rarely visit a location without leaving an impression on someone. When adventuring in places you’ve been to before, be sure to discuss your potential contacts with your GM. While NPC contacts aren’t always going to have direct insights about your current objectives, they still function as a valuable barometer to your game’s setting and goings-on.
Every once and a while, even the most charismatic characters will slip up. More often than not, these unsuccessful attempts to persuade/deceive will leave NPCs frustrated, suspicious, or outright offended. As a counterpoint to your address-book of positive contacts, provide your GM with a few spurned NPCs to keep those return trips to familiar towns and ports just a little bit more interesting.
If things haven’t become too heated, why not try keeping some confrontations from coming to blows? See if you can convince your enemies (and sometimes your fellow PCs!) that, for whatever reason, it might NOT be in their best interests to engage in a bloody combat. Keep in mind that the viability of this sort of interaction will depend on the circumstances of the given combat encounter. But hey, if those bandits are underpaid or that guardian ogre is intellectually underdeveloped, you just might be able to save your party heaps of time and trouble!
Sometimes explosive combats can’t be avoided. If you happen to find yourself unsure of your character’s odds of making it out alive, a dramatic feint may just save your skin! Remember, either by deception or charm people are inclined to believe what you offer them at face value. So why not collapse into a heap after a glancing blow to deter your enemies from wasting any more time on actually beating you to a pulp? It isn’t advisable, however, to trust this tactic more than once against the same foes.
Morale Boost: Adventuring is tough – physically, emotional, psychologically. Sometimes it can go a long way to turn your convincing demeanor towards your friends when things get heavy. This could equally be listed as a tactical consideration, but since it can be just as important at any given moment in an adventure, we’ve kept it down here. Morale boosts don’t need to be measured mechanically to be valuable, unless your GM is already tracking morale in that way (in which case, don’t stop sweet-talking!).
Social Barometer: Even if you’re not perceptive enough to be tracking every nuance in every interaction, it’s always in your best interest to try and pick up what you can. When trying to steer a social interaction, you’ll want to be as informed as possible so as to not risk derailing it entirely! Ask your GM questions regularly about any cues NPCs are giving off – shifts in tone of voice, body language, or mannerisms – so as to keep your guiding influence as unobtrusive as possible.