Are there any RPGs where charisma isn't a shit skill?

Just wondering as remembering the times I played RPGs, I usually found charisma or similar traits to be at the bottom of the list in terms of utility. Am I alone? Are there exceptions?

I think Charisma gives you some advantages in Fallout 3. It opens up new lines of communication when talking to NPCs. Sometimes this leads to you getting access to information you would not have otherwise got.

Are we talking computer games or paper rpgs? Charisma-like skills are very valuable in the PENDRAGON pen & paper game.

In KOTOR and Mass Effect there are certain options only availible with a certain level of traits. You cant diffuse a fight between two crew members in mass effect if you don’t have a) lots of goody points, b) lots of baddy points c) lots of charisma, iirc.

It does give you advantages. Perhaps it’s because my charisma was only at most 6, but those advantages always paled in comparison to others traits.

I confess to complete igorance of paper RPGs. I should have specified I was talking about video games.
In paper RPGs, ever seen people fight to see who can be the bard?

I’ve never seen anyone fight over any role in paper RPGs: Usually, there are some folks who have a few different characters in mind and are willing to go with whatever the group needs more, and if that’s not enough, enh, you just end up with a party that’s skewed in some particular direction, and the DM adapts to that. But I have certainly seen players willingly and of their own volition choose to play high-charisma or even charisma-based characters.

If you’re talking about paper RPG’s it all depends on the DM. His encounters decide which skills are the most useful, it’s just that the lamer ones focus only on combat statistics.

I ran a 3.5 edition game where the lead Orc Barbarian was constantly reminded he used Charisma as a dump stat, it got to the point where he wasn’t allowed to the tavern table to discuss the next job.

Planescape: Torment was a game where the stats were pretty balanced, although you could easily min-max. As it is dialogue-heavy, charisma can be used to effect. Even though you are a physically ugly, scarred man. Unfortunately, wisdom is by far the most important conversation/story skill, so having high wisdom can compensate for middling charisma.

Not really. It is pretty much universally agreed that charisma is the least important stat in that game. It doesn’t really open any new avenues that can’t be done in another way, and it doesn’t provide any bonus other than a one time addition of 2 points per score in barter and speech skills (the 2 most useless skills as well). Even the perks a score of 4-6 give are of dubious value.

Vampire the Masquerade: Redemption had two charisma-related skills, Manipulation and Appearance. Manipulation allows you to get better prices from merchants, always a good thing (and downright gamebreaking when buffed to very high levels!) High manipulation also allowed you to cast Drawing Out The Beast, a spell which causes enemies to “frenzy” and fight each other – some players swear by it, but I found it to be of dubious value. Appearance unlocked some extremely useful spells (Awe, Entrancement, Majesty), but since Appearance could be buffed by wearing common jewelry, expending skill points on that stat was not recommended.

Vampire: Bloodlines added Persuasion, a VERY powerful skill which unlocked special dialogue and granted access to valuable items and monetary rewards. It’s recommended that all players raise their Persuasion to at least 6 or higher – there’s one mini-quest which requires a Persuasion skill of NINE to complete, but IMO the potential reward wasn’t worth the investment. The other two charisma-related stats (Manipulation and Seduction) were beyond worthless.

Well, depending on the class you play in D&D it may or may not be a shit skill. You’d be a crappy Sorcerer without decent Charisma, after all.

But in terms of Charisma as a people person skill, that’s tougher. Planescape: Torment comes closest, but IIRC Wisdom and Intelligence were even more important than Charisma, and since there were situations where combat was inevitable you still couldn’t ignore combat skills entirely.

In Mount&Blade:Warband it is directly related to your ability to gather a large army, and persuade your NPC characters to not abandon you. It can be the best attribute in the game (Single Player), as 3 str (slightly higher damage, and HP) can’t compare to 8 more men-at-arms.

In Everquest, if I recall correctly both Enchanters and Bards required it for mezzing and charming’s resist check.

I was flipping channels recently and stumbled on ET for the first time in years. In one scene Elliot argues with one of his older brother’s friends and calls him “Zero Charisma” over and over and it just occurred to now that must have been a D&D reference rather than just a general insult. And the sad thing is is I played D&D for years.

To some extent, it also depends on why or how you like to play the game. For me, an RPG’s dialogue is the primary draw anyway, so it’s very important to me to be able to experience every bit of dialogue I can. For games like Mass Effect 2 or Fallout 3, that makes charisma a crucial skill.

And Fallout 2 for sure. It helps with coercing people.

Sorcerers aren’t really the best example, though, since they don’t use Charisma as Charisma. To a bard or a paladin, it’s what enables you to inspire others. To a rogue (if you go the charismatic-rogue route), it’s what enables you to bluff your way out of trouble. Even to a ranger or druid, it’s what allows you to have woodland critters eating out of your hand and songbirds flying around you like in a classic Disney cartoon. All of that is consistent with “people-skills” (or animal-skills, in the case of the ranger and druid, but same difference). With a sorcerer, though, it’s just the stat that determines how well your spells work, how inherently magical you are, if you will, and it’s never really explained well how that relates.

If Charisma wasn’t important, then why did Bill Gates give himself a 20?

In Fallout 2, your Charisma/2 was the maximum number of companions you could have traveling with you. In Arcanum there was a similar mechanic, and it also affected the loyalty of your companions.

What was far more funny was the fact high charisma made Divine Intervention more reliable (or so people thought at least), so our hideous ogre female main tank always got all the possible charisma buffs she could get.

As for pen & paper stuff, in our Dark Heresy game people skills were very useful most of the time. Our killers didn’t talk much to NPCs because they lacked those, unless it was Intimidate that was needed. Once we converted to GURPS it became less of an issue, though our Scum still uses his charming personality quite a bit.

I suppose it depends on how you picture your character. If you want to play a charming swashbuckler, you pretty much have to give him high Charisma. Same thing if you want your guy to be an inspiring leader of men, or an intimdating badass. Personally, I’ve never played a low-charisma character - I want to be a hero, not some shlub.

Charisma is really poorly implemented in Fallout 3. You can max out your charisma and speech skills and the result can be something like an 80% chance of success instead of a 50% chance of success. There are way too many flukes that lead to you thinking either “too bad I wasted all those points on speech” or “good thing I didn’t waste any points on speech”. Having your speech-oriented character fail the most important speech checks in the game can drive anyone to save scumming.

I hope that New Vegas takes a page from the Mass Effect series. It would be easy to implement. Just give every speech check a minimum speech skill to beat it. If a particular check has a rating of 63 and you have a speech skill of 79, you will always succeed; if your speech skill is 47, you will never succeed.