Dear Dungeon Master: Masking Low Charisma
I’ve been a Dungeon Master for over 10 years and was first introduced to Dungeons and Dragons in 2006. My roommate invited me to a game of Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 Edition and I instantly fell in love. When I took up the mantle of Dungeon Master, I had no idea I’d never set it back down. As a Dungeon Master it is my mission and greatest joy to see my players having fun. Problems still arise though, even in the best of groups and not everyone knows how to resolve problems. Each week I take an issue that a player is having and give them advice on how to resolve it. Hopefully, if these are issues other players are facing it will help them as well.
Dear Dungeon Master Robbie,My character has a Charisma of 6, all his other stats are pretty average with Strength and Wisdom being very exceptional. Would it be reasonable to wear a mask to hide his face and perhaps limit the downsides of the low charisma? Would this help in any way with social interactions? -Masked and Misinformed
Dear Masked and Misinformed,
It’s a common misconception that charisma is directly tied to how attractive a character is. Certainly, those who are attractive may have high charisma but it’s not rule set in concrete. Charisma is a measures of the character’s personality. It affects how persuasiveness or intimidating you can be. Neither of which are skills incumbent on being attractive. In fact, being disfigured by a nasty scar might give you a bonus to intimidation. Charisma is all about your personal magnetism and ability to lead. All things you could have regardless of if you were physically attractive or not. This ability represents actual strength of personality, not merely how one is perceived by others in a social setting.
It’s an easy mistake to make since there are some mechanics that reference physical appearance having an effect on certain charismatic functions. Such as having a scar that might give you disadvantage on persuasion checks but advantage on intimidation checks. As to your question about wearing a mask to limit the downsides of low charisma, there’s nothing in the rules that says anything about this one way or another. It is ultimately be up to you and your Dungeon Master on how to implement this. A mask could hide an deformity’s that may impact your ability to persuade, but wearing a mask could also lead some characters to distrust you, which would be just as problematic as not having the mask on.
In the end, part of Dungeons and Dragons and why we roll to determine our statistics is so we have both strengths and flaws. Learning how to navigate between these two concepts is what makes the game fun. It also causes you to lean on your fellow adventurer’s who may excel in charisma based skills. There are ways to improve your charisma, be it through ability improvements at certain levels, magical items or feats.
Personally, with a high strength you could probably get through most social interactions by performing strength-based intimidation checks, if that’s something your Dungeon Master will allow. Either way, good luck with your adventures!
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