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White Veil/Black Claw Or: would you play a low Charisma Social Primary?

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  • #16
    I would hold that Star-Lord, from the Guardians of the Galaxy films, is a high-Manipulation, low-Charisma Face. He's good at getting people to do what he wants them to do, but not very good at getting them to LIKE him.

    EDIT: Also, the end of the first Guardians movie has the best (Manipulation + Performance) roll I've ever seen.


    DrLoveMonkey - "On the other hand having a warhammer that's basically a steel beer keg on the end of a seven foot pole is fucking awesome."

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    • #17
      Originally posted by Octopoid View Post
      I would hold that Star-Lord, from the Guardians of the Galaxy films, is a high-Manipulation, low-Charisma Face. He's good at getting people to do what he wants them to do, but not very good at getting them to LIKE him.

      EDIT: Also, the end of the first Guardians movie has the best (Manipulation + Performance) roll I've ever seen.
      This may be the easiest way to distinguish between Star-Lord, the character, and Chris Pratt, the actor, since the latter is definitely Charisma-based.

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      • #18
        Originally posted by Ascension View Post

        This may be the easiest way to distinguish between Star-Lord, the character, and Chris Pratt, the actor, since the latter is definitely Charisma-based.

        It's interesting, actually - I'd argue that most actors (film actors for sure, but probably the majority of stage actors too), while they may play Manipulation-based characters, are almost always using Charisma-based attempts. That's because, while on screen or stage, they may be exploiting other people's vulnerabilities, playing on their fears, or pulling their emotional levers to convince them of things, what the actor is really doing is simply trying to project to us, the audience, a believable portrayal, to convince us that they're who they say they are, or to feel what's appropriate for the scene, or whatever. That's mostly Charisma, in my eyes, and I think it explains why acting is generally a pretty Charisma-heavy profession.

        Another good example of a high-Manipulation, low-Charisma character is Richard Castle, from the TV series Castle. While his actor, Nathan Filion, has gobs of Charisma, I'd say the way he plays Castle strongly suggests the opposite build. Castle gets his way, but it's largely by annoying and badgering people until they agree with him, and he can't resist getting in snarky remarks, even when that hurts his cause. I'd say that style of "irritatingly snarky" is a good example of how to play a high-Manipulation character. They don't have the Charisma to make their jokes nice or well received, but they know how to pull other people's emotional levers to get them to go along, even if that's just to get them to shut up for a while. :-)

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        • #19
          Originally posted by Octopoid View Post
          I would hold that Star-Lord, from the Guardians of the Galaxy films, is a high-Manipulation, low-Charisma Face. He's good at getting people to do what he wants them to do, but not very good at getting them to LIKE him.

          EDIT: Also, the end of the first Guardians movie has the best (Manipulation + Performance) roll I've ever seen.
          I disagree that Manipulation-centric people are bad at getting people to like them. I think the difference is mostly how callously they use people. To me, the distinction is more Charisma = you should like me because I'm awesome vs Manipulation = You should like me because I tell you that you're awesome and that's what you want to hear (vs appearance where you like me because I look awesome).

          I reject the idea that all manipulative people are greasy skeeze-monsters AND that all charismatic people are fine and upright citizens.

          You can lie with charisma, and tell the truth with manipulation just fine. It's all about presentation.


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          • #20
            Originally posted by armyofwhispers View Post
            I reject the idea that all manipulative people are greasy skeeze-monsters AND that all charismatic people are fine and upright citizens.

            You can lie with charisma, and tell the truth with manipulation just fine. It's all about presentation.
            While I agree in terms of real-world applications, the designers have, in the past, said that you CANNOT lie with Charisma; Charisma is for telling the truth and Manipulation is used for manipulating people (as obvious as that sounds).

            To be fair, in most of the games I run, I allow them to be used interchangeably unless there's a good reason for one over the other.


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            • #21
              Originally posted by Octopoid View Post

              While I agree in terms of real-world applications, the designers have, in the past, said that you CANNOT lie with Charisma; Charisma is for telling the truth and Manipulation is used for manipulating people (as obvious as that sounds).

              To be fair, in most of the games I run, I allow them to be used interchangeably unless there's a good reason for one over the other.
              In which case, Kelly Pedersen 's thing with actors using charisma is impossible since they aren't playing themselves. This does not make sense, however. Charismatic people can absolutely lie and can lie very convincingly.

              Honestly, if they wanted it to be lying vs telling the truth convincingly they should have called the traits Deceit and Sincerity. Manipulation and Charisma just don't quite fit.


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              • #22
                Originally posted by Octopoid View Post

                While I agree in terms of real-world applications, the designers have, in the past, said that you CANNOT lie with Charisma; Charisma is for telling the truth and Manipulation is used for manipulating people (as obvious as that sounds).
                Do you have a citation on that from this edition? I know that was the distinction people used to quote a lot in the 2e period, but I don't really recall anything from the devs, either old or new, saying that was the case in 3e. In any case, I find "Charisma can't lie" to be way too limiting. For one thing, sooner or later a social character's going to have to lie, and if Manipulation can tell the truth, but Charisma can't lie, social influence becomes unbalanced towards Manipulation. For another, it really plays up that "Manipulation is just evil Charisma" thing that we already have to fight against.

                So, in general, I tend to reject the interpretation that Charisma can't lie. Now, I do agree that Charisma influence attempts are more likely to be sincere than Manipulation are. But I don't think it should be an absolute.

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                • #23
                  Iirc, Vance has said that lying is usually an application of your Guile vs. their Read Intentions, but I don’t have a specific quote on hand. Which would imply that it’s usually based on manipulation.

                  That said, as an ST, I’d usually rather have the player rolling the dice, so a Cha or Manip based roll vs. the opponent’s Resolve would seem to be the better option most of the time, though if the character in question had a really good Guile or was being formally interrogated or something similar, I might go with the above suggestion.


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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by Octopoid View Post
                    I played this character in 2E with a Fiend. One of his best lines was, "The fact that you don't believe me proves I'm telling the truth. If I were lying, you'd believe me!"
                    Does that count as gaslighting? Not to knock you or even the character, but I think that's gaslighting, and I'm asking for confirmation.


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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by Sunder the Gold View Post
                      Does that count as gaslighting? Not to knock you or even the character, but I think that's gaslighting, and I'm asking for confirmation.
                      I don't think as such... it sounds more like a kind of double-bluff, in which you try and convince the other person that you're so good at lying that they'd never expect if you were trying. Gaslighting is where you try to undermine or manipulate a person by casting aspersions on their own perception of reality or the reliability of their memory.

                      Like, having an argument with somebody and then later being very insistent that it never happened (or at least wasn't severe as they were remembering), to the point that they start to wonder if they're the ones in error, that's gaslighting. Trying to undermine a person's suspicions by stating or implying that they're coming from a place of mistrust or paranoia is also a form of gaslighting. It's primarily about placing the burden of proving the integrity of their own perceptions on the other person, as a process of manipulating them.

                      The quoted example is something that I can only really see as a form of gaslighting in the context of the person actually having seen through lies in the past, and you're insisting that their having thought so was actually a fault on their part. Or... maybe if it's part of an ongoing process of impressing upon them that their perceptions are inadequate or faulty, rather than on the height of your own skill. You know, scratch my first statement, it doesn't need to go very far for a statement like that to constitute gaslighting, yeah.


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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by Sunder the Gold View Post
                        Does that count as gaslighting? Not to knock you or even the character, but I think that's gaslighting, and I'm asking for confirmation.
                        I think that counts as a double bluff. Everything ELSE he ever did was gaslighting. EDIT: Actually, since he was forced by the ST to use Charisma, since he actually WAS telling the truth (and therefore was at a terrible penalty), I'm not sure it even counts as a double bluff. It's just... factual.

                        Originally posted by Kelly Pedersen View Post
                        Do you have a citation on that from this edition?
                        I sure don't. I'm not paying much attention to 3E honestly. I'm a 2E person myself.


                        DrLoveMonkey - "On the other hand having a warhammer that's basically a steel beer keg on the end of a seven foot pole is fucking awesome."

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                        • #27
                          From the 3e Core

                          “Charisma represents a character’s ability to express and articulate his beliefs or commands, convincing others to see things his way or follow his orders. It’s used primar-ily in social influence when a character wishes to make a sincere argument that he genuinely believes in, but can also be used in combat to lead armies from the front with rallying, inspiring speeches.”

                          “Manipulation is a character’s innate talent for deception, passing off lies as the truth, or simply telling people what he knows they want to hear. It’s used primarily in social influence when a character wishes to make a false argu-ment, whether through outright lying or more compli-cated verbal misdirection, as well as any argument where the character is purely trying to evoke a desired response rather than to express his own feelings or outlook. It also represents a character’s ability to remain composed and not reveal his true feelings, contributing to his Guile rating.”

                          So, it certainly sounds like Charisma is for passionately arguing for things you believe in while Manipulation is for things you’re lying about. That said, I’ve also heard that the best con artists can convince themselves to believe anything they’re saying.

                          Anyway, has anyone seen Burn Notice? The main character on that show is an Ex-CIA agent who can become someone’s new best friend in half an hour ...but he has trouble opening himself up to others, so his personal relationships suffer. There’s a notable scene where he’s with his girlfriend (who is an Ex-IRA member that he originally met on the job) and he slips back into the persona he was using when they met and he instantly becomes warmer and more able to be emotional with her and, well, give her what he thinks she wants.

                          That seems like a good example of a high Manip character vs a high Charisma character.
                          Last edited by BrilliantRain; 11-01-2018, 07:43 PM.


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                          • #28
                            Interesting question. In terms of low Charisma characters generally, I think it's easy if you throw lots of reasons that they might be unlikeable into the mix; they're arrogant, dismissive, petty, craven, rash, self-centered, lack competence, etc. People dislike them for reasons.

                            What's harder I think is if you want to play some who is brave, humble, calm, considered, attractive, talented, determined, but somehow still uncharismatic. I guess I'm thinking that, in real life, people are charismatic for reasons - people who are charismatic usually are so because they display some specific virtue or skill. If you kind of try and disassociate this, it seems like you end up viewing charisma as simply something like style or aplomb, a rather shallow force that doesn't in my estimation make up much of why people are truly considered charismatic in reality.

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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by Ghosthead View Post
                              What's harder I think is if you want to play some who is brave, humble, calm, considered, attractive, talented, determined, but somehow still uncharismatic. I guess I'm thinking that, in real life, people are charismatic for reasons - people who are charismatic usually are so because they display some specific virtue or skill. If you kind of try and disassociate this, it seems like you end up viewing charisma as simply something like style or aplomb, a rather shallow force that doesn't in my estimation make up much of why people are truly considered charismatic in reality.
                              People can fit most of the desirable characteristics you list and still be uncharismatic because they're not outgoing, or they're socially anxious, or just not good at expressing themselves. I think admirable and charismatic are qualities that often overlap, but they don't have to.

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                              • #30
                                The separation between the two (as I see it) is sincerity. Charisma is about convincing people to do what you want by convincing them to see things your way through sincerity and raw emotion. Manipulation is about lying and deceiving someone so that they will do what you want, usually without actually believing it yourself.

                                What do you get when you're really good at the latter, but not the former?

                                Someone who's worn a mask for so long that they don't remember what their own face looks like, underneath all the false smiles, niceties and backstabbing. Someone whose native tongue is not truth, but deception. Someone who lies, cheats, manipulates and steals to get what they want but are absolute shit at expressing their REAL feelings, opinions, and desires. Someone you can never be sure is truly on your side, nor can you be sure of their final goal.

                                ...Come to think of it this is the charming rogue archetype despite the complete lack of charisma/charm =/ huh.


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