In Nomine is one of many games that conflates appearance with charisma.
- Any time a character is charismatic it must be paired with an adjective for attractive
- Charisma is tied to a body (or vessel), not the individual*
- Charisma is directly countered by the Ugly discord
In short, the system defines charisma as something that is only skin deep. This is clearly not the case. Hitler was charismatic, Trump is charismatic, Martin Luther King Jr. was charismatic. Some of these people were attractive, some were not. Their physical appearance had very little bearing on the crowds they inspired.
The Oxford English Dictionary may define “charisma” as “compelling attractiveness or charm that can inspire devotion in others.” Most game designers seem to focus on the ‘attractiveness’ element of that, but I consider the inspiration of devotion to be the more important element.
Here’s how I would separate attractiveness from charisma
Take all the current rules for Charisma (In Nomine p48), those are now the rules for Attractiveness. It would be vessel specific, coupled with an adjective, and improve the TN of Reaction Rolls. I would also let Celestials buy Attractiveness for their Celestial Form.
Charisma will always be in play, regardless of the character’s current vessel, host, or lack thereof. It would increase the CD of a successful Reaction Roll and cost 3CP per rank.
Both reaction bonuses would still be subject to the 3-rank limit.
Disadvantages and Discords
It took me awhile to decide on what would be a good replacement for the term ‘negative charisma’ (In Nomine p49). Looking at the mechanics is what made up my mind. It’s appearance based, tied to a body, and means that on average strangers will jump to worse conclusions. As with attractiveness, I would suggest including an adjective to highlight which negative bias the body or vessel is subject to (and yes, if you must, you may still use a generic ‘unattractive,’ but there are much more interesting biases you could explore).
This Discord would remain mostly unchanged. In Nomine is a game of spirits and the supernatural. It is not uncommon for a twisted inner soul to reflect itself on the outer visage in such stories.
Pallid, Stigmata & Vestigium
All of these Discords feel like they need to be re-worked. While each has their own quirks and flavors, the primary mechanical impact of all three is reaction based. I’m not sure that’s really appropriate. Keep your eyes peeled for some variations.
Loathsome [New Celestial Discord]
Few people inspire hatred quite like you. Anyone who fails a Reaction Roll increases their CD by your rank in this Discord (though only reactions of 7+ will result in outright violence).
Odious [New Celestial Discord]
Something about your demeanor is especially hard to like. Positive reaction rolls have their CD reduced by your rank in this Discord (negative CDs result in a neutral reaction that is neither friendly nor unfriendly).