UMD modification

So who else finds it bizarre that UMD is modified by Charisma and not Intelligence or even Wisdom? Because being sociable means I can use a wand or scroll better.

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It’s always made sense to me. You’re adding a ‘layer’ of personality and self over your true self to fool a non-sapient construction into believing you’re different than you are. That’s a Charisma modification. About the only place a different one might be appropriate would be casting from scrolls.


Even then you’d be overcoming the “magic” within them that means they only work for a particular race or class. The concept would be strange outside a DnD environment yes, but the whole idea of “pretending to be something you aren’t” though while you are it does seem to fit very well into Charisma.


… That sounds more like Illusion magic.

What is that, like rewriting the psyche? What kind of black magic is that??

It is a D&D oddity. UMD is just a minor symptom of it. A larger one would be how sorcerers use charisma to perform magic.

Willpower is oddly split between wisdom and charisma. The charisma side of it is force of personality, for lack of a better term.

It’s 'cause magic has feelings yanno, and the more Charismatic a being the better they can make the magic feel. :wink:

I always found it an odd skill anyway. I’m glad it doesn’t exist in 5e and when I was still playing older versions I just went with it. Never gave it much thought.

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Hard to define what force of personality is sometimes, honestly. And I think Sorcerers just use emotional power to cast their spells or something.


The skill itself basically represents your resourcefulness and creativity when it comes to foreign objects and items. Hard to explain, but very useful at high points.

Ladies and gentlemen, not intending to derail this topic, but since it is being discussed already, I have similar thoughts too:

Charisma represents force of personality, talent, self-confidence and creativity (if I recall correctly, WOtC also mentioned, in one of rulebooks, that it represents good looks too, but I find the idea bizarre, since the word itself has other meaning and looks are irrelevant to it: a hideous person may be talended and have tremendous strenght of character, while beautiful person can be a whiffet) and I for instance find it outrageous, that Will save is instead determined by Wisdom, which represents the common sense and casual logic, and thus in my opinion has nothing to do with courage, willpower etc.

Regarding UMD, I prefer to consider enchantments as certain magical mechanisms, like gears and pulleys, only on non-physical level and UMD represents the skill of putting them to use in Thy own favour or bypassing them. For example, the boots are enchanted by elf-only chauvinist charms (or might explain race restrictions as side-effects of positive enchantments on them, that make it hard for anyone, but elf difficult to wear them) and Thy character must know how to bypass that enchantment

In 1985 Unearthed Arcana there was a character ability stat called Comeliness that specifically dealt with how someone appeared to everybody else. That concept went away when the 2e came about. I still use it when I run PnP games using the 1e rule set. Although I haven’t ran 1e in 4 years. I do wish the concept was re-implemented but I am one of the few who probably remember this character stat. Charisma is suppose to be your oratory skills such as bluff, diplomacy, or intimidate skills. Not how well you look. This can make you somewhat more attractive to someone but it really has nothing to do with physical appearance. This why both Sorcerers and Bards use this to cast their Arcane spells instead of Intelligence. This is why I never understood Qara’s character in the game. She acted more like an evil wizard. Then again the way both Biowere or Osidian’s AI’s worked never made since to me. Having Elane or Linu acting exactly like Tomi or any other low wisdom character never made since to me. Ok I just walked all over the original topic so I will quite now.

I dunno about talent, self-confidence and creativity, and I find that Wisdom being the defining stat for Will saves to be fine, though I think Wizards use Intelligence instead. Also, that still doesn’t explain why UMD is modified by Charisma, unless we go by what you said, it defining creativity and talent.

Actually, Qara acted her class and alignment, I.E. a Chaotic Neutral Sorceress. She never had legitimately malicious intent, simply a desire to sate her whims without being restricted. It might’ve gone a bit overboard at times, but that’s what alignments shifts are for. And if Charisma is just oratory skills, that doesn’t explain why Sorcerers use it for their spells. What, they’re parleying with the Weave?

Also, who the frick are “Elane”, “Linu” and “Tomi”?

I like to think of the mental stats as mirrors of the physical. Hence:

Constitution <=> Wisdom
Dexterity <=> Intelligence
Strength <=> Charisma

The last, Charisma, is the strength of personality; the social acumen, confidence, ego, and spirit.

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charisma =

“Do what I say.”
“I command thee!”
or for lower cha
“Work, dammit.”

“Charisma is a certain quality of an individual personality by virtue of which he is set apart from ordinary men and treated as endowed with supernatural, superhuman, or at least specifically exceptional powers or qualities. These as such are not accessible to the ordinary person, but are regarded as of divine origin or as exemplary, and on the basis of them the individual concerned is treated as a leader.”

  • Max Weber (1864-1920), German sociologist and philosopher.

I fear, Thou misunderstand the word “charisma” then, because with explanation I promote, it begins to make sense.

Sorceror vs Wizard and Cleric vs Favoured soul is nothing else, than talent vs hardworkingness. Sorcerors and Favoured souls have strong person and inborn ability. They achieve magical influence by just plucking their fingers and channeling their inborn power, which Charisma represents. Wizards and clerics on the other hand should know and understand a lot and should work-work-work and study-study-study to do so, therefore they need either abstract logic (which is represented by intelligence) or casual logic (which is represented by wisdom).

Whether will save makes sense or not, what helps there is analysis. does wisdom or intelligence mean, that a person can not be easily presuaded or tempted? Wisdom and/or intelligence may assist one in seeing a logical fallacy in other side’s arguments, but in vast majority of cases, presuasion, temptation etc are achieved by either emotional destabilization of opponent and that does not always mean, that seeing a fallacy would ease the effect, or by using fallacies, that other side will not be able to ignore, for instance argumentum ad baculum (appeal to force), where more wise person might submit to it exactly because he sees a true power of the opponent (which might be exagerrated by self-confedence of his opponent), while less-wise, but more charismatic person in this case would rather die for his ideals.

Its like:
High CHA enemy: “Lay down Thy arms and surrender!”
Low CHA high WIS protagonist “Y-yes…” (he is afraid and maybe thinks, that resisting in these circumstances will only lead to unnecessary casualties)
High CHA protagonist: “You’ll never take me alive!”

Still doesn’t explain how it modifies UMD.

That makes more sense, because I’m sure a Barbarian with 9 Charisma wouldn’t have any less confidence than a Bard with 20.