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It would seem unfair to PC'sPCs with certain class/background combinations -- but it's fixable

I admire where you are going with this, but it priviledgesprivileges the high-charisma characters, and I can already hear one of the players at my table saying, "Let me get this straight. My sage wizard (INT 16, CHA 10) who uses written correspondence to communicate with other scholars around the realm and who knows scholars in every major city, on your system has only a few contacts, whereas the gal sitting next to me playing a hermit-background warlock who lived in a cave for the last twenty years (INT 10, CHA 16) has three times more contacts than me. Huh?"

How could this be remedied? Consider that the game already has mechanisms for assigning languages to chracterscharacters, and IRL its hard to learn a language without making contacts. Therefore, a system that ties contacts to each language you know (who share that language with you), would seem to fairly distribute contacts among players, and would be less likely to elicit protestation. You could use your Xd4 method of determining the number of contacts, but where X is the number of languages you know, rather than your CHA modifier.

As for preventing abuse, you simply don't let the player specify too much about the contacts -- no more than their race, gender, language, geo-location and background. As DM you decide what level of resources that contact has to offer.

It would seem unfair to PC's with certain class/background combinations -- but it's fixable

I admire where you are going with this, but it priviledges the high-charisma characters, and I can already hear one of the players at my table saying, "Let me get this straight. My sage wizard (INT 16, CHA 10) who uses written correspondence to communicate with other scholars around the realm and who knows scholars in every major city, on your system has only a few contacts, whereas the gal sitting next to me playing a hermit-background warlock who lived in a cave for the last twenty years (INT 10, CHA 16) has three times more contacts than me. Huh?"

How could this be remedied? Consider that the game already has mechanisms for assigning languages to chracters, and IRL its hard to learn a language without making contacts. Therefore, a system that ties contacts to each language you know (who share that language with you), would seem to fairly distribute contacts among players, and would be less likely to elicit protestation. You could use your Xd4 method of determining the number of contacts, but where X is the number of languages you know, rather than your CHA modifier.

As for preventing abuse, you simply don't let the player specify too much about the contacts -- no more than their race, gender, language, geo-location and background. As DM you decide what level of resources that contact has to offer.

It would seem unfair to PCs with certain class/background combinations -- but it's fixable

I admire where you are going with this, but it privileges the high-charisma characters, and I can already hear one of the players at my table saying, "Let me get this straight. My sage wizard (INT 16, CHA 10) who uses written correspondence to communicate with other scholars around the realm and who knows scholars in every major city, on your system has only a few contacts, whereas the gal sitting next to me playing a hermit-background warlock who lived in a cave for the last twenty years (INT 10, CHA 16) has three times more contacts than me. Huh?"

How could this be remedied? Consider that the game already has mechanisms for assigning languages to characters, and IRL its hard to learn a language without making contacts. Therefore, a system that ties contacts to each language you know (who share that language with you), would seem to fairly distribute contacts among players, and would be less likely to elicit protestation. You could use your Xd4 method of determining the number of contacts, but where X is the number of languages you know, rather than your CHA modifier.

As for preventing abuse, you simply don't let the player specify too much about the contacts -- no more than their race, gender, language, geo-location and background. As DM you decide what level of resources that contact has to offer.

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It would seem unfair to PC's with certain class/background combinations -- but it's fixable

I admire where you are going with this, but it priviledges the high-charisma characters, and I can already hear one of the players at my table saying, "Let me get this straight. My sage wizard (INT 16, CHA 10) who uses written correspondence to communicate with other scholars around the realm and who knows scholars in every major city, on your system has only a few contacts, whereas the gal sitting next to me playing a hermit-background warlock who lived in a cave for the last twenty years (INT 10, CHA 16) has three times more contacts than me. Huh?"

How could this be remedied? Consider that the game already has mechanisms for assigning languages to chracters, and IRL its hard to learn a language without making contacts. Therefore, a system that ties contacts to each language you know (who share that language with you), would seem to fairly distribute contacts among players, and would be less likely to elicit protestation. You could use your Xd4 method of determining the number of contacts, but where X is the number of languages you know, rather than your CHA modifier.

As for preventing abuse, you simply don't let the player specify too much about the contacts -- no more than their race, gender, language, geo-location and background. As DM you decide what level of resources that contact has to offer.