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I have been involved with RPGs in general for a long time, but have only been involved with tabletop RPGs (like D&D 5e, currently) for a year or so.

In my current game (D&D 5e), I play a charismatic Paladin who is strong, kind and headstrong. I, however, am rather introverted and do not enjoy "roleplaying." Another player in my group is a very charismatic person who does enjoy "roleplaying," but he plays a rather dopey strong/dexterous ranger.

I chose to be a charismatic paladin because I, myself, am not charismatic, and wanted to be charismatic and outgoing in this fictional world we play in. But when we play, I feel as though, because the other player is naturally a charismatic person, his character gets away/succeeds with more charisma-type situations in the game than my charismatic character.

I will say things like, "I charismatically persuade this person to assist us," and the DM responds "OK, roll for Persuasion." The other player will say "Fellow soldier! We need thine assistance with [blablabla. Enter speech here]. Won't you aid us?" And the DM responds "of course sir!"

Or a situation will come up where I say, "I break out an uplifting, motivational speech to bolster our troops' morale." And the DM responds, "Well, what do you say?" And I stumble and respond, "Come on, guys! Let's fight! Yeaaaaaaa..." And then my uplifting speech fails, and the other player will just bust out the Braveheart speech verbatim and succeed. (These are rather exaggerated examples.)

This feels a bit unfair. How can I bring this problem up, and what is a good way to balance a group with both a naturally charismatic player and a naturally introverted player?

I have mentioned this issue to the DM in passing, without trying to make a big deal out of it or sound like I'm whining. More or less, I'm often left with something like "Just say what you want your character to say."

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    \$\begingroup\$ I think you might be confusing "player" with "player character" (PC). \$\endgroup\$ – Ryan C. Thompson Dec 26 '19 at 21:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ I've tried to clarify the phrasing a little bit. You should also edit any necessary clarifications into the question itself; I've tried to do so now, though you might find a more natural way to work in that information. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Dec 27 '19 at 0:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ Are you asking about an introverted player OR one who doesn’t enjoy role-playing, or one who is both? The latter two shouldn’t be pressured into joining a role-playing game. \$\endgroup\$ – WGroleau Dec 27 '19 at 5:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ True... It might be better to rephrase it to "players who enjoy acting out what their character says" vs. "players who prefer to narrate their characters' actions in third-person". \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Dec 27 '19 at 20:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ That’s why Charisma and Intelligence suck. theangrygm.com/ask-angry-the-suckiest-ability-scores-ever : “When I use my Strength to break open a door, I only have to say “I break down the door” and roll a die. But when I’m interacting with someone, most GMs expect – nay, demand – that you describe exactly what you are saying and how you are saying it.” \$\endgroup\$ – Michael Dec 28 '19 at 7:16
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I ran into this when playing Exalted

My PC was the "Socialite" (Merchant-Prince), with maxed Charisma and plenty of Social Skills. I am not that Social, and wished to play a Charismatic PC.

Another PC was a Warrior, with minimal Social Skills (not a complete klutz, but just not in my league, numbers-wise). The player is well-known as a good Talker.

I found that I was having to make rolls, while they seemed to be given Successes with out, due to the Player's ability to "talk the talk".

I spoke with both the other Player and the GM

Between Sessions, I talked with them (together), to see how they viewed the situation.

I raised specific occasions, where I had failed (or had minor Success), and encounters where the Warrior had gained (what seemed like) Major Successes.

e.g.

"That encounter with the Pirate-Captain: you asked for a Persuasion Roll, and despite me succeeding, it still cost us quite a bit to gain their favour ... Contrast that with the Warrior talking to the Guard Captain. You didin't ask for a Roll, and gave him a Free Pass. How would Warrior have fared vs the Pirate? What you have happened if I had spoke with the Guard?"

I also raised hypothetical situations, and first approached it with one PC, and then the other:

"If the Warrior tired to gain access to the Mage-Guild's Library, I'm assuming the Player would be able to give you a good Talk. Would he get access? Despite his low Stat/Skill? ... And what If my much-more-persuasive, notably-better Merchant tried it? (albeit without the Role-Playing speech, but telling you what approaches I try)"

I tried to keep everything polite, and friendly

It's not 'whining' to try to clarify how/when the rules are being used. It is not impolite to (occasionally) check with the GM: "Are you sure?".

Addressing things between Sessions can avoid stalling a game with "quibbles", but doesn't help at-the-time.

It can be a delicate balancing act.

Your Table May Vary

Some tables are very much based around Players being able to talk in-character, and "say what their characters' say".

Other tables work with The Dice, and care little (mechanically) for 'rousing speeches' or glib words.

At our table, it worked out

One thing I found sometimes worked was to include details in my declarations, beyond the direct Action:

Rather than "I give a Rousing Speech to raise the Morale of our troops", I might say "I give a Rousing Speech, mentioning the Weaknesses of our foes, and appealing to our troops' sense of Honour and Duty. I'm thinking of something like that scene in 'Braveheart' "

Our GM, and the other Player, took my words on board, and tried to keep things balanced. He asked for more Persuasion Rolls from the other PC, and sometimes gave me "Free Successes" ("I know you're really good in this area .. no need to waste time rolling, adding up dice, calculating scores ... You Succeed!")

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    \$\begingroup\$ "I tried to keep everything polite, and friendly" This is very important. It's very easy to get carried away and start whining instead of having a conversation you both want to learn from. Beware of that. \$\endgroup\$ – Mast Dec 27 '19 at 8:06
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    \$\begingroup\$ The last point, about general description of how one's character conducts a conversation, is something I've found to work very well. When I'm GMing and a player lays things out like that, I like to ask a follow-up question about something like what they're emphasizing, whether they speak in a commanding manner, whether they'd reveal secret information back up their argument, etc. I choose one of those aspects that could justify a RP success, or displease a NPC and require a roll, and see where the player's inclination on that point lies. \$\endgroup\$ – recognizer Dec 31 '19 at 22:12
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Talk with your group about passive and active role-play. Enforce dice checks and award bonuses (like D&D's Inspiration) for good role-play, not only for good acting.

Role-playing isn't acting. Your friend is a good actor (active role-play) in a poorly-social character. His PC imagines in his head grand speeches and the sort, but his PC should roll his Charisma checks (possibly with DM bonus, if they exist in your system) to see how it actually comes out. You, on the other hand, don't act as well (passive role-play), but your PC should roll and have a larger chance of making a good speech. If you have a +10 bonus to Persuasion, your PC should be able to sweet talk a lot of guards, even if you (the player) are not able to come up with a speech on the spot.

There are at least two solutions at my tables to solve this.

  • Ask your group for acting ideas. In our table, we often act and mimic each others actions. Particularly, our DM takes over the creative side of one of our shyest players. When the player rolls well in Charisma checks, the DM tells everyone about how the PC pulled all the right cards to persuade someone, complimented their family, etc etc. The player has final say on what actually is done by the PC, but we now have enough experience that we don't often step out of lines.

  • Roll dice first. Role-play later. When you claim to making a grand speech, roll first. You roll a big number, and then describe how an awesome speech it was, and the DM complements with how the crowd was in awe. Your friend rolls high, and acts his heart out. He rolls low, and acts a poorly worded speech (also very fun!).

While it is fun to be act, and I do encourage it from my players, it is good for balance and for group dynamics that a player with good social skills doesn't overshadow a PC with good social skills.

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    \$\begingroup\$ To your last point, I sometimes find that even when "Low-CHA-PC rolls Low", allowing them to Act Their Heart Out can be a good idea. Even though they know the GM is about to say " ... and the crowd doesn't seem impressed ...". Maybe they mentioned Honour-and-Duty, while the Targets of the speech are (currently) more concerned with Fame-and-Fortune. Still a fine speech, just misplaced (as determined by the Low Roll) \$\endgroup\$ – Black Spike Dec 26 '19 at 21:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ Roll first is great advice. "saying the wrong thing" can be great fun! If you've got the creativity to come up with a motivating speech on the fly, you also have the creativity to accidentally anger the crowd (since you rolled low) and that can honestly be even more entertaining to "act". \$\endgroup\$ – aslum Dec 27 '19 at 15:42
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Point 1: Talk to your group

Largely, this is an issue that ought to be brought up with your GM and group, the other answers touch on this well.

Point 2: Try to change your approach to the way you describe what your character does

As a fellow introvert, I understand not feeling entirely comfortable with speaking in character. That said, there is significantly more to having your PC interact with NPCs than just saying "I roll Charisma." Try to establish an approach as to how you hope your interaction might succeed.

For example:

  • I give a rousing speach, trying to appeal to the town guards sense of duty and national heritage.
  • I give a rousing speech, trying to appeal to the townspeople's faith
  • I try to convince the king, by pointing out that my success can only bring greatness to his kingdom.
  • I try to convince the king, pointing out that if he doesn't help me, he will be seen as ineffectual in the eyes of his people.

Point being, read the scene, understand what makes the NPCs tick, and try to embellish your Charisma checks with details that show this. Yes, it might not be as quite as "high energy" as fully speaking in character, but it certainly shows that you're paying attention, and more importantly, thinking critically about the situation at hand.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Part of the CHA stat (and related skills) is being able to read/understand social situations to even know whether trying to appeal to "the townspeople's faith" is the right approach or not. But yes, when you can do this, it sounds like a good approach. And definitely be specific about your goal. \$\endgroup\$ – Peter Cordes Dec 28 '19 at 5:37
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One approach that worked at my table was to roll the dice first, then role play the outcome.

So the Paladin player (who was less of a role-player / ham) would perhaps roll well, and say "I make a rousing speech, like Churchill / Buzz Lightear, about how we will fight on, never surrender nor give up."

The less than charismatic fighter played by the acknowledged ham in the group may fail a roll - and use his role playing skills as a player (not character) to have the table in stiches about how bad his character screws up insulting the duke accidentally. The player almost enjoys this more than "boring" success.

We had the non-diplomatic rogue mess up persuasion when introduced to the fairy queen. The player decided she did a bow when she should have curtsied, and then decided to pretend it was by design and turn it into a tumble somersault - at which she rolled a 20, so the whole court applauded.

I always reward smart play and use of skills - a +2 here or advantage there for clever ideas, and don't forget to help each other with skills (like when the smart Wizard based on his history skill stage whispered "Lord of the Hunt, her consort is the Lord of the Hunt!") while the Barbarian floundered around in a monologue about how pretty the queen was and how brave her...her man...fairy...err.

I love the often misunderstood skill challenge mechanic from 4E. It is a great way to help players find fun ways to use and role-play their individual characters.

Now, how do we get smart people to play dumb characters, without killing the fun? Telling players their character is to dumb to have come up with a clever plan player had is a fun-kill.

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If you feel you're caught off guard when the DM asks you to deliver an inspirational, intimidating, or persuasive speech, one option is to prepare vocabulary and/or canned speeches prior to the game session. Write up short blurbs on note cards, filled with flowery language straight out of Tolkien or Shakespeare.

You can leave out specific names of characters, monsters, places, etc. then fill them in as needed depending on the situation. So you might have a speech to inspire players x and y to go on a quest to find z, or to fight a great battle against the boss monster, or to persuade x to give you z, etc.

In time you'll become so practiced at this you'll be able to ad lib without using the note cards.

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I would encourage you to talk to your DM about creating space for player skill to be separated from character skill. Ability scores and character skills are in place to help facilitate all of this.

The approach I use as a DM is imagining what players say and do as the things their characters think they are saying and doing. So if the player of the 8 Charisma Ranger says, “Fellow soldier! We need thine assistance with [amazing speech here],” what I might describe (assuming the Ranger roll is subpar) is, “Despite your valiant attempt, the soldier hears your request as, ‘Hey you, we kind of suck as adventurers and need your help with this thing you don’t care about. How about it?’ He spits on your boot in response.” And it could go exactly the other way if the player of the Charismatic character has trouble making the perfect speech on the spot - “Hey, uh, miss - what did you say her name was again? - I, uh, we, I mean, can we come into your temple?” becomes “By just looking into the eyes of the priestess she knows your noble intent. Your request is simple, “May we enter, m’lady?” and she immediately invites you in.”

Overall it’s about setting expectations for the type of game you want to play. Maybe the style I describe won’t work with your group or you DM. If the group doesn’t fit with how you want to game, I would invite you to look at your own style and see if there’s a way to make it fun to learn to fit into the style of game that’s already happening. There are online resources for learning improv that may be helpful. Other answers also have a bunch of good tips for improving your ability to roleplay a Charismatic character. If that doesn’t feel like a good fit, perhaps a personality quirk would be a good fit - despite being the most charismatic Paladin this side of the mountains, you always find the wrong people to talk to.

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There are already some great answers here. Here's something I use when I build any sort of team, or group. Ask each person to tell you their Myers-Briggs (if they know it)(if they don't know it, have them go to this link for a free Myers-Briggs test.

Basically the first letter tells you right away what someone tends to be as far as an extrovert/introvert. You can use this to help distribute each personality into teams or however you wish.

Even just having a sense of where each person is on that spectrum can help everyone involved, plus it can be a nice icebreaker if you're dealing with new people.

The other three letters in the assessment are also very useful and I'll leave it to you to go down that rabbit hole. But I'll say that it is worth your time, not just for role-playing, but for all the other things in life including family, work, social circle.

Think of it like astrology but without the 'woo' factor. :)

Enjoy!

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to RPG.SE! Take the tour if you haven't already, and check out the help center for more guidance. Can you support this answer based on your experience using the Myers-Briggs test to balance a group in this way? Your answer seems to just point to the test (to figure out who's introverted/extroverted) and then leave OP to figure out the rest, which doesn't seem to directly answer the question. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Dec 27 '19 at 20:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ For what it's worth Myers-Briggs has just as much "woo" as astrology — it just couches it in pseudoscientific terms rather than mythological once. \$\endgroup\$ – mattdm Dec 30 '19 at 15:05

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