I keep forgetting to copy quick ideas I post in forum threads over here, so that I don’t lose them. This is an idea sparked by a thread about the effects of grime vs. cleanliness.
Being on the road, camping in the wilderness, or exploring the underground is filthy work. Civilized people will tolerate some grubbiness, but after a full day of any such activity, characters are at half effective Charisma until they’ve had a chance to clean up. This mainly affects dealing with merchants, meeting new people, hiring help, and other negotiations. It may also affect the behavior of existing hirelings, within reason: the chambermaid responsible for preparing your bath isn’t going to quit because you haven’t bathed yet today, for example, nor will hirelings who do filthy jobs themselves, like stable boys, take exception to your grubbiness. It definitely does not apply to any mercenaries or retainers who have gone through the same grimy events. They know why you’re dirty, because they’re dirty for the same reason.
Some events can make you instantly filthy, for example crawling through sewers, having a chamberpot dumped on your head, returning from a battle covered in the blood of your enemies. This can also be used when dealing with groups that have unique ideas of hygiene or decorum, including wearing lower-class clothing to a party at the palace.
The penalty disappears as soon as you clean up. Pseudomedieval societies aren’t too demanding when it comes to hygiene: get the blood wiped off, wash your face and hands. That’s generally enough. Again, some groups may have additional standards of hygiene, or even lower standards: some areas will tolerate a week’s worth of stink instead of a mere day’s worth. Barbarians generally don’t care at all, or will have exotic standards. “I don’t want to speak to you, whelp! You have barely any tattoos!”
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