I'm looking for a general term to describe an innate ability to compel others to obey.

This effect might take the form of seduction, charm, intimidation, inspiration, etc. I do not mean a measure of how likable someone is; only how effective they are at convincing others to comply with their agenda.

The closest term I can think of is 'presence', but I was hoping for something a bit more exact.


I'm writing a roleplaying game in which the player has your classic attribute map:

  • Strength
  • Agility
  • Intellect
  • (subject of this question)
  • Vitality
  • ...
  • Are you, like, Persuasive? – Kris Aug 2 '14 at 15:30
  • Something like that. I need to phrase it as a noun, though. Perhaps 'persuasiveness', though that would be a little clunky in my intended context. – Superstringcheese Aug 2 '14 at 15:34
  • Assertive? And maybe, using adjectives to describe attributes would be nice? – Manish Giri Aug 2 '14 at 15:45
  • 1
    I don't think it is worth a formal answer, but just trying to help: consider 'mojo'? – Michael Easter Aug 2 '14 at 16:58
  • How about "Persuasion" – jbyrd Aug 3 '14 at 3:05

How about "charisma", "presence", or, in good D&D fashion "glamour"?

  • 1
    Charisma is of course pretty common, +1; Presence is my fallback, as stated in my question. Glamour... I just have a tough time applying that term to a 9-foot troll warrior. – Superstringcheese Aug 2 '14 at 15:54
  • +1 for "charisma". It's not only perfectly accurate, but it's immediately understood. – Az- Aug 2 '14 at 18:47
  • In the DnD I played (1,2,3.5) Charisma was the stat, Glamour was a spell. – StoneyB on hiatus Aug 2 '14 at 18:49

Why not influence

The capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone or something, or the effect itself [Oxford Dictionary Online]

An alternative is impact

The effect or influence of one person, thing, or action, on another: our regional measures have had a significant impact on unemployment [Oxford Dictionary Online]

  • These terms imply to me an effect that has already been expressed, as opposed to the potential to exert such effects. Influence is quite close, though, and the provided definition disagrees with my perception; keeping it in mind. – Superstringcheese Aug 2 '14 at 15:49
  • If these terms are used as nouns, I agree. But as verbs they surely can be used to show future results, such as He will likely influence their votes for mayor and The senator's involvement will impact the outcome of the negotiations – bib Aug 2 '14 at 15:53

Second try: how about






Force (I don't think you have to use "forcefulness"; force is adequate, as in personal force)

Compulsion (though the typical use of this word has the wrong connotation, but compellingness just feels awkward)

Irresistibility (getting longer and more awkward now)

Coercion (again, denotation is neutral, but connotation is negative).


Magnetism suggests a strong influence on other people:

Unusual power to attract, fascinate, or influence:

  • When certain individuals enter a business meeting or join a party in progress, they seem to exude a palpable sense of self-confidence and positive energy. Others may be instinctively drawn to such a person because of an nearly indefinable quality known as a magnetic personality.

  • Certain politicians could also be said to possess magnetic personalities. Many people who have met former president Bill Clinton, for example, speak of his ability to connect with everyone in a room. Part of the reason for a public figure's success can often be traced directly to having such a personality. When a charming or charismatic person makes a request or asks others to take action, many people find themselves willing to fulfill those requests without question.



Clout comes to mind. It is usually used in political sense but it denotes a social power also. If someone has clout, they have this special advantage over others and can communicate convincingly.

the power to influence or control situations

Source: http://www.merriam-webster.com

If you want to denote the level of persuasiveness, you might use cogency. It usually denotes the persuasive relevance of an argument or a reasoning but it can be used for people also.

the quality or state of being convincing or persuasive

Source: http://dictionary.reference.com

  • Clout is external, vested in your established social position, not innate from your force of personality. – SevenSidedDie Aug 2 '14 at 20:56

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