Hey i only use the smart and tough skills and have therefore just gotten equipment designed to increase those skills. I am wondering if the negative charm effect i get from the equipment effects how townspeople and witnesses deal with me from the very start? In other words, am I scaring/clamming my suspects just walking in with a creepy eyepatch?
Well, it depends. "Walking in" with a piece of tough equipment doesn't automatically "scare" the person you want to talk to. It DOES affect them when you start to ask them questions, however. Equipment that is, say, +4 charm and -1 toughness will have a negative effect if you are wearing it and attempt to interrogate or intimidate someone. The same is true for the opposite, so if you're wearing something that is +4 tough and -1 charm, you will have less of a chance of charming someone than if you were not wearing that piece of equipment.
In general, I would recommend getting either all of the charming skills OR all of the toughness skills first. You will not be able to solve the hardest levels of cases without having the advanced skills in either tough or charming.
A skill that would have answered your question as well as I have here is Judge of Character. This skill enables you to see whether you are more likely to get your questions answered with a person using charm or toughness. However, this skill is only useful when you use both charm and toughness, and, as I said above, I recommend that you use just one until you get all of the skils of that particular area. I'm not sure how clear I've been here, let us know if you have further questions.