Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Intelligence Redux


Quite a lot to explain here.

'Choices' are meant to comprise those things a character does to his or herself ... things they might do to others are covered under Wisdom.  It is a fairly ad hoc logic, I know, but willy nilly these things had to arranged somewhere, and I see in wisdom the sense of prudence, whereas intelligence I see a sense of, well, 'sense.'

So the result is the consequence of what a character might have done with their life prior to the point of becoming a player character ... a bad thing they must now live with, or a good thing they've been rewarded by.  I'm not happy with the result of rolling equal to one's intelligence, but I'm stymied.  I don't know what I can put there that's neutral (advice welcome).

Most of the positives involve money, since most other things I might give would overbalance a campaign ... besides, having lots of money is nice.

'Talent' describes things within the limits of the players potential for thinking or things the individual has been able to teach himself (outside source suggests wisdom): how to better lead men (subtract one from morale means to raise it, as morale is the minimum number that must be rolled to succeeed ... thus the morale is a higher number and harder to successful roll); to play and instrument and so on.

Starting from the top, it isn't possible to get the 'idiot feeblemind' result without having a 3 intelligence; the 'imbecile feeblemind' without having a 4 or less intelligence, or the 'imbecile moron' without having a 5 or less intelligence.  Even then, any of these three results are unlikely, as are the high results for characters with a 15 or better intelligence.  The descriptive names, incidentally, are those popular in the 1950s ... political correctness be damned.  Those names have a longer history than any used today, and the game is about history.  If you are offended because you know of someone fighting uphill against such designations, you have my support in your struggle, but the names stand.  Very low intelligence characters should have a chance of being utterly incapable of taking care of themselves.  It is sort of the point.

It is possible to start the game without any proficiencies at all, from this chart ... so that all attacks in the lower levels would be done with the non-proficiency penalty to hit.  Sucks, huh?  Note that the fighter would have at least two proficiencies, unless getting the idiot feeblemind result ... but a cleric or other class could roll 14 above their intelligence on a d20 (if they had a six intelligence) and lose both their proficiencies.  A mage could roll 6 or 7 above their intelligence (if they started with one low enough) and lose their only proficiency, until they got one at 6th level (see the Player's Handbook, p. 37).

There is one possible positive result from a low intelligence ... shown at 11 above, the character is too dumb to be charmed.  To balance this off, and after extensive investigation, I have one negative result from rolling below intelligence.  Hypersensitivity, at 12 below, is sort of the Sheldon-complex from the Big Bang Theory.  "Friendly fire" as played in my world where a character, throwing or firing a weapon and rolling a 2 'to hit', will do damage to a friendly character in the general path of the missile.  If not friendly character in that path, no friendly fire occurs.  The way I see the rule playing out would be, the hypersensitive Elliott rolls a 2 and hits Jake in the back with his dagger, then screams for 2-8 rounds about how very very sorry he is.  Basically, incapable of confidentally accepting the mistake.

Specialties and fields derive from my sage rules.  The 'father's table' refers to a list of secondary skills that the character might have, depending on their father's profession ... the higher the result on that table, the wealthier and more clever the profession.  The results here suggest that the lower the character's intelligence, the less likely it is the father will have had a middle class or upper class education, and the reverse also.

I particularly love the photographic memory result, especially for a mage - but it really isn't that useful, as it won't allow a player to navigate automatically from actually walking through a dungeon ... so unless there's a posted map outside, the character is still limited.  It will, however, help with treasure maps.

Empathy is not the Deanna Troi nonsense.  But powerful emotions implies hidden ones, not just those that are evident to anyone.  The ability is not a radio (the character doesn't 'tune in' at will), but the DM is responsible for adding information when it matters.

Clairaudience, clairvoyance and ESP are limited in that a round lasts a mere 6 seconds.  At best, they can give terrific clues, without making the character all powerful.  Their best application would be in instances involving their own party ... as in knowing where a missing member might be, or understanding a message someone in line of sight might wish to send.

3 comments:

Mike(aka kaeosdad) said...

for no effect, it would be neat to be able to roll a d6 twice, the first result counts as a choice from above, and the second result a choice from below.

Could make for some great results.

Mike(aka kaeosdad) said...

oops, wrote that down backwards. The first result should be a choice from below, while the second a choice from above. apply in order.

Alexis said...

Of course. The table could be used in all sorts of ways.