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RPG Superstar 2015

Setting a maximum limit between differences in starting ability scores. Can this ideal work?


Suggestions/House Rules/Homebrew

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OK.I suggest a compromise. 25 pt buy but you can’t buy down stats below 10. (Racial modifiers might still bring down a stat to 8).

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015

Alternatively, leave the stat system alone and just boot players whose actual playstyle irritates you. Boom, problem solved.


One point to remember is that if we consider people to have a random distribution of ability scores of 3d6 (3-18) before racial adjustments, then it is the folks who "rolled" 6 or less who are considered too subpar to become adventurers (based on the point buy limits). An ability score in the 7-9 are merely slightly below average in that respect -- but depending on the value of the point buy system being used, they are probably way above average in other respects.

So the standard point buy system already limits PC ability scores to the 7-18 range before racial adjustments.


Bob_Loblaw wrote:

Int 3: Retriever, Tarrasque, Executioner's Hood, Chupacabra, Death Worm, Devilfish, Gray Render, Grick, Tendriculos, etc. These are all single minded in their actions. They don’t really think things through. They generally have a single tactic that they use no matter what.

Int 4: Chimera, Choker, Gibbering Mouther, Nessian Hell Hound, etc. These creatures are only slightly more intelligent than the Int 3 creatures. Looking at their descriptions though, they aren’t really all that bright. The chimera mentions that they are just smart enough to not make good pets.

Int 5: Dretch, Griffon, Morlock, etc. These are not great thinkers either. We’re starting to get into creatures with some tactics. The griffon is said to be calculating but it goes on to say that they aren’t concerned with abstract concepts. Morlocks are described as barely thinking beasts.

Int 6: Ettercap, Ettin, Gargoyle, etc. We’re starting to get to slightly smarter creatures but the ettin has never been seen as intelligent. These creatures intentionally set traps (ettercaps). Ettins are described as Though not particularly intelligent, ettins are skilled and cunning fighters. They prefer ambushes, which is a sign of tactical ability.

Int 7: Behir, Harpy, Minotaur. This is the lowest a PC should start with. We are comparing their intelligence to a creature that is not stupid (the behir and harpy both call this out) yet most of these creatures are still rather feral.

Int 8: Boggard, Gnoll, Troglodyte. These creatures have actual cultures that can vary from region to region. They are adaptable to different circumstances. The boggard is said to be pragmatic. Gnolls combine pack tactics with individual standoffs and they are capable hunters. Something interesting to note is that most of these creatures are still slightly feral and savage but also form communities.

There are some differences between low, average, and high intelligence that are assumed in the Bestiaries. The lower the intelligence, the more feral. As the intelligence...

I use your post as evidence for my stance. Even though you have multiple different creatures, their behaviors, mannerisms, tactics, and so forth vary from creature to creature. Some are described as being calculating, some cunning, and some Int 6 creatures are pranksters who understand humor and love to tell jokes (water mephits). A 7 Intelligence might be used to describe a guy who is actually bone-headed, or it might be used to describe a Monk who grew up in a Monastery and has little to no knowledge of the outside world. He cannot take 10 and answer DC 10 knowledge checks (the ones that you actually can make untrained).

So occasionally the monk fails a knowledge check and doesn't know that the Duke has adopted his niece the Princess after the untimely demise of the King and Queen. Sure it's common knowledge to most, but not to the Monk/Paladin/Fighter/Barbarian/Rogue/Ranger/Whomever Tanked Intelligence today. They have to live with their choices, which are already going to be taken into account as part of the actual system. They will be less effective at certain skills, may fail where others can simply take 10, etc, etc, etc.

Does that in any way, shape, or form, imply that purely by measure of his ability score, that the monk should act in a certain way, have penalties beyond those that are already accounted for, or be a drooling blithering idiot who forgets how to tie his shoes and occasionally mistakes a light socket for a flesh-light? Not even on a 1 Int. The game is not meant to describe that level of incapability. In fact, anything that is 3+ Intelligence is considered intelligent enough to make moral decisions, speak languages, and be an adventurer, or even an upstanding member of society.

A human with Int 3 can still live a good life and be successful professional, and might even be socially gifted. Some backwoods farmer with 3 Intelligence, 16 Wisdom, and 14 Charisma, who has 3 ranks distributed in Handle Animal, Survival, and Profession (Farmer) is comfortable living on the land, is keenly observant, makes plenty of money with his farm and is a good hunter. He's naturally gifted with people and animals, and is actually better at dealing with people than the guy with strait 10s, makes more money than the guy with strait 10s, and so forth. He might need to take 20 on figuring out some mid-level math problems (because he can still take 10 and get "easy" problems which are DC 5).


Secane wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:
Why not just stick to point buy which keeps everyone on the same page balance-wise?

I am using pointbuy. The problem is that some players, will often drop their stats way down to 7 or 8 and give a flimsy reason to justify why their characters should have such a low stat. Its plain min-maxing.

-------

Deadmanwalking, your ideal seem pretty good too!

Do you think mine is too complicated?

let them min-max, and then throw stuff at them to make them regret it severely. wanna take a low wis?? will saves galore, ect. i do min-max sometimes, but i have a character concept inmind before i think about stats. i also prefer the 15 pt buy cuz i am running an AP for my group. i have seen from personal experience makin a 15 pt character i dont go over board on buffing stats. a 14 or 16 is great before racial modifiers. also, what races do you allow in your campaign?


I would not impose this limitation, rather as the DM I would play/treat them according to their abilities. With a score of 9 being average, If a fighter has an 8 Charisa, then is is below average looking (the hot chick will not go for him, maybe he has scars and a broken nose), he is below average in dealing with people (gruff and short tempered), is a below average leader (probably not a good party leader). Make them play their scores and they will learn to respect even the ones that they think do not count.


Joyd wrote:

I'm curious if there's something that's informing people's ideas of what real-world levels of capability different stats correspond to besides traditional ideas about what they mean that aren't mentioned in Pathfinder material and do a woefully poor job of matching the mechanics with fluff or a not-supported-anywhere desire for a 7 stat to be more punishing than the mechanics make it.

Pathfinder DOES provide some benchmarks - we have a very loose idea what a Str score means, for example, because of the carrying capacity chart. We know that 10 is about human average (or an eyelash below it, depending on how you figure things.) We have the racial modifiers. (Speaking of which, does the fact that Elves have an average of 8 Con lead people to treat the average adult elf as someone who is whatever the con equivalent of the 8-int fighter is? Generally sickly and frail, and shouldn't really consider doing anything exhausting?) What PF doesn't have anywhere - at least not in the CRB or the GMG - is a table that says what each ability score score is supposed to mean flavorfully. It's probably reasonable then, to intuit what they mean from the mechanics of the game, and the mechanics of the game say that someone with 7 Charisma is certainly distinct from someone with 10 charisma, but not severely so, and the 10 charisma guy won't succeed on charisma-based challenges all that much more often than the 7 charisma guy. The 7 charisma guy STILL shouldn't be the face, because over the course of a large number of charisma checks, you will eventually see a statistical difference between the two of them, and that difference will appear much faster if the 7 charisma guy is compared to a 16 charisma guy, especially since the 16 charisma guy is pretty likely to have invested in at least one social skill, but he's not a total schmuck barely capable of social interaction unless the guy with a 10 is mostly a total schmuck barely capable of social interaction.

Really, you can go to the mechanics to figure out what a stat...

I think one thing is that is will be harder for a 7 wis guy to tell the difference between a 10 Cha guy and a 7cha guy which is part of wisdom. But it might be easier if he has ranks in sense motive.


Bob_Loblaw wrote:
Jiggy wrote:

@Bob_Loblaw: I agree with most of what you said, except this:

Bob_Loblaw wrote:
I do take issue with the player that always wants two or three stats at 7 so they can squeeze a few extra points into other stats. This is actually bad roleplaying.

You are wrong. Stat selection is not an act of roleplaying, and therefore cannot be bad roleplaying (or good roleplaying, for that matter).

Roleplaying is what you do at the table, not what's written on your character sheet.

How you assign your stats affects what roleplaying would be appropriate, but is not itself an act of roleplaying.

You know what I meant. Anyone who is always looking to tank two to three stats is probably a bad role player. Can those stats be played and be fun? Sure. If the player does it nearly all the time though, I would say that the player has no real intention on role playing and is only looking at the game as a set of numbers. Again, that's fine for some groups. It's not fine for mine.

i tanked 2 stats once on a sorcerer, his str and wis....still playing him....it was a big mistake. especially because i took crossblooded archtype......but let them learn from their mistakes. my guy was a book worm. he was also very quick to anger.....i killed villagers that refused to let us burry a friend in grave yard (beggenning of CC) which hurt us bad in the town rating. i RP he specifically to how his stats are. but not all do. someone may make their int a 7 and still be the guy with the ideas. i would pull that person to the side and let them know to play their guy right or they r making a new one they can play. i can honestly tell u that i will MEVER tank 2 stats again, and lately i have avoided tanking 1. and my usual GM does the 15 pt system. i cant say ur players would learn from the mistake like i did, but one can hope


wraithstrike wrote:
Min-maxing is not necessarily a bad thing a bad thing. If they drop scores like that it just mean they have an obvious weakness somewhere. Some people like played concentrated characters, while others like to be more well rounded. Each has its pros and cons.

When I first heard the term min-maxing, years ago, it was really difficult for me to understand why it tends to be used a pejorative.

I mean, one of the defining features of tabletop RPGs is the adventuring party, which assumes different roles for each member, so Fighter, Cleric, Wizard is generally more effective than having three wizards, for instance.

If your character is more-or-less equally good at everything, what is his motivation for doing every. single. thing. as part of a larger group? You're building your character to be James Bond, but you're actually part of the Impossible Mission Force (from the Mission: Impossible TV series. Not the movies, where it's pretty much James Bond as a short, crazy Scientologist).

The only arguments I see against min-maxing are based on correlation, but removing one correlated element doesn't necessarily eliminate the other. Improving RP by banning 8 CHA characters is like noticing that cancer patients lose their hair, so you're going to cure cancer with Rogaine.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32 , Star Voter 2014

2 people marked this as a favorite.

I removed a post and the replies to it. "Not meaning to be offensive" does not mean you are not, in fact, being offensive.


firefly the great wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
Min-maxing is not necessarily a bad thing a bad thing. If they drop scores like that it just mean they have an obvious weakness somewhere. Some people like played concentrated characters, while others like to be more well rounded. Each has its pros and cons.

When I first heard the term min-maxing, years ago, it was really difficult for me to understand why it tends to be used a pejorative.

I mean, one of the defining features of tabletop RPGs is the adventuring party, which assumes different roles for each member, so Fighter, Cleric, Wizard is generally more effective than having three wizards, for instance.

If your character is more-or-less equally good at everything, what is his motivation for doing every. single. thing. as part of a larger group? You're building your character to be James Bond, but you're actually part of the Impossible Mission Force (from the Mission: Impossible TV series. Not the movies, where it's pretty much James Bond as a short, crazy Scientologist).

The only arguments I see against min-maxing are based on correlation, but removing one correlated element doesn't necessarily eliminate the other. Improving RP by banning 8 CHA characters is like noticing that cancer patients lose their hair, so you're going to cure cancer with Rogaine.

The biggest issue I've seen is how people choose to apply their stats to the actual game. Too many people fuss when they are forced to deal with the weaknesses they gave themselves, while not allowing anyone to even think about being good at whatever they chose their strengths to be. When both weaknesses and strengths are applied equally over the course of a campaign, it's much less of an issue, I've found.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32 , Star Voter 2014

I removed a couple more posts. Don't be jerks.


The issue at hand is that when you created your character via point buy, you made a conscious effort to dump your mental stats to levels below the average commoner (or even troglodyte) in exchange for comparatively huge physical stats.

The prevailing reasoning around here is that while PF has very strict guidelines as to what physical stats do and rewards players with high scores in those stats, it is fairly mute as to the benefits of mental stats outside of their effect on skills (which arguably can be made up for by purchasing ranks).

There is a reason that PF is so silent as to the effects of mental stats. It is because those stats are best expressed through role-play (you know the other 80% of this game outside of combat).

It becomes an issue of "well the rules don't tell me that I can't dump my intelligence and still play my character like he's a genius so that means I can".

Look, all that I ask is that when you sit down at my table (and most of you probably never will) please roleplay the limitations you are consciously putting on your character to get the huge strength modifier or whatever.


wraithstrike wrote:

On the other hand:

The game does however allow you a starting score of 6 after racial modifier so anyone with a 6 is still capable even if they are below average. If someone thinks 6 is not capable, but the designers do then you and the designers have a very different view on how bad that 6 is. I am putting my vote in with the people that make the game.

I put my vote with the people that made the game too. That would be those guys who actually set the original mechanics back in 3E, who said that 3+ Int is sentient, and that you can play 3+ Int creature, and that creatures who are sentient cannot have an Int lower than 3 even if their racial adjustments would bring it to less than 3 (so an orc cannot have a 1 Int, even if he rolls all 1s on his d6s).

How you want to describe your character, or explain the statistical deficit is up to you. It is also up to the writers of the story or AP. If they want an ogre with a 6 Int to be a slobbering stuttering monster, they can do that. You can do it too. I can do it too. That is not, however, the specific effects of having a 6 Intelligence. No matter how hard anyone tries, they won't prove it is either. There are creatures that don't even have languages, which by Int 3+ enough to possess.

Mental statistics are interesting things. They are the least specific of all the ability scores, and are tied directly to the other two abilities (Wisdom and Charisma in this case). You will be hard pressed to suggest that a creature is actually mentally handicapped in the sense that most people would consider it unless they were severely lacking in all three of those scores. And even then, the sheer weight of those drawbacks are questionable as to just how detrimental it is.

Again, this game was not designed to represent characters who are crippled and incapable of moving, too mentally disabled to take care of themselves, etc. Never has been. There is way more to a character than just the -5 to +5 on a d20 that is garnered from an ability score, which represents such a small and minute piece of your overall character.


Christopher Rowe 151 wrote:

The issue at hand is that when you created your character via point buy, you made a conscious effort to dump your mental stats to levels below the average commoner (or even troglodyte) in exchange for comparatively huge physical stats.

The prevailing reasoning around here is that while PF has very strict guidelines as to what physical stats do and rewards players with high scores in those stats, it is fairly mute as to the benefits of mental stats outside of their effect on skills (which arguably can be made up for by purchasing ranks).

There is a reason that PF is so silent as to the effects of mental stats. It is because those stats are best expressed through role-play (you know the other 80% of this game outside of combat).

It becomes an issue of "well the rules don't tell me that I can't dump my intelligence and still play my character like he's a genius so that means I can".

Look, all that I ask is that when you sit down at my table (and most of you probably never will) please roleplay the limitations you are consciously putting on your character to get the huge strength modifier or whatever.

i agree 100% i had a guy with like a 7 or 5 int try to be the thinker. had to take him to the side and explain that hes not the thinker. but im the kinda guy who dont make a character, i make a person.


Christopher Rowe 151 wrote:
It becomes an issue of "well the rules don't tell me that I can't dump my intelligence and still play my character like he's a genius so that means I can".

Who's saying that?

From my POV, an 8 INT isn't a genius, but why do you insist on treating him like a retard?


Talon3585 wrote:
i agree 100% i had a guy with like a 7 or 5 int try to be the thinker. had to take him to the side and explain that hes not the thinker.

So you explained your houserules to him, then.

Liberty's Edge

loaba wrote:
Talon3585 wrote:
i agree 100% i had a guy with like a 7 or 5 int try to be the thinker. had to take him to the side and explain that hes not the thinker.
So you explained your houserules to him, then.

Expecting a 7 int character not to be the group's thinker is no more house rules than not expecting them to be drooling idiots.


ShadowcatX wrote:
loaba wrote:
Talon3585 wrote:
i agree 100% i had a guy with like a 7 or 5 int try to be the thinker. had to take him to the side and explain that hes not the thinker.
So you explained your houserules to him, then.
Expecting a 7 int character not to be the group's thinker is no more house rules than not expecting them to be drooling idiots.

A 7 INT is a -2 modifier. That's it, no more and no less. Anything else is your take on the fluff. The character has no head for Arcane study, but that's really all it means. Okay, and he's not a walking Rosetta Stone either, he can still take ranks in Linguistics if needs be.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32 , Star Voter 2014

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I'm going to ask that people stop using the word 'retard' in this thread.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
loaba wrote:
ShadowcatX wrote:
loaba wrote:
Talon3585 wrote:
i agree 100% i had a guy with like a 7 or 5 int try to be the thinker. had to take him to the side and explain that hes not the thinker.
So you explained your houserules to him, then.
Expecting a 7 int character not to be the group's thinker is no more house rules than not expecting them to be drooling idiots.
A 7 INT is a -2 modifier. That's it, no more and no less. Anything else is your take on the fluff. The character has no head for Arcane study, but that's really all it means. Okay, and he's not a walking Rosetta Stone either, he can still take ranks in Linguistics if needs be.

Incidentally, a character with a 5 Intelligence (worst possible starting Int using point buy, assuming a -2 Int race) who was 8th level actually can be the party's thinker. He might be more knowledgeable about stuff than anyone else in the party. A 5 Intelligence Bard is still an amazingly gifted individual, who has a ton of Knowledge skills with good bonuses, and has lots of spiffy abilities that revolve around teamwork and tactics.

I use point buys so that people have more control over the characters that they want to play, but my group used to play standard 4d6 drop lowest, which results in 3s as frequently as 18s. To listen to the people in this thread, such characters would be horribly unplayable because apparently having a 3 in a score means you dropped off the cliff of human condition and into the realm of inhuman or physically or mentally damaged; and given less credit for your cognitive abilities than a crow who can figure out puzzles or wolves using pack tactics, despite being able to read, write, speak languages (multiple languages even) and function in society by the rules of the game. Low Intelligence, high Wisdom? Maybe you should be a Sailor or a Farmer instead of a Blacksmith or Painter.

I'd hate to see what some people in this thread would have done to the poor sod to rolled some low scores with the standard 4d6, drop lowest method.

I imagine it being like this:
==================================
Player: "Hmmm, I got a 16, 17, 13, 12, and a 4. I know! I'll play a crotchety wizard with an attitude. So 12 Str, 13 Wis, 16 Dex, 17 Int, 4 Cha. "

The game begins and the party walks into town.
Player (Crotchety Wizard): "Hmph, peasants...you there - boy. What town am I in?"
GM: "The NPCs recoil at your ghastly appearance, and the animals all run away from you as you smell of death and decay from never bathing, leading to a severe cases of planters-warts and smegma..."
Player: "But my character baths daily with prestidigitation and I even bought soap with my starting cash..."
GM: "And then, the guards come over, because you are a social outcast, and they are hostile. Get out of our town, you hairless freak, before we throw you in the dungeon with the rest of the monsters."
Player: "B-but my description says I have long hair that's pulled into tight braids, and an unkind sneer..."
GM: "What do you do!?"
Player: "Well...I say Hold guards! Have you lost your senses!? I am Malvok the Magician, and am no monster! Why..."
GM: "You manage nothing better than a stuttering string of gibberish, as you spit and sputter all over the guard leader's face, and spew out a half-rotten yellow tooth in the process, which is writhing in gingivitis. Since you didn't heed the guards overly merciful warning, he attacks you."
Player: "Quick Boris! Help me! These people are insane!"
Boris' Player: "I will run help Malvok, and try to pick him up and carry him to safety."
GM: "No you won't! You wouldn't think to do that! You're still outside, trying to figure out that the gate says Welcome to Sucksville on it."
Boris' Player: "But my character can read. Didn't you say it was in common?"
GM: "Your character can't read! You have a 3 Intelligence! You're an animal. In fact, the only way you can even tell that Malvok is your friend and not some stranger with food is because of his pungent odor and smegma. But he's not really your friend, because he has a 4 Charisma, so you should roleplay your character accordingly and hate him on sight."
Boris' Player: "That's disgusting, and you have problems."


I would rather be told that there is a lower limit than being told that my character is not a "thinker" so I cannot play him how I want to. I think changing the lower limit is needless, but I think limiting player interaction based on their character's mental scores is an outright bad rule.


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I'm not sure why people get offended if told their 7 int guy can't be he group thinker.

Its like saying the guy with a 7 str isn't the group weight lifter, or the extra-loot carrier and probably isn't the guy who's going to go kicking down the doors.

I grant that 7 int doesn't make you a drooling idiot but it does make you 7 points lower than the average schmuch you run across on the street. And the average schmuck on the street isn't a thinker either.

Now sure there are corner cases such as the bard who has tons of knowledge checks and such but by and large that just means they are educated and have taken steps to alleviate their mental deficiencies. They still aren't going to do very well on the average intelligence check.

Just like the guy with a 7 strength isn't going to do very well on his strength check- even if he goes on and becomes a barbarian and gets a belt and rages and whatever. He's still going to be well behind the curve of the guys who /are/ the strongmen in the group.

"I can think" and " I am a thinker" are not the same thing.

folks with 7 int can think.
Folks with 7 int aren't thinkers.
Thats metagaming, trying to avoid a dump stat- at least in my opinion.

Its like the guy with no knowledge skills always knowing how to defeat the monsters or the guy with no charisma getting mad when he can't just "RP well" and have the DM handwaive the penalties away.

-S


Ashiel, what people are saying is that if one wants to play a character with a below average Intelligence then they should act like they have a below average Intelligence. Role playing should never be an excuse for ignoring penalties. That's what I was trying to show with the monsters I listed. Every single one (and the others I didn't mention) has a below average Intelligence and their descriptions address this. There is no reason why a character as smart as a ettin should be able to be a great thinker like Newton or Aristotle. It's bad role playing. Just like you wouldn't have your low Strength character be the one expected to carry the extra loot or break open doors, you shouldn't expect the low Intelligence character to be the one to have the tactical acumen of Sun Tzu.


Ashiel wrote:

a lot of stuff, and then this...

Player: "Hmmm, I got a 16, 17, 13, 12, and a 4. I know! I'll play a crotchety wizard with an attitude. So 12 Str, 13 Wis, 16 Dex, 17 Int, 4 Cha. "

...then some more amusing stuff.

Guard: Hey look a corpse!

Guard2: Woah, no Con score! Maybe it's undead! *stab* Nope, just a corpse...

Player: whoops!

That took me a moment to notice, but I was like wait, 5 scores?

-Tundra


Bob_Loblaw wrote:
Ashiel, what people are saying is that if one wants to play a character with a below average Intelligence then they should act like they have a below average Intelligence. Role playing should never be an excuse for ignoring penalties.

Did I say anything about ignoring penalties? No, I don't think I did. Feel free to correct me with a quote if my memory simply fails me. Last I checked, I'm pretty sure that I mentioned penalties to lots of stuff.

Nothing I've said, once, requires you to ignore penalties. Ignoring penalties would do just that. Ignore penalties. Having a 7 Charisma gives a -2 penalty to lots of stuff. If I simply ignored the -2, then I would be a dirty rotten cheater. But I'm not. But it's not your place, your right, or even your business to tell me how to play my character. If I roll a 3 on my ability generation and dump that 3 into Intelligence, it's my business how I want to roleplay that. Coming up with non-mechanical ideas "Guys, we should take the left path because there's a breeze coming from that way. Maybe there's an exit?" is not governed by Intelligence; so you don't a dog in that fight.

Meanwhile, anything mechanical, is the player's (or GM's in the case of NPCs) right to explain as desired. If all those Intelligence penalties are the result of a Minsc-like head injury, growing up a country bumpkin, being just plain stupid, being under educated, or even highly educated but absent minded or prone to mixing up facts and such, then that's the player's (or the GM's for NPCs) right.

For example, a 3 Intelligence character may have been highly educated, except he tends to forget a lot of facts and proper steps to go through when applying that knowledge, and mixes up stuff regularly "Err, was that a succubus or a nymph that breaths fire? Oh dear, I wish I had my notes...", and he forgot that his measurements when working were 34-1/2 wide, and not 34-1/2 long, so when he's crafting he tends to mess up his materials a lot and keep trying again.

He could be a bumbling fool in a top hat, wearing a monacle, and talking about the good ol' days when Duke Dorlain was making peace with the savages in the south; "Or was it the savages that were making peace with Duke Elrond; after Dorlain died of Asthma; or was that his daughter Marlain; or was that Rachel? Er, what were we talking about again? Lookout there's a goblin! *successful Perception check*"


Ashiel wrote:
Bob_Loblaw wrote:
Ashiel, what people are saying is that if one wants to play a character with a below average Intelligence then they should act like they have a below average Intelligence. Role playing should never be an excuse for ignoring penalties.
Did I say anything about ignoring penalties? No, I don't think I did. Feel free to correct me with a quote if my memory simply fails me. Last I checked, I'm pretty sure that I mentioned penalties to lots of stuff.

When people read things like:

Quote:
A 5 Intelligence Bard is still an amazingly gifted individual, who has a ton of Knowledge skills with good bonuses, and has lots of spiffy abilities that revolve around teamwork and tactics.

He is not an amazingly gifted individual. He has a lot of class abilities that can be useful, but he is not gifted. Class abilities that do not rely on Intelligence can't be used to determine how smart someone is. Classes come with features that apply regardless of your stats (not counting spells). The bard you describe has only 3 skill points per level. He may be able to make Knowledge checks untrained and add half his class level, but even at level 10, that's only +5. With his -3, that puts him at a whopping +2 to his Knowledge checks. Not really amazingly gifted.

Quote:
Nothing I've said, once, requires you to ignore penalties. Ignoring penalties would do just that. Ignore penalties. Having a 7 Charisma gives a -2 penalty to lots of stuff. If I simply ignored the -2, then I would be a dirty rotten cheater. But I'm not. But it's not your place, your right, or even your business to tell me how to play my character. If I roll a 3 on my ability generation and dump that 3 into Intelligence, it's my business how I want to roleplay that. Coming up with non-mechanical ideas "Guys, we should take the left path because there's a breeze coming from that way. Maybe there's an exit?" is not governed by Intelligence; so you don't a dog in that fight.

I didn't say you were a cheater. I said that those who ignore the penalties in the name of role playing are not good role players. At my table, it is my business to a point how a character is played. If I think that someone is playing a paladin that acts like Charles Manson I get to call them out on that. If someone comes to the table with a 3 Intelligence character and then starts using calculus or game theory to figure out the best options, then I get to call them out on that. If someone comes to the table with a 3 Charisma and they expect the NPCs to fawn over them, I get to call them out on that. That being said, the player is free to find a group that matches their style of play. There are people who will not game with me because they think I'm not fair when I don't allow 3.5 conversed materials. That's fine with me. I have a large enough group of people that I enjoy gaming with and they come back week after week because they are also having a good time.

Quote:
Meanwhile, anything mechanical, is the player's (or GM's in the case of NPCs) right to explain as desired. If all those Intelligence penalties are the result of a Minsc-like head injury, growing up a country bumpkin, being just plain stupid, being under educated, or even highly educated but absent minded or prone to mixing up facts and such, then that's the player's (or the GM's for NPCs) right.

Within reason. I wouldn't even have a problem with someone playing a character with decent Intelligence, low Wisdom, and low to average Charisma and telling me that they are trying to mimic a high functioning autistic. I would have a problem if they told me that they were trying to mimic Ghandi.

Quote:

For example, a 3 Intelligence character may have been highly educated, except he tends to forget a lot of facts and proper steps to go through when applying that knowledge, and mixes up stuff regularly "Err, was that a succubus or a nymph that breaths fire? Oh dear, I wish I had my notes...", and he forgot that his measurements when working were 34-1/2 wide, and not 34-1/2 long, so when he's crafting he tends to mess up his materials a lot and keep trying again.

He could be a bumbling fool in a top hat, wearing a monacle, and talking about the good ol' days when Duke Dorlain was making peace with the savages in the south; "Or was it the savages that were making peace with Duke Elrond; after Dorlain died of Asthma; or was that his daughter Marlain; or was that Rachel? Er, what were we talking about again? Lookout there's a goblin! *successful Perception check*"

These examples are not "the party thinker." In fact they are the exact opposite. Would you put your trust in this person's knowledge when your life depends on it? They can have good ideas once in a while (even a broken clock is right twice a day).

Your examples are just fine. As I said, I take issue with those who dump multiple stats just to get bonuses then they don't want to deal with the penalties that those stats bring. Those people can find groups that cater to their style of gaming. They are not people I enjoy gaming with and they aren't welcome at my table.

For the record, role playing a high Intelligence character can be just as hard especially if your character is smarter than you. I do allow group think to help those players out. I don't know anyone with an Intelligence in the 20s and playing a character like that can be hard.

To make sure that no one misinterprets what I am saying: I prefer to game with people who have similar gaming styles to myself, just as others do. If someone's behavior is disruptive, then they aren't welcome in the group. If I joined a group that ignored the penalties and I kept trying to enforce them, I would be the one who is disruptive and I shouldn't game with that group.

Star Voter 2013

I think maybe everyone here should read this article on Calibrating your Expectations. Granted, it is for 3E, but a lot of the same mechanics still apply.


I'm familiar with it but it doesn't address the issue at hand.

Star Voter 2013

No, it doesn't, it was aimed mostly at the people who posted various things based off their ideas of what certain people have, like a gymnist needing an 18 dex when in reality, it's going to mostly be acrobatics.

The reason I posted it was so people can realistically compare what exactly those dump starts are going to mean. The average person can solve basic math problems and even more complicated ones if given a minute, but the ones that extend to into geometry, calculus, trigonometry, they will struggle with because they're simply not that smart, and the person that dumped int is going to struggle even more than the person who didn't.

I am, personally, strongly against dump stats because it almost always leads to bad gaming. Most people that I know that play, approach Pathfinder like a video game, they try to min-max and metagame their characters. Often times, when they create a character, they will dump a stat, and when it comes time to do social sessions, they sit down and pout because their character is designed to kill things, and nothing else.

The people I know that play Pathfinder for the roll and the role playing rarely ever dump a stat more than is absolutely necessary for their character. I've actually played with a guy that dumped his int, wis, and cha for his barbarian while I was playing a wizard. Granted, he actually played his character like he was a blithering idiot, and often did things that pissed off the party meembers, like drawing his sword and swinging while we were talking to someone and the barbarian didn't want to talk. At one point, I told him to roll a will save and dominated him and told him I get to play his character now. For a while after, I kept telling him to accept my spells and not resist, and recasting dominate and made him play more intelligently.

Fortunately, he got the picture and worked with the GM in re-doing his stats so he could play something that was more than, "I see, I kill it". Others, however, not so much.

Unless someone brings me a full character biography that explains why his character thinks he can taste yellow, I generally will write them off as a min-maxer or powergamer and I won't let them play at my table unless I really need to fill a slot. Even then, I keep a very focused eye on them.

(Btw, I'm totally rambling on little sleep, I may come back and clarify this when I wake up this afternoon)


Tels:

Am I misunderstanding?

The barbarian had low mental stats, and RP'd it as such, and then later "got the picture" and remade his character?

I guess I don't understand this.

I don't like dumpstats because alot (most? who knows) of the people who tend to do it, ignore them.

But that guy wasn't ignoring them- at least from what it sounds like in your post. He dumped the stats and then RP'd them to the hilt. The guy was dumb, brash, had no social sense.. sounds about right.

My issue is the guy with a 7int, wis, and cha being the party face and telling everyone how they should run their actions, while also making sure to let folks know to use fire on the troll and cold iron on the (whatever) and.. generally RP's as though he had 14's or 16's instead of 7's across the mental line.

If the guy RP's his low stats- then I'm not against it in particular.

again, I may have misunderstood your post.

-S


Selgard wrote:

Tels:

Am I misunderstanding?

The barbarian had low mental stats, and RP'd it as such, and then later "got the picture" and remade his character?

I guess I don't understand this.

I don't like dumpstats because alot (most? who knows) of the people who tend to do it, ignore them.

But that guy wasn't ignoring them- at least from what it sounds like in your post. He dumped the stats and then RP'd them to the hilt. The guy was dumb, brash, had no social sense.. sounds about right.

My issue is the guy with a 7int, wis, and cha being the party face and telling everyone how they should run their actions, while also making sure to let folks know to use fire on the troll and cold iron on the (whatever) and.. generally RP's as though he had 14's or 16's instead of 7's across the mental line.

If the guy RP's his low stats- then I'm not against it in particular.

again, I may have misunderstood your post.

-S

Just curious, if you're the GM and you put a riddle or puzzle into a scenario, do you make the character's roll to figure it out, or do you let the players figure it out?

Because if you give it to the players to figure out, and don't call for a roll, I don't see how you can call shenanigans on the player with the 7 Int character coming up with the answer.

If a player is using out of game knowledge for an in game advantage, just call for a roll. Tell him upfront, his character already said the troll is vulnerable to fire, but because he didn't roll he has to stick with the answer. When he does the roll though, if he fails, the answer is no longer true, but his character will still believe it... until it's too late. Unless trolls are common in that game world, the DC is 15 to have any knowledge and untrained skill checks can't succeed on a DC greater than 10 for knowledge. So, any kind of statement that character makes like that from now on will automatically be untrue and be replaced with a worse option.


I don't DM usually. In the few games that had puzzles, the DM let everyone talk and brainstorm under the idea that the smartest character in the room is probably 10-15 notches higher than the smartest player in the room.

If we couldn't figure it out, he'd go to die rolls.

Puzzles are an oddity. You can be brilliant and suck at puzzles. Myself, i tend to dislike them ingame because they break the barrier- which is what you allude to.
(the problem being: if you just do die rolls you remove the puzzle entirely- you explain the puzzle, roll a die, and tell them the answer if they get it. you might as well just say "you find a puzzle, roll an int check, here's the answer" without all the intermediate of letting them try to figure it out themselves
If you let the players try to solve it then their characters scores become irrelevant because the guys with PC's having alot of int don't get to use it (hey I have a 32 int, why can't I use that?) and the barbarian who has a 7 str may be played by a guy who is really good at puzzles and/or the smartest guy in the room.

Either way- it flops.

It was just one campaign that had puzzles in it, and it was home brew and no one had dumped Int.. so it didnt' really come up.

Its a problem with a puzzle though- I don't mean to evade your answer.. there just isn't a good answer for puzzles generally.

As for metagaming: You are absolutely right. But the PC saying "Fire" when he has a 7 int and no knowledge rolls is still metagaming even if the DM says "You don't know that". he' still trying to ignore his stats- he just got slammed by the DM for it. (and rightfully so).
The DM of course can and should always stomp on such things. My grief goes to the players who are attempting it in the first place.
Ideally, the DM isn't having to sit there with the hammer having to smack the guy on the forehead every 5 minutes due to them not playing their character correctly.

of course, "correctly" is sort of what this thread has turned into an argument/discussion about :)

-S

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