How to Properly Role Play a Low WIS Character


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Consider that they might simply lack introspection. They think, but they don't ponder how and why they think that.

For example: An intelligent person might quickly jump to a conclusion. A wise person might think about why they reached that conclusion, and thus spot a flaw such as prejudice or arrogance that put their logic on the wrong path.

I'd imagine that low wisdom also often means impulsive.

Shadow Lodge

Difference between an Intelligent person and a wise person.

An Intelligent Person can swim underwater and tell you the exact mixture of Hydrogen to Oxygen, the number of exterior chemical, the different breeds of fish and plankton and types of underwater vegetation, and the volume of water in the water tank/pool he in. Then he dies.

A Wise Person can hold his breath.


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There's no "proper" way to roleplay it. Just roleplay it in a way that'll be most fun to you.


I had a character with 7 wisdom once and I played as if he was autistic. Things that interested him he was all up on and things he didn't like he was vocal about. Ryan Cartwright from the tv show alphas is a great example


Intelligence is knowledge, wisdom is experience (yours or through others), charisma is a sense of self.

Someone who is smart has intelligence.

Someone who has common sense has wisdom.

Someone who is self assured has charisma.

Edit: I lack the wisdom to not reply to thread necromancy.

The Exchange

As an example....The big Trial by Combat battle of Game of Thrones shows how someone who is smart, charismatic and awesome in combat can have a low wisdom. I would say that The Red Viper has a wisdom of about 7-8.


Khrysaor wrote:

Intelligence is knowledge, wisdom is experience (yours or through others), charisma is a sense of self.

Someone who is smart has intelligence.

Someone who has common sense has wisdom.

Someone who is self assured has charisma.

Edit: I lack the wisdom to not reply to thread necromancy.

But you have the wisdom to recognize it. You beat the high functioning autistic :P


Flinroz wrote:
I like to play low wisdom as high ambition, not that i think this is the only way to do so. I like to play my characters with low wisdom as making plans for the future with big payoffs, not considering that these plans may fail.

Sounds like my IRL gf. Heh.

Shadow Lodge

Hudax wrote:

Wisdom is the ability to learn from your mistakes and experiences in the world (thus the perception connection). An unwise character is one who will ignore reality or be oblivious to it, and be similarly oblivious to consequences.

Paired with a high INT, this obliviousness is likely to manifest as a preoccupation with working out some problem, and when reality comes knocking, it is perceived as an interruption. The most expedient method of stopping the interruption will be taken so he can get back to his thoughts.

Paired with a high CHA, this obliviousness is probably due to a preoccupation with one's self-image, presenting as vanity, arrogance or pride (depending on how the CHA is being roleplayed). He may suffer from a belief that since he's so great reality doesn't apply to him.

Think Napoleon. A calculating, charismatic leader with tunnelvision.

Agreed.

A character with Cha > Int > Wis is a very specific type of low-wis character - the kind of character who falls in love with their own brilliant plans and is capable of pulling other people along with them - but whose plans will often fail due to inability to learn from their mistakes, failure to understand their followers or enemies, or missing a major flaw in their planning.

If they above is a sorcerer, they probably think they're special and important and are likely to overestimate themselves and their abilities, and underestimate the ability of those they consider less talented. They also might see magic as the best solution for everything - even when it really, really isn't.

Flinroz wrote:
I like to play low wisdom as high ambition, not that i think this is the only way to do so. I like to play my characters with low wisdom as making plans for the future with big payoffs, not considering that these plans may fail.

Very appropriate for a low-wis character who also has high cha.

Scarab Sages

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1) Play Neverwinter Nights 2.

2) Meet Grobnar Gnomehands - his character sheet puts him at an average Wisdom, but it matters not.

3) Learn well the Tao of Gnomehands.

4) There you have it - and tell the Wendersnaven I said hi, if you see them!

If you want something perhaps a little darker, there's always Ignus from Planescape: Torment.

Or maybe if you're shooting for something humbler than "misunderstood Buddha/insane genius," you could do worse than this guy!


In the games I've run and played, low Wis has come up in different ways...

Noticing that allips drain Wis and represent insanity, and that one of the monsters in 3.5 (can't recall which) gained Cha and lost Wis to represent their going crazy, I had my players begin to act nuts as their Wis was drained by the allips they fought. For some, that meant being incapable of censoring themselves, muttering, sometimes talking too loudly (even yelling), or speaking in stream-of-consciousness.

In another case, a friend of mine has, to me, always exemplified high-Int/low-Wis, and in my games, he is banned from playing characters with a positive Wis modifier, since he just can't do it! He comes up with some interesting, complex, and sometimes ingenious ideas or plans, but most of the time they are OBVIOUSLY terrible ideas. At other times this manifests in an inability to be patient or think things through, and the impulsiveness can often get him in trouble, such as by just flinging open doors that may be trapped, charging into combat WAY ahead of the party, or quickly agreeing to, and signing a contract with a devil, or fey prince.

Finally, I've seen it played out as being inattentive, not picking up on stimuli, or social cues, being guilty of making a faux pas at exactly the wrong time or place.

Sovereign Court

Tiny Coffee Golem wrote:
High Charisma/Low Wis and low Int: Supermodels or the pretty, but dumb girl from "Mean Girls." (her name escapes me).

Just want to point out that Charisma isn't simply looks. Although he arguably has a decent Wis score (he's naive which suggests low, but intuitive which suggests high), Forrest Gump would have low Int and high Cha. He doesn't look that special, but he's charming in his own way.


Why doesn't anyone read the rules and the desription??
Intelligence: Intelligence determines how well your character learns and reasons.
Wisdom: Wisdom describes a character's willpower, common sense, awareness, and intuition.

Your intelligence tells you how to act on data or known factors.
Your wisdom tells you how to act on the unexpected or the unknown.

In any situation whith known facts or gathering data, you will make decisions based on intelligence.
In any situation that deals with the unknown or insufficient facts, you will make decisions based on wisdom.

So if you deal with someone you know very well you will use your intelligence and knowledge. If you deal with someone you do not know or someone you know, but not on the specific subject, you will use your intuition or your wisdom.

Charisma is a measurement of both your good looks (or lack thereoff) and your ability to converse and convince others.

Someone with high intelligence will make the data fit to learn of the enemies plans.
Someone with high wisdom will decide that poking a sleeping dragon is bad no matter how much noise you made previously.
And someone with a high charisma and a permanent improved invisibility ring will smooth talk the dragon trying not to provoke it so he can tear like heck.


Snowleopard wrote:
Charisma is a measurement of both your good looks (or lack thereoff)

No, it isn't.

Sovereign Court

Anarchy_Kanya wrote:
Snowleopard wrote:
Charisma is a measurement of both your good looks (or lack thereoff)
No, it isn't.

Yup. Ask the medusa. Or almost any demon or devil. It's more a "force of personality" thing, which is why it's one of the mental stats that doesn't change when you change forms or switch bodies or something.

Shadow Lodge

Lawrence DuBois wrote:
Anarchy_Kanya wrote:
Snowleopard wrote:
Charisma is a measurement of both your good looks (or lack thereoff)
No, it isn't.
Yup. Ask the medusa. Or almost any demon or devil. It's more a "force of personality" thing, which is why it's one of the mental stats that doesn't change when you change forms or switch bodies or something.

I think the objection was "No, charisma isn't a measurement of your good looks," to which I refer you to the ability description:

Charisma measures a character's personality, personal magnetism, ability to lead, and appearance.

Many people think that charisma should be entirely separate from appearance (since it doesn't change at all with polymorph) but the CRB allows appearance to be a part of charisma.

Snowleopard wrote:

Intelligence: Intelligence determines how well your character learns and reasons.

Wisdom: Wisdom describes a character's willpower, common sense, awareness, and intuition.

Your intelligence tells you how to act on data or known factors.
Your wisdom tells you how to act on the unexpected or the unknown.

In any situation with known facts or gathering data, you will make decisions based on intelligence.
In any situation that deals with the unknown or insufficient facts, you will make decisions based on wisdom.

So if you deal with someone you know very well you will use your intelligence and knowledge. If you deal with someone you do not know or someone you know, but not on the specific subject, you will use your intuition or your wisdom.

Neat idea, but unfortunately doesn't fit with the fact that you use Wis on a Sense Motive check no matter how well you know the subject.

I'm also not sure why you're equating "learning & reasoning" with the known and "common sense, awareness, intuition" with the unknown. Common sense in particular is often applied to the every-day and familiar.


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Tony Stark is a great example of a character with a high INT and low WIS. "I can build this armored power suit! I'll test it out in my garage! Looks like some of the prelimiaries are working fine. Let's fly into the upper stratosphere!"

The man knows theory, but application and patience are not his strong suit.


Weirdo wrote:
Lawrence DuBois wrote:
Anarchy_Kanya wrote:
Snowleopard wrote:
Charisma is a measurement of both your good looks (or lack thereoff)
No, it isn't.
Yup. Ask the medusa. Or almost any demon or devil. It's more a "force of personality" thing, which is why it's one of the mental stats that doesn't change when you change forms or switch bodies or something.

I think the objection was "No, charisma isn't a measurement of your good looks," to which I refer you to the ability description:

Charisma measures a character's personality, personal magnetism, ability to lead, and appearance.

Many people think that charisma should be entirely separate from appearance (since it doesn't change at all with polymorph) but the CRB allows appearance to be a part of charisma.

Snowleopard wrote:

Intelligence: Intelligence determines how well your character learns and reasons.

Wisdom: Wisdom describes a character's willpower, common sense, awareness, and intuition.

Your intelligence tells you how to act on data or known factors.
Your wisdom tells you how to act on the unexpected or the unknown.

In any situation with known facts or gathering data, you will make decisions based on intelligence.
In any situation that deals with the unknown or insufficient facts, you will make decisions based on wisdom.

So if you deal with someone you know very well you will use your intelligence and knowledge. If you deal with someone you do not know or someone you know, but not on the specific subject, you will use your intuition or your wisdom.

Neat idea, but unfortunately doesn't fit with the fact that you use Wis on a Sense Motive check no matter how well you know the subject.

I'm also not sure why you're equating "learning & reasoning" with the known and "common sense, awareness, intuition" with the unknown. Common sense in particular is often applied to the every-day and familiar.

My rebuttal is it says appearance. Not how attractive you are. It can magnify your attractiveness, how horrifying you are. Not one thing suggests that it has to be how beautiful you are.


Bob_Loblaw wrote:
Intelligence is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is knowing that it doesn't belong in a fruit salad.

Charisma is being able to sell a tomato based fruit salad.


Justin Sane wrote:
Bob_Loblaw wrote:
Intelligence is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is knowing that it doesn't belong in a fruit salad.
Charisma is being able to sell a tomato based fruit salad.

Wouldn't that just be salsa?

Shadow Lodge

Thomas Long 175 wrote:
Justin Sane wrote:
Bob_Loblaw wrote:
Intelligence is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is knowing that it doesn't belong in a fruit salad.
Charisma is being able to sell a tomato based fruit salad.
Wouldn't that just be salsa?

And calling it salsa is the clever wordplay trait.


Have that character post on a public forum asking for advice.


Thomas Long 175 wrote:
Justin Sane wrote:
Bob_Loblaw wrote:
Intelligence is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is knowing that it doesn't belong in a fruit salad.
Charisma is being able to sell a tomato based fruit salad.
Wouldn't that just be salsa?

Indeed. Tomatillos and chili peppers are also fruits that don't belong in a fruit salad, but put them all together and wonderful things happen.

Though I'd also add onions and cilantro, neither of which are fruits.

Sovereign Court

kyrt-ryder wrote:
Have that character post on a public forum asking for advice.

I simultaneously want to applaud and deride you.

Shadow Lodge

Thomas Long 175 wrote:
Weirdo wrote:
Lawrence DuBois wrote:
Anarchy_Kanya wrote:
Snowleopard wrote:
Charisma is a measurement of both your good looks (or lack thereoff)
No, it isn't.
Yup. Ask the medusa. Or almost any demon or devil. It's more a "force of personality" thing, which is why it's one of the mental stats that doesn't change when you change forms or switch bodies or something.

I think the objection was "No, charisma isn't a measurement of your good looks," to which I refer you to the ability description:

Charisma measures a character's personality, personal magnetism, ability to lead, and appearance.

Many people think that charisma should be entirely separate from appearance (since it doesn't change at all with polymorph) but the CRB allows appearance to be a part of charisma.

My rebuttal is it says appearance. Not how attractive you are. It can magnify your attractiveness, how horrifying you are. Not one thing suggests that it has to be how beautiful you are.

Then my rebuttal to your rebuttal is that Snowleopard's original comment says that charisma measures, among other things, good looks or lack thereof. Doesn't say that an extreme lack of good looks - being hideous, a negative appearance score - has to translate to a lower charisma.

Mental ability scores summarize many factors, and appearance is one of the factors that goes into charisma. The player gets to choose exactly which factors contribute to their character's ability scores and in what way. That's part of the fun!


Weirdo wrote:
Thomas Long 175 wrote:
Weirdo wrote:
Lawrence DuBois wrote:
Anarchy_Kanya wrote:
Snowleopard wrote:
Charisma is a measurement of both your good looks (or lack thereoff)
No, it isn't.
Yup. Ask the medusa. Or almost any demon or devil. It's more a "force of personality" thing, which is why it's one of the mental stats that doesn't change when you change forms or switch bodies or something.

I think the objection was "No, charisma isn't a measurement of your good looks," to which I refer you to the ability description:

Charisma measures a character's personality, personal magnetism, ability to lead, and appearance.

Many people think that charisma should be entirely separate from appearance (since it doesn't change at all with polymorph) but the CRB allows appearance to be a part of charisma.

My rebuttal is it says appearance. Not how attractive you are. It can magnify your attractiveness, how horrifying you are. Not one thing suggests that it has to be how beautiful you are.

Then my rebuttal to your rebuttal is that Snowleopard's original comment says that charisma measures, among other things, good looks or lack thereof. Doesn't say that an extreme lack of good looks - being hideous, a negative appearance score - has to translate to a lower charisma.

Mental ability scores summarize many factors, and appearance is one of the factors that goes into charisma. The player gets to choose exactly which factors contribute to their character's ability scores and in what way. That's part of the fun!

I never disagreed with snowleapord just the people stating that charisma = beauty :P i.e. the person i did reply to.

Shadow Lodge

I'm... really confused.

If I'm "the person i did reply to," then I wasn't saying that charisma = beauty, I was saying that beauty contributes to charisma. Specifically, I was disagreeing with Anarchy_Kanya's apparent statement that charisma isn't related to looks at all. They are related - and high charisma tends to be more associated with good looks than with compellingly hideous looks. See for example the beauty-based paladin abilities in the Oath against Grotesquery, or the fact that the Penaggalen's disfiguring wither attack deals Cha damage.

That doesn't mean that all pretty people/creatures have high Cha, it doesn't mean that all ugly people/creatures have low Cha, it doesn't even mean that being ugly should reduce your charisma score because you can indeed by hideously compelling (though that's probably less common in humanoids than hags and undead). It does mean that if you want to have a very attractive character with low or average charisma or an unattractive character with very high charisma, you have to justify that by making one or more of the other factors that go into charisma very strong. For example, the beautiful but low-cha character may be rude or lack confidence, while the ugly high-cha character may be empathetic and charming. And of course a hag or similar just knows how to rock her style.

If there's another person you're disagreeing with, I'm not sure where.

The Exchange

EntrerisShadow wrote:
...how would you properly play a character with a high Intelligence yet low Wisdom score?...

Dr. Emmett Brown (from Back to the Future), Drs. Frasier or Niles Crane (from the old TV show Frasier,) Dr. Simon Tam (from the slightly less old TV show Firefly), or Dr. Leonard Hofstadter (from the not-yet-old TV show Big Bang Theory) all present different ways of playing a character who is brilliant, yet not wise. You know, in answering your question, I just realized that the prefix "Dr." in any comedy almost guarantees that you're about to see a character who dumped Wis in order to boost Int.

Dr. Sheldon Cooper: The graduate schools should really have done a better job of screening those people out.


It's really funny that Lawrence Dubois mentioned:
>Neat idea, but unfortunately doesn't fit with the fact that you use Wis on a Sense Motive check no matter how well you know the subject.<
A sense motive check will be required if you need to know someone is telling you the truth (or their intentions) => In other words, you are unaware of their intentions and cannot figure that by using logic. So naturally a sense motive check is a wisdom adjusted check. You lack proof to check someone's statement and therefor you will check your intuition (=wisdom).
If you know someone intentions, you simply know it and you do not need a sense motive check to confirm what you allready know.

And about charisma: I once met a girl in a bar. She was smoking hot and I mean SMOKING hot. Easily one of the most beautifull woman I met in my life and she wasn't just beautifull but, really well dressed too. So you almost hear the high charisma score chiming in and every guy around her was drooling (me included). That is untill she opened her mouth and spoke: She did not have a bad voice, it was in fact plain and not outstanding, but she had a horrible accent. And I do mean horrible accent and the way she talked it didn't take every drooling guy in her vicinity more the a second to litteraly wake up and turn away. And it wasn't just the horrible accent, because she cursed continuously and spoke in a very loud way. She litteraly talked this way: Now listen, you is not telling me what to do right. F#$+ of if you isn't doing what I says. (and this was adressing one of her girlfriend)

That's the difference between good looks and a high charisma. she had the good looks and lacked the charisma.

It's like dr. Phil he lacks the good looks but definetly has a high charisma as he's very good at approaching, handling and conversing with people. So plain looks, but a high charisma.


If I were him I'd role play similarly to a president or world leader that I disagreed with. You know that leader went to boss colleges and got great grades. Plus he had the charisma to make it to the big office. It's just, in your eyes the guy makes foolish decisions over and over again.

Please don't spring a political argument here cause of this. I'm just saying it's how I'd go about it. Be very smart and well spoken, but make bad decisions anyways at times.


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber

I would say it's someone who doesn't notice things, probably like bones from the show of that name.

I understand quantum mechanics but things right in front of me are a mystery. you don't pay attention to things, questions you can't hammer down don't interest you, you honestly don't care about why, so long as your correct, you may even know why, but you simply don't care.

right now I'm playing a high wisdom low charisma character. I'm playing him very blunt, and he constantly asks or says things in hard to understand ways.


Wisdom deals with things like emotions (own and others). Also motivations, willpower, patience, nuances in body language.

Int is about absorbing facts, analysis and reasoning.

I love to play low wisdom characters (rogues!) as impulsive, impatient, curious, prejudiced. Sneaking off alone while the party debates where to do next, and such. Good at determining odds, less so at understanding consequences and considering whether the risk is worth taking.

I've had discussions with a friend who insisted Perception should be based on Int, not Wis, because it is about absorbing and analysing data. My stance is that perception checks are more about intuitively sensing 'something odd' that makes you look closer.


Without reading the other posts, there is one guy coming to my mind:

Elan from the Order Of The Stick. I would play the character like he acts!

Sovereign Court

No, Elan has pretty good Wisdom. He isn't smart, but he is quite intuitive and tends to make the better decision more often than not, even if it doesn't seem like it at the time. Which I guess means a high Int, low Wis character would make what seems like the best decision at the time, but turns out not to be.

Shadow Lodge

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Snowleopard wrote:

A sense motive check will be required if you need to know someone is telling you the truth (or their intentions) => In other words, you are unaware of their intentions and cannot figure that by using logic. So naturally a sense motive check is a wisdom adjusted check. You lack proof to check someone's statement and therefor you will check your intuition (=wisdom).

If you know someone intentions, you simply know it and you do not need a sense motive check to confirm what you allready know.

Except that you don't need a check at all to confirm something that you know, and determining whether you do know a fact only represents a small portion of intelligence-based skills (like a Knowledge History check to recall which factions were involved in the War of Roses). Many intelligence-based checks are not used to recall a fact, but to draw a conclusion about an unknown based on observations. For example:

  • Spellcraft: you observe that someone is incanting in Ignan, making circular gestures, pointing, and holding a ball of something sulfurus. You conclude they are casting Fireball.
  • Identifying a Monster (Knowledge): you observe that the town is being terrorized by a wolf-like creature that attacks on the full moon and cannot be harmed by normal weapons. You conclude this is a werewolf.
  • Sense Motive: you observe that a person is making unusually strong eye contact, seems over-eager to make a deal, and that their palms are sweaty when they shake hands. You conclude that they are untrustworthy.

The only reason that Sense Motive seems different is that these observations are often unconscious. While you can explain what features allowed you to identify a spell or a monster, with Sense Motive often all you're aware of is that something feels off. But your unconscious mind is going through the same process of making observations and drawing conclusions. When we call something "intuition," we mean "I don't know what my brain did to reach that conclusion."

Thus Intelligence is more about conscious logic and reasoning vs Wisdom (intuition) being about unconscious ability to observe patterns. It's not a perfect explanation (I think Heal is Wis-based mostly because divine casters are supposed to be good at it) but I think it makes more sense than known vs unknown.


I always think of the classic Simpsons episode where Homer joins the college nerds.

The reoccurring criminal comes up and says "Wallet inspector." and all the nerds hand him their wallets along with the assurance, "I think you'll find everything is in order."

High Int, Low Wis.

Int = book smart
Wis = common sense/life experience


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber
Weirdo wrote:


  • Sense Motive: you observe that a person is making unusually strong eye contact, seems over-eager to make a deal, and that their palms are sweaty when they shake hands. You conclude that they are untrustworthy.
  • the thing is though, that scientifically, in the real world, none of that has any inclination on whether they're lying or not, nor whether their trust worthy or not.

    eye contact and the direct one looks has no inclination on their inner workings.

    how do you know he's over eager? there isn't a physical reason for you to notice him being over eager.

    sweaty palms is from anxiety which could come, and usually does come, from just being asked or in a situation. that and he could actually just have sweaty palms.

    if anything your lack of wisdom and high intelligence just lead you astray.

    Shadow Lodge

    Bandw2 wrote:
    Weirdo wrote:


  • Sense Motive: you observe that a person is making unusually strong eye contact, seems over-eager to make a deal, and that their palms are sweaty when they shake hands. You conclude that they are untrustworthy.
  • the thing is though, that scientifically, in the real world, none of that has any inclination on whether they're lying or not, nor whether their trust worthy or not...

    All that proves is that I can't consciously articulate the observations that go into sense motive in order to appropriately illustrate the example. Or maybe my intuition is indeed bad and I can't pick out a liar even unconsciously. Doesn't mean that my argument is wrong.

    That is in fact how intuition works.

    Psychology Today wrote:
    We think of intuition as a magical phenomenon—but hunches are formed out of our past experiences and knowledge. So while relying on gut feelings doesn't always lead to good decisions, it's not nearly as flighty a tactic as it may sound.

    See also: Thin-slicing


    Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber

    http://dmingwithcharisma.com/2011/10/dd-stats-in-simple-language/

    I'm not going to argue the mysteries of the human consciousness(i realise that this will get everyone no where), but I did finally manage to find this.

    a low score seems to indicate a lack of awareness and fore thought, no standard, but still this is a good way to look at it.


    Low wisdom implies low perception. Is there mileage in being hard-of-hearing or short-sighted? Because in order to sense motive I would think it necessary to see facial expressions or hear what is said clearly.

    Digital Products Assistant

    Removed a post. Let's leave real life political commentary out of the advice threads.

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