Roleplaying someone with a Wisdom of 1


Advice


He folks,

One of the NPCs currently tagging along with the PCs got his wisdom lamia matriarch'ed down to 1. How should one roleplay someone with a wisdom that low?

He'll obviously have the perception of a doorknob but i'm not sure how to have him behave. A low intellect is somewhat straightforward but wisdom i'm not sure... is he non functional? insane?

Thanks


I've always seen low Wisdom as being insane if it has been drained (naturally that low is different, I think). A few monsters in 3.5 that were described as being insane had big penalties to Wis and bonuses to Cha to simulate the way an insane person can draw people in at times.

In one of my games I had anyone drained significantly by an ailip start babbling uncontrollably. They could talk to people that aren't there, see things that aren't either (sharing with anyone around), whispering or shouting for no reason, mumbling, talking to themselves, etc...

Dark Archive Bella Sara Charter Superscriber

Hmmm...

How annoying do you want the character to be? To me, a Wisdom of 1 would manifest as making the worst possible choice at every opportunity. About to enter a dangerous situation? Better take off your armor so it doesn't get damaged and tie your sword into the sheath so you don't lose it. Planning on attacking with a ranged weapon? Get in the face of your foe so you don't miss (oh, and coincidentally, receive an attack of opportunity). Did the party cleric cast a spell on you? Better request a save - who knows if he is possessed by evil and cursing you.

Plus, you're also easily influenced and believe almost everything you're told. You're oblivious to your surroundings, and operate using horror movie logic ("that noise I heard was nothing, I won't wake everyone up to defend the camp"). Basically, take any Wisdom based skill, think of how badly you could fail at that skill, and then do that.


I agree with Sebastian. I think a Wisdom of 1 should be a mix between not being able to see/hear anything (not that you're blind or deaf, you just have no idea how to interperet any information you take in) and having a mindset that is completely alien to the rest of the world. Everything you do should make perfect sense to you, but someone else would see it as the worst possible option at this point in time.

Grand Lodge

When I did this to a PC a few years ago I made him blind beyond 5 feet and deaf except for "really loud" shouting.

He also roleplayed a bit like a naive, toddler-smart perosn -- he liked putting things in his mouth and didn't know things like "hot stove" or "danger: poison" -- those kinds of "Survival Skill" things. His naivety also included a Sense Motive that essentually auto-failed.

We all had great fun (without taking anything away from the Campaign) for the couple sessions until he could get rid of it.

Grand Lodge

A wisdom of one, means that little voice in your head, that says maybe you should not do that, is now silent. The character acts without the thought of consequence.


Outside of spells, wisdom is used for healing, perception, profession, sense motive and survival as well as will saves. I would guess that the designers intended wisdom to indicate how well you concentrate on a task, your general awareness or your common sense.

I would see a Wis 1 more as mentally handicapped than insane. This is mainly because people hear 'insane' and they think you have to be violent or constantly gibbering or always doing stupid things. A Wis 1 may do some of that, but it would depend on the character itself. A barbarian may get violent, a bard may never shut up, etc.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Relevant reading.

The biggest issue is that Wisdom is both your awareness of occurrences AND your ability to distinguish reality from falsehood. A WIS 1 NPC could be unable distinguish the difference between humans and flowerpots. The causality of sound does not mesh with their (in)ability to perceive and they may not be able to tell that one moves of its own accord. It represents a completely flawed sense of how things operate. In short, you can still see/hear things, but you might not understand the significance of them.


Think tasslehoff burfoot of dragon lance


what are the other mental stats?

INT 22 WIS 1 might be an Idiot Savant. Think Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man
CHA 22 WIS 1 might be a charlatan without common sense. Think Hitler.


I would tend to portray a WIS 1 NPC as completely credulous. they'd believe anything that anyone told them, and be unable to distinguish friend from foe as long as the foe didn't openly attack them. At the same time they would be completely distraction prone, I'm thinking *squirrel!*...

...of Doug the Dog from "Up."

I also agree with gnrrrg that the default behavior would reflect the character's class/personality, only with a total lack of ability to self-check.


At wis 1, I would think that the character would probably act mentally disabled in some severe way: Schizophrenic, severely autistic, etc. Basically, he is one step away from catatonically laying around unable to feed himself.

Shadow Lodge

Musk wrote:

He folks,

One of the NPCs currently tagging along with the PCs got his wisdom lamia matriarch'ed down to 1. How should one roleplay someone with a wisdom that low?

He'll obviously have the perception of a doorknob but i'm not sure how to have him behave. A low intellect is somewhat straightforward but wisdom i'm not sure... is he non functional? insane?

Thanks

I think a Wisdom of 1 is the kind of guy who sticks his hand in the fire because it's pretty, then doesn't learn the "ow that hurts" lesson. I personally would probably rule that a Wisdom 1 character was unplayable until he got better--the player could take over a henchman or something for a few sessions while the rest of the party figured out how to help the main PC.

Now, a Wisdom *3* character could be fun. He'd just do incredibly boneheaded things. But 1 seems like it would make him completely non-functional, and potentially catatonic.


gustavo iglesias wrote:
CHA 22 WIS 1 might be a charlatan without common sense. Think Hitler.

I'm going to recommend AGAINST this analogy. I'm sure we can agree Hitler had a great Charisma, but Wisdom of 1? Also, who in their right mind would use the word "charlatan" to refer to Hitler? The guy was a criminal mastermind. I don't think a person with low wisdom would be able to do what he did- ESPECIALLY with a Wisdom lower than a human can naturally achieve. Perhaps you meant someone else?


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
bfobar wrote:
At wis 1, I would think that the character would probably act mentally disabled in some severe way: Schizophrenic, severely autistic, etc. Basically, he is one step away from catatonically laying around unable to feed himself.

Pretty much this. At wisdom 1 you're barely sapient - oozes have a wisdom score of 1. A character with a wisdom score of 1 would have almost no ability to interact with the world around him and like bfobar said is only hair's breadth away from complete catatonia.


Thanks for all replies!

Seems the party will have one additional problem on their hands now. Having an insane Ranger in the middle of a lair full monsters is sure going to be interesting.

Rise of the Runelords is sure set on nightmare difficulty :)

Rise of the Runelords:
The NPC in question is Vale from hook mountain massacre. They're currently in fort rannick and surrounded by ogres.

Liberty's Edge

Whenever a player in my group suffers Wisdom drain, I always tell them "You character suddenly has a desire to make terrible life choices."

And they always do.


Like Mr. Magoo.


Low wisdom scores are something you "as a player" never want to have.

Pathfinder defines the Wisdom score as the following:
Wisdom (Wis)

Wisdom describes a character's willpower, common sense, awareness, and intuition. Wisdom is the most important ability for clerics and druids, and it is also important for monks and rangers. If you want your character to have acute senses, put a high score in Wisdom. Every creature has a Wisdom score. A character with a Wisdom score of 0 is incapable of rational thought and is unconscious.

So a character with a Wisdom of 1:

Has no willpower - Easily led by anyone (good guys/bad guys)
Has no common sense - Doesn't learn from mistakes and rushes forward without thinking
Is unaware of most things - Is oblivious.
Has no intuition - Self explanatory.

For lack of a better description, he is mentally disabled. Classic examples include.
Sloth from Goonies.
Stimpy the cat from Ren and Stimpy.
Dumb blonde stereotype.
Jane from Saturday Night Live (Gilda Radner)
Ralph Wiggum from the Simpsons
Police Chief Wiggum from the Simpsons

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 8

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In a game a loong time ago, I had a PC hit by Wisdom drain draw his inspiration pretty closely from the 3.x Player's Handbook equivalencies.
Wis 1 = shrieker. His response to any stimulus was to scream at it.
Wis 2 = gelatinous cube. His response to any stimulus was to rush towards it and, if unfamiliar, hit it.
This made for great fun in-game, as the party had to deal with him like this in the middle of a prison break.


His personality continues, he hasn’t been given a pre-frontal lobotomy. There’s nothing to say his personality changes at all, just his skill checks, saving throws, etc.


Quite a lot of these examples imply low Int as well/instead of low Wis in my opinion...


I would aggree with those that suggest a Wisdom of 1 would represent severe mental disability. Even if they had a high intelligence or charisma they would be unable to utilize it. Sever Autism is what springs to mind for me.

They would NOT be easily manipulated. They would actually be pretty much impossible to manipulate as it would be difficult even to get them to dress, eat, use the bathroom.

I used to work at a mental institution and some of the autistic patients actually displayed amazing moments of intelligence but only fleetingly.

A three Wisdom is the basic human minimum. Anything below that falls into the range of animal behavior.

A young child (3-4 years old) might be represented as 3 Wisdom, so where talking 2-3 points LESS than that.

You would understand what things are intellectually but would lack the awareness to link them together. You would see a door knob and know it opens the door but if it was locked your brain may never connect that you need a key even if it is hanging right next to the door. You might just sit there and struggle with the door knob screaming until you noticed a discarded piece of food on the floor and then shove it in your mouth. then maybe stare out the window for a while at nothing perticular as you deficated in your pants.


All characters and creatures with 1 Wis are not going to be the same. So lots of the suggestions here are good ideas for how the character might act.

Another response since he still has intelligence is that he may still function fine but become like a robot, only doing what he is told by pretty much anyone. Probably recoiling from the pain of being hit but doing nothing else unless told what to do.

Another wrinkle is that even with a 1 Wis some of the character's skills might still be quite high. A ranger with 1 Wis might still have the best Survival and Perception skills in the group for example.

I believe it is safe to say this character is going to exhibit some type of acute mental problem and that anyone that interacted with him for a matter of seconds is going to realize that this guy is completely crazy in some way.

I would probably take the characters previous personality and believes and total, total distort them in some way.

An over the top Forest Gump. You might get attacked and tell him to run and then you never see him again.


Fanatic Guru wrote:
An over the top Forest Gump.

I'd disagree with that comparison. In my mind, Forest Gump is the perfect example of a very high wisdom but low intelligence character. He's quite mindful, perceptive, capable of profound insight and seems to instinctively grasp the wisest course of action while his arguably more intelligent friends blunder from one bad idea to the next.

I agree with FreeLanceEvilGenius' comparison to a person with severe autism.


I'd play him as if he's really drunk. Having the logics of a drunken guy, the lack of perception, changing moods, being easy to anger...
Oh and 1 is pretty low. I'm not even sure I'd let him be able to do anything except some very basic stuff (like telling the party that he's thirsty "Ahh neeeeed watrrrrrrrr")


UltimaGabe wrote:
gustavo iglesias wrote:
CHA 22 WIS 1 might be a charlatan without common sense. Think Hitler.
I'm going to recommend AGAINST this analogy. I'm sure we can agree Hitler had a great Charisma, but Wisdom of 1? Also, who in their right mind would use the word "charlatan" to refer to Hitler? The guy was a criminal mastermind. I don't think a person with low wisdom would be able to do what he did- ESPECIALLY with a Wisdom lower than a human can naturally achieve. Perhaps you meant someone else?

Wisdom is common sense. Hitler did NOT have any kind of common sense. He attacked Russia when he shouldnt, he denied the building of proper bombers such as the Condor, and he put and remove generals in his Staff at a whimsical rate. He refused to retreat when he should, he listened nobody, he made stupid mistakes based on mystical beliefs, and was totally unable to understand that his fate was sealed once he started to lose, becouse he was unable to see the reality around him.

Yes, he had high Charisma, and probably high Intelligence too. But he has a total lack of common sense.
Sure, 1 is too lower for Hitler. Actually, for anyone, as 3 is the minimum. But Hitler is, imho, a perfect example of someone with a higher than average intelligence, exceptional Charisma, and a completelly subpar wisdom.


WIsdom = "common sense" IMO. You can be brilliant, but never remember to tie your shoes.


I've generally viewed every 2 points from 10 or 11 as representing a standard deviation. So someone with a wisdom of 1 is like 4 or 5 standard deviations away from the mean. They are a con artist's dream. They have an insanely short time horizon and are totally oblivious to any subtlety. Because of this, they're also likely to be extremely impulsive.
Considering that people who are a mere 2 sigmas from the mean in this capability (BELOW the mean) are pretty scary, imagine 4 or 5...


Ambrus wrote:
Fanatic Guru wrote:
An over the top Forest Gump.

I'd disagree with that comparison. In my mind, Forest Gump is the perfect example of a very high wisdom but low intelligence character. He's quite mindful, perceptive, capable of profound insight and seems to instinctively grasp the wisest course of action while his arguably more intelligent friends blunder from one bad idea to the next.

I agree that Forest Gump is not a great example in general. That characters was written to always do the right thing no matter how dumb his actions seemed. Sorta an intuition over intellect.

I was referring more to the fact that Forest was told to run when being chased by bullies so he started running and did not stop. Running all the way till he hit the Pacific Ocean, then turning around and running till he hit the Atlantic Ocean. Of course it all worked out great for Forest but that did not seem like a very wise decision and anyone that did that would definitely be seen to have an acute mental problem.

Also when Forest was ask what his purpose was in the Army he replied, "To do what ever you tell me to Drill Sergeant."

If you told Forest to wait on a bench while you went to ask when the next bus was going to run. You get hit by a car and get out of the hospital and come back a month later, Forest would still be sitting on that bench. Of course in that month Forest would have started a national movement, founded the Million Man Sit-IN and met the President in that month.

Now Forest certainly did not have a 1 Wis, if anything he had a God like Wisdom that made him tapped into the universe on a level where any decision he made was the right one no matter how unwise or stupid his decisions seemed.

Now you could take Forest, ratchet him up to 11, and let a d20 decide his fates instead of a script writer and have some fun with the character until he self destructs or is made immobile by the group for his own safety. Or you could play the character like severe autism with little more interaction with the world than a potted plant. I would brother play the first character even though the second is probably more accurate but either way he is not going to survive without considerable effort from his friends.

Either way with my group it would be about 5 minutes of role playing and amusement then subdued, bound, gagged, blind-folded, and carried around like a sack of potatoes.

Wisdom 1, Wisdom 0, charmed, confused, insane, etc. all fall into the 'immobilize and transport' for their own good category.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Wisdom 1 is really insane, like no idea what is reality or not.


Why do so many people pair a wisdom of 1 with an intelligence of 1? I can see being extremely distracted, having no will, being completely oblivious to many things around you, and even making decisions on the fly without really planning them out. Making hasty decisions is not the same as just being stupid. Sticking your hand in a blazing fire and not learning from it is an example of low intelligence, sticking your hand on a hot teapot because you forgot it was hot is an example of low wisdom. Also, low wisdom does not mean you have a speech impediment: Speech is a skill governed by intelligence in this game.

Low wisdom is fun to play out. You can be under the belief that anyone who talks to you is totally into you. You can ramble on about things that most wouldn't dare try, "I wonder if I can sell that cyclops eye to a fortune teller?". You can make wild accusations with sincerity, "Are you going to use that fur coat to sneak into the bear's den?" You can question how you've even reached a place, "How did we even get here!?"


Mostly, I think a wisdom 1 character would question everything, and be pretty content with any answer he got; at least until he notices it again.


Extremly logical if high int, insane


Extremly logical if high int, insane no forsight.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Lack of wisdom means lack of common sense and awareness of surroundings, not knowledge of facts.


I'm going with the autistic, idiot savant type here. Whatever the character is good at, that's their specialty. I might play it like a previous poster said, as soon as he sees something that appears threatening, he shrieks in surprise and anger/fear/annoyance. This may often be the worst possible thing to do. Like autistic people often do, he will rarely even recognize that others have motivations, much less what they are. Lack of mental organization is an excellent way to play this type of individual, especially if they have other high mental scores. A high INT, low WIS character might notice a flower while in battle and he would immediately pull out a book to try to identify it. A high CHA, low WIS character might try diplomacy on the orcs charging her. It might have a not-entirely-terrible chance of succeeding, but defending yourself would probably be a better choice, especially considering what orcs might decide to do to a highly charismatic humanoid who had convinced them not to kill her.

On the other hand, a character with low WIS and high physical scores would be your typical dumb, easily manipulated fighter, a lawful stupid paladin, or a rogue who can get through a lock in 5 second flat without stopping to consider what might be waiting for her on the other side of the door.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Derro have very low wisdom scores, that works as a RAW and RAI example.


Lots of good suggestions here. However, the one thing we have to remember is how extreme of a low wisdom we`re talking about. We`re one step away from having no wisdom at all. I like the severe autism and the Derro comments. Seems like a mix of autism and madness might be fitting for a 1.

Thanks!


Musk wrote:

He folks,

One of the NPCs currently tagging along with the PCs got his wisdom lamia matriarch'ed down to 1. How should one roleplay someone with a wisdom that low?

He'll obviously have the perception of a doorknob but i'm not sure how to have him behave. A low intellect is somewhat straightforward but wisdom i'm not sure... is he non functional? insane?

Thanks

I believe that a good example of someone with low wisdom would be Temperance "Bones" Brennan from the show "Bones". She is extremely intelligent, but does not have the wisdom to pick up on nonverbal ques as well as certain verbal tones and intentions.

Silver Crusade

Bones is a good example of a low wisdom character as might be Data From Star Trek TNG.

All intellect, no common sense.

The Exchange

Wisdom of 1, to me, is River Tam from Firefly (without the assassin training).

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