Does forcing players to 'roleplay your stats' bring more emphasis on said stats?


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Scarab Sages

@malachi I have agreed with you on other points before, though perhaps not posted. So i can respectfully agree to disagree on some things. Like I said before opinions really, and those are hard to argue.
@phantom1592 - I would really want to know why you put linguistics russian on your charector sheet for a fantasy game that doesnt have it. The point was using out of charector intellect and knowledge on game checks. I might not have been too clear. I wont lie, late nights (or early mornings in my case) discussions are rife with misinterpretted things or not as clear as i would like examples.

Silver Crusade

Yeah, even though we know what we mean, this doesn't mean that the words we post do the best job of communicating what we mean, especially when tired. : )

And since it's 10:45 am here, it's about time I went to sleep.

Scarab Sages

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sleep well honored opponent.


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Malachi Silverclaw wrote:

Telling others how they should be playing their own character really is saying they they're having BadWrongFun. You don't think they're having fun right.

BadWrongFun is one of the silliest expressions I have ever heard. The GM and the group decide on the rules. The GM then enforces those rules. If a player doesn't want to follow the rules, it is the GM's responsibility to make sure they do.

If the group has decided that a 5 Intelligence cannot be role played as a genius, then that is a rule. A player cannot say "You cannot tell me how to RP my character!"

Secondly, all of this "players control everything about their characters" isn't exactly true either. The players create characters for a specific campaign. If in the campaign world, all wizards are tracked down and enslaved to protect the world from arcane magic, a wizard PC cannot choose as a background to be a friendly sort of wizard that everyone in the town likes. It wouldn't fit the campaign.

I totally understand the desire to separate stats from RP - it could potentially make things easier. It would mean that an Intelligence of 30 doesn't mean you're a genius, it just means you get a + x mod to int-related checks. Like in a video game. You can have a 550 Strength, a 475 Agility, and all it does it adjust the modifiers.

But not everyone plays like that.


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Malachi Silverclaw wrote:
Jaelithe wrote:

Actually, in the real, better story, Frodo didn't do a damned thing. Gandalf recalled the answer.

So much for that climactic point, eh?

WTF????

You've just finished telling me how awful it is to put words into people's mouths, and here you go telling prof. Tolkien that he wrote his story wrong. This is after (incorrectly) 'correcting' my spelling.

OK. First of all, calm down.

When I said, "the real, better story," I was not correcting Professor Tolkien. I was referring back to his work as "real" and "better"—to the fact that, in the original novel, Gandalf solves the problem on his own, without any input from Frodo (or anyone else, for that matter). It happens on pages 316–322 in The Fellowship of the Ring. If you don't believe me, you're welcome to look it up.

On to other matters.

Actually, "characterisation" is the British spelling, and far less common than "characterization." If you Google the "s" variant, you'll get 3,910,000 references, while "z" garners you 27,000,000—probably because the United States is far more populous than the UK, and American English thus the de facto default standard. (Employing that heroin fix of quick info, Wikipedia, also demonstrates this, in that it redirects you from "s" to "z.") If you're from the UK or the Commonwealth, I certainly stand mildly corrected, to the extent that you're simply using your own spelling, which is proper across the pond. If you're an American, though ... you're spelling it wrong. ;)

Silver Crusade

Ralif wrote:
mswbear wrote:

In all honesty role-playing your stats doesn't make a lick of sense to me. The stats are a numerical representation of the raw talent or ability that a character has.

I agree and disagree with this statement. It seems ridiculous to think that at character with a 7 strength would default to strength-based approaches to solving their problems. E.g. A portcullis is down, the character's first instinct shouldn't be to try and lift it. Instead, finding a way around or bribing someone to open it, would be more congruent with the character's makeup.

Tell that to every person in life who has either thought themselves stronger than they are or thought something lighter then it was who ended up pulling thier back out.

Ralif wrote:

That said, I have a problem with certain stats. While you can mechanically separate INT and WIS, in reality, WIS is a factor of INT. You're not going to ever meet an extremely low INT individual that is capable of making good judgements, primarily because they lack the basic faculties to assess what their senses are telling them. The usual retort to this statement is something along the lines of "well hs has common sense, just not book smarts." But INT is not about book smarts or even knowledge. It's about the ability to learn and apply reason. WIS is basically the ability to apply valuation to the reason. i.e. Is this a good idea or not. However, I think we all know someone who is extremely bright that seems incapable of thinking about consequences. The game, however, allows for a low INT high WIS character, which introduces an impossible rp situation.

My main problem with forcing players to rp stats is that there isn't a good scale for what is acceptable per stat per value. What is the difference between a 7 and 8 INT, or 7 and 12 INT? I absolutely hate it when someone tells me that my character wouldn't have thought of something I stated in-character. If a roll can be applied to a character's action brought about by an idea, then let the character's stat stand on its own. I.e. I may say something that is completely correct (science/logic-wise) that is way over my characters INT of 7. Instead of stating that I...

I agree with all of this

Silver Crusade

Tormsskull wrote:

The GM then enforces those rules. If a player doesn't want to follow the rules, it is the GM's responsibility to make sure they do.

If the group has decided that a 5 Intelligence cannot be role played as a genius, then that is a rule. A player cannot say "You cannot tell me how to RP my character!"

How to role-play scores is not a rule. Each player makes the decisions for his PC, not the DM and not the other players.

"Okay Dave, while you were getting snacks we all decided that you aren't allowed to play stupid characters anymore, because you have far more good ideas than we do, and we don't think that this is realistic."

"Well guys, I know that you made up this rule out of love and altruism, so I'll leave my character sheet here and you can tell me how I did next time I see you."

Quote:
Secondly, all of this "players control everything about their characters" isn't exactly true either. The players create characters for a specific campaign. If in the campaign world, all wizards are tracked down and enslaved to protect the world from arcane magic, a wizard PC cannot choose as a background to be a friendly sort of wizard that everyone in the town likes. It wouldn't fit the campaign.

Oh, I agree that PCs have to be created in the first place in accordance with the parameters set out by the DM; I have no problem with that in any way. What I'm saying is that when the DM is going round the table asking for declared actions, the player is the one who chooses. He can listen to all the advice he wants, but the choice is his. Of course the choice has to be possible; he can't choose to cast a spell if he can't cast spells, for example. But if I say, "Mungo the Evasive is going to tumble through the giant's space so that he can flank and allow more of my friends to flank," then the DM adjudicates the rules, I make a modified acrobatics check and the DM fairly interprets the results. What the DM does not do is say, "No, Mungo only has Int 7. He's not smart enough to think of that. Choose a different action."

I'm far from a drama queen, but if the DM insisted on that I'd pack up and leave. Role-playing quite literally is me making the decisions for my PC, and if you take that away then we're not role-playing; you are, with my PC.

Quote:

I totally understand the desire to separate stats from RP - it could potentially make things easier. It would mean that an Intelligence of 30 doesn't mean you're a genius, it just means you get a + x mod to int-related checks. Like in a video game. You can have a 550 Strength, a 475 Agility, and all it does it adjust the modifiers.

But not everyone plays like that.

I don't play like that either TBH. I do like to think about why my stats are rated so low, and what would my PC be like with those scores. What I'm trying to emphasise is that this is my choice! If someone else doesn't want to do that, I may be disappointed, may feel that they are missing out on one of the joys of he game...but it's his choice to make; not mine and not the DM's.

Silver Crusade

Jaelithe wrote:
OK. First of all, calm down.

It's okay, I've slept since. : )

Quote:
When I said, "the real, better story," I was not correcting Professor Tolkien. I was referring back to his work as "real" and "better"—to the fact that, in the original novel, Gandalf solves the problem on his own, without any input from Frodo (or anyone else, for that matter). It happens on pages 316–322 in The Fellowship of the Ring. If you don't believe me, you're welcome to look it up.

I stand corrected. It's been a long time since I read the book, and my memory is that Gandalf kept saying, "Speak friend and enter...speak friend and enter..." and trying various elven words without success, until Frodo pipes up.

Quote:
Actually, "characterisation" is the British spelling, and far less common than "characterization." If you Google the "s" variant, you'll get 3,910,000 references, while "z" garners you 27,000,000—probably because the United States is far more populous than the UK, and American English thus the de facto default standard. (Employing that heroin fix of quick info, Wikipedia, also demonstrates this, in that it redirects you from "s" to "z.") If you're from the UK or the Commonwealth, I certainly stand mildly corrected, to the extent that you're simply using your own spelling, which is proper across the pond. If you're an American, though ... you're spelling it wrong. ;)

I'm English, and the 'default' English is English. The variations of English throughout the world, no matter how widely spoken, do not make them 'default'.

This reminds me of the American custom of saying things like, "Paris, France." Paris is in France; you don't need to say it! If you're talking about some other place, then by all means say, "Paris, Texas" so there's no confusion. Unless you live in Texas, it should be clear.

I'm actually okay with our differences...until you tell me I'm speaking/spelling my own language wrong. : )


Malachi Silverclaw wrote:
Oh, I agree that PCs have to be created in the first place in accordance with the parameters set out by the DM; I have no problem with that in any way.

Sounds like we're getting closer and closer to an agreement here. So if one of the parameters that the GM & the group have agreed upon, BEFORE characters are created, is that a character's stats cannot be "flexed" into sub-stats (f/x: 5 Intelligence is actually a 10 reasoning), then a player that tries to do so would be the one causing the problem, correct?

Malachi Silverclaw wrote:
What I'm saying is that when the DM is going round the table asking for declared actions, the player is the one who chooses.

Agreed.

Malachi Silverclaw wrote:
What the DM does not do is say, "No, Mungo only has Int 7. He's not smart enough to think of that. Choose a different action."

Agreed, a GM should not say that. In a different sample scenario, however, if a PC with a 7 Intelligence was doing something that the GM deemed far above the character's Intelligence, and the group had previously agreed that "flexing" stats was not allowed, I think it would be entirely within the GM's right to say "Are you sure that Bob would think of that?"

"Malachi Silverclaw wrote:
I'm English, and the 'default' English is English. The variations of English throughout the world, no matter how widely spoken, do not make them 'default'.

American English and British English are different from one another, just as dialects of English spoken in various parts of the USA or the UK are different. Saying one is the "correct" or "default" is quite silly. English is a mishmash language that has mutated and changed so many times.


Malachi Silverclaw wrote:
I'm English, and the 'default' English is English. The variations of English throughout the world, no matter how widely spoken, do not make them 'default'.

Opinion noted. I'd say in response, generally, that Americans default to American English, and current and former members of the Commonwealth to British English. There are more American English speakers than British English speakers now, unless I'm mistaken. (Perhaps there are simply more of them using Google and Wikipedia.) If you're writing for an American audience, certain British spellings are considered incorrect, and vice versa. (I believe Paizo expects any submissions in American English, for example.) Therefore, there is clearly a substantive difference.

Of course, it's not as if I didn't understand you. (See below.)

Quote:
This reminds me of the American custom of saying things like, "Paris, France." Paris is in France; you don't need to say it! If you're talking about some other place, then by all means say, "Paris, Texas" so there's no confusion. Unless you live in Texas, it should be clear.

I consider that a slight conceit assuming the default Paris must be the one in France. There are more than 25 towns and cities named Paris in the world, all after the lucky guy who ... ahem ... picked Aphrodite and poked Helen.

I'd say it's more precise to add the nation after the city. Granted, there are times it's unnecessary, though there is a Paris in Scandinavia, if I'm not mistaken. (Some wise @$$ Dane named tiny towns up there after big European cities. I think there's a Rome, too, and maybe a London, as well.)

Quote:
I'm actually okay with our differences...until you tell me I'm speaking/spelling my own language wrong. : )

You weren't, so ... no problem. It was my own rabid nature. I've spent too much time as a professional proofreader and editor, and tend to just make corrections, which means I'm so anal I should have been in porn.

Back on topic.

I understand your perspective on the dispute. I obviously don't agree, but think we've exhaustively examined our differing takes, and neither seems to have moved from their respective position.

Thus, we've arrived at "agree to disagree."

Honestly, though, I don't think we'd have a dispute if playing, because you'd offer an explanation for your low Intelligence yet higher problem-solving capacity, and I'd say, "Knock yourself out, Mal."

I also agreed with much of Tormsskull's last post in response to you. We're not that far apart, IMO.


Jaelithe wrote:
I've spent too much time as a professional proofreader and editor

No no no, this can simply not stand:

Jaelithe wrote:
I also agreed with much of Tormskull's last post in response to you. We're not that far apart, IMO.

TormskullTormsskull

:P


Tormsskull wrote:
Jaelithe wrote:
I've spent too much time as a professional proofreader and editor

No no no, this can simply not stand:

Jaelithe wrote:
I also agreed with much of Tormskull's last post in response to you. We're not that far apart, IMO.

TormskullTormsskull

:P

Note that I edited my post. ;)


Yeah Jaelithe's right about the Gandalf thing -- I was misremembering Frodo's part in the book.

Silver Crusade

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I think that there would be no problem if we were to play around the same table. We are talking about extremes, after all.

Apart from childish 'You wouldn't do that!' arguments when we were kids, I've only had a single instance in the last couple of decades where this has come up outside of teaching people the game. My current group learned to play from me, so when I spend time on characterisation as well as optimisation they don't bat an eyelid, and when individuals seem to value it less than me then I don't tell them they can't.

The recent instance was when a guy who is usually a player was going to be the DM for a campaign in his own world, one he had been working on since 2nd ed. We simply choose whatever stats we like and have dome for years. Yes, that means higher stats than point-buy would usually get, but the DM makes sure we are sufficiently challenged.

Anyway, he'd knocked back several character concepts based on b$!*+@$#, disallowing some stuff that he later allowed to other players. I decided to go the other way and create a bard (we're playing 3.5) with the standard array, and put the 8 in Wis. I decided that my Perform skill would be (comedy), concentrating on buffoonery. Role-Playimg wise, I said that he really was a buffoon, and he didn't realise that he was a buffoon. He thought he was a mighty warrior, following in the footsteps of a father he never knew. He once amused an Orc bully with his ineptitude, after claiming that he was a Dragonslayer! How many dragons had he actually slain? Well, none yet, but it's the beginning of my career as a Dragonslayer. The Orc said that to a dragon he'd be an amuse bouche (pardon my Elvish), and from then on he called himself Boosh the Mighty!

That's the role-playing side sorted out, but since my previous concepts had been refused partly on the basis that they used rules from the Complete series of splatbooks, I made certain that Boosh was based entirely on the PHB so that he could have no objection.

He had an objection. He said that if my concept was that he didn't realise that he was spellcasting (Eschew Materials) then he'd make me roll randomly to see if my spell worked. My concept is that the actions and words that were part of his buffoonery were the Somatic and Verbal components. If someone was dazed it was because they were dumbstruck by his ineptitude. If they were helpless with laughter after he announced himself as 'Boosh the Mighty, Dragonslayer' it was because he'd spent the correct actions to cast hideous laughter and they'd failed their save.

Crucially, I didn't want him to have any rules exceptions at all! Spellcraft could still be used to realise what he was doing (although I planned to give him the Disguise Spell feat later on), skill checks would be made as normal, every single rule would be followed to the letter. It was just an interesting way to characterise those rules, using Buffoonery which is the first example of (comedy) in the Perform skill.

He wanted to apply extra rules penalties so that I had a chance to fail. I told him in no uncertain terms that my characterisation is my business, not his. He can, and should, enforce the rules, but my character is my decision.

I played him like Joxer the Mighty from Xena. He was a blast to play, and mechanically worked just the same as if I'd given him a different characterisation. It didn't affect game balance, plot, rules or anything else, and the other players enjoyed it. Even his Inspire Courage was the idea that 'Oh gods, he's at it again! Quick, pull out all the stops before something else happens!'


My personal take on the issue is to break it into categories. While the stats don't have a direct correlation with rp, they are not completely disconnected either, and they do have to match to a certain degree.

Any stat with up to a +2 or -2 modifier is close enough to normal that when normal circumstances are taken into account, rping them as normal isn't that big of an issue overall all. You get into the +/- 3 or 4 modifier range, and they definitely become noticeable and cannot be ignored, and I expect them to be played as such, though I am perfectly content to leave the precise details up to the player. You get into the +/- 5 or beyond, and not only is it noticeable, but it will get you lots of attention, both positive and negative, whether you really want it or not, unless you really take efforts to downplay the extremeness of the stat.

If a player with a 5 int wants to be a military genius, they better be prepared to back it up with a really good wisdom and/or points in profession (soldier) or something similar; that is a bit too much of a stretch without additional mechanics to support it. Similarly, if someone wants to be good looking, but shy or something like that, I expect them to rp that to the fullest, not just the positive good looking part. Likewise, downplaying a high stat takes a fair bit of effort through either mechanics or rp. In my experience, it doesn't usually take a lot to get things to match well enough. Heck, if that 5 int character wants to be a military genius, I may even give a free skill point to profession (soldier) to help them along if I feel that otherwise the 5 int is being given it's full due. It's only the players that refuse to make any connection at all between the stats and their concept that bother me; while making a direct comparison is difficult, refusing to make any comparison at all is just as problematic.


Malachi Silverclaw wrote:
Interesting character stuff

I would have no problem with that character personally. However, the difficulty comes into play when you get down to the 5 or 6 range. This is the point that you're clearly not in the band of what qualifies as normal, but you're still close enough that a lot of people still try to act as though they are. Once you get down to 3 or 4, the problem usually goes away because at that point, even the most obtuse person can understand that the stat simply does not support the concept even remotely. The challenge in that 5 or 6 range is making something distinctive without making it feel like an additional penalty at the same time, and this is only possible when the player and the DM work together. If the player refuses to come up with something on their own, or work with the DM to come up with a mutually agreed upon limitation, then the DM is usually forced to do alone to keep the other players from being shafted, and the player directly affected feels like it's an extra penalty when it fact it's something already there that they just don't want to acknowledge. For some groups, the problem range might start at 7 instead of 6, but the same concept holds true; at some point, the DM has the right and responsibility to step in and impose certain conditions if the player refuses to do so themselves. Where that point is will vary, and usually most players will figure out something if really pushed that hard, but ultimately, the player is part of a group, and his opinion is not the final word all the time, not even with his own character.

Shadow Lodge

On a slight tangent... some Paizo staff PC's are printed in the 'NPC Guide'. The last chapter of the NPC Guide has PCs that were played by some of the Paizo staff.

"This chapter is a little different from the previous ones. Paizo’s editor-in-chief James Jacobs runs a Pathfinder game set in and around Sandpoint. Six of the following seven characters are PCs played by members of the Paizo staff; the seventh is one of James’ favorite PCs from another campaign."

There are some interesting characters.

Silver Crusade

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I'm not sure how this would manifest in actual play.

I'm sure that, despite our difference of opinion on the theory of the minutiae, if we actually sat down to play we'd talk about the characterisation beforehand and it'd be clear enough before we play.

But imagine for a moment the player whose PC has Int of 5 while insisting that his character is a genius. This is quite extreme(!), I'd find it quite odd. However, let's imagine he insists.

So what? Let him imagine his PC is a genius! This mirrors the PC imagining himself as a genius. So he's deluded as well as thick! His knowledge skills would still have a -3 penalty, and he won't have many skill points to spend. Knowledge skill checks can be used untrained as long as the DC is 10 or less; General Knowledge. He'd still have a -3 penalty to those. He'd know what a dog is without a roll, but he'd be like Jade Goody:-

Wikipedia wrote:
Goody became a target of ridicule in the British tabloid press for displaying a severe lack of general knowledge for a British native. Goody thought that the English city of Cambridge was in London. On being told that Cambridge is in East Anglia, she assumed that to be abroad, and referred to it as "East Angular". Her other misconceptions included that Rio de Janeiro was a person, not a city, that Portugal was part of Spain, that the St George's Cross was not the flag of England but only the flag of London, that Aberdeen was not in Scotland and that the United States was not an English-speaking country.

While Goody was dimly aware that she wasn't the sharpest tool in the box, if she had believed she was a genius she would have been wrong about that too!

Instead of telling the player what decisions he can and can't take or telling him how he can or can't imagine his own PC, let him think and play how he wants. Nothing bad will happen. He will still fail the expected proportion of Int-based checks, the reaction of NPCs remains up to the DM combined with actual rolls based on the actual stat. The annoyance you may feel is in your own head. You can change that, and turn this into a role-playing opportunity, and that's better than telling someone else how they must or cannot play.

And that is using the ridiculously extreme as an example. Nothing bad will happen!

Silver Crusade

Jacob Saltband wrote:

On a slight tangent... some Paizo staff PC's are printed in the 'NPC Guide'. The last chapter of the NPC Guide has PCs that were played by some of the Paizo staff.

"This chapter is a little different from the previous ones. Paizo’s editor-in-chief James Jacobs runs a Pathfinder game set in and around Sandpoint. Six of the following seven characters are PCs played by members of the Paizo staff; the seventh is one of James’ favorite PCs from another campaign."

There are some interesting characters.

Could you post a clickable link for the computorially-challenged like me? : )

Shadow Lodge

contacting you via private message.


Jaelithe wrote:
There are more than 25 towns and cities named Paris in the world, all after the lucky guy who ... ahem ... picked Aphrodite and poked Helen.

I wouldn't exactly call him "lucky" ...

Silver Crusade

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137ben wrote:
Jaelithe wrote:
There are more than 25 towns and cities named Paris in the world, all after the lucky guy who ... ahem ... picked Aphrodite and poked Helen.
I wouldn't exactly call him "lucky" ...

Hehe. picked/poked. : )

It's appropriate that Paris, with his Wisdom of 3, gets mentioned in this thread.

Seriously dude! If three goddesses ask you which of them is the prettiest...! I may not know the perfect answer, but I know that answering at all is the wrong answer!

Aphrodite: Paris, does my bum look big in this? *emergency wisdom check*

So, who gets the Apple of Discord? (I mean, come on! There was a clue in the name)

Aphrodite, Athena and Hera: Oh, Mighty Zeus, which of us is the fairest?

Zeus: *makes easy wisdom check* No chance, b%!@$es! Find another mug!

Aphrodite, Athena and Hera: Oh Paris! Which of us is the fairest?

Paris: *rolls total of -3 on his wisdom check* Not sure. Get your kits off so I can get a good look! To...er...help me decide, I mean!

Aphrodite, Athena and Hera: *disrobe* Well?

Paris: Actually ladies...I mean...goddesses, no mere mortal such as myself can possibly judge such supernatural beauty...

DM: No! Your character is too foolish to say that! Choose one!

Paris' Player: Of course you realise, this means war!

Silver Crusade

Apologies to Homer, and, well, everyone.


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Malachi Silverclaw wrote:

The point-buy system is easy for wizards. Get yourself 20 Int at level one, dump any stat you like, have a better Int than the DM so he has to give you clues, without detracting from optimisation at all.

For a martial, optimising the MAD stats that they need is already harder than for the SAD wizard, yet when they dump Int you say that they aren't allowed to play, because you are the one who will tell them what ideas that they are allowed to have and what ideas they cannot have because you think they are too stupid.

Also, if they have a well thought out characterisation which includes explaining why their Int is only 7 is because, although their reasoning is okay, their learning is very poor (which shows in their choice of skills), then you say that they are lying and just want to 'get around a low Int' in a way which you don't like.

The rules are the rules. Enforce them. But there are no rules which define which ideas can be thought of by which Int score. 'You must be this smart to think of flanking, you must be this smart to think of disguising yourself as a deliveryman'.

Meanwhile, everyone with Int 16 or more knows the answer to this puzzle and no-one with an Int of 15 or less is smart enough. Any attempt to do so is blatant cheating and not playing your character right.

It's a good job no-one told that bumbling hobbit that he wasn't allowed to know the answer, or Gandalf of the Many IQ would still be stuck outside that door.

I just want to say very good points Malachi. A really fine understanding of the system demonstrated by the wizards always have high int, but that other classes can't always afford it (if you want a good archer ranger, how much int do you really have left over to buy after str dex and wis?).

Flanking, tactical choices should probably be WIS if it was going to be anything, since animals can be cunning things to fight (wolves flank) and they have decent wis but terrible int.

A complex series of actions shouldn't require an int check if it is something the character has done before or likely done in their backstory, e.g. requiring a low int rogue to make int checks to set up a very basic ambush. Just... let everyone move to their position, lol.

Silver Crusade

People trained in stuff should demonstrate skill beyond what their ability scores would suggest. If you are a 10th level martial then this is your field of expertise, your low Int (forced on you by point-buy) doesn't stop a 10th level martial being really good at fighting/small unit tactics, and it's appropriate for that player to declare smart combat actions.

If the same PC tries to do something smart outside of his field of expertise, then he rolls the check with the correct modifier for his Int score. It's really not a problem.


The problem comes up if another player is playing a genuinely intelligent character, but is not a strong rper. At that point, it can very quickly become a player issue because the player of the not so smart character ends up dominating both the spotlight time their character would normally get as well as the spotlight time that the other player would normally get, even if they are consistently failing in the process, leaving the other player feeling short changed. RP penalties, vs purely mechanical penalties, are important; they help balance out differences in player personalities the same way that mechanical differences balance out character differences. Just like mechanical differences need to be used with a bit of wisdom and constraint, RP penalties need be used wisely, but at some point, that 5 Int "genius" needs to have it made very clear that no, he really isn't a genius, and if the player continues to insist that he is, and taking half an hour as a player to describe something that the character would never be able to think of without a great deal of additional mechanical support, that additional RP penalties are necessary if that character is to remain in the party. Again, it doesn't usually take a lot; asking for a skill to be made a class skill if it isn't already and dropping a single skill point cancels out the penalty and then some and takes virtually no effort. Likewise, the player accepting that what the character thinks isn't what the world thinks, and refraining from spending too much precious game time on pretending otherwise, is a remarkably simple thing. A player running a CHA 5 character that has not invested in any charisma based skills does not need to take half an hour to try to haggle a price down when the chances of success are slim to none; simply roll it and move on in that case. To be fair, I would also say that a player with a charisma of 5 trying to play a character with a charisma of 18 should probably do the same in most cases, giving a brief summary of what the character said, but not wasting a lot of time trying to rp out the entire scene.

When it becomes clear that the rp has virtually no chance of matching the results of the dice roll, than either the rp needs to be modified or completely skipped; anything else is wasting precious game time. Similarly, pretending that every Int 5 PC is an idiot savant is also a waste of time and gets old quick.

Fortunately, in my games, it will never come up because I switched to 2d6+6 to generate stats a while ago. Keeps everyone from automatically being massively overpowered, but ensures that every PC is clearly capable of rudimentary battle tactics and other basic adventuring necessities without external help. Having an idiot savant at the table can be interesting enough for a while, but most of the time it's not really worth the extra hassle.


Malachi Silverclaw wrote:
People trained in stuff should demonstrate skill beyond what their ability scores would suggest. If you are a 10th level martial then this is your field of expertise, your low Int (forced on you by point-buy) doesn't stop a 10th level martial being really good at fighting/small unit tactics, and it's appropriate for that player to declare smart combat actions.

Smart choices working with all the knowledge currently known to the party doesn't necessarily mean complex, or even semi-complex, tactics. Expecting them to make obviously stupid decisions is not something most people would ask, but questioning their ability to see a potential ambush site, and maybe even one of the ambushers, and suddenly extrapolate not only exactly how the ambushers have laid themselves out, but exactly how to respond is quite reasonable. Likewise, acting as though the idiot savant knows exactly what their brand new wizard ally can, and will, do even though they just met the wizard a day ago, and this is their first battle together, is fair game for questioning without a decent int or wis to back up their assumptions, since the only other real support is experience with that character, something the idiot savant don't have yet. That doesn't mean that such a character can't do quite well in certain circumstances, but they still have to work within the knowledge the character would have of those circumstances; knowing an ambush is probable is not the same as knowing exactly where the ambush is, how many people are waiting, or even the most effective countermeasures for this particular ambush. If you have both low int and low wis, something not uncommon in the point buy system when making fighters, you have neither instinct nor a good memory to allow you do to much but be completely reactionary and simply power through it. If you have a good Wisdom and/or invested in the appropriate skills, the 5 int doesn't matter as much because it's not the driving factor anymore, but if you don't have either, the int 5, or possibly the equally low wis, remains the key mechanic and a major hurdle if you want to rp a battlewise idiot fighter. Which ever stat you see as the big hurdle, it's still an extreme disconnect, and one that over the long term could become a major headache.

Silver Crusade

If I'm a 10th level martial with 7 in both Int and Wis, I've still been in many battles and many ambushes, on both sides of the ambush.

If I say what my thoughts are on the disposition of the ambushers, I may be right or wrong.

If I had high Int I could say that this is why I think my guess is solid.

If I had a high Wis I could say that my instincts tell me that the best way to ambush right here is to do this, so wouldnt anyone do the same?

If I have low Int and Wis, I can say that my ten levels of experience in situations like this is what gives me a solid guess.

Even if I were first level I could say that my grandad used to tell me old war stories when I was little, no matter how poor I was in school. Combined with my martial training for the last, what, eight years? I'd have a good reason to make an educated guess.

So, yes, I have a solid role-playing reason to have a good guess at that ambush, if I want to. It's no-one else's business to tell me what ideas I can come up with as long as I'm not meta-gaming, and a good guess at how ambushes work is not like creating dynamite. I don't need to have access to knowledge that my PC cannot have had. I'm not inventing the ambush!


Malachi Silverclaw wrote:
So, yes, I have a solid role-playing reason to have a good guess at that ambush, if I want to. It's no-one else's business to tell me what ideas I can come up with as long as I'm not meta-gaming, and a good guess at how ambushes work is not like creating dynamite. I don't need to have access to knowledge that my PC cannot have had. I'm not inventing the ambush!

The bolded section is the key phrase there. If the others at the table agree with your view of what is and isn't metagaming and otherwise overboard, you're all good; if not, than it becomes a problem, and saying it's my character and none of your business is not a helpful solution. And you keep talking 10th level characters assuming they survive that long; you have to get to that level for that argument to work, and that's challenging for a low int, low wisdom fighter that thinks he's much smarter than he really is unless the rest of the party is willing to humor him, a factor which relies heavily on the other players willing to humor that player. Many parties may well be inclined to let such a character die from his own stupidity long before level 10, even if the players find the character not overly obnoxious, just because the other players can use the same argument to play their characters how they see fit, and their characters don't feel like coddling a major ego. There's a reason that I went to 2d6+6 for stat generation; having even the possibility of a 5 or lower stat PC just ain't worth the headache as a DM, at least for me. Too many people focus on either the mechanical aspect or the rp aspect and want to completely ignore the other.

Silver Crusade

'How you role-play low scores' and 'metagaming' are different subjects.

The DM can definately say that you can't invent dynamite whether your PC has a score of 5 or 25. But he can't say that ambushes are outside the range of PCs, in a game full of ambushes!


Malachi Silverclaw wrote:

'How you role-play low scores' and 'metagaming' are different subjects.

The DM can definately say that you can't invent dynamite whether your PC has a score of 5 or 25. But he can't say that ambushes are outside the range of PCs, in a game full of ambushes!

Quite right. An ambush is hardly the kind of subtle stratagem over which a DM can legitimately make a fuss.

But when the Intelligence 6's player mentions "game theory," I'm probably going to give him a dirty look. ;)

Silver Crusade

Why would a character mention game theory? The player might, OOC, but IC?


Malachi Silverclaw wrote:
Why would a character mention game theory? The player might, OOC, but IC?

I wrote "player."

Silver Crusade

Jaelithe wrote:
Malachi Silverclaw wrote:
Why would a character mention game theory? The player might, OOC, but IC?
I wrote "player."

Then the player doesn't have an Int of 6. Either that, or self-evidently Int 6 is enough to talk about game theory. Which is it?


"The Intelligence 6's player" means "the player whose character has an intelligence of 6," Mal. I considered "whose character" to be understood in context. Sorry about that.


Malachi Silverclaw wrote:

People trained in stuff should demonstrate skill beyond what their ability scores would suggest. If you are a 10th level martial then this is your field of expertise, your low Int (forced on you by point-buy) doesn't stop a 10th level martial being really good at fighting/small unit tactics, and it's appropriate for that player to declare smart combat actions.

If the same PC tries to do something smart outside of his field of expertise, then he rolls the check with the correct modifier for his Int score. It's really not a problem.

Yeah I've trained against some dense but highly experienced martial artists. They can take you apart with any number of moves, techniques or strategies because they have practiced each of them hundreds if not thousands of times.

Knowing that guards should be broken with axe kicks and that they then should target the vulnerable unprotected parts of the body does not require genius level intelligence. Flanking doesn't require 2 years of uni education or a masters demonstrating applied intelligence.

That they are dolts outside of the ring doesn't matter much. So I agree with your point there.


sunshadow21 wrote:
Malachi Silverclaw wrote:
People trained in stuff should demonstrate skill beyond what their ability scores would suggest. If you are a 10th level martial then this is your field of expertise, your low Int (forced on you by point-buy) doesn't stop a 10th level martial being really good at fighting/small unit tactics, and it's appropriate for that player to declare smart combat actions.
Smart choices working with all the knowledge currently known to the party doesn't necessarily mean complex, or even semi-complex, tactics. Expecting them to make obviously stupid decisions is not something most people would ask, but questioning their ability to see a potential ambush site, and maybe even one of the ambushers, and suddenly extrapolate not only exactly how the ambushers have laid themselves out, but exactly how to respond is quite reasonable. Likewise, acting as though the idiot savant knows exactly what their brand new wizard ally can, and will, do even though they just met the wizard a day ago, and this is their first battle together, is fair game for questioning without a decent int or wis to back up their assumptions, since the only other real support is experience with that character, something the idiot savant don't have yet. That doesn't mean that such a character can't do quite well in certain circumstances, but they still have to work within the knowledge the character would have of those circumstances; knowing an ambush is probable is not the same as knowing exactly where the ambush is, how many people are waiting, or even the most effective countermeasures for this particular ambush. If you have both low int and low wis, something not uncommon in the point buy system when making fighters, you have neither instinct nor a good memory to allow you do to much but be completely reactionary and simply power through it. If you have a good Wisdom and/or invested in the appropriate skills, the 5 int doesn't matter as much because it's not the driving factor anymore, but if you don't have either,...

Well if we want to talk about tactics and complex actions, sorry to say but really stupid kids that can hardly communicate without racial slurs can be capable of impressive tactics in online shooters. Why? Because of experience. An idiot can learn how to fight and fight well, plan, execute an operation and do their part in a team.

Humans are capable of teamwork and planning, it is as simple as that. Yes, even the slow ones, even the ones that are otherwise thick and simple.

Check out this one for more:

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/8d47332a-8d92-11e3-9dbb-00144feab7de.html#axzz2sf uG1JDs


DM Under The Bridge wrote:
Well if we want to talk about tactics and complex actions, sorry to say but really stupid kids that can hardly communicate without racial slurs can be capable of impressive tactics in online shooters.

I think one of the differences in opinion here is what a 5 Intelligence represents. I know a guy who dropped out of high school, has a very limited vocabulary, and is easily flustered by complex concepts, but If I had to guess at his Pathfinder-equivalent Intelligence score, I'd put him in the 8 range.

A 2 Intelligence is animal-level Intelligence, so what is a 3? A 5? What do you think those dumb kids yelling at you on your headset during FPS games are sporting Pathfinder Intelligence wise?

Webstore Gninja Minion

Removed some posts. Please do not copy and paste from copyrighted material.

Shadow Lodge

SOME humans are capable of team work and planning. In PF there team work feats and such that deal with this stuff. As well as archtypes that deal with tactics, so you want a low int fighter good that complicated tactics, take the Tactician.

The Exchange

As I recall charisma was about likeability both looks but also personality. In a way charisma should be a bellcurve preference of not only the three physical stats (str, dex, con) but intellect, judgement and ego (int, wis, cha).

Silver Crusade

Really appreciate you posting these! Hope you can post the rest. : )

Shadow Lodge

Sorry @Malachi,

Cant, didnt realise I was posting copyrighted stuff, actually it just didnt cross my mind. If you get a chance to read the book its pretty good.


Jacob Saltband wrote:

Sorry @Malachi,

Cant, didnt realise I was posting copyrighted stuff, actually it just didnt cross my mind. If you get a chance to read the book its pretty good.

I imagine the descriptive text is copyrighted, but the stats are most likely open content being based off of open content material.

Scarab Sages

1 person marked this as a favorite.

The only question and thing i would add to the idea that the 10th level warrior has all this experiance to allow him tactical intelligence i partially agree with. He could indeed quickly react to situations he has trained on and been involved in long and hard in. The problem would be when that wrench that thing that occurs that he has never seen before shows up. His ability to analyze and react to the new situation would not be as quick or effective.

At least from the personal experiances i have seen during my time in the army. But for you average react to contact, assault a position, move into contact sort of thing yeah they would tactically be just fine.

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