Is there really a "Bad" Stat?


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion

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In multiple threads I have looked over since the Remastered PDFs and Books began to be shipped it seemed like there was an overall theme in the background. Simple theme in MAD classes or those that use INT as their KAS (Key Ability Score) are just inherently bad since INt is a "BAD" stat to have. Why? Why, is it bad is the question.

Do people not see the value of Recall Knowledge for any casters to determine "Weakest Save"? Since the Remastered I feel as if this was a theme handed out by Paizo, that 1 action Recall knowledge attempts were a good use for 1 of your 3 actions in any given round so you may figure out rather to use Fireball or Vampiric Feast (Vampiric Touch) or perhaps a different spell to maximize damage and spell slo.

A recent thread on Investigator highlighted INT as a bad stat but i can never figure it out. They get bonus skills, languages, RK checks and their class gimmick uses INT to attack and trigger their version of sneak attack. I do not see how this is a bad thing.

Perhaps I am stuck in my own little world when it comes to building characters in this system. I tend to focus on defensive stats before STR, INT & CHA. Which if one of those are my KAS then it automatically get's focused. Which is why to me Kineticist feels almost like the ultimate balanced character. I had only needed 14 str, 14 dex, to maximize my Metal Carapace Impulse which freeded up so many more options. I had 14 str, 18 con, 14 dex, 10 int, 12 wis, 14 cha by the time that campaign ended.

Which I guess that is why Thief Racket Rogue > Investigator since y ou need only DEX which is a double dipper stat, both offensive and defensive while INT doesn't give you survivaility and that might be the issue. Three of the stats of Pathfinder are not defensive in nature. Str, Int, Cha. They are rather offensive stats in nature being able to RK or add bonus damage to melee or Demoralize/feint.

When would you ever use Int outside of of your main class gimmick in combat. Knowing all the information is useless unless you have answers. Learning the enemy is weak to silver only works IF you have silver, same with elemental weaknesses. I suppose the answer is INt is only useful still for casters to maximize their Spell Slot Resource.

What is your thoughts on INT and why many people call it a "bad stat"?


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

For some people, it seems Int is a "bad" stat because it doesn't directly contribute to combat unless the character is a caster using Int as their casting stat.

Str, Dex, Con, Wis, and Cha do: Str for melee attack and weapon damage, plus Athletics checks; Dex for AC, finesse weapons, ranged attack, and Ref saves, plus Acrobatics checks; Con for hp and Fort saves; Wis for Will saves; Cha for Diplomacy checks (with Bon Mot) and/or Intimidation checks.

It's not my opinion, but some "hard-core" optimizers don't consider Int to be "useful" unless needed for spellcasting.


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The main issue with int is that it only covers some recall checks and the other stat that is used for recall is wisdom, which also effects perception, medicine and will saves.


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The bonus skills from Intelligence never go beyond Trained. And the game assumes that all relevant skills will be boosted to Legendary if you want any modicum of success for them. Given that Trained to Legendary is a whopping 6 point differential, it's basically a Nat 20 fisher, which you already are doing anyway (in which case, why bother with the training if it doesn't change much). Even if the argument is "Well, you get access to more Trained skill activities," this still falls under the previous statement's problem, which is that in the higher levels, it falls off really fast, meaning having the capacity to do that skill activity is really, really worthless. By 10th level, Trained skills lose a lot of relevance, since the game is assuming you're running around with Master (or at the very least, Expert) skills.

The Bonus Languages aren't necessarily a bad thing, but when you have access to feats like Multilingual, and are already boosting Society as a skill (to get more out of your Multilingual feat[s]), eventually getting access to Legendary Linguist, the added languages lose value. Not to mention there are spells that fill this niche as needed.

Recall Knowledge is also iffy (even if now it's streamlined), because not all Recall Knowledge keys off of Intelligence. Society, Crafting, Arcana, Occult, and any Lore skills do, but Nature, Religion, and even Medicine do not. Speaking as someone who played an Investigator all the way up to 14th level (at which point we TPK'd), and taking all the relevant Recall Knowledge feats, the amount of times I was stymied by a lack of both skill training (i.e. scaling to Master) or by it being non-Intelligence based (and therefore not worth investing since I have other attributes to boost), was so massive that I ultimately felt like I wasted these feats, since the odds of me finding out any useful information was pointless, or we just never fought enemies of a favored subtype. (It also doesn't help that I am relatively familiar with certain monsters, meaning from a meta-game perspective, Recall Knowledge is already a pretty niche use, but even despite that, the Reason Rapidly feat was basically an action burner just for the sake of burning actions.)

The "Int to Attack," while it seems neat on paper, isn't really helpful because you are having to expend two actions for it (one for rolling, one for committing to the attack), and if you fail the first roll, you're committing two other actions to either make a piddly attack on another target, or are having to expend separate actions instead (which likely aren't offensive, or even still have their limits). Even if you succeed the roll, you're still limited to one set of "sneak attack" damage per round, while we look at Rogues who can get upwards of 3, 4, or even 5 Sneak Attacks in a round, depending on their build. And what does Investigator get for it? Not enough to warrant its significant weakness in damage.

There are definitely ways to tweak Intelligence to make it more desired (even if not right away), but as it stands, it's not very helpful, and even for classes who utilize Intelligence as a main attribute, it's feelsbad compared to other classes who use Wisdom or Charisma.


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MEATSHED wrote:
The main issue with int is that it only covers some recall checks and the other stat that is used for recall is wisdom, which also effects perception, medicine and will saves.

This has honestly become a larger frustration than I would have guessed.

My Alchemists all have been exasperated over and over, that for whatever reason, nearly half the mental areas are WIS, not INT.

In my opinion, the actual fix that is sorely needed is that "Religion Checks" ect, should allow the player to substitute the "check" for a Recall Knowledge: Religion.

You still use the skill's training modifier, but INT as the core statistic for ALL uses of Recall Knowledge.

Actual WIS "religion checks" would be limited to things like ghost Haunts and stuff, like it should be.

Right now, pf2e is still in this state where it inherited the INT/WIS split, and being an INT character is like having a lobotomy half the bloody time.

Animals, nature, ect? Why would I know anything about them? Ugh.

----------------

WIS for perception, and actual activities like Medicine, is great.

WIS for knowledge about Religion, ect, feels terrible, and keeps tripping everyone up at the table.

I'm pretty sure RAW that [check --> Recall Knowledge] is allowed, but the way the books are written do not make GMs aware of / encourage them to run tables like that.


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The core issue is that INT essentially only matters for RK and RK depends on so much more than just INT. On top of that, the two of the most common RK skills are not covered by INT. Religion (undead, fiends and such) and Nature (fey and functionally everything remotely animal related) can easily be the most relevant for en entire campaign.

Meanwhile every other stat provides multiple benefits, usually directly impacts your combat ability and is hard to impossible to build wrong.


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the entire sdciwc system are awful

half of the attribute doesn't contribute to save at all and can be dump by most class

what pillar of eternity did with attribute make far more sense


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ElementalofCuteness wrote:
I suppose the answer is INt is only useful still for casters to maximize their Spell Slot Resource.

I'm a bit confused by this. To clarify, PF2 doesn't have any way to add more slots for casters by only increasing their casting stats (Int or anything else).

Karmagator wrote:
Nature (fey and functionally everything remotely animal related)

Also elementals...

Trip.H wrote:
MEATSHED wrote:
The main issue with int is that it only covers some recall checks and the other stat that is used for recall is wisdom, which also effects perception, medicine and will saves.

This has honestly become a larger frustration than I would have guessed.

My Alchemists all have been exasperated over and over, that for whatever reason, nearly half the mental areas are WIS, not INT.

I'm a little bit interested what would you say if you've been playing Cleric (or Druid) and Religion (/Nature) worked off Int.


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Errenor wrote:
ElementalofCuteness wrote:
I suppose the answer is INt is only useful still for casters to maximize their Spell Slot Resource.
I'm a bit confused by this. To clarify, PF2 doesn't have any way to add more slots for casters by only increasing their casting stats (Int or anything else).

I think they mean that casters want to make their slot as effective as possible by knowing what saves to target, which is why they often benefit more from RK than other classes.


Errenor wrote:
Trip.H wrote:
MEATSHED wrote:
The main issue with int is that it only covers some recall checks and the other stat that is used for recall is wisdom, which also effects perception, medicine and will saves.

This has honestly become a larger frustration than I would have guessed.

My Alchemists all have been exasperated over and over, that for whatever reason, nearly half the mental areas are WIS, not INT.

I'm a little bit interested what would you say if you've been playing Cleric (or Druid) and Religion (/Nature) worked off Int.

Basically, any time someone wants, they can still make a Nature check, while Recall Knowledge becomes exclusively INT based. It is very confusing to new players that this activity does not work like all the others, and uses different key stats for different situations.

If your party is standing there trying to learn something, which is like 95% of the Nature and Religion checks, Recall Knowledge would be explicitly written to work as a substitute for the skill check, and bring INT into the equation.

Skill training w/ Religion could essentially function like a Lore training for the INT character, genuinely worth it sometimes. The training helps the INT character a little to appease the rare Haunt, but putting the knowledge into practice would still key of WIS.

And this would not take anything away from WIS characters, who can still use checks instead of Rcll Knwl.


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Whether or not a stat is “bad” is inherently subjective, because we all judge things by a different standard. However, it is an objective fact that some attributes in Pathfinder contribute broader and more significant benefits than others, and Intelligence tends to be valued as one of the weakest attributes, if not the weakest.

To proceed by elimination: Dex, Con, and Wis are generally considered the “big three” stats to max out consistently, because they affect your defenses and Perception. Dex additionally plugs into useful skills like Stealth and Thievery, whereas Wisdom plugs into Medicine and several skills used to Recall Knowledge. You can of course dump these stats, but not without significant tradeoffs and generally lesser returns, and dumping Dex and Con together is one of the few ways you can make most characters unviable besides dumping their KAS.

As for the remaining three attributes: all else held equal, Strength is considered quite useful thanks to its importance in melee damage rolls and Athletics maneuvers, Charisma is similarly considered important for social encounters, Bon Mot, and Demoralize… and then we have Intelligence. Intelligence does plug into some knowledge skills, yes, but so does Wisdom, and the best class for Recalling Knowledge does it with Charisma. Increasing your Intelligence makes you trained in additional skills, a benefit that can be replicated to more general effect with a 3rd-level general feat, and lets you know additional languages, which in most adventures is a highly situational benefit at best. Intelligence is certainly not a totally useless attribute, but unless it’s your KAS, you’re generally going to receive greater and more immediate returns if you were to boost another modifier instead.


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I think Intelligence is fine. Even at higher levels the difference between a stat roll and 2 + level + stat roll is huge, even if you have something like Untrained Improvisation that +2 alone makes it worth it. Not all DCs are going to be 30+ at high level so having more skills in which you aren't fantastical but can be decent in case you need them is useful.


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Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
The bonus skills from Intelligence never go beyond Trained.

This is the biggest issue IMO. Imagine if Con only add HP at level 1.

A fix might be something like...

Level 2: if your Int is 2 or higher, you may turn one additional trained skill into master

Level 7: if your Int is 3 or higher, you may turn one additional master
skill into expert

Level 17: if your Int is 4 or higher, you may turn one additional expert skill into legendary


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Intelligence is a great stat if you build for it. Additional Lore can cover the most common wisdom based monster categories you'll deal with in your particular campaign-- usually undead, fiend, fey, or animals. Crafting, Society, Arcana, and Occultism all tend to be high value skills in most campaigns. And usually someone needs to speak aklo or infernal or something and you basically need intelligence to do that. Your party will probably be worse off if everyone dumps it.

But if you're not doing an intelligence build, it offer less value as a secondary stat. And classes like the Inventor and Alchemist that have Int as a KAS but not an attack stat feel stretched pretty thin with the MAD.


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I think Con is a bad stat. You invest in it because you need it to stay alive, but it's purely reactive and the only reward for investing in it is "less death."


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Mellored wrote:
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
The bonus skills from Intelligence never go beyond Trained.

This is the biggest issue IMO. Imagine if Con only add HP at level 1.

A fix might be something like...

Level 2: if your Int is 2 or higher, you may turn one additional trained skill into master

Level 7: if your Int is 3 or higher, you may turn one additional master
skill into expert

Level 17: if your Int is 4 or higher, you may turn one additional expert skill into legendary

I really like this idea. If boosting Int offered a proper skill increase, rather than just trained proficiency in a skill, the attribute would become a fair bit more attractive. It would probably still remain the weakest attribute, but would at least have more going for it.

PossibleCabbage wrote:
I think Con is a bad stat. You invest in it because you need it to stay alive, but it's purely reactive and the only reward for investing in it is "less death."

Also agreed, and one of the reasons IMO to remove attributes altogether or at least seriously revise them in a future edition. Con is an entirely passive stat, but despite how boring it is, everyone increases their Con because it’s the stat that keeps you alive. It’s a bit of legacy design that ultimately does nothing to enable interesting choices, and creates a bit of thematic weirdness when even your scrawny Wizard is expected to become really hardy.

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
PossibleCabbage wrote:
I think Con is a bad stat. You invest in it because you need it to stay alive, but it's purely reactive and the only reward for investing in it is "less death."

Agree with this completely. The real problem with a low CON isn't hp, it's Fort saves, but you can build around that.

In fact, I would say that Con is that stat that can be best replaced strictly by equipment/consumables.


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I wouldn't be surprised an hyphothetic 3rd edition overhauled the amount of stats and how they work since most of the things in the Remater were made to go away from D&D, though at the same time I wouldn't be surprised they didn't because the six stats are an easy way to sell the game as a "D&D-like" (see how many people had an outrage with some Remaster changes because they removed X thing that came from D&D).

Also since it's most likely that if this were to happen Constitution would be merged into Strength, which ironically would kinda be a Dexterity buff since at least in PF2e Dex characters want to increase their Strength already (unless they are thieves) but they also obviously need Con so if you merge both together you'll be benefiting Dex characters a lot. I guess pure Str-based characters would still have both more damage and HP than Dex-based ones so that could compensate itself?

It's not like this system is going to be released tomorrow or anything, so this is literally pure speculation.


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Teridax wrote:
Also agreed, and one of the reasons IMO to remove attributes altogether or at least seriously revise them in a future edition. Con is an entirely passive stat, but despite how boring it is, everyone increases their Con because it’s the stat that keeps you alive. It’s a bit of legacy design that ultimately does nothing to enable interesting choices, and creates a bit of thematic weirdness when even your scrawny Wizard is expected to become really hardy.

IIRC they were toying around with the idea of removing attributes when the playtest was being released, but either thought it was too much of a departure from PF's roots or the fanbase pushed back. I forget which. I'm also in the no-attribute camp, and I think the climate is friendlier to removing attributes than it used to e; something to possibly see in PF3E.

Also, as much as I love being the Int-based skill monkey, I do have to admit that Int isn't that great. You do really need to build around it and make it a core of your character. Not even the alternate attribute system helped it. I think it was the only stat to remain unchanged?


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

"Bad" stat is a bit of an awkward way to phrase it, but I think it's fair to say there's a discrepancy in how different stats help you.

Dex, Con, and Wis all provide generic defensive benefits that apply to everyone, while Str, Int, and Cha primarily provide active benefits that don't help you if aren't using them (carrying capacity aside, but that's less central).

The side effects of this mean that certain stats are 'harder' to invest in if they aren't you primary stats. Not to say that you can't, but there's some natural disincentive because these stats aren't directly improving you beyond making certain skill checks better for the most part.

It also makes certain combinations of stats 'riskier' in a sense. If I want to be both Smart and Charming, that means having to worry about my saving throw progression in a way that I wouldn't have to if I wanted to be Smart and Agile or Charming and Wise or especially Agile and Wise instead.

The combination of those two factors also means certain classes have more freedom in their stat distribution. Since a Cleric runs off of Wis, they can boost all three saves comfortably and have an extra boost left over. While an Inventor runs off Int, but still wants good saves, at least a little dex for their medium armor, potentially strength for their weapon, extra con as a d8 frontliner... there's a lot more you're worried about juggling, even just baseline.

....

Con is kind of an odd stat because it's the opposite. It's important passively, but it also doesn't enhance anything you do actively. It's still 'good' in the sense that survivability is important, but it kind of sucks in that it's just something that swallows up points.

There's also a bit of a wrinkle here in that high strength characters can invest in heavy armor to somewhat supplant the need for Dex, which alleviates some of the stat problems mentioned.

Unfortunately there's no similar ability on the other end. Maybe that's what we need? A Sentinel archetype for letting one of the other mental stats take over for Wisdom's overwhelming passive benefits? Who knows.


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I don't see a stat as bad so much as a value scale and Intelligence is lower on the stat value scale as in what you get out of it for investing in it. Different stats are more valuable to different classes because some classes get far more out of a stat than others. Obviously a wizard and investigator get more value out of out of intelligence than a druid.

1. Targeting a Weak Save Not as important as spell value: I put more emphasis on the value of the spell than the targeting of a weak save. The four levels of success and failure make spells operate very differently in PF2. Thus what you target as a weak save you must think about differently.

For example, Slow usually attacks a very strong save given Fortitude is strong in a lot of creatures, but Slow works on a success. So it may still be your best spell even if it targets a strong save. Its effect is still valuable even if it works for one round, especially at higher level when you can spam it.

So your calculation for strong and weak saves must now include a 10 point scale meaning can this monster critically succeed against this spell?

It's the same way with a spell like synesthesia.

2. The Problems with Recall Knowledge: RK has several considerations.

Big one is the "This isn't an intel based skill" factor. Nature and Religion are both Wisdom based skills. Religion is highly useful against undead and outsiders. So many of the creatures you might most need to use a RK check for are based on a Wisdom based skill. You can deal with this by taking Lore Skills, but it should be taken into account.

Then you have the "Duh, obvious" use of spells. I have 5 fat bumbling looking hill giants. I'm going to try a reflex save spell first and use that as my "Recall Knowledge" check. If it brutally destroys them, then I'm right. If it doesn't, then I'll try Will. Or "Undead. Use a positive energy spell."

Then there is the "Hey Mr. Intel Guy, my sword works real nice" factor. This is when your martials don't care about a recall knowledge check and just rip the thing apart because their weapons work against it. If their weapons are working, you don't really need to worry about a RK unless something unusual happens like the monster gets up. Then your RK is going to be useful if you make the check.

There is also the "Gee, the DC is really, really high on this monster I actually need RK against" factor. You're a fighting a CR +2 to 4 boss and the RK DC on that monster is incredibly high. You can solve this somewhat by doing what The Raven Black does and take a bunch of Additional Lore skill feats for different types of monsters. But even with those Lore skills, you may miss the check.

Then there is the "This monster has no weaknesses or no weaknesses you can exploit" factor. You make your RK check and the DM gives you good information, but it doesn't really have anything weak enough to be worth knowing. You just have to beat it.

I've found the most use for RK against oozes or any strange creature that has some surprising ability to regenerate or break apart or something similar. Though with Oozes we did start smashing on them to break them apart and kill them piecemeal by drawing them to a hallway or location where they can be formed up in a line and killed conveyor belt style as they split apart.

So lookin at stats in some absolute good or bad fashion is not a great way to look at them as they are not static and stats will be valued according to what a class can get out of them. Part of the class value equation may be looking at how valuable is the main stat you use. If you heavily invest in that stat as part leveling, you'll get more out of the stat than a class focusing on a stat that doesn't provide as much value in every aspect of the game.

Liberty's Edge

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Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
The bonus skills from Intelligence never go beyond Trained. And the game assumes that all relevant skills will be boosted to Legendary if you want any modicum of success for them.

This is said all the time, but it really isn't true - a standard 10th level DC is 27, and if you're trained in an INT-based skill with a +4 in INT at that level (i.e. started at a +2, not super invested), you can buy a super-cheap +1 item bonus to the skill to end up with 10 level + 2 trained + 4 int + 1 item = +17, needing a 10 on the dice to succeed. Even at higher levels, a standard 15th level DC is 34, and if you're trained in an INT-based skill with a +5 INT, you can get a +2 item bonus for 15 level + 2 trained + 5 INT + 2 item = +24, again succeeding on a 10. I'd love for INT to give a few more skill increases over the course of the game - I like the suggestion for getting a every INT mod increase over +4 giving you a skill increase. But pretending that you need Legendary for a modicum of success just isn't true - a dirt-cheap item bonus and a decent ability score will often get you close to a 50/50 shot for on-level checks.


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Arcaian wrote:
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
The bonus skills from Intelligence never go beyond Trained. And the game assumes that all relevant skills will be boosted to Legendary if you want any modicum of success for them.
This is said all the time, but it really isn't true - a standard 10th level DC is 27, and if you're trained in an INT-based skill with a +4 in INT at that level (i.e. started at a +2, not super invested), you can buy a super-cheap +1 item bonus to the skill to end up with 10 level + 2 trained + 4 int + 1 item = +17, needing a 10 on the dice to succeed. Even at higher levels, a standard 15th level DC is 34, and if you're trained in an INT-based skill with a +5 INT, you can get a +2 item bonus for 15 level + 2 trained + 5 INT + 2 item = +24, again succeeding on a 10. I'd love for INT to give a few more skill increases over the course of the game - I like the suggestion for getting a every INT mod increase over +4 giving you a skill increase. But pretending that you need Legendary for a modicum of success just isn't true - a dirt-cheap item bonus and a decent ability score will often get you close to a 50/50 shot for on-level checks.

the problem here is that you are comparing the DCs when using an Int skill. You're basically double dipping on the bonus just to make a 50% chance, which only works on a small fraction of the available skills. Let alone that it is utterely unrealistic to have invested an extra 7 items for the extra 7 trained skills you get. Not enough investment points to cover those in a character.

Int by itself just gives training. So, if you put that trained proficiency in something like Athletics, because you want your wizard to be more athletic, it still leaves you with a terrible chance to make said level based Athletic check.

In the majority of occasions, especially in higher levels when Untrained Improv is more common, you really only getting a "+2 on 4-5 skills" from having 18-20 Int, while on the other spectrum, you are getting a +4-5 on Will saves, Perception checks, and initiative checks. While you are stat boosting the same number of skills give or take (Arcana, Occultism, Crafting, Society, lore for Int vs Religion, Nature, Medicine, Survival)

---

My own houserule is simply giving an extra Additional Lore per every +2 Int of a character.


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Arcaian wrote:
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
The bonus skills from Intelligence never go beyond Trained. And the game assumes that all relevant skills will be boosted to Legendary if you want any modicum of success for them.
This is said all the time, but it really isn't true - a standard 10th level DC is 27, and if you're trained in an INT-based skill with a +4 in INT at that level (i.e. started at a +2, not super invested), you can buy a super-cheap +1 item bonus to the skill to end up with 10 level + 2 trained + 4 int + 1 item = +17, needing a 10 on the dice to succeed. Even at higher levels, a standard 15th level DC is 34, and if you're trained in an INT-based skill with a +5 INT, you can get a +2 item bonus for 15 level + 2 trained + 5 INT + 2 item = +24, again succeeding on a 10. I'd love for INT to give a few more skill increases over the course of the game - I like the suggestion for getting a every INT mod increase over +4 giving you a skill increase. But pretending that you need Legendary for a modicum of success just isn't true - a dirt-cheap item bonus and a decent ability score will often get you close to a 50/50 shot for on-level checks.

You're acting like this requires zero/minimal investment, which is just plain untrue. There's a few issues with that being the case:

1. You are having an 18 Intelligence by 10th Level. This usually comes at the cost of other attributes not being at 18 (or higher), and is assuming you are starting with an Intelligence of at least 14 or higher, which is usually because you are invested in Intelligence due to your class. And if not, well, then that means you've dumped one of the other main attributes to reach this level, which comes at an opportunity cost that is hard to justify for what little Intelligence otherwise provides to characters in general, undermining the whole "zero investment" argument you're presenting.

2. Buying a "cheap" item does both go against your investment totals as well as your potential item "slots," meaning if you have two items that occupy the same slot (that isn't a ring, necklace, etc.), then it's competing for other items as well, which again, undermines the "zero investment" argument, because now I have to invest in a slot that I otherwise wouldn't have invested in, and if I'm already pushing my investment slots, I will have to either ditch the item bonus, or ditch one of my other investments.

3. Standard DCs aren't that standard; they kind of oxymoronic. The only times I see "Standard DCs" mentioned are in regards to class abilities requiring a DC, like the Bard Focus spells, or the Inventor feature, in which case odds are you are investing fully (or almost fully) into that to maximize the effectiveness of your class abilities, in which case, so much for "zero investment." Otherwise, looking at DCs in regards to monsters and hazards, they don't follow those rules, and things like the Rarity rules boost those "Standard DCs" into a much harder category, hence the Legendary demand. There's also the aspect of certain things outright requiring a certain proficiency to even attempt, like the checks for finding/disarming traps, or scaling effects on abilities/feat access. Guess Trained is good enough for everything, right? Let's not forget the Static DCs, which are either pretty basic and don't require any investment, or can be solved via Follow the Expert most of the time, and the other half of the time can be done via spells or other subterfuge, meaning even the argument of "invest in it for the Static DC challenges" doesn't hold water.


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pH unbalanced wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
I think Con is a bad stat. You invest in it because you need it to stay alive, but it's purely reactive and the only reward for investing in it is "less death."

Agree with this completely. The real problem with a low CON isn't hp, it's Fort saves, but you can build around that.

In fact, I would say that Con is that stat that can be best replaced strictly by equipment/consumables.

The high CON character is doing all these as well.

You need higher CON to avoid being grappled/shoved/repositioned

Also Barbarian and Kineticists have extra uses for it.


Deriven Firelion wrote:

I don't see a stat as bad so much as a value scale and Intelligence is lower on the stat value scale as in what you get out of it for investing in it. Different stats are more valuable to different classes because some classes get far more out of a stat than others. Obviously a wizard and investigator get more value out of out of intelligence than a druid.

1. Targeting a Weak Save Not as important as spell value.

Yep weakest save and immunities/vulnerabilities is only part of the consideration of which spell to cast.

Deriven Firelion wrote:


2. The Problems with Recall Knowledge: RK has several considerations.

Big one is the "This isn't an intel based skill" factor.

There are a lot of Wisdom and Charisma Recall Knowledge options. But still Intelligence is the default and is useful.

Deriven Firelion wrote:


Then you have the "Duh, obvious" use of spells. I have 5 fat bumbling looking hill giants. I'm going to try a reflex save spell first and use that as my "Recall Knowledge" check. If it brutally destroys them, then I'm right. If it doesn't, then I'll try Will. Or "Undead. Use a positive energy spell."

True but Paizo have a lot of very different monsters and a lot of their vulnerabilities are complex and you aren't typically going to find by trial and error.

Deriven Firelion wrote:


Then there is the "Hey Mr. Intel Guy, my sword works real nice" factor. This is when your martials don't care about a recall knowledge...

True if your basic martials are doing fine, then RK becomes totally optional. I still like it though as a mechanism for the GM to feed information to the players to engage them and help push the story along.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Squiggit wrote:
If I want to be both Smart and Charming, that means having to worry about my saving throw progression in a way that I wouldn't have to if I wanted to be Smart and Agile or Charming and Wise or especially Agile and Wise instead.

It depends on how you define "Charming," IMO.

Courtly Graces allows the use of Society to make an impression (normally Diplomacy) on nobles or to impersonate (normally Deception) being a (non-specific) noble and Streetwise allows the use of Society to gather information (normally Diplomacy). Granted, it costs skill feats and is more situational.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Int only granting Trained skills is only a real problem for Int main characters - getting an extra Trained skill is good at level 1, lame at level 10 and pointless at level 20.

I also think the deficiencies come from the available skill actions - Crafting it it's own system with ups and downs, Arcana doesn't get any use outside of Recall Knowledge form skill feats unlike Occultism and Religion, Society skill feats tend to be campaign specific and while Disturbing Knowledge is cool for Occultism it's way less universal than Demoralise or Bon Mot.


Intelligence was a better stat when it was what got you the best spells in the game. Wisdom used to only grant spells that maxed at lower level and charisma none at all. Problem at least partly lies with charisma being a casting stat at all


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AestheticDialectic wrote:
Intelligence was a better stat when it was what got you the best spells in the game. Wisdom used to only grant spells that maxed at lower level and charisma none at all. Problem at least partly lies with charisma being a casting stat at all

Charisma spent all of 3.x as the universal dump stat so you'd need to be very careful how you handled that.


3-Body Problem wrote:
AestheticDialectic wrote:
Intelligence was a better stat when it was what got you the best spells in the game. Wisdom used to only grant spells that maxed at lower level and charisma none at all. Problem at least partly lies with charisma being a casting stat at all
Charisma spent all of 3.x as the universal dump stat so you'd need to be very careful how you handled that.

It was still a good stat that also was used for spells among a myriad of class through out all three of the 3.x editions, including PF1. My umbrage is that I don't think classes like the sorcerer should be the best class to do bon mot and demoralize, but also have a whole suite of spells. Particularly in that I think Paladins and Barbarians should be significantly better at intimidation. Bon Mot feels rogue-ish, as in gun slingers, literal rogues and swashbucklers. Sorcerers already have the spell fear on most spell lists, they already have spells that charm people and the like. If there was a "willpower" stat, that is what sorcerers should use, if not constitution like the kineticist. Cha skills are really good, and I don't want that to change, I just think the classes best at it shouldn't be the frequently gangly nerd in the back avoiding direct confrontation at all costs. I would say that maybe this fits a particularly spooky witch to be good at demoralize, at intimidation, but the witches for whom it fits have the evil eye hex cantrip, so no need for that anyways

But my comment was about how in the brown books, 1e and 2e AD&D the semblance of balance was that clerics who used wisdom, a stronger stat, only went to 5th(in the brown books iirc) or 7th level spells in 1st and 2nd edition. Charisma was wildly powerful allowing you to get followers and the like. Whether intentional or not, making wizards not do too much of what other people did by making them use intelligence is in hindsight actually a good move


Very strangely, I quite like Intelligence.

It's mostly that Dex, Con, Wis and to a lesser degree Str are all stats that you need to increase on nearly every character. The result being that everyone's good in these stats and as such having a "high Dex" isn't meaningful at all.
On the other hand, having a high Int is meaningful, as only a few characters in the party will actually invest in Intelligence. As a result, no one will compete with you on your strong skills and you'll end up with your niche skills and abilities.

Now, I agree that I'd love some high level feats based on Int to grab some more proficiencies. It would be quite legitimate.


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I suppose it would be good option to allow intelligence to be used as main stat for recall knowledge checks for any skill


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My biggest complaint with Int is the lack of good skill feats. Crafting has some that are necessary, but feel like feat tax. Additional Lore is useful to fill the gaps for RK, but again, it feels like I'm paying just to get some decent use out of Int.

The other Int skills have one or maybe two feats each that are actually useful. And the only one that is roughly equal to something like Bon Mot is Disturbing Knowledge and that's borderline to wasting actions.


Disturbing Knowledge, once at level 15, is extremely strong and potentially a fight ender. But before that, it's rather meh.


Int based skills are really cool, and very well categorized by the system.

But the same than Int could be for Str for many characters.

What I think is that some stats are favored, granting many things in a single stat. The GMG suggests other stats, but I don't end liking it.


Quite apart from its mechanical value, I value a high Intelligence for when I want to play a…smart character. Or a low Intelligence if I want to play a simpler sort. Regardless of class. I like the different types of cleverness, knowledge, insight and intuition that Intelligence and Wisdom provide. Well beyond their so called advantages and disadvantages, these two, coupled with Charisma are incredibly valuable for defining a character’s mental and emotional persona.

Dark Archive

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Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
The bonus skills from Intelligence never go beyond Trained. And the game assumes that all relevant skills will be boosted to Legendary if you want any modicum of success for them.

Oki, why do people keep claiming this point? Its straight up not how game math works. Level 20 DC is 40. If you have +4 stat, expert skill, no item bonuses or circumstance bonuses, you succeed on dc with 12. In that scenario only thing legendary proficiency does is lower success number to 8, which you can already do with alternate ways to get bonuses or item bonuses. If you absolutely min max skills, +38 skill bonus is only "required" if you want to consistently succeed against level 25 DC 50 skill tasks.

Like yeah, don't get me wrong, legendary proficiency is super useful, but all game math "requires" at high levels is minimum bonus of around +8 from combination of proficiency and stat modifier.

And I kinda want to avoid assumption that players only face higher level challenges of skill, hazard or creature sort and thus only those are relevant when it comes to theory crafting.


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CorvusMask wrote:
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
The bonus skills from Intelligence never go beyond Trained. And the game assumes that all relevant skills will be boosted to Legendary if you want any modicum of success for them.

Oki, why do people keep claiming this point? Its straight up not how game math works. Level 20 DC is 40. If you have +4 stat, expert skill, no item bonuses or circumstance bonuses, you succeed on dc with 12. In that scenario only thing legendary proficiency does is lower success number to 8, which you can already do with alternate ways to get bonuses or item bonuses. If you absolutely min max skills, +38 skill bonus is only "required" if you want to consistently succeed against level 25 DC 50 skill tasks.

Like yeah, don't get me wrong, legendary proficiency is super useful, but all game math "requires" at high levels is minimum bonus of around +8 from combination of proficiency and stat modifier.

And I kinda want to avoid assumption that players only face higher level challenges of skill, hazard or creature sort and thus only those are relevant when it comes to theory crafting.

Game assumes you will have 3 Legendary skills at 20th level (6 if you are Rogue/Investigator), and that only 4 of your 6 attributes will be 18 or higher; this whole "+4 and Expert training" is already going against the grain because unless it is a save-based skill, you aren't likely to have +4 or higher for it, and that Expert training is likely the reason you are lacking a Legendary skill, which gives you unprecedented power with that skill via feat scaling and/or proficiency requirements. Again, for people saying they are doing "zero investment," they sure like moving the goalposts to their favor in an attempt to demonstrate their point.

As for 20th level challenges, very rarely will you be facing creatures that are also 20th level. And if they are 20th level, they are usually way overstatted for that level. The hardest fight in AoA is 3 level 20 "unique" creatures that would thrash any other equal level creature because they are purposefully beefed up compared to other creatures at that level (or even creatures of a higher level); and no, we are not talking about the Elite template.

Dark Archive

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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Dunno where you got the "zero investment" from, we were talking about the "modicum of success" thing. You DON'T need to invest to having 3 legendary profiencies. Having 3 legendary skills means you have invested to be super good in 3 skills(or perhaps its for your dumb stat, but you still want to keep rolling the skill for roleplaying reasons. Or perhaps you just wanted skill's legendary skill feats even if you never roll it) and not that good in any other skill, while game math wise its not too bad to spread them around to be like legendary in 1, and master in 6 or legendary in 1 and expert in 8+.

Sidenote, Age of Ashes isn't really best example of "standard experience"

Liberty's Edge

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Darksol the Painbringer wrote:

You're acting like this requires zero/minimal investment, which is just plain untrue. There's a few issues with that being the case:

1. You are having an 18 Intelligence by 10th Level. This usually comes at the cost of other attributes not being at 18 (or higher), and is assuming you are starting with an Intelligence of at least 14 or higher, which is usually because you are invested in Intelligence due to your class. And if not, well, then that means you've dumped one of the other main attributes to reach this level, which comes at an opportunity cost that is hard to justify for what little Intelligence otherwise provides to characters in general, undermining the whole "zero investment" argument you're presenting.

2. Buying a "cheap" item does both go against your investment totals as well as your potential item "slots," meaning if you have two items that occupy the same slot (that isn't a ring, necklace, etc.), then it's competing for other items as well, which again, undermines the "zero investment" argument, because now I have to invest in a slot that I otherwise wouldn't have invested in, and if I'm already pushing my investment slots, I will have to either ditch the item bonus, or ditch one of my other investments.

3. Standard DCs aren't that standard; they kind of oxymoronic. The only times I see "Standard DCs" mentioned are in regards to class abilities requiring a DC, like the Bard Focus spells, or the Inventor feature, in which case odds are you are investing fully (or almost fully) into that to maximize the effectiveness of your class abilities, in which case, so much for "zero investment." Otherwise, looking at DCs in regards to monsters and hazards, they don't follow those rules, and things like the Rarity rules boost those "Standard DCs" into a much harder category, hence the Legendary demand. There's also the aspect of certain things outright requiring a certain proficiency to even attempt, like the checks for finding/disarming traps, or scaling effects on abilities/feat access. Guess Trained is good enough for everything, right? Let's not forget the Static DCs, which are either pretty basic and don't require any investment, or can be solved via Follow the Expert most of the time, and the other half of the time can be done via spells or other subterfuge, meaning even the argument of "invest in it for the Static DC challenges" doesn't hold water.

We've moved the goalposts quite a distance from 'legendary is required for a modicum of success'. Yeah, one needs a decent ability modifier to have reasonable chances of success with a trained skill - but it's not like you'll only have one ability score modifier around the value I listed. By 10th level, you're likely going to have 3-4 ability modifiers of +3 or higher - that's starting with a +1 mod at level 1. Succeeding on an 11 instead of a 10 is still a 50/50 shot of success, and between the 3-4 ability scores, you've likely got more skills with good ability scores than trained skills, unless you're a class like rogue which gets a huge amount of trained skills. Eventually you would run into issues with investment, though I haven't seen the limit get approached too often in the tables I play at. If you want to replace the item bonus in the maths with a circumstance bonus from an Aid, those will often be available from someone in the party so long as the GM isn't restrictive in how one can assist, in my experience.

With regards to the standard DCs, that must be something that varies substantially from table to table. Most of my experience - both playing and GMing - has been converting PF1 modules and adventure paths across to PF2, mostly with the GM doing it with some rough prep but a lot of improvisation. Using the DC-by-level table/the simple DCs come up frequently, especially using the easy/hard modifiers from them. It means trained skills continue to be quite relevant, as shown by the maths here. I do agree that trained skills become infrequent in their use against monsters, unless they're a level or two below you and it's a weakness. Using that +17 on the skill check at level 10, a level 9 creature with a moderate save for a defence will have a DC of 28, so you're still at a 50-50 shot - but the reality is that it's rarely worth the action cost for a 50/50 shot against a weaker enemy. I'm not arguing that trained skills are secretly incredibly valuable, but I continue to see them get usage in non-combat situations for all the levels I've played/run the game in. I imagine that would be less true the more heavily coordinated one's party is on skills - if you work in character creation to ensure all the useful skills are covered well, trained skills will be harder to justify outside of checks everyone needs to make, where Follow the Expert is likely to do the work it needs for the most part.


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CorvusMask wrote:

That was my argument though, dunno where you got the "zero investment" from. You DON'T need to invest to having 3 legendary profiencies. Having 3 legendary skills means you have invested to be super good in 3 skills(or perhaps its for your dumb stat, but you still want to keep rolling the skill for roleplaying reasons. Or perhaps you just wanted skill's legendary skill feats even if you never roll it) and not that good in any other skill, while game math wise its not too bad to spread them around to be like legendary in 1, and master in 4 or legendary in 1 and expert in 8.

Sidenote, Age of Ashes isn't really best example of "standard experience"

I disagree. Plenty of things in this game requires a minimum proficiency to attempt things related to skills, and when you have 4 players in a party, that is 12 Legendary skills (if not more with a Rogue/Investigator in the party). When the cost of Expert skills is the denial of Legendary skills, it's extremely hard to justify those costs when the hardest content demands Legendary skills.

If a published official Paizo AP does not count as a standard experience then any relevance of standards likewise can be dismissed, including your "standard DCs." Really, the only reason that AP didn't end in TPK right there was specifically because of the non-standard effects we had; I am willing to admit that without the added "buffs" the AP provided, it would probably TPK any party.

Dark Archive

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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Hmm, I dunno how often it comes up that party can't attempt x at all because they don't have specific legendary skill without there being alternative master skill available?

Dude, we all know here Age of Ashes was designed before developers knew what the math was :P

That and we also know that adventure developers aren't rule team developers. Unlike what you'd think, they aren't actually required to know the math, just like home table gm isn't ;P


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I think part of the issue here is that the flat bonuses the stats provide simply aren't as engaging as how stats in many other systems directly affect things like dice pools. I can see some arguments for eliminating attributes altogether but, attributes are often considered an important aspect of character building since they speak to characters' natural talents.

A happy medium might be to adapt a 4 attribute system like Essence20 did. You have a strength/toughness stat (combining strength and constitution together), an agility stat (basically a slightly expanded dexterity), an intellect stat (combining intelligence and wisdom), and a social stat (an expanded charisma). Instead of flat X+int skill points, each attribute's value contributes skill points towards related skills directly. IMO, the skills themselves could be radically overhauled to support this.

A bit of history here, the skill systems PF2.r uses are not particularly different from the D&D3.5 skill system, which themselves realized a beefing up of the under-developed skill system that was present in (A)D&D2. At its root, it's basically almost 40 years old. Which is part of the reason it's causing dissonance with the more contemporary aspects of PF2.r's system.

A radical overhaul would also allow the developers of a notional PF3 to implement a robust social "combat" (conflict is probably a better word) a la the one FFG's Genesys system employs. Having a robust system for characters talking NPCs out of shooting them or even defeating them with verbiage opens some pretty huge character and role-play possibilities. Genesys might not be the world's most spectacular system but it does have some fresh and interesting ideas. (I wouldn't be sad to see such a system prototyped with SF2's Envoy class playtest, whenever that happens. And honestly, alt attribute/skill systems could be playtested and make an appearance in a notional SF2 GM guidebook...)


The most common is with Perception/disabling for hazards, but also access to skill/class feats, scaling of existing feats, etc. To suggest it hasn't happened usually is because you actually boost the right things to proper proficiency. It has happened several times in our AoA playthrough, and to this day I have had to solve our trap-based problems with unconventional means (summons, disintegrates, etc).

I really don't think that should be a valid excuse to discount it, especially since AoA isn't the only AP that would prove extremely deadly.

AP writers aren't expected to balance encounters, but I imagine that the publishers (i.e. Paizo) would look it over and balance an encounter based on what the AP demands. At best we can argue that Paizo didn't have the best grasp on their system, which is understandable, but that is true regardless of this AP, and there are things currently which still make me scratch my head.

Vigilant Seal

There's no bad stat per se but there are clearly some stats that are more powerful than others and more favorable to have as your key attribute - dex and wis are at the top of the tree since they govern saves and AC/perception as well as boosting skills with excellent skill feats, then con because every PC wants hit points and good fort saves, then str/cha, and finally int.


SuperBidi wrote:

Very strangely, I quite like Intelligence.

It's mostly that Dex, Con, Wis and to a lesser degree Str are all stats that you need to increase on nearly every character. The result being that everyone's good in these stats and as such having a "high Dex" isn't meaningful at all.
On the other hand, having a high Int is meaningful, as only a few characters in the party will actually invest in Intelligence. As a result, no one will compete with you on your strong skills and you'll end up with your niche skills and abilities.

Now, I agree that I'd love some high level feats based on Int to grab some more proficiencies. It would be quite legitimate.

This is an interesting case study.

It's the perfect example of a meta game argument.

Essentially, "INT is good because it's bad, because no one else wants to use it."

In terms of fighting games, it's like the (real/valid) argument that while Character SmartyPants is quite bad on paper, because they are a good counter to the S-Tier that is top 8 in every tournament, SmartyPants is "better," and should be ranked higher in the tier list.

-------------

Except, this is not a PvP game. And if objective assessment is the goal, such meta game arguments must be explicitly identified and put to the side as valid, but irrelevant to the topic at hand.

Yes, being the one character to specialize in INT has its perks, and gives you a niche.

No, that does not mean that INT's comparative value to the other attributes is improved.

The "it's so bad it's actually good!" phenomenon directly arises from meta game maturation, that players avoid worse choices.


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I wouldn't say that. Ultimately, somebody in the party needs int because you need to cover all the skills for hazards and non-combat checks if nothing else. It's just that int doesn't do much else, so there's little value in having multiple party members invest in it.

And a game doesn't need to be PvP to have a metagame. Every game has a metagame. Pf2 is no different.


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I haven't said that Int is good but that I quite like it.

I also agree with Gesalt: Ultimately, someone will have to be good in Int for the party to cover all skills.

So if you increase Dexterity, you increase saves (a bit AC) and a few skills, but you don't bring much to the party as these skills will mostly be used for personal uses and not really for party uses (unless you also invest heavily in them through proficiency increases).
If you increase Intelligence, you increase a few skills that will be necessary to the party.

In PF2, there is a "meta" for character building but also a "meta" for party building. And if everyone follows the meta for character building the party ends up being weak.

Does it make Int "good"? Maybe it's not the proper word but ultimately someone will have to like it. It's often me in my parties and it's fine for me: I like to be the best in a few skills even if it comes at the cost of a lower Save.


SuperBidi wrote:

I haven't said that Int is good but that I quite like it.

I also agree with Gesalt: Ultimately, someone will have to be good in Int for the party to cover all skills.

So if you increase Dexterity, you increase saves (a bit AC) and a few skills, but you don't bring much to the party as these skills will mostly be used for personal uses and not really for party uses (unless you also invest heavily in them through proficiency increases).
If you increase Intelligence, you increase a few skills that will be necessary to the party.

In PF2, there is a "meta" for character building but also a "meta" for party building. And if everyone follows the meta for character building the party ends up being weak.

Does it make Int "good"? Maybe it's not the proper word but ultimately someone will have to like it. It's often me in my parties and it's fine for me: I like to be the best in a few skills even if it comes at the cost of a lower Save.

Pretty much this. Int and Cha are very similar in many ways. And the most important is that you're kinda screwed if someone in the party doesn't have them.

Honestly? As a party you can do without Str and Athletics much more easily than Int, even if many martials like having some Str for damage boosts.

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