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A new look at how intelligence can create and develop characters

   
A new look at how intelligence can create and develop characters

I was reading this article, and it seemed rather insightful to me (in an over-use of dropping F bombs kinda way; try to ignore that part, sorry).

Thought I'd try to design a character building/progression system around it.

Intelligence - Basically, you're stupid until you're smart. This means rolling against the chaos and eliminating the ability to make mistakes. Intelligence gives you some defense against mistakes. Basically, roll what you know initially and then go from there.

In an adventure, you might get an intelligence pool and spending it to 0 means you're spent for the day - each time you learn something (or maybe try if it's something difficult or plot related), roll 1d6, and this drains your intelligence pool by the rolled value. You must analyze to learn more about something in order to know the answer to it. Resting restores your intelligence pool.

Questions and answers include anything - Ie. How to cast a new spell or fighting move. Based on how the world might work, the GM can impose a variety of rules. In a certain scenario, you might not be able to employ a fighting move, and casting a spell multiple times in a single day might require extra pre-preparation incantations that you simply do not know, because you're stupid! So yeah, everyone is stupid and you're only as intelligent as you are lucky or willing to learn something new (however you might want to explain the intelligence pool system).

Becoming a factotum under this system, or being able to recall a wide variety of facts on a single subject would be more of a perk or a feat or class feature.

If you need other stats...

Perseverance
- Resist frustration and avoid the emotional reaction that occurs with causality (it's in page 2 of the article). Could be a character feature that lets you try again.

Attention - How to heed your gut responses and know that something is a bad idea before you try it out. I dunno how this'd work - drunk driving with a bus is too obvious an example of bad idea... Another thing Attention can do is you might be able to assess that something is particularly difficult, or how skilled you are, relative to other characters.

Ego - Maybe, everytime you accomplish something new and that seemed difficult, you're ego will inflate itself. This is, outlined in the article, a stupidity response, so it might make other things that are difficult seem less difficult, and then upon failure, you become more easily frustrated ("I thought I was awesome! Darn it."). In social encounters, you might have to voluntarily inflate your ego in order to have the gall to intimidate or pursuade or annoy an NPC.

Another idea could be that ego is what regenerates your intelligence pool, however it could also be happiness. Whatever restores confidence in your ability to handle a challenge. In order to reduce ego, you need to humble yourself in some way, and hope that it doesn't totally depress you. Sometimes, the GM might control characters by making them get confident about only handling certain challenges (the ones they are fed up with not having handled).

Personally, I have always had a sharp eye on the mental statistics. They do not transfer to roleplay well at all. When we involve ourselves in escapist fantasy it's fun and easy to imagine we can jump further, run faster, not tire easily, don't carry a belly, etc. The physical traits makes sense for that dissociation. The mental ones far much less so.

Take if you will the typical party and some negotiation. The supposedly charismatic player insults everyone and actually intentionally spars with the GM's campaign plot but then says, "Hey I have a 20 charisma, he is ready to sell me his sister!" IF and I say here again IF you buy into the whole hey this is escapist fantasy and I play my character's charisma not mine, then you have to accept that. In fact, the player need not write what they say at all (oftentimes that would help). They just need to say what they are trying to accomplish with their charisma and skill. For me, this ABSOLUTELY RUINS the fun. I want to know what the PLAYER is going to say. For me, the mental characteristics need to be defined as <PLAYER>.

It's the same way or even more so with intelligence. When you present a riddle why can't a 22 intelligence player just immediately solve it? In truth, they probably could. So, as a GM, again, if you buy into that roleplaying concept of a player can play a character many times more intelligent than they are, then you must accept that to some extent. What about the reverse situation? When a super intelligent character run by a not so bright player does something a trained border collie would consider ill-advised? It could happen, but really, not often and typically only if mitigating psychological factors were invovled for motivation. Anyway ...

My solution is this within my own system and often even in campaigns that have the intelligence and charisma statistics:

Intelligence - becomes arcane power - Power
Wisdom - becomes spiritual power - Spirit
Charisma - becomes social power - Influence {like the family is wealthy or influential but maybe hated instead of liked.}

Now all of a sudden the player's intelligence and charisma and wisdom are the players own and everything makes MUCH more sense. Most game systems still allow for this flexibility easily although it changes the other things the statistics do (which usually also helps the system anyway, IMHO)

Size is another physical statistic that makes plenty of sense and split from constitution which means more health.

Willpower is one that fits in many cases also. This is more a physical assertion of will. Not directly related to health - constitution, or size per say.

Perception can work with the Power statistic I created in the post above to take on awareness.

These are the statistics for my homebrew game system:

Strength
Constitution (primal source bonuses)
Size

Dexterity
Agility
Speed

Power
Spirit
Willpower (martial skills and homebrew psionics)

Influence (divine source bonuses)
Beauty
Perception (arcane source bonuses)

Quote:
Strength
Constitution (primal source bonuses)
Size

Dexterity
Agility
Speed

Power
Spirit
Willpower (martial skills and homebrew psionics)

Influence (divine source bonuses)
Beauty
Perception (arcane source bonuses)

Here's an idea:
Make the two stats below the other stat derivative. Size is derived from strength, as is constitution (hit points as well as a save), and if you feel like it, you could include other derivatives such as encumbrance and movement speed (strong legs make you move faster, as opposed to acrobatic talent or whatever may be attained from dexterity). Same goes for influence, and dexterity - each have their derivatives. For dexterity, it could be acrobatics, sneak, reflex (a save), and proficiency (proficiency is over all fighting skill, which includes being able to dodge).

Rename power mental power or mana or something (better to not confuse it with strength). Mana would be a function of turns it takes to recover, and casting a spell sacrifices turns. So, ie. 20 turns of mana means that it needs 20 turns to recover fully if fully empty. Remove spirit. Just make different spell casting classes have different ways of getting their spells (wizards use scrolls and books, clerics meditate, sorcerors sleep, etc.), and all the rest is fluff. For big 'once per day/long period of time' spells, establish mana benchmarks. After 30 turns of recovery, you need to drink a potion or read a scroll or burn a rune or go to sleep to begin recovering the next 'notch' or benchmark.

For intelligence: I'm thinking maybe of social situations being separate from intelligence. And it's easy enough to make puzzles impossible to solve without actually solving the puzzle with a dice roll. Because intelligence no longer exists - it's just mistake defence, rather than how much you know. Re-read the OP.

I agree completely with Series's issues raised. I can suspend my disbelief with orcs and dragons and magic...but a supposedly-high intelligence PC who cannot spell or use apostrophes? That, I fear, is well beyond my imaginative powers

Quote:
Originally Posted by Raistlinmc View Post
I agree completely with Series's issues raised. I can suspend my disbelief with orcs and dragons and magic...but a supposedly-high intelligence PC who cannot spell or use apostrophes? That, I fear, is well beyond my imaginative powers
I can't read beyond the obvious sarcasm, so what do you REALLY mean?

Meh.





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