Doing away with INT/WIS/CHA

Nevvur

Explorer
It should go without saying that just because you and your character share the same knowledge doesn't mean you acquired it in the same way. In defense of the 'really bad' idea, I think there's much fun to be had improvising explanations for how Thag the Dumb knows enough astronomy to solve the puzzle, or how Ken the Chaste knows everything about BDSM. It's a different type of role playing, for sure, but not inherently bad.
 
It should go without saying that just because you and your character share the same knowledge doesn't mean you acquired it in the same way.
Prosaically, I figured that if you knew something from reading the books (or experience playing other characters in the past), your character knew it from listening to legends and stories of more experienced adventurers or the like.

In defense of the 'really bad' idea, I think there's much fun to be had improvising explanations for how Thag the Dumb knows enough astronomy to solve the puzzle, It's a different type of role playing, for sure, but not inherently bad.
Hey, just because you don't talk doesn't mean you know nothing about astronomy.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
It also peeves me a little that, "your character can't do that, she's not strong enough.' is seldom objected to, but, "your character can't do that, she's not smart enough." is almost always met with, 'stop blocking my agency!" but that might be an discussion for another thread.
Are you sure blocking of Charisma happens I read even if it's to their own detriment... Your warlord/bard/inspiring leader cannot do that who gets to say if my character is inspired or not.
 

Aldarc

Adventurer
Overall, [MENTION=996]Tony Vargas[/MENTION], I don"t think that your point of contention in this thread is that far removed from several of the talking points of the OSR movement that tend to focus on player skill rather than leaning on character mental and social abilities.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Overall, @Tony Vargas, I don"t think that your point of contention in this thread is that far removed from several of the talking points of the OSR movement that tend to focus on player skill rather than leaning on character mental and social abilities.
Oh I am sure that is perhaps some of the inspiration - So, topics that have come up tangentially in other threads have given me a really "bad idea. "

One of the points of playing characters is to play characters who are not you trying to do it better instead of not at all might be the "good idea" which has largely driven game design away from the OSR arena.
 

Spohedus

Explorer
You still have to have INT/WIS/CHA for NPCs and monsters for the DM to properly play them and resolve interactions, so you couldn't truly get rid of these stats. I suppose I could rename them red, white, and blue if it made me feel better, but renaming them doesn't really change the game mechanics or how interactions are resolved.
 

Jer

Adventurer
That's a generally good way of handling checks, but it can be criticized as reducing the player's 'agency' in his character, and any sense of immersion, as the player is left unable to make more choices for the character than general objectives.
I'd like this unpacked a bit, because I don't get that criticism. With an approach of "wait until you see if you succeed or fail at a roll and then narrate why you succeeded or failed" I would argue the player has ALL of the agency. If anything I could see a criticism that it takes the control away from the DM, as the DM has to give up some control over how information flows in their world to give the players room to improvise those kinds of checks.

Of course where actual puzzles are involved I do have to admit that I don't handle things this way - at my table I will generally put the puzzle in front of the players and let them figure it out because one of my players absolutely loves doing that sort of thing and the rest of the group at least tolerates it, even if they don't enjoy it quite as much. So the "die roll" mechanic is replaced with a "which player actually figures out the puzzle" - so the narration is more about why the character being played by that player was able to figure it out first. (Which leads to a lot of fun for me as the DM as the player usually inserts some factoid into their background that we didn't know about before and I take some notes to reflect on later to see if it's worth bringing that in as a plot element...)
 

Jonathan Tweet

Explorer
Replace INT, WIS, & CHA with:

RES: Resistance. This is your innate resistance to magic and other bad things happening to you little mind. Whenever the game calls for you to make an INT, WIS, or CHA save, you use your RES, instead.

FTH: Faith. This your connection to the divine and spiritual. When spellcasting or other supernatural class abilities call for WIS and/or CHA, use FTH, instead. (Yeah, Paladins should be happy with that.)

POW: Power. This is your innate magical power, When spellcasting or other supernatural class abilities call for INT or CHA, use your POW, instead.
Mechanically this change seems to work for handling supernatural for offense and defense, and it's sure worth a try. As the guy who switched the 3E first-draft sorcerer from Intelligence to Charisma, I would miss the distinction between the bookish wizard and the flashy sorcerer. More generally, Int, Wis, and Cha represent real-world qualities (however imperfectly), and these feel like game-mechanics stats rather than ways to describe a person.

That said, there are real problems with statting up a a character's intellect, intuition, and social ability. Players dump bad scores there, and then the whole table suffers either from a character with low mental abilities or from a player who doesn't roleplay the character's low "mental" stats.
 
You still have to have INT/WIS/CHA for NPCs and monsters for the DM to properly play them and resolve interactions, so you couldn't truly get rid of these stats.
Just as the players provide mental capacities for the PCs, the DM does for the whole world.
Not really any more daunting than DMing in general...
 
Overall, [MENTION=996]Tony Vargas[/MENTION], I don"t think that your point of contention in this thread is that far removed from several of the talking points of the OSR movement that tend to focus on player skill rather than leaning on character mental and social abilities.
Just sort of a logical conclusion of those talking points.

I'd like this unpacked a bit, because I don't get that criticism. With an approach of "wait until you see if you succeed or fail at a roll and then narrate why you succeeded or failed" I would argue the player has ALL of the agency. If anything I could see a criticism that it takes the control away from the DM, as the DM has to give up some control over how information flows in their world to give the players room to improvise those kinds of checks.
I phrased it "can be critisized" because I'm not terribly convinced of the criticisms, myself. ;)

The key loss of agency isn't in portraying the character, which, if anything, can be done more convincingly, but in influencing success/failure. When you declare an action in detail, you can possibly convince the DM to narrate success, call for a check you're better at, or set a lower difficulty.

From the immersion standpoint you want to narrate what your character is doing, rather than has done.
 

DMMike

Game Masticator
+1 for POW. Every game should have that attribute.

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From the immersion standpoint you want to narrate what your character is doing, rather than has done.
Does this mean that the DM takes the wheel after the roll has been made? Because I feel much more immersed when I stay in the driver's seat.
 
Mechanically this change seems to work for handling supernatural for offense and defense, and it's sure worth a try.
Driving the math of mechanics for supernatural powers seems to be the main thing that mental stats /do/ in D&D, that couldn't be resolved via player interaction with the DM. ("Just roleplay it," we'd've said.)

More generally, Int, Wis, and Cha represent real-world qualities (however imperfectly), and these feel like game-mechanics stats rather than ways to describe a person.
That said, there are real problems with statting up a a character's intellect, intuition, and social ability. Players dump bad scores there, and then the whole table suffers either from a character with low mental abilities or from a player who doesn't roleplay the character's low "mental" stats.
Those are some of the sorts of symptoms/complaints that I happened to run into in a few different threads and prompted the idea (and, it's not a new idea, obviously).

For me, the point of having mental stats, skills, and the like, is that I can play a character who is very different from myself - like a zealot with unshakable faith or a dashing swashbuckler most people can't help but like immediately - not just who has different practical capabilities - like being able to swing an improbably large sword without falling over, or being able to throw balls of fire & bolts of lighting. As a player, it seems like a feature - when it works.

But, as a DM, when it doesn't work, it seems like a problem I could just get rid of, entirely.

As the guy who switched the 3E first-draft sorcerer from Intelligence to Charisma, I would miss the distinction between the bookish wizard and the flashy sorcerer.
I'd certainly be curious to hear more about the development of the Sorcerer.

It /seemed/ at first glance like a class that existed only to introduce a less-Vancian spellcasting mechanic (but, not, surprisingly, the ubiquitous-in-the-80s 'mana' or spellpoint systems). Yet, it could be used to build much more interestingly-defined, genre-appropriate-seeming magic-using characters than the wizard could. Mainly, I guess, because of the spells known limitation. (All wizards tended to gravitate towards the most mechanically valuable spells for the expected challenges of the coming day, while a given sorcerer had to find ways, often sub-optimal, to overcome challenges with his personal spells known).
 

Jonathan Tweet

Explorer
I'd certainly be curious to hear more about the development of the Sorcerer.

It /seemed/ at first glance like a class that existed only to introduce a less-Vancian spellcasting mechanic (but, not, surprisingly, the ubiquitous-in-the-80s 'mana' or spellpoint systems). Yet, it could be used to build much more interestingly-defined, genre-appropriate-seeming magic-using characters than the wizard could. Mainly, I guess, because of the spells known limitation. (All wizards tended to gravitate towards the most mechanically valuable spells for the expected challenges of the coming day, while a given sorcerer had to find ways, often sub-optimal, to overcome challenges with his personal spells known).
Not much to say. Rich Baker created the original sorcerer as basically a variant wizard with different spell-casing rules, and I suggested we switch the main ability from Int to Cha to create more differentiation. A "spell point" system appeared with the psionicist, and it had the drawback that the player could cast a top-level "spell" every round and burn through their resources too fast. 13th Age has a cool sorcerer with the ability to "gather power" for a round in order to cast a double-strength spell. I love the feeling of a delayed, double-power spell because it makes magic feel different from and more powerful than mundane attacks, and I first started experimenting with it in my home-brew Tekumel campaign from 2007.
 
Not much to say. Rich Baker created the original sorcerer as basically a variant wizard with different spell-casing rules, and I suggested we switch the main ability from Int to Cha to create more differentiation.
Where did the "Blood of Dragons" bit come from?
That innate-magic schtick has kept the Sorcerer going for 2eds now, in spite of it's original variant-spellcasting being moot.

A "spell point" system appeared with the psionicist, and it had the drawback that the player could cast a top-level "spell" every round and burn through their resources too fast.
Oh, I'm familiar with that issue, though the main symptom wasn't burn through resources too fast, so much as burn through challenges too easily. ;)

I first started experimenting with it in my home-brew Tekumel campaign from 2007.
Ooh, Tekumel. I never got to play EPT - barely got to glance through it, really - the system didn't stand out but the setting sure did. I did read the novels when they were published, though.
 
That's the whole point, they're meant to remove any modeling of the PC's mental faculties that may be different from the players. It's a radical narrowing of scope.
Which is a step in the wrong direction. An imperfect job of modeling mental faculties is still infinitely better than none.

Tony Vargas said:
Heh. Or it's the whole point of roleplaying, depending on who you talk to. If you're playing a PC who is mentally very different from you, you have to run it from the outside, you can't just apply your brainpower to solving a puzzle, you have to think how your dense barbarian or brilliant wizard might solve it, then probably go to a resolution mechanic that takes you out of the moment, breaking your immersion. While if all puzzle-solving is done by the player, the player stays in the fiction when solving puzzles. Same applies to all uses of mental stats.
Part of the appeal of many role-playing games is the tactical challenge or puzzles. Having some of these apply to the player rather than the character doesn't make it somehow a good idea to completely discard character; though there are games systems that reduce puzzles to a set of skill challenges. Generally, IMO, to their extreme detriment. A certain suspension of disbelief is usually necessary ANYWAY to keep the game experience fun for the players if not for basic world-building. For example, it's not that exciting to play out periods of excessive repetition or waiting for representative periods of time - even if that's more realistic or internally consistent. It's reasonably simple most of the time to run a player's ideas through the character's personality, abilities, or experience.
 
Which is a step in the wrong direction. An imperfect job of modeling mental faculties is still infinitely better than none.
You'd think, if the point were to enable play of PCs who are /different/ from the players when it comes to those faculties.

But, I got hit by a few cases of people very much not embracing that point, lately, and realized, hey, I've actually heard rather a lot of that 'tude over the years. It wouldn't be /that/ hard to accommodate...

Part of the appeal of many role-playing games is the tactical challenge or puzzles. Having some of these apply to the player rather than the character doesn't make it somehow a good idea to completely discard character
Why not? You no longer have to worry about /which/ use the player's puzzle-solving skills or tactical acumen and which don't, there's never a bait-and-switch where you do something that should succeed under the one assumption, only to have it fail because of the other. Eliminates a lot of potential controversy & confusion.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Not much to say. Rich Baker created the original sorcerer as basically a variant wizard with different spell-casing rules, and I suggested we switch the main ability from Int to Cha to create more differentiation. A "spell point" system appeared with the psionicist, and it had the drawback that the player could cast a top-level "spell" every round and burn through their resources too fast. 13th Age has a cool sorcerer with the ability to "gather power" for a round in order to cast a double-strength spell. I love the feeling of a delayed, double-power spell because it makes magic feel different from and more powerful than mundane attacks, and I first started experimenting with it in my home-brew Tekumel campaign from 2007.
Yes the multi-round build up can be pretty cool but of course it can also branch into mundane attacks which are combos and a simple form of which might be where your first component action is just scanning for the best opening (maybe while simplistically responding to an easier one in 4e making only a basic attack or giving the effort full attention and you only do moves and defenses and the like).

However Magic has a heritage of flash/snap back that can even be injurious as a follow up for instance casting the sleep spell makes you groggy in the round after but then again a martial type could invest so heavily they throw themselves off balance.
 

ParanoydStyle

Peace Among Worlds
I see we're thinking along the same lines, but I don't necessarily object to the implementation of all three of those abilities/attributes equally.

Intelligence is probably the one I could make the strongest case for staying the way it is. It is true that playing a smarter character won't make a player make smarter decisions, but to me that paradox is specifically the problem with Wisdom, not Intelligence. If something 'should' occur to a high-Int character that simply isn't occurring to the player, I would say that it's within the DM's mandate to either present that option to the high-Int character straight out, or at least allow for an Int roll. And on the other side of things, I think that playing a characters less intelligent than yourself is a fun roleplaying challenge. You might think of an optimal or clever way to approach the situation, but it's good roleplaying to think "well, my character only has Int 10, so would he/she necessarily have come up with something that clever?" and then "pull" your intellectual "punches" accordingly.

I think Charisma also works fairly well. It's a paradox that people talk about a lot, in the context of asking players to roleplay out what their character says when making a Persuasion check or whatever, and that screwing over people playing very Charismatic characters that are not good with words in real life. To me, a better solution than that is to be mindful about applying bonuses, penalties, advantage and/or disadvantage on the basis of roleplaying to rolls made by a very Charismatic character. A character with Charisma 16 should never fail a Charisma check automatically because their player could not think of something to say. Likewise, a character with Charisma 8 should only very rarely succeed a Charisma check automatically because they knew the exact right thing to say. That said, I do approve of applying bonuses/penalties to a role on the basis of roleplaying, and it's my (probably somewhat controversial) opinion that players with no interest in participating in detail in "social combat" should not play characters with exceptionally high Charisma.

When we talk about "Wisdom", we are entirely in agreement. I have long favored the idea of replacing Wisdom with something like Willpower, and games that do so (such as Shadowrun, HERO System, etcetera). Wisdom, to me, connotes common sense and decision making ability. These are precisely the player attributes that the game is designed to test. On the one hand, putting those qualities into a stat compromises the most important skill-based aspect of the game, and on the other hand, there is no way a high Wisdom score can confer good common sense onto a player character whose player is intent on doing something dumb: the best a DM can do is allow for a Wisdom check to reconsider such a dumb course of action, but often players are quite intent on having their characters do the dumb thing anyway (often, but not always, because it is what the character would do).

So yes, Wisdom as a character attribute has never exactly made sense to me because player "Wisdom" and good decision making is so crucial to how the game is played.

Not much to say. Rich Baker created the original sorcerer as basically a variant wizard with different spell-casing rules, and I suggested we switch the main ability from Int to Cha to create more differentiation. A "spell point" system appeared with the psionicist, and it had the drawback that the player could cast a top-level "spell" every round and burn through their resources too fast. 13th Age has a cool sorcerer with the ability to "gather power" for a round in order to cast a double-strength spell. I love the feeling of a delayed, double-power spell because it makes magic feel different from and more powerful than mundane attacks, and I first started experimenting with it in


That "charge up" mechanic is really cool. Reminds me of Final Fantasy Tactics which is virtually always a good thing. Strictly speaking in terms of action economy, I think it would probably "feel" better for a spell that takes twice as long to cast being more like 2.5x as powerful as opposed to 2X as powerful, because players generally don't like to spend their turn doing "nothing", even if it's clearly in service of doing something powerful the next turn, but I'd have to experiment with it more to know for real.
 
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I see we're thinking along the same lines, but I don't necessarily object to the implementation of all three of those abilities/attributes equally.
You have lots of solid ideas, and I'm sure I've used most of 'em at one time or another.

It just finally occurred to me, why not just cut this Gordian Knott?

I think it would probably "feel" better for a spell that takes twice as long to cast being more like 2.5x as powerful as opposed to 2X as powerful, because players generally don't like to spend their turn doing "nothing", even if it's clearly in service of doing something powerful the next turn, but I'd have to experiment with it more to know for real.
It also turns out - from experience with "Lurker" monsters - that two rounds for a double-power effect just doesn't quite deliver as well as two single-power effects in a row. Time value of damage, I guess.
 

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