D&D 5E Don't play "stupid" characters. It is ableist.


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Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
Fair enough.

That's certainly a valid way to play. I can and do enjoy games which function that way. I'd even go so far as to say that style is at the heart of how D&D is designed.
I agree!
Personally, when I want something with a different style, my first choice would likely be a different rpg.
Different style than skilled play, you mean? Eh, I think D&D is flexible enough to work for other styles of play. And while some other games may be better for more specific styles, there’s a tradeoff there in terms of familiarity and reach, so I don’t like to judge people for choosing to play D&D over a more bespoke system.
Elsewhere I had mentioned what I see as a clash between the game people say they want and the actual game they want. That clash is, I think, present in D&D. Simultaneously, there seems to be a push for game elements which have little tangible meaning and a push to recognize real-world meaning within game elements.
I’m not quite sure what you mean by “elements which have little tangible meaning.”
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
I am a bit opposite but get to the same place.

I see them as so broad and multidimensional that, like alignment, you can justifiably take multiple contradictory approaches to roleplaying them, and that focusing on the direct mechanical game impacts is my preferred way to do so while letting players define themselves as they see fit.

"Intelligence measures mental acuity, accuracy of recall, and the ability to reason.
INTELLIGENCE CHECKS
An Intelligence check comes into play when you need to draw on logic, education, memory, or deductive reasoning. The Arcana, History, Investigation, Nature, and Religion skills reflect aptitude in certain kinds of Intelligence checks."

So narratively a high int is completely consistent with a poor ability to reason if the accuracy of recall is great.

So a high int wizard is really good at the technical aspects of wizard spell casting and a good base for knowledge skill checks even before proficiency, but I will require the player to make any non-abstracted logical deductions, or fail to do so, on their own.
Yeah, I think we’re largely in agreement, despite arriving there from opposite directions.
 

vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
- abstract game stats that represent no more and no less than the character’s aptitude at the specific tasks they contribute to

I generally call the character's stat ''your adventuring abilities/skill''. So that's why you dont find things like farming, or basket weaving and such on the character sheet. In my book, regular average commoners dont even have stats unless they start being somewhat relevant to the adventure.

So a PC with 8 Int does not mean they'll wont be able to tie their shoes, it just mean that when it comes to use that 8 Int in an adventuring situation, they'll be a little (like you said 5% less per 2 points) less gifted than their companions.

They are still able to talk normally, count and read etc. The rest is decided by their trait/idea/flaws and the wish of the player.

EDIT to add: And the stats also represent how good you are at leveraging said stat. So in fiction, the 10 STR goliath can be stronger than the 16 STR gnome, but when it comes to using that STR, he's way less apt that the little gnome who knows how to make the most of its strength.
 
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Seems to me that people are using a poorly written OP, an absence of a good definition of "stupid", an OP who won't engage, and various other distractions to avoid having to admit that there's absolutely nothing positive to be said about imitating people with disabilities as a means of comic.
Not one person here - not one, has defended portraying someone who is "stupid" for comedic reasons. That is a made-up argument.
 

Hussar

Legend
Not one person here - not one, has defended portraying someone who is "stupid" for comedic reasons. That is a made-up argument.
Not really. That's the basic message of the OP. It's not a made-up argument, it's the core of the discussion. All this other pontificating is just so much hot air.

29 pages now of avoiding the issue in order to discuss the definition of "don't be a douche".
 

Argyle King

Legend
I agree!

Different style than skilled play, you mean? Eh, I think D&D is flexible enough to work for other styles of play. And while some other games may be better for more specific styles, there’s a tradeoff there in terms of familiarity and reach, so I don’t like to judge people for choosing to play D&D over a more bespoke system.

I’m not quite sure what you mean by “elements which have little tangible meaning.”

Different style than being as abstract as D&D tends to be.

For example, I'm rather fond of GURPS because I like HP to be closer to being "meat." I also enjoy a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) approach. Likewise, I prefer active defenses over a static AC. In my head, it provides a closer connection between the what the story of the game says is happening and what the mechanics say are happening. Sometimes I also want more of a horizontal (for lack of better words) experience than the more vertical nature of 1-20 advancement.

(Dungeon Fantasy does a pretty good job at finding a middle ground between D&D style and having more detail.)

I also play Edge of the Empire for different reasons than I play D&D. In particular, while D&D has vehicle rules that do okay-enough for the occasional horse or whatever, sometimes I want more detail.

By little tangible meaning, I mean something along the lines of "what does it mean that a high level ooze/pudding had high Cha in 4E?"

Sexiest ooze ever?

Is there something especially convincing about the bubbling sounds coming from that pudding?

Is it just some random number that's a product of the game system?
 


jasper

Rotten DM
Just had to help a friend deal with that recently. First time in over 10 years he’s had to deal with it. The comments that preceded him asking for backup were directly relevant to this thread.
Hmmm "This is the whole “if you let a Nazi stay in your bar, it will become a Nazi bar” phenomenon.."
Could us D&Ders go to bar and turn into to D&D Bar? Maybe. Yes! By the power of D20 and pabst blue ribbon we can take over the bar scene! EVIL GRIN.

I really messed up the quote.
 

Vaalingrade

Legend
Not one person here - not one, has defended portraying someone who is "stupid" for comedic reasons. That is a made-up argument.
Yeah, we've been imagining all the "B-but it's not real! That makes saying, doing and acting out terrible things A-OK!" arguments in defense of such characters.

Though that's par for the course. 'Stereotypes are okay, actually' as a new one I didn't expect.
 






Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Right. But the character is probably being played by someone with relatively average IQ who is deliberately acting dumb and isn't differentiating between low Int and low Wis.

Example:

Dumb PC: Huh, I wonder what this lever does. <reaches out to touch the lever>

Other PCs: Don't touch it! If you pull the lever, the sign says it'll summon demons.

Dumb PC #1: Whoops, better not touch it. <this player is playing a not-smart, illiterate character, but isn't being a jerk about it.>

Dumb PC #2: Dur-hurh, I'm so dumb, I'll pull it anyway. <this character is being a jerk about it, by doing the dumb thing deliberately>
More likely IME the dumb (unwise) PC would just pull the lever without saying a word other than, shortly afterward, "oops". :)
Now, in this case, Dumb PC #2 isn't necessarily making fun of real people who aren't "smart," but they are being disruptive. Even my chaotic neutral, 10 Int character doesn't deliberately do things just to be disruptive. (I swear, she didn't mean to start a riot; it just happened!)
CN Int 10 might not do disruptive things but CN Wis 7 sure will, now and then.

I really feel a lot of things being held out as examples of low Int are in fact low Wis; but then I don't buy into the 5e version of Wisdom where it's mostly about perception.
Now, if they had a good, in-character reason to pull the lever (someone they trusted told them to or said that it summoned candy, etc.) that'd be one thing.
That "trusted" person would be the CN higher-Wisdom character, who has already found the safest place in the room from which to watch the outfall of pulling the lever.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Right, and mine too (that rogue is based on my own character, although nobody has called her a numbskull; I did get a stern in-character lecture from the cleric though).

I'm not quite seeing that undercurrent, though. What I'm seeing is, especially from folks like Charlaquin, is that if your actions are actually bothering someone else, don't do those actions.
For me it depends on the actions and the bothering. Outright traumatizing someone, no. Mocking a real-world difference, no (unless I know the person is more than capable of giving it right back, in which case all's fair).

But I well remember one guy I played with who got wigged out when my character developed a crush on his character and I roleplayed (voice only) how she was flirting with him; and call me callous if you like but IMO if something like that bothers someone then that person might have some self-examination to do.

And as it turned out I really was on to something in his attitudes without realizing it: a few years later (after he'd left our games not entirely by his own choice) he was had up and convicted on kiddie porn charges.
For me, I asked the DM to tell me if my character was ever getting disruptive, and he swears my character is doing just fine. But I have actual, legitimate in-game reasons for any in-game actions, and I often explain those reasons out of character. I don't do things just because it's funny.
Depending on the situation, there's times where the choice of what I do in-character is made based on what's (potentially) funnier; but our games sometimes tend toward the slapstick anyway so it usually fits in fine. :)
 

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