Resisting boredom, int or wis save?

trentonjoe

Explorer
I am designing an encounter where the PCs are forced to listen to a long story about something they don’t care about. Kinda like school.

I was going to throw in a saving throw to avoid zoning out. Should the save be wisdom or int?
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Either.

Intelligence: I have the mental focus to pay attention to large amounts of dry information.

Wisdom: I have the willpower to control my own thoughts and impulses.

Charisma: I have the social acumen to nod and say, "Mm hm," at the right points, and recognize when the speaker is done, even though my mind has wandered off to consider whether I want salmon or red snapper for supper tonight. I won't get the information, but nobody notices.
 

Sword of Spirit

Adventurer
I'm weird in that I actually like to inspire some of the feelings the characters might have in the players (and vice versa to an extent). For instance, I would enjoy running a very long session where the players are getting tired at the same time the characters would be getting tired and worn out. If something is supposed to be boring for the characters, I'd like to go just long enough in the real world that it hits boring for the players (and then stop), etc.

This isn't necessarily all about negative experience either, it's just easier to do those. Music is about the best way to do positive correlations, given that we don't meet in person where representative food could be brought in.

Unfortunately most players don't seem to want to make that sacrifice for method acting, so I can only clearly remember one time that I've actually done something like that. It was a D&D game and the party was at the Fortress of Disciplined Enlightenment in Mechanus--basically the center of boring bureaucracy of the planes. They were each required to fill out a long form as part of the initial processing of their reason for being there, before they could be directed further. I created a document that asked a variety of questions about their identity and background (some of which could actually provide interesting character information), and made sure to ask some of the same basic questions multiple times, just like those confounded forms you fill out at any sort of doctor's office. I wasn't trying to be mean, so I didn't create the whole document. I made a few pages, with ...'s and jumping page numbers to indicate multiple pages between each of these. I still don't think the players filled out most of the pages.
 
Related question.

Player creates a really low wisdom character who generally only thinks for himself, drinks too much, etc etc.

Would you consider the occasional wisdom save for said character to avoid getting drunk during his turn on watch? Or something else equally stupid like falling asleep or wandering out of camp when he hears a strange but harmless sounding noise.

Not in critical times like having just evaded the party of Gnolls, but more relaxed traveling 3 weeks towards the gnoll lair they plan on raiding.
 

The Monster

Explorer
I once adapted the basic structure of the 4e Skill Challenge to put the PCs through a long diplomatic-reception ceremony (somewhat inspired by the knighting ceremony in The Court Jester). If they failed, they would lose any chance at getting the help/permission of the emperor and possibly be exiled. They came up with a number of ways to keep themselves awake and alert enough to not embarrass themselves during the ceremony, and even make the right responses when expected.
If you're going to have them write stories, you might as well let them resolve the problem as fits their character. Otherwise, I'd just go for a Wis save, since it's mostly a matter of deciding you're going to pay attention or not, then choosing a method that works for you.
 

Celebrim

Legend
I am designing an encounter where the PCs are forced to listen to a long story about something they don’t care about. Kinda like school.

I was going to throw in a saving throw to avoid zoning out. Should the save be wisdom or int?
Wisdom. Wisdom governs self-control and the ability to apply yourself to tasks.

If the story or subject is not something they care about, high intelligence is arguably a negative. Some intelligent people have what is known as inappropriate hyper-focus, but this quirk is only a virtue when applied to something they deeply care about (at which point they become inattentive to everything else). A high intelligence but low wisdom character in a situation like you describe would quickly become bored and start thinking ("day-dreaming") about something that they did care about.
 

Celebrim

Legend
Related question.

Player creates a really low wisdom character who generally only thinks for himself, drinks too much, etc etc.

Would you consider the occasional wisdom save for said character to avoid getting drunk during his turn on watch? Or something else equally stupid like falling asleep or wandering out of camp when he hears a strange but harmless sounding noise.
No, having low wisdom means you have low perception which already covers your inability to concentrate when on the watch. However, once you've established that the perception check is failed, you or the player may be free to color the failure as being explained by the players poor habits. Personally, I'd leave that job to the player, though some groups allow the GM's to narrate failures.

Addiction and other things like that should be treated as color unless they are established mechanically by some process of play. For example in some games you might be able to take 'addiction (alcohol)' as a flaw, but generally if you do so, you are allowed to receive a corresponding advantage in fair exchange. If 'addiction (alcohol)' is a well defined status in your game, then perhaps some process of play might inflict addictions on players, just as others might inflict curses or handicaps. However, if you are asking questions like this, chances are you don't have mechanical support for ideas like that, so my advice is to keep them at the level of quirks and use them to color the RP only, and not influence success or failure beyond what is already established by having a low Wisdom.
 

pemerton

Legend
Player creates a really low wisdom character who generally only thinks for himself, drinks too much, etc etc.

Would you consider the occasional wisdom save for said character to avoid getting drunk during his turn on watch? Or something else equally stupid like falling asleep or wandering out of camp when he hears a strange but harmless sounding noise.

Not in critical times like having just evaded the party of Gnolls, but more relaxed traveling 3 weeks towards the gnoll lair they plan on raiding.
I'd actually go the other way around - it seems most interesting if the issue is all about escaping from the gnolls. (I'm thinking of Captain Haddock in the boat the first time he meets Tintin, in Crab with the Golden Claws.)

If the escape is being adjudicated as some sort of skill challenge or via some comparable structured resolution system (5e has some stuff like this for the exploration phase of play), then if this character is put on the crucial watch that's time to call for that WIS check.
 

DMMike

Game Masticator
Would you consider the occasional wisdom save for said character to avoid getting drunk during his turn on watch? Or something else equally stupid like falling asleep or wandering out of camp when he hears a strange but harmless sounding noise.

Not in critical times like having just evaded the party of Gnolls, but more relaxed traveling 3 weeks towards the gnoll lair they plan on raiding.
Probably not a good idea to force save-or-stupid saves on PCs. Especially if there's nothing at stake.

Wisdom. Wisdom governs self-control and the ability to apply yourself to tasks.
I was thinking that players govern self-control, not saving throws. The issue rightfully comes up with magical compulsion, i.e. resisting a siren's call. You can tell a player that his character drinks too much on a failed check, sure, but at least do it in a situation in which that might reasonably occur - like there's a persuasive Belgian monk, with a couple of extra kegs, riding along on the gnoll-visiting trek.

Ask the player what happens first. If you strongly disagree, then ask for a roll.
 

Celebrim

Legend
I was thinking that players govern self-control, not saving throws.
As far as I can tell, you aren't actually disagreeing with me.

For example, I said: "Addiction and other things like that should be treated as color unless they are established mechanically by some process of play."

For example, if the player in a hypothetical rule set had taken a defect 'Addiction (Alcohol)' on character creation in exchange for getting an extra feat (say 'Power Attack'), then presumably that feat would under certain conditions force a saving throw on the PC, which if failed would result in alcohol intoxication. But in the absence of such a thing, alcohol addiction is the explanation for the PC's low wisdom, and exists as color - no additional mechanical penalty is required unless the player chooses to have his PC drink to excess for whatever reason. Thus, even if the persuasive Belgian Monk is around with a couple of extra kegs, as I'm advising people here there is no saving throw, no additional penalty to wisdom, and no compulsion on the player to drink beyond their own choice in the matter.

Thus, someone with low wisdom and the color of an alcohol addiction doesn't get a double penalty on his perception check to stand a watch.

On the other hand, a player that had established as part of the color of his character that he was a hard drinker, if a spell like suggestion was used to compel the PC to drink, the player could not claim that to the PC the suggestion was unreasonable and so receive any sort of saving throw bonus. Whereas, a player who had strictly played his character as a sober ascetic could reasonably make this claim. Likewise, one could easily imagine a magic brew which if sipped resulted in some sort of charm effect which mimicked the mechanics of suggestion, and upon sipping such a brew the same logic would apply.
 

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