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D&D General Your favorite low-stat character

Tell your take of your favorite character with a really low stat!

Mine is character in a one-shot Gamma World game I ran back in the days of d20. We rolled randomly for stats, and the player got a 3 in Strength. We rolled randomly for mutations, and the player rolled a Super Rage that gave him +5 to Strength! So normally this character was walking around with the muscular mass of a squirrel, but when he got really MAD he gained the strength of a child!
 

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6ENow!

The Game Is Over
Hmm... well, not "low" for a single stat, but how about the average?

I played a cleric in 1E AD&D whose scores all ranged from 9-12:
STR: 10
INT: 9
WIS: 12
DEX: 10
CON: 11
CHA: 10

In 1E, with a WIS 12, I actually had a 5% chance of spell failure whenever I cast a spell!

Anyway, with all average scores, I was really forced to role-play him more on personality than any defining score. I played him up to level 9 before the campaign concluded.
 

Hmm... well, not "low" for a single stat, but how about the average?

I played a cleric in 1E AD&D whose scores all ranged from 9-12:
STR: 10
INT: 9
WIS: 12
DEX: 10
CON: 11
CHA: 10

In 1E, with a WIS 12, I actually had a 5% chance of spell failure whenever I cast a spell!

Anyway, with all average scores, I was really forced to role-play him more on personality than any defining score. I played him up to level 9 before the campaign concluded.
What was his personality?
 


6ENow!

The Game Is Over
What was his personality?
Well, with a low(-ish) INT, I played him a little bit dim and forgetful, which was fun because it allowed me to kickback and relax instead of being a leader/ thinker as a player. I would purposefully recall game information incorrectly, to see if the other players corrected me, which they finally did-- and the DM realized it was intended to reflect him being absent-minded, etc. Since his second "highest" score was CON, I did play him more as a energetic and enthusiastic sort, gave him a very positive outlook, and courageous despite knowing he was "sub-par" compared to the other PCs whose average scores were 3-5 points higher than his. He couldn't wear heavy armor, so he was definitely more a support-role and used a lot of ranged attacks (I was so happy the staff sling was added to the cleric weapon list in Unearthed Arcana).

I even gave him a mundane name: Benson Miller. His family were millers, and he was literally "Ben's son". :)
 

Stormonu

Legend
Not “low”, but I recently ran a monk whose highest stat was 11. He was actually the most effective character in the group - I routinely dealt with enemies that the rest of the group would have been overwhelmed by. Made it to 5th level with him, before he died. I don’t remember exactly how, but I do remember I sacrificed him to save the group’s incompetent fighter, and got bad rolls on the death save (rolled a 1) before the ineffective Druid could get to me.
 

6ENow!

The Game Is Over
He was actually the most effective character in the group - I routinely dealt with enemies that the rest of the group would have been overwhelmed by.
I have a difficult time seeing how this is possible with such low stats in 5E.... Care to elaborate with a specific example or two? I am sure it's possible, but off-hand I am not seeing it.
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
Supporter
I had a hexblade warlock fairly recently that had a Str 6 and an Int 7. I portrayed the patron as a Venom-like symbiote; it normally looked like a black cloak, but it would wrap around the character's axe when he was attacking, and a lot of the spells had a black gooey visual theme. (Like misty step, the cloak would wrap around him, plunge into the ground, and pop up again 30' away.) Anyway, a side effect of the symbiote was that it was slowly devouring his body and his mind, he only had fragmented memories of anything outside of the past few days (thus the low Int) and his muscle mass was almost completely gone (thus the low Str.)

I also had a sorcerer with a Str 7, I described him as having a crippled right arm that was only strong enough to hold his spellcasting focus. If I failed a Strength check, it would generally be described as his arm not being able to support him.
 

My current PC Jhasspok is a lizardfolk with a 6 Intelligence. His egg was stolen from the surface and he'd spent his entire life (at the beginning of the campaign) as a fisher slave to a city of drow. So he has very little experience of anything outside the little world he knew; after being reassigned as a surface raider he thought the sun was a fireball and he's still pretty sure the moon is just a Really Big Pearl. (He's also figured out the sky must be filled with slow-acting acid, as he's observed the moon slowly being eaten away over time.) The other PCs have already learned it's best to try to explain new things to Jhasspok in terms of fish: birds (something he'd never seen before in the Underdark) were described as "sky fish" and then suddenly they made perfect sense to him. And he gets new words mixed up all the time - he's still having a hard time remembering which one, "desert" or "mountain," is the one that looks like a fat, squashed stalagmite.

Johnathan
 

Stormonu

Legend
I have a difficult time seeing how this is possible with such low stats in 5E.... Care to elaborate with a specific example or two? I am sure it's possible, but off-hand I am not seeing it.
In short, the other players sucked at the (tactical part of) game.

<edit> Hard to remember specifics because I’ve given up caring about that specific campaign, but an example I do remember:

We were about 3rd level and surprised some gnolls in the jungle performing a ritual. As my first action, my monk ran/jumped up a nearby tree And got out his bow. The (Dragonborn Eldritch Knight) fighter charged directly into the five or so gnolls, waving his two-handed sword (and 13 AC)*. The Druid did what she always did - Poison spray or thorn whip a gnoll. The bard inspired ... someone.

The gnolls then proceeded to wail on the fighter, though the DM was kind enough that when the 3rd one had dropped the fighter to 5 hp, the other two moved off - one against the Druid, the other after the monk (instead of the bard on the ground). The latter gnoll had a bow, and took a shot at the monk, and I promptly used Missile deflection to negate the damage and shoot the arrow back at him.

Next round, the fighter continued battling (had to remind him he had Second Wind), the Druid healed the fighter instead of attacking (taking an attack of opportunity to evade the gnoll attacking her), the bard mocked the gnoll that had been attacking the Druid. My monk put an arrow through the Druid’s gnoll, killing it. On the gnoll’s turn, one attacked the fighter (and suspiciously missed), another the Druid, the third moved from the fighter towards the bard, and the last remaining spent his action climbing the tree towards the monk.

Next round, the fight continued as the previous round - fighter killed a gnoll, Druid healed, the bard poked his gnoll with a rapier. The monk used a flurry/way of the open hand and ended up kicking his gnoll out of the tree, killing it.

After the gnolls Attack, the monk moved down from the tree to engage the gnolls by the fighter, managing to flank and knock at least one down, so fighter could hit and kill the downed gnoll (the fighter was getting some crappy hit rolls that combat).

The rest of the fight was wearing the gnolls down - monk knocks them down or away from melee so the non-fighter characters could use their ranged cantrips (or the Druid use a Cure Wounds on whoever got hit) and wail on the target until dead.

* The fighter ran directly into melee, despite having a bevy of ranged attacks (and us noticing only one gnoll had a ranged attack - with our original plan to snipe them and force them to come to us) and without taking the time to cast any of his pre-combat buff spells.
 
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Voadam

Legend
My favorite was a one-shot first level 1e AD&D game. I rolled really poor scores but came up with a magic user with a 9 intelligence, the 1e minimum to qualify for the class. At 1st level in 1e the attacks for magic-users is only one less than fighters or clerics. With a single light spell, no armor, and a dagger I played him as Rambo and got by on intimidation.
 

Eltab

Lord of the Hidden Layer
My 4e Dual-Stat Star'lock dumped both DEX & STR (point buy), so I could not wear armor beyond Leather. By L10 I had decent-to-good Saves but I still had to run away from farmers bearing pitchforks (or any other melee combatant).

Edit: I also played the classic Basic Rules magic-user with one spell a day, a robe for 'armor', armed with a dagger, and 1 HP.
 


Back in the day, I got into an argument with a fellow DM about Raistlin from Dragonlance. He argued that a character with that low of Con couldn't survive, while I said a mage with enough intelligence and helpful allies like the companions could do very well. He decided his next campaign would be Dragonlance and we agreed that I'd build a magic-user (1E) with a 3 Str & Con, along with an 18 Int & Wis, just to see how long I survive. I was basically a mooch, adding very little to the group other than information and guidance, as all my spells were selected for survival. The other players didn't mind, not only because of my intelligence and wisdom (as a DM I had way more information and insight into the game, reflecting my character's abilities), but because they knew of my little "wager" with the DM.

About the time I hit level 4 the DM decided I was proving my point too well, and tried to kill me off in order to prove his. During a particularly nasty adventure, we were fleeing an army of draconians when we came to a cliff. The draconians were right behind us, so we either had to jump or fight (we'd be attacked in the time it took to climb down). We knew we couldn't win, so we jumped, with everyone but me taking 5d6 damage; I cast Feather Fall to the dismay of the DM. We thought we were in the clear when suddenly another band of draconians somehow were already at the bottom of the cliff, and when we fled we somehow ran into another unescable cliff! The party was really banged up from the last fall and didn't think we could survive another one, so I ordered everyone but the barbarian into the rogue's portable hole. The barbarian would take the portable hole and jump, then release us as soon as he got down (before we ran out of air). I could see the consternation in the DM's face, and when the barbarian jumped, he declared that everyone in the portable hole took half damage "from being bounced around." This led to a host of arguments by the rest of the group, because not only was I finally dead, but so was the thief and the cleric was at deaths door.

The DM stuck to his ruling in an attempt to "prove" his point about the non-viability of my character. The cleric was saved by the ranger shoving a potion of healing down his throat, but the thief and I were dead. While the DM maintained he was correct, everyone in the group knew that I was victorious.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Funniest low-stat character I've seen recently was in a one-shot a year or so back: completely random stats using a rather extreme generation method left one player's character with three stats of 5 (!), a 14, and the other two in between somewhere. One of the 5s went into wisdom, another into con, and I think the third went to intelligence; the 14 went into dex and the character became a thief.

A very, very incompetent thief.

She had two pockets in her robe. Hell knows how she got these things but one pocket was full of peanut butter and the other was full of gunpowder. And she constantly forgot which was in which pocket, meaning on at least two occasions she offered someone gunpowder as a snack, while watching her trying to blow up the peanut butter was truly hilarious.

Eventually, she ended up kinda mashing these two ingredients together by repeatedly putting them back in the wrong pockets - never mind that by the end her hands were covered in a thick layer of mostly-black goop - and I think unintentionally invented plastic explosive in the process!
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
Way back when, I asked a DM if I could play a human fighter with all 18s in the physical stats and all 6s in the mental ones. He let me do it.

Bear was a gentle giant. He had been trained to be a fighter because of his physical gifts and willingness to please. He found employment as the bodyguard to the party thief who more or less used him as a human shield. Others in the party were annoyed, but nobody wanted to go through Bear to punish him.

One day, the thief stole something he REALLY shouldn’t have, and was discovered by the City Watch. He ran for his life, holding on to his loot. He made it back to the party without being caught, and they ALL reluctantly (and somewhat angrily) decided to run. But before we could make it out, the Watch found us again. As the party scrambled to escape via a bridge, the thief shouted something along the lines of “Bear, DO SOMETHING!”

Bear stopped, turned and drew his 2 handed sword as he faced the oncoming watchmen. He held the bridge while the party ran. The guard eventually struck him down, but by then, the party escaped.

Because of real-world events, I had to miss the next few sessions of the game. I came back to find that the rest of the party had killed the thief and turned his body & booty in for the reward, which they then used to refurbish an orphanage in Bear’s name.
 

I don't get to play often, but played a DCC (Dungeon Crawl Classics, like old-school D&D mixed with 3rd edition) funnel (you control 4 peasants at 0 level and whoever survives a meat-grinder adventure becomes a 1st level adventurer). Purely random 3d6 stats rolled down the line.

Survivor of my funnel in our Appalachian mythology run was a 3 Intelligence, 14 Strength, 12 Wisdom fighter. Called him Forrest, figuring he wouldn't last long. Forrest proved me wrong and grew on me. With the Wisdom, he realized he wasn't as smart as everyone else and didn't like it when people made fun of him. He had a very "black & white" approach to the world: momma sez if something is botherin' ya, hit it and see what happens. His "momma sez" rules were his code and I ended up drafting my list of them. There was frustration as Forrest couldn't always grasp things or communicate as well as the others, but he never let this slow him down. Against all odds, this guy ended up being a hero to his valley, a symbol of courage and unwavering loyalty in the face of fantastic foes.

In 5E, there's a built-in assumption by design that "crap stats" = can't win as easily = not as fun. That's philosophy for another thread, but I liked that DCC by design forces gamers to often taken sub-optimal characters and see what you can do with them.
 

Ogre Mage

Adventurer
I'd say Misty Vale, my half-elf Divine Soul Sorcerer X/Life Cleric of Selune 1. On the surface she seemed like a charming but bubbleheaded wimp spouting hippy cliches. But appearances were deceiving. She was much tougher and more insightful than she looked.

Strength 6
Dexterity 14
Constitution 16
Intelligence 9
Wisdom 18
Charisma 18 (later raised to 20).
 
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Gorg

Explorer
My favorite low stat character of all time?

Dingus! My Gully Dwarf fighter. I don't even remember the specifics- this was mid 1990s, and our games usually included plenty of funny smelling "green tobacco"... I just remember that he had very low scores in both intelligence and wisdom, not so great Charisma and Dex, and average strength. He wasn't even my creation! I owned the Dragonlance 1-4 module compilation and the campaign setting and such, and was reading through them one day when I came across a very evocative picture of a gully dwarf sentry. It was a skinny bearded guy with a helmet 2x too big, clutching a spear- and peering suspiciously with a one eye squinted sideways look. I showed the picture to my DM, and said "I want to meet THIS guy!!"

And we did, a couple of sessions later. We talked our way past him, and ended up impressing him so much, he gave us a guided tour of the gully dwarf city- and introduced us to "Da boss!" When the party moved on, he followed us. (Dingus hero worshipped our bard, and was in awe of our Elven Wizard) The DM then handed me the character sheet, and said he's yours now! Dingus provided quite a bit of rp fun, and a lot of comic relief.

Of my current 5th ed characters, Gary the mage has by far the worst ability scores. 9, 10, 11, 15, 14, 8, and I rerolled a few quadruple snake eyes... And he is human, so he got a +1 to every score, lol. I'm not even sure WHAT to do with my Ability score increases... Shore up those with painful penalties- like that 8 charisma? (thank gods we haven't run into any spellcasters that like spells with cha saves!) Boost his AC and remove that str penalty by giving each a +1? Maybe Con, for more health and better saves? Oddly enough he doesn't get hit very often- and usually makes his saves. The abjuration school has been a good choice so far.

I play him as a mid level noble's 4th son. Technically a noble- but not in line for anything. Thus he ended up a Wizard's apprentice and researcher. He's smart, perceptive, and has good horse-sense- but rather under-developed people skills. Not much of a talker, and little patience for fools or overly glib types. He IS, however VERY loyal, and those who impress him and win his trust can count on him. He's lawful good, a follower of Azuth, and was raised in a family that revered Torm. Gary is of Chondathan descent. He, and Paddy- our Cleric of Lathander work well together, and constitute a real 1-2 punch.

His career as an adventurer began when the wizard he was apprenticed to decided he'd taught him all he could for now, and it was time for Gary to put his lessons to practice and get some real world experience. So he sent him with a caravan, and letter to deliver to a colleague in Silverymoon. Bob and Frank happened to be along as guards. Paddy was encountered along the way, as a fellow traveller. Gary fairly quickly became fond of Bob and Frank- and their easy banter and lively senses of humor. They reminded him of his older brothers and cousins. He admires Paddy for his open hearted nature, generosity, and his charismatic personality.
 

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