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View Full Version : What do different arrangements of mental stats act like? [D&D]



Angry Bob
2013-11-21, 09:32 PM
The title says D&D, but the stats I'll be referring to are Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma, so any system that uses those three stats(even under different names) is fine.

I've seen questions about highs and lows of each stat, or for a particular mental score array, going around for a while, but I've never seen a unified list for them. So that's this. Obviously, specific behaviors differ by character, and often one array will encompass several character types(Low int, high wis, high charisma can describe both con artists and certain action heroes, for example - people low on technical knowledge who get by on their gut and either their silver tongue or commanding presence).

I'll just make a list of arrays and brief example archetypes, and add archetypes as the responses happen. If you think I've misplaced one or gotten one wrong, tell me. I can be convinced.

What I'm looking for:
- Examples from fiction for each category
- Anecdotes from the table - how you or someone you know has played a given array
- More archetypes - I know I've missed some, characters and people are too complex for one to be enough for any given array.

Low Int, Low Wis, Low Cha:
- The zombie. Not literally, but if you work your way past the unpleasant personal habits and actually try to talk to them, you find a profoundly uninteresting person with a shallow pool of topics for conversation(bad enough on its own, but then they start repeating themselves) and only a dim understanding of the world around them.
- Examples: Peter Pettigrew.

High Int, Low Wis, Low Cha:
- The mad genius. Smart enough to build death rays, dumb enough to use them to rob banks untested.
- The perfect logician. Completely at home with machinery and mathematics but can't handle the human element very well. Grows frustrated when things don't work out as they, by their calculations, "should".
- Examples: Sheldon Cooper

Low Int, High Wis, Low Cha:
- The loner that would rather listen than speak. They can read everyone around them like a book, which ironic, because they may be illiterate, or believe "you can't believe everything you read."
- The lonesome survivor. Works reactively rather than proactively. Reads situations and knows when to fight, when to yield and when to leg it. Great combat reactions and reflexes. Don't ask them to device any strategic plans, though.
- Examples: Aldrick ex Gladius from Furies of Calderon.

Low Int, Low Wis, High Cha:
- The shallow and vapid one, convinced that they have everything they do by virtue of their own cleverness. Everyone loves them unconditionally anyway.
- The populist politician. With a firm handshake and a perfect smile, this person has no agenda of their own. They're a fašade with no plan or talent for the game, but people love them and listen to them and they like it.
- Examples: Joey from Friends, Zapp Brannigan, Thog, Prince Charming(Shrek).

High Int, High Wis, Low Cha:
- The kindly old mentor figure - a little gruff and off-putting, but their advice and guidance is always sound.
- The brilliant detective. Notices everything, puts everything together, solves it all. Knows when to think strictly logical and when to consider the human element, but can't get the hang of actually handling people themselves.
- Examples: Sherlock Holmes, Lisbeth Salander(Girl with the Dragon Tattoo)

High Int, Low Wis, High Cha:
- The megalomaniac. See mad genius, except this one's madness is the kind that could lead an empire, either by inspiration or intimidation.
- The ideological leader. They have a vision, and a plan for how to get there. They know what each step on the ladder is. They fail, however, to see what their actions do in areas their plan hasn't covered. Society is complex, and they sow the seeds of their own destruction.
- The con man, that guy with a million get rich quick schemes, knowing how things work, convincing others they know how things, yet not having the common sense or foresight to realize how likely they are to fail.
- Strategist and manipulator, somebody who, to some extend, sees life as a complicated strategic game, where other people are pawns for him to use. not necessairly a sociopath, but he doesn't care people's wishes and feelings into consideration, he sees fit to manipulate them. On certain level he doesn't trust anyone but himself and might have some need to control others.
- Examples: Doctor Impossible, Alex Wilder (Runaways), Lelouch "Zero" Lamperogue (Code Geass), David "Legion" Haller (X-Men: Legacy vol.2)

Low Int, High Wis, High Cha:
- The con man, who lives by his gut instinct and is better at pretending to know what he's talking about than is good for him.
- The action hero, raised by bears, with little technical knowledge or fancy book-learnin', but possesses finely honed wilderness instincts and is a master of getting everyone in the room to listen to him or her.
- The pirate captain. Sailing the seas, robbing the ships, getting the loot. Very good at their work, and their crew is happy with them, but with no ulterior goal in sight or, at least, no real idea of how to get there.
- Examples: Monkey D Luffy, Captain Jack Sparrow, Karkat Vantas, Forrest Gump.

High Int, High Wis, High Cha:
- The great leader - masterful tactician, infinite willpower, tremendous force of personality, you name it, they've got it.
- Examples: Conan the Barbarian, Aragorn, Havelock Vetinari, Batman.

TuggyNE
2013-11-21, 10:27 PM
High Int, High Wis, High Cha:
- Hell if I know.

Batman. Rand Al'Thor. Aslan. Dynamic, resourceful, perceptive, and almost always a good or outstanding leader. You can't fool them, you can't outwit them, and you can't out-talk them, at least not for long.

Psyren
2013-11-21, 10:38 PM
Batman, high Cha? Really?

Rhynn
2013-11-21, 11:24 PM
Batman, high Cha? Really?

Also Rand al'Thor has the personality of a brick and I'm pretty sure like half the people he meets are the same three Forsaken and he's none the wiser.

Anyway, yeah, "Great Leader" is pretty good for the High-High-High category. Conan definitely fits: acute senses, infinite willpower, masterful tactician and strategist without any book-learning, can learn new languages in a jiffy, animal magnetism and awesome leadership ability...

A Tad Insane
2013-11-22, 01:02 AM
A low int, high wis and cha would probably be an American Indian chief stereotype. They are perceptive, understanding and can give excellent speeches, but they know little outside of tribal life.

low wis, high int and cha would probably be a that guy with a million get rich quick schemes, knowing how things work, convincing others they know how things, yet not having the common sense or foresight to realize how likely they are to fail.

Axinian
2013-11-22, 02:22 AM
Low Int, Low Wis, High Cha:
- The shallow and vapid one, convinced that they have everything they do by virtue of their own cleverness. Everyone loves them unconditionally anyway.

Joey from Friends comes to mind here.

GrayGriffin
2013-11-22, 03:28 AM
A low int, high wis and cha would probably be an American Indian chief stereotype. They are perceptive, understanding and can give excellent speeches, but they know little outside of tribal life.

You do realize how offensive that sounds, right? You're basically suggesting that knowledge about "tribal life" is somehow lesser than other knowledge.

TuggyNE
2013-11-22, 04:50 AM
You do realize how offensive that sounds, right? You're basically suggesting that knowledge about "tribal life" is somehow lesser than other knowledge.

Did say "stereotype", presumably for a reason.

PersonMan
2013-11-22, 07:28 AM
A low int, high wis and cha would probably be an American Indian chief stereotype. They are perceptive, understanding and can give excellent speeches, but they know little outside of tribal life.

No, this wouldn't really work properly. A lot of people think that Int is knowing things, but it isn't. Most games have one if not more kinds of 'Know about X' skill/perk/ability, so saying "He doesn't know much outside of tribal life, so has a low Int" doesn't make sense.

Int is more generally linked to being able to make/understand complex systems and learn new things. The tribal chief archetype would be better fit by a mid Int, as they are generally not shown to immediately understand foreign ways but also aren't unable to put together complex plans.

EDIT: I'd see the low Int high Wis high Cha type as the one who ends up being the leader who delegates actual planning because they realize they can't really do it. They can say "this won't work because of Y reasons", but are bad at coming up with solutions to those problems.

@Batman: I can see high Cha working on Batman. After all, if he's scary and intimidating often, that implies a certain force of personality, as does his double-life-bluff working out.

lytokk
2013-11-22, 08:17 AM
@Batman: I can see high Cha working on Batman. After all, if he's scary and intimidating often, that implies a certain force of personality, as does his double-life-bluff working out.

This definitely fits with Batman. Remember, charisma isn't your ability to get along with people, its force of personality. And remember that Batman is still Bruce Wayne, so one side is the intimidating side, and the other is the diplomatic side. Also, there's no way you could convince people you weren't Batman without HIGH bluff skills.

Low Int, Low Wis, and High Charisma speaks to me of Thog. Dumb as a brick, can't tie two thoughts together, easily fooled, but in my opinion, the most likeable member of the Linear Guild

Weimann
2013-11-22, 08:21 AM
Here are some ideas for the different arrays. These are in addition to the traits you've posted, not meant to discredit them but to expand on the interpretation. I use Wisdom primarily as "perception" or "intuition" here.

Low Int, Low Wis, Low Cha:
- Yeah, essentially what you said.

High Int, Low Wis, Low Cha:
- The perfect logician. Completely at home with machinery and mathematics but can't handle the human element very well. Grows frustrated when things don't work out as they, by their calculations, "should". Sheldon Cooper (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sheldon_Cooper).

Low Int, High Wis, Low Cha:
- The lonesome survivor. Works reactively rather than proactively. Reads situations and knows when to fight, when to yield and when to leg it. Great combat reactions and reflexes. Don't ask them to device any strategic plans, though. Aldrick ex Gladius from Furies of Calderon (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Furies_of_Calderon).

Low Int, Low Wis, High Cha:
- The populist politician. With a firm handshake and a perfect smile, this person has no agenda of their own. They're a fašade with no plan or talent for the game, but people love them and listen to them and they like it. Hard to think of an example.

High Int, High Wis, Low Cha:
- The brilliant detective. Notices everything, puts everything together, solves it all. Knows when to think strictly logical and when to consider the human element, but can't get the hang of actually handling people themselves. Sherlock Holmes (http://sv.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sherlock_Holmes).

High Int, Low Wis, High Cha:
- The ideological leader. They have a vision, and a plan for how to get there. They know what each step on the ladder is. They fail, however, to see what their actions do in areas their plan hasn't covered. Society is complex, and they sow the seeds of their own destruction. Can't think of a fictitious example, really, and a real-world one could get... controversial.

Low Int, High Wis, High Cha:
- The pirate captain. Sailing the seas, robbing the ships, getting the loot. Very good at their work, and their crew is happy with them, but with no ulterior goal in sight or, at least, no real idea of how to get there. Monkey D Luffy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monkey_D._Luffy).

High Int, High Wis, High Cha:
- Havelock Vetinari (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Havelock_Vetinari). That is all.

QNLA
2013-11-22, 08:27 AM
for Low Int, Low Wis, High Cha: Zapp Brannigan

Angry Bob
2013-11-22, 08:40 AM
Here are some ideas for the different arrays. These are in addition to the traits you've posted, not meant to discredit them but to expand on the interpretation. I use Wisdom primarily as "perception" or "intuition" here.

I did say I was looking for more archetypes.

Though I'd file Sheldon under the mad genius instead of making a new category for him. Actually, I might use your wording instead of mine for the archetype, it catches more character types.


Low Int, Low Wis, and High Charisma speaks to me of Thog. Dumb as a brick, can't tie two thoughts together, easily fooled, but in my opinion, the most likeable member of the Linear Guild

I'd personally file Thog under low in all three - he's not particularly likeable or talkative in-comic, and he's only likeable out of comic because he's sometimes amusingly idiotic, though I'll wait on your response before filing him under that in case there's something in the comic that I missed.

Frelus
2013-11-22, 11:29 AM
But Thog was the audience's favourite in Tarquin's arena, likely because of his many antics - which may have been there because of his charisma.
Also, I would not be surprised if Thog had a high charisma - it kind of fits a stupid-as-crap half orc to pump a stat that has relatively little use for him.

lytokk
2013-11-22, 11:39 AM
I'd personally file Thog under low in all three - he's not particularly likeable or talkative in-comic, and he's only likeable out of comic because he's sometimes amusingly idiotic, though I'll wait on your response before filing him under that in case there's something in the comic that I missed.

Perfect example, when Roy and Thog are in the dungeon together, thog kills the gaurdian of the Earth Sigil. Roy, as has been stated when he died and was being judged, has a decent wisdom score, enough so that it was asked why he didn't pursue being a cleric. After killing the guardian, Roy asks Thog if he heard anything, Thog answers no. Untrained bluff vs untrained sense motive. Thog bluffs Roy. High charisma.

Rhynn
2013-11-22, 12:40 PM
Untrained bluff vs untrained sense motive. Thog bluffs Roy. High charisma.

Even at +2 vs. -3 Thog would still have a 26.25% chance of winning the opposed check, never mind with a chance of that -5 for "target wants to believe you," and never mind presupposing that a Bluff vs. Sense Motive check would have taken place to begin with.

Isamu Dyson
2013-11-22, 01:45 PM
Batman, high Cha? Really?

With enough prep time, yes.

Angry Bob
2013-11-22, 02:00 PM
Perfect example, when Roy and Thog are in the dungeon together, thog kills the gaurdian of the Earth Sigil. Roy, as has been stated when he died and was being judged, has a decent wisdom score, enough so that it was asked why he didn't pursue being a cleric. After killing the guardian, Roy asks Thog if he heard anything, Thog answers no. Untrained bluff vs untrained sense motive. Thog bluffs Roy. High charisma.

Thog may also have been too preoccupied with his inner monologue to have made the connection between the question and killing the guardian, making it not a bluff to begin with. However, the situation in the arena is ambiguous as to whether the crowd was laughing with him(high cha) or at him(low cha). low int, low wis, high cha seems accurate. Editing.

lytokk
2013-11-22, 02:15 PM
Low Int, Wis and Cha

Remus Wurmtail from Lord of the Rings. I think I got the name right at least. Not a very bright bulb in any regard, and no one likes him. I think the triple lows is the basic makeup of most henchmen to the villan.

Angry Bob
2013-11-22, 02:30 PM
Low Int, Wis and Cha

Remus Wurmtail from Lord of the Rings. I think I got the name right at least. Not a very bright bulb in any regard, and no one likes him. I think the triple lows is the basic makeup of most henchmen to the villan.

If you mean Grima Wormtongue, I'd give him more credit than that. Low wisdom, certainly, but he can look after himself and he did manage to worm(lel) his way into Theoden's court and keep himself there until Gandalf chased him away. I'd give him high charisma at least, maybe high intelligence as well.

Calling him "Wormtail," though, brings up a character I think might be a better fit: Peter Pettigrew from Harry Potter. He's a coward, he's pretty bad with people, and the only clever things he ever does are actually the plans of others that he just carries out. Textbook all low mental stats that isn't just a faceless minion.

lytokk
2013-11-22, 02:33 PM
Yeah, I couldn't remember his name, but I knew I was close enough for someone to get it. Never read the novels, and am horrible with names.

Isamu Dyson
2013-11-22, 02:33 PM
You do realize how offensive that sounds, right? You're basically suggesting that knowledge about "tribal life" is somehow lesser than other knowledge.

That didn't sound offensive to me, nor did I sense an implication of "lesser".

Rhynn
2013-11-23, 12:22 AM
Remus Wurmtail from Lord of the Rings.

:smallbiggrin:

Remus (http://ladygeekgirl.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/lupin.jpg) + Wormtail (http://musingsfromnevillesnavel.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/wormtail1.jpg) = this guy? (http://images.wikia.com/lotr/images/b/b4/Grima_Wormtongue.png)

Zrak
2013-11-24, 06:07 AM
I think there is enough leeway and/or bizarre overlap in the meaning of mental stats to reflect a much wider variety of character types. Really, they're vague enough that you can essentially justify almost any character having almost any allotment of mental stats. You can pretty much play a cagey, empathetic detective and explain wis being his dump stat by saying his sense of smell is, like, really bad.

Man on Fire
2013-11-24, 06:37 AM
High Int, Low Wis, High Cha
Strategist and manipulator, somebody who, to some extend, sees life as a complicated strategic game, where other people are pawns for him to use. not necessairly a sociopath, but he doesn't care people's wishes and feelings into consideration, he sees fit to manipulate them. On certain level he doesn't trust anyone but himself and might have some need to control others.
Examples: Alex Wilder (Runaways), Lelouch "Zero" Lamperogue (Code Geass), David "Legion" Haller (X-Men: Legacy vol.2)

Wardog
2013-11-25, 05:48 PM
Something that complicates this a bit (IMO) is: what people (and games) mean by these terms tends to be a bit inconsistent.

In normal usages, "intelligence" generally means "ability to reason or understand things", and "wisdom" means "ability to make sound judgements" (which is a subset of "intelligence").

Games on the otherhand typically define (officially at least) as meaning "book-learning" vs "common-sense/intuition", which IMO is a bit of an arteficial distinction in my mind, and also doesn't doesn't really cover all forms of intelligence and knowledge.

On top of that, in terms of actual rules, in D&D "intelligence" actually means "capacity to learn skills, and natural talent at certain skills requiring thought". "Wisdom" means "perception, willpower, and how in tune you are with the spiritual world". The former is reasonably close to the real-world meaning, but the latter is really more like "force-sensetivity" (or whatever non-Star Wars equivilent would be appropriate for your campaign).

hamishspence
2013-11-26, 07:17 AM
On top of that, in terms of actual rules, in D&D "intelligence" actually means "capacity to learn skills, and natural talent at certain skills requiring thought". "Wisdom" means "perception, willpower, and how in tune you are with the spiritual world". The former is reasonably close to the real-world meaning, but the latter is really more like "force-sensetivity" (or whatever non-Star Wars equivilent would be appropriate for your campaign).

Isn't Wisdom also fundamental to a number of skills besides perception? Profession skills, for example?

Red Bear
2013-11-26, 11:21 AM
Low Int, Low Wis, High Cha:
Pathfinder paladins have often this kind of stats, so I think Prince Charming from Shrek is very appropriate :)

Low Int, High Wis, Low Cha:
Animals have this kind of stats (excluding a minority of mid-high Cha). So maybe Wolverine from X-men?

lytokk
2013-11-26, 01:24 PM
High Int, High Wis, Low Cha I think would describe Lisbeth Salander, from the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Incrediby smart, photographic memory, very perceptive, and an abrasive personality. She'll never make a lot of friends, but she'll figure out anything. Just like the current entry of Sherlock Holmes.

The Oni
2013-11-26, 04:13 PM
Low Int, Low Wis, High Cha:
Pathfinder paladins have often this kind of stats, so I think Prince Charming from Shrek is very appropriate :)

Difference is a Paladin's gotta be Lawful Good, I doubt Charming even qualifies as Lawful let alone Good. Paladin of Tyranny with good PR, maybe. And he sucks at fighting, so he's probably low point buy, too...

dps
2013-11-26, 09:19 PM
Low Int, Low Wis, High Cha: Forrest Gump

The Oni
2013-11-27, 12:12 AM
Low Int, Low Wis, High Cha: Forrest Gump

Gump's got at least average Wisdom. In fact at some points in the movie he comes across as almost sagely. You could totally play him as a Monk in PF. Vow of Peace, Run, Endurance feats. Bewildering Koan if you make him a Gnome.