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Thread: Is INT useless?

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    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: Is INT useless?

    Quote Originally Posted by Talamare View Post
    Int is the weakest of the stats

    but I bet that because you said 'useless' people are going to tell you you're wrong, because this forum is full of pedantry arguments.
    there are basically zero rules for most skill checks. what you can do with int checks to know about stuff is completely undefined in mechanical terms. that isn't "weak", it's just "undefined" until you get into an individual game. in your games, int may very well be weak. all it takes is for the DM to decide it doesn't give you much in the way of useful information.

    in another game, it might tell you about an enemy's immunities, strong and weak saves, and special attacks. it might let you know that if you're being attacked by a certain mercenary group, they probably have someone getting into position to attack you from behind while you're distracted and you might wanna do something about that. it might let you know that there is a blacksmith in a nearby city that happens to know the formula for the exact magic item you're hoping to buy, or that the wizard's guild in a certain city are a bunch of wackos that will throw you into a prison where you'll be experimented on if you cast magic in their city without their permission (and if you don't think that sort of knowledge is useful, perhaps you should ask imoen what she thinks about that, i bet she has a different opinion than you on that subject).

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    Default Re: Is INT useless?

    I wouldn't call Int useless, but I would call it situational. Believe me, when you have a 10 Int and you get trapped by a Maze spell, you are really going to wish you had a high Int score. But other then that you generally aren't going to have to rely on it as much as Wisdom or Charisma

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    Default Re: Is INT useless?

    Intelligence is the new Cha.

    Totally useless unless you are a Wizard or EK. That's why I've houseruled 1 extra language or tool for each bonus point.

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    Default Re: Is INT useless?

    Quote Originally Posted by Briton View Post
    Hey all

    Initially being a person who started in Pathfinder and 3.5e, I've come to the realization that the Intelligence stat is not very useful in 5e. I'm wondering if i'm missing something or not looking at INT in 5e the right way.

    First, only one class and two sub-class (Wizard and Eldritch Knight and Arcane Trickster respectively) use INT as a stat. Even then, the wizard is the only class that when multi-classing, requires a decent INT score.

    Out of all the saves that monsters and spells will have you roll against, INT is definitely one of the ones used the least.

    Few skills are not impacted by INT. While INT is used for some really useful skills such as investigation, it doesn't hold up to having a high STR or DEX which has uses in and out of combat, or WIS or CHA, both which have ton of uses outside of combat and are needed for multiple classes.

    What, as both a gm and a player, am I missing? Is INT really as useless as i make it out to be?
    Hi :=)
    Quote Originally Posted by MarkVIIIMarc View Post
    It is going to be DM and party dependant.

    Gimme a party of five that thinks they're all optimized by dumping INT and I'll have some fun.
    This.

    Not sure about how other people manage it in their games, in mine, it's regularly used when investigating affairs, but also when...

    1. Getting information on creatures that are not familiar already with the party (because they fought many of them, or because it's known in the region so many informations lie around in books or rumors).
    Example: the scout Rogues describes the creature he saw when sneaking ahead, Wizard recognizes it as a Fiend, remembers vaguely having seen things written about it, try to focus on its faded memories, makes an Arcana check. Depending on how good his roll was, and many other parameters, I'll give more or less information on the creature, but at least the degree of danger involved.

    Example: the group faces an enemy Cleric: party Cleric checks passive Religion, identifies the order and Domain the enemy is associated with. Wizard checks passive Arcana, and notices a Ring of Spell Storing.

    If however a Wizard tells me "I spend my downtime searching libraries for information on local monsters", then I'll have no problem with him being at least able to immediately recognize the type and name of a creature in the area.
    If the party encounters low-level undead, I consider that any Cleric will know all there is to know about it, because in my view slaying zombies and skeletons is part of the training process of any Cleric.
    In forest, I consider that any Druid will know the basic abilities of creatures unless the player decided his character spent entire life in mountain or on a plain island.

    I really don't like metagaming, so I expect my players to really play their characters: if you didn't have any chance at acquiring information on a creature, then tough luck, you'll have to find out the hard way. But I also find logical to expect some degree of general knowledge in some areas depending on class choice (and also skill choice).

    Conversely, unless they are really experienced players, I'll remind them the information they have on enemies they fought often and analysed by trial and error. Once/if they get to the point of knowing all there is to know and are really new players (in roleplaying in general) then I may go as far as providing the sheet for a while, as a temporary crutch.

    2. Noticing things that may be of importance.

    Ex: group is tracking creatures that fled away through prints, because nobody has good smell tracking in party, in their own dungeon. They are following tracks that seem easy enough to follow but ultimately arrive at a dead-end in a library. Because the creature had several minutes, people make Perception checks to look for hidden doors but don't find anything (or maybe someone found the place of the hidden door because unusually dirty near for example, but didn't find opening mechanism). Someone then decides to Investigate for things that are out of place, and notice that one book has been placed in a row which does not fit the apparent triage. When opening it, he finds a small paper giving a particular sequence to follow to open a secret passage...

    Ex: group, tasked with finding thieves that seem impossible to find, meets a party from a Religious Order of the region. Cleric in party checks a passive Religion check, so I tell him he has a feeling that something is off by looking at their clothes and jewelry but cannot know exactly what. He decides to make a Religion check, passes, and realize the symbols on the jewelry are close to what they should be, but are effectively not. Meaning the group is not what they pretend to be. Cleric discreetly makes a sign to others, effectively increasing their defiance, maybe triggering other checks from party members to verify the assertion.

    I don't pretend it's the best way to use it really (and my examples could be discussed, I made them just here to illustrate), I do this mainly because I'm DMing homebrewed worlds so while I try to prepare setting beforehand, I often have to design minor NPC, or factions, or dungeons on the fly.

    And of course it's not the only way to achieve a particular goal: for the hidden door, one could use magic instead, or just try to bash the door. For the tricky thiefs, maybe someone else would have checked a passive Insight check, or maybe a Persuasion check would have made bandits reveal information from which players could then deduce they were lying, etc...

    But I find it an interesting way to keep things entertainable, a logical way to use the skill, and a good way of keeping Perception from being a "know-it-all" skill in many situations.

    3. Identifying spells.
    Long before Xanathar's came out*, I already allowed (and depending on some parameters, required) party to make checks to identify spells, including in fighintg.
    Same logic as information about creatures: when you saw the same spell cast by many different people, you will recognize it immediately (that's my personal bias as PHB is very vague about this imo: I consider that each caster has his own particularities when casting spells, but must nevertheless follow more or less the same pattern in moves and speech). When you face a spell you don't know but is on your spell list and of the same level as what you can cast, I expect you to have a fair chance at recognizing it. If it's a high level spell compared to what you know, you will need to pass a fairly high check, or maybe you just have no chance at identifying it.
    Etc etc...

    Only difference is that I allowed checks on reaction in addition to action, specifically for Counterspell cases, to encourage party teamwork. :)

    * Note I don't own Xanathar's so I don't really know what's the system now. I brushed through some threads here when it came out and people cried away that Counterspell was now broken or I-don't-know-what, but I was not interested enough at the time to properly inform myself since my own worked for my players. ;)

    Also, imo, if INT is really "useless" in your games, unless everyone around the table agreed beforehand to it (because nobody likes "thriller"-like plots or just investigations, or having to immerse in universe for creatures/factions knowledge), it's a case of "bad" DMing. Especially if there is a Wizard in party. Ability scores and checks are there for a reason, it's up to the DM to challenge the party with a variety of them to give everyone a chance to do something useful, even if obviously some with come up much more often than others. :=)
    Last edited by Citan; 2018-01-02 at 05:40 AM.

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    Default Re: Is INT useless?

    Quote Originally Posted by Talamare View Post
    Int is the weakest of the stats

    but I bet that because you said 'useless' people are going to tell you you're wrong, because this forum is full of pedantry arguments.
    ...and instead of this it seems that people are giving out sound, reasoned, and well-thought out advice regarding how and when (and in what campaigns) Intelligence might be useful.

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    Default Re: Is INT useless?

    Quote Originally Posted by Briton View Post
    Hey all

    Initially being a person who started in Pathfinder and 3.5e, I've come to the realization that the Intelligence stat is not very useful in 5e. I'm wondering if i'm missing something or not looking at INT in 5e the right way.

    First, only one class and two sub-class (Wizard and Eldritch Knight and Arcane Trickster respectively) use INT as a stat. Even then, the wizard is the only class that when multi-classing, requires a decent INT score.

    Out of all the saves that monsters and spells will have you roll against, INT is definitely one of the ones used the least.

    Few skills are not impacted by INT. While INT is used for some really useful skills such as investigation, it doesn't hold up to having a high STR or DEX which has uses in and out of combat, or WIS or CHA, both which have ton of uses outside of combat and are needed for multiple classes.

    What, as both a gm and a player, am I missing? Is INT really as useless as i make it out to be?
    It's funny that the way you word the thread title gets people to all be contrary and prove you wrong, but if you asked the clear obvious follow question instead, "Should I dump int on my character?"

    The answer would probably be a resounding, "YES!" (At least from the optimizers and provided your character isn't an int based class.)

    Things can have uses in theory, but in practice be so much worse than other options that they may as well be useless. Int skills are actually quite helpful in my experience, but it's not worth putting points into unless you are sure that everyone else in the party is dumping int (Read: No wizard).

    If you aren't planning your character around the party, there are better places to put your ability scores or points, and better skills. If you are planning your character around a party, then you should have someone to do int skills (Read: Wizard).

    In practice, if your Battle Master Fighter puts his spare 14 in int instead of wisdom, he is just worse off, unless he is just hoping for a chance at killing his teammates. "I was charmed! The vampire would have wanted me to use all my maneuvers to ensure my GWM -5/+10 hits all land and kill you."
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    Default Re: Is INT useless?

    Intelligence is as important as the DM wants it to be, but that's not the players' fault. Non-wizard players are not forced to put an 8 in Intelligence, but if you use Point Buy the game encourages you to put at least one 8 somewhere. It's natural and not a badwrongfun thing to do to place it in the ability score they need the least for their character. Some will place it in Charisma if they are fine not being the face of the party. Some will place it in Strength, relying on Acrobatics instead of Athletics and figure out what to do on those rare occasions a Strength check of some kind is needed. Some will place it in Intelligence because they value the other two more and are fine with the stereotype of the Wizard knowing things. The other three ability scores are rare for 8s, but you'll find that player who does.

    A DM is not wrong to have Intelligence be useful with Knowledge and Investigation checks. The DM is not wrong for bad guys to require Intelligence saves to avoid their effects. It is not the DM's job to punish players because he hates it they dumped Intelligence.
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    Default Re: Is INT useless?

    Quote Originally Posted by Willie the Duck View Post
    ...and instead of this it seems that people are giving out sound, reasoned, and well-thought out advice regarding how and when (and in what campaigns) Intelligence might be useful.
    Biased advice with the intention of being counter to the OP. Providing mostly anecdotes to prove something to be real, when there is plenty of concrete evidence that it is the weakest stat.

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    Default Re: Is INT useless?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tanarii View Post
    (*Which raises an interesting possibility of setting different DCs for 6 seconds vs a minute of thinking vs ten, as opposed to check vs auto success.)
    Can't you just say that; beating DC gives you answer now, fail by 5 and it takes 10 min, by 10 - 1 hour and so on? Might be more bookkeeping than necessary, it should be automatic success if spending 10 min IMO...



    As a sidenote, I'm considering introducing the 5 second deadline for announcing actions in combat (otherwise compulsory Dodge). As a buff to Int, I'm thinking about allowing more decision time based on having a high Int score. Thoughts? Sounds cool to me in theory, though it will probably work against the intention of the deadline, increasing confusion at the table.

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    Default Re: Is INT useless?

    Quote Originally Posted by PeteNutButter View Post
    It's funny that the way you word the thread title gets people to all be contrary and prove you wrong, but if you asked the clear obvious follow question instead, "Should I dump int on my character?"

    The answer would probably be a resounding, "YES!" (At least from the optimizers and provided your character isn't an int based class.)

    Things can have uses in theory, but in practice be so much worse than other options that they may as well be useless. Int skills are actually quite helpful in my experience, but it's not worth putting points into unless you are sure that everyone else in the party is dumping int (Read: No wizard).

    If you aren't planning your character around the party, there are better places to put your ability scores or points, and better skills. If you are planning your character around a party, then you should have someone to do int skills (Read: Wizard).

    In practice, if your Battle Master Fighter puts his spare 14 in int instead of wisdom, he is just worse off, unless he is just hoping for a chance at killing his teammates. "I was charmed! The vampire would have wanted me to use all my maneuvers to ensure my GWM -5/+10 hits all land and kill you."
    I fight this a (sadly ^^) very accurate summary of the situation.
    It's not entirely the "fault" of the Intelligence score itself nor the skills though. As demonstrated by all posts above, Intelligence skills can make the day. Problem is, more generally, you have many ways to offset bad stats.

    Several classes have features (well, mainly Expertise and Jack of All Trades tbh) and spells (Enhance Ability, Bless, Guidance) that can give anyone a largely good enough chance to pass most checks when needed.
    In that regard, Rogue's Reliable Talent is absolutely gorgeous: just this and proficiency means you can safely win even medium checks even with a dumped INT.
    Plus class features such as Bend Luck or Bardic Inspiration or Peerless Skill.

    So, basically, unless campaign is heavily geared towards thriller/investigation narration, you can indeed work around lowish INT as long as you have either a Bard, Rogue, Knowledge Cleric or Wild Magic Sorcerer around, because those can provide, at a small cost, the resources to get a fair to high rate of success. Chances are high to have at least one.

    So argument in favor of "needs high INT to ensure check success" is kinda weak. Especially since PHB does not give many illustrations of Int-based checks so it's really up to each DM to work their way towards giving them situations to be used in. Meaning more effort. Meaning less chance for a player to actually get a DM doing it. ^^

    Then comes argument in favor of "needs high INT to ensure saves": and, so far (don't know about Xanathar's new spells), you get only a handful spells targeting INT, compared to several more targeting CHA and many more WIS. So indeed, for a "quarternary" stat, you'd usually prefer going with probabilities and bump WIS rather than CHA or INT, barring specific multiclass/feat needs.

    That's how you come to that contradiction you put out so well.
    Only way for it to change would be for WoTC to put some love in Int by increasing spells targeting it (and making optimizers roar in rage because there would be not even one stat to dump "safely" anymore) or providing guidance in proposing interesting checks based on it.

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    Default Re: Is INT useless?

    Quote Originally Posted by Oerlaf View Post
    There are many ways to challenge so called "optimizers" with dumped INT.

    These are the spells that target Intelligence:

    2nd level - phantasmal force
    3rd level - enemies abound (Xanathar's)
    5th level - synaptic static (Xanathar's)
    6th level - mental prison (Xanathar's)
    8th level - feeblemind
    8th level - psychic scream (Xanathar's)

    All of these spells are pretty powerful.

    Gotta love this DMing style. Players won't put points into a stat that isn't useful? Then use a corner case mechanic to punish them for doing the right thing.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snowbluff View Post
    All gaming systems should be terribly flawed and exploitable if you want everyone to be happy with them. This allows for a wide variety of power levels for games for different levels of players.
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    Default Re: Is INT useless?

    There is no such thing as a "right thing" to do when building characters.

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    Default Re: Is INT useless?

    Quote Originally Posted by Oerlaf View Post
    There are many ways to challenge so called "optimizers" with dumped INT.

    These are the spells that target Intelligence:

    2nd level - phantasmal force
    3rd level - enemies abound (Xanathar's)
    5th level - synaptic static (Xanathar's)
    6th level - mental prison (Xanathar's)
    8th level - feeblemind
    8th level - psychic scream (Xanathar's)

    All of these spells are pretty powerful.
    Also many illusions.

    Especially if you interpret the rules for them like I do: creatures need to spend an action and pass an Investigation check to see through them. Just physically interacting isn't enough for that, all it does is let you know it's not real. (Ruling based on carefully reviewing the text in Minor Illusion, Silent Image, and Major Image.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Talamare View Post
    Int is the weakest of the stats
    The accuracy of this statement is highly DM and/or module dependent.

    It's more or less accurate for AL though. Most AL DMs and modules run Int & Cha checks as both "state of knowledge" checks and "one check to rule them all". Or run Intelligence (Lore) checks as "everyone checks, one success needed".

    In other words, you either only need one Face and one Lore Master, because the best PC bonus always rolls for the group. Or you're basically garunteed to pass any lore checks anyway because everyone rolls, but only one success is needed.

    In this case, both Int and Cha are mostly needed for class features, and not beyond that.

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    Default Re: Is INT useless?

    I typically always try to make INT a fun skill for players to have. Higher INT checks give them more insight into the world, help them find important bits of information, and can even go as far as making checks to gain knowledge about the monsters they are fighting, such as ac good saves and the like.

    Beyond that I tend to make it so high INT characters will overhear something and make good leaps in logic. Fighting goblins and one turns to yell at one near the back of the group and he turns and runs. Most of the party one goblin just ran off. Mr high INT you heard the root word for help and the word for gather in that sentence. You are fairly certain he is going to get help.

    Another fun thing I do is I still sort of roll with the old 4e skill check ideas for challenges. So for example if the party is traveling through the desert and they are struggling a high INT cleric might call upon their god for shade and a good religion check and sure enough they find some shade. A failure there and well it starts to rain, then flood. For the wizard I am gonna magic us up a cloud to give some shade while we walk. A quick Arcana check later and a good success you get a few fluffy clouds following you around no spells expended. A failure and the wind you used to summon the clouds kicked up a dust storm.

    I am all for my players coming up with cool new ways to really push the envelope in what a skill can do. Ok we need to push this boulder but no one is strong enough. Let me try and magic it and maybe it works maybe it doesn't.

    To me the INT based skills aren't just you know x y and z. Instead I view them as just as versatile as skills like athletics acrobatics or the god skill perception. Let the players come up with cool ideas if you let them expand from just knowledge to applying the various arts they might know from their class. Let the cleric pray and high enough religion checks might reward them with advantage on something like their next roll. Maybe let the wizard attempt to bolster the fighters armor with Arcana but maybe it slows the fighter by five feet. Maybe on an investigation check you learn how a magic items was made and the secrets to making a copy yourself.

    Maybe with nature you can know what kind of bait will draw the terrible horrible tygerdile beast from the river and just sort of toss a bunch of it into the goblins cave entrance and just sit back and watch the show.

    Again the main point let your high INT or even medium INT players get creative with their skills and maybe with high enough checks let them sneak a peak at higher level things they might be able to do later in the campaign.

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    Default Re: Is INT useless?

    Having Int will help my Barbarian not have his skull hollowed out by an Intellect Devourer. That is one very good use for the Class that gets the least use out of it.

    Quote Originally Posted by ImproperJustice View Post
    In our games, a successful Arcana, History, or investigate check is often the difference between I interact with cool statue successfully and find some secret loot, and OMG, we did the wrong thing, we’re cursed, and our arms fell off.

    Several times I point out to my GM that my PC is smarter than me, and he allows an intelligence check for insights about a difficult situation.

    It plays a large enough role in exploration that our Rogue keeps a decent intelligence stat.

    We are currently running a bunch of the old school modules right now as well, so that may be a factor.
    Your DM sounds pretty great, btw.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rooneg View Post
    Personally, if I had my way INT would also give you bonus skill or language proficiencies, but that's not the world we live in.
    I agree with your other points. That said I am co-DMing a session and run my own as well. In the co-Session, we stole a page from 2E and gave them "bonus" skills that could be applied as a modifier to Survival skill checks in the Chult game. Foraging, for instance, is really more of an INT or WIS skill. So if you took this "bonus skill" you get to add your INT mod to Survival checks to forage for specific plants or in general.

    In my own game, if a player had a very high INT, and provided a fun/creative back story on why they should have additional languages I'd give them the language no issue.

    Admittedly, none of these are AL legal, but I will stop there before I rant on issues regarding AL.
    Last edited by Burnteyes; 2018-01-02 at 12:30 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LeonBH View Post
    There is no such thing as a "right thing" to do when building characters.
    Objectively, there is. The Int stat has limited uses. This is not up for debate, and every point made here has been made futilely.

    Compare using a couple of knowledge skills. The simple fact of the matter is a couple of missing Int points won't weigh much against your proficiency bonus. Only a couple of class use Int in combat. And for saves, only 3 classes get it as a save, and only 1 (maybe 2) of those classes will be any good at it.

    SO introducing a disproportionately high number of int save spells to punish players is punishing them for making an informed decision. It's bad faith in the eyes of anyone trying to run a productive and fun game.

    In before "optimization is wrongbadfun."
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darrin View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Snowbluff View Post
    All gaming systems should be terribly flawed and exploitable if you want everyone to be happy with them. This allows for a wide variety of power levels for games for different levels of players.
    I dub this the Snowbluff Axiom.

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    Default Re: Is INT useless?

    Quote Originally Posted by Snowbluff View Post
    Objectively, there is. The Int stat has limited uses. This is not up for debate, and every point made here has been made futilely.

    Compare using a couple of knowledge skills. The simple fact of the matter is a couple of missing Int points won't weigh much against your proficiency bonus. Only a couple of class use Int in combat. And for saves, only 3 classes get it as a save, and only 1 (maybe 2) of those classes will be any good at it.

    SO introducing a disproportionately high number of int save spells to punish players is punishing them for making an informed decision. It's bad faith in the eyes of anyone trying to run a productive and fun game.

    In before "optimization is wrongbadfun."
    You're saying people can make their characters wrong, implying optimization is the right way to approach the game.

    Isn't that the same as saying "no optimization is badwrongfun"?

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    Default Re: Is INT useless?

    Quote Originally Posted by Snowbluff View Post
    Objectively, there is. The Int stat has limited uses. This is not up for debate, and every point made here has been made futilely.
    Way to ignore "Int is as useful as the DM makes it".

    Compare using a couple of knowledge skills.
    Any ability score can be used for far more than the skills. In fact, the way you're supposed to DM, IMO but pretty strongly supported opinion based on what the books say, is decide on an ability check first, then decide what proficiency apply, if any. In other words, you don't even think about skills or tools until you're done setting the ability score.

    And personally as a DM, I find Intelligence is one of the most common mental stats to default to for mental checks. Far more so than Charisma or Wisdom.

    Edit: and on comparative worth compared to proficiency bonus, prior to level 9, which is most of the game for the vast majority of groups, the difference between an Int 8 and Int 12 is the same or more than your proficiency bonus.
    Last edited by Tanarii; 2018-01-02 at 12:55 PM.

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    Default Re: Is INT useless?

    Quote Originally Posted by Talamare View Post
    Biased advice with the intention of being counter to the OP. Providing mostly anecdotes to prove something to be real, when there is plenty of concrete evidence that it is the weakest stat.
    That isn't what I'm taking away from this thread. People have been pretty forthright in saying that Int doesn't have all that many game uses. And then have pointed out the places where it is. The OP's actual last line is "What, as both a gm and a player, am I missing? Is INT really as useless as i make it out to be?" and people appear to be answering it in good faith. If someone asks, 'what am I missing regarding the value of X, which appears useless?,' then people are naturally going to offer the counterexamples, that's actually them being helpful and diligent. I don't see why you think people are doing something untoward.

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    Default Re: Is INT useless?

    A part of this problem is that DMs tend to use Perception as a catch-all for all sight based checks, but perception only notices evidence of unusual things (like a slot in a wall) while Investigation figures out what is actually unusual (like the scything blade trap in the slot. INT without WIS can't detect the trap because the character doesn't see anything to indicate that there could be a trap (the slot), whereas WIS without INT sees the slot but is unable to deduce the presence of the trap behind it.

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    Default Re: Is INT useless?

    My main challenge in making Int useful, is that it is so hard to resist giving players cool information, even when they fail their Int(Knowledge) checks.

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    Default Re: Is INT useless?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pelle View Post
    My main challenge in making Int useful, is that it is so hard to resist giving players cool information, even when they fail their Int(Knowledge) checks.
    Provide a specific example and I bet I can come up with a work around to get them back there through RP.

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    Default Re: Is INT useless?

    Quote Originally Posted by bc56 View Post
    INT without WIS can't detect the trap because the character doesn't see anything to indicate that there could be a trap (the slot)
    Actually it can. There are plenty of indications that searching for traps can include deducing the likely location of traps using Intelligence (Investigation) scattered throughout the PHB and DMG, including Passive Investigation.

    The way I work it is: Players that tell me their PC is Searching for Traps (and Secret Doors), then they use Passive Investigation. They'll deduce where traps are likely to be, and if they exceed the DC they find a hint. Then they can either guess what it does, which in the case of a slot in the wall is somewhat obvious. Not that you can't take advantage of that as a DM. Or they can use further Intelligence Investigation checks to figure it out. And they're focused on searching for traps specifically, so they're not going to notice other threats. Such as using passive perception for noticing a creature stealthily approaching, for example. In that regard, it's the same as Mapping, Tracking, Foraging or Navigating.

    The advantage of me making this ruling clear to players is it clarifies to them how I will handle Passive Perception, Wisdom (Perception). Passive Investigation, Intelligence (Investigation), and also allows Trap-finding Rogues to explicitly use Int. Since Wis is definitely not an archetypical Rogue ability score. Or more accurately, Wisdom is the archetypical Rogue dump stat.

    Edit: That's not to say it prevents noticing hints about something via Passive Perception. It just makes explicit searching by deducing to function the same way as generally looking around / awareness. As well as providing potentially different information / hints specific to looking for Traps, as opposed to generally being wary of threats.
    Last edited by Tanarii; 2018-01-02 at 01:40 PM.

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    Default Re: Is INT useless?

    If you want treasures in my game, you are better at having Investigation on at least one character. Intelligence is also mandatory on EK and Wizards. You can also applies houserules to boost a bit of utility throught this stat (giving more tool's proficiency or innate languages).

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    Default Re: Is INT useless?

    Quote Originally Posted by LeonBH View Post
    There is no such thing as a "right thing" to do when building characters.
    There are DMs who disapprove of how players make their characters so want to punish them for it. In this topic it's dumping Intelligence. That is what's being criticized. In other cases it's dip multiclassing. Other times it's taking a feat.

    It is the DM's job to make sure no player Wins D&D. That's Wish/Simulacrum or Conjure 8 Pixies. It's the loopholes that make the game unplayable. Just making a character the player wants is not.
    Quote Originally Posted by Erit View Post
    "The DM is the world, the gods, the trees and the bees. But no matter what covenant is struck or words exchanged, the DM is not the PCs."

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    Default Re: Is INT useless?

    Quote Originally Posted by Snowbluff View Post

    Gotta love this DMing style. Players won't put points into a stat that isn't useful? Then use a corner case mechanic to punish them for doing the right thing.

    If your party is full of morons (i.e. everyone dump stat INT 8), then of course their enemies are going to notice and use appropriate countermeasures the next time they battle. Same goes if a party is full of 90 pound weaklings (i.e. everyone dump stat STR 8), then opponents are going to leverage their fights to exploit this weakness.

    Unless of course their enemies also dump stat INT 8, and are too dumb to figure out plans with sound tactical advantage.

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    Default Re: Is INT useless?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nargrakhan View Post
    Unless of course their enemies also dump stat INT 8, and are too dumb to figure out plans with sound tactical advantage.
    Or they don't leave any enemies alive to report back to "evil organization #2" (EvOrg1 haivng already been destroyed by the PCs in Tier 1) on their strengths and weaknesses.

    Which I find to be far more typical of murderheroes. For some reason finding a logical way for enemies to gather information on them outside of the battle at hand always seems to take some special DM fiat of EvOrg2 deciding to research them prior to getting involved with them.

    Also, recurring villians are a problem.

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    Default Re: Is INT useless?

    Quote Originally Posted by Burnteyes View Post
    Provide a specific example and I bet I can come up with a work around to get them back there through RP.
    I wasn't entirely serious, and also think that plot critical clues shouldn't be gated behind ability checks, but it can give tactical/strategic advantages. So let's try:

    It's night in the mystical spirit forest, and one of the goblins is sitting watch. He is attacked by a dark creature, with long lean arms, skinny wrinkly fingers and red glowing eyes, trying to grapple him.

    - Knowing anything about the creature can possibly give a tactical advantage, and there are some cool details that would be fun to give to the players. If they fail, I guess I could contrive a reason for someone to explain them at a later time, though it rarely feels appropriate, especially since the players tend to forget themselves...

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    Default Re: Is INT useless?

    Intelligence is used to appraise things (and understand how economy works to a greater extend in my humble opinion).

    It is also the Investigation stat. If a played picks the feat Observant, I will likely be able to find what he needs if it's there. The rest of the band is thankful to the player which picked this... I may act as the party face, but I'm thankful to have a good counselor that helps me selling stuff and manage our party's treasure.

    If you have no one that can manage the party's logistics (aka the Wizard or the most intelligent member normally), then you have some difficulties at playing the game of planning ahead. You may still live a long life full of adventure... but having a bunch of heroes with dumped Intelligence sure leads to quick deaths and hot-headed decisions if players act accordingly.

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