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Intelligence as a stat

Discussion in 'Codex Workshop' started by J1M, May 28, 2018.

  1. J1M Arcane

    J1M
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    A few games have offered a twist for low intelligence characters by changing dialogue responses or hampering skill checks. This is usually in the form of one or more break points related to INT score.

    What about a system that randomly disabled some of the actions a character can take on a turn? For example, your intelligence is 4/20 so 8 of your 10 abilities are disabled for each turn. A character with 18/20 INT has only 10% disabled.

    This direct connection to the stat could be interesting when dealing with buffs/debuffs. Would give some value to learning two similar skills. It could also be annoying as fuck.

    On the other hand, people seem to love when characters are crippled by psychological problems in Darkest Dungeon.

    How else can INT be used as a stat that isnt a break point? ie. The way charisma determines the party size in fallout.
     
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  2. Wunderbar Arcane

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    amount of skillpoints you gain per level up?
     
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  3. Major_Blackhart Codexia Lord Sodom Patron

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    This is interesting. Something I've wondered about as well. A negative intelligence score might mean that certain skills where Int is the primary stat driver decay over a period of time, or it takes more skill points to invest properly.

    Or, I would say in certain skills a greater chance of failure with low intelligence. You could put in a special check for something that's not a routine action for instance.
    Pushing a series of buttons to activate a machine could constitute a routine action. Finding the right combination could also be a routine action.

    However, certain deductive principals such as chess movements or higher thinking are not routine actions, and with low intelligence those options won't be available or will have a significantly greater chance of failure.
    Maybe skills with Intelligence as a secondary driver stat will have some sort of modification in them.
     
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  4. levgre Novice

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    This would probably be easiest to pull off by having a large chunk of a game designed to cater to the mechanic, using real time puzzle solving with multiple possible solutions. But I still am struggling to think of the value in having random avaiability vs having breakpoints.
     
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  5. mondblut Arcane

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    The number of spells that can be memorized :obviously:

    Or mana pool for you casual newfags.
     
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  6. J1M Arcane

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    Some other considerations:

    -INT should probably offer additional options, but the high-INT options should not be de-facto better. Sometimes it is better to punch than attempt rat diplomacy.

    -Constantly showing the player the 16 options they don't qualify for could be just as negative of an experience as not showing them and having the player assume the game lacks options.

    -Something like additional skill points for INT still creates a situation where the character is using high-INT decisions about what to do, even if the outcome chance models low-INT.

    -Perhaps a low-INT play-through should be viewed as an optional layer of difficulty that requires higher intelligence from the player? That feels counter-intuitive.

    -Is it even worth modelling INT this way when most players engaging the option have a form of precognition given that they have usually already finished the game?
     
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  7. Jokzore Savant

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    I don't see a better solution other than what Fallout did with skillpoints and dialogue.

    Unless someone is absolutely dedicated to roleplaying a character, it will always be as dumb or as smart as the player is.

    So you're investing your hard earned stat points into something that's potentially inferior to a low STR solution?

    Don't most RPGs offer you to toggle that shit ?

    Fallout is praised for doing exactly this. Also VTMB does something similar if you pick Nosferatu, NPCs are disgusted by you and some are outright hostile.

    Also it feels pretty intuitive for me. If you're dumb/ugly you're playing life with a layer of difficulty others aren't.


    Not true. Everyone who plays the game will have to play it for the first time at least once. After that everyone who decides to replay it and power game it will do so regardless how any of the stats work.

    That's just limiting the number of builds people can do, seeing as you're absolutely required to dump a certain amount of points into INT. Unless you're trying to gimp yourself on purpose.
     
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  8. Zanzoken Arcane

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    Maybe you could add a random roll each turn in combat similar to a confusion effect -- i.e. the character might attack the wrong target, move to the wrong place, or do other stupid things. The lower your INT the higher risk there is of this happening.

    I will admit that does not sound fun to me though. Personally speaking I have never liked INT as an attribute anyway and wouldn't include it in my character system unless I had a very specific purpose in mind.
     
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  9. Jokzore Savant

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    All RPG stats have this exact same issue (charisma excluded). They're not really representative how how things work irl (does being more dexterous really improve your use of a longbow, you'd benefit more from strength).

    The point of stats is to make you choose one thing and lock yourself out of another when creating a character. Thus preventing you from being a master of all trades a al skyrim. In case of INT its supposed to help you use things that need studying and book learning ei spells, sorcery, science, computers etc.

    I understand the desire to create a character different from yourself but unless you're actually roleplaying that's never going to happen while keeping D&D-esque character sheets.

    I supposed the best solution would be to do away with traditional stats all together and focus more on perks, skillpoints, professions, equipment, etc.
     
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  10. Kyl Von Kull The Night Tripper Patron

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    The lower your INT, the higher your chance of a critical failure on any action. Sure. you may be well trained with guns, but if you're an idiot you may forget to maintain your weapon, so it misfires a lot more often or straight up explodes in your face. Basically, whatever you do, a super low INT character should have a much higher chance of hurting himself or breaking something.
     
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  11. Ninjerk Arcane

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    I'd like to a see a game just once that models intelligence closer to reality and gives you a chance to turn into a Bobby Fischer, Howard Hughes, et al. with respect to having a slightly higher chance than the average to go batty.
     
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  12. Kyl Von Kull The Night Tripper Patron

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    Disco Elysium!!!
     
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  13. Raghar Arcane

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    You need to understand what high intelligence means. Someone is able to learn stuff MUCH faster than these with low IQ, and forgets them at the same rate.
    It also means when you need someone reliable for monotonous job, high IQ are NOT best option, not even high IQ elementary school drop out.

    One of problems with computer games and high IQ characters is typical developer isn't able to write high Inteligence characters because he's lower inteligence. They typically try to write them as scholar types, which isn't the same. (High IQ do study much more than low IQ, when both are not allowed to do more than elementary education. And every additional education MUST be self-education in theirs spare time. Then high IQ typically uses it being bookworm, while low IQ thinks no certification would make self-education useless and spends spare time by heavy drinking.) As you can see both approaches are equally valid, just different.

    It's true that high INT character is MUCH less likely to fuck up in situation he has no experience with.
     
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  14. DraQ Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

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    I think that since int is, among other things, involved in breaking out of formally defined boxes (such as cRPG systems) and high-level sequences of low-level actions (which are going to remain under player's control if you want to have things like actual gameplay), intelligence stat in cRPGs is a lost cause.

    Randomly disabling portion of abilities, while interesting idea and one of few I think might possibly work, is probably not worth it due to being infuriating and player probably finding an (intelligent) way to maximize their effectiveness even with a low int character. I remember participating in a discussion yielding another such system - where intelligence determined amount of "mental stamina" used up when performing sequences of actions, but similarly thought it contrived and ultimately problematic (although undoubtedly clever).

    I think the best option would be to drop character's intelligence as stat, knock yourself out with neatly compartmentalized subsets of intelligence like eloquence or magic affinity, assume that otherwise the PC is as intelligent as player playing them (and dumb PC is a dead PC), and leave NPCs' intelligence as part of their characterization and a trait of their virtual "players" rather than part of character system as far as gameplay is concerned.
     
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  15. Ninjerk Arcane

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    Some things are not learnable by low INT types.

    I think it'd be difficult but interesting to model things e.g. Focused vs. Diffuse learning (brain forming connections while exercising and especially while sleeping, side effect that sleeping is more than HP regenerator/Vancian spell generator).
     
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  16. ProphetSword Arcane Developer

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    If an experience based system is used, you could reflect low INT with a slower learning rate, causing said character to develop behind others. A character with the lowest INT possible might gain XP / 10, showing that the character is a slow learner who requires far more time to grasp new skills.
     
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  17. J1M Arcane

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    That could work. Stat restriction on skill allocation. Something similar could apply to heavy weapons and STR. Would probably result in a reduction in build diversity.

    I also think it would be interesting if high INT resulted in a general skill boost, rather than points to allocate. Fallout example: at 10 INT you'd have +1 to all skills each level up.
     
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  18. laclongquan Arcane

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    Low INT got punished into unable to learn spells or perks? IIRC, in basic DnD 2.0 in BG1, a low intelligence wizards got really low chance to learn spells. Of course, almost no one play low INT mage. But a triple fighter/thief/mage still is available.

    Or in a setting like arcanum where they have plenty of books to increase skill? Well, with a low INT score, make that bonus go away. Like, a dumbass reading technical tomes can not understand a damn thing, right?

    Same deal with Fallout 1. Low INT = unable to learn from books in Hub's library.
     
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  19. Telengard Arcane

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    The thing with D&D style stats is none of them affect the game directly. They are there simply to illustrate minor modifications to the ways in which a character actually interacts with the game world: weapon abilities and/or skills. So, all of the game systems that rely on a D&D style system and then attempt to apply stat-based rules, what they're doing is always going to be a kind of hackneyed add-on, because it is a hackneyed add-on.

    If you want stats to affect the game world directly, then you have to build a character system where all attributes affect the game world directly. Seems obvious, I know, but apparently not. But that way, then you don't have to figure out a special way to make Intelligence fit into the game world, because it already fits into the game world. Because in the end, really what all of these attempts to squeeze more out of Intelligence are are special rules for only Intelligence, and special rules are kludges that lead to bad design.

    For example to make it work, in a skill-based game, all attributes define the limit to how high you can raise any skill of any attribute it is tied to. So if your character is dumb, all of your knowledge skills can be raised no higher than the level of dumb. But then the key is, the gameplay must revolve around the use of skills and not combat abilities. What's more, knowledges must integrate into the ability to play the game, not just be some add-on. If that aspect isn't included, then the whole endeavor is just pointless excess baggage to please those who want everything and the kitchen sink to be defined for no good reason.

    In the end, as with all attempts to make meaningful social interactions in a game system that is designed for representations of combat, you're rolling a herculean rock uphill when attempting this sort of thing. If you want a meaningful social interaction, then you have to make a game based around meaningful social interactions and actually have those interactions be important and with the potentiality of failure. So we're talking more of a Galahad-moral-quandary type of story, rather than a Conan combat romp. And then rolling for the success or failure against the temptations thrown against you.
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2018
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  20. Ninjerk Arcane

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    This is essentially the AoD model, but I find that it's restrictive to the point of being unsatisfying. Nearly every non-combat encounter is a scripted set-piece and if you've played it, then you know what sort of overall gameplay strategy that can engender.

    Putting aside realism for a moment, ideally I think you set restrictions at the very extremes (arbitrary 10 point scale): 0 is braindeath (impossible at character creation for obvious reasons, but perhaps this score could be reached as a side effect of certain kinds of injury, magic, or plot developments e.g. lobotomy), 1 is basic functioning but no skills may be retained including language (consequently, most otherwise hostile beings in the gameworld will not be hostile to a bumbling ignoramus although perhaps if "spotted" by certain helpful types the character could be placed in an institution or somesuch thing), and 2 until perhaps 9 indicate healthy intellects of varying degree (that can likewise learn various skills in the gameworld at varying speeds, although certain high ratings in certain disciplines will be functionally impossible for low intelligence e.g. skill gains will be so slow as to be fruitless, and certain disciplines that are repetitive will be highly unsatisfying for high intellect types e.g. tic tac toe gets to be an extremely tedious game with a 3x3 matrix, leading to some kind of poor disposition for the character until they find something more satisfying and appropriate). 10 is reserved for paradigm- and/or world-changing intellects e.g. Da Vinci, Einstein, and so forth.

    This requires modeling quite a few other systems, but I think it addresses an earlier point in the thread about certain sorts of tedium being "unlearnable" (not their word, but I don't remember what they said and I don't fully agree, although I do recognize some tasks as being particularly painful for people of certain intellect), and as long as we're just pounding keys...
     
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  21. shysnake Shy Snake Developer

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    I agree with this. To me attributes are just a descriptive language to describe to the player the raw abilities their character posses. It influences their ability to turn those into effects on the game world though skills. Ideally it would adjust the rate at which skills advance and in some cases bias the skill checks.

    What I try to avoid is "thresholds". Or you cannot do X without attribute Y or skill Z. A very low chance of success is ok though. A character with a low intelligence and no bomb diffuse skill might have a 1% chance to defuse a bomb by randomly cutting wires. Rather than saying "you cannot" you tell the player "this probably isn't going to work". Then if they feel there is no other option but to take that 1 in 100 roll, they will have a cool story to tell if they live, and if they die, at least they got to try. Most players won't do that unless they think the bomb is going off anyway so failing the check won't cause anger towards the game.

    Related to the op, I implemented a "confusion" mechanic based on intelligence. If you cancel and change an action for a character, there is a confusion delay based on their Intelligence-Reaction. In effect trying to simulate: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Analysis_paralysis

    With a turn based game you could lose an action or even a full turn based on some choice pattern combined with low intelligence. Ex: taking a different action from the last one pays a penalty at low intelligence. I'd shy away from limiting player choice though though randomly dropping available actions each turn, that just leads to frustration on the part of the player.
     
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  22. J1M Arcane

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    Offering a low chance generally leads to save scumming.
     
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  23. Ninjerk Arcane

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    Exactly what I was thinking.
     
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