PDA

View Full Version : D&D 5e/Next A balanced way to relink intelligence and skills (House-rule)



Grizl' Bjorn
2017-05-06, 04:51 AM
Inspired by Ruslan's "Intelligence matters" feats thread I thought I'd present a house-rule I've been toying with for a while. Intelligence is one of the weaker stats in 5E, which is a real shame in my books because giving each stat its own strengths encourages a diversity of builds. This house-rule aims to even things out a little. One of the primary reasons for favouring intelligence in 3.5 and Pathfinder was that it increased the available pool of skill points. This house rule partially restores that role for intelligence.

House rule: Quick learning

Intelligent characters pick up and learn things more quickly, and often have a broad smattering of skills and knowledge. All characters with a positive intelligence modifier may select a list of skills equal to that positive intelligence modifier(1). You gain half your proficiency bonus in those skills.

You may add a skill to the list should your intelligence modifier permanently increase.

If you ever permanently gain full proficiency with a skill on the list remove it from the list and select another skill to replace it.

(1) If the DM wants to avoid extra-book keeping, only apply this to PCs and very important NPCs.

GalacticAxekick
2017-05-06, 11:37 AM
This is a simple but effective fix! Makes sense from a Watsonian perspective and seems balanced from a Doylist perspective. I'd personally try to streamline it a tiny bit, but I think it's great as is:

"Intelligent characters pick up and learn things more quickly, and often have a broad smattering of skills and knowledge. A character is proficient with a number of skills, tools and languages equal to 2 + their Intelligence modifier.

1st level Fighter, 10 Int? 2 proficiencies. Maybe Athletics and Intimidation

1st level Bard, 15 Int? 4 proficiencies. Maybe an instrument, a language, Performance and History.

20th level Wizard, 20 Int? 7 proficiencies. Maybe a few obscure languages, alchemist's and herbalists's tools, Arcana, History and Investigation.

and so on.

Zman
2017-05-06, 01:10 PM
That is pretty solid.

What I did was give a bonus language for each point of intelligence modifier.

Also, gain a skill or tool Proficiency for each point of intelligence modifier. Only half(rounded up) can be skills.

In effect, this is what it looks like...

12 Int: 1 Language, 1 Skill
14 Int: 2 Languages, 1 Skill, 1 Tool
16 Int: 3 Languages, 2 Skills, 1 Tool
18 Int: 4 Languages, 2 Skills, 2 Tools
20 Int: 5 Languages, 3 Skills, 2 Tools.

JNAProductions
2017-05-06, 02:54 PM
This is a simple but effective fix! Makes sense from a Watsonian perspective and seems balanced from a Doylist perspective. I'd personally try to streamline it a tiny bit, but I think it's great as is:

"Intelligent characters pick up and learn things more quickly, and often have a broad smattering of skills and knowledge. A character is proficient with a number of skills, tools and languages equal to 2 + their Intelligence modifier.

1st level Fighter, 10 Int? 2 proficiencies. Maybe Athletics and Intimidation

1st level Bard, 15 Int? 4 proficiencies. Maybe an instrument, a language, Performance and History.

20th level Wizard, 20 Int? 7 proficiencies. Maybe a few obscure languages, alchemist's and herbalists's tools, Arcana, History and Investigation.

and so on.

Not a fan of that. That ties skills entirely to intelligence, not class, making Wizards the skill kings instead of Bards and Rogues.

To the OP, I am a fan. Seems like a good way to do it.

GalacticAxekick
2017-05-06, 05:22 PM
Not a fan of that. That ties skills entirely to intelligence, not class, making Wizards the skill kings instead of Bards and Rogues.

To the OP, I am a fan. Seems like a good way to do it.To each their own. Tying skills to intelligence rather than class is a plus, in my opinion. I don't like systems that tie unrelated powers to one another, since that limits the range of characters that can be expressed. Tying skills to the Rogue and Bard means there are no oafish scoundrels or yokel minstrels. Locking skills away from Fighters and Wizards means there are no adroit soldiers or studied sages. And so forth.

TripleD
2017-05-06, 11:33 PM
I don't think this idea carries over to 5e very well.

3.5 and Pathfinder built skills around the idea of skill points you gain at every level. A high int score will net you more skill points each time you level up. In other words, the stat keeps doing something.

5e is based around proficiency that levels automatically. This change makes intelligence super-important at level 1, but after that you will have to give up an ability boost to gain a single skill at half-proficiency. Given that the "skilled" feat gives you three times as much with no drawback, why would any non-wizard choose this option?

It just feels very "feat tax"-y. Intelligence plays no role in how many skills are used, so it's less like intelligence has become more useful, and more like you've given intelligence something it can be used for; a nice big 16 in intelligence the fighter will have on their sheet but never use for anything.

I prefer the change that uses INT instead of DEX for initiative. Everybody can find a use for it, and lots of builds can justify investing a bit in boosting it.

Grizl' Bjorn
2017-05-07, 12:46 AM
I would make it both (-INT determines initative bonus AND INT gives half proficiencies as above-). This just about puts INT on par with DEX, though from a pure minmax perspective DEX is probably still the stronger stat due to the importance of AC and the accessibility of finesse weapons.

Grizl' Bjorn
2017-05-07, 05:12 PM
Regarding characters with the Jack of all trades feature. My intent is that the half proficiencies from JoAT and INT modifier stack, effectively giving the bard INT modifier extra profiencies.

I've had some people suggest this is unfair, but I don't think so. The bard is only getting the half profiencies everyone else gets from intelligence, plus one of their class features, and a half and a half add up to one. Anything else would be nerfing JoAT and INT for bards.

Potato_Priest
2017-05-07, 05:32 PM
This is a simple but effective fix! Makes sense from a Watsonian perspective and seems balanced from a Doylist perspective. I'd personally try to streamline it a tiny bit, but I think it's great as is:

"Intelligent characters pick up and learn things more quickly, and often have a broad smattering of skills and knowledge. A character is proficient with a number of skills, tools and languages equal to 2 + their Intelligence modifier.


Thak the 20 str 6 int half-orc ranger. There's no possible way he could ever be good at athletics or survival, he's just too dumb.

GalacticAxekick
2017-05-07, 08:01 PM
Thak the 20 str 6 int half-orc ranger. There's no possible way he could ever be good at athletics or survival, he's just too dumb.8 is the minimum for any ability, in 5e. 6 Int is impossible, and 8 Int is as stupid as human(oid)ly possible.

Thak, with 8 Int, only knows one skill, plus any granted by his background. As an Outlander and Ranger, he knows Athletics, Intimidation and Survival.

JNAProductions
2017-05-07, 08:09 PM
You can roll for ability scores, you know.

In addition, you never specified that this was IN ADDITION to stuff granted by backgrounds.

Finally, why the blazing hell would being smart make you better at Athletics, or Acrobatics?

GalacticAxekick
2017-05-07, 08:51 PM
You can roll for ability scores, you know.Point. I overlooked this.


In addition, you never specified that this was IN ADDITION to stuff granted by backgrounds.I was unclear. I apologize. This is meant to replace a the class-based number of skills known.


Finally, why the blazing hell would being smart make you better at Athletics, or Acrobatics?Why wouldn't they? They're skills, not raw abilities. They require knowledge, recall and reasoning, or in other words, study, as opposed to sheer fitness.

Athletics, for instance, isn't brute strength. Strength is brute strength. Athletics is technical knowledge of different swimming strokes, specialized grips and balancing techniques for climbing, different grappling holds, leveraging different shoves, etc.

And Acrobatics isn't sheer agility. Dexterity is sheer agility. Acrobatics is technical knowledge of different flips and rolls (for use in tumbling and ukemi alike), as well as techniques to maintain balance, etc.

JNAProductions
2017-05-07, 09:00 PM
Right, except those are a matter of practice more than knowledge. You can know about a million and one ways to grapple, but if you don't PRACTICE them, you'll be crap at them.

That's why I like the half-proficiency. It shows that you know more than an untrained, unknowledgeable person, but you've little actual experience in it.

GalacticAxekick
2017-05-07, 09:13 PM
The difference between forgetting a million and one ways to grapple in a pinch (or remembering, but forgetting which are appropriate) and remembering and applying them is better memory and better reasoning. Practice is just a strategy to consolidate that knowledge.

Grizl' Bjorn
2017-05-07, 10:15 PM
Re: realism of someone using their intelligence modifier to gain a half proficiency bonus to athletics or acrobatics. I'm agnostic on most of this stuff, including the validity of IQ measures, but based on available research it's certainly not totally out of the question for intelligence to play some limited role in athletic and acrobatic ability- depending on whether or not you think IQ is measuring intelligence in the D&D sense of the word. Check out this study for example, which looked a children across the whole range of the IQ spectrum and found a relationship between motor coordination and performance. Now there's a lot of holes that I could poke in it using my background in this stuff, but it's not obviously nonsense.

http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/130/4/e950.1.short

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: In both clinical practice and research, motor delay is understood to be explained, at least in part, by intellectual abilities; however, no data are available to operationalize these criteria to guide clinical decision making. This study provides data on IQ and motor skills in children to answer 3 research questions concerning the relationship between IQ and motor skill: (1) Can motor coordination impairment be explained in terms of general intellectual retardation? (2) What level of motor performance should be expected given the person's measured intelligence? (3) At what point are motor difficulties considered to be in excess of those usually associated with mental retardation?

METHODS: IQ and motor skill data were analyzed from a group of 460 children identified with/without motor difficulties from both clinical and educational settings.

RESULTS: Typical and atypical motor skill was seen at all IQ levels, 19% of the variance in motor outcomes was explained by IQ scores, and for each SD lower IQ, a mean loss of 10 percentile motor points should be expected.

CONCLUSIONS: Although individuals with a lower measured IQ more often showed poorer motor performance than those with a higher measured IQ, motor skill at all levels of proficiency was seen in all IQ categories. These findings have important implications for clinical judgments and decision-making, as well as for future research directions to further operationalize the criteria relating to motor disorders in both the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Revision, and the International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision.

Grizl' Bjorn
2017-05-07, 10:17 PM
Pretty much for any identifiable skill there's a study that claims to link IQ to it. How much of that is really just the ability of people who are good at IQ tests to present themselves and what they can do better is up to debate.

TripleD
2017-05-07, 10:35 PM
You don't need to be smart to be a great athlete, you just need smart people to train you. The fact that you can be paid millions of dollars to be a professional athlete and yet still believe that the world is flat is a testament to that.

D&D splits the mental realm between the analytical, emotional, and interpersonal. This is an artificial division (in the game and in real life) but I see the drive to practise and train as being more emotional (WIS) than knowledgable (INT). Look at our own lives: there's a world of difference between knowing we should exercise and eat healthy, and actually willing ourselves to do so.

GalacticAxekick
2017-05-07, 11:58 PM
You don't need to be smart to be a great athlete, you just need smart people to train you. The fact that you can be paid millions of dollars to be a professional athlete and yet still believe that the world is flat is a testament to that. First of all, you saw the opportunity to take a potshot and you stole it. I commend you.

But more on topic, I'd argue that yes, the athlete does need to be smart. It doesn't matter what technical knowledge the trainers offer if the athlete doesn't walk away with it themself.

Keep in mind, expertise in one area certainly doesn't guarantee expertise in others. Studying medicine won't do a prospective engineer any good, and mastering chess won't win a game of poker. And besides task-specific knowledge like this, the leading perspective in psychology right now is that there is no such thing as a single intelligence (as IQ would have someone assume) but multiple intelligences, representing the brain's power to handle different sorts of tasks.

Of course, D&D abilities aren't terribly nuanced. There is no upper body vs lower body strength, bicep vs tricep: only capital S Strength for all purposes. No nimble fingers or fleet feet, but capital D Dexterity. And so D&D doesn't allow you to grab that bodily-kinesthetic intelligence without grabbing spacial, linguistic, logical-mathematical and others. But then I think picking a number of skills proportional to your Int, you'd be able to compensate for that by investing in skills reflective of your intelligence. Bodily-kinesthetic? Athletics and Acrobatics! Spacial? Survival and Perception!


D&D splits the mental realm between the analytical, emotional, and interpersonal. This is an artificial division (in the game and in real life) but I see the drive to practise and train as being more emotional (WIS) than knowledgable (INT). Look at our own lives: there's a world of difference between knowing we should exercise and eat healthy, and actually willing ourselves to do so.That makes sense, but I didn't mean that Intelligence should be representative of a PC's drive to practice or train. It should be representative of the technical knowledge they've amassed: practicing and training is just a way to amass it.

In other words, having 20 Int doesn't mean "I have incredibly high drive to study and practice, and so I know many things". It means "I know many things". The ability makes no assumptions about how the knowledge was acquired, the same way high Str only means that a creature is strong and not that it lifts, bro.