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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Titan in the Playground
     
    PirateCaptain

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    Default Mysteries and low-int roleplaying.

    I'm currently part of an RP-Heavy investigation based campaign were the party is a group of city guardsmen who go around solving crimes. I joined in at the second session, so rather than make my usual skillmonkey character (they already had some of those) I made an Orc. My character has few skills that are relevant to an investigation (Besides intimidate), and most of the city hates him on sight (There is an orcish population, but they mostly stick to their own, walled-off district). I'm also the only party member with a negative intelligence, wisdom, and charisma.

    In-Character Urjok earns his keep by kicking down doors (who needs lockpicks when you have Orc), tackling suspects, and hitting the occasional thug or (at one point) owlbear until it falls down.

    however, as I player I'm somthing of a mystery hound. I made my orc because the party was already full of brainy skillmonkeys. However, when we're putting our heads together and trying to puzzle out the mystery, I like to participate without neccessarily limiting myself to ideas that an int 9 Orc whose investigative talents consist of asking "did you do it?" with increasing volume would come up with.

    So, in this situation, is it acceptable for me to fully participate in our group's mystery solving sessions, with ideas I have assumed to be coming from one of the more intelligent party members. Is this acceptable, or should I be limiting myself to purely in-character contributions.

    This is less a question about my specific situation (I have more fun fully participating, and nobody in the group willl get upset about this), and more a general question. Should a player's contributions to the group always reflect contributions their character would make?

    Obviously I'm not talking about metagaming, which is rightfully taboo. But if a player has a habit of coming up with good strategies for the group, must they be playing a character with good charisma and knowledge: Strategy and Tactics? Or should the DM say "No, your Wizard dosn't know the first thing about tactics", then turn to the Ranger and make him come up with a battle plan.
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    Default Re: Mysteries and low-int roleplaying.

    Depending on how stupid he's supposed to be, you could roll a die for each idea you come up with. Roll a d20, and if you roll equal to or under your Int score, it occurs to your character.

    You could tell the smartypants-players OOC, then their characters come up with it IC because they're so smart.
    Last edited by Slipperychicken; 2013-08-16 at 04:24 PM.

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    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: Mysteries and low-int roleplaying.

    I think it's the responsibility of the player to roleplay the character correctly, and know his limits.

    If your character has low str, no one expects you to say "I just bust down the door", either you would be obviously aware that it is impossible, or the GM would remind you that it's well beyond your character's capabilities.

    However, good players are able to pull off channeling their own high intelligence through a low int or low wis character. You can ask deceptively simple or stupid questions, but get the answers you really want or aim the conversation in the direction you want it to go.

    For the investigator-orc, I'm thinking "Columbo". He's a detective well known for appearing much dumber than he actually is:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pZiv8vkxMac

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    Default Re: Mysteries and low-int roleplaying.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bulhakov View Post
    I think it's the responsibility of the player to roleplay the character correctly, and know his limits.

    If your character has low str, no one expects you to say "I just bust down the door", either you would be obviously aware that it is impossible, or the GM would remind you that it's well beyond your character's capabilities.

    However, good players are able to pull off channeling their own high intelligence through a low int or low wis character. You can ask deceptively simple or stupid questions, but get the answers you really want or aim the conversation in the direction you want it to go.

    For the investigator-orc, I'm thinking "Columbo". He's a detective well known for appearing much dumber than he actually is:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pZiv8vkxMac
    Kicking down a door and having an idea are not exactly comparable though. the rules very clearly define a process for kicking down a door, with a dice roll for if you can or cannot do it. Having an idea is first of all a far more complicated process. My low-int orc is unlikely to think that the suspect was unusually strong, and therefore we should question local alchemists who stock potions of Bull's Strength, but it's possible. Breaking down a door is a binary matter of force applied vs force needed, having an idea or drawing a conclusion from evidence is a process nobody fully understands.
    Last edited by BRC; 2013-08-16 at 05:21 PM.
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    Default Re: Mysteries and low-int roleplaying.

    This is obviously one of those things that depend on your group and yourself and what all of you get your fun from. In your situation I would probably roleplay the stupid orc and give some OOC tips to the players of the smarter characters in case they are stuck. If they are not stuck well then obviously you weren't needed. You can also, I assume, have quite fun coming up with the wrong solution but in a way that will lead to more interesting play. And even if a character has low int he can still have gut feeling and instinct. Maybe sometimes you just "know" or "feel" who is guilty and then you go off accusing them. Once in a while, if you've figured something out, you can let your orc actually be right too!

    So basically, I would play the character as someone who is always quick at jumping to a conclusion or solving the crime, making hasty decisions based on very little evidence. Then you can let the other players debate and find evidence to support your "instincts".
    Last edited by Lorsa; 2013-08-16 at 06:00 PM.
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    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: Mysteries and low-int roleplaying.

    We might not fully understand it, but we still apply a number to it, otherwise we could do without mental stats for characters ;)

    The numbers are there to signify a trade off - you put points in str to be able to hit people harder and kick down doors, you subtract points from int and you're no longer able to use some level of abstract thinking or eloquently express your ideas.

    But like I said, think of it as a challenge - how to channel your own high int ideas, through a low int medium? What line of reasoning could make a stupid orc arrive at a similar conclusion as your own? And how to roleplay that line of reasoning well?

    "Him too strong for puny human, I think he used magicks"
    "What magicks makes man strong? Spell? Item? Potion?"
    "He no wizard... too broke for magic item.... he could've used potion"
    "I'll go yell at alchemists until one admits that he's guilty of 'conspiracy-to-commit-crime'!"

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    PirateCaptain

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    Default Re: Mysteries and low-int roleplaying.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bulhakov View Post
    We might not fully understand it, but we still apply a number to it, otherwise we could do without mental stats for characters ;)
    The issue is that if we limit a player's contributions by their character's mental stats, then we open the door for the other way around. If I cannot solve a puzzle because my character isn't smart enough, it stands to reason that a person playing an Int 22 Wizard can just roll an Int check to have their character solve the mystery without the player doing any real thinking, which takes away the fun of a mystery setting.

    So far I've used a combination of participating in the OOC discussion about the clues, and putting my theories through the lense of a stupid orc (My character is actually above-average intelligence for an orc, but not by much). This thread is less me seeking advice, and more about curiosity. I'm not really looking to change my playstyle, I'm just curious how people feel about this question.
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    Default Re: Mysteries and low-int roleplaying.

    Solving mysteries is part of the game. The low str character get's to be a part of the combat, the low int get's to be part of the solving.
    A player still can contribute to planning, while the character doesn't.
    Last edited by some guy; 2013-08-16 at 06:27 PM.
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    Default Re: Mysteries and low-int roleplaying.

    When I DM I tend to encourage player discussion that doesn't always fit their character. Obviously within limits, but I find that sometimes clever people want to play punching bags and the high int players aren't up to filling that void.

    The characters in the group would normally talk together as a group and brainstorm, you can't make an average person suddenly think at a 22 int level, so I see no reason to make the more clever players dumb down to their character.

    This said never when NPC's are around, you need to play your character then.

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    Firbolg in the Playground
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    Default Re: Mysteries and low-int roleplaying.

    If you're playing a game in which the gameplay is about mysteries, then its only fair to let you actually engage fully with the game, even if your character wouldn't be that great at it. Few people insist that someone playing an Int 8 character should do tactically dumb things, because usually the tactics of combats is a big part of the 'game' - the stuff meant for the players - in an RPG.

    However, if the numbers bother you or someone at the table, I'd suggest just asking permission to take a Knowledge or Profession(Detective) skill whose only function will be to justify your OOC aptitude. Skill ranks are dominant over mental stats for things that fall within the purview of skill checks, so mechanically one should not be surprised if the Wis 6 guy with 20 ranks of Profession(Detective) is a better detective than the Wis 20 cleric with no actual training in it.

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    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: Mysteries and low-int roleplaying.

    In my games, the 22 int wizard can roll an int check and be told a vital clue or logical leap that the player missed but his character should have been able to figure out.

    Also, if the player of a high-int character makes a really stupid conclusion, I can make them roll int and point out a flaw in their reasoning if they succeed.

    My style is always roleplay first, roll-play second, but stats are part of the roleplay. You're not going to argue like a dumb orc if you're playing a high int wizard, and the other way around.

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    Default Re: Mysteries and low-int roleplaying.

    If you're going to do it, role-play the contrast.

    "Look, I'm just a dumb orc here, but do you think this bit of mud means the killer came in through the rose garden?"

    Played for laughs, it can become a fun character note - the dumb guy is paying more attention than the smart guys.

    It is simply not true that the low-intelligence person never has good ideas. (Note that in The Wizard of Oz, the Scarecrow, who has no brain, comes up with every plan.

    If it happens too often, then recommend your idea to the person playing the smart guy, just like he can recommend which door your character should kick in.

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    Default Re: Mysteries and low-int roleplaying.

    This depends on the group a bit. Some groups prefer to solve puzzles or mysteries out of character, working with each other to come up with a solution and then decide afterwards the IC details such as which character actually thought it up. Some groups prefer to keep thinks IC and only discussion solutions between characters.

    Note that most characters can reasonably contribute regardless of their ability scores. Your big dumb fighter who realizes that someone strong broke down a door? "Looks like a real strong man did this. I wonder if he needed a spell talky man or magic drink to do it."

    Remember that INT 9 isn't mentally impaired, and can pretty much participate in any discussion as a character with normal (INT 10) can just fine.
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    Default Re: Mysteries and low-int roleplaying.

    A character with an Intelligence of 9 is just a little below average, not full on mentally retarded. I'm not sure how terrible your wisdom is, but you could always look to someone like Gomer Pyle for an example. Definitely slow; but stumbles over solutions from time to time especially in his niche.

    "Wait, he said the sword is just for show? But...it's dented."

    or

    "Argh, you have the same stink on you as the body."


    He doesn't have to be brilliant to contribute.

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    Default Re: Mysteries and low-int roleplaying.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay R View Post
    Note that in The Wizard of Oz, the Scarecrow, who has no brain, comes up with every plan.
    For what it's worth, that's because the theme of the first book is, essentially, "The magic was inside you all along" (or on your feet, as the case may be). The Scarecrow was plenty smart without a brain, the Tin Woodman cared just as much without a heart, and the Cowardly Lion didn't need a potion to be brave.

    Still, a moderate contrast between "book-smartness" and common sense problem solving is perfectly plausible.
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    Default Re: Mysteries and low-int roleplaying.

    Only problem is, Gump is the walking avatar of the low-Int high-Wis character. He's simple, but so are his solutions to problems.

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    Default Re: Mysteries and low-int roleplaying.

    There's always the comic relief option as well. Scaring little kids because they look suspicious, etc.

    Of course, you, the player, can be very clever and occasionally point at an important clue for all the wrong reasons -- everyone else can point out how it really maters.

    Also you can play the Watson to an extent. Though perhaps the Hastings is a better example (poor Hastings is always picked on). Ask simple questions about what is going on to the other players. Kind of like the Socratic Method really. This can actually be useful in a gaming group, because players are often horrible at mysteries and jump to silly conclusions.

    That last bit reminds me of why I dislike the TV Show Bones. They make this big deal about being intuitive vs. rational, as if they are competing forces (in reality, a lot of science makes use of intuitive leaps, but you MUST check out the leap to make sure it can be backed up with evidence). The FBI guy (I forget his name) is all about being intuitive to solve crimes. Sadly, that's NOT how solving crimes works. Players can often try to emulate this, insisting that their insane notions have to be true. With some you can get them to back off insisting on some weird leap if you point out how unsupported it is.

    Well, the groups I've been in have problems like that anyhow. From forums I gather it is not uncommon.
    Last edited by Drachasor; 2013-08-17 at 01:49 AM.

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    Default Re: Mysteries and low-int roleplaying.

    It can be REALLY fun to roleplay stupid. As long as it doesn't screw everything up too badly, kick in doors when you hear the word "lockbreaking" or something like that. Take everything literally. When someone says "question him" do it batman style- fists first. Get physical in everything. Try to be the biggest jerk and build a reputation. Do things that the party laughs at. Have some fun, act like a moron.

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    Default Re: Mysteries and low-int roleplaying.

    Quote Originally Posted by Amridell View Post
    It can be REALLY fun to roleplay stupid. As long as it doesn't screw everything up too badly, kick in doors when you hear the word "lockbreaking" or something like that. Take everything literally. When someone says "question him" do it batman style- fists first. Get physical in everything. Try to be the biggest jerk and build a reputation. Do things that the party laughs at. Have some fun, act like a moron.
    I'd note that even if you are stupid and freakishly strong you don't have to be a brute. Take Fezzik from the Princess Bride as an example of another path. He's still pretty funny.

    Heck, merely jumping to the wrong conclusions and questioning people about them can do a lot.

    Hmm, another path is go with the take on Columbo that he's really not smart at all. He just slowly, slowly works through things bit by bit by bit and just constantly needs things straightened out. He's every bit as absent-minded as he appears. That takes still leads to a good detective and I think some fun roleplaying. (Not that it's my personal view of Columbo, but it is a view that it out there and one you can run with as a character concept).

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    Default Re: Mysteries and low-int roleplaying.

    Quote Originally Posted by BRC View Post
    Kicking down a door and having an idea are not exactly comparable though. the rules very clearly define a process for kicking down a door, with a dice roll for if you can or cannot do it. Having an idea is first of all a far more complicated process. My low-int orc is unlikely to think that the suspect was unusually strong, and therefore we should question local alchemists who stock potions of Bull's Strength, but it's possible. Breaking down a door is a binary matter of force applied vs force needed, having an idea or drawing a conclusion from evidence is a process nobody fully understands.
    Less than average intelligence doesnt necessarily equal massive stupidity. Also, you say int 9, I'm assuming that's D&D and that's just barely under the human average. As far as I'm concerned intelligence 9 is just a regular guy who doesn't think too much, not really dumb, just a bit daft/slow/simple-minded.

    Also, remember than less than average intelligence doesn't necessarily equate a lack of cunning, either. You don't magically become a total incompetent as soon as you have a penalty in your Int ability modifier. Considering Urjok has, presumably, spent many years of his life kicking down doors and roughing up people, he may well have a surprising amount of knowledge and experience about matters like that, not to mention the street smarts needed to survive in a hostile environment such as a city that hates his guts.

    Using your example, Urjok knows this particular kind of door is really hard to break down and can easily deduce that it must have been done by someone very strong. The real trick (and usually the most fun part about playing a stupid character in a group of braniacs) is figuring out how to present your deductions in a fittingly stupid manner: "Dis kind of door, very hard to smash. Broke me foot once on a door like dis. Guy must'a been real big. Like ogre- big."
    Then one of the brainiacs would hopefully latch on to your deduction and then expand on the idea "maybe it was done by magic!".

    Simple people can just as easily come up with brilliant solutions as smart people in my experience (though maybe not as often) because they rarely overthink the situation to the extent that some smart people do.
    Last edited by Driderman; 2013-08-17 at 04:33 AM.

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    Firbolg in the Playground
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    Default Re: Mysteries and low-int roleplaying.

    Quote Originally Posted by Drachasor View Post
    That last bit reminds me of why I dislike the TV Show Bones. They make this big deal about being intuitive vs. rational, as if they are competing forces (in reality, a lot of science makes use of intuitive leaps, but you MUST check out the leap to make sure it can be backed up with evidence). The FBI guy (I forget his name) is all about being intuitive to solve crimes. Sadly, that's NOT how solving crimes works. Players can often try to emulate this, insisting that their insane notions have to be true. With some you can get them to back off insisting on some weird leap if you point out how unsupported it is.
    This can actually work very well in tabletop games in a way that it cannot in real life. That is to say, you can actually get to know your GM and the kinds of plots he likes to run, and come to a conclusion based on 'well, the universe just kind of works like this' rather than any direct evidence in front of you.

    I had a player in a big club campaign thing (of-and-on base of ~30 players) who halfway through basically guessed one of the big punchlines of the campaign (namely that the town that the players were living in was itself sentient) because 'its a Nich-y plot'.

    Personally, I think this is a great thing to use to play characters with superhuman Wisdom, which is often otherwise hard to express. I had a super-high Wis character (really high-powered game, we're talking triple digits here) who would brazenly stride forward and try to talk to monsters and the like because 'the story of the universe is richer for us learning the reason to fight rather than fighting blindly, and so I shall not be immediately attacked'.

    Everyone else thought he was crazy when he e.g. went and talked to a corpse that was clearly in the process of rising as a zombie in a post-apocalyptic wasteland world, but it turned out that the zombies in this world actually were friendly and needed our help against a mutation that was spreading among their kind. There was no rational reason to expect that the zombie would be anything other than a usual zombie, but this GM in particular always liked doing twists on standard ideas and almost never ran 'see it, kill it' kinds of encounters.

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    Default Re: Mysteries and low-int roleplaying.

    Quote Originally Posted by BRC View Post
    So, in this situation, is it acceptable for me to fully participate in our group's mystery solving sessions, with ideas I have assumed to be coming from one of the more intelligent party members. Is this acceptable, or should I be limiting myself to purely in-character contributions.

    This is less a question about my specific situation (I have more fun fully participating, and nobody in the group willl get upset about this), and more a general question. Should a player's contributions to the group always reflect contributions their character would make?
    Well, the intresting thing is that almost all players, if stated out as characters, are only going to have 8-10 mental ability scores. So it is safe to say that if you the player can think of it, then your 9 INT orc is close to you.

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    Default Re: Mysteries and low-int roleplaying.

    Quote Originally Posted by jedipotter View Post
    Well, the intresting thing is that almost all players, if stated out as characters, are only going to have 8-10 mental ability scores. So it is safe to say that if you the player can think of it, then your 9 INT orc is close to you.
    I'm not sure I see where this is coming from, since this estimate is lower than even the non-elite array would generate. Low level, sure, but is there anything really unrealistic that derives from having a 16 or even an 18 in a stat compared to having an 8 that drives this observation?

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    Default Re: Mysteries and low-int roleplaying.

    Quote Originally Posted by NichG View Post
    I'm not sure I see where this is coming from, since this estimate is lower than even the non-elite array would generate. Low level, sure, but is there anything really unrealistic that derives from having a 16 or even an 18 in a stat compared to having an 8 that drives this observation?
    10 is average. Most people are average. Most people will fall between 8-12.

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    Default Re: Mysteries and low-int roleplaying.

    Quote Originally Posted by BRC View Post
    I'm currently part of an RP-Heavy investigation based campaign were the party is a group of city guardsmen who go around solving crimes. I joined in at the second session, so rather than make my usual skillmonkey character (they already had some of those) I made an Orc. My character has few skills that are relevant to an investigation (Besides intimidate), and most of the city hates him on sight (There is an orcish population, but they mostly stick to their own, walled-off district). I'm also the only party member with a negative intelligence, wisdom, and charisma.

    In-Character Urjok earns his keep by kicking down doors (who needs lockpicks when you have Orc), tackling suspects, and hitting the occasional thug or (at one point) owlbear until it falls down.

    however, as I player I'm somthing of a mystery hound. I made my orc because the party was already full of brainy skillmonkeys. However, when we're putting our heads together and trying to puzzle out the mystery, I like to participate without neccessarily limiting myself to ideas that an int 9 Orc whose investigative talents consist of asking "did you do it?" with increasing volume would come up with.

    So, in this situation, is it acceptable for me to fully participate in our group's mystery solving sessions, with ideas I have assumed to be coming from one of the more intelligent party members. Is this acceptable, or should I be limiting myself to purely in-character contributions.

    This is less a question about my specific situation (I have more fun fully participating, and nobody in the group willl get upset about this), and more a general question. Should a player's contributions to the group always reflect contributions their character would make?

    Obviously I'm not talking about metagaming, which is rightfully taboo. But if a player has a habit of coming up with good strategies for the group, must they be playing a character with good charisma and knowledge: Strategy and Tactics? Or should the DM say "No, your Wizard dosn't know the first thing about tactics", then turn to the Ranger and make him come up with a battle plan.
    I've been in this situation as a player a few times ( I like fighters). IMO for OOC feel free to fully participate. Orcs are from a culture not unlike most street gangs anyway. So for lots of types of crimes your character may have better knowledge or just instinctive intuition then his INT score, which is a broad spectrum of IQ / learned facts would lead you to think.

    IC though I would keep him dumb, with the above caveat

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    Default Re: Mysteries and low-int roleplaying.

    Quote Originally Posted by jedipotter View Post
    10 is average. Most people are average. Most people will fall between 8-12.
    Many people will, yes; however, that's at odds with your previous statement that "almost all" players are on the low side of the range, and furthermore seems to ignore the possibility of selection bias, standard deviation, and so on. It's fairly likely that those with higher-than-normal mental abilities, even much higher, are disproportionately represented among a largely intellectual pursuit. Even without that, and assuming nothing more than a 3d6-in-order ability distribution, the odds of Joe Random Poster having a 13 or better in Int are fully 26%, and since observed intelligence seems to fit a bell curve fairly well, that does not seem unreasonable if you take 18 as "the most a normal person can have without being an absurd prodigy".
    Quote Originally Posted by Water_Bear View Post
    That's RAW for you; 100% Rules-Legal, 110% silly.
    Quote Originally Posted by hamishspence View Post
    "Common sense" and "RAW" are not exactly on speaking terms
    Projects: Homebrew, Gentlemen's Agreement, DMPCs, Forbidden Knowledge safety, and Top Ten Worst. Also, Quotes and RACSD are good.

    Anyone knows blue is for sarcas'ing in "Take 10 SAN damage from Dark Orchid" Use of gray may indicate nitpicking Green is sincerity

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    Orc in the Playground
     
    Toy Killer's Avatar

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    Default Re: Mysteries and low-int roleplaying.

    May I suggest playing the Fool?

    The fool is a common media trope. The guy that hangs around the party and as they get deeper and deeper into the think tank, he pulls them back into reality.

    When the players start discussing things, just keep key facts that are known to be truths. when they start to get into deeper plans, bring them back to the basics.
    "Executioner" Dargh in A Very (un)Common Quest

  28. - Top - End - #28
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Krazzman's Avatar

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    Jul 2011
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    Aachen, Germany
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    Default Re: Mysteries and low-int roleplaying.

    Another thing I haven't read yet:

    Education.

    How much education has your Char seen?

    I play a 14 Int, 14 Wis totemist. But due to never being educated properly and being illiterate I play him rather simple. Stuff like "On that paper you read from it said at dusk... there is always dusk somewhere." Sort of like going with stupid logic. He is moody in terms of Patience but can really show you around in the wild (despite not having Track).

    So play him to the education he has seen. I've seen guys that had A-level degrees and they were like extra dumb. Like "But Germany has no shores because the Eastsea is a lake..." dumb.
    Have a nice Day,
    Krazzman

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Planetar

    Join Date
    Jan 2011
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    Foggy Droughtland

    Default Re: Mysteries and low-int roleplaying.

    There's always the option of having the character come up with brilliant ideas - and then immediately reject them, not believing they would actually work. On the other hand, you could play the common-sense character, and focus on practical ideas rather than mystery-solving association.

    As has been said, 9 is average. It's possible this orc could throw out ideas all day - just they won't all be great. Or maybe when he does get the right ideas, he has a hard time expressing them. There are a lot of opportunities.

  30. - Top - End - #30
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Kobold

    Join Date
    Nov 2010

    Default Re: Mysteries and low-int roleplaying.

    You could always contribute as a player, which seems like what you want to do but not necessarily as a character.

    For example, you have a puzzle to be solved, all the players discuss it amongst themselves then everyone makes an intelligence check, or appropriate skill check to see which character actually came up with the solution.

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