An INT-based fighter...

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Hiya!

I'm still relatively new to 4e and am I'm looking to create an Intelligence-based fighter (either striker or defender) -- essentially I'm looking to make a fighter whose abilities tend more toward:


  • assessing/exploiting the weaknesses of an opponent

  • is able to use the terrain features to his advantage

  • does damage by "hitting the right spot" rather than using "overwhelming force"

  • "fights smarter, not harder" 



Can anyone suggest a build (or point me to an existing post that does?).

Thanks in advance,

Del
Hiya!

I'm still relatively new to 4e and am I'm looking to create an Intelligence-based fighter (either striker or defender) -- essentially I'm looking to make a fighter whose abilities tend more toward:


  • assessing/exploiting the weaknesses of an opponent

  • is able to use the terrain features to his advantage

  • does damage by "hitting the right spot" rather than using "overwhelming force"

  • "fights smarter, not harder" 



Can anyone suggest a build (or point me to an existing post that does?).

Thanks in advance,

Del



Roll a PHB1 Fighter and go.

How you flavor your abiltities is all on you. Even Cleave, one of the abiltities most often described as brute force, can be described as the result of a well placed blow. The descriptions are, at most, suggestions by Wizards for how a power looks. How it actually looks is exactly how you describe it in game. In 4E, mechanics (how it works) and fluff (how it looks, smells and tastes) are entirely separate.

The only thing missing is the ability to use terrain consistently. For that, you should probably roll a Ranger, and fluff out the nature stuff.

or make a swordmage, or a swordmage|warlock, or a swordmage|wizard.

Eladrins as a race can teleport at least (starting) once per encounter, which you could easily describe as moving across the terrain at a whim. 
What Malak said, and don't under any circumstances actually use intelligence, its not good for you, just use flavor to get hsi bent across- go visit the fighter handbook in the char op build links thread if you don't know what you're doing-

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/8.jpg)

Why do you guys tell him to reflavor Intelligence as inherent or trained knowledge/skill, but cannot get past the word fighter? Would it be easier if the OP had asked for a warrior, which is not the name of a 4e class?
essentially I'm looking to make a fighter whose abilities tend more toward:


  • assessing/exploiting the weaknesses of an opponent

  • is able to use the terrain features to his advantage

  • does damage by "hitting the right spot" rather than using "overwhelming force"

  • "fights smarter, not harder" 



Everything you've listed is flavor, fluff, discription, and could be applied to pratically any class that swings a weapons if that's how you want to spin it.  So you have a lot of possible options.


That said, you might like playing a Rogue.  For one, the default flavor matches.  Rogues are all about making precision attacks, doing big damage and/or tying up a foe with status ailments.  Their main damage feature, Sneak Attack, is your "hit in the right spot" ability, and requires you to use positioning, terrain, and planning to get the most out of it.  Rogues also get a number of utility powers that aid with stealth, which gives you tactical utility outside of combat as well.
Thinking about creating a race for 4e? Make things a lil' easier on yourself by reading my Race Mechanic Creation Guide first.
What Fireclave said.  Work from concept back ... don't think 'I want to make a fighter that does this', think 'I want to make a CHARACTER that does this' and find the class that best fits.
See sig for basically the only INT-primary character that actually uses a fighter base class.  That's a fairly trick build, but it works perfectly well as a normal Knight.  The PP's actually pretty solid.
Harrying your Prey, the Easy Way: A Hunter's Handbook - the first of what will hopefully be many CharOp efforts on my part. The Blinker - teleport everywhere. An Eladrin Knight/Eldritch Knight. CB != rules source.
Also: Eladrin Knight with Melee Training (Int) or MC Swordmage + Intelligent Blademaster (+Eladrin Swordmage Advance for fun)

Int-based defender that teleports whenever he hits (glimmering blade stance) and teleports before he punishes his Defender Aura (so you can flank, set up more enemies on later initiatives in aura).  Fey step to make a MBA and then teleport again.  If you didn't want Swordmage in there, throw in Warlock for invisibility or damage on teleports.

Edit: Ninja-ed by thespaceinvader! 
Ours is a world where people don't know what they want, and are willing to go through hell to get it. -Don Marquis
See sig for basically the only INT-primary character that actually uses a fighter base class.  That's a fairly trick build, but it works perfectly well as a normal Knight.  The PP's actually pretty solid.

thespaceinvader nails it... that's basically what I was  looking for, with the teleportation to boot!

Thanks!

 
Or make a Warlord.

Tactical Warlord, prime stats are Strength and Intelligence, does everything you want.  In heavy armor!  In melee!  Just has "Warlord" written at the top instead of "Fighter"
Confused about Stealth? Think "invisibility" means "take the mini off the board to make people guess?" You need to check out The Rules Of Hidden Club.
Damage types and resistances: A working house rule.
Hiya!

I'm still relatively new to 4e and am I'm looking to create an Intelligence-based fighter (either striker or defender) -- essentially I'm looking to make a fighter whose abilities tend more toward:


  • assessing/exploiting the weaknesses of an opponent

  • is able to use the terrain features to his advantage

  • does damage by "hitting the right spot" rather than using "overwhelming force"

  • "fights smarter, not harder" 



Can anyone suggest a build (or point me to an existing post that does?).




Why do you need a high INT score to replicate this?  All INT scores are used for in 4e are:


  • Modifiers for rolling certain skills (Arcana, History, etc)

  • Reflex defense and AC in light armour (if higher than DEX)

  • Attack, damage and riders for certain powers


Everything you're asking for is fluff and role-playing - which has nothing to do with your ability scores.  I once played with a guy whose character was the dumbest one in the party, and had the highest INT score.

If you want some skills that match your concept, I'd go for something with Wis secondary.  Nature, Perception and Insight seem to be closer to what you're looking for with assessing/exploiting weakness and terrain than intelligence.

That still leaves a lot of choices, so it also depends on what kind of weapons (two-hander, sword and shield, dual-wield), armour (light, heavy) and role (striker, defender) you were interested in.
DM advice: 1. Do a Session Zero. 2. Start With Action. 3. Always say "Yes" to player ideas. 4. Don't build railroads. 5. Make success, failure, and middling rolls interesting. Player advice: 1. Don't be a dick. 2. Build off each other, don't block each other. 3. You're supposed to be a badass. Act like it. Take risks. My poorly updated blog: http://engineeredfun.wordpress.com/
Hiya!

I'm still relatively new to 4e and am I'm looking to create an Intelligence-based fighter (either striker or defender) -- essentially I'm looking to make a fighter whose abilities tend more toward:


  • assessing/exploiting the weaknesses of an opponent

  • is able to use the terrain features to his advantage

  • does damage by "hitting the right spot" rather than using "overwhelming force"

  • "fights smarter, not harder" 



Can anyone suggest a build (or point me to an existing post that does?).




Why do you need a high INT score to replicate this?  All INT scores are used for in 4e are:


  • Modifiers for rolling certain skills (Arcana, History, etc)

  • Reflex defense and AC in light armour (if higher than DEX)

  • Attack, damage and riders for certain powers


Everything you're asking for is fluff and role-playing - which has nothing to do with your ability scores.  I once played with a guy whose character was the dumbest one in the party, and had the highest INT score.

If you want some skills that match your concept, I'd go for something with Wis secondary.  Nature, Perception and Insight seem to be closer to what you're looking for with assessing/exploiting weakness and terrain than intelligence.

That still leaves a lot of choices, so it also depends on what kind of weapons (two-hander, sword and shield, dual-wield), armour (light, heavy) and role (striker, defender) you were interested in.

IMHO you're completely missing the whole point of ability scores. They are there as an RP tool to tell you what you've decided your character is good at. If he's got a high INT then he's smart, etc. They aren't just some min/maxing tool that has no relevance to RP. The mechanics FOLLOW ALONG. So your high INT guy is RPed as being really smart, and he has lots of abilities that really smart people might logically have (like he knows a lot of lore etc). Its not just meaningless numbers. So the OP's question is quite logical.

In all fairness, 6 ability scores are a pretty crude representation of a person, and you might have someone who is quite smart but lacks the inclination and/or exposure to education needed to be highly intellectual. Someone like that could have a good INT score and yet act rather ignorant and not be trained in any types of lore skills (though in 4e said character will still perform well in those areas). You could then RP them as smart but ignorant. You couldn't however RP that character as stupid and be consistent. Nor could you RP a low intelligence character as smart, though they could be studious and educated well enough to have some training in lore of some sort.

This gets a LOT more clear-cut with physical ability scores. No DM is going to buy your STR 8 character carrying around heavy loads, nor is your STR 20 guy going to be unable to lift heavy things just because you perversely want to RP him as 'weak'. For laughs you could RP a character as 'not knowing his strength' perhaps, but that's not at all the same thing.

Frankly, trying to play characters in that manner simply so you can optimize your character would at most tables I play at get you labled a munchkin.
That is not dead which may eternal lie
If you don't care too much for the "fighter" part you can make that a couple of different ways, though the previously mentioned eladrin knight works well. 

If you just want a smart defender character you can build a wisdom secondary warden that works well and they are a defender that uses terrain a lot and eventually can teleport some as well.  No reason it can't start off with a decent int of around 15 as well if you pick a race that gives you an int bonus like a a genasi or deva.  The same thing works with the regular fighter, though he normally won't do much with terrain unless you refluff its powers and doesn't normally get teleporting. 

A barbarian/swordmage hybrid is all about intelligence and teleporting and makes a fairly effective defender/striker as well.

If you don't care too much for the "fighter" part you can make that a couple of different ways, though the previously mentioned eladrin knight works well. 

If you just want a smart defender character you can build a wisdom secondary warden that works well and they are a defender that uses terrain a lot and eventually can teleport some as well.  No reason it can't start off with a decent int of around 15 as well if you pick a race that gives you an int bonus like a a genasi or deva.  The same thing works with the regular fighter, though he normally won't do much with terrain unless you refluff its powers and doesn't normally get teleporting. 

A barbarian/swordmage hybrid is all about intelligence and teleporting and makes a fairly effective defender/striker as well.




If Wisdom is an acceptable subsitute for Intelligence, a pure Fighter works, too.  Fighters *love* Wisdom as a secondary stat.

(But I still suggest Warlord, for "just like a fighter, with a high Int, working smarter-not-harder".  Or Swordmage, for "not a fighter, but uses Int for everything and does many of the same things a Fighter does.")
Confused about Stealth? Think "invisibility" means "take the mini off the board to make people guess?" You need to check out The Rules Of Hidden Club.
Damage types and resistances: A working house rule.
IMHO you're completely missing the whole point of ability scores. They are there as an RP tool to tell you what you've decided your character is good at. If he's got a high INT then he's smart, etc. They aren't just some min/maxing tool that has no relevance to RP.



No, the point of ability scores is to determine what numbers you add to dice rolls to resolve various checks, not to dictate how you have to RP your character.  Admittedly, if you want your character to be able to consistently make certain checks, then you might want to factor that into your build.  But even then, that doesn't dictate how you roleplay him.

The mechanics FOLLOW ALONG.



Not really, no.  In 4e at least, players are encouraged to reflavour their characters to their heart's desire and play their characters how they want.  4e did a great thing by encouraging reflavouring and not tieing mechanics to role-playing with things like stupid Paladin alignment problems - it allows players to reflavour and role-play their characters how they want, including playing something not specidifically in the book (such as my sentient Owlbear character) or playing against type (such as a dumb Wizard or a lonely Bard with a speech impediment).

So your high INT guy is RPed as being really smart, and he has lots of abilities that really smart people might logically have (like he knows a lot of lore etc). Its not just meaningless numbers.



Nope, nothing says he has to be RPed as really smart.  Nothing about your INT score dictates how you portray your character.  Even if he passes a lore check, it could be because he's an idiot savant when it comes to this subject or is using just plain dumb luck.  If he fails the check, it's because he's an idiot.

So the OP's question is quite logical.



Again, not really.  But lets assume for a moment that his intelligence score dictates how he is required to roleplay his character.  How many points in Intelligence does the OP need to have to say "Lets circle around and attack from the high ground"?  Or, upon rolling a nat 18 on his STR-based attack roll, "I stick my rapier into the weak point between the joints of his armour"?

And what if he doesn't have enough points?  Do you tell him that he can't say that because he's roleplaying HIS OWN CHARACTER wrong?

Conversely, if he puts too many points into intelligence, does that mean he's not allowed to charge in to battle Leeroy Jenkins style?

How many points in charisma does it require for me to have my characters break into showtunes, or can I not do this if I haven't multiclassed Bard (I'm asking because this comes up in my games)?

In all fairness, 6 ability scores are a pretty crude representation of a person, and you might have someone who is quite smart but lacks the inclination and/or exposure to education needed to be highly intellectual. Someone like that could have a good INT score and yet act rather ignorant and not be trained in any types of lore skills (though in 4e said character will still perform well in those areas). You could then RP them as smart but ignorant. You couldn't however RP that character as stupid and be consistent. Nor could you RP a low intelligence character as smart, though they could be studious and educated well enough to have some training in lore of some sort.



Why not?  Lets use the example of Brick the dumb Wizard.  He's got a 22 INT and a bunch of Wizard powers, but he's been consistently played as dumb as a brick.  Nothing wrong or inconsistent about that.  If he makes an arcana or history check, it can chalked up to dumb luck - no different than if the dumb barbarian tried it and rolled a 20.  If he fails it, well, he's an idiot after all.

Frankly, trying to play characters in that manner simply so you can optimize your character would at most tables I play at get you labled a munchkin.



Well, at most tables I play at, trying to dictate how other players can and can't roleplay their characters and calling them munchkins because they play their characters differently than you would would get you labeled as a jerk.

*************************
Anyways, my advice for the OP is to not sweat it and role-play your character how you want.  Find whatever build whose mechanics interest you (and for Melee fighting dudes, there's a lot of choices - so many that if you want help, we'd probably need a bit more details as to what exactly you want) or which you think approximate how you want to play your character, and don't worry about ability scores restricting you from RPing YOUR character how YOU want.
DM advice: 1. Do a Session Zero. 2. Start With Action. 3. Always say "Yes" to player ideas. 4. Don't build railroads. 5. Make success, failure, and middling rolls interesting. Player advice: 1. Don't be a dick. 2. Build off each other, don't block each other. 3. You're supposed to be a badass. Act like it. Take risks. My poorly updated blog: http://engineeredfun.wordpress.com/
I find the Warlord a great intelligent Fighter (note careful shot for archery with an int bonus) makes me think of noblemen who take there time instead of rush like a hunter would... 

I also hybrid Warlord with other classes if I want more personal abilities. 
  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

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"Wizards and Warriors need abilities with explicit effects for opposite reasons. With the wizard its because you need to create artificial limits on them, they have no natural ones and for the Warrior you need to grant permission to do awesome."

 

IMHO you're completely missing the whole point of ability scores. They are there as an RP tool to tell you what you've decided your character is good at. If he's got a high INT then he's smart, etc. They aren't just some min/maxing tool that has no relevance to RP.



No, the point of ability scores is to determine what numbers you add to dice rolls to resolve various checks, not to dictate how you have to RP your character.  Admittedly, if you want your character to be able to consistently make certain checks, then you might want to factor that into your build.  But even then, that doesn't dictate how you roleplay him.


I can't think of anything which could be further from the spirit of the game WRT ability scores than this. You make your character whom you wish to be smart have a high INT BECAUSE it allows you to portray a highly intelligent character. You're reducing roleplay to irrelevancy by your whole theory. "Hey, it doesn't matter that my character actually performs mechanically as a genius, he's an IDIOT!" lol. What is wrong with this picture?!!


The mechanics FOLLOW ALONG.



Not really, no.  In 4e at least, players are encouraged to reflavour their characters to their heart's desire and play their characters how they want.  4e did a great thing by encouraging reflavouring and not tieing mechanics to role-playing with things like stupid Paladin alignment problems - it allows players to reflavour and role-play their characters how they want, including playing something not specidifically in the book (such as my sentient Owlbear character) or playing against type (such as a dumb Wizard or a lonely Bard with a speech impediment).


Yes, and nothing in what I have said suggests otherwise. Reflavoring is fine, but if you want to play a dumb wizard, then part of that involves your wizard not being very good at being a wizard, because the game envisages that wizardry is a function of intelligence. As I said before, there's plenty of leeway to imagine characters being more or less intellectual etc, and you have other attributes which overlap intelligence, like mainly WIS. I'm playing a low WIS mage in a DW game right now, but he's not stupid. He just does dumb things in smart ways.


So your high INT guy is RPed as being really smart, and he has lots of abilities that really smart people might logically have (like he knows a lot of lore etc). Its not just meaningless numbers.



Nope, nothing says he has to be RPed as really smart.  Nothing about your INT score dictates how you portray your character.  Even if he passes a lore check, it could be because he's an idiot savant when it comes to this subject or is using just plain dumb luck.  If he fails the check, it's because he's an idiot.


Sure, but that really won't work well for an entire character throughout a campaign. Again THE WHOLE POINT of ability scores is to provide you with a summary description of what your character IS and provide mechanical hooks to work appropriately with that. Again, you can call your character whatever you want, but effectively he's got a high intelligence and is 'smart'. As I stated before, consider a high STR character. Now, you can play this character as a weakling who just "somehow manages to do feats of strength", but it will wear thin long before the campaign ends.

So the OP's question is quite logical.



Again, not really.  But lets assume for a moment that his intelligence score dictates how he is required to roleplay his character.  How many points in Intelligence does the OP need to have to say "Lets circle around and attack from the high ground"?  Or, upon rolling a nat 18 on his STR-based attack roll, "I stick my rapier into the weak point between the joints of his armour"?

And what if he doesn't have enough points?  Do you tell him that he can't say that because he's roleplaying HIS OWN CHARACTER wrong?

Conversely, if he puts too many points into intelligence, does that mean he's not allowed to charge in to battle Leeroy Jenkins style?

How many points in charisma does it require for me to have my characters break into showtunes, or can I not do this if I haven't multiclassed Bard (I'm asking because this comes up in my games)?


You're being ridiculous of course. Ability scores are only one small part of the game. Players can always describe things in various ways and have great leeway in how they portray their characters. Charisma has nothing to do with "breaking into showtunes" for instance, that's just silly hyperbole. Your Intelligent character can of course charge into battle, that would usually be a wisdom function, not a matter of intelligence. A WISE character probably wouldn't do that, it would be out of character, but PCs don't have to have perfectly consistent characters, real people don't either. If you get the wise monk pissed enough maybe he charges into battle! So what? That doesn't make ability scores nothing but meaningless numbers that have nothing to do with RP. You take everything too far to extremes.

In all fairness, 6 ability scores are a pretty crude representation of a person, and you might have someone who is quite smart but lacks the inclination and/or exposure to education needed to be highly intellectual. Someone like that could have a good INT score and yet act rather ignorant and not be trained in any types of lore skills (though in 4e said character will still perform well in those areas). You could then RP them as smart but ignorant. You couldn't however RP that character as stupid and be consistent. Nor could you RP a low intelligence character as smart, though they could be studious and educated well enough to have some training in lore of some sort.



Why not?  Lets use the example of Brick the dumb Wizard.  He's got a 22 INT and a bunch of Wizard powers, but he's been consistently played as dumb as a brick.  Nothing wrong or inconsistent about that.  If he makes an arcana or history check, it can chalked up to dumb luck - no different than if the dumb barbarian tried it and rolled a 20.  If he fails it, well, he's an idiot after all.


Of course there's something inconsistent about that! He ALWAYS makes these Arcana and History checks, that's the DEFINITION OF BEING HIGHLY INTELLIGENT. Whenever the character performs some intellectual task he's very effective at it. Fine, you can have your super high int wizard talk like Billy-Joe-Bob Armbruster and drool too if you want, that doesn't change a single thing! The barbarian and the wizard are FACTUALLY in the game world very different.


Frankly, trying to play characters in that manner simply so you can optimize your character would at most tables I play at get you labled a munchkin.



Well, at most tables I play at, trying to dictate how other players can and can't roleplay their characters and calling them munchkins because they play their characters differently than you would would get you labeled as a jerk.


And at ALL of the tables I've ever played at making your INT 22 just so your funny characterization of being a **** trying to be a wizard will get you a lot of sidelong glances when your only explanation for why you have that 22 INT is "so I can get a good attack bonus". That's the ESSENCE of optimizing behavior in a player, the unwillingness to play to type when it isn't advantageous to you. If you want to play an 8 INT wizard in my 4e game, I'll find that very amusing and I'll be as accomodating as possible and give you fun things to do. Frankly my advice would be to play some other class that isn't INT based and refluff THAT to be a 'wizard'. IMHO that's a good use of refluffing, not giving your character ability scores ONLY for the purpose of optimizing your to-hit.


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Anyways, my advice for the OP is to not sweat it and role-play your character how you want.  Find whatever build whose mechanics interest you (and for Melee fighting dudes, there's a lot of choices - so many that if you want help, we'd probably need a bit more details as to what exactly you want) or which you think approximate how you want to play your character, and don't worry about ability scores restricting you from RPing YOUR character how YOU want.



I think its safe to say that the other posters here pretty much all go with a concept of starting out with the attribute you want, high intelligence, and build around that to create an effective character that will evoke "using my brains to fight my enemies". If the game designers have done their job at all you're much more likely to end up with a character evocative of what you're going for than by trying to fight all the rest of the game mechanics by pretending your high STR guy with the 10 INT is really a genius.
That is not dead which may eternal lie
Pretty close to the stormwind fallacy there.
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I'm glad the OP found an option he likes.

There's definitely no need to assume that a particular Intelligence score is required to roleplay a particular way. 4e has thankfully done away with tying Int to language ability (apart from needing Int 13 for Linguist) so you don't have to talk like a moron if you dump Int. So, all one really needs to do is be consistent. If you have a high Int but are dumb, then you probably wouldn't really ever make Int-based checks, and Int-based attacks are just something you have a feel for. If you have a low Int, but are smart, well, it's just not in Arcana, Religion or History, but you're good at puzzles and strategizing.

Physical stats work too. A low Str character playing a strongman might simply not want to exert himself, or just not use his Strength to good effect. A high Str character playing a weakling would just never make Strength based checks. His ability with Strength-based attacks could be chalked up to good tactics, perseverence or whatever. Not necessarily the same thing every time.

I'm all for people basing their characters of their ability scores. That's what I tend to do. But it's no one's business how someone roleplays their character, as long as they follow the rules and aren't an attention hog.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

IMHO you're completely missing the whole point of ability scores. They are there as an RP tool to tell you what you've decided your character is good at. If he's got a high INT then he's smart, etc. They aren't just some min/maxing tool that has no relevance to RP.



No, the point of ability scores is to determine what numbers you add to dice rolls to resolve various checks, not to dictate how you have to RP your character.  Admittedly, if you want your character to be able to consistently make certain checks, then you might want to factor that into your build.  But even then, that doesn't dictate how you roleplay him.


I can't think of anything which could be further from the spirit of the game WRT ability scores than this. You make your character whom you wish to be smart have a high INT BECAUSE it allows you to portray a highly intelligent character. You're reducing roleplay to irrelevancy by your whole theory. "Hey, it doesn't matter that my character actually performs mechanically as a genius, he's an IDIOT!" lol. What is wrong with this picture?!!



I think, people play the game differently. If you want to call this "wrong", feel free.

I think however a better approach is to just be clear what sort of game is being run and what sort of expectations are there.


I'm kinda a little surprised to read about people who are deliberately aiming for less roleplaying in their games... but if they're enjoying the games the play with their friends, what sense is there in saying they're doing it wrong?



With 4th ed, our playing group came to the vague consensus even more than most RPG's, ability scores were a guide to what your character's raw potential, not really how they behaved.


I think one of the life lessons I learnt at Uni was that people who are technically very smart can still behave really, really dumb.


Sure this could be interpreted the classic “High intelligence, Low wisdom” character.


I've also met people who spend most of their time appearing as bimbling around as if they were utter airheads... until a situation that is serious and dangerous, when they suddenly snap out of it and become the most competent people around.


And incredibly shy people who occasionally come out of their shell and are incredibly persuasive and strongly effect the behaviours of others.


All of these break the expectations of how high Int, Wis and Cha are meant to be played.



Also ability scores mean a lot for combat, and the enjoyment of the superpowerz based, monster bashing tactical minigame is reason why I use 4th ed.


If I was playing a less combat focused game that cared more about "making sense", then I'd use a different system.

Rules As Written are rules as they are written.

Rules as they are written might still be contradictory, incomplete, confusing or unbalanced.

The right interpretation of the rules is the one that works for you and your gaming group.

 

A DM's judgement is the final authority in the game.

But if the DM is not running the game for the enjoyment of their players, then why are they running it at all?

@AbdulAlhazred: You're so playing the wrong game then.. Try World of Darkness instead.
@OP: community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/758... and you're fine.
@AbdulAlhazred: You're so playing the wrong game then.. Try World of Darkness instead.
@OP: community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/758... and you're fine.



ROFL, yeah, I'm doing it wrong!


IMHO you're completely missing the whole point of ability scores. They are there as an RP tool to tell you what you've decided your character is good at. If he's got a high INT then he's smart, etc. They aren't just some min/maxing tool that has no relevance to RP.



No, the point of ability scores is to determine what numbers you add to dice rolls to resolve various checks, not to dictate how you have to RP your character.  Admittedly, if you want your character to be able to consistently make certain checks, then you might want to factor that into your build.  But even then, that doesn't dictate how you roleplay him.


I can't think of anything which could be further from the spirit of the game WRT ability scores than this. You make your character whom you wish to be smart have a high INT BECAUSE it allows you to portray a highly intelligent character. You're reducing roleplay to irrelevancy by your whole theory. "Hey, it doesn't matter that my character actually performs mechanically as a genius, he's an IDIOT!" lol. What is wrong with this picture?!!



I think, people play the game differently. If you want to call this "wrong", feel free.

I think however a better approach is to just be clear what sort of game is being run and what sort of expectations are there.


I'm kinda a little surprised to read about people who are deliberately aiming for less roleplaying in their games... but if they're enjoying the games the play with their friends, what sense is there in saying they're doing it wrong?



With 4th ed, our playing group came to the vague consensus even more than most RPG's, ability scores were a guide to what your character's raw potential, not really how they behaved.


I think one of the life lessons I learnt at Uni was that people who are technically very smart can still behave really, really dumb.


Sure this could be interpreted the classic “High intelligence, Low wisdom” character.


I've also met people who spend most of their time appearing as bimbling around as if they were utter airheads... until a situation that is serious and dangerous, when they suddenly snap out of it and become the most competent people around.


And incredibly shy people who occasionally come out of their shell and are incredibly persuasive and strongly effect the behaviours of others.


All of these break the expectations of how high Int, Wis and Cha are meant to be played.



Also ability scores mean a lot for combat, and the enjoyment of the superpowerz based, monster bashing tactical minigame is reason why I use 4th ed.


If I was playing a less combat focused game that cared more about "making sense", then I'd use a different system.




Sure, sometimes the smart guy can roll a 1, and sometimes the uncharismatic guy can roll a 20. Ability scores don't dictate exactly what happens, just what your potentialities are. I believe if you read back a couple posts you will also see that I already talked about variations and how 6 scores can't entirely define someone in any really accurate way. So, yes, you can play characters with the same scores in a variety of ways, nobody is saying you can't. What I'm saying is that the WHOLE POINT of ability scores -note that name ability score- is to define what your character's main capabilities are, what he is ABLE to achieve.

If you want to play a quiet character with a high charisma, great! That doesn't mean you are RPing the character as having a low charisma, it just means the character is quiet and only uses their skill when it is really important, nothing wrong with that, its still a HIGH CHA character. It might also be a low CHA character that got lucky. The character may also be clever and strategic and only spoke up when the situation was very favorable (IE in mechanical terms it could be an SC where the character can use an Advantage and the check is only Moderate difficulty).

The point stands, your ability scores LITERALLY DEFINE what your character's capabilities are, that's their function. A highly intelligent character must have a high INT, a strong character must have a high STR. The point is that if you are going to play your 'smart fighter' and give him a 12 INT and a 20 STR so you get the best STR bonuses and then pretend that the character is a genius you're making a mockery of the entire concept of ability scores. Its great to say he's 'Intellectual' and get training in some lore skills and play him as being fascinated with knowing things, and he's not stupid of course, but he's nowhere near having the same smarts as the wizard with the 20 INT. The whole point is you have to make trade-offs, no one character can have it all. You could quite easily in 4e make a Fighter with a 16 INT and the character will be perfectly capable as a Fighter. He might have a point lower damage or to-hit here or there perhaps, maybe a few less hit points, not quite as good a CC WIS bonus, but OTOH he can wear light armor quite well, can train some different skills, maybe pick up an interesting MC or something like that. Now your character's numbers can really back up your high intelligence and you're not creating a hollow mockery of the mechanics of the game simply because you want a couple more points of to-hit.
That is not dead which may eternal lie
There are no rules in the game for how ability scores impact your character, outside of raw game mechanics (carry capacity, ability checks, skill bonuses, etc).  None.  Zip.  Zero.  This makes sense, as outside of STR, the ability scores are aggregate totals referring to multiple terms that are by-and-large abstract and undefinable.

As such, there is no way to do it wrong, at the system level.

At the table level, there may well be expectations.  There may not.  Depends on the group.

I consider this 'operating as it should'.
I rather considered the point of ability scores (along with skills, class powers etc) to measure your capacity at actions in game that can't just be resolved via roleplay, with a bit of rule 7 (aka don't take the piss).

In 4th ed, it is actually impossible (unless you're using random rolling) to have characters with attributes lower than 8, so the range is greatly reduced.

Whilst I generally use them as a guideline for characters I don't get too hung up on them, esp. not when playing 4th ed D&D. For a start there is a very real problem with me trying to play an Intelligence 20 character... I'm not that smart.

And as with everything in RPGs it's about the expectations and conventions of the players of and the DM.
Are you designing your characters carefully thinking about making stats match your roleplay, and is the DM taking into account your “suboptimal” choices when stating encounters?
Or being more min/maxy, and caring less about your stats when roleplaying?

I don't see a problem with either method, providing everyone is on the same page with the game.

Rules As Written are rules as they are written.

Rules as they are written might still be contradictory, incomplete, confusing or unbalanced.

The right interpretation of the rules is the one that works for you and your gaming group.

 

A DM's judgement is the final authority in the game.

But if the DM is not running the game for the enjoyment of their players, then why are they running it at all?

Man, who would have thought that advising the OP to role-play his character how he wants would get someone's hackles up so badly.



No, the point of ability scores is to determine what numbers you add to dice rolls to resolve various checks, not to dictate how you have to RP your character.  Admittedly, if you want your character to be able to consistently make certain checks, then you might want to factor that into your build.  But even then, that doesn't dictate how you roleplay him.


I can't think of anything which could be further from the spirit of the game WRT ability scores than this. You make your character whom you wish to be smart have a high INT BECAUSE it allows you to portray a highly intelligent character. You're reducing roleplay to irrelevancy by your whole theory. "Hey, it doesn't matter that my character actually performs mechanically as a genius, he's an IDIOT!" lol. What is wrong with this picture?!!




No, you don't need to put your ability scores in a certain place to be "allowed" to play your character how you want.

But, lets assume for a moment that you're right.  Exactly how many points in INT does the OP need to have to be "allowed" to:


  • assess/exploit the weaknesses of an opponent

  • use the terrain features to his advantage

  • do damage by "hitting the right spot" rather than using "overwhelming force"

  • fight smarter, not harder



And at ALL of the tables I've ever played at making your INT 22 just so your funny characterization of being a **** trying to be a wizard will get you a lot of sidelong glances when your only explanation for why you have that 22 INT is "so I can get a good attack bonus". That's the ESSENCE of optimizing behavior in a player, the unwillingness to play to type when it isn't advantageous to you. If you want to play an 8 INT wizard in my 4e game, I'll find that very amusing and I'll be as accomodating as possible and give you fun things to do. Frankly my advice would be to play some other class that isn't INT based and refluff THAT to be a 'wizard'. IMHO that's a good use of refluffing, not giving your character ability scores ONLY for the purpose of optimizing your to-hit.



Oh no!  Optimizing!  The horror!

And, what exactly is the problem with playing a character that performs well, mechanically speaking?  Or with being a person who likes to play around with the character builder and put together characters with some sort of effective mecahanical shtick?

With the crew I usually play with, they're all experienced with 4e and tend to bring characters that, while not necessarily "optimized" to CharOp standards, tend to perform well.  And yet, in spite of (or more likely, because of) the fact that we don't constrain each other's roleplaying based on whatever numbers are on our little pieces of paper, our sessions are filled to the brim with memorable characters and their interactions.

Ironically, the stupid gladiator/wizard in question wasn't very optimal and in fact swapped out a feat because an unintended synergy with my character was very effective and boring.
DM advice: 1. Do a Session Zero. 2. Start With Action. 3. Always say "Yes" to player ideas. 4. Don't build railroads. 5. Make success, failure, and middling rolls interesting. Player advice: 1. Don't be a dick. 2. Build off each other, don't block each other. 3. You're supposed to be a badass. Act like it. Take risks. My poorly updated blog: http://engineeredfun.wordpress.com/
And as with everything in RPGs it's about the expectations and conventions of the players of and the DM. Are you designing your characters carefully thinking about making stats match your roleplay, and is the DM taking into account your “suboptimal” choices when stating encounters? Or being more min/maxy, and caring less about your stats when roleplaying? I don't see a problem with either method, providing everyone is on the same page with the game.



I don't see how not restricting people roleplaying their characters how they want is being "min/maxy"
DM advice: 1. Do a Session Zero. 2. Start With Action. 3. Always say "Yes" to player ideas. 4. Don't build railroads. 5. Make success, failure, and middling rolls interesting. Player advice: 1. Don't be a dick. 2. Build off each other, don't block each other. 3. You're supposed to be a badass. Act like it. Take risks. My poorly updated blog: http://engineeredfun.wordpress.com/
And as with everything in RPGs it's about the expectations and conventions of the players of and the DM. Are you designing your characters carefully thinking about making stats match your roleplay, and is the DM taking into account your “suboptimal” choices when stating encounters? Or being more min/maxy, and caring less about your stats when roleplaying? I don't see a problem with either method, providing everyone is on the same page with the game.



I don't see how not restricting people roleplaying their characters how they want is being "min/maxy"

Its very simple, the only reason you don't make your smart fighter high INT is because you know that it will cost you a point here or there of attack bonus or damage or some other purely mechanical thing that will make your character more effective in a purely gamist sense. What other possible reason COULD you have for insisting on using a lower intelligence score to represent a more intelligent character? No other reason could possibly exist for that. You have total control of your scores. Its pure classic min/maxing, no ifs ands or buts about it.

The problem here IMHO is you insist on trying to construe my position as some sort of absolutist ridiculous nonsense when it is not even close to that. In fact if you were to go back to the early part of the DDN general discussion you'll find that I have made many long and hard argued defenses of all sorts of reflavoring and reinterpreting of all sorts of elements of the game. I find it hilarious that I would be accused of being against that. What I'm against is the utilization of reflavoring as nothing but a way to get what you want while avoiding the built-in costs, which were put there for a perfectly good reason. The mechanics are supposed to be there to provide support for the RP you want to do. When you want to play a strong guy you give him STR, when you want to play a wise character you give him WIS, that's how its intended to work. The point being you simply don't get to be everything you want.

So please, quit it with the nonsense about how I wouldn't let you describe a hit as "I hit him in the weakest spot". First of all, finding a weak spot is largely a matter of experience and the STR and DEX to have the weapon speed and control to land the blow. It doesn't take any great intellect to see a hole in armor and know it can be exploited. Your 10 INT fighter is most certainly fully capable of this, and if you want to run him as "using his smarts" go ahead. Its just when you expect your character to be treated like he's very smart when he's not that you're going to be disappointed.

The same can be said for the rest of your point. In 4e there are checks you can use for some things. If you want to 'fight smarter' and 'exploit weaknesses' then train in INT based skills that let you pass monster lore checks. Heck, there are themes and feats, and backgrounds, that will let you pile on bonuses, and skill powers that will let you improve your chances. You can be quite good at this, and I have no problem with it, but that's a choice of making a particular type of character and allocating your character building resources to do it. Chances are you'd be well-advised to just dump some points into INT as well. Again its hard to see why you resist that notion except for reasons of min/maxing.

As for 'using terrain features', well, again this is not something which requires some brilliant mind. Any person knows the value of cover, concealment, surprise, and flanking. Certainly anyone with even a small amount of fighting experience will know these things, no matter how intelligent they are or are not. Its entirely a temperament thing as to if their character will charge in or sneak around and use terrain or whatnot. Being able to competently direct others to utilize good tactical plans might be assisted by INT, but it is more a CHA function IMHO.

In short, please explain why your unwillingness to allocate ability score points to the attributes you want to RP is not just a desire to have your cake and eat it too. I'm NOT against RP or reflavoring things, but it should be consistent and intended to do things that are otherwise not really possible, not to min/max.
That is not dead which may eternal lie
I'll re-iterate someone else's point above.

Explain to me, in detail, precisely, PRECISELY, what the numerical value of each mental stat means and what it allows you to do.  What can you do with a 6 INT that you can't do with a 5?  What can you do with a 12 Wisdom that you can't do with an 11?
In short, please explain why your unwillingness to allocate ability score points to the attributes you want to RP is not just a desire to have your cake and eat it too. I'm NOT against RP or reflavoring things, but it should be consistent and intended to do things that are otherwise not really possible, not to min/max.

Because there's no rule requiring ability scores to be roleplayed a particular way.

There are rules for the mechanical effects of a particular ability score, so as long as Strength-checks are called for, the Strength 8, untrained wizard with the bulging arms and washboard abs will usually not outperform the Strength 20, trained fighter with consumption. There will be some things that wizard simply cannot accomplish on his own, such as a DC 20 Strength check at level 1. To claim otherwise is to go against the rules, whether or not anyone at the table has an issue with going against the rules.

But there are no rules, at least in 4th Edition, about how Strength, or any other ability score, must be roleplayed. Which is a good thing, because ability scores and their modifiers can reach levels that I think we all agree could not be effectively roleplayed by humans. And of course roleplaying below the level of an ability score would be just as incorrect as playing above the level of an ability score.

(I get that there's a social thing here. Someone in the group might want to player "the smartest character" or something, and so chooses a wizard, maxes Intelligence, and roleplays as a brilliant puzzle solver and plan maker. Someone else also enjoys solving puzzles and making plans, but dumps Intelligence. The player who invested in Intelligence might feel like his toes are being stepped on, and there might definitely be some spotlight hogging going on. But unless there are Intelligence checks involved, there's no reason both characters can't perform equally well. Even if there are Intelligence checks involved, the low-Intelligent character is still going to outperform the high-Intelligence character at times. This is material for jokes about D&D [in which the wizard pulls open a gate that stymied the fighter, etc.] but that's because our ideas about what the ability scores "mean" in-game don't always match the mechanics.)

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

And as with everything in RPGs it's about the expectations and conventions of the players of and the DM. Are you designing your characters carefully thinking about making stats match your roleplay, and is the DM taking into account your “suboptimal” choices when stating encounters? Or being more min/maxy, and caring less about your stats when roleplaying? I don't see a problem with either method, providing everyone is on the same page with the game.



I don't see how not restricting people roleplaying their characters how they want is being "min/maxy"





I would say designing your character with the expressed intention to make it effective and powerful at certain roles in game rather than focus on making the stats fit your conception of the character is min/maxing.

However I don't think min/maxing is necessarily a bad thing at all, as my earlier comments should have indicated.
Min/maxed characters can lead to awesomely fun games if all the players enjoy and accept that part of the game AND the DM is on board with it. Hence the DM will be throwing above average challenges at the players, or happy with them curbstomping normal ones with relative ease. There is a certain amount of amusement as a DM of seeing just what sillyness your players can beat up, or watching them have fun kicking ass.

I also personally think that many character concepts do require you to be aware of whether you are making choices that make your character “weak” or “powerful” esp. in regards to combat. Someone trying to create an awesomely skilled fighter who accidentally creates someone a bit sucky in fights due to not getting the rules probably isn't going to be a happy player.

Min/maxing can however be an issue when a gaming group has a mix of players, some of whom are min/maxing and some who aren't. Esp if the DM is unclear (or uncertain...) of whom they are tailoring their game around.

By the sounds of it the expectations of AbdulAlhazred are quite quite different from many of the other posters on this thread. I imagine AbdulAlhazred plays with gamers with similar philosophy and expectations.
I don't think either of them are doing it “wrong”, but there might well be conflicts if they ended up in a game and weren't clear before hand what style that game was.


… As to the original poster, I also agree that maybe a Tactical Warlord would actually suit the character concept very well.
Or going a bit more magicy, Swordmages are very much Intelligence based fighters, who use arcane powers rather than martial ones.

One thing I realised with 4th ed is that many of the old concepts of different style of “fighters” in earlier editions were actually better done using Rangers, Rogues or Warlords instead.
Duelist types I would definitely do as rogues or rangers rather than fighters.

Rules As Written are rules as they are written.

Rules as they are written might still be contradictory, incomplete, confusing or unbalanced.

The right interpretation of the rules is the one that works for you and your gaming group.

 

A DM's judgement is the final authority in the game.

But if the DM is not running the game for the enjoyment of their players, then why are they running it at all?

You folks do realize the OP had his question answered inside of the first 10 posts right?
You folks do realize the OP had his question answered inside of the first 10 posts right?



Yes.  But someone is wrong.  On the internet!
DM advice: 1. Do a Session Zero. 2. Start With Action. 3. Always say "Yes" to player ideas. 4. Don't build railroads. 5. Make success, failure, and middling rolls interesting. Player advice: 1. Don't be a dick. 2. Build off each other, don't block each other. 3. You're supposed to be a badass. Act like it. Take risks. My poorly updated blog: http://engineeredfun.wordpress.com/
You folks do realize the OP had his question answered inside of the first 10 posts right?



Yes.  But someone is wrong.  On the internet!

Exactly!
That is not dead which may eternal lie
Take Combat Expertise, followed by Improved Trip. That fits everything you asked for - including using terrain to his advantage.
"Today's headlines and history's judgment are rarely the same. If you are too attentive to the former, you will most certainly not do the hard work of securing the latter." -Condoleezza Rice "My fellow Americans... I've just signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. Bombing begins in five minutes." - Ronald Reagan This user has been banned from you by the letters "O-R-C" and the numbers "2, 3, 4, and 6"
User Quotes
56788208 wrote:
I do, however, have one last lesson on this subject. That last one? The only build in this post that can one-shot average opponents[by dealing twice as much damage as they have HP? I would argue that it is not optimized. Why isn't it optimized? Because it's overkill. Overkill is NOT optimizing. This means that there are portions of this build dedicated to damage which can safely be removed and thrown elsewhere. For example, you probably don't need both Leap Attack AND Headlong Rush at the same time. You could pick up Extra Rage feats for stamina, feats to support AoO effects, feats that work towards potential prestige classes, and so on. However, you could also shift our ability scores around somewhat. I mean, if you're getting results like that with 16 starting Strength, maybe you can lower it to 14, and free up four points to spend somewhere else - perhaps back into Charisma, giving you some oomph for Intimidating Rage or Imperious Command if you want. You can continue to tune this until it deals "enough" damage - and that "enough" does not need to be "100%". It could easily be, say, 80% (leaving the rest to the team), if your DM is the sort who would ban one-hit killers.
Tempest_Stormwind on Character Optimization
So when do you think Bachmann will be saying she met a mother the previous night that had a son who got a blood transfusion using a gay guy's blood, and now the son is retardedly gay?
When she meets CJ's mom?
Resident Pithed-Off Dragon Poon Slayer of the House of Trolls
Uhm dude, wrong forum.
I survived Section 4 and all I got was this lousy sig Off-topic and going downhill from there
^Says the guy who claimed "They're all the same game".^
"Today's headlines and history's judgment are rarely the same. If you are too attentive to the former, you will most certainly not do the hard work of securing the latter." -Condoleezza Rice "My fellow Americans... I've just signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. Bombing begins in five minutes." - Ronald Reagan This user has been banned from you by the letters "O-R-C" and the numbers "2, 3, 4, and 6"
User Quotes
56788208 wrote:
I do, however, have one last lesson on this subject. That last one? The only build in this post that can one-shot average opponents[by dealing twice as much damage as they have HP? I would argue that it is not optimized. Why isn't it optimized? Because it's overkill. Overkill is NOT optimizing. This means that there are portions of this build dedicated to damage which can safely be removed and thrown elsewhere. For example, you probably don't need both Leap Attack AND Headlong Rush at the same time. You could pick up Extra Rage feats for stamina, feats to support AoO effects, feats that work towards potential prestige classes, and so on. However, you could also shift our ability scores around somewhat. I mean, if you're getting results like that with 16 starting Strength, maybe you can lower it to 14, and free up four points to spend somewhere else - perhaps back into Charisma, giving you some oomph for Intimidating Rage or Imperious Command if you want. You can continue to tune this until it deals "enough" damage - and that "enough" does not need to be "100%". It could easily be, say, 80% (leaving the rest to the team), if your DM is the sort who would ban one-hit killers.
Tempest_Stormwind on Character Optimization
So when do you think Bachmann will be saying she met a mother the previous night that had a son who got a blood transfusion using a gay guy's blood, and now the son is retardedly gay?
When she meets CJ's mom?
Resident Pithed-Off Dragon Poon Slayer of the House of Trolls
Thats not what I said.
I survived Section 4 and all I got was this lousy sig Off-topic and going downhill from there
Your exact words were "It's all essentially the same thing." If that's true, then my post was just as valid.
"Today's headlines and history's judgment are rarely the same. If you are too attentive to the former, you will most certainly not do the hard work of securing the latter." -Condoleezza Rice "My fellow Americans... I've just signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. Bombing begins in five minutes." - Ronald Reagan This user has been banned from you by the letters "O-R-C" and the numbers "2, 3, 4, and 6"
User Quotes
56788208 wrote:
I do, however, have one last lesson on this subject. That last one? The only build in this post that can one-shot average opponents[by dealing twice as much damage as they have HP? I would argue that it is not optimized. Why isn't it optimized? Because it's overkill. Overkill is NOT optimizing. This means that there are portions of this build dedicated to damage which can safely be removed and thrown elsewhere. For example, you probably don't need both Leap Attack AND Headlong Rush at the same time. You could pick up Extra Rage feats for stamina, feats to support AoO effects, feats that work towards potential prestige classes, and so on. However, you could also shift our ability scores around somewhat. I mean, if you're getting results like that with 16 starting Strength, maybe you can lower it to 14, and free up four points to spend somewhere else - perhaps back into Charisma, giving you some oomph for Intimidating Rage or Imperious Command if you want. You can continue to tune this until it deals "enough" damage - and that "enough" does not need to be "100%". It could easily be, say, 80% (leaving the rest to the team), if your DM is the sort who would ban one-hit killers.
Tempest_Stormwind on Character Optimization
So when do you think Bachmann will be saying she met a mother the previous night that had a son who got a blood transfusion using a gay guy's blood, and now the son is retardedly gay?
When she meets CJ's mom?
Resident Pithed-Off Dragon Poon Slayer of the House of Trolls
Tee hee.
Resident Prophet of the OTTer.

Section Six Soldier

Front Door of the House of Trolls

[b]If you're terribly afraid of your character dying, it may be best if you roleplayed something other than an adventurer.[/b]

I would say designing your character with the expressed intention to make it effective and powerful at certain roles in game rather than focus on making the stats fit your conception of the character is min/maxing.

Right I agree, except there's no agreed upon way to "make the stats fit" one's conception of a character. I want to play a fighter who is witty and charming and quick and tough but also a really great fighter. And I can do all of that as long as "witty and charming and quick and tough" doesn't mean "High Intelligence, high Charisma, high Dexterity and High Constitution." Fortunately, it doesn't have to. My "charming" fighter will regularly fail Diplomacy checks. That doesn't mean he's not charming, it just means his charm isn't enough in certain specific circumstances (i.e. those requiring a check). Whenever a roll isn't required, he's charming enough for the situation, regardless of what his Charisma score is.

I don't think either of them are doing it “wrong”, but there might well be conflicts if they ended up in a game and weren't clear before hand what style that game was.

It's only "wrong," to impose on others one's own interpretation of very vague rules, such as those regarding how to roleplay various attributes.

Duelist types I would definitely do as rogues or rangers rather than fighters.

I'd make a lightly armored duellist fighter in a heartbeat, especially now that rapiers are military weapons. I might not make a bow-based Fighter, but I wouldn't mind making one and maxing out his abilities with a bow.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

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