Clumsy but genius PC = high Reflex defense

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As I understand it, in 4E, a Reflex defense uses your Dexterity modifier... or your Intelligence modifier, whichever is higher.

While I like the flexibility of this mechanic, how does it work for character development fluff?

I guess the reasoning is an intelligent character can better predict an incoming attack. But Intelligence is defined as learning and reasoning. It is the Wisdom fluff that mentions perception and sensing danger. Sounds like Int is mostly booksmarts, and Wis (especially with a combination of Dex) is more about thinking fast on your feet. But Will Defense is founded on Wis or Cha, so Wis was already "taken". That left Intelligence, even though it doesn't contribute much to Reflex.

This leads to weird inconsistencies. A wizard with 18 Int and 8 Dex (=bad hand-eye coordiation, poor agility, slow reflexes and bad sense of balance) has a great Reflex. A different character of the same level with 16 Int and 16 Dex has a worse base Reflex (there is no averaging or synergy, just take the higher stat).

(P.S. Does anyone else feel that this is a case of over-simplification and may house-rule this one?)

So how can pure 4E mechanics (without house-ruling) emulate the bumbling genius professor type?

Or maybe I missed the boat? Maybe 4E is not about flawed character archetypes with one or two shortcomings, but heroic types who are always well-rounded and average/normal at the very worst?
heroic types who are always well-rounded and average/normal at the very worst?

This. Hence, "dumbed-down" or "MMO"-style.
Dexterity is about fast reflexes.

Intelligence is about thinking quickly.

Both help you avoid bad stuff.

Simple as that, really.
I agree with Undrhil.. it's a dumbed-down MMO feeling that has nothing to do with good roleplaying.
But Will Defense is founded on Wis or Dex, so Wis was already "taken".

Just a slight quibble here, but Will is Wis or Cha, not Dex.

A wizard with 18 Int and 8 Dex (=bad hand-eye coordiation, poor agility, slow reflexes and bad sense of balance) has a great Reflex. A rogue of the same level with 16 Int and 16 Dex has a worse Reflex (there is no averaging or synergy, just take the higher stat).

Ok, admittedly getting a little nit-picky here, but the Rogue gets a +2 to Reflex and the Wizard doesn't; thus, the Wizard has a 14 Reflex and the Rogue has a 15.

So how can pure 4E mechanics (without house-ruling) emulate the bumbling genius professor type?

Don't worry, a 14 Reflex isnt that good, you'll still get hit enough to feel like you're bumbling :P
I think you make a valid point, would it make more sense to have your defenses work this way:

AC and Reflex modifier = Highest of Dex and Wis
Fortitude modifier = Highest of Str and Con
Will modifier = Highest of Int and Cha
So how can pure 4E mechanics (without house-ruling) emulate the bumbling genius professor type?

Possibly with low intelligence but a high number of trained skills? Since your Int score no longer effects your number of skills, that is.

I do think it is odd that Wisdom wasn't used for Reflex and Intelligence for Willpower, though... Int, the raw power of the mind, used to centre oneself or rationally overcome illusions etc.
Look here and here. In this order.

Cheers, LT.
"Clumsy" could mean falling down or stumbling at all the right moments to avoid being hit with opposing attacks. Think Jar Jar/Charlie Chaplin.

As Intelligence is partially a measure of your ability to process information quickly, it makes sense that smart characters are going to be better at avoiding getting hit; not necessarily by dodging, but by utilizing their surroundings, avoiding situations where attacks would be likely and recognizing signs of trouble before others would.

It's one of those rules (kind of like multiclassing's effect on saves in 3E) that can go one of two ways; you either want to rationalize it and can, or you don't and will find ways not to. Obviously, the OP is one of the second group.
Tirian.. that comic was truly epic...

but didn't really account for any sort of realism :P

Still.. thanks for giving me something to laugh at :D
Batshido.. I'd not really count either Jar Jar or Charlie Chaplin as the epitome of "intelligence".
Batshido.. I'd not really count either Jar Jar or Charlie Chaplin as the epitome of "intelligence".

Fine, the Nutty Professor.

It was merely an illustration of how a character with low dex but a high Ref Def might be played. Constantly saved by serendipitous trips and stumbles.
So, your best solution to OP's dilemma is to make Intelligence into a sort of "luck" stat when it comes to dodging fireballs?

Edit: spelling errors.
So, you're best solution to OP's dilemma is to make Intelligence into a sort of "luck" stat when it comes to dodging fireballs?

No, the Best solution was the one I outlined after that; playing him as smart enough to stay out of harms way.

The sidebar with Charlie Chaplin/Jar Jar/Jerry Lewis was just an illustration of the fact that high Ref Def doesn't mean an advanced level of physical coordination unless you want to play it that way.
Well, playing intelligently enough to stay out of harm's way is certainly in the province of both the intelligence ability score and from the way the player plays his character... but book learning will NOT teach you to dodge an exploding grenade.

Sorry if I make the grenade into a sort-of Fireball for my example up there, but it's the best real world example I could come up with in a hurry.
Well, playing intelligently enough to stay out of harm's way is certainly in the province of both the intelligence ability score and from the way the player plays his character... but book learning will NOT teach you to dodge an exploding grenade.

Sorry if I make the grenade into a sort-of Fireball for my example up there, but it's the best real world example I could come up with in a hurry.

A high Intelligence score, though, indicates the ability to recognize the threat posed by the grenade very quickly, and recognize the proper steps to take to avoid the blast in the period of time that you have to react to it.

A character with a lower Int score might not immediately register the grenade as a threat, or flounder mentally for a split second looking for the nearest bit of cover, and that pause closes their window of potential reaction time.
Just a slight quibble here, but Will is Wis or Cha, not Dex.
Ok, admittedly getting a little nit-picky here, but the Rogue gets a +2 to Reflex and the Wizard doesn't

Thanks, I've edited the OP accordingly, better to spot and fix a little red herring like that.

Look here and here. In this order.

Possibly... I suppose that's a very rare example of a genius scientist and supreme martial artist, but this IS a red herring as it doesn't fit the more common clumsy wizard archetype.

"Clumsy" could mean falling down or stumbling at all the right moments to avoid being hit with opposing attacks. Think Jar Jar/Charlie Chaplin.

I guess... you mean like he's clumsy and lucky in every single encounter of his entire life?

you either want to rationalize it and can, or you don't and will find ways not to. Obviously, the OP is one of the second group.

Possibly. Or, if you look at it another way, some people (what other people may offensively label as a "rabid fanboy") will say anything to rationalize any official WoTC rule (until superseded by 4.5), and other people will acknowledge any glaring flaws and try to find ways to improve on it.

A character with a lower Int score might not immediately register the grenade as a threat

I find that fits in the realm of "common sense" = Wisdom. Inteligence is more about knowing how a grenade is manufactured, military grenade specs, etc.

Anyway, thanks for the more honest suggestions on this thread. Let's keep them coming, or (if we feel there is a problem to be fixed) then a good house rule that any DM can use if they wish.
I really like the system if only because it conforms to my real-life experience. I fence, and I am most certainly not as dexterous as some of my opponents. However, I am able to pick up on there patterns and behaviors quickly, and I am at my best when I actively think about what my opponent is about to do, and move before their attack even begins.

Maybe that doesn't tell you how to achieve the aforementioned bumbling professor, but hopefully it explains how intelligence can aid AC and Reflex.
Sorry if I make the grenade into a sort-of Fireball for my example up there, but it's the best real world example I could come up with in a hurry.

Okay, after the comic, let's get a bit more serious.

Let's see, how can we rationalize it? By not assuming that all classes do it the same way.

Let's see:

Cleric, Paladin, and Ranger:
I have no really good explanation - but these classes are unlikely to do that, as they either have armour or rely on Dex in different ways.
Fighter, Rogue & Warlord: Has studied basically every combat stance, knows a gazillion feints - see this:
Show
Craven: You're using Bonetti's offence against me, ah?.
Piscatello: I thought it fitting considering the rocky terrain.
Craven: Naturally you must expect me to counter with Capo Ferro?
Piscatello: Naturally. But I find that Thibault cancels out Capo Ferro, don't you? I have you now!
Craven: You were saying?
Piscatello: You have studied Agrippa.
Craven: I have.

Warlock & Wizard: Minor spells continually active, mind over matter.

Cheers, LT.
Batshido, I do appreciate the point you're trying to make. Noticing and responding to a threat is as much an intellectual as it is a reflexive response. But Dexterity already covers that. Dexterity is a character's responsivity (not sure if that's a word, but English isn't my primary language so deal with it) to dangers and environmental conditions. That's the reason Dexterity boosts both 3E and 4E's characters initiative scores.
To justify the inclusion of a mostly academic ability to responding to split second tactical conditions is a bit stupid to me. An intelligent character doesn't put himself in the danger of being hit by fireballs in the first place. If he does, then he's at a disadvantage compared to the cunning rogue who has learned to simply jump before thinking about it.
Am I making a lot of sense? Not sure, but again, just try to deal with it. :P
Each ability has it's place really.. for instance, I don't agree Strength should be alongside Constitution in resisting poisons and diseases. Strength does many good things, allowing you to lug heavy objects, hammer an Orc or such thing.. but a strong character doesn't necessarily resist the effect of a heart attack so easily.
I guess... you mean like he's clumsy and lucky in every single encounter of his entire life?

Not really. Just when there's no other way of looking at it that makes sense. If you can point to use of cover, his enemy just straight up missing or whatever, go for it. Otherwise, this works.

Remember, Ref Def isn't just a measure of your physical dodging ability, just like AC wasn't in earlier editions. Sometimes its an amount of personal luck, sometimes there are in-game circumstances that cause a blow to miss, other times your enemy just aims wide left. It doesn't all have to be explained by the character that got missed.

Possibly. Or, if you look at it another way, some people (what other people may offensively label as a "rabid fanboy") will say anything to rationalize any official WoTC rule (until superseded by 4.5), and other people will acknowledge any glaring flaws and try to find ways to improve on it.

And some people will nitpick until their fingers fall off, trying to find fault with a system that works fine as is. What's your point?

I find that fits in the realm of "common sense" = Wisdom. Inteligence is more about knowing how a grenade is manufactured, military grenade specs, etc.

Common Sense doesn't necessarily fall into the realm of Wisdom. It's about awareness, so a character with a high Wis would probably see it first, but they might not understand what they're looking at. High Int allows the character to mentally connect "thrown object" and "grenade," then make the transition to "need cover NOW" before those of lesser intellect.
I always assumed it would be something along the lines of using minor terrain features that aren't mentioned. For instance a wizard shoots a lightning bolt at a high dexterity rogue, who gets the hell out of the way. The fighter behind him flips over a stone table so it catches the bolt in mid air, figuring that the electricity won't go through the rock well, and will instead go around the metal rim, and come off of the back, through metal decorations, (or if there is no table kicks up a big rock and blocks with it). It does, continues, and the wizard behind him then uses a counter spell(int to reflex, and it actually makes sense for wizards and clerics, possibly also paladins) that makes the electricity go through him without harm. The warlord behind him, who has higher dex than int because he focused on charisma then dodges muttering "all lining up, thats just freaking brilliant." then gets them into a better position next turn.
Was it really necessary to be such a jerk in your reply?

I'm sorry you feel that way, but I don't agree. I went out of my way to be polite if not exactly courteous, but neither was he courteous with what I felt was a condescending remark like "it's that simple, really". I'm not sure that you're in a position to judge me, but regardless, I wish that to move forward from here with posts that are helpful, not just snappy one-liners and blanket statements.
I really like the system if only because it conforms to my real-life experience. I fence, and I am most certainly not as dexterous as some of my opponents. However, I am able to pick up on there patterns and behaviors quickly, and I am at my best when I actively think about what my opponent is about to do, and move before their attack even begins.

Maybe that doesn't tell you how to achieve the aforementioned bumbling professor, but hopefully it explains how intelligence can aid AC and Reflex.

This.

We're talking about intelligence as pattern analysis. Stop thinking of bumbling professors and start thinking of Angus MacGyver, Indiana Jones, or any other "smart" action hero you can come up with. And as long as you have average reflexes, clear thinking matters a lot. It's been said by more than one person that fencing (or swordfighting/combat in general) is essentially like playing a game of high-speed chess with lethal consequences. And what stat helps in chess? Yup, Intelligence. So that explains Ref as far as melee combat goes (and probably dodging projectiles too).

Should there potentially be some synergy for the guy who's both smart and agile? Yeah, probably. But I think that was dumped as just too complicated.

While it's easy to work out a justification in combat, when we're talking about explosions and the like, it's a bit tougher. I'd say the smart guy is pulling the Indiana Jones move of avoiding the fire blast (like Indy in the sewer in Last Crusade) by quickly overturning a convenient casket. In other words, he's using quick thinking to find his cover. By contrast, the dextrous guy is just diving as fast as he can for the best cover that's already available.

I suspect some of you would have less trouble if it was Dexterity or Wisdom instead. Similarly, I think it'd be perfectly legit for Will to be either Intelligence or Charisma.

It's all in how you rationalize it. And pretty much anything CAN be rationalized, if you want to rationalize it.
Remember, Ref Def isn't just a measure of your physical dodging ability, just like AC wasn't in earlier editions. Sometimes its an amount of personal luck, sometimes there are in-game circumstances that cause a blow to miss, other times your enemy just aims wide left. It doesn't all have to be explained by the character that got missed.

I could see that there are many factors that would contribute to the sum total of a Reflex defense, and luck may be part of that, but I don't see that it is specifically relevant to Intelligence attribute or the game mechanics we're talking about.

Common Sense doesn't necessarily fall into the realm of Wisdom. It's about awareness, so a character with a high Wis would probably see it first, but they might not understand what they're looking at. High Int allows the character to mentally connect "thrown object" and "grenade," then make the transition to "need cover NOW" before those of lesser intellect.

Unlike some other people, I won't say "No, Wisdom IS common sense, you're wrong". I will be more courteous and say that the PHB 4E specifically states that "Wisdom (Wis) measures your common sense, perception..." Also, one definition of "common sense" is "sound and prudent judgment based on a simple perception of the situation or facts". But that's not all, the PHB 4E then specifically states that "You use your Wisdom score to notice details, sense danger.."

Between those points, I'd confidently state that the perception of a grenade as a danger is most attributable to common sense which is mostly part of Wisdom, and that acting quickly upon that is most attributable to Dexterity. Therefore, I assume most people will agree that Wis and Dex is the *most* appropriate attribute in this particular example of a Reflex Defense to avoid a grenade, as neither high reasoning power nor a doctorate in military weapon is used to think "oh boy, I better get away from this grenade" and act quickly upon that thought.
Personally I like JohnSnow's interpretation.

When I was younger I was the smart, geeky, awkward kid. In the course of the usual kid play-fighting I learned early on, hitting didn't do much for me, and I wasn't quick or coordinated enough to really get out of the way at a moment's notice.
I did notice patterns and habits though. "Mike usually goes for the legs right away, if I stay on the balls of my feet I might be able to step out of the way in time. Oh, Steve is over there and he charges high, crouch a little and brace myself and I might be okay." By thinking ahead and prepping before anything bad happened I could do decently.

More recently I worked with emotionally disturbed children. One of whom had an unfortunate tendancy to throw things when upset, and I mean nasty things like toasters and ventilation grates. Even the slowest of the staff could remain safe however by thinking ahead and being on the defensive. It doesn't take much quickness or movement when you know everything about the angle and speed of a projectile coming at you and about when it is likely to come flying.

Might not be what you're looking for, but it might help a little.
As I understand it, in 4E, a Reflex defense uses your Dexterity modifier... or your Intelligence modifier, whichever is higher.

While I like the flexibility of this mechanic, how does it work for character development fluff?

I'm part of the crew that favors the idea that an intelligent character is able to predict how the enemy will attack, and adjust accordingly. The common response to this is that, in the real world, your usual intelligent nerd is hardly an expert at dodging blows in combat.

But the thing is - the PCs aren't average joes. They are, in fact, heroes - trained adventurers who have seen their share of danger. Even those starting out are ones who have mastered the way of the blade or the magical arts, and thus have the combat training to use their quick thinking to avoid the enemy. (This is right in line with JohnSnow's examples - intelligence alone doesn't mean you are good at predicting enemies in combat, but being an intelligent adventurer does.)

Having a Dex of 8 does make you clumsy - it means you are terrible at acrobatics, stealth, etc. It means if you pick up a rock and throw it, you are likely to miss. But if you have a low Dex and a high Int, you have gotten used to your years of clumsiness, and clearly learned to adjust in combat accordingly.

Now, I admit it might not be a perfect answer. But it definitely does seem realistic enough for a game system, and no worse than many other idiosyncrasies common in D&D.

If you do decide against it, I highly recommend against simply removing the ability to add Int to AC/Reflex. Instead, I would recommend something like Kainsan suggests, where you rearrange the ability scores to try and make a spread that fits more with what you find realistic.
Stop thinking of bumbling professors and start thinking of Angus MacGyver, Indiana Jones, or any other "smart" action hero you can come up with

But I'm not thinking the smart action hero, the OP was about the bumbling wizard archetype. Let's take your example. How about stats for Indiana Jones vs his father (=Sean Connery). I'd guess that Indie has high Wis, high Int, and high Dex (even good Con and good Str and good Cha -- he's really a great example of a powerful well-rounded 4E hero). Compared to his son, I'd guess that Indie's father has slightly lower Wis, but slightly better Int, and poorer Dex/Con/Str.

Their saving throws could appropriately simulated in 3E, but 4E would likely give Indie's father a better base Reflex than Indiana Jones, and I think that's just wrong.

Or, as I said before...

Or maybe I missed the boat? Maybe 4E is not about flawed character archetypes with one or two shortcomings, but heroic types who are always well-rounded and average/normal at the very worst?

Maybe 4E is NOT about accurately modelling Indie's old dawdling father, it's all about the action hero. It's OK to admit it, it's probably true.
Dexterity is about fast reflexes.

Intelligence is about thinking quickly.

Both help you avoid bad stuff.

Simple as that, really.

Except that they don't both help you avoid stuff. Only one does, and the other one is immaterial. If you have 1 dexterity or 18, it doesn't matter when you have 18 Int.
(Not sure how to quote other people: so here it is, quote from ArtyToo)
Maybe 4E is NOT about accurately modelling Indie's old dawdling father, it's all about the action hero. It's OK to admit it, it's probably true.
(quote ends)

Not only does 4E not model Indy's father.. it doesn't even bother trying.. I've not found any system around for simulating the older person whose physique has degraded, and been forced to rely on his ol' noggin in this edition. If there is a system for age = lower physical/higher mental states, I'll retract my statement and apologize.. if not, well, then it's all about Young Indy doing his heroics.
But I'm not thinking the smart action hero, the OP was about the bumbling wizard archetype. Let's take your example. How about stats for Indiana Jones vs his father (=Sean Connery). I'd guess that Indie has high Wis, high Int, and high Dex (even good Con and good Str -- he's really a great example of a powerful well-rounded 4E hero). Compared to his son, I'd guess that Indie's father has slightly lower Wis, but slightly better Int, and poorer Dex/Con/Str.

Their saving throws could appropriately simulated in 3E, but 4E would likely give Indie's father a better base Reflex than Indiana Jones, and I think that's just wrong.

First off, I think it's fair to say that 4e is not about modelling the non-adventuring wizard as a player character. All PCs are assumed to be adventurers, not bumbling lab assistants.

Secondly, Indy's clearly higher level than his mostly non-adventuring father, who while clearly a capable archaeologist, is not the adventurer his son is - period.

Thirdly, Henry Jones, Jr. is probably smarter than his father. Sorry Professor, but Junior's got ya beat.

Fourthly, (and mostly off-topic) let's look at Indy's stats somewhat objectively.

Strength: Indy's clearly stronger than average, but not necessarily by much. In D&D terms, I think we can call his strength at maybe 12.

Constitution: Indy can take punishment like almost nobody. He doesn't seem to get sick, and he's the energizer bunny. However, I'm going to keep it at 15 (starting) so as to leave some room for his high mental stats. He probably puts an increase here on 1 of his level ups.

Dexterity: Indy's more agile than average, but he's no olympic athlete. Let's say 14.

Intelligence: Indy's a doctor of archaeology. By the time he was 18, he spoke 27 languages. Let's realistically call it 16 as a base, but by the time of the movies, it should be 18 - minimum.

Wisdom: Indy's pretty perceptive, but this is probably the point he shows the most need for improvement in. On the one hand, he takes reckless chances a lot. But on the other, he's more perceptive than many people. He made a lot of foolish mistakes as a young man though, so let's say this isn't a strong point. Call it a 12 base, with increases frequently going here when he "levels up."

Charisma: Indiana Jones - Women want him. Men want to BE him. They follow his lead. Even people who loathe him find him irresistable. If you accept the Young Indiana Jones Chronicles as canon (as Lucasfilm does and as I do), he lost his virginity to Mata Hari, for god's sake! Let's be reasonable and call this a 15 (though it should probably be higher).

So:

STR 12 CON 15 DEX 14 INT 16 WIS 12 CHA 15

I think that's achievable by a human with point buy in 4e. But I'm not sure.
First off, I think it's fair to say that 4e is not about modelling the non-adventuring wizard as a player character. All PCs are assumed to be adventurers, not bumbling lab assistants.

So that's agreed. In 3E, you can play a bumbling lab assistant who starts adventuring. In 4E, not so much.

P.S. Why do you define a bumbling wizard as a "non-adventuring wizard"? I could have lots of fun with a low Dex high Int wizard. Sure, he's not as well-rounded, but he can still go on adventures, and it's maybe more interesting than a I'm-decent-at-everything wizard. Some people DO like to roleplay, and -- like in many good books and movies -- that often involves characters with flaws and shortcomings.
Roleplaying a weakness should not be automatically equated to being punished by the combat mechanics.

When you play your high int, low dex bumbling wizard, describe his actions bumping into stuff, knocking over ink bottles, tripping on the rug when he is presented to the duke.

However, D&D is a combat-heavy game. Realistically, someone that clumsy would be useless in a fantasy combat situation. 4E chooses entertainment value over realism, and allows you to have a low Dex score and still manage to avoid some attacks.

How you describe this in narration is up to you. I'm sure we've all read books or watched movies where the awkward hero stumbles just in time to move aside from an attack, or huddles behind a tree and only steps out to launch his spells, etc.

Personally, I don't usually describe every single hit and miss as a detailed action, so I am fine with just giving the Int bonus to reflex, and saying "on average, sometimes your intelligence saves you from being damaged."

If there was a very dramatic situation, or a really good opportunity to give a flavorful description, then I would make something up. If you do that every attack roll though, it gets very repetitive and tedious.

IMO, the 4E system allows for more variety in characters. Combat effectiveness has always been an important consideration for my groups, and nearly all 3.5 Wizards have Dex as their second highest stat, simply because the AC bonus is so important. (Con would be the other candidate).
The 3.5 system strongly punishes Wizards that are not either exceptionally graceful or amazingly resilient.
In 4E, someone could play a high-int, high-str wizard with a low dex, and their stats could reflect a different sort of character, without having to accept a massive deficit in the combat portions of the game.

EDIT: in response to ArtyToo's post just above this one:
In many situations (like the low-dex wizard), 3.5 made you choose between "an interesting roleplay opportunity" and "being combat effective."
Since D&D is part roleplaying and part tactical wargaming (the exact proportions vary from group to group, but I don't think you could completely eliminate one aspect or the other and still be playing D&D), this forced trade-off meant that you often couldn't fully enjoy both parts of the game.

In several ways, 4E seems to be trying to remove those trade offs, and making it easier to have a character that is both combat optimized and a rich, interesting roleplaying experience.
(note, I am not saying you can't have both in 3.5. I am saying the 4E ruleset seems designed to make it easier to do so.)

Another example is moving profession skills into the territory of fluff and out of the skill point system. No longer do you have to think (I want my character to be a master chef, but then I lose skillpoints that I need for Tumble or Concentrate)
4e is for making well-rounded characters. Aside from the two-pronged defenses, characters also get slightly better at every skill and hitting things every couple of levels. They also get +1 to two stats every four levels, and +1 to every(!) stat at the beginning of the Paragon and Epic tiers. With that kind of set-up, it's somewhat difficult for characters to have huge, comes-up-every-time weaknesses without some kind of house ruling (see below).

However, your clumsy wizard will still be clumsy where skills are concerned, namely acrobatics, stealth and thievery. They'd also have bad aim with projectile weapons. So, clumsiness won't be completely out of the picture, it just might not come up as often as you'd like.

Easiest house rule ever: Use "Int or Dex (player's choice)" instead of "Int or Dex (whichever is highest)."
That's nice.. you've made Indy's stats.. probably pretty accurately too. Does that justify all characters being like him? No. Most stories involve a couple of guys like him (Indiana Jones, Paul Atreides, Drizzt Do'Urden.. perfect adventurers, smart, capable, skilled) but also include people around them who are not so perfect (Indy's father, Gurney Halleck, Bruenor Battlehammer) who can still contribute to both combat and non-combat encounter (hell, Indy's father took down a bloody Messerschimdt with an umbrella!). This edition doesn't even acknowledge the possibility of playing those fundamentally flawed characters.
who can still contribute to both combat and non-combat encounter (hell, Indy's father took down a bloody Messerschimdt with an umbrella!). This edition doesn't even acknowledge the possibility of playing those fundamentally flawed characters.

I am having trouble with your logic.

In 3.5, a low-dex, high int character is severely punished by the combat mechanics, meaning he will not be able to contribute as much to a combat-encounter.

4E provides exactly what you describe... a character that has some low stats *for roleplaying richness*, but is still able to be effective in combat situations. The mechanics allow you to have low-dex, and be clumsy and awkward, without forcing you to be a punching bag in combat.

To put it another way.. in 3.5, Indy's father can't take out a jet with an umbrella because his Str and Dex are low. In 4E, Indy's father still has low Str and Dex, but he can take out the jet because he is using his Int for his AC and making a Cha vs Will attack.
My issue is you don't have to be an At-Will combat ability spamming super-warrior to contribute to the adventure. Even 3rd edition, flawed as it was, allowed players to play as Experts, going through their entire career without even lifting a sword. That's not even an option anymore.. anything non-combat has been nerfed to hell and back.
As for logic... I have none, never have. Logic is overrated. But I will say this.. when Indy's father finally did attack, using his umbrella to take down a fighter plane, he sure as heck wasn't making an attack roll. He was just making things very difficult for the pilot.
Even 3rd edition, flawed as it was, allowed players to play as Experts, going through their entire career without even lifting a sword. That's not even an option anymore.. anything non-combat has been nerfed to hell and back.

Why do you think this is not an option in 4E ?
What were the 3.5 rules for non-combat encounters? Skill checks and DM fiat. 4E has skill checks, DM fiat, + skill challenges. Still a tiny portion of the rules, but since it has everything any previous edition of D&D had, plus more, it certainly isn't removing any options that existed in a previous edition.

Some non-combat stuff that was governed (badly) by rules in 3.5, such as alignment and profession skills, has been completely removed from the realm of dice and stats and, (IMO) correctly assigned to pure roleplay in 4E.

Could you provide an example of a non-combat option in 3.5 that has been eliminated or forbidden in the 4E rules? (I'm not sure how you "nerf" something when the entirety of the rules is "you and your friends talk for a bit, and then the DM decides the result.")

Or were you thinking of the spells and item creation feats that are now replaced by Rituals in 4E?

How would you model Indy's father's actions in 3.5? Apply some penalty to the pilot's stats? Have the player roll some sort of skill check? Just decide on a result based on the player's descriptions?
Any of these mechanisms still exist in 4E, essentially unchanged.
Easiest house rule ever: Use "Int or Dex (player's choice)" instead of "Int or Dex (whichever is highest)."

(same goes with allowing players to use WIS for Reflex instead of INT)

The main point though, is you now have a simple house rule for playing the bumbling genius, and most posts are now turning into the wonderful (but off topic) "4e has destroyed D&D forever!!!" diatribes that seem ever so popular :P

Here's another option for ya - if you like 3.5e better, go play that :D
Or make it a feat.

"Bumbling Sidekick."

"You use your Dexterity modifier for Reflex saves even if it's lower than your Intelligence modifier, and gain a +3 bonus to checks made to entertain people by slapstick comedy."
Maybe you could imagine that when he dodges or ducks under attacks, he does so barely in time and very ungracefully. Peter the rogue shook his head as he watched Morkainen shrug off the effects of that fireball. 'You're lucky you can judge distances Morky.... your reflexes couldn't outmatch a drunken orc'c!'
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