Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Roleplaying Mental Dump Stats

Characters in D&D often end up with mental dump stats, stats that are below 10 for Intelligence, Wisdom and Charisma. When role playing any of these dump stats, a character is often portrayed as stupid or speaking in caveman talk.

Intelligence vs. Wisdom

Intelligence (Int) is considered book smarts while Wisdom (Wis) is considered street smarts.
A character with high Int learns quickly from books, knows a lot of facts and analyzes information quickly. Book knowledge skills are based on Int.
Wis is based on common sense and comes from experience and focus on the surroundings of a character.

I first learned how to role play them from Intelligence versus Wisdom.
Int gives options to overcome a problem, Wis makes a character question if the problem should be solved and what the consequences are.

Low Intelligence


"Hulk Up Close And Personal" by kiwanja on Flickr

A character with low Int will see few options when faced with a problem.

When faced with a trap, a low Int character will just try to go around the trap or smash it.

In battle, the same attack is often used over and over again as the character doesn't know that much about his opponents.

Low Int characters have limited knowledge of magic, cosmology, history or religion as all of these are learned by reading books.

Low Wisdom

Characters with low Wis will never wonder why a trap was set in the first place or if it should be disabled at all. They won't question whether it's the best option to attack in a situation and what the consequences are if they do.

They will not wonder why the merchant is so generous with her deal and will not have the experience to look at hiding spots when entering a dangerous room.

Low Charisma

Low Charisma (Cha) characters can be played as a shy, withdrawn people.
They can also be played as someone who says rude things or is annoying, crossing a socially acceptable line. Ugliness is also a possibility, or smelling bad.

So low Cha characters will possibly insult someone when trying to be diplomatic or comical when trying to be intimidating.
A lie will be seen right through.

So what are the dump stats of your favorite D&D characters?
Do you have additional means of role playing low mental stats?


  1. Best way to play a low int character. Ever.


    1. Thanks for commenting.
      A comedic method of playing a low Int character: acting like the smartest guy and then always being wrong, I like it.

      Personally, I see Wile E Coyote more as a high Int, low Wis kind of guy but that's because I look at it "book smarts vs. street smarts".

    2. Similar reply to what I've just posted on the link above, but studies have shown it to be almost universally true that those with a low IQ are more likely to estimate their intelligence as being higher than it is, and vice versa. i think this could also apply to any of the mental stats. How many of us know someone with next to zero social skills who likes to think of themselves as the life of the party and the one who's friends with everyone else?

    3. Paul, thanks for commenting.
      I didn't think of that when I first posted.

  2. Great ideas. Thanks!

    My dump stats depend on the character, but I don't always choose mental dump stats.


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