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Old September 5, 2012, 12:33   #1
Mikko Lehtinen
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INT and WIS definitions

The purpose of this thread is to collect different descriptions and definitions for INT and WIS. What should the stats mean in your personal vision of future Angband? You may include examples of game mechanics tied to the stats if you like.

You can read some background in this thread.

I'd like this thread to be just a collection of different definitions, with no discussion, to keep it easy to analyse. You can start new threads for discussion.

I hope these stat definitions and descriptions are useful for generating actual game mechanics. I've a theory that clear and distinct definitions for INT and WIS would inspire better game mechanics. Ultimately, the aim is to make INT and WIS more interesting for every class. If that proves fruitless, removing one of the stats works too, and there are probably other good solutions.

Don't worry if your definitions are wildly different than other people's!
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Old September 5, 2012, 13:11   #2
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My definitions for WIS and INT. I skip mentioning their role as spell stats since that is unchanged.

Common sense, practical intelligence, perception, willpower.
  • Disarming and picking locks.
  • Perception.
  • Saving Throw.
  • Let wise characters find more loot! Either because they are better searchers (hidden items in closets), or because they are able to disarm traps and pick locks that no one else can (chests and tiny treasure rooms).
  • Make Wisdom essential in noticing and disarming traps.
  • Let perceptive characters notice invisible creatures.

Bookish lore, especially about all sorts of magical arcana, like dead languages, runes, and symbols.
  • Magic Device. Make INT really, really important in this!
  • Identify. Maybe remove all identifying spells, and make INT-based Identify skill checks as you find new items. If you fail the check you need to id by use (and maybe suffer for your stupidity).
  • Rename it to Lore, as in Mystical Lore? This would make it clearer that the stat doesn't help you in your day-to-day practical dungeoneering tasks that are the domain of WIS.

Note that Halls of Mist has much wilder ideas than what I propose here. Especially in the area of arcane lore and weird magicks there are endless possibilities to make INT more useful.

Make class and level matter less in the skills that "define" INT and WIS, like Perception, Disarming, and Magic Device. Here stats should be king!
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Old September 5, 2012, 13:59   #3
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When I was designing FAangband, I took WIS to be traditional knowledge, and INT to be 'unnatural' cunning. So WIS based casters draw on the power of nature (Druids) or the Valar (Priests), and INT based casters use flashy detection, teleportation and fireworks (Mages) or pervert the laws of life and death (Necromancers).

Actually, these were the casting stats already in O, but this was my way of thinking about it, and subsequent changes to spellcasting moved it to fit in more with these definitions.

As far as races go, I think Angband has elves and dwarves backwards; so in FA, dwarves (the exploiters of Middle-Earth) have high INT and elves (the tree-huggers) have high WIS.

The flaw in all this is that in RL intelligence is generally regarded as innate, whereas wisdom is the result of life experience. Since the stats are (IMHO) meant to represent the raw talents that the character has to work with, WIS is a bit silly.

So Beleriand is going to have a new stat system, with WIS and INT roughly being replaced with three mental stats. These are:
  1. Intelligence, which is raw mental power, and is responsible for mental capacity (the Beleriand equivalent of mana);
  2. Will, which is what it sounds like, and governs saving throws and rate of reduction of mental capacity
  3. Acuity, which is mental sharpness, and determines fail rates.

Or that's the current plan, anyway
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Old September 5, 2012, 14:06   #4
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Ooooh good, I'm glad we disagree! Here are mine:

Intelligence is the "brain" - analytical, technical, mathematical, spatial - the mental equivalent of dexterity. So it's about devices, locks, traps, memorising and recall of spells (i.e. failure rate, number of spells learned) and also influences dodging, critical hits, noise and perception.

Wisdom is the "mind" - intuitive, visceral yet also ephemeral - the mental equivalent of constitution. So it's about spell power, monster fear, resistance to mental attack (and also to the mental crisis part of physical exhaustion, where STR and CON deal with the muscular and respiratory components respectively). Also influences noise and perception, but to a lesser extent than INT.

I would strongly recommend dispensing with the concept of a single saving throw for all things, and move to the widely-used system of letting different stats affect different types of save - but most mental saves would be using WIS. INT would affect those related to stuff like dodging (where it combines with DEX) and traps etc., not the traditional will-type saves.

Lore I think is a mixture of both. INT is the primary stat concerned with data / information / knowledge, but WIS is vital for turning them into understanding.
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Old September 5, 2012, 14:23   #5
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Here's D&D 3rd edition's definitions (from SRD). Go look how they affect skills if you like.

Wisdom describes a character’s willpower, common sense, perception, and intuition. While Intelligence represents one’s ability to analyze information, Wisdom represents being in tune with and aware of one’s surroundings.

Intelligence determines how well your character learns and reasons.
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Old September 5, 2012, 17:20   #6
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Synonyms: Intellect, Mindpower, Magical Might, Scholasticism, Book Smarts, Knowledge
The ability of a character to think, solve problems, and learn/remember how to perform complex tasks, such as cast spells or disarm traps.

Synonyms: Intuition, Spirit, Magical Mending, Divine Favor, Street Smarts, Creativity
The ability of a character to sense and harness spiritual energy and adapt to his or her environment.
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Old September 5, 2012, 18:02   #7
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INT: analytical problem solving; mental nimbleness
WIS: force of will

INT determines your ability to study and to perform tricky tasks -- it affects your learned spells, spell and device failure rates, ability to disarm traps, your chance of getting a critical hit (recognizing a monster's weak points). Characters with low INT have trouble predicting their enemies' actions, which gives them a significant AC penalty even if they're dextrous (they're caught off-guard).

WIS determines your mental power. It affects your spellpoint reserve, how much damage your spells and devices do, your ability to resist mental attacks and recover from blindness/confusion/etc. Characters with low WIS have difficulty dealing with monsters who have glamours (e.g. vampires, ainur), giving them a significant to-hit penalty.

Under this scheme, all spellcasters ought to want both INT and WIS -- the former to be able to cast spells with any facility, the latter to be able to cast many spells and have them be effective. Warriors don't care quite so much, except that since they spend almost all their time in melee, they really don't want the flat-footed / weak-willed penalties. And they care very much about their atrocious saving throws, of course.

Making this all meaningful almost requires linearizing the effects of the stats in question, though. And the ramifications on balance for pure-casters is unclear; how is a mage meant to survive if they have no sources of WIS early on and thus have terrible spellpoints? Wands of Magic Missile?
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Old February 18, 2013, 02:03   #8
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Tossing in some personal thoughts on a direction to go for the mental stats ----

Fist a quick aside about Chr. As far as I know, it affects 2 things: store prices, and charm rates. Maybe bard songs in some variants. Can't think of anything else offhand, though I don't have a real in-depth knowledge of the code.

Store prices: Would suggest changing this. Would say that 'best' price should depend on a hidden reputation score; the more you shop at a store, the more friendly the shopowner is likely to be with you (based more on how much you spend, but also bonuses for being willing to sell high-priced goods to this store (more relevant for variants with multiple towns)). Starting reputation depends on typical race vs race stereotyping. However, haggling should depend on Wis, not Chr; it's about knowing what's a good deal, reading the other person, and arguing for a price in your favor. It has very little to do with your looks, and charm only gets you so far with a professional shopkeeper.

Charm rates: Your physical looks obviously have no meaning to the dog you're trying to make friends with; it's about personality. However personality and looks have no intrinsic correlation. A friendly ugly person, or a bitchy supermodel, neither one lends itself to a single Chr stat. Of the two, looks is actually of lesser importance, and personality isn't so much intrinsic as what you're able to express; ie: the facade you can put on to make people like you, which depends on knowing people well enough to know what they'll like.

'Commanding personality': Ability to cause fear in others. Intimidation. Presence. Recognition. Reputation. Can you get the Ring Wraiths to tremble when they hear -your- name? From an RPG side, this seems to have notable value, however from the CRPG side, it's a bit harder. What I'd probably actually do is make this a 'skill' rather than a stat (you don't improve your reputation by drinking potions, but a properly intimidating suit of armor could do wonders), that increases whenever you kill a Unique (probably with points equal to the level of the Unique), and also enhanced by level. Would probably name it either Presence or Reputation, and it can influence intelligent monsters' behavior (eg: how likely are they to run?).

Overall: Just scrap the Chr stat entirely. The things that it affects can be better represented with different stats.

Suggested revisions:

Physical (not changing):
Str - Physical force, carrying capacity
Dex - Manual dexterity, physical quickness
Con - Resiliency, health

Wis - The mental equivalent of Str. Wis is how well and deeply you understand a subject, and thus how effectively you can apply a spell's effects.
Int - The mental equivalent of Dex. Quick-wittedness, sharp-mindedness. How quickly you pick up new things.
Wil (Willpower) - The mental equivalent of Con. Mental resilience and endurance, and depth of magical power. Just as Con improves HP, Wil improves MP (so MP is not based on either Int or Wis).

In V4 lingo, Int is the 'finesse' and Wis is the 'prowess', for magical effects.

Spell learning rate would still be Int for mages (ability to figure things out) and Wis for priests (depth of devotion to their faith), but that's as far as the stats differ for them. The actual mechanics of casting spells would be the same for both branches.

Int would be magic accuracy and casting speed, and possibly magical 'crits' (depending on whether that's a useful path to explore). It is the primary factor for spell failure rates, rather than being purely level-based. (Would prefer the other half as, "How many times have you cast this spell?", rather than player level, but that penalizes rarely-cast spells, so probly not worth it.)

Wis would be the effectiveness of the spell -- damage multiplier, enfeeble duration, AOE radius, range of teleports, etc -- rather than having those things be level-based.

Wil provides general resistance against magical effects of spells (as opposed to physical effects). EG: Whether or not you're blinded, and for how long; whether a mob can teleport you to them, freeze your actions, drain stats; etc. It directly influences the Saving Throw skill.

Other areas:

Perception, searching, and mechanicals (Disarming, picking locks) are based on Int. [Extra: short range See Invisible from a high Int; range affected by Perception.]

Magical device usage would be based on Wil (ie: ability to exert control to unlock its powers). The effects of the devices could either be static (preferable for melee jobs), or influenced by Int/Wis as normal (preferable for mage jobs). I'd probably make it such that it uses the player's Int/Wis, but with a minimum cap (eg: 17 Int/17 Wis) such that there's always a certain level of effectiveness.

Successfully creating traps would be Int, however their power would be based on Wis.

Int for pseudo-identification, Wis for full identification (and possibly *Identify*, if equipped) over time.

Charm effects would be based on Int+Wis+Wil.

Anyway, that's my idea for definitions and how I'd go about correlating them to other stuff in the game.
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Old February 18, 2013, 16:19   #9
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Personally, I'm a big fan of ditching the INT/WIS classes and making them more clear as to what they govern. Renaming one to Magic is a clear start. Where to go with the other is a good question. You could make it Perception and let it govern saving throws, identification, trap detection, secret door detection, monster tracking (you can hear/see monsters you normally wouldn't be able to.) Another option is to make it some sort of mental stamina and let it govern your SP pool and regen rate. So Magic would govern spell power and damage and Mind would govern how much SP you have. Note, currently in V spell power is governed by level not by INT.

tome4 roughly does this and replaces INT/WIS/CHR with Magic (spellpower) Will (spell points) and Cunning (perception, tracking, stealth).

Tome's an ok grouping but like everything else, I think it has too much. I'd prefer lumping spell points and spellpower into a single Magic stat and then lumping perception and stealth into DEX, where dex now is mental and physical dexterity. Then you have 4 stats, and they're all roughly balanced.

STR - weapon damage (for heavy weapons), carrying capacity, weapon to hit-chance
DEX - weapon damage (for light weapons), perception/stealth, AC, weapon to-hit chance
MAGIC - Spell power, spell points, device skill

all stats have some saving throws associated. STR saves against anything that tries to physically move the player against their will (except teleport.) These don't exist in V. Dex saves against anything that you can "nimbly" avoid, like traps or earthquakes. Con saves against stat draining effects. Magic saves against any spell related effects, like teleportation, nexus scrambling, confusion/blindness/fear.

If you're going to keep 6 stats, it's really important to make them all important and interesting. Otherwise, it's really hard to justify them.
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Old February 18, 2013, 20:39   #10
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That's roughly what Sil does, but it also gives an extra damage sides bonus to STR, has saves you can make with STR and gives the carrying capacity. It loses the accuracy bonus. I'm afraid this would leave STR largely useless for all but paladins and warriors. Even with warriors I'd consider not boosting STR much, as early I'd be using DEX, and later I'd have high STR anyway.
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