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Let's Talk About Intelligence

I’m seeing some Intelligence debate coming into the Constitution thread, so this is a great time for another stats topic. Today it’s intelligence, the skill that determines how many kinds of spell a wizard can scribe, and their success rating at scribing. It also affects lore... and not much else. RP-wise I guess we could see Int as an IQ thing, but to me it’s more about how much schooling a character has had, as well as their natural aptitude in intellectual skills.

INTELLIGENCE SCORES

4: Wilson

Smarter than the average bear, the 2nd Ed Monster Manual puts 4 as “semi-intelligent” and has bears and elephants in this category (2-4). Then again it also has Dolphins at 11-12 and Lawful Good, so who knows how much thought was put into this.

7: Yeslick

5-7 Intelligence is categorised as “low”, on par with mummies and minotaurs. I don’t really understand why Yeslick has such low Int, and he never really exhibits it. An idea I had was that it’s to represent how easily he was fooled by Reiltar (“I’ll just give ye the keys to me mine...”), but value judgements like that could be seen more as Wisdom’s province, of which he has a considerable amount. Ultimately I think Int and Wis work together to give an NPC their mental capacity, which is why Yeslick is more clever than Minsc despite having one less Int – he has the wisdom to know he’s not intelligent, while Minsc doesn’t.

So why is Yeslick so, er, slow, to put it nicely? Can he read? I’d love to hear your ideas.

8: Minsc

8-10 Int is “average”. Around the lower scores we find people from warrior cultures who probably don’t have much time for book learning. However, Minsc’s delusions seem to me much more a result of his abysmal Wisdom than his low-average Intelligence.

9: Branwen

Apparently 9 Int is the minimum for using wands and scrolls. I can’t say I ever noticed Yeslick being unable to use the Wand of the Heavens, but maybe I’m misremembering. Anyway, stereotypical warrior chick from the North, so average Intelligence.

10: Jaheira, Kivan, Faldorn, Tiax, Anomen, Mazzy, Valygar, Dorn

This seems to be the average for BG NPCs. Note that Tiax is slightly stupid by gnome standards, certainly enough to entertain Quayle. Jaheira (and maybe Faldorn) was raised by druids, I would guess not big on intensive schooling (beyond knowing the different kinds of plants, etc). Lots of professional warriors again.

11: Rasaad

11-12 is “Very” intelligent.

12: Canderous, Deder, Montaron, Khalid, Ajantis, Korgan, Keldorn, Cernd, Clara

So here we have very intelligent NPCs. Some, like Ajantis and Keldorn, probably did some studying as part of their Paladin training. Others like merchant’s son Khalid most likely went to school. Seems a little high for Clara, but we never learn much about her.

13: Garrick, Eldoth, Yoshimo

13-14 intelligence is classified as “High”. Seems the same as “Very” to me, but whatever. It’s a commonly held belief that you have to be intelligent to be a musician, drummers excepted (just kidding), so it’s no surprise to see two bards here. Yoshimo too with his confidence tricks seems good here.

14: Shar-Teel, Coran, Alora, Hexxat

Surprising to see “I love bloodshed” Shar-Teel here isn’t it? Makes her a very interesting character, though perhaps her low Wisdom balances things out a bit. The same can be said of precocious talent Alora and womanising Coran – they can think fast but they’re somewhat immature.

15: Arkanis, Osprey, Kagain, Skie, Haer’Dalis

15-16 Int is “Exceptional” intelligence, and you get your first lore bonus at 15. Firstly, Kagain is very smart for a pure-class fighter, reflecting his Scrooge McDuck-without-the-warmth persona. I imagine he plays up his “I’m just a dumb fighter” to clients before hitting them with a massive bill. Skie probably has lots of tutors, so it’s no surprise that she is smart (not wise enough to see through Eldoth’s deception though). Tieflings are naturally intelligent, and combined with being a bard Haer’Dalis emerges very clever also.

16: Viconia, Safana, Aerie, Jan

Not much to say here other than Safana stands out a little.

17: Imoen, Xzar, Dynaheir, Xan, Quayle, Nalia, Sarevok, Neera

17-18 is a “genius” level intellect – aren’t you proud of your sister and brother being such geniuses? Or feeling a bit self-conscious because you dump-statted Int? Anyway, arcane casters rule here, making 17 the gold standard for professional magery, though you could conceivably be a “hedge wizard” with a far more average level of intelligence.

18: Mordaine, Edwin

At 18 Intelligence you may start referring to your comrades as simians. But in Edwin’s case, we can see how a sky-high intelligence does not prohibit you from making big mistakes (cough Nether Scroll).

19: Baeloth

19-20 Intelligence is “supra-genius” level, which is a term I’m sure Baeloth would love. Like Edwin, his smarts make him overconfident, further reinforcing the fact that high Intelligence can be very dangerous – almost a liability – without a comparable Wisdom.


I’ve got to say, this one was rather fun to do, perhaps because of it’s focus on role-playing aspects. It’s one of those questions, how do you roleplay a character that’s smarter than you are? Personally I find it fun and strangely liberating to play as “dumb” characters, imagining how they would go through Baldur’s Gate... though it has led to a *lot* of premature deaths.

So, what do you do with your Intelligence scores??

SethDaviselminsterbbearwintersbooinyoureyesBlackravenAnduinFinaLfrontElrandirlunarjackjackJuliusBorisovAristilliusHrafnEmpyrialEadwyn_G8keeperCrevsDaaksersafirCalmarBelgarathMTHDJKajuruDaevelonHaHaCharaderatamo
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Comments

  • TwaniTwani Member Posts: 640
    Yeah, Yeslick's always stood out to me, too. He never seems stupid, although I think Kagain might call him it once in their banters (though I'm probably misremembering). And he's certainly wise. I guess they wanted to dump stat him somewhere, but I would have thought they'd use CHA (a standard dumpstat for a dwarf, and it's not like CHA does anything in game) rather then INT. Not that Yeslick's CHA is that great...

    As for Baeloth and Edwin, well... don't dump stat wisdom, boys. Seriously, don't dump stat wisdom.

    wintersBlackravenCrevsDaak
  • TJ_HookerTJ_Hooker Member Posts: 2,438
    edited April 2014
    Hmm let's if it will let me post this time, or if I'll get that 'your comment will appear after it's been approved' message again.

    Edit: Ok now that I got that out of the way,
    Anduin said:



    5-7 Intelligence is categorised as “low”, on par with mummies and minotaurs.

    I believe your intelligence appears to be lacking.

    For this insult you will suffer unfathomable tortures and your screams will be harvested by thine own mind!

    I will use a single carrot to implement your infliction. You will beg for mercy in the end as I have the intelligence to use a carrot in marvelously incredulous ways! Mwahaha!

    BEND DOWN AND PROSTRATE YOURSELF TO THE RED CARROT OF POINTYNESS AND SUFFER ! ! !

    ...

    I will also accept an apology.
    http://forum.baldursgate.com/discussion/comment/489556/#Comment_489556

    elminsterCrevsDaak
  • meaglothmeagloth Member Posts: 3,806
    edited April 2014
    Hmmm, what I do next always starts a lively discussion. I've always equated intelligence with IQ, and thus almost completely isolating it from book-learning or schooling (IQ is pretty innate, in that it supposedly can't be changed past the age of 5 of so, I guess. I don't know how true that is. You can always artificially boost it by studying the test.) and I think with a little wobbling it goes like this:

    (1)<50 (3)75 (6)85 (9)100 (12)110 (15)122 (17)130 (18)145 (19)160+


    AnduinlunarHrafnsemiticgod
  • meaglothmeagloth Member Posts: 3,806
    @Anduin‌, yes, I toltally agree. I am actually a firm believer in the idea that with practice, almost any skill or mindset, whatever can be learned. However, I do think that some people are just "smarter" than others, because of genetics and early childhood situations. I think I heard on This American Life that either grades or IQ were almost entirely dependent on how many words you heard in between the ages of one and four, or something similar to that.

    I am not contesting whether or not IQ can be learned, I'm just saying that without training or study, some people are higher than others. And IQ is not an arbitrary number. It correlates closely with grades "success" and other cognitive functions. While it certainly isn't perfect, or measure what people think of when they say "intelligence", it does measure something and that something isn't completely irrelevant.

    I'm just trying to say that I think the "intelligence" stat measures innate cognitive ability, or critical thinking skills, not how much you've been tought. I person from the year 100 can still have a high IQ, or intelligence stat, even though they think that the earth is made up of 4 elements and lightning is a spiteful god. What they know is limited by what they are told. I telligence is not.

    Anduin
  • meaglothmeagloth Member Posts: 3,806
    element said:

    I must say I cant really see Neera having 17 intelligence

    Or imoen. That's why I see it the way I do. It not much more than your ability to write spells, or sole puzzles. That's why it's not a huge deal that yealick has 7 and neera has 17. Neera can have 17 int because it is only a puzzle solving skill, relatively alienated from anything else.

    elementBelgarathMTHsemiticgod
  • elementelement Member Posts: 833
    edited April 2014
    meagloth said:

    element said:

    I must say I cant really see Neera having 17 intelligence

    Or imoen. That's why I see it the way I do. It not much more than your ability to write spells, or sole puzzles. That's why it's not a huge deal that yealick has 7 and neera has 17. Neera can have 17 int because it is only a puzzle solving skill, relatively alienated from anything else.
    I like the concept and its pretty much how ive chosen to look at it, but even then I think it would be noticeable at 17 plus, It should certainly be noticeable at 18/19 as people with this capability would just be so far removed from the norm in terms of capability.

  • lunarlunar Member Posts: 3,402
    Charname's brother and sister have amazing intelligence scores for non-mages, but it can all be thanks to their special blood giving them bonuses. And really, their overall ability scores are exceptional when compared to other sad joke NPCs like Tiax or Quayle.

    Sarevok is smart enough to plan a huge conspiracy in bg1, but lacks wisdom and blindly believes if he succeeds he will be the god of murder. Imoen's genius level intelligence does not show much in-game, aside from a magical aptitude that you can dual class her into mage very fast. (otherwise, it is of no use to her in-game) So I guess that counts. And in bg2 she is already dual-classed for the convenience and plot.

    I have always thought that IQ score corelates to intelligence score as in 1 intelligence score equals 10 IQ points. Thus, 100 intelligence is INT 10. So 80-100 is the dead average. 135-140 intelligence equals roughly to 14 INT score. Very exceptional in real world, but if you are a spellcaster with that intelligence in bg you are rather lack-luster. (Garrick and Eldoth annoy me so much that they flunk their scrolls all the time) If you look at this way most 'smart' NPCs are running on 160-180 IQs, very impressive, they could be winning Nobel prizes left and right.

    BlackravenJuliusBorisovFinaLfront
  • SCARY_WIZARDSCARY_WIZARD Member Posts: 1,425
    dustbubsy said:

    16: Viconia, Safana, Aerie, Jan

    Not much to say here other than Safana stands out a little.

    Her backstory is implied to be a pretty "tall tale"...with inconsistencies. So maybe her 9 Wisdom reflects that she didn't fact-check it as much as she should have!

    jackjackCrevsDaak
  • TJ_HookerTJ_Hooker Member Posts: 2,438
    edited April 2014
    I would agree with Aristillius and Blackraven if we were talking about intelligence in a general sense. However, I believe this thread is about intelligence as per the D&D stat, and I'm not sure that they're the same thing.

  • meaglothmeagloth Member Posts: 3,806
    dustbubsy said:

    One more thing to say, I think the BG series would be improved by intelligence checks for some dialogue options. It would give more incentive to have higher Int, or at the very least make Intelligence boosting potions more useful for non-mages.

    No, I think it makes sense that a half Orc with 1 int has the same clever quips as an 18 int Mage. :P

    dustbubsyCrevsDaak
  • ApocryphaApocrypha Member Posts: 102
    I always thought that characters with super-high Intelligence should have seen through the wraiths in TOB by picking up on the mannerisms, speech patterns, etc, of the ghost and how it didn't match up with the person in your memory. Or at least the trial should have been handled differently. If INT + WIS / 2 > a DC of, say, 16, you saw through the disguise. If not, you were fooled.

    Then again, if that were the case, Aerie and Viconia wouldn't have fallen victim to their mother/brother.

    Blackravendustbubsy
  • SCARY_WIZARDSCARY_WIZARD Member Posts: 1,425
    dustbubsy said:

    One more thing to say, I think the BG series would be improved by intelligence checks for some dialogue options. It would give more incentive to have higher Int, or at the very least make Intelligence boosting potions more useful for non-mages.

    Ugh thank you! Just like how Icewind Dale had all these different checks... I loved that!

    BlackravenjackjackdustbubsyCrevsDaak
  • elminsterelminster Member, Developer Posts: 15,958
    dustbubsy said:

    One more thing to say, I think the BG series would be improved by intelligence checks for some dialogue options. It would give more incentive to have higher Int, or at the very least make Intelligence boosting potions more useful for non-mages.

    Though certainly this can be found in D&D games it mostly reminds me of Arcanum and how Virgil will flip out if you are lacking intelligence (and how your journal entry and talk is impacted by intelligence).

  • Eadwyn_G8keeperEadwyn_G8keeper Member Posts: 541
    I was thinking about this just last night in regards to my feelings about Minsc. His overall Stat total is unimpressive with Int-8/Wis-6/Charisma-9 but in terms of Game-play those three scores might as well have been 12-12-12 making him on a par with Imoen with 87pts. Certainly I would feel much better about having an individual of such caliber in my group.

    Not sure where I am going with this. Perhaps, if I had been head of Bioware Devs I would have insisted that Minsc has to have some downside reflecting those stats. Particularly the Wisdom. For example, a tendency to target the closest enemy rather than the more dangerous threat you select. Just sayin'

  • ApocryphaApocrypha Member Posts: 102

    Quartz said:

    dustbubsy said:

    It’s a commonly held belief that you have to be intelligent to be a musician, drummers excepted (just kidding), so it’s no surprise to see two bards here.

    Ehh... disagree. Music does not have to be very complicated to be catchy, which is the most important aspect of any music.
    I'm Blue
    Da-ba-di da-ba-die
    Da-ba-di da-ba-die
    Da-ba-di da-ba-die
    DO NOT SING THAT MONSTROSITY.

    CrevsDaakjackjack
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