Who needs Wisdom?

One of the major things we’ve decided to do with our Five Color Game is to remove the ability score for Wisdom from the game. This wasn’t a light decision, and I’ve always been a bit of a fan of WIS for a number of things. But with the removal of clerics and druids and the simplification of many other things, we’ve decided it had to go. The characteristics that WIS encompasses have mostly been included in INT.

We considered using both INT and WIS as key components of our wizard classes, such as using one to determine success rates and chances of learning spells and the other to determine bonus spells. But that made the wizard class too dependent on two ability scores, and we’re trying to do a bit to untie the playability of a character from the scores rolled up during creation. So we rolled it all into INT. Wizards must have an intelligence score of 11 or more. Others must be warriors, which have no minimum requirements.

This leaves us with 3d6 in order for five ability scores, each of which can be modified based upon the color the player chooses for the PC.

This will likely be heresy for a great many.

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14 Responses to Who needs Wisdom?

  1. Stuart says:

    Maybe change it to perception?

    Allows for the brilliant but oblivious wizard.

    The cunning Thief with the not-so-great plans.

  2. Jack Colby says:

    Bravo… you are changing the guidelines presented in the books to suit your needs and your campaign, just as Gary intended! I wish more people would do that.

    • Kilgore says:

      I’m trying hard not to hang on to sacred cows just to hang on to sacred cows. At the same time, I’m hesitant to put in changes that destroy compatibility.

      I have thought about going to an all-d6 game long and hard. 2d6 ability scores, more like Traveller in a lot of ways. But that would pretty much torpedo compatibility and I’ve held off. (Besides, it would be a lot more work.)

      I do wish that more people would not go “if you change that it’s not D&D any more,” though.

  3. 5 colors, 5 ability scores. sounds good!

    • JB says:

      When I saw the topic of your post, my immediate mental response was “clerics!” If you remove clerics and druids from the game, there is no mechanical reason to keep it in. Bonuses to “spell saves?” Why? Just use intelligence if you want that (as a “bonus to disbelieve illusions” or “bonus to remember counter-spells against the evil eye,” etc.). And as an “ability save,” Wisdom is one of the last ones folks use…I can’t ever remember requiring a “wisdom check” (as opposed to Dex, Con, Str, and even Int…those get used all the time for a variety of reasons).

      If you’re cutting out the clerical class, I see absolutely no reason to retain Wisdom in the game. It becomes just another “dump stat.”

    • Kilgore says:

      Yeah, that pretty much made up my mind.

      As JB says, WIS loses its mechanical neccessity when clerics exit stage right. The White wizards in this game are cleric-like, but definitely wizards, not clerics. The Green wizards are pretty druid-like, but again are magic-users focused on the realm of nature and neutrality, not Celt-inspired pagan priests.

  4. sean wills says:

    Dropping WIS makes sense to me. Modifying the 5 ability scores by the colour after rolling in order gives a nice little balance between random and customization

  5. Heresy, shmeresy. This sounds like a mighty fine (and fun!) customization of the ol’ game, LK. If you get around to publishing this you can count on me to give it a go.

  6. N. Wright says:

    I don’t see any reason to have wisdom, but then again, I’ve had strong heretical beliefs myself…

  7. TimmyD says:

    I would have dropped INT and kept WIS, and let the magic-user be based on that ability score.

    The “wise old wizard” or the “wise man” concepts are both covered. A sage is considered wise. The word “intelligence” just sounds more… technical and modern, compared to “wisdom”, which can encompass the same things.

    • Lord Kilgore says:

      That’s what I wanted to do, in fact, and am still sort of hemming-and-hawing on it. But I decided to go with INT over WIS because I felt that as a one-word description, intelligence was more-encompassing and more easily included wisdom than the other way around.

      Also, as INT is the traditional magic-user prime req and clerics as such have been dropped, dumping the WIS score made more sense.

      But I do like the sound of the word and think that it has a certain style about it, sort of like how “constitution” sounds cooler than simple “endurance.”

      We will have to keep thinking about this. My son has been out of town but is back now and I’ll see what he thinks.

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