Content of the article: "How I make intelligence a more desirable stat."
Intelligence isnt the most useful stat in DnD, which is frustrating. Being smart should have beniefits right? RAW its kinda a dump stat, unless your into it for RP reasons, but I wanna focus on pure mechanics. Its not like dex, wis, or con. So here are a few ways I made intelligence more desirable for players making a character.
Let and encourage players and to make knowledge checks on a monster. Knowing a creature has a certain resistance and sharing that info with the party can save a poorly used spell slot. For me, beasts, elementals, and fey are nature. Aberations, and Dragons are arcana. Constructs are history. Celestials, fiends, and undead are religion.
Throw homebrew monsters at a player. This one is big. Nothing makes a player panic more than having absolutley no idea what they are fighting. And thats when your knowledge check about that monster will really come in handy. When i make a monster I give it lower than usual health but higher ac and more resistances. Its also fun to put a very specific way to beat a creature. Like being weak to weapons made of wood, or they cant attack an unarmed foe, or a the creature is so polite if you bow to it even the middle of combat it will return the bow as its action and in this bowed state all hits on it are crits. Those are some examples. But with a high enough check, the player can learn these things and maybe end a fight quicker. You can even give this misinformation if they role poorly, depending on how evil your feeling that day.
You can throw more illusions at your players! I personally do intelligence saving throws for the players secretly. The less they know the better. This can screw over some abilities like fighter's indomitable. So talk to your players and see if they are ok with it.
This one will sound complicated at first but its very simple. A character gets a number of points equal to their intelligence modifier. You can spend these points to gain some cool things. 1 point is worth 1 language or tool proficiency. 2 points gets you 1 skill proficiency. So if you have a character with +4 int, you can take get 2 skills, or 1 skill and 2 languages, or 4 tool proficiencies. I make it so the skills they take have to be ones that their class offers.
In my games if you have negative intelligence, you can't read. That also means they can not use spell scrolls. Also sidenote illiterate does not mean they are braindead. Just means you didnt get an education. Its sounds mean, but its not that punishing in practice.
Be creative with how a knowledge check can help! A religion check can tell you how to blend into a cult. An arcana check can tell you messing with runic circle of teleportation just the right way turns people into chickens. A history check can tell you a magical mill used to dump magic goo in the river, so disturbing the sediment will trigger wild magic. A nature check can tell you a gorilla will back off if you do not flinch during its charge (that one is true btw).
Those are are few thing I do to make player to consider putting points into intelligence. Let me know what you guys think and if you have any thing you do to make intelligence more desirable.
- Homebrew spell scrolls, would love feedback!
- A Build Proficient with Every Skill by 7th Level
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