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This question already has an answer here:

As a group, most of the players at our table are fans of rolling for stats. This leads and has led to multiple amazing characters and some .. a bit less amazing.

Something that is rather consistent is that players are often good at emphasizing what their characters are specialized in based on their stats (for example: the charismatic bard, the nimble rogue, the strong barbarian). The thing that lags behind in this concept are often the characters flaws that come from their lower skills.

The roll of the dice gives us a basic way of handling this, because the character will simply fail a lot of the checks related to this skill, but this only goes so far.

An example was our recent very charismatic (17) warlock who wasn't that blessed when it came to Intelligence (7). The problem here is that the player behind the character is far from dimwitted and has an in-depth knowledge of the lore of the world that's being played in.

The question is two-fold:

  1. Should a DM enforce a base-level of adherence to a characters stats when they're RPing?
  2. If yes, what would be a good way of enforcing this?

Shouting "Your character doesn't know that, they are not intelligent enough!" whenever the player makes a profound observation about History or the use of Arcana will most likely turn stale very quickly.

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marked as duplicate by doppelgreener Jan 17 at 16:25

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Even if this is made “stack-able,” it’s still a duplicate. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Jan 17 at 16:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ @PJRZ Please see this meta for why your comment was removed. Thanks! \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Jan 17 at 16:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan Good find, this does indeed seem to be a duplicate in everything but the details and the answers provided on the other question give plenty of insight. \$\endgroup\$ – Patrick Jan 17 at 16:36
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Stat interpretation with respect to character roleplay is not specified

Unfortunately, there really are no explicit directions on how to roleplay certain stat values. While there may be mechanical consequences to stats (both positive and negative), it is very much up to the player how they'd like to play their characters and up to them to interpret how the stats contribute to their character.

This looseness also still provides agency to the player in how they want to roleplay - and keeping that agency is often important to maintaining fun for the player.

Another way to think about this (thanks KorvinStarmast!) is that, unlike dice rolling mechanics, using stats for roleplay is more descriptive than prescriptive. The stats give guidance and can help direct you as to how you want to play your character. They do not give a prescriptive or mechanical description of what they mean.

It is simply impossible, and often unfun, to 'force' a certain playstyle on a player without an official system that defines this.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I already like this answer, but might it be useful to point to the stats being descriptive rather than prescriptive? (Or does that needlessly complicate the answer?) \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Jan 17 at 17:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ Beauty! per usual. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Jan 17 at 19:03

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