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I've got a character I'm thinking about swapping into a campaign, since I'm not having much fun with my current character, because of how passive I've made them. The new character I have lined up is a Goliath Storm Herald Barbarian. With 7 Int, and 8 Cha.

I've only really played characters with high-ish or average in either, namely Bards, Sorcerers, and a Warlock semi-recently.

I've already been told to keep the vocabulary simple, and have kinda given them a lean towards being over-literal in test runs.

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To start, I would point out that the stats you have don't make you a brain dead drooler who attacks anything you see.

Being slightly less intelligent and personable than your companions could manifest in a few ways, but it's also up to you what you want to focus on. In no particular order:

  • You get bored during long planning sessions
  • You 'geek out' with or over other strong people, maybe to the point of bothering them
  • You miss some social cues like maybe threatening someone weak or helpless before realizing they aren't the bad guy
  • Buy in when people try to manipulate you like getting really excited about some worthless trinket that a charismatic salesman is offering
  • Offer unhelpful solutions when the party is facing a trap or a challenge
  • Become really shy and bashful around a person you might see as attractive or interesting

The bottom line is that you can use your stats for humor and intrigue without being a detriment to your party.

I think being overly literal is a great first step towards developing this character.

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    \$\begingroup\$ It sounds like Grog, from Critical Role's first season. \$\endgroup\$ – Miles Bedinger Feb 9 at 17:29
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As a GM, I have a small but pretty standard bag of tricks I use to play mastermind NPCs, such as: Thinking a lot in preparation beforehand and passing off that effort as spontaneous, having them recognize the value of information and seek it out accordingly, and having them quickly and appropriately change update their opinions when confronted with new facts.

I don't get a lot of joy out of playing detailed interactions with dimwitted NPCs or playing dimwitted PCs, but it has happened. (And it informs my dislike of rolling for stats instead of points buy.) It turns out the opposite of the tricks above work pretty well:

  • Don't think a lot. Be impulsive, and if you can't stop from overthinking, try honestly to follow through on your first thoughts even if you get obviously better thoughts a second later.

  • Once your character has made up his mind, tend to discount new and contradictory information. This can come off as pure stubbornness (and it's pretty close) but what I aim for is more in the vein of, "Well, I know what's what, why am I wasting my time thinking about it anymore?" and "X can't be right because I already know Y."

Do not overdo it. It's easy to get caught up in this enough that your character is a total fool, a liability to the party, and a weird version of "My Guy." Presumably your character's adventuring buddies are looking out for him, too. You don't want to do so good a job that looking out for your guy is a full time burden, and you do (at least I would think) want to let them keep you from being a true liability.

Another way to keep this from being long term crippling is to let the character eventually get to "correct" conclusions, but only after longer than usual or with the help of other characters. (How long depends on the flow of the game, but I'm thinking sessions for FTF games, and equivalent times for PBEMs.)

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    \$\begingroup\$ +1 for not being a liability. I have only played in a party with a dumb character for 2 sessions (And he isn't actually a dumb character in terms of stats) and he has already annoyed me to the point where next session I plan to have an OOC chat about it. \$\endgroup\$ – SeriousBri Feb 12 at 10:27
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I'm currently playing a high Wisdom, low Intelligence and charisma fighter. When I look at his stats I try to consider how he gets through the day.

His low charisma means that nobody listens to him. If he knows someone is wrong, he's not going to convince them of that, he's tried and failed too many times in the past.

His low Intelligence means that he doesn't know many things and has trouble grasping new concepts. This means that he is often proven wrong, even when he "knows" he right, especially if it is about weird things like science and magic (basically the same thing to him).

His high wisdom means that he does a lot with what little he does know and is observant. He thinks in simple truths and doesn't worry about the minutia. He sees fire, he get water to put it out, even if it is a talking fire.

I combine these things together to inform his personality. He's a follower, who relies on others to do the thinking for him. Maybe he could be someone's adviser, but he's not a leader. He often ask a lot of questions like "what should we do?" and "Do you think we can do that?". However, he often comes off as silent and brutish because he doesn't see the value of discussing the answers to those questions. When something needs to be done right then, he does it alone without talking to anyone else because that would take to long (sees a monster spying on them, chases after them without saying anything). He prefers his solutions to be simple and elegant. Without a high wisdom, I would play him to be more of a minion, not considering why he's doing something or even it it will help.

The point is that, a good starting point for you're character's personality is asking how they deal with conflict. For the sake of brevity, I won't discuss how the physical stats affect personality, but I will say that my character is a dexterity-based fighter with a good constitution and average strength. So, I have to take in to account he doesn't brute force his way through conflicts (combat or otherwise).

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to RPG.SE! Take the tour if you haven't already, and check out the help center for more guidance. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Feb 15 at 0:42
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If you're going to role-play that character literally, you're going to do things like:

  • step into traps
  • be rude to NPCs
  • make poor tactical decisions (on purpose) in combat
  • refrain from (often) offering good solutions when the other players are stumped
  • possibly overpay for goods
  • never tip
  • forget to do things (binding wounds, repairing your gear, going inside when it rains ;-) )

I had groups in the past where a players would occasionally try this, and to be honest, it wore thin on the nerves of the other players before very long, just as a stupid and rude person tends to do in real life. If you're setting off area of effect traps and initiating combat before the group is ready, this won't be popular for long.

Frankly, I don't get the motivation for a character like that. It's your choice, but in my mind, we're talking "heroic fantasy" first, and role play second. Such a character doesn't seem to fit the heroic mold.

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    \$\begingroup\$ <comments removed> That the answer says it doesn’t get the motivation is not an invitation to break the rules for comment use and have a discussion about it. Feel free to use chat though. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Feb 9 at 17:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to RPG.SE! Take the tour if you haven't already, and check out the help center for more guidance. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Feb 9 at 20:05
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