I have seen a few similar questions related to intelligence, charisma and a general disparity in mental stats, but nothing yet on high Wis, low Int.

Lets start with the premise:

Intelligence measures mental acuity, accuracy of recall, and the ability to reason (phb.177)

Wisdom reflects how attuned you are to the world around you and represents perceptiveness and intuition (phb.178)

So a wise character will pick up on things that a normal person might not, such as identifying the warning signs that something just doesn't feel right with a specific situation.

Now I don't have this ability, and most DM's struggle with giving enough clues or even creating a world where warning signs are something that can be picked up on at all.

A less intelligence character wouldn't know many facts, wouldn't learn from books, and wouldn't quickly put 2 an 2 together when confronted with a situation.

So you are left with a character who might spot all sorts of warning signs going into a situation, but not necessarily know what they mean.

What are some strategies to help roleplay such a character? Especially in a situation where every word a DM says will likely be taken as important by everyone around the table so won't stand out specifically to the person playing the character in question.

One source of inspiration has been Caduceus on Critical Role, but that seems to be the actual player picking up on things in order to make the wise comments, and I just don't pick up on the same things in real life.

Note: If it matters, the particular character in question has 6 INT, and currently 16 WIS.


1 Answer 1


I would suggest being straightforward. Ask your DM from time to time if your character would sense anything out of the ordinary. They will probably ask you to roll Insight or Perception, even if there's nothing in particular to notice.

To reference your example, yes Talesin often connects the dots himself and imparts that to his character Caduceus, but there are also several cases where he asks Matt "Would I notice anything here?" or "Does that trigger anything for me?" or similar questions. Sometimes Matt just says no, sometimes there's a roll, etc. Here's an example in the episode I happened to be watching today: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OuxemZO3nlc&feature=youtu.be&t=5120

Pairing high wisdom with low intelligence means they might be the type of character who forgoes planning ahead, preferring to do what feels right when the time comes. They're not going to charge into a situation foolishly - high wisdom also implies good common sense, but they're not inclined toward tactics and strategy.

This approach fits how those two ability scores are described:

Measures: Mental acuity, information recall, analytical skill
Measures: Awareness, intuition, insight (p. 10 Basic Rules)

And how they both relate to ability checks:

Intelligence, measuring reasoning and memory
Wisdom, measuring perception and insight (p. 60, Basic Rules)

  • \$\begingroup\$ Hello Huston4, and welcome to RPG.se. As a general housekeeping reminder, please take a minute to check our rules if you haven't already. I like the answer, although I think it would be more complete by also addressing the Intelligence angle. I hope this comment helps, and welcome again! \$\endgroup\$ Oct 27, 2019 at 5:18
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    \$\begingroup\$ The rules being referred to are the tour and the help center which describe how this SE Q&A site's format works. Also, a warm welcome! :) \$\endgroup\$ Oct 27, 2019 at 12:53
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    \$\begingroup\$ I edited in a supporting point from the ability descriptions that supports your answer. (If you don't care for the edit, you can revert). \$\endgroup\$ Oct 27, 2019 at 13:06
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    \$\begingroup\$ In support of your idea, if the player keeps asking those kind of questions, most GMs I have met would start to preemptively feed the player informations assuming they will ask anyway. Not everytime, but some times \$\endgroup\$
    – 3C273
    Oct 27, 2019 at 13:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ I am afraid that your first section is my problem with this answer, most DM's will suggest rolling insight or perception like you suggest, but that is playing a character with those skills rather than inherently being wise. My bard is better with those skills than my druid for example. \$\endgroup\$
    – SeriousBri
    Oct 30, 2019 at 12:21

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