Saturday, February 10, 2024

New Salem: Renaissance mechanics - Intelligence

Having done a deep dive into Charisma, I want to take a look now at Intelligence. Given the V&V standard rule of Player as Character, this is another tricky bit socially, and I think the average intelligence of a V&V first PC is 15. We're all geniuses because we play Villains and Vigilantes 2.1! Accept No Substitutes! 

Wow is that a minefield. I but love how the game assumes its aimed at students with the concept of high grades as intelligence signifiers. 

Its interesting that Intelligence is specifically not erudition or knowledge, when lots of versions of Heightened Intelligence characters are just chock to the brim with data. Ultimately you have to square this circle with Knowledge Areas, which PCs based on players can get with training, and since Intelligence is memory, cleverness, and inventiveness, making Intelligence tests Against Your Knowledge Areas makes sense. Intelligence isn't what you know, but it is how well you can use what you know. 

So how is that used in play? Very Old School, Intelligence gives you chances to Detect Hidden and Detect Danger. In the 1st edition, it literally gave you a chance to Detect Secret Entrances! For reasons I have never been able to fathom, these are two different scores, 4% apart (you're 4% more likely to detect danger! Did someone measure that? was there testing?) and the number is about 7/10ths of your intelligence. This is one of those things that I always just convert to a "Detect is d% save vs. Intelligence" because it sticks with the other rules for the GMs about tests/saves.

Intelligence also gives you a damage bonus on your attacks, if you're smarter than normal. I've always liked this. it's a small thing, but it does add up and is a way to make "smart fighter" work. Batman is doubly dangerous not just with his Natural Weaponry but his 33 Intelligence gives him another +4 damager per hit. He knows 17 ways to incapacitate you from this position. 

Of the Hit Point effecting characteristics, intelligence adds the least, but it adds something. 

Finally, you get 1/10th your Intelligence in Inventing Points per level, and your chance to invent things is equal to your Intelligence*3 - a score we will come back to later. 

I'm pressed for time this morning, so we tackle inventing tomorrow, but all told Intelligence feels balanced, if a little over-complicated by the love of precise percentages. 

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