Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Hybrid Stat Block: Intelligence

Recently I have been sharing some of my ideas for a new 4e stat block that I am working on to use in my upcoming free fanzine.  It will mix the way that the old OD&D/1e stats were presented with that of 4e. We looked at simplifying monster creation in general with easy, smooth ways to determine and present skill and initiative mods. We followed that with a look at the classic No. Appearing statistic, and how old-school random encounters can work in 4e. We have looked at Morale in the past, and you will certainly see Morale scores in the stats. Today, we look at Intelligence.

I've mentioned before what a complete bore I find determining monster ability scores, so when I say "Intelligence" I do not mean to suggest I will be giving an Intelligence score. Instead it is used somewhat like it was in 1e. If you look at the picture of our friend, the Brain Mole, you see that for Intelligence, a numerical value is not given, just a term; in this case, "Animal".

In the explanatory notes in the beginning of the 1e Monster Manual, it provides Intelligence scores and corresponding terms, such as "Genius". Now for me, looking at bringing this back into the game, I immediately know that I do not want as many different terms as 1e has. There are 11 possible Intelligence ratings. That is way too many (but not quite "Mythus" territory). Still, I have a definite want to use the Intelligence stat, for a couple of reasons.

One, I like it for nostalgic reasons. I love how some of the old stats will just say, "Intelligence: Very". I just like that kind of thing. Two, it can actually serve a purpose, and do it better than a numerical value ever did. It is an easy, clean way to give a rough idea of a monster's wits, much clearer in my opinion than just listing a score.

Still we need to get rid of some of those 11 different categories. I personally want to go as simple as possible, while keeping what I consider the essential terms that provide old-school flavor. So here are the different possible Intelligence ratings that I came up with: Animal, Low, Average, Very (gotta have my "Very"), and Supra-Genius. Those tell you all you need to know. Note that Morale will not necessarily be related to Intelligence.

I'm liking it. What do you think? If you have any thoughts, leave a post!


  1. I'm not sure I like Supra Genius, but I like the rest of the titles. I really like it. So much more descriptive than just a score. You should think about a generic list of tactics for a creature of a given intelligence descriptor.

    1. Ha ha! Yes, Gygax outdid himself with "Supra-Genius". Thanks for the feedback!

  2. You need to have "Supra-Genius". After all, what other rating would you give to a very wily coyote?