Wisdom (ability stat)

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An ability stat, the measure of the character’s ability to discern the best course of action according to their common sense, insight, education and unbiased judgement. Characters with a high wisdom tend to be more virtuous than other persons, with a capacity of judging rightly the means and ends of things.

Wisdom affects the saving throws of characters, so that they are either vulnerable or resistant to magical attacks related to fascinate, charm, fear, hypnosis, illusion, mental control, possession, suggestion and other like powers. The bonus is given on the table shown.

Wisdom also grants additional spells to clerics and druids. This spell gain is cumulative, so that a character with a wisdom of 14 would gain two 1st level spells, while a character with a 17 wisdom would gain a 3rd level, two 2nd level and two 1st level spells altogether. These spells are not gained until the caster reaches an experience level at which the spell level indicated can be used.

Wisdom Save Adj. Spell Bonus Spell Failure%
3 -3 nil nil
4 -2 nil nil
5-7 -1 nil nil
8 nil nil nil
9 nil nil 20%
10 nil nil 15%
11 nil nil 10%
12 nil nil 5%
13 nil one 1st level nil
14 nil one 1st level nil
15 +1 one 2nd level nil
16 +2 one 2nd level nil
17 +3 one 3rd level nil
18 +4 one 4th level nil
19 +5 one 3rd level nil
20 +6 one 4th level nil

If a cleric or druid has only barely sufficient wisdom to become a member of that class, equal to 12 wisdom or less, there is a small chance of spell failure. This is rolled at the moment a spell is discharged; if a percentage roll is less than the chance of failure, the spell has no effect. It can be relearned, of course.

Description of Values

The following attempts to capture some feeling for how wisdom manifests according to the number of wisdom points possessed, from the character's perspective and from that of others. In each case, the player should view the descriptions of 1 point up and 1 point down as the "high and low" points of their wisdom, with the character's actual wisdom score being the balance at which they always end.

For example, characters with 11 points of wisdom can be industrious and concerned deeply for their family, while sometimes seeing themselves and their family at odds to one other, becoming panicked and concerned for their own needs; but in the end, they always end by identifying with their family against all others, for they love their families as well as themselves.

A full representation of any ability stat must take into account that not every person of a particular total wisdom will adhere to the framework presented. This is only a model upon which further categories can be devised.

Self-destructive (3 pts.)

Such characters will have a host of bad habits, beginning with not caring much if they live or die. They will drink heavily and pursue numerous vices such as opium and tobacco, gambling (which they will often lose at, since they're unwise about betting), poorly considered partners for sex and such. They ignore religion and their families. They cannot read or write, not because they weren't taught but because they can't or won't learn; thus, they have no education of any kind. The only class they can become is a thief — but they're usually unable to suppress their anger or work well with others. They become are cutthroats and muggers. They do not hunt for their victims; they haven't the foresight. But characters of this wisdom are usually laying drunk in an alley, or doped, and are thus ignored when some chance passerby presents the thief with an opportunity to kill and get more money for drink, drugs or prostitution.

These characters live on the streets and has no responsibilities. They talk too much, they brag too much; and they're proud of every rotten thing they've done; they often get themselves caught by confessing too loudly in the wrong company. Once drunk, they are often robbed themselves; but they don't care.

Foolish (4 pts.)

The character has some modicrum understanding of judging good from bad, but helplessly tends towards bad behaviour anyway. When clubbing someone in an alley, they will restrain themselves from actually killing the victim ... but they'll steal and spend the money unwisely just the same. If a thief class, they can remember learning their letters, and that is all; they can't read or write beyond that. With this level of wisdom or lower, the character's class skills are self-taught, more or less instinctive, even with things like forgery or burglary. No other class except thief is possible. Drink and addictive substances are still a craving, but these characters are moderately gregarious. They laugh too loudly and are too concerned with themselves, being narcissistic and uncaring about what others think. When pressed, they still only think of themselves first, and others barely at all. But at least, they do think of others occasionally. They have temporary addresses at best; a hostel, a flop house, a regular hole they've found; but usually they're found and forced to move on, until they can find another shelter.

Reckless (5 pts.)

Characters of this much wisdom will maintain an address and pay rent; though they are often evicted, as they have little respect for money or responsibility. They over-indulge, but they are aware it is over-indulgence and they can make themselves stop if there's a reason. They're able to make a friend or two, though it is usually with someone like them — a person down on their luck, half in the street, habitually criminal in nature. A character with this much wisdom can become only a member of the thief class; they tend to pursue criminal habits such as smuggling and selling illicit substances. They often mug victims without killing them, and have learned enough to make plans about where and when to mug someone. They are wise enough that they're caught only once ever few months, and rarely for things that will get them hanged or long-imprisoned. Anyone with this much wisdom or less will take too many risks; recklessness is an intrinsic flaw that the character is too proud of having.

Middle Ratings

6. daft, unaware, frivolous at work so that they're always jobless, but always working to find themselves something to do for a little money; they have very few needs, as their imaginations do not allow many ideas of what to do with themselves

7. irresponsible, not caring that they let others down or fail in their responsibilities, but usually holding a job for the sake of having money to spend selfishly

8. bungling, wishing and trying to be responsible, but simply unable to do a good job with it. Somehow, they always end up letting others down.

9. stressed, anxious about responsibilities; towing the line, but somewhat resentful about it, wishing always that they could put down their baggage and be free.

10. tense, fretful of their responsibilities to family vs. themselves, yet still doing all that's asked of them (though they see responsibility as a chore and not a joy)

11. cautious, tediously concerned about self and family, with little time or consideration for other beings.

12. mindful, careful, industrious about ensuring the success of their family, sometimes failing to understand that family and the state are not mortal enemies to one another.

13. vigilant, calm, highly responsible in matters of family and the state, but more than a little lax in their concern for other persons

14. accomplished, in control over themselves and their responsibilities, but tacitly uncertain of the value of book-learning

15. scholarly, very well-read but somewhat lacking in personal knowledge of the world

16. worldly, enormously well-read and consummately aware of multiple forms of culture and morality

Sagacious (17 pts.)

Characters that are sagacious are disciplined, trustworthy and steadfast, for they recognise their responsibilities and live up to them, whenever they're able. Failure, of course, is seen as a measure of how much an individual can manage, but failure only occurs for such persons when they have given their last drop of effort to ensure success. Guided by their priorities, they rise to become powerful individuals who see it as their duty to guide others towards greater knowledge, appreciation for others and the general welfare of all. Sagacious characters are extravagantly well-read, cosmopolitan in their views, never indulgent, eternally supportive of good persons, generous with their wealth (about which they have little concern), and wise enough to know that risks must be taken when great matters are at stake. They would never consider being selfish or worried about themselves when there is so much unhappiness in the world, suffered by people who have in no way contributed to their misfortune.

Spiritual (18 pts.)

Persons of such wisdom have an immense love of knowledge above all things, especially riches, the maintenance of which steals away time spent on improving oneself and expanding one's store of experience. The spiritual character likewise sees the world for its foibles and ills, and loves it nonetheless, for only fools strive uselessly against things they cannot change. Effort should always be given to improving oneself, and that is done best by enabling the happiness and satisfaction of others — especially, above all, the needs of the Gods and the world. The spiritualist assumes the mantle of responsibility for all, doing what they can to accumulate knowledge and pass it along to the next generation, or setting oneself to be an instrument of higher beings, who know best what needs to be done for the betterment of the universe. Outwardly, this produces a person of immense patience, vast understanding, little concern for day-to-day things and certainly no concern for the future, that will sort itself out one way or another. When asked what is the meaning of things, or what is it all for, or why we exist, the character of 18 wisdom answers, "We'll see."

See Also,
Clerical Spell Acquisition
Druidic Spell Acquisition
Player Characters