Intelligence as an Attribute

I had a thought the other day. It might be because I’m now getting to play in @MilwaukeeJoe‘s Revenge of the Iron Lich play-by-blog game (you can catch up on the antics at his Grind4E blog) or that the Crucible of the Gods charity run redux is coming up in a little over a week.

Fourthcore is very much about pitting the players against the DM. To that end, I started thinking about the role of Intelligence as an attribute in D&D. I remembered this post along the way. If Intelligence represents knowledge that your character has that you don’t, can’t that be represented with skills better than an attribute? I don’t think people are honestly roleplaying characters smarter than themselves (unless they are truly gifted individuals), so why not just dispense with it entirely?

This brings the number of attributes down to five, and my brain then transitioned to thinking about Cortex+ with its increasing die traits (d4, d6, d8, d10, d12). There are five die-types there! I could get the characters to map each of the remaining attributes (Strength, Constitution, Dexterity, Wisdom, and Charisma) to a die type. How cool is that?

Remember this post where I talked about using Distinctions (not Aspects as I mistakenly said in that post) to simulate the influence of the planes on the characters? Couple that with this attribute as die type and we start to get an interesting dynamic for playing Planescape without using D&D. (How dare I suggest such a thing!)

This isn’t a fully fleshed-out idea but I think I’ve got something interesting cooking here. What do you think? Leave a comment or tweet at me.