Wond’ring aloud: What use is Wisdom in cleric-free D&D?
With Alien Orifice, I’m using Swords & Wizardry WhiteBox as the base ruleset and cleaving as closely as possible to (LBB-only) OD&D assumptions. So prime requisites are in, as are XP modifiers based on them. However, where Alien Orifice differs markedly from the LBBs is in ditching the cleric class and replacing it with a thief-like class, the robber. A fighter’s prime attribute is Strength, a wizard’s is Intelligence, and a robber’s is Dexterity.
Where does that leave Wisdom? In the LBBs, it serves no practical purpose unless you’re playing a cleric. In WhiteBox, it has a minor effect on XP for all classes (5% bonus if Wisdom is 15 or higher). Is that enough to justify its continued existence? Frankly, it seems otiose.
I suppose I could import the “magic-based saving throw modifier” from AD&D and B/X. But given that wizards (the Intelligence specialists, remember) are the only ones slinging spells, it seems to me that Intelligence is a more appropriate stat for that. Or even Charisma, if defined as force of personality. Plus, wizards already get +2 on saving throws versus spells, as per Swords & Wizardry. I’m reluctant to give a lucky wise wizard a +3 bonus at first level. In fact, I’m reluctant to bring in any AD&D-isms at all, if I can help it.
OD&D doesn’t define Wisdom at all, except to note that it’s the prime requisite for clerics. The WhiteBox definition includes the words “insight” and “perception”, so maybe a high Wisdom score should grant a bonus of +1 on things like rolls to find secret doors, spot traps, and hear noises? But, if so, what about low Wisdom? I can hardly impose a -1 penalty on a poor PC who only has a 1 in 6 chance anyway. Also, robbers get improved perception chances and I don’t want to tread on their toes, nor (as with wizards) do I want to create a situation where a PC’s bonuses stack up too high.
But if I dispose of Wisdom altogether, what then? Am I still playing Dungeons & Dragons? And does that matter? (I feel like it does, though I’m unable to articulate exactly why that should be.)
So, I have a question for anyone who’s run a game without clerics, especially if it’s with OD&D or WhiteBox. What do you do with Wisdom?