In 4e, your Intelligence modifier is applied to your Armor Class. That means we can finally determine the AC of real-world geniuses!
It’s easy to translate your IQ score to your D&D Intelligence. According to Dragon Magazine #8, “look up the results of the most recent IQ test you have taken and divide the result by ten. This number is your intelligence rating.” That does give us a fairly realistic range: an average IQ of 100 would translate to an average Intelligence of 10, and an 18 Intelligence would translate to a 180 IQ, which is around the point where IQ tests stop measuring.
We all know from experience that it is hard to hit a genius with a sword. But now we can answer the question, “how hard?”
Richard Feynman: IQ 126
Source: His autobiography.
Feynman’s surprisingly low IQ is both evidence that IQ is a deeply flawed way to measure intelligence and proof that Feynman gets a puny +1 bonus to his Armor Class. Unless Feynman’s Dexterity is 14 or higher, that means that Richard Feynman’s Armor Class is 11.
Bill Gates: IQ 160
Source: A conversion of his old-style SAT score of 1590.
Bill Gates had an Intelligence of 16 in high school. If he has leveled up to level 8 since then, he would have gotten a stat boost up to an Intelligence of 18. In AD&D, of course, Bill Gate’s level would be astronomical, because he would have gained so much XP from acquiring wealth. In 4e, though, he’s probably low-level, having gained all his XP from Major Quests to defeat Apple and the Department of Justice. Note: Bill Gates recently bought the Codex Leicester, a collection of writings by famed genius Leonardo Da Vinci. That sounds a lot like the type of item that would raise the reader’s intelligence. But without hard evidence, we have to assume that Bill Gates’ Armor Class is 13.
Stephen Hawking: IQ 160
Source: this PalScience article
Stephen Hawking’s AC is difficult to determine, because although he gets a +3 AC bonus for high intelligence, he is almost completely paralyzed. It’s hard to say what status effect that is. At best, he’s Immobilized, which means he can’t move; he might also be Restrained, which means he’s immobilized and grants combat advantage. Let’s say that’s the case, in which case Stephen Hawking’s Armor Class is 13 but he grants combat advantage.
Dave Mustaine: IQ 160
Source: An unverified rumor that went around when I was in high school. I can’t find any reference to it online, but I believe the burden of proof lies with the accusor. Besides, look how well Dave did at Celebrity Jeopardy.
As you can see in this picture of Dave, he is wearing leather armor. That means Dave Mustaine’s Armor Class is 15 (+3 for Intelligence and +2 for armor).
Marilyn vos Savant: IQ 228
Marilyn vos Savant was listed in the Guiness Book as the smartest person in the world. Her Intelligence score of 22 is out of the normal range of human intelligence, and indicates that she must be at least level 8 (starting with an 18 Int, getting 2 points from race, and getting attribute increases at levels 4 and 8). Since she’s level 8, she also gets a +4 bonus to her defenses, including AC. Her Intelligence is the same as a Cambion Hellfire Magus, a Pit Fiend, or a Rakshasha Assassin. That means that, in the event of her death, any of those monsters could take over her column “Ask Marilyn.” Marilyn vos Savant’s AC is an astonishing 20 – and that’s unarmored.
Gary Gygax: IQ over 200
Source: The Washington School of Psychiatry via Gary himself. “When I was at the Washington School of Psychaiatry in 1984 (IIRR) speaking to the faculty on creatiity, the concensus was that my IQ was very high–over 200.”
Who am I to argue with the Washington School of Psychiatry? If they say Gary’s IQ is over 200, Gary’s IQ is over 200. He certainly had a high functional vocabulary. Therefore, Gary Gygax’s Armor Class is 15.