Why is it the negative stereotype that makes nerds idiots, despite their brains? I mean real intelligence is adaptability, in the hobby that emphasizes in Preparation, Improvisation and Adaptation I nerds should really fall under the Rogue category.
I was grouping templates for my GURPS LOW TECH LITE when i decided to simplify it to two groups: ROGUES and MEN-AT-ARMS. Under the Rogues are the Sages, Courtiers, Mandarins, and Guild Specialists.
Courtiers can be nerds, life in the Low Tech era is struggling to distract itself from subsistence and the Arts, Fashion, and Literature are pursuits wielders of great power would pay a premium for. As an adventurer, this is a character who can see the romantic heart of a situation and exploit it for advantage or gain.
Mandarins are very similar as courtiers, but their skills are more pragmatic like statecraft, administration, law/legal expertise, and various other tech management skills that allow for a complex organization to function more productively than the sum of its parts. These are as much nerds as engineers, but society and manpower are their toys and tools.
Guildsmen and Sages are focused in specializations that are very valuable in a given context. Alchemists, Engineers, Guides and Ambassadors (local expertise for far away lands), Manufacturing, etc.. have skills both useful in adventuring as they are to rulers. A master smith or builder can mean the survival of a city, a master ostler/horse trader can mean the efficient cost of maintaining a cavalry force. In the macro picture they are powerful, especially those who'se capabilities put them in adventuring grade, but their value to the right people can shift the story in many ways... (for lack of a nail the battle was lost)
A subgroup of Guildsmen, a kind of mandarin is the Banker or the Goldsmith and Silversmiths. Some economic lessons pointed out that these guilds used their reserves to back loans and became a portable means of payment through their issuance of certificates. Money attracts Money, and these "Whitesmiths" can be very influential.
These are the nerds, but because of their power and influence, no one tells them to their face. In some eras the Warriors rule, but in others the Rogues are in charge. I guess as modern people, we lost the appreciation of hard won knowledge, and I want to bring that appreciation back - "in a world of the blind the one eyed man is king".