This is a site for discussing roleplaying games. Have fun doing so, but there is one major rule: do not discuss political issues that aren't directly and uniquely related to the subject of the thread and about gaming. While this site is dedicated to free speech, the following will not be tolerated: devolving a thread into unrelated political discussion, sockpuppeting (using multiple and/or bogus accounts), disrupting topics without contributing to them, and posting images that could get someone fired in the workplace (an external link is OK, but clearly mark it as Not Safe For Work, or NSFW). If you receive a warning, please take it seriously and either move on to another topic or steer the discussion back to its original RPG-related theme.
NOTICE: Some online security services are reporting that information for a limited number of users from this site is for sale on the "dark web." As of right now, there is no direct evidence of this, but change your password just to be safe.

Author Topic: Should "ability scores" be comparable to a real world metric? can it be done?  (Read 2223 times)

PsyXypher

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 119
  • Aspiring Game Designer
This is a lot easier with some stats than others. The easiest is with Strength, Speed (if that's a stat) and Intelligence. Shadowrun, IIRC, has Speed as meters per second you can run. Strength usually maps out to an exact amount of weight you can lift.

Intelligence is a bit trickier. If you map it as your Intelligence times 10 is your real world IQ, you run into an issue of too high and too low. By that metric, anyone with an Intelligence below 8 would be hardly functional, and this gets worse the lower you go. On the other hand, by the time you go around 18 Intelligence, you've gotten highly intelligent, basically super-genius level. While that maps well, any higher and things start getting nuts.
I am not X/Y/Z race. I am a mutant. Based and mutantpilled, if you will.

Mishihari

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • M
  • Posts: 642
Dex is traditionally for dodging (AC) and shooting arrows.

Which means.... two completely separate talents.


The best way I've seen this done is to split it into two ability scores, one related to hand coordination and the other more to foot/whole body coordination.  Things like pick locks use the former and things like dodge use the latter

migo

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • m
  • Posts: 167
One of the things to consider is that strength isn't just an attribute, it's also a skill. Strength gains made within the first few weeks of weight lifting are actually you getting better at lifting. Actually improvements to muscle strength that would be applicable across all movements come after. You can have people that are equally strong for general activities, but one is much better at lifting or carrying heavy objects.

So the problem comes when you try to have the stats model something specific, how detailed do you want to go? There's no end to the rabbit hole.

PSIandCO

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • P
  • Posts: 73
My head is spinning. There is a lot of genuine, intelligent, and educated commentary...
I am impressed.

Now, How do I "Upvote" everybody?

because I was expecting snark and put-downs, I did not expect such... insight.
You all have really helped me on this topic.
It helps me understand the modern I.Q. test using phrases such as "Standard deviation" and such.
The Deviations ARE abstractions...

less meaning, but might be usable.
I will strive to reply to every message here.
I need time to think/process.

PSIandCO

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • P
  • Posts: 73
off to the side (joking) Has anyone experimented with Diamagnetic Levitation?
look it up. you might notice something; NO LIQUID GASSES, NO CYRONICS!
How about "ramping it up" and experimenting to see if Diamagnetic materials can improve;
 bullet trains, (without liquid gas storage tanks, no radiators, no expanders, no compressors, no pressure cells, no pipes, no valves... none of it!)
 electric motors, (Magnetic field lines never cross. Magnetic fields radiate outward from inductor coils. the further they spread, the weaker the force...
 solenoids, and (What if a sheath of Diamagnetic materials CAN act as mirror/insulator to magnetic fields?...
 generators... (can you imagine the possibilities of controlling the shape of magnetic fields?)
Any Electrical engineers, any physicists, any mechanical engineers on this site? ;)

cuz, I mean... Damn. I fantasize about being as smart as some of you...
I am broke as a joke and can't conduct any experiments myself.
I feel there is a potential here; Annealed Pyrolytic Graphene, Strontium, or that forbidden archaeology "Oxygen rock" that is 70 or so % oxygen.

You might be happy with ultra-capacitors made via "laser scribed carbon" but what about X-ray scribed strontium!
Looking at the diamagnetic numbers for all of the chemical elements, most elements have only Single-digit diamagnetism...
Strontium has a 2,000+ Diamagnetic rating. Imagine making a capacitor with THAT!

okay. enough joking around. I need to crash. my battery light in the lower left corner of my field of vision is flashing red. Ultraman needs a nap.

mightybrain

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • m
  • Posts: 395
I have noticed how 3.0 D&D gave estimated weights that one could carry or max lift, but 3.5 D&D gives a short list of monsters to compare ability scores to, and 5e D&D/Pathfinder 2e make no mention at all of "what an ability score Means"...

The 5e D&D Player's Handbook has a chapter on your ability scores and what they mean. The rules for carrying and lifting are simple: the weight you can carry (in lbs) is 15 times your Strength score, and the amount you can lift is 30 times your Strength score.

The rules have certainly changed over the editions and they haven't always improved with revisions. I would rank them: 1e > 2e > 3e > 5e > 4e in terms of how well they approximate the top end of the strength scale as a proportion of possible characters from a population. 1st edition AD&D was the only one to consider the character's weight as a factor which puts it way out in the lead in terms of accuracy.
« Last Edit: May 12, 2022, 06:10:02 AM by mightybrain »

mightybrain

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • m
  • Posts: 395
Games are more about mechanics that are easy to understand, the ability of the players or the GM to assess their chances, and how the mechanics create an interesting dynamic in play. The elements of simulation are just there to trick people into suspending their disbelief.

The trick is maintaining the suspension of disbelief. And nothing breaks it more easily than a jarring edge case due to a poor mapping of the game rules to mundane experience. We are experts in the mundane. Suspending disbelief about magic gloves that give you the strength to lift a wagon over your head is easy. But if your average village labourer can do the same without magical assistance...

oggsmash

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3082
I have noticed how 3.0 D&D gave estimated weights that one could carry or max lift, but 3.5 D&D gives a short list of monsters to compare ability scores to, and 5e D&D/Pathfinder 2e make no mention at all of "what an ability score Means"...

The 5e D&D Player's Handbook has a chapter on your ability scores and what they mean. The rules for carrying and lifting are simple: the weight you can carry (in lbs) is 15 times your Strength score, and the amount you can lift is 30 times your Strength score.

The rules have certainly changed over the editions and they haven't always improved with revisions. I would rank them: 1e > 2e > 3e > 5e > 4e in terms of how well they approximate the top end of the strength scale as a proportion of possible characters from a population. 1st edition AD&D was the only one to consider the character's weight as a factor which puts it way out in the lead in terms of accuracy.

  If you could save me the digging up of the PHB, is that a lift overhead like a clean and jerk or strict press, or is that a lift off the ground like a deadlift?  Does the book specify I guess is the question. 

Lurkndog

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 483
One of the things to consider is that strength isn't just an attribute, it's also a skill. Strength gains made within the first few weeks of weight lifting are actually you getting better at lifting. Actually improvements to muscle strength that would be applicable across all movements come after. You can have people that are equally strong for general activities, but one is much better at lifting or carrying heavy objects.

So the problem comes when you try to have the stats model something specific, how detailed do you want to go? There's no end to the rabbit hole.

Another thing to consider is that peak athletic performance is a result of specialized training, and successful athletes cycle between different types of training, sometimes within the same workout. And this is as much an art as a science. There is ongoing debate on training methods. Some athletes live in the gym, others train for an hour a day, every day, and focus on perfecting their form and methods. Should you train to exhaustion, or train to 80% of that and get in more sessions?

Diet also figures into performance, and athletes in heavy training often have very specialized diets.

Boredom also factors into physical fitness, no really. If you're in an environment where working out is all there is to do, you're going to work out more if you're inclined to work out at all. Soldiers stationed in remote bases overseas come back ripped because they do a normal maintenance workout in the morning, pull their shift, then work out again at night just to pass the time.

Should any of that have an impact on Joe Adventurer, whose lifestyle is nothing like a modern athlete's?

Godsmonkey

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 172
So here's an idea:

No Stats for things like STR, DEX, CON, INT, WIS, CHA. Instead everything is rated on your ability to perform certain tasks. Chaosiums QuestWorlds game does this. Everything is based in "keywords." Some examples of Keywords might be "Swordmaster" or "Impulsive" or "Parkour enthusiast". Characters would be assumed to be average unless they took a keyword like "Mighty". There is no master list of keywords, they are tailored around your character concept.

The idea is that there are so many factors into a persons ability to perform a particular task. However, with most things, training is more important than an attribute. For example, a samurai is going to be FAR more adept with a katana, than the musclebound peasant he's facing in combat could be, even though the samurai is of average strength and agility.

mightybrain

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • m
  • Posts: 395
If you could save me the digging up of the PHB, is that a lift overhead like a clean and jerk or strict press, or is that a lift off the ground like a deadlift?  Does the book specify I guess is the question.

It doesn't. But I assume it means overhead because then a 20 Strength character is lifting just above the human record. If it meant deadlifts it would be barely over half the record.

Quote from: PHB
Push, Drag, or Lift. You can push, drag, or lift a weight in pounds up to twice your carrying capacity (or 30 times your Strength score). While pushing or dragging weight in excess of your carrying capacity, your speed drops to 5 feet.
« Last Edit: May 12, 2022, 01:03:21 PM by mightybrain »

rytrasmi

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 303
So here's an idea:

No Stats for things like STR, DEX, CON, INT, WIS, CHA. Instead everything is rated on your ability to perform certain tasks. Chaosiums QuestWorlds game does this. Everything is based in "keywords." Some examples of Keywords might be "Swordmaster" or "Impulsive" or "Parkour enthusiast". Characters would be assumed to be average unless they took a keyword like "Mighty". There is no master list of keywords, they are tailored around your character concept.

The idea is that there are so many factors into a persons ability to perform a particular task. However, with most things, training is more important than an attribute. For example, a samurai is going to be FAR more adept with a katana, than the musclebound peasant he's facing in combat could be, even though the samurai is of average strength and agility.
This is a great way to do it. Another way is to have a few core attributes as well as skills. Each skill is supported by an attribute. If there is no skill for something, then invent one or test against the relevant core attribute.

You can also test against a combination of attribute and skill. Say you have Archery as a skill and Strength and Dexterity as attributes. A long range shot could be tested against Archery + Strength and a targeted shot could be tested against Archery + Dexterity. The newish Paranoia does this. The new Twilight 2000 does this in a limited way, as well.
This post is opinion and if it sounds like something more you are misreading it or perhaps I'm just a jerk. Q.E.D.

Godsmonkey

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 172
So here's an idea:

No Stats for things like STR, DEX, CON, INT, WIS, CHA. Instead everything is rated on your ability to perform certain tasks. Chaosiums QuestWorlds game does this. Everything is based in "keywords." Some examples of Keywords might be "Swordmaster" or "Impulsive" or "Parkour enthusiast". Characters would be assumed to be average unless they took a keyword like "Mighty". There is no master list of keywords, they are tailored around your character concept.

The idea is that there are so many factors into a persons ability to perform a particular task. However, with most things, training is more important than an attribute. For example, a samurai is going to be FAR more adept with a katana, than the musclebound peasant he's facing in combat could be, even though the samurai is of average strength and agility.
This is a great way to do it. Another way is to have a few core attributes as well as skills. Each skill is supported by an attribute. If there is no skill for something, then invent one or test against the relevant core attribute.

You can also test against a combination of attribute and skill. Say you have Archery as a skill and Strength and Dexterity as attributes. A long range shot could be tested against Archery + Strength and a targeted shot could be tested against Archery + Dexterity. The newish Paranoia does this. The new Twilight 2000 does this in a limited way, as well.

Most games link a skill to an attribute, but not all. Even going back to RuneQuest days, your skills would be modified by a combination of attributes that contribute to your skill.

What QuestWorlds does is remove attributes completely. If you want to be better or even worse (there is a flaw system in the game) than normal, it becomes a keyword. You can augment abilities with other abilities with GM approval. Take your example, If someone has "Marksman" as a keyword for example and also has something like "Mighty" he might use mighty to augment his  Marksman. However, lets say the character is a worshiper of Orlanth (wind god) he could use his knowledge of wind currents gained from "Worship Orlanth" to guide his arrow.

So not only does it allow characters to use raw natural talents, it opens up the possibility to augment with anything that makes sense narratively.

rytrasmi

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 303
That sounds like a really smart way to do it. I'm familiar with BRP and will have to check out QuestWorlds.
This post is opinion and if it sounds like something more you are misreading it or perhaps I'm just a jerk. Q.E.D.

Godsmonkey

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 172
That sounds like a really smart way to do it. I'm familiar with BRP and will have to check out QuestWorlds.

QuestWorlds was formerly known as HeroQuest, just an FYI. the new version is in late development, and the SRD is available:

https://questworlds.chaosium.com/

There is also a great blog for it:

https://worldsofqw.wordpress.com/