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Author Topic: Should "ability scores" be comparable to a real world metric? can it be done?  (Read 1998 times)

PSIandCO

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What do I mean?
Statistics is a mathematics discipline that tries to make predictions through models. These models can reveal information in interesting ways.
Humans have capacities for various tasks that can be (to one degree or another) measured and quantified. Showing the range of human performance from the world record (human maximum) to Zero (no function).

We can call the measured capacities a set of related tasks an "attribute". moderately easy to point at muscles and the work muscles can do. looking at the whole person overall as a sort of "average"- allowing training and for various exceptions, can we have a "strength score"?

The same follows for movement, how do we quantify the human range for the speed of movement, the balance of the body, and the quickness of reactions/reflexes?  should hand-eye coordination and the precision of action be a separate attribute (throwing darts, drawing lines and shapes, etc)?

Can the attributes be accurately defined by a model and give us a Metric for comparison? can the metric be Consistent?
Yes, this topic will piss Woketards off likely triggering cries of "Abilist", "sexist", "Racist", and all the "phobes".... sorry. it is going to happen, they can't help themselves.

Trond

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Of it works in the game then go for it. I remember seeing such thoughts in a few rules sets: directly translating Strength into the amount of mass that can be lifted/carried is a fairly common one, sometimes providing a bell curve distribution.

Godsmonkey

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What do I mean?
Statistics is a mathematics discipline that tries to make predictions through models. These models can reveal information in interesting ways.
Humans have capacities for various tasks that can be (to one degree or another) measured and quantified. Showing the range of human performance from the world record (human maximum) to Zero (no function).

We can call the measured capacities a set of related tasks an "attribute". moderately easy to point at muscles and the work muscles can do. looking at the whole person overall as a sort of "average"- allowing training and for various exceptions, can we have a "strength score"?

The same follows for movement, how do we quantify the human range for the speed of movement, the balance of the body, and the quickness of reactions/reflexes?  should hand-eye coordination and the precision of action be a separate attribute (throwing darts, drawing lines and shapes, etc)?

Can the attributes be accurately defined by a model and give us a Metric for comparison? can the metric be Consistent?
Yes, this topic will piss Woketards off likely triggering cries of "Abilist", "sexist", "Racist", and all the "phobes".... sorry. it is going to happen, they can't help themselves.

Even the metrics we use are commonly debated (IQ tests) So, no I dont think we can REALLY quantify attributes with a strict numerical value. Same goes for skills TBH. However, without some means of determining a characters chance to succeed at a given task, we might as well be writing a novel, or playing a story-telling game.

Screw that.

GeekyBugle

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Of it works in the game then go for it. I remember seeing such thoughts in a few rules sets: directly translating Strength into the amount of mass that can be lifted/carried is a fairly common one, sometimes providing a bell curve distribution.

Old Dragon (A Brazilian RPG that calls itself OSR) does this for all six attributes. IIRC STR has load to lift, carry, drag, chance of kicking down a door or bending some iron bars.

It doesn't take into consideration the sex of the character tho.

But, AD&D did have those tables with sex differences as to the maximum/minimum per race/sex, so with a bit of extrapolation you could combine those tables.
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PSIandCO

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True. is the progress of the "Strength" attribute linear, additive, logarithmic, or exponential?
What does that mean for an "Agility" attribute, shouldn't the metrics be applied in a similar fashion?
What of intelligence? if the increased "Capacity" of an attribute metric increases by an exponent what does that "Mean"/"define" someone with a "lower score"?

is the "Bell curve" an accurate model for humanity?
Can we really create realistic characters by rolling 3d6 and modify our totals by assigned modifiers for Gender/Race/etc?

PSIandCO

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I don't want to get into debates about "Why" certain measurements are inaccurate, or why having ability scores can "hurt feelings".
Reality hurts feelings all the time and crying about it does nothing.
Example: I have multiple endocrine failure (six different autoimmune diseases). The effects of these diseases include; Chronic fatigue, muscle withering, shaking, and a host of other odd movement tics affecting everything, even the way I walk. I have to eat a fistful of pills to get out of bed, and take shots to keep my heart from exploding.

as the saying goes, "asking for a wheelchair ramp is fine... demanding everyone must use wheelchairs, is not".
The woke are the kind who demand preferential treatment (and the abuse of others) for a "victim status", real or invented.

Back to the topic
based on the "Leah thomas" bullshit, we can see that a MAN who was 642nd in men's competitions comes in first in women's swimming. So much so that "She/He/It" (let's just call trans "Shit" for short) beat ALL of the female swimmers by at least 32 seconds...

That's a reality check. just like comparing men's and women's world records for a wide number of athletic feats.
It may hurt your feelings to discuss it, but it doesn't change the reality/truth. 

can ability scores be based on reality/truth and an accurate metric be had? I can just say "Yeah man, just divide the world record for weight lift cling/jerk or bench press by 18..." and let the players sort out the odd bits (exceptions to the average).
what would a Sports physiologist/bio mechanics expert/Psychology metrics expert and statistician say about it?

I would like to know.

Koltar

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There is this game system called 'GURPS'....

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zend0g

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Or see Hero System.
If you give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest person, I will find something in them to be offended.

PSIandCO

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for reasons I have mentioned above... my real life 3.0 D&D ability scores REALLY suck now.
Strength is likely 6-5, Dexterity is probably 8-7, and constitution is 3.
On the old I.q. tests that measure out to 180 my I.q. is 144
on current I.q. tests that measure out to 140 my I.q. is 136
I am by no means, a genius. neither am I a fool.

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"...
(*IMHO, too fucking woke to acknowledge reality)

Visitor Q

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Having some indication of what the ability scores track to in any system is of course useful for context but equally most systems have enough abstractions that it doesn't really help all that much.

Equally there is fun to he derived from rolling the dice and seeing what result you get. The more accurate/specific and mechanical the ability scores are the less the dice roll makes sense.


Omega

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AD&D and Villains & Vigilantes both map some stats to real world limits. AD&D STR is the prome example as it mapped loosely to lifting limits.

Should stats map to RL metric?

Yes. A normal human in Call of Cthulhu can not bench press a truck. Etc. Even D&D characters map within human limits for some stats for the baseline. Then magic and class tricks factor in.

Pat

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Does it matter if there's a table somewhere that maps strength scores to the weights lifted in real world competitions? The DM is still arbitrarily deciding how much things weigh, and the DCs or target numbers or whatever of the challenges. The precision and research is just a false veneer. Underneath, it's just still just arbitrary judgment calls.

And in almost all cases, the mechanics are completely divorced from reality. For instance, a lot of games have opposed strength checks where an ordinary person has a chance of beating a very strong person. That's not realistic. In reality, a really strong person will win an arm wrestling competition or whatever not just most of the time, or 99% of the time, but effectively 100% of the time. There are similar problems with skills. A lot of time it's whether you have advanced training or not.

If you want a greater sense of realism, then it's probably a lot more useful to look at how the system resolves comparative differences between different native or learned abilities than to just do something superficial like map them to real world equivalents.

But I don't think most people want that. 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.

David Johansen

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Not to worry Hybrid has it covered!
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Steven Mitchell

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When considering the "model" aspect of a game, remember that models are always abstractions.  Abstractions have levels, such as the Bjourne Stroustrup discussion in his original C++ book of you don't talk about building a house of wood atoms, bricks, and rooms all at the same time.  And when you are considering things at the "brick" level, it's rarely meaningful to talk about "rooms" and vice versa.

A game should be built on the proper level of abstraction.  The exact level can vary from game to game, and sometimes from sub system to sub system.  However, within a given game, and certainly a sub system, there is some level of abstraction that fits, and as much as possible the game should use that in its modeling.  There are, of course, other concerns besides the model, and those can sometimes lead to elements in the system that stray from an exact fit on the abstraction.  Even so, something that starts to diverge too much will still be a problem.

Given that then, I would say that ability score can be somewhat analogous to real world metrics, in a sort of rough and ready way, subject to the abstraction level of the model.  I would not call this comparable.  For example, in D&D, given what "strength" actually does, it's not merely lifting.  It's muscle tone, some general fitness (though not all of it), muscle/eye coordination (though not all of it), etc.  And in fact, I find game models typically work better when the label is not read too literally, with some overlap between the elements, as with D&D strength, dexterity, and constitution. 

If you want, for example, that model to be more closely analogous, then the underlying system needs to acknowledge that hitting something with a sword is really influenced by Str and Dex, while being able to fight for more than a few seconds is influenced by Str and Con.  This is necessarily a complication of the model and the system. Likewise, the model could pull back a little, say, collapsing Str and Con into one score or even collapsing all three into some kind of "physical" or "body" or whatever score.  The proper level of abstraction depends on what is happening in the rest of the game that uses those ability scores. 

Finally, you also have to consider the rest of the the model and what it is doing, how much overlap you want, etc.  For example, in the D&D example, one of the things hit points model is rough and ready stamina in a fight.  The D&D model is concerned with two states and a counter.  I'm either still in the fight or I'm not.  The hit point counter is how close I am to not being in it any more, subject to the uncertainty of getting hit or not.  So it is probably a not very useful complication to the system to make some kind of directly comparable stamina mechanic based on Con or even all the physical attributes.  That's already covered by a different mechanic--at a different level of abstraction.  Or if you do want to have such a mechanic (similar to Hero System's endurance), then that means how hit points work also needs to change to remove that part of it. 

rytrasmi

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Can the attributes be accurately defined by a model and give us a Metric for comparison? can the metric be Consistent?
I would say its possible but not practical.

The problem is that attribute tests are situational. There is always something else, a person or object, against which the attribute is tested. If you define strength as weight carried, it has little to do with kicking in a door. There would be some correlation, but it would be inconsistent. Agility against an active foe is different from walking a tightrope. And what about attributes like wisdom and knowledge? You would need more attributes than practical in a game.

The models that attempt it are found in games with skills, which can be considered 20, 30, or 50+ specialized attributes that the game cares about.
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.