# Thread: Objective(ish) measures for stats?

1. ## Objective(ish) measures for stats?

The "DnD Yourself theory" thread got me thinking about stats in DnD. I know there are set weight capacities for strength, but what about the rest of the stats? Obviously there can't really be a numerical value for constitution in real life, but has anyone ever done a % system? Like for instance a con 16 in real life would be the top 5% percentile of the population? Do 18s exist in real life? What would stephen hawking's intelligence be?

2. ## Re: Objective(ish) measures for stats?

Hmm- Con is used in things like holding breath, endurance marches, etc. Maybe these sort of things could be used as a basis for the tests?

For example, it's a DC 10 Con check to walk for more than 8 hours in a day without taking "nonlethal damage"- might represent blisters, muscle exhaustion, etc. And the check goes up by +2 every hour.

Similarly, a running character must make a DC 10 check (+1 per extra round) to run for each round after the first X rounds. Where X is their Con score.

Once you're "fully fit" but haven't actually boosted your upper body strength enough to qualify for a Str increase, you could be said to be "using your normal Con score to full effect" without penalties for being unfit.

Thus, a person's "optimal endurance" could be used as a basis for guesstimating their Con.

(The person should be able to run at about 12 mph, and this speed should be used for the tests, unless the person is so good at it, that it could be suggested that they have the Run and/or Endurance feats- in which case, the higher speed is used, and/or the Endurance modifiers added)

3. ## Re: Objective(ish) measures for stats?

I could fairly easily design tests for Str and Con. They're linked to things like carrying capacity, run speed, etc. Dex has less objective links, but it still is physical, and thus, they can be arranged.

It's the mental stats that are hard to measure objectively. It's not as if it's trivial to determine someone's wisdom.

4. ## Re: Objective(ish) measures for stats?

The tricky part is determining what level the person has, as a base to start from

For Dex, seeing how good a person is at "ranged attacks" might be a place to start- but you'd need to know ahead of time that they were, say, Level 1, so to speak.

5. ## Re: Objective(ish) measures for stats?

Originally Posted by hamishspence
The tricky part is determining what level the person has, as a base to start from

For Dex, seeing how good a person is at "ranged attacks" might be a place to start- but you'd need to know ahead of time that they were, say, Level 1, so to speak.
And proficiencies. Hmmm. What about that test that measures your response time? Like a light flashes and you hit a button as soon as you see it. The closer you are to the base neuron speed (max dex) the higher your dex is, perhaps? Max dex I'd think would be 18 (or 20?) since none of us are super hero types.

Wis- is also used for willpower. A simple test for how long you can keep your hand in ice water might suffice. But not the whole experience thing.

Int- I guess would be closest to IQ tests, but we're learning IQ is only one part of the equation and we haven't created non biased tests yet for the rest.

But besides all that, has it ever said in DnD if a normal person can have a score of 18? Or what's the max in other words for "normal?" I know average is 10-12, but I mean, non adventurer "normal" to the extreme, such as stephen hawking's intelligence?

6. ## Re: Objective(ish) measures for stats?

The elite array, seems to be the norm for NPC specialists, in DMG2.

So, if you went to someone who has made "knowledge: X" their career, you'd expect them to have had an Int of 15 at 1st level.

And so on. 15 for Best Stat is something that, while unusual, is not "adventurer-level unusual"

The Arms and Equipment Guide, however, suggests most hirelings will use the "standard ability score array" with 13 as their best stat. And includes sages on that list.

So, it might work like this.

Int 15 is your typical doctorate candidate.

In this case, a person specializing in Knowledge X, might reasonably be seen as the D&D equivalent of a degree student.

It might be interesting to think about what proportion of people in a D&D setting get:

the standard array (11, 11, 11, 10, 10, 10)
the nonelite array (13, 12, 11, 10, 9, 8), called the standard array in A&EG
the elite array (15, 14, 13, 12, 10, 8)
rolled stats (whatever the dice say)

and whether it could be applied to this question.

Cityscape, for some of the sample generic NPCs, appears to take the nonelite array as a basis, but all except the best stat are averaged-
(13, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10)

Or, 11 and 9 are replaced with 10 and 10, so-
(13, 12, 10, 10, 10, 8)

7. ## Re: Objective(ish) measures for stats?

Originally Posted by randomhero00
Wis- is also used for willpower. A simple test for how long you can keep your hand in ice water might suffice. But not the whole experience thing.
Wouldn't that measure con?

8. ## Re: Objective(ish) measures for stats?

How long you can immerse you whole self in ice-water and not get hypothermia is Con-related- you make Con checks with increasing difficulty.

But ability checks are very luck-based- one guy with Con 18 might get unlucky and fail his check early, on guy with Con 10 might not fail his check for a while.

Plus, its a risky sort of way to estimate a stat.

9. ## Re: Objective(ish) measures for stats?

There are none. D&D stats are a simplification of one's real-life abilities.

10. ## Re: Objective(ish) measures for stats?

Originally Posted by hamishspence

Int 15 is your typical doctorate candidate.
I'm not sure these are quite fair.
Int 15 isn't just a doctorate candidate - it's the guy the other PhD students look up to.

There's actually a big issue with Strength as well: we "test" it via lifting, but that only applies to people have no actual skill in lifting (which adds to bench press without adding as much to usable strength). Mike Tyson may have deserved an 18, but he was never a great lifter.

11. ## Re: Objective(ish) measures for stats?

There are none. D&D stats are a simplification of one's real-life abilities.
True- but if a real world person, can do everything Str-based that a Level 1 D&D character with Str 18 can, you could say that their strength is roughly equivalent to D&D Str 18.

While some people suggest relying solely on the Lift, I think Carrying as well should be involved- can you run, with a Light Load for your suggested Strength? Walk for 8 hours? Hustle for 1 hour?

On Int- I might be oversimplifying slightly. But, a person who makes a career out of what would be an Int based skill, shouldn't really be less intelligent than a D&D hireling.

Similarly, a person who is fairly "top of the line" so to speak, in that career, a professor then, not just a doctor, or a research scientist, I think should be Int 15- they don't have to be the Einstein of their generation.

This will be very much a generalization, but I think it would work something like this, for "real world stat equivalents".

Int 13- average BSc
Int 15- average PhD or Professorship

(This is their Int just as they reach adulthood, not after "levelling up in Expert" so to speak)

I'm not sure if this would apply to other degrees, some might work a bit differently.

12. ## Re: Objective(ish) measures for stats?

Our group goes over this every so often too.

for STR is carrying capacity table
for DEX is the ruler drop test
for CON, how long you can hold your breath, how often you get sick

mental scores are more difficult
INT: 10 is ave high school grad, 13-14 is 4yr degree, 16-18 is multiple PhD
WIS we've never really agreed on, but I like to guess it's based on gullibilty, street smarts, ability to find waldo, and see through optical illusions
CHA: I think it is a combo of attractiveness (are you a 7 or a 10) and if you are a leader or talkative person

13. ## Re: Objective(ish) measures for stats?

Str has a measurement - the carrying capacities. So why not base everything else off that?

For example, let's say someone can carry enough to have 12 str. They're tougher than they are strong, but less agile, so they have 14 con and 10 dex. They're much, much smarter than they are strong, so maybe they have 16 int. Etc.

It's not perfect, but I think it's the only way you'll have a chance at the mental stats. You could use something like IQ or standardized test scores for Int, but Wis and Cha?

14. ## Re: Objective(ish) measures for stats?

Originally Posted by Riffington
I'm not sure these are quite fair.
Int 15 isn't just a doctorate candidate - it's the guy the other PhD students look up to.
I don't see any sense in linking intelligence with education. Education is represented by the academic skills you have.

15. ## Re: Objective(ish) measures for stats?

Education = ranks in knowledge. Or maybe profession/craft.

It's easy to check INT, you just figure out how many bonus spells/day they get.

16. ## Re: Objective(ish) measures for stats?

Trying to measure any of the mental stats isn't going to work. They are much too complicated and nuanced for us to get anything close to a fair test (See: IQ Test Controversy). Education doesn't work: Thats essentially skills.

18. ## Re: Objective(ish) measures for stats?

Originally Posted by Tengu_temp
I don't see any sense in linking intelligence with education. Education is represented by the academic skills you have.
True- but in D&D at least, people specializing in a skill, tend to have a best stat which is the one associated with that skill.

So an "ordinary sage" with Knowledge X as their "career skill" would probably have started out with Int 13, and taken the Skill Focus feat, and maxed-out ranks in Knowledge history. And be the equivalent of an "ordinary scientist"

But an "elite specialist" would have all this, and Int 15 as starting stat, and be a "great scientist", or at the very least, a "talented scientist" (probably professorship, postdoctorate, etc)

And the same combination of Skill Focus, maxed ranks, but with Int 18 starting stat, would be associated with a prodigy, not just a "great scientist"- but one of the greatest of their generation.

That is, their stat just as they reach adulthood, would be Int 18. At the peak of their career, they would have "leveled up" enough to have a lot of Int boosts, so to speak.

Education is skills- but people who make a career out of those skills, tend to have a "natural aptitude" for them- a high base stat, in short.

19. ## Re: Objective(ish) measures for stats?

Originally Posted by Tengu_temp
I don't see any sense in linking intelligence with education. Education is represented by the academic skills you have.
Yes, absolutely. But those academic skills require some intelligence to acquire.
It's really hard to get through college with an IQ below 90. So the average college student IQ is higher as a result (cut out all the 85 IQ people and most of the 90s; keep all the 120s and 180s).
Similarly, it's hard to get a doctorate degree (except in the soft sciences) with an IQ below 115 or so. So the average PhD is going to have an Int of 13 or so.
You can absolutely have an uneducated farmer with an IQ of 180. But if you're looking for people with Int 18, you'll have better luck at Yale or MIT than if you look at random.

Originally Posted by hamishspence
True- but in D&D at least, people specializing in a skill, tend to have a best stat which is the one associated with that skill.

So an "ordinary sage" with Knowledge X as their "career skill" would probably have started out with Int 13, and taken the Skill Focus feat, and maxed-out ranks in Knowledge history. And be the equivalent of an "ordinary scientist"

But an "elite specialist" would have all this, and Int 15 as starting stat, and be a "great scientist", or at the very least, a "talented scientist" (probably professorship, postdoctorate, etc)
So, I agree with this except your definition of "ordinary" or "talented". A professor is your "ordinary sage".
Your elite specialist shouldn't be just a prof or postdoc. He should be the prof or postdoc or auto mechanic or locksmith that all the other profs (or whoemever) look up to.
A random hireling doesn't get the elite array. A random hireling gets the standard array, with the attributes not necessarily optimized. An elite hireling (the kind you have to seek out by reputation) gets the elite array.

20. ## Re: Objective(ish) measures for stats?

I believe the average person in DnD has 3d6 stats. So you want to start with this: http://www.thedarkfortress.co.uk/tec...dice_rolls.htm .

One implication of the 3d6 assumption is that "extraordinary" ability scores aren't that extraordinary.

21. ## Re: Objective(ish) measures for stats?

Might be interesting to look at proportions.

What proportion of the adult population of a country have, or are working toward- professorship level?

If "professor-level intelligence" is one in a thousand, or even one in a million, then saying that this is "equivalent to Int 13" seems like a bit of a stretch.

Being a post-doctorate scientist at all, is quite a way from "ordinary intelligence"

Hence, I see Int 15 as merely "likely to turn out to be a scientist of some note"

Or, some other Int-related career- not all Knowledge skills are science, after all.

Professor might count as being a few steps above Doctor- with Int 13 being "capable of passing a PhD" and Int 15 "capable of getting tenure at a prestigious university"

(Note that these all refer to their Int before they've had all that training.)

If, say, 1 in 10 people study science at university, 1 in 10 of those study for a PhD, 1 in 10 of those study for a professorship, that makes a professor very much a rarity.

Originally Posted by Iku Rex
I believe the average person in DnD has 3d6 stats. So you want to start with this: http://www.thedarkfortress.co.uk/tec...dice_rolls.htm .

One implication of the 3d6 assumption is that "extraordinary" ability scores aren't that extraordinary.
Problem with that is, in 3.0 and 3.5, most NPCs don't roll stats, but get an array, such as the standard array, or the elite array.

"Rolling them up" is the exception now, rather than the rule.

Implying that the vast majority of bad stats, are no worse than 8.

22. ## Re: Objective(ish) measures for stats?

Few people are professors but then few try

There are plenty of iq150 plumbers

Nobody is 4th level so no stat boosts
On Earth aging gives an int penalty

23. ## Re: Objective(ish) measures for stats?

"Nobody is 4th level"- where's that come from?

D&D NPCs, even ones who never, or almost never fight, seem to go up to pretty high level, 10 or more.

I see a university student as a 1st level expert, a PhD student as a 5th level expert, an "average professor" as a 10th level expert, and the rare big-name scientists, as maybe about 15th level or so.

Similarly, we don't know that aging gives an Int penalty big enough to matter.

As to "plenty of IQ 150 plumbers" what is the source for this, and how many is "plenty"?

The point about few trying, is few are talented enough to try, and most are aware of this.

24. ## Re: Objective(ish) measures for stats?

Originally Posted by Iku Rex
I believe the average person in DnD has 3d6 stats. So you want to start with this: http://www.thedarkfortress.co.uk/tec...dice_rolls.htm .

One implication of the 3d6 assumption is that "extraordinary" ability scores aren't that extraordinary.
Also, nowadays extraordinarity of PCs is usually accomplished with "4d6, drop the worst die", giving them a higher average. Arrays are a tool to simplify DM's task, and they're still based around the average of 3d6 roll, so working with the basis that people in D&D land are random isn't unjustified.

To the above poster Riffington: Why do you think no-one is lvl 4 in our world?

PS: Thank you for posting those delicious propabilities. Now I don't need to count them again.

25. ## Re: Objective(ish) measures for stats?

Those who can do.
Those who cannot, teach
It's a mistake to think that those who lack interest in the ivory tower are dumb
They just have different priorities.
Don't you know some profs dumber than you?
If you have level above 3 you can not die from a knife crit

26. ## Re: Objective(ish) measures for stats?

Originally Posted by hamishspence
"Nobody is 4th level"- where's that come from?
...Reality?

27. ## Re: Objective(ish) measures for stats?

Originally Posted by Riffington
If you have level above 3 you can not die from a knife crit
...an NPC class with average CON can legitimately have 1 HP per level. It's even encouraged. So even at level 5, an ordinary Joe stabbing you has a very real chance of sending you to negatives and bleeding to death. Besides, hitpoints aren't just health anyway.

On the other side of the spectrum, reality has people falling from mile high and crashing an airplane to a mountainside and having a block of iron shot trough their head... and still living to tell about it.

So you'll need a better argument than just hitpoints.

28. ## Re: Objective(ish) measures for stats?

A level in expert gives 6 or 8 ranks as much knowledge as two professions ie law school with 4 years practice plus another such trade

A level in warrior gives overall accuracy better toughness sufficient horsemanship to ride into battle in platemail ability to run in plate competent swordsmanship competent archery polearms training knife fighting etc etc

29. ## Re: Objective(ish) measures for stats?

Originally Posted by Riffington
Those who can do.
Those who cannot, teach
It's a mistake to think that those who lack interest in the ivory tower are dumb
They just have different priorities.
Don't you know some profs dumber than you?
That's probably why he said average professor.

The average professor is reasonably intelligent. They have to be. This does not presuppose other mental attributes like, say, charisma, but your anti-intellectualism has little ground here.

30. ## Re: Objective(ish) measures for stats?

Originally Posted by Tyndmyr
That's probably why he said average professor.

The average professor is reasonably intelligent. They have to be. This does not presuppose other mental attributes like, say, charisma, but your anti-intellectualism has little ground here.
I'm hardly antiintellectual. I'm anti assuming nonacademics are dumb.
But if you have iq 130 as some of you do you probably know as many professors you know are dumber than you as you know smarter than you

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