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    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    Daemon

    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Corvallis, OR
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    Male

    Default Risk and Growth: How would this law of nature impact the world?

    Take a fairly standard D&D-style fantasy world. Vaguely medieval-esque technology, monsters, magic, etc.

    Now add the following law of nature. For the purposes of this discussion, please treat it as an absolute law, with no loopholes or gaming possible. But one where the exact contours and mechanics aren't known more than anecdotally.

    Growth requires risk. And growth scales with risk. Risk is the expectation value of danger: <chance of failure>*<cost of failure>.
    Effectively, one makes personal progress in getting stronger by taking on risk. And it has to be genuine risk--doing something risky (high cost of failure) but with very low probability of failure, or taking safeguards to either reduce the cost or reduce the probability of failure diminishes your return.

    A lock-pick practicing on his lock at the safehouse would see minimal change once he is over that first hump. But put him in a dungeon with a guard expected any second and give him the same lock would see more growth.

    Of course the two (risk and reward) don't scale identically--there's a sweet spot, although a changing one. A beginning adventuring team could, in theory get huge gains by taking down an elder dragon (very very high risk). But most likely they'll just die, and you can't grow if you're dead. On the other hand, a wizard doing research in his lab, all carefully controlled, or a wizard who "plays it safe" by sending out simulacrums or ice assassins from his well-protected demiplane would see minimal, if any growth.

    This is a thought I had to explain why adventurers seem to grow more powerful more quickly than most. Basically, by taking on higher risk than normal, they get higher growth. And those who "play it safe" do so in exchange for fast growth. On the other hand, I'd expect that you'd see a lot more people burn out quickly by taking on more risk than they could handle. And a higher culture of risk taking, at least in parts of the culture.
    Dawn of Hope: a 5e setting. http://wiki.admiralbenbo.org
    PhoenixPhyre's Extended Homebrew Signature
    5e Monster Data Sheet--vital statistics for all 693 MM, Volo's, and now MToF monsters: Updated!

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jul 2015

    Default Re: Risk and Growth: How would this law of nature impact the world?

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    Now add the following law of nature. For the purposes of this discussion, please treat it as an absolute law, with no loopholes or gaming possible. But one where the exact contours and mechanics aren't known more than anecdotally.
    Well, the specific math is going to matter a lot. For example, if growth scales with risk massively, then your society is now dominated by extreme outliers, people who did (or were forced into since many risks are involuntary) something unbelievably risky but managed to survive anyway. For example, rolling a nat 20 five times in a row is a one in 3.2 million chance, but in a setting of 100 million people you're going to have some individuals who've done that and rocketed up the power curve.

    Effectively, one makes personal progress in getting stronger by taking on risk. And it has to be genuine risk--doing something risky (high cost of failure) but with very low probability of failure, or taking safeguards to either reduce the cost or reduce the probability of failure diminishes your return.
    This seems to put a premium on resiliency, or at least forces you to take it into consideration as part of 'cost.' For example, a troll can throw itself off a bridge at the risk of broken bones all day long. There's still a real cost there, the injuries still happen, they just heal in moments compared to a human who might be invalid for weeks or even permanently crippled. Presumably this would apply to mental/emotional costs as well, which is incredibly difficult to handle in game, because how do you measure the mental resiliency of a PC?

    This is a thought I had to explain why adventurers seem to grow more powerful more quickly than most. Basically, by taking on higher risk than normal, they get higher growth. And those who "play it safe" do so in exchange for fast growth. On the other hand, I'd expect that you'd see a lot more people burn out quickly by taking on more risk than they could handle. And a higher culture of risk taking, at least in parts of the culture.
    This effects more than adventurers though. It means people who have professions that are greater risk gain more power than those that are not simply by going through everyday life. That means you have to try and quantity every job by risk because you've created a tiered structure of social classes based on job risk.
    Resvier: a P6 homebrew setting

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