Quantifying Strange Ideas

From: Mikael Raaterova (ginijji@telia.com)
Date: Thu 16 Mar 2000 - 22:44:43 EET


Bryan Maloney:
>Looking over the HW core rules, something struck me. Could somebody
>conversant with the rules go through the following keyword descriptor
>paragraphs and tell me how these characters would be built:
>
>
>Faster than a speeding bullet! More powerful than a locomotive! Able to
>leap tall buildings in a single bound! "Look, up in the sky, it's a
>bird! It's a plane! No, it's Superman!" Yes, Superman, strange visitor
>from another planet with powers far beyond those of mortal men.
>Superman! Who, disguised as mild-mannered reporter Clark Kent, wages a
>never-ending battle for Truth, Justice, and the American Way!

If you play in a low-power campaign, a trait like 'faster than a
speeding bullet' rated 16 is just plain silly, since your chance of
actually out-speeding a bullet are slim indeed. Thus, i don't allow
descriptions like 'faster/stronger than x' since _how_ fast,
powerful, leap-able the character is is a matter of rating, not
phrasing. If it was a player character, i'd just discard the
quantifiers as exaggerations.

(OTOH, if the rating is know beforehand i might allow a reasonably
quantified description)

Likewise with 'powers far beyond those of mortal men'; it's a matter
of rating whether the powers are beyond those of mortal men or not.
Also, i wouldn't normally allow such a general trait as 'powers' (an
acceptable trait need to have a description that indicates what
manner of actions you can attempt with it). I may or may not accept
'strange visitor from another planet' depending on the setting.

>"Criminals are a cowardly, superstitious lot." Traumatized as a boy from
>witnessing his parents' murder, young Bruce Wayne used his vast fortune
>to hone his physical and mental abilities to the absolute peak of human
>perfection. He is universally acknowledged as the greatest detective to
>have ever lived. Likewise, he is a master of several martial arts and
>weapons, an accomplished scientist in many fields, and sufficiently
>skilled in disguise and acting to pass all but the most diligent of
>expert scrutiny.

I wouldn't allow quantifiers like 'vast', 'universally', 'greatest',
'peak of human perfection', 'master', 'sufficiently skilled... to do
x' etc since that is a matter of rating.

>His wealth encompasses multinational corporations and
>has been used to finance the most extensive and complete anti-crime
>laboratory on the planet.

This description contains lots of quantifiers. I'd allow the traits
'wealth' and 'anti-crime laboratory' and discard the rest as
hyperbole.

>His equipment includes the Batcar and a wide
>variety of gadgets that he puts to use in the field.

These are very general 'do everything' traits, which i may or may not
allow. Potentially campaign-wrecking, but in one-off scenarios such
traits can be great fun.

- --
- -
Mikael Raaterova [.sig omitted on legal advice]

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