PDA

View Full Version : What exactly is the "guy at the gym fallacy"?



Talakeal
2019-05-15, 11:17 AM
I was planning on making an argument against the guy at the gym fallacy in anither thread and realized I don't know precisely what it means. Going back to the original post, it reads as more of an essay than a fallacy, and I am having trouble picking out what, precisely, the fallacy is.

Anyone able to point me in the right direction?

tyckspoon
2019-05-15, 11:29 AM
It's more of a concept than a single formalized thing, as I understand it, but the basic idea is "I can't conceive of the most fit dude at the gym I go to doing this, so (Fighters/'mundane' heroes/anything that isn't explicitly magical) shouldn't be able to do it either." It tends to deny both the possibility of fantastic action by 'normal' characters in a world and the rather extreme things real-life humans actually can do.

Kyutaru
2019-05-15, 11:34 AM
It basically means that even Hercules couldn't do it.

There's a limit to Strength training. No matter how strong you are, this isn't possible. That said, D&D lets people fire nine crossbow shots in 6 seconds. Screw physics.

Grod_The_Giant
2019-05-15, 11:55 AM
A decent general formulation might be "if a real human can't do it, an RPG character can't do it without magic." It's shorthand for the sort of double standard that gives rise to linear fighters/quadratic wizards-- "mundane" actions are primarily balanced around what's physically possible, while magical effects get to skip that step and go straight to "what's appropriate for this level of the fantasy?"

JNAProductions
2019-05-15, 12:03 PM
It also oftentimes underestimates what people are capable of even in the real world.

Kyutaru
2019-05-15, 12:05 PM
It also oftentimes underestimates what people are capable of even in the real world.

Remember the dude who pulled an airplane?

Max_Killjoy
2019-05-15, 12:26 PM
Remember the dude who pulled an airplane?

The physics make that sort of thing not quite the "feat of epic fantasy" that media coverage makes it out to be. Yeah, it takes a very strong person, but it's not like people pulling airplanes a few meters by hand is proof of possibility for the sorts of blatantly impossible, orders of magnitude more extreme things people want their "no no he's totally mundane no magic or fantastic ability at all" characters to be routinely capable of.

For some reason, the fact that one person once did something seemingly nuts that one time, is taken by some to mean that all "no no he's totally mundane no magic or fantastic ability at all" characters should be capable of doing that thing routinely and reliably.

What I see more often than the "guy at the gym" fallacy is its inverse -- the player who wants his "guy at the gym" character to be able to do things that are simply physically impossible for any (unaugmented) human being who ever lived or will ever live, even at a hypothetical level of achievement, things that would shred muscles and break bones and burst hearts because of the forces involved.

Kyutaru
2019-05-15, 12:45 PM
The physics make that sort of thing not quite the "feat of epic fantasy" that media coverage makes it out to be.

Yeah fair enough but then we have the Guinness Book of World Records. Jerry Miculek is a legend and pulled off five revolver shots in half a second. Without missing the target.

Not exactly a feat of strength but I can't think of any records off hand in that area. Looking up Google I can find a guy who deadlifted over 1100 pounds. That's about it.

Grod_The_Giant
2019-05-15, 12:50 PM
The physics make that sort of thing not quite the "feat of epic fantasy" that media coverage makes it out to be. Yeah, it takes a very strong person, but it's not like people pulling airplanes a few meters by hand is proof of possibility for the sorts of blatantly impossible, orders of magnitude more extreme things people want their "no no he's totally mundane no magic or fantastic ability at all" characters to be routinely capable of.

For some reason, the fact that one person once did something seemingly nuts that one time, is taken by some to mean that all "no no he's totally mundane no magic or fantastic ability at all" characters should be capable of doing that thing routinely and reliably.

What I see more often than the "guy at the gym" fallacy is its inverse -- the player who wants his "guy at the gym" character to be able to do things that are simply physically impossible for any (unaugmented) human being who ever lived or will ever live, even at a hypothetical level of achievement, things that would shred muscles and break bones and burst hearts because of the forces involved.
It's not a problem if the entire game is designed around that level of human ability (say, Apocalypse World). It's also not a problem if the setting says "okay, wizards consciously use magic to cast fireballs, fighters subconsciously magic for super-strength" (say, Exalted). Problems only arise when the game is designed inconsistently, with some characters being sharply limited by physics and biology and others growing to godly power (say, D&D).

Clistenes
2019-05-15, 12:50 PM
I would like to point that, in 3.5, a STR 18 guy is as strong as a Heavy Warhorse, a STR 19 guy is as strong as a Black Bear, a STR 21 guy is as strong as a Lion, STR 22 guy is as strong as a Bison, and a STR 23 guy is as strong as a Tiger... that's pretty much superhuman from lvl 1...

D&D stronguys aren't athletic humans, they are more like comic book superheroes...

Max_Killjoy
2019-05-15, 12:54 PM
It's not a problem if the entire game is designed around that level of human ability (say, Apocalypse World). It's also not a problem if the setting says "okay, wizards consciously use magic to cast fireballs, fighters subconsciously magic for super-strength" (say, Exalted). Problems only arise when the game is designed inconsistently, with some characters being sharply limited by physics and biology and others growing to godly power (say, D&D).

I'd say that if the entire game is built around that level of ability, and the Fighters are using "magic" and doing fantastic things that are impossible for most people... then the Fighter is no longer a "guy at the gym" at all.

hamishspence
2019-05-15, 12:57 PM
I would like to point that, in 3.5, a STR 18 guy is as strong as a Heavy Warhorse, a STR 19 guy is as strong as a Black Bear, a STR 21 guy is as strong as a Lion, STR 22 guy is as strong as a Bison, and a STR 23 guy is as strong as a Tiger... that's pretty much superhuman from lvl 1...

Keep in mind that Large creatures, and quadrupeds, get significantly greater lifting power.

For a Heavy Warhorse, 900 lb is maximum Heavy load. For a Medium sized Str 18 Human fighter 300 lb is the maximum Heavy load.

Kyutaru
2019-05-15, 01:01 PM
I would like to point that, in 3.5, a STR 18 guy is as strong as a Heavy Warhorse, a STR 19 guy is as strong as a Black Bear, a STR 21 guy is as strong as a Lion, STR 22 guy is as strong as a Bison, and a STR 23 guy is as strong as a Tiger... that's pretty much superhuman from lvl 1...

D&D stronguys aren't athletic humans, they are more like comic book superheroes...

Makes you wonder why my sword attacks aren't throwing kobolds across the room.

I kind of see the old Conan movies and think Fighters must be superhuman in their own regard compared to normal people. Or heck, look at Warhammer 40k and the 10-foot tall genetically enhanced super soldiers that breathe acid and have two hearts. They can punch a daemon's head off and shrug off blows that would vaporize mortal men. Heck, give one a hammer and he can wreck a tank.

Rhedyn
2019-05-15, 01:07 PM
It also oftentimes underestimates what people are capable of even in the real world.
Like swimming in armor.

HouseRules
2019-05-15, 01:09 PM
That said, D&D lets people fire nine crossbow shots in 6 seconds. Screw physics.

Real Life Archers could do parkour and shoot faster than D&D. It takes 200 milliseconds to complete a single shot for the most experienced archers while doing parkour. They could also shot with both hands switching the bow from hand to hand depending on their position.

Kyutaru
2019-05-15, 01:11 PM
Real Life Archers could do parkour and shoot faster than D&D. It takes 200 milliseconds to complete a single shot for the most experienced archers while doing parkour. They could also shot with both hands switching the bow from hand to hand depending on their position.

Right. But this is a crossbow.

Max_Killjoy
2019-05-15, 01:23 PM
Right. But this is a crossbow.

I think he's referencing the idiotic trick-shot videos with some Danish goof bouncing off walls while half-drawing a weak bow. It has nothing to do with actual combat, and everything to do with cheap tricks and camera-angle chicanery.

For every misunderstanding of human limits, there are multiple myths about what's "possible" that don't stand up to even the most cursory of empirical examinations.

https://www.dailydot.com/irl/lars-andersen-archery-video-debunked/
https://www.skeptic.com/insight/pulling-a-fast-one-video-critique-of-a-viral-speed-archery-video/
https://geekdad.com/2015/01/danish-archer/comment-page-1/
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cr_1z3GwxQk

Delta
2019-05-15, 01:42 PM
Like swimming in armor.

Oh boy, yeah, that's one of the topic where so many people seem to be completely immune to any opinion but "Oh no you're wearing metal armor and touched the water, you drown instantly!!!!", even if you have someone sitting at the table who is neither built like The Rock nor swims like Michael Phelps who can personally attest that, yeah, you can swim in armor, on account of themself personally having done so several times.

Psyren
2019-05-15, 02:06 PM
A decent general formulation might be "if a real human can't do it, an RPG character can't do it without magic." It's shorthand for the sort of double standard that gives rise to linear fighters/quadratic wizards-- "mundane" actions are primarily balanced around what's physically possible, while magical effects get to skip that step and go straight to "what's appropriate for this level of the fantasy?"

I agree with this definition - however, it's worth noting that there's another response to the fallacy:
The "without magic" in the definition is often conflated with "without spells" or "without magic items" - things external to the character that they may have to spend build resources on, or that can be separated from them. In reality, a simpler solution might be to give high-level martial characters access to some fantasy-appropriate and thematic abilities in the form of extraordinary, supernatural or, spell-like abilities.

Rogues are a solid example of this. In many fictional high fantasy settings, low-level rogues are pickpockets, alley thugs, cutthroats, second-story-men and the like, while high level rogues are capable of supernatural feats - most of which stem from folklore around ninjas and assassins. They can do things like Batman-vanishing mid-conversation, phasing through solid obstacles or restraints, wearing someone else's face, animating/merging with their shadow, curving thrown projectiles, leaping improbable distances etc. For me personally, abilities like the PF Shadowdancer could be compressed to 5 levels and given to all rogues 12-17 for free.

This is one of the few things I think 4e did correctly, via its Paragon Paths and Epic Destinies - showing clearly how the expected fantasy of the game should evolve naturally at higher levels, for free.

TL;DR: It's not a binary - you can give high-level martial characters "magic" (and thus, fantasy-appropriate abilities) without turning them into casters, keeping their exploits grounded in credibility and able to interact with the rules consistently.

HouseRules
2019-05-15, 02:06 PM
The record jabs per minute is 805, but those are Jabs, not Straights or Crosses. A Jab is a short range punch where your arm is mostly extended forward. A Straight is the longest punch you could make when your shoulders are perpendicular to the target before you punch forward. A Cross is when you pull your arm all the way back to get more force. Your punching shoulder starts farther away from the target before the punch.

Shooting a bow is more like a Cross then a Jab, so the number of attacks per second is much less.

Gym Fallacy is if someone cannot do something in a Gym, then a Mundane cannot do it in a fantasy world. Martial Characters may be able to do whatever that is, but Mundanes cannot.

Grod_The_Giant
2019-05-15, 02:25 PM
I'd say that if the entire game is built around that level of ability, and the Fighters are using "magic" and doing fantastic things that are impossible for most people... then the Fighter is no longer a "guy at the gym" at all.
Well, yeah-- that's why its a fallacy and not a principle of game design or something. Either everyone (at a given level/xp total/whatever) has to be a guy at the gym, or no-one can be. (Or you're doing an intentionally asymmetrical game, which is fine but not common)


TL;DR: It's not a binary - you can give high-level martial characters "magic" (and thus, fantasy-appropriate abilities) without turning them into casters, keeping their exploits grounded in credibility and able to interact with the rules consistently.
Oh, I one hundred percent agree with you.

Rhedyn
2019-05-15, 02:35 PM
Oh boy, yeah, that's one of the topic where so many people seem to be completely immune to any opinion but "Oh no you're wearing metal armor and touched the water, you drown instantly!!!!", even if you have someone sitting at the table who is neither built like The Rock nor swims like Michael Phelps who can personally attest that, yeah, you can swim in armor, on account of themself personally having done so several times.
Turns out objective reality and evidence backed facts are very much a topic of debate.

People don't think things be like it is but it do.

Psyren
2019-05-15, 02:37 PM
Gym Fallacy is if someone cannot do something in a Gym, then a Mundane cannot do it in a fantasy world. Martial Characters may be able to do whatever that is, but Mundanes cannot.

"Mundanes" not being able to do something extraordinary isn't fallacious though. Rather, the idea is that nobody past a certain level in a high-fantasy game should be "mundane."

This is why I avoid the term mundane and instead use martial, because mundane isn't just a function of class or role, it's a function of level.

LudicSavant
2019-05-15, 02:49 PM
Like swimming in armor.

Great example.

Frozen_Feet
2019-05-15, 03:33 PM
It's an informal fallacy, grounded in limited perception: "if I can't imagine a guy at the gym doing it, it can't be done", sometimes with "without magic" clause added as noted above.

The reason why it's so insidious is because a lot of players aren't particularly familiar with the sort of stuff their characters are supposed to be doing. The players haven't climbed walls or ropes, they haven't fired guns or swung swords, haven't tried to run while in full combat gear, so on and so forth. So, their imagination is bounded by limited understanding, with pop culture representations filling in the gaps.

This leads to silly things like no-one questioning how you can kill an elephant with a sword, but then crying foul when someone tries swimming in armor. Or reverse, no-one questioning how a Fighter is unable to do half of what's expected of a competent soldier, while complaining how he bench presses too much.

Psyren
2019-05-15, 03:50 PM
Great example.

But D&D does let you swim in armor. The difficulty of doing so is modeled by the armor check penalty applying to your swim check, but in no way is it forbidden. So I'm not sure that one is representative of GatG.

gkathellar
2019-05-15, 04:17 PM
But D&D does let you swim in armor. The difficulty of doing so is modeled by the armor check penalty applying to your swim check, but in no way is it forbidden. So I'm not sure that one is representative of GatG.

Well. Depending on the edition we’re talking about, some or all armor-related check penalties are excessive in a way that suggests the GatG fallacy on the part of the designers. This is especially true of 3.5, in which armor check penalties are out of touch with reality.

But more broadly, the informal fallacy describes something that happens at tables and in discussion, as much as something that can be manifest in design.

Arbane
2019-05-15, 04:29 PM
"As always, magic is limited by your imagination - if you can imagine it happening, it does. And martial powers are limited by your imagination - if you can imagine a reason why it can't happen, it doesn't." - LightWarden

Particle_Man
2019-05-15, 04:36 PM
My favourite is that you cannot tumble in heavy armour . . . unless, of course, you are a dwarf! :smallbiggrin:

Psyren
2019-05-15, 04:46 PM
Well. Depending on the edition we’re talking about, some or all armor-related check penalties are excessive in a way that suggests the GatG fallacy on the part of the designers. This is especially true of 3.5, in which armor check penalties are out of touch with reality.

But more broadly, the informal fallacy describes something that happens at tables and in discussion, as much as something that can be manifest in design.

Agreed, if that check is too onerous/the penalty too high then it's effectively a soft ban. I don't think that's the case though (at least in 3e, can't speak for other editions.)


My favourite is that you cannot tumble in heavy armour . . . unless, of course, you are a dwarf! :smallbiggrin:

This is a good point - sometimes a system will let you do something but not right away, or only if you pay a tax for it. This is another GatG manifestation. So you have the PF fighter able to tumble in heavy armor, but not until level 7, and other classes cannot tumble in medium armor (without being dwarves etc.)

LudicSavant
2019-05-15, 05:06 PM
Well. Depending on the edition we’re talking about, some or all armor-related check penalties are excessive in a way that suggests the GatG fallacy on the part of the designers. This is especially true of 3.5, in which armor check penalties are out of touch with reality.

But more broadly, the informal fallacy describes something that happens at tables and in discussion, as much as something that can be manifest in design.

This.


But D&D does let you swim in armor. The difficulty of doing so is modeled by the armor check penalty applying to your swim check, but in no way is it forbidden. So I'm not sure that one is representative of GatG.

GatG refers to a fallacy that applies to roleplaying games and discussions about roleplaying games in general. Heck we're not even in a D&D-specific forum here.

Frozen_Feet
2019-05-15, 05:13 PM
I'd like to add that this fallacy can happen in games which have no magic at all. F. ex. a modern day military game can turn bad if people at the table have unrealistically low expectations of what soldiers can do.

PhoenixPhyre
2019-05-15, 05:46 PM
"As always, magic is limited by your imagination - if you can imagine it happening, it does. And martial powers are limited by your imagination - if you can imagine a reason why it can't happen, it doesn't." - LightWarden

This is the key. This double standard is the heart of the GatG bias (it's not a fallacy, really. It's an example of a cognitive bias.)

Cluedrew
2019-05-15, 06:50 PM
I think the only thing I have to say that is new is to call out that it can apply to other types of characters besides "fighter-likes". Limiting social skills because a real person couldn't talk someone into that. Or even worse they couldn't talk me into it (because I am not weak-willed/know what is going on).

The rest is just agreement, it is not letting character be fantastic. You can call it a different way of using magic, alt-science, rule-of-cool or whatever. But if you lock characters out of abilities they should have because "realism".

Will also agree that the realism tends to be a conservative view of what real people can do and that it is not actually a logical fallacy.

PhoenixPhyre
2019-05-15, 06:57 PM
I think the only thing I have to say that is new is to call out that it can apply to other types of characters besides "fighter-likes". Limiting social skills because a real person couldn't talk someone into that. Or even worse they couldn't talk me into it (because I am not weak-willed/know what is going on).

The rest is just agreement, it is not letting character be fantastic. You can call it a different way of using magic, alt-science, rule-of-cool or whatever. But if you lock characters out of abilities they should have because "realism".

Will also agree that the realism tends to be a conservative view of what real people can do and that it is not actually a logical fallacy.

Yeah. Functionally, the "argument from realism" idea is cutting the ability distribution at about +1-2 sigma. Which covers most people, to be sure. But it loses the fat tails that are so common in real life.

Mechalich
2019-05-15, 07:47 PM
Yeah. Functionally, the "argument from realism" idea is cutting the ability distribution at about +1-2 sigma. Which covers most people, to be sure. But it loses the fat tails that are so common in real life.

Well, you should probably model (not cut off) the ability of random NPCs at +1-2 sigma. Skilled persons or specialists should be at +3-4, and true anomalies at +5-6, anything beyond that and you're veering off into the truly impossible. Human height is a nice, functional, example of this, where people who are really tall or really short are unusual and people beyond a certain level of variation simply do not exist.

There are certain things that humans simply cannot do and if your system allows them to do them without any sort of outside enhancement (whether that's magic, cybernetics, ki channeling, or whatever) then you have indeed said 'screw physics.'

You can say 'screw physics' if you want, but when you do that, it means you are abandoning the storytelling principle of Like Reality Unless Otherwise Noted (https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/LikeRealityUnlessNoted) when you do so. That's something you can do, and in some cases something you should do - if you build a game based on the Wizard of Oz for instance - but it's always a choice that should be made deliberately, not simply by playing fast and loose with physics in stupid ways.

PhoenixPhyre
2019-05-15, 07:57 PM
Well, you should probably model (not cut off) the ability of random NPCs at +1-2 sigma. Skilled persons or specialists should be at +3-4, and true anomalies at +5-6, anything beyond that and you're veering off into the truly impossible. Human height is a nice, functional, example of this, where people who are really tall or really short are unusual and people beyond a certain level of variation simply do not exist.

There are certain things that humans simply cannot do and if your system allows them to do them without any sort of outside enhancement (whether that's magic, cybernetics, ki channeling, or whatever) then you have indeed said 'screw physics.'

You can say 'screw physics' if you want, but when you do that, it means you are abandoning the storytelling principle of Like Reality Unless Otherwise Noted (https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/LikeRealityUnlessNoted) when you do so. That's something you can do, and in some cases something you should do - if you build a game based on the Wizard of Oz for instance - but it's always a choice that should be made deliberately, not simply by playing fast and loose with physics in stupid ways.

Not everything is so clear-cut as height. Many things are much broader. But generally true.

As far as physics goes, including magic at all means rewriting all physics from the ground up. Simply stapling magic on top is exactly playing fast and loose with physics in stupid ways, because any meaningful magic at all violates the fundamental principles 100%. And you can still have the epiphenomena be exactly like the real world while having radically different underlying causes.

For example, my setting has no such thing as
* atoms, molecules, or subatomic particles at all
* DNA or even cells
* conservation of energy

Nevertheless, you can reason from "normal" ideas as long as you stay at the surface level, the level accessible without any modern theory. The theoretical underpinnings of all of this are completely different (much closer to Aristotle's 4 element theory + some mysticism + special sauce), but the surface phenomena are mostly the same.

Tvtyrant
2019-05-15, 08:13 PM
I was planning on making an argument against the guy at the gym fallacy in anither thread and realized I don't know precisely what it means. Going back to the original post, it reads as more of an essay than a fallacy, and I am having trouble picking out what, precisely, the fallacy is.

Anyone able to point me in the right direction?

Basically it is the conflict between the carte blanche offered by magic and attempts to maintain some form of realism in mundanes. Magic can let you teleport, time travel, shoot lightning, turn into a dragon, etc. Mundanes can smash a brick with their hand or clear a six foot hurdle.

In game terms it means that mundanes can't deal with a lot of obstacles, and rely on casters to do it for them. Flying monsters, covering long distances quickly, walls of force, etc. They also can't do things like instantly heal themselves, summon bears, or construct a castle in a day.

The issue is largely a legacy of D&D's roots; LotRs has mundanes who are just talented normal people and is the foundation of the mundane classes. Jack Vance is in large part responsible for the magic, where stopping time and summoning monsters is common. Slam disparate source material together and you get weird setting issues.

HouseRules
2019-05-15, 08:29 PM
Guy at the Gym Fallacy has another name. It's called anti Anime, Wuxia, Eastern Fantasy, et cetera cognitive bias.

halfeye
2019-05-15, 08:32 PM
I would like to point that, in 3.5, a STR 18 guy is as strong as a Heavy Warhorse, a STR 19 guy is as strong as a Black Bear, a STR 21 guy is as strong as a Lion, STR 22 guy is as strong as a Bison, and a STR 23 guy is as strong as a Tiger... that's pretty much superhuman from lvl 1...

D&D stronguys aren't athletic humans, they are more like comic book superheroes...

I don't know where you got those creatures from, but as a sequence of strengths, it isn't anywhere near to correct. I would presume a heavy warhorse is a horse that can carry a knight in full armour, and that's pretty much a ploughhorse:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shire_horse


Weight ranges from 850 to 1100 kg (1870 to 2430 lb) for geldings and stallions, with no set standard for mares.[1]

Tigers aren't anything like as heavy or strong.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiger


There is a notable sexual dimorphism between males and females, with the latter being consistently smaller than males. The size difference between males and females is proportionally greater in the large tiger subspecies, with males weighing up to 1.7 times more than females.

...

males ... weigh between 90 and 306 kg (198 and 675 lb)

Cluedrew
2019-05-15, 08:41 PM
You can say 'screw physics' if you want, but when you do that, it means you are abandoning the storytelling principle of Like Reality Unless Otherwise Noted (https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/LikeRealityUnlessNoted) when you do so.What do you mean? {Pulled out an encyclopedic stack of notes and drops them on the table.}

BANG!

Let's talk about air pressure.

Put a different way, forget the physics you know. No I am making a simulation or anything, but it is also not what most people would call handwave-y.

Talakeal
2019-05-15, 09:04 PM
So is martials requiring supwer powers to keep ip with casters part of the fallacy then? The post that coined the term went on about that subject at length, but I havent seen it mentioned much here.

Cluedrew
2019-05-15, 09:17 PM
The post that coined it? You mean you tracked down an early use of it or someone just used it?

And I suppose it depends on how you treat super powers. If super powers "add magical abilities and make them not martials" than yes, if it is a reference to how diverse superheroes are and how they have difference sources of power, than it might be the opposite.

ExLibrisMortis
2019-05-15, 09:22 PM
So is martials requiring supwer powers to keep ip with casters part of the fallacy then? The post that coined the term went on about that subject at length, but I havent seen it mentioned much here.
That post probably started its argument from the 3.5 situation and the assumption Grod identified here:

Either everyone (at a given level/xp total/whatever) has to be a guy at the gym, or no-one can be. (Or you're doing an intentionally asymmetrical game, which is fine but not common)
(The assumption being that there should be a level playing field between classes that use explicit magic, and classes that don't.)

From that perspective, it makes sense that you discuss the kind of things martials need to "keep up", and compare that to what 3.5 provides, which isn't much.

Pauly
2019-05-15, 09:22 PM
There is another problem, which is that the rules writers themselves don’t properly understand what it is they are modeling.

In D+D swinging a sword is mainly a strength based exercise, yet in reality what D&D covers under Dexterityy (speed and accuracy of movement) is probably more important to real sword fights. NB l assume no difference in skill/technique/experience. Then there is the whole issue of Constitution which as a proxy for aerobic fitness should be far more important in determining the outcome of any fight longer than 3 or 4 blows.

So when people start using the guy at the gym fallacy they are already arguing based on the assumption that the rules model the world somewhat realistically. Which often is not a valid assumption.

The Insanity
2019-05-15, 10:03 PM
The physics make that sort of thing not quite the "feat of epic fantasy" that media coverage makes it out to be. Yeah, it takes a very strong person, but it's not like people pulling airplanes a few meters by hand is proof of possibility for the sorts of blatantly impossible, orders of magnitude more extreme things people want their "no no he's totally mundane no magic or fantastic ability at all" characters to be routinely capable of.

For some reason, the fact that one person once did something seemingly nuts that one time, is taken by some to mean that all "no no he's totally mundane no magic or fantastic ability at all" characters should be capable of doing that thing routinely and reliably.
No, not all. Just the exceptional people, heroes, you know, like PCs.


What I see more often than the "guy at the gym" fallacy is its inverse -- the player who wants his "guy at the gym" heroic fantasy character to be able to do things that are simply physically impossible for any (unaugmented) human being who ever lived or will ever live, even at a hypothetical level of achievement, things that would shred muscles and break bones and burst hearts because of the forces involved.
Fixed that for you.

Mechalich
2019-05-16, 01:11 AM
No, not all. Just the exceptional people, heroes, you know, like PCs.

A character can be exceptional and heroic without surmounting the height of human capability in any area. In fact, since achievement records are set by incredibly focused specialists and heroic types are likely to be more well-rounded they are actually much more likely to be significantly below peak capability in any given area, though well-above average in many.


Fixed that for you.

The desire for a heroic fantasy character to do things that character is not justified in being able to do by some mechanism is a juvenile impulse to be able to disregard the rules because one deserves to be special.

If a character is able to exceed what is physically possible for a human they need to be relying upon some sort of external resource. That could be an explicit magical resource - like divine blessing, ki, or mutant powers - or it could be an implicit narrative resource like Fate Points or Moxie that allows a character to bend probabilities and produces impossibly fortuitous outcomes.

Alternatively the world could function differently and human limits might be something unusual, but that has profound impacts on how everything in the resulting game functions. It's not impossible for games to be structured that way, and in fact far future games where everyone has access to sufficiently advanced technology necessarily must be built this way, but the resulting setting will not be a traditional quasi-medieval fantasy world.

Frozen_Feet
2019-05-16, 03:22 AM
So is martials requiring supwer powers to keep ip with casters part of the fallacy then?

No. I repeat what I said earlier:


I'd like to add that this fallacy can happen in games which have no magic at all. F. ex. a modern day military game can turn bad if people at the table have unrealistically low expectations of what soldiers can do.

The reason why magic comes up as a contrasting point is because secondary world fantasy is the most popular genre of RPGs, to the point other genres aren't discussed or even acknowledged by a lot of people.

The necessity for a character to keep up with superpowers does compound the effect of the fallacy, if magic is ill-defined. So you get the situation in d20 where a peak human is supposed to be balanced with a novice spellcaster, but the peak human is bounded by reality where as a novice spellcaster gets to break physics in arbitrary ways.

Florian
2019-05-16, 03:53 AM
I was planning on making an argument against the guy at the gym fallacy in anither thread and realized I don't know precisely what it means. Going back to the original post, it reads as more of an essay than a fallacy, and I am having trouble picking out what, precisely, the fallacy is.

Anyone able to point me in the right direction?

Guy in the Gym is actually quite easy to explain: Someone picks a more or less random benchmark and declares it to be the limit of what can be reached/done as part of the "mundane spectrum". That can be something as simple as "the best trained guy at my gym / yoga course / karate dojo / army unit can reach (this height), everything above that is impossible", to the more elaborate approach of using statistics based on our physical reality and arguing based on defaults, base-lines and 1 to 2 sigma derivations from it. Everything else is the "magical spectrum".

The logical fallacy here is, that the whole argument is grounded either in personal perception / experience / taste, or in ignoring that statistics based on our reality still have up to 3 and 4 sigma outliers and that we are most often not talking about our reality, so those statistics mean nothing when talking about a fantasy / scifi reality.

As for your follow-up question, yes, those are related. In abstract, when the "mundane spectrum" is limited to a range of 1-10 before the GatG fallacy sets in, while the "magic spectrum" is limited to 1-20 there's a problem when we want have any kind of parity along the whole 1-20 route.

@Mechalich:

See, this is why I don't like discussing certain things with folks like Max and you. You guys simply are not honest at all and act as if your personal preference is universal truth. Calling something out as being juvenile is just the icing on the cake here.

Yadda yadda, policemen and firefighters are heroes because they do dangerous stuff within the limits of what is humanly possible. So? Playing something like Hercules or Archiles is exploring about what lies beyond the boundaries of what is humanly possible and how the challenges on that level could look like. Don't compare that to power-tripping or fantasy fulfillment, as not everyone of us is a adolescent.

Clistenes
2019-05-16, 05:04 AM
I don't know where you got those creatures from, but as a sequence of strengths, it isn't anywhere near to correct. I would presume a heavy warhorse is a horse that can carry a knight in full armour, and that's pretty much a ploughhorse:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shire_horse



Tigers aren't anything like as heavy or strong.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiger

Those are the canon abilities of the animals in 3.5.

Strength, like all abilites, in an abstraction that encompases stuff like climbing, swimming, grappling and melee fighting... Heavy horses can carry a heavier load than tigers, but tigers are better climbers, grapplers and fighters... hence, superior strength...

The system is far from perfect, but those are the rules...

gkathellar
2019-05-16, 05:40 AM
The desire for a heroic fantasy character to do things that character is not justified in being able to do by some mechanism is a juvenile impulse to be able to disregard the rules because one deserves to be special.

... even if we accept the dubious premises that power fantasies are necessarily juvenile, or that juvenile things are necessarily bad, is that really different from wanting to be a wizard? There's not a ton of intrinsic difference between, "I want to be able to sword things so hard they explode," and "I want to be able to wave my hands and shout some gobbledygook at things so hard they explode." Both are power fantasies, yes, in the sense that they are fantasies about having power, but that says very little about the story that power will be used to tell, and is in any case the specific reason why a lot of people come to this hobby.


Those are the canon abilities of the animals in 3.5.

Strength, like all abilites, in an abstraction that encompases stuff like climbing, swimming, grappling and melee fighting... Heavy horses can carry a heavier load than tigers, but tigers are better climbers, grapplers and fighters... hence, superior strength...

Those of us who were raised on 3.5 usually forget it because that game spends so much time telling people that it's universal, but as you say, systems deal in abstractions that are meant to interact with certain concepts and quantities, and not with others.

Drascin
2019-05-16, 06:08 AM
Basically, in the end it's about people using "realism" to argue for why some character types should be inferior to others. "Guy at the Gym" is about how for a specific strain of fan of western fantasy, "magic" gets to do anything, while "not magic" only gets to do things a normal, if fit, human could reasonably do without excessive effort (the proverbial "guy at the gym"), and generally a fairly limited subset of said thing at that.

It comes in many varieties, from "realistic prerequisites" ("learning how to shoot a bow is very hard, which I know because I've done in real life, so you have to spend ten XP to learn it. I don't know how hard it is to learn a new way to reshape the laws of the universe because spells don't exist, so let's say three XP a spell to be fair"), to "realistic limitations" ("no, obviously you can't lift that huge cart over your head, even if you had the strength - which you don't because no real humans can do that - the cart would break over you from the forces involved. What? Oh, sure, psychic warrior, you can lift that hut and throw it at the bad guy with your psionic strength") to half a dozen more styles I can't really be arsed to go into.

In the end, it comes down to holding magical characters to a lot less scrutiny because, well, you can always wave your hands and go "magic!".

Conradine
2019-05-16, 06:33 AM
I would like to point that, in 3.5, a STR 18 guy is as strong as a Heavy Warhorse, a STR 19 guy is as strong as a Black Bear, a STR 21 guy is as strong as a Lion, STR 22 guy is as strong as a Bison, and a STR 23 guy is as strong as a Tiger... that's pretty much superhuman from lvl 1...

There's the Size rule. A human with 18 STR can't lift the same weight as an Ogre of the same STR. But he can hit more or less as effectively - with a weapon. It's not too unrealistic: a man can kill an horse, or even a black bear, swinging a sword or an axe.

hamishspence
2019-05-16, 06:55 AM
Those are the canon abilities of the animals in 3.5.

Strength, like all abilites, in an abstraction that encompases stuff like climbing, swimming, grappling and melee fighting... Heavy horses can carry a heavier load than tigers, but tigers are better climbers, grapplers and fighters... hence, superior strength...

The system is far from perfect, but those are the rules...

A case could be made that heavy horses are under-strength (or they represent very early heavy horse - with Shire Horses being much stronger than D&D ones).

Because tigers and heavy horse are both Large quadrupeds, their lift/drag capabilities will be comparable if their STRs are comparable.

Max_Killjoy
2019-05-16, 07:01 AM
No, not all. Just the exceptional people, heroes, you know, like PCs.


That's... a huge tangled nest of unspoken assumptions.




Fixed that for you.


So you just deliberately misquoted me. Nice.

You didn't fix it, you just demonstrated that you aren't aware of what I'm talking about.

There are players who demand that their character be entirely, utterly, purely not-fantastic, not-magic, not-superhuman... that is, the "guy at the gym"... but also able to keep up with or even exceed the sort of superhuman spellcasters that are present in some systems/settings.

Maybe their favorite characters from fiction are entirely, utterly, purely not-fantastic, not-magic, not-superhuman "fighters" who -- through steel and cleverness and grit and the flexing of their mighty thews -- best the sorcerers and warlocks and evil priests they come up against... magic is no match for the red-blooded might or ingenuity of a true hero, or whatever. But they're conflating those villains with the spellcasters of a system like D&D, and mistakenly assuming that they can get the same thing out of that kind of system and setting.

If a player wants their entirely, utterly, purely not-fantastic, not-magic, not-superhuman character to be "balanced" with the spellcasters throughout the campaign all the way to the progression cap... then they're barking up the wrong tree with systems like D&D.

Talakeal
2019-05-16, 07:08 AM
So basically it is a fallacy on the part of game designers, house rulers, and GMs making rulings that limits what martial characters can do based on reality?

And there are basically many levels, ranging from limiting them to what is theoretically possible in reality to limiting them to what the individual making the rule has personally done / witnessed by "some guy at the gym.



The post that coined it? You mean you tracked down an early use of it or someone just used it?

And I suppose it depends on how you treat super powers. If super powers "add magical abilities and make them not martials" than yes, if it is a reference to how diverse superheroes are and how they have difference sources of power, than it might be the opposite.

Afaict the comcept originated in this (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?303089-The-Guy-at-the-Gym-Fallacy) post.

Max_Killjoy
2019-05-16, 07:11 AM
Guy in the Gym is actually quite easy to explain: Someone picks a more or less random benchmark and declares it to be the limit of what can be reached/done as part of the "mundane spectrum". That can be something as simple as "the best trained guy at my gym / yoga course / karate dojo / army unit can reach (this height), everything above that is impossible", to the more elaborate approach of using statistics based on our physical reality and arguing based on defaults, base-lines and 1 to 2 sigma derivations from it. Everything else is the "magical spectrum".

The logical fallacy here is, that the whole argument is grounded either in personal perception / experience / taste, or in ignoring that statistics based on our reality still have up to 3 and 4 sigma outliers and that we are most often not talking about our reality, so those statistics mean nothing when talking about a fantasy / scifi reality.


They do if you want the setting to be roughly like one with real-world people living in it, such as the quasi-medival Europe or "period piece" settings of most fantasy RPGs.

You can do a setting where the people are different, or a setting where magic or "science" has given everyone significantly different capabilities, but is that setting really what most players want out of their fantasy RPGs? A setting where a totally not fantastic, not magical, etc, "hero" can leap over a 20 foot wall doesn't look anything like quasi-medieval Europe.

Or of course you can say "screw worldbuilding" and assert that the "heroic fighters" are totally not fantastic or magical or supernatural or whatever, nope, just normal men doing "the heroic"... while that radical departure in human capability isn't reflected anywhere else or any way else in the setting.




As for your follow-up question, yes, those are related. In abstract, when the "mundane spectrum" is limited to a range of 1-10 before the GatG fallacy sets in, while the "magic spectrum" is limited to 1-20 there's a problem when we want have any kind of parity along the whole 1-20 route.


That's the flipside... when people want their not-fantastic character on the 1-20 scale with the fantastic characters.

Max_Killjoy
2019-05-16, 07:19 AM
So basically it is a fallacy on the part of game designers, house rulers, and GMs making rulings that limits what martial characters can do based on reality?

And there are basically many levels, ranging from limiting them to what is theoretically possible in reality to limiting them to what the individual making the rule has personally done / witnessed by "some guy at the gym.


If the setting has established (explicitly or implicitly) that the people of that setting are largely like the people of the real world, then limiting characters who aren't fantastic to what's possible for the people of the real world (not the myths or misunderstandings or personal anecdotes) is not a fallacy.

Half the problem is that some people want to eat their cake and have it too. They want their non-fantastic characters to be able to do blatantly fantastic things, and compete evenly with blatantly fantastic characters, while insisting that their own non-fantastic character is totally totally not fantastic.

The other half of the problem, the one that's more acknowledged, is that other people mistake spellcasting and the like for the whole of magic, and thus the whole of fantastic, and insist that non-spellcasting characters must be limited by real world physical and mental limits, and cannot be fantastic at all.

The solutions for a D&D-like setting and system are... to stop demanding that non-spellcasters be totally not fantastic at all, or to reduce what spellcasters are capable of so that non-fantastic characters can keep up, or to just say "screw worldbuilding" and decide that not-fantastic characters can just somehow do the fantastic things needed to keep up with spellcasters and the like without following through with all the implications that inherently come from that.

Mechalich
2019-05-16, 07:30 AM
@Mechalich:

See, this is why I don't like discussing certain things with folks like Max and you. You guys simply are not honest at all and act as if your personal preference is universal truth. Calling something out as being juvenile is just the icing on the cake here.

Yadda yadda, policemen and firefighters are heroes because they do dangerous stuff within the limits of what is humanly possible. So? Playing something like Hercules or Archiles is exploring about what lies beyond the boundaries of what is humanly possible and how the challenges on that level could look like. Don't compare that to power-tripping or fantasy fulfillment, as not everyone of us is a adolescent.

Did you actually read what I wrote? I specifically said:

The desire for a heroic fantasy character to do things that character is not justified in being able to do by some mechanism is a juvenile impulse to be able to disregard the rules because one deserves to be special.

'Mechanism' is very important. Hercules and Achilles are perfectly viable characters, but their power is also directly traceable to a mechanism - they are both part god. Saying 'my character can do all this awesome stuff because reasons' is entirely different. It's an attempt to have one's game design both ways and it doesn't work and trying to make it work makes it worse for everyone else.

If you want a character who can perform feats that are blatantly impossible for any human to achieve without some form of force multiplier then you've decided that your game should function according to the fiat principles of magical realism. That's something you can do, but at that point you might as well be freeform gaming, because the rules are now not helping produce your gaming experience and are in fact actively hindering it.

Demanding a character have powers they cannot mechanically justify is part and parcel of arguing with the GM for special bonuses. The latter happens all the time and is generally recognized as toxic to gameplay. If you take the former and bake it into the system it's toxic to the design.

The Insanity
2019-05-16, 08:15 AM
That's... a huge tangled nest of unspoken assumptions.
Like?


So you just deliberately misquoted me. Nice.

You didn't fix it, you just demonstrated that you aren't aware of what I'm talking about.
Oh. Uhh... funny story (not really). I actually DID consider that that's what you meant, but I dismissed it because the people you were talking about sounded like idiots and my thought was (and I quote) "people aren't that stupid." What's even funnier is that the moment I read your clarification I remembered you saying pretty much the same stuff in the (not that distant) past, probably even in this very thread.
TL;DR: You're right. I'm sorry.

Rhedyn
2019-05-16, 08:38 AM
In Savage Worlds, any character with a running start and a lucky athletics roll can jump 24 feet across or 12 feet vertically in the air. This is not special. This is a game with a baseline assumption of Pulpy action heroes.

Meanwhile in some games, a guy who can slay the mightiest demon in 6 seconds and is masterful at jumping may be able to rarely (5%) jump 11ft in the air.

Max_Killjoy
2019-05-16, 08:55 AM
Did you actually read what I wrote? I specifically said:


'Mechanism' is very important. Hercules and Achilles are perfectly viable characters, but their power is also directly traceable to a mechanism - they are both part god. Saying 'my character can do all this awesome stuff because reasons' is entirely different. It's an attempt to have one's game design both ways and it doesn't work and trying to make it work makes it worse for everyone else.

If you want a character who can perform feats that are blatantly impossible for any human to achieve without some form of force multiplier then you've decided that your game should function according to the fiat principles of magical realism. That's something you can do, but at that point you might as well be freeform gaming, because the rules are now not helping produce your gaming experience and are in fact actively hindering it.

Demanding a character have powers they cannot mechanically justify is part and parcel of arguing with the GM for special bonuses. The latter happens all the time and is generally recognized as toxic to gameplay. If you take the former and bake it into the system it's toxic to the design.

Yeap -- Hercules and Achilles are both explicitly fantastic characters, different from normal "mundane" people for known reasons.

Max_Killjoy
2019-05-16, 08:56 AM
In Savage Worlds, any character with a running start and a lucky athletics roll can jump 24 feet across or 12 feet vertically in the air. This is not special. This is a game with a baseline assumption of Pulpy action heroes.


Are all people able to do that, or just PCs "because heroes" ?




Meanwhile in some games, a guy who can slay the mightiest demon in 6 seconds and is masterful at jumping may be able to rarely (5%) jump 11ft in the air.


Some of that is just more basic mechanical issues with the system, not a deliberate statement about character capability.

FaerieGodfather
2019-05-16, 09:03 AM
The solutions for a D&D-like setting and system are... to stop demanding that non-spellcasters be totally not fantastic at all, or to reduce what spellcasters are capable of so that non-fantastic characters can keep up, or to just say "screw worldbuilding" and decide that not-fantastic characters can just somehow do the fantastic things needed to keep up with spellcasters and the like without following through with all the implications that inherently come from that.

This. Pretty much just this, but I can't just post solely to agree with you.

I will point out, instead, that in First Edition AD&D (the one with level titles), the level title for the 8th level Fighter was Superhero. None of the borderline superhuman warrior characters that people are holding up as the pinnacle of non-magical human capability in D&D-- before All-Spellcaster Edition-- would have been written up as higher than 9th level. This is also the level, originally that Paladins and Rangers gained their spellcasting ability.

DM's Option: High Level Camaigns is like the original Epic Level Handbook, except it allows characters to start taking these high-level options starting at 10th or 11th level. Some of these include replacing certain Saving Throws with NWP Checks (for the Warrior and Rogue classes with the best saving throws), evasion and slow fall and water walk for Rogues (and shadow walk and nondetection, too).


Demanding a character have powers they cannot mechanically justify is part and parcel of arguing with the GM for special bonuses. The latter happens all the time and is generally recognized as toxic to gameplay. If you take the former and bake it into the system it's toxic to the design.

Literally nobody is arguing for that. They're arguing that the rules should include more provisions for non-"magical" superhuman abilities and that Idiot DMs should stop nerfing the abilities they already should have, under the rules, to make a game with 9th level spells more realistic.


Yeap -- Hercules and Achilles are both explicitly fantastic characters, different from normal "mundane" people for known reasons.

Well, now all we need is to identify what class and race they are and we can all go home and play that, instead of complaining that our 12th level Human Fighters are Guys at the Gym.

Rhedyn
2019-05-16, 09:24 AM
Are all people able to do that, or just PCs "because heroes" ?PC do it easier but anyone can because movie logic, real world average person jump distances don't look as cool.

Kurald Galain
2019-05-16, 09:31 AM
I will point out, instead, that in First Edition AD&D (the one with level titles), the level title for the 8th level Fighter was Superhero. None of the borderline superhuman warrior characters that people are holding up as the pinnacle of non-magical human capability in D&D-- before All-Spellcaster Edition-- would have been written up as higher than 9th level.

So by "superhero", are you referring to Hawkeye, Buffy, Black Panther, Captain Marvel, or Superman? If Hawkeye is level 8, then Heracles or Cuchulainn could conceivably still be level 15.

Florian
2019-05-16, 09:41 AM
@Max_Killjoy:

You're constantly repeating your own version of the Guy in the Gym. When you are serious with your world building, none of what happens in our world is really of relevance, even the things that we describe as "humans" in the game bear only a passing semblance to what we will model for the in-game reality based on the altered parameters we will have.

halfeye
2019-05-16, 09:47 AM
Those are the canon abilities of the animals in 3.5.

Strength, like all abilites, in an abstraction that encompases stuff like climbing, swimming, grappling and melee fighting... Heavy horses can carry a heavier load than tigers, but tigers are better climbers, grapplers and fighters... hence, superior strength...

The system is far from perfect, but those are the rules...

I don't know the rules, and I'm not interested in them, but I am interested in animals.

Strength is a word about a particular sort of ability (mostly pulling things, pushing things and lifting things). Horses are very strong, elephants are stronger. The word for the ability D&D seems to be misnaming strength is dangerousness. Tigers are much more dangerous to people than horses are, but people are much more dangerous to tigers than people are dangerous to horses, because horses are property. And then, venomous snakes kill more people than tigers do.

Max_Killjoy
2019-05-16, 09:59 AM
@Max_Killjoy:

You're constantly repeating your own version of the Guy in the Gym. When you are serious with your world building, none of what happens in our world is really of relevance, even the things that we describe as "humans" in the game bear only a passing semblance to what we will model for the in-game reality based on the altered parameters we will have.

Someone describing other people's mistakes is not "repeating their own version of" those mistakes.

If you're serious about your worldbuilding, then you follow through with the effects of those altered parameters, and you make sure your setting stands on its own independent of "the game".

Florian
2019-05-16, 10:00 AM
I don't know the rules, and I'm not interested in them, but I am interested in animals.

Strength is a word about a particular sort of ability (mostly pulling things, pushing things and lifting things). Horses are very strong, elephants are stronger. The word for the ability D&D seems to be misnaming strength is dangerousness. Tigers are much more dangerous to people than horses are, but people are much more dangerous to tigers than people are dangerous to horses, because horses are property. And then, venomous snakes kill more people than tigers do.

It´s basically a modeling error. The STR score governs both, carrying capacity as well as physical damage, while HD and CON govern both, endurance as well as physical robustness.

So they locked themselves in a modeling dead end: For a tiger to take down a gazelle, deer or whatever the way they do, they need extremely high STR score to manage that. In a way, here we´re back again at GatG, as a starting human cannot be as deadly in HtH combat against the same target as the tiger (and then we have druids summoning tigers, while riding a tiger and shapeshifting into a tiger and wondering why their raw performance outshines the fighter. substitute bears if you want).


Someone describing other people's mistakes is not "repeating their own version of" those mistakes.

If you're serious about your worldbuilding, then you follow through with the effects of those altered parameters, and you make sure your setting stands on its own independent of "the game".

Sure, can do. A fun exercise in logic and extrapolation, but more or less absolute unnecessary, especially when it comes to verisimilitude. There're other ways to go about it.

Frozen_Feet
2019-05-16, 10:48 AM
So basically it is a fallacy on the part of game designers, house rulers, and GMs making rulings that limits what martial characters can do based on reality?

No. It's on part of the players. Even a GM is just one of the players. It's part of a larger issue: namely, that verisimilitude and suspension of disbelief are highly arbitrary.

GMs and game designers may set up the rules, but it is players who show up to the games with their expectations and preferences, and the games just fail if they walk away. Furthermore, majority of GMs and game designers were players at some point and they design their rules to reflect their own antipathies and preferences.

Kyutaru
2019-05-16, 10:55 AM
I will point out, instead, that in First Edition AD&D (the one with level titles), the level title for the 8th level Fighter was Superhero. None of the borderline superhuman warrior characters that people are holding up as the pinnacle of non-magical human capability in D&D-- before All-Spellcaster Edition-- would have been written up as higher than 9th level. This is also the level, originally that Paladins and Rangers gained their spellcasting ability.

Similarly, Gandalf was only a 5th level Wizard and look at how awesome he was. The dude never cast a single spell higher than Fireball yet praise be his name when speaking of spellcasters. Just goes to show you that having an overpowered racial template like half-angel is all anyone needs to be the star of the story. So if you don't like your martial weakness, ask your DM to maybe make him a werewolf.

Talakeal
2019-05-16, 10:57 AM
No. It's on part of the players. Even a GM is just one of the players. It's part of a larger issue: namely, that verisimilitude and suspension of disbelief are highly arbitrary.

GMs and game designers may set up the rules, but it is players who show up to the games with their expectations and preferences, and the games just fail if they walk away. Furthermore, majority of GMs and game designers were players at some point and they design their rules to reflect their own antipathies and preferences.

How does it come up then? Is it purely fluff? Like If two players are playing by the RAW and one of them imagines their level 20 barbarian as Conan and the other as Hercules, the game will still work fine except for a disconnect in how they fluff their actions and thast starts an argument or what?

Max_Killjoy
2019-05-16, 10:57 AM
Similarly, Gandalf was only a 5th level Wizard and look at how awesome he was. The dude never cast a single spell higher than Fireball yet praise be his name when speaking of spellcasters. Just goes to show you that having an overpowered racial template like half-angel is all anyone needs to be the star of the story. So if you don't like your martial weakness, ask your DM to maybe make him a werewolf.


To me, that's more of a problem of trying to use the D&D mechanics to model non-D&D material... and getting strange results.

Kyutaru
2019-05-16, 11:05 AM
To me, that's more of a problem of trying to use the D&D mechanics to model non-D&D material... and getting strange results.

Maybe. Or since D&D material is modelled after this material, it's more likely that the setting is extremely mundane. Boromir died to a few arrows. Like... way to crit Lurtz. None of the fellowship does anything drastically impressive that normal humans couldn't do except Gandalf's extremely limited parlor tricks. He fails a saving throw against Hold Person in the battle with Sauron and that's the end of his valor. He fights a balrog with Lightning Bolt while falling eight thousand miles. I swear, the fall damage killed the beast, not the wizard. Aragorn is a ranger with a magic sword that only ever fights ORCS. And Frodo? He has a Ring of Invisibility and a +1 orc bane shortsword.

You can make an epic fantasy story with the most mundane of characters.

Max_Killjoy
2019-05-16, 11:06 AM
How does it come up then? Is it purely fluff? Like If two players are playing by the RAW and one of them imagines their level 20 barbarian as Conan and the other as Hercules, the game will still work fine except for a disconnect in how they fluff their actions and thast starts an argument or what?

The other players, GM or otherwise, will try to restrict the level 20 barbarian's actions and abilities to that of a "guy at the gym", because he's not a spellcaster, and therefore they mistakenly believe he's "just a guy without any magic".

Looking at the abilities and class-specific rules for a level 20 barbarian, clearly he's not a "guy at the gym" or "normal person"... he's a fantastic individual who does things that are an order of magnitude beyond possible for "normal people", he has his own "magic" in that setting (not spells, magic, as in something fantastic that sets him apart from "normal people").

In a setting that features D&D-style barbarian characters, and paladin characters, clearly the underlying "magic" of the fictional reality responds to both overwhelming emotion (rage) and fervent dedication (oaths). In the latter case, it's part and parcel of much myth, legend, and fiction that oaths and vows have real power, that something (the very fabric of reality, or the gods, or Fate, or whatever) listens to oaths, rewards those who make and keep them, and punishes those who break them.

Max_Killjoy
2019-05-16, 11:12 AM
Maybe. Or since D&D material is modelled after this material, it's more likely that the setting is extremely mundane. Boromir died to a few arrows. Like... way to crit Lurtz. None of the fellowship does anything drastically impressive that normal humans couldn't do except Gandalf's extremely limited parlor tricks. He fails a saving throw against Hold Person in the battle with Sauron and that's the end of his valor. He fights a balrog with Lightning Bolt while falling eight thousand miles. I swear, the fall damage killed the beast, not the wizard. Aragorn is a ranger with a magic sword that only ever fights ORCS. And Frodo? He has a Ring of Invisibility and a +1 orc bane shortsword.

You can make an epic fantasy story with the most mundane of characters.

As much as LOTR is credited as core inspiration for D&D, as much as D&D takes names and basic concepts from LOTR and then makes them something else to fit D&D... the actual thing clearly draws far more widely and deeply from other sources. D&D is simply a bad system for "emulating" LOTR.

Gandolf isn't a D&D wizard, he's Gandolf.
Aragorn isn't a D&D ranger, he's Aragorn.
LOTR orcs really aren't D&D orcs.
LOTR rangers aren't D&D rangers.
LOTR elves really aren't D&D elves.

Etc.

Friv
2019-05-16, 11:17 AM
Someone describing other people's mistakes is not "repeating their own version of" those mistakes.

If you're serious about your worldbuilding, then you follow through with the effects of those altered parameters, and you make sure your setting stands on its own independent of "the game".

Someone liking things that are different that the things you like is not a mistake.

Arbane
2019-05-16, 11:17 AM
Yeap -- Hercules and Achilles are both explicitly fantastic characters, different from normal "mundane" people for known reasons.

Good luck finding many characters from mythology who AREN'T part-god somewhere in their family tree. Beowulf, maybe?

Talakeal
2019-05-16, 11:18 AM
The other players, GM or otherwise, will try to restrict the level 20 barbarian's actions and abilities to that of a "guy at the gym", because he's not a spellcaster, and therefore they mistakenly believe he's "just a guy without any magic".

Looking at the abilities and class-specific rules for a level 20 barbarian, clearly he's not a "guy at the gym" or "normal person"... he's a fantastic individual who does things that are an order of magnitude beyond possible for "normal people", he has his own "magic" in that setting (not spells, magic, as in something fantastic that sets him apart from "normal people").

In a setting that features D&D-style barbarian characters, and paladin characters, clearly the underlying "magic" of the fictional reality responds to both overwhelming emotion (rage) and fervent dedication (oaths). In the latter case, it's part and parcel of much myth, legend, and fiction that oaths and vows have real power, that something (the very fabric of reality, or the gods, or Fate, or whatever) listens to oaths, rewards those who make and keep them, and punishes those who break them.

How the **** does a non-GM player have any business telling another player what they can or cannot do while they are following the rules? And who the hell cares what some busy-body fun police has to say about the matter?

As I specified in an earlier post, I can see how it is a problem with DMs making overly restrictive houserules/rulings, but imo saying "Its a player issue, not a DM issue, because the DM is a type of player" is just trying to confuse the issue with semantic loops that don't add anything to the discussion.

Kyutaru
2019-05-16, 11:23 AM
As much as LOTR is credited as core inspiration for D&D, as much as D&D takes names and basic concepts from LOTR and then makes them something else to fit D&D... the actual thing clearly draws far more widely and deeply from other sources. D&D is simply a bad system for "emulating" LOTR.

Gandolf isn't a D&D wizard, he's Gandolf.
Aragorn isn't a D&D ranger, he's Aragorn.
LOTR orcs really aren't D&D orcs.
LOTR rangers aren't D&D rangers.
LOTR elves really aren't D&D elves.

Etc.
And yet it's been LOTR inspired since 1974. Halflings were originally called "hobbits" in the D&D box set first released then. Later printings changed it to "halfling" due to a legal claim in 1976 by the LOTR merchandising crew.

And let's not forget that original D&D has been discussed in this very topic as being extremely low tier. Fighters at lvl 8 were Superheroes. Level 9 was basically Victory conditions and time to retire. Having a party of lvl 2 hobbits, lvl 3 rangers, and a lvl 5 wizard was ENTIRELY NORMAL. It was a theater of the mind game with very few rules and magic that didn't exactly restructure the universe.

What we have since then, and to a degree even in 1st edition, is called Power Creep. People want to pull meteors from the sky and teleport a million miles instead of taking an eagle. They want to summon armies of minions and face literal angels and demons. Some want to challenge the GODS THEMSELVES!

Yet in LOTR, where a CR 5 Troll was a challenging encounter for the party, we were still operating on the early concepts of core D&D where low levels were the norm (few survived past them) and rules/monsters/mechanics/spells were still being developed and added. Gandalf facing a Beholder wouldn't end well.

Unavenger
2019-05-16, 11:26 AM
The guy at the gym "Fallacy" is the belief that people who are limited to what can be done in real life are limited to what can be done in real life.

Max_Killjoy
2019-05-16, 11:40 AM
Someone liking things that are different that the things you like is not a mistake.


If that's what was going on here, maybe, but it's not.

The "guy at the gym" fallacy is a two-sided thing, and laying out the two different mistakes being made is not a matter of "other people like other things".

The two sides:

1) People who don't recognize that in a fantasy setting there can be more to magic, more to fantastic characters, than just spellcasting, and mistakenly assert that all non-spellcasters should be limited in ways that spellcasters are not. That is, they deny the possibility of fantastic characters who are not spellcasters, and expect non-spellcasters to abide by very strict limits based largely on their own rather limited experiences, popular notions of "what's possible", etc.

2) People who insist that their character should be able to keep with fantastic characters, do fantastic things, etc, while still being utterly purely totally non-fantastic, in a setting where utterly purely totally non-fantastic people are pretty much like real-world people.

On the latter, something has to give. If people are as people in the real world, and the character can do things that are blatantly impossible for real people by an order of magnitude or more, then something is fantastic about the character. There's nothing wrong with that.

Alternatively, the setting can restrain magic in ways that a system and "metasetting" like D&D probably never will, so that characters don't need to be fantastic to keep up with spellcasters as the game gets into mid to high levels. There's nothing wrong with that.

Also alternatively, the setting is a gonzo setting that doesn't give a fig, and just operates purely on narrative causality and fiat and just-so stories, with characters' abilities and limits higher than those of other people "because PC" or "because hero" or "because protagonist", with no more reason given or sought. There's nothing wrong with that.


What about that has anything to do with "other people don't have to like what you like"? It's as if I'm saying "I cannot be in Tokyo and London at the same exact instant" or "my car cannot being in reverse and in forward at the same time"... and getting back "shut up that's just your opinion, stop trying to assert your opinion as fact, man".

Florian
2019-05-16, 11:59 AM
If that's what was going on here, maybe, but it's not.

The "guy at the gym" fallacy is a two-sided thing, and laying out the two different mistakes being made is not a matter of "other people like other things".

*Snip*

What about that has anything to do with "other people don't have to like what you like"? It's as if I'm saying "I cannot be in Tokyo and London at the same exact instant" or "my car cannot being in reverse and in forward at the same time"... and getting back "shut up that's just your opinion, stop trying to assert your opinion as fact, man".

No, it´s really more a one-sided thing. GatG is mostly used to shut certain things down that someone personally doesn´t like, most likely on the basis that this something is "breaking their immersion".

This is a game, so the only thing that counts are the players participating in that game. Nothing else, no the rules, not the game world, not the imaginary stuff in the game world, least of all immersion. If someone draws the GatG card, it´s always to block the move of a fellow player and then something is wrong with that given table. (and really, you can all of that stuff in a RPG, as long as you manage to warp your head around it or know how to deal with a paradox)

Talakeal
2019-05-16, 12:04 PM
If that's what was going on here, maybe, but it's not.

The "guy at the gym" fallacy is a two-sided thing, and laying out the two different mistakes being made is not a matter of "other people like other things".

The two sides:

1) People who don't recognize that in a fantasy setting there can be more to magic, more to fantastic characters, than just spellcasting, and mistakenly assert that all non-spellcasters should be limited in ways that spellcasters are not. That is, they deny the possibility of fantastic characters who are not spellcasters, and expect non-spellcasters to abide by very strict limits based largely on their own rather limited experiences, popular notions of "what's possible", etc.

2) People who insist that their character should be able to keep with fantastic characters, do fantastic things, etc, while still being utterly purely totally non-fantastic, in a setting where utterly purely totally non-fantastic people are pretty much like real-world people.

On the latter, something has to give. If people are as people in the real world, and the character can do things that are blatantly impossible for real people by an order of magnitude or more, then something is fantastic about the character. There's nothing wrong with that.

Alternatively, the setting can restrain magic in ways that a system and "metasetting" like D&D probably never will, so that characters don't need to be fantastic to keep up with spellcasters as the game gets into mid to high levels. There's nothing wrong with that.

Also alternatively, the setting is a gonzo setting that doesn't give a fig, and just operates purely on narrative causality and fiat and just-so stories, with characters' abilities and limits higher than those of other people "because PC" or "because hero" or "because protagonist", with no more reason given or sought. There's nothing wrong with that.


What about that has anything to do with "other people don't have to like what you like"? It's as if I'm saying "I cannot be in Tokyo and London at the same exact instant" or "my car cannot being in reverse and in forward at the same time"... and getting back "shut up that's just your opinion, stop trying to assert your opinion as fact, man".


No, it´s really more a one-sided thing. GatG is mostly used to shut certain things down that someone personally doesn´t like, most likely on the basis that this something is "breaking their immersion".

This is a game, so the only thing that counts are the players participating in that game. Nothing else, no the rules, not the game world, not the imaginary stuff in the game world, least of all immersion. If someone draws the GatG card, it´s always to block the move of a fellow player and then something is wrong with that given table. (and really, you can all of that stuff in a RPG, as long as you manage to warp your head around it or know how to deal with a paradox)

There really do seem to be two very different uses of the fallacy, as Max pointed out, which was kind of why I created this thread.

I do agree that it does mostly come up in forum discussions about someone breaking someone else's immersion though. If one person's fantasy is to be Conan and the others is to be High end Dr. strange but the rules are fairly balanced between barbarians and wizards you essentially get the Captain Hobo problem, the narrative simply does not meet one players requisite power fantasy to be satisfying.

Florian
2019-05-16, 12:20 PM
There really do seem to be two very different uses of the fallacy, as Max pointed out, which was kind of why I created this thread.

I do agree that it does mostly come up in forum discussions about someone breaking someone else's immersion though. If one person's fantasy is to be Conan and the others is to be High end Dr. strange but the rules are fairly balanced between barbarians and wizards you essentially get the Captain Hobo problem, the narrative simply does not meet one players requisite power fantasy to be satisfying.

The interesting point how it came to the later? What original bias / preconception did that player have that he expects this difference between the two equally valid choices of Barbarian and Wizard? I mean, we can see it in game system like Fate Core that it works and people can have fun together, despite the narrative / fluff of the actions having more or less the same level of impact in between the players.

Max_Killjoy
2019-05-16, 12:22 PM
No, it´s really more a one-sided thing. GatG is mostly used to shut certain things down that someone personally doesn´t like, most likely on the basis that this something is "breaking their immersion".


That might be your experience overall, but on these forums we've seen several posters push some variant of the inverse GatG fallacy ("I want my character to be a utterly not-fantastic/not-magic/not-supernatural/not-superhuman and yet still able to beat D&D-style high-level spellcasters", #2 on my list) repeatedly since I first started reading posts here, and I've run into it in real life repeatedly as well.




This is a game, so the only thing that counts are the players participating in that game. Nothing else, no the rules, not the game world, not the imaginary stuff in the game world, least of all immersion.


For someone who is quick to accuse others of trying to enshrine subjective opinion, you're also quick to make this sort of assertion about what matters and doesn't matter for an RPG.

Personally, if I wanted "only a game" I'd be playing something besides an RPG... those other elements are just as important to what gives an RPG any sort of appeal at all. And once the fiction layer has been introduced, IMO it needs to live up to a certain standard of pre-campaign and ongoing worldbuilding in the same way that authorial fiction should...

IME it's just as unenjoyable and unsatisfying to have a nonsensical setting for an RPG campaign as it is for a work of fiction, and I've thrown books across the room in disgust for worldbuilding errors that people here would apparently suggest are "just fine" for an RPG setting.

I won't tell people they shouldn't enjoy games with gonzo, or nonsensical, or "just so" settings, that's where the matter of opinion and preference and subjectivity lies. But in turn they don't get to tell me that I can't look for something different.

But whether a setting is gonzo, or nonsensical, or "just so" pure fiat... those aren't purely matters of opinion, inherent contradictions objectively happen, for starters.




If someone draws the GatG card, it's always to block the move of a fellow player and then something is wrong with that given table.


Again, might be your experience, but I've seen both GatG and inverse-GatG at actual gaming tables.




(and really, you can all of that stuff in a RPG, as long as you manage to warp your head around it or know how to deal with a paradox)


Barring some fantastic power or fantastic setting element specifically included... not really. Well, they can happen without, if you're willing to accept a warped setting full of paradoxes.

Max_Killjoy
2019-05-16, 12:26 PM
There really do seem to be two very different uses of the fallacy, as Max pointed out, which was kind of why I created this thread.

I do agree that it does mostly come up in forum discussions about someone breaking someone else's immersion though. If one person's fantasy is to be Conan and the others is to be High end Dr. strange but the rules are fairly balanced between barbarians and wizards you essentially get the Captain Hobo problem, the narrative simply does not meet one players requisite power fantasy to be satisfying.


The interesting point how it came to the later? What original bias / preconception did that player have that he expects this difference between the two equally valid choices of Barbarian and Wizard? I mean, we can see it in game system like Fate Core that it works and people can have fun together, despite the narrative / fluff of the actions having more or less the same level of impact in between the players.

And then the third player says "Wait, what?" in response to Conan (as written by Howard) and Dr Strange (high-end) getting the same results despite utterly discordant "fluff".

Arbane
2019-05-16, 12:30 PM
The guy at the gym "Fallacy" is the belief that people who are limited to what can be done in real life are limited to what can be done in real life.

More like 'people who are limited to what can be done in real life are limited to a BORING subset of what people have done in real life'. Real life includes people falling out of airplanes without parachutes and surviving (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vesna_Vulovi%C4%87), drinking wine on a tightrope halfway across Niagra Falls (https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/the-daredevil-of-niagara-falls-110492884/), stealing a professional stage-magician's pen from his shirt pocket and putting it back (https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2013/01/07/a-pickpockets-tale), and many other things any sane GM would veto immediately as 'unrealistic', because RPGs are supposed to make sense - unlike real life.

Florian
2019-05-16, 12:32 PM
And then the third player says "Wait, what?" in response to Conan (as written by Howard) and Dr Strange (high-end) getting the same results despite utterly discordant "fluff".

Then you take that player aside and explain to him that this system models results, not actions. Declare intentions > Roll Dice > look up results > Describe the whole thing that just happened. A, say, Melee roll has nothing to do with "I try to hit him with my fist", but describes a whole combat sequence.

Max_Killjoy
2019-05-16, 12:37 PM
More like 'people who are limited to what can be done in real life are limited to a BORING subset of what people have done in real life'. Real life includes people falling out of airplanes without parachutes and surviving (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vesna_Vulovi%C4%87), drinking wine on a tightrope halfway across Niagra Falls (https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/the-daredevil-of-niagara-falls-110492884/), stealing a professional stage-magician's pen from his shirt pocket and putting it back (https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2013/01/07/a-pickpockets-tale), and many other things any sane GM would veto immediately as 'unrealistic', because RPGs are supposed to make sense - unlike real life.

There's a tricky grey area there, where one has to consider whether those sorts of one-off, highly exceptional moments should be the new reliable routine for the characters... how much to turn "what happened once" into "what can happen reliably and repeatedly."

There's also the question of when one character combining multiple "real life" extremes goes from "human" to "superhuman". Sure, one person is the world record holder in the deadlift, and another in the 100m sprint, and another in time needed to solve a Rubics cube, and another in dive depth, and another in this, and another in that... but for your setting and campaign, would it be "superhuman" for one person to perform at the human peak level in ALL those things?

I'm not going to push any one answer as "correct", but I am going to push "you need to actively consider these questions" as an objectively positive step in your worldbuilding.

Serenity
2019-05-16, 12:37 PM
If that's what was going on here, maybe, but it's not.

The "guy at the gym" fallacy is a two-sided thing, and laying out the two different mistakes being made is not a matter of "other people like other things".

The two sides:

1) People who don't recognize that in a fantasy setting there can be more to magic, more to fantastic characters, than just spellcasting, and mistakenly assert that all non-spellcasters should be limited in ways that spellcasters are not. That is, they deny the possibility of fantastic characters who are not spellcasters, and expect non-spellcasters to abide by very strict limits based largely on their own rather limited experiences, popular notions of "what's possible", etc.

2) People who insist that their character should be able to keep with fantastic characters, do fantastic things, etc, while still being utterly purely totally non-fantastic, in a setting where utterly purely totally non-fantastic people are pretty much like real-world people.

On the latter, something has to give. If people are as people in the real world, and the character can do things that are blatantly impossible for real people by an order of magnitude or more, then something is fantastic about the character. There's nothing wrong with that.

Alternatively, the setting can restrain magic in ways that a system and "metasetting" like D&D probably never will, so that characters don't need to be fantastic to keep up with spellcasters as the game gets into mid to high levels. There's nothing wrong with that.

Also alternatively, the setting is a gonzo setting that doesn't give a fig, and just operates purely on narrative causality and fiat and just-so stories, with characters' abilities and limits higher than those of other people "because PC" or "because hero" or "because protagonist", with no more reason given or sought. There's nothing wrong with that.


What about that has anything to do with "other people don't have to like what you like"? It's as if I'm saying "I cannot be in Tokyo and London at the same exact instant" or "my car cannot being in reverse and in forward at the same time"... and getting back "shut up that's just your opinion, stop trying to assert your opinion as fact, man".

I think the issue is
A) As has already been touched upon, while we're in agreement that martials should not need to be limited by what's 'realistic', your focus on those who say they're mundane while being fantastic is very easy to misinterpret as condemning them for not being realistic, rather than calling out what you see as a labeling issue/conceptual limitation.
B) More pertinently, while I think it's important to understand from a metal perspective that the character can be fantastic, I'm not sure it's necessary to so explicitly label them as such in-universe. Which is partially also what you're saying, I think, noting how the Barbarian and the Paladin show the 'underlying magic responding to intense emotion and oaths.' Training really, really hard and general 'badassery' and determination could also fall under those categories, but importantly, I don't think people in-universe would have to assume that these exceptional feats were supernatural in nature. Like how Batman can remain a 'normal human' in-universe while still dodging the occasional bullet and surviving getting thrown through stone walls. What he does often blatantly violates physics, and the level of training and drive required to accomplish the feats means they absolutely are exceptional. But in-universe, theoretically, anyone *could* get there, and he can be meaningfully distinguished as just 'a guy from the gym' in comparison to Superman, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, etc.

Max_Killjoy
2019-05-16, 12:45 PM
Then you take that player aside and explain to him that this system models results, not actions. Declare intentions > Roll Dice > look up results > Describe the whole thing that just happened. A, say, Melee roll has nothing to do with "I try to hit him with my fist", but describes a whole combat sequence.

And that's why that system is decidedly not for me. I am the player who says "wait, what?" when wildly divergent "fluff" (and I hate that word in this context) regarding the actual capabilities of the characters isn't reflected in the mechanics.

I don't want "results first, then determine how you got there". I don't want "Make a roll or two for the whole fight and then retroactively work out how it went" as the standard resolution mechanic.

I want "what are you trying to do, specifically, at this moment?" -> "does that succeed?" -> "how does that change the immediate circumstances?" -> repeat.

Arbane
2019-05-16, 12:52 PM
There's a tricky grey area there, where one has to consider whether those sorts of one-off, highly exceptional moments should be the new reliable routine for the characters... how much to turn "what happened once" into "what can happen reliably and repeatedly."


The unintentional skydiver's survival was definitely a fluke, but the tightrope-walker did that 100 times before dying... of diabetes*. The pickpocket swipes things (and puts them back undetected) for a living. Good luck doing THAT in a game where 1 in 20 attempts is doomed to hideous failure.... :smallamused:

*(Wikipedia says he had the rope break on him once, but he wasn't hurt. Two workmen died, though.)

Florian
2019-05-16, 12:54 PM
And that's why that system is decidedly not for me. I am the player who says "wait, what?" when wildly divergent "fluff" (and I hate that word in this context) regarding the actual capabilities of the characters isn't reflected in the mechanics.

I don't want "results first, then determine how you got there". I don't want "Make a roll or two for the whole fight and then retroactively work out how it went" as the standard resolution mechanic.

I want "what are you trying to do, specifically, at this moment?" -> "does that succeed?" -> "how does that change the immediate circumstances?" -> repeat.

And this is what is keeping the Guy at the Gym fallacy, as well as the Caster/Mundane divide, alive and well.

Once you start modeling things in detail and you come to the conclusion that fireball and handgranade might be similar, but sword is inferior to both, you're entering into this territory.

But: The important thing for people who can agree on that Dr. Strange and John McLane can play along side by side is that they agree on both having the same impact, despite different fluff, because the important thing for the participants is to keep the "look & feel" of their chosen character intact and alive.

Kyutaru
2019-05-16, 12:57 PM
Some folks just want to compare Goku and Superman mechanically to know which is superior. It makes sense on Death Battle but not really in a roleplaying game.

Segev
2019-05-16, 01:17 PM
As a general rule, you'll see "The Guy at the Gym" called out as a fallacy when it's used to say, "No, sorry, your level 20 barbarian can't have a non-magical ability to scream with such loud rage that he deals sonic damage in a cone," in a game where that's a perfectly valid (Ex) ability for various monsters.

In other words, most commonly, it's used to call out people for forgetting that (Ex) means "non-magical extraordinary ability," not "non-magical, therefore mundane, if impressive, ability." (Ex) abilities are very much allowed to be in the realm of things mortal men and women in the real world cannot do. Still, you'll see people who argue, "No, that HAS to be magical," or worse, "No, that's impossible, because he's not a magic warrior," forgetting that you can have superhuman without being "magic."

Talakeal
2019-05-16, 01:36 PM
As a general rule, you'll see "The Guy at the Gym" called out as a fallacy when it's used to say, "No, sorry, your level 20 barbarian can't have a non-magical ability to scream with such loud rage that he deals sonic damage in a cone," in a game where that's a perfectly valid (Ex) ability for various monsters.

In other words, most commonly, it's used to call out people for forgetting that (Ex) means "non-magical extraordinary ability," not "non-magical, therefore mundane, if impressive, ability." (Ex) abilities are very much allowed to be in the realm of things mortal men and women in the real world cannot do. Still, you'll see people who argue, "No, that HAS to be magical," or worse, "No, that's impossible, because he's not a magic warrior," forgetting that you can have superhuman without being "magic."

And that is the point where Max and I agree. If you want a custom ability, fine, as long as you pay the cost for it, but it needs to have some sort of mechanism to anchor it to the fiction beyond just "fantasy world yolo!".

Its the same problem I have with ToB, it drastically changes the metaphysics of the setting without ever actually acknowledging that it is doing so.

Rhedyn
2019-05-16, 01:44 PM
As a general rule, you'll see "The Guy at the Gym" called out as a fallacy when it's used to say, "No, sorry, your level 20 barbarian can't have a non-magical ability to scream with such loud rage that he deals sonic damage in a cone," in a game where that's a perfectly valid (Ex) ability for various monsters.

In other words, most commonly, it's used to call out people for forgetting that (Ex) means "non-magical extraordinary ability," not "non-magical, therefore mundane, if impressive, ability." (Ex) abilities are very much allowed to be in the realm of things mortal men and women in the real world cannot do. Still, you'll see people who argue, "No, that HAS to be magical," or worse, "No, that's impossible, because he's not a magic warrior," forgetting that you can have superhuman without being "magic."
Ah but you see, if EX gets too cool then it's Wuxia and we can't have that (probably because of racism).

Max_Killjoy
2019-05-16, 01:46 PM
And this is what is keeping the Guy at the Gym fallacy, as well as the Caster/Mundane divide, alive and well.


Not really.

What keeps those alive is:
* people mistaking any character without blatant spell-magic for "John McLane" and rejecting any non-spell magic/fantastic abilities, thus trying to hold non-casters to the limits of "John McLane".
* people thinking that they can play Dr Strange and "John McLane" in the same setting and campaign, with equal efficacy throughout, while also not distorting the setting.




Once you start modeling things in detail and you come to the conclusion that fireball and handgrenade might be similar, but sword is inferior to both, you're entering into this territory.


A sword is simply different from a fireball or a grenade or a fireball or a fist -- and it's a sword before it's a game mechanic.




But: The important thing for people who can agree on that Dr. Strange and John McLane can play along side by side is that they agree on both having the same impact, despite different fluff, because the important thing for the participants is to keep the "look & feel" of their chosen character intact and alive.


Part of keeping the "look&feel" is having it somehow reflected in the mechanics, or in the way the mechanics are treated during specific interactions. If all the characters are mechanically identical, a good deal of the "look&feel" is lost. Thus, part of the rejection of 4e's extreme version of "everything is the same few basic mechanics just reskinned over and over".

If Dr Strange and some real-world cop have exactly the same impact, they have to have identical or comparable mechanics, and then they've lost part of that "fluff" already.

Kyutaru
2019-05-16, 01:50 PM
And that is the point where Max and I agree. If you want a custom ability, fine, as long as you pay the cost for it, but it needs to have some sort of mechanism to anchor it to the fiction beyond just "fantasy world yolo!".

Its the same problem I have with ToB, it drastically changes the metaphysics of the setting without ever actually acknowledging that it is doing so.

But it's fiction. Wile E Coyote can blow himself up into fine dust and then sweep himself off the stage. Anime and comic logic defies ITSELF quite often to the point that I'm not sure whether Superman can still blow up galaxies with a sneeze or not. Maybe he learned to control his powers so that stops happening?

When we take for granted that giant lizards can breathe fire and fly, I don't think screaming so loud that you cause physical pain is outside of the realm of possibility for that level of fiction. The issue becomes what people are willing to accept and what they aren't. Firing nine crossbow rounds in 6 seconds reloading after each shot, or playing a Fighter/Samurai who stabs people every 0.5 seconds, gets accepted by people's mind logic because the mechanics say they can do it. Monks breaking the speed of sound by stacking movement speed is perfectly okay because "it's just a bunch of rules that work together" and individually each rule seems reasonable. Yet offer up the idea that a Barbarian's lung capacity can be so great that he breaks down walls and suddenly everyone's a physicist.

Segev
2019-05-16, 01:56 PM
And that is the point where Max and I agree. If you want a custom ability, fine, as long as you pay the cost for it, but it needs to have some sort of mechanism to anchor it to the fiction beyond just "fantasy world yolo!".

Its the same problem I have with ToB, it drastically changes the metaphysics of the setting without ever actually acknowledging that it is doing so.

I think it both acknowledges what it's doing, and makes the assertion that it's attempting to bring things up to where they always were meant to be. Fighters, barbarians, rangers, paladins, rogues...they were always supposed to be able to do amazing, inhumanly potent things.

I agree; you want it in the fiction layer to support the mechanics. "My fighter can fly because, um, he can, and it's extraordinary!" isn't very convincing. But "My fighter can leap tall buildings in a single bound!" actually works just fine. No, no human being can leap that high. We can do physics calculations and materials science analysis of the biological parts making up humans to prove it, IRL. But the notion that a man who is sufficiently strong/awesome can jump that high? Easily bought in the fiction layer with the right level of suspension of disbelief.

It's noteworthy that ToB, which you call out by name, does expressly name some of the most blatantly magical effects as supernatural. Making fire sheathe your blades is not claimed to be a non-magical power, no matter how extraordinary. But moving in a blur of motion that lets you get two full attacks in a single round? That is extraordinary, but not magical.

The Guy at the Gym fallacy would claim that the latter must be magic, too, because nobody can move that fast.

Max_Killjoy
2019-05-16, 01:59 PM
But it's fiction. Wile E Coyote can blow himself up into fine dust and then sweep himself off the stage. Anime and comic logic defies ITSELF quite often to the point that I'm not sure whether Superman can still blow up galaxies with a sneeze or not. Maybe he learned to control his powers so that stops happening?


And that's nothing more or less than why you have to be specific and discerning with what material you "take in" in creating a setting. Wile E Coyote's setting is fine for Wile E Coyote campaigns and systems, but it's completely wrong for a high-stakes gritty espionage campaign. Anime and comic "logic" should be restricted to games and campaigns that are specifically for that sort of thing.




When we take for granted that giant lizards can breathe fire and fly, I don't think screaming so loud that you cause physical pain is outside of the realm of possibility for that level of fiction. The issue becomes what people are willing to accept and what they aren't. Firing nine crossbow rounds in 6 seconds reloading after each shot, or playing a Fighter/Samurai who stabs people every 0.5 seconds, gets accepted by people's mind logic because the mechanics say they can do it. Monks breaking the speed of sound by stacking movement speed is perfectly okay because "it's just a bunch of rules that work together" and individually each rule seems reasonable. Yet offer up the idea that a Barbarian's lung capacity can be so great that he breaks down walls and suddenly everyone's a physicist.


If you sit down to design your setting and/or system, and you say "I want barbarians to have a roar of destruction at really high level, how do I make that work?", or "what I've already established in the setting implies that a roar of destruction should be possible..." then great.

But, A is not B, and accepting one impossible thing is not by itself a sufficient justification for any or all other impossible things. See, the "But dragons!" fallacy.

Kyutaru
2019-05-16, 02:01 PM
A sword is simply different from a fireball or a grenade or a fireball or a fist -- and it's a sword before it's a game mechanic.
While we're on that subject, weapons themselves don't even fit reality! No one uses giant swords like Cloud to cleave through multiple enemies. Axe heads are SMALL, the Greataxe is atrociously inconceivable outside of fantasy games. Longswords are a one handed weapon? Are you nuts?! That would be an Arming Sword, completely different weapon. Oh I'm a rogue with high dex and low strength, let me just use a frigging LONGBOW!

Like so many of the weapons used are already Fantastic that it's a wonder why people find issues with their wielders. Guy at the gym fallacy should be extended to include the armory.

Willie the Duck
2019-05-16, 02:06 PM
Ah but you see, if EX gets too cool then it's Wuxia and we can't have that (probably because of racism).

I would, barring evidence, call that out as supposition. People have equally called Ex or ToB stuff as 'Hollywood garbage," "Matrix Bull****," and "Baron Munchausen nuttiness" (which honestly sounds like the best thing ever). I'm pretty sure that there's a completely non-racist desire by some to have realistic heroes doing realistic things. Which is totally fine so long as you don't have hyper-convenient-and-far-reaching-powers wizards in the same balance-scale.

PhoenixPhyre
2019-05-16, 02:06 PM
The "But Dragons" fallacy is a very weak one at best. The existence of dragons (or magic, or anything directly supernatural), by itself, says that the underlying physical laws are completely different than the ones on Earth. Because ours all fall down in a heap as soon as you include anything like that. So one must presume that the underlying physics allow for such things, with all the appropriate consequences. Meaning you cannot directly reason from modern science when dealing with fantastic things. The bundled assumptions are already false, as shown by the existence of the fantastic thing in the first place. The principle of charity suggests that you should assume consistency unless it proves itself as inconsistent--don't judge against Earth, judge against itself.

As I've said, one should assume that D&D settings don't have anything like the modern view of the world, despite outward similarities in phenomena. Biology is different, gravity isn't a result of warped space-time (so black holes due to mass concentrations aren't necessarily a thing, nor are Newtonian Mechanics). Energy and mass are not conserved. If you take the viewpoint of something much more Aristotelian, you'll be closer to the underlying mechanics. And things start making a whole lot more sense that way.

Talakeal
2019-05-16, 02:09 PM
But it's fiction. Wile E Coyote can blow himself up into fine dust and then sweep himself off the stage. Anime and comic logic defies ITSELF quite often to the point that I'm not sure whether Superman can still blow up galaxies with a sneeze or not. Maybe he learned to control his powers so that stops happening?

When we take for granted that giant lizards can breathe fire and fly, I don't think screaming so loud that you cause physical pain is outside of the realm of possibility for that level of fiction. The issue becomes what people are willing to accept and what they aren't. Firing nine crossbow rounds in 6 seconds reloading after each shot, or playing a Fighter/Samurai who stabs people every 0.5 seconds, gets accepted by people's mind logic because the mechanics say they can do it. Monks breaking the speed of sound by stacking movement speed is perfectly okay because "it's just a bunch of rules that work together" and individually each rule seems reasonable. Yet offer up the idea that a Barbarian's lung capacity can be so great that he breaks down walls and suddenly everyone's a physicist.

Internal consistency generally amplifies someones emotional connection to a work of fiction, except maybe an absurdist comedy, and even then it is probably better to set up expectations so that you can defy them.

What are you actually saying in the second paragraph though? It honestly sounds like you just want to break the rules and play Calvin ball, but I don't think that's what you are going for.


I think it both acknowledges what it's doing, and makes the assertion that it's attempting to bring things up to where they always were meant to be. Fighters, barbarians, rangers, paladins, rogues...they were always supposed to be able to do amazing, inhumanly potent things.

I agree; you want it in the fiction layer to support the mechanics. "My fighter can fly because, um, he can, and it's extraordinary!" isn't very convincing. But "My fighter can leap tall buildings in a single bound!" actually works just fine. No, no human being can leap that high. We can do physics calculations and materials science analysis of the biological parts making up humans to prove it, IRL. But the notion that a man who is sufficiently strong/awesome can jump that high? Easily bought in the fiction layer with the right level of suspension of disbelief.

It's noteworthy that ToB, which you call out by name, does expressly name some of the most blatantly magical effects as supernatural. Making fire sheathe your blades is not claimed to be a non-magical power, no matter how extraordinary. But moving in a blur of motion that lets you get two full attacks in a single round? That is extraordinary, but not magical.

The Guy at the Gym fallacy would claim that the latter must be magic, too, because nobody can move that fast.

The biggest offender was the Crusader healing people by channeling extra planar energy. An EX manuever with no explanation for how the crusaders attacks open conduits to this plane, or even to the location / nature of the plane.

Max_Killjoy
2019-05-16, 02:10 PM
I think it both acknowledges what it's doing, and makes the assertion that it's attempting to bring things up to where they always were meant to be. Fighters, barbarians, rangers, paladins, rogues...they were always supposed to be able to do amazing, inhumanly potent things.

I agree; you want it in the fiction layer to support the mechanics. "My fighter can fly because, um, he can, and it's extraordinary!" isn't very convincing. But "My fighter can leap tall buildings in a single bound!" actually works just fine. No, no human being can leap that high. We can do physics calculations and materials science analysis of the biological parts making up humans to prove it, IRL. But the notion that a man who is sufficiently strong/awesome can jump that high? Easily bought in the fiction layer with the right level of suspension of disbelief.

It's noteworthy that ToB, which you call out by name, does expressly name some of the most blatantly magical effects as supernatural. Making fire sheathe your blades is not claimed to be a non-magical power, no matter how extraordinary. But moving in a blur of motion that lets you get two full attacks in a single round? That is extraordinary, but not magical.

The Guy at the Gym fallacy would claim that the latter must be magic, too, because nobody can move that fast.


The Guy at the Gym fallacy would claim that the character can't do "impossible" things, because that character type can't be magic and must be bound by the same limits as a Guy at the Gym. One of the solutions is to just let that guy "be magic" too, where "magic" is used very broadly and not restricted to spellcasting and the like.

The "extra attacks" thing... as someone else noted, Jet Li and Bruce Lee had to slow things down for the camera, because they could attack block and evade faster than the audiences could follow. There's just a misunderstanding of how fast things happen in fights, because people are used to watching cinematic combat and don't understand how stylized it is. Two attacks instead of one is still well within "peak human". The "extra attacks" only get into superhuman territory when it's something like the fighter who can load and fire 8 heavy crossbow shows in about 6 seconds, or strike 8 different targets with a dagger in the blink of an eye.

The leaping over buildings thing, on the other hand... if your "totally not magic, nope, just a really fit human being" character can leap over a building, then you're saying something about the setting that maybe you don't intend to say and that isn't being reflected in the actual setting as shown, or just saying "this entire game is the way it is because I want it this way, reasons be damned".

Max_Killjoy
2019-05-16, 02:13 PM
While we're on that subject, weapons themselves don't even fit reality! No one uses giant swords like Cloud to cleave through multiple enemies. Axe heads are SMALL, the Greataxe is atrociously inconceivable outside of fantasy games. Longswords are a one handed weapon? Are you nuts?! That would be an Arming Sword, completely different weapon. Oh I'm a rogue with high dex and low strength, let me just use a frigging LONGBOW!

Like so many of the weapons used are already Fantastic that it's a wonder why people find issues with their wielders. Guy at the gym fallacy should be extended to include the armory.

And in a setting that was at all "grounded", I'd never allow those giant swords, or the ridiculous versions of axes, and I'd completely ditch the D&D weapon list and start over. Hell, I'd probably ditch D&D's weapon list and start over regardless, for a host of reasons.

(The ever-shifting conflation of large one-handed / arming swords, longswords / bastard swords / hand-and-half swords, and actual great swords, has been a gripe of mine for 30+ years.)

Kyutaru
2019-05-16, 02:14 PM
What are you actually saying in the second paragraph though? It honestly sounds like you just want to break the rules and play Calvin ball, but I don't think that's what you are going for.

That I get literally shocked when people argue against something that fits the level of fiction the campaign setting is already at. I mean if the DM doesn't want it, it won't exist anyway. But to argue it shouldn't even be possible when so much already is that's worse... that's kind of silly. You yourself mentioned internal consistency and that's all I'm advocating for. Not to say that I should have some broken rule ability but to restrain the idea that it shouldn't even be conceivable as a thought because it's "not realistic".

I fully agree with PhoenixPhyre's take on why that is.

Max_Killjoy
2019-05-16, 02:15 PM
The "But Dragons" fallacy is a very weak one at best. The existence of dragons (or magic, or anything directly supernatural), by itself, says that the underlying physical laws are completely different than the ones on Earth. Because ours all fall down in a heap as soon as you include anything like that. So one must presume that the underlying physics allow for such things, with all the appropriate consequences. Meaning you cannot directly reason from modern science when dealing with fantastic things. The bundled assumptions are already false, as shown by the existence of the fantastic thing in the first place. The principle of charity suggests that you should assume consistency unless it proves itself as inconsistent--don't judge against Earth, judge against itself.


But it still stands that a changed underlying "physics" that allows dragons does not automatically allow every other fantastic element ever -- so even judging against itself, dragons are not an open door for the fantasy kitchen sink.

Max_Killjoy
2019-05-16, 02:17 PM
I would, barring evidence, call that out as supposition. People have equally called Ex or ToB stuff as 'Hollywood garbage," "Matrix Bull****," and "Baron Munchausen nuttiness" (which honestly sounds like the best thing ever). I'm pretty sure that there's a completely non-racist desire by some to have realistic heroes doing realistic things. Which is totally fine so long as you don't have hyper-convenient-and-far-reaching-powers wizards in the same balance-scale.

Yeap.

The problem at its core is one of conflicting scales, and the refusal to either avoid or reconcile the conflict.

Segev
2019-05-16, 02:22 PM
The leaping over buildings thing, on the other hand... if your "totally not magic, nope, just a really fit human being" character can leap over a building, then you're saying something about the setting that maybe you don't intend to say and that isn't being reflected in the actual setting as shown, or just saying "this entire game is the way it is because I want it this way, reasons be damned".

I would argue that I am saying something about the setting when I enable that, yes. "This is a world where sufficient training and exercise and talent can let you leap buildings."

Half the time, there's not even a secret technique to it: it's just a lack of the real-world limits to how strong/tough/etc. you can get via exercise and training. "Mythic" need not mean "magic."

Unavenger
2019-05-16, 02:23 PM
More like 'people who are limited to what can be done in real life are limited to a BORING subset of what people have done in real life'. Real life includes people falling out of airplanes without parachutes and surviving (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vesna_Vulovi%C4%87), drinking wine on a tightrope halfway across Niagra Falls (https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/the-daredevil-of-niagara-falls-110492884/), stealing a professional stage-magician's pen from his shirt pocket and putting it back (https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2013/01/07/a-pickpockets-tale), and many other things any sane GM would veto immediately as 'unrealistic', because RPGs are supposed to make sense - unlike real life.

Except, that the famous post uses flying under your own power as one of the things that you should allow your mundane characters to do lest they be considered "Guys at the gym". I have no qualms with people finding reality is unrealistic (https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/RealityIsUnrealistic) to be a fallacy. The guy at the gym post calls out a post by Psyren as committing the fallacy by saying that barbarians should not be able to raise the dead. This is on a whole 'nother level from badass-of-the-week style stuff which I actively advocate mundanes being able to do (in fact, I'm pretty sure I've had the argument that they should be able to do that with you).

PhoenixPhyre
2019-05-16, 02:32 PM
But it still stands that a changed underlying "physics" that allows dragons does not automatically allow every other fantastic element ever -- so even judging against itself, dragons are not an open door for the fantasy kitchen sink.

But it's deployed against lots of things that aren't the fantasy kitchen sink. And there it's an example of the fallacy fallacy. The presumption has to be that things are internally consistent until they explicitly say or demonstrate otherwise.

Segev
2019-05-16, 02:33 PM
Except, that the famous post uses flying under your own power as one of the things that you should allow your mundane characters to do lest they be considered "Guys at the gym". I have no qualms with people finding reality is unrealistic (https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/RealityIsUnrealistic) to be a fallacy. The guy at the gym post calls out a post by Psyren as committing the fallacy by saying that barbarians should not be able to raise the dead. This is on a whole 'nother level from badass-of-the-week style stuff which I actively advocate mundanes being able to do (in fact, I'm pretty sure I've had the argument that they should be able to do that with you).

I can certainly write an excuse for a barbarian to have at the very least a 1 round/level-since-death revivification ability. "Scare them awake" or the like, treating it like a particularly deep sleep.

But again, that's saying some things about the setting if that's not a (Su) ability. If it is a (Su) or (Sp) ability, that says things about the powers a barbarian's rage or intimidation open up.

Max_Killjoy
2019-05-16, 02:34 PM
I would argue that I am saying something about the setting when I enable that, yes. "This is a world where sufficient training and exercise and talent can let you leap buildings."

Half the time, there's not even a secret technique to it: it's just a lack of the real-world limits to how strong/tough/etc. you can get via exercise and training. "Mythic" need not mean "magic."


"Mythic" or "magic" or "fantastic", I don't see much difference in the context of this discussion, and when we're looking at "magic vs not" in the context of whatever specific setting is in question. In a setting with "normal people" as the baseline range of what's possible, leaping over a building on your own strength alone is just as "magic" as casting a fireball spell and conjuring up a flaming explosion out of thin air.

"Training and exercise and talent" still takes you into the realm of stuff most people in that setting can't do, and isn't fundamentally different from what the wizard's mental "training and exercise and talent".

In 5e, the Monk's fantastic abilities are a kind of "magic", focusing "Ki" through training and exercise and talent -- what's the breakpoint between that and a Fighter or Barbarian doing something fantastic, other than the desire to play "nope not magic no sir" guy in the same setting and campaign as a bunch of what are effectively fantasy-superheroes?

Now, if there is no secret technique, and those limits don't exist... why don't non-adventuring characters who live by hours of hard labor and sweat every day ever reach those same massive strength levels? Why aren't there farmers pulling their own plows because they're so strong that the oxen are superfluous? Why aren't there merchants using teams of strong-backed men to haul their goods down the roads instead of bothering with wagons and carts?

Arbane
2019-05-16, 02:37 PM
Anime and comic "logic" should be restricted to games and campaigns that are specifically for that sort of thing.

Yup. The problem is, D&D IS using comic-book logic, but only for monsters and magic-users.

"If the Rogue can't sneak into the Underworld to steal a soul back to life, maybe the Wizard shouldn't be forging their own demiplane."


I would, barring evidence, call that out as supposition. People have equally called Ex or ToB stuff as 'Hollywood garbage," "Matrix Bull****," and "Baron Munchausen nuttiness" (which honestly sounds like the best thing ever). I'm pretty sure that there's a completely non-racist desire by some to have realistic heroes doing realistic things. Which is totally fine so long as you don't have hyper-convenient-and-far-reaching-powers wizards in the same balance-scale.

This guy gets it - it's not JUST the relative incompetence of D&D 3's fighty-types, it's also that they're being compared against the God-Kings of the Overcosmos wizards.

(BTW, there IS a Baron Munchausen RPG. It looks fun to play, and it's hilarious to read, as it's written in-character as the good baron.)


Now, if there is no secret technique, and those limits don't exist... why don't non-adventuring characters who live by hours of hard labor and sweat every day ever reach those same massive strength levels? Why aren't there farmers pulling their own plows because they're so strong that the oxen are superfluous? Why aren't there merchants using teams of strong-backed men to haul their goods down the roads instead of bothering with wagons and carts?

Oxen won't unionize.

Frozen_Feet
2019-05-16, 02:37 PM
How does it come up then? Is it purely fluff? Like If two players are playing by the RAW and one of them imagines their level 20 barbarian as Conan and the other as Hercules, the game will still work fine except for a disconnect in how they fluff their actions and thast starts an argument or what?


How the **** does a non-GM player have any business telling another player what they can or cannot do while they are following the rules? And who the hell cares what some busy-body fun police has to say about the matter?


1) Rules as written only have binding power when all players at the table agree to follow them.
2) This extends to the position of the game master: a GM only has power when players agree to listen to them.
3) There is no game without players.

Corollary to all three: if enough players are willing to vote with their feet, it is RAW and the GM that will bend before cognitive biases.

Furthermore:

4) No rules as written are complete enough to play without interpretation.
5) Not all interpretations can be valid and supported for the same game.

Corollary to these two: if two players have radically different interpretations, sooner or later one of them will attempt something that is not supported by interpretation of the rules they are actually playing under.

Corollary to the corollary: dissonance between exceptation and reality will cause dissatisfaction, dissatisfaction will cause arguments, and arguments are impetus for change.

Conclusion: if enough players have fallacious expectations, it will affect the game at every level, up to and including ending it or changing the entire ruleset of the game to conform to player cognitive biases.

This holds true all the way up to the commercial level. For example, 4th Edition of D&D was designed based on (perceived) desire of the players for a more balanced, structured game. Then 5th Edition of D&D undid vast majority of changes in 4th Edition and made a lot of the mechanics more vague and subject to GM interpretation.

Again: many GMs and game designers were disgruntled players at one point or another. When it comes to tabletop RPGs, the inmates very much run the asylum.

Florian
2019-05-16, 02:38 PM
Yeah, I still don't get why not everyone has a tripple PhD with at least one being in quantum physics and why people are still not millionaires, when it is demonstrated that all of this can happen, so it must apparently be easy and quite common. I also blame the victims that die in all those car crashed, because it´s been demonstrated that you can survive one without a scratch. Yeez! What's up with people nowadays?!

Unavenger
2019-05-16, 02:45 PM
I can certainly write an excuse for a barbarian to have at the very least a 1 round/level-since-death revivification ability. "Scare them awake" or the like, treating it like a particularly deep sleep.

Oh, definitely, especially since the definition of death had to be changed because people kept on actually resurrecting each other. But flying under your own power definitely isn't something that it'd be fallacious to write off as supernatural.


But again, that's saying some things about the setting if that's not a (Su) ability. If it is a (Su) or (Sp) ability, that says things about the powers a barbarian's rage or intimidation open up.

Yes. Often, those are things that I don't want to say about the setting.

Segev
2019-05-16, 02:53 PM
"Mythic" or "magic" or "fantastic", I don't see much difference in the context of this discussion, and when we're looking at "magic vs not" in the context of whatever specific setting is in question. In a setting with "normal people" as the baseline range of what's possible, leaping over a building on your won strength alone is just as "magic" as casting a fireball spell and conjuring up a flaming explosion out of thin air. In general, in D&D, "magic" is distinct from "not" by virtue of there being some sort of energy that is being supplied that is something other than physical prowess. This is most notably detectable in mechanics because AMF shuts magic down, but doesn't shut down "extraordinary" abilities. When I say "mythic," I literally mean "things you would hear about people doing in myths and/or other fiction." A great deal of the feats of demigods and non-divine heroes of old are not couched as "magic" so much as "they're just this awesome, you know?" Thor drinking a third of the ocean, Beowulf wrestling 9 water serpents for days straight without a break until he wears them out and rides their corpses to shore, Orpheus singing so sweetly he persuades Hades to permit him into the Underworld to try to lead his dead wife back to the land of the living, Odyssius being so strong that there exists a bow only he can pull back...each of these are not really portrayed as "magic" (though I'll grant "Thor" can blur the lines by being a god). None of these things would have shut down if somebody cast "negate magic" of some sort on them; they're just that awesome.

Monks in D&D expressly channel ki, and their labeled-as-supernatural powers shut down in AMFs because the ki energy is suppressed.


"Training and exercise and talent" still takes you into the realm of stuff most people in that setting can't do, and isn't fundamentally different from what the wizard's mental "training and exercise and talent".Depends on the setting.

Monks in D&D expressly channel ki, and their labeled-as-supernatural powers shut down in AMFs because the ki energy is suppressed.
A fighter who trains his strength and weapon skills to the point that he can shatter inches of adamantine in six seconds isn't using magic; he's just that amazing with his weapon.
A wizard in D&D isn't "just" skilled; he's doing things to tap into energies that people who haven't studied them (or otherwise obtained access) cannot touch, let alone control.

The first and the last are quashable if magic gets suppressed.

In some settings, "magic" isn't a thing humans do, but rather just a part of the science of the setting. Leaving milk out for the brownies does, in fact, get your house cleaned overnight, but that's not spellcasting; it's just how things work. Working salt and iron into the perimeter of your holding does keep out the fae; you're not a mage for doing it, though: it's just how fae work. Eating only properly "clean" food and engaging in ritual washing isn't magic; it's just how you get the negative energies that permeate the world off of your body and soul so you can do things that only the pure can do.

Refining the chemicals you pulled out of the ground into a volatile substance you put into a heavy, metalic device of meticulous design forged by techniques unknown to any but the finest of dwarven smiths to use it to spark explosions within specially-constructed chambers in order to cause wheels on your horseless carriage to turn is not magic nor alchemy; it's just an understanding of how these elements all work together so you can get the results you want.



Now, if there is no secret technique, and those limits don't exist... why don't non-adventuring characters who live by hours of hard labor and sweat every day ever reach those same massive strength levels? Why aren't there farmers pulling their own plows because they're so strong that the oxen are superfluous? Why aren't there merchants using teams of strong-backed men to haul their goods down the roads instead of bothering with wagons and carts?
Maybe they do. Or maybe they don't push themselves beyond the strength levels necessary for their jobs. Farmers in the real world who work hard all day long aren't all olympic-level weight-lifters. Professional pearl-divers - as impressive as their breath-holding skills are - are not olympic swimmers.

Where you see the (to our real-world perspective) super-human strength and toughness and everything is where those who have it engage each other or equally-epic monsters in ever-increasing challenge.

To look at it from a real-world perspective, if you go to the gym faithfully and always lift 100 lbs in all of your exercises, it gradually gets easier. If you never increase that weight, the resistance, you'll hit a plateau where that's not trivial, but isn't particularly hard. And you won't keep getting stronger. That's what most professionals in our mythic world are doing: they are getting to a point where their daily activities are "easy" (though likely not trivial), and they're not pushing themselves beyond that level because they don't need to to get their work done.


Yes. Often, those are things that I don't want to say about the setting.
And that's fine! The Guy at the Gym Fallacy is when you say such things CAN'T be done, rather than it being your preference that the setting not PERMIT such things be done without magic.

Willie the Duck
2019-05-16, 03:20 PM
(BTW, there IS a Baron Munchausen RPG. It looks fun to play, and it's hilarious to read, as it's written in-character as the good baron.)

I know. I had a copy at some point. IIRC (and I may be completely off base, it has been ages) the actual ruleset is kinda based on/in response to AD&D 2e. Definitely not what Baron Munchausen needs (that is one setting where a narrative-based system would be most appropriate).

Kyutaru
2019-05-16, 03:59 PM
Yeah, I still don't get why not everyone has a tripple PhD with at least one being in quantum physics and why people are still not millionaires, when it is demonstrated that all of this can happen, so it must apparently be easy and quite common. I also blame the victims that die in all those car crashed, because it´s been demonstrated that you can survive one without a scratch. Yeez! What's up with people nowadays?!

Bingo. The reason farmers don't pull their own carts is because they're just that lazy. There's a guy on my planet that can deadlift 1100+ pounds. I certainly can't, nor will I ever, despite it being "within the realm of possibility". I just don't have that level of dedication to gym training. Heck, what kind of diet does he even eat??

Anyone in D&D's setting can become a Fighter. Anyone smart enough can become a Wizard, it's literally a college-learned skill rather than some natural born talent. Anyone can reach 45 Strength with sufficient attribute allocations and magical items then go arm wrestling with dragons. It's perfectly normal for the setting we're talking about. It's Extraordinary but doable.

Max_Killjoy
2019-05-16, 04:17 PM
Bingo. The reason farmers don't pull their own carts is because they're just that lazy.


Yeah, pre-modern farming was such a festering den of sloth...



There's a guy on my planet that can deadlift 1100+ pounds. I certainly can't, nor will I ever, despite it being "within the realm of possibility". I just don't have that level of dedication to gym training. Heck, what kind of diet does he even eat??


Odds are that you'd never have been able to deadlift 1100+ pounds no matter how hard you worked or what your diet was like. I don't know you, but them's the odds across the population.

But if the world record were 4000+ pounds, it would be far more likely that you could have reached 1000 lbs.

That's just how these things work.

Segev
2019-05-16, 04:20 PM
Yeah, pre-modern farming was such a festering den of sloth... I suspect you know what his point was, sarcasm aside. :smalltongue:


Odds are that you'd never have been able to deadlift 1100+ pounds no matter how hard you worked or what your diet was like. I don't know you, but them's the odds across the population.

But if the world record were 4000+ pounds, it would be far more likely that you could have reached 1000 lbs.

That's just how these things work.

Sure, and PCs are the exceptional guys who are closer to the world records than the NPC schlubs who make up most NPC class ranks.

Psyren
2019-05-16, 04:28 PM
What I see more often than the "guy at the gym" fallacy is its inverse -- the player who wants his "guy at the gym" character to be able to do things that are simply physically impossible for any (unaugmented) human being who ever lived or will ever live, even at a hypothetical level of achievement, things that would shred muscles and break bones and burst hearts because of the forces involved.

Yeah, I do think a line needs to be drawn somewhere. The guy who can pull a plane or tear through a castle wall with his bare hands is one thing. The guy who can plane shift by swinging his sword really hard, resurrect the dead by yelling at them, or jump into orbit and then somehow fly by continually flexing to change direction is quite another. I think some abilities should require magic or technology - and I think that's fine as long as those abilities have a cost commensurate with their benefit (opportunity or otherwise.)

Now with that said, as I mentioned earlier I do think there is opportunity to give some martial classes some innate magical (i.e. Ex/Su/Sp) abilities at higher levels. Maybe that high-level rogue can't plane shift for example, but he can Shadow Walk until he finds a portal of some kind and slip onto another plane that way. That should be taxing or at least limited, but doable.


"If the Rogue can't sneak into the Underworld to steal a soul back to life, maybe the Wizard shouldn't be forging their own demiplane."

Honestly, I have issues with both of these. Making a demiplane should be a ritual with several subjective elements and checks rather than a standard spell. And stealing a soul from the afterlife sounds like an adventure in itself. Neither of these should be standard abilities that are just part for the course for a character, even a high-level one.

Segev
2019-05-16, 04:35 PM
Yeah, I do think a line needs to be drawn somewhere. The guy who can pull a plane or tear through a castle wall with his bare hands is one thing. The guy who can plane shift by swinging his sword really hard, resurrect the dead by yelling at them, or jump into orbit and then somehow fly by continually flexing to change direction is quite another. I think some abilities should require magic or technology - and I think that's fine as long as those abilities have a cost commensurate with their benefit (opportunity or otherwise.)

Now with that said, as I mentioned earlier I do think there is opportunity to give some martial classes some innate magical (i.e. Ex/Su/Sp) abilities at higher levels. Maybe that high-level rogue can't plane shift for example, but he can Shadow Walk until he finds a portal of some kind and slip onto another plane that way. That should be taxing or at least limited, but doable.



Honestly, I have issues with both of these. Making a demiplane should be a ritual with several subjective elements and checks rather than a standard spell. And stealing a soul from the afterlife sounds like an adventure in itself. Neither of these should be standard abilities that are just part for the course for a character, even a high-level one.I think the point is that the line is drawn differently depending on the setting, story, game, universe, etc.

Anybody on Roshar can leave gems out in a highstorm and get glowing gems back. Anybody there can use the investiture in a gem to bond with a shardblade, and have it respond to his call. It takes more special effort to learn how to take Breath from others in Warbreaker's world, but underlying it all remains some similar principles. Meanwhile, on Scadrial, one has to have either directly taken in Lerasium, or be descended from somebody who has, to be able to use the investiture of Allomancy, and the genetic component to Feruchemy is even more obscure in its origins...but hemalurgy can be used by literally anyone, on any world in the Cosmere, if they but know how. And are willing to pay the prices of doing so.

It yet seems that travelling between worlds is something anybody cna learn to do in the cosmere, if one but knows how to find "perpendicularities" and use them. And only a very few have the capacity to do so without those perpendicularites.

Max_Killjoy
2019-05-16, 04:37 PM
I suspect you know what his point was, sarcasm aside. :smalltongue:


Not really -- I noted a profession that would involve rigorous daily labor for large parts of the year in most fantasy settings, because one has to wonder why that labor doesn't produce any of these massively strong people in a world where it's possible and doesn't take any sort of secret training techniques.




Sure, and PCs are the exceptional guys who are closer to the world records than the NPC schlubs who make up most NPC class ranks.


In a world where the extraordinary guy can lift 1100 pounds, the average guy can lift some percentage of that.

In a world where the extraordinary guy can lift 11000 lbs, the average guy likely can lift about the same percentage of that weight.

(Again, setting aside magic or other fantastic-in-context factors being involved in the latter number.)


It's not that a setting can't get around this conundrum, but it takes significant deliberate worldbuilding... or being able to admit to yourself that you simply don't give a fig and only care about "just so" setting assumptions with nothing underlying.


And here is where I'm tempted to invoke "I know some don't like the answer, but that's the answer" as I've seen lately... :smallamused:

Segev
2019-05-16, 04:49 PM
Not really -- I noted a profession that would involve rigorous daily labor for large parts of the year in most fantasy settings, because one has to wonder why that labor doesn't produce any of these massively strong people in a world where it's possible and doesn't take any sort of secret training techniques.
Because they haven't a need to keep increasing the resistance loads they're pushing. Sure, they might go a bit higher, but eventually their carts have a limited capacity, and their own limits of what they can carry become based on the lack of platform to rest things on because the setting doesn't support Superman-like "lift a skyscraper by its tip-top spire without bending a thing" techniques.

So they reach a point where their bodies aren't the limiting factor, and don't push beyond that because to do so would require deliberate strength and other kinds of training.

Monks and the like probably do - their physical labor is often doubling as "forever-increasing" strength training. Most farmers won't; they're not seeking to become super-strong. They may not even really think about it, because that's not why they got to the point they are. They got where they are because their goal was to do farm work. They've gotten quite good at it, and the fact they're not getting stronger doesn't even occur to them because it's not the goal.


In a world where the extraordinary guy can lift 1100 pounds, the average guy can lift some percentage of that.

In a world where the extraordinary guy can lift 11000 lbs, the average guy likely can lift about the same percentage of that weight.

(Again, setting aside magic or other fantastic-in-context factors being involved in the latter number.) You're assuming that the extraordinary guy's ability to lift 11000 lbs is due to a blanket increase in the efficacy of exercise, rather than a lack of actual physical limits to how strong exercise can make you.

If we keep a similar or only slightly accelerated rate of improvement in strength for various forms of exercise in our fantasy world, and have soft limits that are the point where you hurt yourself if you exceed your capacity at any given point in time, but those soft limits grow as your capacity grows, the guy who can lift 11000 lbs didn't get there in the same time it took the real-world guy to get to 1100 lbs. Instead, while he might've gotten to 1100 lbs faster in fantasy-world than the real-world guy did, the secret to getting to 11000 lbs in fantasy-world is that the fantasy-world guy didn't plateau at 1100 lbs.

The real-world guy's bones have a finite limit to how much they can resist. The real-world guy's muscles have a maximum strength they can possibly reach. The fantasy-world guy lacks those limits, save in a soft fashion: when he can lift 1100 lbs, he'll hurt himself if he tries to lift too much more, but he can push himself until he can lift 1150 lbs. The real-world guy...can't. He's hitting a point where more weight just damages his body; it can't heal stronger than it already does. His bones will start breaking under that weight, and won't get stronger.

The fantasy-world guy, on the other hand, has his muscles and bones keep getting stronger, so he doesn't risk hurting himself at 1150, or 1200, or more as he keeps incrementally growing.

The average guy on both worlds is probably very close to the same fraction of 1100 lbs., simply because he's never pushed to be able to hit 1100 lbs., let alone more than that. But the possibilty to go further is there in fantasyland, while it isn't IRL.


It's not that a setting can't get around this conundrum, but it takes significant deliberate worldbuilding... or being able to admit to yourself that you simply don't give a fig and only care about "just so" setting assumptions with nothing underlying.I dunno. I don't think it took all that much worldbuilding to say "you can keep getting stronger by keeping pushing yourself, no matter how strong you already are."

If you mean the implications of that? Mostly handled already in any setting that takes the concept of powerful adventurers as nigh-superweapons wandering the world even semi-seriously.

Drascin
2019-05-16, 04:54 PM
I would, barring evidence, call that out as supposition. People have equally called Ex or ToB stuff as 'Hollywood garbage," "Matrix Bull****," and "Baron Munchausen nuttiness" (which honestly sounds like the best thing ever). I'm pretty sure that there's a completely non-racist desire by some to have realistic heroes doing realistic things. Which is totally fine so long as you don't have hyper-convenient-and-far-reaching-powers wizards in the same balance-scale.

I'm pretty sure nobody has actually described the ToB in any of those terms a fiftieth of the amount it has been called "too anime", or "weeaboo fightan magic". Let's not mince words here, there's a very large contingent of "fans" who consider anything that might slightly resemble what they see as "Japanese inspired" as a travesty. Heck, the Monk has been under constant fire for how long? There's a very real and very noticeable amount of cultural-chauvinism-verging-on-plain-racism in our hobby, this is just an extremely mild show of it compared to other stuff.

And yes, you can have realistic heroes and stuff, but the last bit, "as long as they don't share space with the wizards" is the thing. The Guy at the Gym issue is not an issue of generalities. It's an issue of comparatives. The problem is "this player is not allowed to do almost anything and will play identically his entire career, while this other player can do whatever the **** he wants and he gets four completely new ways to interact with the game every three sessions, because one's character sheet says nonmagic and the other says magic".

You can have games where the heroes are sharply limited by physics, and you can have games with superpowered demigods. What I take issue with is when a game lets people play both heroes limited by physics and demigods and tries to sell players on the idea that both will be about as useful, and when people try to tell me that this is "obvious" and "reasonable" and "verisimilitude", instead, of, say, terrible game design.

Max_Killjoy
2019-05-16, 04:56 PM
You're assuming that the extraordinary guy's ability to lift 11000 lbs is due to a blanket increase in the efficacy of exercise, rather than a lack of actual physical limits to how strong exercise can make you.


I'm assuming that normal distribution curves trump the Rewl of Cewl.

And that the drastic changes to anatomy, biology, physics, whatever, etc necessary to allow any human body to ever deadlift 11000 lbs apply across the board to the entire species, not just randomly to a few people who were lucky enough to fall under the "because important character" justification.

Tvtyrant
2019-05-16, 05:01 PM
I'm assuming that normal distribution curves trump the Rewl of Cewl.

And that the drastic changes to anatomy, biology, physics, whatever, etc necessary to allow any human body to ever deadlift 11000 lbs apply across the board to the entire species, not just randomly to a few people who were lucky enough to fall under the "because important character" justification.

I imagine in your worlds monsters cap out at the size of large mammals, dragons are bat sized flying archosaurs and most adventurers are about killing other Humans as we hunted everything else to extinction?

Max_Killjoy
2019-05-16, 05:03 PM
I'm pretty sure nobody has actually described the ToB in any of those terms a fiftieth of the amount it has been called "too anime", or "weeaboo fightan magic". Let's not mince words here, there's a very large contingent of "fans" who consider anything that might slightly resemble what they see as "Japanese inspired" as a travesty. Heck, the Monk has been under constant fire for how long? There's a very real and very noticeable amount of cultural-chauvinism-verging-on-plain-racism in our hobby, this is just an extremely mild show of it compared to other stuff.


I think our experiences differ. I've seen less of this, and less intense.

And honestly at least a little bit of what you describe is backlash -- fair or not -- against "ermagerd katanas can cut tanks in half!" guy.




And yes, you can have realistic heroes and stuff, but the last bit, "as long as they don't share space with the wizards" is the thing. The Guy at the Gym issue is not an issue of generalities. It's an issue of comparatives. The problem is "this player is not allowed to do almost anything and will play identically his entire career, while this other player can do whatever the **** he wants and he gets four completely new ways to interact with the game every three sessions, because one's character sheet says nonmagic and the other says magic".

You can have games where the heroes are sharply limited by physics, and you can have games with superpowered demigods. What I take issue with is when a game lets people play both heroes limited by physics and demigods and tries to sell players on the idea that both will be about as useful, and when people try to tell me that this is "obvious" and "reasonable" and "verisimilitude", instead, of, say, terrible game design.


It is terrible game and setting design.

And some players who want inherently conflicting things in a system and/or setting.

Max_Killjoy
2019-05-16, 05:08 PM
I imagine in your worlds monsters cap out at the size of large mammals, dragons are bat sized flying archosaurs and most adventurers are about killing other Humans as we hunted everything else to extinction?


Why would you imagine that?

The post you're responding to is discussing humans without any fantastic/mystical/supernatural/magical stuff -- "how far can a totally-not-magic person in this setting train up" characters.

Characters who far exceed the setting-specific range of human capability need something different, added, special, whatever, to do that. Fantastic abilities require something fantastic. "You must be at least this magic to ride this ride" (with magic being used in the broadest sense).

Psyren
2019-05-16, 05:11 PM
I think the point is that the line is drawn differently depending on the setting, story, game, universe, etc.

*snip*

That's very true, so it might help to focus on a specific game or setting. In D&D, exclusivity of magic is very much an assumption of the setting - it's called out as a basic tenet of magic in Complete Arcane for example, or borne out in the DMG population tables. In a system like Call of Cthulhu meanwhile, just about anybody who finds forbidden lore can cast spells, but the price for doing so is fairly high. Both cases have the same result (few spellcasters) but they arrive at that in different ways.


I'm pretty sure nobody has actually described the ToB in any of those terms a fiftieth of the amount it has been called "too anime", or "weeaboo fightan magic". Let's not mince words here, there's a very large contingent of "fans" who consider anything that might slightly resemble what they see as "Japanese inspired" as a travesty. Heck, the Monk has been under constant fire for how long? There's a very real and very noticeable amount of cultural-chauvinism-verging-on-plain-racism in our hobby, this is just an extremely mild show of it compared to other stuff.

Yes - and given that Wizards of the Coast themselves have used the "too anime" criticism (http://archive.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/frcc/20070911) in regards to ToB, I'd say it was at least widespread enough to warrant official acknowledgement.



And yes, you can have realistic heroes and stuff, but the last bit, "as long as they don't share space with the wizards" is the thing. The Guy at the Gym issue is not an issue of generalities. It's an issue of comparatives. The problem is "this player is not allowed to do almost anything and will play identically his entire career, while this other player can do whatever the **** he wants and he gets four completely new ways to interact with the game every three sessions, because one's character sheet says nonmagic and the other says magic".

I think the sheet that says "magic" (or more accurately "caster") should have more ways to interact with the game than the one that doesn't. But that doesn't mean I necessarily want the one that says "martial" to only have one or two.

Friv
2019-05-16, 05:20 PM
*EDIT* Actually, no, engaging is not going to be productive, I'm leaving the thread. Apologies to anyone who saw the pre-edited post.

Kyutaru
2019-05-16, 05:20 PM
You can have games where the heroes are sharply limited by physics, and you can have games with superpowered demigods. What I take issue with is when a game lets people play both heroes limited by physics and demigods and tries to sell players on the idea that both will be about as useful, and when people try to tell me that this is "obvious" and "reasonable" and "verisimilitude", instead, of, say, terrible game design.
The game isn't giving us any heroes limited by physics, that's entirely the players and DM. Where in any D&D book does it describe the physics of the game? How does gravity or acceleration work in Eberron? The Peasant Railgun and that entire thread of wonky RAW interpretations describe why physics doesn't work the way we think it does in D&D and yet the assumption is eternally present at the table that it does.

Just look at the carrying capacity table. Strength of 1 only lets you carry 3 lbs as a light load. Strength 2 doubles this to 6 lbs. But then Strength 3 increases it to 10 lbs, a bigger jump than the 3 per Strength consistency. Surely Strength 4 should double Strength 2? Nope, it's 13 lbs. The jumps keep getting higher and higher. Strength 10 is 33 lbs. Strength 20 is 133 lbs. Strength 30 is over 500 lbs. There's no rhyme or reason for any of this! A slight strength improvement from physical training or taking a feat or just rolling well at character creation grants a MASSIVE carrying capacity difference. As opposed to the very consistent +1 dmg/acc that melee weapons get every two points. By the time you are fully buffed and have 45+ Strength, your human-sized fighter can grapple a colossal dragon and pin him to the ground.

D&D doesn't have real world physics. If we're going by a permissive ruleset, it doesn't have ANY physics. Objects in motion might spontaneously decide to change direction for no apparent reason. I've had players in 2nd edition try to use Polymorph Any Object to create dangerous amounts of periodic elements and I had to concede that D&D just doesn't have elements. Everyone's a singular being and chemistry is just sorcery done with powder.

Psyren
2019-05-16, 05:28 PM
The game isn't giving us any heroes limited by physics, that's entirely the players and DM. Where in any D&D book does it describe the physics of the game? How does gravity or acceleration work in Eberron? The Peasant Railgun and that entire thread of wonky RAW interpretations describe why physics doesn't work the way we think it does in D&D and yet the assumption is eternally present at the table that it does.

Well actually, the 3.5 DMG does state that the Material Plane "operates under the same set of natural laws that our own real world does" and that it is "the most Earthlike of the planes." So at least at the beginning of most campaigns you would have earthlike physics. Some could begin on or end up in more fantastic places but Material is the assumed default.

Drascin
2019-05-16, 05:38 PM
Yes - and given that Wizards of the Coast themselves have used the "too anime" criticism (http://archive.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/frcc/20070911) in regards to ToB, I'd say it was at least widespread enough to warrant official acknowledgement.

I mean, I didn't know this, but I'm not surprised. Lotta WotC writers wouldn't find their own backside with a map, and the leadup to 5E involved some honestly kind of embarrassing attempts at appeasing the old crowd, or what they thought the old crowd wanted :smalltongue:.

I'm especially amused at the "well, having ToB in a setting changes its history a lot and would necessitate rewriting it". What, like the magic mechanics in the same 3rd edition ToB was in didn't make large chunk of the setting as it was basically only possible through immense amounts of fiat or something? Guys, you can just say you don't like the aesthetic of it.


I think the sheet that says "magic" (or more accurately "caster") should have more ways to interact with the game than the one that doesn't. But that doesn't mean I necessarily want the one that says "martial" to only have one or two.

And my question is, why? Why does "well, I know magic" immediately have to mean you get to have many more ways to engage the game (not different ones, mind. Obviously different archetypes should have different ways to engage the game) than "I don't know magic"?

Like, I'm not even getting into D&D's extremely weird omni-competent spellcasters here (the more I think about it, the more I think the strange critter that is the D&D Wizard being the basic caster class and What Magic Looks Like has severely screwed with D&D's design over the years), just... like, in general, what's our design objective, here, when intentionally designing some player options to be significantly more limited in terms of ability to engage the game in multiple situations than others, is what I guess I'm asking. I can understand not aiming for that and it just shaking this way because you screwed up, but intentionally designing it that way seems weird (unless, I guess, you're Monte Cook, and you believe that putting in trap options in your game is a good thing because it "promotes system mastery").

Anyway, I should be in bed now, so later.

Kyutaru
2019-05-16, 05:40 PM
Well actually, the 3.5 DMG does state that the Material Plane "operates under the same set of natural laws that our own real world does" and that it is "the most Earthlike of the planes." So at least at the beginning of most campaigns you would have earthlike physics. Some could begin on or end up in more fantastic places but Material is the assumed default.

The same book claims you take 1d6 dmg per 10 feet fallen. Straight linear damage. Nah, physics doesn't work like it does on Earth. Whatever natural laws they're referring to must be something else. Just have a look at the aerial combat section to see what a mess they made of it.

D&D doesn't have physics. What D&D has are rules. Arbitrary rules that conflict with each other at times or create a scenario that makes no logical sense yet is mechanically possible. We've been discussing several of them in this thread.

Arbane
2019-05-16, 05:42 PM
I know. I had a copy at some point. IIRC (and I may be completely off base, it has been ages) the actual ruleset is kinda based on/in response to AD&D 2e. Definitely not what Baron Munchausen needs (that is one setting where a narrative-based system would be most appropriate).

I think you're thinking of a different game, yeah. Baron Munchausen's rules are mostly storytelling with other players bidding tokens to add obstacles. "But surely, Baron, the entire country of Belgium rose up in arms against you at that point!"



In a world where the extraordinary guy can lift 1100 pounds, the average guy can lift some percentage of that.

In a world where the extraordinary guy can lift 11000 lbs, the average guy likely can lift about the same percentage of that weight.


I am not sure why you think that logically follows. Why does an increase in maximum capability demand an increase in the baseline?
It's more like the floor stays where it is in real life, but the ceiling ended up in the stratosphere.

Segev
2019-05-16, 05:52 PM
I'm assuming that normal distribution curves trump the Rewl of Cewl. By assuming normal distribution curves, you're already making a grossly bad assumption. Without an upper cap, it is mathematically impossible for it to be a normal curve, and assuming that removing a cap means that the mean moves along with the upper-tail distribution is horribly bad statistics.

"Rule of Cool" is present, certainly, but is not "trumping" anything in my analysis. It only is enabled by the notion of the removal of physical limits on the upper end.


And that the drastic changes to anatomy, biology, physics, whatever, etc necessary to allow any human body to ever deadlift 11000 lbs apply across the board to the entire species, not just randomly to a few people who were lucky enough to fall under the "because important character" justification.It does. But those changes happen as you get stronger.

At the "low end," where the bulk of humanity sits and you can most closely try to map a normal curve to the Riemann curve that is more likely, if you were to do a study of human-real and human-fantasy biology, they'd be very similar. Depending on mechanism, you may not even be able to detect the potential for the human-fantasy muscles to grow stronger beyond a certain point, nor for the human-fantasy bones to eventually become harder than iron yet retain their flexible and self-healing capabilities. Heck, to test absolute limits on human biology IRL, we had to actually do materials testing.

If "normal-range" human bones in both settings share very similar properties - well within standard deviation of each on their own - and the changes only occur as you get out to the upper tail where very few humans venture in either world, you won't see the differences make any difference to the bulk of normal humanity.

Sure, maybe you have a detectable shift, so the average farmer IRL can pull 500 lbs. in a wagon, and the average fantasy farmer can pull 525. Or some other equally real but not-terribly-impressive difference. But the real differences don't show up until the high end, when the mechanism that lets training keep pushing starts actually having to kick in to change the hardness of bones, the strength of muscles, etc.

The end point being that, as long as the Reimann curve average stays close enough to the "normal curve" average you're assuming for reality (it's not quite normal, since we don't know the precise maximum and we're weighted towards the minimum, but it's defintiely not the Riemann curve with an infinite upper tail), you won't see the dramatic shift to "everyone's a superhero" that you're suggesting.

You could construct a setting like that, but you don't have to. Putting an infinite upper tail on the distribution curve doesn't have to move the median much at all. And the median is more what you're observing in the bulk of humanity, not the upward-tug on the average that the outliers at the upper end of the infinite tail add.

Max_Killjoy
2019-05-16, 06:03 PM
The game isn't giving us any heroes limited by physics, that's entirely the players and DM. Where in any D&D book does it describe the physics of the game? How does gravity or acceleration work in Eberron? The Peasant Railgun and that entire thread of wonky RAW interpretations describe why physics doesn't work the way we think it does in D&D and yet the assumption is eternally present at the table that it does.

Personally, I wouldn't presume D&D or any particular edition of D&D for this discussion, it's in the general RP forum and IMO at least partially a theory and analysis discussion.

Max_Killjoy
2019-05-16, 07:08 PM
By assuming normal distribution curves, you're already making a grossly bad assumption. Without an upper cap, it is mathematically impossible for it to be a normal curve, and assuming that removing a cap means that the mean moves along with the upper-tail distribution is horribly bad statistics.

"Rule of Cool" is present, certainly, but is not "trumping" anything in my analysis. It only is enabled by the notion of the removal of physical limits on the upper end.

It does. But those changes happen as you get stronger.

At the "low end," where the bulk of humanity sits and you can most closely try to map a normal curve to the Riemann curve that is more likely, if you were to do a study of human-real and human-fantasy biology, they'd be very similar. Depending on mechanism, you may not even be able to detect the potential for the human-fantasy muscles to grow stronger beyond a certain point, nor for the human-fantasy bones to eventually become harder than iron yet retain their flexible and self-healing capabilities. Heck, to test absolute limits on human biology IRL, we had to actually do materials testing.

If "normal-range" human bones in both settings share very similar properties - well within standard deviation of each on their own - and the changes only occur as you get out to the upper tail where very few humans venture in either world, you won't see the differences make any difference to the bulk of normal humanity.

Sure, maybe you have a detectable shift, so the average farmer IRL can pull 500 lbs. in a wagon, and the average fantasy farmer can pull 525. Or some other equally real but not-terribly-impressive difference. But the real differences don't show up until the high end, when the mechanism that lets training keep pushing starts actually having to kick in to change the hardness of bones, the strength of muscles, etc.

The end point being that, as long as the Reimann curve average stays close enough to the "normal curve" average you're assuming for reality (it's not quite normal, since we don't know the precise maximum and we're weighted towards the minimum, but it's defintiely not the Riemann curve with an infinite upper tail), you won't see the dramatic shift to "everyone's a superhero" that you're suggesting.

You could construct a setting like that, but you don't have to. Putting an infinite upper tail on the distribution curve doesn't have to move the median much at all. And the median is more what you're observing in the bulk of humanity, not the upward-tug on the average that the outliers at the upper end of the infinite tail add.


Sounds like "mega training" just gives these guys magic bones and magic muscles.

Psyren
2019-05-16, 07:12 PM
And my question is, why? Why does "well, I know magic" immediately have to mean you get to have many more ways to engage the game (not different ones, mind. Obviously different archetypes should have different ways to engage the game) than "I don't know magic"?

The most honest and fundamental answer is because that's the paradigm that has proven to sell well in this particular hobby. There are other systems where linear (or at least less quadratic) martial classes either don't exist, or are capable of feats that D&D would consider to be high sorcery/divinity, and any group can choose to purchase or otherwise financially support such systems. For me, D&D's disparity matches my tastes better, and judging by the market it's similarly palatable to many others. I'd like the gap to be smaller than it was in 3.5 (ToB notwithstanding) but that it exists at all isn't an issue for me.



Like, I'm not even getting into D&D's extremely weird omni-competent spellcasters here (the more I think about it, the more I think the strange critter that is the D&D Wizard being the basic caster class and What Magic Looks Like has severely screwed with D&D's design over the years), just... like, in general, what's our design objective, here, when intentionally designing some player options to be significantly more limited in terms of ability to engage the game in multiple situations than others, is what I guess I'm asking. I can understand not aiming for that and it just shaking this way because you screwed up, but intentionally designing it that way seems weird (unless, I guess, you're Monte Cook, and you believe that putting in trap options in your game is a good thing because it "promotes system mastery").

Anyway, I should be in bed now, so later.

I agree that the D&D wizard is capable of too much for one class. There have been several fixes over the years that should be fairly simple to pick up and slot into a game, as well as lesser classes like the Occultist, Medium, Alchemist or Magus that can thematically fit such a role with more reasonable power.


The same book claims you take 1d6 dmg per 10 feet fallen. Straight linear damage. Nah, physics doesn't work like it does on Earth. Whatever natural laws they're referring to must be something else.

Given that the mods just finished locking a thread that attempted to go into what kind of "damage" lost hitpoints represent, I won't be able to reply to this properly, but suffice to say I believe the general assumption is that D&D has earth-like physics unless specified otherwise. Certainly it's not so different that you can claim that any expectations in this regard are meaningless, up is down, gravity is a suggestion etc. (Assuming no magic.)


Personally, I wouldn't presume D&D or any particular edition of D&D for this discussion, it's in the general RP forum and IMO at least partially a theory and analysis discussion.

While that's true, the fallacy is most prominent in D&D (or at least the expectations that lead to it) so it's a useful example for targeted discussion. We can certainly talk about systems that don't have it of course (like Call of Cthulhu... at least I think it doesn't, I haven't played it very much.)

Max_Killjoy
2019-05-16, 07:14 PM
I am not sure why you think that logically follows. Why does an increase in maximum capability demand an increase in the baseline?
It's more like the floor stays where it is in real life, but the ceiling ended up in the stratosphere.


Very few if any living things work that way.

Talakeal
2019-05-16, 07:28 PM
The same book claims you take 1d6 dmg per 10 feet fallen. Straight linear damage. Nah, physics doesn't work like it does on Earth. Whatever natural laws they're referring to must be something else. Just have a look at the aerial combat section to see what a mess they made of it.

D&D doesn't have physics. What D&D has are rules. Arbitrary rules that conflict with each other at times or create a scenario that makes no logical sense yet is mechanically possible. We've been discussing several of them in this thread.

This goes into the old argument of whether the rules represent the laws of reality of for the setting or whether they are simply a useful abstraction to keep the game playable.

Max_Killjoy
2019-05-16, 07:35 PM
The same book claims you take 1d6 dmg per 10 feet fallen. Straight linear damage. Nah, physics doesn't work like it does on Earth. Whatever natural laws they're referring to must be something else. Just have a look at the aerial combat section to see what a mess they made of it.

D&D doesn't have physics. What D&D has are rules. Arbitrary rules that conflict with each other at times or create a scenario that makes no logical sense yet is mechanically possible. We've been discussing several of them in this thread.


This goes into the old argument of whether the rules represent the laws of reality of for the setting or whether they are simply a useful abstraction to keep the game playable.

And thus why I'd always start with the setting, and then ask if the system accurately reflects it or not -- rather than assuming that the rules define the setting.

Taking the rules to their logical conclusion is a useful exercise in this analysis, but should never be mistaken for anything but that. If you extrapolate from the rules and keep getting a broken setting, or a setting totally unlike what you wanted, that's a strong sign you have a bad system or not the right system.

ImNotTrevor
2019-05-16, 07:44 PM
Very few if any living things work that way.

There are very few if any living things that can call forth armies of undead underlings, yet that particular hiccup seems not to be part of the consideration.

Strength in the discussed setting just doesn't happen to be normally distributed, or at least, the median is further from the upper-limit tail than in our world.

Basically, instead of being shaped like:

[Lower end----Median----Upper end]

It's shaped like this:
[Lower end----Median----------------Upper end]

Many, many things in real life distribute like this. There's no real reason to assume human strength can't be added to the list for the sake of a setting.

Talakeal
2019-05-16, 07:46 PM
And thus why I'd always start with the setting, and then ask if the system accurately reflects it or not -- rather than assuming that the rules define the setting.

Taking the rules to their logical conclusion is a useful exercise in this analysis, but should never be mistaken for anything but that. If you extrapolate from the rules and keep getting a broken setting, or a setting totally unlike what you wanted, that's a strong sign you have a bad system or not the right system.

It depends. Falling is always people's go to answer for why D&D physics doesn't match reality, but few people can even agree on why or how it is bad, and I don't think anyone has ever proposed a more realistic system that actually works at the table.

Its also a kind of edge case, people hardly ever take falling damage in games that I have taken part it.

FaerieGodfather
2019-05-16, 07:57 PM
Now, if there is no secret technique, and those limits don't exist... why don't non-adventuring characters who live by hours of hard labor and sweat every day ever reach those same massive strength levels? Why aren't there farmers pulling their own plows because they're so strong that the oxen are superfluous? Why aren't there merchants using teams of strong-backed men to haul their goods down the roads instead of bothering with wagons and carts?

Perhaps Experience Points model an in-universe phenomenon and you simply do not gain them from diet and exercise or the rigors of farming or whatever other excuse the 3.X devs and much of the fanbase use to postulate the existence of 16th level Commoners. Let's presume there's a material difference between 0 Level and 1st Level characters, rather than a narrative one, with a consistent cosmological explanation for the transition between them.

Such a theory could also be used to explain a number of other oddities about the specific behavior of higher-level characters, such as the function of hit points.


I'm assuming that normal distribution curves trump the Rewl of Cewl.

And that the drastic changes to anatomy, biology, physics, whatever, etc necessary to allow any human body to ever deadlift 11000 lbs apply across the board to the entire species, not just randomly to a few people who were lucky enough to fall under the "because important character" justification.

Why?

I mean, why are you making those assumptions? They seem directly contrary to the philosophy of the rules.

Max_Killjoy
2019-05-16, 07:57 PM
It depends. Falling is always people's go to answer for why D&D physics doesn't match reality, but few people can even agree on why or how it is bad, and I don't think anyone has ever proposed a more realistic system that actually works at the table.

Its also a kind of edge case, people hardly ever take falling damage in games that I have taken part it.

IMO... just brainstorming...

I'd start with few dice, but big, because falling is so random... people fall of a 5 foot stepladder and break their necks, or fall 20 feet off a roof and sprain something but otherwise escape unharmed.

I might include some sort of save for half damage, because at higher level all characters in D&D are kinda superhuman, regardless of class.

Mechalich
2019-05-16, 08:04 PM
And thus why I'd always start with the setting, and then ask if the system accurately reflects it or not -- rather than assuming that the rules define the setting.

Well, you do run into a problem there, in that most fantasy settings have a martial/caster discontinuity built in, in large part because the overwhelming majority of the time 'Guy at the Gym' holds true within the literature, including in D&D-based fiction.

I mean, let me trawl through my Kindle here for a second and look at some series and see if Guy at the Gym applies:
Book of the Ancestor - yes
Riyria - yes
Gentleman Bastards - yes
Powder Mage - yes
Raven's Shadow - yes
Stormlight Archive - yes
Dandelion Dynasty - yes
Chronicles of the Unhewn Throne - yes
First Law - yes
Wheel of Time - yes
Star Wars - yes
A Song of Ice and Fire - hell yes
Codex Alera - no, but a world where everyone has magic
Malazan - no

Huh, Malazan might be the only modern popular high fantasy I can think of where you can train to stupid levels of power or acquire weird abilities without drawing on some external power source. Since Malazan is representative of all things awful in fantasy literature and is a world-building travesty, I consider this to be highly supportive.

The worlds of Western Fantasy Literature (and to a lesser but still very real extent Eastern Fantasy Literature as well) generally hold that a natural understanding of human limits holds true, even for heroic characters. Characters may receive magical abilities of all kinds of course, and may even be born with them (ex. in Book of the Ancestor all magical abilities are explicitly expressions of bloodline), but for people who don't have those abilities, or for characters whose abilities are somehow suppressed, cut off, or otherwise eliminated, the boundary of their capabilities matches normal human limitations.

Unfortunately, said worlds of fantasy literature also tend both characters who are explicitly 'guys at the gym' working alongside characters of incalculable magical power, contributing meaningfully to the adventures of said characters, and often punching drastically above their weight class against magical enemies. In fact that is often the entire dramatic premise of a series like Riyria or Gentleman Bastards. The legacy of fantasy entertainment in narrative contexts has schooled players to think that having one member of the party who can kill all the other members with a thought at any time isn't actually a problem, when of course it is a very significant one (it's not an unmanageable problem and a game that is open about a lack of balance makes it easier to manage).

Max_Killjoy
2019-05-16, 08:11 PM
Perhaps Experience Points model an in-universe phenomenon and you simply do not gain them from diet and exercise or the rigors of farming or whatever other excuse the 3.X devs and much of the fanbase use to postulate the existence of 16th level Commoners. Let's presume there's a material difference between 0 Level and 1st Level characters, rather than a narrative one, with a consistent cosmological explanation for the transition between them.

Such a theory could also be used to explain a number of other oddities about the specific behavior of higher-level characters, such as the function of hit points.


Huh.

By the definition I'm using, that sounds like it could be "there's something fantastic about leveled characters that lets them do things normally not possible for most people".




Why?

I mean, why are you making those assumptions? They seem directly contrary to the philosophy of the rules.


That's not an attempt to model D&D-like rules -- those rules are clearly for a setting in which the PCs eventually become blatantly fantastic, "superhuman" we might say.

I'm strictly talking about the efforts to to shift the "peak human ability without magic/fantastic/supernatural abilities" without dragging the mean and the low end upward along with it -- which is usually an effort to have high-level "martial" characters keep up with or surpass high-level "spellcasters", while preserving the "martial" characters as purely and pristinely "not-magic", and preserving the setting as a recognizable quasi-historical culture and feel.

Max_Killjoy
2019-05-16, 08:21 PM
Well, you do run into a problem there, in that most fantasy settings have a martial/caster discontinuity built in, in large part because the overwhelming majority of the time 'Guy at the Gym' holds true within the literature, including in D&D-based fiction.

I mean, let me trawl through my Kindle here for a second and look at some series and see if Guy at the Gym applies:
Book of the Ancestor - yes
Riyria - yes
Gentleman Bastards - yes
Powder Mage - yes
Raven's Shadow - yes
Stormlight Archive - yes
Dandelion Dynasty - yes
Chronicles of the Unhewn Throne - yes
First Law - yes
Wheel of Time - yes
Star Wars - yes
A Song of Ice and Fire - hell yes
Codex Alera - no, but a world where everyone has magic
Malazan - no

Huh, Malazan might be the only modern popular high fantasy I can think of where you can train to stupid levels of power or acquire weird abilities without drawing on some external power source. Since Malazan is representative of all things awful in fantasy literature and is a world-building travesty, I consider this to be highly supportive.

The worlds of Western Fantasy Literature (and to a lesser but still very real extent Eastern Fantasy Literature as well) generally hold that a natural understanding of human limits holds true, even for heroic characters. Characters may receive magical abilities of all kinds of course, and may even be born with them (ex. in Book of the Ancestor all magical abilities are explicitly expressions of bloodline), but for people who don't have those abilities, or for characters whose abilities are somehow suppressed, cut off, or otherwise eliminated, the boundary of their capabilities matches normal human limitations.

Unfortunately, said worlds of fantasy literature also tend both characters who are explicitly 'guys at the gym' working alongside characters of incalculable magical power, contributing meaningfully to the adventures of said characters, and often punching drastically above their weight class against magical enemies. In fact that is often the entire dramatic premise of a series like Riyria or Gentleman Bastards. The legacy of fantasy entertainment in narrative contexts has schooled players to think that having one member of the party who can kill all the other members with a thought at any time isn't actually a problem, when of course it is a very significant one (it's not an unmanageable problem and a game that is open about a lack of balance makes it easier to manage).

One thing I'd say there, is that within the framework I'm applying, external/internal is not a break point between magic/not-magic. If you can train until you blow past normal human limits (in the context of the setting) then you're not "Guy At the Gym" in my breakdown, even if all that power comes from within.

But, overall, that's just one of those things that works in fiction when the author has total control over everything, but doesn't really port well to an RPG where control is split up, players very often identify to some degree with their characters as their "favorite character", and different agendas are floating around.

Some systems try to reconcile the split by changing the focus to "narrative control", but IMO that ends up with a lot of disassociated mechanics and loss of fiction-layer/system-layer synchronicity.

FaerieGodfather
2019-05-16, 10:30 PM
Huh.

By the definition I'm using, that sounds like it could be "there's something fantastic about leveled characters that lets them do things normally not possible for most people".

Sure, but most people seem to be applying that concept unevenly across classes, like some variation of Power Sources but without acknowledging that the concept of Power Sources includes Martial as a power source. Or, like you seem to be, arguing that if there is a Martial Power Source, everyone must have (equal) access to it.


I'm strictly talking about the efforts to to shift the "peak human ability without magic/fantastic/supernatural abilities" without dragging the mean and the low end upward along with it

You seem strangely attached to the idea that allowing high-level Fighters requires the majority of the population to be mid-level Fighters, to the detriment of the game's settings.

Ignimortis
2019-05-16, 10:49 PM
Sure, but most people seem to be applying that concept unevenly across classes, like some variation of Power Sources but without acknowledging that the concept of Power Sources includes Martial as a power source. Or, like you seem to be, arguing that if there is a Martial Power Source, everyone must have (equal) access to it.

This is a very common fallacy. Very few people I've talked to agree that "swinging a sword in a particular way" can produce magical/fantastical results, because "but everyone can learn how to swing a sword, it's not MAGIC", disregarding the fact that wizardry is also completely a learned skill for D&D.

I'll just dig up one of my tired and beaten into undeath horses here: what exactly precludes a high-level martial hero from being so in tune with the world and its' workings, so skilled and so focused that they could cut open a portal with a sword? And why is everyone's mostly fine with that as long as it's (Su) or (Sp), because Ki or latent magic or something, but saying it's (Ex) garners immediate ire, with people usually screeching "well if it's not magic then why isn't everyone doing it at least on accident sometimes"?

Max_Killjoy
2019-05-16, 11:07 PM
Sure, but most people seem to be applying that concept unevenly across classes, like some variation of Power Sources but without acknowledging that the concept of Power Sources includes Martial as a power source. Or, like you seem to be, arguing that if there is a Martial Power Source, everyone must have (equal) access to it.


Depends on what you mean by "martial" and how you actually detail the "power source".



You seem strangely attached to the idea that allowing high-level Fighters requires the majority of the population to be mid-level Fighters, to the detriment of the game's settings.


Um... what?

OK, no, again, I'm only talking about physical capabilities, and only in the context of the insistence that a totally not-fantastic, not-magic, not-supernatural, not-etc "guy at the gym" character could achieve things like leaping 50 feet or lifting 10000 lbs just by normal training and exercise and experience... and all the while STAY totally not-fantastic, not-magic, not-supernatural, not-etc... in a setting where people are otherwise just like real-world people.

Psyren
2019-05-16, 11:17 PM
This is a very common fallacy. Very few people I've talked to agree that "swinging a sword in a particular way" can produce magical/fantastical results, because "but everyone can learn how to swing a sword, it's not MAGIC", disregarding the fact that wizardry is also completely a learned skill for D&D.

I'll just dig up one of my tired and beaten into undeath horses here: what exactly precludes a high-level martial hero from being so in tune with the world and its' workings, so skilled and so focused that they could cut open a portal with a sword? And why is everyone's mostly fine with that as long as it's (Su) or (Sp), because Ki or latent magic or something, but saying it's (Ex) garners immediate ire, with people usually screeching "well if it's not magic then why isn't everyone doing it at least on accident sometimes"?

It depends on the fantastical results for me. "Cut through a wall of force" or "chop up an ongoing spell" are things I'd be fine with, but not "cut open a portal." There's a collection of abilities that I think casters should have exclusivity over, and "instantaneous group transportation" is one of them.

Florian
2019-05-16, 11:44 PM
Um... what?

OK, no, again, I'm only talking about physical capabilities, and only in the context of the insistence that a totally not-fantastic, not-magic, not-supernatural, not-etc "guy at the gym" character could achieve things like leaping 50 feet or lifting 10000 lbs just by normal training and exercise and experience... and all the while STAY totally not-fantastic, not-magic, not-supernatural, not-etc... in a setting where people are otherwise just like real-world people.

Why do you come up with "real world people" all the time? And why are you so insistent that any statistical models that work for our world / physics would equally apply to any world with a different set of statistics?

Ok, it´s a rather stupid example, but look at WH Greenskins: Personal power means growth, growth means more strength, more strength means more personal power. There is practically no upper limit to how large and powerful a Greenskin can become. This is simply their biology and it not in any way reflected by their population statistics.


It depends on the fantastical results for me. "Cut through a wall of force" or "chop up an ongoing spell" are things I'd be fine with, but not "cut open a portal." There's a collection of abilities that I think casters should have exclusivity over, and "instantaneous group transportation" is one of them.

Huh? That's an... odd... sentiment. The more stuff we move over to the (ex) realm, the different stuff in the (su) and (sp) will have to be from what we are used to. When cutting through time and space is already (ex), then there's no real pay off in duplicating the same power in the (sp) realm, unless you model it in such a way that "magic is cheating", as in, a mage creates effects without going to hard route and training up to the point that he can do it, but then we´re again at power at a cost to balance that out.


Depends on what you mean by "martial" and how you actually detail the "power source".

Hm. The "classic" divide is that we have internal and external power sources and some explanations attached to them.
- Divine: External, the power is granted by the connection to something greater.
- Arcane: External, the power is learned, bargained for or outright stolen.
- Martial: Well, your training, duh.

Personally, my most favorite power source was introduced very late to PF:
- Occult. Internal, you understand how thing really are and how they are connected. Knowledge is power.

Anecdotally, the Medium and Occultist classes are maybe the only ones that can fill any role in the game and can be used to replicate any other class.

Ignimortis
2019-05-16, 11:44 PM
It depends on the fantastical results for me. "Cut through a wall of force" or "chop up an ongoing spell" are things I'd be fine with, but not "cut open a portal." There's a collection of abilities that I think casters should have exclusivity over, and "instantaneous group transportation" is one of them.

That's more of a game design consideration than a fluff one, isn't it?

Florian
2019-05-17, 01:05 AM
That's more of a game design consideration than a fluff one, isn't it?

Hm... I'm getting the feeling that Psyren is ok with "martials" interacting with magic in a meaningful way, but not with initiating things that are normally considered to be "magic".

For PF that would mean a Dwarf/Barbarian/Viking/Sanguine Angel being able to pull of stunts like Smash from the Air and Spellsunder, maybe use Item Mastery feats to coax more out of your equipment, because the magic is already there and you just alter it, but not engage in anything that resembles spell casting on their own.

Arbane
2019-05-17, 01:29 AM
Given that the mods just finished locking a thread that attempted to go into what kind of "damage" lost hitpoints represent, I won't be able to reply to this properly, but suffice to say I believe the general assumption is that D&D has earth-like physics unless specified otherwise. Certainly it's not so different that you can claim that any expectations in this regard are meaningless, up is down, gravity is a suggestion etc. (Assuming no magic.)


Well, the Square-Cube Law got thrown out a window very early on....


While that's true, the fallacy is most prominent in D&D (or at least the expectations that lead to it) so it's a useful example for targeted discussion. We can certainly talk about systems that don't have it of course (like Call of Cthulhu... at least I think it doesn't, I haven't played it very much.)

Pretty much every PC in Call of Cthulhu is a Puny Mortal. It's just that a few of them have been smart enough to learn a spell or two from ancient tomes and stupid enough to think exposing their brains to alien hypermathematics was a good idea.


Very few if any living things work that way.

/Stares at you in dragon.


This goes into the old argument of whether the rules represent the laws of reality of for the setting or whether they are simply a useful abstraction to keep the game playable.

That way lies madness, Peasant Railguns, and 100-page flamefests about The Intrinsic Nature of Hitpoints.


OK, no, again, I'm only talking about physical capabilities, and only in the context of the insistence that a totally not-fantastic, not-magic, not-supernatural, not-etc "guy at the gym" character could achieve things like leaping 50 feet or lifting 10000 lbs just by normal training and exercise and experience... and all the while STAY totally not-fantastic, not-magic, not-supernatural, not-etc... in a setting where people are otherwise just like real-world people.

And the giant spiders are exactly like real-world giant spiders, and the wizards are exactly like the real-world wizards? :smallconfused:

This argument is going to go around in circles forever, because what people 'want' is actively self-contradictory.

Way I see it, to fix the problem we have three choices:
1: Suck it up and deal with the fact that the primary role of non-casters at high levels is to be their rightful overlords' meatshields and staff caddies.
2: Beat the spellcasters with the nerf bat until they scream for mercy, then keep beating them until magic is a collection of possibly useful tricks and solutions to esoteric problems instead of the collection of all-purpose Win Buttons it is now.
3: Give the fighty-types good enough kung-fu to at least PRETEND to keep up with The Only Characters That Matter. Best when combined with 2.
4: Ban playing non-spellcasters, or at least let people know upfront that they're playing the game on Hard Mode if they do.
FOUR. OUR FOUR CHOICES ARE...I'll come in again.

If that violates 'realism', SO BE IT. That got incinerated the first time anyone cast Fireball.

5: Play something besides D&D. Especially if you think you want 'realism'.

Kyutaru
2019-05-17, 01:42 AM
Hm... I'm getting the feeling that Psyren is ok with "martials" interacting with magic in a meaningful way, but not with initiating things that are normally considered to be "magic".

All I can say to that is...

You Don't Mess with the Zohan.

MrSandman
2019-05-17, 02:42 AM
Why do you come up with "real world people" all the time? And why are you so insistent that any statistical models that work for our world / physics would equally apply to any world with a different set of statistics?


Because he is answering the position that a setting can have non-magic, non-mythic, non-fantastic people able to lift 10,000 lbs and jump over skyscrapers while nearly everyone else has about the same physical capabilities as real-world people.

His point isn't that this people shouldn't exist, but that either they should be magic, mythic or fantastic, or everyone else should have capabilities above average real-life people.

At least as far as I'm able to understand it, that's what he's arguing for.

Mechalich
2019-05-17, 03:15 AM
Because he is answering the position that a setting can have non-magic, non-mythic, non-fantastic people able to lift 10,000 lbs and jump over skyscrapers while nearly everyone else has about the same physical capabilities as real-world people.

His point isn't that this people shouldn't exist, but that either they should be magic, mythic or fantastic, or everyone else should have capabilities above average real-life people.

At least as far as I'm able to understand it, that's what he's arguing for.

In the overwhelming majority of fantasy settings (and a slightly less overwhelming majority of science fiction settings) 99% of the population will have no special abilities of any kind. If that 99% can do things that ordinary humans on earth cannot do, that's huge. Whatever that thing is - even if its something random and largely pointless like the ability to magically disappear human waste (this is actually a thing, in the setting for Inda) - if you look at the world-building from a serious perspective that set of abilities is going to have a massive impact on what life is like in such a setting compared to Earth at an equivalent tech level.

In a setting where anyone who just trains really hard acquires the ability to be inhumanly good with weapons, the power to leap over buildings, walk across water, and to deflect hundreds of arrows at once (roughly the capabilities of your average martial-arts focused wuxia film), that makes a big difference. The premise of Jet Li's Hero is that one guy, driven by fanaticism, trains for ten years and acquires the ability to kill hundreds of men at once and as a result is capable of holding the power of the ruler of millions in his hands. If you extend out the logical implications of this, they world looks weird. Now, wuxia functions on its own particular style of fantastical pulp logic such this world never comes into being in a fashion very similar to the comic book logic used by Marvel and DC, and that's perfectly acceptable but it does have significant implications for those types of stories.

Florian
2019-05-17, 03:19 AM
Because he is answering the position that a setting can have non-magic, non-mythic, non-fantastic people able to lift 10,000 lbs and jump over skyscrapers while nearly everyone else has about the same physical capabilities as real-world people.

His point isn't that this people shouldn't exist, but that either they should be magic, mythic or fantastic, or everyone else should have capabilities above average real-life people.

At least as far as I'm able to understand it, that's what he's arguing for.

Nope. Max argues from a purely world building / verisimilitude POV, following a self-imposed set of logics that is not universally shared. The set is that we can observe certain statistical variations IRL, therefore the same must be true when modeling stuff in a fantastical world. Add to this the insistence that PCs have to behave inside the norm and keep within the statistical field, as immersion breaks when you notice that the PCs are heroes because we play heroes and there is nothing but the PCs to care about.

Once you get rid of the idea that there is a median for, say, human strength in a world that has arbitrarily hight outliers, things get smoother.

MrSandman
2019-05-17, 03:57 AM
Nope. Max argues from a purely world building / verisimilitude POV, following a self-imposed set of logics that is not universally shared. The set is that we can observe certain statistical variations IRL, therefore the same must be true when modeling stuff in a fantastical world.

Max is saying that what you allow or don't allow in your setting will have logical implications, yes. If you follow a set of rules different from the real world, then you need to come up with a way to explain what seems incoherent behaviour.

For the record, if I recall correctly, he's expressed that "it's fantastic/mythic/magic" is a valid explanation and that "I couldn't care less" is an option to deal with it.




Add to this the insistence that PCs have to behave inside the norm and keep within the statistical field, as immersion breaks when you notice that the PCs are heroes because we play heroes and there is nothing but the PCs to care about.


Do kindly point me to where he's said that.


Here are some bits of the discussion that I think are important to understand what he is saying:


The Guy at the Gym fallacy would claim that the character can't do "impossible" things, because that character type can't be magic and must be bound by the same limits as a Guy at the Gym. One of the solutions is to just let that guy "be magic" too, where "magic" is used very broadly and not restricted to spellcasting and the like.

The leaping over buildings thing, on the other hand... if your "totally not magic, nope, just a really fit human being" character can leap over a building, then you're saying something about the setting that maybe you don't intend to say and that isn't being reflected in the actual setting as shown, or just saying "this entire game is the way it is because I want it this way, reasons be damned".


I would argue that I am saying something about the setting when I enable that, yes. "This is a world where sufficient training and exercise and talent can let you leap buildings."

Half the time, there's not even a secret technique to it: it's just a lack of the real-world limits to how strong/tough/etc. you can get via exercise and training. "Mythic" need not mean "magic."


"Mythic" or "magic" or "fantastic", I don't see much difference in the context of this discussion, and when we're looking at "magic vs not" in the context of whatever specific setting is in question. In a setting with "normal people" as the baseline range of what's possible, leaping over a building on your own strength alone is just as "magic" as casting a fireball spell and conjuring up a flaming explosion out of thin air.

"Training and exercise and talent" still takes you into the realm of stuff most people in that setting can't do, and isn't fundamentally different from what the wizard's mental "training and exercise and talent".

Now, if there is no secret technique, and those limits don't exist... why don't non-adventuring characters who live by hours of hard labor and sweat every day ever reach those same massive strength levels? Why aren't there farmers pulling their own plows because they're so strong that the oxen are superfluous? Why aren't there merchants using teams of strong-backed men to haul their goods down the roads instead of bothering with wagons and carts?



The post you're responding to is discussing humans without any fantastic/mystical/supernatural/magical stuff -- "how far can a totally-not-magic person in this setting train up" characters.

Characters who far exceed the setting-specific range of human capability need something different, added, special, whatever, to do that. Fantastic abilities require something fantastic. "You must be at least this magic to ride this ride" (with magic being used in the broadest sense).


Huh.

By the definition I'm using, that sounds like it could be "there's something fantastic about leveled characters that lets them do things normally not possible for most people".

I'm strictly talking about the efforts to to shift the "peak human ability without magic/fantastic/supernatural abilities" without dragging the mean and the low end upward along with it -- which is usually an effort to have high-level "martial" characters keep up with or surpass high-level "spellcasters", while preserving the "martial" characters as purely and pristinely "not-magic", and preserving the setting as a recognizable quasi-historical culture and feel.



I don't see anywhere stated that the PCs should behave within the norm and keep within the statistical field. All I see is that if people can do extraordinary things there should be a reason for that. If that reason isn't that they are magic/fantastic/mythic, there should be a reason that most people are still average in real-world terms.

Rhedyn
2019-05-17, 06:59 AM
Very few if any living things work that way. Now this is an example of "Guy at the gym" fallacy.

It's where you take what you think you know about reality and use it to constrain different realities and the extraordinary.

It's bull**** from start to finish.

Florian
2019-05-17, 07:05 AM
Now this is an example of "Guy at the gym" fallacy.

It's where you take what you think you know about reality and use it to constrain different realities and the extraordinary.

It's bull**** from start to finish.

Jepp. That stance and the "righteousness" behind it annoy me to no end.

The Insanity
2019-05-17, 07:19 AM
All I see is that if people can do extraordinary things there should be a reason for that.
Why?


If that reason isn't that they are magic/fantastic/mythic, there should be a reason that most people are still average in real-world terms.
The same reason(s) that people are average IRL despite olympic athletes and rocket scientists existing? Or people in fantasyland being average despite Wizards existing?

Max_Killjoy
2019-05-17, 07:21 AM
Max is saying that what you allow or don't allow in your setting will have logical implications, yes. If you follow a set of rules different from the real world, then you need to come up with a way to explain what seems incoherent behaviour.

For the record, if I recall correctly, he's expressed that "it's fantastic/mythic/magic" is a valid explanation and that "I couldn't care less" is an option to deal with it.



Do kindly point me to where he's said that.


Here are some bits of the discussion that I think are important to understand what he is saying:













I don't see anywhere stated that the PCs should behave within the norm and keep within the statistical field. All I see is that if people can do extraordinary things there should be a reason for that. If that reason isn't that they are magic/fantastic/mythic, there should be a reason that most people are still average in real-world terms.

Yes. Everything has implications, and everything needs a reason.

If the only reason one can give is "because heroes" or "because PCs", and nothing underlies that, then in effect one is in effect arguing from the conclusion.

What special qualities or circumstances made these characters worth paying attention to or playing or telling the story of?

(This is where lit fic often fails, in that it rejects this entirely and considers banality the key attribute.)




the PCs are heroes because we play heroes and there is nothing but the PCs to care about


That's where we fundamentally disagree.

There's a lot more to care about than the PCs. Personally, I don't just take my PC into a blank white space and "do PC stuff" in a vacuum, there's a "world" and other "people" that the PCs interact with, and that "reality" is the framework in which the PCs do their PC things.

The PCs aren't special because they're the PCs, they're the PCs because they're special in some way, even if it's just the circumstances they find themselves in.

Max_Killjoy
2019-05-17, 07:25 AM
Why?


The same reason(s) that people are average IRL despite olympic athletes and rocket scientists existing? Or people in fantasyland being average despite Wizards existing?

For characters like high-level D&D characters, the difference is orders of magnitude greater, leaving both IRL average people and IRL exceptional people grouped together at the bottom. "Just that much better" ceases to be sufficient, unless one is going to say "I don't care, just give me awesome.

Max_Killjoy
2019-05-17, 07:33 AM
Now this is an example of "Guy at the gym" fallacy.

It's where you take what you think you know about reality and use it to constrain different realities and the extraordinary.

It's bull**** from start to finish.

How is it GatG fallacy?

It does not limit characters or creatures to any particular range or insist on a real-world limit.

It only says that if you move the range, that has effects on the setting, and if a character leaves the range as set for that setting, you need a reason.

I think people keep ignoring the IF, THEN part of my posts so they can respond to them as if I'm making absolute statements that all setting must be just like the real world.

Florian
2019-05-17, 07:37 AM
For characters like high-level D&D characters, the difference is orders of magnitude greater, leaving both IRL average people and IRL exceptional people grouped together at the bottom. "Just that much better" ceases to be sufficient, unless one is going to say "I don't care, just give me awesome.

Oh, man.

That's how things are in IRL.

Segev
2019-05-17, 07:51 AM
Sounds like "mega training" just gives these guys magic bones and magic muscles.

It certainly is extraordinary. But it’s either not magic, or the term lacks meaning beyond “we’ll beyond median expectations.” In 3e terms, it wouldn’t be magic because it doesn’t shut down in an AMF. There also is no “magical point” at which they obviously change from “mundane” to “magical.”

It really does come to the question of just how fast a “super speedster” has to be able to run for it to qualify as a superpower. Usaine Bolt is an Olympian. If he keeps breaking his own record every other week, finishing the same race a tenth of a second faster each time, when does he become “magic” rather than merely “constantly improving?”

There is no answer, because if he can do it, it’s not magic or supernatural, because such things aren’t real in real life.

In fantasy, if some things are magic but others are not, you can still have extraordinary not-magic that is nevertheless well beyond real world norms.

The Insanity
2019-05-17, 08:20 AM
Yes. Everything has implications, and everything needs a reason.
"Need" is such a strong word. I would say "can or could" have a reason.


high-level D&D characters
Don't exist IRL.


"Just that much better" ceases to be sufficient
For me it's sufficient.


unless one is going to say "I don't care, just give me awesome".
And what if I did?


It only says that if you move the range, that has effects on the setting, and if a character leaves the range as set for that setting, you need a reason.
Again with that "need" word. Nothing is truly needed unless you want it to be.


There is no answer, because if he can do it, it’s not magic or supernatural, because such things aren’t real in real life.

In fantasy, if some things are magic but others are not, you can still have extraordinary not-magic that is nevertheless well beyond real world norms.
This hits on a point that I was about to raise. It doesn't matter if it's mythical/magical/supernatural/fantastical. It's unrealistic, sure. Guess what. That's okay. This isn't real life. It's a game of imagination.

Heliomance
2019-05-17, 08:51 AM
I don't see anywhere stated that the PCs should behave within the norm and keep within the statistical field. All I see is that if people can do extraordinary things there should be a reason for that. If that reason isn't that they are magic/fantastic/mythic, there should be a reason that most people are still average in real-world terms.

Perfectly valid reason: Because pushing your limits relentlessly and focusing on constantly improving no matter how good you get is hard and the outliers are the few that, for whatever reason, have the drive, the will, and the determination to put themselves through that. Most people will get to the level of strength that they will naturally maintain through their daily labour. A builder will be as strong as hauling bricks around a building site will make him, just like a modern builder is. He has no reason or need to work at being more.

If you remove the upper cap on human achievement, you don't get more people at modern day Olympian level, because that still requires training like a modern day Olympian. All it means is that the Olympians become demigods.

Willie the Duck
2019-05-17, 08:53 AM
I'm pretty sure nobody has actually described the ToB in any of those terms a fiftieth of the amount it has been called "too anime", or "weeaboo fightan magic". Let's not mince words here, there's a very large contingent of "fans" who consider anything that might slightly resemble what they see as "Japanese inspired" as a travesty. Heck, the Monk has been under constant fire for how long? There's a very real and very noticeable amount of cultural-chauvinism-verging-on-plain-racism in our hobby, this is just an extremely mild show of it compared to other stuff.

Yes, cultural-chauvinism-verging-on-plain-racism exists in our hobby. No doubt. These people exist, have always existed, and, thanks to the internet, we know about them. There are also people who want a John McClane level hero to be a reasonable heroism narrative to emulate, and where that conflicts with god-wizards, they feel they would prefer the god-wizards be brought down to match. The two do not need to be painted with the same brush. Mind you, I am rather suspicious of the basic argument of 'those guys over there (whom no one can actually point to) are doing something wrong, unlike us right-minded folks over here.' I am on FB, and I have people on both sides of me, politically, making that basic argument about the people on the other side. So I hope you'll excuse me if I'm unconvinced that the prevalent reason for dislike of ToB was abject racism unless there is verifiable evidence to back that up.


And yes, you can have realistic heroes and stuff, but the last bit, "as long as they don't share space with the wizards" is the thing. The Guy at the Gym issue is not an issue of generalities. It's an issue of comparatives. The problem is "this player is not allowed to do almost anything and will play identically his entire career, while this other player can do whatever the **** he wants and he gets four completely new ways to interact with the game every three sessions, because one's character sheet says nonmagic and the other says magic".

You can have games where the heroes are sharply limited by physics, and you can have games with superpowered demigods. What I take issue with is when a game lets people play both heroes limited by physics and demigods and tries to sell players on the idea that both will be about as useful, and when people try to tell me that this is "obvious" and "reasonable" and "verisimilitude", instead, of, say, terrible game design.


This, otoh, I agree with. I think that's a reasonable summation of the problem we've been mulling over in three (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?588107-What-exactly-is-the-quot-guy-at-the-gym-fallacy-quot) of the biggest (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?586153-The-Man-Keeping-the-Martial-Down) threads (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?586428-What-irks-you-about-the-difference-with-D-amp-D-and-Real-World-logic) on this subforum.


I think our experiences differ. I've seen less of this, and less intense.
And honestly at least a little bit of what you describe is backlash -- fair or not -- against "ermagerd katanas can cut tanks in half!" guy.
Probably, but down that road lies a 'no they started it!'-ist spiral that is best left untouched.



And my question is, why? Why does "well, I know magic" immediately have to mean you get to have many more ways to engage the game (not different ones, mind. Obviously different archetypes should have different ways to engage the game) than "I don't know magic"?

It certainly doesn't intrinsically have to. Particularly if your measuring based on a broad metric of 'how many situations, which the characters are reasonably likely to run into, can my character engage in with a reasonable chance of resolving?' Lots of games like GURPS are balanced such that both the guy with the sword and the guy with the wand (and a wide repertoire of world-engaging spells known) will both be actually fairly constrained, compared to the skill-monkey build who can use the same points to be able to engage every social situation, knowledge/knowing something gatekeep, wilderness/travel/direction issue, and basic mechanical/logistic challenge. Rangers and Rogues/Bards/Skill systems do work better in systems designed around them.


I think you're thinking of a different game, yeah. Baron Munchausen's rules are mostly storytelling with other players bidding tokens to add obstacles. "But surely, Baron, the entire country of Belgium rose up in arms against you at that point!"

Yeah, now that you mention it, that sound kinda familiar. Not sure what the other system I was thinking of was.


It depends. Falling is always people's go to answer for why D&D physics doesn't match reality, but few people can even agree on why or how it is bad, and I don't think anyone has ever proposed a more realistic system that actually works at the table.

One of the constraints of a real falling system, is that enduring a challenging-but-routinely-survived fall is that a lot of it is going to depend on a lot of very specific environmental factors (such as what kind of surface they're falling upon) which probably requires a lot more world-modelling than that DM had planned for encounter X ("okay, so I fall off the Pegasus at 30' up, exactly what am I over?" "I don't know, the ground?" "well, you said we're in 'grassy hills' terrain, does that mean I'm over thick grass, bare earth, rock?" "um... tell you what, let me roll randomly for that." "how is that better than rolling random fall damage, which was what we were going to do anyways?").

Also, while D&D falling damage is pretty bizarre, so are some of the falls (60' pit traps in expensive-to-excavate subterranean lairs?). So, if you were to change the falling damage, you'd then have to go back to the dungeon design and decide 'okay, was this really a 60' fall, or was it a 6d6 fall (which happened to be 60' because of the baseline rules)?'

PhoenixPhyre
2019-05-17, 08:58 AM
One of the constraints of a real falling system, is that enduring a challenging-but-routinely-survived fall is that a lot of it is going to depend on a lot of very specific environmental factors (such as what kind of surface they're falling upon) which probably requires a lot more world-modelling than that DM had planned for encounter X ("okay, so I fall off the Pegasus at 30' up, exactly what am I over?" "I don't know, the ground?" "well, you said we're in 'grassy hills' terrain, does that mean I'm over thick grass, bare earth, rock?" "um... tell you what, let me roll randomly for that." "how is that better than rolling random fall damage, which was what we were going to do anyways?").

Also, while D&D falling damage is pretty bizarre, so are some of the falls (60' pit traps in expensive-to-excavate subterranean lairs?). So, if you were to change the falling damage, you'd then have to go back to the dungeon design and decide 'okay, was this really a 60' fall, or was it a 6d6 fall (which happened to be 60' because of the baseline rules)?'

Agreed. Even figuring out how fast a real object is going when it hits (not in physics utopia where everything is spherical and moving in a vacuum) is decidedly non-trivial, especially when different orientations make large differences in terminal speed. And then getting from energetics/momentum (the output of the previous step) to damage is decidedly non-trivial and fraught with assumptions and approximations.

No, damage doesn't scale quadratically. Velocity doesn't scale quadratically either. It's horrifically complicated, too complicated to be done at the table. So having a simple, cut-and-dried rule is useful even if it's inaccurate.

Kyutaru
2019-05-17, 09:03 AM
Agreed. Even figuring out how fast a real object is going when it hits (not in physics utopia where everything is spherical and moving in a vacuum) is decidedly non-trivial, especially when different orientations make large differences in terminal speed. And then getting from energetics/momentum (the output of the previous step) to damage is decidedly non-trivial and fraught with assumptions and approximations.

No, damage doesn't scale quadratically. Velocity doesn't scale quadratically either. It's horrifically complicated, too complicated to be done at the table. So having a simple, cut-and-dried rule is useful even if it's inaccurate.
The best part is that there are only two possible results of falling damage. Instant death or you get back up and walk it off. No broken femurs, no shattered spine, no extensive plastic surgery, no regeneration spells. Usually a fall isn't what kills you. It's the internal bleeding or crushed ribcage. Neck breaks are rare.

Max_Killjoy
2019-05-17, 09:07 AM
It certainly is extraordinary. But it’s either not magic, or the term lacks meaning beyond “we’ll beyond median expectations.” In 3e terms, it wouldn’t be magic because it doesn’t shut down in an AMF. There also is no “magical point” at which they obviously change from “mundane” to “magical.”

It really does come to the question of just how fast a “super speedster” has to be able to run for it to qualify as a superpower. Usaine Bolt is an Olympian. If he keeps breaking his own record every other week, finishing the same race a tenth of a second faster each time, when does he become “magic” rather than merely “constantly improving?”

There is no answer, because if he can do it, it’s not magic or supernatural, because such things aren’t real in real life.

In fantasy, if some things are magic but others are not, you can still have extraordinary not-magic that is nevertheless well beyond real world norms.

Look at the historical world records for the 100m, and note how they've changed and how the rate of change has changed. And then consider that for some game or fiction settings, we're talking about characters who can sprint not just a fraction of a percent faster, but multiple times faster, than those world record holders.

I don't think those incremental improvements in IRL world records are really a functional parallel with the massive gaps between those records and some of the fictional capabilities being discussed.


The reason I've used "magic" in that very broad sense, and kept using it, is to try to combat two notions -- that spellcasting == magic, and that non-spellcasters / "martials" cannot have fantastic abilities, or that those fantastic abilities cannot be in a very real sense "magic" on par with spellcasting. See also, "magic is as magic does".


The reason I posited that your presented scenario is effectively "magic bone and muscle" is because -- and maybe I misunderstood -- the bones and muscles of the character undergo a fundamental change at some point as the character really exceeds the "normal range". That fundamental change would be where the "becomes magic" in the framework I've been putting forth.

Psyren
2019-05-17, 09:22 AM
Huh? That's an... odd... sentiment. The more stuff we move over to the (ex) realm, the different stuff in the (su) and (sp) will have to be from what we are used to. When cutting through time and space is already (ex), then there's no real pay off in duplicating the same power in the (sp) realm, unless you model it in such a way that "magic is cheating", as in, a mage creates effects without going to hard route and training up to the point that he can do it, but then we´re again at power at a cost to balance that out.

Do you mean that you would be okay with Ex Gate or Teleportation Circle from a sword thrust? Because I can emphatically say I wouldn't. If that's "odd" - so be it.



- Arcane: External, the power is learned, bargained for or outright stolen.


Sorcerers say hi :smalltongue:


That's more of a game design consideration than a fluff one, isn't it?

I'd argue that when we're talking about credibility, and what martials should and shouldn't be able to do, you need both. The design and fluff should at least align at any rate.


Hm... I'm getting the feeling that Psyren is ok with "martials" interacting with magic in a meaningful way, but not with initiating things that are normally considered to be "magic".

I'm okay with a decent amount of initiating too actually. For example, there's very little in PF's Path of War that I find objectionable, I think they for the most part found ways to give martials nicer things without upsetting the apple cart or putting them on the same rung as spellcasters. (Well, without giving them the same ceiling, anyway.)

Ignimortis
2019-05-17, 09:37 AM
Do you mean that you would be okay with Ex Gate or Teleportation Circle from a sword thrust? Because I can emphatically say I wouldn't. If that's "odd" - so be it.

It's not odd, if you're referring to how common that sentiment is. Actually, I rarely meet people who would consider normal. For instance, half my gaming group actually thinks "yes, magic is brokenly powerful and it should be this way, because it's magic and why have magic if it's not unbalanced".



I'd argue that when we're talking about credibility, and what martials should and shouldn't be able to do, you need both. The design and fluff should at least align at any rate.


Well, I might disagree here. I think no single effect should really be off the table for anyone. But the thing is, I do want things to be diverse enough that nobody in the world, no single character, is able to do everything. This is why I object vehemently to combat buffs for mages that can actually go onto mages and make them better at things they're not supposed to be good at. It's fine if a Paladin buffs themselves into oblivion - Paladin is a combat class mostly, and their buffs are combat-focused. It's not fine when a Cleric does that - unless they're a cleric of a war god and basically have access to the paladin list only instead of the usual smorgasbord. It's even less fine when a Wizard does that, because Wizards should do Wizard stuff. The best combat Wizard that can exist should be a fireball thrower who is basically the an artillery piece, or maybe the CC bot who actually doesn't have save-or-dies, but mostly numerical debuffs, difficult terrain creation and other various manipulation methods that don't just...take people out.



I'm okay with a decent amount of initiating too actually. For example, there's very little in PF's Path of War that I find objectionable, I think they for the most part found ways to give martials nicer things without upsetting the apple cart or putting them on the same rung as spellcasters. (Well, without giving them the same ceiling, anyway.)

Initiating starts off strong and does cool things until level 11 or so. Then it's more of the same, while casters just get outright better and more powerful/versatile spells. I like initiators a lot, but in a game after level 13 they're still slightly lackluster if you actually want to do things besides HP damage.

Heliomance
2019-05-17, 09:48 AM
Do you mean that you would be okay with Ex Gate or Teleportation Circle from a sword thrust? Because I can emphatically say I wouldn't. If that's "odd" - so be it.

Teleportation Circle not so much, but Gate, maybe - with the caveat that opening a Gate that way gives you no control over where in the target plane it opens. I can see being (at very high level) sufficiently skilled that you can slice a hole in the barrier between realities, but it would be similar to Pullman's Subtle Knife - the place you connect to is the place that happens to be on the other side of the barrier, that's (probably) always going to be the same in a given place.

Also, something akin to Dimension Door is very in keeping with Rogue types. Picture this: The party has been thrown in jail, manacled to the walls. They're discussing how they're going to deal with this setback, when there's a jingle, a click, and the door swings open. The Rogue is there, swinging a set of keys. The fighter looks over to see empty manacles hanging where the Rogue was not two minutes previously. How did she get out? She's Just That Good.

I'd say it should never explain the mechanism. A high enough level Rogue can get into or out of just about anywhere. No-one ever sees them do it, no-one sees them disappear, you turn around to speak to them and they just aren't there anymore. They're Just That Good. You know it isn't magic, you know there must be a trick to it, but you're never going to figure it out, and the Rogue isn't telling.

Max_Killjoy
2019-05-17, 09:58 AM
Hm. The "classic" divide is that we have internal and external power sources and some explanations attached to them.
- Divine: External, the power is granted by the connection to something greater.
- Arcane: External, the power is learned, bargained for or outright stolen.
- Martial: Well, your training, duh.

Personally, my most favorite power source was introduced very late to PF:
- Occult. Internal, you understand how thing really are and how they are connected. Knowledge is power.

Anecdotally, the Medium and Occultist classes are maybe the only ones that can fill any role in the game and can be used to replicate any other class.


And maybe that's part of the disconnect.

I don't consider "martial" and "internal" to be parallel or matched, and I don't consider "magic" and "external" to be parallel or matched. (Along with rejecting the assertion that magic === spellcasting.)

Magic that's internal / internal source of magic, I see that as absolutely a possibility for a fictional/gaming setting. I'm using it in one of my settings.

Hell, in 5e, I'd consider "ki" a form of internal magic, and whether sorcerers are internal or external is an open question (depending on how you read and reconcile the various semi-conflicting blurbs across multiple books).

Rhedyn
2019-05-17, 10:18 AM
How is it GatG fallacy?

It does not limit characters or creatures to any particular range or insist on a real-world limit.

It only says that if you move the range, that has effects on the setting, and if a character leaves the range as set for that setting, you need a reason.

I think people keep ignoring the IF, THEN part of my posts so they can respond to them as if I'm making absolute statements that all setting must be just like the real world.

Ah but your if/then is objectively wrong. Average human strength has went down as the world's strongest men became stronger, and that still has nothing to do with how things would work in a different reality or when describing the extraordinary.

For example, One Punch man is a universe where the most powerful being in existence did 100 push ups, 100 sit ups, 100 squats, and a 10k run every day. The overarching moral is that special reasons for strength pale in comparison to hard work and effort. In that reality, if a person surpasses their limits, then they have no limit. The strongest character was weaker than average and blew past his limits with basic strength training. Our reality doesn't work like this and his strength in that reality isn't even extraordinary, it is available to anyone who trains hard enough.

Kyutaru
2019-05-17, 10:24 AM
It's even less fine when a Wizard does that, because Wizards should do Wizard stuff. The best combat Wizard that can exist should be a fireball thrower who is basically the an artillery piece, or maybe the CC bot who actually doesn't have save-or-dies, but mostly numerical debuffs, difficult terrain creation and other various manipulation methods that don't just...take people out.
I actually agree but what can you do? People love it. Lord of the Rings had fireballs, Harry Potter had death curses. New era I suppose because all the younglings want to imitate their heroes. Older RPGs had death spells too but they only had a 20% chance of actually working, or they required the enemy's level to be divisible by a certain number (letting devs control who it affects). Ideally Wizards would be relegated to debuff bots and the system would be balanced but fiction gives them way more power than that so the PHB does as well. Still, any sane DM should be limiting them to what he finds appropriate for the campaign design and not blanket approving every splatbook or spell selection under the trademark.

Max_Killjoy
2019-05-17, 10:37 AM
Ah but your if/then is objectively wrong. Average human strength has went down as the world's strongest men became stronger,


The world lifting records aren't moving by an order of magnitude. The new record will from time to time go up by a pound here or there, not multiply by 10 or 100.




and that still has nothing to do with how things would work in a different reality or when describing the extraordinary.


What matters is what's ordinary vs extraordinary in the context of a setting, and if that gap is explained.

That's not a demand that the distribution be exactly the same as real life, only that there is a distribution and that its implications for the setting are followed up on thoroughly.




For example, One Punch man is a universe where the most powerful being in existence did 100 push ups, 100 sit ups, 100 squats, and a 10k run every day. The overarching moral is that special reasons for strength pale in comparison to hard work and effort. In that reality, if a person surpasses their limits, then they have no limit. The strongest character was weaker than average and blew past his limits with basic strength training. Our reality doesn't work like this and his strength in that reality isn't even extraordinary, it is available to anyone who trains hard enough.


One Punch Man appears to be a blatantly gonzo setting, with enabling premises for the "important characters" that aren't really followed up on across the broader setting. (I fully admit that I could be wrong here, as I've not followed it in detail, it's absolutely not my cuppa -- so again, I only say "appears".)

Kyutaru
2019-05-17, 10:53 AM
One Punch Man appears to be a blatantly gonzo setting, with enabling premises for the "important characters" that aren't really followed up on across the broader setting. (I fully admit that I could be wrong here, as I've not followed it in detail, it's absolutely not my cuppa -- so again, I only say "appears".)

It's more like the Goku effect. Simply being around some stupidly strong character in anime tends to raise the power level of all his followers for no explicable reason besides "training". Happens in DBZ, happens in Hitman Reborn, happens in Naruto, happens in One Pieces, happens in Bleach, happens a lot actually.

When someone exists who breaks the limit you thought previously existed I suppose there's some motivation to think you can do it too. A famous Henry Ford quote, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can't – you're right,” emphasizes how much attitude determines success or failure.

Morty
2019-05-17, 11:04 AM
Is it just me, or are people having the exact same conversation in two concurrent threads?

Kyutaru
2019-05-17, 11:11 AM
Is it just me, or are people having the exact same conversation in two concurrent threads?

Oh heavens no, they're inverted.

The other thread is about "Why isn't my Martial character Fantastic?".

This thread is about "Why isn't my Fantastic character Martial?".

Max_Killjoy
2019-05-17, 11:28 AM
It's more like the Goku effect. Simply being around some stupidly strong character in anime tends to raise the power level of all his followers for no explicable reason besides "training". Happens in DBZ, happens in Hitman Reborn, happens in Naruto, happens in One Pieces, happens in Bleach, happens a lot actually.


DBZ is even more of a gonzo setting. Anime is rife with gonzo settings.




When someone exists who breaks the limit you thought previously existed I suppose there's some motivation to think you can do it too. A famous Henry Ford quote, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can't – you're right,” emphasizes how much attitude determines success or failure.


While I get the can-do rah-rah attitude behind that platitude... it's always been a bit funny to me because it's so obviously false. No matter how much someone believes they can leap over a skyscraper unaided, or run 100mph on just the power of their legs and lungs, or punch though a 1" thick armor-grade steel wall with their bare fist... they can't. Not in this world. Whether they think they can or think they can't is utterly irrelevant.

Psyren
2019-05-17, 11:31 AM
It's not odd, if you're referring to how common that sentiment is. Actually, I rarely meet people who would consider normal. For instance, half my gaming group actually thinks "yes, magic is brokenly powerful and it should be this way, because it's magic and why have magic if it's not unbalanced".

I'm okay just with "more powerful" rather than "brokenly powerful." Some things magic can do, like Planar Binding, should be rituals in my opinion, complete with drawbacks and other limitations.

With that said, even on the level of "brokenly powerful", people still enjoy the game, so I'm more interested in creating stuff for the martials (through PoW, Stamina, Advanced Weapon Training, Styles, trimming down feat chains etc.) than I am in nerfing the casters. That's more from a PF standpoint of course.


This is why I object vehemently to combat buffs for mages that can actually go onto mages and make them better at things they're not supposed to be good at. It's fine if a Paladin buffs themselves into oblivion - Paladin is a combat class mostly, and their buffs are combat-focused. It's not fine when a Cleric does that - unless they're a cleric of a war god and basically have access to the paladin list only instead of the usual smorgasbord.

I hear what you're saying but this eliminates a lot of truly iconic concepts. The entire Druid class for example, or summoners, or "army-of-the-dead"-style Necromancers. All three of those exemplify strong casting and martial focus (albeit on separate bodies for the latter two, but with one consciousness in control.) Telling people that your game doesn't allow them to do that has the likely result of them saying "well this game does, so we're gonna go play that."



Initiating starts off strong and does cool things until level 11 or so. Then it's more of the same, while casters just get outright better and more powerful/versatile spells. I like initiators a lot, but in a game after level 13 they're still slightly lackluster if you actually want to do things besides HP damage.

Firstly, I think this is wrong. Looking at Path of War, I can see maneuvers that heal, that buff self and allies, that debuff enemies, that grant allies extra actions, that allow the initiator to teleport or fly or swap places or reposition freely across the battlefield, that delay or cure conditions and more. All of that goes beyond HP damage.

But second and more importantly, you're using the wrong yardstick; instead of comparing initiators to the party's casters, compare them to the Bestiary/Monster Manual. What level- and wealth-appropriate foe can they not overcome? They're T3 classes for a reason.

Rhedyn
2019-05-17, 11:34 AM
One Punch Man appears to be a blatantly gonzo setting, with enabling premises for the "important characters" that aren't really followed up on across the broader setting. (I fully admit that I could be wrong here, as I've not followed it in detail, it's absolutely not my cuppa -- so again, I only say "appears".) No you just have a "reality I live in" bias.

A fairly internally consistent reality seems gonzo and crazy to you merely because it is different than your own. You would assume being able to jump to the Moon and back would be an extraordinary feat, while it most certainly is in the sense that few people can do it, it is something anyone in that universe could do through strength training beyond their limits.

Anywho the idea that I should be able to lift a 1000 pounds if the strongest human could lift 100,000 pounds is still nonsense. For all we know, growing up in low gravity triggers a hidden giantism Gene sequence that we didn't know did that (like much of biology) and by gradually training that giant they could eventually lift 100,000 pound if still not being able to live on Earth for any length of time. That wouldn't be Extraordinary, it would be mundane and we really couldn't say that it couldn't happen in our reality. Oh sure people may argue until they're blue in the face against that, but once you actually know a little about these topics, you know just how much we don't understand.

Kyutaru
2019-05-17, 11:38 AM
While I get the can-do rah-rah attitude behind that platitude... it's always been a bit funny to me because it's so obviously false.
I've noticed throughout the thread you tend to take things rather literally and at face value. Wisdom rarely reflects the exact meaning of the words used but is meant to inspire improvement. The rah-rah attitude is the intention rather than idea that anyone can be Superman if they're crazy enough to believe it. Whether they think they can or not determines whether they even bother to try. The key is trying because you miss one hundred percent of the shots you never take. What inevitably limits a person in gym training, which this topic is primarily centered around, isn't whether their body has reached its physical peak. It's the moment they give up on progress. Humans are fantastic creatures that can do far more than they believe they can and the struggle to push oneself to its limit is more real than the limit itself.

Segev
2019-05-17, 11:39 AM
Look at the historical world records for the 100m, and note how they've changed and how the rate of change has changed. And then consider that for some game or fiction settings, we're talking about characters who can sprint not just a fraction of a percent faster, but multiple times faster, than those world record holders.

I don't think those incremental improvements in IRL world records are really a functional parallel with the massive gaps between those records and some of the fictional capabilities being discussed. You're still operating on the wrong assumptions, here. The specific proposed change is that the limits that are represented by how much smaller real-world ROC is in record speeds are not present. Using evidence derived from one to disprove the other is like saying, "If we assume that Bob likes chocolate, we know he'll still hate this chocolate sundae, because he hates chocolate."

The whole point is that these upper limits are gone. The rate of change may still decrease, or it may not - we would have to examine mechanics and physics models and these will vary - but it is no longer asymptotically approaching zero, but rather increases without bound.

The reason I brought up Usaine Bolt is because it relates an old thought experiment I had regarding the definition of "superpowers:" generally, it's considered "cheating" if a superhuman enters any sort of traditional atheletic contest where his powers would be useful. The Flash entering the Olympics would be seen as "cheating," because his speed is a superpower. Moreover, a lot of fiction with superpowers has a magic button that can be pushed to turn them off. "I've stripped you of your powers!" gloats the supervillain, and lo, Uberbob is now just Bob, normal-strength man. It implies that superhuman abilities are a template layered on over a "normal" person.

But, barring the power-stealing magic button, how do you judge that the Flash is cheating by using a superpower to run faster than Usaine Bolt? If our hypothetical version of Olympic Flash is not nearly as fast as the DC comics character, just how slow would he have to be going to not be called out as using a superpower? Assume no exotic "superpower detecting devices" or senses or the like.

If the Olympic Flash beat Usaine Bolt's record by a mere .01s, would that be obvious signs of superpowers? How about .05? .1? 1? reduced the entire time to half a second? Somewhere in there, we'd say, "that's superhuman!" But where?

Take away the real-world physical barrier to continual improvement, and let that curve on the rate of change bend such that it doesn't asymptotically approach zero, and there is no real answer. There are various subjective thresholds of "that's amazing!" but there's no point at which "training to be better" stops being just plain how it works for non-magical but extraordinary achievement.



The reason I've used "magic" in that very broad sense, and kept using it, is to try to combat two notions -- that spellcasting == magic, and that non-spellcasters / "martials" cannot have fantastic abilities, or that those fantastic abilities cannot be in a very real sense "magic" on par with spellcasting. See also, "magic is as magic does".


The reason I posited that your presented scenario is effectively "magic bone and muscle" is because -- and maybe I misunderstood -- the bones and muscles of the character undergo a fundamental change at some point as the character really exceeds the "normal range". That fundamental change would be where the "becomes magic" in the framework I've been putting forth.
That's one possible explanation, and that would be the threshold where "anti-magic" would start to impede him. The main reason I keep insisting on NOT calling it "magic" but rather differentiating it as "extraordinary" is because of this "superpowers are an overlaid template" thing. You can "turn off" superpowers, and magic, and the like, and audiences buy it because they buy - consciously or not - into the notion that there is the standard real-world barrier and then there are super-whatevers that can bypass it, whether with magical energy, "superpowers," or something else that can be stripped away to reveal the "normal" person underneath.

I would posit that the changes to bone and muscle are "more of the same" that happen in real-world exercise: increased density and bulk, improved blood flow, etc., but with material properties of this fantasy world that either permit increased density by adding new minerals or by simply not having the same fundamental atomic chemistry between worlds. No, I am not about to try to specify it in any great detail, especially while trying to divine an alternate system that looks like the real world except where I don't want it to. I can posit the concept and hopefully people grasp the idea, and we can just agree that there exists some model that follows these rules. Which we're mostly abstracting to a much simpler model that is the game system.


It sounds, though, like we roughly agree that the line between "superhuman martials" and "mundane martials" should blur and go away, and merely are disagreeing over whether to call it "magic" when they exceed real world potential.

Max_Killjoy
2019-05-17, 11:46 AM
No you just have a "reality I live in" bias.

A fairly internally consistent reality seems gonzo and crazy to you merely because it is different than your own.


It gets old, having to fend off attacks that aren't even directed at the things I'm posting.




Anywho the idea that I should be able to lift a 1000 pounds if the strongest human could lift 100,000 pounds is still nonsense. For all we know, growing up in low gravity triggers a hidden giantism Gene sequence that we didn't know did that (like much of biology) and by gradually training that giant they could eventually lift 100,000 pound if still not being able to live on Earth for any length of time. That wouldn't be Extraordinary, it would be mundane and we really couldn't say that it couldn't happen in our reality. Oh sure people may argue until they're blue in the face against that, but once you actually know a little about these topics, you know just how much we don't understand.


If you think there could even hypothetically be some unknown gene that would allow real-world human beings to lift 50 tons... and that it would be "triggered" by low gravity... just... wow. I don't even know where to start with that.

Bohandas
2019-05-17, 11:53 AM
While I get the can-do rah-rah attitude behind that platitude... it's always been a bit funny to me because it's so obviously false. No matter how much someone believes they can leap over a skyscraper unaided, or run 100mph on just the power of their legs and lungs, or punch though a 1" thick armor-grade steel wall with their bare fist... they can't. Not in this world. Whether they think they can or think they can't is utterly irrelevant.

I like the way Nietzsche put it, "A casual stroll through a lunatic asylum will show that belief does not prove anything"

Max_Killjoy
2019-05-17, 11:55 AM
I've noticed throughout the thread you tend to take things rather literally and at face value. Wisdom rarely reflects the exact meaning of the words used but is meant to inspire improvement. The rah-rah attitude is the intention rather than idea that anyone can be Superman if they're crazy enough to believe it. Whether they think they can or not determines whether they even bother to try. The key is trying because you miss one hundred percent of the shots you never take. What inevitably limits a person in gym training, which this topic is primarily centered around, isn't whether their body has reached its physical peak. It's the moment they give up on progress. Humans are fantastic creatures that can do far more than they believe they can and the struggle to push oneself to its limit is more real than the limit itself.


No amount of training would ever have allowed me to come anywhere near the world lifting records, ever, even if I'd started in childhood. It's simply beyond what this body could manage, and no platitude, no amount of belief, no amount of can-do spirit, would ever have changed that.

Likewise, assuming people that are like real-world people, which many settings actually do, no amount of training could enable any human being to ever exceed the current world record by orders of magnitude. Bones can only get so strong, muscles can only produce so much force and can only withstand so much force before they begin tearing, the circulatory system can only without so much pressure, etc.

Even in a fantasy setting, what the bones are made out of has to change before those limits increase by orders of magnitude. Or, if you keep the same composition of human bones, and change what the component materials are capable of withstanding, you have a long list of other effects that follow from those changes to the chemistry and physics involved. This is of course setting aside "magic" (broad sense) as an explanation for the moment -- which removes this conflict by removing the purely physical considerations.

Max_Killjoy
2019-05-17, 12:06 PM
It sounds, though, like we roughly agree that the line between "superhuman martials" and "mundane martials" should blur and go away, and merely are disagreeing over whether to call it "magic" when they exceed real world potential.


I agree in so much as that's one of the possible resolutions to the conundrum at hand, yes.


As an aside, I'm not that much interested in the AMF as a test, as it can easily be set up in a system/setting combo to only interfere with external uses of magic, such that magic that both comes from within and is being used within a character, and is thus fully internal, is not affected. Thus, dragons don't fall over dead in an AMF, but spellcasting dragons can't cast their spells. Thus, magic items don't fall apart in an AMF, but wands can't be used to toss fireballs. Thus, a monk can do purely internal things, but wizard or cleric drawing on external power is boned... and the sorcerer's day depends on how you read the various kinda conflicting blurbs and other text. Etc.

patchyman
2019-05-17, 12:18 PM
Taking the rules to their logical conclusion is a useful exercise in this analysis, but should never be mistaken for anything but that. If you extrapolate from the rules and keep getting a broken setting, or a setting totally unlike what you wanted, that's a strong sign you have a bad system or not the right system.

Eh, you extrapolate from Newtonian mechanics in real life, you end up with a bunch of stuff that doesn’t work in reality in the micro- and macro- sphere. Fact is, RPG rules don’t require the level of detail of Newtonian mechanics, and the real fallacy is assuming rules meant to cover the 80% of usual cases are broken if they don’t cover the 20% of extraordinary cases.

Most systems empower the DM to provide rulings in the cases where the rules break down.

Tdlr: Peasant railguns are dumb.

Ignimortis
2019-05-17, 12:21 PM
I hear what you're saying but this eliminates a lot of truly iconic concepts. The entire Druid class for example, or summoners, or "army-of-the-dead"-style Necromancers. All three of those exemplify strong casting and martial focus (albeit on separate bodies for the latter two, but with one consciousness in control.) Telling people that your game doesn't allow them to do that has the likely result of them saying "well this game does, so we're gonna go play that."

It doesn't. Druids can work as "choose either good casting or good wildshaping", my own game has a player who only plays druids or necromancers, and he seems to be happy enough to have minor wildshaping and good nature magic. Summoners too - they summon hordes of mooks or one big strong mook. The problems begin when those summons are just outright better than what a martial brings to the table. If you just focus on summoning meatshields and brutes and so on, I don't think there's anything much broken with that. Just don't have those things overshadow the fighters. Same with necromancers - they usually end up with hordes of skeletons and zombies which aren't good in a real D&D fight anyway. The point isn't that you can't have those things - you can, but not all at once, and if all at once, then remember that your options ARE going to be weaker than someone who builds with single purposes in mind.




Firstly, I think this is wrong. Looking at Path of War, I can see maneuvers that heal, that buff self and allies, that debuff enemies, that grant allies extra actions, that allow the initiator to teleport or fly or swap places or reposition freely across the battlefield, that delay or cure conditions and more. All of that goes beyond HP damage.

But second and more importantly, you're using the wrong yardstick; instead of comparing initiators to the party's casters, compare them to the Bestiary/Monster Manual. What level- and wealth-appropriate foe can they not overcome? They're T3 classes for a reason.

Eh, I might've used the wrong word. There isn't much out of combat utility after level 11 or so. You're really good in combat, that much is true. But you don't get the gamechanger things (teleport is the primary offender here, but I'm sure there are some other spells that don't really need to be in PCs hands, like wish, etc).

To be fair, I'd prefer those things to be deleted entirely rather than hand them out to everyone. Just make full casters 2/3 casters, give them some class features to compensate. Former 2/3 casters go to 4-level casters, and I don't think a 4-level caster like Ranger and Paladin is a real niche that needs downscaling. Nothing bad in Magus being the Paladin's equal in magic. Ban Teleport or limit it to things like Helm of Teleportation. Ban Planar Binding because it's a high ritual, not something a person does solo. Drop some major spells into rituals that everyone can do, like augury and scrying and so on. Magic doesn't need to be in mages' hands only.

Kyutaru
2019-05-17, 12:22 PM
Likewise, assuming people that are like real-world people, which many settings actually do, no amount of training could enable any human being to ever exceed the current world record by orders of magnitude. Bones can only get so strong, muscles can only produce so much force and can only withstand so much force before they begin tearing, the circulatory system can only without so much pressure, etc.
Though as mentioned, people will invariably give up in reality long before they reach any sort of limit. The fact that you believe you could never do it is automatically what will stop you from ever knowing otherwise. I have the same genetics as my brother who can deadlift 350 lbs yet I'll never reach his level because I've already convinced myself I can't. The gains I see on a daily basis are so minuscule, so imperceptible, that it discourages me from trying beyond what I consider my "best effort".

I also find it strange that your own signature encourages versimilitude in the form of a setting's internal consistency yet consistently look to external consistency for why it never could be real or coherent with its own laws. After all, the falling damage example remains an excellent demonstration of the durability of an adventurer's bones in that whatever doesn't kill them leaves them no worse for wear.

Talakeal
2019-05-17, 12:24 PM
Is it just me, or are people having the exact same conversation in two concurrent threads?

Sort of.

I was going to post a long rebuttal to the guy at the gym fallacy in the other thread, but then I realized I don't actually know what the guy at the gym fallacy is as there seem to be atleast three active uses for the term and the post that coined it was a long rambling essay rather than a succinct logical statement. So I created this thread to clarify the fallacy in my mind before writing up said rebuttal.

Of course; as the topic of Martial vs. Caster Disparity is like the Borg on this forum this thread was quickly infected and assimilated by the never ending argument.

Max_Killjoy
2019-05-17, 12:49 PM
Though as mentioned, people will invariably give up in reality long before they reach any sort of limit. The fact that you believe you could never do it is automatically what will stop you from ever knowing otherwise. I have the same genetics as my brother who can deadlift 350 lbs yet I'll never reach his level because I've already convinced myself I can't. The gains I see on a daily basis are so minuscule, so imperceptible, that it discourages me from trying beyond what I consider my "best effort".

I also find it strange that your own signature encourages versimilitude in the form of a setting's internal consistency yet consistently look to external consistency for why it never could be real or coherent with its own laws. After all, the falling damage example remains an excellent demonstration of the durability of an adventurer's bones in that whatever doesn't kill them leaves them no worse for wear.


I'd consider the falling rules more likely to be a fault in that system, rather than as proof of anything within the setting itself.

On the internal vs external consistency question... at least from my POV, this is an internal consistency issue:

* A setting which asserts an enabling fact for a particular character or small subset of characters, and doesn't follow through across the setting in general, risks losing internal consistency.
* A setting which asserts that a character is "a totally not-fantastic person" while showing them do utterly fantastic things, and not showing other characters doing the same things, either has an inconsistency within that character, or an inconsistency in what "totally not-fantastic" means.
* I simply do not buy the assertion that you can blow the upper limit off the distribution without changing the rest of the distribution, unless your setting creates an explicit two-or-more-tier distinction of some kind that maintains a "soft limit" for most people.

Rhedyn
2019-05-17, 12:51 PM
If you think there could even hypothetically be some unknown gene that would allow real-world human beings to lift 50 tons... and that it would be "triggered" by low gravity... just... wow. I don't even know where to start with that. You obviously do not know enough about genetics to know how much we don't know. (If I am being pedantic, you didn't even understand what I said)

You do know that all the educated do not posit something like that would happen. That is not the same thing as it being impossible.

Which is the classic problem of structuring the upper limits of mundane ability around your understanding of reality when no one actually has a firm understanding of what is "really possible".

Willie the Duck
2019-05-17, 01:07 PM
You obviously do not know enough about genetics to know how much we don't know. (If I am being pedantic, you didn't even understand what I said)

You do know that all the educated do not posit something like that would happen. That is not the same thing as it being impossible.

Which is the classic problem of structuring the upper limits of mundane ability around your understanding of reality when no one actually has a firm understanding of what is "really possible".

Okay, seriously? I understand getting feisty with Max. However, inferring that you have any idea what his real world genetics knowledge is because he called out your example as farfetched is inference beyond any supporting evidence. Microgravity inducing a positive mutation that increases some physical performance by whole number amplification, much less orders of magnitude, does sound closer to the X-Men understanding of mutation*, or maybe the reddit article everyone's loopy relative loves to forward them, than to a real world understanding of science. Sure, there is plenty we don't know about genetics. That's the scientific process in a nutshell. Using that to justify massive order-of-magnitude shifts in the rules is what goes into speculative fiction, and away from the real-world-(as we know it)-like version of fiction Max is drawing a line around.
*Or perhaps Edgar Rice Burroughs' John Carter/Barssom novels, since that's how they work, minus a discrete call out to genetics.

People can reasonably disagree about what level of realism one wants in our friggin' elfgames without implying that the other is ignorant of basic science or the scientific method.

Max_Killjoy
2019-05-17, 01:12 PM
You obviously do not know enough about genetics to know how much we don't know. (If I am being pedantic, you didn't even understand what I said)

You do know that all the educated do not posit something like that would happen. That is not the same thing as it being impossible.

Which is the classic problem of structuring the upper limits of mundane ability around your understanding of reality when no one actually has a firm understanding of what is "really possible".

OK, just to give this one final go, to make the point clear -- and then on this subtopic I'm just walking away, because I don't know how else to address this sort of claim constructively.

The materials that make up the body have been tested, alone and together, to determine the hypothetical limits of those materials in isolation and as a system.

The material that makes up bones cannot be made strong enough, while fitting inside a human body, to support 50 tons, it breaks long before that, even if hypothetically optimized. Muscle fibers, no matter how optimized, shred themselves long before exerting enough force to lift 50 tons.

Your hypothetical gene would literally need to change what the body is made of to enable the 50 ton lift you posit.


This is what it actually takes to lift 50 tons -- I don't think this will fit inside the human body, even if this single gene manages to give the person steel bones and hydraulic muscles:


https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQTVNeOC-5AgQXZTKx8aunBz9SwDCd8VTwqZpBY1Rqobc-wwQD3Lg

https://s3-ap-south-1.amazonaws.com/craneplus-cdn/cranes/original/369/gmk-3050-0c3d1.jpg

PhoenixPhyre
2019-05-17, 01:16 PM
OK, just to give this one final go, to make the point clear, and then on this subtopic I'm just walking away and letting people believe whatever they want to believe.

The materials that make up the body have been tested, alone and together, to determine the hypothetical limits of those materials in isolation and as a system.

The material that makes up bones cannot be made strong enough, while fitting inside a human body, to support 50 tons, it breaks long before that, even if hypothetically optimized. Muscle fibers, no matter how optimized, shred themselves long before exerting enough force to lift 50 tons.

Your hypothetical gene would literally need to change what the body is made of to enable the 50 ton lift you posit.


This is what it actually takes to lift 50 tons -- I don't think this will fit inside the human body, even if this single gene manages to give the person steel bones and hydraulic muscles:


Yeah. Biology as we know it just can't handle that. Same with "giant" (ie horse-sized) spiders. Or gigantic flying creatures. Anything close to super-heroic (on the 50 ton scale) requires rewriting most of physics and chemistry.

Heliomance
2019-05-17, 01:16 PM
I'd consider the falling rules more likely to be a fault in that system, rather than as proof of anything within the setting itself.

On the internal vs external consistency question... at least from my POV, this is an internal consistency issue:

* A setting which asserts an enabling fact for a particular character or small subset of characters, and doesn't follow through across the setting in general, risks losing internal consistency.
* A setting which asserts that a character is "a totally not-fantastic person" while showing them do utterly fantastic things, and not showing other characters doing the same things, either has an inconsistency within that character, or an inconsistency in what "totally not-fantastic" means.
* I simply do not buy the assertion that you can blow the upper limit off the distribution without changing the rest of the distribution, unless your setting creates an explicit two-or-more-tier distinction of some kind that maintains a "soft limit" for most people.

No-one's responded to my argument that what limits it could very easily just be that training is hard. Most people have no reason to attempt to reach their physical peak potential. It's gruelling, exhausting, time consuming work. Most people aren't Olympians, because becoming an Olympian requires far more effort than most people are remotely willing to put in. Yes, a lot of people simply don't have the genetics to compete at that level, but I bet you there's a hell of a lot who could but just don't have the burning drive to work for it.

If you remove the cap on human physical potential, you don't get more Olympians, but your Olympians become demigods.

The material limits of real-world human musculature and bone aren't particularly relevant. It doesn't need to be magic for reality to not work quite the same way.

Rhedyn
2019-05-17, 01:26 PM
Okay, seriously? I understand getting feisty with Max. However, inferring that you have any idea what his real world genetics knowledge is because he called out your example as farfetched is inference beyond any supporting evidence. Microgravity inducing a positive mutation that increases some physical performance by whole number amplification, much less orders of magnitude, does sound closer to the X-Men understanding of mutation*, or maybe the reddit article everyone's loopy relative loves to forward them, than to a real world understanding of science. Sure, there is plenty we don't know about genetics. That's the scientific process in a nutshell. Using that to justify massive order-of-magnitude shifts in the rules is what goes into speculative fiction, and away from the real-world-(as we know it)-like version of fiction Max is drawing a line around.
*Or perhaps Edgar Rice Burroughs' John Carter/Barssom novels, since that's how they work, minus a discrete call out to genetics.

People can reasonably disagree about what level of realism one wants in our friggin' elfgames without implying that the other is ignorant of basic science or the scientific method.
I didn't suggest anything like that. Certain environmental factors can cause genes to be up-regulated and expressed. We do not understand much of what our genome does and there is more than even just our genome to consider when it comes to what genes are expressed and the pathways that get there. No one has grown up in such an environment, so we do not actually know how that will work out (or even if it would, it might not be possible for humans grow up in low gravity without dying). The rabbit hole is very deep and anyone claiming they know exactly how it works is just full of ****. I do not need to know the limits of his understanding because he claims knowledge where there is none.

I took umbrage in his confidence at how absurd he thought a far-fetched concept would be, which such confidence only displays ignorance of the subject matter (being genetics, if his guffaw was just over material properties, then I misinterpreted).

Rhedyn
2019-05-17, 01:37 PM
OK, just to give this one final go, to make the point clear -- and then on this subtopic I'm just walking away, because I don't know how else to address this sort of claim constructively.

The materials that make up the body have been tested, alone and together, to determine the hypothetical limits of those materials in isolation and as a system.

The material that makes up bones cannot be made strong enough, while fitting inside a human body, to support 50 tons, it breaks long before that, even if hypothetically optimized. Muscle fibers, no matter how optimized, shred themselves long before exerting enough force to lift 50 tons.

Your hypothetical gene would literally need to change what the body is made of to enable the 50 ton lift you posit.


This is what it actually takes to lift 50 tons -- I don't think this will fit inside the human body, even if this single gene manages to give the person steel bones and hydraulic muscles:


https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQTVNeOC-5AgQXZTKx8aunBz9SwDCd8VTwqZpBY1Rqobc-wwQD3Lg

https://s3-ap-south-1.amazonaws.com/craneplus-cdn/cranes/original/369/gmk-3050-0c3d1.jpg


Ah so instead of genetics, you moved on to statics.

The first and easiest way is for our large human to sit on a lever arm to lift the weight. The human must survive long enough to withstand the weight of existing at full gravity for the time it takes to lift the 50 tons.

Second, lifting without leverage. Bone has a compressive strength of 170MPa or 24656.4 PSI, so 4 in^2 of bone could support the weight. I did not specify that the human had traditional dimensions, we are talking about an unknown human developed in unknown conditions, its dimensions are also unknown. Supporting the weight, for a time, is with-in the material structure limits. Muscle calculation take more time than I am willing to invest in checking this, so take your internet points for now.

Max_Killjoy
2019-05-17, 01:38 PM
No-one's responded to my argument that what limits it could very easily just be that training is hard. Most people have no reason to attempt to reach their physical peak potential. It's gruelling, exhausting, time consuming work. Most people aren't Olympians, because becoming an Olympian requires far more effort than most people are remotely willing to put in. Yes, a lot of people simply don't have the genetics to compete at that level, but I bet you there's a hell of a lot who could but just don't have the burning drive to work for it.

If you remove the cap on human physical potential, you don't get more Olympians, but your Olympians become demigods.

The material limits of real-world human musculature and bone aren't particularly relevant. It doesn't need to be magic for reality to not work quite the same way.

Here's why I say what I've been saying, why I disagree with that approach -- and if people want to disagree with my conclusion or how I got there, that's fine, but I'd appreciate it if some of them would at least stop insinuating that it's stupid or narrow-minded or whatever it is they're trying to insinuate.


Look across the world, Olympic, college, and high school results for various track-and-field events, and you'll find that the results don't drop off like a rock, but slowly taper downwards.

The current record in the men's 100m for high school is between 10.13 and 9.98, depending on the level of verification you want. 1000s of kids compete in those events every year, and they're competitive if not quite that fast. Compare to the current world record of 9.58, and you've got a very roughly calculated 5% variance from the fastest person in the world, to people competing at the amateur after-school level.

That kid cannot dedicate his every waking hour to training for the sprint, he has classes and homework and other things that take up his time -- and yet he's within about 5% of someone who sprints for a living and can dedicate every day to training as hard as he wants and with all the help modern science can muster (no, not drugs/steroids, not what I mean).

Make your Olympians and world-record holders into "demi-gods" simply as part of the natural potential of the human body, and your equivalent to high-school kids will be running times and throwing distances and jumping lengths that also blow away the current IRL world records.


If I've come across as too aggressive about this point in these recent threads, I apologize.







I didn't suggest anything like that. Certain environmental factors can cause genes to be up-regulated and expressed. We do not understand much of what our genome does and there is more than even just our genome to consider when it comes to what genes are expressed and the pathways that get there. No one has grown up in such an environment, so we do not actually know how that will work out (or even if it would, it might not be possible for humans grow up in low gravity without dying). The rabbit hole is very deep and anyone claiming they know exactly how it works is just full of ****. I do not need to know the limits of his understanding because he claims knowledge where there is none.

I took umbrage in his confidence at how absurd he thought a far-fetched concept would be, which such confidence only displays ignorance of the subject matter (being genetics, if his guffaw was just over material properties, then I misinterpreted).



That's mistaking "we don't know everything about how it works" for "therefore we cannot have any concept of what's impossible".

My reaction was based on the notion of a single gene making all these changes to the human body, AND the notion of any genetic change resulting in the human body being made of the materials necessary for this "50 ton lift", AND to the notion of a human body ever being big enough to accomplish said lift.




Ah so instead of genetics, you moved on to statics.


Genetics, biomechanics, physics, chemistry, statistics, etc -- they're all standing in the way of your "human lifts 50 tons" thing.




The first and easiest way is for our large human to sit on a lever arm to lift the weight.


I could lift 50 tons with a sufficiently long and robust lever. Bringing mechanical aid into the discussion now is... a completely irrelevant tangent, at best. We've been discussing unassisted direct lifts by human beings up to this point, and I have to wonder why exactly it is you're suddenly adding levers and such to the mix.




The human must survive long enough to withstand the weight of existing at full gravity for the time it takes to lift the 50 tons.


Objection -- asked and answered.




Second, lifting without leverage. Bone has a compressive strength of 170MPa or 24656.4 PSI, so 4 in^2 of bone could support the weight. I did not specify that the human had traditional dimensions, we are talking about an unknown human developed in unknown conditions, its dimensions are also unknown. Supporting the weight, for a time, is with-in the material structure limits. Muscle calculation take more time than I am willing to invest in checking this, so take your internet points for now.


Compressive strength isn't the only relevant limit on bone strength, unless you're only using the bone to hold up a weight placed directly on top of it.

Plus, your math might be wrong.

Psyren
2019-05-17, 02:29 PM
It doesn't. Druids can work as "choose either good casting or good wildshaping", my own game has a player who only plays druids or necromancers, and he seems to be happy enough to have minor wildshaping and good nature magic. Summoners too - they summon hordes of mooks or one big strong mook. The problems begin when those summons are just outright better than what a martial brings to the table. If you just focus on summoning meatshields and brutes and so on, I don't think there's anything much broken with that. Just don't have those things overshadow the fighters. Same with necromancers - they usually end up with hordes of skeletons and zombies which aren't good in a real D&D fight anyway. The point isn't that you can't have those things - you can, but not all at once, and if all at once, then remember that your options ARE going to be weaker than someone who builds with single purposes in mind.

Come now - even 5th edition lets Druids wildshape into combat forms (especially Circle of the Moon) and be primary casters (9ths), and 5e is wildly successful by every measure. Bards (College of Valor) and Clerics (War Domain) in 5e can also be primary casters and melee frontliners.

As for necromancers, you're right that armies of mooks tend to be weak, so replace that with one or two heavy bruisers and my point still stands.


Eh, I might've used the wrong word. There isn't much out of combat utility after level 11 or so. You're really good in combat, that much is true. But you don't get the gamechanger things (teleport is the primary offender here, but I'm sure there are some other spells that don't really need to be in PCs hands, like wish, etc).

Well, even short-range teleportation has gamechanging utility - bypassing all locks, traps, sentries etc - and initiators get that. They can also become incorporeal/ethereal briefly.



To be fair, I'd prefer those things to be deleted entirely rather than hand them out to everyone. Just make full casters 2/3 casters, give them some class features to compensate. Former 2/3 casters go to 4-level casters, and I don't think a 4-level caster like Ranger and Paladin is a real niche that needs downscaling. Nothing bad in Magus being the Paladin's equal in magic. Ban Teleport or limit it to things like Helm of Teleportation. Ban Planar Binding because it's a high ritual, not something a person does solo. Drop some major spells into rituals that everyone can do, like augury and scrying and so on. Magic doesn't need to be in mages' hands only.

I'm not against reducing all casting to 6/9 - in fact, Starfinder does this, and the abundance of technology there also raises the martial floor considerably. But that is closer to a Star Wars paradigm where a skilled bounty hunter can still be a worthy challenge for a Jedi master.

Whether it is 6/9 or 9/9 casting though, I agree with you where things like scrying and planar binding. I would want a caster to be the one who can initiate those though, rather than everyone.

jayem
2019-05-17, 02:47 PM
You obviously do not know enough about genetics to know how much we don't know. (If I am being pedantic, you didn't even understand what I said)

You do know that all the educated do not posit something like that would happen. That is not the same thing as it being impossible.

Which is the classic problem of structuring the upper limits of mundane ability around your understanding of reality when no one actually has a firm understanding of what is "really possible".

Bone has a compressive strength of about 170MPa (wikipedia). Or about 2 tonnes per square centimeter. A 50 tonne static weight is basically straight out crushing their ankles to powder. So anything above that is basically absolutely not happening without major (beyond achievable by training) restructuring somewhere. Realistically any lift would require applying forces to snap the bone, and at some point the force would have to go through the (much slimmer) tendon attachment points, so actual capabilities would (unsurprisingly) be much lower.

For what it's worth the items in the pictures will have a massive over-engineering (factor of 10?), and the 'weak point' is the much slimmer chain. The lifting arm has to carry 50 Tonnes at 10 meters horizontal distance with potential shock loading and so has a lot of extra funny forces going on. Limbs of steel probably would be about doable if you were to make a 50 Tonne capable robot (similar theoretical limits of which are probably a nice point for a boundary between merely 'biological impossible'-superhero and 'physically impossible').

That would give 'sociologically implausible' (which we can more or less extrapolate from current records, say about 3m jump height)
'Physiologically implausible' (which we guess by looking at the likely mode of failure, probably about 5m)
'Biologically implausible' (in which you go for something more fundamental, but use realistic values, jumping 80m would easily break our bones)
'Physically implausible' (by the point at which superman has to be filled with rocket fuel)
'Logically implausible' (flight)

Arbane
2019-05-17, 03:19 PM
Since one of the many things that triggers the Guy At The Gym reflex in gamers is 'doing anything someone in Middle Earth couldn't do'...

Doesn't the Silmarillion have some guy who got his chariot stuck in the mud so badly that he raised the land level of the ENTIRE CONTINENT trying to pull it out? Never mind all the people fighting legions of Balrogs and whatnot, we all agree that's perfectly OK, as long as you do it WITHOUT SUPERPOWERS. :smallamused:

Segev
2019-05-17, 03:43 PM
I agree in so much as that's one of the possible resolutions to the conundrum at hand, yes. It happens to be my preferred one, and I think is in line with the hidden assumptions a lot of people who disagree with your general arguments unconsciously make.


As an aside, I'm not that much interested in the AMF as a test, as it can easily be set up in a system/setting combo to only interfere with external uses of magic, such that magic that both comes from within and is being used within a character, and is thus fully internal, is not affected. Thus, dragons don't fall over dead in an AMF, but spellcasting dragons can't cast their spells. Thus, magic items don't fall apart in an AMF, but wands can't be used to toss fireballs. Thus, a monk can do purely internal things, but wizard or cleric drawing on external power is boned... and the sorcerer's day depends on how you read the various kinda conflicting blurbs and other text. Etc.My point with mentioning "AMF" isn't a setting-specific version which may or may not work on ki when it does work on wizard spells but you need APF to work on Betazoid psychic hate-beams. My point in bringing it up is in whether it is even a meaningful concept wrt the extraordinary abilities. That is, is there something you can say, "When I turn off magic, X stops being possible?"

If there is, then "AMF" is a meaningful concept, here, whether it means "Genoshan collars turn off superpowers" or "the Outlands Spire turns off magic" or "without the divine blessing of He-Mancules, human flesh and bones just can't handle weights in excess of 2000 lbs."

I'm arguing that it is possible to have an internally-consistent setting - fantastic and possibly filled with magic - where the lack of He-Mancules's blessing doesn't result in RL limits to human capacity.

Where, yes, even your body, Max_Killjoy, could be trained to demigod status, with no upper limit, if you start training and work hard enough; talent only governs, in this hypothetical world, how fast you can improve, not your actual final limit.

And none of this is dependent on any "thing" that could be termed "magic," in that you can't put the "suppression collar" on and have it all go away, leaving the "normal" person who's "really" there behind. Because the extraordinarily-strong pseudodemigod Olympian is "non-magical" for the setting. Extraordinary, but non-magical. An immense outlier, stronger than statistically-practically 100% of the rest of his race, but there's no identifiable "magic" to it. No "ki," no "Nen," no "chakra," no "One Power," no "divine gift," no "Gem of Cyttorak," not even "psychic bolstering." Just a body refined by trial, toil, and effort into something harder than the hardest steel and strong enough to lift a battleship (if not magical enough to make that not cause the battleship to break apart around the too-small area by which he's gripping).

This is what I bring up "AMF" for in these discussions. Not for setting-specific "some magics are AMFable, and others aren't," but to define the difference between "extraordinary but not 'superpowers'" for the setting and "superpowers."


OK, just to give this one final go, to make the point clear -- and then on this subtopic I'm just walking away, because I don't know how else to address this sort of claim constructively.

The materials that make up the body have been tested, alone and together, to determine the hypothetical limits of those materials in isolation and as a system.

The material that makes up bones cannot be made strong enough, while fitting inside a human body, to support 50 tons, it breaks long before that, even if hypothetically optimized. Muscle fibers, no matter how optimized, shred themselves long before exerting enough force to lift 50 tons.

Your hypothetical gene would literally need to change what the body is made of to enable the 50 ton lift you posit. You probably mean this for a very specific "we don't know these are the limits in the real world" rebuttal, in which case, ignore this next sentence. In my hypothetical examples, these tests of what human flesh and bone and the like are limited by would be meaningless, because the fantastical world I'm hypothesizing would not find these same results when performing these same tests. At least, not as they tested more and more honed "not-technically-super"-men.

Psyren
2019-05-17, 04:05 PM
I agree in so much as that's one of the possible resolutions to the conundrum at hand, yes.


As an aside, I'm not that much interested in the AMF as a test, as it can easily be set up in a system/setting combo to only interfere with external uses of magic, such that magic that both comes from within and is being used within a character, and is thus fully internal, is not affected. Thus, dragons don't fall over dead in an AMF, but spellcasting dragons can't cast their spells. Thus, magic items don't fall apart in an AMF, but wands can't be used to toss fireballs. Thus, a monk can do purely internal things, but wizard or cleric drawing on external power is boned... and the sorcerer's day depends on how you read the various kinda conflicting blurbs and other text. Etc.

Indeed, and these details can be easily resolved by tagging various abilities as Na/Ex/Sp/Su during the development phase. So a dragon won't fall over dead and can even still fly on a dead magic plane (physics be damned (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0754.html)), but loses access to spellcasting, shapeshifting, and breath weapons.

All we would need to haggle over at that point would be which tag to use for a high-level martial and caster's abilities. To the sorcerer point, some bloodlines do get Ex stuff, but the majority should be Su/Sp.



Doesn't the Silmarillion have some guy who got his chariot stuck in the mud so badly that he raised the land level of the ENTIRE CONTINENT trying to pull it out? Never mind all the people fighting legions of Balrogs and whatnot, we all agree that's perfectly OK, as long as you do it WITHOUT SUPERPOWERS. :smallamused:

Aren't the First Men in Tolkien's world (and a lot of settings really) essentially superheroes by our standards? That's part of what would be needed to hash out with our credibility coin. If the game in question is set during those proto-mankind ubermensch times then these kinds of feats should be expected. You could even have a PC that is a throwback to that, but then they wouldn't exactly be a normal human, closer to a demigod.

It's not just Tolkien too - the Nephalem from Diablo, the Azlanti from Golarion, the Netherese from Forgotten Realms, the Bible, there's a bunch of different examples.

Segev
2019-05-17, 05:06 PM
Indeed, and these details can be easily resolved by tagging various abilities as Na/Ex/Sp/Su during the development phase. So a dragon won't fall over dead and can even still fly on a dead magic plane (physics be damned (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0754.html)), but loses access to spellcasting, shapeshifting, and breath weapons.

I'd even go so far as to say that the (Ex) tag is actually only useful to us in the real world, as a call-out that, yes, the game or writers or whatever acknowledge that this is not something that could happen IRL, but that it's perfectly natural (if still quite extraordinary) in the fictional setting.

There is no difference, in-setting, between "Natural" and "(Ex)" abilities. They're both "natural." No magic, no special energies tapped from other planes that can be shut off, no risk of dispelling or AMF or null-psi interfering. Dragons fly because the physics of the world allow them to, and it's perfectly natural. Constructs were animated and infused with magic to begin with, but most are now operating on entirely natural (if unusual) principles (barring those which can be dispelled or shut down by AMFs).

JMS
2019-05-17, 06:06 PM
I'd even go so far as to say that the (Ex) tag is actually only useful to us in the real world, as a call-out that, yes, the game or writers or whatever acknowledge that this is not something that could happen IRL, but that it's perfectly natural (if still quite extraordinary) in the fictional setting.

There is no difference, in-setting, between "Natural" and "(Ex)" abilities. They're both "natural." No magic, no special energies tapped from other planes that can be shut off, no risk of dispelling or AMF or null-psi interfering. Dragons fly because the physics of the world allow them to, and it's perfectly natural. Constructs were animated and infused with magic to begin with, but most are now operating on entirely natural (if unusual) principles (barring those which can be dispelled or shut down by AMFs).
Very high level Factotums would disagree, but otherwise, yeah.

Florian
2019-05-17, 06:08 PM
{{scrubbed}}

Tvtyrant
2019-05-17, 06:18 PM
Since one of the many things that triggers the Guy At The Gym reflex in gamers is 'doing anything someone in Middle Earth couldn't do'...

Doesn't the Silmarillion have some guy who got his chariot stuck in the mud so badly that he raised the land level of the ENTIRE CONTINENT trying to pull it out? Never mind all the people fighting legions of Balrogs and whatnot, we all agree that's perfectly OK, as long as you do it WITHOUT SUPERPOWERS. :smallamused:

Yeah but the number of people who read the Sil are a lot smaller, and it has stuff like Huron killing 70 elephant sized trolls in a battle to hold off an entire army. He is Hercules, which is of course unacceptable.

Florian
2019-05-17, 06:34 PM
Since one of the many things that triggers the Guy At The Gym reflex in gamers is 'doing anything someone in Middle Earth couldn't do'...

Doesn't the Silmarillion have some guy who got his chariot stuck in the mud so badly that he raised the land level of the ENTIRE CONTINENT trying to pull it out? Never mind all the people fighting legions of Balrogs and whatnot, we all agree that's perfectly OK, as long as you do it WITHOUT SUPERPOWERS. :smallamused:

Look closely and you will find a recurring pattern. What "Man" was able to do back then and what "Man" is able to do now don't match up. Then again, the impact an Alexander or Napoleon, both don't match up with a lot of things.

Talakeal
2019-05-17, 06:39 PM
Since one of the many things that triggers the Guy At The Gym reflex in gamers is 'doing anything someone in Middle Earth couldn't do'...

Doesn't the Silmarillion have some guy who got his chariot stuck in the mud so badly that he raised the land level of the ENTIRE CONTINENT trying to pull it out? Never mind all the people fighting legions of Balrogs and whatnot, we all agree that's perfectly OK, as long as you do it WITHOUT SUPERPOWERS. :smallamused:

One of the major themes in Tolkien's work was that the world was diminishing and that the events of the first age were no longer possible by the third age, and even the feats of the third age would soon be gone.

So the events of the Silmarillion are not reasonable for Middle Earth as most people know it, during the era of The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings.

Florian
2019-05-17, 07:04 PM
One of the major themes in Tolkien's work was that the world was diminishing and that the events of the first age were no longer possible by the third age, and even the feats of the third age would soon be gone.

So the events of the Silmarillion are not reasonable for Middle Earth as most people know it, during the era of The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings.

Let me offer you a different POV: Tolkien was the child of two World Wars and he witnessed the transfer of power between monarchies and democracies in his lifetime. What people like Alexander or Napoleon managed with the centralized power invested into them can not really be repeated in our times and at our terms. We are long beyond the point of a Hitler or Stalin, basically the last examples of absolute power, therefore the world seems diminished because we are way past the simplicity of the master / servant relationship.

Mechalich
2019-05-17, 07:54 PM
Yeah but the number of people who read the Sil are a lot smaller, and it has stuff like Huron killing 70 elephant sized trolls in a battle to hold off an entire army. He is Hercules, which is of course unacceptable.

It's perfectly okay for a character to be Hercules, there's nothing wrong with that, but there are consequences to a world where a Hercules type personage is walking around.

In the Greek myths, the consequence is active, meddlesome, and frankly rather jerk-face gods toying with mortals more or less at their whim and a genuine inability for ordinary humans to accomplish great deeds without direct divine patronage. In the Silmarillion - which is the mythic backdrop to later events in Middle Earth, the entirety of the world has mythic properties and ordinary everyday life is bizarre (and for the most part ignored, actually, Tolkein wasn't interested in things like how the elves managed to feed themselves in their fortresses, something that later writers like GRR Martin have specifically called out). If you want to tell stories in a mythic reality that's fine, it's extremely popular actually, the MCU is a modern mythic reality and it's market evaluation is something like 'all of the money.'

Mythic settings do, however, require certain kinds of active management that other games lack. If my character is Hercules, he can walk into a town composed of ordinary people and murder them all. This doesn't happen in mythic tales written by ancient or modern authors, because it would ruin the story and annihilate the themes, so the possibility is simply discarded, but in a game it can happen the minute a player decides to do it. In single-author fiction Superman and Brightburn are two completely different things, in a tabletop game system, they're two different players, or in fact the very same player on a good day versus a bad day.

Mythic settings also inherently have massive world-building problems, because trying to represent a believable alternate reality is not their purpose. The MCU is not believable and it is not intended to be. They are analogous and metaphorical in nature, not intended to stand on their own (in the case of the Silmarillion the metaphors in question are explicitly Christian in origin). This can be troubling in game because the other players aren't likely to bring the same framework to the game as the GM. A game rule system or game setting that only works if you 'play it the right way' will fail, and mythical settings more or less inherently demand this. Every setting ever created by White Wolf has this problem and every setting every created by White Wolf is a massive failure on world-building terms.

That's not to say that you can't play games in a mythic setting. You absolutely can, but for the most part rules-light systems, narrative heavy systems, or just plain freeform role-playing work better than cumbersome and complex systems like D&D. The powers of mythic characters simply fluctuate too much from story to story and even scene to scene to remain functional within the boxes demanded by the game, instead the GM will have to actively compensate, and in fact, to circle back to the 'guy at the gym' issue, in a mythic setting there will be certain classes of being who are limited by 'guy at the gym' restrictions on what humans can do, and there will be those who are not, and the divide will often be quite arbitrary based on thing's like the inverse ninja law or whether or not they have a cool name, or even how spiky their hair happens to be.

Psyren
2019-05-17, 08:19 PM
I'd even go so far as to say that the (Ex) tag is actually only useful to us in the real world, as a call-out that, yes, the game or writers or whatever acknowledge that this is not something that could happen IRL, but that it's perfectly natural (if still quite extraordinary) in the fictional setting.

Well, Na/Ex does matter for some other things (like shapeshifting). So it's not just a IRL callout. But I do agree that the nature of those abilities can be similar (e.g. Ex/Na flight.)


Jepp. That's what's so grating about this kind of discussions. "If not specifically stated, everything works as in the real world" is just a necessary step to avoid creating a full-blown simulation of an entirely different set of physics. Can be done by a serious science fiction author, is not feasible for playing a game. The (Ex) tag is a simple reminder that fantasy physics are different from ours, that dragons can fly, that some roars are so loud as to deal sonic damage and so on.

Honestly, that's also the reason why I'm so terminally annoyed by Max and some others. We create worlds that are vastly different from our own reality. As creators, we decide how all of this works and how the physics in this game reality are modeled. Looking at our reality can be interesting, but it´s definitely no guiding principle when the initial decision is that things in the in-game reality of our world can exceed the limits or barriers of our real world by far.

I mostly agree but there has to be a line for the martials, unless of course we're playing Exalted or something where everyone is basically a caster.

Max_Killjoy
2019-05-17, 08:48 PM
{{scrubbed}}

Milo v3
2019-05-17, 09:32 PM
The weirdest thing about this fallacy to me is that martials in something like D&D already have a handful of abilities that are extraordinary things that are basically martial-magic and people seem to be with it, yet aren't fine with that concept being followed through on to allow level-based rpgs with CR systems to actually have characters of the same level be of the same power-level and scope.

When a Rogue uses his evasion to dodge an explosion that completely surrounds him, that's extraordinary even though they are completely engulfed in fire, because they're just that good at dodging.

When a Barbarian gets stabbed in the gut unarmoured and takes no damaged because of their damage reduction, that's extraordinary because they're just that tough.

When a Monk runs at 80 km/h or 50 mph because of their Fast Movement ability and Run Feat, that's extraordinary, because they're just that fast.

When the Ranger just disappears while your staring at him, while he's in an open field in the middle of a clear day with zero cover to hide behind, that's extraordinary, because they're just that good at hiding.

When a Monk can talk with spiders, dogs, dragons, primordial critters from beyond time without sharing a language, that's extraordinary because they're just that attuned with the world.

When a Druid can scull the poison of the world serpent as if it was water because they're immune to all poison, that's extraordinary because they've built up just that good of a tolerance to poison.

And that's just 3.5e players handbook stuff. All of which is 100% non-magical (the monk has magical abilities, but things like their super speed, immunity to disease/poisons/age, spell resistance, tongue of the sun and moon, evasion, etc. are all considered non-magical in 3rd edition).

The Insanity
2019-05-17, 09:57 PM
Has anyone here seen Glass?

Florian
2019-05-18, 12:03 AM
Sorcerers say hi :smalltongue:

.... And are exactly as f**ked as Wizard when standing in an AMF. So "inborn"? Total failure at modeling that.

Ignimortis
2019-05-18, 01:31 AM
Come now - even 5th edition lets Druids wildshape into combat forms (especially Circle of the Moon) and be primary casters (9ths), and 5e is wildly successful by every measure. Bards (College of Valor) and Clerics (War Domain) in 5e can also be primary casters and melee frontliners.

Because most people who play 5e never actually get beyond level 10 or 12, where the differences between martials and casters aren't as obvious. A Fighter kinda feels ok until level 9 or so, and the casters usually feel slightly weak before level 5, so in most campaigns it balances out. Even on this forum people usually say that they don't play beyond early tens.


As for necromancers, you're right that armies of mooks tend to be weak, so replace that with one or two heavy bruisers and my point still stands.

So give the necromancer bruisers. The player just has to understand that if he would sic his creatures onto the party's martial specialist and leave them without his spellcasting support, they're dead meat (again). As in, they by themselves can't do what a PC martial does.



Well, even short-range teleportation has gamechanging utility - bypassing all locks, traps, sentries etc - and initiators get that. They can also become incorporeal/ethereal briefly.

Yes, and most of these effects are gained before level 10, back when they're still supremely useful. That's why I said PoW starts off strong.



I'm not against reducing all casting to 6/9 - in fact, Starfinder does this, and the abundance of technology there also raises the martial floor considerably. But that is closer to a Star Wars paradigm where a skilled bounty hunter can still be a worthy challenge for a Jedi master.

Whether it is 6/9 or 9/9 casting though, I agree with you where things like scrying and planar binding. I would want a caster to be the one who can initiate those though, rather than everyone.

What's bad with the paradigm where everyone is a threat to everyone of the presumed equal skill level? Why not let an experienced martial hero cut down an archmage if he so wishes?



I mostly agree but there has to be a line for the martials, unless of course we're playing Exalted or something where everyone is basically a caster.

But why? What about casters makes them so special that limits don't apply to them? Why does someone who has magic DESERVE access to bigger and more significant powers? Wouldn't it be better if everyone was on somewhat even playing ground? Why are martials second-class by default? I hate this kind of rhetoric, I really do.

Psyren
2019-05-18, 02:12 AM
.... And are exactly as f**ked as Wizard when standing in an AMF. So "inborn"? Total failure at modeling that.

If it makes you feel any better it's not just them :smalltongue::smalltongue: Psions, Wilders, Bloodragers, Monks with their ki pools...

And yeah, it means that a sorcerer's innate powers are just as useless in an AMF as a wizard's purely external ones... but such is game balance.

Psyren
2019-05-18, 03:50 AM
Because most people who play 5e never actually get beyond level 10 or 12, where the differences between martials and casters aren't as obvious. A Fighter kinda feels ok until level 9 or so, and the casters usually feel slightly weak before level 5, so in most campaigns it balances out. Even on this forum people usually say that they don't play beyond early tens.

So you think the reason the disparity doesn't matter is because... nobody's managed to make it that high? In half a decade? :smallconfused:



So give the necromancer bruisers. The player just has to understand that if he would sic his creatures onto the party's martial specialist and leave them without his spellcasting support, they're dead meat (again). As in, they by themselves can't do what a PC martial does.

To alliteratively paraphrase myself from earlier - the measure of a minion is the monster manual, not being as good at fighting as a fighter. There's a lot of problems you can solve with a zombie dragon, and none of them particularly care that a barbarian could handle them 10% better.



Yes, and most of these effects are gained before level 10, back when they're still supremely useful. That's why I said PoW starts off strong.

And they're not still useful after? Healing, teleportation, incorporeality, things like that?



What's bad with the paradigm where everyone is a threat to everyone of the presumed equal skill level? Why not let an experienced martial hero cut down an archmage if he so wishes?

They can. Maybe not a forum-spawned Batman-mage like we theorycraft here, but D&D (and fiction in general) are full of examples of the martial overcoming the mage. It just takes a bit more effort/luck.


But why? What about casters makes them so special that limits don't apply to them? Why does someone who has magic DESERVE access to bigger and more significant powers? Wouldn't it be better if everyone was on somewhat even playing ground? Why are martials second-class by default? I hate this kind of rhetoric, I really do.

I'm not sure what to tell you. As I said before, it sells, and I believe it does so because people find it believable / understandable. There are plenty of other systems where the level playing field you want exists however.

Mechalich
2019-05-18, 05:49 AM
So you think the reason the disparity doesn't matter is because... nobody's managed to make it that high? In half a decade? :smallconfused:

Indeed, and it should be noted that 'guy at the gym' type limitations on character capability don't matter until other characters are regularly exceeding such ability limits. In D&D, at low levels, offensive spells aren't actually that powerful. At level 1 magic missile, perhaps the iconic low-level attack, does less damage compared to a sword hit, and even when you make it up to fireball, 3rd level spells aren't overwhelming in their damage output (5d6 save for half isn't actually that much, if you make the save that averages out to 8 dmg, and a sword attack could reasonably top that in average damage).

In a system or setting where magic is weak, the fact that martial types cannot exceed the generalized limits presented by the humanoid body may not actually matter, and if you through in additional technology the amount of magic can be increased. A blaster wizard needs far more magic to outperform in the ranged anti-personnel role when compared to a soldier with an AK-47 rather than one with a longbow.

In various D&D editions the classes that interact with the limits imposed by biology don't hit those limits at level one, they hit them a bit further up. In 3.X it's around levels 6-8 depending on optimization and how you read certain rules. In 2e it was around level 10, and while I don't play 5e it may be around there for that edition as well. Below a certain point on the power scale, the 'guy at the gym' remains a relevant contributor and if you cap the power level at that point, then the whole issue more or less vanishes. Now, this has consequences of its own. Characters who can't exceed normal human limitations can only do so much and are very vulnerable to getting swarmed under (depending on the kind of game you're trying to run this may be either a feature or a bug) or ganked by an unlucky role - in E6, for instance, a single bad crit from a farmer with a scythe might be all she wrote for even the most powerful of characters.

Talakeal
2019-05-18, 08:17 AM
The weirdest thing about this fallacy to me is that martials in something like D&D already have a handful of abilities that are extraordinary things that are basically martial-magic and people seem to be with it, yet aren't fine with that concept being followed through on to allow level-based rpgs with CR systems to actually have characters of the same level be of the same power-level and scope.

When a Rogue uses his evasion to dodge an explosion that completely surrounds him, that's extraordinary even though they are completely engulfed in fire, because they're just that good at dodging.

When a Barbarian gets stabbed in the gut unarmoured and takes no damaged because of their damage reduction, that's extraordinary because they're just that tough.

When a Monk runs at 80 km/h or 50 mph because of their Fast Movement ability and Run Feat, that's extraordinary, because they're just that fast.

When the Ranger just disappears while your staring at him, while he's in an open field in the middle of a clear day with zero cover to hide behind, that's extraordinary, because they're just that good at hiding.

When a Monk can talk with spiders, dogs, dragons, primordial critters from beyond time without sharing a language, that's extraordinary because they're just that attuned with the world.

When a Druid can scull the poison of the world serpent as if it was water because they're immune to all poison, that's extraordinary because they've built up just that good of a tolerance to poison.

And that's just 3.5e players handbook stuff. All of which is 100% non-magical (the monk has magical abilities, but things like their super speed, immunity to disease/poisons/age, spell resistance, tongue of the sun and moon, evasion, etc. are all considered non-magical in 3rd edition).

I would have a lot less contempt for EX abilities if the game gave any explanation for explaining how and why they work, or even what is happening beyond a platitude like "He's just that tough / good".

Mark Hall
2019-05-18, 08:38 AM
The Mod Wonder: Oh, look, we can't play nice, so the toy gets taken away.


AS A REMINDER, since have apparently reached the season where we need these reminders in thread:

1) Discuss people's ideas, not the people themselves, nor your perception of their attitude.
2) We all have different playstyles and different thresholds for realism, verisimilitude, and Rule of Cool. Respect that, sometimes, someone else's threshold will be different and that difference is not a sign of moral or intellectual deficiency.
3) If you need moderator attention, report the thread, either with the report button or by PMing a mod. If you PM a mod, include a link to the thread, and, possibly, the specific posts you want to call out. If you tall me to go look at the "gym" thread, you're going to get "What gym thread?". And if you report a thread, do not be surprised if the mod reviewing the thread notices YOUR bad behavior, as well.
4) If you find someone entirely intolerable, BLOCK THEM. Several of my message boards are greatly improved by blocking people for a variety of reasons; political, social, mechanical. It is simple, it is fun, and it improves message boards greatly to make people shut up in your feed. And if you block them, you don't have to listen to them.