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  1. - Top - End - #31
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    Default Re: Critiquing the "Guy At The Gym" Fallacy

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    There's also the simple fact that many systems don't have the very steep power scale that D&D characters go through as they "progress".
    And many systems do not allow the trivial use of high-powered magic in the way that D&D 3.x does.
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    Default Re: Critiquing the "Guy At The Gym" Fallacy

    Quote Originally Posted by kyoryu View Post
    And many systems do not allow the trivial use of high-powered magic in the way that D&D 3.x does.
    D&D's casual use of powerful magic is very much an exception, rather than the norm. Even when you compare it to systems where super-powerful magic is the point... though, honestly, D&D is also partly such a system, at least on high levels.
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    Default Re: Critiquing the "Guy At The Gym" Fallacy

    @Mechalich:

    You say a lot of things I cannot disagree with. However - this bit:

    Quote Originally Posted by Mechalich View Post
    'Because of story' is a perfectly acceptable excuse in a narrative
    This I can disagree with.

    My games are a narrative. It's a child of many fathers - but it's still a narrative. I take responsibility for making it an interesting narrative for all involved (and .. mostly succesfully, I hope), and if I need to chuck the rules out the window to make it work, then out the window they go.

    Though, I have to confess I simply do not play high level. And in the context of this discussion, I realise that's cheating: I avoid the problem, rather than solve it. Or ... solve it by avoiding it. Whatever.

    But the point stands: A fighter in my games will be able to do incredible things. Kill dozens of enemies, survive incredible amounts of damage, basically be Conan - or John Wick, if you like. Of course, the same is true for a wizard. They just require less axl grease to work.

    The only problem is that often, players don't realise. They don't try outrageous stuff because the rules say they can't. It's propably unfair to blame them, but on the other hand, I don't want to tell them they can't, because, well, throw all restraint aside and the game becomes just .. stupid.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kesnit View Post
    The idea for D&D is that a high level fighter should be able to do all of those things multiple times a day (or several days in a row) and walk away from it EVERY TIME. The reason we remember that skydiver, or SGT Winters, is because they did something completely abnormal. And while such things would be abnormal for a LVL 1 commoner, they should be par for the course for a LVL 20 Fighter.
    Yes - that's what I'm saying.

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    Default Re: Critiquing the "Guy At The Gym" Fallacy

    take also into account that a high level fighter is using magical equipment to do superhuman stuff. his belt make him over twice as strong, his bracelets make him much harder, all that kind of stuff. what can be done by a high level martial without any equipment is quite underwhelming, short of high op
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    Default Re: Critiquing the "Guy At The Gym" Fallacy

    Quote Originally Posted by King of Nowhere View Post
    take also into account that a high level fighter is using magical equipment to do superhuman stuff. his belt make him over twice as strong, his bracelets make him much harder, all that kind of stuff. what can be done by a high level martial without any equipment is quite underwhelming, short of high op
    Therein certainly lies a disconnect. Fighters and the like never were truly mundane, as even before the WBL days of 3e, a bit part of a fighter's power level was that most of the magic item treasure table was geared towards them (and, particularly with intelligent swords with X/day spell powers, often made them 'spellcasters through another avenue').

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    Default Re: Critiquing the "Guy At The Gym" Fallacy

    Also keep in mind that the "guy at the gym" is... just that. Probably a level 1 commoner type, with a decently high (14-16) strength.

    That's not a benchmark to use for a highly trained warrior.
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    Default Re: Critiquing the "Guy At The Gym" Fallacy

    Quote Originally Posted by kyoryu View Post
    Also keep in mind that the "guy at the gym" is... just that. Probably a level 1 commoner type, with a decently high (14-16) strength.

    That's not a benchmark to use for a highly trained warrior.
    I think you are missing the point of the topic. There's no actual gym, or guy at one. The OP laid out the concept in the first post-- "The Guy At The Gym Fallacy in a nutshell: Mundane/martial characters should be limited to the limits of what is possible in our world. Magic is exempt from this same logic." If the highly trained warrior is limited to what is possible in our world, then they are constrained by TGATG thinking, regardless of whether they are at the level, or above the level, of a level 1 commoner with 14-16 Strength.

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    Default Re: Critiquing the "Guy At The Gym" Fallacy

    To the OP:

    A lot of your post boils down to the D&D HP system being an incoherent mess. This isnt exactly news, and I wouldnt use the D&D HP system to try and draw any conclusions about the game world.


    You have a succinct definition of the "guy at the gym" fallacy, I have never seen one before and have even started threads trying to find it. The post that coined the term is less of a fallacy and more of a meandering rant, mostly against strawmen.


    Some people like playing Lord of the Rings / Conan, others like playing fantasy superheroes. The problem is that 3.5 tries to be everything at the same time and fails. I personally prefer Dragonlance, and dont have a problem with the feel of any edition of D&D except third.

    High level martials have a ton of magic items in D&D. This means that most of your examples will never actually come up in play and are mostly just hypothetical talking points. Also, 3E casting is so broken that super powers ain't going to help martials keep up.

    Also, you keep talking about people "playing NPCs," isn't that a contradiction?
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    Default Re: Critiquing the "Guy At The Gym" Fallacy

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    Also, you keep talking about people "playing NPCs," isn't that a contradiction?
    I wish it were a contradiction. But at least in the way I use the phrase, I've seen it happen more often than I'd like.

    What I mean by it is, "for this setting and campaign, the character you are trying to play is an NPC" -- it can range from Mr I Want To Stay Home And Bake, who never, even over a long campaign, develops a motivation to adventure of any kind, and still has to be dragged along... to Mr I'm Deliberately Constructed Poorly, who for example needs a certain Skill to use his Power, but refuses to invest in that Skill "because it would violate the character concept"... to Mr Slice of Villager Life who wants to RP villager interactions and tasks all day and never do anything risky or adventurous... to Mr But This Character Type Is In All The Fiction I Love, I Don't Care If It's Always A Side Character.

    And it's usually the same player repeatedly.
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    Default Re: Critiquing the "Guy At The Gym" Fallacy

    This thread started with a long, serious, well-written explanation for why the original poster prefers to play a certain way. There's is nothing wrong with either the description or the logic.

    The only problem comes in when somebody starts to believe that "How I prefer to play" is the same thing as "How everybody should prefer to play".

    I agree with his statement that Fighters (or at least Fighters who don't have a reasonable complement of high-level magic items. or a relevant Prestige Class) have far less raw power than casters at 20th level. This is certainly a problem with playing at that level, but it doesn't crack the list of top five reasons I don't like playing at that level.

    What some people call "The Guy at the Gym Fallacy" isn't a fallacy; it's simply one way to design a fantasy RPG. And it's the way I prefer.

    I don't want to play a party that can attack all of Sauron's armies at once and win. I want to play a group of nine adventurers who often hide from large groups of goblins, run from a Balrog, and are trying to accomplish a covert mission without being seen.

    I don't want to play a musketeer who could defeat all of Richelieu's guards and all of the Huguenot army; I want to play musketeers who make a name for themselves by winning a 4 vs. 5 melee, and then again by holding a bastion for a single hour.

    I don't want to play a group that can defeat Darth Vader and the entire empire in a straight-up battle; I want to play the intrepid heroes who heroically face long odds trying to slip in and sabotage its greatest weapon.

    In short, I want to act heroically, which means taking risks to defeat enemies with greater power than my group has.

    The high-level problem isn't that Fighters don't become Great Powers beyond humanity; it's that casters do. And the solution was built into original D&D: when the PCs become powerful enough that roaming the wilderness isn't risky, then settle down, build a keep, and face armies with your armies. [Or just retire the characters. I'll be retiring my 14th level Fighter/Ranger/Horizon Walker after next Saturday's game.]

    I'm not trying to tell you to play my way. Play the game you love the way you love to play it.

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    Default Re: Critiquing the "Guy At The Gym" Fallacy

    I think a concise way to sum it up is that: yes, there exists a problematic assumption that non-casters need to be restricted to realistic human capabilities. But it's just a case of people being wrong and stubborn; D&D has never done a very good job properly portraying their intended power level. Or... power level in general.

    Mind you, it sure would help if people arguing for realism knew what realism is, which is often not the case.
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    Default Re: Critiquing the "Guy At The Gym" Fallacy

    Quote Originally Posted by Cluedrew View Post
    You have outlined why the broader definition is also important. But nothing you have said forbids the thematic definition from being important as well. In fact that is my stance, they are both important. I don't have time to go into lots of detail, but [now I do!]
    OK so I have sorted me head a bit more and so yes, from a world building perspective the literary definition of magic is more important. But there is more to this problem than world building, notably character aesthetics (maybe I should call it the aesthetic definition of magic instead of the thematic definition).

    In that a warrior feels different from a spell-caster. Regardless of power-level they are very different archetypes and if anyone has a counter argument to that I will hear it. And people want to play characters from both of those (and many others and their more narrow subsets), even if it is impossible.

    Punching though a brick wall is impossible. But it feels a lot more like a warrior than chanting and having it crumple or turning into a ghost form and walking through it. Wall runs, jumping onto a nearby roof or snatching an arrow out of the air, for a fit and agile acrobat why not? Its better than spider climb, a short range teleport or a force-field.

    There are people stick "because its magic" in the background because that makes them more comfortable than "because its cool", but as long as you maintain that feel (which plastering the world magic around isn't going to help but it shouldn't break it) then it doesn't really matter. How they got that so-called-magic and how they can use it is usually much more important to that feel than whether we could do it or not.

    And that is why I believe the thematic/aesthetic definition of magic is also important in these conversations.

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Cluedrew View Post
    Why can't training really hard (possibly have an talent for it, cap it off with some practical experience) be enough? I grant you the Olympics in such a world be pretty extreme compared to ours, but it is a different world, so why not?
    Because to say that an ability or level of ability is achievable via "an Olympic degree of training" is to say that vast numbers of people are able to reach that level or near that level.
    Yes, which is why the Olympics are extreme and not just one person taking gold again and again. Drop down the proportion because most people are still farmers and don't have time to do that without starving. I have left behind the idea the PCs are the only ones above "level 0" in so many works that finding another reason to do it. On the other hand...

    The notion of the "elite athlete" as somehow vastly better than everyone else involved in the sport/competition, rather than simply one end of a distribution curve, is a complete myth -- even the "all time greats".
    Magic is also a myth. And I think sports culture is doing a enough to present that myth I'm not worried about perpetuating in my work. Especially when it presented in the same light as the unbelievable ones. So really I don't understand the issue.

  13. - Top - End - #43
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    Default Re: Critiquing the "Guy At The Gym" Fallacy

    Quote Originally Posted by Cluedrew View Post
    OK so I have sorted me head a bit more and so yes, from a world building perspective the literary definition of magic is more important. But there is more to this problem than world building, notably character aesthetics (maybe I should call it the aesthetic definition of magic instead of the thematic definition).

    In that a warrior feels different from a spell-caster. Regardless of power-level they are very different archetypes and if anyone has a counter argument to that I will hear it. And people want to play characters from both of those (and many others and their more narrow subsets), even if it is impossible.

    Punching though a brick wall is impossible. But it feels a lot more like a warrior than chanting and having it crumple or turning into a ghost form and walking through it. Wall runs, jumping onto a nearby roof or snatching an arrow out of the air, for a fit and agile acrobat why not? Its better than spider climb, a short range teleport or a force-field.

    There are people stick "because its magic" in the background because that makes them more comfortable than "because its cool", but as long as you maintain that feel (which plastering the world magic around isn't going to help but it shouldn't break it) then it doesn't really matter. How they got that so-called-magic and how they can use it is usually much more important to that feel than whether we could do it or not.

    And that is why I believe the thematic/aesthetic definition of magic is also important in these conversations.
    Personally I've never had much use for "because it's cool" -- it's an open-ended standard that ends up excusing everything and anything, the core of the kitchen-sink problem. And one root of D&D's problem of trying to be a lot of incompatible things at once.


    Quote Originally Posted by Cluedrew View Post
    Yes, which is why the Olympics are extreme and not just one person taking gold again and again. Drop down the proportion because most people are still farmers and don't have time to do that without starving. I have left behind the idea the PCs are the only ones above "level 0" in so many works that finding another reason to do it. On the other hand...
    In the modern world, most people are doing something else and don't have the time and resources to train to an Olympic contention level -- but a lot of people have time while still in high school or college to reach 90% of an Olympic level. On the other hand, most people aren't doing physical labor for 8+ hours a day, either, so there's a tradeoff.


    Quote Originally Posted by Cluedrew View Post
    Magic is also a myth. And I think sports culture is doing a enough to present that myth I'm not worried about perpetuating in my work. Especially when it presented in the same light as the unbelievable ones. So really I don't understand the issue.
    I know it's not a popular stance, but I'm firmly of the opinion that anything that can be done "just by training" implies things about the entire setting, not just a handful of PCs and other exceptions, that if the body of a human in a particular setting can be trained to extreme degree X, then there will be many more people who can at least train to extreme degree 0.9X, and many many more people to degree 0.8X, and so on, that a distribution curve is inevitable based on whatever the nature of the human body is in that setting. If someone can train to leap over 20' walls and deadlift multiple tons, then that says things about the human body that are different than in our world.

    BUT, I'm also not at all bothered by the idea that it's possible to do something besides or in addition to physical training, that takes the character into "extra-normal" territory, which is "magic" under that very broad definition that was mentioned earlier.


    Quote Originally Posted by Jay R View Post
    This thread started with a long, serious, well-written explanation for why the original poster prefers to play a certain way. There's is nothing wrong with either the description or the logic.

    The only problem comes in when somebody starts to believe that "How I prefer to play" is the same thing as "How everybody should prefer to play".

    I agree with his statement that Fighters (or at least Fighters who don't have a reasonable complement of high-level magic items. or a relevant Prestige Class) have far less raw power than casters at 20th level. This is certainly a problem with playing at that level, but it doesn't crack the list of top five reasons I don't like playing at that level.

    What some people call "The Guy at the Gym Fallacy" isn't a fallacy; it's simply one way to design a fantasy RPG. And it's the way I prefer.

    I don't want to play a party that can attack all of Sauron's armies at once and win. I want to play a group of nine adventurers who often hide from large groups of goblins, run from a Balrog, and are trying to accomplish a covert mission without being seen.

    I don't want to play a musketeer who could defeat all of Richelieu's guards and all of the Huguenot army; I want to play musketeers who make a name for themselves by winning a 4 vs. 5 melee, and then again by holding a bastion for a single hour.

    I don't want to play a group that can defeat Darth Vader and the entire empire in a straight-up battle; I want to play the intrepid heroes who heroically face long odds trying to slip in and sabotage its greatest weapon.

    In short, I want to act heroically, which means taking risks to defeat enemies with greater power than my group has.

    The high-level problem isn't that Fighters don't become Great Powers beyond humanity; it's that casters do. And the solution was built into original D&D: when the PCs become powerful enough that roaming the wilderness isn't risky, then settle down, build a keep, and face armies with your armies. [Or just retire the characters. I'll be retiring my 14th level Fighter/Ranger/Horizon Walker after next Saturday's game.]

    I'm not trying to tell you to play my way. Play the game you love the way you love to play it.

    I'm telling you that I will play the game I love the way I love it -- even if my tastes are different from yours.

    You're not really describing higher-level D&D, then, unless you ban spellcasting past a certain (and quite low) point.

    And "GATGF" isn't simply about the overall power level, it's about a disparity in the standards for what can be accomplish by a "martial" character vs a "spellcasting" character within D&D.
    Last edited by Max_Killjoy; 2019-10-21 at 06:19 PM.
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    The concern is not realism in speculative fiction, but rather the sense that a setting or story could be real, fostered by internal consistency and coherence.

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  14. - Top - End - #44
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    Default Re: Critiquing the "Guy At The Gym" Fallacy

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay R View Post
    The only problem comes in when somebody starts to believe that "How I prefer to play" is the same thing as "How everybody should prefer to play".
    You are right but isn't that just a power level thing? Like do you want the martials to be hiding while the wizard destroys the army? I suppose you could but it feels odd.

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    Personally I've never had much use for "because it's cool" -- it's an open-ended standard that ends up excusing everything and anything, the core of the kitchen-sink problem.
    Funnily enough that's the same issue I have when "because it's magic" gets out of hand. So I agree, this is another way that they are similar. I think the solution though is to pick a particular type of cool/magic you are going for in a particular setting and sticking to it. And some times that cool/magic involves super-human feats with little additional explanation.

    I know it's not a popular stance, but I'm firmly of the opinion that anything that can be done "just by training" implies things about the entire setting, not just a handful of PCs and other exceptions, [...]
    Also agreed, but I have three general solutions:
    • Just ignore that implication as part of the premise. This is the most common solution, its crude but it can work.
    • Add a little bit extra (you did mention this but I have some stuff to say too). For instance I never said "just by training" (I think, if I did I misspoke) I mentioned training, aptitude and experience. The aptitude could just be an extension/exaggeration of the normal curve but cuts it down a bit. The experience then lets us focus in on the adventurers, as most stories with this sort of thing do.
    • Embrace it. Possibly the rarest solution but I've done it and it really sends waves out into world building.

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    Default Re: Critiquing the "Guy At The Gym" Fallacy

    Quote Originally Posted by Koo Rehtorb View Post
    People who object to the fact that D&D devolves into fantasy superheroes/anime bull**** would be better served by playing a different system that avoids that sort of thing. If you insist on playing D&D you ought to lean into the absurdities inherent to the system.
    I agree with this. There are so many RPGs that have less fantastic implications where supernatural physicans/high magic is less common. It's not the right game if you can't accept this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kaptin Keen View Post
    It's always difficult to discuss this sort of thing, basically because it's all based on assumptions. Both IRL assumptions, and RPG assumptions.
    Fair enough.

    At the same time, what limits do we impose on the 'guy at the gym'? I'm one guy at one gym, and no one would mistake me for an olympic contender, but a guy once tried to punch me in the face, and I caught his fist in my hand* - a trope often seen in movies, and one not generally expected in real life. With sufficient timing, a guy with a sword can fight a tiger and win. Tigers aren't made of some sort of blade proof material, and if he does it just right, the 'guy at the gym' could cut the tigers throat, midleap, and suffer not a scratch.
    Yeah, it is possible to kill a tiger with sufficient training and a weapon. The Maasai tribe would hunt lions as a rite of passage too. Gladiators would also be forced to fight against predatory animals.

    The thing is, imagine them doing this within the span of 6 seconds. Then they do it again to the next tiger. And again. They're one shotting these animals as easily as you or I would kill an ant or rodent. They're just hitting it hard enough to kill it, though I suppose you could argue it's represented as an attack against a vital area, though that's what I considered crits to be... Either way, imagine a guy at the gym doing this daily, or even several times in one day and completely curbstomping the tiger.

    Also, consider the tiger is probably going to be scratching at this person and there's a chance they'd die in this encounter. A normal human could beat these things, but I severely doubt it would be over in what's basically the blink of an eye, and the character could also just as easily kill 2 or 3 other lions with ease.

    I saw an interview with a guy who leapt from a plane at 6000 feet, and his parachute didn't open. He fell 6000 feet, fell flat on the ground, and survived. When his mates (whose parachutes did open) landed and ran to him, he stood up. He fell back down again, because his leg was broken, but not only did he survive - he was relatively ok, all things considered.
    Pretty much, only the person who did this didn't get up and essentially walk it off. Then he could go and do the same thing again and again just for fun.

    If you watched Band of Brothers, you saw Sgt. Winters run straight through a german occupied village to communicate with allies on the other side - then back again. While I remain somewhat hesitant, I've read that account at least twice before, in WWII historical literature. Was he super humanly fast? No. And that's not the point.
    Yeah, weird things can happen in real life. Like I mentioned above, a viking is rumored to have killed 100 men before dying.

    The point is heroics. Surviving by the slimmest margin, just because. We're not playing 'the guy at the gym'. We're playing Conan, or Ethan Hawke, or Sgt. Winters. Real world limitations do not apply, not because of physics, but because of story.
    Slightly off topic, I have the Conan stories by Robert E. Howard, was Conan blatantly superhuman in these stories too? I've heard Comic!Conan is more powerful, but I really don't know too much about the character at the moment.

    Can you survive jumping off a building? Yes. Of course you can. It's no fun if the story is you jumped off a building and died. It's fun if you jumped off, broke your ankle, limped off, and killed another 7 enemies with your teeth and bare hands.
    If a Level 20 character broke their ankle after jumping off a building, I have to wonder how they'd survive getting hit by something like a Stone Giant.


    Quote Originally Posted by Mechalich View Post
    There's a difference been improbable and impossible. You can build up improbable coincidences one after another if you want without ever hitting on a strictly impossible act. This tends to become rather ridiculous after a point of course, but it is a line that can be towed. John Wick, for example, pulls off all sorts of extremely stylized stunts that are full of one highly dubious maneuver after another, but at the same time, never quite crosses into the blatantly impossible. He may suffer remarkably little inconvenience from having bullets strike his body armor, for example, but bullets don't bounce of his skin, and if he does get hit, he bleeds. The entire magical system of Mage: the Ascension was built around exactly this sort of hair splitting, and if you want to give non-empowered characters this kind of potency as a way of keeping up with those powered-by-phlebotinum you absolutely can.
    Never seen the John Wick movies myself, but I know a little about them... And about body armor being why he's not dead and also representing his HP... I think it falls under AC, or possibly Damage Reduction? It's hitting him, so it's beating his AC, but the Damage Reduction is stopping the bullet from killing him, though it would do some (possibly negligible) HP damage from the force of the bullet.


    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    Because to say that an ability or level of ability is achievable via "an Olympic degree of training" is to say that vast numbers of people are able to reach that level or near that level.

    Only one person holds the Olympic or World record for an event at any one time, but there are many thousands of high school and college athletes who come within percentage points of that record time or height or weight or distance every year. (Compare the world records to the US high school records for any track and field event.) There are about 1800 people who play in the NFL in any given season, but there are orders of magnitude more who are almost good enough, or good enough but didn't get a break, or good enough but got injured, or good enough but didn't like it enough, or... Same with other sports.

    The notion of the "elite athlete" as somehow vastly better than everyone else involved in the sport/competition, rather than simply one end of a distribution curve, is a complete myth -- even the "all time greats". The nature of the competitions and the sports media's obsession with "star power" grossly exaggerate the gap between "the greats" and "the guy who played 5 years as a backup".
    Well, something I think should be considered about issues training hard enough to become superhuman.

    A lot of people have social lives outside of training, might be injured, could be forced to stop due to other commitments or just not have interest in doing such things. Couple this with the very real possibility that a lot of them would die if they had a random encounter with something of a much higher CR than they can take, and... Yeah.

    Also, this might sound like a broken record, but why isn't training really hard an ok answer, but studying (training your brain essentially) enough to become able to alter reality is?


    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    To the OP:

    A lot of your post boils down to the D&D HP system being an incoherent mess. This isnt exactly news, and I wouldnt use the D&D HP system to try and draw any conclusions about the game world.
    Fair enough, but then you run into problems with how characters are surviving encounters against otherworldly monsters and not being killed.


    You have a succinct definition of the "guy at the gym" fallacy, I have never seen one before and have even started threads trying to find it. The post that coined the term is less of a fallacy and more of a meandering rant, mostly against strawmen.
    Thank you!

    Some people like playing Lord of the Rings / Conan, others like playing fantasy superheroes. The problem is that 3.5 tries to be everything at the same time and fails. I personally prefer Dragonlance, and dont have a problem with the feel of any edition of D&D except third.
    To each their own.


    High level martials have a ton of magic items in D&D. This means that most of your examples will never actually come up in play and are mostly just hypothetical talking points. Also, 3E casting is so broken that super powers ain't going to help martials keep up.
    I'd have to disagree with you on giving martials super powers not being a way to help martials. To me, if a Wizard goes from essentially a new student at Hogswarts to becoming able to create personalized dimensions/stop time/fly/transform into other animals... Why can't my Fighter split a mountain or outrun thoughts? But this is just my interpretation on what would work... Those are types of characters I'd expect to be facing off against things that can just teleport around or laugh while pelting the equally leveled martial with ranged attacks from the sky.

    And which of my examples are hypothetical?

    Also, you keep talking about people "playing NPCs," isn't that a contradiction?
    Actually, there are NPC classes in 3.5E, while in 5E they aren't labeled as such but they have the same names as they did in 3.5E. They're not super powerful heroes, they're just background characters that represent real life people like you or me.


    Quote Originally Posted by Jay R View Post
    This thread started with a long, serious, well-written explanation for why the original poster prefers to play a certain way. There's is nothing wrong with either the description or the logic.
    Thank you, I put a lot of effort into the OP.

    The only problem comes in when somebody starts to believe that "How I prefer to play" is the same thing as "How everybody should prefer to play".
    I wasn't really trying to tell anyone how to play, more pointing out the flaws in how a Level 20 character isn't just a guy who is still within the realms of reality.

    Closest example I could think of is a player insisting their Level 20 Wizard is really only as powerful as David Copperfield, instead of being more like a comic book superhero.

    The best way to represent characters that are prevalent in fantasy stories where the warriors are just humans is with low levels, otherwise you can run into a Level 20 Wizard trying to act like they're Dumbledore when they're much more powerful. If this makes sense.

    I don't want to play a party that can attack all of Sauron's armies at once and win. I want to play a group of nine adventurers who often hide from large groups of goblins, run from a Balrog, and are trying to accomplish a covert mission without being seen.
    That's not really what I'm saying. A Level 20 character would probably have broken the Balrog in half, as it appeared to be just a big, fiery monster in the movie. Why would such a character hide from Sauron's armies? A Level 6 character, I can see, not a Level 20 one.

    I don't want to play a musketeer who could defeat all of Richelieu's guards and all of the Huguenot army; I want to play musketeers who make a name for themselves by winning a 4 vs. 5 melee, and then again by holding a bastion for a single hour.
    A Level 20 character wouldn't be struggling against normal characters. What you're describing sounds more in line with a lower level character.

    I don't want to play a group that can defeat Darth Vader and the entire empire in a straight-up battle; I want to play the intrepid heroes who heroically face long odds trying to slip in and sabotage its greatest weapon.
    It still sounds like you want to play a low level character fighting against higher level characters. I don't see what the issue is, but when a character is high level, they're anything but someone that would struggle in this sort of situation.

    In short, I want to act heroically, which means taking risks to defeat enemies with greater power than my group has.
    This is pretty much saying you want to play a low level character who faces off against higher level/higher CR character. I don't see the conflict in this.

    The high-level problem isn't that Fighters don't become Great Powers beyond humanity; it's that casters do. And the solution was built into original D&D: when the PCs become powerful enough that roaming the wilderness isn't risky, then settle down, build a keep, and face armies with your armies. [Or just retire the characters. I'll be retiring my 14th level Fighter/Ranger/Horizon Walker after next Saturday's game.]
    I think I understand, and agree casters are incredibly powerful... I think it would be great if martials got to be on a comparable level of power. But if we bring the power of casters down, then we have this weird question of why these people aren't instantly destroyed when they try to fight against something that's a threat to entire planes of existence.

    I'm not trying to tell you to play my way. Play the game you love the way you love to play it.

    I'm telling you that I will play the game I love the way I love it -- even if my tastes are different from yours.
    Same, I'm not trying to force my opinion onto what type of game you should play, but I was mostly pointing out how a lot of low level campaigns/characters that you seem to be interested in shouldn't try to masquerade a high level character as a normal person, as it can cause a lot of dissonance with the power levels. A Level 3 character hiding from the armies of Sauron is perfectly understandable, a Level 20 character that could, through numbers alone, instantly kill just about anything in Sauron's army... Not so much.


    Quote Originally Posted by Willie the Duck View Post
    I think you are missing the point of the topic. There's no actual gym, or guy at one. The OP laid out the concept in the first post-- "The Guy At The Gym Fallacy in a nutshell: Mundane/martial characters should be limited to the limits of what is possible in our world. Magic is exempt from this same logic." If the highly trained warrior is limited to what is possible in our world, then they are constrained by TGATG thinking, regardless of whether they are at the level, or above the level, of a level 1 commoner with 14-16 Strength.
    Actually, I think (could be wrong) you, kyoryu and I are all on the same page. He's agreeing that a normal person (such as a gym rat) with an NPC class wouldn't be comparable to a high level warrior with stats befitting a hero. That's how I read it anyway.
    Last edited by AntiAuthority; 2019-10-21 at 10:05 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AntiAuthority View Post
    Thank you!
    Not sure that I meant it as a compliment but, you're welcome.

    I don't think there is actually a universally accepted definition of GATGF, so you might run into a lot of people who disagree with yours.

    Quote Originally Posted by AntiAuthority View Post
    FI'd have to disagree with you on giving martials super powers not being a way to help martials. To me, if a Wizard goes from essentially a new student at Hogswarts to becoming able to create personalized dimensions/stop time/fly/transform into other animals... Why can't my Fighter split a mountain or outrun thoughts? But this is just my interpretation on what would work... Those are types of characters I'd expect to be facing off against things that can just teleport around or laugh while pelting the equally leveled martial with ranged attacks from the sky.
    Sure, more power helps them be better, but they already have super-powers in the form of magic items. And while I don't know what "outrun thoughts" actually means, stuff like splitting mountains and leaping tall buildings and outrunning locomotives and stuff won't help one bit to keep up with 3.5 wizards who are astrally projected from slowed time demiplanes with an infinitely expandiny army of gated arch-angels while polymorphed into something that can cast XP free wish every round. All the while you are stuck in a force cage, because those don't allow a save and don't care how strong or fast you are, if you can't teleport or disintegrate you just can't get out.


    Quote Originally Posted by AntiAuthority View Post
    And which of my examples are hypothetical?
    Well, for example, most fighters will have magical and / or adamant swords and belts of giant strength at high level, so I can't imagine a DM arguing that they just can't cut through a door.

    Quote Originally Posted by AntiAuthority View Post
    Actually, there are NPC classes in 3.5E, while in 5E they aren't labeled as such but they have the same names as they did in 3.5E. They're not super powerful heroes, they're just background characters that represent real life people like you or me.
    But those classes still get the same outrageous HP and BaB scaling as every other class. The difference between a fighter and warrior is literally just 1hp per level, tower shield proficiency and 10 bonus feats.
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    Quote Originally Posted by AntiAuthority View Post
    Well, something I think should be considered about issues training hard enough to become superhuman.

    A lot of people have social lives outside of training, might be injured, could be forced to stop due to other commitments or just not have interest in doing such things. Couple this with the very real possibility that a lot of them would die if they had a random encounter with something of a much higher CR than they can take, and... Yeah.

    Also, this might sound like a broken record, but why isn't training really hard an ok answer, but studying (training your brain essentially) enough to become able to alter reality is?
    Honestly, I don't think either one is OK, and that "just training to human max" isn't enough to get magic, either -- at some point, the character has to either be born with, be given, or unlock/seize something extra that goes beyond just "working out his brain meats".
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    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post


    Sure, more power helps them be better, but they already have super-powers in the form of magic items. And while I don't know what "outrun thoughts" actually means, stuff like splitting mountains and leaping tall buildings and outrunning locomotives and stuff won't help one bit to keep up with 3.5 wizards who are astrally projected from slowed time demiplanes with an infinitely expandiny army of gated arch-angels while polymorphed into something that can cast XP free wish every round. All the while you are stuck in a force cage, because those don't allow a save and don't care how strong or fast you are, if you can't teleport or disintegrate you just can't get out.
    About the outrunning thoughts part, it's based on Norse Mythology where a man (I thin he was just a normal man) was able to somewhat keep pace with (but still lost to) the embodiment of thought itself.

    And while those things wouldn't be able to allow a character to defeat a character who can just teleport away... I'd say allow this character to be able to tear open portals into the Wizard's realm. Maybe the ability to No Sell magic or even turn it off temporarily. As just a start.




    Well, for example, most fighters will have magical and / or adamant swords and belts of giant strength at high level, so I can't imagine a DM arguing that they just can't cut through a door.
    Fair enough, but it's not impossible for a player to either have their magic weapon stolen or destroyed (such as by a rust monster).

    And even without magic, a character in 3.5E (with Vital Strike and Power Attack) or in 5e (Great Weapon Master) can do massive amounts of damage. They can do enough damage to kill giant monsters, but not enough to get through a metal door...?

    But those classes still get the same outrageous HP and BaB scaling as every other class. The difference between a fighter and warrior is literally just 1hp per level, tower shield proficiency and 10 bonus feats.
    It's sort of bad when an NPC class is almost as powerful as a PC class. It makes Fighters seem like glorified NPCs. Then again, I've often heard Fighters are pretty bland as other PC classes can outdo them at well... Fighting.

    In a way, it feels like the system itself is unsure of whether high level characters are superhuman or just normal people.

    But I also meant from a story perspective. It feels like a high level martial PC is essentially an NPC in the story of the super powered caster. They're not as powerful, can't do as many tricks or anything unique, they almost feel like a sidekick or a pack mule if you were to watch or read in the form of a story.
    Last edited by AntiAuthority; 2019-10-21 at 10:29 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    There's also the simple fact that many systems don't have the very steep power scale that D&D characters go through as they "progress".
    Or if they do they own it a bit more. I'm not going to call Scion a well designed game, because White Wolf can't do mechanics, but nobody goes into it under the impression they're playing ordinary people or that there won't be ridiculous apotheosis shenanigans.

    D&D in particular is in an unusual place for a few reasons. Part of it is that it's most everyone's first system, so there's a habit of defaulting to it where it doesn't work well that tends not to exist for other systems (a few generics can see this, but said generics also tend to have a wider range). Part of it is that there's so much in the game that creates an extremely specific setting, but also a fair amount of text that presents it as a generic fantasy setting.
    I would really like to see a game made by Obryn, Kurald Galain, and Knaight from these forums.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AntiAuthority View Post
    Well, something I think should be considered about issues training hard enough to become superhuman.

    A lot of people have social lives outside of training, might be injured, could be forced to stop due to other commitments or just not have interest in doing such things. Couple this with the very real possibility that a lot of them would die if they had a random encounter with something of a much higher CR than they can take, and... Yeah.
    There's still the proportionality issue.

    Let me throw out an example. I'll use distance running, since it recently made the news in a big way. The current marathon record is now just under 2 hours - by one of the best runners of the post-industrial era with a precision targeted training regimen, advanced technological support, and copious amounts of assistance from others during the event itself. However, running hobbyists train for marathons all the time, and it's quite common for such a person to complete a marathon in around 3.5 hours (an 8-minute-per-mile pace). For men competing in the Boston marathon this year the average finish time was under 3.5 hours for all age categories below 55 - a group thousands strong. Framed this was, a hobbyist with a modest amount of training in their off time can complete the race in only 175% of the time needed by the very best in the world under ideal conditions.

    Now, imagine a world in which people can train to run with superhuman speed and endurance. In this scenario Eliud Kipchoge is still the best in the world, because he's got tons of natural talent and he trains relentlessly for marathons with a laser focus. to make the record obvious, let's increase his capabilities by a full order of magnitude and have him go ten times faster. Now he completes his record setting marathon not in just under 120 minutes, but in just under 12 - he's running at 130 miles and hour! If we assume proportionality of results to training, then a hobbyist marathoner can still complete the 26 mile run in 175% of the time, or 21 minutes, meaning they run at 74 miles an hour, faster than a cheetah and over far more distance than the cat can sustain.

    Congratulations, now you have a world in which people who train modestly by running every day and putting in a hard run on the weekends can run around faster than you can legally drive on most highways. The resulting world is nothing like Earth. It's a magical world and you have to completely rebuild human civilization to account for this capability.

    Now, you can indeed avoid all this by discarding proportionality. Well, you say, only the truly committed elite get access to "special" training regimes that allow them to unlock abilities levels far beyond the human norm. That's fine, you can certainly do that, but once you do, it's just superpowers all over again, there's just a 'you must train this fanatically to ride this ride' gatekeeper (which has consequences of its own, since it means everyone with powers will be desperate, fanatical, or both).

    Also, this might sound like a broken record, but why isn't training really hard an ok answer, but studying (training your brain essentially) enough to become able to alter reality is?
    Well, first of all, a huge number of settings, and even some D&D classes, don't allow studying to do that. Many, such as Star Wars or the Wheel of Time, explicitly require that those who master the mystic arts have some sort of inborn trait that normal people just don't get. Even when this isn't explicit it is often implied that learning to become a wizard requires some sort of 'special nature' that ordinary people don't have.

    Beyond that, even if the mastery of magic is purely based on studying esoteric knowledge, it has the advantage that there's no baseline and therefore proportionality can be ignored. All human beings can run, so training to have superhuman running speed means a distribution curve with every other human on it somewhere. Humans don't have a natural ability to cast spells, which means you can arbitrarily anchor the distribution curve wherever you want. This means you can position it so that only the 1% of the most talented have any magical ability at all and that no matter how hard the hobbyists train they won't get anywhere.

    Now, it is absolutely true that D&D does not do this. D&D says anyone with Int 10+ or Wis 10+ or Cha 10+ can learn to cast spells, which as a practical matter is a stupidly massive portion of the population. This is in fact a massive problem for D&D, which has both too much magic and magic that is way too powerful. Consequently the actual D&D rules - most extremely in 3.X but for other editions too - don't produce anything like the quasi-medieval backdrop presented in setting books and fiction with the possible exception of Dark Sun (which, huh, has special rules that limit magic). Overt permissiveness of magical use is an issue, especially for worldbuilding. Outright magic worlds where literally everyone in the population has magical powers to some degree - I mentioned the Codex Alera up-thread, it's a nice, popular example, tend to have cataclysmic verisimilitude issues.
    Resvier: a P6 homebrew setting

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    Well, we seem to have run into the classic D&D problem: it is an ultra Roll-play power fantasy where there is zero narrative consistency. In a system like that, you kind of expect balance in a way you wouldn’t for a Role-play system.

    But it is a festering pile of dung at actually balancing any of it, meaning that in the power fantasy, several classes are fundamentally weaksauce and completely run over.

    If it were a system about stories as opposed to “Mighty and Mightier”, that might not matter. But it’s not; it’s a system about how strong you can get while being uber.

    If it were a system where certain niches were important because not everything could be solved through punching (not literally), maybe other classes would matter. But everything can be solved through punching, and casters have the strongest arms (again, not literally).

    So what do you do with a crap system? Don’t play it. Go find any one of dozens of well regarded systems and play them instead. We live well beyond the days of yore where the hobby was two guys in a dorm with a monster manual. I guarantee that if there is a style you want to play, there probably a mechanically sound and community vetted system that will put the D&D on the back burner. If you’re lucky, you’ll spark interest from the rest of your table as well and never need to D&D again.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AntiAuthority View Post
    Yeah, it is possible to kill a tiger with sufficient training and a weapon. The Maasai tribe would hunt lions as a rite of passage too. Gladiators would also be forced to fight against predatory animals.

    The thing is, imagine them doing this within the span of 6 seconds. Then they do it again to the next tiger. And again. They're one shotting these animals as easily as you or I would kill an ant or rodent. They're just hitting it hard enough to kill it, though I suppose you could argue it's represented as an attack against a vital area, though that's what I considered crits to be... Either way, imagine a guy at the gym doing this daily, or even several times in one day and completely curbstomping the tiger.

    Also, consider the tiger is probably going to be scratching at this person and there's a chance they'd die in this encounter. A normal human could beat these things, but I severely doubt it would be over in what's basically the blink of an eye, and the character could also just as easily kill 2 or 3 other lions with ease.
    If it isn't over in the blink of an eye, the human isn't going to win. Humans cannot fight tigers, that's simply not doable. But humans can do things tigers can't, most notably think. So the human knows what the tiger is going to do: It's going to leap for the throat, because that's how tigers kill. Human waits, human times his strike perfectly, human wins.

    In principle, a sufficiently trained and experienced human could do this over and over again.

    Quote Originally Posted by AntiAuthority View Post
    Pretty much, only the person who did this didn't get up and essentially walk it off. Then he could go and do the same thing again and again just for fun.
    What a boring story that would be. If a character decided to jump off things all the time just because he thought he could, I'd let him die. But if he does it once or twice because that's the ... let's say heroic ... thing to do, then I'll ro

    Quote Originally Posted by AntiAuthority View Post
    Yeah, weird things can happen in real life. Like I mentioned above, a viking is rumored to have killed 100 men before dying.
    Yes. That's my point, not yours. I'm the one arguing that the outer limits of what's humanly possible are much wider than you allow for.

    Quote Originally Posted by AntiAuthority View Post
    If a Level 20 character broke their ankle after jumping off a building, I have to wonder how they'd survive getting hit by something like a Stone Giant.
    Depending on the hight of the building, I'd say jumping off is way more dangerous than getting hit by a giant. You can't deflect a 200' fall.

    But that's so much not the point. If a human just stands there and let's a club that's basically the equivalent of a speeding car hit him square in the chest - he's dead, instantly.

    But I hope that's not how you play the game.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KineticDiplomat View Post
    So what do you do with a crap system? Don’t play it. Go find any one of dozens of well regarded systems and play them instead. We live well beyond the days of yore where the hobby was two guys in a dorm with a monster manual. I guarantee that if there is a style you want to play, there probably a mechanically sound and community vetted system that will put the D&D on the back burner. If you’re lucky, you’ll spark interest from the rest of your table as well and never need to D&D again.
    Good luck finding a system without an explicit setting that also supports a zero-to-god power curve and also allows a multitude of concepts, usually not found together at any one point, to be realized.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mechalich View Post
    The resulting world is nothing like Earth. It's a magical world and you have to completely rebuild human civilization to account for this capability.
    And the same is not true for magic? As far as I am concerned we are already on this path, why not go a little bit further.

    Although if don't want to have things go that far, mess with the curve a bit. The best in the world goes up by 10 times but the hobbyist only say doubles. Not that has no effect but it keeps things from being quite as insane. Until you realize there are wizards everywhere.

    To Ignimortis: Mutants & Masterminds fits that description. Legend also does but does have a default setting. Those are the only two I can think of off the top of my head. I don't know what sort of power curve GURPS has.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kaptin Keen View Post
    If it isn't over in the blink of an eye, the human isn't going to win. Humans cannot fight tigers, that's simply not doable. But humans can do things tigers can't, most notably think. So the human knows what the tiger is going to do: It's going to leap for the throat, because that's how tigers kill. Human waits, human times his strike perfectly, human wins.



    In principle, a sufficiently trained and experienced human could do this over and over again.
    Ok, but what you said can apply to a low level character just as much as a high level one. Only thing is a high level Character could also be surrounded by 8 lions and still win within a few seconds.



    What a boring story that would be. If a character decided to jump off things all the time just because he thought he could, I'd let him die. But if he does it once or twice because that's the ... let's say heroic ... thing to do, then I'll ro
    Ok, but let me try something to see if I can get the same feeling down.

    "What a boring story that would be. If a character decided creating incinerating enemies all the time just because he thought he could, I'd let him fail. But if he does it once or twice because that's the ... let's say heroic ... thing to do, then I'll ro"

    At that point, why even bother having rules for characters if you would just ignore them because you don't like them?

    You could just as easily say, "Yeah, using magic here wouldn't be cool, so your spells don't work." Would a caster player enjoy being told that?

    That'd be the same thing as the DM examples I used above ignoring things in the rules because the DM doesn't believe in such things. How is that any different?

    I addressed this already in the OP with, "Hit Points Are An Abstraction of Damage" and "It Reduces Levels to Completely Arbitrary Numbers."

    Do you have anything to support your reasoning beyond you just wanting it to be that way because a normal person probably wouldn't survive throwing themselves off of extremely high places on a daily/hourly basis? If there's a reason, please tell me, otherwise you're subscribing to the "Guy At the Gym" fallacy.

    Yes. That's my point, not yours. I'm the one arguing that the outer limits of what's humanly possible are much wider than you allow for.
    Yes, real world athletes can push the boundaries of what was considered impossible, like the logging challenge.

    I'm agreeing with you here, I don't understand why you seem bothered by this?

    Depending on the hight of the building, I'd say jumping off is way more dangerous than getting hit by a giant. You can't deflect a 200' fall.

    But that's so much not the point. If a human just stands there and let's a club that's basically the equivalent of a speeding car hit him square in the chest - he's dead, instantly.
    But being able to deflect what amounts to a speeding car with a shield multiple times doesn't lead to the character having their arm broken? How much sense does that make?

    I've addressed this in my OP, you're saying the same thing that I pointed out the flaws with already. What you're saying sounds a lot like those DMs in the hypothetical situations that I used in the OP.

    I'm using numbers/feats/mechanics/the rules and you seem to be using the story by itself. Everything you said seems like you trying to fit high level characters into your preexisting ideas of what a low level character would look like, but still wanting to call it high level.

    Kratos is a high (or possibly mid) level character (based on the types of monsters he kills), but you don't see people trying to force him to go on low level adventurers and be cautious of low level monsters.


    But I hope that's not how you play the game.
    Why does it matter to you how I play my games?





    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    Honestly, I don't think either one is OK, and that "just training to human max" isn't enough to get magic, either -- at some point, the character has to either be born with, be given, or unlock/seize something extra that goes beyond just "working out his brain meats".
    This sounds like a Willing Suspension of Disbelief issue, but I have different views on it than you.




    Quote Originally Posted by Mechalich View Post
    There's still the proportionality issue.

    Let me throw out an example. I'll use distance running, since it recently made the news in a big way. The current marathon record is now just under 2 hours - by one of the best runners of the post-industrial era with a precision targeted training regimen, advanced technological support, and copious amounts of assistance from others during the event itself. However, running hobbyists train for marathons all the time, and it's quite common for such a person to complete a marathon in around 3.5 hours (an 8-minute-per-mile pace). For men competing in the Boston marathon this year the average finish time was under 3.5 hours for all age categories below 55 - a group thousands strong. Framed this was, a hobbyist with a modest amount of training in their off time can complete the race in only 175% of the time needed by the very best in the world under ideal conditions.

    Now, imagine a world in which people can train to run with superhuman speed and endurance. In this scenario Eliud Kipchoge is still the best in the world, because he's got tons of natural talent and he trains relentlessly for marathons with a laser focus. to make the record obvious, let's increase his capabilities by a full order of magnitude and have him go ten times faster. Now he completes his record setting marathon not in just under 120 minutes, but in just under 12 - he's running at 130 miles and hour! If we assume proportionality of results to training, then a hobbyist marathoner can still complete the 26 mile run in 175% of the time, or 21 minutes, meaning they run at 74 miles an hour, faster than a cheetah and over far more distance than the cat can sustain.

    Congratulations, now you have a world in which people who train modestly by running every day and putting in a hard run on the weekends can run around faster than you can legally drive on most highways. The resulting world is nothing like Earth. It's a magical world and you have to completely rebuild human civilization to account for this capability.

    Now, you can indeed avoid all this by discarding proportionality. Well, you say, only the truly committed elite get access to "special" training regimes that allow them to unlock abilities levels far beyond the human norm. That's fine, you can certainly do that, but once you do, it's just superpowers all over again, there's just a 'you must train this fanatically to ride this ride' gatekeeper (which has consequences of its own, since it means everyone with powers will be desperate, fanatical, or both).
    To be honest, I'm not sure how to respond to this. I have heard of such principles before (what with talent not being some ultra rare thing that only a few people possess), but I don't quite feel like I can give an accurate argument for or against it. My apologies.



    Well, first of all, a huge number of settings, and even some D&D classes, don't allow studying to do that. Many, such as Star Wars or the Wheel of Time, explicitly require that those who master the mystic arts have some sort of inborn trait that normal people just don't get. Even when this isn't explicit it is often implied that learning to become a wizard requires some sort of 'special nature' that ordinary people don't have.

    Beyond that, even if the mastery of magic is purely based on studying esoteric knowledge, it has the advantage that there's no baseline and therefore proportionality can be ignored. All human beings can run, so training to have superhuman running speed means a distribution curve with every other human on it somewhere. Humans don't have a natural ability to cast spells, which means you can arbitrarily anchor the distribution curve wherever you want. This means you can position it so that only the 1% of the most talented have any magical ability at all and that no matter how hard the hobbyists train they won't get anywhere.

    Now, it is absolutely true that D&D does not do this. D&D says anyone with Int 10+ or Wis 10+ or Cha 10+ can learn to cast spells, which as a practical matter is a stupidly massive portion of the population. This is in fact a massive problem for D&D, which has both too much magic and magic that is way too powerful. Consequently the actual D&D rules - most extremely in 3.X but for other editions too - don't produce anything like the quasi-medieval backdrop presented in setting books and fiction with the possible exception of Dark Sun (which, huh, has special rules that limit magic). Overt permissiveness of magical use is an issue, especially for worldbuilding. Outright magic worlds where literally everyone in the population has magical powers to some degree - I mentioned the Codex Alera up-thread, it's a nice, popular example, tend to have cataclysmic verisimilitude issues.
    This sounds like a personal Willing Suspension of Disbelief going on here. I grew up with settings that encouraged hard work giving one super powers (Shonen manga), being incredibly smart allows you to use magic/be psychic (or they're that smart because they're able to use magic or are psychic...), and being able to be so charismatic that you can alter reality. This sounds like it varies depending on the person doing it.




    Quote Originally Posted by KineticDiplomat View Post

    So what do you do with a crap system? Don’t play it. Go find any one of dozens of well regarded systems and play them instead. We live well beyond the days of yore where the hobby was two guys in a dorm with a monster manual. I guarantee that if there is a style you want to play, there probably a mechanically sound and community vetted system that will put the D&D on the back burner. If you’re lucky, you’ll spark interest from the rest of your table as well and never need to D&D again.
    You do have a point, but that could easily apply to anything anyone is critical of. At that point, why bother with constructive criticism? People (including me) criticize things because they want to see it improve. I put this up on a forum because I also wanted people to criticize my points so I could improve it by stamping out the flaws. Just saying, "Play another game" to me sounds like, "Don't try to fix or improve upon an already existing thing."

    But still, at that point, what's the point of criticizing anything by that logic?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cluedrew View Post
    And the same is not true for magic? As far as I am concerned we are already on this path, why not go a little bit further.

    Although if don't want to have things go that far, mess with the curve a bit. The best in the world goes up by 10 times but the hobbyist only say doubles. Not that has no effect but it keeps things from being quite as insane. Until you realize there are wizards everywhere.
    Whether magic really changes things fundamentally depends on how accessible, common, and capable the magic is. Magic that just allows relatively minor boosts in efficacy, reliability, etc, to existing human capabilities (say, blessing of a fire or forge spirit making a forge maintain just the right temperature, but stillr requiring the smith to do the work) is meaningful, but doesn't radically alter the culture or society.


    Quote Originally Posted by Cluedrew View Post
    To Ignimortis: Mutants & Masterminds fits that description. Legend also does but does have a default setting. Those are the only two I can think of off the top of my head. I don't know what sort of power curve GURPS has.
    GURPS and HERO have whatever power curve the GM decides on and the players agree to. The starting CP/XP, and the rate of gaining CP/XP, and the limits on attributes and skills and powers and such, are all "toolkit".




    Quote Originally Posted by AntiAuthority View Post
    This sounds like a Willing Suspension of Disbelief issue, but I have different views on it than you.
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    Last edited by Max_Killjoy; 2019-10-22 at 08:21 AM.
    It is one thing to suspend your disbelief. It is another thing entirely to hang it by the neck until dead.

    Verisimilitude -- n, the appearance or semblance of truth, likelihood, or probability.

    The concern is not realism in speculative fiction, but rather the sense that a setting or story could be real, fostered by internal consistency and coherence.

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    Default Re: Critiquing the "Guy At The Gym" Fallacy

    Quote Originally Posted by AntiAuthority View Post
    At that point, why even bother having rules for characters if you would just ignore them because you don't like them?

    You could just as easily say, "Yeah, using magic here wouldn't be cool, so your spells don't work." Would a caster player enjoy being told that?

    That'd be the same thing as the DM examples I used above ignoring things in the rules because the DM doesn't believe in such things. How is that any different?
    Conversely, if the rules always trump DM judgement, why even bother to have a DM?

    If something, be it magic or mundane, doesn't make sense, I am going to step in.

    Note that this almost never happens in actual play and is more about edge cases that usually only come up in discussions where people are trying to nitpick the rules, and if it does come up in actual play it is, in my experiance, almost certainly resulting from a caster trying to break the game rather than a artial just trying to get by.
    Looking for feedback on Heart of Darkness, a character driven RPG of Gothic fantasy.

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    Default Re: Critiquing the "Guy At The Gym" Fallacy

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    Whether magic really changes things fundamentally depends on how accessible, common, and capable the magic is. Magic that just allows relatively minor boosts in efficacy, reliability, etc, to existing human capabilities (say, blessing of a fire or forge spirit making a forge maintain just the right temperature, but stillr requiring the smith to do the work) is meaningful, but doesn't radically alter the culture or society.
    In regards to world building, it's easier to just take a preexisting culture and throw in magic than building a civilization from the ground up with magic in mind.

    But some simple questions come into play, like, "If magic is so overwhelmingly powerful, wouldn't natural selection make it so that plenty of people have magic?"

    Along with, "Why haven't mages just taken over the world? There's always that one jerk that feels the world owes them, and they have the power to take whatever they want."

    "Since these humans have often have fantastic origins, are they really normal people like us?"

    "How would humans have even been able to survive long enough to begin building civilizations when a lot or passing monsters could have casually enslaved/killed the masses if they felt like it?"

    Probably others I can't think of at the moment, lol.

    I'm fine with a Fantasy Kitchen Sink setting.





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    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    Conversely, if the rules always trump DM judgement, why even bother to have a DM?
    To have fun while telling a story using pre-existing (or modified) rules. I think the main job of a DM is to make sure everyone's having fun. Rules are there to help people have fun by letting them get creative with how they create their characters and test their abilities in the DM's world.

    I doubt many people would find it fun if their DM just told them, "No, I don't care how minmaxed or specialized your character is, I'm not letting you do this thing." when they tried to do something they thought their characters should be able to do. Especially if it feels like the DM is ignoring a character that's well within the rules because the DM just doesn't like something their player is trying to do.

    I've been that person and it felt like the DM was being vindictive, even if he just couldn't wrap his head around my character doing something that few regular people could survive.

    Another player I know was noticeably disappointed when they tried something and the DM refused to let them do it because the DM didn't care about the rules, only about what a normal person could do.

    I also read some threads on Reddit about similar occurrences.

    But ultimately, I think the purpose of the DM is to make sure everyone's having fun, and to use the rules as a guide as to how to do that. Having a DM just pick and choose what doesn't work for them, even if you designed your character with this concept in mind, even if the rules say it's fine, doesn't sound fun to me. Especially if the DM also allows something else that's impossible (or just very unlikely) to happen, it'd feel like they were being arbitrary with their reasoning and there's no baseline except for what the DM was in the mood for at that point in time... At which point, why bother trying to do fantastic things since the DM could just ignore anything you do because, "I just don't like it"?

    If something, be it magic or mundane, doesn't make sense, I am going to step in.
    I can respect this reasoning, but what makes sense to you might not make sense to someone else.

    Take dragons for example, they should not be able to fly under their own power. Giants and titans probably also wouldn't make much sense, as their hearts would probably explode from how large they are.

    A lot of monsters don't make sense, but I ignore that because it's a different world and a fantastic one. These are fantastic creatures that fantastic people are fighting against.

    I think what does and doesn't make sense to us flew out the window as soon as using items and talking lets you create a fireball. Doesn't make sense to us... But these characters are fantastic ones, not realistic ones.
    Last edited by AntiAuthority; 2019-10-22 at 09:20 AM.

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    Default Re: Critiquing the "Guy At The Gym" Fallacy

    Re: criticism and other games. For the sake of brevity, I’ll keep this to a few main points:

    1) Constructive criticism is a tool, and like all tools we measure it’s usefulness by how successfully it accomplishes/helps us accomplish the job.

    2) The job you want done is to avoid martials being constrained to “realism” while magic gets “it can do whatever it wants”, and by extension avoid the martials-are-close-to-worthless-and-by-the-way-the-world-makes-no-sense thing.

    3) What you don’t like is fundamentally built into the rules and mechanics of D&D, and is particularly exacerbated by the fact that D&D is first,foremost, and entirely about ubermensch fighting increasingly absurd enemies.

    4) The community at large plays it the way it is written, to the point where I’ve literally seen posts on this board about how dumb some new guy was for not thinking up a soul based warlock healer and instead took “cleric” because he though the party needed a healer. Where you can find “tier” systems in signatures that relegate martials to being a joke class.

    Conclusion: what you want is so fundamentally against the grain of what D&D and its players are that, as a tool, criticism is unlikely to change anything. There are times when it would be the tool to use, but not this time. This isn’t tweaking an understanding about an aspect of the game, it’s an attack on the very basis of the game. Changing your system will have far more effect, and far faster, than hoping one long essay on a fan board will.

    Unless of course you take pleasure in arguing this sort of thing - and let’s admit it, if we didn’t, few people would post. In which case fire away. If you do, however, you may find that presenting other people with false dilemmas is somewhat sophomoric.

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