Effectively Role-playing Ability Scores

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Effectively Role-playing Ability Scores

Post  Gawain_VIII on Tue May 31, 2016 10:47 pm

Six ability scores define who and what a character is. In some cases, strengths can be augmented and weaknesses can be overcome through learned skills--but the ability score itself represents one thing and one thing only: natural talent.

Before I delve into the abilities themselves, I would like to take a moment to illustrate what it means to have a high or low score. In D&D (including NWN) all non-monstrous characters have a natural starting ability range of 3-18, averaging 10.5. PCs, being the elite and better than your average commoner have a smaller range of 8-18--but scores under 8 should still be considered in the scale when deciding how to role-play your attributes. 10.5 is still the absolute average for PCs.

In the past, I've seen individuals with an Intelligence of 8 behaving as through they were complete imbeciles--a trait more properly portrayed by a 3 INT score. 8 INT should be played about as dumb as a 13 INT is smart.

For comparisons, I tend to compare my character's attributes to modern real-world standards. An average man, of average weight, health and fitness could conceivably be able to deadlift 100 lbs with some difficulty without injuring himself. This equates to a STR score of 10. The same man, with slightly below average strength (8 STR) should be able to deadlift about 80 lbs, give or take, under the same circumstances. On the opposite extreme, an untrained Mr. Universe prospect (18 STR) would lift 180 lbs. without strain or breaking a sweat.

Intelligence, I typically compare to IQ. Average Intelligence of 10 compares to an IQ of 100. The guy, mentioned above, with an 8 INT--his IQ would have been about 80. Not the brightest in the bunch--he probably had to study harder to pass Algebra in high-school; but HARDLY an imbecile.

Dexterity, similarly, can be compared to a sprint race. The average healthy man, in a dead-heat sprint, can reach about 10 mph, if he gave it all he had--completing a 100m dash in about 20-25 seconds. The DEX 18 Olympic athlete would qualify for the 100m in 12 seconds--or 18 mph. Usain Bolt, the world record holder in the 100m dash completed his 2012 Olympic race in 9.58 seconds, running at a speed of 23 mph. Guess what his DEX score is.

Take another look at your character's ability scores. Where do you compare to the average man? Are you role-playing your character's natural talents effectively?
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Re: Effectively Role-playing Ability Scores

Post  Animayhem on Wed Jun 01, 2016 5:14 pm

A unique take on things. Yes one should in part consider real life and the average man or woman however, remember this is a world of fantasy, different races ,etc can change the balance. Even if you are playing a human, unlike real life you can have access to things which enhance your natural abilities.

Also depending on where your character is from can also affect things.
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Re: Effectively Role-playing Ability Scores

Post  Nightcaper on Thu Aug 25, 2016 10:47 pm

I do not know if you still read this topic, but what are your opinions on roleplaying the Wisdom attribute?

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