Jun 23, 2011

Strength and Untrained Lifting in Aberrant

I am crunching data on human strength for a series of posts on how TTRPGs model it.  This post can be written early as a teaser because White Wolf's Aberrant rules separate out lifting capacity by untrained natural ability and the product of training.  Untrained strength in Aberrant has a scale from 1 to 5, with 2 being average.  There is no real standard deviation for the Aberrant stats, but it seemed reasonable enough to use each ability level as a proxy.

As I will go into in more detail in a later post, the best resource I found for lifting ability shows average weight lifted for each body weight category. While trying to find distributions of adult male body weight so that I could determine the proportion of men who could lift each amount of weight, I found a couple differing sets of numbers from the EPA and WolframAlpha, and a set for older men from an organization in Cambridge, MA.  The problem with weight is that it does not follow a normal distribution, so I cannot use the mean and standard deviation to calculate any value.  However, the natural log (ln) of weight does, and that may help me.  The differences between the data sets seem small enough not to significantly affect my work, and are at least partially explained by the general rise in Americans' weights over the last couple decades.  For the graph above, the x-axis is technically mislabeled, but each standard deviation mark refers to the percentile for that z-score, so -1 SD is about the 16th percentile, 1 SD is the 84th, 2 SD is the 97.7th, and 3 SD is about the 99.9th.

As you can see, the Aberrant rules are pretty bad at simulating real untrained strength among men.  When I finish figuring out what the distribution of strength is for all men, women, and adults together, I will show how each RPG system performs as a simulator, and I will revisit the Aberrant system to include the weightlifting skill.

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