Now that I've finished creating a reasonable distribution of real human lifting ability, I can compare it to the distributions generated by the mechanics of role-playing games. Let us start with the 4th edition of Dungeons and Dragons. Here is a table showing how lifting ability is calculated in-game based on the Strength attribute:
If we go back to the roots of D&D, when Strength was determined by rolling 3d6, we could create proxy values of the proportions of the population with each Strength value (mean = 10.5). Then we can graph the amount of weight that real persons could lift along with what D&D characters can lift:
Of course, D&D 4th edition uses a point-buy system for attributes, so there are no clear proportions of characters with each lifting ability. Let us see what the percentiles would be of D&D characters at each Strength score if the game were an accurate simulation of real people (the 3d6 line is included just for reference):
Next up: another game's strength system gets compared to real life.