Jul 10, 2011

Dungeons and Dragons 4th edition: Strength and Lifting

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:
A character holding up to a "Normal" weight does not suffer encumbrance penalties. The rules say that characters can not lift more than the "Heavy" amount, though they can still move around while holding such weight. 

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:
The D&D rules provide a linear progression of lifting ability.  D&D 4th edition closely simulates real people's abilities at Strengths of 3 and 14-16, but gives a greater lifting ability than realistic for characters with Strengths of 4-13, and lesser for the highest human Strengths.  I threw the values for real men into the graph to see if D&D was a better simulator of just men, and it does (the sum of the differences between D&D values and real values is smaller).

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):
 We can see that the average D&D character should have a Strength of 6 or 7 (not 10 or 11) for the game to simulate real people.  Only a quarter of characters would have Strength scores of 11 or higher.

Next up: another game's strength system gets compared to real life.

1 comment:

  1. In dnd it is assumed your character is already above average from level 1.