Earlier I asked:
> Which in the end takes me back to the question the absolute resistance
> people have been asking: why can't you have both? Just state the
> baseline range at the start of the adventure and /then/ use relative
> resistances in the adventure itself to tell the story. Or even better,
> give the opponents absolute numbers by which to place themselves in
> the Gloranthan canon, and then give suitable possible circumstances
> and reasons that can be used to shift that number to where ever it
> needs to be in terms of the story.
Then I thought about different ways of doing this. And I think that going the full HQ1 way of absolute numbers with guides to circumstances converting them to HQ2 requirements would be hindering the pureness of HQ2 as a narrative-oriented game - because when we see absolute numbers, we instinctively think they're more real and relate to them as such. So in a given conflict, this would probably tend to lead people to focus on counting all the circumstances and details and the fidgeting that goes into modifying the resistance to a proper level, diluting from the core issue at stake in the story.
Approaching the medium from the opposite side doesn't seem to have this drawback. If a book gives a only relative resistance (and the PCs are somewhere appropriately near the benchmark for that adventure), I'm pretty sure I'd have more leeway in suspending the players disbelief by just handwaving and explaining circumstances back into the ballpark. Which lets one focus more easily on what's core to the story at hand.
Yet, none of this negates my desire for a clear scale. But it demonstrates that the issues may be better separated. In order to situate the NPCs or PCs to the world I don't need to know their exact numbers. I only need to know the ballpark. Maybe just how many masteries the NPCs have would be enough. Adding a low/high description to that would certainly be. I only need to know Harrek is W6. I only need to know that the better of our weaponthanes is low W2 and the next best is high W1. Hell, if you really hate giving numbers even as wide as mastery ranges, I'd be fine with just making sure every character description textually refers to the world scale: Orlmath is as a cook "crap/an amateur/a professional/best in clan/best in tribe/best in kingdom/heroic/superheroic/godly/..".
So, in the end I personally (as a narrative-oriented yet verisimilitude-seeking player) would probably be completely satisfied with just adding mastery-ballpark benchmarks to adventures and separate NPC descriptions.
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