Re: Mundane Supermen and Supernatural Supermen

From: Martin Dick <martin.dick_at_...>
Date: Fri, 07 Jul 2000 12:24:19 +1000

> Message: 21
> Date: Thu, 06 Jul 2000 15:50:43 +0100
> From: Philippe Krait <>
> Actually, although I don't like Mikael's "everything is magical" explanation, I think
> this one is to arbitrary for myself.
> What I think is that the key there is "improvisational modifier". If you have the
> ability "run" and you are human, to me it still means "run like a human". And it means
> that I won't allow you to run against a horse and win. I could give such an outrageous
> improvisational modifier that you will lose, except in extreme circumstances (horse
> fumbles and thus falls down for example), or even disallow the roll if it's too inhuman
> (like jumping across a wide river).

Sure, it's arbitrary, and the number was just one I came up with on the spot, and could be changed, but it's also arbitrary in the sense that a human can't run 9 seconds or less in the 100 metres is arbitrary. It seems pretty likely that will never happen except without our own modern version of magic, i.e drugs or genetic engineering or special equipment.

It seems perfectly reasonable to me to set for various groups of creatures, maximums on ability levels without some sort of magical assistance. I don't remember in 20 years of Runequest, anyone having a problem with characteristic limits. No one going, "Why can't I train my human's strength to 30?"

> Thus, even though you train everyday and raise only your "run" skill (which would be
> stupid), you will never be able to outrun the horse as you are only human.

The problem with this is that you are then abandoning any sort of absolute
comparison. I have 10W3 in Run Fast, a horse has 10W2 in Run, but I get a -40 improviser to my Run when I happen to be chasing a horse across the
plain, but I don't when I'm chasing a person. To me, that's sort of bizarre.

> But this does not preclude the "everything is magical" world view, rather the contrary
> in fact.
> Because the world is so full of magic and there are so many myth to interact with, it's
> in fact more easy to gain a magical affinity allowing you to "run like a horse" rather
> than increasing your "run" ability. Or to gain a "fast like the wind" ability and use
> it to augment your "run" and thus beat the horse.

I agree totally, but what if I'm some God Forgot atheist for example who wants to be the fastest man in Glorantha and spend heaps of my hero points
just training away, doing laps, sprint work etc. etc. He can still get up
to 10W3 under the rules without any magical assistance. To which I think there are three perspectives.

First, Glorantha is inherently magical in all it does, so he is using magic in some sense regardless of his beliefs. Second, He can't do it without actively seeking some form of magical assistance. Third, he can get that level of ability, but it is modified drastically to make the character fit reality (i.e the reality that no human could unassisted out run a horse).

I think the third is much more complex to run than either of the first two perspectives and doesn't really ad anything to the game, YMMV.
> But to me, living in a very magical world does not mean that, by training only, you
> acquire "magical-like capabilities". You have to think in terms of the world. And what
> it means for Glorantha is that people, to progress in terms of what they can do, turn
> at least as much towards the myth than towards mundane training.

Again true, but what about the exceptions, and given roleplayers and their continual inventiveness, the exceptions will happen. One of the strengths of Hero Wars is that it has an all encompassing description of how to act in the world. I would like to avoid having all sorts of exceptions to what an ability level means depending upon the contestants. If a horse runs faster than a human, I want this to be reflected in the base ability level of the two, not have Horse - Run 15, Human - Run 15, but when running against a horse, the human has a -40 improvisation modifier. I would much prefer Horse - Run 15W2, Human - Run 15.

One of the things I always liked in RQ over AD&D, was that characteristics
were much more comparable, no humans with 18/00 strength and the strongest God only having a strength of 25. Consistency is a strength in a system to me and Your proposal would reduce that consistency, IMHO.


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