In the game we played, by the end of the campaign my character (the social leech and all around troublemaker priest & poet) could easily out-talk and out inspire Kallyr if you take the version of her in the suppliment, and we didn't have incredible skill inflation (we did have a lot, but it seemed to fit perfectly with the story arc). Should he be able to? No, at least not on every argument. Maybe a larger use of conditional adjustments would help. On the other side of it, I saw no way a devotee could get their affinities anywhere up to the level that some of the other 'lesser' NPCs had.
Should there be some level or relative power? Sure. A tribal weaponthane with an average combat skill would still beat an 'excellent' shepherd boy.
There are always going to be farmer games and there are always going to be heroic games. If a game like HQ wants to support playing on every level it has to give 'relative' ratings for the NPCs. I do want to see some good skill examples though, but I don't need to know the exact rating of the Ernaldan's "Think of the Children" feat (if you want to complain about how a goddess got a raw deal, that's one for the record).
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