Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Tribute Benchmarks Table



This post contains the Tribute benchmark table I spent the weekend working on. Development on the game started with a similar table I made a few years back. I have no idea how the table will render on a mobile device, so it's probably best to view it on a computer.

I ended up working on this one as a side effect of trying to figure out how RELAY worked in the game.

I had a long talk with another game designer and friend of mine, Barak Blackburn. He wrote Capes, Cowls, and Villains Foul which is a very exciting light supers RPG meant to emulate the feel of comic books. Check it out. 



 
Anyway, Barak was helping me with movement issues in my game, and he was strongly promoting the idea that I not include benchmarks in Tribute. His case was that if I included them they would become a straitjacket for some GMs, and that some players wouldn't be able to see past them when playing the game. I considered what he said, but I decided to include them anyway. I'm of the mindset that if there's an elegant way to give concrete information about something in game, it's preferable to abstractions that are prone to confusion. I guess I'm more engineer than artist.

I think that in the long run benchmarks will enhance play rather than hindering it. In no particular order, having them allows:

  • People other than me to stat up things that other people will agree with. The internet becomes a sourcebook.
  • Concrete measurement and use of a game mat, if desired.
  • The same stats to have different consequences at different reality levels.
  • The dice to inform game play with actual measurements, such as how far an object flies.

Still, I fully intend to see Tribute used to model completely alien concepts and worlds with no ties to our own reality. I just want to set a good baseline in modeling reality first. Once you know how to do that, you can do the stranger stuff- you can "eff" the ineffable, and hopefully have everyone at the table agree on what things mean.

Credit Where it's Due


The Mayfair Exponential Game System, or MEGS, is often cited as a brilliant way of allowing characters with a range of capabilities to interact meaningfully. I'm blatantly ripping it off (with credit) for Tribute. I made a few changes, but the principle is the same.

In MEGS, everything you interact with is given a Rank, and a given Rank can correspond to a value, such as 100 lbs. In DC Heroes, the supers version of the system, every +1 to rank represents a x2 increase in the actual value you're talking about, such that if Rank 0 represented 100 lbs., Rank 1 would represent 200 lbs., Rank 2 would represent 400 lbs. and so on.

Multiplication of actual values is done by adding their Ranks together. Division is done by Subtracting their Ranks. This works like an old-fashioned slide rule, and is very handy for things like calculating the distance you can throw an object (Your Rank - the Rank of the object's mass= Rank of the distance), etc.

Another game using the system, Underground, which I haven't seen, uses a different progression whereby each +1 to Rank represents about a 1.26 multiplier. This means that every +3 equals roughly a doubling, every +7 equals multiplying by 5, and +10 equals multiplying by 10.  The same rules for multiplication and division apply.

Tribute is using the latter progression. My values for the various benchmarks are different because of the needs of the system, and I use metric measurements because they make more sense to me and make for a neater table. To convert from metric, you can assume that 1 meter equals about a yard, and 1 kg equals about 2 lbs. This is about estimation, not exact values.

Making sense of the Table:


The only firm benchmark on this table is the "Number of Men" Rating.  The use of the word "Men" is intended the way Tolkien used it- to represent a member of the human species of either sex, and does not refer to the male sex specifically. One "Man" is a mythological human who is average in everything.

 It's a useful benchmark for things that don't easily lend themselves to concrete measurement in other units. Rank 5 "FORCE of Mind" means that you have the Intellect of 3 average people combined.

Number of Men is also useful for finding out the effective rank of a group of collaborators. Simply add the Number of Men of all parties, find the corresponding Rank, and make a check with the leader's FOCUS and the total BURDEN of all participants.

The other benchmark values are strongly approximated (especially when it comes to Time and Data)- they are rounded to the nearest neat unit when possible, and are then put onto the "# of Men" progression. This means that when it's possible to shift from seconds to minutes, for example, the progression moves on from 1 minute rather than continuing to use seconds. The results are somewhat different than they would otherwise be, but again, this table is meant to allow you to estimate conversions between benchmarks and Ranks, and not to find exact values. The apparent precision in the table should never be considered to be written in stone. When using this Table with benchmarks and a value falls between two Ranks, use the lower of the two Ranks. A given Rank represents a range of results from the listed value to just before the next higher one.

The table's built on the assumption of a d4 Reality die (a range of -3 to +3). After all, games that use a d4 will be the ones most concerned with accuracy in benchmarks.

Values get fuzzier the further you get from mundane human range. For example, it's possible even in a mundane reality level for a unique human being to throw a football (Rank -15 mass) 300 meters (Rank 28 distance), which exceeds World Records (non-NFL) by 2 Ranks. The record was allegedly set in 1934 by George Lansborough at 195 meters.

I wanted to keep values conservative, but it wasn't possible if I wanted other human ranges to work right.  Still, if the Guinness Book of World Records is to be believed, it's somewhat conceivable. Especially if you remember that Rank 5 is meant to represent a World Class Attribute, and getting such a roll would require a lot of FOCUS in throwing, little to no BURDEN, a perfect roll, and full activation of a +5 DRIVE. Sports legendry in the making.

As you read the table, keep in mind the following rules. The game will assume the following:

Rank 0: Average human capability or measurement. As a result on the dice, it represents a casual effort for a normal human.
Rank 3: The highest an average human can roll on a Mundane Reality Level (d4s) Test without an activated DRIVE (which can add up to +5 to your Attribute Rank)
Rank 5: The realistic human maximum Attribute Rank. This is an optional cap to Attributes for humans.
Rank 8: The maximum that an average human can roll with d4s and an activated DRIVE of 5, or the highest value that a human with maximum Attributes without DRIVE can roll.
Rank 13: The highest amount that a human with maximum Attributes can roll with an activated DRIVE of 5.

Table 1: Tribute Benchmarks
Rank
# of Men
Mass
Mass Example
Distance
Time
Volume
Language
Data
-10
1/10
1.25 kg

.05 m
.1 sec
.2 m3
1 letter
1 bytes
-9
1/8
1.5 kg

.06 m
.125 sec
.25 m3
1.25 letters
1.25 bytes
-8
1/6
2 kg

.08 m
.15 sec
.3 m3
1.5 letters
1.5 bytes
-7
1/5
2.5 kg

.1 m
.2 sec
.4 m3
2 letters
2 bytes
-6
1/4
3 kg

.125 m
.25 sec
.5 m3
2.5 letters
2.5 bytes
-5
1/3
4 kg
Human Head
.15 m
.3 sec
.6 m3
3 letters
3 bytes
-4
2/5
5 kg

.2 m
.4 sec
.8 m3
4 letters
4 bytes
-3
1/2
6 kg

.25 m
.5 sec
1 m3
5 letters
5 bytes
-2
6/10
8 kg
Koala
.3 m
.6 sec
1.25 m3
6 letters
6 bytes
-1
8/10
10 kg
Farm Sack of Potatoes
.4 m
.8 sec
1.5 m3
8 letters
8 Bytes
0
1
12.5 kg
Cooking gas cylinder
.5 m
1 sec
2 m3
1 word
10 bytes
1
1 1/4
15 kg
Stowable Travel suitcase
.6 m
1.25 sec
2.5 m3
1 1/4 words
12.5 bytes
2
1 1/2
20 kg
Suit of plate armor
.8 m
1.5 sec
3 m3
1 1/2 words
15 bytes
3
2
25 kg
Industrial bag of laundry
1 m
2 sec
4 m3
2 words
20 bytes
4
2 1/2
30 kg
9 -year-old child
1.25 m
2.5 sec
5 m3
2 and 1/2 words
25 bytes
5
3
40 kg
Medium ship's anchor
1.5 m
3 sec
6 m3
3 words
30 bytes
6
4
50 kg
Small Adult Sheep
2 m
4 sec
8 m3
4 words
40 bytes
7
5
60 kg

2.5 m
5 sec
10 m3
5 words
50 bytes
8
6
80 kg
Human Adult
3 m
6 sec
12 1/2 m3
6 words
60 bytes
9
8
100 kg

4 m
8 sec
15 m3
8 words
80 bytes
10
10
125 kg

5 m
10 sec
20 m3
10 words
100 bytes
11
12 1/2
150 kg

6 m
12.5 sec
25 m3
12 1/2 words
125 bytes
12
15
200 kg

8 m
15 sec
30 m3
15 words
150 bytes
13
20
250 kg

10 m
20 sec
40 m3
20 words
200 bytes
14
25
300 kg
Big Male Lion
12.5 m
25 sec
50 m3
25 words
250 bytes
15
30
400 kg

15 m
30 sec
60 m3
30 words
300 bytes
16
40
500 kg
Cessna 150, horse
20 m
40 sec
80 m3
40 words
400 bytes
17
50
600kg

25 m
50 sec
100 m3
50 words
500 bytes
18
60
800 kg

30 m
1 min
125 m3
60 words
600 bytes
19
80
1 t

40 m
1.25 min
150 m3
80 words
800 bytes
20
100
1.25 t

50 m
1.5 min
200 m3
100 words
1 KB
21
125
1.5 t
Sedan Car
60 m
2 min
250 m3
125 words
1.25 KB
22
150
2 t
Light Truck
80 m
2.5 min
300 m3
150 words
1.5 KB
23
200
2.5 t

100 m
3 min
400 m3
200 words
2 KB
24
250
3 t

125 m
4 min
500 m3
250 words
2.5 KB
25
300
4 t

150 m
5 min
600 m3
300 words
3 KB
26
400
5 t

200 m
6 min
800 m3
400 words
4 KB
27
500
6 t

250 m
8 min
1 km3
500 words
5 KB
28
600
8 t

300 m
10 min
1.25 km3
600 words
6 KB
29
800
10 t

400 m
12 1/2 min
1.5 km3
800 words
8 KB
30
1,000
12.5 t

500 m
15 min
2 km3
1,000 words
10 KB
31
1,250
15 t

600 m
20 min
2.5 km3
1,250 words
12.5 KB
32
1,500
20 t

800 m
25 min
3 km3
1,500 words
15 KB
33
2,000
25 t

1 km
30 min
4 km3
2,000 words
20 KB
34
2,500
30 t

1.25 km
40 min
5 km3
2,500 words
25 KB
35
3,000
40 t

1.5  km
50 min
6 km3
3,000 words
30 KB
36
4,000
50 t

2 km
1 hour
8 km3
4,000 words
40 KB
37
5,000
60 t

2.5  km
1 1/4 hours
10 km3
5,000 words
50 KB
38
6,000
80 t

3 km
1 1/2 hours
12 1/2 km3
6,000 words
60 KB
39
8,000
100 t
Blue Whale
4 km
2 hours
15 km3
8,000 words
80 KB
40
10,000
125 t

5 km
2 1/2 hours
20 km3
10,000 words
100 KB
41
12,500
150 t
Spruce Goose (Plane)
6 km
3 hours
25 km3
12,500 words
125 KB
42
15,000
200 t
Statue of Liberty
8 km
4 hours
30 km3
15,000 words
150 KB
43
20,000
250 t

10 km
5 hours
40 km3
20,000 words
200 KB
44
25,000
300 t

12.5 km
6 hours
50 km3
25,000 words
250 KB
45
30,000
400 t

15 km
8 hours
60 km3
30,000 words
300 KB
46
40,000
500 t

20 km
10 hours
80 km3
40,000 words
400 KB
47
50,000
600 t

25 km
12.5 hours
100 km3
50,000 words
500 KB
48
60,000
800 t

30 km
15 hours
125 km3
60,000 words
600 KB
49
80,000
1,000 t

40 km
20 hours
150 km3
80,0000 words
800 KB
50
100,000
1,200 t

50 km
1 Day
200 km3
100,000 words
1 MB
51
125,000
1,500 t

60 km
1.25 days
250 km3
125,000 words
1.25 MB
52
150,000
2,000 t

80 km
1.5 days
300 km3
150,000 words
1.5 MB
53
200,000
2,500 t

100 km
2 days
400 km3
200,000 words
2 MB
54
250,000
3,000 t

125 km
2.5 days
500 km3
250,000 words
2.5 MB
55
300,000
4,000 t

150 km
3 days
600 km3
300,000 words
3 MB
56
400,000
5,000 t

200 km
4 days
800 km3
400,000 words
4 MB
57
500,000
6,000 t

250 km
5 days
1,000 km3
500,000 words
5 MB
58
600,000
8,000 t

300 km
6 days
1,250 km3
600,000 words
6 MB
59
800,000
10,000 t
Eiffel Tower
400 km
8 days
1,500 km3
800,000 words
8 MB
60
1,000,000
12,500 t

500 km
10 days
2,000 km3
1,000,000 words
10 MB
61
1,250,000
15,000 t

600 km
12.5 days
2,500 km3
1,250,000 words
12.5 MB
62
1,500,000
20,000 t

800 km
15 days
3,000 km3
1,500,000 words
15 MB
63
2,000,000
30,000 t

1,000 km
20 days
4,000 km3
2,000,000 words
20 MB
64
2,500,000
40,000 t

1,250 km
1 month
5,000 km3
2,500,000 words
25 MB
65
3,000,000
50,000 t

1,500 km
1.5 months
6,000 km3
3,000,000 words
30 MB
66
4,000,000
60,000 t

2,000 km
2 Months
8,000 km3
4,000,000 words
40 MB
67
5,000,000
80,000 t

2,500 km
2.5 months
10,000 km3
5,000,000 words
50 MB
68
6,000,000
100,000 t
Nimitz Aircraft Carrier
3,000 km
3 months
12,500 km3
6,000,000 words
60 MB
69
8,000,000
125,000 t

4,000 km
4 months
15,000 km3
8,000,000 words
80 MB
70
10,000,000
150,000 t

5,000 km
5 months
20,000 km3
10,000,000 words
100 MB
71
12,500,000
200,000 t

6,000 km
6 months
25,000 km3
12,500,000 words
125 MB
72
15,000,000
250,000 t

8,000 km
8 months
30,000 km3
15,000,000 words
150 MB
73
20,000,000
300,000 t

10,000 km
10 months
40,000 km3
20,000,000 words
200 MB
74
25,000,000
400,000 t

12,500 km
1 year
50,000 km3
25,000,000 words
250 MB
75
30,000,000
500,000 t

15,000 km
1.25 year
60,000 km3
30,000,000 words
300 MB
76
40,000,000
600,000 t

20,000 km
1.5 years
80,000 km3
40,000,000 words
400 MB
77
50,000,000
800,000 t

25,000 km
2 years
100,000 km3
50,000,000 words
500 MB
78
60,000,000
1,000,000 t

30,000 km
2.5 years
125,000 km3
60,000,000 words
600 MB
79
80,000,000
1,250,000 t

40,000 km
3 years
150,000 km3
80,000,000 words
800 MB
80
100,000,000
1,500,000 t

50,000 km
4 years
200,000 km3
100,000,000 words
1 GB
81
125,000,000
2,000,000 t

60,000 km
5 years
250,000 km3
125,000,000 words
1.25 GB
82
150,000,000
2,500,000 t

80,000 km
6 years
300,000 km3
150,000,000 words
1.5 GB
83
200,000,000
3,000,000 t

100,000 km
8 years
400,000 km3
200,000,000 words
2 GB
84
250,000,000
4,000,000 t

125,000 km
10 years
500,000 km3
250,000,000 words
2.5 GB
85
300,000,000
5,000,000 t

150,000 km
12.5 years
600,000 km3
300,000,000 words
3 GB
86
400,000,000
6,000,000 t

200,000 km
15 years
800,000 km3
400,000,000 words
4 GB
87
500,000,000
8,000,000 t

250,000 km
20 years
1,000,000 km3
500,000,000 words
5 GB
88
600,000,000
10,000,000 t

300,000 km (1 light-second)
25 years
1,250,000 km3
600,000,000 words
6 GB
89
800,000,000
12,500,000 t

400,000 km  (1.25 light-seconds)
30 years
1,500,000 km3
800,000,000 words
8 GB
90
1,000,000,000
15,000,000 t

500,000 km (1.5 light-seconds)
40 years
2,000,000 km3
1,000,000,000 words
10 GB
91
1,250,000,000
20,000,000 t

600,000 km (2 light-seconds)
50 years
2,500,000 km3
1,250,000,000 words
12.5 GB
92
1,500,000,000
25,000,000 t

800,000 km (2.5 light-seconds)
60 years
3,000,000 km3
1,500,000,000 words
15 GB
93
2,000,000,000
30,000,000 t

1,000,000 km (3 light-seconds)
80 years
4,000,000 km3
2,000,000,000 words
20 GB
94
2,500,000,000
40,000,000 t

1,250,000 km (4 light-seconds)
100 years
5,000,000 km3
2,500,000,000 words
25 GB
95
3,000,000,000
50,000,000 t

1,500,000 km (5 light-seconds)
125 years
6,000,000 km3
3,000,000,000 words
30 GB
96
4,000,000,000
60,000,000 t

2,000,000 km (6 light-seconds)
150 years
8,000,000 km3
4,000,000,000 words
40 GB
97
5,000,000,000
1,000,000,000 t

2,500,000 km (8 light-seconds)
200 years
10,000,000 km3
5,000,000,000 words
50 GB
98
6,000,000,000
1,250,000,000 t

3,000,000 km (10 light-seconds)
250 years
12,500,000 km3
6,000,000,000 words
60 GB
99
8,000,000,000
1,500,000,000 t

4,000,000 km (12.5 light-seconds)
300 years
15,000,000 km3
8,000,000,000 words
80 GB
100
10,000,000,000
2,000,000,000 t

5,000,000 km (15 light-seconds)
400 years
20,000,000 km3
10,000,000,000 words
100 GB

The Volume column is in red because I'm not sure about which value should line up with 0. I chose 2 m3 because it's a rough estimation of a human body occupying space on a battlemat.

Benchmarking things on your own


Benchmarking is straightforward. You can take a statement like "He has the strength of 10 Men" and find its Rank on the table. Of course, you can use numerical values if they line up to what the table measures.

Google Search has a feature wherein you can type something like "34 lbs. in kg" and it will calculate the result for you. That has proven very useful. 

If you want to create a new column on the table, start with a fact that has a number attached to it like "The average person can...". Decide whether this fact refers to an average person's casual effort (Rank 0), Decent Effort (Rank 3), Extreme Effort (Rank 8) or somewhere in between. Place the rating provided in that space, and calculate the other values based on it, using the Number of Men progression. It's best to round the value you're placing to the nearest Number of Men value for consistency.

Going off the Scale


Say your character wants to throw the Earth at the Moon. What would she need to roll?

Look up the mass of the object. Google says that Earth's mass  is 6,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 metric tons.

  1. Find the largest Rank that is close to the first few digits. In this case, it's Rank 98.
  2. Count the zeros in the nearest Rank on the table. Mass for Rank 98 has 9 zeros.
  3. Count the zeros in the value of the object's mass. There are 21 zeros in the Earth's mass.
  4. Subtract 9 from 21 to find how many more zeros the Earth's mass has. The result is 12.
  5. Multiply your Result (12) by 10 to find out how much higher than 98 the Earth's Mass Rank is. It's 120 higher than 98.
  6. Add 120 to 98 to find the roll you'd need to achieve to move the Earth half a meter per second (rank 0).  The Rank for this is 218.  
  7. Throwing it all the way to the Moon is another matter. The Moon's distance on average is about Rank 89 (384403 km). You'd need to roll 89 points higher on the roll (Rank 307) to throw the Earth to the Moon within the space of a second. 
Ignoring the gravity of the sun, a collision would eventually happen even with Rank 218 (An object in motion stays in motion...). It just might take a very long time. You probably wouldn't have to do all of this for most situations. I plan to include expanded tables in an appendix in the book.

Thanks for reading.  If you have any questions or ideas for benchmarks that I should add to the table, feel free to leave them in the comments.