How strong is a giant?

So, stupid question wandering my mind: How much strength increase does a +1 represent?
How much stronger than a normal human is a giant?
What of someone with Str+5?

Forewarning: I probably made some mistakes, but I have full confidence that these will be corrected, meaning we'll end up with a workable answer anyway.

IIRC, while weight increase is based on size increase cubed, strength increase follows the square cube law.

I remembered that +3 size meant x10 weight.
If we consider that +3 size also means +6 Strength
While weight went x10, Strength went about *4,6 (cubic root of 10, squared).
Thus, someone with +6 strength would be 4,6 times as strong as someone with Strength 0.

What of other strengths?
Just to check, I took a look at the size table in ROP: Magic.

Serf's parma, but IIRC, for size +1 to +4, each size increase was about weight 2,15, which made sense: It is the square root of 10, meaning that +3 size was = *10 weight.

This roughly held up for all the table, up to size +20, save one weird disconnect at size +10, which is only weight *1,16 compared to the previous entry.
Pardon me if I choose to ignore this.

So, going with this idea and rough numbers:
+1 size = weight *2.15 means +2 Str = strength * 1,67
Going with that idea, someone with Str +4 is 2,79 times as strong as someone with Str +0.

I'm kinda disappointed: I expected mythic strength (+5) to be outside the bounds of normal humanity, whereas, afaict, it roughly tracks with difference between average and world record of bench press capacity.

But back on track.
I could try to figure out what a +1 Str means, but I'm tired and have work waiting :sob:
Still, how much stronger than a normal human is my giant?
If each +2 Str is about *1.67 "power", we get something like this:

Str Score Rough strength increase
2 1,67
4 2,77
6 4,62
8 7,70
10 12,83
12 21,37
14 35,59
16 59,29
18 98,77
20 164,53
22 274,08
24 456,57
26 760,56
28 1 266,95
30 2 110,50
32 3 515,69
34 5 856,47
36 9 755,77
38 16 251,26
40 27 071,53

So now that I've wasted half an hour (discounting time at home) on this silly question, I'll leave it to you to poke fun at :slight_smile:

First, just a typo, that's the cube root of 10, not the square root. Second, you're much better off using the Size table on p.49 of RoP:F; it's just more thorough.

Now, there are two issues that mean things won't work perfectly, but I'll do what I can with what it is.

The first issue is that Large, Giant Blood, and some similar adjustments don't change Str. But for the most part +1 Size results in +2 Str and -1 Qui. So we can roughly gauge from there.

The second issue is that Str works on the pyramidal growth rather than this cube root, so it will never line up perfectly. But pyramidal becomes asymptotic to quadratic, so it's not terrible to roughly line up with a power law.

The actual rule for strength would be from encumbrance. It's written out more thoroughly in Grogs, though, on p.47-48. Taking just two points for bipedal we have: carry burden Str+5, lift burden Str+7. So a Size 0 (160 lb ±) person with Str 0 can carry around or lift over their head 105 lb and can lift 196 lb off the ground. A Size 0 person with Str +5 can carry around or lift over their head 385 lb and can lift 546 lb off the ground. A Size +6 giant (100 times the person's weight) with Str 0+2*6=+12 can carry around or lift over their head 1071 lb and can lift 1330 lb off the ground.

So, yes, Str +5 is a decent estimate for really good weight lifters (barring variation across Size, just going with the average Size 0). +5 is supposed to be the upper limit of the normal human range, so this is reasonable. Do note that Str +5 isn't Mythic Strength. That is a separate Virtue. You could take Str +5 along with Mythic Strength and lift noticeably more.

You'll notice the numbers I gave you above show Str 12 is roughly 10 times as strong as Str 0.

I could write out the formulas later, but I'm not sure it's worth it. If I were rewriting ArM5 and trying to get reasonable Str values, I would want to set up the formulas and evaluate them. But I'm not.

keep in mind that by ars magica rules, for the ars magica universe, the cube root of 10 is 2. So when something is increased by one magnitude, or by a volume of 10, it increases it doubles in each dimension.

That's really not true. Look more carefully and you'll see it's either 2 or 2.5. You can specifically find a pattern that goes x2, x2.5, x2, and repeats. Why? Rounded off to an integer 10^1/3=2, 10^2/3=5, and 10^3/3=10. In many cases only volume or mass is actually specified and there is no dimensional shift given. I'm not saying nowhere was this ever messed up, but if it was somewhere we can submit it to the errata.

Okay, so by canon definition the value of a cube root shifts conditionally rather than being constant. Either way the point is that we are dealing with a universe where the rules of math are different. In that situation modern logic will only take you so far...
using the above the (modern concept) of the square cube law provides an force multiple of either 4 or 5 when weight is multiplied by 10. Process for a moment: 4 or 5. Admittedly by convention of the pattern it will be 5, as compared to the real world solution of 4.64. Which goes to show that quantum mechanics makes everything weird no matter which scale you quantize at...

So you are willing to recognize a typo, but when the book gives an obvious wrong definition it is gospel truth because the book said so.
Just sayin'

No, just no. The author making a simplified formula for the ease of play does not change the laws of reality. Aristotle or Newton, Eclidian or non Eclidian.The cube root of 10 is 2.15443469003. That is fixed and unchanging. Now granted, it is a fictional game, and you can just make up whatever. I am also of the opinion that all rpg rules are optional rules, and the only wrong way to play is by the rules as written.
Having said that, to use a trunciated decimal that we know was intended for a short scale and then apply that to a large scale not from the book and claim that this thing you made up is more authentic that using real math, that notion is just absurd.

1 Like

They defined their term, even if it wasn't the definition you want. That is something absolutely essential to postulates in logic. Considering the real-world range is 2.25' to 5', there is a lot of wiggle room. And even so, they have the right to define their own term. It is right be definition. Just saying.

Do note that I have submitted more that 50% of the items in the errata. If there is anyone here who is known for catching and correcting mistakes in the books after they're published (didn't do that much play testing), it's me. This is why I said above that if there is an instance where this was written incorrectly we should submit it for the errata.

Then submit the incorrect definition of a Pace to the errata.

By canon they're rounding off to integers for simplicity. I'm sure you can appreciate that. Even I appreciate that, and I'm someone who vents about the ridiculousness of significant figures because they are arbitrary and do not properly convey error at all.

Now, I don't think the Str values for bigger Size are reasonable. I think they should have worked out the math more carefully and adjusted.

It's an ArM5 pace, not a Welsh pace of 2.25', nor a Roman pace of 5'. If they had stated a Roman or Welsh pace of 3', that would be an error to be correct. This is not an error, just a choice you're not happy with.

Similarly, I'm not happy with how Str shifts with Size. I would have preferred more consistency, including with Large and Huge. I also would have preferred a bigger shift of Str to get the square-cube ratio working better. That doesn't mean +2 Str, Large, and Huge are errors to be corrected. They're just choices I wouldn't have made.

fundamentally my point here is that the physical laws of the AM universe are simply different. In principle they are based on simple observations from the real world, so to that degree using modern physics to define what our ancestors could have observed is useful, as opposed to, for example, D&D where food consumption tables allow you to get more food from slaughtering a cow than you fed the cow to raise it (which leads to very different logistics than the real world), but at the same time they are not the same, and the modern precision provided by mathematical favors will falter compared to the observations of the time, which were not based on muscle area and volume but upon god given virtues , where Samson can be the strongest man in the world and still be portrayed as looking like a waifish teenager.

Yup. This is why I said to Marko that +2 Str, Large, and Huge are not errors, instead being choices I wouldn't have made. But for sizes, the books do use the 2, 2.5, 2 pattern. If you know of something that breaks that pattern, it should be submitted to the errata. Of course, one of the problems in finding these is that spells work within limits, so a spell can be limited to less than a guideline could handle without it being an error.

Fascinating. Which edition is that? I mosttly play Rules Cyclopedia (BECMI), which has dominion rules, but nothing about food from a cow. If anything, a foraging roll of 1 on a d6 grants enough food to feed one person one day. Seems like a waste of a wild cow. LoL
I play a lot of retroclones too. I have never seen 3 or 4, but I play a little 5 on the side.

But see, questions like this are the reason I have begun to prefer playing old style D&D over build system games like Ars or Mage that shackle the GM with rules. In old games, sometimes the Referee just makes up an answer that functions well enough for the moment.

5th edition, it isn't explicitly spelled out, but a cow is a large animal, and by their survival tale needs 4 pounds of food and 4 gallons of water per day. They don't give the weight of a cow, but looking it up online the average weight is 1600 pounds, and becomes fully grown at 1 year, which means it will have consumed 1460 pounds of food. Now admittedly if you include water (at 8 pounds per gallon) it has consumed more than that, and ho much of that weight is usable as food by humans is another issue, but with other animals which have a shorter time to maturity you can easily gain food value in D&D by feeding you rations to livestock then slaughtering the livestock. And since the game rules don't distinguish between meat and vegetables you ca recycle your livestock food into producing more food. Of course in my game I decided this is why the underdark is so infested with evil- the results of generations of cannibalism and blood sacrifice as the foundation for a culture which has no sunlight to provide purity...


I don't play with Good and Evil. Too subjective. I am old school with cosmic alignment and the Law/Chaos axis.
But the point you illustrated above merges into my point about Ars Magica style and how to handle Giant Strength.

If the rule as written doesn't make sense, just change it. If there is no rule, just make one up. Thhough I do appreciate the technical precision of ArM5, I have come around to the idea that ArM3 has an interesting point about using what feels right and works best as a benchmark.
You don't have to look to other examples in cannon and you do not have to worry about being compatible with anyone else's game. You only need to worry about being consistent with what you have done, or acknowledging what you had been doing is now going to change, because reasons. Whatever.
Another reason I have migrated back to old school d&d is the philosophy that the DG/GM/SG/ST/Referee/Whatev, that they are the final arbiter on any and all rules. Rules as Written are all optional rules. Which is not to endorse an autocratic style. Diplomacy and discussion is always important in any game. Everyone is free to join or leave the table as they please. No one is a hostage.

So as for the Strength of a giant, what feels right to you as a Referee at the moment? +7? +6? What is the intended consequence of the scene? Is the PC to have no chance at physical confrontation? Make it +20. Is it supposed to be a challenge? Make it around +5. Do you want this giant to resemble giants in cannon? Copy that number. Are you trying to invent a Giant Strength spell? I can see how the discussion of numbers in cannon can help you find a ballpark point to begin negotiations. As an SG, again, make up a number that seems fair. As a player, propose what you think is fair and negotiate with the SG.

1 Like

I like having the rules well codified as a starting point- you are always going to have to make up something but it is best if you don't have to reinvent the wheel for every vehicle. In fact one issue I have within AM is that too often something gets made up for published material which doesn't mesh with something else that got made up for another bit of published material.

As to good and evil for D&D at least, I use the subjective, so evil people do good things for selfish reasons, and people who believe they are good justify evil deeds for good reasons, it's all messy in the middle, and on the edges the Blood war sums things up nicely- evil devils driven to extremes fighting evil demons.

I can dig that. But these rules are so well codified that players will use their knowledge of the rules as a weapon and demand that the SG rveal the exact how and why of everything they are doing. It is impossible to maintain a sense of mystery and wonder that way. There was this one game in which the players were exploring a regio. But I did not want to reveal that it was a Regio without their employing investigative procedures. Like an InVi spell or something. And they did. Some sort of InCo spell I think. I do not remember if they player got angry because I did not interpret InCo the exact same way, or if they were mad because the Regio messed with the results, or what. It was awhile ago. Long story short, instead of letting me run a mystery/horror story with a Regio, the player lectured me as they up and quite.
I have not run a game of Ars Magica since then. I have participated as a player a bit, but I just don't have it in me to run it anymore. I am having a lot more fun playing OSR D&D and retro clones. Old old school, with descending AC and books written by John Nephew. Rules light, collaborative storytelling, rulings over rules, no homework, quick prep times, and fans of all ages.

Three words "You don't know"
You don't know the situation, you don't know that enemy. You don't know what is going on here. You don't know the mystery or breakthrough this might be based on.
The players will want to know, ask, maybe even demand to know no matter how well or poorly the rules are defined.
What is important is that you clearly describe to them what they do know and that you assure them that you are not being arbitrary and that the rules won't change when you forget your previous ruling.
When something happens to one character who is presumed to be 0 feet away in the dark that you make it clear that they cannot be heard- you don't have to tell them that the other character is in a different regio but you do need to specify that the other character is not hearing them call out when the other player reads that they call out.
and believe me there was a lot more involved in the quitting than that one game.

Thanks for the info.

About mythic strenght: I was unclear, thus you misunderstanding me
I didn't mean the virtue, thus me not capitalizing the term. I meant strength which is mythic, outside the bounds of "normal" humanity, thus me writing a +5 besides.

This is, IMO, a failure of Ars.

I've been reading Chivalry and Sorcery, a game with a very similar context (mythic europe), and, while I don't like much of what I see in character creation (too much rolling instead of choosing), there's one thing it does better than Ars: You have 3 scales for attributes, with corresponding maximums normal, heroic, and mythic.

To draw from other work of fictions or games with similar differences, I'd call upon Amber (Chaos, Amber and Ranked ranks), comics (Captain America and Batman being humans at their best) and movies/cartoons (Cap being low superhuman, Alucard in castlevania, the Witchers)

I would have loved to be able to create the "perfect knight", someone with every physical attribute at "peak normal human", with a couple assorted virtues.
I would have loved to be able to create characters who have blood of the gods, or monsters, making them faster, stronger, whatever, than humanly possible. You know, the stuff of myths.

You can do this if you assume that "normal humans" is +/-3, +4 is heroic, +5 and more is mythic. Otherwise, not so much (and don't talk to me about mythic attribute, it is only slightly better than previous versions). Going by your estimate above, for strength, that means an attribute above +10, for example :frowning: