[RPG] Playing as ourselves


A few of the members of our gaming have had the probably-not-unique idea of statting ourselves as if we were player characters in a campaign. Our problem is trying to find a basis of comparison for each stat so we can properly assign our scores. Like, what would a STR of 10 indicate? Or a 10 in any other ability, since we're not messing with race?

Best Answer

Instead of looking at what exactly a strength of 10 indicates (like being able to lift a certain amount of weight or so), try looking at it as a place within the population at large. A score of 10 in any stat means you're just about average; a score higher than 16 means you're in the top few percent of the population.

There are two approaches we could take here. One is to look at the distribution of ability scores in D&D and compare it to the distribution of that ability in the population at large. This is approach I'm taking here. The other approach is to use the correlating factors published in various different D&D sources. This is the approach many other people have taken (such as the fun quiz made by Kevin Haw).

Assuming you're using 3d6 for each stat, here's a rough guide for you:

  • <2: Extremely low. 0.15% of the population.
  • 2 to 4: Very low. 2.5% of the population.
  • 5 to 7: Low. 16% of the population.
  • 8 to 13: Completely normal. 68% of the population.
  • 14 to 16: High. 16% of the population.
  • 17 to 19: Very high. 2.5% of the population.
  • >19: Extremely high. 0.15% of the population.

To get these numbers, I'm looking at the results of rolling multiple 6-sided dice and adding them together. As you add more and more dice, the result gets closer to what's called a normal distribution. It's a curve that's well-populated in the middle and sparsely-populated on both ends. In other words, there are lots of people who are typical, some people who are either high or low, a few people who are very high or very low, and a few extreme examples at both ends.

So let's take a look at intelligence and see what these numbers would mean. IQ is calibrated so the average is 100 and the standard deviation is 15. This lets us correlate D&D stats with IQ scores, as well as some common terms (found here):

  • <2: IQ below 55 (highly retarded)
  • 2 to 4: IQ from 55 to 70 (moderately retarded)
  • 5 to 7: IQ from 70 to 85 (moderate intellectual functioning)
  • 8 to 13: IQ from 85 to 115 (average)
  • 14 to 16: IQ from 115 to 130 (mildly gifted)
  • 17 to 19: IQ from 130 to 145 (moderately gifted)
  • >19: IQ above 145 (highly gifted)

Unfortunately, not all stats can be quantified so easily. Information on intelligence is easy to look up; info on charisma or wisdom, less so. Hopefully you can use the ideas here to estimate the scores you're looking for.