FASERIP Ability Score Interpretations?

Quite some time ago I dropped ability scores from Echelon. I don’t anticipate bringing back D&D/Pathfinder-style ability scores, but I toyed with a bit with the idea for the dice pool variation. Given how I consider anything past Expert tier to be outside normal human ability, and anything past Heroic tier to be entirely superhuman, perhaps I was looking in the wrong direction.

I often describe Heroic and Master tiers as the beginning of ‘superhuman’ and touching on ‘superhero’ characters, with Champion being definitely superhero territory. What if I look to superhero games for this?

I’ll rule out Mutants & Masterminds immediately, because of the d20 underpinnings — I’ve already decided I’m not doing ability scores like that. I’ll also excuse Hero System for the same reason (though I might still look to Hero System for other reasons). As I recall GURPS follows similar lines, so I’ll set that aside for now.

I don’t particularly want numbers here, though. I’…

Hmm. Stats in FASERIP Marvel Super Heroes, for PCs, are

  • Feeble
  • Poor
  • Typical
  • Good
  • Excellent
  • Remarkable
  • Incredible
  • Amazing
  • Monstrous

There are also

  • Unearthly
  • Shift-X
  • Shift-Y
  • Shift-Z
  • Class-1000
  • Class-3000
  • Class-5000
  • Beyond

Which I take to be beyond what even PCs can have. Though I see from the Judge’s Book that there are core characters with these ratings.

In any case, if I start with Typical as the “Basic character, normal ability” (i.e. no specific talent), I can then apply Good through Monstrous as the Basic through Legendary ratings. That is, “Basic Strength” is, in FASERIP terms, “Good Strength”, “Expert” is “Excellent”, “Heroic” is “Remarkable”, “Master” is “Incredible”, “Champion” is “Amazing”, and “Legendary” is “Monstrous” (and “Epic” is “Unearthly”).

Well. The assignments line up. What about the interpretations?

Looking at Strength, since that’s the most numeric and direct corresponding ability:

Rank Description Examples Intensity FEATs
FB Able to press up to 50 lbs. Children, Elderly Lifting up to 50 lbs.
PR Able to press up to 100 lbs. Normal humans, Mastermind Lifting 51-100 lbs.
TY Able to press up to 200 lbs. Doctor Strange, Invisible Woman Lifting 101-200 lbs.
GD Able to press up to 400 lbs. Daredevil, Human Torch Lifting 201-400 lbs.
EX Able to press up to 800 lbs. Captain America, Maximum human ability Lifting 401-800 lbs.
RM Able to press up to 2000 lbs (1 ton) Beast, Doctor Doom Lifting 801-2000 lbs. (1 ton)
IN Able to press up to 10 tons Iron Man, Spider-Man Lifting 1-10 tons
AM Able to press up to 50 tons Rogue, Electro Lifting 10-50 tons
MN Able to press up to 80 tons Thing, She-Hulk Lifting 50-80 tons
UN Able to press up to 100+ tons Hulk, Thor Lifting 80-100 tons
Shift-X Lifting 100+ tons Lifting 100+ tons

If I read this correctly…

  • Typical Strength person can lift 100-200 pounds, at least on a successful check. My daughter (14 years old, ~120 pounds… judoka who weight trains with me) can do that. She can’t press that much, but I’ve seen her carry judoka who outweigh her.
  • Good Strength person can lift 200-400 pounds. This is still at the Basic tier, a normal person who works out (such as most soldiers, or normal weight lifters) are in this range. My deadlift PR was 315#, and I can still get 225# off the floor. I’m certainly not Expert tier, this is credible to me.
  • Excellent Strength can lift 400-800 pounds. This is labeled ‘maximum human ability’, but in real life there exceptions… very uncommon exceptions, but they exist. As an Expert tier range, however, this also is pretty credible. I know many very good lifters can lift in this range, but depending on the lift probably can’t exceed it.
  • Remarkable Strength can lift 800-2,000 pounds. This is crazy for normal people, well beyond what regular people could even consider lifting under normal circumstances… but World’s Strongest Man competitors lift these amounts in competition. Definitely beyond normal human range, but not quite superhuman. This fits the definition of Heroic tier (incidentally, I’d probably bump Captain America’s rating to Remarkable — ordinary (if elite) soldiers can expect to be in the Excellent range, Captain America is beyond that).
  • Incredible Strength can lift 1-10 tons. Definitely superhuman, strong superheroes should certainly be able to do this. I had Spider-Man mentally pegged as a Master-tier character, and he was at one point identified as “fourth-strongest in the Marvel Universe” behind Thor, The Hulk, and The Thing… though many have been added since then who were stronger than Peter Parker. Still, being able to catch a car as it falls off a bridge, or lift a bus, certainly makes him at least this strong, and there are stories where he lifts even more… including the building that houses the Daily Bugle.
  • Amazing and Monstrous are both beyond that… but I’m feeling pretty good about this.

So far, the quantitative effects of the FASERIP ratings seem to align pretty well with what I want here. I am fairly comfortable equating them, at least this far.

The other FASERIP abilities are not as easily examined.

  • Fighting is replaced entirely by attack bonus considerations (martial tradition and training) and I don’t imagine would be an ability score like the others.
  • Agility is closest to Dexterity. I’d shift the definitions down a bit (the ranges are about one step away from what I think correct).
  • Endurance and Constitution would obviously be related, and they appear to be roughly where I would assign them.
  • Reason and Intelligence are pretty close to each other. The definitions are woefully inaccurate for my purposes, but I think that comes mostly out of being so dated. It certainly doesn’t require Remarkable FEAT checks to design or program a computer… though being able to study “non-terran technologies” or create a star drive or time travel definitely is higher than Remarkable.
  • Intuition and Wisdom (perception) works well enough. There aren’t a lot of examples for this one, so it’s tricky to gauge. I was a little surprised that Captain America scored higher than Spider-Man here, until I found the ‘spider-sense’ was handled as an entirely separate power.
  • Psyche is probably closest to Charisma, though it’s more ‘passive’ (about resistance). If I were to do conversion I’d probably just roll with it, as it is it might not be important.

I don’t yet have a definitive, or even really good, list of examples of application. The one I have seen is pretty sparse, but does seem to mostly align well enough for consideration. I wish I had more qualitative definitions to work with.

Still, as far as I can take this right now, it looks like I could in fact have “ability talents” based on FASERIP definitions. I’d probably drop the rating names entirely and just use the tier names as the values, but it can work… and I suspect I can look to the other power definitions for more talents.

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3 Comments

  1. Pingback: Adapting FASERIP Task Resolution to Echelon | Echelon d20 - An RPG framework based on the d20 system.

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