Monday, August 17, 2015

Nobel Prize Winner Peter Higgs Answers Your Dungeons and Dragons Physics Questions

How many times does some smartass at the table decide to try to bring physics into your game? Whether it's arguing that small-sized fighters can't possibly have that kind of damage output, that there's no way anyone is fast enough to dodge lightning, or that the force of gravity would totally kill you after that fall, nothing is more irritating than trying to invalidate game rules with real-world facts. Particularly since these same individuals have no trouble accepting frost giants, half-orcs, and wizards at face value.

Fortunately, Nobel Prize Winner Peter Higgs has fielded all your RPG-related physics questions!

Finally, I can settle this stupid baleful polymorph debate!
Now, some of you likely clicked the link before you read further. For those of you who decided to stay on this page, though, I've got a spoiler warning for you: the link is by McSweeney's Internet Tendency. For those of you who have never visited their site before, they're purveyors of satire, humor, and fine examples of people who re-post without reading the fine print.

The point made repeatedly by the "award-winning" physicist in the article is a good one, though; science doesn't matter in roleplaying games. Neither does the actual forms and skills used in armored combat, the real intricacies of brewing beer, or ethnic makeups in our world's actual history. These worlds are ruled by what the designers have created, and whether those rules jive with the way things work in the real-world doesn't matter. If the book says you can reload a musket in three seconds, you can reload a musket in three seconds.


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  1. Sometimes making a nod to real world science shows that you've done your research and enhances the feeling of "realism" in a fantasy world.

    But sometimes, things happen because A Wizard Did It. If it doesn't make sense within the world's rules, well, clearly the party must investigate this anomaly. They pull off the vampire-and-werewolf-combo's mask, revealing Master Illusionist, Blackheart the Deceiver. And he would have gotten away with it if it wasn't for you meddling adventurers.

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