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Old 08-23-2018, 09:31 AM   #1
martinl
 
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Default Gods and Demigods - not really that smart

Spawned off another thread because off topic for it:

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Originally Posted by mr beer View Post
for example a demigod might have something like ST 30 HT 20 DX 20 IQ 20 and Altered Time Rate, Damage Reduction 3, Enhanced Time Sense, DR 20 (Forcefield), Regeneration: Fast and primary combat skills around 30. They would have other things as well, like spells, mobility (Flight and/or Warp), Terror, very high or very low Appearance etc.
I see this sort of thing all the time in all sorts of games and there is one thing that is seriously wrong in representing mythology: that darned IQ 20 [1]. The gods I remember from myth and legend might have had one or two smarties among them, but most were not notably bright. I know I have a quasi-instinctive reaction as a GM to make gods bestest at everything, but really if I want to model Ares or Thor IQ 20 is not a good choice.


(You folks who are about to jump in and have an argument about what GURPS IQ represents go start your own thread now please.)


What breaks, exactly, if Hercules has IQ 11 (Will 17) or Odin has IQ 13 (Per & Will 30)?

More points spent on skills? Irrelevant for an NPC and on theme for a God.

Lower defaults? OK, so Gods aren't automatically awesome at things they don't practice? Seems ok to me.

PCs might trick them? A veritable net positive.

What does the hivemind think?

[1] DX 20 is not automatically a good model either, but not as egregious.
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Old 08-23-2018, 09:49 AM   #2
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Default Re: Gods and Demigods - not really that smart

I think you might want to break out wisdom (or in GURPS terms, Common Sense) from smarts here. A lot of gods seem reasonably intelligent, but prone to making terrible life choices due to lust, anger, or other human vices. Not too many of them just get fooled or outwitted unless it's a story specifically about a trickster figure. (And said trickster figures are often the ones making poor life choices as well...)
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Old 08-23-2018, 10:05 AM   #3
ericthered
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Default Re: Gods and Demigods - not really that smart

Quote:
Originally Posted by martinl View Post

(You folks who are about to jump in and have an argument about what GURPS IQ represents go start your own thread now please.)
Such an argument would only strengthen your case, but ok.





Quote:
there is one thing that is seriously wrong in representing mythology: that darned IQ 20

Quote:
What breaks, exactly, if Hercules has IQ 11 (Will 17) or Odin has IQ 13 (Per & Will 30)?
I do think this is the way the Gods of Myth should be represented. There are a few cavets to this though:


Often the Metal Disadvantages of a God are more important that their IQ. Zeus makes most mistakes not because he can't see what's coming, but because he cares about something else more and it blinds him.



Gods of myth often have inferior social and tactical skills compared to humans, but deep knowledge into things mortals don't. They are able to transform beasts, know the future, and invent technologies just because they want to. So that needs to be represented somehow.



Its also possible that Gods have great intelligence but just don't get human life. slap a -6 familiarity penalty anytime you're working with mortals, and a lot of the behaviors of myth start to make sense.



Think about YOUR characterization of a god. You're going to have to make some calls about their stats and abilities. I actually think Heracles is one of the more clever Gods. Almost none of his feats are those of strength alone. He figures out solutions to invulnerable monsters, cleans stables through engineering, tricks titans, and negotiates with Gods, even before he fully joins their ranks.
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Old 08-23-2018, 10:32 AM   #4
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Default QQ 8-12 fo

Quote:
Originally Posted by martinl View Post
What breaks, exactly, if Hercules has IQ 11 (Will 17) or Odin has IQ 13 (Per & Will 30)?

More points spent on skills? Irrelevant for an NPC and on theme for a God.
While I'm in general agreement that gods could have IQ 10, at least in their mythological/anthropomorphic manifestations, I can't think either of those is the best example. Herakles is a classic "work smarter" guy, relying on rational plans when his strength isn't quite up to a task, as in the cleaning of the Augean stables (where he used Engineer) and the quest where he got Atlas to fill in for him while he held up the sky/earth (was that the Golden Apples of the Hesperides? anyway, probably Diplomacy). As for Odin: god of wisdom, inventor of runes, master wizard, war leader, spy, stratagist, king of the gods, riddlemaster, sharp bargainer—if there's anyone in mythology who justifies a high GURPS IQ I think it's Odin (and Loki's not far behind him, though Loki tends to outsmart himself). I'd say around 13 for Herakles and maybe 16 for Odin.

Now, Hephaistos has a narrower intelligence and is socially clueless; neither Hestia nor Aphrodite is particularly smart; Ares is a murderous thug. Heimdal has keen senses but isn't an intellectual, and Thor is fairly consistently thick as a brick (the MCU movies get that closer to right than the comics used to). So sure, IQ 8-12 for the lot of them seems about right.
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Old 08-23-2018, 10:34 AM   #5
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Default Re: Gods and Demigods - not really that smart

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Originally Posted by ericthered View Post
Gods of myth often have inferior social and tactical skills compared to humans, but deep knowledge into things mortals don't. They are able to transform beasts, know the future, and invent technologies just because they want to. So that needs to be represented somehow.
For inventing technologies, see GURPS Powers: The Weird for Gadgeteer with various Cosmic modifiers, starting with "Can invent things that violate the laws of physics, +50%."
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Old 08-23-2018, 10:49 AM   #6
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Default Re: Gods and Demigods - not really that smart

A lot of the myths I know seem more like a lack of knowledge for whoever invented the stories. In that they had to come up with genius scenarios for the heroes to outsmart someone with, but they don't have high levels of strategy themselves to do so.
We see the simplicity of the plans and take that to mean the characters are idiots rather than the intended feature of the heroes being super intelligent.
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Old 08-23-2018, 11:05 AM   #7
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Default Re: QQ 8-12 fo

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Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
I'd say around 13 for Herakles and maybe 16 for Odin.
I agree with your characterizations and just think we have different IQ assumptions here[1], and that's a different thread so I'll leave it there.

[1] I'm a bit of a stat normalizer, especially for IQ.
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Old 08-23-2018, 11:06 AM   #8
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Default Re: Gods and Demigods - not really that smart

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Originally Posted by Flyndaran View Post
A lot of the myths I know seem more like a lack of knowledge for whoever invented the stories. ...
OK, but most of the PCs are in exactly the same bucket - the players aren't legendary clever tricksters either.
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Old 08-23-2018, 11:12 AM   #9
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Default Re: Gods and Demigods - not really that smart

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Originally Posted by ericthered View Post
Often the Metal Disadvantages of a God are more important that their IQ. Zeus makes most mistakes not because he can't see what's coming, but because he cares about something else more and it blinds him.
While mental attributes other than IQ certainly inform the behavior of many gods, IQ is also relevant. Zeus, as far as I know, is not one for consistently clever or well thought out plans. You might argue that he doesn't need them but in that case his behavior is still consistent with lower IQ.

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I actually think Heracles is one of the more clever Gods.
As do I - see my reply to Bill.
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Old 08-23-2018, 11:52 AM   #10
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Default Re: Gods and Demigods - not really that smart

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Originally Posted by martinl View Post
While mental attributes other than IQ certainly inform the behavior of many gods, IQ is also relevant. Zeus, as far as I know, is not one for consistently clever or well thought out plans. You might argue that he doesn't need them but in that case his behavior is still consistent with lower IQ.ll.
Mechanically speaking being clever and thinking through your plans has nothing to do with IQ. The effects of high IQ are

1. A great ability to notice things
2. Being good at book-larning and art
3. Being highly resistant to certain kinds of supernatural influence
4. Being both persuasive and hard to persuade.

"Not being a fool led by his dick" is not something that IQ gives you.

Last edited by David Johnston2; 08-23-2018 at 01:24 PM.
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