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Old 01-16-2021, 08:02 AM   #1
YankeeGamer
 
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Default Meaning of stats compared to real world

What would be the Int for one of the 2 or three brightest people of a century?

The person in question isn't just brilliant in one field, but a polymath--though even better in the math/physics aspect, so will have some mathematics talent.

I know that there have been several threads concerning this, but can't find them--if a link to the thread would be better than a detailed answer, that's fine.

Thanks!
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Old 01-16-2021, 08:09 AM   #2
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Default Re: Meaning of stats compared to real world

Well, it's probably safe to assume that the smartest people lived in the last century - better nutrition, better education and fewer diseases all play a big part. So I would say that the smartest people are IQ 16-20.

But these people may not be famous! They may have been unable to make good use of their intelligence for other reasons - class, personality, or upbringing. In Sweden we have something similar to the SATs, except anyone may take them, and I remember one year there was a story about the highest-scoring guy being perfectly content working at a burger joint flipping burgers. It gave him the money he needed and he wasn't really interested in going into academia or business. So don't mistake fame for intelligence.
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Old 01-16-2021, 08:57 AM   #3
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Default Re: Meaning of stats compared to real world

I agree highest IQ could be in the 16-20 range.

Be careful if what you're looking for is just a great math/physics person, though. IQ 12-14 with a good talent will likely give you what you want without weird add-on effects.

IQ18 starts to get some really good defaults in unrelated areas. Consider Gardening defaults to IQ-4. Non-stressful rolls get a +4. This guy is a great gardener with no training. Savoir-Faire also defaults to IQ-4. Even in a stressful situation, that's a 14. He's smooth AF. IQ-5 includes Public speaking, Mechanic, most professional skills, and really anything the designers wanted to leave at "I guess you can make a roll." He'll be rolling at a 13.

One can make a good argument for just a few people like this coming along every now and then. Feinman. Da Vinci. Burger-flipper with no ambition. Most people are more like Einstein. REALLY good at their thing, but not great at all brain-stuff.
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Old 01-16-2021, 09:07 AM   #4
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Default Re: Meaning of stats compared to real world

Yeah, whatever the books say I doubt real people exceed IQ 15 or 16.
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Old 01-16-2021, 09:12 AM   #5
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Default Re: Meaning of stats compared to real world

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anders View Post
Yeah, whatever the books say I doubt real people exceed IQ 15 or 16.
I did a very satisfactory version of a historical mathematical genius with IQ15 and Mathematical Ability 5. Since she was quite widely intellectually talented, the defaults from IQ15 seemed to work.
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Old 01-16-2021, 10:08 AM   #6
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Default Re: Meaning of stats compared to real world

Personally, I doubt IQ above 16 has ever existed, and likely the smartest people in the world at any given time for most of human history were in the 14 range. It's only through having a vast and well nourished population that we likely have multiple IQ 15-16 people on earth exist at the same time.

In all likelihood, a lot of people we view as super geniuses were smart people with a specific talent and a lot of skill points in skills we associate with intelligence. If all you measure is someone's ability with (VH Skill Here), then IQ 20 and 1 skill point is indistinguishable from IQ 9, Talent 4 and 24 skill points.

If you want a good feel for someone's general intelligence, look at the other things they did. Broad interests and a wide variety of accomplishments are good indicators. Humans are social creatures, so social skills are a critical factor to look at. Someone with an exceptional skill but bad social ability is actually a good candidate for average or below average IQ and lots of talent and skill investment. Not always, mind you, many are just self absorbed and don't develop those skills.
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Old 01-16-2021, 10:17 AM   #7
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Default Re: Meaning of stats compared to real world

Each level of GURPS IQ being very roughly one standard deviation from the mean (which tends to give plausible results) puts the smartest people ever at about 16-17 and I can see plenty of geniuses 'getting by' with IQ 12-14 and 3-4 levels of an appropriate talent.
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Old 01-16-2021, 10:38 AM   #8
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Default Re: Meaning of stats compared to real world

Quote:
Originally Posted by YankeeGamer View Post
What would be the Int for one of the 2 or three brightest people of a century?

The person in question isn't just brilliant in one field, but a polymath--though even better in the math/physics aspect, so will have some mathematics talent.

I know that there have been several threads concerning this, but can't find them--if a link to the thread would be better than a detailed answer, that's fine.

Thanks!
Converted versions of Who's Who 1 and Who's Who 2 are on the GURPS wiki. Attributes were retained in the conversion.

Sir Isaac Newton was given an 18, Aristotle 17, Archimedes, St. Augustine of Hippo, and John von Neumann got a 16. It is noted that "attributes are rated relative to the character's own era."

This was all before the large amount of talents and so the IQ scores could likely come down a bit for those five.
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Old 01-16-2021, 10:44 AM   #9
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Default Re: Meaning of stats compared to real world

For a realistic-ish presentation of IQ 20, I like Ozy from Watchman. Every mental pursuit was extremely easy for him. He has no intellectual peers, not even close. He does everything well from politics to inventing to personal manipulation. At one point in his backstory, he gave away everything and went to living on the streets. He was back in money very quickly because he almost can't help but succeed wildly.

When he actually trained a bit in something, he quickly surpassed everyone else on earth. Just like a few points in a skill for someone with a stat at 20 would surpass someone with a sane stat, a reasonable talent, and a bunch of points.

Yes, he had other things going for him, too. High DX and arguably enhanced time sense, but let's not devolve the thread.

I don't see that level of intelligence as being something that actually realistically comes out in humans. Maybe it's that there are always disadvantages which moderate it, or maybe it's just that we haven't seen it yet. Either way, I can't picture someone being quite that all-around brilliant.
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Old 01-16-2021, 11:02 AM   #10
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Default Re: Meaning of stats compared to real world

That's always the problem with these discussions. Who in history without any real training is professional or even expert level in literally every IQ based skill?
Could Einstein dabble in the guitar and instantly rival famous players?
Could Newton dabble in medicine and instantly rival the best doctors of his time?
Could either instantly spot a butterfly at extreme distances and resist torture assuming you don't separate Will and Perception from IQ as the houserule?

High Gurps IQ isn't just genius at X category of mental endeavors like some real people. It's essentially incredible at literally everything mental.

There's also the very big issue of GM style and genre. One may invoke a difficulty penalty of -5 when another would give -8 for the exact same harrowing conditions. Those are massive differences in the 3d6 curve of the game, but neither is wrong.
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