18 Strength! – A Goofy Google Experiment

I’m laid up with a sore foot at the moment and trying to get some work done on NOD 17, which is due out this month (God willing), and needed a break. Checked email, Lulu.com (2 sales today – yippee!) and a few other sites and was still bored. What to do? Google image sort, of course. I started with “most beautiful woman in the world”, just wondering what would come up, and then thought – “hey, could be an interesting experiment to see, via Google, what people with 18’s in their ability scores would look like. Here’s what I found:

STRENGTH 18 – “Strongest woman in the world”


Now, the list below tends to be male dominated – don’t blame me, blame the internet community. So, for strength I decided to specifically search for the strongest woman in the world, and found Becca Swanson (no relation to Ron, as far as I know). Why don’t we get more women like this in fantasy games? I don’t know – but we really should.

INTELLIGENCE 18 – “Smartest person in the world”


The smartest person in the world is an easy search, but a tough choice, as there are many claimants to the throne, some of whom draw a very sharp distinction between “intelligence” and “wisdom” (see below for more on that) – the smartest man in the world who thinks eugenics is a great idea in particular. In the end, I had to go with Hawking.

WISDOM 18 – “Wisest person in the world”


Ah yes, wisdom. A tough stat, originally designed to govern how good one was at being a cleric and later expanded into “that stat kinda like intelligence, only not intelligence”.  When I searched for “wisest” on Google, I mostly got “smartest”, except for the gentleman pictured above. Apparently, humanity has gone through a real dry spell in terms of wisdom for the last few thousand years.

DEXTERITY 18 – “Greatest archer in the world”


Anybody who has put any thought into the dexterity stat knows that it is highly problematic, as it encompasses quickness of action, aim, how steady one’s hands are and how nimble one’s fingers are. A search for “most dextrous” yielded nothing (we geeks have larger vocabularies than many of our fellow human beings, thanks to Uncle Gary). Quickest went to Usain Bolt, but of course one’s dexterity score has nothing to do with one’s movement rate in D&D. “Most agile” got me a monkey. But, since D&D is about killing things and taking their stuff, I decided on “greatest archer in the world”, and according to the Denver Post, that’s Brady Ellison.

CONSTITUTION 18 – “Toughest person in the world”


If Minnesota Monthly can be believed, this gentleman, Pierre Ostor (last name would make a good D&D name) is the toughest man alive.

CHARISMA 18 – “Most beautiful person in the world”


Gawker asks if this is the most beautiful woman in the world – and I reply “I dunno”. Science says she is, but science once thought forced sterilization was a good idea, and that you could determine a person’s intelligence by measuring their skulls. Still, she looks pretty good to me.

19 thoughts on “18 Strength! – A Goofy Google Experiment

  1. “Beautiful enough” is pretty accurate, as the “most beautiful” experiment seems to yield kind of a “least common denominator” of beauty that bypasses individual or cultural “type” preferences. It illustrates pretty well how characters might have differences of opinion about such things, even leaving aside the “personality” and “articulateness” components of Charisma.

    A simple quirk one might apply to PCs or NPCs would be an effective + or – to others' Charisma if they're a redhead, or a native of Lyonesse, or whatever…


  2. Agree. My experience as a player has been that DMs, et al, routinely assume Charisma is mainly appearance, when it really should cover all kinds of persuasive ability.


  3. I have to say, I'd have gone with H.H. the Dalai Lama or Archbishop Tutu for Wisdom. I always found Charisma to be the tricky one: appearance paired with personality is hard to quantify.

    Conveniently, if we need an example of a 3 Wisdom, he's right there: Pierre Ostor…


  4. I always thought wisdom was an unwieldy mishmash of self control and awareness. It didn't make a lot of sense until I read some article recently on how “self control” is less about force of will in resisting temptation, and more just a matter of training your mind to pay attention to certain things instead of others.

    Based on this I've come to think of Wisdom as attuned mental focus. The ability to pay attention to useful part's one's surroundings, or to tune out distractions by pay attention to specific thoughts. Sort of covers both senses and will.


  5. I always thought 18 scores were more like the best in a small region, while in a world (especially a big world), it might be 19 or 20 (or higher).

    I mean, the chances of rolling an 18 on 3d6 is small, but not that small. 1 in 216. So if you have 2000 people you should have at least 9-10 with an 18 in one stat

    And I suspect truly wise people simply don't make the news.


  6. By the way, you're likely to get another lulu.com order soon. I have been following your blog for a while (I loved the League of Groovy Gentlemen and Ladies idea) and just found out about Blood & Treasure a day ago. It is almost exactly the rule set I have been looking for for about a year. (Been wanting an old school rule set I could still use E6 as an add on for.)

    So I will likely order B&T soon. Thanks for the blog.


  7. I don't know about Manson. He had a small group of followers of questionable sanity, but doesn't seem to have been too persuasive to the vast majority of folks.

    Did Hitler have natural charisma, or was he just skilled at manipulation? This brings up a difference between old games without skill systems, and new games with skill systems. In an old game, an 18 CHA could represent a person who was skilled at manipulating others as well as a person with a pleasing voice or beauty. In new systems, ability scores only represent a natural talent for something, while the skill system does the rest.


  8. Actually, she was bestowed the title “Britain's most beautiful face”. And Britain, despite claims to the contrary, is in Europe.

    Then the internet got a hold of it, and, well, you know.


  9. I was thinking of Hitler as an example of charisma also. Whether his success was due to manipulation, force of personality, passion or some other intangible quality, the result was the same. Personally, watching him give a speech, even though, I don't speak German, is a fascinating. He was definitely in his element then.

    I relate this to Cleopatra too. Apparently she was a particularly beautiful woman (particularly if you look at her image on ancient coins)but she attracted men. Particularly powerful men.

    As for the photo, I find her pretty but indistinct. Not a face I would necessarily remember. Often, for me, beauty is accentuated by the little quirks.


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