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I have been reading Your Story and Our World, trying to figure certain things out. One of the things I am stumped over is how stats work in this system.

I am not sure if this is intentional or not, but when you look at the explanation behind supernatural powers it would seem that a regular mortal technically has the ability to exceed their explanation.

For example, Inhuman Strength gives +3 Might for lifting.

Lara Raith's sheet states that she has Inhuman Strength, but no Might skill.

This means, if I am reading this correctly, that she only gets a +3 to her might when she lifts something.

Cujo, a pure mortal, has a +3 in might built in as a skill. Based solely on stats, it would appear that the game has these two as equals in the might category when it comes to lifting.

This also would imply that based on stats alone, that in an average situation, a mortal with +5 in might would be capable of lifting more than a vampire (or any supernatural creature) that only has Inhuman Strength, but no skills vested in the might category.

My Question: Based purely on the stats provided, FATE points and aspects aside, and under regular circumstances, are Cujo and an average White Court Vampire with no skills vested in might, equal solely in the category of lifting an object?

This is obviously not about who would win in a fight, or who is harder to kill, I just want to know if from a technical stand point, before you factor in hypotheticals and or what characters could/might do, are they statistically equal in lifting.

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In an average deadlift, a character with +3 Might and Inhuman Strength have the same level of capability.

However, that is nowhere near the whole story.

First of all, the game doesn't care about the average deadlift. They only care about deadlifts that might advance the story - and in those cases there is going to be a choice about whether or not to spend fate points.

Secondly, there are two important points to note about skill usage. One is that the only thing that can stop you trying is current narrative circumstances and your aspects. You can't lift something you can't touch, and someone without an aspect that suggests magic use can't even try to cast a spell, for instance. The other is that if you can try it and want to succeed, then you can bring Aspects and Fate points to bear on the problem and your skill becomes a fate point discount.

For example, a baby is trapped under a large heavy object that would be difficulty 3 to move. That mother rolls -0++ on her Might check and then chooses to use All For My Children to boost her effort to 3, succeeding on the check with 0 shifts.

Taken together, whenever you would be interested in the result of a lift, the Aspects in play affect a roll more than your starting skill.

Coming back to vampires. They get a major natural boost from Inhuman Strength - but if they don't follow up with training then they can't make the most of it. A trained mortal can be stronger than a particular vampire, if that's what he wants to be. Cujo is completely capable of outlifting Lara Reith because she's developed her talents in other areas.

Now, imagine Cujo became a Red Court Infected. He's trained, he's now inhumanly strong, what wall is going to stand against him? What car can't be thrown?

There are other advantages to having Inhuman Strength over training in Might. For instance, their strength doesn't have to be obvious. A human with Might +3 should look strong with bulky muscles. An Inhumanly Strong character can train her Might skill to +3 and still look like she would break in a strong wind.

The second advantage is that Vampires can invoke their High Concept aspect to do things which are not humanly possible - stopping a Semi-truck with a punch is somewhere around a Legendary action to them. A mortal trying the same feat would get pancaked without a chance.

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@SimonGill This is getting a little long in the comments, can we merge it up into the answer? –  C. Ross Feb 8 '13 at 15:26
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@Isaiah Take this to chat. All further chatty comments will be deleted without warning. –  Brian Ballsun-Stanton Feb 9 '13 at 11:29
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From a purely skill based perspective, no, there is no difference (and note that these are skills, not stats). But the difference is in the systematic uses, and expanded applications of the supernatural power.

First of all, merely from having the Inhuman Strength, Lara already gets additions that Cujo does not, namely better grapples, the ability to inflict damage on a grapple, the automatic bonus to complementary skills, the hammer blows.

Secondly, Cujo's impressive might +3 represents training, and he would presumably have the size and mass to go along with it. Lara does not have the size and mass to go along with might +3. So if someone were looking at her, they would see something different than this would normally imply, unless they knew she was a vampire. This will definitely affect the narrative behind the intent more than the numbers stack up.

The third, and most important factor is something that is more intangible. The source of the skill is different. When doing something supernatural, even with the same level of might, the supernatural could/should have an advantage, and I think that's where you're going with your question.

Giving credence to this is the blurb on might on YS135:

Characters with a high Might are not supernaturally strong, but they can still bend, break, and lift things that are normally beyond the capabilities of everyday people.

The way that I have approximated this effect is to have the numbers take into account that might +3 by itself is not, for example, enough to rip off a car door, other than under extraordinary circumstances. But, Lara could invoke her high concept as a Red Court Vampire in order to gain an extra +2 to the roll, while you might disallow Cujo invoking his Built Like A Gorilla for the same effect, under the ruling that it was an inhuman task and it would take something supernatural to reach that point.

I think this approach is more than justified on YW99:

The GM is the final arbiter of when an aspect is or is not appropriate (to minimize disagreements between players and GM, see “Getting on the Same Page,” page 112). Usually this means you must invoke an aspect that is appropriate to the situation at hand.

Also, in that same area, the other part that is key is mentioned - "Getting on the Same Page". Remember that the GM is not trying to limit the use of aspects, but make sure that they are used appropriately, and in interesting ways. If you have two characters- one mortal and one not, this helps to differentiate them, and make sure that if they have the same skill, there is still a niche for them.

This might not seem to be immediately applicable, but Aspects are a big part of the system- the second column of the mechanics. That change of +2 from the Aspect in the example above is a change in probability of approximately 30% in the chance to succeed. Not insignificant, and it also adds to the margin of success.

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let us continue this discussion in chat –  wraith808 Feb 8 '13 at 5:15
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