The 4th Humour
uninfluential words from an uninfluenced man
Bile humour Apathetic hemetic Fluent indifferent Emetic Phlegmatic
Monday, June 02, 2003
NPC Theory, Part 4 -- The Character Quotient
Last time I presented the possible contradiction in this theory that Character is relative to each observer, which would make the statement that the world is populated by NPCs and PCs quite obvious and meaningless. Does this relativism discount the notion of an absolute value for Character? Absolutely not!
Are people in the world either intelligent or unintelligent? Supermodels or uglybones? Superstars or amateurs? No, of course not. These traits all appear continuous to us; most everyone is better than a given percentage of people at some thing, and worse than the remaining percent. A moron with a 60 IQ can't tell the difference between someone with a 130 IQ and someone with a 140 IQ, but those two someones might be able to discern between different grades of morons, and they'll probably argue between each other over who has more intelligence. The same holds true for Character.
I'll therefore fabricate the Character Quotient (CQ), a measure of Character. Now, I'll admit I have no way to objectively assign number for it (yet), but...just...stick with me here. Assuming we have some kind of test (the MTT, perhaps?) to measure CQ, let's continue. Oh, but wait, I see a question: "Why do we need a test? Aren't all smart people PCs, Phlegm?" Heh, no, no. Character is not a prerequisite for intelligence. While there may be a general correlation between the two, this is not necessarily so. Consider the extreme example of, say, an autistic person. A genius in some area, but you probably wouldn't call them "intelligent", no less a PC. Can you think of any smart people you know who nonetheless are utterly predictable? Oh sure. In a bit, I'll demonstrate why IQ and CQ are not (directly) causally related.
In the meantime, let's return to our shopkeeper example, where the shopkeeper seems like an NPC to you, but a PC to his wife. While it could be the case that you simply don't have enough information to know he's actually a PC, it could also be that his wife, who happens to be an NPC, thinks he's a PC simply because they're on the same level. Rather, they have a similar CQ, just as the two morons may (very stupidly indeed) think they are both intelligent people.
Now that we have this CQ, is there even any meaning to calling some people PCs and others NPCs? Sure there is. We still call people smart and dumb, athletic and inept, beautiful and ugly, so the terms still hold. There is probably a bell curve for the world for Character, too.
"So do you see NPCs as lesser beings, Phlegm?" This question from my first installment is now answered:
Yes. NPCs are definitely inferior to PCs.
Hey, doesn't mean you can't love an NPC, or have great NPC friends. You might not want to think of it in terms of inferiority, and that's understandable, but doesn't change the way the world works. Just because you're an "A-grade" PC doesn't mean you have the IQ needed (or whichever 'Q' it is) to understand that evolution wouldn't happen if everyone were equal (whoa whoa, new topic, so I'll stop there).
Anyway, so what was all that Role Space stuff about if we just came up with all this CQ business? Well consider that while I'm a genius (yes, it's true), I might still look like a moron to, say, oh...a clinical psychologist...because clinical psychology would be outside of my "Intellectual Space". Or maybe I seem like a moron to you because you don't care about any of this stuff and it's all just elitist gobbledygook...you NPC.
Next time will be a slight digression on replicators, which will be needed to explain (among many things) how the minds of PCs and NPCs work.
Continue on to Part 5