Superman's IQ

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Superman's IQ

Postby TheManagement » Wed Feb 19, 2014 5:27 pm

In game terms, what score would you give Superman as he appeared in the Bronze Age? I was thinking along the lines of 7-8, coupled with Eidetic Memory, and some Skill Focus.
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Re: Superman's IQ

Postby Mr Mole » Fri Feb 21, 2014 10:10 am

The closest thing I can think of to an "official" source would be Mayfair's DC Heroes (1st edition).

Superman's mental stats there were INT 13, WILL 22, MIND 15.

(Compare to Batman's INT 12, WILL 12, MIND 12 or Average Joe's INT 2, WILL 2, MIND 2)

Batman's stats pretty much epitomized the pinnacle of human perfection. INT in DCH is the closest stat to INT in M&M3, which is the closest stat to a(n) (arguably) real world IQ score.

So in M&M3 we have 7 as a soft cap on "normal human" INT. Batman has an 8.

Based on those benchmarks and indicators, I'd say Bronze Age Superman would probably have an INT of 8 or 9, plus an absolutely absurd skill set and physical stats way outside the normal range of M&M3 (see Superboy-Prime's entry in DCA Universe for an idea of what Bronze Age Superman could do... STR 24 + 24 lifting STR when low on power).

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Re: Superman's IQ

Postby TheManagement » Fri Feb 21, 2014 6:08 pm

Well, he's not actually THE bronze age Superman... but he is an homage to the days where Superman was just as much a brilliant scientist and explorer as he was an adventuring hero. I put a hard cap for my PCs at PL 13 (they're at 12 right now) and I'm scaling my Superman to operate as an overcost PL 13.

He has a Strength is at 14, with 10 ranks of power lifting. With Extraordinary Effort and Ultimate Effort: Strength Checks, he'll be more than capable of protraying what I need.

The game I'm building will see my Fantastic Four-esque group of heroes hopping around the multiverse, and one of their adventures will see them teaming up with Superman on the out rim of the galaxy to tackle a dangerous and powerful death cult.
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Re: Superman's IQ

Postby greycrusader » Fri Feb 21, 2014 9:49 pm

The entry in the DC Adventures Universe book has a listing for the Elseworlds Superman portrayed in Red Son; the mental stats listed would probably suit the Bronze Age Kal-El as well, though I would add a Benefit of some type to represent the Kryptonian (and other advanced alien) technology stored in his Fortress of Solitude. So even though Superman really never used them in one on one combat much, he would have the Superman robots, the Phantom Zone Projector, space vehicles (for travel to systems with red stars), armor that shields from Kryptonite radiation, etc.

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Re: Superman's IQ

Postby Mr Mole » Sat Feb 22, 2014 12:05 pm

greycrusader wrote:The entry in the DC Adventures Universe book has a listing for the Elseworlds Superman portrayed in Red Son

D'oh! I forgot about that sidebar. Great suggestion.

That'd put Supes at INT 10 (slightly higher than my estimate, but entirely workable), plus a couple more skills and your suggested additions, which would cover the bulk of what Bronze Age Superman could do. I'd still feel inclined to quantify his having learned every language on Earth, at the very least (easily accomplished with Comprehend)... But that's just me. :mrgreen:

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Re: Superman's IQ

Postby TheManagement » Mon Feb 24, 2014 6:05 pm

So you can add spaceships and advanced tech as a benefit? How many points would that be?
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Re: Superman's IQ

Postby TheManagement » Mon Feb 24, 2014 6:19 pm

And yes, I plan on him having comprehend, as well as being an inventor with the Improvised Tools advantage so he can fly off and build stuff to save the day like he used to.
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Re: Superman's IQ

Postby greycrusader » Wed Feb 26, 2014 9:44 pm

For the Bronze Age Kal-El, yes I would use the Red Son Superman as a template, but probably drop INT to 7 to 8, though with the Quickness (Mental tasks only) power, along with the Enhanced Features of Eidetic Memory and Jack of Al Trades and the Inventor feat; not sure about Comprehend...I think this was more of an alternate effect of his mental quickness, similar to stuff the Flash would do, learning something in seconds but not necessarily retaining all of it for long.

I would do the space vehicles and other super-science tech as equipment mostly because Superman just normally relied on his powers, except in special circumstances. He could always invent gadgets if necessary, though again this was usually only needed in very unusual situations or against cosmic foes.

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Re: Superman's IQ

Postby Foreshadow » Sat Mar 08, 2014 2:20 pm

Mr Mole wrote:The closest thing I can think of to an "official" source would be Mayfair's DC Heroes (1st edition).

Superman's mental stats there were INT 13, WILL 22, MIND 15.

(Compare to Batman's INT 12, WILL 12, MIND 12 or Average Joe's INT 2, WILL 2, MIND 2)

Batman's stats pretty much epitomized the pinnacle of human perfection. INT in DCH is the closest stat to INT in M&M3, which is the closest stat to a(n) (arguably) real world IQ score.

So in M&M3 we have 7 as a soft cap on "normal human" INT. Batman has an 8.

Based on those benchmarks and indicators, I'd say Bronze Age Superman would probably have an INT of 8 or 9, plus an absolutely absurd skill set and physical stats way outside the normal range of M&M3 (see Superboy-Prime's entry in DCA Universe for an idea of what Bronze Age Superman could do... STR 24 + 24 lifting STR when low on power).


That is why the inclusion of 'peak' human in the 3e ability benchmark is a bad idea. The 2e and 3e chart is slightly different and since there exists that chart but the DCA characters aren't necessarily beholden to it, it means that chart is largely meaningless. Lex is human, and rightly has what we call super-intelligence and if anything his 11 means he is by that chart at the mid-point of Modern Superhuman, and this range would also be where Reed or Doom would be (though i'd say perhaps they are more like Brainaic 5 if you look at all their actual work and effect in the comics. It would not shock me to see an official Reed in MnM3e having a 13 Intellect IF you take the DCA stats themselves to be a valid good benchmarking system in the first place.

Batman then having an 8 means he is low superhuman in ability. In comic lore he lists as 192 IQ. I made a chart starting with the fact 100 is average and if 0 is average human, than 0 = 100 IQ, and below that since the chart goes down to -5 and I wanted to go to literally a zero on the IQ scale I reduce it by 20 points. So a -1 = 80 IQ, thus -5 = 0 intellect since -5 represents literally having no mind attribute and since each number on the ability scale represents a range it works out just fine as a representation. Above 0 then I didn't want a 20 point increase per point as it led to wacky results. So I played with 5 and 10 point increments. The idea in 3e is that each number represents a doubling for most but not necessarily all measures.

If you go by 5 point increases since in the world we live in (mirrored in comics) a 5 point increase in IQ is significant and on the scale 140 is more than most people therefore you don't need more than a 5 point increase per point of Intellect in 3e terms, but I also made a chart that uses 10 point increments (thus 0 = 100 and 10 intellect = 200 IQ and 15 = 250 IQ and 20 IQ = 300 IQ. In fact you could have a lower increase like 3 or 4 points per Intellect and thus have a more gradual increase, but in the end remember each number represents a range. Between the range I'd use a bonus like actual skill + attribute to represent a more linear/gradual increase between those doubling leaps. That worked great for strength/athletics and lifting. Since (if you research this stuff) 250 IQ is among the highest ever recorded and people who make up IQ's for comic characters read and know about real people who have high IQ when you read Batman has a 192 or lex has a 210 or reed has a 263 your reading the outcome of writers who research and say well this real human has 230 and so I want Reed to be even higher as it is more impressive since superman represents something alien and above any/all humans and if your going to extend that to IQ why stop with 250. Let's not get into the fact that IQ is really there to determine your mental vs physical age ratio. Meaning as you age it becomes less and less of a real indicator. It is for determining that an 11 year old can do college material and thus has a high capacity for adaptive intelligence and has probably spent a lot of time learning the type of things tested for an IQ test, or the kid knows 8 languages or whatever is indicating a high iQ (or some set of logic problems). Most super-IQ people fall up to 200 but many modern people who are living and take these tests score between 200 and 230 for the most part on the higher end, and 250 is a high point, though it is conceiveable to go higher. Therefore there is no 300 IQ even for a fictional Reed Richards who represents a model for brainaic human science types, and lets not mention that IQ is mostly representing math/science ability thus you'd not see Dr. Strange with a high IQ but rather a high Awareness or something like that. That is how most of us would view a Reed Richards type, 12 Intellect and some much lower but not too low awareness, like 4 to 6 Awareness, and in the comics it is established Reed has a blind spot to all things magical so a 4 awareness (high on a normal scale) but low vs other heavy weights for awareness.

The 0 to 4 ability stat represent the norman human range and 0 = 100, and a 4 would be 140 IQ (which most have). If you go with a 10 point increase per point you'd get a 140 IQ for a 4 intellect and that would mean, like the intention of the 4 stat most people, most humans fall from 0 to 4 intellect. (if you go with 5 point increment it would be a scale where 20 = 200 IQ and since I can't see someone with an IQ listed above that I'd argue going with a 10 point per Intellect point scale works better. 20 per point is too much so if you disagree really we're looking at a number between 8 and 15 or so, but 10 works so let's move on.

Now, if you look at DCA stats you'll notice how many have 10 intellect for super-intelligent types. That means they are equivalent to around 200 IQ, and if you go look up highest IQ types you'll see them list among the best minds in history. Since Marvel and DC have many parallel and equivalent things. It means a guy like The Leader would fall at around 10 or 11 intellect based only on the fact relative to what is listed in the DCA books. The Mad Thinker might have similar, maybe a 12. Also Reed has at least like 5 ranks in that mental quickness attribute you see listed with guys like brainaic. That is his comically enhanced intellect making his mind more computer-like as he was already a really smart guy (but then he only needs an intellect in the range of batman to achieve that but functionally he is among the best of the super-intellect types). Then you have beings whose intellect is exceedingly higher than these super-brainy types like Metron and Utah the Watcher, clearly alien minds and DCA's answer is 15 intellect which is 'very high superhuman'. I'd argue they'd should have been assigned like a 16 to 18 but effectively a 15 intellect is like a 20 strength. If you look at supers games in the past you'll see this same pattern used by the designer and realize that Steve was the designer for some of this in past games so it makes sense to see that repeated thinking. The idea that you can have a 20 strength but the highest agility you might see is 10 or the highest intellect is 15; the softcap then for each ability is different and not 20 depending on which ability your talking about. I don't necessarily agree or like this but that is the pattern we are seeing.

Effectively though an intellect score in game terms is simply like a general Know roll to see if you know something and since having a cap on overall bonus in the game (and further since skills cost a ratio of 2 ranks per 1 pp and ability points cost 2 pp per +1 it means cost wise the higher you go on the scale for ability like intellect, awareness or agility the more your paying for the same point bonus. Since Reed richards, lets just say he is PL 14 and has a +24 science skill bonus could have a 12 intellect (24 pp) and thus needs 12 ranks (6 pp) of Science but keep in mind there are different science skills so he needs to spend points in a couple of categories but most of the time he'll use, say, Science (Physical Science) and we take that to be a broad category that includes Chemistry since 3e likes to merge what would be separate skills in other games like Call of Cthulhu. Technology skill (used to make stuff) would be another high skill and say his skill is 20 so for that he spends (4 pp). Reed now for most science stuff is rolling +24 or +20 and if he rolls for something he doesn't have a skill in like answering anthropology questions he'd roll a +12. He spent 24 + 10 pp = 34 pp to achieve this and if it were a 150 pp character that is like 30 something percent of the character to be super-capable when it comes to science/tech.

Say we raise the Intellect to 15 (as we only set his intellect to 12 or 13 based on the fact we see what lex and brainaic-5 and brainaic and others have and guess he'll be right around there). But using my proposed scale above you won't need to do that (which I'll explain in a second). In game terms he has a 15 base bonus for anything science, technology related and for any other thing he wants to roll to know that you think is intellect based, such as anthropology questions, baseball stats, etc. Really then your putting down a score you think is the minimum bonus for any type of 'do you know' roll or familiarity to achieve some positive result when working with something that would be intellect based. If you feel Reed isn't a super-awesome knower when it comes to baseball questions than having a high intellect score works against that. We'd represent the fact Brainaic knows the baseball lore as having accessed 'earth databases and can computer-like draw upon that known fact and do so in a quick fashion with his mental quickness like Data from star trek).

Back to the 15 Intellect. That is 30 pp and since PL caps exist he still can only have a +24 science and thus needs 9 skill ranks to achieve that. This would cost 4 pp plus 1 skill rank to be shared with some other skill. he spent 34 pp to achieve that same +24 for science, but bought a +3 higher for his minimum base roll for things other than science related. Since we haven't even bought the ranks for Technology the cost then is over the 34 it costs for 12 intellect, +24 science, +20 technology bonus. The system then penalize you to raise intellect (or awareness, personality, agility, dexterity) for skill purposes. The only reason you find strength higher is the fact it also represents damage base, and lifting strength but since you can buy your lifting strength up separately and PL caps apply you'll see people keep the strength potentially lower and buy up ranks in powerlifting (wonder woman is a good example of this as she also has a high attack score too)

The answer then for 3e when it comes to Intellect is either to peg it relative to other characters you see in DCA, or to consider it from a purely math point of view. If this is an npc does it really matter if you spend an extra 15 pp to achieve a result you feel is more inline with expanding the softcap for all abilities up to 20. That means you'd find a Metron with a 19 Intellect even if it simply is wasting points since you can more efficiently achieve the same result with a lower intellect, but then why ever go beyond, say, 15 to do that unless your PL is higher than 15 or 16. If DCA had expanded the PL range up to 20, so superman, like superboy prime, was PL 17 (or 16) then having higher abilities (especially strength) make sense. Having a 23 strength superman is quite achieveable if he is Pl 17 and Darkseid would be PL 18, but keep in mind why the PL range is limited to 8 to 16 for most characters (or 6 to 18 for the greater range you see)

Superman then if the idea is smarter than most super-intellect types of human origin than his intellect should be 12 to 14 IF it is stated he is not quite a metron or brainaic level and the comics make it clear that lex is clearly under 'rank 12 intellect' and under brainaic level as it is a goal of his to achieve such a level.

I personally think +12 intellect could more easily just be placed as a "level 12 intellect" of the DC comics, but apparently that answer is 13 plus 10 ranks in mental quickness as evidenced with brainaic 5. There is a comic about how Lex achieves that level 12 rank once. I personally see lex as a villainous DC equivalent of Tony Stark. What if Tony where a a villain. What would Tony's intellect then be, 11 (if that is what lex's is listed as). On my little 10 IQ per Intellect point scale it works out nicely. Lex has 210 IQ so that is 11 Intellect. If it does list as 230 then it would mean he has a 13 intellect and in the end does it really matter. Batman, as a 192 then should have a 9 intellect, not an 8 but keep in mind I'm using a scale that reflects the often stated numbers you see, not some loosely ignored ability benchmark. It would still mean Batman at a 9 is low superhuman so really again does it matter? No. That ability benchmark chart should also have an 'extremely high superhuman' mark at 18 but whatever. Reed then if listed as a 263 IQ would have a 16 Intellect, and in the DCA scheme of things that is a bit wacky, but on the softcap side is not and you'd then see the clearly alien types like metron, grandmaster, utah the watcher, brainaic, etc. as all having an intellect higher than 16 like 17 to 20 as they represent clearly the higher end of the scale and reed represents among the pentacle of super-intelligence types (ie among those who have super-intelligence but still are clearly not cosmic, or ancient elders, or one with the mind of God or have access to alien knowledge far beyond anything humans have scarely imagined, like the guardians of the universe, celestials, galactus, etc.

Functionally then 16 is the softcap for most super-int types for me than 15. But then I would also modify that ability benchmark chart slightly and I see 16 as effectively the upper end of Unearthly (as that is what very high superhuman represents). Yet, by classic marvel standards Amazing would be more like Moderate superhuman and since Reed (and the host of every other super-int guy listed is no higher other than the odd high evolutionary, utah or some other odd ball like that) it means if all things are equal that Amazing would be 10 to 12, and thus why we see most Leader, Lex, Reed, Doom and other people on Roll Call peg their characters around 10 to 12 either way.

One way to approach this is to play with the way IQ is scaled up so that you reach a higher IQ at 10 Intellect than 200. Thus 192 would say fall at 8 Intellect and 230 IQ might be 11 Intellect and 15 Intellect could end up being like 300 IQ thus a 20 Intellect could be something truly outrageous like 500 IQ, something almost inconceivable to even high IQ types. That is what Galactus, for example, might be (though after all I said you could also just give him like a 17, 18, or 19 IQ and it would work too largely depending on how you wedge him into this relative benchmarking between characters, since he is clearly smarter than Utah and if Metron is essentially an equivalent to Utah and he has a 15, then really Galactus having an 18 works just fine, perhaps a Celestial has a 20) but again this is just like asking how many angles fit on the head of a pin when you boil it down without a scale like I'm suggesting. That is why I wish, much like the DC rpg, DCA would have included something like that scale. On the old DC rpg scale you see that Trigon (not a PL X) character had equivalent of like a 28 strength because they did a benchmark up to 30. That same approach could be created for DCA, but would need to be added.

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Re: Superman's IQ

Postby Mr Mole » Sat Mar 08, 2014 3:48 pm

Yes, "peak human" is about as scientific a unit of measure as a "car length," and "Intelligence Quotient" isn't much better.

Real world IQ scores above 195 (Wechsler scale) or 201(Stanford-Binet scale) are even less accurate. How can someone have a higher score than 1 in 8,299,126,114 people when there aren't that many people alive today? Even if you could somehow include everyone who ever lived on the Earth, you won't add more than one or two points to those scores.

I didn't mean to imply in my previous post that I was in any way attempting to equate game stats for fictional characters with the intelligence of actual, living people. I was simply translating stats from one game to another under and chose to keep the original poster's verbiage... "IQ."

INT in M&M3 (or any other game system) is just a number for comparing the capabilities of one, fictional character versus another. There's no real world equivalent.

All that said, I can see you've given this a lot of consideration and I'm not judging one way or the other. Do as you please, but I'm not going to lose any sleep obsessing over it.

YMMV.

NOTE: ...and I'm guessing you mean "Uatu," as in "the Watcher" and not "Utah," as in "the beehive state."


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