Tuesday, 15 May 2007

Dungeons and Dragonballs

So I was thinking about a topic that I have rambled about before. Power progression in anime, specifically Dragonball Z. How, they continuously power up until they are not just in a different league to how they were before, but playing a completely different game. In the first few episodes of DBZ, Goku gets clobbered by a saiyan warrior named Raditz, and eventually has to sacrifice himself to kill him.

Within a dozen episodes, Goku is at a level far higher than Raditz. Maybe five or six times stronger than him, all told. By the end of the anime, Raditz simply doesn't measure up. Goku is literally maybe five or six million times stronger than him. His son, Gohan, is even stronger. Goku could literally beat infinite an infinite number of Raditz clones without breaking a sweat.

Thinking back over this, it shocked me how similar it was to the character progression in Dungeons and Dragons. In DnD, there isn't a huge gap between levels. You gain a few extra hit points (3 or 4 for a spellcaster, maybe 10 to 15 for a barbarian with the rest of the classes somewhere in between.), you might gain a feat or a class ability, and you gain a few skill points. You don't go up a huge amount in terms of power.

And yet, a level 20 character is far more than twenty times more powerful than a level 1 character. It literally gets to the point where, even if a level 1 character can get an attack in before dying, they will only be able to hit the level 20 on a roll of 20, and that's only because a natural twenty never misses. Even if he hits, the level 20 will undoubtedly have some method of preventing the damage going through, or nullifying it when it has.

I have never played this out because it would take forever, but I would imagine that you would need somewhere in the region of a thousand level 1 fighters to bring down a level 20 fighter who is nominally only 20 times more powerful than they are. And you would have to be lucky.

So how does this come back to Dragonball? Well the powerups that the characters seem to get at various stages roughly correspond to levelling up. They don't always become that much more powerful, but it all adds up.

I guess it works along the principle which I will call the Einstein principle. It has nothing to do with Einstein himself, I am merely using him as an example. Einstein was more intelligent than I am. I don't know exactly how much more intelligent because to me, him being ten times more intelligent and him being one hundred times more intelligent look very much the same.

Similarly, Goku being five times more powerful than Raditz, and Goku being five million times more powerful than Raditz? It really doesn't make a difference unless you introduce someone more powerful to set a benchmark. Enter Vegeta, stage left.

Is there a point to this? Hell, no.

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