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October 7th, 2009, 11:32
The past doesn't have to be the present. It's not because old RPGs did or did not do something that this can not be done.
Even if swimming is assumed in most rpgs to be normal, it doens't have to be that way. Also reality doesn't play much of a role in a world where magic is involved, so swimming with a 500 pound suit of armour doesn't even have to play a role. It's the designer's choice to design the game's reality and physics in the way they want to do it.
Also, you could apply your thinking to a lot of things which would reduce a lot of stats to a single boolean. Lockpicking, pickpocketing…. Would you even try pickpocketing someone before knowing how to do it in real life ? Of course not, it doesn't make sense, but in many games it's a skill that can go from 0 to 100. What does pickpocketing of 5% mean ? No idea, but it's a game so it makes sense.
Swimming at 10% means you'd be able to swim normal strokes with effort and if you stayed in water too long, you'd start getting a penalty. swimming at 40% means you can do crawl strokes and swim faster while a 100% swimming would mean you'd be able to do butterfly strokes to kill a vampire in the water. The armour has no effect on swimming wahtsoever. BUT if the designer wants to he can make it have an effect.
Cartography is the same. Also, what you say about it is not true. How would you ever be able to draw a map if you don't start trying. Do you think you'd be able to draw one of Mercator's maps right now ? Probably not! But if you learn and keep practicing, then one day you might …
You don't start off drawing maps like an expert and yes, you wouldn't miss a tree, but as a novice cartographer, you might not draw all the details you see or not be very accurate at doing so. The more you practice the more you improve and the better your maps will be.
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