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SIZ - for what it's worth


Brian Byars

Maybe I'm just too analytical for my own good, but every time I applied "Previous Experience" for a squire character, I wondered about the SIZ adjustments, so I finally looked them up.

I was looking through /A History of Private Life: From Pagan Rome to Byzantium/ and found a few tidbits on the 6th century. The average male was 5' 6" and the average female 5'. A few "foreign occupiers" were 5' 10". So, I would judge the average man in the upper range of SIZ 13, and the average woman SIZ 11. (That's assuming 140 lbs for the man and 110 lbs for the woman).

That "foreign occupier" is pretty close to a SIZ 15, or with a more athletic build, a SIZ 16.

SIZ 13 is dead on for average random roll SIZ. The random roll tends to generate a "lighter" female, though, which is fine. If the "foreign occupier" is SIZ 16, then that's also dead-on for Saxon SIZ +3. So, that was all to say I was quite impressed to find the game mechanics really matching the historical data.

There was an average family size of six. In the "three strapping boys" ideal family from the legends, that one daughter would probably be sent to the monastery around age 6 or 7 for education. Life in the monastery was much better than on the manor, with regular meals, regular meat and even the regulated time allowed for regular play. The monastics tended to treat children as princes and princesses, "sparing the rod", until they were adolescents, when they became just as strict as everyone else.

In generating the character's family history, it might be interesting for the player to note that for as many living siblings that are generated there are as many who did not survive. These were tough times, but parents were not as cold as sometimes assumed. Gregory of Tours indicates a real warmth and sense of loss for children. I'll have to re-read the family generation section, I may have missed it if it is already there.

Puberty (around 13) seemed to be the goal line for mortality. Once they reached puberty they seemed to be safe. Again, your Child Survival table matches the historical data. Only about 3/10 survived the first year, and another 3/10 survived to puberty. On your table, 90% survive, but that's rolled for each year. So, only 25% or so will successfully roll each year to age 13.

One last note on SIZ: If a player wanted to follow the CDC growth charts, the average 15 year old male would put on +1 SIZ at 16, and another +1 SIZ at 19. However, the female would only put on a +1 SIZ at 19.

Other Material About SIZ

"The Pot Belly in Pendragon."

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