Over on MetaFilter, people have been a little concerned about the structure and purpose of our current monster smackdown, featuring cage matches between popular monsters. Commenter robocop is bleeding proposes an alternative to our (admittedly shallow) monster measurement contest. He writes:
The io9 poll is flawed. It's a popularity contest, pure and simple, an attempt to win page views by rewarding readers for having popular opinions . . . It is no measure of how threatening a particular creature is.
To really look at a hierarchy of threat, we need to start from the perspective of a potential victim and work our way up from there . . . Now, I've looked into classification schemes for antagonists before, so would like to take these last few minutes to look into a Monster and Antagonist Relative Classification scheme. Each creature would get classified across multiple categories and by referring to their MARC record, one could get a sense of just how much trouble they're in for. We'll keep it simple and quick and just break things down into three axises, Scope, Modus Operandi, and Power Level.
He then goes on to describe, in awesome detail, all the ways that these axises work, for example:
To start with, we need to determine the monster's Scope. This represents how close you need to be to the monster to be threatened by it. That haunted house might have the power to animate clown dolls and trees, but if you live two towns over, you're not that much at risk.
1. Personal - The creature only threatens those within arms reach. It may move about, but as long as you are not where it is, even if that just means locking yourself in the closet behind a hopefully sturdy door, you should be fine. Examples: Jack Torrence, Not Yet A Zombie Jason, Michael Meyers.
2. Local - The creature threatens a region. While it may only be a danger to you if you personally encounter it, its nature is such that it could be anywhere. As long as you are in its local territory, your life is at risk. If you flee, you should be okay. Examples: Pyramid Head, a haunted house, Leprechaun.
3. Regional/Reach - Like Local, but expand the creature's area of threatening influence to a wider swath. You do not need to be near the creature to be at risk. If you are marked by the creature, it can get you at even greater distances. Examples: Dracula, Samara from The Ring, Freddy.
4. Worldwide - Whether you know it or not, you are currently being threatened by this creature as you go about living your normal, every day life. It might take an extraordinary act to get its attention (reading forgotten lore, reciting a rhyme to a mirror at midnight, etc) but it doesn't matter where you are, it can reach out and get you. Examples: Cthulhu, Aliens, International Cults.
5. Reality - Not only are you threatened, but the entire fabric of reality is threatened by the creature. Examples: Nyarlathotep, Satan, Ogdru Hem
I have been schooled - and you must read the rest. In fact, I would like to be part of this guy's next RPG campaign.