Dice math – What’s the difference?

Content warning: Sloppy statistics and a chance of horrible mistakes.

One interesting question regarding various mechanics is ‘How long does it take to figure out who is better?’ Characters in the world don’t observe each other’s bonuses but rather the results of the checks and checks have a random component in them. So it is very much possible that a more skilled character loses multiple times to a less skilled one. Luckily, we can use (or abuse) a few methods from statistics to take a stab at this problem.

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Dice math, part 1 of N

Most RPGs feature at least some mechanics with uncertainty and from both the designer and player perspective, it is important to know what you get out of them. Often their properties are intuitively clear, but I thought it’d be fun to go through them in more detail than usually happens in a gaming session. Even though pieces like this might be available somewhere, I wanted to go through the math and simulations myself. This is part 1 of N of series where I’ll go through the properties of different mechanics. I’ll start with a staple: A linear random number generator (RNG, usually a die / dice). The most popular example of this is probably D&D and it’s spawn (eg pathfinder).

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