ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This poem is spillover from the October 4, 2016 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] rix_scaedu. It also fills the "roleplaying game" square in my 10-4-16 card for the Games and Sports Bingo fest. This poem is posted as the second freebie due to new prompters.


"Two to Twenty"


Gamers learn the numbers
by rolling the dice, 1d8+1d12,
granting a range of 2-20.

The probabilities fall into
an elegant bell curve, with
common monsters in the middle,
uncommon ones farther out,
and rares at the very ends.

There are more combinations of
dice that add up to the numbers
in the middle of the bell curve,
making it more likely to roll
one of the common monsters.

There are fewer combinations
that add up to the numbers
in the uncommon range, and
at each end there is only one:
1+1 = 2 or 8+12 = 20.

Gamers learn very quickly
that a two to twenty table
means about a 2% chance of

getting totally screwed.

* * *

Notes:

Roleplaying games typically use dice for random effects. These tend to be different than the usual six-sided dice common to most other game genres. Read about the use of polyhedral dice in roleplaying games. Among the more amusing types are place value dice. I have an old set, but they now come in more places. My gamers would just about panic when I pulled those out. Unless we were rolling for treasure. :D

Generations of gamers have learned not just basic math, but also taught themselves advanced concepts such as statistics and probability, because that knowledge allows them to get more out of the game. As a gamemaster, my rule has always been, if you can do the math, you've earned the right to play the character. I will just set challenges according to your power level.

Here is a thoughtful discussion of monster rarity. Personally I like to use my knowledge of biology and ecology to help make good encounter tables. Few things are as hilarious as a fully armored warrior who has just stepped on a fireant hill.

(no subject)

Date: 2016-10-27 05:43 am (UTC)
technoshaman: Tux (Default)
From: [personal profile] technoshaman
Few things are as hilarious as a fully armored warrior who has just stepped on a fireant hill.

Oh, NOOOOOOO, that's not hilarious AT ALL for the poor warrior! Unless her armour happens to be designed for deep space use. (A la Starship Troopers) THEN it becomes FUN... Whack! Stomp! FIRE! or bring down the mechanical aardvark, suck'em up, then take the 'vark back to the ship and empty it as usual - into hard vacuum.

(no subject)

Date: 2016-10-27 11:00 am (UTC)
siliconshaman: black cat against the moon (Default)
From: [personal profile] siliconshaman
Fireants, another demonstration of the usefulness of minor spells such as "Summon small creatures" aka summon bugs.

I had a magic user/thief who being a split-class character only had access to lvl 5 spells at max despite being lvl 12. I got really inventive. This being the same character who defeated a fully armoured up lvl 50 Paladin after he got turned evil, using a bag of marbles[ball bearings actually] and several flights of spiral stone stairs. [-1 falling damage, for each stair really adds up.]

My DM had a sort of love/hate relationship with Black Tim after that. I kept derailing his plots, but everyone was fascinated as to see how I'd do it next. Plus it made for some fantastic stories.

Didn't hurt that the dice seemed to love him.. probability be damned.

(no subject)

Date: 2016-10-27 02:27 pm (UTC)
redsixwing: Red-winged angel staring at a distant star. (Default)
From: [personal profile] redsixwing
*chuckle* Oh yeeees.

I haven't played a by-the-tables encounter in quite some time, as I prefer to script them, but it really is fun throwing curveballs and seeing how the party manages to hit them anyway!

(no subject)

Date: 2016-10-27 03:21 pm (UTC)
thnidu: A propellor beanie with an icebag. Smoffing the Filkers, http://bit.ly/eNgQ0T (smoffing)
From: [personal profile] thnidu
Oh my! I haven't played (A)D&D since 2nd edition, when my offspring were kids, 30 or so years ago. I've never *seen* a table that even reached a thousand, let alone millions.

Re: Well...

Date: 2016-10-27 06:28 pm (UTC)
thnidu: my familiar. "Beanie Baby" -type dragon, red with white wings (Default)
From: [personal profile] thnidu
Ahh, that makes more sense. I don't think I ever had the occasion to do such with my kids, neither of whom were yet in their teens.

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