Lamontius: these are the kinds of rare and unique insights that only statistics can provide!
Actually I'm wondering if I should do restricted analyses to, for example, a PC with high dex and low strength and con, to see what their best feat selection is to maximize survival. It might be more useful than just analyzing the entire set of data, which gives results dominated by the effect of ability scores.
I'm also pondering what difference the maximum HPs at first level rule makes to feat selection. Maybe choice of feat and fighting style is more influential (compared to "high strength wins!") when HPs are low. As it stands there is very little chance that a PC will die on the first blow from an orc, which makes e.g. improved initiative very low value. But if you have 1 hp, maybe getting the first strike in becomes more important...
CFet, I can't figure out what the confounders might be. It's a fully random, balanced data set, so there shouldn't be any undue effect of confounders in any particular variable. So I guess those high death rates represent the opportunity cost of choosing that particular feat.
Hi folks, it's been a while since I posted here, but I thought I'd mention that I've done a new simulation of Pathfinder combat, this time to generate decision rules for creating fighters. I ran a million completely random simulations and applied a method called Classification and Regression Trees (CART) to identify groups of feats, ability scores and weapon choices that might work together to improve survival against our favourite orc, Gruumsh. Results are here. There's even a flowchart! (And a promise of more to come).
The results mostly support previous research on the issue, but it does appear that the people with the best survival chance are high strength, high constitution dwarves, possibly regardless of feat choice.
At this point I'm drowning in data ... ideas and suggestions would be welcome!
I've added a post to my blog in which I compare non-human fighters with and without weapon finesse. As most of you expected, dropping weapon finesse in favour of improved initiative was a bad idea, and increased the odds of mortality against (non-ferocious) orcs by about 30 - 60%.
The details are here
Next I'll be comparing different point buy mechanisms.
Svipdag, my purpose here is to do straight one-on-one, no tactics combat, so that we can tease out the weak and strong points of various character generation choices. From that, we can confirm or adjust tactical choices we think are good for various characters. For example, up till now my simulations of fighters have suggested that weapon finesse is a bad feat choice. But if I run this for thieves, maybe the choice will be weapon finesse + two weapon fighter vs. weapon finesse plus skill focus stealth. That's an intersting question about tactical variations in PC generation.
Of course in real games the survivability is less relevant because GMs tailor adventures to groups. But I hope it will be helpful in thinking about tactics and character creation choices.
cranewings, I think that's only partially true. Perhaps I'm morphing D&D onto pathfinder, but the save DC for a first level spell is 11, right? So for an Orc against will, 12. That's the equivalent (due to the joys of uniform distributions) of a PC having to roll over 8. Orcs have 13 AC, and many of these fighters have an attack bonus of more than 5, so they need to roll 8 or over to hit. For strong fighters with such a bonus, minimum damage is usually 6, so they actually have a much greater than 50% chance of killing with one blow. If you take into account the risk of opportunity actions and need for concentration checks, I don't think it's the case that a fighter is the worst choice to kill an orc.
Ravingdork, epidemiology can also refer to injuries and non-communicable diseases (NCDs) - you'll find a raft of papers in all the major epi journals about the "epidemiology of NCDs" and we also talk about the epidemiological transition, when countries are in the midst of shifting from an infectious disease burden to an NCD burden and have to deal with both simultaneously. It's a legitimate extension of the remit of epidemiology to the circumstances of the modern world.
Harrison, I guess nothing would change if the humans were half-orcs, because although ferocity enables them to kill the orc, they'll still die. I'm not allowing any healing! But I guess half-orcs are slightly better fighters.
I don't see the issue with Ashiel's comments - do you guys actually talk about CR in-game? I thought it was just a guide to help GMs work out how many opponents to put into a battle, not something you told the players to mislead them. Also, about Kobolds with flaming oil - seems completely reasonable to me. I also would have them be stealthy.
Hi fellow numonauts,
I have updated my blog with a new analysis of pathfinder survival, in which I pit my hapless fighters against 200,000 orcs, 100,000 of whom have been given the ferocity feat. The 100000 who were unfortunate enough to get a ferocious orc in their lunchbox fared very badly, with mortality rates as high as 70% amongst halflings, and 90% in those few fighters who had a strength of -2. Single ability scores lose some of their importance in predicting survival - against ferocious orcs, only the tough AND strong survive.
As usual, the details, eye-bleedingly tedious as the stats can be, are on my blog.
This week I will examine point buy systems for character development, then pit Pathfinder vs. OD&D.
addendum to Deadmanwalking: however you're right, it could be that feat selection is much more important for non-humans at first level, because they only get two.
I am also considering a very long simulation where I randomly assign each fighter a single feat, and then assess survival for a very large set of fighters (maybe 10 million - the entire population of Faerun?). Then they can be ranked. If I did that on my work computer (a PowerPC with 32Gb RAM and 12 cores) I could probably also extend the simulation to every possible combination of the feats I've incorporated so far, for every possible combination of ability scores. Maybe I should do that ...
maouse, I'm going to get to this later - perhaps for Rangers - on the general idea that each fight should start in a situation that is most beneficial to the PC: thieves in stealth mode, wizards at a distance, etc. Then definitely the fast fighters will get a better advantage.
Globetrotter, I want to do that too. I think CON will become more important and dex and str less so. CON is the only stat whose benefits scale with level, after all.
Sleet storm, crits are included. I gave the fast fighters a rapier so they could maximize their crit chance, and I wonder whether their survival would be radically different if they had improved crit at first level. I haven't checked to see how important criticals are, but a possible way to do that would be to set two featless, completely random fighters against each other and give one of them crits and one of them no crits. Any survival difference would then be due to critical hit ability.
Deadmanwalking, when I get a bit of time I will investigate that. I think that elf and halflings have terrible odds because elves have too few hps (-2 con) and halflings do significantly less damage due to size. The key to survival against Gruumsh is being able to smash him into the dirt in as few rounds as possible, and the key to that is damage.
Hi folks, I think I should let you know that a tiny programming error (3 letters in 375 lines of code) means that my results in this post were wrong :( I have updated the results (briefly, because I'm tired) at my blog, the general conclusion remains the same but constitution is no longer the go-to stat, just not as useless as dexterity.
The programs are cleaned up and sometime in the next few days I will have new material on orc ferocity - an interesting example of how much difference a single ability can make.
Sorry for the errors! good thing this isn't a peer-reviewed journal, or i'd be in deep do-do!
oh and hogarth, as an epidemiologist I'm outcome focused - so I agree with you and I prefer to focus on the disease outcome (death) rather than the process (rounds). If I had incomplete follow-up data I would have to incorporate survival time, but that's not an issue here. So I'm focusing on survival rates.
I'm using Orcs because they're the quintessential 1st level opponent. Who hasn't had their day ruined by an orc? Also, the damage feeling is entirely mutual - Gruumsh can gank a fighter in one hit, but a fighter can whack Gruumsh too. Whereas goblins are a pack of ankle-biting weirdos who take all day to get the courage up to spit.
A commenter on my blog has suggested testing them to destruction - start with kobolds and work up until survival reaches 0. I have plans for something like that. Currently I'm testing the addition of ferocity to see how much more ferocious it makes an Orc.
Hogarth, yes I'm still in Japan, but not GMing pathfinder in Japanese at hte moment - I'm playing D&D3 homebrew and GMing WFRP3, both in English.
Michael: yes, I was aware of that but haven't incorporated it because it's a pain in the arse. When I do the ODD vs. Pathfinder thing I will do it though.
I originally thought it wouldn't matter because they get penalties as time passes, but now I'm thinking the penalties won't outweigh the extra rounds of damage capability. So next iteration I will do that.
Also, current survival rates are at 80% for slightly over-powered PCs, so incorporating ferocity probably means the orc isn't CR 1/3. I need to test Gruumsh to destruction against increasing levels of fighter to work out what his true CR is.
I find it really hard to beleive that an OD&D fighter is weaker than a pathfinder fighter once you incorporate ferocity!
Mort, I ignored all armour check penalties - the wooden shield is purely AC bonus. I think that armour check penalty idea is ridiculous actually and if I ever were misfortunate enough to read it, I would immediately houserule it out. Incorporating that would further benefit the CON stat over all others, I think.
Foghammer, that desperate battler feat is a very useful one in this simulation - if one were making a PC for group adventure one would obviously never choose that feat.
In order to explore the particular effect of any given feat the best option would be to go back to my original model, where I randomly generate everything and then randomly add one feat to any PC (I could even drop the minimum str and dex requirements). Then one can see just how useful it is.
I think my next step will be the od&d fighter. That link of hogarth's is very interesting but I don't think goblins are the right comparison, because survival rates are high (I have to guess at the survival rates though because the post doesn't give them directly).
Globetrotter, the change from CON being a dump stat to the best stat came about through a) the maximum hit points and b) the purposive selection of ability scores. The former means a con bonus of +3 or more is very important and the latter means that fighters with high CON will always have reasonable attack bonuses (especially after incorporating feats), so if they can survive one blow they will get enough time to slay their opponent.
Distant scholar, thanks for the info. I think that will be enough for a simulation. Did strength give a +1 to hit/damage for scores above 15?
Foghammer, sorry, that's a massive typo in my post (what can I say, it was very late and I'd been working till 11:30 pm). Fast fighters had weapon finesse, not weapon focus - I just wrote that wrong (there may be two copy-paste errors from the R code, actually), and I'll change it forthwith.
I'd be interested to hear the problems with strong and tough too -if you think there's a better tough layout then I'd like to hear it (I don't think there is - these guys had very high survival rates!)
Gignere, good idea, I'll give that a go.
Murph, my suspicion is that fighters who have high dex and low strength/toughness are much better off getting the toughness and weapon focus feats and letting their dex do what it can for ac only.
For those who love fast fighters, if you can come up with a build that you think works, that doesn't involve vast amounts of sensitive programming (I'm a s!$$ programmer) then I'll give it a go. Just lay down the feats!
Thanks again for the comments!
g@%#~%n, there's always some tiny new rule isn't there? I suspect including favoured class will mean that constitution bonuses of 2+ grant higher survival.
Turin the Mad, unfortunately I don't know all the rules of OD&D: I am guessing that fighters get 1d6 hps and all weapons do 1d6 damage, THAC0 20 (but maybe they had weird tables), that Orcs have the same THAC0 as fighters and get 1d8+1 hps (but was it 1d8/2? I can't recall). Also what damage do they do and what are armour classes like? It would be simple to run, but I don't have the necessary information - and I'm not sure if I can be bothered spending $5 on a download of an OSR copy-paste.
Hello fellow adventurers! I have updated my blog with a new set of results, testing three types of fighter and including races and feats. I have simulated 100,000 warriors against 100,000 random orcs, but this time my fighters have what I call "purposively selected" ability scores and feats. "Purposive" means they chose one ability score and the other two were 9 or 3d6, whichever was higher (so mimicking ability scores suited to fighters, but retaining some randomness).
I developed three types of fighter: strong, fast and tough. The results: tough fighters never die unless they're halflings or elves, and focusing on dexterity/agile fighting will lead to a high death rate (around 45% for elves and halflings). The detailed results are at my blog.
My next questions: survival rates for different point buy systems, and what are the relative survival rates of OD&D fighters compared to Pathfinder. My prediction of the latter: OD&D fighters live longer. Want to place bets?
HangarFlying, I can do that but I'm trying to think of the best way to present it - might need to investigate colour maps or something. Stay tuned!
pH unbalanced, I think what you're talking about there is self-selection bias. If it's any consolation to you, none of these fighters chose to go to war - I press-ganged them and paid the survivors in rum. But yeah, results in practical scenarios may differ if the fighters are being played by sensible people.
waiph, every one of these poor bastards is being given a heavy wooden shield, chain shirt (the AC4/dex+4 thingy), a longsword and a (fake, completely ineffectual) blessing from their local village priest. Some may have had a threadbare cloak, or maybe a small token of value from their loved ones, but nothing of any protective value.
I haven't taken account of a) critical hits or b) feats so it is possible that a fighter with high dex, weapon finesse, improved crit and a rapier could be more dangerous than the current levy (I think this is a very interesting question actually). I'll get to it ...
My2Cents, Gruumsh the Bastard stepped straight out of the open game license rules. At last night's routine medical check I confirmed he had 7 hps. Actually going by the distribution of HPs, Gruumsh can only kill about a third of the fighters with an (average) single blow. But he does love his work, does Gruumsh, so he often puts in an above-average effort, and then most of his foes fall before him.
I haven't yet implemented round-by-round hit tracking, but I am going to get to that later - probably some time after I have perfected the simulation of power attacks. Representing meaningfully it will be a challenge though!
Hi everyone, in response to comments I've revised the analysis to incorporate the maximum HP rule. It doesn't make any difference to the relative importance of strength, but makes constitution and dexterity essentially indistinguishable and raises overall survival probability to 38%. Fighting Gruumsh the Bastard remains a nasty proposition even when your hit points are maximized (and he isn't using ferocity!) but things are looking a little better than before. Overall conclusions are unchanged, however.
The details are here
Thanks for posting all these interesting comments while I slept. I'm madly considering refinements in light of all these points. To reply to some specific ones:
Mort, I think the analysis does show the deadliness of the system. The surprise in this combat was the ease with which Gruumsh The Bastard dispatches fighters with very high ability scores across the board. That's a nasty business.
I've been thinking some more about the max HPs at first level mistake, and I think this one simple rule will massively change the importance of the stats - I'm going to update the analysis for this as soon as I get a chance.
Murph, racial stat bonuses come later - the analysis to date enables us to predict how racial stat bonuses will affect the outcome, but that's all. I am going to calibrate the best assignment of scores, I think, then rerun the analysis to see how different races cope with Gruumsh.
Interesting point about the genetic effects. You're right it would depend on teh degree to which str is heritable compared to Cha, but I think actually Cha would me more heritable in fighters than strength - presumably a large portion of their strength score is due to training while their cha is not. This would mean that the high-strength survivors will influence genetic trends a lot. In this case, if you're dealing with scores that are assigned by a player rather than rolled randomly, the player would be treating CHA as a dump stat and creating a negative relationship between str and cha. Then, surviving fighters would negatively affect the future pool of Paladins - they'd be big and ugly.
HangarFlying: if I incorporate "ferocity" (which I thought was an optional feat?) then survival rates will plummet and the future of humanity will be in severe doubt. Maybe I should compare ferocious and meek orcs for their effect on survival?
Adamantine Dragon, the "noise" is deliberate at this stage so I can look at the range of effect of ability scores (something I don't think has been done before). In future I'll use other means to generate characters but by rolling up lots of random ones I can sort the sheep from the goats across the whole range of scores. (This also answers Murph's point 1).
Globetrotter, yes the falchion is a bastard's weapon, and Gruumsh is a bastard's bastard. I guess it'll get even nastier once I incorporate criticals. I think also this is why using the Max HP rule will reduce the importance of strength, since it won't be so important for the fighter to dispatch Gruumsh with just one hit.
HangarFlying, the Orc is just a basic bad guy from the online bestiary. I didn't do anything except roll the HPs. I did some initial testing with a Goblin (same CR) and it was completely useless, I think because its attack stats are weak. I guess if I gave the fighters a falchion things might have gone better for them, the poor fools.
As I mentioned to Mort, the random fighter vs. random fighter thing makes the stats much harder to do. At this stage I'm more interested in just randomizing one side of the battlefield. It restricts the questions one can ask but at least makes the results comprehensible.
tonyz, I doubt I'll ever be incorporating much in the way of tactics. I'm not going to write a whole computer game and run a million simulations with it while I have a day job!
Hi Mort the Cleverly Named, thanks for those points. The Orc wasn't built to purpose, it was randomly generated - I could have generated one randomly for every battle but then I'd probably need to analyze its stats too, so I figured it was simpler to standardize the orc (in any case standardization just means rolling hit points once - the rest of an Orc's stats are fixed).
The fighter stats are "poured into an often ill-fitting mold" deliberately. I wanted to see the effect of the full range of stats on the outcome of a battle. Clearly fighters don't actually have a strength of 3 but I wanted to see the relative effectiveness of the stats across their whole range. Designing PCs as they are played will stop me from doing this.
The results surprised me - I thought that dexterity would be more important. A dex of 18 vs. a dex of 3 means your AC differs by 8 (40% reduction in hit chance) and your initiative increases by 8. I would have thought that would make a huge difference even without any special feats, but it doesn't.
It's been 2 years since I played Pathfinder, and I sometimes confuse rules with D&D 3.5 (to my shame, I tend to think of them as largely interchangeable). I forgot all about the maximum hps at level 1 rule, and you're right that would make constitution have the same importance as hit points - from 20% survival at 6 hps to 50% at 14 (data not shown) - which is still a lot less important than strength. I'll update that in a subsequent post.(The main reason constitution is a weak stat in this analysis is that the random variation in hps washes it out - so this finding is valid for D&D 3.5 rather than Pathfinder).
The order of placement of scores can be examined in my current simulation (I have large numbers of different combinations of values) but in my experience those kinds of statistical models make people's eyes bleed. I'm thinking about restricted experiments and/or finding nice ways of graphing the results to make the effects clear. I'm guessing that constitution/dexterity combinations could be potent, but I have to find ways to represent the effects easily.
First, though, I want to add feats. With hps maximized at level 1, toughness would be more important than I expected. My guess is that power attack will be a thorough dud. I'm not going to test the full range of feats, of course (I only have one life), but any predictions or suggestions would be appreciated.
Hello fellow adventurers!
I have started running a series of simulations of combat in Pathfinder, and conducting analysis of the resulting survival rates. The first analysis is reported on my blog.
In this analysis, I ran a million simulated battles between a bare-bones fighter and an Orc, and tested the effect of the three physical ability scores on survival. My findings:
- orcs are nasty buggers: overall survival was only 25%
I also show the distribution of hit points under a 4d6/choose-the-best-three system of ability score assignment. It's almost uniform!
I'm going to be trying more of these simulations over the next few months. My next steps are to incorporate feats and racial adjustments, then maybe also vary weapon and armour choices. I have a suspicion that over the long term constitution is the most important stat, but I will be dealing with that later. I also want to test the long-standing theory that wizards are more powerful than fighters at higher levels.
If any readers here have ideas for analyses I should try, please let me know!!! Also, your thoughts on the initial findings would be appreciated. Think of it as peer review!!
Hi Moriki san,
what an excellent idea! I think it would be nice if some of the monsters were named in kanji (by the meaning of their name) rather than just as transliteration - I think monster names can be more interesting when they are translated into kanji.
e.g. maybe ...
adherer = monster that sticks to things ... 張鬼？(I don't know what it looks like, so maybe it's not really an ogre - 張り変化？)
jotund troll =欧州鬼
(I guess that cruci="cross" and vulnu="wound")
I think for a lot of these monsters the names are invented, and so maybe the people reading this site don't know the pronunciation either. You can make up your own! But Bluescale's look pretty much perfect to me!
I'd also be interested to find out more about your gaming group - can you play in English, and are you in Tokyo ...?
Actually I've left the Pathfinder behind a bit now - I'm doing a regular WFRP 3 campaign and playing whatever turns up at the conventions. My blog has a report on "Make You Kingdom" which is quite an entertaining Japanese game that I've played twice now. I nearly had a chance to play the D&D Rules Cyclopedia but missed it... but Pathfinder happens regularly at the convention and I've also been considering extending my last pathfinder adventure into a sandbox campaign. When I have time, etc.
Hello Fellow Dungeoneers
I recently went to an end of year party for my Warhammer 3 gaming group, who are Japanese, and at the party one of my fellow players opened his closet to disclose a huge haul of near-mint-condition Japanese translations of old school games, including D&D, Traveller, Call of Cthulhu, Runequest, etc. I have a post on my blog and if anyone's interested in seeing a few pics of Japanese versions of old school (along with some thoughts of mine about old school gaming in Japan) then please drop by.
I'm just following this up briefly to mention that I've run my first adventure using the new Warhammer 3 rules, for the guy at my FLGS, also in Japanese of course, and put up the necessary reports on my blog.
GMing Warhammer 3 required a lot of translation work (there is no Japanese language version) and I used a lot of the experience I had in Pathfinder, and the Japanese-language Pathfinder wiki, to do it. I think actually that Pathfinder is a key point of intersection between western and Japanese RPG-ers, since it has such an extensive translation with so much of the English preserved, and a blog by the guy running it, as well as a very large base of people playing it in both worlds. It's certainly been useful to me!
That's a good point, Thiha san, and probably also why in the English Oriental Adventures they didn't translate "ninja" as "assassin" or "shugenja" as "warrior priest." You want to preserve the romance of the thing, and just as the Oriental world of that book has a particular romantic essence, so D&D has a very specific feeling to it that can be retained with those words.
It's funny, I'd forgotten that Steve Jackson stuff! Suddenly, memories come flooding back...
I just did a check at the pathfinder translation wiki and it is as I thought, every spell is listed by its katakana transliteration, but then the Japanese interpretation is given. So Arcane Eye is "hijutsu no manako," it's written in Japanese characters next to the English name. I think those names were in the original D&D Rules Cyclopedia.
Interestingly, the people I play with don't use these translations; they say "Hideous Laughter" rather than "daibakusho," which is the Japanese translation.
I think some of these decisions in Japanese (such as the decision to use a transliteration of "Lord of the Rings") are about marketing as much as anything else...
jemstone, I seem to recall stumbling across an error in a textbook of Survival Analysis that was quite unpleasant for the 4th year stats students using it. I think mistranslations must be a big problem.
Goblin Witchlord, I heard a rumour that the original D&D translations, in the Rules Cyclopedia, had all Japanese names for the spells but katakana translations for the name of the book. I think the Pathfinder translation applies those old Japanese names to the spells in a subtext. But this often happens in Japanese - romantic titles get turned into katakana and lose their feeling compared to the original.
Sho ga nai, as they say...
Hi Everyone! Thanks for the encouraging comments! It looks like I'll be DMing a session of Warhammer 3rd ed next week, so maybe there'll be more reports still to come. I'll also be putting up more information about the Japanese-made RPG I played, Double Cross 3, but I won't be linking to them here. If you're interested, stay tuned...
Hi everyone, this thread is a bit old now but I thought I'd come back and update it with a (vaguely) related piece of information. I was at the role-playing convention where this all started last week and I think I encountered my first Japanese grognard.
It was mentioned here that grognards don't seem to like anime styling; the same doesn't appear to be true for the Japanese equivalent, who is into anime and western styling. I don't know if he hates bards or not.
I also put up a discussion of play-testing the Japanese RPG I mentioned in this thread, also at my blog. Feel free to drop by and have a read!
Hi everyone, I previously posted a thread here describing some aspects of a Japanese role-playing game, Double Cross 3, based on superheroes at High School, with some interesting twists and a weird task resolution system.
Since then, I have had the chance to play the game in a group at my local convention, and I've put a report on play up on my blog. If anyone is interested in reading about how a popular modern Japanese RPG is played in practice, and some of the ideas that surround it, or if you want to see how that weird dice pool system works in practice, then please don't hesitate to visit my blog.
Hogarth, that thread includes the solution of dice labelled 0-5; I was going to shift the probability curves in my plots to exclude the multiples of 10, just so that they looked nicer, which would be essentially the same effect. Someone else in that thread pointed out that exploding dice aren't an issue if you're adding rather than counting successes.
The SR system seems to have an additive process though; so if you roll a 6, you roll again and add the result to the previous 6. Then you do the counting (of any dice that beat the target number).
That's quite torturous, isn't it? It has the added horror of having to keep track of which die rolled which 6! I don't remember Shadowrun being that much of a pain, but I haven't played it in... 15 years? Maybe I was young and stupid...
Maybe I should run a competition on my blog for the most torturous die system with the weirdest probability distribution... but then I'd have to judge them, so I think I'll avoid that...
exploding dice! I think I remember that term from 2nd edition as well. That leads to the same sort of annoying probability calculations, because the second dice pool is conditional on the size and outcome of the first. But wasn't it the case with Shadowrun that you counted successes? It seems like counting successes in dice pools is more natural than adding maxima, which just confuses the whole thing hideously.
Regarding exploding dice, I think the Exalted approach of counting 2 successes on a 10, is better because in practice it has a similar effect without having to roll additional pools of dice (which is a pain).
And the dice pools in this game are huge. At 5th level, my sample character Yumiko is going to be able to roll at least 19 dice for her pistol attack. So you have a pretty good chance there of multiple dice pools being rolled in sequence. I remember being flabbergasted by the size of some Exalted dice pools but at least they were a single roll.
I do like dice pool games though. When your abilities or your situation are working in your favour, the huge handful of dice really gives you a sense of overwhelming success...
Hi everyone, just an update to let you know that I have put up a brief post on the strangeness that is task resolution in this system. It took some time to bash this out because I had to do some probability theory in R.
I think this is the weirdest dice-based resolution system I've ever seen. Anyone heard of weirder?
Thanks for reading and I'm glad you enjoyed it. I'm currently struggling with the probability distribution for the skill resolution system, which is absolutely the weirdest thing I've ever seen; I'm hoping to have the outline of it up by the end of the weekend. I'll let you know when I have.
I might put up some of the other sample characters with an attempt at translation, too. They seem kind of fun!
I'm in Steamy Beppu, which is in the Northestern part of Kyushu (there's a map of my area in a recent post). It's very rural - most of my experience of Japan was rural Japan, not urban.
You should definitely come back and see more of the place - it's great!
It'll be sometime yet, Mr. Mothman, because I've got an uncertain promise (as the Japanese say) to GM some Warhammer 3rd edition, and I'm a tad busy at the moment to weigh in on more than one project. However, if at one of the conventions I get the chance I will...
This is more a research project at the moment.
By the way, I started reading the task resolution method this afternoon. It seems to revolve around a dice pool in which only the highest value counts, unless you roll a 10, in which case you get criticals. I may have misunderstood something though, and will recheck. I hope to post that up soon.
I have posted elsewhere on the forums about my experiences of playing and GMing pathfinder in Japanese, and in the process I recklessly committed myself to giving a report on a Japanese language role-playing game that I decided to read. As far as I know it's a representative example of a swathe of untranslated games from a popular company called FEAR.
If anyone reading this has an interest in Japanese-made RPGs, please do me the honour of visiting my blog. Also do me this honour if you're interested in Japanese schoolgirls with super powers, because of course that's the first character I created!
Zombieneighbours, it's definitely a conceptual trap, deliberately of my own making - I'm assessing an element of the system, specifically investigating the reasons why a fight takes so long, not looking at the whole adventure. Play style is too variable and complicated a thing to simulate, after all, but it's from these combat mechanisms that play style is built. After all, if D&D combat weren't deadly at first level clerics wouldn't be in demand, and a decision not to use a cleric is also a playing style decision (albeit one not usually available to WH players).
My guess is that most people who GM and play WH do it on the assumption that the world is a grim, dark, deadly place, so they stay near towns at low level, the GM designs very small non-dungeon adventures, etc. (I have played WH twice and both adventures were political/social, not at all combat focussed). I think it is very interesting that the combat system in essence doesn't support these fears, and it's a complement to the world-building efforts of GW that their players and GMs operate on the assumption of a dark, deadly fantasy world that doesn't actually obtain in the most basic, fundamental unit of conflict in the world.
Incidentally, the armour I wore (leather) had 1 ap on every body part. I am assuming that for this simulation. And your 7 commoners would have at most a 7% chance of doing damage against the fighter (assuming they have 30% weapon skill and he can't parry any of them), which, given full plate armour, suggests he would take a very long time to die indeed. I don't think their rusty knives would be sufficient for the task you set them.
Stefan, it's not so much that WH isn't for me - I really like the world, and I am a fan of deadly systems too. It's more that the combination of incompetent characters and poorly-designed system, with lots of dice rolls, means that combat just isn't fun, nor is it particularly deadly, and this lets down the gritty realism of the piece. If it were the case that the incompetent characters could die easily even when fighting someone just like themselves, it would be a dark low-fantasy world (killed by a camp-follower is surely the definition of a dark low-fantasy world). But spending 20 or 30 rounds, rolling 3 times a round, to kill a basic mercenary, doesn't seem an essential element of dark low fantasy. Even the WS20 vs. WS90 case won't escape this - the WS90 character still only has a 50% chance of damaging their opponent, which is pretty poor when you think of the difference between their levels. In my previous post I estimated that such a fight would take 7 rounds to resolve on at least 50% of occasions, when it should be over in 3 at the most (hitting every round).
Ordinary street-fights with knives are over much faster than this. If two untrained muppets in suburban england can do each other in in a few seconds, surely their equivalents (say, a rat-catcher and a camp follower) in WH's dark Europe should be able to do the same, rather than spending 20 rounds desperately trying to hit each other?
Stefan, I agree it's not necessarily unrealistic, but in pure game mechanical terms it's tedious as hell - spending 30 or 40 rounds rolling multiple dice to take out a single person means that if a player ever gets sucked into combat it's going to be really boring.
However, having said that, I prefer a combat system in which very skilled characters are deadly and a fight between them is brutal, fast and over very quickly. This is also something that doesn't happen with D&D - my probability analysis uses 1st level characters and every additional level increases the time they take to die by quite a lot. This comparison was originally sparked by two very long battles in a row, one in pathfinder and one in warhammer.
The main issue with this for me is that it makes combat really boring and the difference between a relatively tough character and a relatively untough character is very small - a few percentage points on a 100 sided die. This means that fights take a long time and the ultimate winner is going to be the person who manages to roll a few percentage points lower (or get a crit), not the person who uses their special abilities creatively (there aren't that many) or even the better fighter (in many cases).
The upshot is that combat in warhammer is best avoided because it's boring, not because it's dangerous.
I've now put up an even more hideously long-winded post about the warhammer feint ability which shows that:
a) The Feint always reduces your effectiveness relative to not using it, no matter what the situation
b) attack success for evenly-matched antagonists with very high or very low WS is appallingly low, and fights in these situations will almost certainly drag out forever.
For example, a character with a WS of 90 will reduce their effectiveness in combat against any opponent by about 90% using feint; and two antagonists both with WS of 90 will find they have just a 6% chance of actually doing damage, so the fight between them will last a very long time - my guess is 30 rounds in 50% of cases - and if they have increased toughness and wounds even longer. It's literally possible for a duel between two people with WS 90 and toughness 60 to go on forever.