# Too many dice? Too much maths?

### Prerelease Discussion

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Chubby1968 wrote:
Grand Magus wrote:
So, in gaming, just what is math?
It could e.g. be probabilities and statistics.

"Too much basic arithmetic" is certainly a more precise description of the situation than "too much maths", but I think both statements are equally accurate. x3

I think people are allow to not like adding numbers, though.

For my part, I like rolling big pools of dice. It feels good to roll all those die and I generally prefer adding up numbers in front of me rather than using big dumb static bonuses. I hope 2E continues to cater to my tastes~

Chubby1968 wrote:
Grand Magus wrote:
So, in gaming, just what is math?
It could e.g. be probabilities and statistics.

So what is Game Theory?

high G wrote:
Chubby1968 wrote:
Grand Magus wrote:
So, in gaming, just what is math?
It could e.g. be probabilities and statistics.
So what is Game Theory?

According to some it's objective.

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Pathfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Grand Magus wrote:
Aboleth Sticks wrote:
Zaister wrote:
Adding up a bunch of numbers isn't really "math".
Well, it's certainly not Social Studies.

So, in gaming, just what is math?

Pathfinder maths quiz...

Students should attempt all questions
In all cases show your workings.

1) Anne's fighter has BAB +1, strength 18 and is using a masterwork greataxe. She is fighting a monster with AC 20 and 15 hit points. She wants to kill it as quickly as possible. Should she use power attack or not?

2) Character Generation

Part A. Bill is about to play Rise of the Runelords. His referee says he can choose between 15 point buy or rolling 3D6 six times and assigning. Bill wants the highest stats he can get for his character - is rolling 6 * 3D6 likely to be worth more or less than 15 in terms of point buy?

Part B. After a party wipe Bill's referee gives his players the option of 20 point buy or 'roll 4D6, drop lowest' - now which option gets Bill the higher point buy value on average for his new character?

ETC...

JulianW wrote:

1) Anne's fighter has BAB +1, strength 18 and is using a masterwork greataxe. She is fighting a monster with AC 20 and 15 hit points. She wants to kill it as quickly as possible. Should she use power attack or not?

2) Character Generation

Part A. Bill is about to play Rise of the Runelords. His referee says he can choose between 15 point buy or rolling 3D6 six times and assigning. Bill wants the highest stats he can get for his character - is rolling 6 * 3D6 likely to be worth more or less than 15 in terms of point buy?

Part B. After a party wipe Bill's referee gives his players the option of 20 point buy or 'roll 4D6, drop lowest' - now which option gets Bill the higher point buy value on average for his new character?

ETC...

1) Power attack reduces her to-hit from 35% to 30% (a 17% decrease) [+1 BAB, +4 STR, +1 masterwork, -1 power attack], but increases her average damage (per non-critical hit) from 12.5 to 15.5 (a 24% increase) [+6 STR, +3 power attack, since a greataxe requires 2 hands]. Additionally, she can now hope to one-shot the monster without a crit (her max non-critical damage goes from 18 to 21) and is sure to one-shot it with a crit (her minimum critical damage goes from 14 to 20).

2) These questions need a clarification: how do you value rolls than can't be obtained in point-buy (3 to 6)?

Though I'd go with the point buy in both cases, because I believe 15 point buy is supposed to be equivalent to 4d6 drop lowest (though I've seen people argue that 20 point buy is closer).

3d6 six times averages 3 points.

But it was not easy to figure that out.

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JulianW wrote:
1) ... She is fighting a monster with AC 20 and 15 hit points. ...

Anne should not know this.

-Skeld

Edit: To put that in "maths" language, players should always have more viariables than they have equations.

Eh, we don't know how that information was obtained. If the monster has no natural armour, and the GM rolls openly, AC can be determined by looking at visible items and the Dex mod calculated from the initiative result. Maybe at an earlier point in the combat a character hit with a roll of 20 and missed with a roll of 19. Maybe its a generic summon that happens to be the same as every other generic summon of its type (that is known by Anne or another PC having said statblock on hand in case they want to summon it). Maybe somebody beat the knowledge DC by 25 and asked questions that could allow them to get specific results (whether directly or indirectly). Maybe the group is used to wargames where all relevant stats must be made public before they are used.

We do not have enough information to determine whether knowing that information is reasonable.

high G wrote:
Chubby1968 wrote:
Grand Magus wrote:
So, in gaming, just what is math?
It could e.g. be probabilities and statistics.

So what is Game Theory?

A youtube channel starring MatPat, who proposes Game Theories

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Pathfinder Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Knowing the exact armor class of a foe after numerous attacks is reasonable.

Knowing the hit points of a foe to within a relatively small margin of error is reasonable if the PCs are fighting numerous statistically identical opponents and have killed some of them.

Don't ruin my fun, man.

-Skeld

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Grand Magus wrote:
I love rolling dice and doing math. To assist with gaming development, a good book to memorize is structure and interpretation of computer programs. After which you'll find it trivial to implement your own computer code to carry out number crunching.

Sure, SICP is one of my favorite books but I'm starting to think that this thread doesn't have the best advice or insight into dyscalculia specifically.

Memorizing all of SICP, in order to implement your own calculating and dice-rolling programs, isn't really practical advice for someone struggling at the game table.

OP, in general you're gonna find one of four strategies:

1. Use a dice rolling app. (No need to learn how to program, use a ready made app. Try different ones because some are simpler and some allow you to set up macros for different attacks, if you crit etc etc.)

2. Have someone else help this player.

3. Simplify the expressions. Instead of 8d12, have it be 52 etc. (Write these down, because averaging expressions on the fly is NOT easier than adding them up.)

Normally, for simplifying dice expressios, I especially like this stack-exchange answer (not the top one). 8d12 becomes 2d12 doubled, plus 26. However, for someone who has dyscalculia, that isn't necessarily simpler. Having access to physical dice, most of them having single digits on them, that they can group with their own hands can be simpler rather than having to try to double things in their head or add a 2-digit number in their head.

4. Use a different system. Some game systems (like Microscope) doesn't use any numbers.

Talk to the player in private about this. Maybe the player wants this issue to be private and for example is uncomfortable with solution 2 above, they might feel put on the spot by being helped in that way. Let them decide.

When I had problems for a while, I hated the game Dread, where you use physical dexterity to resolve actions. And I totally did not want someone else to step in for me, either. I just avoided the game.

So put the dyscalculic player in the driver's seat here. Put them in control about how you approach the issue. Also, they might be just fine. Sometimes dyscalculia is improved with practice in a games context. Adding up a large crit roll can be motivating and fun.

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David knott 242 wrote:

Knowing the exact armor class of a foe after numerous attacks is reasonable.

Knowing the hit points of a foe to within a relatively small margin of error is reasonable if the PCs are fighting numerous statistically identical opponents and have killed some of them.

When I DM, I tell the players the AC and HP and other relevant stats of opponents after they commit to attacking them.

Before they attack them, they might be mystified by the creature and that's tense and interesting. Or a human, like how good at dueling is the Mayor? Do you dare to step to her? etc

But once you've said "I fire my bow at it", I say "Ok, AC 13" or whatever it has.

Partly because of the flow — saying "Roll an attack roll, AC 13" "OK, I hit for 9 damage" might only be two steps less than "Roll an attack roll." "15" "OK you hit." "Ok 9 damage", but once the combat has started and the player knows that the enemy has AC 13, there's even fewer steps. And they can know that if they have +5 to hit, all natural rolls 8 or higher hit, so they only have to look at the natural roll and not add anymore, making the fights even faster.

But the biggest reason I do this is that it's very common for DMs to sometimes change HP, and sometimes saves and AC and other values, even after the fight has started. That means rolling openly is not enough because the DM can fudge with these numbers too, not just die rolls.
Therefore, I'm open with the stats so that the players can be sure that I never do this.

(That is part of the social contract at our particular table. Everyone plays in their own way of course.♥ It depends on what you want out of the game and how it's set up.)

There is some evidence that grouping up to 10 (or another number) is good practice that, over time, helps with dyscalculia. That's why number bonds are now taught in primary school.
But it's not gonna be a quick fix to the issue

If they are comfortable using an app let them use an app, even if the rest of the table are iffy with it
If they aren't comfortable using an app, don't push it on them, even if the rest of the table wants them to.

Let them decide. And let it take time♥

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David knott 242 wrote:

Knowing the exact armor class of a foe after numerous attacks is reasonable.

Knowing the hit points of a foe to within a relatively small margin of error is reasonable if the PCs are fighting numerous statistically identical opponents and have killed some of them.

I'd even say this is an eventuality. Even if the GM doesn't spill the beans, your players will figure out the AC and HPs so long as they put in a tiny amount of effort to track their performance.

GMs should feel free to spill the beans in some circumstances. When you're dealing with veteran players, not every encounter needs to be shrouded in mystery. If you're running a large number of combatants, you can speed up play by offloading some of the mechanics to the players. Not every hit/miss determination has to go through the GM.

Obscure citations wrote:
And so the duty of truth falls to me

And so how do we us it for playing games. Or like playing RPGs? Seems unnecessary.

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high G wrote:
Obscure citations wrote:
And so the duty of truth falls to me

And so how do we us it for playing games. Or like playing RPGs? Seems unnecessary.

Game Theory (as in the proper field of mathematics/mathematical philosophy/economics) certainly does not matter too much for the way we TTRPG players have traditionally thought of character optimization. It is really more of a way to think about how rational or semi-rational agents make decisions given that the decisions of others will also effect their outcome.

You maybe can gain some insights into how players at a table are expected to interact if they have different goals as players and different ways to signal strategies to each other though. There may also be something to modeling player class decision as a complex cooperation game.

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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Chance Wyvernspur wrote:
David knott 242 wrote:

Knowing the exact armor class of a foe after numerous attacks is reasonable.

Knowing the hit points of a foe to within a relatively small margin of error is reasonable if the PCs are fighting numerous statistically identical opponents and have killed some of them.

I'd even say this is an eventuality. Even if the GM doesn't spill the beans, your players will figure out the AC and HPs so long as they put in a tiny amount of effort to track their performance.

GMs should feel free to spill the beans in some circumstances. When you're dealing with veteran players, not every encounter needs to be shrouded in mystery. If you're running a large number of combatants, you can speed up play by offloading some of the mechanics to the players. Not every hit/miss determination has to go through the GM.

You know, it occurs to me that the -/+ 10 thing will probably make it harder to obfuscate this information from players, and harder to fudge stuff with the tighter math. Hopefully said math means there are less situations where you NEED to fudge though.

2097 wrote:

OP, in general you're gonna find one of four strategies:

1. Use a dice rolling app. {...}

2. Have someone else help this player.

3. Simplify the expressions. Instead of 8d12, have it be 52 etc. (Write these down, because averaging expressions on the fly is NOT easier than adding them up.)

4. Use a different system. Some game systems (like Microscope) doesn't use any numbers.

Y'all have proposed some fair and considerate solutions. I propose a solution which hasn't been broached:

Paizo (or some Third Party PF-Compatible publisher) ought to produce a "Simply Pathfinder" mathless game which has its own rules, but which has clear protocols for interfacing with Core PF2 at the same table...so that a person could be playing a Simply-statted PC alongside Core PF2-statted PCs. Basically, the Simply PF player would be playing with a different set of rules, but which clearly and fairly interface with the Core rules.

The Simply Pathfinder game would have its own mathless mechanics. I don't know what system would work best - maybe either:

1. All rolls are already averaged. (Like was suggested by another poster.) This is the probably the most seamless interface with Core PF2 mechanics.

2. All dice rolls are pre-converted into d20s??? With bonuses and penalties represented as rolling 2 (or more?) d20s and taking the highest/lowest (like 5E Advantage/Disadvantage). Basically, a Mutants & Masterminds/True20 interface for PF2.

3. Something like the Tales of Equestria (My Little Pony RPG) system. Uses all of the polyhedral dice. But there are no numerical modifiers to dice rolls. You can modify rolls, but only with regard to the size and/or number of dice used. And in the latter case, you always pick the die with the best result. The only math in the game is keeping track of your stamina (hit) points. Most of the other aspects of characters are largely non-mechanical in nature.

#3 would be the most divergent from the Core PF2 rules. But, I suspect *some* sort of protocol could be worked out. It'd be kinda like a DMing a game where most players were using complex 3e rules, but one character was playing with OD&D rules. They're need to be a a protocol for interacting rules-wise. The events and narrative would be a shared experience, but rules-wise one player (or whoever was playing Simply Pathfinder) would be in a different "rules bubble" than the other players at the table.

I suggest that the Beginner Box rules are already along those lines - fully interfaceable with a Core Pathfinder table...meaning that a person could play a Beginner Box-statted character, and play with Beginner rules (e.g. no AoO), even if everyone else at the table played with Core rules. Simply Pathfinder would just take it even further than the Beginner Box.

"No Math Pathfinder" played at the same table as PF2? Impossible?

JulianW wrote:

Pathfinder maths quiz...

Students should attempt all questions
In all cases show your workings.

1) Anne's fighter has BAB +1, strength 18 and is using a masterwork greataxe. She is fighting a monster with AC 20 and 15 hit points. She wants to kill it as quickly as possible. Should she use power attack or not?

Ok, so Power Attack looks like a winner.

The chance of killing a monster (assumed to be -1 HP) on the first round is approximately 10% with a normal hit and almost 16% with power attack.

The chance of killing a monster (assumed to be -1 HP) at least by the second round (so, 1 or 2 round) is approximately 25% for a normal attack and approximately 31% for power attack.

Most of the difference comes from the likelihood of doing 16 HP of damage with 1d12+. The normal attack is only +6 (1.5xStr), whereas power attack is +9 (1x5x Str + 3PA).

The normal attack is 14% more likely to hit, but the power attack is almost 100% more likely to kill with one blow.

The difference in effectiveness between normal attacks and power attacks decreases on the second round, because 2 hits with a normal attack almost always kills, where two hits with power attack has a lot of wasted damage from overkill.

So, power attack is king in this situation.

Interestingly, the Power Attack would benefit from having a great sword, as the 2d6+9 is actually more likely to kill than a great axe. Whereas, the normal attack should stick with the great axe as 1d12+6 is better than 2d6+6.

Finally, when the monster AC goes up to 25, then normal attack just pulls ahead of power attack. Of course, this is a very tough foe. Maybe you should run away.

Chance Wyvernspur wrote:
David knott 242 wrote:

Knowing the exact armor class of a foe after numerous attacks is reasonable.

Knowing the hit points of a foe to within a relatively small margin of error is reasonable if the PCs are fighting numerous statistically identical opponents and have killed some of them.

I'd even say this is an eventuality. Even if the GM doesn't spill the beans, your players will figure out the AC and HPs so long as they put in a tiny amount of effort to track their performance.

GMs should feel free to spill the beans in some circumstances. When you're dealing with veteran players, not every encounter needs to be shrouded in mystery. If you're running a large number of combatants, you can speed up play by offloading some of the mechanics to the players. Not every hit/miss determination has to go through the GM.

I agree with all except the last bit, just as a formality, even just a look to the DM to confirm, maybe a circumstance has come up that has now caused your assumed hit to miss or vice versa.

Weather Report wrote:
Chance Wyvernspur wrote:
GMs should feel free to spill the beans in some circumstances. When you're dealing with veteran players, not every encounter needs to be shrouded in mystery. If you're running a large number of combatants, you can speed up play by offloading some of the mechanics to the players. Not every hit/miss determination has to go through the GM.
I agree with all except the last bit, just as a formality, even just a look to the DM to confirm, maybe a circumstance has come up that has now caused your assumed hit to miss or vice versa.

Sure, but the DM controls the initiative chart which usually gives him a chance to pass along info. I usually do it like this...

GM : You're up
Player A : I'll attack
GM : AC is 15, let me know how it works out.
GM : Player B, you're up.
Player B : I need a moment. I'm reading a spell description.
GM: Okay, Orc 5 is next, depends on Player A...
Player A : Hit, 8 points damage.
GM : Orc 5 died, so he gets no action.
Player B : I'm ready ...

.. obviously you cannot "fast-track" (to borrow a Project Management term) actions in every fight, but you can sometimes.

I had thought for rolling dice? (dice has n sides)

- average = (1+n)/2

- variance = (n-1)²/12

high G wrote:

I had thought for rolling dice? (dice has n sides)

- average = (1+n)/2

- variance = (n-1)²/12

Not quite. The variance is determined as Sum of (n-(n+1)/2)^2/n from 1 to n.

For example a d4 is ((1-2.5)^2+(2-2.5)^2+(3-2.5)^3+(4-2.5)^3)/4
Which is ((-1.5)^2+(-0.5)^2+(0.5)^2+(1.5)^2)/4 = (2.25+0.25+0.25+2.25)/4 = 5/4 = 1.25

Compare this to (4-1)^2/12, which is 0.75. That formula isn't correct.

Tholomyes wrote:
high G wrote:

I had thought for rolling dice? (dice has n sides)

- average = (1+n)/2

- variance = (n-1)²/12

Not quite. The variance is determined as Sum of (n-(n+1)/2)^2/n from 1 to n.

For example a d4 is ((1-2.5)^2+(2-2.5)^2+(3-2.5)^3+(4-2.5)^3)/4
Which is ((-1.5)^2+(-0.5)^2+(0.5)^2+(1.5)^2)/4 = (2.25+0.25+0.25+2.25)/4 = 5/4 = 1.25

Compare this to (4-1)^2/12, which is 0.75. That formula isn't correct.

Yeah, the correct formula for the variance of 1dn is (n²-1)/12, which gives 5/4 for 1d4 and 35/12 for 1d6.

Getting back to the core topic, less dice is better. Due to degrading attention spans when computers or smart phones are at the gaming table I have banned them. Thus dice rolling apps are not an option for my group. My wife is terrible at basic arithmetic and one of my other players has a strange mental process, that while still able to get the correct answers causes him to calculate very slowly.

The wider variation you get in the amounts of damage being generated the harder it is to properly pace encounters, especially for extremely wide variations. I do not like how P2E is heading towards larger damage numbers, to the point where we are encroaching into Final Fantasy levels of damage. More damage means increased hit point totals for monster, which means increased HP tracking strain on the GM if they decide to have a larger amount of weaker creatures attack.

More so large dice pools make is harder for players who are not math inclined to make proper informed decisions about their chracter's actions. While I can determine variances, averages and the percentages generated by such in my head quickly, most of my players cannot. This deprives them of the ability to make proper informed actions and I would hope would be something that Pazio would consider in this new system.

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Valcali wrote:

Getting back to the core topic, less dice is better. Due to degrading attention spans when computers or smart phones are at the gaming table I have banned them. Thus dice rolling apps are not an option for my group. My wife is terrible at basic arithmetic and one of my other players has a strange mental process, that while still able to get the correct answers causes him to calculate very slowly.

The wider variation you get in the amounts of damage being generated the harder it is to properly pace encounters, especially for extremely wide variations. I do not like how P2E is heading towards larger damage numbers, to the point where we are encroaching into Final Fantasy levels of damage. More damage means increased hit point totals for monster, which means increased HP tracking strain on the GM if they decide to have a larger amount of weaker creatures attack.

More so large dice pools make is harder for players who are not math inclined to make proper informed decisions about their chracter's actions. While I can determine variances, averages and the percentages generated by such in my head quickly, most of my players cannot. This deprives them of the ability to make proper informed actions and I would hope would be something that Pazio would consider in this new system.

The damage numbers are approximately the same, but there's just more dice involved. When you're dealing 1d4+45 in 1E, you really don't care about the damage dice because the difference between max and min is 3 damage.

Why do they need to determine variances and averages at the table, and in what situation does this come up? I'm presuming you're not referring to the difference between 10d6 and 10d4, or the difference between 10d6 and 6d6, because those are pretty obvious at a glance.

I can totally see why problems with calculation could lead to issues at the table, however.

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