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[Forge-main] Dice and the bell curve

From: Enrique Perez
Subject: [Forge-main] Dice and the bell curve
Date: Sun, 3 Nov 2002 11:26:01 -0800 (PST)

Hail!  Duncan (a.k.a. "Sisyphus") wrote:

> Next, the d10.  Personally, I'm in favor of a good d10 system; I believe that 
> the modern mind
> readily adheres to decimal results.  On the other hand, the results of a d10 
> are flatly
> distributed -- that is to say, a roll is just as likely to result in a 9 as 
> it is to result
> in a 1.  And when it comes to rather low targets (3 to 9, as mentioned 
> above), even a relatively
> ordinary individual of [Ability]:3 and [Skill]:2 will obtain a 9 10% of the 
> time -- i.e., he'll
> successfully accomplish a "near-impossible task" 10% of the time. Meanwhile, 
> a character with
> [Ability]:4 and [Skill]:3 -- certainly good, but hardly perfect -- will be 
> getting "near
godlike" > results relatively frequently.*

I agree that this is unrealistic, real life results generally have a gaussian 
'bell curve'
distribution. To simulate with dice you have to had die rolls together, the 
more die rolls the
smoother the distribution. On the other hand the more die rolls the more adding 
you have.
Therefore I suggest that for unopposed die rols we use two dice added together. 
For opposed die
rolls, when you have your skill plus a die roll versus the opponent's skill 
plus a die roll; you
have essentially one die minus another die, which has a distribution equivalent 
to two dice added

> Another quick note about why d6's might be easier: If we want to make a truly 
> generic and
> universal system, we should consider the players, and we might take into 
> account that
> large numbers of them will find d10's more difficult to get hold of than 
> d6's.  When I was
> in Romania, for example, I had to play with d6's, and d6's alone -- I simply 
> couldn't find any
> others.  Not that there were none to be found, and not that I necessarily 
> minded; I'm simply
> making the point that while d6's can be found from here to Bangkok, other 
> polyhedral dice are
> less common.

I agree heartily with this point, I personally have some polyhedral dice; but, 
I always seem to
pick up more six sided dice and even end up giving those away. Often when I 
game a few people will
have forgotten their dice leading to a table wide shortage of polyhedral dice, 
while we are still
awash in six siders. Another reason to prefer six siders in a fast moving game 
is that the more
sides a die has the longer it rolls and the farther it rolls, often right off 
the table. Also a
polyhedral die when it lands between two objects often has to be rerolled if 
it's at even a small
angle it isn't clear which side is up so it has to be rerolled. The six sided 
die settles quickly,
in front of you and even if it lands at the edge of a book it is obvious which 
side is on top,
instead of slowing play while everyone waits for a spinning die to stop.


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