What’s the point of things like intelligence/wisdom scores, when those are the predominantly characteristics of the player?

While I understand the role of things like strength (you can/can’t lift that), dexterity, constitution, etc. as character attributes, I really can’t make sense of intelligence/wisdom scores.

If a player notices that you can go around the monster, or just naturally has good memory, they’re going to do clever and insightful things even if they have INT/WIS of 1.

What can I read about how we tie the stochastic characteristics of task resolution into statements about a game system’s aesthetics? [closed]

I like making RPG systems. One thing I’ve noticed is that different kinds of task resolution systems make the game significantly different.


For example, games like D&D 3.X and Shadowrun 4E have a very details-oriented approach to task resolution. A typical die roll in combat might be something like 1d20+1+1+4+3+(7+2+3)*1.5+20-2 v.s. 10+8+min(4,1)+5+3+2+5, where each number comes from a different source and things like "I enjoyed breakfast greatly! +3 to hit" and "My shoes are freshly polished for +1 max dex mod to AC" matter greatly.

There are a limited number of modifiers and choosing the right combination for any given character is immensely important to the character’s success in the game.

Other games, like FATE 2.0 or Amber Diceless, have a different approach. There a typical task looks like 5+4dF vs 3+4dF±2. All of the things that are tracked carefully in the first examples are abstracted away into a single modifier. This modifier generally does not exceed 50% of the base skill amount, and is generally regarded as less important than having a higher base skill amount. (In Amber diceless the ‘rolls’ are even more extreme: 1±1 v 3±1 is an example of a task’s mechanical description there).

I am comfortable talking about this kind of difference between RPGs in general. We can talk about levels of abstraction, we can talk about focus, we can describe a system as ‘high-level’ or ‘detail-oriented’ or whatever.

The problem

What I am less comfortable with is the manner in which the stochastic character of a system’s task resolution comes off to participants of RPGs run in it.

For example, I can tell you that the absence of dice in Amber significantly changes the feel of the game versus a similar setting modeled and run in FATE 2.0.
I’m much less articulate as to what the actual differences are, though. I’m aware of some popular pieces on randomness in RPGs, like the ‘goblin dice’ thing, but none of them really talk about the full space of stochastic design available to us as game designers. We can talk about how 2d6 is ‘less swingy’ than 1d13, but how using one or the other more commonly for some hypothetical ruleset would influence our aesthetic perception of that ruleset is not immediately clear.

I’m looking for a published overview of ways that different features of a task resolution system (in terms of stochastic analysis) are relevant to the ‘feel’ (i.e. the perception of aesthetic qualities) of the overall game system from a game-design perspective. In particular, I’m interested in the impact of the magnitude of the stochastic variance of the resolution system on the system, as well as the impact of greater or lesser volatility, and of polynomialization of the distribution (i.e. how binomial, trinomial, etc distribution for a game’s randomizer affects the game’s overall aesthetic).

Basically, I’m looking to read published work addressing the question: How do we tie the stochastic characteristics of task resolution into a statement about the experience of using a particular role-playing game system?

What makes a good answer?

Answers will recommend further reading on the topic to support the claims made in their shorter overview. IJRP preferred. I’m looking for an overview, not a full discussion– it’s sufficient to provide references to appropriate academic literature and to explain how, and that, that literature answers the question. Also, since comments indicate that people are seeking primarily for online sources, let it be explicitly mentioned that offline sources like books are no less good for their being offline (RPGs may be young, but they most certainly predate widespread internet use).

What opportunities exist in D&D 5e in order to turn into beasts, while maintaining personality and mental characteristics?

What opportunities exist in D&D 5e in order to turn into beasts, while maintaining personality and mental characteristics (Intelligence, Wisdom and not necessary Charisma)?

As far as I can see, one of the obvious solutions is Wild Shape. Are there any other options?

Telegraphing Encounter and Obstacle Characteristics for Wizards

(Note: I feel that this question is sufficiently different from this one to justify a new post, as my question is about specific information informing Wizard spell preparation)

One of the major class-balancing elements of the Wizard class is that they are only able to prepare a certain number of spells at a time. Among all magic using classes, wizards have access to the largest number of spells that they can learn, which makes them extremely versatile, but that versatility is tempered because they can only prepare a subset of those spells at any given time.

This can be very exciting– it adds a degree of planning, creativity, coordination, and tension to playing a wizard. It is also valuable in that it helps prevent the wizard from overshadowing other spellcasters.

However, it can also be frustrating, particularly at lower levels when fewer spells can be prepared at once. It’s difficult to choose which spells to prepare if you don’t have any idea what challenges you’ll be facing, and even if you do have some information about that there may not be enough time to change which spells are prepared beforehand. It can be annoying to be completely mis-prepared for challenges.

Sometimes that’s appropriate: surprises do happen, narrow windows of opportunity may appear, and being maximally appropriately prepared for every encounter is not a realistic goal. Often there will be a middle ground, such as knowing you’ll be exploring an area rumored to be filled with undead enemies and so it might be a good idea to have spells that are useful against the undead.

But it’s not much fun to only rarely be able to use spells that you’ve learned specifically to deal with situations in which you find yourself because you didn’t (whether or not you couldn’t) know anything about what you’re walking into. Using magic to solve problems is largely what the Wizard class is about.

This has frustrated me as a player, and I’m having trouble balancing those concerns in a game I’m running now. If my approach to the issue is fundamentally that:

  • Surprising encounters can happen, particularly if my players drive those events
  • Events which are known in advance may not offer enough time to swap out prepared spells before dealing with them
  • Gathering advance knowledge about upcoming challenges won’t always be equally possible or reliable
  • Obtained knowledge about future challenges shouldn’t be a how-to guide on min-maxing those challenges
  • I don’t want to do away with the preparation mechanic
  • I don’t want to elide the issue by providing abundant spell scrolls or similar items

My experiences playing a wizard have been plagued by this issue, often leading me to wish I’d just chosen a different class. I’d like to spare my players that irritation if I can.

How can I telegraph enough information to my wizard player (especially at lower levels) that they can avoid being totally mis-prepared, and how often should I do so?

What are the degrees by which an Arcana Check can modify or effect the characteristics of a spell being cast by the player?

Sorry if the initial wording seems off, basically what I’m trying to get a bearing for is how or in which ways does the Arcana Skill influence or effect actual spells being cast or other spell-centered details? Ie, is rolling on the Arcana skill able to influence the effect or characteristics of a spell? Or does that fall primarily within relation to magic items and not casted spells?

What are the important weapons characteristics for a rogue?

There are several characteristics that affect a damage weapon, here I am specifically concentrating on:

  • the weapon base damage (say, 1d6 for a Short Sword)
  • the weapon critical range (usually 20)
  • the weapon critical multiplier (x2, x3, x4, …)

For my Rogue, I preferred to elect a higher average damage (Short Sword), rather than a weapon with a lower damage but higher critical multipliers. It just seemed than critical were of few benefits given that Sneak Attack damages are not multiplied.

Am I missing out something ?

Note: I do note need to min-max my Rogue, but given that a Rogue is lagging behind Ranger and Barbarian when it comes to damage, I would prefer to avoid crippling myself.

Inserting a standard text before a DOI (a string with specific characteristics) on Microsoft VBA for Word

I am trying to adapt an existing VBA code for Word (a macro) that creates proxied links for users who have access to library resources through academic institutional access. Essentially, I need to be able to insert a URL before a plain DOI. So I need to find a code that will turn, eg: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.01393 into: OurStandardProxyUrl10.3389/fpsyg.2019.01393

I am totally new at coding vba so I have been combing through a few things. First, the identifying the DOI problem is treated well here: Finding a DOI in a document or page Which is in regex. No problem, I think I figured out how to make regex usable for Word macros here: https://analystcave.com/excel-regex-tutorial/ But I feel like the code I have written is not properly… activating regex? It’s showing up in red (as an error). Further, I don’t feel like the code is “calling” the DOI part ($ pattern) properly. Forgive my ignorance, I have only ever seen $ used in jquery, so I am not sure of its significance here or how to work with it!

Here is roughly what I have so far:

‘setting up regex recognition for DOI transformation – activating this automatically in the vba references Dim regex as Object Set regex = CreateObject(“VBScript.RegExp”) [from: https://analystcave.com/excel-regex-tutorial/]

$ pattern = ‘\b(10[.][0-9]{,}(?:[.][0-9]+)/(?:(?![“&\’])\S)+)\b’; // or $ pattern = ‘\b(10[.][0-9]{3,}(?:[.][0-9]+)/(?:(?![“&\’])[[:graph:]])+)\b’; [from: Finding a DOI in a document or page [maybe I need to declare this as a string or something?]

‘healio DOI Sub AddTextBeforeSelection() Selection.InsertBefore Text:=”OurStandardProxyUrl” End Sub

When I try to run the Macro this is all a part of, I get “can’t run in break mode”. When I just try to run AddTextBeforeSelection, I just get “OurStandardProxyUrl” wherever the cursor happened to be active on the page.

Many thanks in advance!!

Euler characteristics in the rank one case

Suppose $ E$ is an elliptic curve over a number field with good ordinary reduction at the primes above a fixed odd prime $ p$ . We are interested in the Iwasawa theory over the cyclotomic $ \mathbb{Z}_p$ extension under the additional assumption that $ E$ has a point of infinite order and also that $ L(E,s)$ has a simple zero at $ s=1$ .

Is there a definition of a modified Euler characteristic for the Selmer group over the cyclotomic extension which can be related to the derivative $ L'(E,1)$ in the framework of the BSD conjecture? Can someone give me some precise references.

Choosing algorithms and/or data structures at runtime based on input characteristics

I’ve been reading about Adaptive Computing, i.e. the idea of computer programs taking feedback from the environment at runtime to improve the output in some way. More precisely, my current focus is in Self-Optimization: how to write programs that are able to choose the best algorithm/data structure in response to changes in the input profile. In the lower end, simple heuristics are used to apply specific algorithms in special cases, eg. Tim/Quick/MergeSort using Insertion Sort (which is $ O(n^2)$ ) when the partition size is below a certain threshold. On the other extreme we have JIT compilers that optimize/deoptimize the code at runtime according to certain metrics.

However, I haven’t found so far any examples of “high-level” decisions, like automatically choosing between two distinct implementations of an algorithm or a data structure at runtime. For example, think about a AdaptiveList object with the usual operations (add,remove...) and a array-backed storage. If the program keeps inserting elements in the middle of the list (which requires moving a lot of data to free space for the new element), the AdaptiveList may choose to move the data out of the array into a linked list. If the usage pattern changes again, the AdaptiveList may decide to go back to the array storage.

The closest thing I’ve been able to find (other than JIT compilers, of course) are projects like ATLAS and FFTW where the code generation/algorithm selection is done a priori and never revisited. Maybe I’m the first one to entertain such fantasies, but I doubt it. Are you aware of other papers/projects that have investigated this idea?

Thanks for reading!