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-   -   Random Fiver Option? (http://www.fiveminute.net/forums/showthread.php?t=1362)

Nate the Great 03-19-2007 06:56 AM

Random Fiver Option?
 
Is this a good idea? Might be kinda cool, plus a way to encourage reading of the archives again.

PointyHairedJedi 03-19-2007 02:35 PM

Ye-es, it's an interesting idea. I think I could get behind that, and not just out of a sadisitic need to see Zeke work himself to death even more.

Nate the Great 03-20-2007 01:48 AM

I never said Zeke. There's got to be any number of these sort of housekeeping tasks that anyone with access to the source code can do to modify the site that don't need the Abridging Bird of the Galaxy.

Zeke 03-20-2007 04:45 AM

Ah, but the problem is that the source code is pretty much only comprehensible by me, and it's in desperate need of revision. What I <i>could</i> do, however, is put a "random" fiver link on the front page and change it with each update. I say "random" because I have no good way to randomize it myself, so I'd have to do something only semi-random. (I dunno, roll some dice?) It wouldn't be much work and we sure have enough archives to draw on, so I'll try it out when I have a minute.

Sa'ar Chasm 03-20-2007 05:48 AM

*perk* Someone say dice? *hauls out DMG* Given the number of ridiculously complex tables in this thing, there's bound to be a way to figure out how to randomise a fiver, given enough d6s.

Nate the Great 03-20-2007 06:13 AM

Wow. Dice notation. Never thought I'd see that on THIS site. Of course as a trading card game freak I understand d6s, it just caught me by surprise.

Uh, Z, if the source code is only understandable by you, what do we do when you become a member of the Q Continuum and feel that updates are beneath you? And if it's that incomprehensible, requiring a twelfth-level intellect (Go Brainiac 5!), then perhaps some Dilbert engineering is in order to tighten the code.

Oh, and do they use British spellings in Canada? I'd say "randomize," but that's another thread...

If you're going to start reposting old fivers in the News section, maybe we could include fivist commentary in the update, perhaps encourage the explanation of the more obscure references.

Zeke 03-20-2007 08:25 AM

I'm a fan of RPG dice too, as is the Pi Day girl. I recently helped her with an interesting little probability question: whether 1d8+1 beats 2d4+1 or not. There's a really neat way to look at it which gives the answer immediately; I'll post it here later. (I also shocked her with the information that if you hit the right comic store, you can get dice really cheap.)

Anyway, you've seen me use THAC0 in a <a href="../ds9/fiver.php?ep=inthepalemoonlight">fiver</a>, so dice shouldn't shock you too much.

We use some British spellings and some American spellings here. We put Us in words that don't really need them, for instance, but we prefer "ize" to "ise." There seems to be no guiding principle.

As for the code, it's not impenetrable, it would just take time to figure out. If I <i>were</i> ever to hand the site over to someone else, I would help with that process first.

Sa'ar Chasm 03-20-2007 04:48 PM

Quote:

I recently helped her with an interesting little probability question: whether 1d8+1 beats 2d4+1 or not.
Average of 1d8+1: 5.5 Average of 2d4+1: 6. As far as damage goes, I'll take 6d1 over 1d6 any day.

Now tell me where I'm wrong.

Gatac 03-20-2007 05:14 PM

Well, on 1d8+1, you have a 12.5% chance for everything from 2 to 9. On 2d4+1, it's...

6.25% 3
12.5% 4
18.75% 5
25% 6
18.75% 7
12.5% 8
6.25% 9

...so it's more bell-curved. That means your probability is skewed towards middle-of-the-road results, which means you get truly good and truly bad rolls less...but 2d4+1 also gives you a higher minimum result.

Depending on whether getting the maximum roll allows you to activate a special ability (like, the die "explodes", to use Spycraft language), it may be a better deal, but I'm reasonably sure that the 2d4+1 option is better on average.

Gatac

Zeke 03-20-2007 05:28 PM

Wait a minute. 2d4 is two separate d4s? It's not "roll a d4 and double it"? Crap, that changes everything!
Quote:

Originally Posted by Sa'ar Chasm (Post 72509)
Now tell me where I'm wrong.

You're not. Averages (a.k.a. expected value) are exactly the way to answer a question like this. But I found a particularly nice way to get why it works (the way I thought originally), and that's what I'll be posting later.

Gatac 03-20-2007 05:39 PM

1d4 - roll 1 four-sided die.
2d4 - roll 2 four-sided dice.
2d4b1 - roll 2 four-sided dice, take best result.

That way, for example, the "Roll 4 d6, drop lowest" method of generating an attribute can be rendered as 4d6b3.

As far as I know, there's no standard notation to indicate that you should double a result.

Gatac

Nate the Great 03-21-2007 01:17 AM

It seems a monster has been created. Now I don't wonder so much why I never got into D&D. My sister did, incidentally, at least for awhile. Why? Because she had a huge string of luck when they were rolling together her character's initial stats.

I was just thinking about the geek heirarchy http://www.brunching.com/images/geekchartbig.gif
and how these "geek majors" are usually different. By the way, someone's gotta work the term "Kirk is an ocelot" into a fiver." :)

PointyHairedJedi 03-21-2007 11:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Zeke (Post 72507)
I'm a fan of RPG dice too, as is the Pi Day girl. I recently helped her with an interesting little probability question: whether 1d8+1 beats 2d4+1 or not. There's a really neat way to look at it which gives the answer immediately; I'll post it here later. (I also shocked her with the information that if you hit the right comic store, you can get dice really cheap.)

Wow, it really is that serious. :P

What I think you should do is print out every single fiver, pin them to a wall, and then throw a dart while blindfolded to determine which one you link to. Of course, to make it totally random you need to get someone to shuffle them all around each time just before you throw the dart, and to reduce any possible bias even further you should alternate rooms in a randomly determined pattern. In fact, you should probably alternate buildings to be on the safe side.

ijdgaf 03-22-2007 02:20 AM

How about typing up all the material, cutting out each name, and drawing 'em out of a hat/bowl/emptied skull?

A new "random" fiver every week? Twice a week? Twice a soon?

mudshark 03-22-2007 03:03 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ijdgaf (Post 72518)
Twice a soon?

I like it -- it has a nice ring.

Nate the Great 03-22-2007 05:08 AM

Sounds like a good name for a rock band. "Now, live in concert: Twice a Soon!"

Well, if you're going to consolidate all of the fivers, I would think that a downloadable archive of just the fiver pages with a random option would be easier.

MaverickZer0 03-23-2007 07:14 AM

You didn't know you have to roll two separate d4s? For shame! ...Okay, ignore the tabletop gamer freak. *cough*

I would actually recommend percentage dice for this particular task. That way, you get a hundred shots out of each outcome. (00 = 100) Count up your choices when done that method and do a d20 or something out of 'em.

...Or just pick one yourself. That works too.

Nate the Great 03-23-2007 11:42 AM

Is it okay if I scream like a little girl now? Sheesh! Any particular reason why n no one's started a separate dice thread? I'm sure that Excel or something would have a random number generator if you just assigned a number (order of publication?) to each fiver.

mudshark 03-23-2007 03:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Infinite Improbability (Post 72535)
Is it okay if I scream like a little girl now?

http://i57.photobucket.com/albums/g2...nt/colonel.jpg

No, no -- stop it. There'll be none of that!

Zeke 03-23-2007 06:05 PM

Ah good, I <i>did</i> enable tables in posts. That'll make this easier.

Now then: consider the question of 1d8+1 versus 2*(1d4)+1. The former has eight equally likely outcomes (2 to 9), each with 1/8 probability. The latter has four possible outcomes (3, 5, 7, 9), each with 1/4 probability. Let's make a chart....
<table border=1 cellpadding=10 cellspacing=2>
<tr><td><b>1d8+1<br><br>2*(1d4)+1</b></td><td align=right>2&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;3<br><br>3</td><td align=right>4&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;5<br><br>5</td><td align=right>6&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;7<br><br>7</td><td align=right>8&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;9<br><br>9</td></tr>
</table>

Each "box" here has a 1/4 probability. Now, if one die is in a higher box than the other, it wins, guaranteed. There's a 3/4 chance of that. But if both dice land in the same box, the d4 will win half the time and tie the other half. Thus it has a clear advantage. (Specifically, its probability of winning is 1/2, compared to 3/8 that the d8 will win and 1/8 that they'll tie.)

Now, Sa'ar's method -- using expected values -- is very straightforward and it'll always tell you which die has the better chance of winning. For instance, by comparing expected values, we can instantly find that 5d6+3 (expected value 20.5) will beat 2d20-1 (expected value 20) in the long run. The drawback is that expected values don't tell you exactly what those odds of winning <i>are</i>. That's generally a tougher problem.

More on random fivers later.

Quote:

Wow, it really is that serious. :P
Assuming you mean serious pain, yes, yes it is.


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