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Saturday, March 23, 2013

Evocative Mood Table

While working on the eZine version of the random terrain generation rules, I made this table, which may seem vaguely familiar:

1 Unholy! Cursed, dangerous in the supernatural sense.
2 Sinister! Appears the same as Foul, but any tales that local people tell aren't just rumors. People have died here.
3-5 Foul. There are unpleasant rumors about this place, and it gives off a bad vibe.
6-8 Normal. It's just a landmark, as far as anyone knows.
9-11 Pleasant. Local people may be proud or fascinated with it.
12 Blessed. Rumored to have special power, revered by the locals.
13+ Enchanted! Obvious display of magic or holiness. Possibly dangerous, if profaned.

This table is meant to set the "mood" for a landmark, although I'm also going to adapt it to the new weather rules. You may recognize that it's more or less the standard reaction roll table, except I'm using d4+d8 instead of 2d6.

Why? Because I'm rolling d6s simultaneously in many cases, so I need to distinguish the evocative mood (reaction) roll from other stuff. Also, using two different dice sizes instead of two dice of matching sizes means I can use one die for double duty. For example, I can roll d8+d4 for the weather's "mood", but also use the d4 as a delay: the weather is changing towards the new mood, and the change will be complete in 1 to 4 hours.

The d4+d8 combo isn't too bad a replacement for 2d6. The extreme ends are still less likely, but the middle results all have equal probability, instead of 7 being more likely than 6 or 8.


  1. Unless I'm wrong (which is always a possibility), aren't the probabilities for the extreme ends greater with d4+d8? I think you're right about 6-8 being all the same (as are 5 and 9).

    1. Greater than what?

      I haven't tried to write any scripts to calculate the probabilities in an absolute sense. I think I figured out the "curve" though. 2d6 is a straight diagonal up and a diagonal down. d4+d8 is straight on both ends, but the middle is a plateau.

    2. I think we're saying the same things... My sleep-addled brain just misread your original post. You said "the extreme ends are still less likely" obviously meaning they "continue to be" less likely (than the middle). But i read it as "even more" less likely (than 2d6). Basically, i can't read.

      But i can do math! The probabilities for d4+d8, should you be curious are:

      2 = 1 in 32, 3 = 2 in 32, 4 = 3 in 32, 5 to 9 = 4 in 32 (each), 10 = 3 in 32, 11 = 2 in 32, 12 = 1 in 32

      The curve is a lot flatter than 2d6. Which i like a lot - more interesting things occur.

      So sorry for the confusion (and the long-winded response). I actually love this, and will be using it...

    3. Really interesting observation there about the subtle difference between d4+d8 and 2d6. I think I'll try out d4d8 in my own tables; looks to give much more diverse results without fussing over the specific of any ranges.

      By the way, no need to suss out scripts. Have you used anydice? Will do most of those calculations for you. For instance: http://anydice.com/program/1ffa

    4. @Austin: I may have tried Anydice at one point. I know I tried Wolfram Alpha, but that sometimes has difficulty giving the precise answer you are looking for.

    5. Yeah, Wolfram is somewhat limited for that stuff. I'd really give anydice a look. It's totally free, and can handle even insanely complex scripts. For instance, check out this one I used to generate heights and weights for seven fantasy races (graph view or risk your sanity): http://anydice.com/program/1ffe

  2. Double-duty is a neat trick, but whatever weather a "2" calls for will always arrive in an hour. And a "12", four hours.

    1. I think it's reasonable. The nastiest weather wouldn't leave you much time to prepare, although you still have a chance. Great weather takes a while.

  3. Double-duty is a neat trick, but whatever weather a "2" calls for will always arrive in an hour. And a "12", four hours.

  4. How can you get a result of "1" with two dices?

    1. Situations where there are modifiers... like, in the rules I was writing yesterday, I suggested that landmarks on the Isles of the Blessed might have a +2 on the roll: no Unholy or Sinister landmarks, Foul landmarks would be rare, more than half of all the landmarks would be Pleasant or better.