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Friday, April 12, 2019

Last-Minute GM: List Picks II

On the random list picks post, ruprecht asked:
For a list of 40 items wouldn’t it be easier to roll 1d4 and 1d10 and derive the line from two?
However, the larger the count, the greater the chance you will loose count, especially when you are counting a large group of small-size items. I was also concerned about items far down the list somehow not getting selected as often because of hidden dice bias. So, I split the count by starting from both ends of the list instead of just from the top.

However, there’s a non-dice-based method that people have used in non-RPG contexts: closing your eyes and pointing with your finger. I felt that raw method had the potential for bias as well, but there’s a way to combine dice rolls and random pointing to lessen the chance of bias: blindly pick a line at random, then roll a d4 + d10 (or another die) to determine direction to count and amount to count:

1-2: count up from that point
3-4: count down from that point

This process allows you to use any list, without knowing the exact number of items on the list or finding the right die to use. It’s perhaps a little better, though, if you still allow counting from the top or bottom of the list:
  1. count down from top
  2. count up from random point
  3. count down from random point
  4. count up from bottom
We can call this the “roll and point” method.

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