Statistical breakdown

Discussion on game mastering Earthdawn. May contain spoilers; caution is recommended!
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Mataxes
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Re: Statistical breakdown

Post by Mataxes » Fri Dec 02, 2016 3:09 am

Going with the idea of "roll Attribute, use Skill Rank as a bonus to result" means you end up with a different distribution compared to the traditional Step system, with the differences being more dramatic the higher the modifier.

To provide an example, let's take a Step 6 Attribute and Rank 4 skill.

If you compare the two methods (Step 10 vs Step 6 +4), you end up with this:

http://anydice.com/program/9f83

(You can get a good graph if you select "graph" and "at least" on the tabs above the results.)

So there isn't a lot of difference. The "add skill rank" method is slightly better than the old method for lower DNs (about 3% on average, eyeballing the numbers from the table -- although there are certain DNs the new method cannot fail against that the original can). But once you get to DN 12, the edge shifts over to the traditional Step, where it has a notable advantage until you get to DN 22 or so (at which point you're looking at multiple bonus dice and the differences are largely statistical noise).

(If you're looking at the graph I pointed you to, the one higher up on the vertical is the better chance of success. The larger the gap, the bigger the difference.)

If we bump up to Rank 8 skill (same Attribute), we get Step 14 vs Step 6 +8: http://anydice.com/program/9f84

The differences start getting more significant. Again, lower DNs give the edge to the 'new' method, but once it shifts over the traditional method gives a bigger advantage. Also note the shape of the curves -- the traditional is a lot smoother, while the new method is more dramatic.

I don't really see that a "skills as straight bonus" method provides enough of an distinction to make it worthwhile. I think there are enough differences between skills and talents as it is (training time, karma spending, max rank, among others) that distinct resolution mechanics are needed for them.

(You also potentially get into the problems you have with single die + modifier systems -- like d20. That is, within certain ranges they work pretty well, but outside of that they are either very 'swingy', or the modifier dominates the result so much the die becomes insignificant. And outside of the Step 8 Attribute prodigies, most skilled folks will be using single dice. Having smaller die types and exploding results mitigates this somewhat, but... again, I don't see enough statistical difference to make it worthwhile.)

(But... well... you do you. At that point you're kind of straying into Savage Worlds territory, mechanics-wise. Not a bad system, but not necessarily suited to the kind of epic, high-magic fantasy that characterizes Earthdawn.)
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Mataxes
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Re: Statistical breakdown

Post by Mataxes » Fri Dec 02, 2016 3:13 am

By the way, I really like AnyDice. I have to refresh myself on the syntax every time I use it, but it's so handy.

I only wish it had been around back in the 90s when I was doing my (First Edition) Step System analysis. Would have saved me a lot of time.
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Slimcreeper
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Re: Statistical breakdown

Post by Slimcreeper » Fri Dec 02, 2016 9:04 pm

Thanks Mataxes! I knew I could count on you.

I do like the way the option makes a really sharp line between magical & non-magical in a player's mind. There don't seem to be as many little fiddly rule differences between skills and talents of the same name as I remember, though, which was one of the reasons behind this optional rule.

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Re: Statistical breakdown

Post by Mataxes » Sat Dec 03, 2016 12:54 am

Slimcreeper wrote:There don't seem to be as many little fiddly rule differences between skills and talents of the same name as I remember, though, which was one of the reasons behind this optional rule.
That's intentional. I wasn't particularly fond of them, as I felt that in most cases they didn't add anything but complexity -- and I was trying to rein that in with ED4. The 'return' on that complexity just wasn't worth it.

The focus of the game is on adepts and their magic. The skill system doesn't need to be exhaustive and detailed because it's not going to see the amount of gameplay focus that talents are.
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Telarus
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Re: Statistical breakdown

Post by Telarus » Mon Dec 19, 2016 2:09 am

I didn't want to start a whole new thread for this, and it is related to the math I'm running to get a handle on various Boarding/Mass Combat options for the Airship rules.

So, do we have updated stats for things like the Horror-scarred Madman, Ork Mercenary, Troll City Watch, etc, for 4th Edition? I wanted to get a sense of how those "mundane" challenges line up to Adepts, etc.

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Re: Statistical breakdown

Post by Mataxes » Mon Dec 19, 2016 3:38 am

Not specifically, but Morgan has done a couple of recent posts over on his blog providing example non-adepts with a range of challenges. He's had city watch and non-adept thief (pickpocket).
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Re: Statistical breakdown

Post by Telarus » Mon Dec 19, 2016 4:01 am

Ah, cool. The Living Barsaive - Haven material mentions Foul Folk and Falsemen, so I thought he Foul Folk stats might be around for 4e. I will use Falsemen as a reference. (Also, sent you a PM. :) )

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