Drunkens and Flagons

By Rutskarn
on Jun 4, 2016
Filed under:
Tabletop Games

Pretty soon in my GMinar series I’ll be talking about one-shot systems, which are so indispensable to the RPG community and its survival that it’s shocking how few tabletop gamers bother with them. For those with only a passing familiarity with roleplaying, let me sum up the medium’s history in a nutshell: old-school, traditional roleplaying games were made by and for 0ld-school, traditional nerds and are mirrors of the sorts of things that get old-school traditional nerds’ gears turning. Most are built to simulate a particular setting to a satisfying, comprehensive, and tactically complex level of fidelity. These rules tend to intersect with each other all the way down; if you start making a character for one of these games while grandma’s defrosting the turkey, you might just be ready to play by dinnertime, and that character’s only going to be making use of a small portion of the rules you’ll eventually require. Plenty of people did and do make characters in these systems that are only intended to be used once, but considering the amount of work–and the amount of useless information you have to establish about a very short-lived character–it always feels lavish and inefficient.

But these days, players have a lot of options. Among the least simulationist, complex games fall what I call one-shot systems. The hallmark of a one-shot system is that it’s designed for solitary, self-contained stories that begin and end in one comfortable sitting. Ideally these games can be explained to players, set up, and run in the same amount of time it takes to explain the basics of a more complicated RPG. Such games are great for parties, for getting people into roleplaying games, and for trying new things without committing to something potentially tedious.

I’ve devised one such one-shot game called Drunkens and Flagons. The game is flashy, casual, and relatively simple; my rules explanation is about 800 words long and pretty comprehensive. Since I’m mostly going to be talking about more complicated, long-term games in my GMinar series, I thought this might serve as a useful point of comparison.

Without further ado:

DRUNKENS AND FLAGONS

Adventurers go to taverns hoping to get job offers. What do you do when the urgent, deadly, lucrative quest of a lifetime comes along right at closing time—by which time your rag-tag party, the only one still in the tavern, is irresponsibly drunk? I’ll tell you what you do– you do your best and you hope someone else gets stuck with the repair bills.

DICE

Whenever the rules say to Roll, roll four (4) normal six-sided dice.

Every die that comes up [1] or [2] is worth -1.

Every die that comes up [3] or [4] is worth nothing.

Every die that comes up [5] or [6] is worth +1.

Add the worth of all four dice together. Your result will be between -4 and +4. That’s what you’ve Rolled.

MAKING A CHARACTER

Everyone but the GM needs a character. First, Roll for your race.

A result of…

-4…means you’re an ogre.

-3…means you’re an orc.

-2…means you’re a gnome.

-1…means you’re a dwarf.

0…means you’re a human.

1…means you’re an elf.

2…means you’re a halfling.

3…means you’re a half-elf.

4…means you’re a faerie.

 

Second, Roll your class.

-4…means you’re a paladin.

-3…means you’re a druid.

-2…means you’re a ranger.

-1…means you’re a priest.

0…means you’re a fighter.

1…means you’re a thief.

2…means you’re a mage.

3…means you’re a bard.

4…means you’re an assassin.

 

What do your race and class mean? Technically, they mean nothing—but coming up with a haphazard and possibly silly combo is part of the game. Practically speaking, your race and class serve as your inspiration.

The next part is meaningful: as a D&F character, you get four Talents which make up 100% of your ability. Each Talent has a number associated with it, 1 through 4. Your 1 Talent is pretty weak—it’s something you’re okay at. Your Talents get progressively more impressive until your 4 Talent, which is something you’re actually pretty dang-skippy good at.

Your Talents can be whatever you want. Specific is good. Silly is good. Some Talents that have worked really well include:

Self-defenestration

-Involuntary surgery

-Mage hand out of nowhere!

-Proselytize

-Death metal

-Pranks

Finally, mark out six boxes in a row on your character sheet. These are Luck Boxes 1-6. You’ll need ’em.

HOW THE GAME WORKS

You’ll want to do something, probably something stupid or dangerous. You can attempt absolutely anything you want, at any time. Even if it’s stupid. Especially if it’s stupid. And you do that by announcing it to the GM:

PLAYER: “I’m going to try to cast the spell I find in the wizard’s spellbook.”

GM: “I thought you said you’re a dwarf fighter?”

PLAYER: “Eh.”

The GM may want to use the rules to see if you succeed or fail. The GM therefore sets a difficult number between 1 and Screw You.

GM: “This is dark forbidden magic, so the difficulty’s gonna be 5.”

PLAYER: “Oookay.”

At this point, the player has exactly one chance to convince the GM that they have a relevant Talent. If the GM agrees, the player adds the Talent’s number as a bonus to their roll.

PLAYER: “Well, this is basically a Stupid Party Trick, right? That’s my 3 Talent.”

GM: “That is super offensive to wizards. I like it.”

PLAYER: “Woohoo!”

Finally, the player Rolls. If applicable, the Talent is added to the result.

PLAYER: “I got a [1], a [2], a [2], and a [4]. Worth -1, -1, -1, and 0, respectively. That means I rolled a -3, and when I add my Talent of 3, I get a result of…zero. Whoops.”

If the player had hit the Difficulty or exceeded it, then it would have worked exactly as intended. As it is, the player fell short—five short. Whenever the player fails the roll, they get to pick one of three penalties.

Whoops!

The character screwed up, plain and simple, and made their situation much worse.

The GM takes the difference between what the player needed to get and what the player actually got and adds it to a counter. As the counter gets higher, more and more disasters pile onto the party, and when it reaches 4 times the number of players the quest fails catastrophically.

PLAYER: “What’s the counter at?”

GM: “Three.”

PLAYER: “Well, I missed the Difficult by 5, so…okay, I guess add 5. There’s three of us playing, so we can go as high as 12 before we lose, right?”

GM: (raises counter to 8) “Dark spirits emerge from the book in droves. They rush into the timbers of the tower, which start to smolder…”

Whee!

The Gods love a fool. Things worked out through a stroke of unlikely fortune—and with a bit of slapstick agony.

The player takes the difference between what they needed to get and what they got. If they’ve got an empty Luck Box of that number, they can fill it in to technically succeed at what they were trying to do. If that box is already filled in, they can fill in the next highest empty Luck Box to the same effect. If they can’t fill in the next highest empty Luck Box, because it doesn’t exist, they can’t pick this option.

PLAYER: “I missed the difficulty by 5? Okay, I’ll suck it up. My 5 Box is full, so I’ll fill up my 6.

GM: “Well, then, I guess you successfully cast the demon-summoning ritual.”

PLAYER: “Outstanding.”

Wait!

You’re just not trying hard enough. Hand someone your ale and give it a real go.

You get to re-Roll all of your dice. Still fail? Well, your character straight-up dies. On the bright side, this adds nothing to the Whoops! counter.

PLAYER: “I’ll reroll. So that’s…[1], [4], [5], [5]. Total of +1, which, adding my Talent, means…I still don’t make it. Uh-oh.

GM: (searches thesaurus for exciting synonyms for ‘explodes’)

Play continues until the quest has concluded, one way or the other. And it’s usually the other. Let me know how your group does.

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is a writer, author, wordsmith, text producer, article deviser, prose architect, and accredited language-talker. If you enjoy his contributions to this site you could always back his Patreon.

2020201373 comments? This post wasn't even all that interesting.

From the Archives:

  1. MichaelGC says:

    Crivens! I’m a gnome priest.

    talents
    -Playin’ the mousepipes
    -Distillin’ special ship liniment
    -Snafflin’ coobeasties
    -Snafflin’ shipbeasties

  2. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Huh,I got an orc bard.Ok then.Talents that fit that would be:
    1. Drunken brawling
    2. Moonshine brewing
    3. Testicle decorating &
    4. Throat singing

    So,we start in a tavern,eh?Well then,Ill audition for entertainment by jumping onto the bar(0+0),throat singing the ballad of Ugnort Skullkliever(-2+4),and swinging my bulging painted testicles in front of the bartender(2+3).

    Did I get the job?

  3. Josh says:

    Looks like a really stripped down version of FATE. Cool.

    If you have them you can use FATE dice, which are 6-siders with 2 “+”, 2 “-” and 2 blank faces.

    • King Marth says:

      Ahh, 4dF. While not relevant for the intended audience, my preferred way to roll 4dF with d6’s is to roll 3d6 and take the ability modifier ((score – 10)/2, round down towards -infinity). Slightly narrower distribution (1/216 of each 4 result rather than 1/81), but being able to simply add the numbers and do some cached math wins out for me.

      If you have dice with pips to sacrifice, the other method is to take a marker and draw equals signs over the 6 and 4, draw a minus line across 2 and 3, then a plus sign on the 5 and 1. Make your own fate dice!

    • Lachlan the Mad says:

      I would pull out the Betrayal at House on the Hill dice (which have 0, 0, 1, 1, 2, 2 faces) and adjust the numbers slightly (e.g. adding 4 to all of the race/class numbers given here)

  4. Talents. -1, 0, +2. I know a FATE hack when I see it!

    Though this would certainly be amusing and I’m not otherwise a fan of FATE-based systems.

  5. Felblood says:

    Orc Bard

    Talents:
    Frightening Small Children
    Death Metal
    Skald Hobbies
    Quaffing

  6. KingJosh says:

    Just curious: Is the version of Drunkens and Flagons available through your Patreon the same as this? Or, is that version expanded in some way? Assuming there is a Drunkens and Flagons: Deluxe Expanded Edition out there, is it available through any means other than you Patreon? (“Recurring monthly payments” doesn’t work with my budget reliably enough. I’d gladly do a one-time payment to support you, and maybe get a PDF of this game, though!)

    • KingJosh says:

      Ok, so I broke down and joined the Patreon. Won’t be able to keep it up forever, but I’ll stick around for a while.

      The Drunkens and Flagons PDF available through the Patreon (released in April of 2015) is expanded! There are a few minor mechanical differences, but mainly it just has more advice, examples, and “flavoring.” (Examples for setting the difficulty, illustrations for the dice and dice rolls, brief GM advice for setting and tone.) It’s a good 4 pages of content. 6, if you cout the cover and title page!

      EDIT: There are a few other mini-RPGs floating around on there. Including a post-apocalyptic RPG based on FATE (which is the system Drunkens and Flagons seems to be based on), a Space Jam-themed RPG, and a fanfic-authors-collaborating-and-competing RPG called Mary Sue.

      http://www.patreon.com/rutskarn

      • Rutskarn says:

        While I’m always happy to get Patreon backers, and I’m super grateful you linked it, I’d like to clarify a few things:

        1. Technically, this is the most recent version of D&F. The 2015 edition is the last “stable” version of the game–this one’s developed from a few playtests and a little experimental.

        2. The Mary Sue RPG doesn’t exist on my Patreon, as far as I can remember. It’s a pretty straightforward game, though–I really ought to add it at some point.

        3. The Space Jam RPG is ‘real,’ but it’s a surreal joke more than anything. It was an extra–not promised content, just something I threw together for fun–and it probably shouldn’t be played. Although I’d *love* to see someone earnestly try…

        • KingJosh says:

          It’s just a 1-page .txt file, but I downloaded Mary Sue from your Patreon. I think it was the same post that had Space Jam, but I might be wrong. I scrolled through quite a few backers-only posts looking for stuff.

          Incidentally, while I love your fiction, I looooove a good, quick, experimental RPG. You post whatever you wanna post, but I’d certainly be in for more RPGs, if ya happen to have any such things laying around!

  7. Daemian Lucifer says:

    This is totally off topic,but since this is the newest post:
    Shame,did something happen to the spam filter?Because Im seeing waaaay more spam comments in the rss feed than before.Like in the last 10 posts,3 of them are spam.

    Though to be fair,that one that claimed it got here when searching for pregnancy was funny.Especially since it was not posted in the “how is babby formed” entry.

    • MichaelGC says:

      My email account which gets spam has been getting about 5 times as much as normal for the past week or so. I don’t know enough about these things to know whether the two might be connected – presumably spamming emails is procedurally very different to spamming comments – but I certainly wonder if they might be.

  8. The Rocketeer says:

    Human Thief

    Talents:
    Landing
    Shrieking
    Small Engine Repair
    Bitter Recriminations

  9. Echo Tango says:

    Yomir Strangefoot, Elf Priest!

    4 Brainw…I mean Totally Normal Proselytizing!
    3 Totally Not Forgery Of Documents
    2 Sleight Of Hand
    1 Lockpicking For Definitely Totally Legal Reasons

    • krellen says:

      I am also an Elf Priest, but I’m going to take my talents a different way:

      4 Looking Good
      3 Making You Look Good
      2 Being Superior
      1 Actual Holy Stuff

      • Ramsus says:

        Another Elf Priest here, I will name him…. Preist Aleffff.

        4 Removing Clothes
        3 Praying to the wrong god because he forgot which one’s his
        2 Party Funtime Necromancy
        1 Pretending not to see peasants

        • MichaelGC says:

          It’s like a freaking Elf Priest jamboroo around here.

        • Decius says:

          Removing his own clothes, or clothes in general?

          • Felblood says:

            I think it’s best to keep your talents open ended. It’s not cheezy because it encourages wacky funtimes if you actually find an excuse to use them.

            • Nixitur says:

              I’m not certain on this. On the one hand, Rutskarn said “specific is good” when it comes to talents, but on the other hand, you want to give your players some room to use their talents in stupid, unforeseen ways.
              Hell, even Rutskarn’s example of using a magic book counting as a “Stupid Party Trick” doesn’t work if you insist on making it specific. You also want to give your players some wiggle room to convince the GM that their talent is applicable.
              So, I think it should be specific enough to be funny, but vague enough to allow it to be used in stupidly dangerous ways. Which “Removing clothes” falls under, in my opinion.

              • Daemian Lucifer says:

                you want to give your players some room to use their talents in stupid, unforeseen ways.

                A creative player will be able to do it anyway:
                “I come up to the minotaur and remove my clothes so quickly that the rush of air and flash of colors staggers him.I roll (-1,+1,+1,0),and with my bonus of 4,thats a 5.YES!”

                • Felblood says:

                  I think specificity is recommended in service of the requirement that Talents should be silly.

                  A thief with a talent for “Stealing” is generic. A thief with a talent for “Stealing Underwear” s going to have to come up with some contorted logic to steal anything useful, unless the GM throws him a bone and sends him on a quest for the Panties of Power.

  10. Cybron says:

    This looks like as good a reason to break out my dust-gathering fudge dice as any.

    Checking a luck box doesn’t advance the whoops counter, right?

    • King Marth says:

      Correct, by my reading. Luck lets you absorb failures to a degree, but the more you use it the more likely you’ll need to waste some of its potential (using a higher-value box).

      I am amused by how there are two loss conditions (well, technically just one via Whoops!, though the last character dying still presumably ends the game) and no win condition.

  11. Neko says:

    Gogar Groknag, Dwarf Priest.

    I specialise in Charity, Hymns, Self-Flagellation, and the thing I’m best at is Humility.

  12. Cuthalion says:

    This looks great. We will be missing a player this week, so I’m trying to use that as an excuse to play this instead. :P

  13. Alan says:

    If mapping 1-2=-1, 3-4=0, 5-6=+1 bugs you, a Sharpie and some normal dice can easily be turned into proper Fudge dice (which is what these are). https://rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/39/what-can-i-use-in-place-of-fudge-dice

    (Or find your local Fudge/Fate fan; we’ll have a fistful of custom manufactured ones kicking around. :-) )

  14. Nixitur says:

    traditional roleplaying games were made by and for 0ld-school, traditional nerds

    For zerold-school nerds? (How does that even happen?)

    Also, I’m an orc mage.
    Talents are…
    1. Punching small animals
    2. Jazz dance
    3. Summoning unusual food
    4. Setting myself on fire

    I’d love to play this with my RPG group one day, but I fear that for a few of them, power-gaming might be too ingrained.
    Still, even if it flops, it’s not like it should take too long to play.

  15. Bespectacled Gentleman says:

    Rupert Boberto Wizardpants III, halfling fighter!

    Talents:
    1 Bee mastery
    2 Flensing
    3 Pretending to be a wizard because of his name
    4 Outlandish hats

  16. Arstan says:

    Brudmal Greatgrog, Dwarf Ranger

    1 Horsefalling
    2 Using a longbow as a jumppole
    3 Finding alchohol from 15 km radius with sence of smell
    4 Can smoke any kind of plant any size with his pipe

    • Nixitur says:

      Holy shit, that could potentially be extremely good.
      I just imagine the party encountering some giant tree monster and the dwarf just going “Imma smoke it.”

      • Arstan says:

        Thanks! Actually, originally i thought a spell for a Rastafari priest, that transforms any plants in radius to cannabis-equvalent that could be smoked)))). But since I got a dwarf ranger, i remade that into something more hilarious and useful)))

  17. SyrusRayne says:

    I am… A dwarf ranger.

    Talents:
    1- Reverse Exorcisms
    2- Beardjazzling
    3- Frowning Stoically
    4- Drunken Trick Shots

  18. Trent B says:

    I’m not sure that old school games have long character creation systems. after ad&d, yes, but the original proper oldschool games have like 5 minute creation, if that.

  19. Akri says:

    Father Clemens, Human Priest

    4 Making people feel guilty
    3 Collecting tithes
    2 Deflecting blame
    1 Burning heresy

    • kdansky says:

      Elf Priest

      4 blasphemy
      3 shouting invocations of devine wrath (mostly shouting)
      2 disillusioned sarcasm
      1 questionable drinking habits

      I think my concept is rather far from your.

  20. lucky7 says:

    Jan, son of Jan, son of Hysing, son of Jan
    Half-Elf Mage

    4-Chanting in faux-Latin
    3-Squandering inherited wealth
    2-Ear hygiene
    1-Maintaining a smug sense of self-superiority

  21. Syal says:

    Orc Thief.

    Talents:

    1. Nabbing things
    2. Grabbing things
    3. Stabbing things
    4. Scabbing things

  22. Yummychickenblue says:

    Hi my name is Dave I’m your standard human mage from Accounting. My talents include a wide array of useful skills like:

    1: Magically getting That Report in on time
    2: Always taking exactly 6 minutes 59 seconds in the bathroom
    3: Convincing people to quit their day job
    4: Scoring mediocre deals saving the party money

    I’m really excited and passionate about this position as an and I hope you pick me

  23. dva13 says:

    Ölli “Jupiter” Vo-Vo
    Halfling Thief
    1 = I Like It Loud
    2 = Glam metal
    3 = Awake for a week
    4 = Diary study

  24. Lachlan the Mad says:

    HELLS YEAH DWARF ASSASSIN BABY

    Vinny Hammerknees

    1: Concealed weaponry
    2: Immunity to iocane powder
    3: Kneecapping
    4: “Nice place you got here, mate, would be a real shame if it were to catch fire, if you get my drift.”

  25. TrishEM says:

    Dwarf priest!
    1. Find shiny rocks
    2. Bore unbelievers into stupor
    3. Identify booze
    4. Ornamental beard-braiding

  26. Alderman says:

    Dapplegrips Swivelflort, Gnome Thief
    – Cardial Larceny
    – Winking
    – Chandelier Action
    – Suave One-Liner

  27. Heather B says:

    I am all about this. I seriously want to wake my housemates up and blackmail them into skipping work to play right now
    First Rollup:
    Jasper Sparklestone, the fanciest Dwarf Mage you ever saw
    Talents:
    1- Bedazzling (not the spell; the stapling shiny things onto stuff)
    2- Performative Androgyny
    3- Balancing stuff on my head
    4- Somnarcanism (sleep-casting)

  28. djw says:

    Legandass, elf ranger.

    1 Pose dramatically with bow
    2 Sashay across room
    3 Flirt with anything while drunk
    4 Elven walk of shame

  29. Florian the Mediocre says:

    Human Thief!

    1: Running away in an undignified manner
    2: Swearing
    3: Stealing unmentionables
    4: Piano Forte

  30. Khizan says:

    Ogre Thief

    4: Cat Burglar
    3: Pickpocket
    2: Smooth Talking
    1: Forgery

    Standard thief skills, but on an ogre everybody would expect to be a headbuster, so that you end up with a 10 foot tall ogre that weighs 600+ pounds trying to go all Catherine Zeta-Jones through laser beams.

    I prefer my silliness to come from things like that, as opposed to a fighter that specialises in pool toys.

    • Lachlan the Mad says:

      See, here’s how I’d spec out an Ogre Thief:

      1. Pickpocketing
      2. Hiding in bushes
      3. Making dramatic exits mid-conversation
      4. WITH CATLIKE TREAD, UPON OUR PREY WE STEAL

    • Felblood says:

      I could get behind cat burglar and even smooth talking, but I feel like pickpocket and forgery are a little too practical, and need a little more specificity. The idea that the party succeeds at all should only be feasible through the kind of logic that a Drunkard Master finds at the bottom of a flagon.

      The fact that your character exists can be funny, but his talents need be funny by themselves, becasue they are the means by which he interacts with the world and the other players. The joke of an Ogre Thief who is actually subtle, cunning, and effective is good , but it’s still only funny once, and you need something that will procedurally generate new jokes as the entire adventure unravels. In a way, this character sheet is already the same joke four times.

      I would twist the same four talents thusly:

      4. Hide in Plain Sight (It’ll be funny becasue it’ll usually still work, but you can use it in more inappropriate ways.)
      3. Kleptomania (Not only are you good at stealing things, now you have to.)
      2. Mail Fraud (Same basic idea, but now you’ll need to have silly argument every time you use it. Also, you’re probably the only person in the party who can prove he’s literate.)
      1. Elaborate Secret Identity as a Gnomish Enchanter (It’ll be funny because it’ll rarely work, but also becasue even when you fail and the resulting Whoops!es will be silly.)

    • krellen says:

      According to the suppliment that makes playable monsters in second edition DnD, Minotaurs get a bonus to the Hide and Move Silently thief skills. This started a running gag among my friends for how this works:

      Minotaur creeps along, stomping and huffing. Guard turns and notices him. Minotaur glares at the guard. “YOU DON’T SEE ME.” Guard nods, returns to his business.

  31. Gnoll Queen says:

    Devour the Unworthy: Ogre Priest

    1. “””””Expert””””” debate skills.
    2. I’m going to eat it.
    3. Every in my way mush be crushed. windows doors walls mountains.
    4. Scare Em Straight

  32. Abnaxis says:

    So reading about this rule-set brought a particular player from my tabletop gaming group to mind.

    Basically, the best way I can describe this player, is that she is a “social gamer.” She’s not big on numbers-crunching, doesn’t have a head for rules, and doesn’t really go for improvisation or role-playing. Rules-heavy games like Pathfinder and rule-light games like Feng Shui lead to roughly equal quantities of awkward moments when it comes time for “what the heck do I do now?” Broadly speaking, she’s there for a pleasant afternoon hanging out with close friends who are all gamers.

    By my reckoning, D&F would be a problem for this kind of player once you get into the “make your own rules” territory of the game. Is there a way to get around that issue, or is it not worth trying? More broadly speaking, how do you make sure a player like this is engaged and has fun around the table? I mean, they’re there for the people, so a pre-gen character with a cheat sheet might be good enough, but it seems like there should be a better way to make the game itself fun for everyone.

    • Felblood says:

      Keep a list of suggested talents that have worked out well in the past, and encourage her to use that, if she’s drawing a blank. The one in the game document above is a good place to start, but you’ll want to expand it with things relevant to her interests.

      What does she talk about when the conversation goes off topic? Try to suggest talents that have something to do with that. This way the character will be uniquely hers, even though she had help, and the talents are more likely to inspire her.

      If there’s a particular player she’s close with, try to recruit them as a mentor for your creatively challenged person. Once she gets some practice, I think you’ll find it easier to get her rolling.

  33. crossbrainedfool says:

    Alfred Kenesis, Dwarf Mage

    1- Explosions of Pomposity
    2 – Explosions of weasels
    3 – Explosions of mint
    4 – Yodeling (with explosions)

  34. wumpus says:

    …I’m pretty sure there’s something wrong with my dice rolling app – 7 of the first 8 rolls were 5 or 6. (Just one more and I was an assassin!) Thus:

    Egbert Brownblossom, faerie mage
    1: gardening
    2: explosives
    3: Esperanto
    4: karaoke

    I see real potential here. (For what? That’s a good question…)

    • Ninety-Three says:

      The odds of at least 7/8 dice coming up as just two numbers are almost 4%. Not super likely, but hardly “My roller is broken” percentages.

      People without programming experience are generally too quick to assume “This random generator is broken”. Random number generators are so simple that it’s incredibly difficult to accidentally make one that exhibits substantially non-random behaviour.

      • wumpus says:

        And yet, the one that ADI put into the Blackfin used to go odd, even, odd, even…

        (So, yeah, one, I have tons of programming experience, and, two, random number generators are not at all easy to make, though they are pretty easy to grab off the shelf.)

      • Abnaxis says:

        Granted, I’m doing this on my phone, but when I run the same numbers I get 0.26%, which actually is pretty small though still not impossible.

        My calculation is (1/3)^8+8*(1/3)^7*(2/3). Technically that’s seven or more fives/sixes, but that seemed more appropriate in this case.

        • wumpus says:

          The probability of getting 7 straight rolls of 5 or 6 on a six sided die should just be (1/3)^7, which by my calculation is .046%. (Yes, I’m ignoring the eighth roll, as what was remarkable at the time was the string of 5/6 rolls – they were done serially – not the fact that it ended.)

          I’ve only used this app a little bit, and I’d already seen it perform correctly, but after watching it get 5 5/6 rolls in a row (.4%), I started to wonder if it was ‘stuck’ in some way. It is interesting, BTW, to look at the reviews of the various dice rolling apps – many have fairly severe flaws related to functionality, but most seem almost entirely preoccupied with the cosmetic issue of how the dice look when they roll.

          • Ninety-Three says:

            You’re testing the wrong thing. You would have thought it was just as odd if you got a 1, then seven 5s and 6s as if it were seven 5s and 6s, then a 1. Secondly, it could have been all 4s and 5s, or all 1s and 6s, or any other two numbers, and that would look just as odd. Abanaxis made this mistake as well, only looking for 5s and 6s.

            I didn’t realize you were talking about an unbroken streak, so granting that the proper formulation is “What are the odds of getting a 7-roll streak on 8 rolls, where all the dice come up only two numbers?” By Monte Carlo method, 10,000,000 samples, the odds come out at 1.1%.

            • wumpus says:

              Uh, with due respect, I’m not testing the wrong thing, you are. It was odd to me precisely because it was an unbroken streak that started from this opening of the app. I thought it was hung or alternating back and forth or something. If the first had been something other than 5/6, I wouldn’t have thought anything was particularly broken, just that it was lucky to get that many in a row.

              It is true that it could’ve been any two numbers, though, so the probability should be bounded by 1 x 1 x (1/3)^5 = 0.4%. (I’m not interested enough in exactitude to break out my stats book.)

              At this point, though, I really have to wonder why you consider it so important to convince me that I was wrong to think that something fairly unlikely was happening? Or are you just trying to prove your superior knowledge of programming and probability? (‘Cause good luck with that if you have to go to a Monte Carlo simulation…)

              • Ninety-Three says:

                So you saw a streak of seven rolls, then got a 1, and you though something might be wrong, but “1 followed by streak of seven” would not look equally wrong? That’s an… odd criterion.

                For my part, I have to wonder why you think I consider it so important. And I used Monte Carlo because the odds for “Streak of 7 in 8 has <=2 unique numbers" are "1-(1-{[Sum from n=0 to n=5][1*(1/6)^(5-n)*5/6*(1/3)^n] + 1*(1/6)^6})^2-{[Sum from n=0 to n=6][1*(1/6)^(6-n)*5/6*(1/3)^n] + 1*(1/6)^7}", and it's faster to type out a ten line Monte Carlo sim than it is to expand that mess and type it into a calculator.

  35. Atlas Ottoman says:

    I ran this over the weekend with my gaming group. I used these rules and then a free adventure module that I found online.

    All in all it was great. The group enjoyed it. I enjoyed it. It was a lot of fun all around. I think it helped though that all the players are experienced.

    It was a lot of fun watching the group solve problems in completely unexpected ways, often managing to further complicate the situation and make things worse. (Summoning a demon to deal with a few skeletons for example)

    The boss fight at the end was a masterpiece.
    Our Priest storms into the ritual chamber and starts making large noises and pretending to be a wizard in order to chant ever so slightly wrong and disrupt the ritual, convincing all the cultists to join in.
    Our Wizard distracts the group by looking good performs a magic trick waving a cape and making the sacrificial child disappear.
    Our other priest who has been bathing in blood, incites fanaticism and convinces the boss cultist that she is on his side then stabs him in the back.
    Our ranger invokes bee mastery to fill the cultists mouths with bees and then gift wraps the stabbed boss cultist rendering him unable to move.
    Finally our warrior performs beard dressing platting the boss cultists beard and moustache together so he can no longer chant.

    The highlight of the night for me was when the party returned to the tavern to collect their reward and responded to the slightly gobsmacked quest giver.

    “You think that was good? You should see us when we’re sober!”

    And I think that’s the beauty of this system. There’s something about beating up everything with silly drunken antics that makes you feel powerful!

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