Taedium Edax Rerum

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Posts Tagged ‘dice’


Posted by Doug on February 14, 2009

The Japanese word for a die or dice is saikoro.  The reason I bring this up I will get to shortly.

Needless to say, as an individual who has an interest in traditional roleplaying games (like Dungeons & Dragons), I have a growing collection of dice—not merely the six-sided variety that most people are familiar with, but four-, eight-, ten-, twelve-, and twenty-sided, which are used in the TRPGs for a variety of different tasks (which I will not elaborate upon in this post).

I found me a set of five ten-sided dice, with their sides labeled いち, に, さん, し, ご, ろく, しち, はち, きゅう, and じゅう—one through ten in Japanese, written in hiragana.

Japanese Dice

As you can clearly see, they’re a little bigger than most other d10s, and about half again as heavy, but they have a respectable roll, and the hiragana are easily readable…well, they would be readable if I could, you know, read Japanese.  What I mean is that the writing can be clearly seen.  In any case, I don’t see them serving any practical use.  I just bought them because I thought they were cool.

What would be cooler would be a d20, imperial red, with 1 through 20 written in white kanji…to Amazon I go!

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A d20 Versus the Chi Squared Test

Posted by Doug on February 10, 2009

So I was trawling through the official Dungeons & Dragons forums, and came across one thread where a DM claimed that he had a player who had rolled a 20 on a twenty-sided die a total of twenty-three times in a row.  Of course, given that the odds of this occuring are 838,860,800,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 to 1, the consensus of the community seems to be that either the “lucky” player is cheating, or that the DM is full of it.

Of course, the player may not be consciously cheating, and the DM may not be deliberately lying, but just consider: assume that the odds of a player cheating (consciously or not) are 1 in 1000 (generous) and the odds of a poster in a forum repeating nonfactual information (consciously or not) are also 1 in 1000 (veeeeeerrrrrry generous).  This means that either a cheating player or a nontruthful poster are 838,860,800,000,000,000,000,000,000 times more likely than a non-cheating player actually rolling twenty-three 20s in a row.

The other forum-goers who decided to chime in brought up loaded dice (a possibility that the DM vehemently rejected), and this got me to thinking about my own dice: were they fair?  Does, for example, my green-and-white Chessex d20 have exactly the same chance of landing on any one of its twenty faces?

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Posted in Games, Mathematics, Science, Traditional RPGs | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »