While scouting Actual Play write-ups, I have encountered a reference for an interesting dice-rolling mechanic.

For a test, players roll a pool (3-7) of d10 (but 0..9 not 1..10). The value coming out the most (and the highest one among these) becomes the result's ones digit. The number of dice showing that value: it's tens digit. So (1, 3, 5, 5, 5, 7, 7) results in 35 (three fives).

(can't find a RAW quote, my own interpretation of someone else's own interpretation)

I instantly wanted to see how the results distribution curve would look like. My Anydice code for that:

DICE: {0..9}

function: weapon ROLL:s {
  NUM: [maximum of ROLL]

  SUM: 10 + NUM

  loop I over DICE{
    B: [count I in ROLL]
    I_ROLL: 10*B + I
    if B > 0 & I_ROLL >= SUM {
      SUM: I_ROLL 
  result: SUM

N: 4
output [weapon NdDICE] named "Weapon of the Gods [N]D10"

My problem is: the distribution shows different probability percentages for results that I thought should come out the same. For example, for N = 4 (rolling 4d10), it shows 41 (four ones) will come out 0.57% of the time, while 45(four fives) - 0.05%.

What is wrong with my Anydice code, or, conversely, with my understanding of the mechanic (is there a reason for ones to be more statistically probable than fives)?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Could you explain what NUM: [maximum of ROLL] is used for? \$\endgroup\$ – Mystagogue Jan 28 '16 at 15:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ That's a basic point for comparison. If a roll has no repeating values in it at all - (1,2,3,4) gives a result of 14(one four), (2,4,6,7) - a result of 17(one seven). Later loop sees if there are any combinations better than that in the roll, but if it doesn't find those - it uses a base point. I could have actually used a zero for that, probably. \$\endgroup\$ – Nox Jan 28 '16 at 15:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ Using 0 for sum actually gives a vastly different distribution, possibly the distribution you want. It might be related to the fact that [maximum of ROLL] returns values 0..36. You can check that for yourself. \$\endgroup\$ – Mystagogue Jan 28 '16 at 15:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ Damn. I may have used a function summing the roll, not looking for the biggest value. \$\endgroup\$ – Nox Jan 28 '16 at 15:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes, looking at the AnyDice documentation shows this to be the case. I will quote the relevant documentation in my answer. \$\endgroup\$ – Mystagogue Jan 28 '16 at 15:29

You are using this code to set up a base value:

NUM: [maximum of ROLL]

SUM: 10 + NUM

Your intent is to get the highest number rolled on any d10, however the maximum function expects dice, and you have provided a sequence. According to the documentation:

If a number is provided, then it will be converted to a die that can roll only that number. If a sequence is provided, then the sequence will be summed and treated the same as a number.

I believe that initializing SUM to 0 should suffice, as your loop should always find something greater than 0 anyway.

| improve this answer | |
  • \$\begingroup\$ Now that I look at it again, The function expects a sequence but is being passed dice. I'm not sure it's correct, I think it would give the same output every time because it's always getting all possible values of 4d10. But the roller seems to contradict me. \$\endgroup\$ – Mystagogue Jan 28 '16 at 16:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ Well, the distribution looks right, so I assume the function is just being called once for all possible rolls. \$\endgroup\$ – Mystagogue Jan 28 '16 at 16:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes, your answer is precisely correct. Just for comparison, here's an alternative way to get the same results. This behavior of passing a die to a function expecting a sequence is documented (under "Functions" in the online documentation) and is very useful. Unfortunately, as you correctly note, the built-in maximum of DIE function expects a die instead, and the behavior of passing a sequence to a function expecting a die is much less useful. Using NUM: 1@ROLL instead of NUM: [maximum of ROLL] would also fix the OP's code. \$\endgroup\$ – Ilmari Karonen Feb 19 '18 at 22:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ And yes, I realize that this is a two year old answer, but I just happened to stumble across it while searching and noticed that it lacked confirmation and upvotes. So here, have an upvote. :) \$\endgroup\$ – Ilmari Karonen Feb 19 '18 at 22:16

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