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To augment or not to augment


PhilHibbs

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I've made a spreadsheet to calculate whether it's a good idea to augment or not.

  • Take a single skill level.
  • Roll 10000 times and figure out what level of result (crit, fail, etc.) is achieved.
  • Take a single augment skill level.
  • Roll 10000 times and figure out if the initial roll made earlier would be a better or worse level of success due to the augment.
  • Sum up the number of improved, unchanged, and worsened results.

For the purposes of determining if the result is worse, I took a fumbled augment to be the same as forcing a fumble on the actual skill.

So for example if you have a skill of 90, then augmenting with a skill of 60 will (in a single test run of 10000 rolls) improve your result 1025 times, and make it worse 1212 times, so it's statistically not a good idea to do that. Don't augment a 90 skill with a 60 skill.

If you have a skill of 90 and you augment it with a skill of 70, then you will make it better 1141 times and worse 973 times, so that is a good idea.

The break-even point for a skill of 90 appears to be around 65. Above or equal to that, it's worth augmenting. Below that, it is not.

If you have a skill of 40, the break point is 51. Below that you are hurting your average result level.

I thought that it should be obvious to everyone that augmenting with a skill below 50 is never a good idea! However, with a base skill of 10, the break point is 34. It is actually worthwhile using a skill of 34 to augment a skill of 10.

ON THE OTHER HAND.

I just changed the logic to re-purpose the roll for the augment as would have been the original skill attempt, and make a fresh die roll for the augmented skill roll. That's more "realistic", but I am surprised that it makes a statistical difference. That moves the break point for a skill of 10 up to 37. Anything below a 37 is harmful, if you instead use the first die roll for augment instead of skill, and re-roll for skill. That's just weird and I don't understand it.

The change also moves the break point for a 90% skill up to 71% - anything below that makes things worse.

Here's the current version, using the changed mechanic. You will need to make a copy in your own Google Drive account to change the numbers in blue and wait for the results to propagate.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1T-297SCfn7b5UGaNktfmc8tSfxpnQODw2tnIsOJkulE/edit?usp=sharing

Edited by PhilHibbs
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Not a statistics man myself (loathe them really), but thanks for the great work anyway. I have had the opportunity of running a lot of newcomers this summer and I had to warn a great many of them that using a low ability to augment a high ability or just using augments willy nilly was going to bit them hard one of their rolls... the better tacticians understood this and utilized the augments like RPs. That is, as a limited resource that should not be squandered but utilized at critical points where it would make a great deal of difference should it succeed. 

... remember, with a TARDIS, one is never late for breakfast!

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There's another thing happening. If you count only the number of critical successes, for example "this guy has 20 armour points, there's no way I'm going to scratch him unless I crit", then it is worth augmenting your 40% attack chance with a 49% ability. Overall it will make your successes worse, but it will actually increase your chance of getting a critical hit at the expense of also making you fumble more often.

The numbers are too variable to be sure though. So it just occurred to me, if I'm doing 10000 rolls, why roll? Just calculate all the combinations of 1-100 on the first die and 1-100 on the second, that's 10000 and it will be exact.

So, if you have a skill of 40%, the break point for the augment is 47%. You will have slightly more critical hits - one in 10000 more to be precise - if you augment a 40% attack skill with a 47% ability. If you augment it with a 50% ability, 109 of your 10000 rolls will be critical hits instead of just 100.

The price for this? Nearly twice as many fumbles. Which makes sense, as you now have two rolls either of which can fumble.

With a skill of 90, a 54 augment ability improves your chance of getting a critical hit, again at the expense of increasing fumbles by nearly three times! Make sure it's worth the risk! Below 54 you can get a small increase in the special chance, but below 51 it's worse at all levels.

Edited by PhilHibbs
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21 minutes ago, PhilHibbs said:

The price for this? Nearly twice as many fumbles. Which makes sense, as you now have two rolls either of which can fumble.

 

The precise reason I mention to folk to consider well the reason they are augmenting. Saw this without the math!
 

... remember, with a TARDIS, one is never late for breakfast!

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Thanks for the analysis. This makes explicit something that has implicitly concerned me about how augments work and whether its sensible for players to even try to augment. I want augments to be something players will try to use when success matters, not something they should choose every time they try to do anything. But the way augments work, it seems that often times if success matters, augmenting has too much downside for the potential upside. So rational players should avoid augmenting in important situations...which is the opposite outcome that I want to see in play.

I'm wondering if augments would work better as something PCs can use to push for success. (Setting aside for a moment whether they are pushing their luck, their will, or what have you.) Instead of rolling the augment ahead of time and then adding or subtracting a bonus or mallus from the main skill, I wonder if a better mechanic would be to roll the augment as a separate roll where the player can choose whether to use their roll for the main skill roll or the roll for the augmenting skill/passion/affinity roll. In effect, this would be similar to rolling with advantage in some systems.

So my Humakt initiate fighting in a night battle would roll against his 95% Greatsword skill and also roll against his 70% Darkness Rune affinity and use the better result from the two rolls, e.g., rolling 48 for Greatsword and 13 for Darkness Rune. He would choose to use the special result from the Darkness Rune rather than the normal success for the Greatsword.

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25 minutes ago, Bren said:

 This makes explicit something that has implicitly concerned me about how augments work and whether its sensible for players to even try to augment. I want augments to be something players will try to use when success matters, not something they should choose every time they try to do anything.

Very true!

26 minutes ago, Bren said:

So my Humakt initiate fighting in a night battle would roll against his 95% Greatsword skill and also roll against his 70% Darkness Rune affinity and use the better result from the two rolls, e.g., rolling 48 for Greatsword and 13 for Darkness Rune. He would choose to use the special result from the Darkness Rune rather than the normal success for the Greatsword.

Were you planning on trying this. If so let us know how it went!

... remember, with a TARDIS, one is never late for breakfast!

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4 hours ago, Bren said:

Instead of rolling the augment ahead of time and then adding or subtracting a bonus or mallus from the main skill, I wonder if a better mechanic would be to roll the augment as a separate roll where the player can choose whether to use their roll for the main skill roll or the roll for the augmenting skill/passion/affinity roll. In effect, this would be similar to rolling with advantage in some systems.

So my Humakt initiate fighting in a night battle would roll against his 95% Greatsword skill and also roll against his 70% Darkness Rune affinity and use the better result from the two rolls, e.g., rolling 48 for Greatsword and 13 for Darkness Rune. He would choose to use the special result from the Darkness Rune rather than the normal success for the Greatsword.

Is the special success chance on the Darkness Rune roll based on the Darkness Rune rating, or on the Greatsword skill?

If the former, then you're allowing an augment to entirely replace all skills that it covers, so with a 70% Darkness Rune, you have 70% in all skills that can be Darkness-augmented, which is rather generous!

If the latter, then the Darkness Rune rating is rather irrelevant, you're just allowing a re-roll on the original skill.

You would also entirely eliminate any potential down side to augmenting (which could be intentional and desired), or would you keep the turmoil result if the Darkness roll was a fumble?

Another way to get something similar would be to keep the system more or less as it is, but add one step:

  • After rolling the dice for the augmenting ability, you may instead choose to use that result as the actual skill roll. If you do not, then continue to add the augment value to the actual ability and roll as usual.

That way, if you get a 01 on the augment then you can just take the crit. If you special the augment, but you really need to crit to get past their 20 points of armour, then you can take the +30 and roll again.

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4 hours ago, PhilHibbs said:

Is the special success chance on the Darkness Rune roll based on the Darkness Rune rating, or on the Greatsword skill?

If the former, then you're allowing an augment to entirely replace all skills that it covers, so with a 70% Darkness Rune, you have 70% in all skills that can be Darkness-augmented, which is rather generous!

If the latter, then the Darkness Rune rating is rather irrelevant, you're just allowing a re-roll on the original skill.

You would also entirely eliminate any potential down side to augmenting (which could be intentional and desired), or would you keep the turmoil result if the Darkness roll was a fumble?

I fully agree

4 hours ago, PhilHibbs said:

Another way to get something similar would be to keep the system more or less as it is, but add one step:

  • After rolling the dice for the augmenting ability, you may instead choose to use that result as the actual skill roll. If you do not, then continue to add the augment value to the actual ability and roll as usual.

That way, if you get a 01 on the augment then you can just take the crit. If you special the augment, but you really need to crit to get past their 20 points of armour, then you can take the +30 and roll again.

I m not convinced:

 

before your post (with the google sheet) I was more or less convinced that augment rules was a way to make easier , too easier, the game. Seeing the result (and i calculated with my excel the combinaison) I understand I was wrong and this rule is well balanced : players have to decide if they take a risk of failure to hope more critical (or special) result or not.

something like [no pain => no gain] versus [risk of pain => chance of gain]

 

with your new option, that is different, that's only a "second chance", and very less dramatic, few examples  :

if you crit your first roll (augment) you have 100% to crit the second (you don't roll) when the rules give you only +2.5% (+50 /20 % bonus)

if you failed your first roll (augment) :

 a) your roll is lower than your skill ==> automatic success (so versus the rules, you don't have any penalty on your skill)

b) you roll is greater than your skill => you reroll, with the same chance than the rules

==> few pain , more gain

 

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9 minutes ago, French Desperate WindChild said:

something like [no pain => no gain] versus [risk of pain => chance of gain]

with your new option, that is different, that's only a "second chance", and very less dramatic, few examples  :

...

==> few pain , more gain

Good point.

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I do wish that the consequences for failure were more "similar" for Runic Inspiration and Passion Inspiration.  As it is, you definitely have to look it up, because few can remember all the fiddly details.  And it doesn't make that much sense to me why they are so significantly different.

It's very good that the benefits of success (+50, +30, +20) are always the same, for a simple augment or either form of Inspiration.

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That's an interesting analysis, thanks Phil. Here are a few notes:

  • Augments don't necessarily last for only one roll. Runic and Passion inspiration last a whole scene, and skill augments last for however long you can keep doing the thing that the skill augment has you do (which could be the whole scene too). So it's possible that with one augment roll, you actually augment many rolls. This is especially true for combat, in which you will augment several of your attacks with a weapon (potentially all of them!), or whatever. That compounds the interest of getting that bonus in a way the spreadsheet doesn't represent (although of course it can compound the penalties, but not necessarily, see below).
  • Runic augments have no downside for the thing you were trying to augment on a failure. A failure only means that the Rune rolls themselves (such as Rune Magic rolls) will get a -20% penalty. A Fumble is bad, and may have some consequences on your actions (such as preventing you from acting in accordance to the Rune), but it doesn't give any penalty to your skill rolls. So it's "somewhat safe" in that sense -- you cast your Rune magic, and run into combat while screaming "FOR ORLANTH!" or something (i.e. roll your Rune augment after). Again, the spreadsheet info must be used with this in mind too.
  • Passion rolls are the most risky IMHO. If you fail a skill augment, you get -20% for the next roll, but then you just stop doing the augment if possible. So if you were singing to try and motivate your troops with a Battle roll, you just stop singing after you realize everybody is holding their hands to their ears, and you got -20% to just that one roll (unless somehow you're oblivious to your failures!). But for Passion augments, that doesn't work, you're going to be depressed for the whole scene.
    • However, the more you use your Passion, the more it has a chance to go up. And you can use it for other things such as getting resources from your clan and such. So it's still a good idea to use it at least a few times every adventure. Plus, probabilities be damned, it makes for some good action and excitement around the table!

 

Edited by lordabdul
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On 9/21/2021 at 6:17 PM, PhilHibbs said:

The break-even point for a skill of 90 appears to be around 65. Above or equal to that, it's worth augmenting. Below that, it is not.

Can you please explain that. If your augmenting skill is 55%, you have 3% of having a bonus of 50%, 8%  (11-3) of getting a bonus of 30%, 44% (55-11) of getting a bonus of 20%, 43% (45-2) of getting a malus of 20% and 2% of getting a malus of 50%, whatever the value of the augmented skill. So augmenting a 90% skill with a 55% skill, in 3% of the case, your augmented skill will be 140% (90+50), in 8%, it will have a value of 120% (90+30), in 44% of the case, the value will be 110%, in 43% of the case, it will be 70% and in 2% of the case, the value will be 40%, giving an average of ((3*140)+(8*120)+(44*110)+(43*70)+(2*40))/100=93.1, which is above 90.

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Worship Chalana Arroy 50%, Augmented with Harmony 90%, success (+20), also augmented with Meditate, as I have a nice GM, success (+20), Augmented chance 90%, roll 100, Fumble, Psychic Trauma.

Both Augments were well below 50%, so both would have succeeded in the Worship.😱

I hate rolling for Augments.

 

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Simon Phipp - Caldmore Chameleon - Wallowing in my elitism since 1982. Many Systems, One Family. Just a fanboy. 

www.soltakss.com/index.html

Jonstown Compendium author. Find my contributions here

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On 9/21/2021 at 5:17 PM, PhilHibbs said:

The break-even point for a skill of 90 appears to be around 65. Above or equal to that, it's worth augmenting. Below that, it is not.

2 hours ago, Kloster said:

Can you please explain that.

No, I really can't. I just crunched the numbers and reported the result.

Here it is, if you want to have a look. Maybe I made a mistake.

For a 60 ability augmenting a 90 skill, out of 10,000 rolls 1,958 get a better result and 2,439 get a worse result.

That sheet works by figuring all the combinations rather than rolling, so it should be more accurate, and it shows that the break point is actually 71 for augmenting a 90 skill where you get more improved results than worsened.

I think it's probably the increased fumble chance. You could have rolled your 90 skill and only fumbled on a 00, but no you had to go and roll on a 70 skill first giving you a fumble on a 99 or 00. That must be it! 70 fumble is 99 or 00, 71 is 00, so that's why the break is there. It's the exact point where you're twice as likely to fumble on that first die roll.

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1 hour ago, soltakss said:

Worship Chalana Arroy 50%, Augmented with Harmony 90%, success (+20), also augmented with Meditate, as I have a nice GM, success (+20), Augmented chance 90%, roll 100, Fumble, Psychic Trauma.

Both Augments were well below 50%, so both would have succeeded in the Worship.😱

Ah, but would they? You would have spent a different amount of time due to deciding on the augment, so your hand would have been in a different position when you threw the dice, so the result would have been different.

Unless you're using a dice roller app that uses a deterministic pseudorandom algorithm with no stochastic interference.

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Hmmmmm.

The previous numbers were based on comparing the result of the first die roll on its own against the result of a second die roll that uses the first as an augment.

In other words, like @soltakss said, "I would have made it if the first die roll was the skill, but the last one was a fumble so I was robbed".

If I flip it around, and instead figure "What would this first die result give me, if I roll a fresh result and augment it", I get a different outcome!

Here, the break point is 66 for more improved results compared to worsened results. Which is weird, because the number of crits and specials and such stay the same! So, I think comparing individual die rolls like a what-if scenario is misleading here. I don't understand probability and statistics well enough to explain this.

Edited by PhilHibbs
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23 hours ago, Bill the barbarian said:

Were you planning on trying this. If so let us know how it went!

Not yet. Just noodling ideas. I don't have enough experience with the new rules to feel comfortable making significant changes.

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1 minute ago, Bren said:

Not yet. Just noodling ideas. I don't have enough experience with the new rules to feel comfortable making significant changes.

Same  for me, having played it for four years I feel I should know it better, but just beginning to come to grips with it.

... remember, with a TARDIS, one is never late for breakfast!

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20 hours ago, PhilHibbs said:

Is the special success chance on the Darkness Rune roll based on the Darkness Rune rating, or on the Greatsword skill?

The Darkness Rune rating.

20 hours ago, PhilHibbs said:

If the former, then you're allowing an augment to entirely replace all skills that it covers, so with a 70% Darkness Rune, you have 70% in all skills that can be Darkness-augmented, which is rather generous!

If the latter, then the Darkness Rune rating is rather irrelevant, you're just allowing a re-roll on the original skill.

You would also entirely eliminate any potential down side to augmenting (which could be intentional and desired), or would you keep the turmoil result if the Darkness roll was a fumble?

Good point. I was too focused on the one example, where the skill being augmented is higher than the source of the augment.

I did not intend to completely eliminate the potential for a down side, but it would be nice not to have double the chance of fumbling because you are making two percentile dice rolls.

I think what I'd like to have (at least some of the time) is a method where the augment is attempted after the first die roll is made. So the player avoids turning a roll they perceive as good enough into a roll that fails or worse still turns what might have been success into a fumble. So they instead can try to push their luck with a second die roll and hope to do well enough with the augment to turn what might be a failure into success.

This seems like it would really only work well for a single die roll contest. Not for something like combat or an elaborate stealth entrance where multiple die rolls will be attempted. This will require more thought.

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12 hours ago, lordabdul said:

That's an interesting analysis, thanks Phil. Here are a few notes:

  • Augments don't necessarily last for only one roll. Runic and Passion inspiration last a whole scene, and skill augments last for however long you can keep doing the thing that the skill augment has you do (which could be the whole scene too). So it's possible that with one augment roll, you actually augment many rolls. This is especially true for combat, in which you will augment several of your attacks with a weapon (potentially all of them!), or whatever. That compounds the interest of getting that bonus in a way the spreadsheet doesn't represent (although of course it can compound the penalties, but not necessarily, see below).
  • Runic augments have no downside for the thing you were trying to augment on a failure. A failure only means that the Rune rolls themselves (such as Rune Magic rolls) will get a -20% penalty. A Fumble is bad, and may have some consequences on your actions (such as preventing you from acting in accordance to the Rune), but it doesn't give any penalty to your skill rolls. So it's "somewhat safe" in that sense -- you cast your Rune magic, and run into combat while screaming "FOR ORLANTH!" or something (i.e. roll your Rune augment after). Again, the spreadsheet info must be used with this in mind too.
  • Passion rolls are the most risky IMHO. If you fail a skill augment, you get -20% for the next roll, but then you just stop doing the augment if possible. So if you were singing to try and motivate your troops with a Battle roll, you just stop singing after you realize everybody is holding their hands to their ears, and you got -20% to just that one roll (unless somehow you're oblivious to your failures!). But for Passion augments, that doesn't work, you're going to be depressed for the whole scene.
    • However, the more you use your Passion, the more it has a chance to go up. And you can use it for other things such as getting resources from your clan and such. So it's still a good idea to use it at least a few times every adventure. Plus, probabilities be damned, it makes for some good action and excitement around the table!

 

Good points. Also the Passion roll failure is -10% to all rolls for the scene while the success is +20% to only one skill for that scene. So a lower penalty for failure, but applied very broadly. And fumbling a passion often (like say in the case of combat) means your PC just auto-failed the entire scene. Passion augments do seem to have the worst cost benefit ratio. As the GM I don't think I'd want to rely on a die roll for the duration of despair. Fumbling a Passion is like a temporary death. Sort of a little death. Ironic, really.

I'm curious how people have treated Fumbles for Rune augments. It says, "The adventurer must even avoid acting in accordance with the Rune during that time." Depending on the Rune, the situation, and the breadth of the interpretation a fumbled Runic inspiration could also result in an auto-fail the entire scene. I'd be interested to hear any examples for how people have treated that outcome in a way that enhances fun.

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46 minutes ago, Bill the barbarian said:

Same  for me, having played it for four years I feel I should know it better, but just beginning to come to grips with it.

While I really like a lot of what has been done with RQiG, I find the rulebook much more difficult to use as a reference book in play than I found RQ2 & Cults of Prax.

For example, finding the rules for calculating the physical and spirit combat damage bonuses in the middle of the long character creation section is awkward for me as a GM as I need to reference those calculations whenever I create a new NPC or creature.

Edited by Bren
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14 hours ago, Kloster said:

Can you please explain that. If your augmenting skill is 55%, you have 3% of having a bonus of 50%, 8%  (11-3) of getting a bonus of 30%, 44% (55-11) of getting a bonus of 20%, 43% (45-2) of getting a malus of 20% and 2% of getting a malus of 50%, whatever the value of the augmented skill. So augmenting a 90% skill with a 55% skill, in 3% of the case, your augmented skill will be 140% (90+50), in 8%, it will have a value of 120% (90+30), in 44% of the case, the value will be 110%, in 43% of the case, it will be 70% and in 2% of the case, the value will be 40%, giving an average of ((3*140)+(8*120)+(44*110)+(43*70)+(2*40))/100=93.1, which is above 90.

I used stats (not experience) to  find the (about) same results that @PhilHibbs

in fact with 90% at base skill (without augment but maybe modified in a combat with the reduction of 100%+ rules if i can call it like that) :

you may have 140% but you will fail at 96+, you may have 140% but you will fumble at 00

so the success chance is only raised by 5 when the augment skill roll is succeed (critical, special or normal)

in the other hand, you really reduce your success chance when you failed your augment skill roll

so the average success is

(90+5) * 0.55 + (90-20) * 0.43 + (90-50) * 0.02 = 83.15 < your 90%

the only gain is the probability to have a critical success (20% of 140, 120, 110, there is no "cap" there)

Edited by French Desperate WindChild
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1 hour ago, French Desperate WindChild said:

you may have 140% but you will fail at 96+, you may have 140% but you will fumble at 00

Oh, that's a major bug in my calculations. I was not capping the augmented chance of a normal success at 95%.

Fixing that, the break point for augmenting a 90 skill, in order to get more improved results than worse, is either 77 or 75 depending on which way around you use the dice rolls.

As has been pointed out, this is just taking a single skill attempt. The benefits of an augment might last over more than one roll, and the penalties of a failure likewise could apply to many more rolls.

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16 hours ago, PhilHibbs said:

No, I really can't. I just crunched the numbers and reported the result.

Here it is, if you want to have a look. Maybe I made a mistake.

I already had a look, and I didn't find any mistake, but I also redone my maths and also found nothing, hence my question.

16 hours ago, PhilHibbs said:

I think it's probably the increased fumble chance. You could have rolled your 90 skill and only fumbled on a 00, but no you had to go and roll on a 70 skill first giving you a fumble on a 99 or 00. That must be it! 70 fumble is 99 or 00, 71 is 00, so that's why the break is there. It's the exact point where you're twice as likely to fumble on that first die roll.

Fairly possible.

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