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Bugmaster comments on Burdensome Details - Less Wrong

30 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 20 September 2007 11:46PM

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Comment author: Bugmaster 11 January 2012 12:22:30AM 2 points [-]

Tabletop RPGs often use the term "roll M N-sided dice", or "MdN" for short, to mean, "generate M high-quality random numbers between 1 and N". The dice themselves are merely an implementation detail; they could be physical dice, or some random-number generator built into a collaborative RPG software program, etc. It's common to refer to coins as "d2"s, because that's the function that they serve.

Another interesting die roll that comes up quite often is "Md3"; the 3-sided die is usually implemented by taking the more familiar 6-sided die and replacing 4,5,6 with 1,2,3 on its faces.

The percentile die, which is a golf-ball sized polyhedron with 100 faces, is also quite iconic, though rarely used in practice due to being ridiculous. Most people just roll two 10-sided dice, instead.

Comment author: dlthomas 11 January 2012 12:24:52AM 0 points [-]

When I hear "high-quality random numbers" I think "crypto-quality random numbers" - which certainly suffice, but are clearly overkill...

Comment author: Bugmaster 11 January 2012 12:25:43AM *  6 points [-]

You would be amazed at what tabletop gamers do and do not consider "overkill" :-)

EDIT: In the interests of full disclosure, I am a tabletop gamer, and yet I do consider crypto-quality random numbers to be overkill, but I may be in the minority on this.

Comment author: dlthomas 11 January 2012 12:28:14AM 2 points [-]

Yes, but those are typically the same people who have rituals around their dice. Which, on reflection, seems kinda contradictory...