In preparing an analysis of the effect of orc ferocity, I found I wasn’t able to reproduce the results of my previous post on different types of fighter and different races. The overall mortality in that post was 20%, but I kept getting values of 36%. Because I’m such a stunningly good programmer, I’d overwritten the program I used to produce those results, and it has taken me several days (interrupted by moving house) to dig up the original programs from Time Machine[1]. Checking through them I found a tiny error (three letters in one line of code out of 375[2]) which causes character hit points not to update after a round of combat – so that the only way the orc could win was to kill the PC on its first round of combat. That’s an interesting insight right there – 20% of the time the orc wins in the first round of combat!

So the true mortality rate in that analysis should have been 36%. I’m not going to redo the whole analysis (it’s late and I’m tired and I have a new analysis of ferocity to come), but I will put up the corrected table of mortality rates by race and fighter type, in Table 1.

Table 1: Mortality by race and fighter type (revised)

Race Fighter type
Strong Fast Tough
Human 20.4 36.7 35.1
Dwarf 18.8 43.6 36.2
Elf 30.7 52.2 38.7
Halfling 26.1 61.6 45.9

The general conclusion – that fast fighters are a disaster – is retained, but the effect is even more noticeable in elves and halflings, and high strength is even more important for these races than humans. Mortality rates in fast fighters are 1.8 times higher amongst humans, compared to over 2.5 times higher in halflings. Also, when the orc is not constrained from delivering a second blow, constitution becomes much less important than strength – being able to kill the orc first remains the most important skill.

Dwarves, who in this simulation have dropped power attack if they are strong fighters, benefit hugely from being strong rather than tough, presumably because they already have a constitution bonus.

So, the order of ability scores is: strength, constitution, dexterity. And I need to improve my programming!

fn1: which is awesome, btw.

fn2: which would probably be about 50, if I was any good at this stuff