Posts

D&D.Sci August 2021 Evaluation and Ruleset 2021-08-23T22:49:20.528Z
D&D.Sci August 2021: The Oracle and the Monk 2021-08-13T22:36:38.572Z
D&D.Sci(-Fi) June 2021 Evaluation and Ruleset 2021-06-29T21:02:20.072Z
D&D.Sci(-Fi) June 2021: The Duel with Earwax 2021-06-22T11:48:44.718Z
Does anyone have any Data Sidequests? 2021-06-11T23:40:09.844Z
A.D&D.Sci May 2021 Evaluation and Ruleset 2021-05-24T16:25:13.704Z
A.D&D.Sci May 2021: Interdimensional Monster Carcass Auction 2021-05-17T15:54:28.974Z
D&D.Sci May 2021 Evaluation and Ruleset 2021-05-14T11:37:14.328Z
D&D.Sci May 2021: Monster Carcass Auction 2021-05-07T19:33:19.920Z
D&D.Sci April 2021 Evaluation and Ruleset 2021-04-19T13:26:58.278Z
D&D.Sci April 2021: Voyages of the Gray Swan 2021-04-12T18:23:11.674Z
D&D.Sci III Evaluation and Ruleset 2021-03-08T23:01:36.833Z
D&D.Sci III: Mancer Matchups 2021-03-05T19:07:17.473Z
D&D.Sci II Evaluation and Ruleset 2021-01-17T16:58:40.087Z
D&D.Sci II: The Sorceror's Personal Shopper 2021-01-12T01:38:44.168Z
D&D.Sci Evaluation and Ruleset 2020-12-12T15:00:20.984Z
D&D.Sci 2020-12-05T23:26:40.934Z
Model Depth as Panacea and Obfuscator 2020-11-09T00:02:03.297Z
Ductive Defender: a probability game prototype 2019-03-30T12:31:37.629Z
Case Study II 2018-09-30T00:37:32.974Z
Applying Bayes to an incompletely specified sample space 2018-07-29T17:33:53.978Z
Excessive EDA Effortposting 2018-06-03T19:17:22.595Z
ProbDef: a game about probability and inference 2018-01-02T00:22:03.287Z

Comments

Comment by abstractapplic on [deleted post] 2021-09-11T20:26:50.115Z

I made a Sequence for my replayable challenges, but think we should keep the tag. That way people wanting to make posts about D&D.Sci will have something to tag them with.

Comment by abstractapplic on D&D.Sci Pathfinder: Return of the Gray Swan Evaluation & Ruleset · 2021-09-10T00:35:27.383Z · LW · GW

You may want to include a link to the challenge in this post, so people seeing it on the frontpage know what you're referring to.

Comment by abstractapplic on D&D.Sci Pathfinder: Return of the Gray Swan Evaluation & Ruleset · 2021-09-09T21:26:37.080Z · LW · GW

Thank you again for making this; it’s been enlightening to play one of these for a change.

Reflections on my attempt:

It appears my obliviousness to Encounter Frequency concerns didn’t damage my plans as much as I feared. It’s hard to say how much of my better-than-random result was down to good analysis vs careful management of unknowns vs sheer good luck: if damage from Pirates and Harpies weren’t dependent on things that happened earlier in the voyage (an effect to which I was also oblivious), or if the Atlanteans had been in a different position on their route (a journey to which I was also also oblivious) or if the Maelstrom (a phenomenon to which I was also also also oblivious) had happened to be along either of my chosen paths, I might not be looking quite so clever right now.

In retrospect, once I’d found the skeleton key of “the Admirality treat every ship that isn’t a Dhow as interchangeable, so their ability to survive journeys is an unbiased estimator”, I could and should have gotten much more mileage out of it. For example, it could have easily let me infer that nobility mattered and that Scottish-sounding names (conditional on non-nobility) didn’t. I guess the lesson here is “if you run into a perfect regularity while working on a wicked problem, make sure you mine everything you can out of it”.

(. . . well, that and “your mental algorithms have a tendency to overfit”. While some of my inferences and suspicions were confirmed, it’s disquieting how many of them ended up not holding water.)

Reflections on the challenge:

For what it’s worth, I very much appreciated this scenario’s complexity while investigating it. The ability to thrive in a system of arbitrary rules you’ll never fully understand is an important life skill known as ‘living’; I’m glad of the opportunity to practice without risking anything in reality.

Insofar as the level of detail bothered me, it was while reading the ruleset afterwards. I’d hoped – naively – that I’d get to see the hidden simplicities that had emergently created this complexity, but with few exceptions (turns out simon was right about where kraken live) it turned out to be epicycles all the way down. I don’t know how or if it’s possible to get the former benefit without the latter cost.

Comment by abstractapplic on D&D.Sci Pathfinder: Return of the Gray Swan · 2021-09-06T20:52:16.608Z · LW · GW

Some thoughts and insights from my notes that I somehow forgot to write up the first time:

  • Galleons, Barquentines and Carracks have eerily similar average planned route lengths, suggesting the Admiralty treat these three ship types as interchangeable in their planning.
  • This is important because it means that [number of sinkings]/[number of trips taken] is an unusually selection-bias-proof estimator of sinkability for everything but Dhow.
  • This estimator says pretty clearly that Galleons>Barquentines>Carracks.

However

  • The Admiralty keeps recklessly sending ships into hexes at risk of reefs, kraken, icebergs and WMF. Since my chosen routes dodge all of these (though I didn't notice I was icebergproof until other commenters pointed out the seasonality effect), the main questions become how Galleons handle the remaining threats (pretty well), and how frequently they encounter them (. . . whoops!).

And also

  • I have to plot routes which are unusually long: if Galleons handle marathons worse than sprints, that's a problem.

Unrelatedly:

  • Dhows appear to handle a lot of long-tailed encounters (especially WMF) better than Carracks, but I think it's a statistical trick of the light. When faced with an extreme situation, they die and can't report how much damage they took; this skews damage/encounter ratings in their favor.
  • The one place where they genuinely do appear to handle a threat significantly better than Carracks on a by-hitpoint basis is with Merfolk.
  • The ratios of average recorded damage for Merfolk encounters lead me to believe that Merfolk damage is calculated as a percentage of total hull integrity, and not in terms of hitpoints like (all?) other encounters.
Comment by abstractapplic on D&D.Sci Pathfinder: Return of the Gray Swan · 2021-09-06T20:12:55.913Z · LW · GW

After reading your analysis, I think your strategy has a higher chance of success than mine. On reflection,

I'm still wary of sending any ship that spent <5 weeks in port - that rule's probably there for a reason - but you've convinced me I should have sent the Galleon to L13 and the Barquentine to E8.

Comment by abstractapplic on D&D.Sci Pathfinder: Return of the Gray Swan · 2021-09-02T22:14:08.321Z · LW · GW

This challenge is very interesting; thank you for making it. I don't think I've found all the answers, but I've gotten as far as I'm going on my own.

Decision:

  • Take The Bloody Diamond to L13, Q6-P6-O6-N6-M7-M8-L8-K9-K10-K11-L12-L13, then (hopefully) back the same way.

(I thought about a detour to avoid whatever's (not?) going on in L12, but decided it's probably fine.)

  • Take The Orange Falcon to E8, Q6-P6-O6-N6-M5-L5-K5-J5-I5-H5-G5-F5-F6-E7-E8, then (hopefully) back the same way.

(I considered alternate routes that punch through F8 and G8 while avoiding icebergs, but decided to gamble that E7 isn't a Kraken hex.)

Location insights:

  • Pirates, Storms, Sharks and Harpies seem to be everywhere; no way to avoid these, save making your journey as short as possible. (ditto Dragons, probably, but they're rare enough that it's hard to say for sure)
  • Reefs are in every sea hex adjacent to land, except for some adjacent to the ports.
  • Icebergs are more common further north.
  • Merfolk have a territory in the centre of the map, and another in the southwest.
  • Kraken have very specific hunting grounds, which my routes go to great lengths to avoid.
  • WMF occurs almost exclusively in hexes adjacent to Q1 and J8. Dragons and/or Wizards on the islands?

Ship insights:

  • Barquentines and Dhows have 20HP; Carracks and Galleons have 30HP. The effects of attacks are denominated in these hitpoints, so it's worth converting percentages to them.
  • Dhows and Carracks handle encounters with living enemies (except Sharks, for some reason) much worse than Barquentines and Galleons.
  • I'm pretty sure that a Galleon is just a 30HP Barquentine, and a Carrack is just a 30HP Dhow.
  • As a general rule, Galleon>Barquentine>Carrack>Dhow. All apparent evidence to the contrary is because the Admirality know Dhows are terrible and keep giving them easy jobs.
  • The Admirality really don't like sending ships out unless they've spent at least five weeks docked; they do this so rarely that I don't have enough data to infer whether the prohibition makes sense.

Encounter insights:

  • This scenario is dice-based, as can be seen from the distributions of some of the simpler encounters: icebergs do 1d6 damage, sharks do min(2d4)-1, harpies do 1d6-2 or 1d6-4 depending on ship type.
  • Merfolk seem to do zero damage exactly half the time. If I had more time I'd investigate what this means.
  • Pirates never do exactly 1HP damage. I suspect that - when they damage ships at all - their damage is calculated from "roll XdY, pick the two lowest".

Secrets(?):

  • Both ships are heading to Kraken territory; I don't think this is a coincidence. I suspect their 'cargo' is either sacrifices or explosives.
  • There's exactly one Carrack that claims to have taken 5% damage, which should be impossible. Did its' captain lie?
  • It's suspicious that L12 is so rarely visited, especially when the Kraken-infested hexes to the south are so popular. My fear that it houses a history-eating monster which causes visiting ships to never have existed is *almost* certainly ill-founded; more likely, it's just the one hex in the Admirality's waters that's not obviously on the way to anywhere.
Comment by abstractapplic on D&D.Sci August 2021: The Oracle and the Monk · 2021-08-16T23:01:36.529Z · LW · GW

NOTE: Because reasons, I've decided to release the evaluator and answer key next Monday instead of this Friday. I'd apologize for the inconvenience but I'm pretty sure nobody minds.

Comment by abstractapplic on D&D.Sci August 2021: The Oracle and the Monk · 2021-08-15T20:52:46.676Z · LW · GW

1. How big a deal is "an immortal demon, wreaking horror and bloodshed upon the world"?

 

Morgan seems to think that ensuring this doesn't happen should be your top priority, but he's biased for obvious reasons. If you feel increasing the probability and/or magnitude of success is worth risking the worst outcome, that's a valid decision.

2. Can the ritual in someway counteract that? Any specific bonuses, or things that are stronger against demons, or more helpful in a world where one is running loose?

Nope.

3. How would multiple rituals (separately interact)?

They wouldn't.

4. An ideas at all around probability of other people doing a ritual like this one? Across the entire world?

Possible but unlikely.

Comment by abstractapplic on D&D.Sci August 2021: The Oracle and the Monk · 2021-08-14T09:56:37.371Z · LW · GW

Clarifications:

  • Morgan is the only monk at his temple making use of this particular opportunity.
  • The effect of channelling two tainted mana types is the same as channelling a tainted mana type alongside a weaker untainted one. For this reason, Morgan will refuse if you advise him to channel (for example) Spite alongside Doom.
  • The ritual takes the entire ten days to prepare, and the details vary greatly based on which mana types he channels; he's also the only monk at his temple who can do his kind of meditation, and won't have time to meditate while laying the groundwork; as such, Morgan can't make use of any information past day 374 when predicting day 384.
Comment by abstractapplic on D&D.Sci August 2021: The Oracle and the Monk · 2021-08-14T01:04:29.009Z · LW · GW

The supernova Morgan mentioned happened partway through the span of time covered by the dataset; however, due to complexities and delays in the relationship between the event and its impact on mana flows, he doesn't know where or whether its effects would show up in his records.

Comment by abstractapplic on D&D.Sci(-Fi) June 2021 Evaluation and Ruleset · 2021-07-03T19:55:05.246Z · LW · GW

Also I think I was modeling the precision incorrectly, probably. I took "for example, since they say Earwax has an amplitude of 3.2 kCept, you can be 100% sure the true value is between 3.15 and 3.25 kCept" to mean that every value could be plus or minus 0.05, but I think now it actually meant that values were rounded to the nearest digit shown, so a listed value of 0.28 kCept was not between 0.23 and 0.33, but rather between 0.275 and 0.285?

 

Yes, that's exactly what happened. That ambiguity didn't occur to me; I've now edited the original post to clarify so future players won't have the same issue; mea culpa.

Comment by abstractapplic on D&D.Sci(-Fi) June 2021 Evaluation and Ruleset · 2021-06-30T11:49:58.560Z · LW · GW

Now it’s all over, I would just like to make sure everyone appreciates the restraint I demonstrated in not using any of the following lines:

“Earwax really shouldn’t have been able to reach you so quickly: it’s a heteropneum, not a heteronyoom.”

“There’s no I in [teem].”

“Good Floornight, sleep Floortight, don’t let the heteropneums Floorbite.”

Comment by abstractapplic on D&D.Sci(-Fi) June 2021: The Duel with Earwax · 2021-06-24T21:04:47.107Z · LW · GW

The phrase "previously considered benign" was intended to convey an unexpected change in attitude, not amplitude; Earwax did not and will not become stronger. Apologies for the confusion.

Comment by abstractapplic on D&D.Sci(-Fi) June 2021: The Duel with Earwax · 2021-06-23T20:28:58.605Z · LW · GW

If your EFS is more than double a heteropneum's amplitude, you can get a (perfectly accurate) recording of what your EFS would have been had you used a different resonance on it. The in-universe justification for this is that Sphere scientists can observe - and infer things about - alternate timelines under the right conditions.

Comment by abstractapplic on D&D.Sci(-Fi) June 2021: The Duel with Earwax · 2021-06-23T15:18:29.336Z · LW · GW

The record is a complete list of all fights. Usually heteropneums can be detected, predicted and managed such that the Sphere never needs to have more than one fight per floorday, and they can send a pilot they feel confident will win; Earwax's actions are unprecendented.

Comment by abstractapplic on D&D.Sci(-Fi) June 2021: The Duel with Earwax · 2021-06-23T11:38:18.325Z · LW · GW

So the 'resonances' are the

Pilot Strength (alpha),Pilot Strength (beta),Pilot Strength (gamma),Pilot Strength (delta),Pilot Strength (epsilon),Pilot Strength (zeta),Pilot Strength (eta)

things, from the data file?

 

Correct.

What are floordays?

The Sphere has an idiosyncractic timekeeping system, as regular 24-hour days have been found not to be optimally conducive to keeping your colleagues' souls in their most useful state.

And how do you distinguish between heteropneums? I.e. how do you know that earwax (weak, benign) and Earwax (powerful, malevolent) are the same?

This is achieved via [long, technobabble-laden pseudo-explanation which uses the words 'pneuma', 'resonance', 'fingerprinting', and probably 'quantum' for good measure]. As GM, I can confirm that no heteropneum was ever misidentified.

Comment by abstractapplic on D&D.Sci(-Fi) June 2021: The Duel with Earwax · 2021-06-22T17:17:40.951Z · LW · GW

I hereby affirm that observations of EFS derived via Branch-Loop Analysis are just as reliable as those gained via direct observation. As such, distinctions based on 'what actually happened' - itself a slippery concept for people who regularly work with multiple timelines - are irrelevant.

Comment by abstractapplic on A.D&D.Sci May 2021: Interdimensional Monster Carcass Auction · 2021-05-24T16:31:26.865Z · LW · GW

The "Mild Boar and Jungle Mammoth are just what the person from the Harsh Survivalist Ice Village calls pigs and elephants" speculation is hilarious and I wish I'd done that on purpose; I hereby retroactively declare it canon.

Comment by abstractapplic on A.D&D.Sci May 2021: Interdimensional Monster Carcass Auction · 2021-05-19T09:42:29.003Z · LW · GW

One roll for all universes.

Comment by abstractapplic on A.D&D.Sci May 2021: Interdimensional Monster Carcass Auction · 2021-05-18T00:21:11.024Z · LW · GW

Actual results.

Comment by abstractapplic on A.D&D.Sci May 2021: Interdimensional Monster Carcass Auction · 2021-05-17T20:10:07.978Z · LW · GW

 Regarding PCs & NPCs: My plan for handling the NPCs is pretty much as you said; if I end up needing multiple worlds, I'll make sure the human players are distributed as close to evenly as possible.

Regarding the premise: Being better at interdimensional travel than at regular teleportation produces some weird incentives. Also, magic-users are generally understood to be crazy; "that mage is doing something unusual!" is about as concerning as "that fire is hot!"

Comment by abstractapplic on A.D&D.Sci May 2021: Interdimensional Monster Carcass Auction · 2021-05-17T19:46:34.486Z · LW · GW

Yes.

Comment by abstractapplic on D&D.Sci May 2021 Evaluation and Ruleset · 2021-05-15T08:14:36.104Z · LW · GW

Thanks, yes, you're completely right; I wrote this for an older version of the scenario and forgot to change it. Edited now.

Comment by abstractapplic on D&D.Sci April 2021 Evaluation and Ruleset · 2021-04-19T16:39:54.534Z · LW · GW

Your theory is correct. I had some sort of clever justification for why that made sense in-universe but I forget what it was; the Doylist reason was that I wanted the red herring in this puzzle to be as simple as possible.

The original generation code is up here if you want to take a look.

Comment by abstractapplic on D&D.Sci April 2021: Voyages of the Gray Swan · 2021-04-13T15:44:30.760Z · LW · GW

72%

(Good question, by the way; I added a note to the main post to clarify this.)

Comment by abstractapplic on D&D.Sci April 2021: Voyages of the Gray Swan · 2021-04-13T00:15:40.991Z · LW · GW

Yes to the first question.

To the second: you can aim to reduce repair costs with your interventions, but since they won't come out of your budget that's more of an optional extra for further impressing the brass.

Comment by abstractapplic on D&D.Sci April 2021: Voyages of the Gray Swan · 2021-04-12T23:00:00.266Z · LW · GW

That's exactly right.

Comment by abstractapplic on D&D.Sci April 2021: Voyages of the Gray Swan · 2021-04-12T22:59:23.263Z · LW · GW

All your assumptions are correct, with the debatable exception of the last one: you have a record for every voyage

  • made along the same route you're taking
  • by a supply ship
  • working for the same Navy as you
  • in the span 1396-1405.
Comment by abstractapplic on D&D.Sci III: Mancer Matchups · 2021-03-08T15:48:12.188Z · LW · GW

Yes.

Comment by abstractapplic on D&D.Sci III: Mancer Matchups · 2021-03-06T15:22:55.821Z · LW · GW

Your interpretation is exactly correct.

Comment by abstractapplic on D&D.Sci III: Mancer Matchups · 2021-03-06T15:22:38.528Z · LW · GW

I can confirm it's not a mistake on my part. Beyond that, I leave it to you to decide what's going on here and whether it's relevant.

Comment by abstractapplic on D&D.Sci III: Mancer Matchups · 2021-03-05T21:33:05.635Z · LW · GW

Good catch, edited now, tyvm.

Comment by abstractapplic on D&D.Sci II: The Sorceror's Personal Shopper · 2021-01-17T15:42:22.671Z · LW · GW

I'm glad you got what I was going for. However, you should probably spoiler that meta-point, so people trying this challenge in the future can look for clarifications in the comments without being spoiled.

Comment by abstractapplic on D&D.Sci II: The Sorceror's Personal Shopper · 2021-01-13T00:14:50.618Z · LW · GW

From your knowledge of wizardly adherence to habit, the way he never suggested getting items anywhere but the caravans, your knowledge of local markets, and the fact that everyone selling seems to recognize the Owle owl following you, you can be pretty sure that Wakalix bought all 836 of the items on his list from the same source(s) you're currently considering.

(Regarding the other implications of your question, I neither confirm nor deny anything.)

Comment by abstractapplic on D&D.Sci II: The Sorceror's Personal Shopper · 2021-01-12T14:43:45.784Z · LW · GW

Nope.

Comment by abstractapplic on D&D.Sci II: The Sorceror's Personal Shopper · 2021-01-12T13:19:20.739Z · LW · GW

Fun thought, but no. In fact, none of the available magic items can help you in that way.

Comment by abstractapplic on D&D.Sci II: The Sorceror's Personal Shopper · 2021-01-12T03:42:38.071Z · LW · GW

Somehow forgot to link to dataset in OP, fixed now.

Comment by abstractapplic on D&D.Sci · 2020-12-07T13:40:24.146Z · LW · GW

I generated the dataset. The rules I used to do so will be provided on Saturday, so everyone can see how close they got to the truth.

Comment by abstractapplic on D&D.Sci · 2020-12-07T11:30:17.700Z · LW · GW

No to both questions.

Comment by abstractapplic on D&D.Sci · 2020-12-06T17:59:44.679Z · LW · GW

Your interpretation is correct: there are no character classes in this world.

Comment by abstractapplic on D&D.Sci · 2020-12-06T02:51:28.245Z · LW · GW

No.

Comment by abstractapplic on D&D.Sci · 2020-12-06T02:48:22.783Z · LW · GW

I've added some guidelines to the main post. Thanks for asking, I'm embarrassed to admit that angle didn't occur to me.

Comment by abstractapplic on D&D.Sci · 2020-12-06T02:38:26.105Z · LW · GW

Your paranoia does you credit, but I'm not doing anything close to that subtle; what you're seeing is Pandas putting the columns in alphabetical order when saving the dataset as csv. (I had to manually edit it to make 'results' be the last row instead of third-to-last)

Comment by abstractapplic on Model Depth as Panacea and Obfuscator · 2020-11-13T11:42:37.344Z · LW · GW

Sorry, yes, good catch. Edited now.

Comment by abstractapplic on Excessive EDA Effortposting · 2018-06-06T18:01:08.774Z · LW · GW

Responses to your differences:

.I hear you, but R has enough fully-automated testing tools that it's much simpler for me to just run the appropriate test and see what pops out the other end. (Also, THANK YOU for mentioning Chebyshev, I can't believe I'd never heard of that inequality before and it's EXACTLY my kind of thing)

.I think (?) you're operating on the wrong level of meta here. A t-test uses both the mean and the variance of the distribution(s) you feed it, and that's true whether or not it's being used to test a correlation. The CLT will not save us, because the single (admittedly gaussian-distributed) datapoint representing the mean has a variance of zero. (Something I could have done - in fact, something I remember doing much earlier in my career, back when I was better at identifying problems than finding expedient solutions - was to group not-necessarily-normal datapoints together into batches of about twenty, take the averages per-batch, and then t-test the lists of those: it was a ridiculous waste of statistical power, but it was valid!)

.That's an excellent idea. My excuse for not doing that is that I was prioritising pointedly-not-getting-things-wrong over actually-getting-things-right; my reason is that I just didn't think of it and I'm too lazy (and data-purist) to go back and try that now.

The dataset is, at time of writing, still up at https://gist.github.com/ncase/74ae97cb74893a0c540274b44f550503. I'd love to see what you throw at it.

Comment by abstractapplic on ProbDef: a game about probability and inference · 2018-01-07T00:14:02.965Z · LW · GW

Thanks for the detailed feedback! You should be pleased to know the next iteration will make the utility of captured mines a lot more obvious, and do so a lot earlier (this is a pretty common complaint). Also, if you liked keeping track of decoys in your head, I should probably make sure you know you can turn the autocalc off in the Options menu & get the same sort of experience with the Bayesian levels.

Comment by abstractapplic on ProbDef: a game about probability and inference · 2018-01-06T23:46:01.713Z · LW · GW

Please don't take this the wrong way, but: if you liked it, why did you stop playing?

I ask because this is a recurring theme I've noticed: people saying it's fun & well-put-together (and appearing to mean it), but that they're not motivated to keep going. Or, in other words, that it's engaging but not compelling.

I'm pretty sure it comes down to the absence of story, context and overarching goals. But if the cause of this effect is something different, I really want to know.

Comment by abstractapplic on ProbDef: a game about probability and inference · 2018-01-06T23:30:49.448Z · LW · GW

Good catch! I have a bunch of minor tweaks I want to make to this version of the game before moving on, I'll add that to it.