How Has Math Helped Your Story?

Tell me stories of how math has made your stories better!
What has made it worth it?
Do you think they're(math&story)at odds with one another?


  • I don't know if it's made the story better by others' standards, but using Bayes probabilities to answer some questions has given me a feeling of consistency when I don't have much idea of the odds of something happening.

  • Almost every well designed game? Choosing 7-9 as "with a cost" rather than choosing, say, 6-8 or 7-10. Not sure what you're asking honestly. Almost all RPG mechanics involve math. Even Dread's Jenga tower, the math of how many blocks can be pulled, how safely, affects pacing.
  • By knowing that if a character has a 50% drive, and I call for multiple drive checks on the way to the site of the investigation, the game is going to be more about how the characters get in a car wreck than how they investigate machinations of cultists.

    (True story, BTW.)
  • In my sandbox game, if by 'story' we mean 'whatever happens to happen in the SIS' (and not restricting it to things made for the purpose of narrative), then right now the math is a burden. Summing and dividing xp, gold, silver, fresh food, spoiling fish, spell slots, hp, armor weight etc.

    The bet is that this stuff will pay off in some consequences and weight to the player's decisions. And session three, that did happen. Session four otoh, it felt like doing taxes the rpg. For three reasons:

    1. They lucked out on their rolls so there wasn't a real danger. This is good!! We want some safe sessions, alternating tension and release Charlotte Brontë style is one way math helps us. Sometimes you do make your navigation rolls all the way to town or can have tactics to defeat a big horde of undead without taking a scratch. But the downside is that then all the fiddly other parts with slots, xp and resources was for nothing.

    2. We have a new player and I underestimated how new they were to these games. It's great to have new players. Unfortunately I don't think a game of numbers and arithmetics is that appealing? D&D 2097-style definitely showed its bad side. :/ Hopefully it's an investment.

    3. I forgot the third reason. Or maybe I folded it into the first, maybe the undead horde that they shepherded into an easy win was the problem. Or maybe it's that I was unfocused and exhausted. I gloss over so many cool things :frowning:
  • Actually, RPGs made my maths better, never the other way around.
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