A sure thing? Yeah right!

I’m currently recovering from wounds inflicted during my latest round of Hunting Dangerous Prey, and all this time spent in bed convalescing has me thinking. The challenge is “A matter of luck: a sure thing. Or is it?” Well, it seems to me to be far from a sure thing. For example, of the ten actions I just spent recovering, three of them were unlucky results. (And a not a single rare result, which is unfortunate as my nightmares are getting a bit out of hand as well.) This is fairly typical of this particular challenge, in my experience: about 30% failure rate. Still good odds, of course, especially as it costs nothing but an action-- but hardly “a sure thing.”

Have you had similar experiences with this challenge? What about other “sure things”? As I recall, back when I was flirting with those oh-so-charming devils, the conversation about Extraction was a sure thing… and I was able to have it about twenty times before I finally hit the “unlucky” result.

[quote=Ephemerayla]I’m currently recovering from wounds inflicted during my latest round of Hunting Dangerous Prey, and all this time spent in bed convalescing has me thinking. The challenge is “A matter of luck: a sure thing. Or is it?” Well, it seems to me to be far from a sure thing. For example, of the ten actions I just spent recovering, three of them were unlucky results. (And a not a single rare result, which is unfortunate as my nightmares are getting a bit out of hand as well.) This is fairly typical of this particular challenge, in my experience: about 30% failure rate. Still good odds, of course, especially as it costs nothing but an action-- but hardly “a sure thing.”

Have you had similar experiences with this challenge? What about other “sure things”? As I recall, back when I was flirting with those oh-so-charming devils, the conversation about Extraction was a sure thing… and I was able to have it about twenty times before I finally hit the “unlucky” result.[/quote]

It’s usually not bad although once I spent 10 actions on it and failed 8. That made me very upset. Now when it fails I just give up for a while.

I’ve had a similar experience with ‘low risk’. There is one ‘low risk’ challenge at the Mahogany Hall I have yet to pass and frankly since I’ve given up on it after eight or nine failures, probably never will pass.

The specific challenge is the final Pygmalion challenge right before you end your current Pygmalion story, doesn’t matter if it’s the clayman or the devil I’m educating. I always seem to get around to it after I raise my Pygmalion quality to low risk, and while I have yet to actually fail the ‘end your educating story’ option, I have yet to pass the option above it. Inevitably both are labeled Low Risk Pygmalion challenges.

I failed that one on the very first attempt.

I failed that one on the very first attempt.[/quote]

Hah! Unlucky you! (Or lucky, if you needed the extra cash… really, I have no regrets about the loss of my soul. Haven’t needed it, I’m not on Heart’s Desire, and I didn’t want to associate with Summerset College anyway.)

I, meanwhile, have a habit of breezing past Almost Impossible challenges on my first attempt. :)

Lady Luck is sweet on me, it seems.

I avoid low-risk whenever possible myself, as my poor aunt was lost to me because of one. Modest challenges tend to work out more often than not though, so if I can’t push my qualities up to straightforward I will be just as happy to penalize myself down to modest just to avoid low-risk.

Luck may be highly whimsical, sometimes producing a row of theorically improbable results :s

I usually stick to manual: with around +10 points per Quality derived by equipment, I can usually tailor up the challenge at:

  • High-Risk if I need more CP and failure doesn’t bear Menaces (it can be true of some high level challenges too: before the Recalling a Dream of Other Places marathon, I spammed Track Down a Spirifer in Ladybones Road this way to increase my Watchful)
  • Modest If I need CP but failure raises Menace levels. Usually only if I have Second Chances anyway.
  • Straightforward if I direly need the reward, usually when I’m saving for something very expensive (that reservation at the Royal Beth still gives me nightmares. How appropriate -.-").

That means that more often than not I’m deliberately using equipment to obtain a WORSE chance. Way to pop up in Court in a shabby, moth-eaten opera cloak and a miniature bandit chief XD

I have dreadful luck with the ‘tend your wounds’ action - I’ll usually have so many fails I end up just as sick, or worse, as when I started. I’ve found it’s better value-for-action to just pony up the cash for the blue bottle…

The thing about random chance is that it’s random. It’s certainly possible to get bad results on “A sure thing… or is it?” challenges many times in a row, if improbable. The key words in that are “or is it?” Nothing is ever a guarantee in the Neath.

As a foreign scholar once said, “That is why they have been dubbed ‘Random Events’, not ‘Statistically Probable Events’.”

Or as Stoppard hints at, it is impossible to tell the difference between fate and really, really bad luck.

And now we’ve got an entire bloody story arc that’s nothing but random events, and if you fail one, you go back to the beginning… Hell with it–I’m gonna bulk up on the first step, then convert as many as I can to the second, and so on. Once I complete the storyline, anything left over will simply be burned on the ‘take the loot and run’ option they keep giving me for all of the stages.

(If you’re not aware of the new storyline, check out the announcement, and then click on your Tales of Terror to get started. Having just gone to a play adapted from Lovecraft’s Mountains of Madness, I’m digging this too much to bail just because I’m frustrated at the all-luck sequence.)

I believe there is a technical word for this: Sadorandom, as in “pretends to be random but is actually sadistic”.