“How much math do I need to know to program?” Not That Much, Actually.

So Alice has two more hit points than Bob and better armor (remember, lower AC is better). But Bob is more likely to make a successful hit (remember, lower THAC0 is better) and does more damage. We can tell Bob’s damage is better because 2d4 will result in 2 to 8 points of damage, while Alice’s 1d6 will result in 1 to 6 points of damage. (If you knew statistics math, you could calculate that Bob’s expected value of damage is 5, which is larger than Alice’s expected value of damage is 3.5.)

So would you bet on Alice or Bob to win in a fight? It’s hard to tell, they seem pretty evenly matched. Even if you knew a lot of statistics, doing all these calculations would be a pain. But you don’t need to know statistics in order to write a program that simulates Dungeons and Dragons combat (that is, models this process) and then run several hundred or thousand simulated fights and see who wins on average.

Here’s such a program written in Python: (Download source)

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