Monday, June 18, 2012

Economy of D&D: Childhood Mortality: The Stunning Facts

A look into a very basic interpretation of the rules of Childhood Mortality as compiled through analysis.

Apologies for the delay in getting back to you... How have you been?  Hope you enjoyed your Father's Day weekend, had a nice grill out.  For those of you who like me don't have your father in your lives I extend my hopes that you did not allow the lack of a patriarch to ruin what was, at least in my area, quite a wonderful weekend.

All of the discussions about Father's Day and children, along with a thread over at ENWorld, and a Christian Children's Fund ad got me thinking about the actual rate of infant mortality in a world following the lines of Dungeons and Dragons.  So I sought out a good source for the old child stat blocks, cracked a Diet Coke, and began to crunch numbers like I have with our previous discussions.

Question: What is the observable Human Child Mortality rate from Age 0 to Adulthood in the Disease Model provided by the 3rd Edition (revised) version of Dungeons and Dragons?

Methodology:  Use a self-randomizing macro spreadsheet to report back results for 1000-child cohorts each with randomly generated Constitution scores (1d6 for the period from Infant to Child, +1d6 to Young Adult).  A common, everyday illness (example: Filth Fever [DC 12, Incubation 1d3 days, damage 1d3 Con/1d3 Dex]) was chosen, and an infection rate of 2% per year was proposed after examination.  This series was injury/illness.  Each infection event would provide for the initial damage (if contracted and a randomized save vs. Fort of 0 (+ random Con modifier), and 3 separate attempts to 'cure' the disease.  This would represent four days of illness, followed by the application of Heal or another method to cure the illness.

Reasoning:  Filth Fever actually serves a dual purpose for our research.  Due to the nature of the illness's vector (unclean surroundings) it mimics most childhood pathologies.  Filth Fever is the only SRD disease that does not cause permanent drain, has a surmountable DC (<15), and can kill on its own through its Con reduction payload without causing permanent Constitution drain.  The 2%/year figure is a benchmark for viability; it makes the assumption that, over the course of a given childhood, the individual will be put at a risk of contracting an illness at a standard, low-risk rate.

The use of 4 separate rolls to determine passage/failure allows for further randomization, and survival of one week would represent a 4 day window for most common childhood illnesses to pass.  A further examination with longer window, including a seven day window, is forthcoming for comparison.

Results:  The macro was used to produce 6080 separate cohorts.  Over the complete set of 6 080 000 children 512,544 succumb to illness before reaching Young Adulthood.  This produces an 8.43% mortality rate, or 84.3/1000.  On average 78.7/1000 of these deaths (478,496) occurred in the first 8 years of the study.  This would place the rough average of 9.8375/1000/yr.  If this is extrapolated to examine under-5 mortality trends (a common indicator for the World Health Organization for childhood health), the rate (49.1875/1000) brings our testing group between the mortality rates present in Oceania
 and the Central Asian region.

As conflicting results exist across the board for under-5 mortality in the Medieval period so further analysis is needed to confirm comparable rates of mortality.

Improvements in Analysis:  These numbers have not taken into account the possibilities of disease removal during the four day period.  A random determination of the availability of healing magic within a cohort (with the notation of this availability) would allow for further (possibly noted) reductions in mortality.  Currently the macro is being evaluated for possible ways to mirror this through random generation of population center data for each cohort and associated available individuals who meet the minimum expected requirements to Heal the disease.


Right now the generator is under a pretty good amount of evaluation so that I can see the best possible way to go about confirmation.  The numbers were actually quite surprising on this side, especially when comparing them to mortality rates around the world.  The loss of a child is a very sad moment in the life of a family, and it is amazing that in our modern world the numbers are still so high.

If you are in the United States and wish to assist those who are experiencing the travails of losing a child to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or other childhood diseases/disorders, please donate to Share.  Their mission is to assist in providing support to those who have lost a child and they are well-rated with the BBB.

Alright, I do apologize about that little bit of soapboxing, and hope that the information has provided a bit of an insight into the intricacies of the world of Dungeons and Dragons as represented through math.

As Always,

Good Gaming.