How do you feel about Fairmath?

In the “Most hated thing in choice games” thread, @NJG mentioned disliking the Fairmath system. I’m wondering how common this is.

(What is Fairmath? @P_Tigras has a great explanation here. Basically, it’s why it’s very hard to get a 90% or 10% on most Choice game percentile stats.)

Do you like or dislike Fairmath?

If you like it, why does it work for you? And if you dislike it, how would you prefer percentile stats to behave?


I dislike fairmath because it’s very hard to increase a very high skill. Usually, in CoGs and HGs, I almost always focus on one skill to develop and I usually disregard the other skills. So it really sucks if you have an 80 on a certain skill, and improving that skill only give you a 1 increase or none at all.

I understand why Fairmath exists, but I like the control of knowing that a stat has increased by a set amount. I don’t mind if a skill maxes out either. I think there is a certain enjoyment (to a certain kind of person), to see a stat hit max.


@Lucid, one of these days I’m going to figure out how you create bars in the stats page without using fairmath.

My HG version of CCH used mostly regular math with set increases/decreases and although it made calculating checks much easier, I hated the absence of bars in my stats screen. I’ve now converted most stats to fairmath for the CoG version.

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I’m not overly fond of Fairmath too as with high skills it diminishes rewards for investing in the skill and exaggerates skill decreases. Basically in these types of situations fairmath offers a tiny carrot and a very big, barbed stick.
If tiny skill gains are needed (for example because your current story is the first part of a seven part epic) I’d much rather have tiny flat skill increases than fairmath.

I love fairmath, because of opposed stats.

When there are as many benefits in some ways for a stat being lower as there are for it being higher, fairmath creates a balancing effect. It becomes easier to swing a stat in the opposite direction.

I think fairmath is reasonable for stats like relationships. If you are usually nice to someone doing another nice thing wouldn’t increase your relationship with them much, but doing something mean would be detrimental. The converse is also true to a lesser extent.

For skills and ideological orientation it is terrible. I’ll caveat that with for skills it can be ok if they only increase. The wild swings it causes in opposed stats are ridiculous in my opinion. If you are usually conservative say 90% after 15 choices but make one liberal choice that shouldn’t make you 44% liberal now.

Like anything with choicescript much is dependent on author implementation.


This, all the way. I like having fairmath in the toolkit. It’s not the right tool for every stat; but when you want to be able to separate the extremists from the mushy middle, it’s great.

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I don’t like fairmath, but I don’t have a very good reason for that. Far better coders than myself believe in it, but I’ll invent my own system rather than use it (so far.)

All of my stats go up and down in fives. I can display them looking nice and neat without rounding. I can pick whichever difficulty check feels right, and a range where it increases more. (Usually the character who barely succeeds will get a bigger increase, a failure still learns something, and the wildly successful one gets a small increase.)

I have a stat cap scene that makes sure my opposed stats never exceed 100 or fall below 0. Other than that, I try to keep the math fair by handing out different bonuses for different things. Did you win the combat? Confidence and maybe popularity go up. Did you lose? You didn’t know you could run that fast; stress goes up, but so does speed.

No skill is more useful than any other. Either extreme of an opposed stat has its advantages. So your stats become less of a limited resource to hoard, and more like a signpost saying whether your character is headed the way you want.

We’ll see whether I break down and switch to fairmath when I start trying to properly balance everything.

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Didn’t Sabres of Infinity use regular math with stat bars?

Fairmath serves a purpose, as @cascat07 addressed, but outside that purpose I dislike it.

And even with relationships or the like: Let’s you get a -30% penalty for a given choice.

If you have a good stat that hurts a lot. You really undermined their good will towards you. But if you have a bad stat, -30% with a stat of 20 probably isn’t going to change whether or not you’re in the “detested” category or not. That’s more about author implementation than the system itself, but it bears mentioning.

It did, but the stats kept going over, and it was a pain in the ass to keep track of.
In Mecha Ace I continued to use fixed stat increases, but with regular *gosubs to keep stats within the 0-100 range.
It was during the editing process that it was suggested that I just use fairmath, and spare myself the trouble.


It’s good to know that one of the most successful authors here got through two games without fairmath. Did you have any trouble switching your system to fairmath? How much had to be changed or re-balanced?

Both Sabres of Infinity and Mecha Ace are still on the old system, but what I’m doing for Guns of Infinity is rebalancing and rolling back the endgame stats for Sabres, to represent the fact that the MC is now a person acting on a much greater scale. That also allows me to transition into fairmath relatively smoothly.
That being said, I find fairmath significantly easier to work with since I don’t have to account for out-of-bounds stats and the like. So long as I can manage player expectations with fairmath’s relative stat changes in mind, it’s not so bad on my end.



Soooo will there be high stat checks in Gol? The Fairmath makes it hard to get Personal Stats increases.

And easy to get stat reductions.
Pardon my ignorance, but what exactly is the problem with letting stats get over 100, but having numbers over 100 provide no additional benefit or content?
So if I have a stat of 110 it’d yield no more benefit then 100 would do.

If you display the stat as 100 or 110, and it does the same thing, that confuses the player into thinking there’s a benefit to raising it further. If it’s displayed as a text descriptor (e.g. >=100 always displays as "You are amazing at [skill]) that avoids the problem. You could also toss in a line the first time the stat hits 100 saying “raising this skill will have no further stat benefits”, and clever players could then realize it can be used to protect against losses in their maxed-out stat.

I’ve been cutting off anything over 100 or less than 0 on opposed stats, because I want to make people adhere to a personality extremes if they absolutely need to be at the far end of whatever scale.

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Thanks for sharing your thoughts, everyone! Helpful to see the various perspectives here.