New user's initial thoughts / criticisms of Python

Robert Kern robert.kern at
Mon Nov 11 12:53:40 CET 2013

On 2013-11-11 10:39, Chris Angelico wrote:

> A 'minor weapon' is based on a roll of a 100-sided dice. If it's 01 to
> 70, "+1 weapon: 2,000gp [weapon]"; if it's 71 to 85, "+2 weapon:
> 8,000gp [weapon]"; if 86 to 90, "Specific weapon [minor specific
> weapon]"; and if 91 to 100, "Special ability [minor special weapon]
> and roll again".
> My code to handle that starts out with this array:
> "minor weapon":({
>      70,"+1 weapon: 2,000gp [weapon]",
>      85,"+2 weapon: 8,000gp [weapon]",
>      90,"Specific weapon [minor specific weapon]",
>      100,"Special ability [minor special weapon] and roll again",
> }),
> (that's Pike; in Python it'd be a list, or maybe a tuple of tuples),
> and denormalizes it into a lookup table by creating 70 entries quoting
> the first string, 15 quoting the second, 5, and 10, respectively. So,
> with a bit of preprocessing, a lookup table (which in this case is an
> array (list), but could just as easily be a dict) can be used to
> handle inequalities. But this is because lookup tables can be treated
> as data, where if/elif/else blocks have to be code; there are roughly
> 42 million such lookup tables in the code I snagged that from, and
> having code for each one would work out far less manageable. Normally,
> you'll want to render inequalities with code as if/elif.

Heh. I've done pretty much exactly the same thing to implement an engine[1] to 
draw from the random tables on Abulafia[2] which have nearly the same structure. 
It scales up reasonably well beyond d100s. It's certainly not a technique I 
would pull out to replace one-off if-elif chains that you literally write, but 
it works well when you write the generic code once to apply to many tables.


Robert Kern

"I have come to believe that the whole world is an enigma, a harmless enigma
  that is made terrible by our own mad attempt to interpret it as though it had
  an underlying truth."
   -- Umberto Eco

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