For a longer time I had suspicions about the random number generator used in Pathfinder games, but with the last situation I faced I think its very likely that my suspicions are correct.
Situation: I am at [spoiler]the approach of the Threshold[/spoiler] and my main character can only be hit by a 20 by “normal” enemies. 3 of the normal archer enemies are focus firing my main in turn based mode (that I think is important).
And not a single round goes by when my main is not critically hit by one of them. Not just hit, critically hit with a roll of two 20sm sometimes even twice a round.
Statistically this result is very unlikely, yet it happened again and again over multiple reloads.
So what happens?
First a very basic explanation of how random numbers on computers work. In fact, they don’t. Computers can’t do anything random. You put in a specific number which gets modified by other specific numbers and get out a result. Put in the same numbers and the result will always be the same.
The trick to create randomness is to make the input parameters something you don’t know or control and ensure that the mathematical function outputs a nice spread of results.
And where I think Pathfinder has problems is the input parameters. It seems to me that the state of the game map, like the position of characters, their health, etc. are used as input parameter. That means when nothing on the map moves or changes you get very similar results.
Have you ever positioned your rogue next to a chest, saved, failed and reloaded over and over again because the rogue never rolls above 5?
I have. Several times in fact. Yet when I move the rest of the party the rogue suddenly rolls high and succeeds. That is how I first got suspicious.
Two things make this problem even more obvious. Turn based mode and rapid rolls like for critical confirmations.
In turn based mode only one character moves at the time, so the game map/state does not change a lot between actions as other figures are not moving around at the same time. And when you have several rolls in rapid succession the chance for anything to change between them is low.
This is imo why you often see streaks of rolls, either all good or all bad like I see with critical confirmations in turn based mode.
I hope Owlcat will in the future go over their random function or the way input parameters are selected and improve it, especially for turn based mode by not make them dependent on the game map (I think for Wrath that is too late as it is a big change and Owlcat currently has other things to do).