drachefly wrote:Even without story logic, those misses by Artemis are sufficiently unlikely that it overwhelms the prior improbability of outside influence.
I don't deny that, do I? I just deny a connection between her misses and others' hits.
I don't know if Rob played P&P RPG's, but those of us that do are very familiar with some people's claimed lack of luck. Some pessimists are convinced that they always roll badly in critical situations. Artemis may be an homage to those people. In truth, they only remember the bad rolls, and forget the good. I solved this problem by offering htis solution:
1) On day 1, play as normal and record all rolls by the complaining player.
2) Invert and randomize the results. (From a D20, a 1<->20, 10<->11.)
3) On day 2, player does not roll but gets result off my list, ensuring he gets the opposite luck from the previous week.
No one ever took me up on it, but the bad luck seemed to go away. Complaints oddly vanished, and the poor rolls in critical situations stopped.
Interesting system. It's a good idea. I'm sure that none of your players ever took you up on it. I'm also pretty sure that the complaints vanished. You are right that humans as a group tend to place more weight in memory to failures than to successes. That's evolutionary. Successes are much less likely to kill you, while repeated mistakes very easily could. Hence a tendency to remember failures is something that was probably selected for.
However, I doubt that the 'poor roll in critical situations' stopped, unless some other factor came into play. Dice are dice and probability is probability. For multiple people to somehow just stop rolling badly in certain situation at a certain point in time is... Well, the odds are against it to say the least. Perhaps your memory is interpreting the 'success' as less important than the failures of earlier.
As far as Artemis, I think that this was most certainly the intervention of some outside force. Call it Fate, call it Luck, call it the author, but her reactions in that scene pointed to the fact that she was absolutely flabbergasted by the way Scarlet and her stack performed, and the random events that went on during the fight. Alright, maybe she had bad rolls, but that's just as likely as an entire group of your gamers rolling failures and crit failures during an entire encounter. Sure it's possible, but the odds are against it. Plus, meta-logic states that Rob wouldn't have put it in there if it wasn't relevant. The readers cannot see random bad dice rolls. We can, however, see the influence of Fate and/or Luck. Authors shouldn't put random things in at critical moments that don't have some effect on the story. Is there a good reason why Artemis rolled badly? Well, if it's Fate then yes. If it's the influence of some 'mancy, sure. Random bad luck? No. It's an invisible factor that adds nothing to the story. If it's in the scene, which it most definitely is, then she 'rolled badly' for a very good reason.
Personally, I'm thinking it's Fate. Sylvia's had that ongoing 'game' with Oblivion for the whole turn. This is just a logical extension of that. In fact, in my mind it's the only logical extension. Rob went to great lengths to talk about Sylvia's game. Tossing in a completely unrelated random factor at the last minute? Not a chance.