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I know there are 24 ways to combine A, B, C and D. ...right? From AAAA to DDDD stopping off at ABCD somewhere in the middle. Can you help me name name, gang?

Help me, and I might just tell you what I'm drawing up over here.

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3. AAAB 4.BCCC 13.DDDA 14.BBBD 24. ????

5. AABB 6.CCCC 15.DDAA 16.BBDD

7. ABBB 8.CCCD 17.DAAA 18.BDDD

9.BBBB 10.CCDD 19.AAAC 20.ABDC

11.BBBC 12.CDDD 21.AACC 22. ????

ABCD BACD ETC.

ABDC BADC

ACBD BCAD

ACDB BCDA

ADBC BDAC

ADCB BDCA

However if AAAA is a legitimate construction, then there are 256 potential permutations. Or if you are saying that order doesn't matter, and you are just concerned with unique combinations of 4, as it looks like your second post (posted while I was typing) suggests, then there are evidently still more than 24 (tho I can't remember how to calculate it atm). There is at least ABCC, ABDD, ACBB, ACDD, ADCC, AABC, AABD, AADC.

edit: and DDBC BBDC CCBD.

Here's a rundown of some of them, to give you an idea...

AAAA AAAB AAAC AAAD AABA AABB AABC AABD

AACA AACB AACC AACD AADA AADB AADC AADD

ABAA ABAB ABAC ABAD ACAA ACAB ACAC ACAD

There's 24 right there, and I haven't even started. :-)

As a contrast, if you don't allow repeats, that's 4 x 3 x 2 x 1 = 12 possible arrangements of the letters.

Because the position does not matter, we're not looking for

permutations, and because we're pulling from the same pool for each letter (the full range A-D, regardless of what was pulled last), we're not looking atcombinationseither. What we are looking for is combinations with repetition, which happens to have a neat combinatorial formula: given a set of four cells (A-D) and four picks, the number of different combinations is [seven over four] = 35.("Seven over four" is a specific combinatorics operation, you can check it in e.g. Wikipedia. A bit of specific multiplication, with the goal of finding out how many ways you can pull four things out of a set of seven things.)

The easiest way to list them all is to assume that the series is always sorted from A to D, and then start listing them in order, moving through all combinations, but skipping any that would not have the results in the correct order. Like so:

AAAA

AAAB

AAAC

AAAD

AABB

AABC

AABD

AACC

AACD

AADD

- As you can see, we avoided listing e.g. "AABA" because that would be the same as "AAAB" which we already listed. This is easy if you move through the last digits in sequence, and move up one digit every time you end up at D. Moving on:

ABBB

ABBC

ABBD

ABCC

ABCD

ABDD

ACCC

ACCD

ACDD

ADDD

BBBB

BBBC

BBBD

BBCC

BBCD

BBDD

BCCC

BCCD

BCDD

BDDD

CCCC

CCCD

CCDD

CDDD

DDDD

I hope that answered the question.

Rolled whale-bone wyrd, / wrought glory with dice.

One of the People-kin, / Potemcynn named,

Sailed forth from Story-games, / the golden hall.

Until the riddle was solved / no rest would there be, nor safety

From the manslaughter of Math, / the mad night-stalker...

Now, as you've been patient, I'll try tell you what I'm doing:

I'm trying to build a deck of actions. In this game you control a stable of nobles loosely arranged into a House and each turn you play four cards out of a hand of seven. The composition of the hand determines what happens to your house that season.

"A" Cards represent Positive events. So let's call them "P."

"B" Cards represent Internal events. So let's call them "I."

"C" Cards represent External events. So let's call them "E."

"D" Cards represent Negative events. So let's call them "N."

PPPP is a universal postive, effecting all players. NNNN is it's opposite. A harsh winter, a plague.

IIII allows a player to bring a new piece onto the board, and EEEE represents the drawing together of webs to eliminate another player's piece.

I'm trying to work out solutions to all 35 combinations. Perhaps IIEE is a marriage? What then is PIEN, or the enigmatic PPNN? An unresolved conflict?

If anyone feels like playing a little mental game and giving me a few suggestions, I'd be very grateful!

ExamplePP: a "boon", a bounty or gain given out

II: "growth", an event which fleshes out or increases something

EE: "motion", some force which alters the course of events and imposes its will

NN: a "bane", some foul or malevolent outcome

PI: "inspiration", the rise of a young new element to power

PE: "salvation", someone coming from without who brings a great help

PN: "disruption", confusion and a bit of anarchy that brings damage but promise

IE: "crisis", a clash between outside forces and internal agents

IN: "corruption", a decay of systems within

EN: "shadow", a menacing turn of events without

So you have ten possible main events, but they also change depending on which other event they're coupled with, as well as the larger context of the event. Maybe if an event is repeated, it redoubles the intensity of the event? (So PPPP would be a great blessing for all, and PNPN would be massive upheaval of the status quo.)

You could also make each letter have a different category, that don't exclude eachother. A is positive, D is not negative, but rather success. AD (earlier PN) could then be a Pyrrhic Victory for instance (or its opposite).

If a letter turns up twice, it may signify the flipside: negative instead of positive, unsuccessful instead of success. A third time may reverse it once more. This way the sequence could also be important and exciting. If you want complexer rules, you could also have the player hold a hand of cards, like in hold'em poker, where they could play a card to cancel an effect. Maybe the last card has the strongest effect (like the over-arcing mood in a scene), and cannot be reversed?