Friday, September 28, 2012

Most Used Random Tables

For the games I run, the "Dungeon Master Guide" I use is nothing more than a homemade digest booklet - about 32 pages or so - that holds my most commonly-referenced charts, tables, and notes. I periodically review it and make a new one, dumping little-used tables, updating ones where a lot of the results are used up, and making any other tweaks I might want to make while I'm at it. It's interesting that I always find a few that I thought were awesome but they never saw use at the table. Conversely, some of the less sexy tables get used all the time.

So yesterday, while I was going through this process, I compiled a list of my most-used tables and posted it on G+. No one really responded with theirs, but Zak suggested it might be more suitable as a blog thing, since it does require a bit of thought and effort.

Here they are, in no particular order.
  1. Crits & Fumbles I'm always using some form of crit and fumble charts, and I switch them up from time to time. Next session I plan to try out James Raggi's d30 crit/fumble tables from Green Devil Face #5. They're filled with ridiculous things! Here's one entry from the fumble chart, as an example: "15. Your attack actually hits for max damage, but you learn the wrong lesson from this lucky hit – you lose all accumulated XP for your current level." That's totally fucked!
  2. "I Search the Body" From Zak Smith's Vornheim. Supremely useful, although I edited to get a few less "small number of coins" results. We've had whole adventures around some of the results on this table.
  3. Carousing Mishaps courtesy of Jeff Rients. A few versions are available. Not sure how different they are. There is one in Fight On #4, one in The Miscellaneum of Cinder, and one on his blog.
  4. Deck O Stuff Also by Jeff Rients. Copy/pasted from Fight On #5 and made into a d100 table. A shorter version is available here. Occasionally useful for unique starting items for PCs, but even more useful for when PCs are searching dressers and suchlike.
  5. Wandering Monsters I use the Labyrinth Lord charts (page 104 & 105), but sometimes reskin the monsters or make on-the-fly tweaks like with Monster Mutations from the Miscellaneum of Cinder.
  6. Mutations I use both Carcosa and Encounter Critical charts. Would love to use Mutant Future ones if they weren't so damn long.
  7. Male & Female NPC Names Why name an NPC before they are met? Once a name is used, I cross it off the list and make a note about that NPC in my binder, except for when I don't because I forget to.
  8. Unguarded Treasure from page 7 of Underworld & Wilderness Adventures. Super-boring and super-useful.
  9. Whimsey Chart My own table created per the guidelines given in the Arduin Grimoire in the entry for Elvish Whimsey Wine. (or something like that)
  10. Good/Bad/Indifferent Not really a chart, but I use a pair of fudge dice in a lot of situations to determine if something happens. Two plusses means good, two minuses means bad, anything else is indifferent/nothing. Most common use: "I cut open the monster's stomach. Do I find any treasure?" Double plusses indicate a good result, such as a minor treasure in the beast's stomach. Double minuses indicate a bad result, like a face-hugger-parasite-monster that was taking up residence in the manticore's digestive tract, that is now going to attempt to leap out at the character's face, choke him to death with its tail, and then crawl down his throat to lay eggs in his stomach. Any other result is indicative of nothing interesting happening - “Nope, nothing inside the manticore's stomach. Sorry dude.”
Feel free to make a post of your own list and post a link in the comments. It doesn't have to be 10 items. Just make a list of whatever you find yourself using regularly.

A note on The Miscellaneum of Cinder: Last I heard, this was available as a free download from The "OSR Conservation Process". The link isn't working for me at the moment, so I'm not sure what the deal is. If you want a copy and are having trouble finding it, just shoot me a note at jderam by way of google mail and I'd be happy to send a reply with the PDF attached.

Actually, looks like an awesome result to me...

Thursday, September 27, 2012


Last time my "home group" played, the first ever TPK in my life happened. It was in the Tower of the Stargazer, in case you were wondering.

Anyways, as much as I LOVE DCC (let's call it my favorite in-print game), I couldn't help but find myself looking fondly at my ghetto homemade brown box every time I would pass it while walking through the house.

So I made an off-the-cuff decision to run OD&D for those guys the next game. I'm still going to run DCC at the game store, at least through the end of the year, since I made a commitment to myself to do that. I'm not sure if this will be a one-off, or if we'll stick with OD&D for a while - we'll just have to see what happens. I whipped up a quick house rules doc, trying to keep things short and sweet. I'm going to try a few things differently and see how it goes.

  • Only the three classes: Fighting-Man, Magic-User, Cleric (never gone thiefless before!)
  • I didn't bother writing up any wacky races. I'll just ask people what they wanna be and take it from there.
  • Stole an idea for neutral clerics from Talysman's Beastmaster Class. (Note: I didn't actually read the post. I was just like, "Okay turning table, something about animals, got it!")
  • Someone mentioned this on G+, and I think I might try it - Have everyone roll up a few characters and then shuffle them all up and hand them out randomly.
The rest is included in the doc:


So my love affair with those little booklets continues... I can't really explain it. It's the one iteration of the game that I feel best delivers on the promise of "You can do anything!" 

I'm excited for this Saturday. We'll see how these guys like it.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

One-Page DCC Spell Charts

I've begun my attempt at reworking the DCC spells that span across multiple pages, and getting them trimmed down to fit on a single page. I've done the 1st-level cleric and wizard spells so far, and will do the rest as time allows. Check them out on the DCC Resources Page. I hope you find them as useful in your games as I have in mine!