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...


  1. Funny, I drew that last demotivational poster (with the Beholder) a couple of years ago. Funny when you see how other people use what you throw out there!

    1. Original post:

    2. Aw man, now I feel like a douche for not giving credit. Sorry about that dude!

  2. I wasn't posting to assert copyright protocol. I was pleased to see it used. Cheers!

  3. I've said in various places before, how much I love seeing how others game, whet they use, etc. This is a perfect example of that. I'd love to see your booklets as you revise them, but given the sources of your charts, I can see how you aren't really able to do that. Thanks for sharing this much though.

  4. Good idea - and I agree with Zak on the whole G+ thing. G+ is great for a quick comment, but for a proper article, blogger is the way to go.

  5. In my folder of 'useful charts' I have a copy of my critical hits and fumbles and a photocopy of the Runequest hit location tables... because every once it a while it matters whether or not something hits you on the head or on the foot, etc.

  6. All the OSR Conservation Stuff got made into a torrent before the site went down, so if you do a search for the torrent you can download Miscellaneum of Cinder and all the other stuff along with it.


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