I had in mind using these tables as an aid while stocking dungeons, for which I often use the normal dungeon encounter tables. I tend to find these a little limited and generic though, hence the idea of different tables for different types of dungeon.
But: I just had what seems like an even better idea, and one that could be immensely useful for all sorts of things.
An online old-school monster database, with tags.
The tags are the important thing. The fact that monsters are usually only indexed by name is what makes coming up with suitably themed collections of them tricky. I realised this when looking at the extensive monster lists in the AD&D Monster Manual II. There's this huge list of monster names, sorted alphabetically or by hit dice or by wilderness environment. But to use the lists successfully you really need to know what the monsters are like, just from their names. For instance, I came across quite a few stumbling blocks in the list of 1st level dungeon monsters: rothe, vilstrak, vulchling, tween...? A lookup in the fiend folio and I now know what these things are, but it's slow work.
But what if there were a database where you could just search for monsters of 1 to 3 HD with the tags "fungus" or "whimsical"? Such a tool could be used to whip up encounter tables in a jiffy, or to get quick inspiration for encounters of any sort. I think this could be a seriously useful tool, if set up right.
So, a couple of questions:
- Does anyone know if anything like this already exists? (I've never heard of anything like it, but you never know... I imagine possibly a resource like this may exist for 3.5th or 4th edition.)
- Any thoughts on what software / system would be good for something like this? A freely available, easy to use, multi-user, wiki-style, online system would be perfect, but something that works as a database as opposed to a page / post based wiki or blog.