Saturday, 23 July 2016

Dolmenwood: Thinking About Random Encounter Tables

I've been thinking about random encounter tables for Dolmenwood recently. Greg and I have always had in mind something a bit more specialised and interesting than the standard charts by terrain type. The creatures which may be met in the wood vary by time of day, season of the year, and distance from civilisation. Here are some initial thoughts as to how this might work.

First of all, the top-level categories of creatures one might encounter in Dolmenwood:

  1. Animals (great and small)
  2. Fairies
  3. Monsters and fabulous beasts
  4. People
Those seem nicely broad. For each category, I'm envisaging a table for daytime encounters and one for nighttime encounters. I like this kind of little nod towards versimilitude that can be encoded in random charts. Similarly, creatures which are only encountered at a certain time of year may be listed as options (e.g. "12. Root Thing (autumn) or Giant Spider").

The type of creatures that may be encountered also depends on time of day and activity, as follows.

Daytime, on the road:
People are by far the most common creatures that travel on the roads in the daytime. Monsters and fairies tend to avoid such places, while normal animals may wander past once in a while.
  1. A
  2. A
  3. A
  4. A
  5. F
  6. M
  7. P
  8. P
  9. P
  10. P
  11. P
  12. P
Daytime, in the wilds:
Once adventurers step off of a main thoroughfare, anything can happen. All types of creature may be encountered with equal probability.
  1. A
  2. A
  3. A
  4. F
  5. F
  6. F
  7. M
  8. M
  9. M
  10. P
  11. P
  12. P
Nighttime, camping with a fire:
Normal animals are, for the most part, afraid of fire and will not come near. Monsters are bolder, while intelligent beings may be attracted by light and voices.
  1. A
  2. F
  3. F
  4. F
  5. F
  6. M
  7. M
  8. M
  9. P
  10. P
  11. P
  12. P
Nighttime, camping without a fire (or wandering):
Dolmenwood at night is a strange and uncivilised place, where monsters and fairies are the most active creatures. People are rarely encountered, without firelight to attract them, and many animals are inactive.
  1. A
  2. A
  3. F
  4. F
  5. F
  6. F
  7. F
  8. M
  9. M
  10. M
  11. M
  12. P
More to come as my thoughts develop further...

4 comments:

  1. It's not bad. Too complicated for me, but then again, most wandering tables are too complicated for me.

    I definitely think 12 entries is enough to satisfy the random and surprising elements that random roll tables are meant to generate.

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  2. Stolen this for my Grim Tales campaign!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cool! That reminds me: I have a simplified / expanded version of these tables that I forgot to post. Will do soon!

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