View Full Version : Random Tables and Generation For RPGS

2014-02-04, 07:27 PM
I like to use random generators for my campaign settings. I like to use as many as I can possibly fit in, and I like the challenge of fitting it all together, especially when things seem to contradict. At some point I'm going to post the finished product of one of these in the World Building.

I also really enjoy running one-shots where we roll absolutely everything possible about the characters, dungeons, anything. I think it may be one of the most fun parts of table-top roleplaying.

I also love it when separate random results come together to form something beautiful. For instance, I'm rolling up a small campaign setting and have generated the following:

One generator produced "frequent trouble: vermin," while another produced "Primary reason for the apocalypse: rodent-related cataclysm."
Possible key to averting apocalypse: one city was rolled to have "streets full of stray cats."
The apocalypse generator also mentions that one threat during said apocalypse is "killer robots." One of the cities was rolled to have a "strange guardian." That city was also rolled to be "the head of a mobile, mechanical construct."
One city was rolled to be the living place of a renowned artisan. One of the notable locals was rolled to be a master artisan. Another of the notable locals was rolled to hate a certain master artisan.
The culture was rolled to highly value family, the country is ruled by an oligarchy composed of a single family, and one of the major ills facing the country is organized crime families.

Chaotic Shiny (http://chaoticshiny.com/) and Tables for Fables (http://www.apolitical.info/webgame/tables.php) are two of my favorite sites to use, along with whatever else I can get my hands on.

So what about you? Do you think random tables are fun, have any in particular you like, or had any rolls from a random table result in something really memorable?

2014-02-04, 07:32 PM
I freaking love encounter tables. I think you can describe entire regions of a game world with nothing but a d100 table, like this (http://dndwithpornstars.blogspot.fi/2011/08/cobalt-reach.html?zx=47f0af20be86153).

And then there's tables like this (http://planetalgol.blogspot.fi/2010/02/compiled-100-random-adventure-plots.html).

"76- A terrible howling storm of acid and radiation lashes the land driving all into shelters where they must contend with cannibalistic madness."

After creating that table, he promptly got that result for the next game, and rolled with it. That is freaking brilliant.

2014-02-04, 07:32 PM
I want to like random tables, but I never get results I particularly like and certainly nothing so great as your rodent apocalypse.

I did once end up with a setting where kobolds in giant mecha and skyships roamed an elemental plane of air.

2014-02-05, 11:51 AM
When it comes to random tables, these two books are really good:

Toolbox (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1887953728/ref=olp_product_details?ie=UTF8&me=&seller=)and Ultimate Toolbox (http://www.amazon.com/Ultimate-Toolbox-OP-Dawn-Ibach/dp/1594720606/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1391619017&sr=1-1&keywords=ultimate+toolbox).

Do note that I think that the first one is for 3rd Ed.

2014-02-05, 12:02 PM
Random generators are awesome. They're one of the reasons I like Traveller character creation (you choose random tables to roll on, and find out what happens to your character in their backstory), and I'm also fond of Double Cross' random tables (which determine bits of your backstory and your relationships with NPCs).

One of the coolest riffs on random tables (of course, these tend to be frequent in Japanese tabletop RPGs in general) is the Emotion Matrix from Tenra Bansho Zero. When you meet another character, you roll on the Matrix to see what your character's reaction to them is. (You can spend some "kiai" points to shift that result, but it's often fun to roll with the first thing you get.)

Here's the matrix. (http://www.tenra-rpg.com/support/emotion_matrix.pdf) I have yet to see "Thirst For Your Blood" rolled, but I'm sure I will...

2014-02-07, 03:01 PM
I freaking love encounter tables. I think you can describe entire regions of a game world with nothing but a d100 table, like this (http://dndwithpornstars.blogspot.fi/2011/08/cobalt-reach.html?zx=47f0af20be86153).

And then there's tables like this (http://planetalgol.blogspot.fi/2010/02/compiled-100-random-adventure-plots.html).

I liked the picture lifted from the movie, "Valley of Gwangi." Original idea for the time of cowboys versus dinosaurs.

In the same vein: don't forget about all of the plot hooks given in a lot of the rulebooks. I took them all and threw them into a spreadsheet. If something doesn't fit just refresh the sceen until either you find something you like or can modify for the situation, or think of something original and later add it to your list.

When I codify areas of my setting I will first come up with the geography and then go find the monsters I want to have living there, or migrating through there at certain times of the year. Once I get that list I build an encounter chart out of it. Once I have an encounter chart I once again put it into a spreadsheet for ease of use.

Anything that makes your job as a DM easier is good; and even if you are one of the, "shoot from the hip" sort of DMs you can still use the charts out of the DMG for example to add detail to your encounter or dungeon area.