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    Titan in the Playground
    J-H's Avatar

    Join Date
    Feb 2008

    Default Mass-generating random exploration points for hexcrawls

    I'm putting this here deliberately to help others deal with this situation... I know Google may index this on a forum.

    I'm working on a fairly ambitious hexcrawl project for 5e. It stretched my idea-generation capabilities to come up with exploration encounters for about 20 hexes of western ocean - and I have over 350 hexes to put "random" stuff in... not random combat-oriented encounters, just things to find.

    That level of content has to be generated randomly. I know if I get a sentence or two to go off of, I can spin it into a unique description fairly quickly.
    I came up with the following categories to randomize:
    Location Type (lair, mine, buildings, vegetation, water, etc.)
    Status (abandoned, occupied, temporarily empty, under attack)
    Owned by (beasts, humanoids, monsters, something else)
    Containing (various loot types, nothing, plot clues)

    I then assigned those probabilities until these were d6 to d10 tables. For example, on my d10 "contains" table, I have 4 entries for "nothing" but only 1 for "magic items". I then set up 4 more tables for creature types.

    350 hexes x 2 encounters/hex x 5 rolls per encounter = 3500 rolls
    That's a lot!

    Luckily, this can be done in Excel. I did some Googling, and here's the formula:
    =INDEX($E$12:$E$21,RANDBETWEEN(1,ROWS($E$12:$E$21) ),1)
    Where E12:E21 is the table I want to pick from. This drops the actual text result in.
    Then I made a column of each for copy/pasting. What I did not figure out how to do was make the creature type then select a specific type from the random table. I bolded creature times in the example below

    Random functions reset every time any cell in the sheet is changed, so I can run this 10 times, copy/paste it as plain text, or I can run it 100 times, then reset it.

    My output of exploration seeds looks like:
    A Abandoned Mtn/Hill/Valley/Canyon owned by Beasts containing Mundane Supplies the specific creature is: Scorpionfolk Mindless Undead Myconids Devils
    A Temporarily Empty Lair owned by Monsters containing Gold Drow Banshees Roll twice & combine Constructs
    A Abandoned Mtn/Hill/Valley/Canyon owned by Humanoids containing Clues Aaracokra Trolls Giant Vermin Demons
    A Under Attack Lair owned by Roll twice/combine containing Mundane Supplies Wizards Trolls Spiders manual 2nd roll = Giant Vermin Slaad
    Last edited by J-H; 2020-09-12 at 11:08 AM.

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