[Elegant] Nested Random Encounter Tables

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susan_brindle
Patreon SupporterLairs And Encounters Backer
Joined: 2013-06-05 15:49
[Elegant] Nested Random Encounter Tables

So, I'm not a big fan of the default ACKS random encounter tables. The thoroughness of having a full dozen animals for every terrain type is beautiful, but if you're not using every terrain type in your game, or if you'd like a different spread, making a three page chart seems like more prepwork than I'm willing to do.

 

So here's my own system:

First, roll up a bunch of random encounters that seem interesting and relevant. Make sure to use at least one of these or something like it.

http://recedingrules.blogspot.com/2011/11/what-are-monsters-doing.html

http://dreamsinthelichhouse.blogspot.com/2013/03/towards-more-interesting-random.html
http://therustydagger.blogspot.com/2012/10/humanoid-enemy-quirks.html

Do this on your own time. So, let's say that we have two dozen random encounters that we like.

Next, we divide the regional map into a handful of large regions. For my map, I'm going "The entire southern half of the map" because that's fairly inhabited and borderlandsy, and then the northern half of the map is divided into "Glacial Plains" and "Awful Tundra."

So, I pick out twelve encounters that seem appropriate for a vaguely civilized area.

Borderlands
1. Todd the Silk Merchant (and friends!)
2.  Ladamy, the fugitive.
3. Bestie, the greatest of cows.
4. Bandit Keith and his Knife Bros
5. Bandit Graham and his (nut) Crackers
6. Gajarahajad, and his Questing Knights
7. ROAD TRIP (A pothole damages your wagon/horse.)
8. Snow beetles. (Immature)
9. Oglaf the Panzerbjorn. (Has an urgent need)
10. Carnivorious Deer
11.  Snowspiders
12. Patrolling Snow Elves.

The elegant bit, though, is that unbeknownst to YOU, dear reader, the order of this chart was predetermined! I secretly subdivided Borderlands into lesser terrain types, that can be simulated by rolling different dice! So if you're near a village, you roll 1d4 on this chart! If you're on a main road, 1d8! In the forest, 1d12! Then, after the party has an encounter, you just remove it from the table and replace it with another one from the pool. Or, at your discression, leave it on there for a bit. Maybe they'll meet Oglaf again someday.

I'm also proud of including a terrain event on there. It's an easy way to remember to inflict downed bridges, rockslides, and snowstorms on your players.

EDIT: You can also play with modifiers. If they're deep in the forest, you could do 1d4+8 to just limit yourself to the forest encounters. Or 1d8+4 if they're still on the road deep in the forest.

Jard
Patreon SupporterDomains At War ContributorSinister Stone of Sakkara ContributorLairs And Encounters ContributorBarbarian Conquerors of Kanahu ContributorACKS Heroic Fantasy Handbook Contributor
Joined: 2012-07-11 23:23

I've always been partial to the idea that if you're in an enemy nation (say a chaotic realm of mostly goblins ruled by a zaharan ruinguard) you should roll on a random encounter table more likely to produce their patrols or garrison.

for my part, some of the results on the main table are either a little too out there for me or don't feel like they contribute to the feel of the hex type.  I prefer when my random tables make the players go "oh, this happened to us because we're in the woods".

Alex
The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

Delightful and elegant solution, Susan!

 

Twilight Jack
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Lairs And Encounters Backer
Joined: 2013-05-14 02:57

Three cheers for Oglaf (if only he knew how to read)!

The random encounter table is also furking awesome.