Sunday, July 3, 2022

d100 - Where Is The Key For This Locked Door?

Locked Doors or Containers are a time-honored obstacle to exploration and discovery. They present an opportunity for the clever Thief to fiddle with their tools to flex their percentiles, the Fighter to muscle things open with a sturdy d6, or the Magic User to unleash a mighty Knock. If only there were another way?

The presence of a Lock implies the existence of a Key. Here are a Hundred places where that pesky unlocker might live. Much like my previous posts on Secret or Stuck Doors, some imply a puzzle or a skosh of Set Dressing as well. Some of the particularly tricky ones might be worthy of rewarding the Players with a passe-partout.

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Marvelous Mushrooms - Generator

Just a quick post sharing a generator I needed to build out for Perchance: Marvelous Mushrooms & Tantalizing Toadstools. Since this one can requires a few rolls, I like to make those a little faster with a generator that can collate content in a click.

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

d100 – My Magic Cannot...

An interesting conversation on Twitter about ways to make Magic weilded by Magic-Users a little less reliable for a more distinctive and wonderous feel (somewhat like the Taboo System I use for Clerics) got me thinking, and before I knew it I had the makings of a Table. I had some semi-similar things (like my recent Flaws & Foibles or perhaps my Magical Mishaps & Calamitous Curses), but nothing that quite fit the bill.

Personifying the Magic made it a little easier to produce some of these entries, feel free to season that bit to taste. I’m not quite sure how I’d use them (Maybe in exchange for more Casting Ability? Perhaps every Magic User specializes or has their own personal connections?) but I’d probably try to make them meaningful in terms of interpretation.

Sure seems like several of the recent tables have been a bit Caster-centric. I really need to polish up a few more of my Fighter-friendly tables at some point 😊.

Monday, June 13, 2022

d100 - Introductions for Newly Minted PCs In Medias Res

Sometimes one finds oneself in a situation where there is an immediate need to Introduce a new PC to a Party whilst the adventure is currently in progress. Their character falls, and after the comforting clatter of dice, they have made a new one: But by what means do they get ushered into play?

Here is a table that might supply a skosh of inspiration or at least some “starting points” for these sticky situations where there’s need for a Sudden Entrance, Stage Left. Like most of my tables, it might need a bit of strategic tailoring to the specific situation and taste. Remember the Trick behind all those seemingly stray Capital Letters: Capitalized Words can always be freely substituted/specified/adjusted to fit.

I’m afraid that most of these might impinge on Player Agency a bit, but I’ve always felt that a player character’s Prologue was fairer game for such things, and it’s a small price to pay for being able to leap back into the action I suppose. I’ve tried to shy away from some of the ones I’ve seen used that put the Character or Player in some of the more uncomfortable spots, and leaning into a bit of mystery and unanswered questions to flesh out in play is never a bad thing in my book. One could even just have them roll (or even select!) an entry that strikes them as that final step of creating their new character. A bit of brief, hopefully actionable backstory never hurt anyone, and who knows where it could lead? 😊

Several of these entries are ones I’ve found myself having to use in the past, some even served as Session/Campaign Starters in their own right or Premises for One-Shot Games, so I’m sure there might be a bit of additional hidden utility in this table if one approaches it from other angles.

Monday, June 6, 2022

d100 - Atypical Scrolls of Protection & Assorted Aegides

Those Scrolls of Protection are a type of Magic Item that fills me with fond memories. Being usable by anyone (provided they can read them aloud), they really scratch a particular itch for me: They provide the ability to put Magic and Wonder in the hands of Classes that don’t normally have the capability to tangibly access this aspect of play. An athaumic Fighter, unfurling that fluttering page of parchment to have that chance to harness some Magic occasionally is a very fun thing. I also enjoy how they generally serve as timely “bacon-savers” of the highest degree: They are an excellent example of a specific Tool, that when used in the proper circumstances, can really make a world of difference.

Sadly, the standard safeguards provided, while eminently useful, are still somewhat limited in scope in terms of what they protect against: enigmatic Elementals, leering Lycanthropes, the ubiquitous Undead, and of course the extremely handy Protection from Magic. I’ve always enjoyed sprinkling in a few more interesting and somewhat more situationally convenient ones in Hoards here and there.

Along with a Hundred new and novel circumstances, substances, or adversaries to ward against, I’ve included some Scroll Descriptions that could easily be used with other, more conventional Spell Scrolls. Given the accessible nature of Scrolls of Protection, I suppose that quite a few of my Scroll Substitutions could also be just as applicable for these as well since they are generally “single-use” items and might invoke a more “Protective Talisman” feel.

The general Rules for employment, area, and effect for them still apply (though some of these might require a bit of creative interpretation from time to time...that’s part of the fun!). These Magic Items are an excellent example of one of the few occasions I find things like “Usage Die” to be more suitable than the standard method. Rather than the Referee rolling to establish a “set” Duration in Secret, the tension of rolling every Turn to witness that defensive “Forcefield” flicker and fade is much more unpredictable and fun. The d8 or d6 is probably as high as I’d go most of the time, but for some of the things these protect against I’d potentially consider a Check taking place every Hour, or even every Day to occasionally make them truly marvelous and memorable.

Friday, June 3, 2022

d100 - Flaws & Foibles for More Fickle Magic

Drawbacks and Complications for Magic are something I’m fairly fond of using in my games. A useful item, with an inconvenient defect is more memorable, just as a Cursed item with just enough usefulness to hang onto can also be more fun than metagame conceits that keep it in player hands.

It is always appealing to me when one of these snags ends up being a boon with the proper creative application. Just like how my Unconventional Potions and some of my other Magic Item posts end up embellishing these creations with features that might just be a perfect key for a lock yet unknown, some of these entries might end up working in a similar fashion.

Here is a list of a hundred of these sorts of impediments and imperfections. You could even use them to garb Spells themselves, Familiars, Magic Item Creation, or other wonderous things with a little bit of creative adjustment.

Monday, May 30, 2022

d100 - Why This Hireling Decided To Join

Padding out a Party with Hired Help to assist with Treasure Schlepping or having some additional Free Hands to help Light your way can be an incredibly fun addition to these games. Here’s a Hundred Reasons why someone would potentially risk life and limb to join up with a band of Adventurers on what may just be a very temporary/terminal basis.

My preference is always to avoid portraying my Hirelings as automatons, and they aren’t really intended to be used by the Players as fodder or trap springers. That’s a sure-fire way to earn a very bad reputation back in Town and definitely will dry up the pool of prospects. That is, if it doesn’t anger their kin/friends, or engender an additional complication...hmm...that reminds me of another small table I put together recently:

These are people, sometimes with Families, and generally with a keen sense of self-preservation. More importantly, there’s usually a motivation for participating in these dangerous endeavors. They usually find themselves allying with the PCs because they see it as a way to stack the deck in their favor, but making it home safe is still important to them. If you don’t survive, how are you going to regale your friends with those tales of adventure and spend any hopefully hard-earned shares?

Most Referees do not relish the thought of spending table time “Talking to themselves” so these NPCs can sometimes justifiably fade into the background a bit. To remind myself to portray them, I like to assign them a number (from 1-20, chattier ones get a lower number, and I might assign a second/third number on subsequent delves should they decide to accompany the PCs again). Whenever this number comes up on a die roll, I’m reminded to comment/quip/contribute briefly (this also works for those making those Sentient Swords that are capable of Speech a little less mute). This keeps them a little more present and often provides just enough decoration to make them more memorable should they decide to “stick around” for future forays.

Since they often can serve as a pool for replacement PCs in the event of one succumbs to some of the more horrible fates that await, I suppose you could even consider this a little bit of “Backstory” for the new Character. Giving them a little more motivation or a complication that may just lead to more adventure down the road 😊.

Thursday, May 26, 2022

d100 – Magical Cloaks & Capes

Nearly necessary for the necks of dashing Heroes or concealing nefarious Ne’er-do-wells, the ubiquitous Cloak receives some specific attention in the Magic Item tables of most versions of these games. Some of these garments quite interesting and intriguing (those fashioned from what I assume to be Displacing Beast Hide, the one “Of The Bat”, etc.) but the most common seem to just simply possess only protective properties or were woven by delicate Elfin hands to predictable effect.

Since my Magic Item posts appear to be pretty popular, I decided to give these accessories a little more attention.

See also: Magic Blades, Magic Shields, Magic Bows, Magic Footwear for more Random Tables along these lines.

Monday, May 23, 2022

d100 – Why Is This Door Stuck?

Doors are so often stubbornly Stuck in Dungeons. What is it about those places that makes it so hard to hire a decent Doormaker? Having tried to hang a Door exactly once in my life and making a major mess of it, I suppose I sympathize.

Naturally, it’s seldom down to the artisans involved. With a more Mythic Underworld approach, in some of these frightening places every Door might require some Forcing for delvers and interlopers (while they are whisper quiet and open readily for Monsters of course). The Dungeon knows Her children and permits them to travel throughout freely as one of Her Dark Gifts. This creates a remarkably interesting pacing mechanism and can lead to tenser exploration. I tend to let a few of them swing freely, but still try to sprinkle in a few “Stuck” ones here and there. I do still quite like having them shut on their own, however. Drafty places those Dungeons.

One departure I like to make from that venerable “Open Doors” roll within the standard B/X procedure is that Failure doesn’t simply signal that additional attempts will be required. That re-throwing until we hit the necessary number is rather tedious. As an expedient, you’ll still generally get it unstuck in a Turn, but the “Open Doors” roll is really a way to do this quickly whilst preserving that element of Surprise for anything on the other side. Otherwise, you will be making quite the racket and triggering a check for Wandering Monsters, eager to investigate who might be ruining their Portals in addition to alerting anything on the other side to your presence to give it time to prepare. This may or may not be applicable for some of these conundrums 😊.

Some of these table entries might not be suitable for every Dungeon (without a little strategic shaving to make them fit, but feel free to choose another), and most assume a standard, appropriately thick Wooden Door. Primarily composed of stout planks of vertical or horizontal orientation that are carefully mortised and tenoned, occasionally interlaced with reinforcing boards that are threaded through the center of the wood in a perpendicular direction to help draw things together. Seasoning happens before planks can be pegged in place to prevent shrinking and swelling at a later point in time. Optionally adorned with formidable iron hardware (bands, strap hinges, or even plates for reinforcement) or handles, here are a Hundred things that might interfere with their function after installation:

Sunday, May 22, 2022

d100 – Deadly Diseases & Alarming Ailments

Most Referee’s might be familiar with the dreaded Mummy Rot, or that pesky 1-in-20 chance of a disease-ridden Rat Bite. Odious Otyughs carry their own un-named strains, and even some of the various Moulds and Fungi that flourish within those dank Dungeons inflict a variety of debilitating respiratory effects.

So, this is a table about Generating Diseases, giving them Names for Settings that might benefit from less generic germs. As I was working on it, I decided that rather than fixate on the Effects, it would potentially be more useful to incorporate Rumors of Cures/Treatments that might be available for a given sickness. Obtaining this information might be the first step on the road to recovery. Much like how I prefer to manage Poisons, putting Death from this sort of misadventure on a Timer is more interesting to me than inventing brand-new mechanical penalties for each. This keeps the Body Horror down to a minimum in this table, but as a warning: some of it may still seep through in the names this creates.

That being said, I have covered Execrable Effects elsewhere. My Terrible Toxins & Vile Venoms serve as suitable symptoms (as could, potentially, some of the Magical Mishaps & Calamitous Curses). As always, it is up to the Referee to decide if these are merely speedbumps on the way to receive a Cleric’s coveted Cure Disease, or if more mundane management is needed via seeking a Rumored Remedy. I suppose one could mischeviously generate a few potential panaceas for each and allow them to choose which ones to pursue if you’d like to keep things a little more frightening and tense.

Poison seems to be the Saving Throw of Choice for most (though Mummies merely infect with a hit). An incubation period might be warranted for some (though this can sometimes make the affliction feel a bit arbitrary if it shows up too long after the point of infection), followed by that period of feeling a bit Under The Weather before the Malady begins to run its course in earnest. They needn’t all be Fatal of course, but if they’re Contagious that presents its own set of challenges.

I’ve also provided a perchance generator below as a Starting Point to see what horrible things these tables are capable of spitting out:

Table Talk: I believe the initial germ for this table took hold with a question from a discord user if I had such a table. I added it to the development list as it’s own little lonely tab and after populating a couple dozen cells with the first things that sprang to mind, quickly realized that given world events, the topic wasn’t really speaking to me for a more conventional “here’s a bunch of awful things to inflict upon your players” way. So I let it fester a bit in the background before I hit on the idea to make it more about the Cures than the Conditions. One can never have enough desperate Quests after all, and rather than being a “hard stop” to play, these might provide some sorely needed Hope.

These days I’m finding myself less drawn to that “nasty, brutish, short” crapsack simulation but one never knows when a horrible Plague or Epidemic might serve as an interesting Faction or Front in it’s own right bubbling up in the background. These occasionally crop up on my Domain Tables from time to time, and since I’m hoping to provide a bit more Referee Support for this rather neglected Tier of Play in the future, this will be handy down the road.

Reading a bit about Medieval Medicine and Folk Remedies led to a bevy of interesting words, so that got me excited about it again (I’m a sucker for those rarer words after all) and brought back fond memories of a campaign where we had a Paladin of the God of Disease (more properly termed The Vector) who travelled the land, spreading plagues and such as part of her Deity's bidding and sacred mission. A table like this would have been quite useful back then 😊.

Sunday, May 15, 2022

d100 - Connections & Coincidences for Character Convergence

There is usually a part of Character Generation where it might be useful to determine how the Player Characters know each other. Some tables are completely comfortable with hand-waving or abstracting this or letting those Relationships bloom during play but when that time comes, it can be helpful to have some ideas.

I like to focus on the Teamwork aspects of these games quite a bit, so forging a few bonds between the members of the Party can really go a long way to help emphasize this. A bit of Shared History, in the form of an amusing or intriguing anecdote about how they met is a delightful place to begin.

I’m certainly not the first to attempt a table approach for this, and I managed to resist the urge to peek at another table that I’ve used occasionally in the past: the excellent 100 Reasons by JB from B/X Blackrazor. These are indeed especially useful to address these questions, and I’m certain that despite my best intentions, there might be some subliminal overlap.

I decided to zoom into a very particular part of my version though: Those lovely, serendipitous circumstances surrounding how people Meet for the first time. What common thread was enigmatically twisted to have those fates intertwine? I also champion a clockwise approach for this: each generates one to particularize these happenstances between themselves and the player to their Right, and so on until things circle around. This usually provides that sticky dollop of glue to get things started.

As with other tables, this one features a bevy of dreaded Capitalization to draw attention to the places that might need further specificity. The goal is here is to get the players asking and answering questions about these results to elaborate on them a bit to reach consensus. Another potential use for this is to flesh out Contacts, NPCs, or even Rivals the party might possess. Any acquaintance of a Character might benefit from a bit of background like this.

Everyone who has ever met has a story surrounding that meeting and sometimes they end up being quite memorable indeed. Here are only One Hundred of these, that might be useful in your games:

Table Talk: I had started this table a few months ago, and in its embryonic stages it seemed to be trending a little more toward these “Chance Meetings.” The inspiration for it came from a humorous place: A song that happened to play randomly while my playlist was on shuffle. The song in question is a lovely Medley by They Might Be Giants called “Fingertips.” It consists of twenty-one mostly very short, snippet like songs, stitched together. I have fond memories of using parts of this song to fill up the any trailing silent spaces on the sides of Mix Tapes back in the day.

Specifically, the segment in question that inspired this was the eighth one: “Aren’t You The Guy Who Hit Me In The Eye?” It got me thinking that perhaps I could do a Table corresponding to each of these little ditties at some point, and this one might mark the first in that little silly series.

As I mentioned in my post about how I make tables: Inspiration can come from the strangest places once you have opened yourself to it 😊.

Friday, May 13, 2022

d100 (x 4) - Bynames, Sobriquets, and Epithets

We’ve all been there: in dire need of a memorable Name during play to hastily christen an NPC to make them more meaningful, or requiring one as we make our preparations for the next session. Spontaneous Namecraft is a tad tricky though. When Naming things, should I have the luxury, I do tend to try to speak it aloud a few times, just to ensure that it flows off the tongue without too much stumbling and can’t be inadvertently mispronounced into something silly or humorous (a very common conundrum in my games that can be a bit derailing). While onomastics are intensely interesting to me, I’m usually a little more concerned with having something immediately accessible to solve the problem.

Specifically, I find myself often in need of Names for Gods/Deities/Tutelary Spirits and such for How I Handle Clerics (every Spell gets its own Source, so having at least eight on hand by Second Level is useful). This led me to start assembling a list of interesting Bynames/Nicknames because those are just more evocative to me when referencing such things. These have also been extremely useful for Formidable Wizards (and the line between the two does blur a bit) and even Infamous Monsters.

I know it is often bandied about that one should never “Name” the Monster (i.e., endeavor to refrain from referring to them by their Statblock Names in play) and this is excellent advice to preserve some of that mystery, but I do heartily recommend Bewtowing a Name on your Monsters. Especially any with say...a Fairy Tale Weakness.

Referees needn’t have all the fun namesmithing, however. They may be suitable or appealing for some Player Characters as well 😊. These nicknames can serve a bit of a double-duty with their implications of characteristics/personalities sometimes (and therefore this Table might have other uses as a source of distinguishing Traits or Cues), but they also are occasionally used to humorously contrast things (think of “Little John” as a good example of this).

I didn’t want to run out right away, so technically we’re sitting on Four Hundred here. Combine with a d4, read across and select, or simply cross them out as you use them. I’ve also provided a convenient perchance generator below to showcase how these can be applied to generate some occasionally compelling Names in a pinch.

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Table Talk: My Process for Random Tables

Sometimes I am asked about my method for generating all these Random Tables and how they come together, so I have decided to put together a post that attempts to explain how I create these. It is a hurried, haphazard, and peculiarly tailored technique I’m afraid, and most certainly not an optimal workflow, but it seems to work for me, and hopefully there might be a useful or at least interesting tidbit for other Referees within these steps.

Constantly Cultivate Creative Inspiration

For me personally, it shows up in the strangest of places. There is not much by way of tangible advice I can offer that speaks to sparking this part of another’s imagination really, suffice to say that you want to always pay attention to things around you/what you consume. Give a little thought to how you might transform them into something potentially useful in play with a little fussing and finagling. Do not worry if it does not jump out as eminently usable or earth-shatteringly cool right away, sometimes that takes a little work later. Just try to stay a little attenuated to those stimulating seeds😊.

I do not consume a whole lot of Fantasy Fiction or Media these days, but I have always been relentlessly curious about esoteric things and wildly varying topics. I’ll hit a Random Page on Wikipedia (I’ve had this as one of my “launch pages” for ages) and I have been known to digress within the hyperlinks for hours. If I am working on a specific Table, I will even get ideas from stuff I am passively consuming in the background like music or documentaries at times. I try to spend some time in Nature and go for a walk or hike and almost always see something unusual or interesting. Sometimes I will peruse art and illustrations for inspiration or have delightfully thought-provoking conversations with peers that end up spawning ideas. I read books on a variety of subjects ostensibly unrelated to these games. Inspiration comes from other senses as well sometimes so I always try to pay attention to other inputs: Smells, Tastes, Sounds, and Feelings. I will frequently tap into the decades of Play I have under my belt and enshrine the events or situations that occurred during those games, ages ago, in hopes that they might just find a new life at other tables. Quite a bit of it is simply good old-fashioned wool-gathering and daydreaming: ruminating in my spare time on what makes a topic interesting and usable. But since it has a tendency or possibility to come from anywhere at any time this makes the next step so crucial to my process.

Relentlessly Apprehend Ideas

A central tenant I try to follow is to capture the idea somewhere, no matter how minor, silly, or seemingly irrelevant. I nearly always have a notebook accessible that I can scribble in to quickly jot something down that might be related to a current, past, or future table. You might find this easier using a smartphone or note-taking app for this, but I am still relatively analog for this stage all things considered. Sometimes the seconds it takes for me to fire up a smartphone application/wake up the computer and the scads of distractions inherent with those devices is enough to have the idea scarcen and shrink, or even disappear completely. The key for me is to make sure that a potential promising idea does not get lost.

Naturally, some of the best ones still arrive in the few fleeting moments I can’t capture them: Whilst driving, in the Shower, as I drift into Sleep during that lovely liminal and maddeningly hyper-creative Hypnagogia, but if it’s a particularly interesting little jewel, I tend to turn it around in my head a little bit in hopes that it somehow sticks. This works about 2-in-6 😊.

These now impounded bits and pieces are usually far from fully fledged, but at least I won’t lose that tiny spark and hopefully I can get to the next phase swift enough so that my sometimes rushed, often cryptic, and always atrocious handwriting doesn’t still manage to lock them away from my future self.


One of my silly foibles: I’m predominantly left-handed but was taught to use my right as a child. When I write for my own use, it is backwards most of the time by default to prevent smudges and to avoid any inconvenient bindings. My brain is wired weird indeed.

I do place an emphasis on capturing these, because having an idea fail to have the opportunity to germinate by losing it to the ether of interruption and everyday life is sometimes frustrating to me. But I have made peace with the fact that it is bound to happen from time to time. While I know there is a potential entry or two or even more in each of them that can help get a table off my plate, mourning their loss doesn’t help the process. Attrition always happens, and it’s okay. Sometimes a sufficiently inspiring idea might end up resurfacing after all, but if it doesn’t something else will inevitably take its place.

Organize and Embellish a bit During Transfer

Let us get to the meat of the process: Turning this inspiration and haphazardly collected information into Random Tables. It may end up in one of my notebooks, on canary yellow sticky-back notes, index cards, receipts, cocktail napkins, or other bits of analog ephemera, but it cannot live there forever! Perhaps if you are capturing this on a smartphone or with an app, this part might go swifter, because it chiefly entails getting this disparate information into a spreadsheet to flesh it out into an entry.

Spreadsheets are lovely temporary homes for Random Tables. You have so many welcoming little cells, and if you resist the urge to noodle away for hours with formatting and formulae, you can also easily enumerate things like rows and characters. On my computer, I have a few open and always beckoning to me if I’m spending time there (and they do often become a more direct repository for the ideas because of this, despite the inherent distractions associated with sitting at a computer). When I get an idea for a new Table, I name a “tab” or “sheet” with something to identify it. Paste my list of numbers (1-100) and then begin the slapdash process of turning any existing fragments into something a little less terse, but still sufficiently short to fit within the constraints of a cell. I am pretty prolix and long-winded by nature (as you can see from this post), so that’s a tightrope walk sometimes. Save often or have a mechanism in place to prevent lost work. Select a typeface you don’t mind staring at and choose a similar size to what you might end up publishing with for width. I sometimes Zoom In to make this larger and easier to read whilst writing.

For this stage of the workflow, I tend to have a ton of tables going simultaneously. Should I ever grow bored with one, but still wish to continue writing, I can switch to another and add to that after briefly re-familiarizing myself with it (this is where some revision/editing/proofreading might take place, though it is admittedly insufficient for most these Drafts, the new and novel always seems to take precedence once an idea is “done cooking for now”).


A peek at some of the “dev list” of active tables I’m plinking away at currently (I think there are about two dozen tabs all together).
All are in various states of completion, and if I’m struck with a particularly creative mood, they can sometimes all cross the finish line at roughly the same time!

This is a passive process mostly. Expanding the entries from their point of origin happens in fits and starts whenever I feel like it and for as long as it remains fun for me. I remain mindful about how long I am spending with a particular entry and move on if it is not being productive right now. I can always come back to it later after it has marinated for a bit.

Hopefully, the analog fragments give me at least a few entries to “get the creativity ball rolling” on one, so I can ascertain where I stand with the entries. Sometimes a fragment forces me to revisit one I have been neglected or feeling stymied with and produces a handful of additional entries as I return to that topic.

Onward: Toward One Hundred!

One Hundred Entries can seem daunting. Tables that leverage smaller randomizers or consolidating entries on the percentile are far more common from what I have seen. I try not to stress about that too much, they will finish, when they finish 😊. But there are sometimes useful techniques that I employ to reach that magic number.

Optional: Winnowing Tables

Smaller, more focused tables are less daunting and sometimes drive thinking into narrower lanes. Divide your d100 into d20s, or even d10s by general topic. Complete those. Then stitch them together. For example: If I am doing a table about Bears, I might start out with a few smaller tables about the motivations and needs for a living creature: Food, Water, Shelter, Mating/Child rearing, Territorial Concerns, etc. Those fill up significantly faster than having all those blank cells staring back at you when you sit down to write 😊 and thinking of say, twenty interesting situations involving a Bear and Food (hunting, foraging, different tucker, etc.) is not as intimidating for some. A couple quick online searches concerning their Diet can even do the lion’s share of the work for you and you might learn something interesting!

Sometimes I will end up detecting these kinds of patterns while I am fleshing out entries, and if a Table is proving troublesome, re-organizing the information into these smaller categories might help. I can see if there is one that is slightly more neglected than the others, or even break things out further by examining these kinds of relationships. This “re-treading” process occasionally spots an entry lacking a bit of clarity, or even one that might inspire another.


Winnowing Tables in action. These were for the compartmentalization I noticed was occurring on my Shield Spell table as I was working on it.

This works with smaller tables too: Breaking a d20 into five discrete d4 tables is handy and after all, sometimes it is more about metering out that little drop of dopamine when you finish something.

Optional: Constrained Writing:

I like to impose strange challenges or constraints on myself to keep it fun (by my very idiosyncratic definition of “fun”), so sometimes there’s an arbitrary character limit I’m having to hit, or I want to make sure that I’m using all letters in the alphabet to start entries with, or I’m doing even more ridiculous things like making them rhyme, or secreting other little Easter Eggs within the entries. Constraints like these breed creativity for me and take entries into new and exciting directions I may not have hit upon before, but of course, your mileage may vary when it comes to this. I wouldn’t want something like these to stop you from creating your own tables!

It may seem counter-intuitive really: Why would one make this more difficult than it needs to be? I am not quite sure how it works, but it certainly seems to help sometimes. My best guess is that by turning it into an ersatz “game” of sorts, this places me in the same improvisational and more fruitful mindset that I would have during play.

With my Encounter Activities, I ended up doing one a day for over a hundred days (I think I gave myself Weekends off). That was another example of an arbitrary challenge I imposed on myself to get the juices flowing. I cannot say I recommend it though, because it starts making a leisure activity seem like work! But I just wanted to see if it was possible and the results seem popular.

When working within a century of entries, not all will be gold at first glance to me or those who use them. I have made my peace with this. Quantity serves its own purpose sometimes. What may not be as inherently interesting on its own next to other entries sometimes slots perfectly into play later on.

Timeframes:

Some tables take longer than others. If an idea really grabs me, I can usually hammer one out in an hour or so (only seldom in one big chunk though, it is not really something I’ve really bothered to meticulously time like my 20-minute Dungeons). Others languish until that inspiration strikes again, or I see the dev list getting “out of hand” according to my own capricious whims. Life and responsibilities are wont to get in the way as well.

Often, I try to focus as much as possible on tables that I subjectively deem to be the most useful to other Referees these days or ones that are necessary for prep I might need in play sooner rather than later. A conversation with other Referees might lead to a new and intriguing Table idea, and those are always great to place on the pile immediately and sometimes take precedence due to their novelty. Other fun ideas can stay in the spreadsheet for now and since I am nearly always actively attuned to gathering, a stray note or seed might reinvigorate my interest in them for a spell.

One surprising side-effect I have found with working primarily on d100 Tables is that smaller ones go amazingly fast indeed. When I do decide that a d36 might be a better fit for what I am trying to achieve for instance, those tighter focused things really do seem like a cakewalk after all these years of furtling with longer tables.

One Hundred Entries, now what?

It is always those last five or six empty or unfinished entries that balefully glare up at me, so close to the finish-line. I don’t have an easy solution for those sadly, but know that you aren’t the only one who has to face them 😊. When I complete a table, I do a little dance. Though I probably should take the time for a careful proof-reading pass, I’m usually more excited to get it posted so I can move onto the next thing. There is a numbing affect that one’s own words can have on re-reading so any issues seldom jump out immediately I’ve found. I can always update them later if a particularly glaring aggravation in an entry rears its head. I will at least usually attempt to frustrate the Spellchecker on the results and see how the thing looks as it swims in a sea of little red wiggly lines due to my obsession with ten-dollar words and the vagaries of fantastical monster names and such. I usually perform an alphabetical sort here on most tables that do not have weighing or are not leveraging multiple dice in unusual ways. This just helps ensure that I did not inadvertently lean too much on certain words for entry starters.

I could at this stage wrangle things into HTML and post them directly, but I have settled on a preference for sharing these with the world via PDF. Those are easier to print out and stuff in Folders/Binders for me (because at the heart of all of this: Table Creation is most of the prep work I do these days). They also make for more consistency, and easier compilation options down the road.

I have used a variety of different software for this step over the years, from Word Processors which are breathtakingly bad and extremely exasperating when it comes to handling tabular presentation, to more fully fledged Layout programs (Affinity Publisher is my latest flavor if I have the luxury of time to fire it up, I am still quite the novice, but learning is fun. I have access to Microsoft Publisher as well if I am in a huge rush and it is serviceable. You can always do this in other platforms though, I have seen amazing things in Google Slides/Sheets/Docs for instance). I know I will endlessly tweak the formatting of things and wallow in procrastination if I give myself the chance to, so what tends to work best for me is to have a Template that I can just plug the lovingly ameliorated spreadsheet data into.

There is a Landscape and a Vertical one with zebra-striping already present, guaranteed to fit on a single page until the peskily verbose content is added. There are a few Formatting Styles already present, but those sometimes need to be adjusted slightly once I plug in the spreadsheet data.

Once pasted, the Table invariably runs off the next page, even after adjusting font-size down to something smaller, but hopefully not illegibly small. This is where the gist of what passes for “Editing” takes place in my workflow.


Always with the Wrapping, despite my best intentions!

I am having to revise entries that are a bit longer or are wrapping to additional lines without making them completely incomprehensible. Amputating a word here or there (sometimes sadly shedding a particularly perfect adjective... sigh), abbreviating, ampersands/slashes, numeric representations of numbers, contractions, are all tools in my arsenal to trim things down. If that is not enough, I will occasionally tweak the text-spacing ever-so-slightly or I am forced to endure a complete re-write of an especially stubborn entry here. Setting a rigid column width or character constraint during the Spreadsheet step can sometimes help here, but there are always a few entries that are just prone to getting a little fulsome despite my best intentions at the onset 😊.

Side Note: Capitalization

Some have commented that my Capitalization in these entries seems to be a bit of a mess. I am terribly sorry if it offends the Reader’s eye. There is a method to that madness, however. Capitalizing certain nouns is immensely helpful for how I end up utilizing the tables in many ways and exposes possibilities for later expansion and development.

Take these examples from a recent table on Settlement Events:

River and Road are capitalized in number 45 to urge me to Name them: it is a placeholder for a Proper Noun. It tells me to fix them to a particular Place and make them more tangibly impactful. The Merchant in 46 also needs a name and generation (or could serve as a stand in for an NPC met prior, etc.), a Bandit Group deserves a moniker to plunder under and more fleshing out, and the Merchant’s Route should be plopped into a nearby Hex as a distinct “place” (potentially named) as well should this rumor wish to be pursued by the Players. These are helpful reminders to me to tailor these table results to what is currently going on in play if used on-the-fly as well. Eventually, there is always the chance that these Nouns will require indexing somehow or linked with more specific generators (like what I have done in perchance, and in Hex Describe before), so by Capitalizing them, I am making things a little easier to find down the road when the bug bites me to automate them 😊. Think of it a bit like analog hypertext for now: a signifier akin to a footnote that draws attention to a digression opportunity, but without consuming all the valuable real-estate associated with bolding or italicizing an entire word.

Finishing Up

So, I have finally wrangled all those entries into a PDF that does not stretch across pages unless absolutely necessary (some are spreads, and that will probably be fine if I ever get around to really *publishing* them). They may not be winning any beauty contests, but they are serviceable 😊. For me, I prefer the information to be as readily retrievable as possible, so sticking to something more consistent over time helps facilitate this feature.

I export the PDF which I then shove it up to the Cloud where I can embed it into a blog post. At this point I might decide it is necessary to apply a preface (more writing) or go hunting for a suitable image to adorn the post with. I try to add tags/labels to the post to improve findability in the future. Once published, I try to remember to pollinate my various social media platforms with a link to it for those that follow me for this kind of content. Lately, I have been trying to also incorporate the step of updating my Random Table index immediately, so that does not fall too far behind.

That’s the convoluted methodology I’ve been following for my Random Tables nowadays! I do hope there’s at least a little nugget of wisdom or two in this for others who are interested in generating these. Have any tips or tricks that have worked for you? I’d love to hear them of course 😊.

Monday, May 9, 2022

d100 - Events for Camping or Overland Rests & Repose

My recent post on Haven Happenings spawned a sibling of sorts in the form of this table to cover something a little similar, but instead geared more toward those Times when Overland Travel comes to a stop (Camping, Resting, etc.). Over the weekend, I had the fortune of starting a fire and socializing with some friends outdoors. Quite a bit of food for thought and inspiration in that experience.

I’ve tried to shy away from dictating too much by way of Terrains or directly engaging Procedures with these (Encounters can still be handled through your standard preferred mechanisms after all), but some have probably stealthily crept in. Definitely a chance I might revisit this with more specificity down the road for some Seasonality/Environmental tailoring. I also tried to vary things up a little bit: Some with weal, others woe, but usually rather inconsequential or minor in nature (this might dovetail with later Tables that use a Reaction Roll I do love those bell curves after all, or even by Overloading some existing rolls). A few of my favorites are the more Neutral Campfire Story ones where Players get asked about things. Entries more focused in this direction might need to end up on their own little table eventually now that I think about it, because I love how those types of Questions interface with character development in play. 😊

Thursday, May 5, 2022

d100 - Haven Happenstances

Here are one Hundred Haven Happenings or Settlement Events for dressing up any downtime in towns and villages (or even decorating Domain Play, which could certainly use a little more love).

Some are good, others bad, and still others in-between. These might eventually get a more rigorous treatment as a series of d36 tables to interface with my normal way of handling such things (Reaction Roll), but capturing the ideas immediately is always vital so they don’t get whisked away 😊.

See also: These Village-Folk Are... and These City Dwellers Are... as well as One Hundred Buildings and Business.

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

d100 - Mercurial Mentors & Weird Wizards

There is a rather lovely bit of implied world building secreted away in the Spell Acquisition process for Magic Users in B/X and OSE. Whilst I also permit transcription from Scrolls and captured Spell Books as an alternative arcane augmentation avenue, by default the only two options for expanding a Medium’s occult repertoire are Research (touched on previous posts here and here) and a mention of Mentors.

Sadly, these Thaumatological Tutors do not really receive any substantial detail, so this table aims to address this oversight. The Sorcerous Instructor can be determined alongside the Starting Spell the Magic-User begins play with, or one can simply combine results to mint new Mentors. Starting with a Name and a distinguishing Trait provides a little bit of background, may raise interesting questions, and depending on how you treat this relationship in your games might even result in an interesting NPC, Patron, Ally, or Rival through play.

If one is to rigidly interpret the Rules, I suppose each of these Spellcasters has earned the rank and title of Wizard and is at least 11th Level (the point at which Magic-Users can build Strongholds/Towers and attract 1d3 Apprentices: Another potential opportunity for NPCs if the player wasn't alone in their education and toil). I always found it amusing that unlike those earned by Thieves, these poor students are replaceable.

These individuals are responsible for imparting that single, initial Spell to their protΓ©gΓ©, prior to the start of play. Many Referees insist on defaulting to Read Magic for this initial outlay, others roll randomly, and still others permit the player to select. My common House Rule for ages has been to grant Read Magic gratis and let them roll a d12 on the conveniently dozenal list for their second First Level spell. Should the result land on Read Magic, they may choose a Spell. It has always been my preference to make Memorization feature a choice out of the gate.

There are twelve sections of eight in this list (so I suppose one could even just roll a d12 and a d8), leaving a remainder to round out the hundred. These come with a little lagniappe should one of these fortuitous four rolls occur.

Monday, May 2, 2022

d100 - Scroll Substitutions or Strange Spell Stores

Dramatically unfurling that rolled up piece of parchment or paper to intone the Magic Words ensnared in sigils on the surface is a very lovely and iconic mental image for me. But sometimes I like to house these “single-serving Spells” in other, less traditional actions and items. These might be especially useful for Magical Traditions that encode their dweomers in ways that are not dependent on literacy or pulped wood, or just atypical treasures placed for a slight change of pace.

Standard Scroll rules would apply for these. I would personally still stick with my favorite Creation Rules from Holmes (100 gp and 1 week per Spell Level, halve time or cost with the appropriate Reagents/Ingredients).

Here’s a Hundred alternatives to consider in the place of that voluted vellum. Perhaps every caster learns a different method from their Mentor, as a sort of signature? These might also mesh nicely with my One Hundred Spellbook Surrogates & Ritual Research table.

Saturday, April 16, 2022

d100 - Modern Pocket Finds

Just a quick table that I was reminded of today going through my folders. I believe I whipped this up for another Referee in need quite some time ago, but after giving it another gander and thought it might be of use to others.

Kind of a contemporary counterpart to my Random Impedimenta. Might also be useful for post-apocalyptic games or ones set in slightly older historical periods, as there is a whiff of anachronism in some of these. These days most of my tables are geared toward Fantasy, but even in that context I’ll admit to sometimes sprinkling in the occasional item from this as an intriguing/puzzling out-of-place artifact or a teaspoon dosage of gonzo. I always endeavor to render the trinket via a description rather than name it though in these situations 😊

Friday, April 15, 2022

d100 - Convenient Cantrips or Minor Magics

Now and again, I come across Referees considering Cantrips as a way of adding a little bit more Magic to their Spellcasters. These are a sometimes-contentious subject because some implementations result in these abilities interfering with or obviating interesting parts of play such as Resource Management. Another common issue sometimes has to do more with Setting conceits, and how they can sometimes transmogrify something treasured or rare into a thing much more mundane or humdrum.

But take heart! Not all sorceries need be showy ones, and the wonder these sorts of “special effects” can evoke can sometimes add more than they subtract from play if we are just a little scrupulous in how they function. When I use these, I like to make sure that there are a few rupestrian rulings communicated to the other players up front, such as:

  • Creative applications are always encouraged, but keep in mind the following limitations:
    • These are Magics that are incapable of producing lasting harm
    • The are Effects that are ephemeral in nature: usually unable to effect permanent change
    • These Crave a measured and controlled Environment (the chaos of a combat situation is often inimical to them)
    • Should you find yourself in doubt, ask instead of assuming. We can try to close gaps or decide with a roll.

Another concern that some Referee’s have revolves around frequency or metering these effects. While I don’t find grafting additional “Slots” or “Levels” atop the existing ones to be a very interesting or elegant solution for this, that’s certainly an option. Tying success to a Check or Roll (especially one that escalates as more are evoked) might work with a bit less book-keeping (potentially with something like a Usage Die governing depletion, the power could be considered quantum after all). The eminently versatile Turn Undead table (with HD being “number cast today”) can also be remarkably recycled as a solution for this. Do bear in mind that some of the entries have their own unusual, built-in, limiters as well though and sometimes these might be sufficient.

When I delved into this prior with my First Level Spell Features a common limiter that I leaned on was “having a specific Spell Prepared.” This makes for an additional, interesting choice for the Caster to contend with sometimes. Occasionally a Cantrip Effect positively proclaims its association with an existing Spell, but others might be a little fuzzier concerning the company they should keep. The dependable “Zippo Cantrip” provided you have Fireball prepared comes to mind. I would prefer not to have my Magic Users have to wait until Fifth Level to avail themselves of this trick though, so it is definitely something that can be seasoned to taste. I suppose one would need to attach each effect to a pertinent (or even random!) Spell on acquisition, as some of the ones below are not as obvious with their allegiances. Or one could simply consider “any spell prepared” to be sufficient for this requirement. I will leave an explicit “how many do they get” up to the individual Referee however, because that is something that seems highly tailored to taste. One option I’ve used before has been 1 + (4 - HP) for those initial outlays (with others uncoverable in play naturally).

Even if more bells and whistles for your Wonder Workers isn’t something you’re interested in, these might make mighty fine “Minor Magical Item Features” as well. Tacking one or two of these onto an item that previously consisted of purely mechanical contrivance is often a fantastic way to make those treasures more treasured and Magic Items feel more Magical, which is something I am obvious fond of (see prior tables where I’ve done this a hundred times each for Blades, Bows, Shields, Footwear, and such).

Always interested in hearing about any implementations that have brought fun to your table!

Thursday, April 14, 2022

d100 - Marvelous Mushrooms & Tantalizing Toadstools

Yesterday it was pointed out to me that I had been remiss with providing a Random Table for generating Mushrooms/Toadstools, which is indeed a tragedy considering how fond I am of sprinkling “fun” fungi as Resources and Hazards within my Wilderness Adventures. So, I aimed to rectify this oversight post-haste by moving this Table to the top of the dev pile (where in all fairness, it sprouted with almost uncanny swiftness).

These can be used in conjunction with my venerable Herb & Plant Generator, and although the Name-stems are intended to be used to generate new and unusual Local Common Names, you can just as easily read across if swiftness is required and treat this more like a standard d100 table. I often like a quick name for flavoring Foraging Results as “You found some Edible Mushrooms” is just so frightfully bland.

Use your best judgement to determine an appropriate randomizer if you find yourself in need of a “Number Appearing” (I'm rather fond of 2d6 with "Doubles Add and Roll Again" most of the time, but you could also randomize the die type to use with a quick d8: d4 through d100.) I prefer to heavily festoon some places in evocative fungi as a mood-enhancer, but a few of these are probably best when more precious and significantly rarer. If not expressly edible, and you find yourself in need of a nastier consequence for the foolhardy consumer, there is always my Terrible Toxins & Vile Venoms Table as well.

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

d100 - One Hundred Horses

Growing up around Horses, how I use them in these games might be one of my vernacular tells. One of those little things that I always seem to do, despite what the system might say. When I was younger, I had the privilege of spending some of my Summers with these animals, grooming, riding, but mostly I remember mucking out intolerably mephitic and sweltering Stables for extra pocket money (some of which even went to Roleplaying Game Books!).

Horses can be incredibly frustrating and thick-headed creatures, or remarkably patient and even helpful. Some are tender and kind, others are just plain mean to anything that walks on two feet or four. Getting to gradually know them over time, you soon learn little peculiarities and peccadillos that might not be obvious at first glance. Each one ends up progressively distinguishing themselves from the others with their own eccentricities and personalities.

In the games I Referee, I recognize that I tend to make Horses more expensive both to purchase and to maintain in addition to equipping them with quirks. Whilst they can naturally graze on grass or hay for sustenance, this isn’t a way to keep them in top form or fit. Granted, much of my experience is informed by my time with the more Athletic variety: the wealthy ranchers that supplemented my Summer spending money played an awful lot of Polo and were into the more thoroughly bred and rather babied beasts. They kept a high-priced herd of them, with a lot of rotating customers to have to contend with, and each needed to be fed their peculiar diets and put through paces for exercise.

So, here’s a table you could use to make these mounts more meaningful. I tend to insist on names (if the players don’t leap to the opportunity to do this themselves, there’s a significant portion of them that seem to love obtaining “pets” after all) and I like them to possess distinctive dispositions and memorable temperaments to further set them apart from just another piece of Gear. Not all the traits below are beneficial, but sometimes that’s what you end up saddled with 😊.

Monday, April 11, 2022

d100 - This Shield Spell Appears As...

See Also: One Hundred Magic Missiles

Oftentimes I like to encourage any Magic-Users to tailor the appearance of their dweomers a bit: Customizing them by Caster for a little individuality. I often find myself doing this for Foes to keep the other players on their toes as well. The rather generic description of the Shield Spell is one that I felt could use a little sprucing now-and-then. Invisible fields of force might still function of course, but it seems like a missed opportunity to make that Magic less monotonous and a little more Magical. 😊

Here are a hundred ideas for dressing up those defensive spells. This is solely intended to serve as a dollop of fluff and flavor of course...Unless?

Sunday, April 10, 2022

d100 - Why is Garlic so Stinking Expensive?

Here is a somewhat tongue-in-cheek diversion from what might be considered slightly more useful Random Tables. It has always been extremely interesting to me how the standard Equipment lists in these games do so much heavy lifting to telegraph Setting, and I often tend to see players new to the game gravitate to a few of the same things.

Allium sativum on the list alongside other, perhaps more practical, purchases for Dungeon Delving is one of these. Its mere presence seems to scream to some that the possibility of Vampires is not only very real, but something they ought to prepare for. The same way those lovely Saving Throw Categories, so starkly listed on their sheet, stoically advertise other dangers.

But what may have gone unnoticed is just how pricey that lovely little Bulb can be. A little casual research reveals that it tends to stay remarkably stable pricewise in these older games. Naturally, this led me to wonder Why?

So, here is a table of a Hundred ways to address this burning question (admittedly over-contemplated on my part) and these weird implications. It just goes to show that there are all sorts of lovely little nuances living in those lists that are hiding and waiting to be revealed by Referee’s with perhaps too much time on their hands.πŸ˜‚

Friday, April 8, 2022

d100 - Magical Mishaps & Calamitous Curses

Yet another table that had been languishing on the dev pile for far too long! Here we have One Hundred Magical Mishaps or Calamitous Curses to inflict upon the table. Since some games don’t have a “Roll To Cast” system in place, these could also be repurposed for all manner of other unfortunate Eldritch Events. Potion Miscibility is popular, but they may also prove useful for Failed Experiments, Scrambled Scrolls, or Grimoires Protected from Prying Eyes. Some of them make mighty fine Horrible Hexes as well, much more memorable and meaningful than a mechanical malus (that players have a remarkable tendency to conveniently forget to apply!)

Grafting on additional risk to Spell Casting is something I’ve done in the past. However, I feel it works a bit better if it’s accompanied by a correspondingly tempting reward. One that I particularly enjoyed was allowing a thrill-seeking Magic User to choose to roll a Saving Throw versus Spells after Casting, on a success the Spell is retained and they may cast it again. On a failure, the Spell is lost as with normal Vancian magics. On a 1, a Magical Mishap occurs. One can tweak the frequency of these fantastic failures to taste, or potentially even penalize the Save by the level of the Spell or number of prior retentions attempts in a given time-period. When Magic becomes predictable and repeatable, it can sometimes veer toward banality, so this at least tries to maintain a bit of that delicious wonder should one go down this route.

A small amount of effort was put into “tuning” this table a bit, so that smaller die sizes have less “consequential” impacts, so feel free to escalate these however you see fit. What happens with a d6 should be a little less severe than something rolled higher on a d30, with the more disastrous consequences generally occurring only on upper ends of the d100. Durations are occasionally included, but feel free to season those to taste, and as with all misfortunes some just might be possible to undo through additional Adventure.

Thursday, April 7, 2022

d100 - Breath Weapons for Dragons of a Different Color

How conveniently color-coded those standard Dragons are! Telegraphing their offensive and offensive capabilities so! This can sometimes demystify these majestic Monsters a bit, so here’s a table that might provide some additional inspiration to surprise and bewilder by eschewing that predictability. Should you need an unusual shade for their scales to shimmer see the perchance generator below.

Naturally, one should assume that any standard effects and procedures associated with being doused in Dragon Breath should apply. These are merely adjuncts. Coupled with my prior post on Monster Special Attacks, I suppose this could also be used for foes of a less draconic nature should this be your bag.

Thursday, March 31, 2022

d100 - Uses for a (Dead) Dragon

Deserving of their own century of entries (after this table), these marvelous Monsters hold pride of place in the very triumvirate title of the game (sharing it with Dungeons and the dreadful Ampersands). In addition to their often quite generous hoards, it seems that players always seem to gravitate towards eking every potential use out of their remains. Perhaps it’s their Inherently Magical Nature that inspires this, or mythological traditions such as Sigurd inadvertently gaining the Language of Birds whilst roasting Fafnir’s Heart in the VΓΆlsunga saga. Whatever the underlying reason, in addition to stuffing their empty sacks with all that glitters, I’m often ghoulishly quizzed on “What parts can we use, and what can they be used for?”

Naturally, not every Dragon is anatomically identical, so some of these bits may not be present. If in doubt, I’d leave it largely up to chance really (perhaps roll within 20 on a d100?). There is also always the possibility that crucial portions may have been damaged or destroyed during the battle, because players are not wont to specify that they are pulling particular punches, but should they have this foresight, I’d generously increase the chances. If amounts are called into question for the pieces that aren’t inherently singular, then I tend to lean on the Dragon’s HD as a decent gauge for this.

Even after gentle admonitions concerning how painstakingly slow this process might be (be sure to keep those Random Encounter dice handy and track other Resources as well) attempts at dressing their prize will often still commence.

Most of these entries are intrinsically tied to Magic Item Manufacture, which is how I’ve generally handled them (defraying a percentage of Cost or reducing Time), but a few are quite powerful single-use rewards indeed if directly consumed. Not all of these uses may be Common Knowledge to the average Adventurer (seek Sages or other Answers, knowledge is power in these games after all). If the risk associated with the battle wasn’t sufficiently steep enough for your tastes, I suppose one could always require a Saving Throw of some sort for those who deign to dine on Dragons. I do find that rather than outright death, inverting the boon is sometimes almost more attractive, but of course there’s also always my Terrible Toxins & Vile Venoms table for just such an occasion.

Sunday, March 27, 2022

[Game Jam] Forest Farragoes

My often neglected itch.io page stirs with a new submission, brought about by the Cairn Forest Jam.

Friday, March 25, 2022

d100 - Methods of Magical Item Identification

Our rulesets for some versions of the game often appear to omit certain aspects when compared to their descendants. One item periodically perceived as “Missing” from OSE and B/X is a quick and convenient way to instantaneously identify the functions of recovered Magical Items.

The methods outlined within the text seem to circumscribe this process to either Experimentation or saving up to pay the exorbitant prices of Sages, Seers, and other such Specialists (a lovely money-sink in itself). The “Retainer Test Subject” approach seldom seems appealing to players, since the “Guinea Pig” often clamors to keep it (and why should they not? They assumed the risk!). Later versions, obviously informed by experiences with how these options tended to play out, mostly do away with these methods altogether by providing a convenient and often abecedarian Spell to perform the duty of discerning dweomers. Some of these, like Analyze from BECMI still preserve a percentile chance of failure and often fail to reveal an item’s secrets with complete precision. But the implications this still seems to create in me is a world where Magical Things are relatively humdrum or commonplace, so run-of-the-mill in fact that even a Minor Medium can avail themselves of a lower circle incantation to divine their purposes and suss out their secrets.

I like to lean into the rarity and wonder of any persistent Magical Creations that appear in my games. It adds mountains to their mystique and makes them much more memorable. So, this table offers another path: One Hundred Hooks to perform this appraisal process through play.

If you prefer the convenience of abstracting or expediting this process, then I’m afraid this table may not seem immediately useful to you. I suppose these could also find use as other Random Rumors tied to information gathering though. When players pose unexpected questions, it’s often quite handy to have some convenient concept on where they can obtain elucidation should the Referee be caught unawares (we all know this only ever happens so seldomly as to be almost unworthy of mention 😊). Information is such powerful paraphernalia in these games, and sometimes even the knowledge of “where to find an answer” is immensely valuable.

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