Friday, July 14, 2023

Spoor & Sign or Tracks & Traces by Type

Proponents of Overloaded Encounter/Hazard Die might sometimes find themselves in a bit of a bind or at a loss for some of those Telegraphing Traces, Perilous Percepts, and Obvious Omens when these results deign to show their face on the die. It seems frightfully easy for some of these to become rather “samey” over time after all, and while an adjunct roll on the Encounter Table might provide some additional raw ingredients, wouldn’t it be lovely to have some convenient and more specific things to pull from as well?

One of the hidden drawbacks and sneaky pitfalls of these Overloaded Encounter/Hazard Dice is how they do require this sort of spontaneous improvisation or increase in cognitive load on occasion. I find they tend to Rob Prep Peter to Pay Play Paul in a way: You’ve reduced some of the scutwork associated with preparing interesting situations or granularly tracking resources and deferred this to the dice, but one needs to be fast on their feet interpreting what may sometimes be repetitive or slightly incoherent results. Scribbling an adjunct column to your Encounter Tables ahead of time for these Tracks/Traces is another option of course.

These were some of the things on my mind when I started plinking away at a d100 table for these types of Creature Clues. Very quickly however, I realized that genericizing them in this way left a lot to be desired. Different Denizens leave distinctive tells in their wake, so I decided to take the approach I used in my Monster Miens tables: Discrete d12s for broader Encounters by “Type Classification” to hammer the results into something a little more contextual.

These are semi-weighted: Lower results (or using a single, smaller-faced die) are intended to produce the more ephemeral and temporary types of spoor, whilst higher ones (perhaps with a modifier, such as d6+6) will tend toward the more durable sign. One could just as well give that lonely d12 a little love though, it seems to be relegated for so few tasks and is quite pleasing to set in motion.

Another option that I’ve availed myself of before is using my Encounter Activity Tables in a slightly different way. Instead of rolling on the table to find out what a particular Monster is “up to” right now, I’ve used them more like a window into the past: This is what the Monster was doing here a relatively short time ago. I’m often able to glean a few interesting details this way to set a better scene and I’m always happy when I can re-use tables a bit outside their intended purpose!

Hope these provide a little inspiration or at the very least cut down on some of the repeat results that might be occurring!

3 comments:

  1. Not having "cubical rainbow-colored poop" as Fey spoor is a missed opportunity!!

    ;)

    Great table, thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you for the very useful table, can't wait to use it!

    ReplyDelete

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