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A question suggested by

Michael Ink
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What are your favorite randomized tables for rpgs? Or, if it doesn't have a label, what favorite rpg items do you like to use randomized tables to identify? (e.g. Monster tables, random encounter table, dungeon design tables)




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Phil Dutré
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I seem to remember there was a site or blog that collected the weirdest and strange random tables ever used in rpg's, but I seem unable to find it again ...
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Mark Wilson
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1. Trinket Tables
I've never used a random chart so much in my games. There's never a bad time for a mysterious trinket that may or may not be tied narratively to the plot, or may do something completely off-the-wall.

2. The RPGGeek Community Random Chart List
I'd link to it, but can't remember where the link is on the site atm. But it was delightfully daffy. I haven't technically used it yet, but I hope to.
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Brian Leet
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Nostalgia forces me to pick the random dungeon generation tables in the original Advanced D&D DM's Guide. I certainly used them heavily enough thirty years ago.

Second on the nostalgia list would be the rumor table at the start of The Secret of Bone Hill, which I have used near the start of multiple campaigns and which sets up just the right level of intrigue and mystery.
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https://www.reddit.com/r/BehindTheTables/ is a fine, and free, collection.
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Michael Lawing
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I have mixed feelings about random tables.

For a game like Four Against Darkness, I absolutely love rolling everything. The rooms, monsters, and treasures - heck, even the theme and quest- are all fine to randomly roll.

For a game like Dungeons & Dragons (5th Edition), I don't like rolling for random monsters or loot as the DM. I feel like I'm losing control and balance on something already carefully constructed. I think there's some difference in level of commitment to the characters and a fear of losing them to a really harsh roll on the table. I just played my first game of Basic Fantasy Role-Playing Game this weekend (which has great supplemental character background roll tables). There's a serious expectation of mortality with the OSR style games and I think that lends itself to letting go. There's also a difference for me where one is narrative focused and the other is more of a dice-driven dungeon crawl.

I think D100 Dungeon's tile generation table is excellent. One of the newer 4AD supplements has an overland tile generator that looks neat too.
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Michael Daumen
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The 2d10 encounter tables from the original Monster Manual 2 were, iirc, accompanied by a page or two of useful advice about how to fill one out.
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Any of those "d10000 random magical effects" tables. I'd never use one but I'm glad they exist purely for the stories that they generate.
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PghArch wrote:
Nostalgia forces me to pick the random dungeon generation tables in the original Advanced D&D DM's Guide. I certainly used them heavily enough thirty years ago.

I'll second that! Also some of the magical items with random effects from 1st edition AD&D, such as the Deck of Many Things (which actually relied on pulling playing cards from a deck, rather than rolling).

Not tables, but I also like the item generators on the Cobwebbed Forest Dragon Warriors site:
Library Tomes: https://www.cobwebbedforest.co.uk/workshop/Tomes
Potions: https://www.cobwebbedforest.co.uk/workshop/Potion.php
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Geoffrey Burrell
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The scenarios in Sprawl Sites for Shadowrun.
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So stop your cheap comment, 'Cause we know what we feel...
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I like die-drop tables. I don't find them inherently superior to normal random tables, but I enjoy the art aspects of the best ones. And the layout/design usually is interesting.
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Marshall Miller
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The Dungeon Dozen!
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Self made ones I guess... For some story events I make five-six likely things to happen and have my players roll on the spot to see which one comes up. Then make it up as I go.
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Michael Ink
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PghArch wrote:
Nostalgia forces me to pick the random dungeon generation tables in the original Advanced D&D DM's Guide. I certainly used them heavily enough thirty years ago.

Second on the nostalgia list would be the rumor table at the start of The Secret of Bone Hill, which I have used near the start of multiple campaigns and which sets up just the right level of intrigue and mystery.


If you can deal with less detail but you want a more consistent dungeon make up, I would suggest Mythic's Location Crafter for this purpose. It has you create the standard room elements / monsters / thematic treasure for rooms and types of rooms expected and randomizes them without a totally random feel.
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Mease19 wrote:


There is nothing close. He's like the Shakespeare of random tables.
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Jim Patching
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I quite liked the family history tables during character creation for Pendragon. I'm also a fan of the random trinkets table from D&D 5th Ed.
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Simply put: effective random encounter and magic item tables. I miss nothing else in D&D5 so much as these.

There really are no random encounter rules in core D&D5, and the random treasure generation process is so arcane as to be useless.

Why can a hoard only contain one kind of coin? Why are all the magic items in this monster's possession drawn from a particular arbitrary set? Why can some weapon and armor enchantments only be found on certain kinds of weapon or armor?

One of these days I'm going to sit down and solve this problem, but it never seems to rise to the top of my priorities.
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Roger Hobden
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The Phobias and Manias Tables of Call of Cthulhu.

As a Keeper, I use them a lot. devil
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I know this is kind of basic, but environment based random encounter tables. I'm still learning D&D lore and having those tables helps immensely when trying to flesh out a session.
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I’m a big fan of the random tables in Blades in the Dark.
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Chaosium's old Cities book offered all the tables I needed for extensive urban adventuring. 64 pages of useful info.
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bobcatt wrote:

Chaosium's old Cities book offered all the tables I needed for extensive urban adventuring. 64 pages of useful info.

You got there just before me. (Though I never actually rolled on the tables, just browsed them for inspiration.)
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coffee Most Frequently used: Treasure, equipment, and injury tables
indigo Most Functional: Beyond the Wall "Threat packs"
tobacco My latest Fascination: Ironsworn Oracles - P.S. I found an app for this!
sugar Favorite Sci-fi random generators: The Adventure Idea factory for sci-fi rpgs (especially space westerns)
corn Favorite random character ability creation: FASERIP character rolling for superpowers for example in FASERIP OR
Maid rpg tables for anime
bluetaj: Most Complete random generator supplement: The Covetous Poets Adventure Creator
bluetaj: Favorite pseudo-random generator to create a thematic location - Mythic Location Crafter
browntaj: Most bizarre and thematic tables: Fleshscape rpg





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Most Dungeon Crawl Classics Role Playing Game books have something good, for example one table in Transylvanian Adventures can produce a Professor trained in Pointing Stick.

For pure awesome, the tables at the back of Worlds Without Master. For example from Three Dozen Ill-Fates Awaiting Those Who Displease the Silent Emperor you might get the result: Have your flesh surgically replaced with glass plates so that the court can marvel over the inner workings of the human form.

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Weird stuff that looks as if it's important - but isn't.
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