A method to structure encounter tables

There are a million random encounter tables on the Internet, each promising something useful, and many of them are. But at the end of the day, they’re still random encounter tables.

I found this system at Papers Pencils and I really like it, because it takes the random out of random monster tables, and makes the tables more aligned and more personal.

My personal favorite is how rolling a seven on this improved encounter table always introduces a recurring character. That’s the very definition of a brilliant idea that’s basic in retrospect, because it makes the world seem smaller and more real:

I maintain a separate list of these, populated with NPCs the party has had some fun dealings with but who would not otherwise have any reason to recur. I rotate people off that list whenever this result causes them to appear, then rotate them back on if the list ever gets too small.

There is more, including an emphasis on regional-specific encounters. I’m definitely using this idea in my next campaign. More here, and if you are looking for some random tables keyed to a specific neighborhood, may I gently suggest the City Handbook published by Heartwizard Games?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: