When are Random Tools and Tables Used in RPGs
Random Tables in RPGs Using Random Tools

When are Random Tools and Tables Used in RPGs

Duncan Thomson

I've started making an rpg which I want to be supported by random tables, so I'm looking at where random tables are used in Roleplaying Games. Supporting my long term look at Using Random Tools and Random Tables in RPGs.

[Image is Something Happens! table from 5e DM's Screen]

Why do People Use Random Tables?

People use random tables to ...

  • break down large ideas
  • fill in the details
  • because they can be fun
  • to give them ideas
  • to simulate something
  • resolve an event in a neutral fashion
  • speed up decision making or larger processes

When Are Random Tables Used in RPGs

I'll come back and fill in more details as I write articles about when they are used in RPGs

  • In Character Creation (career choice in WFRP; most of it in Traveller; background traits, bonds, flaws, ideals plus trinkets in D&D 5e). And for naming characters.
  • In Adventure Prep and Worldbuilding. Possibly the best known, from fantasy maps of Azgaar and Watabou, to a myriad of NPC, location and dungeon generators. World building and game prep should possibly be two separate areas.
  • To Simulate rules and functions in the world such as random encounters, weather, wild magic and fear tables
  • On the Spur of the Moment / During Play, when the GM needs something at short notice such as a random NPC, a random events, rumours, a random encounter, the contents of a box or anything else during the adventure.
  • In Solo Play, for any reason above and to simulate the GM, world or character actions.

Finishing Up

Random tables and tools for RPGs is the whole point of this blog so makes sense to have this!