Luck rolls represent the GM choosing to be surprised rather than just deciding what happens. I look at how a few different games do this and talk about my currently preferred approach.
I recently learned about a procedural generation technique called a “depthcrawl”. Maybe the best known example is the Garden of Ynn, though there are a few different takes on the idea. For example, Downcrawl builds pretty significantly on the idea by introducing "volumes" (regions, I think) and more. The base technique uses the depth of … Continue reading Basic Depthcrawl Procedure
Some thoughts on giving information to players, spurred by a Discord conversation with friends.
I originally wrote this while preparing for a Mothership game, but it has no game statistics whatsoever. Feel free to use it in whatever science fiction game you're playing! Photo by Matt Benson on Unsplash Micrometeoroids. Think like particles of dust or smaller, not large objects that could destroy the ship. These may cause oxygen … Continue reading 1d10 Realistic Space Hazards
Musing this afternoon on @benlaurence1's older blog post "Pleasures of the OSR: Secrecy and Discovery". The thing I like about this play style (and I like many!) is precisely the surprise of what happens when random tables drive play. Making sense of these seemingly unrelated bits of ephemera (random encounters, generated NPCs, found objects) means … Continue reading Random Tables in RPGs
I started playing Dwarf Fortress again recently, partly inspired by the videos produced by Kruggsmash. He does a wonderful job of extracting the story from a fortress, illustrating it in a cartoonish way, and pulling out a narrative. But a lot of that narrative comes from the game systems, influenced by player actions, through procedural generation. That … Continue reading Coming back to procedural generation in D&D
The release of Guildmaster's Guide to Ravnica, as fun as it is, should be seen in the context of the Plane Shift documents that provide more Magic the Gathering settings for Dungeons and Dragons. This also included a free adventure "X Marks the Spot" for the Ixalan campaign. Among other cool things ported from MtG into D&D, it uses … Continue reading Using treasure tokens in D&D
In Tales from the Yawning Portal, we have a collection of some of the best (well, most popular) dungeons from D&D's history, updated for Fifth Edition. Adventurers who delve into these dark holes in the ground can uncover lost secrets and discover untold wealth... or die trying. But players themselves can be a bit risk averse … Continue reading Forge of Fury: Random Encounter Tables
Random encounters can accomplish a lot of things. Some groups see them as annoying obstacles. Others like them for a bit bonus XP while the GM puts a little extra strain on their resources. But they can also give a hint of weirdness to tell your players that the world has more going on than kobolds … Continue reading Road mysteries