I love random tables for my RPGs. Whether it's for character generation or adventure design, it's like being offered a huge greek diner menu and being allowed to choose from it's endless choices.
Wait, you can choose, right?
Those random tables might have numbers attached to the entries so someone can randomly determine some results, but that's just a guideline, and one that is easily over ruled.
I mean, after your teenage years, did you ever roll up a random dungeon via the tables in the AD&D DMG and randomly populate it using the appropriate monster tables? That Huge Red Dragon in a 10 x 10 dungeon closet butting up against a room holding a half dozen Hill Giants isn't acceptable these days.
For me, random tables are the most awesome resources of inspiration and I will roll on them, but I'm no longer a slave to them. I pick and choose as often as I roll, and I ignore rolls as often as I keep them.
Still, I can't have enough tables of random goodness :)
How do you use random tables? As rolled, inspiration, a combination?