Monday, January 6, 2014

Random Tables - Do You Roll, Pick and Choose or Something Else?

I was a notorious "pick and choose"er. Tome of Adventure Design, Roll XX and the like are full of tables I browsed and picked from. It wasn't until this weekend, with the d30 Sandbox Companion, that I forced myself to roll on random tables and to take the results "as is" for the Tavern and Cult posts here on the blog.

Holy shit but I'm glad I did, as it forced me to use my imagination to turn the results into workable sandbox elements - it was a fun and rewarding challenge.

So, put me in the "used to pick and choose but now roll" column ;)

Where do you stand?


  1. I usually roll, but if I don't like the results, I'll pick within a couple higher or lower than my roll.

    However I agree with you. Sticking with your first roll forces a unique level of creativity. You can get some incredible story elements from random rolls.

  2. I roll, and if it sucks, I make another roll, if the result still sucks, I pick something in the area of the roll on the chart.

  3. I was in the pick and choose until I started running Flashing Blades. That made a convert to "use the rolled results" out of me. Although if the results suck or really aren't coherent, I'll pick something and roll with it.

  4. A big part of the game for me is roleplaying but without some random rolls it would just be a storytelling game. I always browse random tables for ideas, but if I am going to use one in a game I prefer to stick to the first result and live with consequences. I won't use a random table that has unbalancing or ridiculous results so I do a lot of homebrew or altered tables with at least the chance of 1 bad result or 1 fantastic result.

  5. Roll and choose the one closest that makes the most sense. This led me to seek out tables that are specific rather than giant universal (and often nonsensical) ones. Thankfully the OSR is full of the former.

  6. Depends on the material somewhat but lately I have really stuck with what I rolled as a fun way to push myself as a DM. I run a 1e/2e hybrid Greyhawk campaign. I use the encounter tables from the original Greyhawk box/1e DMG and sometimes the massive tables from the 1e MM2, with treasure tables from the 1e DMG. I have also experimented with tables from various other sources, including an awesome compilation of old Judges Guild tables you can find floating around.

  7. I tend to stick to what I roll, but I'm not against changing things around if it just doesn't feel right.

  8. I'm one of those people who rolls and then re-rolls if he doesn't like the results. I gather that to some people this makes me a bad person, but I run my game, not the dice. I asked them a question but I decide if I like the answer.

    It's good to be the king. ;)

  9. I roll and respect the oracular power of the dice. I like tables that are open to interpretation though.


Tenkar's Tavern is supported by various affiliate programs, including Amazon, RPGNow,
and Humble Bundle as well as Patreon. Your patronage is appreciated and helps keep the
lights on and the taps flowing. Your Humble Bartender, Tenkar

Blogs of Inspiration & Erudition