If an encounter, of any of the possible types, will happen six times in six chances, is it really random? Sure, the event chosen is random, but the chance of there being an event isn't - there WILL be some kind of encounter or event each time.
That's my main issue with Star Temple of Saturgalia.
But lets take it in another direction. What is to prevent a GM from rolling the random encounters ahead of time? Not the chance for an encounter to happen, which should always be it's own roll, but the actual encounters itself.
Say, for example, your encounter / event table is as follows:
2 - 2d4 orcs
3 - 3d4 giant rats
4 - 3d6 coins scattered cross floor
5 - random piece of writing on wall
6 - 1d2 ogres
7 - 1d4 giant spiders
8 - 3d4 goblins
Now, you plan on rolling a 1 in 6 chance for an encounter / event every turn (10 minutes) and again when they make significant noise (smashing doors, fighting, etc)
You guess that 6 or so random encounters will happen during the game session and you decide to roll them in order in advance. It's still random, but rolled prior to the session, giving you time as a GM to make them somewhat special. I have 2d4 right now, so lets make this a live experiment.
I roll 2, 4, 3, 8, 6 and 5.
So, the first random encounter will be 2d4 orcs. I roll a 3. 3 orcs wielding spears and shields. They are moving fast, as if they are fleeing from something.
Second encounter / event is 3d6 coins. 11. I figure 4 coppers, 6 silvers and 1 gold along with a coin purse they spilled from.
Third is 3d4 giant rats. We get a 9. They are charging through the corridors in search of food or prey. The party will hear their chittering as they approach.
Fourth is 3d4 goblins. There are 7 of them. They are encountered in a tight formation, nearly a circle. If the party charges them, they will flee in the opposite direction as fast as their feet can take them. If the party holds it's ground, they will throw their spears while being ready to flee if approached. If the party flees, they will chase them, screaming war cries the whole time.
Fifth encounter is 1d2 ogres. We roll a 1. The ogre is surrounded by 3 orc corpses in addition to the one he is currently gnawing on the arm of. Around his waist hang 4 dead giant rats, apparently food for later. The ogre will leave the party alone if they leave him alone. Subtract 5 HP from his HP total for prior wounds.
Number six is writing on the wall. We decide it will make reference to the giant spiders roaming the corridors - "Beware the tangled web."
Now, i am not good enough to come up with these fleshed out encounters on the spot while interacting with my players. Simple truth. So may be able to pull such off, but its not me.
So, do you prepare your random encounters in advance?
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