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Wednesday, May 13, 2015

(Very) Random Encounters in Context

Based on this discussion: LINK to Tenkar's Tavern

I don't prep.  I roll encounter dice and read 3s as evidence of activity if someone is tracking, 2s as obvious recent activity or tracks (what have you), and 1s as encounter events.

Next, I grab my Koplow dice, now dubbed Quisitor dice, comprised of a Greater Than/Less Than die and a Likelihood die, roll them together and determine if something actually happens.

After I know something happens, I roll two colour dice (red through violet) and use that to stimulate my imagination/understanding of the situation, taking terrain, time of day, season, etc. into account.

If the Quisitors give me a high likelihood of an event, and the colour dice suggest it is hostile, I then roll critter dice (again, Koplow), to impromptu create a type of thing to be encountered, doing away with the need for monster lists.

Then to determine strength of encounter, I roll a d20 or something that makes sense for circumstances, then in the ten seconds or so this process took, I ask the players to roll perception or initiative, etc. to then describe the results.


  1. What are the "critter dice"? Or are they the same ones you dubbed Quisitor dice? I wasn't familiar with Koplow in general or the Greater Than/Less Than die and Likelihood die before, I can see how useful those could be in play. I poked around their catalog a bit, are you using some of their animal dice?

    I started using Rory's Story Cubes to generate random encounters a while ago rather than using encounter charts. I am seriously thinking about adding the greater than/less than and likelihood dice to the mix now :)

    1. Carl,

      The critter dice are the ones that have Ant, Eagle, Fish, Frog, Horse, and Turtle on them, and then the other die is the Woodlands Animals.

      I have two Rory's, and I just can't get them to flow for me. Weird.

      I hope the Greater-than/Likelihoods serve you well.
      I also made a Goggle doc which uses 2d6 (d36 or d66, whatever) in their place.

  2. I think we pretty much deduced what the initial d6 dice do during play. And I always figured you had some pretty extensive, customized random encounter tables.
    But had no idea the other various systems used to figure out what we're running into.\

  3. Peter,

    The Terrain Tables I have are really for determining land features and resources. I don't have or use encounter tables at all.