Classic Dungeons and Dragons and Old School Gaming

D&D etc.

"Heir to a crumbling summit: to a sea of nettles: to an empire of rust: to rituals' footprints ankle-deep in stone."

-Mervyn Peake

"...and that, my liege, is how we know the Earth to be banana shaped."

-Sir Bedevere in Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Friday, September 13, 2013

Monster Action Tables?

I called the tables I sketched out in my last post "encounter tables" but that doesn't seem like the right term. One table answered the question, "what are the monsters doing when the PCs encounter them?" and the other answers the question, "what are the monsters going to do this round?"
I've used Telecanter's brilliant and all purpose 'what' are the monsters doing' table, but having a quick little table like this for specific monsters seems like a good way to jazz up encounters in a way that gives a particular monster a unique flavor, as well as making combat more exciting, cinematic and interesting. I think I got the idea for the "what do the monsters do this round?" table from the 4th edition thing where instead of encounter or daily powers, the DM rolls a d6 to see if a monster does a special attack. So a dragon, for example, instead of getting 3 uses of their breath weapon in a day, they let it loose on a 5 or 6 on a d6 that the DM rolls ever round. This takes a decision out of the hands of the DM in a way that I think can be interesting, at least sometimes. Another way to do this would be with 'Kung Fu dice' which is a thing that I'm pretty sure I first read about on D&D w/ pron stars, but I don't know that Zak invented it. This uses the d20 attack roll instead of a separate roll, which is pretty slick, but I don't think it's a big deal to roll another d6, you can roll it at the same time as the d20 attack roll and read the results at the same time. With the d6 you can also use the to hit roll if you need to.

This kind of table seems like a really good tool, I wonder why I haven't seen it more often? Or maybe lots of folks use it in published adventures and supplements an such, I just haven't picked them up or heard of them...

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