It reminded me of the Mega-Dungeon Area Name Generator that Al at Beyond the Black Gate put together. This is one of my favorite things that anybody in the OSR has made. Seriously. I've incorporated it into my Impromptu Basic D&D DMG. (I'll likely talk about that more later) My goal is to use it as a Fast Table, which I don't think was Al's intent, but if have to pull a dungeon/adventure out of thin air I would soooo much rather have that set of tables in front of me than not.
then I thought about this:
Now, this has me thinking. A good number of the tables I've made are open ended. Maybe not as open as The Fighting Fantasist's free association lists, but more open ended than the Fast table that Zak describes in that post above, and there is a fair amount of filling in the blanks that the DM needs to do. I'd say that in addition to a distinction between fast and slow there are tight and loose tables.
The table above is Loose. It gives the DM something to work with, but it's just the beginning of whatever the hell the DM is going to describe to the players. Why are there silver trees? what about the peaked gables are fabulous? What do you mean the temples are almost-vanished? Unvisited clouds? This table is like something that an audience member would shout out at improv theater. Some results from the table above are harder to run with than others. Some might be unusable even. Maybe for some DMs every table is a loose table.
A Tight table does more to answer whatever question caused the DM to roll on the chart. You roll on the chart and then move on to the action. There are of course always details that a good DM can fill in, but the tight chart doesn't really leave holes for the DM to fill or connections to make. These are easier to use in play. I'd guess that these are also way more common in published products.
Here's a little rundown of the kinds of tables I've posted on this blog:
|Treasure Hoards and Magic Items||Slow & Loose|
|Starting Equipment||Tight (doesn't really have a speed because it's made for pre-game)|
|Space Fantasy Castle Inhabitants||Fast & Tight|
|Arcane Stress and Spell Mutation||Slow and Tight|
|Slimes Molds & Jellies||Fast and fairly Tight|
|FeyBeasts||Fast & Loose|
|Fey Humaniods||Fast & Loose|
|Orc Cult Names||Fast & Loose|
|Orc Cult Rituals||Fast & Tight|
|Orc Cult Schemes||Fast & mostly Loose|
Most of those are linked over on the right. Not as many of them are Fast and Loose as I thought. I'm thinking it's good to have a mix...