Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Wastelands Big Honkin Random Monster Table

The Wastelands is a sandboxy hex-crawl style setting. As such, I needed to create a series of random encounter tables for the numerous geographical regions. I had originally drafted a d20-based table for each major region (Bandlands of Paj, Kreth Verdant, Steaming Jungles of Su'Janga, etc.), but soon realized that a d20 randomizer did not produce enough variation within each region to satisfy my personal Creature Feature Quotient--meaning I needed more monsters!

Artisan dice!
So as I often do when pondering dungeon mastery-type things, I consulted the definitive work of Grand Master Gygax, the 1st edition DMG. Therein, as usual, I found my solution: d100-based random tables delineated by predominant terrain type. I have moved away from d100-based tables in recent years, mostly because they require a lot more fiddly maths and sometimes produce too many options for my personal tastes. However, for this purpose, and to satiate my CFQ--I wanted roughly between 20 and 40 possible random creatures for most regions--the good old d100 tables worked perfectly.

Thus, I reorganized my separate regional d20 tables into one big honking d100 table broken out into predominant terrain types (arctic, badlands, forest, desert, and so on) similar to what was done in the DMG. The table can be downloaded here (.pdf) should you good readers wish to use it as-is, or here (.docx) if you'd like to tinker and customize it.

The creatures on the table include a few of the regular suspects from the Monster Manual (it goes without saying that I mean the AD&D version--but I guess I just said, or wrote, it anyway!) But with this campaign setting I wanted to mine the other monster manuals for lesser-known and/or infrequently-used critters. For example, monsters such as the crysmal, kampfult, solifugid and xag-ya from Monster Manual II, and the caterwaul and skulk (and the humanoid aarakocra, grimlocks and quaggoths) from the Fiend Folio will turn up randomly in some areas of the Wastelands.

I also included the thanoi, or walrus men, from the Dragonlance Adventures book (and DL6 Dragons of Ice). Mostly because I like the idea of warrior walrus men. I never liked much from Dragonlance, but I always thought the thanoi were cool. Coo coo ca choo! Bad puns intended. ;-)