Monday, April 12, 2010

Favorite Tables: Startling Statues

I think I've posted this sentiment before, but I love random tables.

I didn't always love them the way I love them now.  These days, I really enjoy the improv nature of GM'ing an RPG.  I like to plan in broad brush strokes and I like to randomly fill in the gaps.

I like to randomly roll for treasure, wandering monsters, gold, morale, magical effects, etc.  It gives me a sense of discovery within my own game.

I had this revelation one Saturday past when three of my players did not show up for the game.  My remaining players knew that they couldn't go on with the current scenario without the others.  What were we to do?  I handed out cards and asked them to share random disconnected monsters, treasures and places.  They did and when they were done, I  took ten minutes and whipped up an exciting adventure based solely upon their suggestions.  It was transformative for me.

So, on to the topic of this post -- the Startling Statues table from the Judges Guild Ready Ref sheets.  (these sheets are available as a pdf from RPG Now -- go get 'em!)  There are so many fun, crazy ideas in there to love!

I remember a version of this table from Tegel Manor, but I like the layout of this one.  It's got an interesting "dual track" at the top where you roll a d12.  The two entries above one another are similar in action and they correlate to the list of eight items below.  The eight items are very random and the list is quite abbreviated. I always take them as suggestions or guidelines - not hard and fast.

For example, if I roll a 10 (Gives Map) and then a 4 (Elf) what does that mean?  The statue gives the map "to the elf"?  What if there's no elf in the party?  A map "of an elf"?  A map "to the location of an elf"?  In this instance, I might re-roll or just pick something else like "exit" or perhaps "passage" as a way of leading them deeper into the dungeon.

The "Shape Changes/Polymorphs Character" column is especially random.  Wild swings in power level to be had.  Who wouldn't want an efreet PC?  Or a stone golem PC!  If this happened, I probably wouldn't want the change to be permanent.

If anyone can tell me what Foo Dog the chart is referring to, I'd appreciate it.  What vestibule?  Where?

Enjoy the table!  Go random!


Aaron E. Steele said...

Love that table from the Ready Ref Sheets!

Unknown said...

Wikipedia is your friend:

If you're looking for a specific monster write-up, I seem to remember "Foo Lion" being somewhere.

Jim said...

DrD, Thanks for the help. I guess I wasn't too clear. My fault. :) I'm just puzzled by the reference to the "Foo Dog in the vestbule" here. There doesn't appear to be a Foo Dog *anywhere* in the Ready Ref Sheets. Certainly no vestibule. :) My suspicion is that the text was lifted *directly* from one of the the old JG modules and was missed by the proof reader all those years ago. :) I'm just wondering if someone knows what adventure. Originally, I thought it was "Tegel Manor", but I can't find it there.