Sunday, August 14, 2011

DM Prep Page

Years ago, when I was running my Queston campaign, I used AppleWorks spreadsheet (!) to randomly roll dice of all types.  I then printed out pages of these random rolls and just crossed them off whenever I needed them.  I rarely rolled dice at the table.

Now, I think that certain rolls should be made right at the table -- initiative, saving throws, surprise -- but rolls on random tables could easily be made in advance.

Awhile back, I wrote about how you can roll percentile dice to determine WHEN the next wandering monster will appear -- essentially preparing in advance for that inevitable event.

Well, here's my next attempt at GM prep.
click to embiggen
It's a page of PRE-ROLLED random encounters along with some other inspirational rolls.

I used Djeryv's Graveyard, Risus Monkey's DungeonWords and Seventh Sanctum as my inspirations.  The right-hand column is over 800 random dungeon oddities that I've culled off the web or created myself.  Thank you to all that have inspired this spreadsheet/tool.

The left column are "pips" that represent rounds.  When all the pips are crossed off and gone, the wandering monster to their right appears on the scene.

This IS NOT another random list that you roll against -- the rolls are already done.  You just work your way down the list in order.

The same is true of the inspirational words, containers and traps.  These ARE the one's you rolled up (or that the computer rolled up) you just use them in order...

So, on game night, I'll just print one of these pages and then use it at the table as an "on the fly" inspiration!


Unknown said...

Love it. Great idea. It shouldn't matter when you roll, so a predetermined list is a fine idea and a great way to save time (and you can brainstorm ahead of time).

Telecanter said...

You might also add distance encountered, surprise, and reaction results. I've pre-rolled # and hit points for wandering monsters before. And I highly recommend this kind of prep, especially with someone learning the ropes like me.

But, as I get more of a hang of running things, I think I would miss the thrill of finding out what's being encountered along with the players.

Wymarc said...

I did the same exact thing. I had pages of pre-rolled random numbers. One for each of the dice types. This made things go so much quicker.

I learned after the first session the sheets have to be kept behind the screen. I had a player keep asking for checks and other weird rolls of the dice. I figured out he saw the sheets and was working it for good numbers :)

Was upset but you have to love creative thinking!

Jim said...

@Risus Monkey -- too true. I love prepping the day of and then taking my notes to lunch... I mark them up and jot down connections and other ideas...
@Telecanter -- I like the surprise and reaction ideas. Excellent! I pregen HPs or I use my Hit system already. I think the improv of fitting these ideas into the dungeon itself and managing the connections are still surprises. Of course, how the PCs react to the pregenerated events are surprises as well...
@Wymarc -- too funny. I've had players like that as well. :)