Sunday, March 27, 2011

Don't Do That, Do This

I am checking out a random hex-stocking table in a product that shall remain nameless.

If I roll 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, or 99 I get "Water Source".

Then I scroll down to the entry on "Water Sources" (on another page) and it tells me I have to roll a d6:

If I roll a 1 there's two monsters at the water source, if I roll a 2 or 3, there's one monster and if I roll a 4-6 there's no monsters.

Don't do that. Why? Because they probabilities represented in the monster d6 table could have been represented equally well on the original table, like so:

94-- Water Source (with 2 monsters)
95-96-- Water Source (with 1 monster)
97-99-- Water Source (no monsters)

This isn't the only time this kinda thing happens in this product (or others).

It's a minor thing, but I am nitpicking because of this:

Because the main point of these kind of tables is to save time, so making you turn the page and re-roll a roll you didn't have to roll is kinda defeating the purpose.


  1. Oh dear! That would drive me mental too.

    - Neil.

  2. I have to say; you are single handedly making me think about randomized game elements. The only other thing that makes me the positive thoughts about random systems is the character generation for TMNT.

  3. @mordicai

    clearly you have never seen the sublime look of awe and terror on a player's face when you say "Oh good, I have a -table- for that"

  4. I think some folks like going down rabbit holes of tables and subtables. Maybe it seems more granular or something. It reminds me of something Erin Palette said a while back in a different context:

    "Tossing funny-shaped bits of bright plastic and cheering the result seems to have nearly-universal appeal, and since it is fun they do it as often as possible."

  5. @spawn

    I'm all for a little increased granularity between friends. I am not for the illusion of increased granularity at the expense of time I could be spending increasing granularity.

  6. Now I'm envisioning a gaming version of Eat This, Not That called Roll This, Not That.

    "I have to say; you are single handedly making me think about randomized game elements."

    To me, randomized tables and other such elements where neither the GM nor the players know what's going to happen are what put the "Game" in RPG.