Sunday, November 13, 2011

100 Random Weird Historical Events

The Marquis De Carabas, one of the winners of the Hack Vornheim contest asked for a d100 table: The topic I would like to see is: weird historical events. A table where I could roll a number of times on to construct the history of a kingdom, empire or city.

Well "to him that soweth righteousness shall be a sure reward" and who am I to argue with Proverbs 11:18?

Weird Historical Events

(I have included some less weird options in case you're rolling multiple times and want some sanity in your kingdom)

1. Linguistic chaos due to incursion of foreigners or Babel Plague
2. Influx of immigrants from (roll or pick) nearby land, distant land, beneath the surface of the planet, another planet, an alternate plane
3. Servitor or pet species (cats, donkeys, etc.) suddenly develops sentience or--less weird--a sudden and successful slave revolt or civil war resulting in emancipation
4. Nation becomes known far and wide for gastronomic delicacy dependent on ingredients ungrowable in other latitudes and longitudes
5. Children revolt, establish neocracy
6. Partial incursion of new religion (roll or pick) monotheistic, polytheistic, maltheistic/misotheistic, satanic/evil, baffling & seemingly arbitrary, hilariously primitive
7. Gears + steam = technological revolution. 50% chance of resulting disaster and reversion to local tech norms
8. Permanent flood turns buildings into islands
9. Ruler revealed to be demon. As a result all laws established during his reign (most fairly innocuous) are reversed by subsequent generations.
10. Entire population slaughtered.. (roll or pick) ...with no exceptions, ...except men, ...except women, ...except children, ...except members of an obscure profession (cobblers, etc.), ...except members of a common D&D class (roll or pick)... attackers uninterested in territory (or it was done by a disease) and leave them to build a new civilization.
11. Cities built in corpses of massive creatures
12. Complete change in religion--otherwise as (6) above
13. Roll on Jeff's table here--only results apply to entire area
14. War results in Great Wall of China-esque fortification. (Or is it a Great Trench?)
15. Anti-architectural phase. Citizens wear all-weather gear.
16. Size...(roll or pick) small, medium, species successfully domesticated and bred into various shapes and sizes, like dogs
17. Philosopher-kings
18. Land is cursed by witch-queen. Citizens born there may never leave (simple version) ...and that's that (complicated version)...women travel to the frontier to give birth so the baby comes out just on the other side of the border and is free to do as s/he likes. This only works about 1/4 of the time.
19. Obscure dietary restriction requires eating something fucked up once per day. (eyeballs, a pebble, manticore blood, etc.)
20. Belief in "supported consensus reality" becomes widespread. Nonbelievers in local religion held responsible for anything strange happening--that is: their unbelief creates distortion in reality-curves.
21. Carving and papermaking are tabooed/unknown. All important records & communiques from this era are tattooed on people or animals
22. Religious schism occurs when local god of important thing sells domain (seas, skies, justice, whatever) to rival god and moves on to other portfolio. Split between those who worship the deity by name and those (known as pathfinders) who worship what the god stands for.
23. Vindictive wizard: Populations' minds transferred into bodies of local livestock and vice versa. All animals are equal but the pigs are a little more equal than the others.
24. Nation oppressed by hyperintelligent rivals, universally adopt philosophy of unreason.
25. Obnoxious series of I,Claudius-esque assassinations and machinations results in constant confusion as to identity and policies of current monarch
26. Population wanders 40 years in desert
27. Dessert chefs rule population for 40 years
28. Nation enslaves neighboring nation. Suffers plagues from slave-nations god(s) as retribution. These are: frogs, lice, flies, pestilence, boils, hail, locusts, darkness, rivers turned to blood, slaying of the firstborn. These plagues continue for hundreds of years. Population becomes sad.
29. Genetic defect results in population having no right hands. Rely a lot on foreign labor.
30. Soil fantastically naturally productive for 200 yrs. All become massively fat. Almost immobile. Wheeled about in chairs or carried in palanquins by idiots.
31. A period of regrettable fascination with an obscure tome containing wisdom from beyond the stars.
32. Wars. Nearby land absorbed then lost again. Frequent border conflicts and nationalistic chaos.
33. Nation descended from- and has inferiority complex concerning- nearby other nation. Looks to them for learning, culture, etc.
34. Prophecy: there will come a Destroyer. An Axe Shall He Wield. A Throne Shall Be His.
35. Aristocratic caste so inbred it looks all freaky. In fact, it's gotten to the point where being deformed is seen as a sign of royal lineage. The weirdest-looking baby around is instantly coronated.
36. Queen obsessed with being fairest of them all incites pogroms resulting in extremely ugly population
37. Moistened bint lobs scimitar at young squire. Golden age ensues. You know the rest.
38. Population alarmed to discover 80% of sculptures in Hall of Statues are actually gorgolith. Begin wondering what the fuck is going on here. Though it does rather explain why recent sculptors seem somewhat crap.
39. Teratocracy (roll or pick) vampire, lich, alien, golem, dragon, doppleganger, naga, other
40. Curse, plague, or magical warfare results in landscape wholly unlike that of neighboring nations
41. Period of unrelenting brutality lasting 2d100 yrs. All is ash, ruin, and rot.
42. Period of rule by winner of "Cute Puppy" contest. Charm/Will save to avoid petting local pups
44. Land built on largely unassimilated ruin of previous culture. 10% chance it was a land of giants. 10% it was nonhumanoid
45. Massive battle leaves corpses of tower golems strewn across the landscape
46. Due to alignment of planets or magical disaster, nation spends a period of its history in the Realm of Faerie, Dreamlands of Unknown Kadath, Carcosa, or some other alternate plane.
47. Entire realm used solely as a necropolis for a period of time.
48. Period of crazy wizardocracy
49. Population dominated by ruling caste's control of mind-altering drugs/organisms/architecture/music
50. Thoroughbred slaves of the pleasure pits revolt: establish pornocracy
51. Custom demands rule by the (roll or pick) shortest, funniest, red-eyed, fattest
52. Infiltrations from the lands of madness and chaos have caused the population to engage in pogroms against all abnormals.
53. Capital of orthodox faith moved to this nation. Pope/patriarch/Sister Superior adopts diet of worms to prevent heretical infection.
54. Monarch involved in torrid love affair with (roll or pick) neighboring monarch, monster, distant ruler, inanimate object
55. Rulers hold a secret grudge against ostensibly allied nation for a perceived slight or betrayal in the distant past.
56. Nation and rival nation engage in Cold Warrish intrigues in hopes of acquiring powerful magical mcguffin.
57. Everyone in nation sold souls to extradimensional entity in exchange for protection from rapacious nearby empire. Are now an island of extremely boring people in a sea of otherwise ordinary kingdoms.
58. Due to geography or presence of vicious species nearby, the nation is--for some period at least--a strategic and commercial chokepoint.
59. Nation is entirely fortified due to centuries of unusually intense warfare.
60. Period of total pacificism and neutrality. Weapons and armor prohibited. How they lasted this long is up to you. Magic is the easy answer.
61. A legacy of moon worship, ongoing warfare, or an economy based on night-blooming plants (or all three) makes the populace primarily nocturnal for a few hundred years. Most crimes occur in daylight,
62. A comet known as The Initiator comes every 5 years and disaster predictably follows.
63. Democracy invented. Kept around for a bit.
64. New rulers must eat previous ones
65. Nation experienced warfare against intelligent mice, rats or insects. Obsessively clean for 100 + d12x100 years after
66. Nation entirely buried, by accident or--a la Petal Throne--by design.
67. Curse on throne: monarchs all die after 5 years. Rulers tend to be very live-fast-die-young.
68. Intoxicants outlawed. Travel to- and trade with- neighboring nations flourishes.
69. Cult of apathy ascendant
70. 700-year war to slay god of rival nation
71. Period where all citizens live in one enormous building
72. Nation overrun by hostile (roll or pick) demons, werewolves, zombies, dwarves, foodies, vampires, goblins, horsemen, elves, dinosaurs, mutants, other
73. Mathematics banned. Practiced in secret by anybody trying to get anything done.
74. King claims he's a pheasant (isn't)
75. Magic banned. Armored warrior cults defend nation
76. Brutal spartanistic throw-them-to-the-wolves-and-see-how-that-works-out culture fluorishes
77. Realm becomes client-state of larger empire. Many sons and daughters of local nobility sent off to be educated at foreign courts. They return (roll or pick) totally assimilated, full of hatred for the foreigners, feigning one the former while secretly being the latter, vice versa
78. Lottery-in-Babylon-style social order inculcated
79. Adventure diary/notebook of one of your players has been inadvertently sent thousands of years back in time and has been discovered and taken for a holy text by the locals
80. Age of (accurate) prophets followed by invasion. Records and transcripts of important prophecies lost and scattered. Much blood and treasure will be expended in ages thereafter to find them.
81. Monarch revealed to be (unknowingly) 1/4 changeling, sparking off confused and bloody succession war as the families of the various grandparents vie for power
82. Common vowel and associated sound declared heretical
83. Slaying of distant medusa turns much of the stone from which local buildings were made into flesh. Or if that's too weird, there was just an earthquake.
84. Inhabitants discover they are not human (or elf or whatever they thought)
85. Inhabitants discover sister nation with precisely identical history, culture, inhabitants, etc. on other side of world
86. Inhabitants discover hypercubic architecture--nation appears to consist of scattered settlements of unusually fine stone buildings on the outside, is in fact a bustling network of Escherian mazes on the inside. At least for a while.
87. Nation was shrunk, placed in a bottle, then an unshrinking ritual was discovered. However, by that time the area it had once occupied had been taken over. So the nation was moved to a new and more remote location, then unshrunk. Or so they say.
88. Religion causes dancing to be outlawed or mandatory
89. Periodic floods cause nation to be coastal for 50 years, then landlocked for 50 years--alternating forever
90. Nation invents medieval minimalist art style--cubic stone plinths with nothing on them and paintings of unbroken umber abound. Nearby cultures sickened. Many die of boredom.
91. Basically this part here in yellow.
92. Nation ruled by sentient paintings of dead rulers. The inhabitants were unaware that all their efforts were secretly directed toward creating vessels through which these souls might once again walk the earth.
93. Extreme neoplatonic phase. Everything that can be made spherical is: homes, weapons, the structures of poems, etc.
94. Extreme historian phase. Populaces divided into two parts: those who act and those who record their every action. Those who act are forbidden to do anything while their historian is asleep or otherwise unavoidably indisposed.
95. Inhabitants create simulatory "games of role-playing" to investigate possible outcomes of all courses of action before committing to them
96. Taxidermy takes the place of burial. Dead citizens, pets, and livestock in dramatic poses decorate the public squares.
97. Nation fears dispersion and disunity--all citizens are attached together by chains--each person is 900 links from the next. It is said some still hold to this practice.
98. Suffering-based legal system: the more wounded you are, the more rights you possess. King is leech-covered invalid.
99. Entire nation is The Prisoner/Truman Show-esque punishment/testing ground/combat arena during this era
100. 50% of population is acutely narcoleptic owing to aftermath of alchemical warfare.


  1. Diet of worms? I see what you did there, and I approve wholeheartedly.

  2. @ Bill - I had to google it. :)

  3. I'm not sure whether to be proud or dismayed that the one place I really use my history degree is in RPGs.

  4. On the flip side, I learn a lot of history, due to my involvement in RPG's.

  5. Like how Abraham Lincoln was a vampire hunter?

  6. I now have a whole new appreciation for our 16th President!

  7. Agreed, though I find William Howard Taft's busting of the Werewolf Trusts more impressive.

  8. Number 22 made me chuckle, but something about number 74 seems the most amusing to me in terms of possibilities.

  9. @Zzarchov: I find that one funniest because I imagine I can read Zak's thought processes behind it. "Okay so it's like the Prince and the Pauper - no, wait..."

  10. Actually I was just trying to find a sentence that I could end with "...pheasant (isn't)".

  11. very nice. I think that takes you quite away towards a how-to-host an empire type generator. Just add some area expansion contraction rules.

  12. "Dessert chefs rule population for 40 years". Literally, Cake Bosses.

  13. Lottery in babylon, nice. I should try to run a Borgues' inspired campaign.

  14. Personally my favorite is entry #50 establishing pornocratic rule. :)

  15. And I finally used it. Just a short reference to entry #50:

  16. 99 should have been Number 6, methinks.