Thursday, February 9, 2012

Reverse Dungeoneering #9 For the Lazy DM

Improving your D&D experience. For Dungeons and Dragons Players and DMs.

Some players hate being Dungeon Masters and it usually falls down to not wanting to put in the effort for planning out a game. Creating worlds, towns, dungeons, NPCs, villains, encounters, maps, roleplaying concepts, and even the kitchen sink can take a lot of forethought and downtime to design and organize. This article is for the lazy DM that prefers to skip the excess work. Let me help you out. I won’t point fingers at you for being a lazy piece of shit. Not judging at all. This concept revolves around letting the dice decide everything for you.

First you make a table. Let me hand you an example. Let’s say you need to make a town but you aren’t sure what kind of buildings or other things it would have and you don’t want to have to plan that out yourself for every single town the players might come across. So you make a table listing some major structures and then let your players add ideas to that list. Like so:
1) Tavern
2) Inn
3) Shop
4) Church
5) Market
6) Specialty (Mining, Fishing, Port, Farm, Library, etc.)

Let's just say that Sarah added Whore House and Jeremy added Unicorn Ranch to the list. Don't look at me like that, we're all about equality here.

Then you just alter your list to make it easier to roll dice for. You can change it however you like. For example you might change your list to this:
Roll: 1d100
1) Tavern 1-40
2) Inn 41-60
3) Shop 61-70
4) Church 71-80
5) Market 81-90
6) Specialty 91-96
7) Whore House 97-99
8) Unicorn Ranch 100

In the above example, you roll your percental and a d10 to form a d100 (unless you’re one of the few that actually own a DM’s golf ball). The Tavern has a higher chance of being rolled on that list but that’s up to you. Is it wrong that the Unicorn Ranch is less likely than the Whore House? If it’s a small town then you simply roll a few times. If it’s an entire Kingdom then you keep rolling until you feel carpal tunnel setting in. You can reroll as you deem necessary (for example, it's highly unlikely a town would have six Taverns but I've seen crazier things in my day).

You can also change it to look something like this:
Roll: 1d12
1) Tavern
2) Tavern
3) Tavern
4) Inn
5) Inn
6) Inn
7) Shop
8) Church
9) Market
10) Specialty
11) Whore House
12) Unicorn Ranch

Let’s look at another example. I hear encounters are a pretty big deal in D&D. Let’s make a quick table for what the group might face.
Roll: 1d6
1) Monster
2) Monster
3) Trap
4) NPC
5) Item
6) Other

Then for each of those you make yet another table. So for NPC you might have something like this:
Roll 1d100
1) Helpful stranger 1-40
2) Stranger in need of help 41-70
3) Another adventurer 71-80
4) Some strange cliché character type from a film 81-90
5) Recurring villain 91-99
6) Kragnor the Dark Lord of Ruining Your Shit and Kicking Kittens! 100

You may have noticed that I deliberately made the Encounters section more complicated by requiring several tables. These are all examples to show that you can make this as simple or as complex as you see fit. Go crazy with it!

It’s possible to make tables for just about anything in the game and simply roll for outcomes. If you’re a truly lazy bastard then you can just have your players make the lists for you. The epitome of sloth can even have the players roll the dice for you. At that point the whole game runs almost on auto pilot without the need for a DM, you horrible hedonistic monster.

This is Kylak signing out to let you enjoy your time off.


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