Random Encounter Tables: Second Thoughts (Heavy Lifting, part 2)

… I suppose I could have found a way to get a dash in there or something.  What’s one more separator in a title?

I realized today after Random Encounter Tables: Second Thoughts (Heavy Lifting) went up that the raw percentages might not be so useful overall, but didn’t have time at that point to do anything about it.

I’ve redone the tables for this post, showing the likelihood for each slot that the encounter is enhanced, standard, reduced, or evidence only.

Per-Slot Frequency Analysis

I’ll be using the same frequencies and assignments to the encounter modifier dice.

For the following sections I’m going to pretend the encounters are all creature encounters — ‘wandering monsters’, if you want — for the sake of simplicity.

d10 Encounter Modifier Die

Let’s start with the easiest frequency set, d10. I can imagine having four distinct frequency modifiers — evidence only (you don’t see the encounter itself, but you see where it happened, or have some other clue of its presence or potential presence), reduced (less dangerous — the creature is wounded, underequipped (caster is mostly without spells), fewer in number than usual), normal (standard encounter of this type, or mutually-balanced modifications such as small numbers but waiting in ambush), and enhanced (more creatures than usual, better gear, waiting in ambush, and so on). If the encounter table is arranged from least threat to greatest threat you can have the highest numbers being out of the PCs’ capability (sufficient for TPK, say) and the lowest mere nuisances. If you then assign 1-4 on the d10 to enhanced encounters, 5-7 to regular encountesr, 8-9 to reduced encounters, and 10 to evidence only you get some interesting characteristics.

First, the weaker the threat on the table, the more likely it will be enhanced. In fact, it will be impossible for anything in the first four slots on the table to not be enhanced (the only ways you can roll 6 or less requires that the d10 be no higher than four). Similarly, you can only find evidence of the greatest threat on the table (the only way you can roll a 30 requires a 10 on the d10). What else happens, though?

Value d8+d10+d12 Enhanced Standard Reduced Evidence
3 1 100.00
4 3 100.00
5 6 100.00
6 10 100.00
7 15 93.33 6.67
8 21 85.71 14.29
9 28 78.57 21.43
10 36 72.22 25.00 2.78
11 44 65.91 27.27 6.82
12 52 59.62 28.85 9.62 1.92
13 59 54.24 30.51 11.86 3.39
14 65 49.23 32.31 13.85 4.62
15 69 44.93 33.33 15.94 5.80
16 71 40.85 33.80 18.31 7.04
17 71 36.62 33.80 21.13 8.45
18 69 31.88 34.78 23.19 10.14
19 65 27.69 35.38 24.62 12.31
20 59 23.73 35.59 27.12 13.56
21 52 19.23 34.62 30.77 15.38
22 44 13.64 34.09 34.09 18.18
23 36 8.33 33.33 36.11 22.22
24 28 3.57 32.14 39.29 25.00
25 21 28.57 42.86 28.57
26 15 20.00 46.67 33.33
27 10  10.00 50.00 40.00
28 6 50.00 50.00
29 3 33.33 66.67
30 1 100.00

This clearly exhibits the expected traits.  Lower-slot encounters (less dangerous creatures) are more likely to be enhanced encounters, while the higher-slot encounters (more dangerous creatures) are more likely to be evidence-only encounters.  The middle-slot encounters are more likely to be a mix.

Looks like what I’m aiming for.

 

Okay, let’s see what happens if we use the d8 as the encounter modifier.

d8 Encounter Modifier Die

Less explanation this time. Let’s say that 3/8 the encounter is enhanced, 2/8 the encounter is normal, 1/8 the encounter is reduced, and 2/8 the encounter is evidence only.

Value d8+d10+d12 Enhanced Standard Reduced Evidence
3 1 100.00
4 3 100.00
5 6 100.00
6 10 90.00 10.00
7 15 80.00 20.00
8 21 71.43 23.81 4.76
9 28 64.29 25.00 7.14 3.57
10 36 58.33 25.00 8.33 8.33
11 44 54.55 25.00 9.09 11.36
12 52 51.92 25.00 9.62 13.46
13 59 49.15 25.42 10.17 15.25
14 65 46.15 26.15 10.77 16.92
15 69 42.03 27.54 11.59 18.84
16 71 38.03 28.17 12.68 21.13
17 71 33.80 28.17 14.08 23.94
18 69 30.43 27.54 14.49 27.54
19 65 27.69 26.15 15.38 30.77
20 59 25.42 25.42 15.25 33.90
21 52 23.08 25.00 15.38 36.54
22 44 20.45 25.00 15.91 38.64
23 36 16.67 25.00 16.67 41.67
24 28 10.71 25.00 17.86 46.43
25 21 4.76 23.81 19.05 52.38
26 15 20.00 20.00 60.00
27 10 10.00 20.00 70.00
28 6 16.67 83.33
29 3 100.00
30 1 100.00

Looking good, and a lot clearer.

The next one is clearer than the original, but honestly what I found surprised me a little.

d12 Encounter Modifier

In fact, I’m confident enough that I think I’ll mix things up a bit. I’m using a d12 encounter modifier, with (1, 5, 9) being enhanced, (4, 8, 12) being normal, (2, 6, 10) being reduced, and (3, 7, 11) being evidence only.

Note that I am unlikely to do this for real, I just want to see what happens.

This time I expect a lot more variability.

Value d8+d10+d12 Enhanced Standard Reduced Evidence
3 1 100.00
4 3 66.67 33.33
5 6 50.00 33.33 16.67
6 10 40.00 10.00 30.00 20.00
7 15 40.00 13.33 26.67 20.00
8 21 38.10 14.29 28.57 19.05
9 28 35.71 14.29 28.57 21.43
10 36 33.33 16.67 27.78 22.22
11 44 31.82 18.18 27.27 22.73
12 52 30.77 19.23 26.92 23.08
13 59 28.81 20.34 27.12 23.73
14 65 27.69 21.54 26.15 24.62
15 69 26.09 23.19 26.09 24.64
16 71 25.35 23.94 25.35 25.35
17 71 23.94 25.35 25.35 25.35
18 69 23.19 26.09 24.64 26.09
19 65 21.54 27.69 24.62 26.15
20 59 20.34 28.18 23.73 27.12
21 52 19.23 30.77 23.08 26.92
22 44 18.18 31.82 22.73 27.27
23 36 16.67 33.33 22.22 27.78
24 28 14.29 35.71 21.43 28.57
25 21 14.29 38.10 19.05 28.57
26 15 13.33 40.00 20.00 26.67
27 10 10.00 40.00 20.00 30.00
28 6 50.00 16.67 33.33
29 3 66.67 33.33
30 1 100.00

This one’s all over the place.  The raw percentages (percentage of all encounters) followed some patterns, but the way this is set up the encounter modifier is not as evidently consistent.

When devising the encounter modifier frequencies and assignment to the encounter modifier die, I suggest keeping the groups contiguous, or perhaps only have the evidence-only set non-contiguous.

Closing Comments

I think these tables give a clearer indication what’s happening at each slot.  I still like the results, and learned that some encounter modifier die configurations can have some strange results.

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