|My whole campaign here ya go .|
..50033 is a particularly juicy swerve don't you think?
I love me some big charts.
I know that a big chart of random shite can be a bit soul crushing, perhaps even have the effect of stiffing creativity.
I don't 100% agree.
Here's my thought:
If a GM rolls a bunch of random stuff off a chart to populate a dungeon on create a magic item, have a random encounter, or create an NPC the mere act of making the roll and referencing the chart is not the end of the job.
After a chart is used to generate a detail it's the work that gets put into the presentation of a result that makes a chart useful or useless. It is still up to that GM to interpret the rolls, throw out useless results and apply what he or she decides to keep.
The Gm is not bound by a result or an interpretation of a result.
If for example I roll on a random monster chart and get, "slug goblin" that result could say different things to different GM's.
One Gm might scrap that result thinking it to silly, another might develop a slimy shelled goblinoid race, and yet another might make them the dominate force of evil in their campaign. What the Gm does with the result is not a function of the chart but a function of the GM.
As far as charts like the Compound hiring qualities chart I posted the other day go the random results are all quite nice but the GM still has to breath life into the NPC. Just rolling up a "repulsive female who has her own agenda" isn't enough if the gm never gives any thought to why is she repulsive? Whats's her agenda? How does it effect the party?
That's not to say there are not convenience charts out there. A good example would be a "What's in that dead guys pocket?" Chart. Sometimes it's just fun to roll things like that up randomly so that the GM can be as surprised as the players or simply so that the Gm does not have to make up 100 unique types of pocket lint. Another way of looking at it is that if a setting is trying to go for a very particular feel, the convenience charts can be stocked with setting appropriate entries that will help keep everything on track.
Even still taking the results on the fly and making them interesting can be a rewarding challenge for a GM.
Charts can be a jumping off point, a place to start for people who hate a blank slate. Charts can never be however, a replacement for creativity.
This coming from a guy who wrote a whole game based on making randomly generated, tragically flawed characters then trying to keep them alive....Take it all with a lump of salt.
Thank you for reading
Please leave any questions and comments in row 12 column H, below.