Random Encounter systems

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Steve C

Random Encounter systems

Postby Steve C » Sun Jun 14, 2015 11:05 pm

D&D has consistently been terrible at mechanics for random encounters across every single edition. If you want to know what you encountered it is pretty good and detailed. There are a lot of premade charts and solid mechanics on how to make your own charts. If instead you want to know IF and WHEN a random encounter occurs it's pretty lacking and a big pain in the ass to keep straight.

Here is a home made system I found online that I use. It is simple and clean. It works for any game system and uses standard six sided dice:

Roll two or more d6. You are looking for pairs. Anytime you get two or more numbers matching then that is an encounter. If you feel there should be more encounters due to terrain or party actions then add more dice. If you get a pair then roll on your encounter tables for what the party encounters. If you get multiple pairs then the party is going to have multiple encounters that day. Remove a die if the party guide successfully makes a relevant check to avoid trouble or add a die if the party makes their check and they are actively looking for trouble. You can also add in a different colored die to represent an encounter with friendlies if they are not already on your tables of what they encounter.

Which numbers pair up automatically tells you when the encounter(s) will occur:

Pair of:
1s = morning
2s = noon
3s = afternoon
4s = sunset
5s = middle of the night
6s = pre-dawn

If you are wondering about odds, 2d6 has a 16.6% chance of a single random encounter. Where as 6d6 has a 98.5% (1-[6!/6^6]) chance of having at least 1 encounter. 7d6 is guaranteed to have at least 1 encounter with a high probability of multiple encounters that day. If you want fewer encounters than 16.6% odds then use bigger dice like 2d8, 2d10, 2d12.
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Cuthalion

Re: Random Encounter systems

Postby Cuthalion » Tue Jun 16, 2015 11:05 pm

That sounds like a fun little system.

The One Ring has an interesting approach, where you make traveling checks throughout the adventure, and if anyone rolls an Eye (of Sauron, the 11 on their special d12), it triggers a "hazard". So far, we've been playing with modules that I think pre-define the hazards for you; not sure whether there's a table or if you're supposed to make them up if you're doing your own adventure. They can be things like being attacked, the Escort Quest jumps down a magic well of doom, etc.

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