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Thursday, February 4, 2010

Wandering Dice

In the one-page dungeon maps I've posted for the MegaLex project, I've used this procedure for wandering monsters: roll 2d6, lowest die is the monster, highest die is the base number encountered, doubles are read from a subtable instead. This set-up is pretty quick and simple, but there's a couple quirks to this. The lowest die result, if doubles aren't rolled, will be in the range of 1 to 5 (6 is only possible for doubles.) The lower numbers will be more likely than the higher numbers. I knew this, and planned accordingly, placing the monsters I wanted to appear more frequently in the 1 or 2 slot.

But I forgot that the converse is also true: the base number appearing can't be 1, and higher numbers are more likely than lower numbers. Monster number 5 on the table will always have a base number appearing of 6. Not really what I want.

A better approach would be to use the approach I've mentioned elsewhere: read the two dice from left to right, with the first die as base number appearing and the second as which monster appears. This adds one more slot to the wandering monster table and makes a couple other tricks possible:
  • If I want a monster to appear less frequently, I can pair it with another infrequent monster and using the base number appearing roll to select which of the two I want. This increases the potential variety of monsters.
  • If the dice line up, I have the option of reading each die two ways, which means two different monsters wander by. This also gives the potential for different readings of the result: are the monsters allies, enemies, master and slave?
From now on, I'll use this technique in the region maps.

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