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Thursday, December 9, 2010

Fast Tables

Over at Playing D&D with Porn Stars, Zak is talking about slow tables and fast tables. The dice map techniques I've been playing with would be a type of fast table: instead of rolling a d100 or d1000 and looking up the result on an extremely long table, I prefer extracting more information from the dice rolled by paying attention to more data:
  • topic dice are rolled for,
  • result of each die rolled,
  • location of each die rolled,
  • whether each die rolled is clearly in a specific area or on a boundary between areas.
The six attribute "wedges", plus the hub, are each interpeted in terms of the topic being rolled for: "Strength" becomes "creatures thought of as 'strong'" when rolling for monster types. Adding another bit of information would be easy: roll dice of multiple types, multiple colors, and multiple sizes.

The d20 Quickies technique also used a dice map, of a sort, just not a printed map. Instead, the dice are read in order from left to right, with each position meaning a specific topic, based on a "formula". So I could say "roll 2d20 for Person + Event to get the name of a local festival" and it makes sense. Rolling two different colors of d20s would work, but by using the left to right process, sometimes the two dice will overlap each other in one position, which gives us an extra bit of data to interpret. This means I could squeeze even more info out of the established technique by reading dice of two different colors from left to right, using a "blue person" or "red person" table depending on which color is first.

I'm glad Zak talked about this, because now I can explain what I'm trying to do by saying "this is a fast table using these methods of interpretation." Now, if I could only figure out how to describe that left-to-right overlap bit better...

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