## Wednesday, July 20, 2011

### Number Appearing

You know me: I'm always thinking about how to stream-line descriptions and introduce randomness without too many situation-specific tables. My latest half-baked idea is for random numbers of monsters or NPCs encountered, or random quantities in general. For GM notes or distributed documents, I could use a standard, dice-agnostic approach: "up to 12 skeletons" or "at least 3 up to 30 bar patrons". For "at least X", I'd roll Xd6 to get the starting number, but you can roll anything you want; if the number rolled is greater than the max, just use the max. If the number isn't at the max, more may show up later; at any appropriate interval, roll a d6, with a 6 meaning that more monsters/bar patrons/whatever show up. If yes, roll Xd6 again and add that many up to the max.

If you're dealing with a bar or tavern or other locale where there are comings and goings, a 1 means a net loss and a 6 means a net gain. Roll Xd6 in either case; if the number present minus the number leaving = zero or less, everyone present leaves but enough new people arrive to meet the minimum.

If you're dealing with a fixed quantity, instead of rolling a separate 1d6 test die, just make the dice roll "explode" if two or more dice match. For example: a treasure contains at least 5 and up to 49 gemstones. Roll 5d6 for a number from 5 to 30; if you roll 1+1+1+3+6 (total 12,) roll another 5d6; if the new result is 3+3+3+1+6 = 16 (total 28,) roll a third time: 2+2+6+6+6 = 22. This grand total is 50, but that's greater than the max "up to 49", so we stop rolling and set the number to 49.

We no longer have a bell curve, but who cares? We just want to know what the minimum, maximum, and actual quantities found are, and we now have a method that can work with any dice and any range.