Thursday 27 February 2014

Better Than Any Man expanded encounter grid

Alright so people have been doing this a lot lately here and here and here and here.

Basic idea is better told at the Retired Adventurer.
But essentially you give the player(s) a blank grid (in this case... 30x6? Shit ok I might have gone overboard) and they fill out the grid as you (or they) roll for random encounters.
Obviously blank out unique encounters/lairs as they're found. Mark them on the map if you're fancy.

My plan is to go with the following if they're rolled -
Encounter: As written unless I split part of the description off into it's own Lair.
Lair: Not necessarily an encounter but YOU'D BETTER MAKE A DECISION GUYS TO AVOID ONE.
Spoor: Locks the d30 so that the next roll involves that thing, -3 to the next d6 roll, successful bushcraft means add +2 to your surprise check and -2 to theirs (ie. you're less likely and they're more likely to be surprised.)
Tracks: +1/-1 to the d6 roll depending on whether they want to follow trail or evade, rising to a +2/-2 if someone succeeds at a bushcraft roll.
Traces: Something to do with the encounter ooOOOooOooo but not necessarily recent.
Traces/Benign: Could be traces or could just actually be set dressing. Not everything you see has something to do with an encounter, guys. OR DOES IT!? Also because I phoned it in when faced with filling in 150 entries and fell back on Abulafia for some of them.

Let them roll the dice for added tension.
(If you don't have a d30 use a d3 for tens and a d10 for single digits, don't multiply them together like a schlub.)

You can generate a blank grid (use the accounting ledger maybe?) here at whatever size you want. Or maybe just give them blank paper and tell them what's what.
Actual encounter grid is here or below.

3, 5 should read "Crude sign - 'No More War! Compulsory Disarmament is in effect!'" but got cut off.

You might notice that I have given the option of changing some encounters into other, more fantasy-flavoured encounters so I'd better explain.

THE SWEDISH become DEMONS released from some shithead's newbie dungeon in one of many apocalyptic events released by the Australia gang.

Everything pretty much goes as per BTAM except for the following things:
- Instead of wanting to wipe out the witches (who are doing good deeds in the demon's book seeing as they're stamping out religion which is the only thing that is really effective against demons) they want to wipe out Wurzberg and the hastily-reskinned Prince-Bishop. Anybody outside Karlstadt will get eaten. People inside will be eaten too under suspicions of being believers. If the people in Karlstadt can be proven to be godless heathens then Karlstadt might be spared.
- The Prince-Bishop will pay bounties on witch heads because he thinks they're attracting the demons and killing them will make the demons go away (it won't).
- Lower echelons of demons are mindless chaos spawn so the campaign area's getting fucked up no matter what.
- The Insect God is still a God so the demons want that fucker out of there. Infinite tower and stuff gets torn down because sure thing. Schwartz escapes the area because I love that guy.

CATHOLICS become NONANISTS which I will detail some other time.
Basically there are Nine High Gods and all other people's gods are simply aspects of the Nine. All the gods have goals and personalities like Greek Gods and are worshipped evenly-but-you-have-a-favourite like Hindu gods.

PROTESTANTS become ALIGNISTS which is the requisite church schism.
They lump the Nine High Gods into spheres of influence ("God of Death", "Goddess of Luck", etc) like Roman gods and, worst of all, separate the Nine into a hokey ninefold Lawful/Chaotic, Good/Evil alignment grid.

MUSLIMS become DWARFS due to the whole supposed-to-have-big-philosophical-differences-but-have-a-healthy-trading-relationship-anyway thing.

JEWS become HALFLINGS due to the whole generational prejudice thing. Jews killed Jesus/Halflings enslaved humanity isn't really on the same scale but whatever. It's all prejudice from a former era that is no longer relevant. Wow I just noticed the genocide matchup and realised I'm a monster for making this parallel.

Anyway hopefully this was useful to someone, feel free to tell me the shenanigans you got up to.


  1. As a Jew, I have to ask - by making the Jew/halfling parallel, are you implying that the halflings *didn't* actually enslave humanity?

    Because I need to point out that it was totally the Romans who killed Jesus. The Romans accused him of leading an insurrection against Roman rule; the Romans arrested him and tried him; the Romans crucified him and poked him with spears. Yes, I believe there's a story about how the people of Israel could choose one of their accused to be pardoned, and they chose a member of the resistance (although if I recall, the Roman books call him a "murderer"?), but I think the actual responsibility is obvious to modern readers despite the efforts of early Roman Christians to shift the blame off of their own government (with murderously successful results, unfortunately). Sorry if I'm reacting to an implication you hadn't intended, but obviously this touches kind of close to home for me.

    I like your stuff, by the way - very evocative. I just found your site through a link and was trawling back through the archive, which is how I found to this post.

    1. Hey no problem.

      To be clear, and this is my fault through lazy writing, that's the sort of implication I was trying to make.

      Maybe the Halflings didn't enslave all of humanity. Maybe they did. All that matters is that the poorly informed and uneducated masses of humanity hate them for something their ancestors might or might not have done.

  2. What a wonderful convergence of factors. I think I would just use the late-medieval Europe skin, but plop Death Frost Doom and Deep Carbon Observatory in somewhere. Because 17th century Sweden vs plague of undead = Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay
    would it be cool if i used this idea for a campaign (with credit)?

    1. also i think the town of Theidenfield could pretty easily be changed to Bogenhafen from the WFRP1e Enemy Within campaign. granted Theidenfield has a population of 400 and Bogenhafen 4,500 but you could just present all the same events on a lesser scale

    2. Hey no problem, man! I'm honoured!
      Feel free to use anything you want from this blog, I wouldn't put it up if I didn't want it used.
      Let me know how it goes in play!