Category Archives: Dice Drop Generators

2015 A to Z Challenge Theme Reveal – Cities/Cities As Ruins/Cities As Megadungeons

Initially, I was struggling with the idea of a theme for this year’s A to Z Blogging Challenge. Last year I just picked a topic that fit the letter for that day and went with it. Then I remembered my half started project to help me deal with cities, ruined cities, and my thoughts that a large city was in many ways equivalent to a megadungeon. Indeed, a ruined city is but the surface level of a megadungeon.

I will be fleshing out general ideas and ideas for tables, and on-the-fly information for navigating a large city or ruin without advance preparation, or with a set base of preparation, like a map and a general idea of where the different quarters are, etc. Planning a ruined city relies on planning one that is inhabited, the only difference is that a ruined city needs a reason for why it is now in ruins.

This project is as much a tool to help me as it is to share my insights with others.

I will reference past articles on some of these topics. Some information I may have previously only collected information and not yet made an article. I wrote at least a rough outline of each article and have them scheduled to post. I have been going back to each one and adding, revising, cross linking, and otherwise trying to improve them. So far, I don’t have as many tables as I initially envisioned, but I do have many lists I will work to develop tables or clean up for a list of ideas on various topics. Since this topic is so much on my mind of late, I am linking to posts that have come up and continue to be published by others. One relatively new blog, Lost Kingdom, has coincidentally, published articles that tie very well into mine, and I link to their articles for more details. Trying to find the time to read all of their past articles is a challenge, but well worth the effort.

Building a city for an RPG, whether a living city, or a fallen, ancient one, requires thinking it through and populating it in a pattern that fits. Not everyone needs this level of detail to guide them in creating their cities. I often just determine that there are so many of this or that business and don’t worry about a map. This project is for improving the level of preparation by creating a sort of checklist to touch on, to help DM’s that aren’t so good at spur of the moment to have some ideas to help with improvising their cities.

I look forward to feedback and ideas to fill in gaps.

There will be new tables for some things, and my detailed slant on how to build cities/ruined cities. Of course, in the A to Z Challenge format, it won’t be a complete system, but will contain points and questions to ponder for anyone developing a city. Some of these ideas will translate into building cities for any genre of RPG.

I will quote myself from my Post-Con Write Up of Marmalade Dog 20 and a relevant conversation I had with Adam Muszkiewicz:

When Adam and I were talking the topic of random tables and drop tables and all the dice tables came up. I mentioned that I am slowly crafting an all the dice type table to help me generate area of an ancient “abandoned” city for houses, building, and other features. Adam pointed me to a display at Roy’s booth for Metal Gods of Ur-Hadad, Winter 2014, Issue #1. Pages 10 and 11 have a neighborhood generator, and pages 12 and 13 have a gang generator. The neighborhood generator has a lot of ideas that I am looking for so I bought it.

I am going to enjoy this!

All my posts on megadungeons, and cities.

I also have a list of those RPG bloggers that used the (GA) tag on the A to Z Sign Up Page. I didn’t have time to look for those that didn’t use a tag, so if you want to be on my list, just let me know your number on the sign up list. My list, 2015 A TO Z CHALLENGE – RPG BLOGGERS, is on the right side of my blog under the A To Z Challenge logo.

[UPDATE] I went to each of the RPG blogs signed up for this year’s challenge, and only a couple of them appear to be participating in the theme reveal, so I wait, as do all of us until perhaps later today, or April 1st, when the posts begin.

[UPDATE 2] Here is a link to the List of Those Signed up for the April, 2014 A to Z blogging challenge.

More Dice At WalMart

I saw the story dice posts that made the rounds a week or so back, so I decided to jump on board. I found them at WalMart. They only had two sets, the blue actions and the green voyages. There are nine dice in each package. (Yes, I know, I just recently wrote about my last dice purchase saying I wasn’t going to buy any more dice…. It’s not that I have a problem, I just had to have them.)

I also just looked in that section and found some game in a tin called Left, Right, Center and had the impression that the dice were one of L, another or R, and another of C. I thought how cool that would be to determine which way a fleeing creature went, or which way a random street, tunnel, or dungeon passageway turned.

What I found when I got home is that each die had R, L, C in succession of sides and a dot on the other three sides, so each die was identical. I did not read the rules for this game, as I was planning to use the dice in a different way. I was a bit let down by what I found when I got home to open the tin.

However, as I thought about it, I had a few ideas. L, R, C can represent left, right, and center for anything. The dots can indicate no change, or a special feature, like a trap, scrawl on a wall, rug, hidden door, etc. One thought was to roll all three dice and let whatever the majority come up determine what it indicates. This could just as easily be decided by a d3 or d6/2, etc. Having a die with what you need on it is very interesting and speeds things up, since you don’t have to remember what the number means or look it up.


The story dice are interesting and can be mixed and matched. Since I have two sets with 18 total, I could roll a d20 for how many to use, and on a 19 or 20 add one or two other random dice. This could give all kinds of ideas. I rolled each of my sets and made a quick story about each one, to illustrate. I can see how they would be useful to get out of writer’s block.

05SCs06BlueAction 07GreenVoyages



I was out walking and something almost hit me. I saw this guy laughing and he went inside as I approached. I knocked on his door and he did not answer. Finally, he came to the door wearing headphones and acting like he didn’t hear me. That’s when our story took a drastic turn. As I was covering the body, I was caught, and now I’m locked up for good.

Actions Story Cubes [Aff link]



The king of the mountain was a real crab. His only joy in life came from drugs and funny mushrooms, but music was banned. After a plague I went on a quest for food and all I found were some beans.

Not necessarily the best stories, but it is easy to string them together and rearrange as needed to make things work.

Need a quick plot point or item – grab a random story die and roll it.

Faster than a table, because the dice ARE the table. That would take a lot of dice for every kind of table, but for specialist tables, this is like dungeonmorph or citymorph dice. Something to mix things up a bit. Relying solely on a table or a die role, can also make things a bit stilted and forced. One should be on guard to avoid having to have dice to generate a map, creature, situation, plot, etc. Be free to ignore a result or modify to make it work.

Voyages Story Cubes [Aff link]

Rory’s Story Cubes complete set [Aff link].

Latest From Amazon – Desk Pads and Wiz Dice

Last Monday a new package arrived from Amazon with three Tops Quadrille Desk Pads and a package of 100+ Wiz Dice.

I wrote about the quadrille desk pad I once had when I shared the map of a town, for a character in my brother’s campaign. I was reminded of this by the Dungeon Deskpad Kickstarter. I had been toying with the idea of getting quad ruled desk pads for over a year, and I decided to get them, and to joining the Dungeon Deskpad Kickstarter. Once I get my overseas shipment I will take pictures to compare..

The brand of desk pads I got are the Tops. Each is individually wrapped in plastic. They were the least expensive. They are not all square and not all the same exact size. That’s OK. I plan on using them for mapping out an abandoned ancient city/megadungeon. I can also use a sheet for a single sheet map of the town that is the current home base of the players in my campaign. The rough map I have for the town of Larenda is two quad ruled sheets taped together. I can even get a roll of clear plastic “shelf-paper”, and laminate some of these sheets for a quick and cheap dry erase surface. I usually only use maps and such to show relative position. Even if it is an exercise only for me, it will be fun. The one draw back to paper this size for maps is that it is too big for my scanners. I will have o do better than a quick picture with my cellphone. I’ll have to put my cheap camera on one of my cheap tripods, to get good pictures for online.

02TopsPad-Closeup 03TopsPad-Back 01DeskPads&Dice

After ordering the two sets of Koplow Who Knew Dice that arrived last week, I ran across an article on Imagur about Wiz Dice and their bag of 100+ dice vs. the Chessex Pound’O Dice, and I ordered the Wiz Dice based on that article. I am always needing more d4’s and d8’s in play. The Wiz Dice 100+ pack includes a fancy drawstring bag with complete matched seven dice set. I ended up with 103 dice plus the set in the bag, for 110 new dice. I received 15 of each die, except for the d12 and d20, which I received 14 of each of those. So I ended up with 14 matched sets of seven dice, 15 counting the drawstring bad, and one partial set missing the d12 and d20. I have matched sets of solid colors and then the “gem” style dice of the same color: green, blue, red, yellow, purple, and red. Then a solid black, swirled black, and a white set. I have one complete orange set and the other orange set is incomplete. I don’t think most people get that many matched sets. I think it is cool that I have enough dice for 15 players from one order of dice, not counting how many ever sets I had before.

One idea I had with this package of dice is making multiple dice tables using different colors of the same die. For example, if I need a table for 14 different results of a d20, or 15 results of a d8, I can do it.

Magic missile is resolved quicker with more d4’s. Lots of monsters taking their attack is resolved quicker with more d20’s.

Blue is my favorite color, but in dice, I find black and red to be my preference. For some reason, it is the same way for me with Risk. For some colors, I prefer the gem style over the solid style.

I guess I need to have a post with a picture of all my dice. They are not all in one place at the moment, so I will have to defer that for a bit.

I also realized that having so many d10’s makes it easy to roll a d1,000 or a d10,000, etc. just specify which color is which digit. I know that they make custom d10,000 dice for such a thing, but I have to tone it down a bit. I’ve spent more on dice in the first two months of 2015 than I spent all of last year, and most of the three plus decades before that. That isn’t to say that I won’t buy more die this year, but I don’t have to buy them all in the first quarter.

10GreenSets 11YellowSets 12RedSets 13BlueSets 14PurpleSets 15OrangeSets 16Black-BlackSwirl-WhiteSets 04-WizDicePackage 05WizDiceDrawstringBag 06DrawstringBagAndFancySet 07DiceSortedByType 08DiceSortedByMatchedSets 09PartialSetOrangeGemDice

NOTE: Amazon Links are Affiliate Links

Why Dice?

Adam Muszkiewicz told me at Marmalade Dog about a post he wrote just before the con on Why Do We Even Roll Dice? I finally had a chance to read it and he mentions dice drop table and their positions having as much meaning as their value. He also mentions several others who have recently made posts about such tables. He mentioned his article when he pointed out his all the dice table in his Metal Gods of Ur-Hadad, that I purchased at the con.

I wanted to mention Adam’s post and tie it back to my posts on Dice Drop Generators and All the Dice Tables.

I like these kinds of table and generators and want to link them together. I plan to create fixed pages that I can add all the links that I find for a central repository, for my own use as well as anyone else that is interested.

Marmalade Dog 20 – 2015 Post Con Write Up

Welcome To Marmalade Dog
Welcome To Marmalade Dog

The first slot started Friday at 3:00 PM. I was too late to join in a game, so I visited with Roy Snyder and Adam Muszkiewicz  and Pete Schwab  and others until the 7:30 PM slot when I was set to run T1 – The Village of Hommlet.

When Adam and I were talking the topic of random tables and drop tables and all the dice tables came up. I mentioned that I am slowly crafting an all the dice type table to help me generate area of an ancient “abandoned” city for houses, building, and other features. Adam pointed me to a display at Roy’s booth for Metal Gods of Ur-Hadad, Winter 2014, Issue #1. Pages 10 and 11 have a neighborhood generator, and pages 12 and 13 have a gang generator. The neighborhood generator has a lot of ideas that I am looking for so I bought it.

No one signed up for my slot, so I played in Adam Muszkiewicz‘s Kickassistan session. Roy, Pete, Andrew Moss, Jared Randall, and Laura Williams all joined in. I had never played DCC and it was great! Adam had an interesting concept. Our character sheets where blank 3×5 index cards. We rolled for random professions, and birth portents. We did not roll any stat until we needed it. Each character was first level, so we got to pick a class. Adam had different players make up why we were their based on our known information. If we were rolling for our main ability for our class we got two re-rolls, but had to put the rolls on another stat. This was with 3d6.

This was the first cooperative role playing session I had ever played. Normal roll playing is cooperative, but this was a few notches up. It gets all the players involved in making an interesting story. After the game, I talked to Adam and we were on the same wavelength and agreed that it either had to be a rules system that the GM had total mastery, or something so simple to make mastery trivial. We both agreed that Delving Deeper would be a good one. Adam had a rough idea of what he wanted to do and greatly encouraged us to come up with something creative, even if it was off the wall. The most hilarious thing was that Roy Snyder invented the Minotaur Class. It would take too long to recount all the hi-jinks the Minotaur got up to. I can’t wait to see the write up for that.

The way this worked is if one was a fighter, they rolled their strength and other associated scores when there was combat or some other reason to know that score. For wizards, we got to pick two spells and toll for two. My character rolled a secondary profession of a sage with a dagger, quill pen, and piece of parchment. Based on this, I though a wizard made sense. I rolled intelligence and it was a 13 so it gets a +1. There is a table in DCC for Mercurial Magic effects. Also there is the concept of point burns, where one can use a point of a physical ability to boost the chance of success. This point burn is temporary. So the first time I cast a spell, charm person, I elected to burn two points of strength, then I had to roll my strength, and I rolled a 4. Thankfully, I did not say I used 4 points of strength, because when an ability hits 0, you are dead. The mercurial magic effect for that spell was then rolled, and it requires spells to be cast with point burn or suffer corruption. There were two other spells that I used and found out their effect. For Flaming Hands, the effect is gender bender that lasts an hour. Finally, Color Spray had the effect of memories of a dying god. I had to roll a d20 to determine the effect. If I rolled low, the dying god would take over my body, if I rolled moderately well, I would avoid the worst, but still have to roll every time. I rolled a natural 20! Adam was amazed. By rolling a 20 this meant that I had mastered the dying god’s memories and a new one would be revealed each time I cast the spell. Plus, it supercharged my casting and I always roll a d24 instead of a d20! Each time I cast Color Spray, Adam asked different players what the specific memories were of the dying god, and it was quite entertaining. I don’t yet know what happens if I use Magic Missile or Spider Climb. I also never took a hit, so I don’t know how many hit points I have.

I like the magic system. It is simple, but requires tables to determine effects. Each spell has its own table. If one does not like fire and forget Vancian Magic, the DCC system or similar is easy to mimic. The wizard can cast their spells at will and just roll a d20 for effect. The point burn mentioned above can give a boost to help insure success. The bonuses to the roll without point burn is +1 per level and  and pluses for abilities over 12. One can add another plus for each point burned from physical abilities, Strength, Stamina, and Agility. If the roll is bad, but close to success, one can burn luck points, but those don’t regenerate, but GMs can award luck points.

The only complication to playing DCC, besides needing a new set of rules, is the need for non-standard dice and in the all the dice tables in the issue of Metal Gods of Ur-Hadad, i.e. d3, d5, d7, d14, d16, and d24. I finally got a d30 this past summer at GenCon, but need the others. By the time I decided I needed to buy more dice, the vendor selling dice had already packed up and left before the end of the night Saturday. It is easy to simulate the d3, d5, d16, and d24 using other dice. I am tired and not thinking how I would simulate the d7 and d14. If you had either a d7 or a d14 you can easily simulate the other. So, an online search for more dice may be in order.

After the game on Friday, we went to a bar and closed it. I only had one beer, since I had to drive 15 miles back home. I had not closed a bar in a long time, but we sat around talking about various RPG related topics, from systems to genres, to play, to Kickstarters, and more. It was a lot of fun!

In the first slot on Saturday I played in the DCC funnel ran by Mike Carlson. All four of my characters leveled to 1st level and survived until the last roll of the adventure. We had to make a luck roll, below our luck. One of my characters started with a 16 luck and had burned one, so I had to roll a 15 or lower and rolled a 20. Two of the remaining three characters also failed. One player had non of her four survive. The other three players had two of their characters survive. Mike made a stamp for dead characters. It had a skull and crossbones on the handle and he used red ink to stamp the dead characters as dead. We had a blast.

Dead Characters
Dead Characters

In Saturdays’ second slot, two other GMs did not have full tables, so I had 8 players for Hommlett. So as my first time running a convention game, this was the first time for only two of the players at a convention game, but they were experienced role players. It was fun to see how Adam and friends, and Pete and Roy made this their own thing. They made it to the dungeon under the keep when we ran out of time. Everyone had fun, and I asked for any advice for me. Adam and others agreed that I should have gotten them to the keep sooner for a convention game. They all agreed that I ran it well for normal play.

First Session Player's View
First Session Player’s View


First Session DM's View
First Session DM’s View


In the third slot of Saturday, I played again in Adam’s Kickassistan session, and brought my character from yesterday. It was great! I still don’t know my HP…. We had most of the players from the day before and some new ones and had a blast! Shane Harsch didn’t have anyone for his 5th edition session, so he joined in. His wizard character, mine, and another were planning great things!

Adam demonstrating how he flosses. ;)
Adam demonstrating how he flosses. 😉

Sunday, there is one slot and I ran Hommlet again. I did not have anyone signed up for my session and Pete did not have anyone for his session. Eric Piper got called into work, so his full Castles & Crusades session was cancelled and I ended up with 7 players for Hommlet. I felt that I ran it much smoother and even though Pete knew what was there from the day before, he did not meta game. This group avoided some of the trouble of yesterday’s group, but the cleric of this group went down the secret passage while the others were doing other things, and they found him dead. They rested until morning and went back to town, and I let them equip with the other cleric I had rolled. They only had one character in their group get knocked down. They got a lot farther in the lower level. It was fun and I see how I would run it differently still in a convention setting. Most of the players in this group turned out to be from the town where I lived, and we did not know each other, although two of them know my oldest son.

Second Session Hommlet
Second Session Hommlet

My analysis of running a module at a convention is that initially, I thought it would be easier, since it was all planned out. However, I did not know it as well as if I had put something together on my own. I was way over prepared. I wish I had put that much time into my own campaign, and I would have had a whole new area planned out. I am now able to run Hommlet any time with a quick review of the rules. There was talk from my first session crew of trying to finish it. I would like that, or if the second session crew wanted to keep going. Perhaps next year or at another con.

All of us who signed up to run a session are interested in meeting up for Marmalade Dog 21. If that group is there every year, I will be glad to go and run sessions and play.

Several of us also plan to go to UCon in November. I can’t wait!

My DM Badge
My DM Badge


Con Shirt Front
Con Shirt Front
Con Shirt Back
Con Shirt Back

Dice Drop Generators

Dice Drop Generators differ from All The Dice Tables/Generators in that instead of being a collection of tables to consult, the placement of the dice as they land on a blank or pre-printed sheet determine the results.

Random Dungeons from Buckets O’ Dice is a method of generating random dungeons. Dump all the dice you own on a sheet of graph paper, those that miss the paper take away. Those that roll their max, keep in place and remove the rest. The value on each of the remaining dice indicates room size. d4 = room size 4, d6 =  room zize 6, etc. Read the rest at the link for details.

A variant on Dungeons from Buckets O’Dice is Five-Die Dungeon Generation. Similar to the above, but 5d6 are used, ignoring those that miss the paper.

I haven’t turned up other Dice Drop Generators with a Google Search.

[Update] Google+ has a community called Die-Drop Table Heaven.

If you know of a Dice Drop Generator, please share.

All The Dice Tables/Generators

All the dice tables/generators are tables that require using one of each type of dice, i.e. d4, d6, d8, d12, d20, etc, and then referring to the table/sub-table for that die. Most I have seen only do d4 through d20. The idea is to have a single roll of these dice generate one item, NPC, situation, etc. It is a neat idea. Just trying to come up with ideas for your own such generators can help you get the creative juices flowing as part of session or sandbox prep.

I like the idea for rapid session prep when you need some quick ideas. I think this is a neat idea for quick generation of NPCs, Maps, Treasure, Different kinds of objects, dungeons, magical effects, etc.

The Swords and Wizardry SRD has two tables in PDF format that use all the dice to generate multiple characteristics quickly. The GrimRandomNPCGenerator.pdf and Grim’s Random Tavern Patron Generator.pdf, which is actually at the Mythmere Games Website, AKA Swords And Wizardry. A third Grim’s table is a Treasure Map Generator.

Grim also has a lineage generator: Grim’s Roll All the Dice Lineage Generator. Grim posted his NPC generator over on Dragonsfoot Forums.

I did some Google searching and uncovered a few more tables that use all the dice.

I plan to collect a list of All The Dice Tables/Generators.

Telecanter’s Receding Rules has a post of OSR Table Types:

Telecanter’s Receding Rules: Roll all the Dice

TelecantersEncounterSpur                       EncounterSpur.pdf

TelecantersHirelingSpur                          TelecantersHirelingSpur.pdf

TelecantersMagicItemSpur                      TelecantersMagicItemSpur.pdf

Ronin has a generator for Random Pits & Occupants.

Applied Phantastically has an all the dice generator for Random Tables. And related articles on generating tables.

Similar to All The Dice Tables, are multiple dice tables, or multiple result from a single roll tables. A good example of tables are the d30 tables from New Big Dragon/Richard LeBlanc and his d30 DM Companion and d30 Sandbox Companion supplements.

What tables have I missed?

Related to this are Dice Drop Generators, which is a similar idea, but is not a formal table. I will be collecting those as well. Often dice drop generators are for quick random maps.