Category Archives: Tables

Ship Names

During the AD&D games I ran at the last Marmalade Dog I needed a good ship name, and didn’t have a good one, so I asked the players, and got a great one, the Storm Witch.

I then decided that I could make a table to come up with other usable names.

The most basic such table is a list of adjectives and a list of nouns and roll a die for each column.

Of course, with adjectives you have colors and other descriptors. Powerful action oriented descriptors are cool, like the Flying Dutchman, or the Red Witch (Wake of the Red Witch).  Ships have the idea of motion and speed. A name that foreshadows a very fast ship is only fitting if the ship is fast. A slow merchant would tend to have a name evoking reliability or stability, or perhaps a humorous name. A pirate ship would most likely be renamed to something more suiting. a naval ship would have something indicating power, like Dreadnought, Dauntless, Intrepid, etc.

Certain colors tend to give an image of ferocity, danger, dread, etc.

Use the name to draw forth a description for the figurehead. For example, when the player suggested the Storm Witch, I immediately had an image in my head and could describe the figurehead to the others. A woman with hair blown about by the winds of storms.

Some ships might have a single name, like the Dragon, and others could have longer names. Come up with naming conventions by different nations or races. Elves might name their ships after stars or trees. Different human nations might emphasize something different with their ship names.

Below are some tables to mix and match and give ideas for naming ships. This could apply to naming water borne ships or spaceships.

Adjective/Noun (d10)

  1. Flying
  2. Soaring
  3. Sea
  4. Dusty
  5. Red
  6. Fast/Quick
  7. Sun
  8. Flaming
  9. Smoldering
  10. Smoking

Noun (d8)

  1. Witch
  2. Waif
  3. Spirit
  4. Sprite
  5. Dragon
  6. Kraken
  7. Merchant
  8. Maid

Sea Related Words

  1. Sea/Ocean/Waters
  2. Mist
  3. Wave
  4. Surf/Surfer
  5. Surge
  6. Storm/Tempest/Thunder
  7. Foam
  8. Deep/Depths/Abyss
  9. Whirlpool/Vortex/Eddy
  10. Maelstrom
  11. Aurora
  12. Wind/Squall
  13. Calm/Becalmed/Stagnant
  14. Shore
  15. Isle/Island
  16. Murky
  17. Shallows
  18. Reef
  19. Shoal
  20. Fathom

Ship Related Words

  1. Sail
  2. Oar
  3. Deck
  4. Plank
  5. Keel
  6. Mast

Crew Related Words

  1. Hand/Sailor/Crew
  2. Mate
  3. Captain
  4. Owner
  5. Carpenter
  6. Rigger
  7. Master
  8. Chief


  1. Star
  2. Sun
  3. Moon
  4. Compass/Sunstone
  5. Sextant
  6. Astrolabe
  7. Eclipse
  8. Twilight
  9. Dawn
  10. Dusk
  11. Midnight
  12. Morning
  13. Evening

Type of Ship

  1. Merchant
  2. Galley/Bireme/Trireme/Longship
  3. War
  4. Pirate/Buccaneer/Privateer
  5. Escort
  6. Whaler
  7. Trawler
  8. Cruiser
  9. Caravel
  10. Corvette
  11. Ironclad
  12. Galleon

Sea Creatures

  1. Squid
  2. Octopus
  3. Turtle
  4. Whale
  5. Kraken
  6. Barracuda
  7. Shark
  8. Eel
  9. Ray/Manta/Mantaray
  10. Crab/Lobster/Crustacean
  11. Clam/Oyster
  12. Snake
  13. Crocodile
  14. Manatee
  15. Dolphin/Porpoise
  16. Trout/Bass

Other Creatures

  1. Harpy
  2. Hag/Nag
  3. Witch
  4. Dragon
  5. Wolf
  6. Chameleon
  7. Lizard
  8. Bird/Sparrow/Eagle/Hawk/Buzzard/Gull/Albatross
  9. Mermaid
  10. Nymph
  11. Horse/Mule/Pony/Stallion
  12. Cow/Bull/Bison/Buffalo
  13. Sheep/Ewe/Ram
  14. Deer/Buck/Hind/Roe
  15. Camel
  16. Hippopotamus/Behemoth


  1. Spear/Javelin
  2. Sword
  3. Lance
  4. Dagger
  5. Trident
  6. Net
  7. Shield/Buckler
  8. Bow/Arrow/Archer/Bolt


  1. Skull
  2. Rock
  3. Bone(s)
  4. Timber(s)
  5. Sand
  6. Fire/Flame
  7. Jewel(s)/Jeweled/Bejeweled
  8. Silver
  9. Gold
  10. Copper
  11. Quartz
  12. Opal


  1. Blue/Azure
  2. Green/Verdant
  3. Red
  4. Yellow
  5. Violet/Purple
  6. White
  7. Black
  8. Grey
  9. Brown
  10. Orange


  1. Plaid
  2. Striped
  3. Barred
  4. Dotted
  5. Variegated
  6. Changing
  7. Pale
  8. Dark
  9. Scattered
  10. Hidden
  11. Mystery
  12. Geometric


  1. Flying
  2. Soaring
  3. Sailing
  4. Fast
  5. Unvanquished/Undefeated/Victorious
  6. Indefatigable/Untiring/Persistent/Patient
  7. Fearless/Dreadnought/Dauntless
  8. Mighty
  9. Powerful
  10. Reliant

List of Pirate Ship Names

List of Royal Navy Ships – With links to ships that start with each letter of the alphabet.

Not Another Awesome Kickstarter! – New Big Dragon’s Classic Edition GM Screen

The day after I listed all the Kickstarters on which I spent too much money*, +Richard LeBlanc launches another one for his Classic Edition GM Screen.

The video says it all, and if you read the details, you will see that he has it all planned out. The layout is done, and he obviously has a sample and verified the weight, as the two backer levels with physical products have postage built in.

The initial level is just the PDF’s at $7, then a jump to $43, and for two of each physical item, $71. Barring humid conditions he plans to deliver the end of April. For someone as well organized and focused as Richard appears to be, I have no doubt that he’ll deliver.

This is how a Kickstarter should be done, all the work of the product is finished. There is UV protection for the screen to prevent/minimize fading.

It is more than just the two piece GM screen, it includes:

  • An 8 page GM reference document of all the tables on the screen.
  • 8 individual card stock character sheets for the 7 main classes and one generic sheet.
  • A spell record sheet.
  • A character record log.
  • A 4 page cleric spell handout.
  • An 8 page magic user spell handout.

All of this is illustrated by images by Arthur Rackham. I assume these area all public domain images, which will keep costs down.

The funding goal is not too large, $4,500, so I suspect it will fund quickly, unless no one really wants such a GM screen. He isn’t interested in stretch goals because he has a product ready to go, and wants it done. More projects should be simple, and at most do stretch goals that fit the overall tone and scope of the project.

$43 seems a bit steep. All the one gets is awesome. I am curious how much this would be without shipping. If it works with all/most original rules and clones, it is a definite plus. I am torn. I want it. The PDF only level is easily affordable, but I also want the physical product. I’ll probably fail my save vs. Kickstarter on this one, but we’ll see. I’ll try to give it a few days.

It would be neat to see a screen only option that includes the PDFs of everything. I’m not sure I would use the character sheets, and it wouldn’t be hard to print the spell lists from the PDFs. I wouldn’t want to write on those fancy sheets. If they were dry erase compatible, then I’d definitely use them.

*Is it possible to spend too much money on RPG materials?

UPDATE: See this article on The Dilemma of Pricing Kickstarters, by Richard LeBlanc, of the above mentioned KS. Very insightful. Those planning their own KS should pay attention. He plans a FAQ on top of this article.

Translated Wrong

Today, over at OSR Today, for Table Tuesday, they had a table about being translated into another existence.

When I read the title, I was expecting something about language translation.

It got me to thinking, so I came up with the following:

How close did the language “expert” get their facts? Was it a rush job? Are they not as skilled as they claim? Is the translator under the thumb of someone opposed to the party? Any reason you can think of for something to be wrong.

  1. Direction wrong. Varies from exact opposite direction, to slightly off, such as North-North-West instead of North West.
  2. Structure/Location wrong. Instead of a castle it is a hovel, instead of a dungeon it is a cave.
  3. Size wrong. Instead of a huge ancient red dragon, it is a young adult dragon. Instead of a hill, it’s a mountain, or a mountain range.
  4. Color wrong. The evil wizard wears blue robes instead of black robes.
  5. Name wrong. The name of a person, place, or thing is off just a little. Jan instead of Jane, vial instead of vile or viol (I played with a guy in high school who rarely grasped the difference.), H2S04 instead of H20, etc.
  6. Wrong race. Hobgoblins instead of goblins, ogres instead of pixies, make it good. Wyverns instead of dragons, etc.
  7. Wrong alignment. The person who has the information they need is of a different alignment. Perhaps it is the big bad himself, as yet undiscovered by the players, and only the big bad knows how he can be stopped.
  8. Wrong generation. They need Junior, and not the decrepit Senior. Or they need the skilled senior, and not the ineffective Junior.
  9. Wrong map. The translation might be spot on, but the translator either goofs and give you the wrong map, or is of ill intent and gives them a map to a very bad place.
  10. Scope wrong. Numbers are involved and they are a few orders of magnitude in the wrong direction. The fabulously huge treasure of gold and jewels, is a big sack of copper coins and some cheap garnets. Or the small patrol is actually an army.
  11. Language wrong. The translator is confused by a similar script of a branch language, but various vowel and verb form changes have any translation with the translator’s knowledge being wrong about everything.
  12. The next map the player’s find already has a translation on it that they can read, but it is wrong in one or more of the above points.

I think this is an interesting idea, and I’ll see about adding to it in the future.


Here are some ideas for how to determine the skill and effectiveness of the city watch.

Skill Level:  d6
1.) Incompetent – Due to being corrupt, apathy, ignorance, stupidity, asshole, drunkard, or combination.
2.) Raw Recruit – Means well but doesn’t know all the tricks. Makes mistakes out of ignorance and inexperience.
3.) Experienced – Doing this a while and had seen a few things. – Depending on level of motivation knows how to avoid reprimands and extra duty.
4.) Veteran/Seasoned – Doing this a while and had seen a few things.
5.) Skilled – Shows leadership potential, energy, drive, thoroughness.
6.) Leadership Quality – Waiting for an opEning, or just good at the job and doesn’t want the added responsibility.

NOTE: A bribed in the pocket guard may not be incompetent. They may be very skilled and do their job correctly, accurately, and conscientiously, except for the one/group who owns them. They could be owned by threat of force rather than being bribed or a willing member of the network. Being under a charm or suggestion is also a possibility.

Similar to skill level is training. Are there regular drills? Are the guards familiar with the laws and do they apply them correctly?

The way the guard goes about performing their duties will have a big effect. Are they too lenient or brutal in their enforcement? Guards that are too lenient, too strict, or too brutal will all have a negative impact on how the citizens view them.

Condition of the guard: d8
-Individually, at a particular post or roving squad, or the entire town. A post might be a specific gate, tower, neighborhood, etc. Festivals, celebrations, and quality of leadership can also affect this.
1.) -Alert – paying attention
2.) -Unobservant
3.) -High Alert – Monster incursions, assassination attempt, etc.
4.) -Nervous
5.) -Apathetic
6.) -Drunk
7.) -Drugged
8.) -Incapacitated

Motivation: d10
1. ) -Eh, it’s a job
2.) -I love my job and want to be the best!
3.) -Bribed – Will only go along as long as they don’t get caught.
4. ) -On the Take – Irregular payments from an individual or an organization.
5.) -Blackmailed – Item or loved one at risk. Remove the risk and the motivation changes.
6.) -Charmed – May have been charmed by an adventure party or the local wizard. Perhaps a town with a powerful wizard in charge has charmed all the town guard to make sure he isn’t interrupted, root out the thieve’s guild, etc. What happens when they make their save? Is there charm a potion in their food or drink?
7.) -I live here and so does my family. My job keeps them safe.
8.) -Conscript – I don’t want to be here, but I have too.
9.) -Bully – Likes telling others what to do.
10.) -Plant/Fake – Group of NPC’s have impersonated/replaced/joined the guard for some unknown reason. Monsters seeking to take the city, rob a tomb or temple, take out rivals, doppelganger, demon, etc. Will fit in so as not to be noticed. May not be able to withstand magical scrutiny, a la known alignment, detect magic, true seeing, etc.

As usual, the level of pay, training, and rewards from management will affect morale. A detail on the gate to the rich part of town would most likely have a better morale and be more likely to do a good job. A small town in the midst of a drought, famine, monster incursion, military invasion, or other economic downturn might have guards that feel helpless and who won’t stand and fight. In addition to the backstory developed by the DM, the events unleashed on the campaign by the players could have far reaching and unintended consequences.

Strictness – The Law/Chaos scale is helpful to a degree. This can vary from a simple, stay out of trouble and don’t get the town leadership’s attention. The extreme would be any law broken must be attended to and the appropriate judgement and penalties distributed. Would a bar fight get you run out of town or locked up for a period of time? What if you got in a fight with a rival? Would it result in a price on your head? Are the town guard law enforcement officers looking for sources of revenue through fines for infractions of a huge legal code, or keepers of the peace looking to keep thing quiet?

Location – A border town whether it is between kingdoms, or the last bastion of civilization in the area will tend to have guards that are more alert. If not, the town is easy pickings for invasion/infestation. However, border towns can still have a poor quality of guard overall. Cities on the interior of a kingdom might have lax guards who have grown soft and are not up to an invasion or monster incursion.

Equipment – The type of weapons and armor and it’s quality will have an effect on the effectiveness and morale of the guard. If all they have is a badge and a nightstick, they won’t be of much use against a fully equipped party. If they all have plate mail, they won’t be up to a foot chase against unarmored miscreants.

If the gates, portcullis, battlements and walls are in disrepair, it will have some effect on morale. If there was an illusionist in power, a permanent illusion to hide the true condition of the walls could make a big difference to morale. As long as guards weren’t falling through holes, or walls were collapsing, it would work, Mysteriously injured and missing guards would have the opposite effect.

Quality of Officers – This will be similar to the skill level. A new lieutenant due to a political appointment, might want to do a good job but be incompetent from inexperience. Or they might just view it as an opportunity to order people around, and not really get the nature of the duties and responsibilities of the guard. Internal politics of a town or city could influence this also.

If officers are bullies and unresponsive to the needs of their men, this will impact morale. If there is cause for fighting on the walls, officers could have the equivalent of being fragged. For example, the men could fall back in fighting and let them fall, or push them over the wall.

Group Dynamic – Is the guard as an organization honorable and do their best to keep order and keep the town safe? If there is corruption, is it limited to a single gate or neighborhood, or is the whole guard corrupt? Does the corruption go all the way to the top? For example, if the thieve’s guild owns the town guard, do they also control the leadership? Is the leader of the town secretly the guild master of the thieve’s guild?

Popular Sentiment – How does the town view the guard? Are they corrupt, but keep the peace and keep the town safe? Or are they corrupt and a burden to the town? Is the leader/government of the town in on the corruption? Do any problems that get out of hand draw the attention of the nearest feudal overlord, or the king?

Other Groups – In addition the religious institutions, merchants,  guilds, farmers, and others with a stake in how the guards perform their duties. Will the leader of the main temple get involved? Will the mages guild decide to step in for the good of the town, or their own motivations?

How do all the motivations and goals of all the various groups that make up the town or city mesh? If all the groups in a town are more concerned with their own group’s agenda rather than the safety of the place, the guard may not be the best. If most of the groups understand that if the town is not safe that it doesn’t matter what their group’s goal is, then the guard is likely to be better funded and trained.

If town is only a placeholder of civilization to rest and resupply between forays into the local dungeon, then you may not need much detail on the guard. However, if you plan on a lot of city/town adventures, you will want to think about how all of these things inform what kind of guards the PC’s will encounter.


General Tables

Why do we get the ideas that we do? The other day, it came to me. I wondered, why don’t we have a collection of generic tables for the most common attributes of persons, places, and things? With the addition of adjectives and verbs, one can use simple tables to build up hints for ideas that are easy to flesh out.

For example:

COLOR (add sub-tables for variations on Red, Blue, and Yellow.)

  • White
  • Black
  • Brown
  • Red
  • Blue
  • Yellow


  • RED
  • BLUE


  • Sub-atomic
  • Atomic
  • Microscopic
  • Miniscule
  • Tiny
  • Small
  • Little
  • Medium/Mid-Sized
  • Big
  • Large
  • Giant
  • Huge
  • Brobdignagian
  • Planatary
  • Galaxy-Wide
  • Universal
  • Infinite


  • Close
  • Near
  • Here
  • Far
  • Distant


  • Imperial
  • Metic
  • Other
  • Miles
  • Inches
  • Light-years
  • Parsecs


  • Specific
    • Square
    • Circle
    • Triangle
    • Rectangle
    • Rhomboid
    • Pentagon
    • Star
  • General
    • Roundish
    • Ill-defined
    • Non-specific
    • Lump
    • Pile
    • Heap

For a very general noun generator, pick a letter of the alphabet and a noun that starts with that letter. Perhaps categories of nouns, like the biggies, person, place, and thing.

Pick a letter and come up with something that describes a person, place, and thing, adding in a verb (action) and perhaps a description (adjective). For example, ‘S’. Sailor, Sea, Ship. This makes it easy to come up with a simple idea: A sailor sailed his ship upon the sea. So the action is sailing. Easily one can thing of pirates, maritime trade, whaling, naval battles of any era, or even space battles.

I think the key is not to limit oneself. You can just as easily use a different letter for each thing. Just go with what works. If you happen to get a rush of ideas, don’t wait, jot them down, and you can have a large collection of ideas ready to flesh out for play.

For a plot, pick a book in your personal library that has a word that starts with that letter, in this case, ‘S’ in the title. I looked quickly and only see one book on my shelves that has an ‘S’ word in the title, and it is actually a periodical, “Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine”, April, 1980. It’s the only one I have. I liked some of the stories in that one, so I kept it. Perhaps I should read them again to get some ideas.

Another book jumped out because I mentioned he possibility of pirates, “Under the Black Flag: The Romance and the Reality of Life Among the Pirates [Aff link].” This is nonfiction, but that doesn’t matter. Truth is stranger than fiction. There are some pirates that are little known today that inspired old movies and before that adventure stories. As I recall, there are some good ideas here. I haven’t read it in a decade.

Instead of reading either of these in their entirety, get the page count. For example, “Under the Black Flag”  has 244 pages before the Appendix with various tables and charts. To keep it simple, just do a d200 roll. That’s a d100 with a control die. Any die will do that has an even number of sides. For example, a d6. 1-3 is low, so add 0, and 4-6 is high, add 100.

A roll of 127 for page 127 gives us: The third page of chapter 7, Torture, Violence, and Marooning. Page 127 picks up mid-story about a leader of a mutiny that was captured, tortured, tried, and executed and his body hung in chains until the bones were picked clean.

I’m not a lawyer, so an adventure involving courtroom drama does not sound exciting to me. However, hiring the PC’s to go capture a mutinous crew and bring them and their ship back for justice sounds interesting.

Every story needs a complication, so an obvious one is a rival band going after the mutineers. Further complicated that the mutineers were justified in their mutiny and are actually freedom fighters out to overthrow the evil overlord.

If you want an original idea, try something like this. With an outline for a story like that, you can easily flesh out the band of mutineers, the other adventurers, perhaps loyal flunkies of the evil overlord who are also out to get the party. Throw in some random encounters, maybe roll on the ocean random encounter table to get a unique crew member, like a sahuagin sailor, or some large sea creature who pulls a ship.

Place the action in your world, and figure our how different ocean going peoples, nations, and real pirates figure into the mix.

Use the general/generic tables for colors, shapes, sizes, descriptions, etc. the AD&D Dungeon Master’s Guide has great tables for ambiance of dungeons and other ideas. Many other OSR rules have similar tables, like OSRIC, ACKS, Swords & Wizardry, plus many sites online.

Another option might be to pick an RPG blog at random from your blogroll, then go to that blog and look at its blogroll and pick one table at random from each of those blogs that has a collection of tables. Take the results of all these tables and see what you get.

I’m sure I have heard the inspiration for using a random page in a book in other places, but most recently, it was from +Adam Muszkiewicz at Dispatches from Kickassistan, with this article. Actually, he mentioned that during the sessions of DCC he ran at Marmalade Dog 20, back in January. He just recently wrote it up.

I like input and suggestions. Are there other general/generic tables that can be added to the mix? Other creative ways to take random elements to get an idea for an adventure? The main idea is not to require too much time to get a solid idea that you can have ready to play with minimal prep time.

Faction Interaction Tracker

As I have mentioned before, I play in a weekly Wednesday night AD&D Roll20 campaign that just hit 71 sessions this week.

After session 69, our DM, John, asked us to put together a list of all the factions and potential enemies we had made. I made a quick off the cuff list in a reply to that thread on our G+ Community. You can catch John’s blog about his design for the campaign here.

Before we got going on session 70, John mentioned that he had built a spreadsheet to help him keep track of all the factions, but had an issue tracking which groups were friendly or in communication with other groups. I suggested color coding or using mind map software. John mentioned that he thought of building an SQL database and using SQL queries to make sense of it.

While I love technology and the idea of using bells and whistles and shiny bits to track such interactions, that is impractical. There has to be an easier way to do it with a spreadsheet so you can just print it out for use at the table.

First, I turned to Google, but did not quickly find anything searching for “RPG faction tracker” or “RPG intrigue tracker”.

It is simple to make a list of groups and keep track of whether or not they like the PC’s and how much. The complexity comes in when when keeping track of how the various factions feel about each other.

Factions that don’t get along might cooperate if they also don’t like the PC’s enough to do so, and there is benefit in their cooperation.

Factions that don’t get along and one side likes the PC’s would only cooperate in helping or hindering the PC’s if the benefit were enough to counteract their favorable or unfavorable opinion of the PC’s. For example, the group friendly to the PC’s would only sell them out if the price of losing the abilities and services of the PC’s were worth it.

Factions that like each other would be challenged if one liked the PC’s and the other did not. Which friendship would win out, faction1-faction2, or factionX-PC’s?

An X-Y type chart with each faction on each axis to chart how they interact with each other, and how they view the PC’s.

A straight text faction tracker does not display very well.

Faction 1   N/A                –                      0                        +

Faction 2   –                        N/A              _                         +

Faction 3   0                        –                       N/A               +

Faction N +                          +                     +                            N/A

Faction 1    Faction 2   Faction 3   Faction N

Here is one built in LibreOffice and copy and pasted in.

Faction Tracker

Faction 1 N/A | + + | 0 + | + – | – – | – –
Faction 2 + | 0 N/A | – + | 0 – | – – ++ | – – – –
Faction 3 + | + + | 0 N/A | 0 + | – – – ++ | – – –
Faction … – | – – | – – + | – – – N/A | – – + | – – – – –
Faction N – | – – ++ | – – – – ++ | – – – + | – – – – – N/A | – – –
Faction 1 Faction 2 Faction 3 Faction … Faction N

In the above example, each faction on the grid is shown as having a relationship of N/A with itself. I got to thinking about it, and you can color code that to indicate the stability of the organization, or divisions and intrigue within the organization. To the right is how that faction views the PC’s.

So the left side of each cell is the relationship/opinion of one faction for another, and the right side is the net view of both factions for the PC’s.

In column one we see that Faction 1 has a positive relationship with the PC’s. Faction 1 & 2 like each other, but Faction 2 does not like the PC’s so the net view of both factions is that they are neutral to the PC’s. Without some major event or other leverage to move the discussion between them, Faction 1 might not sell out the PC’s.

Faction 1 & 3 like each other and because Faction 3 is neutral to the PC’s the net view of the PC’s is positive.

Faction 1 & … don’t like each other, and Faction … dislikes the PC’s twice as much as Faction 1 likes them, so the net view of the PC’s is negative.  However, since the two factions don’t like each other or get along, the PC’s should be OK from Faction 1.

Faction 1 & N don’t get along and Faction N dislikes the PC’s three times as much as Faction 1 likes them. On top of that Faction N has some sort of a power struggle or instability in its ranks.

The benefit of using multiple +’s and -‘s is a quick visual queue for the level of like or dislike for the PC’s. This gets tricky to enter into Libre Office because one has to remember to tab off after entering a multiple – or it tries to do a formula, even if you set all the cells to be text only. I did not test it on Excel on my work laptop.

So a simpler and quicker entry method would be to use signed numbers, i.e. 1, 2, 3 for degree of positive, and -1, -2, -3 for degree of negative.  If using a spreadsheet, having two columns for tracking the interactions would make it easier to use the graphing/charting capabilities of a spreadsheet.

Screen Shot 08-25-15 at 05.57 PM


Faction 1 N/A 1 1 0 1 1 -1 -1 -1 -2
Faction 2 1 0 N/A -1 1 0 -1 -2 2 -4
Faction 3 1 1 1 0 N/A 0 1 -3 2 -3
Faction … -1 -1 -1 -2 1 -3 N/A -2 1 -5
Faction N -1 -2 2 -3 2 -3 1 -4 N/A -3
Faction 1   Faction 2   Faction 3   Faction …   Faction N

One can also just as easily use a sheet of graph paper and colored pencils.

The way to gauge how a faction in a town, city, or region views the PC’s, it should be as simple as tracking the number of times the PC’s do something that furthers or hinders the goals, prestige, and power of the faction. If the members of the faction say, “Who? Never heard of them.” when asked about the PC’s, then they are neutral. If they have heard of them, and the PC’s have not done anything to affect their standing in the world, it would still tend to be neutral.

If the PC’s do something to further or hinder a cause that the faction favors, but it does not change their position in the world, the faction would also tend to be neutral. If the cause was not core to their purpose in life. For example, the local thieve’s guild probably won’t care what the PC’s do as long as it doesn’t impact their business. If the guild is limited to what goes on in the city, destroying the local goblin tribe may not matter to them, so neutral. If the goblin tribe was stopped from breaching the city walls and killing all in sight, then the guild would have a positive view since no city means no business. However, if there were some sort of lucrative arrangement with the goblins and the PC’s wiped them out and ended that source of revenue, then a definite negative.

All of these things are relative. Different factions will have different goals and sources of power and influence.

If there is a city, for example, and there are multiple factions vying for control, and the PC’s actions strengthen the position of one or more factions and weaken others, the PC’s may not be safe in certain parts of town. Add in the some factions are allied or opposed to other factions, and the interactions get complicated.

When there is a major slaver’s ring when there are interactions in multiple cities and factions in each, breaking open that slaver’s ring will change the political landscape and factions that are unknown to the PC’s suddenly come to the fore. This is what happened in our weekly online AD&D game. We are still learning of connections. I find myself wishing we had a wizard with a crystal ball, or the ability to be invisible and read minds, to find out more of what we need to know to not get dead.

Just knowing what I know as a player, it is hard to keep straight. Our group seems to be a magnet for trouble and upsetting the social and political balance wherever we go. We view ourselves as the good guys who are there to help, but some we have tried to help might not see it that way, while others are grateful for our assistance, and those we have offended are very thirsty for our blood. It is the ones who are patient about taking care of us, and using them to their advantage while they can that bother me the most. This has made for an engaging and exciting campaign, and I keep wanting to know more.

If PC’s just stick to fighting monsters and looting dungeons and keep out of politics and justice, they could end up with fewer enemies and perhaps stronger friends. It all depends on the group interaction of the players and how they play their characters, and how they interact with the world. If they don’t work to upset the apple cart wherever they go, they can be more scared of the monsters and villains they encounter, than all the factions that are after their heads.

If your players have gained the attention of lots of factions, you might need to keep track of them. Hopefully, these ideas will help you do that.

All of the Axes

For some reason, I was doubting myself on the plural of axis. I confirmed my recollection via googling that axes is the spelling of the plural of ax, axe, and axis, although the pronunciation of the plural is different.

Oddly enough, my topic is including each axis, of X, Y, and Z, still three items. My brain makes connections most others don’t, but I think of an axis of axes, AKA using an ax to represent an axis.  But that is a rabbit trail distracting from the intent of this post.

Yesterday, I wrote a review of +Jason Paul McCartan’s The Graveyard at Lus, for White Star. In that PDF, he briefly mentions position in space. While reading about the graveyard creation concept, I had an idea for determining the X, Y, and Z axis of a ship in a hex in space. I’m not sure what the three dimensional hexagon would look like. For example, a square in three dimensions is a cube. From this site I googled, it appears that a soccer ball or buckminsterfullerene is the closest thing.

Anyone who has watched Wrath of Khan will know why the Z axis is important.

My idea is to use 3d6, one for each of the X, Y, and Z axes. Ideally, a different colored die, or based on their position when they land.

The X axis is left to right, the Y axis is top to bottom, and we have two dimensions on a page or screen covered. The Z axis adds the bit that raises above or sinks below the page, or the things that appear to fly out at you in a 3-D movie.

If using dice of different colors, specify which is which before the roll. If using position, for example the one most to the left is X, most to the top is Y, and the remaining is Z, or designate the position to your liking. A third alternative is to roll one die three times, specifying which die is which axis, but that slows things way down.

Since we will be using 2-D maps on paper or screen, X will be running right to left on the page, Y will run top to bottom, and Z will rise above the page or sink below it.

Each die will use 1-2, 3-4, and 5-6 for 3 options for each. There’s no mechanic in this for dead center, but say if all three die come up 3 it means dead center. Or if they do come up all 3’s, roll a control die and if it comes up 3, or the designated number, it means dead center. That would be more for placement of a single item in a hex. This mechanic would work better for relative positions of one ship encountering another.

For the X axis:

  • 1-2 = to the left (For example 1 could be far left, 2 middle left.)
  • 3-4 = to the center (For example 3 could be left of center and 4 right of center.)
  • 5-6 = to the right (For example 5 could be middle right and 6 could be far right.)

For the Y axis:

  • 1-2 = to the top
  • 3-4 = to the center
  • 5-6 = to the bottom

For the Z axis:

  • 1-2 = higher in the hex
  • 3-4 = to the center
  • 5-6 = lower in the hex

The above only allows for rough approximations, and is probably good enough for a fast-paced game. Use another roll to determine distance, etc.

If more precision is wanted for more exact placement of an item in a space hex, determine the size of the hex and divide it into increments and pick an appropriate die to roll. For example, figure out how to divide the size of the hex by 100 and roll three percentile dice, i.e. 3d%, one for each axis. You may narrow a million cubic miles down to 10,000 cubic miles of space, and then repeat the process to narrow down to the 100 cubic miles, and once again, for where in that 100 cubic miles is the one cubic mile of space with the object in question. If the item is large enough, perhaps you don’t need to keep rolling, but what if it is a lost wedding ring? You’ll be rolling a long time. I think it would be good to just have the approximate location with the 3d6 method and just use roleplay and skill checks/challenge rolls to find the item.

The cool thing about the 3d6 for three axes positioning works for air travel/combat, and for elevation above or below ground, or above or below water, etc.

One could also take the teleport spell from AD&D and the percentage change to teleport high or low, but that does not allow for X and Y.

How would this work? Let’s take the example of two ships in White Star one with the players, the other a random encounter. Roll 3d6 for relative position of each, and determine approximate distance that each detects the other. The Graveyard at Lus has suggestions for how to handle distance with scanners. Generally, the GM’s will have an idea of what scale they are using, and will have an idea of what dice to use to determine distance.

There are a lot of variables for determining distance, including damaged scanners, cloaking devices, etc. I think rules for encounters and pursuit and evasion of pursuit have enough ideas to cover determining distance, so I won’t come up with something new at this point.

This is a bit of crunchiness in RPG’s that you can use as desired; meaning use it, modify it, or don’t use at all.

If this was helpful to you, please comment!

Types Of Jewelry Table

A year or so ago, I did some research into types of jewelry, so I could have something besides simply rings, necklaces, and bracelets.

I had been meaning to make a table out of it, and finally did it the other day while working on organizing my various campaign notes into a coherent form.

This information is taken from multiple Wikipedia articles. I had no idea there were so many formal classifications of necklaces. Other than a watch, wedding ring, or occasional friendship bracelet at camp, I have not worn jewelry. Not being my thing, I knew there were a lot more options that seem to come to mind.

If anyone has a type of jewelry that I missed, please let me know.

The whole issue of whether or not any of these items is magical, is for the DM to determine.

Jewelry Type (d20)

  1. Anklet – Like a bracelet, but on the ankle.
  2. Armlet – Also arm ring, or arm band. Like a bracelet, but on the upper arm, can also be thicker.
  3. Badge – Specific type of pin worn to identify oneself to others. Like a watchman or a clan badge.
  4. Bracelet – Various widths worm on the wrist.
  5. Bracer – A decorative item, not the armor or arm protection for archers.
  6. Brooch – Decorative jewelry item designed to attach to garments to hold them together. See video below on penannular brooches.
  7. Buckle – Used to hold a belt or other article closed/together.
  8. Chatelaine – Holds keys and various useful implements like scissors, thimble, watch, household seal, etc. Historically signified the woman of the house.
  9. Circlet – Circle of gold, silver or jewels worn on the head.
  10. Collar – Like a necklace, but hangs flat to the body. Can be attached to a garment.
  11. Crown
  12. Earrings
  13. Hairpin
  14. Necklace – see subtables
  15. Pin – Decorative item attached to the clothes for ornamentation. May also serve as a functional piece to help hold clothing in place.
  16. Ring – see subtable
  17. Sash – Colorful ribbon or band of material worn around the body, draping from left shoulder to the right hip, or right shoulder to left hip. Can also run around the waist. Ceremonial sashes in a V-shape drape from both shoulders to the stomach like a large necklace.
  18. Tiara
  19. Toe Ring – Ring designed to be worn on the toes.
  20. Torc – Also Torq, or Torque – A large rigid or stiff neck ring in metal, of either a single piece or from pieces twisted together. Open at one end.

Ring Subtable (d8)

  • 1-2 – Signet
  • 3-4 – Thumb Ring (like an archer)
  • 5-6 – Key (like used by the Romans)
  • 7-8 – Poison (hidden compartment)

Necklace Subtables

Type (d6)

  • 1 – Choker 14-16 inches
  • 2- Princess 18-20 in
  • 3 – Matinee 22-23 in
  • 4 – Opera 30-35 inches
  • 5 – Rope > 35 inches
  • 6 – Lariat (Very long version of the Rope necklace, looped multiple times.)

Feature (d6)

  • 1-3 – None
  • 5-6 – Pendant – Something that hangs down from a necklace. (see subtable)

Pendant Subtable (d10)

  • 1-2 – Cameo – Features a positive (relief), i.e. raised image, as opposed to a negative image (intaglio).
  • 3-4 – Emblem – An abstract or representational image, like a moral truth, a king or saint, or a badge or patch, like a coat of arms.
  • 5-6 – Locket
  • 7-8 – Medal or Medallion – Small, flat and round or oval piece of metal that is marked by casting, stamping, engraving, etc. with an insignia, portrait or other artistic rendering.
  • 9-10 – Combination of above.

Pendant Special Feature (d6) 

  • 1-2 -Amulet/Cartouche – Alleged power to protect owner from danger or harm. Holy symbols, holy water, wolvesbane, belladonna, and garlic can be considered amulets.
  • 3-4 Talisman – Believed to bring luck or some other benefit, though it can offer protection as well. Items such as four leaf clover, rabbit’s foot, lucky penny, etc.
  • 5-6 Holy/Unholy Symbol


Trade Goods


I’m always thinking about specifics of what might be on a caravan. The town that is the main focus in my AD&D campaign has frequent caravans, and as yet, I have not needed to know what is in them. In case it every comes up, I wanted ideas. I put together the following list to give me ideas for general categories for developing tables.

WATER: In general, this would be a local resource, but in a desert scenario, water could be worth its weight in gold. Merchants will carry enough water to get to the next known source of water.

Adventurer/Explorer: Some merchants will be adventurer merchants seeking to expand the trade routes, or find something new to trade. Think Marco Polo.

SALT: Whether mined from a salt flats, a salt mine, or recovered by evaporation from the ocean. It is a key preservative in pre-industrial societies. Salt does not go bad. Roman soldiers were paid in salt.

Spices: All various kinds. More exotic spices from more distant lands cost more per pound or ounce than local spices. Most spices have a long shelf life if kept dry.

Produce: Fruits and vegetables. Only fresh would be available locally within about 100 miles or so. Beyond that only dried fruits and vegetables, or pickled. Dates, grapes, and figs were common dried fruit that formed into blocks for easy transport and had a relatively long shelf life in a dry climate.
NOTE: Preservation methods for transport are the same methods used to help people make it through the winter or whatever time is between growing seasons.

Meat: As with produce, fresh meat, including fish would usually only be transported about 100 miles or so. Beyond that, dried, salted, pickled or otherwise preserved meats could easily be transported over longer distances. “On the hoof” is the best way to transport fresh meat the farthest, such as with the cattle drives of the American west.
NOTE: Preservation methods for transport are the same methods used to help people make it through the winter or whatever time is between growing seasons.

Honey: It does not spoil and it has anti-bacterial properties. If it crystallizes, heating returns it to liquid. Honey from ancient tombs has been liquefied and was still good.
Gaming Hooks: Supply will be limited by the supply of various bees, bumblebees, wasps, etc. and flowering plants. A hive of giant bees, etc. could be used by some society of humans that had special tools or magic to allow it. Perhaps some giants could be beekeepers and there be some form of trade with other races.

Raw Materials: In general, raw materials are first shipped to where they are made into an intermediate or final product. An example of an intermediate product is ore processed into ingots, wool spun into yarn, or logs processed into lumber. Sometimes two or more raw materials are combined to form an intermediate material, such as charcoal or coal and iron ore to make iron ingots. Some craftsmen/tradesmen, such as blacksmiths might process their own ore for further use, or be specialized in processing ore for others.

Intermediate Products: Materials in a state that further products can be made from them. Iron ingots are made into weapons and armor, yarn from wool is spun into cloth, etc. Some intermediate products, may be made into further intermediate products. Rough cut lumber may be formed into various sizes and quality of boards for specific uses. Spun cloth may be died and cut to make clothes or other items.

Textiles: Raw materials include wool or bundles of harvested plants. Clothing, rugs, tapestries, table clothes, napkins, towels, rope, armor, paper, etc.
NOTE: Related to textiles will be the raw materials.

  • Plant based: Cotton, linen, flax, jute, hemp, bamboo, straw, grass, rush, sisal
  • Animal based: Wool, silk (cocoons of silkworms)

Plant textiles: SOURCE:
Grass, rush, hemp, and sisal are all used in making rope. In the first two, the entire plant is used for this purpose, while in the last two, only fibers from the plant are utilized. Coir (coconut fiber) is used in making twine, and also in floor mats, doormats, brushes, mattresses, floor tiles, and sacking.

Textiles involve some form of spinning into thread and weaving and/or braiding.

Straw and bamboo are both used to make hats. Straw, a dried form of grass, is also used for stuffing, as is kapok.
Fibers from pulpwood trees, cotton, rice, hemp, and nettle are used in making paper.

Cotton, flax, jute, hemp, modal and even bamboo fiber are all used in clothing. Piña (pineapple fiber) and ramie are also fibers used in clothing, generally with a blend of other fibers such as cotton.

Nettles have also been used to make a fiber and fabric very similar to hemp or flax. The use of milkweed stalk fiber has also been reported, but it tends to be somewhat weaker than other fibers like hemp or flax.

Acetate is used to increase the shininess of certain fabrics such as silks, velvets, and taffetas.

Seaweed is used in the production of textiles: a water-soluble fiber known as alginate is produced and is used as a holding fibre; when the cloth is finished, the alginate is dissolved, leaving an open area.

Lyocell is a man-made fabric derived from wood pulp. It is often described as a man-made silk equivalent; it is a tough fabric that is often blended with other fabrics – cotton, for example.
Fibers from the stalks of plants, such as hemp, flax, and nettles, are also known as ‘bast’ fibers.

Wooden goods: Raw timber, i.e. logs, and lumber are the simplest. Finished products include tables, chairs, plates, mugs, shields, hafts for spears and javelins, staves for bows, barrels, arrows, lumber (planks, beams, etc.), carvings. Types of wood, from the common to the rare and exotic. Wooden trinkets, like lacquered necklaces, tableware, handles, spinning wheels, looms, etc.

Metal goods: Unprocessed ore and ingots are the base goods. Finished goods include arms and armor, copper goods, tin goods, bronze goods, tableware (of various quality from copper, tin, bronze, pewter, silver, gold, perhaps electrum or platinum), coinage (ancient coinage bound to a collector(s), or coinage for a payroll for troops, workers (miners, lumbermen, builders, etc.), tribute, etc.), Jewelry of all sorts. idols, icons, craft goods, collectibles, etc.
NOTE: Coins can be counterfeited using base metals. Wizards can use fool’s gold and the surprise comes when the spell expires….

Antiques: From all the dungeons and ancient battlefields and ruins, there can be all kinds of antiquities. These would be many of the same things that are recognizable for what they are, or items that no one living knows what it is. Go to a flea market or estate sale at an old farm and look at the strange gizmos. It is amazing what kinds of hand tools our forebears used and to look at them, it is not always obvious what they are. Get an old timer to explain some of it.
NOTE: Forgery will be an issue. Adventure hook, trader is swindled, or trader is the swindler of his clients, etc.

Art: This can be antiques or current carvings, statues, monuments, paintings, tapestries, rugs, etc.

Stone: Statuary, construction blocks. Usually construction blocks are not hauled very far. Some prince or wealthy patron wanting a rare marble might ship it overland in a long line of wagons running miles. What an adventure hook. Slate for chalkboards, roofing tiles, etc. Chalk for writing or building, etc.

Gems, jewelry, precious stones: These can all be transported by a single poorly dressed man as he moves between venues. A fortune for trade could be had. How does he pull the switcheroo to his respectable clothing to make a legitimate trade is another hook. Counterfeits and forgeries would also be a possibility.

Slaves: If you have slaves among the humans, elves, dwarves, etc. There can be long caravans of them. Humanoids, such as orcs, like slaves to do the jobs they hate. Humans could make slaves of war captives of other humans, or orcs, etc.

Exotica: Rare items, ingredients, metals, wood, animals, etc.

Circus/Sideshow/Carnival: Group of performers travelling town to town on their own or as part of a larger caravan.

Anything you use on a daily basis had to come from somewhere. In the ancient and medieval world people made due with what was available locally, within about 20 miles. Trade developed as a means of acquiring something that is needed, useful, or desired from AWAY, i.e. non-local. Most food was local. Most building materials were local. Only large or special construction projects were not local.

Any list of professions will suggest products. If you create a town or city, the occupations of the inhabitants will indicate what they have to trade and suggest items they import.

Only very small towns or cities can be self sufficient. After a certain size, neighboring towns, villages, farms and herds are needed to support it. Rome imported grain from Egypt, etc.

In the ancient world of pre-history, there is a lot of evidence of the tin trade over many thousands of miles. As the easily accessible tin petered out, bronze became scarce. I read an article online that says some theorize that the iron age was helped along by necessity. That is, the scarcity of tin to mix with copper to make bronze was the necessity to figure out how to efficiently heat iron ore enough to separate it from the rest of the material so that it could be worked.

Type of Materials/Goods in a Caravan or on a Ship

  • Raw Materials
  • Intermediate Materials
  • Finished Goods

Raw Materials

  • Food
    • Livestock – Sheep, goats, pigs, cattle, fowl (chickens, ducks, geese, etc.) Driven by drovers/herders.
    • Fresh Food – Fruits, Vegetables, Meat, Fish, Eggs of various fowl., honey. Carried in crates or baskets, or perhaps jars.
    • Dried Food – Fruits, Vegetables, Meat (jerky/pemican), Fish. Can be wrapped in paper or cloth or stored as is in kegs, barrels, or crates.
    • Grain – Oats, Wheat, Rye, Rice. Usually transported in sacks or barrels. Can be used for seed or eating.
    • Processed Food – Flour of various grains, bread, crackers, pickles, pickled meat or fish
  • Logs
  • Stone/Rock
  • Ore
    • Tin
    • Copper
    • Iron
    • Silver
    • Gold
    • etc.
  • Fibers
    • Wool/Silk
    • Plant fibers for spinning/weaving (Hemp, sissal, etc.)
  • Animal By Products
    • Ivory
    • Bone
    • Hides (From butchered or trapped animals, i.e. cows or beaver, for ex.)
    • Horn

Intermediate Goods

  • Rough cut lumber
  • Ingots of various ores
  • Spun fibers
  • Woven cloth – undied and uncut

Finished Goods

  • Wood – Furniture, Weapons, Tools, Shields, Musical Instruments, cups, mugs, plates, etc.
  • Fibers – Rope, Yarn, String, Thread, Bolts of colored cloth, clothes, rugs, tapestries, curtains, etc.
  • Metal – Needles, weapons, armor, utensils, tools, hinges, locks, chains, coins, ingots, cups, mugs, plates, eating utensils, etc.
  • Ivory – Carved items. As inlay in other items, such as a table top.
  • Bone – Needles, corsets, inlay in wooden items.
  • Horn – Bows, drinking horns, musical/hunting/war horns.
  • Glass – Windows, containers, lab equipment. (What level of glass technology is in your fantasy campaign?)
  • Ceramic/Clay – glasses, mugs, plates, jars, etc.


  • Keg – Dry or liquid storage.
  • Barrel – Dry or liquid storage.
  • Sack – 50 pounds
  • Basket – Bushel
  • Crate – 20 – 50 pounds
  • Jars
  • Amphorae – Large jars for transporting olive oil or wine in the ancient world.
  • Chests
  • Coffers
  • Bags

See my article on Caravans & Pack Animals and Loot Carriers for more ideas on how goods might be transported.

Loot Carriers Table

Loot can be carried by an individual or group, or be carried by a pack animal, or a conveyance, like a wagon.

Table or Tables for how a monster is carrying it’s loot. This set of tables will focus on individual monsters & NPC’s and how they carry their stuff.

Let’s call anything that is used to carry something, mean that the contents are loot, at least valuable to the one carrying it, or valuable to the one they got it from.

I was reading the Grand DM‘s Belt Pouch Table post, and then it struck me. I don’t recall a table or other tool to define what kinds of things different monsters use to carry their loot.

The classic, you’ve killed the goblins and loot their bodies, is easy to gloss over what their paltry few coppers and silvers are carried in.

It occurred to me, perhaps different groups of humanoids will carry their loot in different containers. Perhaps certain kinds of loot might be carried differently than other loot.

One idea I had was what if goblin tribes had a medicine pouch that they carried around their necks, and it included things like the tooth or other body part of those they have killed? Such a pouch might also contain the most valuable thing that they own that an adventurer might consider treasure, like a small gem, gold coin, or other small but valuable trinket. Different tribes could carry different body parts. Different humanoids might have similar pouches, but their size, material, and craftsmanship could vary.

Sizes: 1d8

  • Really Tiny
  • Tiny
  • Small
  • Medium
  • Large
  • Extra large
  • Enormous
  • Gigantic

Loot Carriers Type: d18

  • pouch/purse/medicine bag (not the same as a belt pouch)
  • Belt Pouch (My interpretation of a belt pouch has always been that is fastens securely to a belt, with loops, hooks, ties or a combination.)
  • Sacks
  • Baskets
  • Coffer
  • Chest
  • Cask
  • Urn
  • Vase
  • Vial
  • Scrollcase
  • Amphorae
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Blanket/Sheet/Quilt/Curtain
  • Skull
  • Femur
  • Backpack
  • Saddlebags (over one or both shoulders)

Material: 1d14

  • Leather
  • Wood
  • Hide
  • Skin
  • Hair
  • Felt (pressed hair – For example the Mongolian people make their felt for their tents from horse hair.)
  • Flax
  • Burlap
  • Cotton
  • Silk
  • Bone
  • Gems
  • Other “normal”
  • Other “exotic”

Quality:  1d6

  • Crude
  • Poor
  • Functional
  • Sturdy
  • Overbuilt
  • Excellent

Condition: 1d6

  • Rotted/Falling Apart
  • Holes/Tears/Threadbare/Runs – One more bit of damage or piece of loot, and it will start to fail without immediate repair.
  • Used but Functional
  • Used really good condition
  • Nearly new
  • New & unused

Decoration: 1d6

  • None
  • Missing/Damaged
  • Simple
  • Standard
  • Fancy/Ornate
  • Ostentatious

Construction: 1d5

  • Make-shift – (Like a classic trop of a burglar grabbing a sheet or tablecloth to make a bag.)
  • Self-made (Whether out of necessity, a point of pride, or a right of passage.)
  • Special Made (All Medicine Pouches are made by the tribal shaman, or a special craftsman, of with a special process.)
  • Standard (Made by standard craftsman or process.)
  • Custom (Made by a craftsman either to special order, or by the best known craftsman, or with special materials, like dragon hide.)


  • 1-80% Non-Magical
  • 81-00 Magical

If Magical What Qualities?:

  • Does it glow?
  • Does it give off heat, cold, mist, smoke, or something else?
  • Does it present these, or other characteristics, when in the presence of a certain type of creature or substance. For example cold in the presence of copper, warmth in the presence of silver, heat for gold, and hotter for platinum, adamantium, or mithril? Something made by dwarves or other mining races to find veins of metal.
  • Is glowing its only effect? Is it some party favor that glows different colors in different patterns at randome or non-specific intervals? (This is begging for another table.)

Extra space – Like a bag of holding, but specifics could differ.
Bonus – Adds +1 to +5 for saves (can vary to have different saves for different things.)
Detection – Standard detections, evil/good/alignment, invisibility, magic, truth/lies, etc.
Protection – Evil/Good, undead (all or specific types), demons, devils, other planar, etc.
Control – Humans, demi-humans, humanoids, dragons, giants, elementals, etc.
Communication – For example, speak a specific language, tongues, comprehend lang., telepathy, esp, speak with animals, etc.
Cursed – Can look like any other item, but have an opposite or corrupting affect. For example, a protection dweomer is evident, but it actually attracts undead. Perhaps only zombies, and gives clerics in the area a -1 on their roll to turn/control, or -2 if the cleric attempting the turn is the one in possession of the object.
Duplication – Items left in the container for 24 hours are duplicated. This only works for the specific type of item a device was designed to duplicate. Dor example, a scroll case might only duplicate maps, or only message. It cannot duplicate magical scrolls. A cursed or evil item might “bite” the user for 1-2 hp for blood to power it. A purse might duplicate coins, but they would be illusory, or fool’s gold as the spell and only last for the minimum caster level. A special wand case might re-charge the wand at 1-3 charges per day of the minimum caster level in the want. An uncharged wand would either not be charged, or roll to see if its magic is drained away, or it turns to dust, or explodes.
Abundance – Food, water, or whatever the container is designed for never seems to run out.
Containment – Geni, Djinn, Demon, Devil, Angel, or other powerful creature. Could work like a magic lamp and give conrol and wishes, or could only appear to be so and rubbing it frees the creature for good, or only a few rounds to wreak havoc. Perhaps it will try to capture the bearer to trade places.
Travel – Dimension door/teleport/fly/jump/spider climb

Team Carry:

Monsters/Bearers/Porters can carry stuff in bags, packs, or baskets on an individual basis, but larger items require two or more to carry. Such as elephant tusks, a caged live animal, a dead trophy animal, large chest, etc. Such means of carry can be simple carry and manhandling, to using a pole, poles, or other device. Long trains of such bearers can make up a caravan for a merchant, adventurer, or tribute taken from the defeated, or tribute offered to avoid the devastation of war.

Team Carry Methods/Devices: 1d7

  • Two or more carrying/manhandling a large item. (Think of moving an upright grand piano up and/or down stairs, without equipment, and you get the idea. If you’ve ever done it, you know what I mean.)
  • Two Using a Pole to carry something.
  • Two using two poles to carry something. This could be a litter or other heavy object.
  • Four or more carrying something with two large poles. This could be a caged live animal, or something like a palanquin bearing someone, or an idol.
  • One or more pulling something with a travois.
  • One pushing a wheelbarrow.
  • One pushing a pushcart.

Animal Transport: 1d4

  • Any pack animal
  • Any riding animal that can carry something in addition to it’s rider, or
  • Any animal, monster, etc. that can carry a container, or pull a conveyance.
  • NPC/Slave (This would be anyone forced to carry the loot of another. It’s not their loot, and in the case of slaves, for the newly enslaved, it might have previously been their loot.)

*NOTE: Most pack animals have specialized pack saddles designed to maximize the amount that can be carried and distribute it in a way that it allows the animal to carry the largest load the farthest distance without injury. Those that don’t see the pack animal as more than a means to the end of getting their loot where they want it, and don’t see the animal as loot, may not treat it well.

Conveyances: Any device used for transport.

Land Based: 1d7

  • Carts
  • Wagons
  • Sleds
  • Sledges
  • Travois
  • Coach
  • Other (Includes any type I don’t know about, and magical, or cars or land speeders from other dimensions.)

Water Based: 1d6

  • Raft
  • Canoe
  • Boat
  • Ship
  • Canal boat (either pulled by a mule team and driver, or poled by the crew.)
  • Barge

Air Travel: (This will be limited by the weight limit. Only used for the most critical, priceless, or time sensitive transport.)

  • Magic Devices/Spells
  • Flying Creatures

Magical Travel: (Travel that is not obvious to non-wizards. Even more weight restricted than flying. Usually by device or spell.)

  • Teleportation, etc.

 Who might be carrying loot? 1d5

  • Individual
  • Small Group
  • Medium Group
  • Large Group
  • Horde

Type of Group/Reasons for Hauling or Moving Loot: 1d4

  • Expedition (Adventurer(s)/Explorer(s)/Knowledge Seeker(s))
  • Raid (Bandits/Monsters/War)
  • War (Hauling spoils of war as campaign continues, or after victory and returning home.)
  • Trade (Caravan/Local, Regional, or Small Merchant)