Tag Archives: Tables

Group Name Generator

I had an idea for a group name generator. Here are my initial ideas. I will polish this and do a proper table after I let the ideas ferment a bit more.

Some groups of players like a name for their group. The online group I play in had a hard time coming up with a cool name, so we ended up using the name of the guard dog of our wizard. The dog’s name is Starchy. Some of us were in the first group of players and by association all of us were referred to by NPCs as “Baldric’s Boys”, since we recovered a gem with significance for the followers of an admiral who died hundreds of years ago. We merged the two into “Starchy’s Boyz”.

It can be used for groups of NPCs, the bad guys, allied good guys, mercenary groups like The Black Company from the book series or The White Company from European History.






Adventure/Module Names

It’s been a long day. Snow and cold last week, followed by warmer temperatures and a lot of rain and a thunderstorm last night. I only new there was a thunderstorm because I had to get up in the middle of the night, I can sleep through most anything once I get to sleep. That was at 3:30 and the power was out.

I got back to sleep.and was sleeping soundly and dreaming, on the edge of lucid dreaming when I swore someone was pounding on my front door, so I stumble downstairs to see who it was. No one. The dogs in their kennels were all excited and wagging their tails into the sides of the kennels making a load of racket. Did my dreaming translate that into pounding on the door? That was at 5:30 and I couldn’t fall back asleep. At 6:30 the power came back on and the streetlight across the street filled my room with light. (I need blackout curtains.)

At 7:00 my alarm went off, so I grudgingly got up and got ready for work and stopped to get massive amounts of caffeine to help me get through the day. At about 9:30 I dozed at my desk for a bit. Thankfully, it was a relatively slow day at work.

We finally got a CostCo in Kalamazoo, within a couple miles of my work, and just off the way home. My son presented me with a membership card, as he got two with his membership. Since he lives with me, we are in the same household. I made the mistake of shopping while I was hungry, but got things that are healthy…or mostly so. I saw what I consider a good deal on a mini desktop with Win7 Pro. My last desktop got zapped and all I could salvage were the peripherals and the hard drive. My laptop has a failed screen and keeps freezing up and having issues with Google+ Hangouts with the weekly AD&D game I’m in. I do some work for a non-profit, so I need a working PC to keep up. I was on the look out for a good buy.

Did I bury the lede well enough? LOL

My tired brain came up with a name based on some of the OSR and original modules, and I thought I’d write about that tonight.

The Caves of Cavernous Caverns. Awesome, right?

Or, The Caves of Chaotic Caverns.

The Crumbling Caves of Chaotic Caverns.

The Terrifying Terror of The Terrible Trolls.

What this is calling for is a random adventure/module name generator. I recall having read about something like that a couple years ago, there is probably more than one, but I don’t feel like googling for them right now.

Alliteration add punch to it, like : Red River of Raging Ravenous Revenants. Although a horde of raging revenants would be silly without the proper story and narrative elements, psychobabble and circumlocutious obfuscation….

It’s not a complete set of tables to generate a module/adventure/campaign name, since I didn’t put a die and a roll with each table, just something to get started. This is more a placeholder for me to refine my idea and come up with some sort of finished product or PDF to share at some point in the nebulous future. Ah what fun a tired brain can generate!

1-2 – A
3-4 – An
5-6 – The



Adjective form of the Location

ALIGNMENT (Use Lawful, Good, and Neutral if you want.)

CLASS (Mix in some of the AD&D Level Titles or find a Thesaurus)
Priest/High Priest/Acolyte


Bec-de-corbin (not so much….)

Gelatinous jelly of slimy oozing spores (Now I need to stat that out….)


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.

OSR Converters

When converting between game systems, what types of things need conversion?
  • Armor Class: Ascending/Descending or other.
  • Monster Stat Blocks – # appearing, AC, HD/HP, etc.
  • Coins – Is it gp or sp standard and what is the ratio of one type of coin to another?
  • Distance – feet/yards/meters vs. indoor/outdoor, etc.
  • Combat Tables – Within OSR style rules, this shouldn’t change much, or so I think. In Delving Deeper the probabilities have been adjusted to be more statistically correct.
  • Saving Throw Tables – How many types of saves are there? Some clones have opted for a single save.
  • Turn Undead Tables – The scope and efficacy differ slightly, but what about the rolls to turn?
  • Some might need conversion of treasure tables or experience point conversions.
  • Crossing genres/rule systems, like the 1E DMG – six guns & sorcery with AD&D & Boot Hill, abilities need conversion.
  • Thief/Assassin/Monk Abilities – Is this something that needs conversion? It depends on the rules system. [I like the d6 thief skill idea from a week or so ago. I’ll have to find the link for that article and link it here. I thought I saved it, and Google is giving me older stuff. I thought it was recent.]
  • Morale checks – Something simple that doesn’t take too much calculation or rule consultation and slow play.
  • Grappling – Again, something simple. This is more of which rules system does it best and use that for your game(s).
  • Missile and Grenade Like Weapons – Something simple. Again, which rules system does it best.
  • Feats – I’m not a big fan of feats as it takes away some creativity. Certain things might still need a roll, but roll against the ability that makes most sense, like a d20 or xd6 depending on how difficult. This part makes porting characters from one edition of D&D to another quite difficult from what I have read.

AC, Money, Distance, and Monster Stat Blocks look to be the big ones to be concerned about.

For monsters, the simplest is to convert the same critter to the same critter just using what the other rules use. It is only an issue for unique critters or your own design.

I have seen some tables here and there about conversion, but did not make a note of it and don’t recall if some PDFs of rules discuss this, or I read it somewhere online….

The two ideas I managed to find were for AC conversion, fairly simple, and monster conversion. With the release of 5e/Next, the focus is on converting 1E stuff to 5E. I am more interested in 1E and 0D&D and converting between clones, when there are differences.

For the most part 0D&D and AD&D and clones are close enough that there is very little need for conversion, other than armor class. I’m just interested in collecting any such tools that might be out there.

Has anyone put together a spreadsheet to aid in converting money systems between rules/campaigns/house rules? I haven’t tried to figure out the math for that, it may not be as easy as I think it should be.

[EDIT] Thanks to Alex Schroeder, of Alex Schroeder’s RPG Blog for reminding me of the OSR Rosetta Stone on the Hack & Slash blog, by Courtney Campbell.

[EDIT: 11/17/2014 – The Updated OSR Rosetta Stone that adds 5e and ACKS.]

Others are interested in RPG system converters, so I will link the ones I have found via Google below:

Armor Class: (This is the most commonly mentioned conversion.)

Old School Armor Class Systems Comparison (Tables)

Is the Main OSR Division Descending / Ascending Armor Class?

D&D 5e: Backward Compatibility and Combat Math

Ascending v. Descending Armor Class

I wade into the greatest OSR fight ever, several years late

Converting from Descending AC to Ascending AC


Conversion of LotFP (OSR) monsters to D&D Next Final Playtest rules

Stan Shinn’s 1e to 5e Combat Tracker

D&D 1E/3E to 5E Monster Converter

Anyone done a Pathfinder monster conversion sheet?


Movement and Travel

Old School Movement Conversion Table


Visibility and Illumination

ENCUMBRANCE: (Not so much conversion of encumbrance, but a discussion of an alternative system.)

“Inventory Slot” system in a “Survival Mode” game?


Are there any systems or recommendations for converting existing characters and NPCs to other versions?

What is the best way to convert a character to a system that uses feats? How do you decide what feats they get?


Placeholder for the article on a d6 mechanic for thief skills that I read recently and as I recall, it was a recent article and not something I stumbled on that is a few years old.


OSR Compatible Logo

OSR Stat Block Revisited

OSR Compatible Standard (Discussion)

A Simplified OSR Stat Block – On the Quest For the Perfect Game

Is D&D Next is Compatible With AD&D 1e “Out of the Box” – Wizards May be Saying So

Adventure Conversion

Swords And Wizardry Is The Rosetta Stone of the OSR (There’s that Rosetta Stone usage again….)

Previous edition conversion to Next? Have you done it?

BLOOD & TREASURE (Discussion, mostly general of his RPG that takes a bit from other RPGs)

Please let me know if there is an article on a listed topic that is beneficial to add to the mix.

Also let me know if there is a category I left off and a link to a discussion of converting that category between systems.

NOTE: I am more interested about moving between 0DD/AD&D and clones, than 5e/Next. However, if there is a link that ties 5e to a specific OSR product that will enhance the OSR conversion discussion, please share. I have a feeling that 5e may end up being the cross reference point for a lot of people.

10 Tons Cement Reveal Ant Nest

After filling with ten tons of cement and moving 40 tons of earth an ant nest covering 50 square meters and 8 meters deep is revealed.

Use this to help plan your next nest of giant ants.


 [EDIT: 10/28/2014]
I changed the link from a Facebook page to a YouTube video of the same footage.
I also found this link to the full documentary.
I also forgot to add a link for this chart/table to generate a giant ant’s nest to the original poster.

Exchange Rates of Coins in RPGs

I wrote a long comment on a post from Dyvers on the Pen & Paper RPG Bloggers. Dyver’s original post here.

I liked what I wrote so much, that I decided to make it into a post on my blog. This is how I do it in my game. The players don’t like it. They have found some people that are willing to buy ancient coins, like the sage who wants to fill in his collection of coins from the ancient empire, to help him piece together a history of its rulers, and he pays well for them. This is not well enough to offset the money changer. There are a few less than scrupulous merchants who take the ancient coins, but charge more.

Dyvers is wanting realism of monetary exchange in his system. I understand the sentiment. In my game, I keep it simple and just have names for different coins. Some coins, like electrum and platinum, are rare and either ancient and out of circulation, or only used in a few current places. Exchange rate math it complex, just google for exchange rates and figure out the formula to convert from dollars to yen and back to dollars. Does the exchange rate fluctuate like in the real world? I like realism, but adding more things to slow down the game while I do math, is just one more complication and aggravation both for me and my players. If you can handle the complexity in your game without impeding the flow of gameplay, then go ahead. As with anything in RPGs if it works for you and you, the GM and your players are having fun, you are doing it right!

Below is what I wrote in my comment to Dyver’s post:

A simpler way is to have a copper = a copper, etc. but in the neighboring kingdom, they only take that kingdom’s coins, so the players have to go to the money changer and pay the fee, say 3% to 10% or more, depending on how honest the money changer is and if the PCs have insulted him, etc.

Wait until the characters get to a small town and are out of local money and no one will trade with them, or only at a price where the individual or merchant comes out ahead after they makes a trip to the nearest money changer. Prices can easily go to 1.5 times to 2 times or more due to the hassle to the merchant to find a money changer. Reliance on gems, jewels, and bullion could get around that. Reliance on bullion/ingots could have other complications. With gems and jewels can the players get the full value out of them in trade?

Also, if the players haul back a treasure from the ancient ruins, there is the money changer, and maybe the tax collector so the local lord/kingdom gets their cut.

For treasures found on monsters, set how much of it is which kingdom’s coin. Is it an existing kingdom, or one long conquered? If the orcs just robbed a merchant train, it would most likely be all coins for the kingdom where the merchant does business. If a merchant crosses between nations, he will have a supply of coins for each nation, plus more portable jewels and gems.

The breakdown of a treasure into 50% ancient coins that require a tax and the money changer, and the remaining 50% split between two or more kingdoms that require a trip to the money changer, and go a long way to shrink the haul. In this case, I would rule the players get the experience for all the coins in the treasure they haul back to civilization, in AD&D, even though they don’t get to keep it all.

There are a lot of ways to boost the realism and make a copper more than a copper without the complication of exchange rate math or a fancy table, or reliance on a spreadsheet at the game table.

What is the OSR?

Three little letters seem to cause such a fuss. Here is a list that I will add to as my brain spits out new words and phrases to fit the acronym. When I get enough for a table or two, I will post a new article. (Be afraid, be very afraid.)

I invite others to submit their O.S.R. words, please submit them in the comments, in three word groups in order as seen in my examples below. NOTE: It doesn’t have to relate to RPGs, or at least not in an obvious way.

Obstinate Stinky Referees

Old Senile Roleplayers

One Shot Roleplaying

One Save Rule/Roll

Only Singing Roleplaying

Odiferous Slimy Raconteurs

Ornery Statistics Regulators (My personal favorite so far.)

Original System Resolutely

Obtuse System Rules

Obtuse Seething Revolutionary

Obverse Signage Regulations

Onomatopoeia Serving Rhetoric

Oranges Simmering Resolutely

Obtuse Seething Ridiculousness (A recent Kickstarter comes to mind, in addition to many other efforts to define three letters.)

Overpaid Senior Regulators

Ostracons Scoured Regularly

Ostrogoths Serving Romans

Ovulating Soothsayers Ruminating

Oscillating Sonorous Regurgitation

Ossified Spider Riders

Order Shiny Rings

Orthodontists Skewering Rodents

Overt Slimy Renters

Oysters Salaciously Rotated

Ossuaries Shattered Regretfully

How Many Hours of Daylight?

Recently in play, the question came up of when does it get dark?

I had to make up something.

It happened to be early summer in the game, so I could use the approximate times from this time of year.

However, time progresses quickly in the game, so it is now mid-Autumn, so there is less daylight. When the players are running around outside, the amount of light tends to be important. Rather than make something up on the fly and it be radically inconsistent with past rulings, I built a chart for use at the game table.

I have put together a sunrise/sunset and hours of daylight for each day on my game calendar – Calendar And Random Generation.

I use twelve months with twenty-eight days for simplicity of generating random date. This is a game, so it does no have to have total verisimilitude with reality, just enough to make sense.

Google is your friend for esoteric information, but I wanted a chart I could print out for the game table and have ready without having to have my tablet or laptop available.

I picked a location that was in a temperate zone analogous to the current area in use in my campaign. I looked for sunrise and sunset times for Spring and Autumnal Equinoxes and Winter and Summer Solstices. I then determined how many days were between each and the difference in times between each and determined the number of seconds sunrise and sunset was earlier or later depending on the season. In reality, there is not exactly 59 seconds earlier sunrise each day, but again, this isn’t reality.

Of course, closer to the poles have more light certain times of year. I don’t know the formula but each degree of latitude N/S is approximately 69 miles for an Earth-sized planet. You can add or subtract minutes to the rise and set times based on the formula. I am sure Google has it. Based on Sturgis, MI and Kansas City, MO being about 2.7 degrees apart, the Spring Equinox sunrise time in Kansas City, MO is about 24 minutes earlier than Sturgis, MI. Sunset the same day is thus also earlier in KC. It is close enough to a 24 minute difference on the Autumnal Equinox and the Solstices, that one can extrapolate about an 8 minute difference for every 69 miles north or south. If you want to get fancier with your own calculations that’s cool. If you want a table for a world that is messier and more like reality, that’s your choice. I made the choice to spend as little time on this as possible at the table.

I have shared a PDF of my efforts – Sunrise & Sunset Times.

Calendar And Random Generation

Having a calendar that suits itself to easy generation of random dates by a die roll is something that I find very useful.

This idea dates back 20 years or so to my brother Robert’s campaign.

12 months with 28 days, for a year of 336 days. There are four seven day weeks in each month. It is easy and simple. Roll 1d12 for the month and 3d10-2 for the day of the month. Use it to determine the data a character was born. It is useful for determining when aging effects kick in and when to celebrate birthdays, if that is a custom in the game.

This simple system can determine any random date with a quick roll of 4 dice. One always knows what day of the 7 day week a given date falls. The months of the seasons fall with the first day of each season as the first day of the first month of that season. Spring is used as the first day of the year.

I even built an HTML page with the names of the months and days of the week Robert uses for his calendar. I printed one up all nice and fancy and give it to him, and he tells me that there is a festival between the last day of winter and the first day of spring. I pointed out to him that the method we had used for over 15 years never let anyone be born during the festival, or any random events happen then. He laughed and just let it slide.

I like the simplicity of twelve months of twenty-eight days. So what if years are shorter? It is a game.

To get a year closer to that of Earth, one can do 13 months of 28 days and get 364 days. One then needs to make a d13, or come up with a balanced way to roll for 13 possibilities. I’m sure someone is better at this and can just think of it and get the answer. If you do, let me know.

Another option that is close to the Earth year, is twelve 30 day months, for a year of 360 days. The months don’t line up , but the year comes out. For generating a day in a 30 day month use a d30 or a d6 to generate the tens to add to a d10. For example, 1-2 = add 0, 3-4 = add ten, 5-6 = add 20 to the number rolled on the d10.

If you have to have 365 days, then you need a way to roll or account for any festival days between months, or at the end of the year so that those days can have an event.

One can determine any random date in a year for incidents, war, battle, invasions, natural disasters, weather, etc. This can be used for the past as well as the current year or the future.

One thing I like from Oriental Adventures besides some of the weapons and spells are the yearly and monthly event tables. They give ideas for building one’s own tables.

Once you have such tables, you need to decide what date something happens. Then just determine what time of day something happens, if it is important for the exact time. I recommend staying with 24 hours days, unless you want to do a lot of table building, etc. You can roll a D6 for AM/PM and a d12 for the hour. Or roll a d6 and divide 24 by the result to get 4 hour increments, or a d8 for 3 hour increments, etc.

If you want to get down to the minute, roll a d12 to get within ten minutes and roll to determine if it is plus or minus 1 to 5 minutes from that point. Repeat for the exact second. This would be handy for a ritual that must begin or end at the right moment of an eclipse and determine when the hero have to act to stop the bad guy, assuming the bad guy is the one doing the ritual.

I found this article on making a grid like that of graph paper using Excel. I have not tried it with Libre Office or Open Office yet. I used it to build a blank calendar that I can name and number and note events and mark off days elapsed. I have 6 months in a column with room to the right of each month for some notes. If more room is needed, I could do 6 months on one side and 6 on the other.

If you use training to go up a level, players can fly through weeks and months, so planning out what happens in advance can make it interesting if they have to break training to deal with an emergency.

I’m old school in that computers were expensive when I was young and I’m used to paper. I work in the computer industry and find them very useful for gathering and storing data, but they become a hindrance to use during play. I do have a tablet with my PDFs of manuals I purchased through DriveThruRPG, if I need to find something fast and do a search. When I play online, I use it to hold my character sheet since I only have one viable monitor on my home computer.

I am sure that one could build a program or script to generate several millenniums of weather and events in a few minutes, but it takes a lot of the DM’s tweaking and tuning out of it. One does not need to generate every scrap of anything that could ever happen or has happened in the past.

What do you use for your calendar and random date generation?