Like a encounter table for a city where 14-19 is a lobotomized child and 20-21 is a street shark and 22-35 is a an overdressed candy boiler. If you suddenly needed to adjust the percentages of everything on the table you would have to rewrite the table (say candy is illegal or lobotomized children are being sent to the moon or what have you).
if you have a hat or small bag or whatever , and are determining a random result by drawing a token or bead or marble you can adjust the percentages fairly easily by just adding more tokens of that type.
Like say if you wanted to do your random encounters for an island using scrabble tiles (or SpellingSquares as it is known here in Aotearoa ). All the E's are Electric lemur , the K's are Killer Beetles etc. Each time something is encountered and rendered unencountable you remove that tile.
Or encounters in a buffer zone between two waring factions. Each time events dictate a faction is increasing its presence you add more of their tokens into the bag.
Though up this when I was trying to think of new , easy ways to have dynamic systems modeled before me as I g.m. I'm getting increasingly uninspired towards dungeons and hex maps (actually I've never liked hex maps. I find them kinda fiddly and ugly looking and too contained) .
I want the "life" of an area to be immediately graspable to me when I'm looking at my notes. What scavengers will be drawn to a kill , who will notice a noise, how the situation is already changing even before the p.cs blunder into it.
Attempted a few cluster fuck encounter table flow chart timeline hybrids (down the chart is the progression of time) that weren't even remotely plausible.
I ran a game recently where I sectioned off the map into various territories of the creatures and had the encounter table being something like this:
3,4. Ubiquitous local
Local being an encounter with whoever's territory they were in , with some locals having the trait "ubiquitous", which meant they were more likely to be encounter. Locals were ubiquitous if 2 or more these traits would apply to them : zealous, numerous , restless, perceptive.
If ubiquitous local was rolled in a territory were the local weren't ubiquitous , then it was treated as colour encounter or a no result.
Colour encounters were stuff like the weather , semi harmless wildlife, natural recourse, or just a chance to quickly remind everyone that they were drudging through a bog or whatever. If the party/players were in a rush a colour encounter would just be skipped.
Wandering was a short table of wandering encounters., monsters and npcs that could show up anywhere.
Neighbouring locals would be on this table, the exact purpose of their trespasses to be decided in the moment.
(actually I think the encounter table for the game I had neighbour in the first table and not a wandering result. But now that I have thought of this way, I like it this way).
You'll have a chance to use these notes for yourself as the whole island I did for this game got cleaned up a bit and submitted to an upcoming OSR package type deal. If it doesn't get used , I will upload it here instead.
Anyway I felt like I had a better grip on the islands denizens having their territory in front of me like this.
And I really like having stuff integrated like weather and ecology and descriptions in with encounters. These however risk being a "too many empty rooms" if you don't read the players interest's right and start giving them more information than they need about what this fucking blue rabbit is doing or whatever..
But yeah it's part of the ever leaning process of being a g.m , fine-tuning your notes and presentations and information systems. Do you like immediately knowing who is charge in a city or do you want a table of obstacles and obfuscations to use in the city? Do want instant dungeons or instant schemes? Etc etc.
Don't mistake me here , not saying that any of the above are binarys. Blah blah blah.
Ideally I want to feel of the place at a glance, the forces driving it (ecological , political, mercantile etc) , its day to dayness , its history and what there is to actually do there and what is going make that different from this other place in the world.
This Crate contains a
Sack contains a
Urn contains a
Chest contains a
Bundle contains a
Basket contains a
Bag contains a
Bones of Strange Fishes formed these things
1. Discrete pick, can pick one word out of some ones throat, this word they can never say again
2. Clever Awl, makes tiny holes , but only in one direction
3.Subtle Hook, will ensnare only those smarter than you
4.Diplomats Jaw, when fixed in your throat will allow you to say two things at once , each heard by a different listener of your discretion
5. Malign Barb, a tiny misshaped shard , that will cause slow but ruinous infections to those it wounds absent mindedly
6. Ocular ring , all waters will be of the purest transparency to you. From a boat you can see deep deep into the abyss. But everything you see can see you just as keenly.
Inside this tooth is concealed
1. A ghouls egg
3.Far too many wasps
4. Congealed Misery
5.Wee dancing men
6. A black steel centipede
7. A ghosts memory
8. an antidote for the poison in the other tooth
9. A tusk which can impossibly spiral out to the length of a sword
10.A bell which causes pain to the undead
11. a bone louse
12.delayed blast fireball