Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Great Random Charts from RPG History, volume I

Today's post is the beginning of a series that will go into at least 3 volumes and may turn out to be an ongoing affair here. Because I love stupid random die charts and it's fun to share. Our first entry goes all the way back to original Dungeons & Dragons book 3, The Underworld & Wilderness Adventure. This one is quick, fun, and still totally useable today. Here's a cleaned-up and reformatted-for-your-TV version of the random castle inhabitants chart from page 15 of OD&D book 3.

RANDOM CASTLE OWNER AND MINIONS
Instructions: Roll d6 for castle owner, then d4 for owner's brute squad

1) Lord (Fighter level 9+)

  1. d8 Champions (Fighters 8)
  2. d6 Heroes (Fighters 4) on Griffons
  3. d10 Myrmidons (Fighters 6)
  4. d4 Giants

2) Superhero (Fighter 8)

  1. d8 Myrmidons (Fighters 6)
  2. d4 Heroes (Fighters 4) riding Rocs
  3. d4 Ogres
  4. d10 Swashbucklers (Fighters 5)

3) Wizard (Magic-User 11+)
  1. d4 Dragons
  2. d4 Chimeras
  3. d4 Wyverns
  4. d4 Basilisks
4) Necromancer (Magic-User 10)
  1. d4 Chimeras
  2. d6 Manticores
  3. d12 Lycanthropes
  4. d12 Gargoyles
5) Patriarch (Lawful Cleric 8+)
  1. d20 Heroes (Fighters 4)
  2. d6 Superheroes (Fighters 8)
  3. d10 Treants
  4. d8 Heroes (Fighters 4) riding Hippogriffs
6) Evil High Priest (Chaotic Cleric 8+)
  1. d10 Trolls
  2. d6 Vampires
  3. d20 White Apes
  4. d10 Spectres

According to the rules, each castle also has 3d6 x 10 regular guards, half crossbowmen in light armor and half melee guys in heavier armor. In modern terms these guys would be low level Warriors.

Each castle owner also had a chance of some henchmen/cohort types. Fighters had a 25% chance of a Magic-User level d4+4 and a 50% chance of a Cleric level d4+2. Magic-Users got a 25% chance of a Fighter level d4+4 and a 50% chance of an apprentice Magic-User of level d4+3. Clerics had a fifty/fifty chance of havinf d6 clerical assistants of levels d4+3 each.

In a modern 3.x campaign a little bit of liberal interpretation can really stretch these charts. You could use any kind of fighty classes in place where a Fighter is called for and ditto for various arcane specialties and the Magic-User results on the chart. And anyone who rolls up a Necromancer and stats up a plain Wizard 10 is just being boorish. Give that dude the power to raise up undead armies! For extra silliness whenever a Superhero comes up on the chart, model the character on someone like Batman or Spider-man. "Welcome to stately Wayne Castle. I am Sir Bruce."