Friday, March 16, 2012

A cool chart missing from B/X & LL

If I had to guess I'd venture that most fans of the non-Advanced versions of D&D have a mechanic or two found in AD&D that they cherish.  For me, it's the chart that comes right after determining that a wandering monster has appeared but before rolling on charts for wandering monsters by level.  I'm not normally a fan of introducing extra steps into simple procedures like the wandering monster check, but I really like that little chart in AD&D and OD&D that you check to see what level wandering monster shows up.  Instead of third level monsters wandering solely on level three, you can get monsters visiting from above or below.  This adds variety and keeps the players on their toes.

So here's the chart I made for Basic/Expert D&D and/or Labyrinth Lord.  I hope the formatting works.

Level of Monster Chart Consulted
Depth Below
1
2
3
4-5
6-7
8+
1
1-4
5
6
-
-
-
2
1
2-4
5
6
-
-
3
-
1
2-4
5-6
-
-
4
-
-
1
2-5
6
-
5
-
-
-
1-4
5-6
-
6
-
-
-
1
2-5
6
7
-
-
-
-
1-4
5-6
8
-
-
-
-
1
2-6
9+
-
-
-
-
-
1-6

The BX/LL wandering monster charts have this oddity where there's just one chart for levels four and five and another chart for levels six and seven combined, which throws off just swiping the AD&D chart.  Also, the AD&D chart is d20 based and I wanted a d6 chart.  Dungeon level 2 on this chart represents the ideal I was shooting for: a 50% chance of using the monster table for the level you're on, and a 1 in 6 chance of using the chart for monsters one above, one below or two below the level.

The DMG notes that number of critters appearing should be scaled by level.  First level monsters found on level 2 will generally appear in twice their usual numbers, fourth level monsters slumming on the third level will have half as many as in their usual group, etc.  A single third level wandering monster will probably be enough to scare the beejesus out of the newbies on level one.

If you use custom wandering monster charts the same effect is easy to achieve.  Just put "Roll on the level 2 chart" onto the level one chart and stuff like that.  That's what I did with this monster chart for one of my con games.