Friday, February 17, 2012

Wandering Fumbles

Howzabout a post wherein my commenters do all the heavy lifting?  That sounds like a nice lazy-ass way to start the weekend.

A while back I made an off-handed remark about wanting a fumble chart for non-combat situations.

Lasgunpacker asked "Jeff, when would you apply non-combat fumbles?"

Whether Mr. Moscrip still lives
under this bridge is unknown at
the time of this writing.
Michael Moscrip, a.k.a. migellito, a.k.a. The Grumpy Old Troll replied with what I would have said:

I think I'd use the Generic Fumble table as an entry on a wandering monster chart. I always have several non-monster events on my wandering monster tables.

Other things besides monsters that sometimes appear on my Wandering Monster charts include sounds, smells, odd sensations, and dungeon events ("d6 orcs from room 54 go take a leak in hallway 7").

In response to me request Will Douglas, the Coffee Swillin' Analog Gamer, wrote this d30-based Random Mishap chart.  He has some empty slots on his chart, either to be filled in by DM's or left empty for fewer fumbles per session.

And here's Uncle Matt's Generic Non-Combat Fumbles (d12)

1) Torch dropped for no good reason.
2) Stumble and break nose on flagstone.
3) Nasty spores infect the rations.
4) Hip-deep in guano.
5) One of your flasks or bottles breaks and leaks through.
6) A boot dies. Got a replacement?
7) You drop it. Loud, loud clang. Like a dinner bell.
8) Cloak gets tangled in someone's weapon.
9) Spilled backpack.
10) As you stagger, your coins roll out in every direction.
11) Mishandled torch sets someone's Typical Fantasy Hair/Beard on fire.
12) You stumble over an imaginary unseen deceased turtle. Have a good laugh, dust yourself off, and get back out there. Lucky thing this system doesn't have lethal fumbles, eh?

Thanks for the charts, fellas!


  1. Always loved the imaginary unseen dead turtle fumble. It still makes me a little misty-eyed.

  2. I'm a big fan of temporary ability score nerfs; some entries on my chart include:

    - muscle cramp from carrying gear funny; lose 1d3 points of Strength for 1d4 turns
    - rotten food/rations; lose 1d4 points of CON for 1d6 turns
    - sprayed by skunk, fell in mud hole, or similar unpleasant experience; lose 1d3 points of CHA until you clean yourself up!

  3. Thanks for the nod, Jeff!

    The blank entries on my chart are intended to give the characters a break -- I don't want something bad to happen to them every single time. That's also why the last three entries are there. Note on these that it's somebody else in the dungeon that dropped the magic item/loot -- it's a freebie.

    Although when I revise the chart, I'm going to specifically make it to be invoked for parties that don't rest (one turn out of every six!). Rest (and suffer the wandering monster roll) or you get fatigued and bad things can happen.

    That way it's not just a random thing, but a specific mishap caused by a specific in-game behavior.

    Of course, anybody can use it in any way they want. That's one of the beauties of this hobby!

  4. Thanks for putting all this in one place Jeff, and thanks for catching my good side in the photo!

  5. Happy to contribute, especially since I stole 25% of my entries from you. I hope my little chart causes some player somewhere to throw up their hands in frustration.

  6. Sweet tables! And hella useful for spicing up game play at a moment's notice. Thanx for posting!

    Oh, man! The unseen imaginary deceased turtle... I am stunned(for 30 seconds :-)) and amused that this is *still* on the Rolemaster Moving Manuever Fumble Chart after all these years!

    Note well that this was the rules system utilized for the longest lasting(and well-supported) Tolkien RPG ever. MERP, 1st Ed. *sigh* Those were the days of high adventure and low life expectancy. May those times return!