Wandering Monsters - yea or nay? - Page 3

Poll: Wandering Monsters - Yea or Nay?

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  1. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by MerricB View Post
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    My main source of wandering NPCs/city encounters in the past has been the Cities book by Chaosium/Midkemia Press.

    Cheers!
    I've had a whole campaign spring forth from a few random rolls in that book.

    As to the original question: yea, with the caveat that they are usually "part of the population" of the forest/dungeon/whatever, and they deplete the overall numbers, and therefore threat, of the location, if defeated.

    Quote Originally Posted by jonesy View Post
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    Hmm. I wonder if anyone's ever written an adventure where all encounters are technically random, and which still somehow works.
    I've run whole campaigns like that. The trick is to scatter clues and bits of info among several written-up, yet randomly occurring encounters. For example, traders come to port monthly. Interacting with them can lead off to a couple of different destinations. If they players aren't at the right place at the right time, maybe they witness a robbery, helping the victim which leads elsewhere.

    During off-time, the DM fiddles with the setting and figure out what the outcome of the player's and NPC's action have on the world around them. I guess thats called "sandboxy" these days, but back in the day, thats just how people in my area ran D&D.
    Last edited by francisca; Tuesday, 22nd February, 2011 at 04:30 PM.

  2. #22
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    In a recently devoped area, because it is haunted by multiple spirits, there is a chance of a random misfortune occurring in the encounter tables. Buckles just break, bags and shoes just develop holes, straps just wear out....these sorts of things simply happen in that region more often than outside of it.

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    I voted yes. Though I don't use them in a specific way.

    My impression of old-school random encounters (per reading 1e rules, seeing some descriptions):

    as the party makes camp, or wastes time in the dungeon, the GM rolls a random encounter check once every 10 game minutes. If it suceeds, he rolls against a random encounter for that terrain type/dungeon level. he then pulls out the MM and reveals the encounter to the players in the game.

    The problem i have with that is that the Gm is unprepared for the monster stats and had to pause to read, and set up the scene.

    What I do:
    Durring adventure prep, I'll roll up a few random encounters for the terrain types I expect to have in the game. If the players dawdle too long, probably arguing about the plan to open the next door, I'll have the wandering monster approach them, which usually goads them into action or interupts their dawdling to deal with it.

    Basically it's a "realism" cattleprod to keep the players moving. By pre-rolling it, it means I've considered it as part of the adventure, not as some unknown element I'll have to pause the game to add it.

    I also use the random encounter tables to populate large chunks of the dungeon. Usually I'll make the adventure about the results of those rolls. Thus, the villian of the week is a suprise to me when I'm writing my content.

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barastrondo View Post
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    I don't like writing up random encounter tables, but I do like having randomness inform structure. So I'll use tricks like rolling on the 1e DMG for a random "city encounter", then reinterpreting it in the context of the game proper.
    That's how I come up with my encounters as well - I use the bog-standard encounter tables in Flashing Blades and interpret the results into something genre-appropriate for the game-world.

    The encounter I described in my earlier post was an (encounter) x (encounter), where I took two different random encounters, in this case "1-3 Gentlemen carousing" and "1d6 Thieves" and turned that into the event.
    Quote Originally Posted by Hautamaki View Post
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    *snip*


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  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Shaman View Post
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    That's how I come up with my encounters as well - I use the bog-standard encounter tables in Flashing Blades and interpret the results into something genre-appropriate for the game-world.

    The encounter I described in my earlier post was an (encounter) x (encounter), where I took two different random encounters, in this case "1-3 Gentlemen carousing" and "1d6 Thieves" and turned that into the event.
    Ha, yes, fantastic! (Must spread around some xp...)

    I'm intrigued by randomness because I'm always keeping an eye out for potential structure that can help me move things along when I don't have an immediately fantastic idea, or an immediately obvious way in which a situation will play out. Sometimes that structure is rolling a die and then making myself hold to some interpretation of what the die roll means. Sometimes it's drawing in structure from an external source: running a St. Patrick's Day-themed game, for instance, wherein I may have to figure out a way to make something leprechaunish relevant while concealing the source from the players. Or basing villains off tracks on a semi-randomly chosen album and never letting the players know.

    Call it the Verbal Kint method of GMing, I guess: find some structure in the world around you to act as a skeleton, let the logic of the game world add flesh and blood and skin, and there you go. The extra structure means you're often trying out new things, and adhering to it is good discipline.

  6. #26
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    One of my main points of interest in wandering monsters are they are one of the few functions in D&D that directly relate (in their main incarnation) to time in a scale that is used during exploration.

    Yes, there are a few spells that last 1 hour/level or 10 minutes/level, but in the main those spells tend to last "all day" or "one combat" with only a few levels where speed of exploration is a factor. (Once you reach 4e, the spells are removed from such durations, although rituals may fill that role.)

    There's much more interest in the time spent in exploration in AD&D and - especially - Moldvay Basic D&D, with the turn structure. You can explore *this much* in a turn (or more if you're not mapping). You have a chance of a wandering monster every X turns... that provides time pressure on the heroes.

    Resting, likewise. The time you spend resting in or near the dungeon is time where wandering monsters can find you, with a corresponding loss of resources.

    Do you spend an additional 10-30 minutes searching a chamber and risking the advent of wandering monsters? Without wandering monsters, you lose that element of time and risk management.

    This is not to say that wandering monsters should be used in all adventures and in all areas of those adventures; there are certainly times when they don't make sense at all! However, I really like what they bring to the table and I fear it's something that's lacking in many modern adventure designs.

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  7. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by MerricB View Post
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    So, what do you think about Wandering Monsters. Should they be a part of D&D adventures, or not?
    I voted yes, but it really depends on the type of adventure.

    Random encounter tables are useful for procedural content generation. They are also useful for modeling the natural, every day traffic of a location's inhabitants.

    Some locations don't have traffic. Other locations are small enough that it might be more effective to simply manage a roster of the location's inhabitants. Some adventures just don't feature locations in way that makes the particulars of traffic into or through the location relevant.

  8. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by Tonguez View Post
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    I'm all for placing creatures and 'themed events' in a setting that are not related (directly) to the core adventure which might be triggered when the PCs enter a set grib or over time. These help to create a sense of life in the setting
    not so much roll random mopnster to suddenly appear around the corner...
    Ayup. This is the only way I'd put "random" encounters in any RPG. The old 'roll-on-table-A' every 20 minutes is pretty lame. That said I usually have a list of 10-30 'random' events/encounters ready for any campaign.

  9. #29
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    Generally yes, with the caveat that some areas should be completely abandoned or otherwise free of random encounters.

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tonguez View Post
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    I'm all for placing creatures and 'themed events' in a setting that are not related (directly) to the core adventure which might be triggered when the PCs enter a set grib or over time.
    This is as close as I come to including random encounters in my games. As both a player and a DM, I prefer a very story-heavy game (and no, I don't consider that the same thing as railroading), and I prefer that nearly all combat encounters be related to said stories. Either they advance the plot, or they're obvious impediments to the PCs efforts. Random fights that have no bearing on what's going on in the game? No thanks; not to my taste.

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