D&D General How Do You Feel About Randomness?


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TheHand

Adventurer
I don’t like randomness involved in character creation unless it’s a one-shot or a more silly type of game. I will use some random elements in the games I run, beyond just the normal dice mechanics, such as random encounters and randomized treasures, but the random lists are ones I curated ahead of time for the game.
 



Lanefan

Victoria Rules
I agree with you except as noted below...
All in all, I am for randomness in pretty much every aspect of the game as both DM and player. Unfortunately, most players don't feel the same and few DMs allow randomness to go as far as I do.

If I had my way:
Roll for race
I'm fine with their being able to choose species. I also let them choose height and weight within a very average range; if they want to try for something outside that, they have to roll and it's binding.
Roll for sex (whatever), height, weight, age, birth order and siblings if desired
Roll for ability scores, in ORDER
- If your scores average less than 12, you can roll again
I do roll-and-arrange; but I'm harsher on the reroll qualifier: the average has to be less than 10.0 OR the lowest stat has to be 13 or lower.
Roll for background
Choose class
Roll for hit points
Roll for starting gold
Roll for spells known / in spellbook

Roll for random encounters
Roll for encounter reactions (including planned encounters)
Roll for morale during combat
Roll for treasure generation (anything goes!)
Roll for random dungeon/terrain if map unavailable
Instead of rolling for these last two, I just make them up. I could roll, I suppose, but it takes longer; and if I'm making those things up (as opposed to using what I've prepped) that already means I'm winging it at the table and want to keep things flowing.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Anyone here ever roll up a Holy Avenger for their party??
One or two have come up over the years in randomized "shopping lists" of what happens to be available to purchase in the town they're in, but due to their stupendous cost none have been purchased. I've never in my life DMed one.

Vorpal and sharpness weapons, however, I have DMed. Numerous times. :)
 



EzekielRaiden

Follower of the Way
One or two have come up over the years in randomized "shopping lists" of what happens to be available to purchase in the town they're in, but due to their stupendous cost none have been purchased. I've never in my life DMed one.
That's unfortunate. I find such tools (not strictly this specific weapon, but similar "powerful signature item" things) an excellent method for shaping both long-run story and short-run challenges.

A PC having a holy avenger or the like, and becoming used to its presence, means something as simple as being disarmed, even if only briefly, suddenly becomes much more tension-raising, even stress-inducing. Especially for those fancy things that aren't nearly so picky about who can use them! And then, at the long-run level, rebuilding or empowering an incomplete, weakened, or damaged artifact is a great motivator for all sorts of behavior, without needing to commit to any specific "plot" or sequence of events. The player knows they want an even shinier shiny, and that becomes a natural bonus element stacked atop whatever story the party collectively pursues. Further, even if they complete it, its mere existence then implies all sorts of other things: others who want it, forces that had disassembled or damaged the original, foes who might want to destroy such a powerful tool to deprive their enemies of such things, etc.
 

bloodtide

Legend
Anyone here ever roll up a Holy Avenger for their party??
Often enough. Or any other powerful item. Really this is the Big plus for Pure True Randomness.

In the balanced game the PCs will only ever find an amount of treasure set by the rules. In the Random game, PC might find anything anytime. Sure more powerful stuff will be rare...but not impossible to roll.

So the second level PCs kill some goblins...and a couple rolls later...find a Sword of Sky Cleaving.
 

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