You know what OD&D needs more of? Random tables!

MatthewJHanson

Registered Ninja
Publisher
To be fair, random tables are pretty much my solution to everything, but...

I was commenting on the background discussion thread that I thought for the most part languages tied to backgrounds were silly. Why do all guards speak dwarvish and all farmers halfling?

Others rightly pointed out that these are tools for people who don't want to spend time thinking about it.

So I propose a solution that gives people an option for a quick easy answer if they want that or customization if that want that.

Random tables!

"Languages: You start knowing Common and one language from the table below. You can pick or roll randomly."

Then there's a table with all of the languages.

Plus it's fun to roll dice!

(And yes I'll include this as a suggestion on the survey, but I also wanted to post here because I like discussing things things on the internet.)
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Tom B1

Explorer
To be fair, random tables are pretty much my solution to everything, but...

I was commenting on the background discussion thread that I thought for the most part languages tied to backgrounds were silly. Why do all guards speak dwarvish and all farmers halfling?

Others rightly pointed out that these are tools for people who don't want to spend time thinking about it.

So I propose a solution that gives people an option for a quick easy answer if they want that or customization if that want that.

Random tables!

"Languages: You start knowing Common and one language from the table below. You can pick or roll randomly."

Then there's a table with all of the languages.

Plus it's fun to roll dice!

(And yes I'll include this as a suggestion on the survey, but I also wanted to post here because I like discussing things things on the internet.)
That can still be unsatisfying.

Oh look, I rolled Pixie. Hmmm... been playing 20 years of real-time gaming... NEVER me a Pixie.

What makes more sense is to figure out where the character was born, look at the social strata he's in and what sort of career he's aiming for (class), then have a smaller table that helps place him in the class structure/culture which will in turn feed into a smaller table of languages you might reasonably learn.
That also means that if you are adventuring in that area, and within your medieval social limits, you'll probably USE those langauges.

Context is everything.
 


Sir Brennen

Legend
[...]
"Languages: You start knowing Common and one language from the table below. You can pick or roll randomly."
The "you pick" is still an option, and you're free to modify any of the example backgrounds however you want.

"All X backgrounds speak Y" isn't really a thing. They're pretty much just placeholders in the examples.

Otherwise, having been on a recent OSR/rules-lite kick, I totally agree with the idea 5E could use more random tables. Not necessarily for character creation, but on the GM's side. I found it really refreshing to not know what the PCs were going to encounter while traveling and having to make stuff up on the fly because I'm interpreting a random table result.

Not necessarily to everyone's taste, though.
 

MatthewJHanson

Registered Ninja
Publisher
That can still be unsatisfying.

Oh look, I rolled Pixie. Hmmm... been playing 20 years of real-time gaming... NEVER me a Pixie.

What makes more sense is to figure out where the character was born, look at the social strata he's in and what sort of career he's aiming for (class), then have a smaller table that helps place him in the class structure/culture which will in turn feed into a smaller table of languages you might reasonably learn.
That also means that if you are adventuring in that area, and within your medieval social limits, you'll probably USE those langauges.

Context is everything.
I love a rolling on tables, so I'd be down with that.

For new gamers I think keep it simple and make it one table would be simpler. It probably would be more common languages, like what's now in the PHB, though I think something like pixie could make some fun roleplaying. "I grew up with a pixie who lived in an old tree out back."

The "you pick" is still an option, and you're free to modify any of the example backgrounds however you want.
I get that.

This was not meant to be a solution for the people who want to pick their language. This is meant to be a solution for the people who don't want to pick. I think a random table is a better solution for that than a suggested language for each background.
 

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top