Context-Sensitive Encounter Tables


The goal of these encounter tables is to provide dynamic, context-dependent encounters with as little additional work as possible pushed onto the referee. I recommend using the methods explained here alongside Retired Adventurer’s encounter grid (see here and here), but for simplicity’s sake I won’t use the grid in the examples that follow.

Let’s start with a simple d6 encounter table.

90 Gruesome Injuries


I like violence in my games to be ugly – if someone’s going to get murdered, I want it to be gross. Unfortunately I’m not great at coming up with gruesome injuries (or much else) on the spot. This injury system is meant to solve that problem for me.

This is the first draft, and I expect significant revisions – especially to the tables – after more playtesting. 90 entries was a bit exhausting and I’m just happy to take a break from it for a while.

An Alternative to AC and DR


Lately I’ve been trying to decide if I should have attack rolls in my ruleset or not. I’ve played both ways and like auto-hit attacks for two reasons: they’re fast and missing is boring anyway. However, I recognize that the threat of a miss might encourage players to be more creative in combat and the ability to differentiate between a good fighter and a bad fighter just by looking at one number on a character sheet has some value.

But that’s a decision for another day. Were I to remove attack rolls I’d need a mechanic to represent armor in place of AC. Armor as damage reduction comes to mind and I did briefly trial it last year.

Here’s a look at the effects of DR:

Armord4 average damaged6 average damaged8 average damage
None2.53.5 4.5

DR is absurdly powerful at the damage scales commonly used in D&D and similar games. Any more than a couple points and you’re nigh unkillable.