Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Guest Post: Random Me This

This is an awesome guest post that I'm happy to host here. My contributions can be found, but most of the credit is not mine. Comment and enjoy! - Aaron

Empty rooms and lint-stuffed pockets make for quite the boring D&D encounter. Snooze city, we say. Any RPG world setting has things worth keeping…whether they’re valuable or not. And nearly any item can be used to an adventurer’s eventual advantage if the player is creative enough.

The late great George Carlin said it best, “Everyone has their own pile of stuff. So, why in Dante’s Inferno would your monsters and NPCs be any different?

To celebrate and embrace the things’ obsession, we’ve created a helpful randomized common items table for your D&D gaming pleasure. You can download the 72 different choices in a single takeaway sheet here and a generic version here.

The initial instructions are rather straightforward: On a successful perception check of more than 12, the character then performs two different rolls on the chart for the result. Roll a d12 to first determine the item set. Now roll a d6 to determine the actual item found.

There’s real rhyme to every reason in this sheet. We’ve purposely picked common items that a gamer, who’s got his thinking helm on, can turn into his advantage. For example:
  • Chalk: mark spots in the dungeon to increase your skill check on finding your way back.
  • Metal Toy Knights: A perfect bribe for streetwise information
  • Rigged gambling dice: The possibilities are endless.
  • Black Powder: Gather components for single spell working for or against you on a cast.
And for zestier randomization, we’ve added 2 heck-yeah items and 2 oh-no items:
  • Whestone +2: To attack and damage for 1 encounter. It’s a classic.
  • Potion of Healing: Can you ever have enough?
  • Mold trap: Goop gets on your weapon for a -1 to attack/damage for a day.
  • Pressure Gas Release trap: Sealed for too long – d12 damage ensues.
Finally, there’s a couple for a DM’s discretion:
  •  Music box: Yes but what type of figurine is in there and why?
  • Tiny hand-stitched doll: Who/what does that doll look like? What happens when poked?
We’ve purposely left the traps open-ended. You can increase the damage, add an effect, determine the range, etc. Flush these out how you deem fit. You could even put in a whizz-bang effect with no real damage (ya know – just spook ‘em).

The entire chart truly built for your flexibility. A 1 in 72 chance leaves lots of re-playability. You can easily swap ‘em out as time moves on. You can even describe them differently on a re-use. We wanted to ensure the sheet had some real legs.

For added fun, print out item descriptions from the WotC character builder and make cards to handout. Mix those with Paizo item cards for even more awesomeness.

Have fun with this one. Let us know how it goes. Share additional item ideas with us. If we get enough, who knows? You may just find a second sheet.

So about that dead monster, I search him and this room and I find…

- Ben

About the Guest Author
Ben Bertrandt is the co-founder of Gamers’ Inn in Mesa, Arizona. He also co-created and currently maintains Ben’s RPG Pile – a social network of D&D gaming goodness. You can enjoy his weekly blog of product reviews, watch a how-to video on YouTube and read his endless banter on Twitter.

Common Items Table
Blank Items Table
WotC character builder
Paizo item cards

Gamers’ Inn: