Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Is Less Actually More?

I've been thinking a little about this lately because I've been playing a game (Here) which has only four wandering monsters per dungeon level. It also doesn't have a place to check which level table to roll against, so not only is the number limited, the particular table is predetermined. 

Simplistic?  Well, yes.  

It's not as dreadfully boring as it would seem to be in comparison to the elaborate wandering monster tables I'm used to - anything from 1d12 to 2-20, and checking which table to roll on as well.

I wonder if using more limited tables would actually give a dungeon or wilderlands hex more verisimilitude, because players can count on a few, regular, repeating enemy types.  After all, if you're only rolling one, two, four times on a particular level, there may not be a pattern for players to recognize.  Random may actually feel, well, too random to prepare for.  What do you think about, say, a wandering monster table with 6 entries?  8?


  1. Sounds good at first glance. Depending on your concept of 'dungeon ecology' or similar, a more pared down group of wandering options is probably favorable.

    'Wanderers' should fall into three groups, i suppose. Natives/occupants; pests/critters; and other invaders, perhaps. So a list built on those grouping could be kept relatively simple without losing any game-world veracity.

  2. Depends on the size and complexity of the setting, right?

    The Isle of Dread gives us multiple charts of considerable size, but with variety matching the island region. Of course the setting, compared to a regular dungeon, is HUGE. For a themed, intimate two-level affair like Quasqueton a brief list can help tell the story of the place.