Random Encounters

I have just posted a new script that produces random encounter tables using the information contained in the appendices of the AD&D Monster Manual II. The actual program, written in Perl, can be accessed here on its own page (also linked in the blog header).

D&D Demotivator by Greenish

D&D Demotivator by Greenish

Feature Highlights and Explanations

  • Each table contains nineteen semi-random entries numbered two through twenty. The DM should role 1d12 and 1d8 to get a result when a random encounter is indicated.
  • Two dice are used in order to produce a bell curve, with the entries towards the middle of the table being the statistically more likely results. The tables take advantage of this fact by placing monsters marked in the MMII as common in the middle of the table, uncommon to either side, and rare/very rare monsters on the outer limits of the table (i.e., those least likely to be rolled). The exact distribution is:
    • 5 common monsters numbered 9-13
    • 4 uncommon numbered 7-8 and 14-15
    • 6 rare numbered 4-6 and 16-18
    • 4 very rare numbered 2-3 and 19-20.
  • Users of the script choose the type of area for which the table is being generated and the presence and prevalence of the monsters that can populate the tables changes based on these choices. Here are the available selection criteria (all based on the lists on pages 139 to 155 of the MMII):
    • Dungeon (specifying a level between 1 and 10)
    • Outdoors (specifying Civilized or Wilderness and geographic region: Mountains, Hills, Forests, Swamps, Plains, or Deserts)
    • Water (specifying freshwater or saltwater and whether the encounter is on the surface or in the depths)
    • Astral and Ethereal Plane Encounters
  • Similar monsters (minimal animals, dragons, giants) that appeared in the MMII as part of a single list have been combined into one line. This was done to prevent monsters with several variations from being over-represented in the random encounter tables. DMs should roll appropriate dice to pick from the sub-types when one of these entries is indicated.

Caveats, Limitations, and Areas Needing Improvement

  • The drop-down menus on the interface page are not conditional since this is not standard functionality on WordPress. Please pay attention to the selections you make since it is possible to choose nonsensical combinations!
  • There are typographic errors in some of the entries. These are artifacts of the optical character recognition process used to extract the text of the charts from a PDF of the MMII. I have corrected those noticed during the coding process, but there are no doubt more.
  • Unfortunately, the frequency lists used to populate this script are separate from the index in the MMII. This means that book and page number information are not available on the entries. This information can be found, though, on pages 156 to 160 of the MMII. If time and inclination allow, I will try to insert page numbers into this script — it is likely to be a slow and laborious process, though.