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The Book of Random Tables
by Adam T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/16/2020 07:31:29

While the content might be great, it is impossible to work with the digital version at all because the provided PDF files are password locked. So, if you want to copy the content to print without the background, that is not an option. If you wanted to put the content into a data table so you can have an app randomly select from the list, that is not possible. If you wanted to put the data into a rollable table on Roll20, that is not an option. If you wanted to fix spelling/grammar mistakes, that is not an option... unless you want to go through the effort of retyping each and every word. After posting this review I will be looking for how to get a refund.



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[1 of 5 Stars!]
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The Book of Random Tables: 1920s-1930s
by B5 H. !. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/04/2020 06:56:26

About to run my fist Call of Cthulhu game this weekend, and this tool is helping keep me confident despite knowing that my players will undoubtably do and loot everything I won't be expecting! Thanks!



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Book of Random Tables: 1920s-1930s
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The Book of Random Tables: 1920s-1930s
by A customer [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/19/2020 10:31:59

All i wanted from this file to see price list for cars in mentioned time period. But all what I get just names of cars... Thank you for file correction. Now all looks awesome,



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Creator Reply:
I reworked the car table to include prices and updated the file.
The Book of Random Tables: Science Fiction 2
by Jim B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/01/2020 09:23:24

This is similar in style to the previous book of science fiction tables: a series of d100 tables with brief phrases or one-liners, no details or descriptions.

Laboratories: The Lab Experiments table is useful for tipping off the PCs that something interesting is in the works. It might also be odd, disturbing, or alarming in some way. Items in a Biology Lab and Items in a Chemical Lab both give you ways to roll up assorted stuff. I wouldn't roll up piles of stuff for every drawer, cabinet, or room the PCs open -- boring! Instead, I'd pick one or a few things that are prominent or noteworthy and that are signficant for moving the situation along.

Cargo & Trade Goods: Three d100 tables give you cargo contents; it's similar to Items in a Cargo Hold from the previous collection. As I noted above, I'd use this only to help pick out one or a few significant, noteworthy items, instead of rolling up every a complete cargo every time the PCs run into one. A few tables give you a name (but no description) for exotic cargo items: Fictional Trade Goods, Fictional Spices, Fictional Medications. The Cargo Weight table is useless for me; each entry is a number of metric tons -- meh. Think of your favorite science fiction movies, novels, and TV series; I'll guess that the precise cargo tonnage was never interesting or relevant.

Encounters & Adventure Ideas: The tables are Space Hazards, Asteroid Belt Encounters, and Adventure Ideas. These are good news if a brief phrase or a one-liner is enough for you to work with. You could use these to create hooks or challenges, in advance or during play. If you're looking for more detail or structure, you'll need another resource, in addition to or instead of these tables.

Reasons a PC is Absent: not relevant for me. For one thing, the table fills a niche that doesn't apply in our group, because we still bring characters along if a player is absent at the moment. I could have used this table for a player's extended absence, or for explaining why an NPC isn't currently available, except that the entries are generally silly, trivial, and/or short-term, such as "stuck in a lift" or "flash mob blocking the way."

Technobabble: The two Technobabble tables combine to give you entries like Temporal Osmosis or Cotyledon Omega. It's up to you to figure out what the results mean.

Alien Names: meh. You get 200 pregenerated names and an assumption that one table fits all aliens. There are plenty of apostrophes, if you like the overused trope that science fiction editors warn writers away from. I'd be more interested in a "generator generator" that helps you create a distinct name generator for each species you need.

100 Corporate Names, 300 Planet Names, 300 Ship Names: handy lists of pregenerated names.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Book of Random Tables: Science Fiction 2
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The Book of Random Tables: Science Fiction
by Jim B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/01/2020 08:29:59

You get 26 d100 tables. A few of them are effectively d200 tables, spread across two d100 tables.

The Encounters, Jobs, and Rumors section is good for brief ideas. You get short phrases, not details: Space Encounters, Planetary Exploration Encounters, Urban Encounters, Jobs, Rumors From the Spaceport Bar, and Spaceship Mechanical Problems. You might encounter a smuggler ship, hear about increased pirate activity, or have a fire in the engine room. If you prepare an adventure in advance, you could use these tables to come up with the initial hook and to create some challenges along the way. If you create meandering story threads during play, these tables could give you the tie-in to the next stage. If you use these tables for random encounters during play, prepare for improv. For example, an entry that says "Smuggler Ship" doesn't tell you anything about the ship, the crew, their current activities, or anything else. If that phrase is enough for you to work with, you're in luck.

Several tables in the Items & Things section seem to be an invitation to roll up piles of miscellaneous pointless stuff: Items in a Desk, Items in a Government Office, Computer Files, Items in a Warehouse, Items in a Cargo Hold. The introduction tells you not to roll those up until game time to avoid wasted preparation, but I consider it a waste to roll up irrelevant stuff during play. I prefer the Chekhov's Gun principle (playwright Anton Chekhov: "If in the first act you have hung a pistol on the wall, then in the following one it should be fired. Otherwise don't put it there."). Players are good at coming up with their own red herrings, so adding piles of random stuff slows down the session instead of keeping things interesting. Instead, I might roll up ONE item from one of these tables, in advance, and declare that it's somehow significant. I make it prominent or noteworthy. Maybe I won't decide how it's signficant until we're playing. Maybe I'll be flexible about where the PCs find it. Maybe I'll roll up three items and decide that they all hint in the same direction (see the Three Clue Rule from the Alexandrian blog). Or I'll roll up two things and decide they're relevant for two different story threads. In other words, these tables aren't useless to me, but I don't use them to crank out random assortments. Finding out how many batteries and spare cuff links are in a desk just isn't interesting ... unless they're signficant.

Some tables are good for putting a name to something when you don't want to settle for generic terms: 100 Space Stations, 100 Book Titles, 100 Drink Names, 100 Poisonous Plants, 200 Infectious Diseases, 100 Metals, and 200 Alloys. Those tables are just the names -- no descriptions. The two Code Tables are useless. Do I really need two d100 tables to pick code strings like Q29XF? Would anyone in a technologically advanced setting think that a five-character code string is useful?

The Stars & Planets section is helpful. Types of Stars and Types of Planets use real astronomical terms, but without any descriptions. Prepare to spend some quality time with Wikipedia to find out what Luminous Blue Variables and Mini-Neptunes are. The Civilization Levels table offers 19 levels from Stone Age to Interstellar Age (without description).

The Illegal Drugs table is the only table that offers any detail. It lists 100 fictitious drugs. The drug gets a street nickname (e.g. Dragon's Breath, Feather Shot), how it's taken, a qualitative description of intended effects and side effects, and a percent chance of becoming addicted. It's up to you to figure out what the effects mean in your game system.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Book of Random Tables: Science Fiction
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The No-Prep Gamemaster
by Michael M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/27/2020 13:28:03

This book contains good thoughts & principles for running a game as a "no-prep" GM. However, my criticisms are: one, there is still a decent amount of prep being introduced in the book (albeit with thought taken to make the prep minimal). Second, without any sort of random tables or actual content for your game, you have to turn to other sources to truly be a "no-prep gm".

Perhaps this book might be good for somebody who never thought of being a "no-prep gm" before and has no experience doing such a thing. The reality is, most GMs I know have run at least 1 campaign with no prep whatsoever, and most of the games go just fine. So, I really feel this book had good intentions, but fails in the application.



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[2 of 5 Stars!]
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Forests
by Paul S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/18/2019 10:15:32

lots of great flavor to add when you're describing a forest! im often at a loss to properly describe what my players are looking at and resources like this to keep in my dm binder are the perfect aid to jumpstart my imagination in coming up with a detailed description to bring the world alive



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
Forests
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The No-Prep Gamemaster
by Mark B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/18/2019 07:30:41

I love GMing RPGs but it's rare that I have enough time to sit down, read, absorb, and prep a module. And while I have some ideas for campaigns or adventures, pre-written modules are my go to since they involve less prep and everything is laid out. But lately I've been trying to look at some lighter rules systems and ideas on running RPGs with less prep. This book was an immense help. In fact, after reading through it, I gave it a shot: ran a one-shot, ZERO PREP rules light RPG at our game store's game day. We came up with a setting and using a bunch of tips in this book, I wove together and adventure that the folks at the table really enjoyed!

The author begins by sharing his own GMing experience, then moves into suggestions on how to fill your mind with story ideas, and finishes with advice on using random tables to get ideas and turn them into plots and stories on the fly. It's simple, but really good stuff. The best part is, a key theme is "Why does the GM have to do all the work?" By carefully listening to your players, they'll help you write the story as the adventures unfold. It's so obvious and yet clever.

If you'd like to venture into trying to run a game but you have no time, give this book a look and I think you'll find a ton of useful tidbits to make it happen!



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
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The No-Prep Gamemaster
by Rachel B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/18/2019 12:15:17

This book gives you permission to not plan a huge campaign, but rather to work with your players to create something enjoyable. It's an alternate way to play the GM, a way to take the stress off a position that a lot of people don't want to do because of that stress. It's short but full of good ideas. Well worth the price.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The No-Prep Gamemaster
by Jim B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/06/2019 08:00:50

My problem with this guide is that it's a one-sided presentation that repeatedly discusses the evils of GM prep and the joys of zero prep while glossing over the potential pitfalls of zero prep and how to avoid them. Besides, it's still asking you to do some prep.

Consider this core statement: "Random tables eliminate the need for session prep." They don't. For one thing, you need to come up with the tables in the first place. That's prep time even if you go looking for published tables, and if you spend any time reading them or thinking about them before you play. Also, do you know the Birthday Problem? It calculates the probability that no two people in a group have the same birthday. Do the math and it turns out that in a group of 23 or more people, two people sharing a birthday is more likely than no two people sharing a birthday. And birthdays are essentially a d365 table.

In a d100 table, which they seem to favor over at dicegeeks, that crossover point happens at the 12th roll. That is, by the time you've rolled 12 times against a d100 table, repetition of a previous roll is more likely than not. Ask yourself how often you'd roll on a given table. Multiple times per room that the PCs enter? Once per encounter? Once every 15 minutes of session time? Then figure out how long it'll take you to reach that 12th roll. That's when repetition gets likely. "You find another telescope" (or whatever you're rolling up randomly) gets less interesting with every repetition. Your fifth telescope doesn't mean you're having five times as much fun. If you can live with the repettion your d100 table would give you, great. If not, you've got a problem.

What's the fix to avoid repetition? "Roll again" isn't a good approach because you'll do it more and more as you use up a table. This wastes session time and can kill the flow of play. "Uh, hang on, we've done telescopes already. [Roll] And rusty swords. [Roll] Have we done sundials?" The fix is not to use the same table(s) over and over and over. Instead, use tables that reflect the different locales and environments in your setting. How do you do that? Prep time. Maybe you can find a variety of tables in books and online sources, or maybe you'll make up your own, but that's still prep time. It's not wasted time if it helps you and your players have fun, but it's still prep time.

The guide claims that if you prepare something the players never encounter, you've wasted your time. That doesn't have to be the case. Sure, it's a waste to roll up detailed room contents for a zillion rooms when the PCs will hit only an unpredictable fraction of them. I'd consider it a waste even if they visited every room, because "there are cobwebs, a table, and three wooden chairs" gets old pretty fast. Instead, focus on your process instead of making an unthinking series of dice rolls. If you have 10 minutes to prepare, roll up three things, and ponder how they might be related. Suppose you get a rusty sword, a goblin, and a rickety bridge across a chasm. What's special about this rusty sword? Why is it here instead of elsewhere? Is it lying around loose or is it hidden away? What's the goblin's interest in it? Why is the bridge here? What's on either side? Why is it rickety? What does the bridge have to do with the sword? You don't have to force your answers on the PCs, who might come up with their own ideas you can run with, but you've still done a useful warm-up exercise. You've primed yourself for improvising during the session.

The "zero" prep method in this guide isn't zero prep. It tells you to gather ideas, watch movies and TV shows, read books, listen to audiobooks, get familiar with story structure, search online for maps and pictures and whatnot, find a selection of random tables, and set up a laptop for use during play. That's all prep time, not zero prep.

"Use Combat to Stall" is potentially a bad idea. A combat should be exciting and interesting and relevant, not a time burner to cover up for a lack of preparation. Start the session 10 minutes later if you need a little prep time, instead of wasting an hour on a combat that serves no other purpose. Besides, if you're busy managing a combat, it'll be harder to come up with ideas. What happens when the players catch you off guard during play? Instead of deliberately stalling, use something from those extra 10 minutes you took, or make the players part of the solution instead of treating them like someone to be distracted while you come up with the answer. You can say, "You got me, so let's make something up."

There are three reasons to avoid or minimize prep time: 1) You just plain don't have the time. 2) You don't enjoy it. 3) It's not helping you during play. Instead of trying to eliminate prep time entirely, try to focus on the fun parts of session prep, and use it as preparation to improvise instead of just cranking out unnecessary detail. Focus on a few critical things that can help you during play (quality over quantity). A little time spent on good prep is much better than wasting session time with rerolling until you're happy or deliberate stalling. If you really want to avoid prep time altogether, use a GMless system, or let someone else be the GM. Otherwise, even a heavily improvised session involves preparing to improvise.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Sci-Fi Facility Generator
by Chris K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/04/2019 23:28:42

great resource easy to use simple and fun for any sci fi



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
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The Book of Random Tables: Quests
by Jim B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/26/2019 00:11:24

It's a collection of ten d100 tables for generating adventure seeds in a fantasy setting. It's system-neutral, without a stat block in sight.

Each table roll provides you with a situation the PCs hear about or witness. The detail is minimal, just one sentence or a few for each entry. The entries describe only what the PCs first learn, such as finding out that the spice ships are overdue or that the prince has been kidnapped. Your players will quickly come up with questions that the seeds don't answer.

An improv-heavy, build-as-we-go sandbox campaign could use these as encounter tables. The PCs wander into a new town, for example, so you roll on the Town Quests table, find out there's been a string of burglaries, and you wing it from there.

You could use these as seeds to inspire adventures you prepare, if you prefer to come up with backstories, factions, locations, maps, and so on ahead of time. Or you could adapt the entries as introductions to adventures you've already prepared.

The entries are generic enough to let you modify them easily for an existing settings. If an entry mentions wicked mermen, you could use wicked mermen like it says or you could decide they're wicked pirates or something else instead.

Most or all of the entries could seed a single session's activities. Many of them could be the introductions to larger campaign arcs. For example, finding out that an ogre has taken over a town could be a single session to dislodge the ogre, or a few sessions for a more involved adventure. It could be the introduction to a campaign arc in which larger forces are involved. It's up to you to build on that seed of finding out that an ogre has taken over a town.

Comments on particular tables follow.

The Dungeon Hooks table is mostly about the rumor or event that leads you to the dungeon, with little or no info about what's in the dungeon.

The Royal Quests table consists of tasks assigned by a royal or situations relating to a royal.

The tables for Forest Quests, Town Quests, and Sea Quests give you seeds in those settings. An NPC might request help for a specific task, or an incident might occur in front of the PCs, or there's a general issue the PCs might involve themselves in.

The Doorways to Another World table is about ways the PCs find themselves transported elsewhere, sometimes voluntarily but usually not. There's a fantastical element in each case. The seeds are mostly about how the PCs reach the other world, and only sometimes what's in the other world or what it takes to come back.

The Questing Beasts table briefly describes some creature with an evocative name, such as the Great Bat of Elarond. The entries hint at some aspect that makes the creature different ("the size of a wagon" or "appears once a generation"). There are no stats and generally no powers. Some entries hint at why the creature might be valuable to someone.

The Quest Objects table is the same, except it's about objects. Each entry offers an evocative name and a brief hint about why anyone would be interested in the object, such as cultural or symbolic significance, monetary value, or a possible power. These could be MacGuffins that must be found and returned, magic items the PCs would want to possess, or artifacts someone needs to achieve a great purpose.

The Lost Cities table gives the same treatment to exotic cities ("Erith: The City of Diamonds"), including brief descriptions of what makes each city distinctive. Like the other tables, it's up to you build on the seeds.

I'm not sure what makes the Meta-Quests table "meta" but every entry is of the form: Get N things. It's up to you to figure out who'd want 80 ivory buttons or 50 orc thumbs, why they'd want them, and who'd want to stop you. All this table tells you is that the quest is to retrieve N things of one sort or another.

The seeds in these tables are generally pretty good for presenting a situation. The main reason someone might be disappointed with these tables is the lack of detail. For example, if you want a detailed backstory and a list of powers for the Iron Ring of Orailus, you'll be disappointed. If you just want the inspiration of knowing that it belonged to a harsh king from 1000 years ago, you're in luck.

I have only one quibble. The product description says "Cut down your GM prep with 1000 quest options." To me, that's misleading, implying that a series of table rolls (quest options) would help you build up a quest: NPCs, their goals and methods, factions, locations, challenges, clues, etc. That's not what this is. Consider an entry that says "Some sort of sea monster is disrupting the trade lanes. Nearly all the merchants have agreed to offer a fantastic reward to any who will slay the vile beast from the depths." Unless you're going to wing the whole thing on the spot, now you need to figure out what your sea monster is, where its lair is, how it came to be here, what defeats it, why it hasn't been defeated already, who the competition is, why only "nearly" all the merchants want help instead of all of them, and so on. A single table roll saved you the time of coming up with the idea, but there's still plenty of potential prep work remaining. You get 1000 seeds. They're good seeds, but they're only seeds.



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The Book of Random Tables 2
by Alan G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/24/2019 16:51:47

Good tables but the file itself is MASSIVE due to the fancy border art and takes up a lot of valuable space on my tablet. Any chance of a lower-resolution version?



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[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Book of Random Tables 2
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The Book of Random Tables: Quests
by Frank D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/24/2019 13:28:37

I've told my current group of players (mostly new to role playing) that they will never get bored. With the wealth of online material available for a DM it's an exciting time to be playing. Well, just skimming through this book makes that point abundently clear. Just scaning the lists I've gotten so many ideas I wish I could run multiple parties. And don't get me wrong, I have bought and downloaded many lists but because this one focuses on quests ideas it's a goldmine.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Fantasy Towns
by Chris V. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/19/2019 13:20:15

I'm a huge fan of all the DiceGeek resource books and I think this one is a great addition to the collection. The maps are great, there is tons information for each city (population, points of interest, imports/exports). The full descriptions can be used as is, or you can use pieces of them to flesh out an existing city in your campaign. Lots of good adventure hooks as well.

Contrary to other reviews, the auther very clearly indicates that he used the Watabou tool to generate the maps.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
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