Enhance Your Random Encounter Tables with These Simple Tips!

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Enhance Your Random Encounter Tables with These Simple Tips!

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Problems with Standard Random Tables
  3. The Solution: Increasing Randomness
  4. Making Random Tables Scalable
  5. Adding Narrative Prompts to Random Encounters
  6. Using a Devil Table for More Dynamic Encounters
  7. Creating a Nearest Major Entity Entry
  8. Conclusion


Random encounter tables have long been a staple in tabletop role-playing games like Dungeons and Dragons. However, they often suffer from inherent problems, including lack of diversity, time-consuming creation, and a lack of true randomness. In this article, we will discuss these issues and offer solutions to fix random tables, making them more dynamic, scalable, and narratively inspiring.

Problems with Standard Random Tables

Standard random tables often suffer from a lack of diversity. Many tables tend to favor certain encounters, resulting in repetitive and uninspiring gameplay. Additionally, the probabilities of each result on a bell curve can lead to predictable and uninteresting encounters. The most common encounters tend to be the least powerful and least interesting, leaving the rare encounters underutilized.

The Solution: Increasing Randomness

To solve the problems of lack of diversity and predictability, we propose getting rid of the bell curve and making every possible encounter equally likely. By using a single appropriately sized die, such as a d6, we can ensure that each encounter has an equal chance of occurring. This widens the range of possible encounters and keeps the game world feeling dynamic and alive.

Making Random Tables Scalable

Another issue with standard random tables is their lack of scalability. As players level up, encounters with lower-level creatures become less challenging. By arranging encounters in order of increasing difficulty, we can use a simple mathematical trick to add more challenging encounters as the party levels up. This eliminates the need for extensive table modifications or replacement with higher-level encounters.

Adding Narrative Prompts to Random Encounters

In addition to increasing randomness and scalability, random encounters can benefit greatly from the inclusion of narrative prompts. Adding behavior and complication columns to the encounter table can provide interesting context and challenges for players. By assigning each encounter with a behavior and complication, we create unique and engaging situations that go beyond simple combat encounters.

Using a Devil Table for More Dynamic Encounters

To further enhance the narrative aspect of random encounters, we can expand the encounter table into a devil table or a d666 table. This allows us to generate three separate prompts for each encounter: the NPC or monster, their behavior, and their complication. These prompts create bizarre and inspiring situations, leading to more than just straightforward combat encounters.

Creating a Nearest Major Entity Entry

To add a sense of continuity and a larger world to the random encounters, we suggest including a nearest major entity entry on the table. This major entity can be a powerful NPC or monster that has a clearly defined home location. As the players move through the game world, the nearest major entity entry automatically changes based on proximity. This adds a sense of progression and keeps the world dynamic.


Random encounter tables can greatly enhance the gameplay experience in tabletop role-playing games. By addressing the problems of lack of diversity, predictability, and narrative depth, we can create more dynamic and engaging encounters. Increasing randomness, scalability, and incorporating narrative prompts and major entities will make random encounters truly meaningful and exciting for players. With these fixes, dungeon masters can create a world full of diverse and unpredictable adventures.


  • Solving the inherent problems of standard random tables
  • Increasing randomness to add diversity to encounters
  • Making random tables scalable based on character level
  • Adding narrative prompts for more engaging gameplay
  • Using a devil table to create dynamic encounters
  • Including a nearest major entity entry for continuity and world-building


Q: Can I use a larger die value for more possible encounters? A: Yes, you can pick a larger die value if you want more possible encounters. However, be mindful of the balance and the number of encounters you can effectively manage.

Q: How can I make sure the encounters remain challenging as the party levels up? A: By arranging encounters in order of increasing difficulty and adding more challenging encounters to the table as the party levels up, you can ensure that the random encounters remain appropriately challenging.

Q: Do I have to use a devil table for adding behavior and complication prompts? A: No, using a devil table is one approach, but you can also create separate behavior and complication columns or find other creative ways to generate narrative prompts for your random encounters.

Q: Should the major entity always be encountered directly by the players? A: Not necessarily. The major entity can be a powerful presence in the game world, and the players may encounter evidence of its existence without directly confronting it. This can add intrigue and anticipation to the gameplay.

Q: Can I incorporate these ideas into other tabletop role-playing games? A: Absolutely! While the examples in this article focus on Dungeons and Dragons, the concepts and techniques can be adapted to other tabletop role-playing games to enhance random encounters and make them more engaging.

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