Friday, August 12, 2011

A Sample Wandering Monster Table

Yesterday, after making much about how the sample Wandering Monster Tables in Holmes & Cook suggest "a living, breathing environment that is in constant flux, where creatures from different levels are, if not constantly interacting with each other, moving through each other's territory on a regular basis." A look at my working cross section for my version of the Chateau des Faussesflammes, however, reveals that the first level of the dungeon is largely isolated from the rest of the dungeon. Therefore the tables as implemented and modeled in Holmes & Cook don't make much sense in context of the dungeon I am trying to use them for.

This is, in part, why I wanted to do all that math — in order to understand the methodology in order to adapt it from three tables into one table. I want to paint the picture of a living, breathing environment but cannot logically do it in the same manner.

Holmes uses a d12 to determine wandering monsters. Cook uses a d20 — as will I because it gives be more entries to help emulate a larger population. As I noted yesterday, Holmes allows for a 25% chance for a 2nd level encounter and an 8% chance for a 3rd level encounter for every wandering monster roll on the first dungeon level. On a d20 this translates into five second level encounters and two 3rd level encounters; however, there is also one 2nd level encounter already present on Holmes' first level list — the Gelatinous Cube. Thus, I will up the number of 2nd level encounters on my list to six.

Conceptually, the idea that Holmes & Cook imply by having so much cross pollination between dungeon levels is that there are different factions that co-exist and/or are fighting over territory. Since there is very little interaction between the first level and other levels in my dungeon, one of the sources for interaction (and therefore factions) needs to be outside the dungeon.

Therefore of the two basic factions (in which there might be sub-factions — I haven't decided yet), one is native to the dungeon and one is an outside interloper. Since CAS specifically refers to goblins being one of the main dangers of the Forest of Averoigne, they will play the role of interloper. The natives I will simply call the Merovingians. They will include various undead (the first level being a crypt), berserkers (normal men who have been possessed by malevolent spirits) and red caps (the most likely of the goblin-types to be affected by the aforementioned spirits).

So, without further ado, here (closely cleaving to the math I did yesterday) is my Wandering Monster Table for the first level of the Chateau des Faussesflammes:

  1. Jaques de la Lanterne  (1)
  2. Fire Beetles (1d3)
  3. Tettix (1)
  4. Gelatinous Cube (1)
  5. Giant Ticks (1d3)
  6. Giant Rats (2d6) + Pookas (1d3)
  7. Giant Toad (1) + Pooka (1)
  8. Kobolds (3d6)
  9. Goblins (2d4)
  10. Bogies (2d4)
  11. Skeleton (2d8)
  12. Zombies (1d3)
  13. Zombies (1d4)
  14. Ghoul (1d2)
  15. Merovingian Ghoul (1d6)
  16. Merovingian Hound (1d3)
  17. Berserkers (1d4)
  18. Berserkers (2d4)
  19. Red Caps (1d4)
  20. Red Caps (2d4)


  1. If you're putting such effort into a mega-environment then custom table is definitely the thing to do. I also think the big wanderers should tend to be more scoutable or avoidable than the on-level ones ... fine line between a challenge and a random party kill.

  2. @Roger
    I also think the big wanderers should tend to be more scoutable or avoidable than the on-level ones
    Given that Holmes makes such a large distinction between combat movement and exploration movement and that his example of a wandering monster encounter (with a Gelatinous Cube) refers to exploration movement not combat movement, I think that he intends for the players to decide when combat begins (outside of being surprised, of course). Thus, those big wanderers are imminently scoutable...