Monday, 9 July 2012

Event-Driven Wilderness Encounters

In computer programming there are two main ways to handle time in a simulation: clock-based where time ticks and the simulation checks to see if any object decides to do something, and event-based where the simulation asks the objects when the next action will occur and the clock is immediately jumped ahead to that point, skipping all the uninteresting moments in between.

The DMG's wilderness encounter table on page 47 is a clock-driven system and it's a pain in the neck. With a 1 in 20 chance of an encounter in "populated" swamp (I think this means Essex), for example, there's a lot of rolling for no action. Even the wilderness rates of 1 in 10 aren't exactly great fun.

So, I re-wrote the tables to be event-driven. On these tables you're rolling to see how long passes before something is encountered rather than rolling to see if something is encountered now. The units on the tables are the periods used in the DMG - so if it's noon on the 5th now and the table says the next encounter is in 1 day and three periods then the next encounter is at midnight on the 6th.

This greatly speeds up handling wilderness travel but it does have a slight price to pay. Using the tables, day and night encounters occur with equal chances. On the other hand, the predictable nature of the DMG checks is gone, so it's swings and roundabouts.

Here's the link to the pdf. The tables are titled based on the original DMG tables, you don't roll 6 times per day on the 6 times per day chart, you just use it where you would have rolled six times per day in the old system.


  1. You should know this is currently set to request access only.

    1. Arrgh. I think that's changed now. Thanks.

  2. Very nice. I've always hated the wilderness travel roll-roll-roll with no encounters to show for it. Slows play too much. I'll definitely use this.