Roll Tables are amazing for Game Masters! When improvisation calls, Roll Tables can help out a GM to find a character name, create a new event, or even provide loot!

The only problem with Roll Tables is that they’re static! First you need to find the table in your source books or print-outs, then roll, and after all that hope that you haven’t already gotten that response. Otherwise, roll it again! If only there was a more dynamic option. A simpler way.

We need a better Roll Table.

So let’s build one!

Step 1: Create a List 

Let’s create a list of 20 Random Forest events to start off with. 20 seems like a good amount for our first session!

Entering in the List
Entering in the List

Nice! Then it’s on to…

Step 2: Create the Randomizer

One important piece of building a better roll table should be that it can “Roll” for you. Have the spreadsheet do the work, so you can kick back and relax! For this to work, each item in the list must have some way to create a random number. To accomplish this we can use the following formula for Google Sheets (and excel). In the cells to the left of the items enter the formula =RAND()  

Creating a Random Value
Creating a Random Value

Step 3: Create the “Used” category

Being that these are unique events, we don’t want to have them repeating! In the fields to the right of the list, let’s call all unused events “New”

Entering the Status
Entering the Status

Excellent!

Step 4: Create the Filter

Now it’s time to put it all together by creating the Filter! (If you’re using Excel this would be called a Table) The Filter is where the magic starts! First let’s give each of our columns a Header.

Adding the Headers
Adding the Headers

Awesome! Next select the Headers and all of the cells underneath them (Even the blank ones!). All the way to the bottom! Well, or at least a few hundred extra or so. This way you can add items to the list easily without having to recreate the Filter each time you update it! 

Select All the Things!
Select All the Things!

Then click the “Filter” button in the toolbar.

Toolbar
Toolbar

Spectacular!

Step 5: Randomizing the Order

You may have noticed the numbers to the left of the items change each time that you update a cell. Using the Filter, you can sort the values in the Order column by clicking the Icon, then Sort A→Z (or Z→A, Whichever you want!)

Randomize It!
Randomize It!

Now it does the rolling for us! Amazing! But hold on, we’ve got one more trick up our sleeve!

Step 6: New Events Only

You’ve been travelling through the forest and have encountered a number of these events already! You don’t want to double up on them do you? Nothing is more boring than fighting your 3rd round of Bandits! This is where the Third column comes in. Whenever you use an event, delete “New” from the Status column. Like so:

Removing some Options
Removing some Options

Now for the Sorcery! In the Status column, click the icon: then un-check the “Blanks” option”

Filter the Results
Filter the Results

There we go! Now all of our old events are hidden from view, leaving only the unused ones!

What's Left
What’s Left

And that’s it! The better Roll Table is now in your hands! You are now the master of your own fate!

This article was inspired by The Kind DM.

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