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!
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()
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”
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.
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!
Then click the “Filter” button in the toolbar.
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!)
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:
Now for the Sorcery! In the Status column, click the icon: then un-check the “Blanks” option”
There we go! Now all of our old events are hidden from view, leaving only the unused ones!
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.