The Black Hack 2

The Black Hack RPG Second Edition -- Kicktraq Mini

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Broken Encounter Tables

Today I've been working on my revised set of random encounter tables for Labyrinth Lord, ready for publication in Oubliette 6 next month. I'm using the Monstermark rules in the previous issue to try and make them a little more balanced. In researching the article, I've looked at various encounter tables from D&D books and modules, the AD&D DM's Guide and the ones in Labyrinth Lord itself.

Looking at them, what struck me was how varied the threat offered by some of the encounters are. Interestingly, some of the least deadly are the ones in the DM's Guide,which surprised me given the fact that AD&D characters will on average be tougher than basic D&D ones.

Out of all the first level encounters, the most deadly one - and I'm speaking from experience here* - is 1d4 of Giant Crab Spiders. Not only do these nasty beasts have a decent amount of Hit Points (2HD), they also surprise opponents on 1-4 on a d6. This means that if a first level party encounters 4 of them and are unlucky with surprise and initiative rolls, the spiders could get 8 poisonous bite attacks in before the characters make a move. After that, the spiders should easily survive a few more rounds. Unless the party magic-user has still got a sleep spell you've probably got a TPK situation.

*We met 4 of them on the first level of Stonehell. They killed my cleric - still bitter about it.


















The photo is of Otherwold Miniature's way to real-looking Huge Spider

Here's the first level tables I've been using for research to save you having to look them up.

Holmes Basic D&D 
d12
1 Kobolds 3-12
2 Goblins 2-8
3 Bandits 1-4
4 Orcs 2-5
5 Skeletons/Zombies 1-6/1-4
6 Bandits 2-5
7 Berserkers 1-4
8 Stirges 2-5
9 Orcs 1-4
10 Dwarves 2-5
11 Elves 1-6
12 Gelatinous Cube

Moldvay Basic D&D 
d20
1 Acolyte 1-8
2 Bandit 1-8
3 Beetle, Fire
4 Dwarf 1-6
5 Gnome 1-6
6 Goblin 2-8
7 Green Slime 1-4
8 Halfling 3-18
9 Killer Bee 1-10
10 Kobold 4-16
11 Lizard, Gecko 1-3
12 Orc 2-8
13 Shrew, Giant 1-10
14 Skeleton 3-12
15 Snake, Cobra 1-6
16 Spider, Crab 1-4
17 Sprite 3-18
18 Stirge 1-10
19 Trader 1-8
20 Wolf 2-12

D&D Module B1 P8
d6
1 Orcs 1-4
2 Giant Centipedes 1-2
3 Kobolds 1-6
4 Troglodytes 1-2
5 Giant Rats 2-5
6 Berserkers 1-2

D&D Module B1 P21
d6
1 Troglodytes 1-4
2 Crab Spider 1
3 Kobolds 2-7
4 Orcs 1-8
5 Zombies 1-2
6 Goblins 2-7

Labyrinth Lord**
d20
1 Bee, giant Killer
2 Beetle, Fire
3 Centipede, Giant
4 Dwarf
5 Gnome
6 Goblin
7 Green Slime
8 Halfling
9 Kobold
10 Lizard, Giant Gecko
11 Morlock
12 Orc
13 Rat, Giant
14 Snake, Spitting Cobra
15 Skeleton
16 Spider, Giant Crab
17 Stirge
18 Toad, Giant
19 Wolf
20 Zombie
**No number encountered ranges given in the LL tables.

AD&D DM's Guide
d00
01-02 Ant, Giant 1-4
03-04 Badger 1-4
05-14 Beetle, Fire 1-4
15 Demon, Manes 1-4
16-17 Dwarf 4-14
18 Ear Seeker 1
19 Elf 3-11
20-21 Gnome 5-15
22-26 Goblin 6-15
27-28 Halfling 9-16
29-33 Hobgoblin 2-8
34-48 Human 5-15 or 3-9
49-54 Kobold 6-18
55-66 Orc 7-12
67-70 Piercer 1-3
71-83 Rat, Giant 5-20
84-85 Rot Grub 1-3
86-96 Shrieker 1-2
97-98 Skeleton 1-4
99-00 Zombie 1-3

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