Planescape: Tables for the Outlands

I’ve been thinking about Planescape recently and wrote up some tables for our Thursday night game. As Stras says, “Encounter Tables are setting design,” and if you look at Band of Blades you can see that in action. I don’t think of the tables as Random Encounter Tables but as Inspirational Encounter Tables.

Inspiration > Information. If choosing from the table helps me create a cool thing or if the players’ actions mean something on or off the table should definitely be around, I’ll use that. As Apocalypse World says, “Sometimes disclaim decision-making.” Sometimes, though, it is obvious from the way the players’ actions have pinballed off of your prep, that a dragon-is-a-coming. When that happens, I’ll let the dragon in.

There is a blog post about having 2d6 Encounter Tables and always having a Dragon as the 2 or 12 and I always lose that link. If you have it, please post it in the comments.

Found it! Thank you, Wanderbill!

The following d66 tables are inspired by Trophy Gold, where we use these to create characters.

Sometimes I need a delve, an imbalance to address. When that happens I roll 2d6, not adding them up and looking at the tables below, rolling or picking until I have an idea for an adventure.

And sometimes I’m going to use these tables so that I have the planar bits at my fingertips. I remember that Story Hour on ENworld where there were elves whose plane had cracked and fallen into fell realms, changing the fey beings there forever. I want to be able to take an Elf Citadel and decide that there was a cataclysm and it…got jammed between *rolls dice* a plane of Magma and one of the Nine Hells, creating these volcanic elves who worship the Devil-God.

Our first game was about Keymont. I rolled and looked and daydreamed until I had this little cliff-side town on the edge of the Astral Sea, a failed whaling town that used to be the Nantucket of the Astral before all of the whales disappeared. Now they make keys but the machinery that syphons stuffs out of the sea to make keys out of is frozen and winter should be long gone by now.

Sometimes it’ll be like that, a town in trouble, a community in need. Other times it’ll be a dying god hit by a Fire Bolt fashioned in the Heavens who fell onto the Outlands and became a fell dungeon. Roll. Pick. Pick and roll until I have something. Who knows, I might even read through the Manual of the Planes from time to time or just have Githyanki forming a beachhead for a future invasion because I adore Githyanki. We’ll see.

I’m a fan of shrines and like having my favorite deities in a few tables. For some reason d66 makes it easy to list stuff. I can usually think of a dozen or so and then figure out that last 6 when I see a pattern in the first two-thirds.

That isn’t the map I started with, though. At first I started with this one:

What I really wanted was a link from each Portal Town to the plane it led to and the poetic three sentence descriptions from the 3rd Edition Manual of the Planes by Jeff Grubb, Bruce R. Cordell and David Noonan. At some point I’ll make 2 more for the infernal realms and the middling limbo-ish realms but for now, that is fine. I’ve got the idea.

Want to make your own? Here are some PDF’s. I’d love to hear about what you do with them and how they work for you at the table.

Sigil 6 Subject Divider

In which I live-tweeted using these tables to prepare for a game:

P.S. Thank you to my friends and the communities on the D&D subreddit and the OSR RPG FB Group who gave helpful feedback on the 2d6+6 table.

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Lich Collection

Medals for Band of Blades

Inspired by this Reddit thread, wanted to save it here.

Once you decide to base the medals on Chosen and realize that by that logic, there would be medals based on the Broken before the Cinder King broke them things get dark in a big hurry.

The Horned Honor: Awarded for executing a plan of exquisite cunning in battle.

“That is some horned shit right there. Good plan.”

The Star of the Dawn: Awarded for excellence in leadership and training. Noted for often being given to officers who go to great measures to get rookies ready for battle and are not popular among the rank and file.

“This asshole is trying to earn the Star of the Dawn on our dead backs.”

The Battle Saint’s Blessing: Awarded for steadfast adherence to duty in the face of truly fell antagonism. Often awarded posthumously, leading it to be a kind of insult among soldiers.

“‘Once you hear the signal get out of there. Don’t wait around to get the Battle Saint’s Blessing put on your funeral pyre.”

But all of the Broken were once Chosen. Before the Cinder King broke them there were medals in their names too. Will these medals continue to be awarded? Will those who are awarded them be somehow cursed or find a connection to that Broken?

The Trinity Medal: Awarded for excellence in scientific innovation.

“The last soldier who earned this created blackshot; the bar is high.”

The Safe Harbor Ribbon: Awarded for saving civilian life within the parameters of the mission.

“I’m taking odds on the next soldier to get this award will be hit by lightning… Whose in?”

The Blessed Heart: Awarded for strong faith in the trenches. Once this was a truly great honor, one of the rarest to be awarded. But now…

“Alright, Blessed Heart, stow that god-bothering nonsense and listen up – mission brief time…”

What is Band of Blades, you ask?