This mini-review is done using a purchased copy by the author
Random Terrain and Encounter Generator is a product of BRW Games
Random Terrain and Encounter Generator is written by Joseph Bloch
A tool built with ease of use in mind
I just wanted to take a quick moment to speak about a new tool from BRW Games. The Random Terrain and Encounter Generator is a book published by BRW Games. What this product does is allow for the user to quickly design encounters specific to an environment for their games. Have a rough week at work and the players are going to be at your door in 20 minutes? Grab this book and 3 ten-siders with some paper and you will be ready for them in minutes.
Random Encounter tables are a common piece of any Gamemaster’s Guide. However, I would argue (especially among older products) that design theory was rarely applied to these tables. Sure some of them separated out by biome to a point but there was still a lot of crossover and encounters that frankly do not make sense. I fully remember getting a white dragon on page 184 of the 1E DMG in the desert and thinking hmmm this is going to be fun to explain.
How does the tool control the random nature of dice?
Mr. Bloch must be a details oriented individual. This is great for a product such as this. It is that attention to detail that made him catch a fairly common flaw in the logic of encounter tables. The rarity of the creatures involved is not properly addressed. Everything should not have a flat 1-2% chance to be encountered across the board as some creature types are just not that common. Imagine if you were just as likely to encounter a red dragon as say a gnoll or goblin? There would not be many villages left standing that is for sure. This is why when designing the Random Terrain and Encounter Generator Mr. Bloch went with the 1d1000 instead of the more commonly used 1d100.
This simple change allows him to properly expand tables to make common creatures just that, while also properly placing creatures far less likely as well on the same table. A 1d1000 is not a special dice either. Quite simply its three ten-siders rolled together. Terrain types are separated by different qualities such as their temperature, population and major Biome feature. For example COLD, CIVILIZED, SCRUB vs TEMPERATE, WILDERNESS, MOUNTAINS.
Got the time but not the mental juice to whip up that dungeon?
Hey, we have all been there. You slog through a 60 hour work week, desperate to get to the weekend and your gaming session. You know you have to prep, but time is just not on your side. With a couple hours before a game session, you really need to throw something together fast. Enter Random Terrain and Encounter Generator to save the day! A few rolls on Random Dungeon Terrain and you got your labyrinthine construct well under way. Dice rolls give you connecting passages, with realistic descriptions (You won’t find a doorway in a cavern for instance unless it has lead to an established structure)
You can even use this product to run your own Tunnels and Trolls style Solo Romps. The best part is, even though this is designed for use with Adventure’s Dark & Deep, it is a system neutral product. So it will work equally well with 5E, GURPS or B/X retro-clones. The PDF is indexed for super quick ease of use. Once the urban encounter tables have been entered, and a final editing pass through is done, BRW Games will also offer it as a PoD product. But if you are a traveling laptop GM, I would consider this product almost indispensable. Who hasn’t had their players take the one path or area they did not prep for. With Random Terrain & Encounter Generator, you are a ten-minute snack break away from making it seem as though your prep is flawless!
Where do I get this excellent product?
You can purchase the Random Terrain and Encounter Generator at RPGNOW. Mr. Bloch will upgrade the product for free with Urban Encounters in the following months. This will function similar to the Dungeon Encounter system already in place. Later, a PoD will be made available once any and all minor editing issues have been resolved. But that is hardly a reason to wait. So get out there and add this tool to your arsenal and never get caught with your pants down again!