Random Tables

I believe random tables have their place in the creative process. Like my collection of Rory’s Story Cubes or my three volumes in the classic Central Casting books by Jennell Jacquays, the table often provides an essential spark to my creative process. I don’t always include a random table in my books, but when I do there’s a damned good reason for it – it’s about introducing a spark or adding some spice. The Haunter of the Dark has 9-pages of random tables sandwiched between the guidance on creating and structuring adventures and the annotated story of the fate of Robert Blake. Connections Each of these tables ties neatly – and intentionally – into the story. Entered a site with a century long tie to a strange sect? Rummaging through the drawers of a forlorn artist? Tracking down a disgruntled ex-cultist? Broken into the cellar of an abandoned building? Picking up a copy of a local paper? Stumbled through the door to find a crumpled note lying in the dust? It’s all here and more. Whether you’re creating your own adventure or filling out the grey areas in a pre-written investigation, there are 20 short tables here (almost all of…

Your Haunter May Vary
Adapting , Random Tables / July 13, 2017

All Haunters are not born equal. The cosmic horror value of your Haunter may go up as well as down. You know the drill, right? You play a game and when the bad guys make their first tentative appearance the players read between the lines and leap ahead to tactics and strategies. They know how to handle a Deep One or a Shoggoth – and even though the antagonist hasn’t reared so much as a finger or eye lid yet, they’re ready for action with Plans A through G. Disappointing show, anyone? The Cthulhu Hack has this covered from two angles – and you should always consider adding your own spice into the mix. The cosmic horror should never become commonplace or boring; nor should the Lovecraft aficionado in your group present an insurmountable barrier to generating fresh new challenge. On the one hand, you have the generic assistance of From Unformed Realms. When I discuss this book at conventions, my pitch centres on the value of these tables as a way to create not only whole new monsters but to adjust the features or even just the spoor of the horror. The spoor, you say? Well, if you have…

Period Names
Random Tables / September 27, 2016

Some aspects of The Haunter of the Dark didn’t make it all the way through to the final edit. When you have a book that needs to go to print and a pressing need to reach a multiple of 4, the edit can mean dropping a page or two of content rather than padding out with two more. In the mix, this meant losing some tables and cutting back on a few paragraphs here and there. One of the tables lost provided common names for Providence locals. Many times in a session I have needed a name for a random local – so, it seems like a fair bet that others experience the same issue. In Unaussprechliche Hack, I plan to include more lists of names to ease you through those tough minutes of improvisation. For the moment, here you can have the four tables, 10 entries apiece, with common names for Irish and Italian residents of Providence, R.I., c. 1935. Common Names Male Female Male Female Irish Italian Denis Ann Alberto Angelina James Bridget Alessandro Catarina John Catherina Bernardo Elena Martin Eliza Donato Gaetana Michael Ellen Federico Margarita Pat Johanna Giovanni Natala Peter Julia Lorenzo Paolona Tim Margaret Mariano Rosaria Thomas Mary Pasqualo…