The Elements: This is a self published 36 page book comprised of random tables authored by Jeff Reints.
The Crux: The tables in this work consist of,
- 20 Monster Mutations
- A half-dozen Sages
- Adventure Seeds and Motivation with a web link to an expanded table.
- Treasure Map destinations
- A dozen Saints and twenty Neutral Gods and twenty Toad Gods
- 20 People to Meet
- The infamous Carousing Table
- Living Dungeon Table
- 100 Chilling Chambers
- Humanoid, Orc, and Goblin politics, moodiness and general shenanigans.
- Goblin Doors
- Deadly Gasses
- Escaping the Dungeon
- Minor Magic
- Unusual Loot Containers
- Pre-rolled Treasure
- and Links to more random tables on the web
Lets say you're going to run a classic game, like a Sandbox, or a Mega-Dungeon. Here's a list of dieties - here's a list of reasons to adventure. Looking for a non-combat encounter? Miscellaneum has you covered, here's a list of people to meet. Give your players a twist and roll on the humanoid weirdness or monster mutation tables. The least useful series of tables for me are the ones that likely took the most work (pre-rolled treasure)
These are interesting tools that make the game fore fun. I wrote my megadungeon hooks before I read this expanded list of motivations and feel a bit like mine pales in comparison.
There are two tables of particular note that add great depth and variety to the experience of old school play. First is the escaping from the dungeon table. This table is checked whenever the PC's end the session while still in the dungeon. It is a great and engaging mechanic that insures everyone has a vested interest in escaping.
The second is the carousing table. Jeff has taking the act of gaining experience from treasure and turned it into a game itself. This clearly and entertainingly resolves the 'when do I get experience from treasure' issue in a way that makes the game more fun.
The Genre: This is a role-playing game accessory book, consisting of a selection of random tables.
The Detritus: Sadly this is a perfect bound book, making it difficult to just lay down in play. Spiral binding would have been more useful. The inability of the book to lie flat is detrimental to its use. The cover is a color gradient and the paper is of normal weight and thickness. There are a handful of illustrations, all simple but functional. The tables also contain a wahoo flavor (Lazers & Robots in my D&D?), so that may be an issue for those people that think D&D is only fantasy, people out of touch with the origins of the hobby. The resource of links in the back did in fact lead me to new tables I had not seen, so it is quite excellent in that regard.
The Final Counsel: The reason this is such a great book is a combination of both the quality and utility of each table. In my mega-dungeon campaign I plan on using no fewer than 15 tables from this book. It would be 3 more, but I've made my own tables for those things.
It is seriously one of the best uses for a dollar in your life.
This document is available in print(5.50$) & pdf(1.00)! from lulu.