Totally Random Tables (system neutral)
This supplement clocks in at 13 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page kort’thalis glyph, 1 page space for notes, leaving us with 10 pages, so let’s take a look!
Okay, so this pdf contains a total number of 30 different d6 tables, which sport 6 entries per table; per page, you usually get up to 4 different tables, for up to 24 entries per page. This doesn’t exactly use space economically, is what I’m trying to say. I usually print out pdfs, but here, I probably won’t do that. On the plus-side, each table gets its own color, chosen from 6 different ones, which helps remember them.
It should also be noted that this is NOT a dressing file. This is IMPORTANT. Were I to rate this by the same metrics as e.g. Raging Swan Press’ focused and flavorful dressing-files, this’d be a total failure, because, as its name implies, this is TOTALLY RANDOM. None of the tables have a header or a concise leitmotif, nor do they have a unifying theme.
To give you an idea of the breadth, let’s take a look at the first table: We have “Carbon scoring” as one entry, and “My favorite color is cherry, says the voice.” As another; another table has a wand with 1d12 charges that can reduce a targeted opponent’s hit points to 1d20. (Range would be nice, as would be a note if this is permanent or affects current hit points.) The very same table has a Purple Prizm reference (Alpha Blue’s choice softdrink; also represented in a reused, but awesome artwork) and a rusted sheriff’s badge.
You can find giant fruit flies with suckered tentacles, Metallica cassette tapes, black stockings, oreo candy canes, a cap that probably was inspired by Cloak & Dagger…or Disney World.
The tables herein are absolutely, utterly and totally random, and apart from a one-page, really nice b/w-artwork…that’s kinda it. So…what’s the use of this pdf? What do you do with it? Well, use number one, is simply to get the creative juices out of a routine, but the introduction proposes another use – a means for the GM to challenge themselves. Roll a couple of times on the table before running the game, and see whether you can integrate the disparate elements. Those are actually the uses of this pdf that are truly salient and work – as noted, for dressing, this is, well…too totally random.
Editing and formatting are very good on a formal level, only good a rules-language level where applicable. Layout adheres to the rather beautiful two-column full-color standard with veins that Kort’thalis Publishing likes to use. The pdf is layered, allowing you to make it very printer-friendly, if you do print it out. The pdf has no functional bookmarks, but doesn’t necessarily need them. As noted before, the artworks featured within are pretty impressive.
Venger As’Nas Satanis’ random tables left me kinda puzzled, to be honest. Not as a person, but as a reviewer.
How in all hells am I supposed to rate this?
The entries of the tables oscillate in theme, originality and depth in such a massive manner, the themes are so different from one another, it’s frankly even hard to complain about the depth of oscillation between the specific and general.
As a dressing file, this’d be, at best, a 2-star file, as it lacks focus and direct utility at the table. On the other hand, when used as a challenge for the GM, as a means to hone one’s improvisation craft in Iron GM-style (or to prepare for Iron GM), then this may well be a rather awesome training run pdf that can help freshen up GM styles and get GMs out of creative ruts.
Whether this is worth getting, ultimately, is extremely contingent on what you want from it. I can see folks liking this…and others considering it useless.
This could well be a 4-star file for you, or…well, not. I have to take both positions into account. The relative brevity of the supplement (It could have fitted its content on half the pages, easily) is the most significant detriment for me, and as such, I will round down from my final verdict of 3.5 stars.
You can get this inexpensive, and…well, random pdf here on OBS!