Interview with John of Red Dice DiariesBy Duncan Thomson on
"For me the most fun thing is thinking of a theme for the table and then reading lots of stuff to get ideas for the entries"
The creative of the day is John of Red Dice Diaries
Q&A with John of Red Dice Diaries
How did you get into creating random tables?
By necessity really, I'd see random tables in various old D&D books and other such games but I never really saw the point of them when I first starting GM-ing, mistakenly believing that the GM should have everything planned out to the Nth degree. This was fine when I was at school and had almost limitless time to prepare sessions, however--as I became older--my free time started to become a precious and more finite resource.
With less time, I simply couldn't plan every last thing out so I turned to random tables as a stopgap, I'd plan as much as I could, the main plot elements and such-like, then I'd fill in the other bits with random encounters and events. As I used the random charts more in games I began to notice that I was really enjoying the challenge of weaving these random elements into the gameworld; after that I began turning to them often when I was struggling for inspiration.
From there it was a short step to making my own tables.
What tables are you most proud of creating and why?
I'm pretty proud of my various D&D trinket tables, both because they seem to get a fair bit of use, and also because trinkets are one of my favourite parts of 5th Edition; these tables aren't always easy to create though due to the number of entries required.
I'm also enjoying playing around with Chartopia at the moment because it always me to create nested tables that can still be rolled on quickly.
What is the most fun thing about creating random tables?
For me the most fun thing is thinking of a theme for the table and then reading lots of stuff to get ideas for the entries, I get great satisfaction from hearing that people have used my tables in their own games.
What are the most painful lessons you've learnt from creating random tables?
Sometimes it can be difficult to come up with an interesting theme for a table, and with larger tables - such as the trinket tables - it can be a bit of a slog when you've thought up 70 entries and still have 30 to go.
How do you use random tables yourself?
I use them mainly for background elements (weather, etc), random events (city festivals, wandering monsters, etc) and generally to add a bit more texture to my games without increasing my prep workload. If I'm struggling for ideas I'll often make a few rolls on a random table to give me some inspiration.
What are your next big projects (random or otherwise) that you can talk about?
I'm currently waiting for the Midderlands: Great Lunden books to come out (I wrote two of the stretch-goals for that) and I've just accepted a commission to write an adventure for the Eldritch Tales game of Mythos horror.
I'm also hoping to produce some small OSR publications and release them myself this year, but that's in the very early stages at the moment.
Where can people find you on social media?
You can finds links to my social media, blog, podcast, youtube, etc at: https://wheretofind.me/@Reddicediaries
Is there anything else you would like to talk about?
I'd just like to encourage anyone who even has a vague interest in making a podcast or a blog to just get out there and give it a try, don't think that you can't do it or that you don't have enough to say;
Sure you'll probably repeat some old arguments, but so does everyone else and we all bring our own viewpoints to them.
Try Anchor for podcasts or give Blogger a go, or drop some voicemails to existing podcasts or comments to blogs, the RPG community thrives on communication, put yourself out there and you never know what'll happen.
Check out other interviews on Rand Roll for more creatives.