September 6, 2021 monster technique theory

2d20 Bandits

On an encounter table, the entry 2d20 Bandits pulls a lot of work.

Bandits are human beings. This makes them harder to deal with - when you lean in to presenting that element.

1d6 relatives to grieve,
close enough to know who did it.

A tightly controlled spread of results gives a tight bundle of options - 3d4 Bandits is always a smaller group. Knit tight. Intimate. Pre-defined and controlled.

2d20 Bandits has spread - a pair of thieves, a band of 40 mercenaries without pay. 20 people is a big group - why are they doing this? The fields must be empty.

Read the local conditions. Banditry comes from somewhere. The label can be applied - bandit sounds much worse than insurgent.

AC as Armour.
Damage as Weapon.

Recently I’ve grown less enamoured with tables and generation. Make something specific and make it good. Sometimes a table is useful but it’s easy to dodge the responsibility to make something worth reading - or using in a game - by using a table or generator when one good entry does the trick.

Equally - the eagerness to present the designer/author as clever. Look at the imagining I did for you dear reader. The strength of the minimal hex entry is that it leaves more to you - 12 Orcs leaves something to be desired, but a huge paragraph is equally poor.

I think the tension between these is healthy.

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