Let Players Gaze Into Your Sandbox

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #0892

The Special Table will be kept secret.

Special will contain surprises, clues, and mysteries.

Why am I letting players see the Wandering Monsters Table?

A few reasons.

Gaze Into The Setting

I feel the table represents Lore the PCs would pick up over time by simply being in the world and chatting with people. They’d hear stories and rumours of what dangers lurk in the woods.

When I put the chart in front of my group they can study it and learn a little more about the setting.

Gaze Into Gameplay

The player table offers interesting concerns and choices.

It’s the threats you anticipate that cause fret and roleplay.

If players can anticipate potential dangers, they can ponder and plan. I’m hoping it gives the thinkers something to think about, and gives all players something new to do when it’s not their turn.

Gaze Into The Sandbox

A good wandering monster table offers plot hooks.

I bet when my group spots a couple entries the PCs will take the fight to their foes. Cool beans. More player agency.

A dynamic wandering monster table is a map. It maps the sandbox.

As certain encounters trigger from my Special Table, I’ll add those to the public Wandering Monster Table.

I’ll also add new foes I introduce through rumours and encounters.

In this way, the public table becomes a living tool and reminder of plots and dangers to be concerned about.

Between sessions I will curate the table. I’ll pull Special entries into the public table, remove public entries no longer in effect, and add Special entries as gameplay develops.

A wandering monster table done this way becomes a very effective sandbox management tool.