00:00: The typical design of random encounter tables in Dungeons and Dragons has several inherent problems, including lack of diversity, time-consuming creation, lack of inspiration, and not being truly random.
01:11: Traditional 2d6 random encounter tables have a bell curve distribution, resulting in the most common encounters happening almost half of the time, while the rare encounters are seldom experienced.
02:07: The solution to this problem is to get rid of the bell curve and make every possible encounter on the table equally likely to happen. This can be achieved by using a single appropriately sized die, like a d6, for rolling on the table.
03:01: A single die value table allows for scalability based on character levels or locations. More challenging encounters can be added to the table as the party levels up, ensuring encounters remain interesting and varied.
06:06: Encounters can be tailored to specific locations or themes, adding more difficulty as the party leaves certain areas or approaches new ones, leading to maximum efficiency and variety.
07:06: To add narrative depth to encounters, expand the table to a d666 (devil table), with three columns for NPC/Monster, behavior, and complication. This allows for unique and inspiring prompts for each encounter.
08:41: Having bizarre situations in encounters creates interesting puzzles, resource-burning opportunities, and opportunities for the players to gain information about the game world without solely relying on combat.
09:12: Include an entry on the table for the "nearest major entity," an important and dangerous NPC or monster with a clearly defined home location. This adds continuity and depth to encounters and allows the table to adapt to the party's movements.
10:09: The party doesn't have to encounter the major entity directly; they can see evidence of its existence, which provides opportunities for players to learn about nearby threats through nature and survival checks.
10:39: By following these steps, random encounter tables can be improved to create more engaging, meaningful, and potent threats that fit well with the narrative and scale appropriately with the party's progress.