The Tables in the Herbal

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LordArioch
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The Tables in the Herbal

Post by LordArioch » Sun Jun 30, 2019 8:42 pm

Was it intentional that the 3D6 tables in the Herbal should be bell-curves?

E.g. in the table "HILLS and MOUNTAINS (Allansia)", because on 3D6 (the average being 10.5) the results "Spear-Root/Lemongrass" and "Softwood/Abundance Nut" will occur far more frequently than any of the other results.

Conversely, "Sleeping Grass" and "Mandrake", and "Four-Leaf Clover" and "Five-Leaf Clover" will hardly be rolled at all.

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SkinnyOrc
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Re: The Tables in the Herbal

Post by SkinnyOrc » Mon Jul 01, 2019 8:04 am

It does seem the entries in the tables haven't been arranged so the rarest are closest to the top and bottom. Mint has an availability of common and it's second from the bottom on one table. It'd be a bit of work rearranging them all.

There's other ways the tables could be done that'd give everything the same chance, but you don't really want that.

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LordArioch
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Re: The Tables in the Herbal

Post by LordArioch » Mon Jul 01, 2019 12:01 pm

I've gotten the impression, since buying the books and PDFs, that the authors weren't aware of probabilities (whether linear or bell-curves) and other tables seem to reflect that. E.g. the main rulebook's Oops Table and the Fumble Table is another bell-curve centred on "Hero slips and is off balance. A -2 penalty applies to all physical actions on the next turn". Perhaps that was intentional. Other later tables (Adventure Objective) is also a bell-curve centred on "Recover a treasure", while "Rescue Princess or Maiden in distress" and "Kill sworn enemy" will occur hardly at all. In any even it can be emended with little effort. I was just puzzled by this phenomenon in the various books, and more recently in the Herbal. Such idiosyncracies don't detract much from the overall excellent work the Arion writers have done.

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bottg
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Re: The Tables in the Herbal

Post by bottg » Mon Jul 01, 2019 3:25 pm

The Oops table certainly is designed around the bell curve, as is the Fumble table. In general, the "middle" results are the most common but also the least severe. The 2,3,11 and 12 results are rarest but also the worst.
The Adventure target table was also intended to represent the more commo adventure goals in the middle of the table.

I of course didn't write the Herbal so I would not like to say whether it was intentional on Andrew's part, but I am sure he will be by at some point!

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Re: The Tables in the Herbal

Post by LordArioch » Mon Jul 01, 2019 8:51 pm

Thanks for the clarification. 8)

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Andrew Wright
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Re: The Tables in the Herbal

Post by Andrew Wright » Sat Jul 06, 2019 5:25 am

Hi, yep, the Herbal Distribution tables were intentionally designed as 3d6 bell-curve tables to mirror the Encounter Table format in Out of the Pit and Beyond the Pit. Generally, the rare/dangerous/valuable monsters/plants should be the most difficult to encounter.

Obviously, if you're only using these tables to populate your adventure/campaign/world, that can be problematic.

What I generally do is look at the table, pick a couple of ultra-rare big bads, place them first and then randomly generate what's around and then see what connections I can make between the whole mess of monsters, humanoids, plants, and herbs.

Of course you're totally at the liberty of making your own tables as well, with completely different random distribution patterns.

Return to the Pit has a little table where you roll first to determine which book's Encounter Tables you can use for a given random encounter just to complicate things further.

And the Mint thing, and other examples, just arise from the fact there's way too many common herbs and not too many rare ones for some habitats. As you can see from the headings, the Herbal tables and the Monster tables aren't quite identical - I had to do some telescoping and pruning as well as split things into different continents and islands to keep it relatively coherent with published Fighting Fantasy canon. Hope that helps! :-)

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Re: The Tables in the Herbal

Post by SkinnyOrc » Sun Jul 07, 2019 9:36 am

I've been reading more of the herbal on the back of starting to read RttP, and for the record I find it almost as inspirational and maybe more useful. If the party's moving through a wilderness area you can name the foliage when you're describing it, not just say shrubs or stands of tall grass or cacti or whatever. If they're foraging for provisions you know what might be available. And every now and again they might find something really useful or valuable, or dangerous. It also has my favourite AFF cover.

Mint being uncommon on the tables isn't much of an issue unless the PCs want Mojitos. :)
Last edited by SkinnyOrc on Sun Jul 07, 2019 10:17 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Dawndeath
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Re: The Tables in the Herbal

Post by Dawndeath » Sun Jul 07, 2019 9:48 am

SkinnyOrc wrote:
Sun Jul 07, 2019 9:36 am
Mint being uncommon on the tables isn't much of an issue unless the PCs want Mojitos. :)
Or have bad breath... :P

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