Armagideon Time

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my decades of geek life, physiotherapist it’s that role-playing games sure love their tables. No matter how streamlined or informal a game’s mechanics may be, cialis 40mg there will inevitably be a point in the proceedings where events are shaped by a polyhedral dice roll cross-referenced against a series of pre-defined outcomes.

The most extreme example of this would be Rolemaster, a complicated marriage of Tolkienesque fantasy and a CPA exam, but the obsessive urge to quantify the even the most trivial of choices can be found throughout the vast and varied milieu of RPG sourcebooks and manuals.  (For a medium that prides itself on the power of imagination, RPG game designers seem uncomfortable with placing too much faith in the creativity of the end users…at least where it pertains to the correct nomenclature for medieval hookers.)

The purpose of Thursday’s Table is to spotlight some of the more…inspired…efforts made by game designers to channel primordial chaos into a codified set of possible outcomes (and also to give me a little breathing room on a traditionally busy day of the week).  Our first featured table comes from the “lifepath” character creation system of the 1994 Mekton Zeta rulebook…

…and was intended to emulate the melodramatic flair of the various anime  series the game was based upon.  On a side note, later editions would replace item #6 with the more up to date “Oh no!  Naughty tentacles!” in order to better reflect the zeitgeist of the source material.


Speaking of new recurring features, Dave Lartigue has followed up his retro-tastic  Space Cabby Sunday and Triple-I Case Files series with the equally outstanding This Used to Be The Future, an ongoing examination of an imaginary era when men were men, spaceships were phallic, and every noun had to be prefaced by “Space.” 

Highly recommended, especially to those AT fans who wish I was funnier and a better proofreader.


4 Responses to “Thursday’s Table: Dorker My Love”

  1. Bully

    11. Their brain was scooped out by evil wizard; replaced with monkey brain.

  2. Brack

    I’m going to raise the nerd level and point out that this chart also featured in Mike Pondsmith’s Cyberpunk RPGs too. I don’t know if it originated in the first edition of Cyberpunk or the earlier editions of Mekton though.

  3. bitterandrew

    I first ran across it in the Mekton II manual, but it was ubiquitous to “Fusion system” games…including that dire revision of the Champions rules.

  4. Jeremy Henderson

    I was a bigtime RPG geek, but only played Rolemaster one time. A battle between our party of 5 vs. half a dozen giant spiders took 4 hours to complete, which the more experienced Rolemaster-ers assured me was pretty normal. At no time during the proceedings did I understand the actual mechanics of what was happening. I pretty much just kept saying “I swing my ax at the nearest one” over and over until we were done.

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