Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Yearly Events Table

One of the great things about the 1st ed Oriental Adventures book was the yearly, monthly and daily event tables. Well, here's my derivation thereof, as used in my Zama campaign but easily adaptable to other settings. These are the overall regional tables for the city-state of Zama, but are easily adaptable to other settings and even other campaign styles – I'll be using only a very lightly modified version for my planned sci-fi Cascade Failure campaign.

But not the zombie one. The PC's wont live long enough to make that one worthwhile.

Anyway, here's the yearly event table. Monthly and daily events to follow.

Yearly Events:

01-05             Ambassador
06-10            Assassination
11-15            Birth
16-20            Celestial Event
21-25            Death
26-30            Disaster, Natural
31-35            Economic Crisis
36-40            Famine
41-45            Feud
46-50            Fire (Major)
51-55            Immigration
56-60            Magic Strife
61-65            Marriage
66-70            Pirates
71-75            Plague
76-80            Plot
81-85            Religious Unrest
86-90            Rebellion
91-95            Visitation
96-00            War

An embassy arrives from another city-state, empire or country to discuss some important issue. There is a thirty percent chance that this embassy will be from a traditionally hostile state looking to re-negotiate a territorial dispute or demand trade, political and/or military concesssions.
Otherwise the embassy will be from another neighbouring state wishing to negotiate matters of trade, resolve a minotr dispute, coordinate anti-piracy operations,forge a military treaty, arrange a royal visit etc.
The Ambassador will arrive with a ship and crew or by caravan and accompanied by up to 100 bodyguards, staff and aides. He will be a high level character (D6+6) with a charisma score of 2d6+6. The majority of his entourage will consist of zero level characters. His closest aides and bodyguards count as henchmen and will be D^ in number (of level D4+6). Generate them as you would a party of NPC adventurers. Expect a great deal of intrigue and espionage this year.

A high-ranking official -a Suffet, a member of the Eighty [the Senate] or even a member of the Royal Family itself- is assassinated. If the PC's have a hostile relationship with this character they may fall under suspicion. Otherwise, if allied to this figure, they may be tasked with tracking down the assassin, avenging the murder or even attempting to raise this figure from the dead.
If the assassination was carried out by another nation, then any odd result in next years annual event table will be a war. If carried out by another faction within Zama or the Protectorate, then count any odd rolls on next years annual events table as a Feud result.
A power-struggle is likely to ensue if the dead character had no clear line of succession.

A high-ranking NPC with a friendly relationship to the PC's becomes pregnant and gives birth. The PC's might uncover a plot to kill the mother or the babe and be enlisted to protect her. The PC's will likely have some role in the several days of feasting that follows, depending on their social position. If no suitable NPC ally exists, then the birth is that of a member of the Royal Family.

Celestial Event:
A comet, planetary alignment or some other significant or unusual celestial event occurs, during which strange events occur. Use your imagination: the dead escape from the Underworld to torment the living, every-one awake at the time goes blind, all the Cauldron-born rise up at once believing it to be an omen and swarm civilisation. There is a 15% chance that rioting and mobbing ensues while doom-sayers and mad-men proclaim the end of the world.

 An important NPC or member of the Royal Family dies of natural causes. This will result in a massive state funeral and possibly an investiture ceremony of some kind. A power struggle may ensure if the dead character has no clear line of succession.  If anyone among the Royal family has thus developed as astrong ally of the PC's then there is a 40% that it is the ally who dies.There is a 15% chance that rioting and mobbing ensues during the state funeral as the citizens clamber to see or touch the NPC.

A natural disaster – tsunami, flood, cyclone, earthquake, tornado, meteor strike and so forth- affects the city and the surrounding area. See the Wilderness Survival Guide for game effects. There is a 15% chance that rioting and mobbing ensues.

Economic Crisis:
Prices in the city rise by 15% for one class of item – livestock [caused by disease], purple clothing [caused by a shortage of shell-fish], metal goods and so forth. This lasts D12 months.

Famine occurs in an important agricultural location elsewhere in the Middle Sea [given that the Gods control the weather and that Zama's patron deities include Arbaal the Sun God, the famine is unlikely to be local unless locusts are involved]. Food shortages occur and prices quadruple by the end of the year. [In Zama, only the price of items not produced locally are likely to be affected, even so the city is too large to feed itself from surrounding farm-land]. Marauder groups -inside and outside the city- prey on the weak and seize food by force. Rationing is likely to be introduced, along with various sumptry laws for the rich. There is a sixty percent chance of mobbing an rioting by the poor unless steps are taken by the government to distribute food and secure a stable food supply. The famine lasts D6+1 months. 1% of the population will die every month until the famine ends. There is a 20% chance of plague [reduced to10% in Zama due to it's excellent sewage and waste disposal systems and in cities with similar sanitation measures].

Two powerful families, street-gangs, guilds or organised crime groups have a falling out. At night characters trevelling in areas controlled by the warring factions are likely to have hostile encounters. Even during the day tresspassers will be regarded with suspicion. The feud will last until one side or the other has been completely eliminated unless the characters intervene. The feud will involve poltics, theft, murder, slander, kidnapping, espionage and more.

Fire, Major:
 D20% of the city is burned to the ground. Any property owned by the players has a chance of being destroyed equal to the percentage rolled. There is a 10% of a plague outbreak [5% in Zama] and a 10% chance of Famine as silo's and storage facilities go up in flames [5% in Zama due to it's underground siege silo's]. D10% of the population perishes from the smoke and flame or from injuries sustained in the panic.
There is a 15% chance that rioting and mobbing ensues.

Mass migration to the city-state and surrounding lands. This migration may come in the form of persons displaced by war, plague or famine or it may represent a barbarian or humanoid invasion [in Zama, these humanoids will likely be kobolds from the tunnels beneath the city, Beast-Men (gnolls) from the Desert or Cauldron-born from the mountains]. The number of immigrants who appear is equal to D100 X1000. The immigrants may arrive en masse or in small groups; by ship, land or some combination of the two. War is likely to result if either the new-comers or the existing inhabitants are hostile to one another. If not driven out, the immigrants settle down [inside the city if no hostilities occur or in settlements of their own in they do] becoming permanent fixtures of the area in D20 months. Chances are good that slavers will attempt to take advantage of the situation to obtain new stock, possibly initiating or aggravating hostilities.

Magical Disaster:
A powerful wizards spell goes awry. Roll a D6:
1: Demons randomly appear all over the city-state
2: Household objects animate and attack their owners
3: Dogs and other dangerous animals go mad
4: D1000 people spontaneously combust each day. 15% chance of causing a Fire event each day.
5: A silence effect covers the entire city-state
6: Every living thing in the city becomes invisible
These effects last D6 days.

The city's ruler arranges a marriage either for herself or for a member of her family. Huge festivals ensue. Military forces are drafted into the city to help keep order as the population swells. Street crime rises. There is a 15% chance that rioting and mobbing ensues when celebrations get out of hand.

Pirate activity is on the rise. All good increase in price by 20%. There is a 10% of any given shopping trip that D4 items are not available. Characters may be conscripted (15%) or offered employment (40%) as marines or rowers in the naval fleet assembled to destroy the pirates, who have rallied around a new leader. The campaign against the pirates will last D12 months.

 A terrible disease sweeps the city. There is a 20% chance each month that a character comes into contact with the plague and must make a saving through versus poison or suffer the effects. Once the character has had the disease he cannot suffer from it again during this outbreak. The outbreak lasts D12 months, kills D4% of the population per month and rises prices by 10% per month.

A plot to kill or replace the city's ruling family begins and may be uncovered or assisted by the PCs. Whether or not the cop is successful, D20% of senior religious, political and military figures are executed or dismissed in the aftermath of the coup attempt.

Religious Strife:
Religious strife breaks out, with a 15% chance of mobbing and rioting and a 5% chance of actual civil war. In Zama the cause is likely to be a schism in the priesthood of Arbaal concerning whether the God considers the sacrifice of children in time of need to be a gift or an act of blackmail to be abhorred. The abhorrent faction is likely to led by Prince Hamilcar and the High Priestess' of Tanith and Escher. The Queen is likely to remain neutral. Her husband and the High Priest of Arbaal lead the faction that considers such sacrifices to be holy.
If not settled by civil war or rioting, then a period of cold-war politics, tit-for-tat assassination and other limited civil strife lasts for over a year (D12+12 months) until the dispute is settled.

While the plot event is a political coup, the rebellion event indicates a popular uprising by some element of the city – the poor, slaves or mercenaries- all of whom rise up against their “oppressors”.
Characters who do not pick sides will end up as everyone's enemy. Adventure and campaign opportunities abound. The Rebellion continues until it peters out after d12 months or until player character action brings it to a close. Food, Weapons and Armour double in price and the city watch [Suffet's Guard in Zama] becomes especially brutal, suspicious, and unforgiving. If the rebellion is not successful in achieving its goal in the first month, surviving rebels adopt a hit-and-run approach until the end of the rebellion.

A major deity -or its messenger- appears during an important ceremony and remains for D4 months, communing and conferring with important officials and the faithful. If the city is presently embroiled in war or rebellion it takes sides, hoping to bring the strife to and end quickly. Otherwise, all faithful who see the deity are blessed (as per the spell) for the remainder of the year, the city remains disease free during it's presence and a general air of rejoicing and celebration persists until the end of the visit.
Characters who are especially power (or who are followers of the deity in question) may be favoured by a personal audience. Those who impress the deity may (50% chance) be awarded one wish.

The city-state or kingdom is invaded (50% chance) or invades (50% chance) a neighbouring state [City's of the Zaman Protectorate are expressly forbidden to initiate war by their constitution, meaning they are the ones invaded 99% of the time]. The length and outcome of the War are left to the DM to determine. Game events are far too complex to be summarised here and deserve an entire article of their own.


Biff Tanner said...

Wow very in-depth great post.

ERIC! said...

I will be using this table, maybe even this week end...Awesome work!

Dangerous Brian said...

Cheers guys. Glad you like it. Because it's a yearly event table you probably won't get that much use out of it in any one campaign, but it still comes in handy.
I use the table to determine the major yearly event for every city or sub-region in the sandbox and then put them together to create a narrative out of them for the campaign year.

The Celestial Event can be problematic. i play it so that, while the celestial event happens everywhere, it only really causes problems for the regions/cities that roll it up on the table.

@ Eric: I'm glad you think so. It shouldn't be too hard to adapt it to the post-apoc campaign you've been playing with your kids.

Gavin Norman said...

Awesome table Brian! Not something I'd ever thought of myself. As you say, it's probably not one that'll get used very often, but a monthly table along similar lines would be... Looking forward to reading about your monthly one!

Ray Rousell said...

Some very good ideas, I could use some of these whenever I get around to doing a campaign.

Ian Coakley said...

Wow. That's pretty awesome.

I might try and fiddle this to fit some of my homebrew stuff - I love the idea of the "giant sandbox" game, and really,m this makes for perfect adventure fodder.

The Angry Lurker said...

Great campaign ideas, very readable and useful.

Dangerous Brian said...

Thanks guys, I'm glad you like it. I'll be putting up the monthly table in a day or two. Generally, I only roll the monthly table every month for the PC's "home-base".
The other regions/cities get a roll each time the PC's visit when more than a weeks have passed.