It has been brought up recently on a blog I frequent that encounter tables are not enough. They are contrived and feel out of place. They lack the ability to give a believable and predictable experience. Therefore the question arises to me, aside from some other shenanigans that I feel sidetrack from my true interest, how to make it believable and predictable.
This makes me think that there should be adventure tables. For the lazy GM, or just to pick out of periodically. Shall we expand on the original article's content of a ship voyage? I think I shall in my usual stream of consciousness with minor editing methodology.
A: The party wants to go on a voyage! The adventure is chosen already. To take a sea trip.
TableA1 - Ships in Harbor
roll d20 + modifier for city wealth - bad season modifier
1-5 = no ships in harbor for a season roll next season
6-10 = 1 ship in harbor
10-15 = 1d4 ships in harbor
16-20 = 1d6 ships in harbor
20-25 = 2d4 ships in harbor
26-30 = 2d6 ships in harbor
30+ = 2d8 ships in harbor
TableA2a - Destinations!
roll d20 + modifier for destination city wealth for each ship
1-15 = Ship not going there
15-20 = Can charter entire ship paying full cost
21-25 = Can buy overpriced passage
26-30 = Can buy reasonable passage cost
31+ = Can get free passage
TableA2b - Capability
roll d20 - weather modifier for every ship considered
1 or lower = Incapable crew roll 1d6 encounters on trip
2-4 = Poor crew roll 1d4 encounters on trip
5-8 = Mediocre crew 1d4 -2 encounters on trip
9-15 = Decent crew 1d10 -8 encounters on trip
16-20 = Strong crew 1d20 - 18 encounters on trip
21+ = Excellent crew, no encounters
Table B - Encounters!
roll 1d20 for every encounter encountered, roll for number of encounters every month, if trip is less divide the result by the amount of time less and if the result is less than one there are no encounters.
1-8 = Nothing happens
9-12 = impending poor weather roll 1d20 for the next few days, weather gets worse on 10+ and better on 9 and below, after three worsenings ship is in danger, two the ship must travel slower
13-16 = Crew unrest. Roll 1d20 for the next few days, unrest gets worse on 10+ and better on 9 and below, modifier of -X with assistance of good food, or entertainment, a natural 20 results in a particularly nasty passenger/crew member, see Oh Shit a Problem Crewmember table. Three failures results in mutiny, robbery, marooning, infighting and so on, also see Oh Shit the Crew is Unhappy
17-20 = Sea monster. Roll 1d20 for the next few days, on a 10+ situation grows more dire, on 9 or below signs of monster fade. On three failures an attack occurs, on two you cannot escape, on one or before you can turn around to avoid it. For monster table, write your own damn table for your own damn system, I don't know what books you have.
Tables C all that other shit
TableC1 Oh Shit a Problem Crewmember!
roll 1d20 if you have one (a problem crewmember that is)
1 = assassin on board trying to kill the party, good luck writing that into your plot hope this isn't the first adventure
2-7 = passenger brings disease on board, and it's spreading!
8-13 = Wanted criminal on board, was disguised as (1-13 a woman, 14-19 a barrel, 20 a party member)
14-18 = A crewmember has started complaining excessively and nobody can get any rest, roll vs insanity or try and kill the bastard.
19-20 = Monster on board, probably a doppleganger or critters in the supplies.
TableC2 Oh Shit a The Crew is Unhappy!
1-5 = Crew and leadership divided, passengers caught in the middle, hope you haven't made too many friends with either. A fight ensues
6-10 = One crew member has stood out as being a troublemaker, most of the crew want him out, but some of his friends and him are tougher than normal sailors.
11-16 = The crew is actually stealing the ship to become pirates, party gets to figure out what to do here.
17-20 = They were just letting the party on to mug them, good luck.
There you go, enjoy your sea travels mateys! Ah nothing like an 11pm stream of consciousness tablespam.