What's in This Journal? Part 2

You can read Part 1 of this series here. This time Stacy shows off some more tables and notes on her very own RPG-in-development, Precious Dark.


Notes for Sanctuary

By the way, I’m writing this in the order they’re found in my journal, not the order in which I wrote them. I tend to jump around in my journals a lot, so it’s nowhere near chronological order. For instance, we’re at about the middle of the journal, and this is the section I’m currently working on.

Sanctuary is a game I’m running on Storium about a group of people with extraordinary power who survive the collapse of the solar system, and find out there’s a multiverse and they can travel through it. It’s sort of Doctor Who on steroids.

Right now, I’ve got them off on their first adventure, so there’s a whole lot of notes on NPCs. I’m hoping I’m not making it too complex for me to run.

A Few Random Dungeon Tables

I’ve been working on some random dungeon creation drop tables and dungeon generators off and on for several months, now. Here, I think I started to make some random tables for a few things, then transferred over to writing them in Google Docs or something.


Dungeon Room Complications

  1. There was a terrible fire here. Everything in the room is charred to a crisp, completely destroyed and crumbling to ash in places.

  2. Something very odd must’ve happened in this room, for everything in the room save for monsters and people is attached to the ceiling.

  3. The contents of the room are in the bottom of a 50’ deep pit. There’s no way down, and only a thin ledge to walk on to get around it.

  4. Everything in the room is at the bottom of a 50’ deep pit as above, but the pit also happens to be filled with water.

  5. The entire room is flooded with about a foot of water.

  6. This room has been ransacked. There’s nothing of value left, as someone’s already been through everything.

  7. Everything in this room is shrunk down to being child-sized.

  8. Everything in the room is covered in slime. Roll 1d4 to determine color: 1 - pink, 2 - green, 3 - blue, 4 - clear.

  9. There was a terrible fire here very, very recently. So recently, in fact, the charred contents of the room still have glowing embers.

  10. There must’ve been some great battle in this room. There are dead bodies all over the place, blood and gore, the works. Either use some random monsters / NPCs, or have all the monsters already be dead.

  11. The room is full of copper pieces. As in, completely full. Opening a door causes an avalanche of copper. Getting through is improbable.

  12. Everything in this room is broken, unusable, or otherwise destroyed in some way.


Random Room Traps


Random Door Traps

  1. Triggers a room trap.

  2. Poisoned needle.

  3. Poisoned dart.

  4. The door grows spikes.


  1. When the trap is sprung, the room starts filling with sand from above at a rapid rate.

  2. Same as above, but the room fills with water instead of sand.

  3. A 50’ pit opens up beneath the characters, causing them to fall.

  4. The walls start moving in, threatening to crush everyone and everything in the room.

  5. The ceiling collapses.

  6. Darts fly out from hidden areas in the walls.

  7. The ground bursts into flames.

  8. A scythe swings towards the character from an unseen place.



Precious Dark Notes

Now we get to my favorite part… notes on playtest sessions and campaign creation for my game, Precious Dark. It’s a game about mutated future people in a post-apocalyptic world who live in subterranean cities and use a sentient magical energy called ‘The Weird’ that mutates their bodies. It’s a game almost entirely about exploring and bartering.

I ran playtest sessions with an all-woman group for a few months, and took a lot of notes and made a lot of random tables. This is also where I redesigned the combat and conflict system, but I’m just gonna share the random tables, because you can use them anywhere.


What’s in the egg?

An unexpected (but lovely) part of Precious Dark has become the act of taming monsters you meet to make them farm animals - or just companions. As a result, I’ve started putting more loot into the game of an animal nature. This is the random table for some eggs found in a basket.

What will the egg be when it hatches?

  1. Dust. Whatever this was apparently died forever ago.

  2. A carnivorous baby dinosaur.

  3. A vegetarian baby dinosaur.

  4. A flying baby dinosaur.

  5. A baby giant sloth.

  6. A baby mammoth.

  7. An ordinary-looking chick.

  8. A baby lizard-deer.


Yeah, yeah, some of those things don’t come out of eggs, but this is a world of magic we’re talking about, here!


Farmhouse Ruins Loot Table

I like interesting and detailed loot, which I find important in a game about exploration. I made it doubly important in Precious Dark by also making the world run largely on a barter system (at least for the important stuff). Every NPC I create has an inventory of items they’re willing to trade. The group was exploring an area with an ancient underground farm, so I made a table to roll on for loot.

  1. A bone hair comb with tiny, elaborate and exquisite carvings of people having sex.

  2. A set of flint tools used for skinning and tanning.

  3. Clay bowls with intricate paintings showing step-by-step instructions on using them to create healing poultices out of local herbs.

  4. A bone bangle bracelet shaped like an animal. When activated, the spirit form of that animal shows up to aid the wearer (see table below for animal).

  5. A set of 3d4 marbles (roll on the small items materials table to see what they’re made from).  

  6. A game board made of two colors of granite formed into a spiral. There are divots along the darker strain of the spiral, right about the size of a marble.

  7. Crudely made - but serviceable - cast iron pots and pans.

  8. A set of polyhedral dice (roll on the small items materials table to see what they’re made from).

  9. Clay slabs with intricate carvings depicting which herbs, fungi, and vegetables are edible around the area.

  10. A candle that never goes out. This makes it difficult to carry around because of the fire, but it’s also a really neat item to trade.

  11. A set of plates and cups (roll on the medium items materials table to see what they’re made of).

  12. A small set of jewelry. Some ivory, gold, silver, copper, freshwater pearls, and gemstones.

  13. Clay bottles filled with a sweet, Weird-infused liquor.

  14. A crude, gold ring that looks otherwise unimpressive. It carries with it the love of those who wore it before.

  15. A set of healing supplies. Various fermented herbs and plants, some poultices, and a handful of ancient devices.

  16. A large, clay and bamboo washing basin. Washing clothing in the basin imbues it with Weird.

  17. A necklace of hunting trophies - bones, antlers, claws, and teeth. Can be invoked to summon the spirit of the animal. There are 1d10 trophies on the necklace. Roll on the Animal Summoning table for each trophy to find out what animal it came from.

  18. A stack of jewelry-making supplies Beads, waxed thread, and tools. Jewelry made using this kit is imbued with Weird.

  19. A large, glowing crystal. When light passes through, it makes a laser-like weapon.

  20. Spearfishing equipment.


Animal Summoning

  1. A lethargic lemur.

  2. A tiny pterodactyl.

  3. A silly sloth.

  4. A crazed crab.

  5. A pleased puppy.

  6. A bitter bear.

  7. A lazy leopard.


Small Items Materials

  1. Sandstone

  2. Turquoise

  3. Hematite

  4. Purple Amethyst

  5. Red Agate

  6. Red-Orange Carnelian

  7. Aquamarine

  8. Amber (1-in-4 chance of an insect being trapped inside)

  9. Citrine

  10. Granite

  11. Ruby

  12. Glass (roll on color tables)

  13. Sodalite

  14. Topaz

  15. Bone

  16. Glass (roll on color tables)

  17. Blue Lapis Lazuli

  18. Blue Howlite

  19. Green Malachite

  20. Obsidian

  21. Quartz Crystal

  22. Petrified Wood

  23. Clay

  24. Marble

  25. Soapstone

  26. Blue Sapphire

  27. Pink Tourmaline

  28. Ivory

  29. Moonstone

  30. Glass (roll on color tables)


Glass Colors

Then, roll on this table to determine the color:

  1. Green

  2. Blue

  3. Purple

  4. Teal

  5. White

  6. Amber

  7. Red

  8. Clear

First, roll a 1d10. On a 1, roll on this table:

  1. Speckled

  2. Striped

  3. Glittery

  4. Swirled

  5. Spotted

  6. Marbled




If it’s doesn’t have one of the special qualities above, it’s just a transparent piece of glass of that color.


Medium Items Materials

  1. Flint

  2. Iron

  3. Bone

  4. Obsidian

  5. Shale

  6. Copper

  7. Bamboo

  8. Clay

  9. Wood

  10. Horn

Effects of Ingesting Weird

The same thing goes for imbuing food or drink with Weird, or consuming Weird directly. When that happens, though, the character ends up with the effect. Here’s that table:

  1. Hallucinations. Roll 1d4. 1-2 = Pink Elephants, 3-4 = Bats

  2. You hear voices that no one else does. The funny thing is those voices are relevant to whatever’s currently happening.  Roll 1d4 for personality. 1 = Snarky, 2 = Overly Polite, 3 = Flirty, 4 = Friendly

  3. Your eyes glow for 1d6 hours, making it hard to hide, but also giving you a medium-sized light source (yourself). Roll 1d4 to determine the color: 1 = Blue, 2 = Purple, 3 = Green, 4 = Red

  4. All your skin changes to another color entirely for 1d4 hours. Roll a 1d4 to determine the color: 1 = Blue, 2 = Purple, 3 = Green, 4 = Red

  5. For 1d6 hours, you occasionally burp up small, glowing butterflies. They’re relatively harmless, but the burps always seem to happen at the most inopportune times…

  6. You lose your sense of smell for 1d6 hours.

  7. You can see auras for 1d4 hours.

  8. Violent tendencies. You have an irresistible urge to solve everything with violence for d100 minutes.

  9. Crying spell. Nearly everything makes you burst into tears for one hour.

  10. A weirdling shows up out of nowhere and follows you around for 1d6 hours. Roll 1d4 to determine personality: 1 = Playful, 2 = Helpful, 3 = Depressed, 4 = Impish

  11. You only see in infrared for 1d6 hours.

  12. The Weird randomly talks through you for 1d6 hours (the GM will do the talking).

  13. Inappropriate laughter. For 1d4 hours, you find everything absolutely hilarious, especially those things that shouldn’t be.

  14. You’ve got a serious case of the munchies.

  15. For 1d6 hours, you randomly warp around the general area.

  16. Hiccups. For d100 minutes, you have a bad bad case of the hiccups, and with each hiccup you expel multi-colored glowing bubbles.

  17. Either the rest of the world has slowed down, or you’ve sped up. For 1d4 hours, everything seems super slow to you, but to everyone else you’re moving incredibly fast (especially while taking).

  18. You become a Weird Magnet for 1d4 hours. Whenever you’re around a source of Weird, it collects around you in a mist. For each hour the character has a mist of Weird around them, they must make a check to see if they overdose again. If they fail the roll, they gain an Addiction Point, and roll again on this table.

  19. A cloud appears above your head and it starts raining, but only on you for 1d4 hours. Roll 1d4 to determine what kind of a rain it is: 1 = Light spring rain, 2 = Torrential downpour, 3 = Thunderstorm, 4 = Misty drizzle

  20. Roll 1d4: 1 = Immediate mutation, 2 = Roll again on this table, 3 = Gain an additional Addiction Point, 4 = Nothing happens.

Once the group had their taste of a few Weird effects, they all started eating the stuff!

That’s all, folks!

...and that’s what’s in this journal! Now, time to label and retire the journal. My new one should arrive tomorrow! Hopefully, sharing this will give you some new things to use in your games or at least a little inspiration. :)

Stacy Dellorfano is a web developer, writer, art director, project manager, game developer, and sometimes graphic designer. She founded ConTessa in 2012, and continues to lead the organization. Stacy also writes at her personal blog, Frivology, and frequently talks about gaming on Google+.