Matters of Fate: Random Tables

Love them or hate them, random charts and tables have a long history in RPGs, whether it be to determine wilderness encounters, a random bauble gained at character gen or any number of other potential things.

What do random charts do?

You might be asking yourself why you need random charts? After all with it’s focus on narrative and the invoke/compel mechanics of aspects it’s very easy to run a Fate game without any use of random charts, one thing random charts are good for is adding an element of uncertainty into the game, they also allow the GM to shift the balance of his prep. For example, if you have created a wilderness encounter table keyed to a certain area of your campaign world and your players decided to go there on a whim when you have nothing prepared, you can turn to your random encounter chart to buy yourself some time or at least give you an idea of the sort of thing that they should be encountering.

They can also be very useful for more exploration themed games where the GM wants an element of chance to influence the players discoveries, if you want character skill to have an impact on this, perhaps a player can change one dice for every point above zero they have in the appropriate skill. These charts also keep the game fresh and surprising for the GM, in heavily scripted games the GM tends to know everything and it’s only when the players do something unexpected that the GM has to think on their feet and has an element of uncertainty, random charts just add in a dash more.

So how do I create them?

In most games creating these charts is fairly straightforward, you simply have a chart listing the numerical possibilities on the dice and which options correspond to them, however, what do you do with Fate? Well there are a few different games that have posted examples of different ways to do random charts in fate and I’ve messed around with it myself, but I tend to go for a chart that looks a bit like this:


In order to read the chart you simply move one row down for each minus you rolled and one row to the right for each plus you rolled, you ignore any blank dice you got unless you rolled all blank dice in which case you use the result on the top left of the table.

In order to make this easier for people to use I’ve uploaded a template version of the chart above in Excel format so that you can play around with it and use it in your own documents should you wish (Excel format stuff can be copied and pasted into Word and a lot of other software).

Update: As pointing out by Shokon–many thanks for the catch–there are a number of spaces on the table above that cannot be reached by rolling 4DF, so I’ve replaced the template link below with a new one where these spaces are greyed out, thanks again Shokon 🙂

Update: Thanks to Bean Lucas and several others on Google+ I have been able to update the template so that it shows the chance of rolling particular squares on the template.

Click here to get the template

In order to make the most use out of this template you will need to have the Fate Glyph font file installed on your computer, you can find it by clicking here.

4 thoughts on “Matters of Fate: Random Tables”

  1. Nice tools for lazy people, thanks!
    I’d recommend to “gray out” the ten most bottom-right slots to remind the compiler that’s impossible to get those results (with 4dF), so they don’t need any content.
    Just my two cents, obviously!

    1. Thanks for the tip Shokon, I’ve amended the original post and linked file to take your suggestion into account 🙂

  2. If you needed more options, it would probably be possible to come up with a 9*9 table, where you roll 4dF individually or of four colours or something, and have +/+, +/[], +/-, [],+ … as the options down each side.

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