March 15, 2012


As some of you might know I have been unemployed for a while.  If you've been a longtime reader of my blog.....back to the beginning longtime, then you'll recall I was unemployed for a while back in late 2004 - early 2005 when I quit my job at Fred Meyer to look for work elsewhere.  As a general rule it isn't a good idea to quit one job before you have another, but my odd schedule made actively seeking employment difficult, and I wanted to put my new degree to better use.

During the time I wasn't working on getting work I was spending time working on my HackMaster game.  One of the things I did was spend a lot of time putting together some tables for TableSmith.  If you haven't used this program before is it a great, simple to use random table generator.  I only scratch the surface on it's functionality, but it has helped me out tons.

The bulk of what I did was enter all of the magic items from the 4th Edition HackMaster GameMaster Guide (GMG).  That took a lot of time, but most people wouldn't find much value in that.  If they have the book they can just use the tables there.  What I did to make the tables more useful is to enter in the items from every adventure, module, splatbook, and Knights of the Dinner Table.

After that table was done I started working on a few others.  Anything I could do to speed up the prep time as a GM I worked on. What I found most useful was having TableSmith do the math and rolls on sub-tables for me.

Take the Gems chart (Table 13B) for instance.  Once you roll on a specific gem you might need to roll on a color table and/or a cut table.  Then you have to find out the quality level and do some math.  Ugh.  If you have a lot of gems come up for treasure it can bog down the game or the prep time.

With my TableSmith tables all you need is to figure out how many gems you need.  Here is a random roll of 5 gems:
transparent Zirton: pale blue-green- average and flawed (10 gp),
transparent Zirton: pale blue-green- average but excellent (1,000 gp),
transparent Aquarmarine: pale blue-green- small with minor inclusions (50 gp),
Lapis Lazuli: light and dark blue with yellow flecks- small and excellent (50 gp),
transparent Peridot: rich olive green- small and flawed (10 gp), 

I am going to be making these tables available for HackMaster Association (HMA) members for download.  If you play the older (4th) Edition HackMaster, then I think you'll find these tables invaluable for you game.

TableSmith is a program written by Bruce Gulke.  The program is shareware and costs $10 to unlock.  The tables could be adapted to other random table generators and were written with that ability in mind.  I do not profit in any way from others using TableSmith.  These tables were originally made for my own personal use and this was my preferred program.