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"The Gardens of Ynn" Referee Control Panels

I recently picked up Emmy Allen's excellent The Gardens of Ynn, and I think this will be the next adventure I run. I still have an itch for Alice in Wonderland -esque adventure, and this seems like it will scratch that nicely.

(Side note: Rather than diving into another long, continuous campaign, I think I'm going to run a series of shorter adventures connected only by players keeping the same characters between them. Embrace the picaresque. Work through my collection of great OSR adventures.)

One of the things about running Ynn that looks like it will be a challenge is the amount of random rolling that needs to be done. Everything is procedurally generated (which I love!). At a minimum, you need to roll for Location, Detail, and Event as the players move to each new location. And it's not just the rolling, there is also the time spent flipping through pages to read the result of each roll. After doing that, I think I'd be unlikely to use other information from the back of the book, such as the "Horticultural Style" and "Unusual Flora" tables. Which is a shame, because those are additional details that could really help flesh out the environment.

So let's do what I did in my last campaign and push information density to its limits. Let's gather various random tables, group them by the situation they are used in, and replace all that page searching with a few single sheet "control panels".

Open this Google Sheet: 

(If you want a blank template for your non-Ynn adventures, use this link instead:

Select File -> Make a copy... (you must do this for the macros to work) 

Select Tools -> Macros -> Randomize Tables to re-randomize the entries on several of the tables.

And on each sheet, select File -> Print. I recommend using the following options: Print the Current Sheet, Letter size, Landscape orientation, Fit to Page scale, Custom margins of 0.25" on each side, don't show gridlines, don't show notes, Center & Top alignment.

That will give you the following Control Panels:

Locations & Details

The full d20+depth tables for each Location and its Details that the players move to. Includes the page number and as much of the descriptive text for each result as I could include on one sheet of paper. If you've read through the book a couple times, there should be enough text there to jog your memory. Or at least get you started on describing the location to the players while you look up the rest of it in the book.

Events, Encounters & Gardens

These tables contain the "secondary" information you need about each location. If the players have decided to Stay Here and explore a location more, this control panel has the further details on what they see and what happens. The results in the "Horticultural Styles" and "Unusual Flora" tables are re-ordered every time you run the Randomize Tables macro. So if you want to skip those rolls, you can simply go down the results in order until you've used them all up, randomize the tables again, print a fresh control panel, and be ready for your next game.

Treasure & Searching

This control panel should cover any situation where the players are searching an area for hidden items. Treasure, food, things corpses had on them. Most of these tables also have their results re-ordered when you run the Randomize Tables macro. And for some of the larger tables, a random subset of results is selected for the control panel each time you run the macro. I can't imagine the game where you'd actually need all 30 results from a d30 table (or all results from a d66 table, or d100 table, or d1000 table, etc.) in a single session. So pick a random subset of results, fit them all on one piece of paper, use them up, and print a new random subset when you need them.

(I feel like this should be a mantra for referees: "I do not need all 100 entries from every d100 table at the table. I need a d6 subset." Keep you notes and game prep small and efficient, refresh when used up.)


There's a bunch of other people making great tools for Ynn. Thought I'd list some here:


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No good words

I believe Mandy. I believe Jennifer. I believe Hannah.
I believe Vivka.
The manipulation, abuse, and pain they describe are unacceptable to me. I informed my players that our current campaign is immediately at an end. There was unanimous agreement.
May Mandy, Jennifer, Hannah, Vivka and any other victims be surrounded by genuine kindness, friendship, and love.
This blog is no longer a thing I am proud of. Too much of it reads as an endorsement of a person who deserved none. I plan to delete all of that content. Not to hide my shame at not realizing sooner, but so that no positive word about Zak S remains to influence anyone.