Skip to main content

"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: 

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1zMPCMw8rzc0vlfhQ6DenFRKk3nJkSQAVg4GgKXlz1xo/edit?usp=sharing 

(If you want a blank template for your non-Ynn adventures, use this link instead: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1SMwsCfR2lQm1Pn94iZI9vovcsllxbe4k9KkG1ZW49Ao/edit?usp=sharing



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.)

EDIT:

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

https://eldritchfields.blogspot.com/2018/11/cheat-sheet-for-gardens-of-ynn.html
https://technicalgrimoire.com/ynngenerator
https://instadeath.blogspot.com/2018/04/gardens-of-ynn-generator.html
http://meanderingbanter.blogspot.com/2018/10/ynn-generator-and-tracker.html

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

A Simple Resource Management System for Into the Odd

Rules without the commentary available here.

My mind is still on resource management systems. 

Into the Odd (ItO) doesn't have one and, to be honest, doesn't need one. Plenty of tension to be found via description rather than tracking individual rations. ItO is lightweight, fast, and runs great if you simply assume that, as written, the expedition always has food, water, light, camping & climbing equipment. 

So why bother with managing resources? 
Character customizationLike with Ben Milton's new Knave (http://questingblog.com/knave/), I like the idea of a character's role being determined by what kind of equipment they are carrying. Want to be a "fighter" in a classless system like ItO? Carry large, powerful weapons and wear armor. Want to be a "magic user"? Carry lots of Arcana (or spellbooks). A "specialist" (to use the LotFP term)? Carry lots of tools, poison vials, flashbangs, etc.

But customization like this works best if there is a l…

"Into the Odd" is "Left 4 Dead"

There was a discussion today on the Into the Odd Discord about how to describe "generic" Critical Damage and recovery. What do you tell players happened to their characters when they fail a STR save? What exactly do their allies do to get them back on their feet?

My response was that I describe it in a very "Left 4 Dead -like" manner. "Generic" Critical Damage knocks you to the ground like in L4D. Later on, your friends pick you up, slap you awake, give you some water and quick bandaging. Not too worried about detail or realism in my descriptions.



My mind immediately went further down this path. The design of Into the Odd really is like Left 4 Dead in a lot of ways.
Critical DamageInto the Odd: Knocked out of action, will bleed out in an hour if not assisted by someone.
Left 4 Dead: Knocked to the ground and largely out of the action. Will eventually die if not assisted by someone.
Recovery from Critical DamageInto the Odd: Somebody picks you up after combat, …