Content of the article: "I just DMed a completely randomized one shot with my players having completely randomized character sheets and it was one of the most interesting experiences I’ve had with TTRPGs."
I'm DMing Curse of Strahd for about 9 months now, and today one of my players couldn't play due to personal reasons. Since we're so far into the module, we decided to not run the game without him, because the party is currently on a turning point at the campaign.
After throwing some ideas back and forth on what we should play, we had an idea: what if… we did an one-shot where EVERYTHING was random, including the scenario and the players' character sheets?
We actually decided to go through with that. We settled upon 6 possible (and wildly different) themes, 6 possible scenarios, 6 possible monsters that they wished to see in play, 6 possible character backgrounds for the party and 6 possible objectives…and I rolled 1d6 for each to set up the game, while the players used the random character sheets from DnD Beyond.
In the end, we got a Cyberpunk-style adventure with eldritch horrors that the players (mercs) stumbled upon while carrying a job to retrieve a classified piece of tech from a megacorp, using D&D 5e-based rules and playing in the theater of the mind.
Yes, it was wild, and hell yes we all loved it, making everything up (from names to events to politics and economy) as we went. In the end, the one shot became a short campaign because everyone now wants to see what's gonna happen next lol.
If you ever feel the need to spice things up, I say: embrace the chaos and roll for it!
Edit: thank you for the silver, kind person!
Edit2: so of course people wanna know the tables we used (because who would have thought that there would be someone that would also like to do that, right?) and the little INT 2 me here have completely overlooked that factor.
The tables are in paper in my nigh-illegible scrawls, but they're something like this:
|No. (d6)||Type of scenario|
|No. (d6)||Sworn enemy (kinda like a mini-boss, to hassle them during the campaign)|
|1||Witches (they just got through Berez, heh)|
|6||Flying Goblins (I kid you not)|
For the final fight location, party background, mission and rendevouz location, I instead opted to go through a D4 since we were all getting antsy to just get to play the damn thing already:
|No. (d4)||Final boss arena|
|1||Beautiful, gleaming Cathedral|
|2||The hold of a ship in high seas|
|3||Floating city with floating stones (like the movie Avatar)|
|4||Castle Keep on a thunderstorm|
|No. (d4)||Background (the players are…)|
|2||Retrieve a stolen item|
|3||Steal a secret tech/magical item|
|4||Invade an enemy den|
|No. (d4)||Rendevouz (where they will meet)|
|3||Inside a megacorp/state building|
|4||At a marketplace or shopping|
I rolled a 3, 4, 4 on the d6 and 3, 1, 3, 1 on the d4, which gave me a futuristic setting (3) with an Eldritch Horror as a BBEG (4), dragons as sworn enemies (4) (which I have absolutely no idea on how that will go, which seems awesome) and the final confrontation will happen in a floating city (3) (again: how? I don't know but am excited to find out). The players are mercs (1) who have been contracted to steal a classified piece of tech (3) and will rendevouz in a nightclub (1) to get details on the job and start the adventure.
Looking back now I can see a lot more things to add to the table, but I'm pretty happy with how we've done it, tbh.
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