I’ve been working on a game that uses randomized video-gamey style loot.
If anyone’s interested, currently my algorithm for generating it is something like:
- Randomly select a loot “tier” where 90.9% of stuff is tier 0, 7% are tier 1, 2% are tier 2, maybe 0.1% are tier 3. This tier essentially adds weapon “damage” but that damage must be spent on special properties (see below). Resale value is based on tier, and then augmented by a random value.
- Randomly pick an amount of weapon damage to spend on special properties, reduce the weapon’s base damage by this amount and add the bonus “tier damage” generated above to this value.
- Randomly choose special properties until all the damage allocated for abilities is spent. Each special property costs different damage amounts, and a few drawbacks have negative costs.
It’s pretty heavy at the moment so while it could be done mid game with a handful of d100 rolls and some tables, my current plan is to write a quick program to spit out a big pile of weapons, and just print that out and build an “Item deck” that I can just draw from to generate loot, or to populate a shop. This has the added bonus of being able to print out the weapon ability descriptions and rules on the item cards and just hand them to the players so they don’t need to memorize them or look them up. At this point it should be really smooth at the table (to generate a piece of loot, draw a card).
During play the idea is (essentially Anders’ point #4 and #5) that the players will have to make some decisions and determine what’s worth carrying with them to sell later, what’s worth replacing existing equipment with and what gets thrown out. A lot of what gets spit out (including higher tier weapons) will be complete trash but it’s up to the players to decide what’s good and what’s not.
So far I’ve only had the opportunity to playtest the loot rules once but folks seemed to enjoy digging through what was available and trying to evaluate what to get, particularly at the character creation “shop”.