I’ve been thinking about a Dogs in the Vineyard-style D&D setting where monsters are congealed out of the evil of a particular crime, so saving a village from its monster woes requires uncovering the local dark secrets. I haven’t gotten too far on that, but here are tables to create a random crime in a village or city neighborhood.

The Criminal

Roll 1d20.

  1. Mayor or other government official
  2. Aristocrat or other rich landowner
  3. Rich Merchant
  4. Master Crafter
  5. Journeyman Crafter
  6. Apprentice Crafter
  7. Guard
  8. Wanderer (Hunter, Scout, etc.)
  9. Priest
  10. Acolyte
  11. Lower Class Merchant
  12. Laborer
  13. Beggar
  14. Visiting Adventurer
  15. Wizard
  16. Apprentice Wizard
  17. Master Thief
  18. Common Criminal
  19. Friend of the PCs
  20. A relation of (reroll on this table and reverse the relationship of criminal and victim)

The Crime

Roll 2d8 and keep the lower result.

  1. Crime against possessions (e.g., Theft, Burglary, Arson)
  2. Crime against health (e.g., Assault, Poisoning)
  3. Crime against agency (e.g., Restraint, Blackmail)
  4. Crime against possessions and health (e.g, Violent Robbery)
  5. Crime against possessions and agency (e.g, Exortion)
  6. Crime against health and agency (e.g., False Imprisonment, Physical Coercion)
  7. Crime against possessions, health, and agency (e.g., Murder, Rape)
  8. Evil Most Foul (Necromancy, Diabolism, Desecration)

The Victim

Roll 2d8 and keep the lower result.

  1. A stranger to the criminal
  2. An acquaintance of the criminal
  3. A neighbor of the criminal
  4. A friend or colleague of the criminal
  5. An extended blood relation of the criminal (e.g., cousin, uncle, etc.)
  6. A parent or sibling of the criminal
  7. The criminal’s spouse
  8. The criminal’s child or grandchild

The Motive

Roll 2d8 and keep the lower result.

  1. Power: The act gains the criminal power beyond that legally available (Pride)
  2. Need: The act is to fulfill a corporal urge (Gluttony, Sloth, Lust)
  3. Avarice: The act is to enrich the criminal beyond what is legal (Greed)
  4. Hate: The act is to harm someone the criminal hates (Envy)
  5. Rage: The act is because the criminal is angry beyond rationality (Wrath)
  6. Secrecy: The act is to protect the criminal from legitimate reprisals
  7. Loyalty: The act is to benefit or protect someone the criminal owes or loves
  8. Madness: The act is because the criminal is insane and does not know right from wrong

For Example

  • Lower Class Merchant/assault/child/secrecy: A shop owner brutally beat his son after the boy let slip his father’s sale of stolen goods.
  • Journeyman Crafter/theft/acquaintance/hate: A young chandler has been stealing the work of the newest and most promising apprentice whose skills are obviously better than his own.
  • Visiting Adventurer/murder/acquaintance/rage: Another adventurer in town was saying at a lodging house and murdered the owner during a drunken dispute over the bill.
  • Laborer/blackmail/stranger/loyalty: A waitress at the inn has been finding out secrets from lodgers and blackmailing them, trying to scrape together extra money to support her family.
  • Acolyte/restraint/cousin/avarice: An extra son constrained to the priesthood, a series of misfortunes led the acolyte to be next in succession to his uncle’s lands. He’s locked his cousin in the church basement while he works up the courage to do away with him.