Training Montage Tables

I had this cool idea for PC training. We normally just say you have to train, or you don’t, whatever the rules say or the referee is doing with this campaign. Ya pays yer money and ya gets yer level. Well what actually happens in that time? You’re paying money, so we can assume you’re training under someone. That someone is telling you to do stuff and giving you valuable insights. What kind of stuff are you doing? This can also be used to tell players what they see when they walk through the courtyard of a castle, or among the tents at a jousting tournament, or in the back rooms of the Thieve’s Guild.

These tables are organized according to the type of activity. If this is class-based training, just roll on three or so tables that represent what kinds of things that class does regularly.

1 Partner throws apples at you, have to spike them with a sword.
2 Partner throws sashes at you, which you have to cut cleanly with a sword.
3 Chopping firewood all day long with an axe.
4 Carefully chopping wooden shingles with an axe.
5 Chopping down saplings, bamboo, and brush with a machete or hatchet.
6 Handling a polearm in formation with other students.
7 Drilling for formation marching.
8 Smacking a leather-covered wooden pole with a weapon.
9 Punching a tall leather bag full of sand.
10 Wrestling practice with other students.
11 Sparring while rowing small boats on the river.
12 Sparring with distractions (roll 1d8 on the Locks and Traps table)

1 Shooting at discus that are thrown by other students.
2 Shooting at targets down a low hallway where little arc is possible.
3 Shooting at targets moving down a track, pulled by strength-training students.
4 Holding a bow drawn for minutes at a time.
5 Shooting at targets set among tree branches.
6 Shooting at targets lit only by weak flames.
7 Shooting at targets that are under a foot of water.
8 Shooting at targets that slide along a steep-angled rope.
9 Shooting in a high arc to hit something far away at the same level.
10 Stringing and maintaining bows and crossbows.
11 Shooting while riding on horseback.
12 Shooting while distracted (roll 1d8 on the Locks and Traps table)

1 Throw apples at someone who is practicing blades – he must spike them with a sword.
2 Skipping stones off a pool of water into buckets.
3 Hurling javelins.
4 Hurling the shotput.
5 Hurling the discus, which archers fire at.
6 Throwing water from a jug to put out specific torches.
7 Throwing sashes at a partner, which he must cut cleanly with a sword.
8 Throwing heavy rocks up onto platforms at the school construction area.
9 Juggling practice: lit torches, knives, or stones.
10 Playing catch with other students using fragile clay jars full of sand. Don’t break them!
11 Playing catch with weighted medicine balls.
12 Throwing stones to hit stones thrown by other students.

1 Lassoing pigs.
2 Untangling fishing nets.
3 Setting, opening, and mending fowler’s nets.
4 Rigging a pulley system to lift a heavy load, then dismantling and packing it up.
5 Rig up and maintain the ropes crossing the training yard for tightrope-walkers.
6 Maintain the ropes and pulleys at the school construction area.
7 Maintain the ropes for swinging across the training yard.
8 Knot-tying workshop
9 Brush and braid the hair of the village lasses
10 Repair frayed ropes

1 Riding at a training dummy and hitting it with a lance or sword.
2 Charging at a mass of hanging rings and tearing off only the red ones with your lance.
3 Leaping your horse over obstacles.
4 Forcing your horse to pass through illusory flames.
5 Riding up and down steep hills.
6 Galloping through low-hanging branches of trees along a lane.
7 Fording the river on horseback.
8 Leading a blindfolded horse along a narrow path.
9 Hanging from the side of the saddle.
10 Brushing, cleaning, and otherwise caring for horses.
11 Leaping into the saddle or down from it.
12 Standing in the saddle while trotting.

1 Carrying logs out behind the training yard for the axe students to chop up.
2 Breaking rocks with a heavy hammer.
3 Hauling on ropes to pull moving targets for archery students.
4 Lifting village lasses and carrying them up and down stairs.
5 Carrying rocks around for the masons at the school construction area.
6 Get under a floor platform and shake it around while a lock-picker rides it and tries to work.
7 Lunging toward and smashing your weight into training dummies.
8 Lifting heavy weights along with other people, coordinating efforts.
9 Climbing ladders suspended vertically, horizontally, and diagonally (with just arms / with just legs).
10 Snap progressively-thicker bundles of sticks.

1 Climbing a tree to hang lots of rings from it for horsemanship training.
2 A field of thick poles stuck in the ground – you must leap from pole to pole.
3 A field of thick poles stuck in the ground – you must weave among them.
4 Crawl under sharp obstacles through mud and stones.
5 Leap from rowboat to rowboat, trying to not upset them, while other students row them in formation.
6 Tightrope-walk across the training yard
7 Climb a fieldstone wall.
8 Swing from tree to tree in the training yard, avoiding obstacles below.
9 Rowing boats that need to stay very still for acrobats to leap from boat to boat.
10 Walk around with things balanced on your head.
11 Leaping up and over training dummies.
12 Rowing downriver through rapids and over small waterfalls.

1 Recover hurled javelins and shotputs all day.
2 Wear weights while performing some other training regimen.
3 Marching long distances with full equipment.
4 Swimming upriver.
5 Rowing boats that carry cargo and people for the school.
6 Carry water up stairs to the upper rooms of the school.
7 Loading and unloading tools and other equipment for the school construction area.
8 Mixing and stirring mortar for the school construction area.
9 Hauling rowboats out of the river and portaging them upriver.
10 Leaping down onto sand, then gravel, then stone.

1 Recite verses from a heroic epic that your trainer really likes.
2 Assemble a mosaic from memory using loose tiles.
3 Rewrite pages of text, including errors, exactly.
4 View a complex scene and later answer questions about it.
5 Recite a long, drawn-out story about the friends and family of one of the village lasses.
6 Remember the names, ages, heights, and weights of all the other students.
7 Participate in knot-tying training with the rope students.
8 Catalogue various plants, animals, or minerals.
9 Memorize songs and chants that help you remember long lists of things.
10 Re-play both sides of a board game from memory after viewing it through once.

Spellcasting (I should probably make up a table for each type of spell)
1 Cast fire magic to light torches while other people throw water to extinguish them.
2 Cast an illusion of flames for people to ride their horses through.
3 Cast lightning magic to blast stone buildings at the school construction area.
4 Counter-spelling against other magical students back and forth
5 Casting your spells as slowly as possible to delay the effect until you finally finish.
6 Casting while distracted (roll 1d8 on the Locks and Traps table)
7 Levitating heavy loads or multiple small items at once.
8 Magically churning the water in the river to make things difficult for people rowing in it.
9 Heal other students, or cure their fatigue, or summon Unseen Servants to give them massages.
10 Telekinetically knock roof tiles loose while other students telekinetically catch them and put them back.

Piety (Can also be used as punishments for bad students)
1 Fast for several days while maintaining some other training regimen.
2 Walk a labyrinth inscribed on the ground, on your knees, every morning. This represents a pilgrimage.
3 Wash the feet of the poor.
4 Gather alms for the poor.
5 Muck out the stables and spread new hay and rushes.
6 Wash everyone’s laundry.
7 Vow of silence while maintaining some other training regimen.
8 Study religious books.
9 Go to the temple of another religion and learn from them without speaking of your own faith.
10 Teach the feral village children fundamentals like literacy, arithmetic, and not biting.

Locks and Traps
1 Open a lock while people talk around you.
2 Open a lock in the dark or in cramped quarters.
3 Open a lock while you’re upside-down or lying down on your side.
4 Open a lock while icy water is dripping on you.
5 Open a lock while smoke billows around you.
6 Open a lock while a student moves a floor platform around under you.
7 Open a lock while holding your breath underwater.
8 Open a lock while suspended by ropes.
9 As a 1d8 roll, but there is a trap that shoots a jet of water at your face.
10 As a 1d8 roll, but there is a trap that smacks you with a leather fist on the end of an articulated arm.
11 As a 1d8 roll, but there is a trap that screeches at you horrifyingly.
12 Finger-exercises that form various shapes and hand-signs.

1 Steal from a training dummy with bells sewn into it.
2 Sneak across gravel, leaves, and ankle-deep water.
3 Hide yourself among bushes and leaves, or up in the trees.
4 Conceal seven items on your person.
5 Conceal seven items in a room (library, office, workshop, bedroom, etc.)
6 Try to lose a pursuer through the nearby village.
7 Track someone through the nearby village without being noticed.
8 Quietly swim along the boardwalk by the river.
9 Quietly climb a wall, pull yourself over, and land on the other side.
10 Observe another Stealth training regimen with the trainer and try to spot things as they happen.
11 Sneak across a creaky wooden floor.
12 Sneak through the obstacle course, stealing noisy or heavy objects, bringing them all to the end.


4 Responses to “Training Montage Tables”

  1. Cygnus Says:

    Very cool! I may be adopting some of this kind of flavor to flesh out the rough outline of “training for next level” that I posted about here

  2. Jeff Rients Says:

    This is good stuff. Both you and Cygnus have some interesting ideas for making training way more interesting than described in the 1st ed. DMG.

  3. Gordon A. Cooper Says:

    These are great. I’ve always treated leveling as an abstract concept, but now I’m reconsidering the possibilities.

  4. 1d30 Says:

    This all could be rolled into training with those “Gain a Level” or “Gain a Stat” books (Manual of Bodily Health etc). I recall one of the Cleric Quintet series had the priest protagonist find and use one of those, and it described him just sitting around reading it getting all sweaty. Not very interesting!

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