We were sitting in Ma Yang’s Wing Hut people watching as she fussed about us not eating enough and getting too thin. Outside the streets were filled with crowds of shoppers lit by the neon glow of shop signs and the pale lights that spilled out from shop interiors. It was all so normal. And then the bomb went off.
When I first started running Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) I tended to place my players down dungeons and through narrow corridors where they only had three real options: go forward, go back, and stay where you are. As I got more experience, though, I began to throw them into urban environments and that’s when things started getting more complicated.
Inevitably the players would wind up getting themselves into some dangerous situation with the mob, or antagonizing the police, or blowing up a children’s hospital. Regardless of what happened I would always end up with panicked people running from danger. Early on I tended to just hand-wave the situation and say, “The people ran away.” Then one day a player wanted to use the panicked civilians to escape from danger and I had to figure out which way they were going.
That’s when I came up with the chart below. The concept is fairly simple: the panicked mob is treated as a single entity and moves as one in any direction. You determine that direction by rolling 1d8 and moving them in the corresponding direction.