by Mike Shea on 24 October 2011
Introduced in the earliest days of D&D, random loot tables have been woefully lacking in 4th edition. With a lot of excellent updated items in the Dungeon Master's Kit and Mordenkainen's Magnificent Emporium, there's a plethora of items available for PCs, but it can be hard on us poor DMs. Who has the time to research all the potential loot we might reward to our players? Fear not, for you have your answer: the Sly Flourish Random Loot Tables.
Every time your party completes an encounter, roll for random loot using the tables in the Dungeon Master's Kit or Rules Compendium. When an magic item is included in the resulting random loot, go to the appropriate table on the random loot chart and have your players roll 1d20 to determine what magic item is included. If they roll a consumable item, include it and have them roll again.
You can also use these charts as an assortment of potential items available at strange magic shops. Have your players roll three times to determine which items they might purchase on a given day at ye olde magik shoppe.
You will not want to use these charts exclusively for items. Consider asking for a rare item wish list from your players every ten levels to give them a shot at some unique and powerful items as part of story rewards or long-term quests.
If including potential rare items is too scary for you, have players roll again when they roll a 20 and include a second item in the loot pile.
This chart includes uncommon and a few rare items from the Dungeon Master's Kit and Mordenkainen's Magnificent Emporium. It's assumed that your PCs have open access to common magical items at local vendors, so those items are not included.
All the charts come from this Google Docs Random Loot Generator. Each of the 20 slot tables includes five weapons, five suits of armor, nine assorted items of other types, and one rare item. Each table includes items from level+1 to level+4. Not every item is included in each chart - there are many more items than 20 at any given level. However, there's a good mix of items across each level.
Still, for quickly rolling up some random loot, the chart can make things a bit easier for the lazy DM.