Scots Portent Tables

It’s Burns Night tonight! In celebration of the Bard’s contribution to literature and song we present you our free Scots portent tables

Scots shares a root with the more commonly spoken English but recognised as its own language. It’s often mistaken for a dialect or accent, but this is not the case. 

UNESCO recognises Scots as a vulnerable language, and in gratitude for the home Handiwork Games has found in Scotland we’re happy to raise awareness of this much-misunderstood branch of language. 

To answer a frequently asked question, we don’t offer a translation of any of the Scots words in these portent tables – Google is your friend and able companion and we wouldn’t dare rob you of the joy of discovery! (Likewise we don’t offer a Scots translation of the English language Portent tables found in the BEOWULF core setting book!)

About Portent Tables 

Portent tables are one of the many additions to the 5e rules set found in BEOWULF Age of Heroes. These make your duet play adventures engaging, poetic and thematic. 

At the beginning of each adventure, the player uses the portent tables to create two lines of poetry. The result of the rolls also indicates how many inspiration tokens are added to the unique Inspiration Pool. During play, any time the player can reference the Portent created, they can draw inspiration from the Pool. The same rolls also let the GM know what happens on the way to the adventure in the form of Voyage Events. 

To generate the first part of the Portent, the Player rolls 1d4 and consults the following structure table:

This tells you which sort of table to roll on: for an “Adjective Adjective” result, roll up 2 adjectives to form the first part of the couplet. For the “Noun Adjective” result, roll once on a Noun table, and then once on an Adjective Table.

To roll on an Adjective or Noun Table, roll 1d6 for the horizontal axis, and 1d6 for the vertical axis. Cross reference the result to give you a word or phrase.

Repeat the same process again for the second half of the Portent:

Roll 1d4 for the structure, and then make your 2d6 rolls on the appropriate Noun and Adjective Tables.

So for example,
Rolling a three for the first part of the Portent gives us “Noun Adjective”. Rolling on the Noun table we get 3 and then 4 on a d6. That gives us “Numptie”. Repeating this for the Adjective, and rolling 4 and 5 gives us “Toatie”:
Numptie Toatie
For the second part we repeat this process and roll up: Gallus Laddie

So our Scots Portent is “Numptie Toatie, Gallus Laddie“. A fine piece of poetry!

If you’re celebrating Burns Night this evening we hope you have a braw time. If you’d like the ascots Portent tables in print, grab a copy of The BEOWULF Annual 2022.