Friday, 11 May 2012

Why I like.... Random generators

Not blogged in a while so I thought I would talk about something I find useful and sometimes invaluable to creativity and planning: random generator sites.

Using random generators doesn't mean you're automatically lazy or uncreative. They're great for giving you an idea to start off with that you can then adapt. They're also great for role playing games, and especially GMs if you need to create an NPC or random object quickly.

Two of my favourite generator sites are Chaotic shiny ( and Seventh Sanctum (

Let me give you an example of what can be made with random generators....
(all of the following information and settings are created entirely by Chaotic Shiny's various random generators)

 The city is slightly below average and built around a central bridge on a river The Economic Base:is crafting, primarily textiles. the economy is strong and stable. Main attractions are fountains and lavish temples and the city is famous for spies, cavalry and merchants. The nearest Tavern: not far from the entrance, but hard to find. The government is one elected official with a major Influence being local politics. There is a low amount of corruption.Guards find bribes insulting, the Locals are amicable and crime average levels. There is a strong Religious Influence. The streets have very odd names and the buildings are close together. Notable locals include: The alcoholic guard captain who is rumored to be involved in several prominent assassinations. She has many allies. Rumours say that she loathes mages. She can usually be found in a certain tavern. There is also the lecherous royal who recently had a sudden change in alliance. He has been quickly gaining enemies. Rumours say that he holds a grudge against other royalty. He can usually be found at a party. The wealthy mercenary who has a family closet full of skeletons. He has been rapidly losing allies. Rumours say that he has had incidents involving warriors. He can usually be found near the outskirts of the city. A very wealthy criminal who frequently speaks against the establishment. She has many allies. Rumours say that she has strong feelings for minor nobility. She can usually be found at a party. The disgraced mage who has a family closet full of skeletons. He has few open allies. Rumors say that he has some problems with wizards. He can usually be found near the outskirts of the city. The spendthrift criminal who is associated with allegations of bribery. She has more enemies than allies. Rumours say that she is easily irritated by guild leaders. She can usually be found in a certain tavern. The seductive scion who is an open heretic. She has few open allies. Rumours say that she is careful around military officials. She can usually be found at a friend's house. All people to possible find later. You find and walk into The Dancing Wench inn. It is overall of shady quality, large with above average cleanliness. The drink and food is overpriced, though the quality is good and decent and the food variety is above average. The drinks variety is far above average. Room pricing here is fair, though the room size is fairly small. Also, all the rooms are fully occupied. There is a healthy crowd in though the noise level is quiet and subdued. Most of the crowd are shady-looking and 100% of the dark corners in the bar are occupied. About half the patrons are drunk and about half are openly armed. The most notable patron is the harried-looking elf sitting at the bar. The bar's menu is carved on a sign behind the bar. The bar tender is annoyed and glares in your general direction. The house special is light yellow-green with many bubbles and some ice. The drink smells heavenly and tastes like licorice. Its non alcohol. You go outside.The city is getting ready for Kreessavea, a joyful holiday celebrated on the third full moon of winter. It is associated with a loss, magical abilities and a case of mistaken identity. Traditions include public and private decorations, contests of strength, affirmations of relationships and contests of cleverness. In the crowd, you spot an unattractive, sullen man who is wandering aimlessly. He comes over to you. He tells you how you. need to prevent the escape of the spy without the knight ruining everything or the gods' wrath cannot be prevented.

Fun, isn't it? The city, the tavern, the holiday, even the man in the crowd and his quest were all created using random generators. They're great for adding flavour to games or for just giving you a point to work from. What if the party decided instead of going to the Tavern, they wanted to investigate the disgraced mage? That could open up a whole new kettle of fish. Of course, you can't just rely on random generators to do everything - besides, players are just as good at coming up with random madcap things for you. But if you're needing flavour for your game, a character or something on quick notice or are even just struggling to come up wit ha name for your character, random generators can help you out. At the very least, they can give you amusing ideas. After all, who doesn't want to read a book entitled "Muscular System of the Bugbear and the Centaur: Unexpected Similarities"  or meet a statuesque race that have tentacles instead of hair and have only a single eye,  short lifespans and have an efficient government? (Seventh Sanctum generated).

Something to try out, you may surprise yourself.