It seems to be a thing this winter that random rpg tools are becoming really popular. JDale has his brilliant RMU NPC Generator, I cannot link to the thread directly as you need to be signed in as a play tester but I am pretty sure if you are into RMU then you know about this already.

On MeWe there is an entire group dedicated to random tools. I have used random maps and random dungeons in the past. I personally highly rate Grozzys not just for random dungeons, but also terrain and cave systems. I am no artist so getting great looking maps is a real boon. The other standout feature at Grozzys is the gallery of precreated maps. People have uploaded images you can download and print off if they hit the mark for you.

I like random name generators and if I am running an adventure in an elven culture I tend to keep a sheet of random elven names, printed off double line spaced so I an spirit up an NPC on the fly and add a few notes to them as I go.

I was thinking last night that the mother of all randomisers in RPGs had to be the wandering monster table. What brought this on was that I am laying out a settlement of sorts, half way between a village and a fort. When the characters go there it ‘should’ be all peaceful, sweetness and light. When they leave chances are that there will be black smoke rolling from windows and widows wailing over their fallen men folk, but that is just my PCs for you.

What I wanted was essentially a wandering monster table but of normal things, normal people doing normal jobs. The point being that as the characters will almost certainly want to get in and out of areas without being seen. A maid cleaning a room is as big a problem as a patrolling guard.

So I wanted a wandering monster table for in the common areas, one for the more secure areas and one for the more affluent areas. The point of the random nature of this is that when the characters pass through an area once there could be someone going one way carrying laundry, the next time there could be a guard trying to sweet talk a lady in waiting, the next time a child playing a cup and ball game and so on. A charming PC may try to bluff the maid with the laundry. The child could be bribed with sweet money but the guard and his beau are a harder challenge. He has responsibilities and a resentment of being disturbed in the first place.

You could say that I could create all this on the fly as I go but what if I am having an off day? Or I get tired?

You also need a surprising number of random events before they start to repeat.

So I started thinking about just kitchen staff random events, just guard random events, just ‘upstairs’ (footmen, ladies in waiting, butlers and such) staff. Then guard movements, hunters, groundsmen, gardeners. Then the trades.

You may think that this is a lot of hard work but my adventure map has something like 60 locations and a simple 1d6 possibles would 360 random events. 1d6 is probably  the minimum. A 1d10 becomes 600 possibles entries.

Most of these will be throw away descriptions, the characters look around a corner and there is a girl playing with a length of ribbon so they go a different way.

So how to approach the random events? 

My first plan was to hand write these all long hand and create the random tables. Now I see how many entries I probably need it could easier to write either a spreadsheet or a javascript, in a previous incarnation I was a web developer, that will spit out loads of random encounters. The thing just spits out a sentence made of random parts that should fit together and make sense. I could then just copy and paste these into my notes.

I am now going to spend ay free time this weekend trying to build these urban random encounter generators. I will let you know next week how I get on.

9 Replies to “Randomisers”

  1. I forgot that I wrote this post. Yes it is.

    The randomiser turned into a bit of a monster. It still has fairly poor grammar but it gets a little smarter every week.


    Firstly, I must say ignore the dice roller, that is for FUDGE games and not used by the randomiser.

    Go down to the world setup and enter the descriptions. If you are entering weapons or armour do not put ‘a sword’ just put ‘sword’ and it should sort out ‘a word’ or ‘an axe’.

    There are a few sliders you get to play with to tweak the settings.

    This script is still evolving.

    I released one supplement of fantasy human guards. I have another of metropolitan police officers and londoners just waiting for a spelling and grammar check. I think I can churn those out on a one a day basis if needed. I just need to cycle through all the races and cultures.

    At the moment every time I play with it I think of an improvement so end up tweaking it.

        1. Do you remember I mentioned that I had some supplements I fancied turning into apps? I have a feeling that some of what you would be using to create an app of this type would work for them.

          1. OK, let me actually created a working app first, then I will email you.

            Writing the app is just one jigsaw piece. It also needs listing on Google play and then there is a question of promoting from DTRPG to Google play.

            Step one still has to be writing a viable app.

            1. Yes, the app is definitely the most important bit!

              Regarding promotion, although we can’t directly link to other sites from either emails or OBS itself, it’s easy enough to add text in both saying to look for the app by name on Google Play. Plus links can be included in supplements. Once one app is created, new apps can be advertised from it, both from a ‘More Apps’ screen and a popup (there’s a name for it which escapes me at the moment) that runs for perhaps a week announcing when a new app has been released.

              It’s something I have been thinking about. Before employing anyone to create the app, I knew I would need a plan of action, and overview of the app’s structure, to make things easier.

  2. I’d also suggest, for random things, that you take a look at the subreddit d100 ( https://www.reddit.com/r/d100/ ) . They have some awesome lists, all of which strive to be 100 entries long. An example would be the currently in progress “Tavern Games”, which is a list of various games you could find in any given Tavern.
    Granted, these lists aren’t endless, like a true randomizer, but they are quite good, not to mention hilarious at times.

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