Hyborian Locations

BagoGames: “Conan Exiles” (CC BY 2.0)

If places such as an ophidian, beast-cursed port of reverie with a history lost in the mists of time are close to your heart, you may like this location description generator that owes so much to the works of Robert E. Howard, nowadays best known as the chronicler of a certain barbarian, thief, reaver and king.

The Detail button produces a brief portrayal, while Description spits out a whole sentence.

The place names are generated from syllables, and could still have some bumps ironed out. But I consider the lacking articles more troublesome, as the generator is not yet capable of inserting a suitable indefinite article.




It is not possible to specify subtables for generators embedded in the blog, but the source data for this generator is available in the GitHub repository. You can copy and paste the .json file contents into the Generator Service text box and start experimenting with the generator. Subtables can be specified in the resultPattern string.

If you are already using Campaign Logger, open one of your campaign logs, click the cogwheel-shaped Options button, select Manage Custom Generators, then Add new generator… and paste the generator data in the text box. After you save the generator, click the Show Generators button in your campaign log to access the new generator.

Superstition generator

17th century painting of Stockholm, depicting an ominous ‘sun dog’ event in 1535.

This simple generator is a slightly tweaked version of the ‘Superstition Generator’ from Johnn Four’s Role Playing Tips newsletter #356. As this is a direct conversion, there are no options to select from. Just click the button to get the latest rumor from the superstition front.



It is not possible to specify subtables for generators embedded in the blog, but the source data for this generator is available in the GitHub repository. You can copy and paste the .json file contents into the Generator Service text box and start experimenting with the generator. Subtables can be specified in the resultPattern string.

If you are already using Campaign Logger, open one of your campaign logs, click the cogwheel-shaped Options button, select Manage Custom Generators, then Add new generator… and paste the generator data in the text box. After you save the generator, click the Show Generators button in your campaign log to access the new generator.

Dungeon Adventure

dungeon chamber
screenshot: “Legend of Grimrock” by Almost Human.

This generator produces short dungeon adventures.
For background information, see the Designing the Dungeon Adventure Generator
post.

This generator is intended to give the Game Master an inspirational draft that should be detailed into a more finished description.

 


 

Designing the Dungeon Adventure Generator

Dungeon Adventure is the most complex generator I have written for the Campaign Logger game mastering tool so far.

Before the actual dungeon is created, the generator starts by setting down some variables in the background. Note that the following is the order in which these variables are set, which is not the same order in which they are presented in the output.

Motif
This is the general theme of the dungeon that the Game Master can use as an inspiration when fleshing out the details. Ideally the motif should show throughout the dungeon to give the adventure a distinct atmosphere. The motif can vary from a simple vermin-infested pit to a more challenging infernal portal.

Goal
The goal is simply to aim which the adventurers are trying to achieve in the adventure. In the initial version of the generator, the goal can be either fighting, capturing, rescuing or escaping.

The goal can have an effect on the adventure’s title, as it also randomly sets related  goaldescription and symbol variables that may be used in the title. If the goal is for example fighting, one possible value for goaldescription is “bring me the head of” and similarly the symbol value for the same result would be “blood”. These results could produce adventure titles like “Bring me the Head of the Dark Wizard” or “The Blood of the Hulking Colossus”.

Difficulty
For now the difficulty level is random, but maybe some day it will be possible to choose this via a user-selectable parameter. The difficulty levels are apprentice, journeyman, master, adept and legend.

Villain
The villain is randomized based on the difficulty level. Apprentice-level villains are mostly ordinary humans like cultists and madmen, while legendary villains can be ancient wyrms or demon lords.

Macguffin
A macguffin is a plot device that draws the characters into the adventure. The macguffin may not even have a real purpose for solving the adventure, it is just something that puts things in motion.

Treasure
Currently treasure generation is completely random, although it could well be connected to the difficulty level. The treasure also has a complication that hopefully gives the adventure ending an interesting twist.

Complication
A complication is a factor that affects the whole dungeon – something that creates an additional element of danger or complexity to the adventure.

Scenes
The adventure starts with a hook, continues with a number of action and development scenes and finishes with a finale and a resolution. All of these phases alternate between action and development variants. This means that plot development will always be followed with action, and vice versa. This formula is based on Flint Dille’s beat chart concepts as utilized in Mike Pondsmith’s “Dream Park: The Roleplaying Game” (R. Talsorian Games 1992), as well as Hollywood script formulas.

The Door Dilemma
The room descriptions also list exits, although I’m not sure how useful this is. As the rooms are random, the exits may not always make sense if you draw a map. Therefore the listed exits should be considered only as suggestions.

Maybe some day we will have support for variable matrices and the dungeons can be actually mapped with logical connections between the rooms…

Duration
In the end, the generator also produces an extremely crude estimate of the scenario’s duration. This is based on purely on the number of the generated scenes. The value varies between 90 and 240 minutes.

One-Line Location Description

Medieval Town by Water
Karl Eduard Biermann: “Cathedral Towering over a Town” (c. 1830)

This generator is quite a simple affair. It produces one-line descriptions of locations in various terrains – with variations and complications.


The result string can have four different forms:

  • just the location name
  • a descriptive adjective + the location name
  • location name with a complication
  • a descriptive adjective + the location name + a complication

Even this limited amount of variation can create an impression of a wide range of results – which is nice, as the generator is still a work in progress and could feature a much wider selection of different types of locations.

I plan to return to expand this table from time to time, as this is a fun table to work with in small increments.