Table of Contents
This page lists useful tools for players and GMs.
Note: This list is for generators of names. For maps, see Map Generators below.
Abulafia Random Generators includes tons of random names, descriptions, prophecies, etc.
Random City Map Generator creates a reasonable top-down map of a medieval-style city, complete with roads, rivers, a possible port, etc. The drawing is simple, but the towns always look realistic.
Seventh Sanctum also has a number of generators.
What's behind this door? Help's generate rooms on the fly.
John Kim's Free RPG's on the Web lists over 500 free RPGs.
Onomastikon is a huge list of names from around the world, grouped by civilization.
101 Fantasy City, Town, and Village Maps is exactly what it claims to be.
Dyson's Dodecahedron features dozens of very high-quality maps.
Parasite Designs Offers oodles of Creative Commons released black & white dungeon maps.
Online Tools for Any System
D&D 4E Online Tools
- Tools Review: Dungeons & Dragons Virtual Table Beta by Game Knight Reviews lets us follow as they get elbow-deep in the VT.
Online Tools for Other Systems
- The Complete D&D 2e Monstrous Manual is now online. And yes, it has the Flumph.
Articles for Players
Articles for Game Masters
- The Adventure Funnel is a classic post revealing a simple way to structure a session towards a goal.
- The Three Clue Rule offers a way of approaching mysteries, and the clues within them.
- There are only 3 Types of Loot.
- Useful Charts: Treasure by Party Level and Sly Flourish's DM Cheat Sheet by Chris Dundon provides a Google Docs version of the handy random treasure table from the 4e Essentials DM's Book and a link to Sly Flourish's monster stats cheat sheet.
- The Inevitable Apocalypse suggests a plot hook: an upcoming apocalypse that the PCs can't prevent, but can affect.
- How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Improv - Advice on incorporating improv into games
- Ray Winninger's Dungeoncraft articles about worldbuilding in D&D.
- One Stat Block, Five Systems - A simple, HTML-based stat block that encompasses five RPG systems (D&D, Gamma World, Savage Worlds, FATE, and Apocalypse World).
- Top 5 Ways to Speed Up Tabletop RPG Combat from Troll in the Corner features five solid, simple ways to keep combat moving, particularly in a D&D3.x/4E/Pathfinder game.
- Also in the Role of the GM vein, The Id DM published some thoughts on how a GM's role is to entertain the players in I Am The Entertainer, And I Know Just Where I Stand.
- Got Loot Blogfest has lots of ideas about handling loot
- The Art Of Boss Design: Tips From A Combat Designer at AltDevBlogADay thinks about designing boss monsters from a video game perspective, but these same ideas can work in a tabletop RPG as well.
- The Big Open Questions Method for Tightening Up Plot by Brent P. Newhall at http://trollitc.com/Troll In The Corner provides a method for doing exactly what it advertises.
- Background Questions For Players is exactly what it sounds like.
- Use cards and dice to run a chase scene in real time using Howling Tower's Chase Scenes
Articles for Freelancers
- Finding Success as a Freelancer gives some great tips for anyone freelancing in the RPG industry.
D&D 4E Options (Rules, Powers, Themes, Classes, etc.)
- Somewhere Between Living and Dying discusses an alternative way to handle the Dying condition in 4th Edition, allowing for some player action below 0 hit points.
- Modern Assembly: A 4e Hack by Brian Liberge announces Gamer Assembly's ruleset for modern roleplaying based on D&D 4E.
- A Warlock With a Gun: Re-skinning Basic D&D Classes for Modern Games by Brian Liberge tweaks character classes for use in a modern port of the D&D 4e rules.
Open Source Monsters
Open Source Items
- The RPG Design Sub-Index contains dozens of articles on tabletop RPG design.
- How RPG Rules Work provides a simple framework for seeing how rules affect the players, the world, etc.
- Fred Hicks posts about Accidentally Designing Marvel's Action Order System. Great preview for those who haven't read the system, plus insight on strategic uses of the “you next” initiative system.
- Narrative Is Not a Game Mechanic, Except in Roleplaying Games from Deeper In The Game concludes that despite accusations of a more videogamey feel to recent RPGs, they've actually moved away from the videogame's prefab stories which provide a single limited experience and toward stronger improvisational narrative tools which provide an infinite variety of experiences.
- 3 Generations After The End, a system-neutral post-apocalyptic setting
- Secaelia, designed for use with Swords and Wizardry, Labyrinth Lord, or OD&D.
- Secaelia: Player Classes and Options by Chris Jackson explains what classes should be available within the world of Secaelia, based on classes available in the Swords and Wizardry manual, plus details about how the different classes are perceived in-world.
- Marvel Heroic Roleplaying
Articles About D&D As Phenomenon (Edition Wars, etc.)
- A Response to an Open Letter to D&D Next's Art Department by digitaldraco argues for more inclusion in D&D's art tempered with a side of romance and flirty sexuality.
- Dungeon Bastard: Edition Wars (YouTube) sums up gamer tolerance by asking two questions: “Does this game have Dungeons? Does this game have Dragons? Great, then I want to play this game!” Also, a d6000 weighs 2.8 tons and looks like a Volkswagen with acne. Best 150 seconds I've spent this week.
The D&D 5E "Games Are Dying" Kerfuffle
- DDXP 2012 Report: The First Glimpses at the New Edition of D&D at Geek's Dream Girl reports on the seminars on and playtesting of D&D Next at DDXP, including having Monte Cook as GM.
- Code Phrases for D&D Next, now including a code phrase randomizer at the top of the page.
- Brian Ballsun-Stanton has two PhD-level papers about RPGs: Clerics, Magic Users, Fighters and Thieves : Theoretical Approaches to Rules Questions on the Role-Playing Games Stack Exchange and Constrained Optimization in Dungeons and Dragons : A Theory of Requirements Generation for Effective Character Creation
- Playing the Pathfinder Boxed Set with a 3-year-old on YouTube shows how playing with young kids can be awesome.
- Fantasy Armor and Lady Bits gives us an armorer's perspective on balancing utility and femininity to avoid the fantasy trap of pointless armor for women. Cheesecake Armor Bonus, beware; your days are numbered.
- Brent also posted Adventures Are Stories, where he points out that published adventures are fundamentally narratives, which requires a certain amount of linear plotting.
- gameshelped.org is a new initiative to collect stories of how games helped improve your life. It's good to focus on the positive aspects of games. Please take a look and contribute if you can.
- Seth Godin doesn't identify as a gamer, but his blog post outlining the TED Imperatives gives anyone in the RPG community some guidelines for defusing edition war-like-arguments before they escalate to Holy War status. Many of us skip the first 2 steps: Be Interested and Be Generous.
- On Stack Exchange and Scholarly RPG Papers exposes a couple of treatises on RPGs. One dissects character creation, and the other uses the four basic D&D classes as archetypical approaches to interpreting RPG rules.
- I keep thinking about running a Lexicon game, so this week I looked up some variations on the standard letter-a-day format.
- Gamer Resolutions by Tracy Hurley covers a smattering of what gamers are working toward in the new year with some suggested sites to help keep those resolutions.
- For you loyal 'mech jockeys out there, go download this free BattleTech 16 month calendar PDF. Remember: heat sinks are for the weak.
- Nukemap will show you just how far the fireball from a 350 kiloton nuclear warhead will extend from ground zero. Ideal for modern doomsday games or Twilight: 2000.