Random Generation for GMs: For Any Occasion

Following on from Random Generation for GMs: Resources and Tips we take the plunge into generators for all occasions!

Generators for Any Occasion

No matter whether you're running a published adventure, something home-brew or just making it up as you go along, there are some things you're always find to have generators for.

These generators can be used to prepare something for the next session, for inspiration or on the spur of the moment.


GMs always need names for those NPCs that players suddenly ask about such as the friendly watchman, lizardfolk guide or captured mercenary.

You can keep a list of 5-10 names of a few types handy.  For my current DnD 5E game I keep 5 names handy for each of humans (male and female), lizardfolk (male and female) and dwarves (male and female).

The names can come from existing lists or random generators. We covered two in Resources for Random Generation, looking at Fantasy Name Generators and Rinkworld.com.

Chaotic Shiny has tools for creating names in bulk, fantasy or modern or places. More interestingly, it has generators which produce names Jumbled or Mixed from the ones you input .

ENWorld has a growing list of Name Generators and you can also build your own using the O.G.R.E system.

Finally the Ultimate Toolbox book has 120+ tables of d20 names for Earth cultures and fantasy races.

Non-Player Characters (NPCs)

You might need some details to fill out 10 passengers on a ship or tavern, a guard hired by the characters or more details about a random NPC the characters took an unlikely interest in!

Fantasy NPCs

Chapter 4 of the D&D 5E Dungeon Master's Guide is dedicated to Creating NPCs with pages of tables for this. Handily for you, Sobran from ENWorld has created a generator using these tables, enhancing it with a name generator.

Example NPC: "Roywyn "Aleslosh" Folkor is a female gnome, recognizable for her pronounced scar. She has high Intelligence and low Charisma. She has a talent: she plays a musical instrument. She tends to twirl her hair and is blustering in her dealings with others. She is captivated by a romantic interest. If you asked her, she would say that her Ideal is, "Redemption!" If she has a flaw, it is that she is prone to fits of rage."

The Pathfinder Gamesmastery Guide has an excellent set of game-neutral tables (pages 94 to 99) including background, goals, physical and personality characteristics, secrets and potential rewards.

There is a varied list of system-neutral generators at Springhole.net which will generate Appearances, Premise, Casts, Knights and my favourite..a Murder Mystery Victim!

Example Murder Mystery Victim: The victim is a male of 28 years of age.  He has an olive complexion, wavy golden-blond hair left uncut, and hazel eyes.  He is short, quite muscular, and is dressed in shorts and a tank top.  He was found at 8:34 PM lying on the sidewalk by an office building

Last Gasp Grimoire has this system neutral generator and if you filter the list of generators at Last Gasp by "NPCs" you'll find a variety of specific generators including 5E D&D, Lovecraftian games, Shadowrun, wizards and vampires...

Example fisherman below:


Modern NPCs

For modern world games there is fakenamegenerator.com, where you can specify nationality and name type, getting not only name but address, favourite colour and a plethora of other (fake) real-world details.

Fake Name Generator

Random Treasure and Objects

Sometimes you need the contents of a giant's sack, a dragon's hoard or a peasant's pockets.

Every edition of the Dungeons and Dragons Dungeon Master's Guide (except 4th) has rules for random magic item and treasure generation in it's pages. Pathfinder is no exception with random magic items in the GamesMastery Guide (pgs 118-137).

Chaotic Shiny has a list of different generators  under the heading of Accessories (scroll down, on the left under Names), including some examples below

  • Cars: This black sedan has an upgraded engine. It can go from 0-60 in 3.48 seconds and has a top speed of 216 mph. It has automatic everything, a lowered body and many cupholders. It is 11 years old. It is moderately priced. It handles poorly. 
  • Charms: A turquoise charm with a quarter moon and an open scroll on the front and the same on the back.
  • Insignias: A pike and a full moon within a square. 
  • Magical Artifacts: This great helm is made at least partially of bone. The leather parts have been dyed navy blue. It enhances the owner's endurance and enhances the owner's attractiveness. The source of its power is its owner's life-force. At the moment, it is locked away

ENWorld has a list of Treasure and Item Tables, including ones for  Picked Pockets Items, Mundane Treasure and Fantasy Library.

One of my favourite generators is the Art Objects from the Draconomicon for D&D 3.5, which you'll be able to see soon on Pie and Dragon as the basis for random objects and treasures!#

And lastly Donjon has a number of Random Treasure and Random Magic Shop generators for AD&D, d20, Pathfinder, DnD4E and DnD5E. Here's an example from the Pathfinder Shop.


Magic Item Shop for Pathfinder.

All Randomed Out

That's it for now. Leave a comment or on twitter at @chaosgenerators if there are generators we missed or you love!