Random Things: Local Beliefs & Festivals

villager.pngLocal Festivals

These random things articles are designed as quick idea generators for time-pressed GMs who want to inject some additional details into their game. Isolated villages and towns inevitably develop their own traditions and customs, these can add a lot of flavour to an RPG but are often sadly ignored.

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Random Things: Street Vendors

cart-1200940_960_720Street Vendors

These random things articles are designed as quick idea generators for time-pressed GMs who want to inject some additional details into their game. Street vendors are often seen in smaller settlements in fantasy RPGs where there are no established markets, selling their wares from wooden carts or in simple crates at the side of the dirt paths that serve as the main throughfares, however they can also be found in larger settlements, either trying to dodge taxes or perhaps they simply can’t afford a pitch on a more prestigious market.

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Random Things that you might hear about a Haunted House

These random things articles are designed as quick idea generators for time-pressed GMs who want to inject some additional details into their game, in this article we look at random rumours that you might hear about a haunted house.

When you need some inspiration just roll a D20 and consult the table:

1A number of previous residents have killed themselves after complaining that they were being haunted by something unseen following them on the stairs.
2The previous owner is believed to have murdered a number of people when he ran the building as a guest house, their angry spirits now prowl the hallways seeking vengeance.
3Rumour has it that a hidden gateway to hell lies somewhere within the grounds of the building.
4Local children dare each other to spend a night alone in the house, normally nothing happens but occasionally one of them goes missing and is never found.
5The owner has reported seeing wet footprints appear and then disappear in the hallway.
6There is a bloodstain on the lounge carpet that is believed to have belonging to a young man who was stabbed in the building, it has been cleaned numerous times but always re-appears.
7Set in the wall over the the fireplace is a human skull, it is believed to have belonged to one of the previous owners and was cemented into the wall as per instructions in their will, legend has it that when someone is going to die in the house, the skull screams.
8A phantasmal black hound haunts the bounds of the property, the locals say that anyone who sees it dies shortly afterwards.
9Villagers at the local tavern make religious gestures and grow silent when the house is mentioned, saying that the place and the family that once owned it had an evil reputation.
10Rumour has it that star-crossed lovers died in the house, according to local legend their souls wander the property trying to find each other.
11One certain occasions a spectral figure of a woman, hair and clothes moving as though she were underwater manifests in the drawing room, this apparition has been witnessed by numerous people.
12Odd knocking sounds are often heard from the walls, sometimes whispered voices can be heard as well.
13There is a door that must once have belonged to a chapel within the ground, although the rest of the building has long since crumbled to nothing. Oddly the free-standing door is always kept locked with a fresh chain and padlock, a crude sign in-front of it warning trespassers to stay away.
14During the last bad winter it's said that a vagrant froze to death outside of the building, since then the temperature inside the house has be noticably colder than outside.
15Furniture often re-arranges itself inside the house, although never when anyone is looking.
16Sometimes at night, a light is seen bobbing along in the distance, it disappears if anyone gets close.
17The old rocking chair on the porch sometimes moves on it's own.
18The original building on this site burnt down many years ago, sometimes the smell of charred wood and another sickly, sweet odour can be smelt throughout the house.
19It's said that evil cultists once performed blashpemous ceremonies within the grounds and that the spirits of their victims (or perhaps the things they summoned) linger here.
20The spectre of a man wrongly executed for a crime is said to wander the halls carrying his severed head under his arm.

Random Things you might encounter in a swamp

These random things articles are designed as quick idea generators for time-pressed GMs who want to inject some additional details into their game, in this article we look at random things that you might encounter in a swamp.

When you need some inspiration just roll a D20 and consult the table:

1You come across a knot of trees twisted together and jutting out of the water, from a certain angle the outline of the trees resembles a hunched figure.
2There is a crashing sound from nearby, followed by a large splash, perhaps it was just a branch falling from the trees, or maybe it was something else.
3A brightly coloured frog sitting on a nearby banyan stump croaks loudly, it's throat distending as it does so.
4The ground drops away sharply below you as you enter a deeper part of the swamp and struggle to keep your feet in the sucking mud.
5From far up in the trees the loud call of a primate echoes through the air, disturbing the silence of the swampland.
6Carved into the trunk of the tree up ahead is a strangle circular symbol, moss coats most of the entire tree but the symbol is mysteriously free of it.
7Half submerged in the waist deep water, a suit of armour can be seen, it is covered in moss and vines, through them you can just about make out the white of bone.
8What you think is a log floats past a few metres away, then it blinks at you with the hungry eyes of an alligator.
9From some distance off you hear the sound of beating drums, growing closer.
10Thick vines criss-cross the swamp in this area making travel extremely slow unless you cut through them, making a great deal of noise in the process.
11A thick, clump of brightly coloured mushrooms grow from the damp remains of a collapsed, rotten log, they look tasty but could be poisonous.
12With loud cries, a group of wading birds, disturbed by your presence takes flight amidst the fluttering of many feathered wings.
13A misty cloud of insects hang in the air above the water, stinging and biting all who are forced to wade through the area.
14The trees in this area of strung with webs, moisture glistening on their strands, a number of smaller spiders scitter through the webs, but they couldn't have made all of this.
15A single canoe floats lazily past you, of the pilot there is no sign.
16Blocks of stone sunk into the soft mud serve as a stable pathway in this area, perhaps it was built deliberately but the stone is so weathered it is impossible to tell.
17The surface of the water here is criss-crossed by gigantic lily pads, they almost look big enough for a person to step on.
18A single black rooster scratches it's path through the mud, it eyes you warily, bobbing it's head backwards and forwards.
19In the centre of the swamp a lonely, decript old hut on stilts emergences from the muck, you can just make out a flickering candle flame in the window.
20As you walk a thick mist settles over the water making the air even more humid and making it difficult to see.

GM Tips: Use Pinterest for RPGs

I’m sure most of you are already aware of Pinterest, effectively an online corkboard where you can post links to any images, web pages or articles that take your interest; this is made even easier by a variety of add-ons and extensions for most popular browsers, allowing you to right click on images and such-like in order to quickly add them to your account. Pinterest also allows you to create different boards so you can group your pins by certain themes, for example, I have the following boards on my account:

  • Interesting RP articles
  • RPG Imagery – Fantasy
  • RPG Imagery – Horror
  • RPG Imagery – Science Fiction
  • Fiction
  • LARP kit inspiration pics
  • RPG apps
  • Fantasy airships/tech
  • Fantastic landscapes
  • Spaceships
  • Weapons/equipment

Pinterest works great for quickly saving those images that you see on the net now and again but can’t think of a way to use them in your game immediately, don’t risk losing them, just a couple of clicks can add them to your board and in future, when you need some inspiration, you can look through the images and see if anything strikes your fancy.

If you want to have a look at my own Pinterest boards you can find them here: https://uk.pinterest.com/largejo/

Picture is part of a Doré wood engraving illustration from The Divine Comedy labeled for reuse on Google Image Search, the original image can be found here.

Random Things you might hear in a doom-laden prophecy

These random things articles are designed as quick idea generators for time-pressed GMs who want to inject some additional details into their game, when you need some inspiration just roll a D20 and consult the table:

1When the moon turns red as blood the children of darkness shall rise.
2The trees of the great forest will moan and the stars shall fall from the heavens like rain.
3When the wall weeps a great sadness will come upon the land.
4The hearts of the children shall empty as their joy is stolen by shadows.
5A man who runs with beasts shall spill the blood of the innocent upon the soil and ruin upon the kingdom.
6The face of the gods shall turn away from the world and the eye of heaven weep fire.
7The curved silver smile will spread through the city and all whose face it shines on shall fall.
8When the fields refuse to give up their fruits a great sorrow will fall on the land.
9An ancient grudge rises from the land, its arms reaching wide to embrace the innocent.
10When a king forsakes his crown the blood of a common man will rise like a new sun.
11A tide of blood flows from the north, those who do not drown will seek solace in the high places, their forces crying aloud to the heavens.
12When the people of the land give up their freedom they march willingly into slavery, their love binding them tighter than any chains.
13The way to the light is dark and filled with traps and pleasing diversions for the unwary.
14Fur that ripples like water on a lake carries the Princes doom on wings made of black leather.
15When the world of shadow teems with the shades of the forgotten then the gates will burst open and a tide of despair will flow back into the world.
16A ring of glowing starlight lights the way into a new world that is older than time.
17Those who hide themselves, fearful in the highest of heights will be bought lower than the low when cries of men topple the hardest of stones.
18The faces of the gods stare down from the sky, when they all close their eyes at once the darkest of ancient souls will once again walk the land.
19The fate of the world rests with wings that can climb to the homes of the gods or fall to the depths of the pit, whether he rises or falls, so does the world.

Random Things you might hear said in insult

These random things articles are designed as quick idea generators for time-pressed GMs who want to inject some additional details into their game. This series of tables are designed to create interesting in-character insults that can be used during a RP session.

This post differs from previous ones in the series since it has three tables, you roll a D20 on each table and apply the results to the following formula/madlib to get your devil/demon name.


For example: If I roll 3D20 and get 12, 14 and 20 then I might call someone a villainous, knock-kneed cur.

5Feeble minded
6Hot headed

Random Things that you might overhear at a Ball

These random things articles are designed as quick idea generators for time-pressed GMs who want to inject some additional details into their game, in this article we look at random things you might overhear at a ball or other upper class social event.

When you need some inspiration just roll a D20 and consult the table:

1Apparently the young scion of a noble house has recently run away to marry a commoner, the family is scandalised by the whole affair and has been trying (unsuccessfully) to keep a lid on things.
2Two of the young nobles have decided to settle their dispute over a lover by holding a duel in the old forest when the clock chime eleven, despite duelling being illegal.
3It is said that the Countess is ill and soon to die, a cynical person might wonder if that's why so many of her relatives have chosen to come and fawn over her this evening?
4The second son of a noble family recently lost a good portion of the family's fortunes gambling, they have had to lay-off a number of their servants and sell some of their properties to cover the debt.
5The eldest daughter of one of the local dynasties was recently found dead, murdered in a tavern room, the family suspects a jealous lover that she was meeting in secret.
6The patriarch of the family recently died after a long illness and his wife quickly moved to consolidate her hold over the family, there have been suspicious mutterings about the nature of the patriarchs illness, although local apothecaries declared it a natural death.
7A local noble wishes to have a rival disposed of, but cannot be seen to be directly involved, he is looking for someone who won't ask inconvenient questions to carry out the task.
8Two nobles from feuding families have fallen in love and have been meeting secretly, rumour has it they are attending the ball in disguise so they might catch a few precious moments together.
9Large contingents from a feuding family have both attended the event, despite the best efforts of the hosts it would not take much for the social barbs to escalate into outright violence.
10An assassin is believed to have infiltrated the ball posing as a distant relation, their exact identity and target remain unknown.
11Lacking a worthy successor in her own family, the ailing matriarch has decided to host this gala to choose a recipient for her wealth and title from the guests gathered.
12The bastard son of a noble family has managed to infiltrate the gathering an intends to cause a scene.
13The spread is a little poor and the decor a little sparse since the family lost a large amount of their money due to bad investments, this gala is an attempt at saving face.
14The family are well known for donating to worthy causes and investing in local business, at the end of the ball the head of the family will hear pleas from a number of supplicants and then decide whether to donate any funds to them.
15There are a lot of guards at the event, that is because the whole thing is an excuse for the hosts to show off a rare and valuable item they have procured at the climax of the celebration.
16Word has it that the servants have appropriated some of the fine wine and are holding their own celebrations in their quarters and the kitchen, some of the younger more tempestuous nobles have even snuck out to join them.
17Two of the younger members of aligned noble houses are pledged to marry, the main purpose of this event is that the two families might meet to discuss a dowry.
18There has been some scandal regarding a missing heirloom, some say it has been stolen, others say it was sold to hide family debts.
19A foreign dignitary from distant lands with customs different from our own has arrived, their aims are currently unknown.
20A local guild wishing to set up a base of operation in a nearby town has sent a deligation to the function seeking to secure noble backing for their endeavour.