I get by, with a little help from my friends.
So say the Beatles, and who am I to say they are wrong.
We all need a little help now and then, and GMs writing story-lines are no exception. From the names of antagonists to the location of their lair, from Quests to Completion-Rewards, sometimes our creative juices run dry.
So where do we turn?
Our go-to source of randomness. Mostly our “Standard Set” of d4, d6, d8, d10, d12, d20 and d100. Very useful for creating numerical values. But what if you need something else?
The more resourceful of you may already own some Other Dice. Amongst my easily-to-hand collection, I found Emoji, Rock/Paper/Scissors,
Body Location, Dungeon Maps and more! There are a large range of dice, featuring Weather, Mood, Grammar, and much more!
But what about when you don’t have the right dice to hand? You need to check for Random Weather, but the only dice you have are Body Location and Who-Takes-First-Turn! This is where we turn to:
Lists of possible outcomes, Tables can hold a huge amount more information than simple dice, and can be chained together to produce complex results. They can also shift the probabilities of results occurring. Usually they are designed to roll dice, and compare the result against the entries, or you can just choose an appropriate one.
The Internet is full of these tables, designed for each different Game System/Setting, and lots of Generic ones.
To make life simpler, and avoid having to hunt around for either dice or sheets of paper, or the right page of the Rule Book, we also have
Loaded on to a mobile phone, or tablet, these tend be be combinations of dice and tables. Tell the App what Feature you are wanting, and it will generate a random result, according to how it is programmed.
My current favourite App is (unsurprisingly) the one I wrote!
Combining Lists of Names, Places, Treasures, Quests and others Features, along with a Personality Generator, and lists of Features of a Fantasy City, The Mad Dwarf Inspirational Apps also allow you to add your own entries to the Lists, and save the results for use in later games.
There are Apps designed around most of the popular Games Systems, providing access to as much inspiration as you can handle!
Other ways of finding inspiration include reaching for a nearby book, and turning to a random page, loading a random Wikipedia page, or asking your Players to make a decision!
Most people will use a combination of methods to produce some interesting results, and the best way is often to interpret them in a way that fits your game.
When do you tend to run out of steam? What methods do you have for recharging your Creative Juices?