From the genesis of the D&D game, random lists have been used to create, inspire, and complicate games everywhere. A GM is essentially keeping all the knowledge of a fabricated world inside his or her head, along with all the relevant laws of physics and mechanics, which are transformed into a living story around the table. With that in mind, sometimes it is difficult to come up with appropriate names, descriptions, NPCs, castles, or environmental features on the fly. Luckily, there are certain tools that simplify a GM’s life no matter what game he or she is running.
These random generation tables can be used for just about any topic. The trouble is that though they are great to have, they take time to generate yourself. The good news is I have taken the liberty and done the hard work up front, leaving you free to copy, paste, and print right into your notes.
Every town in the world is a place with its own individual people with a myriad of stories and rumors making each town a rich environment for exploration and interaction. Now, not every village or town the adventurers come across is a fully fleshed-out campaign setting detailed down to the last stable boy. At times all you need is a couple of interesting characteristics to put a twist or a flavor to the people and places. Use the following list to add a few points of interest for your players.
d20. Town Points of Interest
- The Art Gallery—Home to a number of exquisite, immensely detailed black and white drawings of books, women, and sea creatures. The owner has a number of clients who tend to be evil or chaotic in disposition.
- The Distillery—Run by a poor husband and wife. The husband is a gregarious and generous husband who cares only for the quality of his liquors and sharing them with others. His more practical wife is more concerned with their bookkeeping, house, five children, and brand new still, bought on credit.
- A Library—The inside and outside proportions of the library do not match. Inside, the very large library is a small room filled with mundane agricultural almanacs. The learned air of the librarian, leads you to believe the more impressive collection remains hidden from the general public.
- An Old Fountain—Sculpted to depict a sea god who has long been out of favor in these parts. Water continues to pour from the old fountain. It is said that it will flow with blood at times.
- Theatre—Left with little support since the long-time and well-respected curator has died; ownership is now disputed between a young and frazzled, but well-meaning, thespian and a pompous businessman of questionable means and motives.
- Annual Festival—A jaunty two-day party, celebrating a hundred-year-old battle that was either won or lost here, depending on who is telling the story. Drinking, dancing, and feats of strength are all being practiced. Historical reenactments are greatly frowned upon.
- Auction House—Owned and operated by a publicly disliked foreigner. The townsfolk openly denounce the business as disreputable, but most the naysayers can be found purchasing wares frequently.
- Gamblers Lodge—Touting a notorious reputation of bloodthirsty betting and insipid morality, this town approves only beetle fights and slug gauntlets in terms of gaming. They are both held daily at noon. Max bet 1 gp; you must be present to win.
- The Great Tombstone—Marks the final resting place of the ashes from all 113 previous Captains of the Guard. It is custom for the current captain to visit the grave and offer flowers daily—a reminder to perform his job admirably. Strange things tend to happen near the tombstone just before dawn.
- Old Bell Tower—An overzealous young composer uses the bell tower without permission as his personal sounding board. His compositions have yet to win favor with the townspeople, but the local musicians all speak highly of him.
- The Hillcrest—A hill near the edge of town that has a nearly perfect crown of mushrooms growing on it.
- The Fairy Arch—A 5-inch arched opening in a tree near the center of town said to once contain a passageway to a realm of pure beauty and magic. Opening the door has been forbidden by the local warden, who fears its power and is afraid of fairies in general.
- School of Natural Lore and Skills—A liberal arts university (beast mastery, herbalism, tracking) of modest size led by a few scholarly centaurs, the leading experts on spores, molds, and fungus’. Admittance to the university is deemed an honor by all folk, except for the dwarves, who view it as hitting rock bottom.
- The Stocks—Room for three, one is occupied by a grisly debtor with a 2-ft. beard. He invested all his money in new military technology, but the conflict was resolved peaceably and research dissolved.
- The Undead Garden—A once beautiful and luscious garden, one day turned rotten and black. Strangely, the dead flowers and plants still continue to grow.
- Ruins of the First Mansion—The first stone and mortar structure built in the town. Long abandoned by the original builders, it now stands as a historical landmark. The last owners fled after a catastrophic disaster left the east wing of the mansion in rubble.
- Regional Sword and Shield Tournament—A twenty-person melee where all contestants must be a knight or of noble birth. The prize for winning the tourney is a mysterious chalice, a dance with a prince or princess, and a tour of the castle’s upper vaults.
- The Archive—Collection of the town’s scrolls and volumes, may be worn and moth-eaten, or well preserved, depending on the town’s attitude toward knowledge.
- The Stables—Where the lord’s prize-winning stallions are kept. Known to also house more exotic and dangerous creatures, which may be for sale.
- The Hot Springs—The famed pools bubble up from the depths of the land, drawing travelers to lessen their burdens for a while and enjoy a good soak. May be restorative.