Monday, January 23, 2017

Things You Can Do With Ram's Dungeon Mad-Libber

So Ram over at Total Party Kill has, in response to me just being like "Somebody should..." just went ahead and made the most useful random adventure widget since the Last Gasp Generators.

What Ram's new thing does is it takes any text you put in and replaces the word or phrase of your choice with random items off a random table of your choice. Now, making your own Abulafia generator already kinda does this, but Ram's generator allows you to do it in a more flexible, off the cuff way--and without making a public page that might step on copyright.

Here's an example:

Carcosa is one of the most useful hexcrawls out there--it's also notoriously repetitive--103 Spawn of Shub Niggurath, endless Villages led by Sorcerers or Fighters full of men distinguished only by the color of their mutant skin.

This formulaicness makes it perfect for this example: the ideal text for Ram's Dungeon Mad Libber is repetitive (so the randomiser will have lots of places to ply its trade) and long (so you'll get to see lots of stacked combinations that reveal lots of different ideas)--


1. Paste the base text into the top box.

2. Choose a word to replace with random options (I started with the ubiquitous Spawn of Shub-Niggurath)

3. Type in some alternate options in the lower box or paste in your favorite random table (or paste in a bunch of random tables, whatever).

Like so:
click to enlarge

Carcosa also has a ton of castles and citadels--another thing you can do is paste in random results with different levels of detail. So basically one result is just "castle" another is "city" but then I also added in a bunch of more complex castles taking from the Dungeon Dozen-the fan index is excellent for this kind of project.

...and then keep going with all the other repeated words:
Until soon you have a whole new book to read:

Village (Rampant perversity after nightfall, outsiders welcome) of 240 black-eyed witches  ruled by “the Servant of the Master,” a  quick-witted  6th-level  knight .

3 mutant red-haired women  hide in these hills, cast out by their fellow village (Barley fields must be soaked in sacrificial blood: every crime or misdemeanor carries death penalty)rs. One has bulbous, hypnotic eyes (save vs. paralyze or be stunned for 2–5 rounds), one can spit acid twice per day (2 dice damage), and one is semi- gelatinous (half damage from non-electromagnetic/ ele werewolvestal weapons).  They have no armor and wield crude clubs.  They are desperate and will attack any passersby.

A raiding force of 35 White witches  led by a chaotic 3rd-level sentient pig terrorizes stragglers and small villages (Ubiquitous witchery: hexes and charms fly about willy nilly) in the area.  Their masters rule the lands to the west.
Looking for another long and repetitive text, I seized on the Shady Dragon Inn--an old TSR book that's basically a list of NPCs. Each entry has stats and a short description--by replacing phrases you don't need with stuff from random tables, you can turn these random hirelings into complicated villains or heavy NPCs, hundreds at a time. For example in each description, it says the NPC "wears" something:

After doing this a few times with key phrases, and using "find and replace" and text mechanic to remove things like all the +2 swords, etc, you get dozens of entries like:

Nadia Svensdottir

 Telepathic and driven by a fear of the dead. Elf. Cleric of Tiamat (Red hand) a sword,  four javelins, and dagger.

Nadia is only 5'2" and 98 lbs. Her dark hair and merry brown eyes show little of the hard life she has spent. Her father, it is said, is the famous pirate Beorn Waverider. She fights for honor and nation: personality nullified by grim nationalistic fervor, demands of rigorous ethical code and extreme stoicisms. A scarlet bandana is her favorite headband. At , she has travelled most of the waters and lands around, and is well- known. She once fought and killed five bandits to protect her boyfriend, who is now dead.

I like how she turns out to be afraid of the ghosts of her pirate father and ex- . That's a whole plot suggesting itself right there.

You can do the same thing with any Monster Manual--take the Treasure Type stat and have the widget replace that with entries from a random treasure table, take a stat you don't care about (Psionics?) and tell the generator to replace that with any kind of detail that interests you, etc.
You can also use the mad-libber to make stuff from scratch. I started with 50 rooms with "Empty", and mixed it up with a list of generic descriptors:
Then once each room had a generic something in it, I went to work pasting in tables to replace each generic thing. Here's all the "treasure"s replaced with random elements from a list of treasures:
Aaaaand then monsters:

And then read through what you've got and season to taste:

1  In chest: Colony of live bats (chewed aperture in rear of chest).
2 Empty
3  Furious pirate captain w/squad of the vilest sea-dogs conducts brutal search for pick-pocket who slithered below with enchanted sextant, cutlasses drip with vital fluids of the last one to refuse questioning+ Invisible cages and explosive floor tiles triggered by delicate pots..
4  Empty
5  Green Bastards: bark-covered, extremely thorny war pawns of the Earth God dedicated to extermination of human nuisance, nurseries hidden in vast, aggressively expanding forest known as The Green Hell.
6  Sizable swarm of dungeon gnats forms into patterns that appear to be a repeating series of rune.
7  Ditto
8 Infested alarms and gravity reversing animated statues triggered by a forbidden scroll.+ Moldy snares triggered by steep stairs.
9  Packet of extremely old hard tack: now really quite hard indeed.
10  Giant spider with web+  Partially looted royal catacombs of the extinct prehumans, signs of necromantic tampering, access denied by massed skeleton warrior.
11  Empty
12 Carnivorous bats +Diseased swinging glaives and gravity reversing crushing walls triggered by a bound prisoner 
13  Empty
14  Blood trail leading to middle of wall (no secret door).
15  Sizable swarm of dungeon gnats forms into patterns that appear to be a repeating series of rune.
16 Floor: Hot to the touch, protective footwear required.
17  Human mercenary in skin tight action suit w/ rapier, dagger, armor-piercing specialist of the utmost skill, leads frail bald human in stained hospital gown w/power to detect gold at 120 feet.
18 Empty
19  Warrior with face melted by eldritch sorcery staggers to and fro senselessly, has no mouth but would love to warn adventurers of mind-bending dangers on level three + Floor: Covered in thick layer of a very fine white powder (instantly airborne).
20  Stunning snares and nauseating barbed nets triggered by tripwires.+  Drownesian elf.


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