This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.
Part of Mike Riverso’s Fourth Page series, see all published articles here.
The illustration of the dungeon is concept art for Sintel by David Revoy for the Blender Foundation, and from Wikimedia Commons. It is under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported licence. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Environments-21-cave.png
Use: Roll a d6 for each heading to generate a category, then roll a d6 again to pick a specific entry.
For example, to generate a city idea, Alex rolls a d6 for the city’s Feature, coming up with a 2; this city has a district. A second d6 rolls a 4, and so we know that in this district the merchants don’t take kindly to loiterers. Alex makes another d6 roll for the city’s Population, getting a 3; this city has a particular caste. A further d6 roll comes up with another 2, meaning the caste are of mages – and no one knows what they’re up to. For Society, a 2 followed by a 1 indicate that the city’s faith does not tolerate heathens. For Trouble, a 1 and a 3 tell us there’s a killer on the loose – or at least, people think that there is. Taking these ideas into account, perhaps a religious zealot has taken her faith’s condemnation of sorcery to its extreme, and is going around killing the merchant-mages who thought that they ran the place.
Alternatively, pick entries as you will. You can also choose to ignore the specifics of each entry, and just use the bolded words to inspire you.
- The walls show signs of dwarven craftsmanship.
- They were far more advanced than you.
- These tunnels weren’t cut. They were burrowed.
- It must have taken thousands of slaves.
- They tunnelled up from below.
- Most elves wouldn’t live underground.
- Their hubris angered the gods.
- The war left the land in ruins.
- The walls crumbled against the forces of nature.
- This place was simply forgotten.
- The experiment went terribly wrong.
- The flood has only now receded.
- The vault held the kingdom’s riches.
- Murderers were imprisoned here.
- The mine may still hold riches.
- They sought protection from the storms.
- This was once a hero’s tomb.
- The hatchery was carefully guarded.
- It’s a perfect hideout for the outlaws.
- The cult must perform their rituals.
- One of the local clans has settled here.
- The refugees have no other home.
- The monks require peace and solitude.
- You’ve just stepped in goblin dung.
- The hive never ceases its work.
- A dragon has made this its lair.
- They’re in hibernation. For now.
- An abomination lurks below.
- The dead still guard this place.
- The ooze spreads from a dark heart.
- An exiled king rules this place.
- The mad adventurer has lost his way.
- The wraith wants only release.
- She is the last of the giants.
- The oracle would like a word with you.
- The necromancer‘s soul is bound here.
- She’s just a child.
- You can only save one.
- You must negotiate with them.
- You’re running out of time.
- To proceed, you must solve the puzzle.
- Your freedom comes with a price.
- Crossing the raging river won’t be easy.
- The air is filled with poison spores.
- You must navigate the labyrinth.
- The bridge has seen much better days.
- There are very few handholds on the cliff face.
- The floor is lava.
- The water is rising fast.
- You feel unnaturally weak.
- Your lights are extinguished.
- This gauntlet was designed by a mad man.
- The way out is blocked by a cave-in.
- That statue just moved.
- The library is full of ancient texts.
- There’s more gold here than you can carry.
- The relic has been here all along.
- There’s something gleaming in the armoury.
- The eggs won’t survive on their own.
- They’ve been keeping hostages.
- The scroll describes an object of great power.
- There’s something strange about this map.
- The prophecy is coming true.
- History was written by the victors.
- These plans are incomplete.
- The portal leads to undiscovered lands.
- You weren’t meant to find these documents.
- They’re the victims, here.
- This shipment never went out.
- You’re too late to stop the invasion.
- The duke‘s been involved for years.
- Something terrible has returned.