Today I wanted to share with you all some of the best tools for dungeon masters to use to create random encounters, names, magic shops, maps, spellbook,s and more. These are not just good for when you need something immediately during gameplay but are great to play with to gain some inspiration during prep.
I’ve used this robust tool multiple times to create a random encounter. You’re able to set parameters based on difficulty level, how many players are in the party, their level, and the environment. There is also an option to just pull from monsters that are freely available as part of SRD, or from monsters listed in the Monster Manual.
Stuck on a name for a random NPC that suddenly is a central character after your players asked them for directions? Donjon’s random name generator is among the best online. You can get a range of names generated, based on race, gender, and even whether you want fantasy names or real-world names. According to the website, “Quasi-historical names are generated using patterns derived from real names of a particular region and period, but are otherwise fictional.”
This other handy tool is great for creating a magic shop on the fly, giving you the location of the shop, a description of the shop and the shopkeeper, and the items for sale. I love this tool because it serves as a great starting point for creating a memorable NPC for your players to interact with later on in the campaign. The generator even comes with descriptions of the magic items, giving you a great way to build the world out besides just listing the items based on their stats.
The random dungeon generator is a great option for nights when you just want to do some good dungeon crawling. It will create a map of the dungeon a description of the room and what monster and loot populate each room. With a bunch of parameters to play with, from size to room size, room layouts, and the party level and the dungeon motif, saved with a particular seed so you can come back to it if the dungeon takes multiple sections to clear.
Donjon is a fantastic resource with tools for multiple versions of D&D and for other tabletop RPGs. There are tools to generate towns, taverns, NPC’s, loot, or even whole worlds if you need it. Donjon has been around for many years and is a great resource to help flesh out a world or create quickly areas that your players are exploring, helping you DM on the fly.
This generator I think is really cool tool for when your party comes across a mysterious spellbook or the party thief lifts one off of an archmage in town. There are options to generate a spellbook based on the wizard’s level and their sub-class, from evoker to illusionist. Details like these are handy to have ready for your players in case they decide to thumb through an arcane tome.
This tool will generate a simple premise and quest for your players. Perfect for a one-shot, dungeon crawl, or more episodic adventure. It will also come with notes for the GM, and for twists to put in. I find it most useful to generate ideas for adventure threads to seed the world.
This is one tool that I use frequently when writing or when preparing for a DM. There are loads of real-world names and mythological names that you can choose to generate from. With tons of parameters to adjust the results, this is a tool I will often lose hours to just generating new names (like Socrates Svendson, what a cool name!).
Picture from the Dungeons & Dragons tv show from the 80’s. This article originally appeared on my now-defunct D&D blog.