Play Dice with the Universe

It's Toasted!

Say there, Jim, you’re looking mighty down! What’s that? No world? Well I’ve got just the thing.

I’ve been on a massive D&D blog binge lately, and as a result I have just fallen in love with random thing-generating tables. I don’t have any use for them, but they’re beautiful things in their own right, like spoken-word poems.

Here’s one I prepared earlier. Roll once on each of the tables below for each bit of world you need, and BAM: You can do in seven minutes what took god seven days.

Step One: What’s the World’s Gimmick?

Roll a D50. You know, the one in your back pocket.

1. The world was created yesterday.
2. Only 40% of the world is water.
3. Night does not exist.
4. Day does not exist.
5. The sun is much weaker than ours: Cold planet.
6. It’s the moon of some larger planet.
7. The world is the size of jupiter: Stronger gravity.
8. World is the size of pluto: Weaker gravity.
9. The world is sentient, and constantly conspires against it’s inhabitants.
10. The moon is sentient, and constantly tries to attack earth.
11. The Sun is sentient, and constantly defends the earth from attackers.
12. The World is a prison for a giant fire-beast trapped inside it, which provides it with heat.
13. The seasons last for years.
14. The world is flat.
15. The world is a cube.
16. The sun rotates around the earth.
17. The moon is habitable.
18. The world is constantly losing energy, faster than our own.
19. There is only one single super-continent.
20. The world is a creature. Roll D4: 1: Serpent, 2:Whale, 3: Man, 4: Bird.
21. Only atheists die.
22. Weather is much more powerful than ours in every way.
23. Massive tides: High tide swallows half the planet, leaving the other half dry.
24. Gravity can be subverted by an effort of will.
25. Day/Night cycle takes a year.
26. There is no moon, and no tides.
27. Sun is much bigger/closer.
28. There is no such thing as Space: The sun, moon and stars are a painted-on shell.
29. Humans and animals are much larger in relation to the environment.
30. Humans and animals are much smaller in relation to the environment.
31. Humans are the only sentient species.
32. Magic is forgotten the older you grow: Children are all-powerful.
33. The laws of physics change every year at the same date.
34. The world was created by an evil god, who wants to destroy it.
35. There are 4000 gods who constantly hold committees, never do anything.
36. The apocalypse happened yesterday.
37. There is no heaven. Everyone goes to hell.
38. Jesus is Satan. Mankind is sacrificed for his sins.
39. There are no wild animals.
40. There are no domestic animals.
41. There is only one non-human animal in the world. Luckily, it is huge. Appears as multiple forms like mushroom.
42. Continents constantly rearrange themselves like a Rubik’s cube.
43. All animals can talk.
44. The continents are alive, hate each other.
45. The ocean is evil.
46. No day or night, only a constant dappled twilight.
47. There is no rain, but the world’s core is water.
48. The regions are asteroids that orbit near each other.
49. Half of earth is exposed to the vacuum of space.
50. Space is habitable.

Step 2: What’s the local Region’s Gimmick?

Climate and Geography of the local area. Roll a d30.

1. Alpine Tundra: Everyone lives in magical bubble of warmth.
2. Taiga: Cold coniferous forests. Snows. Canada. Forests are evil, ruled by child-eating witches.
3. Temperate broadleaf forest: Deciduous trees, long droughts, warm year-round. Faces the ocean.
4. Marsh and Swamplands: wet, bedraggled trees. It’s waters are a link to the realm of the dead.
5. Tropical jungle. Amazon. Ruins of ancient mayan-like civilization everywhere.
6. Mediterranean vegetation: The mediterranean basin. Birds all recite poems, plays, histories constantly.
7. Monsoon rainforest: rainy, prone to gigantic monsoon rains, lots of life. All it’s plants are sentient, some carniverous.
8. Arid desert: Hot, dry, sandy. Sandstorms. Inhabited land made fertile by nile-like river.
9. Mountain forest: Cold and rocky, high altitude. Bears domesticated.
10. Grass savanna: Hot by day, freezing at night, vast grassy plains. Africa. Grass eats unwelcome intruders.
11. Marsh and Swamplands: never stops raining, inhabitants constantly besieged by horrible insects. No-one’s ventured far enough into marsh to find insect rulers.
12. Desert. Everyone lives in secret oasis hidden by constant sandstorm.
13. Tropical jungle. River is sentient, must receive constant sacrifices to avoid floods.
14. Mountain forest. Inhabitants must ritually burn sleepy incense drugs all the time to stop mountains from waking up.
15. Desert. Inhabitants live on fertile lands next to nile-like river.
16. Exists secretly on underside of hollow earth. Paradise.
17. It’s a giant ancient creature.
18. Floats in the air. Alpine climate.
19. It’s underwater. Roll D4: 1:Air Bubble, 2:Inhabitants are fishy, 3:Magic makes the water breathable, 4: Massive Submarine.
20. It’s underground.
21. It’s unfit for habitation: It’s inhabited anyway.
22. It’s transparent, half-real. Fae world.
23. Tundra, inhabitants are hardy and hairy. Anything created there cannot be killed by old age/wear, but is always incredibly weak.
24. Valley. Rock from the region can speak under special circumstances: What it says depends on the type of rock.
25. Mediterranean. It’s trapped in a time-loop.
26. It’s heaven.
27. It’s hell.
28. Temperate tree savanna. It’s apparently totally normal. Once a year, it disappears. Residents refuse to say where it goes.
29. Has only one season ( roll d4 to determine which).
30. It’s entirely man-made.

Step 3: Who lives here?

Culture, government, religion, history. Roll a d20.

1. Region is far more advanced than the other regions, scientifically, medically, and socially. Islamic.
2. Region is far less advanced than the other regions, scientifically, medically, and socially. European.
3. Civilization broken down due to plague of attacking skeletons.
4. Anarchy. Surprisingly peaceful. Love pheremones in water.
5. Anarchy. It’s a bloodbath. Water from the region can catch on fire and burn.
6. Everyone secretly under the control of a massive organism. Some like it, some conspire to kill it.
7. Run-down rural peasant hamlets. Secretly ruled by Crows.
8. Totalitarian government. Holds region-wide orgies all the time.
9. Roll on this sheet twice more. Half the region is the first roll, half is the second: They fight for control.
10. Peaceful hippy nature commune. Loves human sacrifices.
11. Worship 400 gods on a roster system. Each has contradictory commands.
12. Communist Hive-mind. Stockpiling massive reserves of salt for unknown reasons.
13. Half-destroyed remains of a rough analogue of the roman empire. Emporer fights to re-establish rule.
14. Anyone good at their job disappeared at once last year, nation is floundering in their absence.
15. Classic feudal England society. Token king: Region ruled by rich aristocratic women.
16. Everyone in region forgets everything once a year, changes alliegance and government. Currently democracy.
17. New-World utopian compound established by religious fanatics. Intolerant. Believes hair is sacred.
18. Ruled by incompetent God-King that’s killed and replaced every year. Has rich deposits of gold underground.
19. Everyone is divided into a precise rank by number. The ruler is Number 2. No-one has ever seen number 1.
20. Dictator imposes massive taxes, most of nation travels around constantly to avoid them. Romanian.
Step 4: Relationships between regions

Write out every possible combination of the regions you have, then roll a d20 for each to see their relationship.

1. Genocidally hates
2. Owes a massive favor to
3. Was once enslaved and ruled by
4. Religion preaches that the promised land is
5. Lives in symbiotic relationship with
6. Thinks is a myth
7. Trades with, while secretly scheming to destroy
8. Is at the mercy of
9. Is currently allied with against other nation of your choice
10. Used to be the same nation as, recently became independent.
11. Is cut off from by some physical barrier
12. Is next to
13. Secretly ruled by same person, pretend to be enemies
14. Gives charity and aid to
15. Is currently enslaved by
16. Is at war with
17. Ignores completely, refuses to deal with
18. Is in cold war situation of attempting to one-up
19. Protects
20. Trades weapons with
World
The world was created yesterday
Only 40% of the world is water
Night does not exist
Day does not exist
The sun is much weaker than ours: Cold planet
It’s the moon of some larger planet
The world is the size of jupiter: Harsher gravity
World is the size of pluto: Weaker gravity
The world is sentient, and constantly conspires against it’s inhabitants
The moon is sentient, and constantly tries to attack earth
The Sun is sentient, and constantly defends the earth from attackers.
The World is a prision for a giant fire-beast trapped inside it, which provides it with heat.
The seasons last for years
The world is flat
The world is a cube
The sun rotates around the earth
The moon is habitable
The world is constantly losing energy, faster than our own.
There is only one single super-continent
The world is a creature. Roll D4: 1: Serpent, 2:Whale, 3: Man, 4: Bird
Only atheists die.
Weather is much more powerful than ours in every way
Massive tides: High tide swallows half the planet, leaving the other half dry.
Gravity can be subverted by an effort of will
Day/Night cycle takes a year
There is no moon, and no tides
Sun is much bigger/closer
There is no such thing as Space: Earth/moon etc are a painted-on shell
Humans and animals are much larger in relation to the environment
Humans and animals are much smaller in relation to the environment
Humans are the only sentient species
Magic is forgotten the older you grow: Children are all-powerful
The laws of physics change every year at the same date
The world was created by an evil god, who wants to destroy it
There are 4000 gods who constantly hold committies, never do anything.
The apocalypse happened yesterday
There is no heaven. Everyone goes to hell.
Jesus is Satan. Mankind is sacrificed for his sins.
There are no wild animals
There are no domestic animals
There is only one non-human animal in the world. Luckily, it is huge. Appears as multiple forms like mushroom.
Continents constantly rearrange themselves like a rubiks cube
All animals can talk.
The continents are alive, hate each other.
The ocean is evil.
No day or night, only a constant dappled twilight.
There is no rain, but the world’s core is water.
The regions are asteroids that orbit near each other.
Half of earth is exposed to Vacuum of space
Space is habitable.
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About Jack McNamee

In the third year of a game design course in Queensland, Australia. Thinking a whole lot about games. Scrabbling desperately against the oncoming future.
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