Wednesday 9 January 2013

The Sandbox Rumor Meta-Generator

So we already have a random sandbox mission generator for urban adventures.  That's where you already have a long list of NPCs and you want to create a mission relating to them.

This sort of generator is less well-suited for Exploratory Adventuring where the players are facing an unmapped frontier they are looking to explore.  In that case, the hooks are less interactions between two parties and more rumours of what can be found in the Great Unknown and where.

That said, here's my procedure for generating rumours for the upcoming sandbox, in the Border Princes, I'm hoping to run.

1. Ask the player what sort of rumours they are fishing for.  

For each character who is seeking rumours, get an idea of what they are looking for.  This actually gives the player some say in the sort of adventure they would like.

Responses may look like:

  • We're mercenaries looking for work in town
  • Looking to hear about valuable items to steal
  • We're explorers looking for uncharted areas to explore

2. Determine Rumour Type to Generate

This might be clear from the previous step, or you can roll randomly.

  • Patron- someone wants to hire you to do something.
  • Urban Adventure- seeking something interesting in the city.  It might be something to steal, it might be where to buy drugs or illegal weapons.
    • Choose a nearby settlement at random
  • Exploration- seeking adventure locales in unknown.
    • Roll up (X,Y) coordinates at random on your map.  The rumor will be near there

3. Determine Rumour Accuracy

Roll a d10 where 1 is completely untrue and 10 is completely true.  You can add a bonus to the roll if it's something more likely for an average yokel to know:

  • Looking for something worth stealing around town: +2
  • Looking for what lies beyond the pale of human settlement: no bonus

4. Make-Up a Rumour

You now have all the info you need: make up a rumour.


The party splits-up to go hunt down rumours.
  • Patsy the Elf wants to find evil monsters to fight
    • (Exploration,(17,14), accuracy 9)
    • "In the forests near Krakenheim the trees themselves will kill you"
  • Stickyfingers the Thief wants to find something to steal in the nearby settlements
    • (Urban Adventure, settlement 6, accuracy 2)
    • "The village Lebensmittelgesch√§ft has the area's only market, so there are always valuables coming in and out of town.  A large ivory statue with ruby eyes was recently found by a farmer and he is bringing it to market to sell."
  • Gor the Barbarian wants to find mercenary work in the area
    • (Patron- Mission Generator, accuracy 8)
    • "The local vintner has been forbidden from selling to the principality of New Tilia since this principality is currently at war with them.  He's looking for someone to discreetly and safely bring his wines to another merchant there."
  • Rasputin the mage wants to find powerful magicks
    • (Exploration,(20,12), accuracy 3)
    • "North of the town of Nuovo Trantio lies a mage's tower.  Strange lights can be seen flashing from it at night"
Now the characters can fight over which of these rumours to follow-up on first.

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