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  • Do your RPG prep a day or two – or less! – before the game… or skip it entirely, developing locations, NPCs or other details during play.
  • Play in a “sketchbox”, in contrast to a sandbox, leaving details sketchy until the last minute.
  • Or just grab a few monsters, artifacts, or a table or two to fill in some gaps in your otherwise extensively-prepped campaign.
I’ve written up many tables, tools and techniques and bundled them together as The Last-Minute GM: supplements devoted to “off the cuff” gaming.


One example only. Multiple examples of terrain generation are in the blog under the subhex and wilderness labels.
Table using Lewis Carroll's mnemonic system to generate random letters, words, and abbreviations. Useful in many ways, for example NPC or place names.


Quickie Dice Tool
(latest version 2.2): Dice map uses the Random Random Table and numerous sample word lists to create a one-page condensed dungeon dressing and random monster generator. Numerous examples of Formulas to use on the map are under the quickie label on the blog.
Sketchbox Dice Tool
(latest version 2.0) Dice map for plotting the position of settlements and mapping out the various quarters and districts.
Town and City Block Tool
(initial version 1.0) Visual table, also usable as a dice map, for mapping streets and alleys, buildings, courtyards, and attached walled gardens in city blocks.

Chamber Dice Tool
(printable image): Dice map for generating contents and exits of rooms.  Revised version planned for a future PDF. 
Perverse Polymorpher
(latest version 2.0): Radial dice map to replace so-called “Zocchi dice” (d3, d5, d7, etc.) Could be useful for those playing the Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG. Instructions here and here.


Leximorphs: Using letters as dungeon structural patterns. First mentioned in 2009 or earlier, best example is the random non-linear dungeon post.

Reaction Rolls: Improvise results using the Very Bad, Bad, Normal, Good, and Very Good results on the reaction roll table. Best examples: rolling for weather (follow-up post here.) Replacing the cleric spell ability with reaction roll/turn undead roll (Clerics Without Spells.)

Research Rolls: Adapt spell research rules to training in mundane abilities, building holy shrines and arcane libraries, and barony development.  Links to examples in the Bribe, Craft, Train post.

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