"Generators are supposed to be fun, so whatever result you get, it should add an interesting element to the game"
Speaking to Will of Long Games, organiser of the Generator Jam 2021
Q&A with Long Games of the Generator Jam
How did you get into creating random generators?
During lockdown I started to play RPG's for the first time. A group of us meet on Zoom once a week to play D&D and I enjoy playing a lot of solo games. Whenever I find myself really enjoying something I always find myself saying, "I wonder if I could make something like this."
And so in May 2020 I set up my own small games company and started creating print and play tabletop games. As part of that, I found myself creating generators to use for my own games.
What is the most fun thing about creating generators?
There's something innately wonderful about organising chaos. Rolling dice, or drawing cards, is random but by using a generator you add meaning to the randomness. There's a great sense of 'what if?' in using a generator. In making a generator, you get to decide what the outcomes could be but the results are always random.
In my own generators, I really like adding a bonus section. For instance, in my entry for Generator Jam 2021, The Library of Sentient and Non-Sentient Books, you roll 1d20 and gain one of 19 non-sentient books but if you roll a 20 you get to roll again on a chart that can earn you one of the rare sentient books. Rewarding luck is really fun, and creates a really fun moment around the table when someone gets luck and earns something rare and exciting.
What are the most biggest challenges of creating generators?
One of the biggest challenges I have is ensuring each result is unique and desirable.
Generators are supposed to be fun, so whatever result you get, it should add an interesting element to the game, and, even if the player or game master didn't get the result they wanted, they should at least be able to have fun with it.
How did Generator Jam come to be?
Earlier this year I took part in my first game jam, the Pleasure-Not-Business Card RPG Jam where designers had to create an RPG that could fit on a business card.
It was so much fun, and everyone who took part was inspired and it formed a mini community. I created three entries for it: One was a simplified version of my first game, Coffee shop Screenwriter, one was a random number generator that I evolved into a full solo-RPG called Blind Luck - The Last Engineer, and the other was a random weather generator called Strange Weather, where you roll a dice to decide what the weather is like for your game session.
Strange Weather received a lot of compliments and I was really excited about using it. When that jam came to an end I decided to create my own jam, and since I had such fun creating Strange Weather, I decided to start the Generator Jam.
What are you hoping to see in Generators Jam?
I really hope to see a lot of unique generators. I'd love to see generators that generate something unusual, or that generate something in an unusual way.
There's a great book called Fungi Of The Far Realm that is full of fungi that you can use in your games. I'd love to see a generator that brings that sense of weirdness to the table in a fun and engaging way.
How do you use random generators yourself?
I play a lot of solo games, so most of the generators I use are about creating encounters in game.
What is the most interesting generator or tool you've seen?
I love Miscast's Five Senses of Magic. It's a really unique and intricate tool that brings spells to life. In my first D&D campaign I played as a Sorcerer, so I have a fondness for magic and spells in games.
Where can people find you on social media?
You can find more more Creator Interviews on Rand Roll.