Building a Random Generator 1 - A Simple Potion for Creation

Duncan Thomson

This foul-smelling liquid gives the drinker the ability to talk to animals for 1d6 minutes

Starting off a series on building up a random generator for RPGs. Using Chartopia, Perchance and potions. Part 2 is here

[Cover by Alex Rosario on Unsplash]

A Potion for Success

In the post about resources for building RPG generators I mentioned starting a series on building random generators.

I'm using the theme of Magic Potions. It ties in with my next big generators project (Treasure) and can be used across games and genres. We're make it game neutral so we don't have to worry about rules.

With tweaking they could easily be chemical drugs for cyberpunk or a weird scientist's concoctions.

I'll be building the generator using both Chartopia and Perchance. Tutorials for both can be found in the resources for building RPG generators.

Starting Simple

I'm starting with a single sentence as the basis for the generator. We'll get onto multiple and more complex patterns in future articles.

It is

This [green] liquid gives the drinker [enhanced strength] for 1d6 minutes

The Components of Potions

Each section in square brackets we'll substitute for short lists to give variety. So "This green liquid" could be "this bubbling liquid", "this red liquid" or "this so bright it almost blinds you liquid".

There are lots of other components we can vary with a potion including

  • Taste
  • Appearance
  • Container
  • Label
  • Smell
  • Effects
  • Side effects
  • Duration
  • Things floating in the liquid
  • Unfortunate consequences if combined with other potions

To start with I'm picking one descriptive word and an effect.

Liquid Descriptors

The 1d10 descriptors for our first list are

bubbling, green, foul-smelling, red, thick brown, fizzing, glowing, blue, orange, slimy

Half are colours and a few will give players a little to think about. A slimy potion might be less attractive.

In Chartopia this is implemented as a Subchart called Liquid Descriptors. Then using "Insert Chart" and selecting "Liquid Descriptor" under Sub-Charts

Adding Liquid Descriptor in Chartopia

In Perchance we add these values to the list "liquid_descriptor" and our text becomes

This [liquid_descriptor] liquid gives the drinker [enhanced strength] for 1d6 minutes.

Potion Effects

The 1d10 potion effects are

  1. enhanced strength
  2. enhanced agility
  3. enhanced vision
  4. the ability to talk to animals
  5. immunity to fire damage
  6. the ability to fly
  7. an enhanced sense of smell
  8. the ability to climb any surface
  9. immunity to fear and a nosebleed
  10. a massive headache

The first eight are standard potion effects, and easy to adapt to different systems. No 9 "immunity to fear and a nosebleed" gives a useful effect and also a memorable drawback. The last gives no benefit at all, in the tradition of not trusting that potions will do something good.

Using "Insert Subchart" in Chartopia we can stick it into the template. It will appear as CHART(11111) where 11111 is the unique number for your Potion Effects subchart

Inserting Subchart in Chartopia

So the first version of the potion generator at Chartopia is ready to roll on.

In Perchance we add these values to the list "potion_effect" and our text becomes.

This [liquid_descriptor] liquid gives the drinker [potion_effect] for 1d6 minutes.

The perchance Potions Generator V1 is also ready

Future Steps

That's enough for the first stage. We have a simple potion generator with 100 variations and two random tables.

In future articles we can look at input variables, expanding subtables, research, multiple patterns and sub-generators.

Finishing Up

Here's a bonus image of the Chartopia generator being called in a discord server using the bot Twelves.

Potion Generator using Chartopia bot Twelves

If you've got feedback leave a comment, head on over to r/rpg_generators at reddit or come join the Rand Roll discord server.