Back in the pre-internet days one of the things I struggled with was trying to come up with plausible sounding names. The only reliable resources I had was to be found in gaming magazine and Dragon used to have the more interesting small ads.
It was through Dragon I learned of the Judges Guild product the Revised Treasury of Archaic Names and I managed to acquire the new reprinted edition; at last I had the means of creating realistic sounding names by rolling on the tables but there was a catch and that was it took some time to get a name that didn’t sound silly.
So I sought another method and Dragon provided the answer once more a program called TableMaster and with ad text like this it had to be good:
Do you need the time to be a good gamemaster — and the power to be a great one? You’ve come to the right place for unique RPG gamemaster’s aid software and other cool roleplaying game goodies.
Using this program you could generate all manner of things using the language of the program, the problem I faced was it was shareware and so limited in functionality; twice I tried unsuccessfully to send my registration fee to the author and after a few emails she told me that she’d moved from that address. After chasing her for a while to try and figure out what happened to the International Money Orders I had sent she stopped answering my messages and I gave up.
I did manage to cancel both of them after telling her I intended to do so and that she needn’t bother trying to investigate.
Not long after I heard about a program called TableSmith another shareware program which not only looked good but was still being maintained and the author does accept registration fees. I tried it but found the scripting language somewhat daunting and after a few abortive attempts to figure out how to make it generate tables I gave up. There is a support group for this package and the author is still developing it but it just wasn’t for me. TableSmith can be found by following this Hyperlink: http://mythosa.net/wiki/pmwiki.php?n=Main.TableSmith
It was only when I stumbled across NBOS softwares offering Inspiration Pad Pro that I ventured back into the realm of table creation and I had more success with this application than any of the others I had tried before. The main selling points of the program for me is the integrated table editor which automatically highlighted the correct syntax of the scripting language, the portable version which doesn’t require installation and there is also a web version available.
With this tool I was able to create some awesome tables and my Pulp Adventure Creator which I based upon several other lists that I had acquired. With a few clicks I could create a three act pulp adventure complete with; plot twists, heroes, villains, supporting cast and all manner of exotic locations.
I intended it for use for Spirit Of The Century but that game is on a break at the moment, I suspect that someday I shall craft an adventure for my players and see what they think 🙂
Inspiration Pad Pro 3 can be found here: http://www.nbos.com/products/ipad/ipad.htm
With a little time and effort it can be a worthwhile project to hand craft some tables that you can roll on and give your players some interesting results. If however you seek some top notch random tables which can be rolled on via a web page I humbly direct you to The Seventh Sanctum Codex http://www.seventhsanctum.com/, which has links to other random generators as well.