Sometimes you just need some help getting the creative juices flowing. There are many (free!) online resources that can do that and help make your job as a Game Master, or Player, easier. The following is a brief list of some resource sites I use frequently to help with game creation and filling in necessary details. The nice thing about these is that there are random generation machines so, if something doesn’t work or feel right … click the “generate” button and try again.
Fantasy Name Generators (https://www.fantasynamegenerators.com)
This is my go-to site to help out with names for, well, almost anything. There are naming themes for various gaming systems (Pathfinder, D&D, Star Wars, Elder Scrolls, and so on) as well as various cultures and historical eras. Names can be created for various places (both fantastical or real) like towns, taverns, rivers, mountains, and even planet. This also can be used for naming important objects such as swords and armor. This is a great and easy-to-use resource when you need to come up with a name on the fly or are trying to fill out particular details for a setting you are putting together.
Medieval Fantasy City Generator (https://watabou.itch.io/medieval-fantasy-city-generator)
One Page Dungeon (https://watabou.itch.io/one-page-dungeon)
The main Watabou page has a bunch of different tools but the two listed above are really great resources for doing some quick creation that you can further modify or use as you wish. The maps can have randomly generated location tags, or you can turn them off and just use the generated maps and fill in your own details. Both of these are very good, especially for those non-essential locations that you need a visual reference for but are not concerned with requiring a particular look or design.
Everything You Can Imagine (https://donjon.bin.sh/fantasy)
This site is a treasure trove of content resources. Along with a name generator, there are other generators for mapping cities, dungeons, taverns, entire world maps and even star systems (including details on the planets in the system). There also is a random campaign generators to help give you story and setting ideas. Be warned though … this site is a rabbit hole for GMs and you can disappear for days exploring it. The number of tools in this site is great for a wide range of different elements of your game that can help you pull together terrific details in pretty short order. The site also has various apps that help you run games more smoothly like initiative trackers, attack resolution calculators and other tools. If you have not been to this website before, check it out as it is one that will have a big impact on your gaming.
Create Your Own Maps (https://inkarnate.com)
This site does require a registration sign-up but there is a free option that provides pretty decent map making ability. Paid subscriptions (there is a $25 per year plan and a $5 per month plan) open up a lot more options but, if you need to do something quick and basic, the free option likely will give you what you need.
Create A Character Portrait (http://www.heromachine.com)
Generally, I will do a Google search for artwork for my character but sometimes a specific visual is needed. This site does give a lot of customization options, even with the free version, to sketch out a character portrait if you so desire. The basic version limits you to fantasy and superhero themes but there are a lot of options in those categories that will allow you to put together the right “look” for the character you want to play. There is a more advanced (and of course “pay”) version that allows a user to be really artistic and creative — far beyond the means of this author!
The Internet is a huge place and there are countless sites that can help you with your gaming activities. These presented here will give you a good start for your own explorations. An upcoming article will expand on this list.
Until then, good gaming!