Donjon: the Swiss Army knife for DMs
Donjon is one of my favorite websites as a game master. It has been around for awhile, and chances are you made have heard of it. But, if you are starting your journey as a GM, then hopefully you’ll find this website of use to you.
Donjon is a website that houses a bunch of different random generator tools. There is a wide variety of tools here, but they all have their use as you are preparing to run your games. I’m going to highlight a few of my favorites. But I encourage you to go explore around on the website. You’ll find a lot of awesome stuff to use for your games.
The website itself is easy to use. In most cases you have to select a couple of parameters from drop down menus and then generate! You can hit generate multiple times to refresh the results. Keep going until you find something that sparks your imagination.
Fantasy Name Generator
You can never have enough names. As a game master, you will be naming things constantly. People, places, things. They all need names.
Donjon has got you covered. If you designed your game world with real world analogs then try out the “Quasi-Historical” options. Or just generic fantasy name generators.
My favorite is the Fantasy Setting option. This option gives you generators for the “places” and “things” that come up in your game. It seems like there are lots websites with name generators for characters. But for locations and objects are a lot rarer.
- Inns and Taverns
- Weapon Names
- Books and Tomes
- All Location generators.
Random Dungeon Generator
The random dungeon generator is great. Have you ever been pressed for time with a game coming up soon? This is the tool for you. It has two basic modes: the Random Dungeon and the Construct Dungeon. For random dungeon, hit the button and off you go.
Constructing a dungeon presents a few more parameters to set. But the complexity is still pretty simple over all. The biggest asset here is the “preview” image you can see on the right hand side of the generator page. As you make changes in the drop down menu, the preview will update with them.
That way, if you are unfamiliar with one of the options, all you have to do is explore and see what happens to the preview. When you are ready, hit Construct Dungeon and it will build out the map for you.
You have several download options to save out your dungeon in the format you desire. The player’s map is a cool feature. It hides the labels and secret doors. But, I generally don’t hand my players a map to the dungeon. They have to create the map themselves as they explore.
5e Random Generator
Donjon has put together a series of game-specific generators. I’m choosing to highlight the 5e generator. Because that is the popular game of choice at the time of writing this. But they have other game specific generators as well (e.g. AD&D, 4e, Pathfinder).
Within you can create random generators for a lot of game specific elements. Traps, treasure hoards, random encounters and so on. They follow the guidelines put out by the game system so it takes a lot of the work out of it for you.
Some of my favorites are the Traps, Treasure, NPCs, and Art Object generators. These are elements that are useful in a lot of games and can easily spark your imagination.
Build your own world with Donjon
Donjon has generators that will randomly create a whole campaign world for you. You can build worlds, demographics, towns, inns and even campaigns.
If you find yourself stuck or at a loss of where to start a campaign, these are great tools. You can use them wholesale or take inspiration from them. Build it out and make it yours. But the great thing about them is they give you a starting point. Starting is where most endeavors fail. People get daunted by all that is in front of them. Or they don’t know where to start.
Donjon can help take that stress and burden from you. And that is really cool. Remember, restriction breeds creativity. So, try to use generators to restrict your creative process. You might actually find some great results.
Donjon: A lot of Utility in One Location
Donjon has a lot to offer. The owner continues to support and update it. So even if you’ve heard of it, you should continue to explore. You might find something you didn’t know existed. If your new to Donjon, I hope you found this preview useful.
I encourage you to explore and find which generators help you out. As a game master, you have a lot on your plate. Make sure you are leveraging a lot of great (and free!) tools that people are putting out there. If they save you time and make your games better that is a win in my book.
Art Credit: Ede László