Generating Worlds D&D Style

So I came across the idea of one-roll dungeon generator.  I think if was a post by D&D on Facebook.  And the link went to here.

I saw Brian Holland’s One-roll Generator spreadsheet and I was like I can use this for writing exercises.  With Brian’s spreadsheets(there are four different generators) you have to do a little work, i.e. roll the die.

There is another site here where you don’t have to do much.

And still more here.

Part of the problem I often face is not knowing where to start.  And instead of diving in, I flounder.  I understand there is no right answer, or right place to start.  However, i just freeze and lock up as the pen hovers about the blank white page.

I can get some things down.  I can’t make list of things I don’t know.  Lists of books to read.  And lists of names.  But making it come together for a first draft, that is proving difficult.

With these generators I can let randomness decide where to start.  (The only problem is I might just keep punching the generate button.  I might not get anything done).

Building a New Capital

This is my first musing on the idea of building a fictional capital.

The idea a designing and building a whole city seems overwhelming, yet exciting.


Besides writers who builds whole new cities today?  Perhaps a megalomaniac.  In the future and off world, perhaps corporations, or nation-state conglomerates.

Yet there is a cool, wow factor to such an undertaking.  One could take whole elements from other cities, cultures, and mash them up.  It would be like taking Las Vegas to the next level.  Glitz and schmaltz, and iron and steel and glass.  Oh the horrific majesty of it all.

The city could be impractical, sort of the Winchester House writ on a national scale.  Stairs in government buildings that lead nowhere.  Or walls that open into some department or ministry.  Or stairwells which lead in every direction but never seem to reach a destination.  Or whimsical, as if Willy Wonka designed it.

There are examples from history which could serve as inspiration.  Several cities had to rebuild after fire, i.e. London, Chicago, and ancient Rome, to name a few.  Protests and rebellion have led to redesign and rebuilt cities, such as Paris.

An example from current time would be what Chinese developers are undertaking.  They may not be building a capital city per se, but rebuilding whole châteaux complete with gardens, or famous buildings, or renown architectural styles out in the Chinese hinterlands, can be impressive (if not bewildering).

Then there are examples of Kazkhstan, or Burma.

The generals in Burma decided to pick up the government and move it lock, stock, and barrel to the middle of no where.

This idea could be developed.  What if in the future a government built a new capital so it could control access, hinder revolution, etc.  What if they retreat into a secured facility, where only the approved are allowed entrance.  There are only one or two ways in, or out.  It is surrounded by bared wire, guards, multiple check points.  I envision it would be filled with stark architecture, functional, but with little to no adornments. The buildings exist to protect and facilitate government business. It feels like a very bleak place, reminisce of Cold War Brutalist architecture

Or just go with the oil rich dictator and pimp my capital.

Fill it with marble, gold leaf, shiny materials, glass, and steel, and the facade of modernity.  Always building new, even if it’s not needed.  A white elephant capital, as it were.

All of this then leads to the question who would build such a city?  One that is stark.  Or sterile.  Or brutual, or whimsical. What kind of person builds a practical city, or a grand city?

So the next writing exercise  is-describe, or explore the person who is directing the city’s development.  Also could describe the project foreman (who would presumably be different from country’s ruler).  How does he motivate people to build this city?  Violence? Vacations? Villas?  What is her vision for the city?  country?  Reasons for taking on this project?  (ego-hoping to be remembered)(revenge-overcome the naysayers)

Share your ideas in the comments.  Happy writing.


Writing Prompts

I came across an article some time back and it talked about Kazkhstan was going to build a new capitol.  They were going to spend 30 Billion dollars on it.  The old capitol was called Almaty and the new one is called Astana.  It is a catchy name.

If you needed to make a new capitol in one of your stories, what would you do different from the old capitol?  What would be new?  What would you spend most of the money on?  Infrastructure? Government buildings? Presidential house?  Religious houses?  What would the lay out be?  Circular?  Walls of protection? or Imprisonment?

Would a secret society build the city?  Would it be practical or extravagant?  Would native vegetation be used, or would it be shipped in?  Is the site a better site than the old capitol?

There are so many ways to look at building a new capitol.  Have fun and share below in comments.

Happy Writing.


Writing Prompts Again

I have collected more than a baker’s dozen of writing prompts through the years.  They have been collected on the hope that they would help a story develop, or contribute to characters’ depth, and three dimensional build-up.

Yet for the most part they have languished in files, folders, binders, and notebooks.  They have collected dust, and tears. They have served as a reminder that I have put off today what I should have done.

Plans have been made, regarding these collected prompts.  Great plans.  The best plans.  I have taken them to coffee shops, and workshops, and libraries.  When it comes time to put to use, I find some other activity to engage in, usually sexting, or reading blogs.  This in turn leads to frustration, and depression and anger.  But I fail to scold myself for not following through.

This particular plan of using the prompts as blog posts has been a dream in waiting for at least 3 years. Why wait so long?  There is no one answer.  Most I am ashamed to admit to, i.e. depression, work, the ease and comfort of the chair which is planted in front of the T.V. Obsessive compulsion to watch said T.V.  Various bad habits I have fallen into-sexting, porn, nervous eating, anxiousness when it comes to writing.  I get up, walk into the kitchen, open the refrigerator, mindlessly root around for something that is tasty.  That something is usually unhealthy.  So, I debate myself on consuming it now, or when I return in 20 minutes.  Or debate whether to eat half, or to eat the unhealthy option now and only eat healthy options the rest of the day.  Sometimes, I can shut the fridge before I grab any food.  But more often than not the battle is lost.  There is no real hunger.  It is anxious hunger.  My mind is worried about all the terrible things the wider world will surely say about what I write.  What I will write.  What I have written.  Therefore whatever foolishness I have planned to write using these collected prompts will surely cause me pain.

But what if the pain of not doing it, becomes greater than the pain of avoidance?

I feel that is where I am.  This place, where the pain of not following through on this plan is greater than the pain of skipping it, sucks.  I can’t stand it.  I hate rolling in a blanket of depression on the bed.  I hate not being able to propel myself out of this blanket.  I hate being able to get up and go to work for someone else, but can’t gather the strength to work for myself.

Oh the frustration.

I am attempting to say enough.  I don’t know how long my strength will last in this endeavor.  Nor if I have the strength to break this cycle, to shred the blanket of depression.

All I know is that today the pain of not trying is greater than the pain of avoidance.

And so I begin.  Ever so slowly, I begin.