Sunday, August 16, 2020

Automatic Tables

In 2012, I was (and still am) fascinated by the random table. A random table presents an exponential number of ideas in a linear space. Recombinant elements play in the gap between improv and rationalization, making each idea potentially unique and interesting. At the same time, raw probability can be leveraged against this massive scale to emphasize recurring themes or elements, building up a world solely through repeated use and implication.

So I took this fascination and built a bunch of tables that required rolling lots of dice to arrive at vaguely “fine?” results (if we’re feeling generous). Now I have the technology to easily automate these things, and I have done so. They might be more useful this way but mostly it was just fun to revisit them.

Snake Oil

“Doc, get me some more of that bottle…”

Sage Names

“All this we know from the writings of…”

Pulp Materials

“You’ll never stop it! It’s made of solid…”

Pub Names

“Not here! Meet me at…”

Holiday Crises

“I’ve called you all here because the holiday season is under threat!”


  1. My very first Holiday Crisis was: "Corporate executives are buying up postal workers!"


    ANYWAY. Your use of "HasSuffix" is really inspired! I also enjoy the pulp materials a lot. Any requests or updates needed?

    1. Yes! More just notes:
      1. The first line of the "tables" box cannot be blank.
      2. When assembling them all onto one page, either: there was a collision when two "generate" buttons had the same text, OR "What?" is invalid button text. The problem persisted after one was changed, but that could have been something cache-related.

    2. Update made! is the current and future site where updates are happening. It's got better line handling, and will never* have a collision. Thanks for the feedback!

      *It stores any generator tags used locally and adds more characters as required.