A Mad Lib For Random Festivals

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #0990

Festivals create awesome backdrops for encounters. The crowds, the noise, the events…the chaos!

Imagine chase scenes, competitions and games, exotic foods and drinks, and strange customs and rituals.

All kinds of great gaming could dwell within the Festival of Blessed Sword, Brave Light Days, and the Festival of the Corpulent Eye.

I subscribe to a great new gaming newsletter produced by my friend, Daniel Hodges of Hazard Games. He sent out a cool festival generator and has given me permission to share it with you.

Here’s how his festival generator works:

The Festival of the [Descriptor] [Subject] which culminates with the villagers [Activity] a/an/the [Object].

Descriptor (d20)

  1. Oaken
  2. Tattooed
  3. Blessed
  4. Cheerful
  5. Corpulent
  6. Verdent
  7. Merry
  8. Changing
  9. Flowered
  10. Tame
  11. Brave
  12. Silver
  13. Handsome
  14. Beautiful
  15. Lazy
  16. Painted
  17. Innocent
  18. Dying
  19. Baleful
  20. Charred

Subject (d20)

  1. Fruit
  2. Chain
  3. Set
  4. Robes
  5. Lanterns
  6. Book
  7. Eye
  8. Stag
  9. Sword
  10. Shield
  11. Light
  12. Darkness
  13. Tree
  14. Circle
  15. Corpse
  16. Crucible
  17. Hammer
  18. Rooster
  19. Mead
  20. Hound

Activity (Good: d20; Sinister: d12+8)

  1. making offerings to
  2. drink to
  3. painting
  4. dancing with
  5. crafting
  6. singing (of)
  7. setting adrift
  8. parading
  9. eating
  10. banishing
  11. burying
  12. burning
  13. branding
  14. disfiguring
  15. quartering
  16. sacrificing
  17. dragging
  18. drowning
  19. hanging the entrails of
  20. flaying

Object (Good: d20; Sinister: d12+8)

  1. holy/spiritual place
  2. relic
  3. the dead
  4. god
  5. valuables
  6. book
  7. flowers/herbs
  8. relic
  9. story
  10. bull
  11. horse
  12. effigy
  13. holy person
  14. most handsome villager
  15. most beautiful villager
  16. stranger
  17. young boy
  18. young girl
  19. youngest villager
  20. oldest villager

If you want a friendly, happy festival, roll the “Good” configuration for Activity and Object.

If you’d like something a little more dark or mysterious, use the “Sinister” configuration.

Here’s an example from Daniel:

The Festival of the Silver Stag

A “good” festival roll yields 12, 8, 4, and 16. This would read:

The festival of the Silver Stag which culminates with the villagers dancing with a stranger.

This configuration suggests to me, a festival designed to bring people together for the purposes of coupling to renewing the populace as well as forging bonds between villages.

The “Silver Stag” is composed of the oldest married couple from each of the two villages. They are chosen for this as they, presumably, have some expertise in the area of successful marriages.

Together they make matches between people from their villages and make adjustments based upon how the couples interact at the nightly dances.

The titular Silver Stag could be a reference to a constellation that appears in the sky at that time of year and is only visible for a week, disappearing on the last day of the festival.

This configuration could create a story of intrigue based around someone trying to influence The Silver Stag. Maybe the villages are almost at war and the festival is tense or even violent. Or, what if The Silver Stag pairs up the adventurers?

Daniel also co-founded the IntrigueCon gaming convention here in Edmonton. If you are in the area during the next one, I hope to see you there!