Friday, 30 July 2021

Adventure Seed Generator: Spears of the Dawn (Sine Nomine)

 A few months ago I was flicking back through my old PDF of Spears of the Dawn by Kevin Crawford (currently available from Drive Thru RPG I believe) and came across a neat table for generating adventure seeds.

The set up is simple: 5 1d20 tables which together imply a story: 

  1. 20 patrons who approach the party
  2. 20 antagonists in conflict with the patron
  3. 20 causes of the conflict
  4. 20 MacGuffins that are central to the conflict
  5. A location where the MacGuffin is found.
I put the 100 entries into a simple generator using perchance:

Obviously there's go t to be some degree of interpretation on the GM's part, but that's the point: it's a seed. How the adventure grows out of this sentence is down to you. You'll also notice that there are buttons for "Old school Fantasy" and "Pariah", the additional lists for which you will find below:

Old School Fantasy

Spears of the Dawn is inspired by the history and mythology of medieval west Africa, but there are strong sword & sorcery elements at play so in some cases I ported some of the entries directly over....

OSF Patrons

  1. renowned artisan  
  2. burgomaster of the local town 
  3. {Bishop|Lama|Curate|Patriarch} of the local {church|temple}
  4. seneschal of the noble's castle 
  5. boss of the thieves' guild 
  6. {theurgist|thaumaturgist|magician|enchanter|warlock|sorcerer|necromancer|wizard}
  7. {swashbuckler|myrmidon|champion|local lord} 
  8. {captain of the watch|a man-at-arms|chief of the king's guard} 
  9. {wealthy|down-on-their-luck|scheming} merchant 
  10.  an elven clan 
  11. the leaders of a dwarven nation
  12. {disgraced|disreputable|disfunctional} {noble|minor royal} 
  13. group of gnomish craftsmen  
  14. peasant {leader|rebel|elder} 
  15. priest of {the orthodox religion|a disgraced cult|an heretical sect|a forgotten god|a foreign deity}
  16. relative of a party member
  17. prominent halfling family
  18. wise sage
  19. Herald of the King 
  20. unpopular vagrant

OSF Antagonists

  1. chaotic bard
  2. assassin 
  3. goblin tribe
  4. bandit gang 
  5. cultist 
  6. evil high priest 
  7. cunning charlatan 
  8. {theurgist|thaumaturgist|magician|enchanter|warlock|sorcerer|necromancer|wizard}
  9. orc warlord 
  10. mercenary captain
  11. merchant 
  12. doppelganger 
  13. corrupt noble 
  14. corrupt official 
  15. group of kobold bandits 
  16. Neurovore 
  17. lawful priest 
  18. lich
  19. Eye Tyrant 
  20. slavemonger 
  21. high-level thief

OSF Fighting over...

  1. the security of a minor trade route
  2. a series of tit-for-tat raids
  3. a disputed land claim
  4. a blood feud
  5. institutional corruption
  6. a romantic rivalry
  7. the interpretation of {a} {ancient prophesy|religious text|occult grimoire|priceless work of art}
  8. access to a tract of land
  9. a claim to dungeon loot
  10. an argument over who was to receive credit for a victory
  11. an unpunished crime
  12. an unjust law
  13. the unfair distribution of wealth
  14. a drunken wager that has gotten out of hand 
  15. precious gems
  16. recent crime
  17. sheer spitefulness
  18. a sporting contest
  19. antagonistic family members
  20. the grave of their surprising common ancestor

OSF MacGuffin...

  1. the body of an ancient dragon rotting
  2. proof of a bastard's lineage hidden away
  3. fact that they were cursed by a chaotic cleric  
  4. dormant shell of a sleeping golem rumoured to be found
  5. grimoire of necromantic magic
  6. legendary hoard of a deceased king buried beneath
  7. remedy for a grim plague 
  8. unholy relics of a deceased anti-saint
  9. inflammatory writ in possession of nervous lawyer
  10. hitherto indecipherable map to a great treasure
  11. {holy talisman|demonic idol} which is hidden 
  12. unwilling ward of a noble family held hostage 
  13. meticulous expense accounts of an otherwise corrupt merchant 
  14. desecrated {cathedral|shrine|abbey} 
  15. ornate {house|shrine|implement} 
  16. roof of a legal privilege which can be found 
  17. holy sceptre of the Once and Always king guarded well
  18. sack of precious jewels hidden 
  19. stolen bride-to-be imprisoned 
  20. stolen tribute due a local lord

OSF Locations

  1. abandoned temple complex from antiquity 
  2. mines of a fallen dwarven kingdom
  3. camp of outlaw mercenaries turned brigands
  4. haunted mausoleum of a legendary concubine 
  5. cursed stone circle built by barbarian tribes 
  6. old catacombs beneath the city
  7. crumbling palace of a corupt noble family
  8. enchanted gardens of a decadent lord
  9. monastery in a high mountain pass
  10. stinking swamp shrouded in a permanent fog 
  11. elaborate abandoned sewer network beneath the better part of town
  12. warren-like alleyways of the capital's slum quarter 
  13. over-sized castle built by giants, rumoured to still be inhabited.
  14. deserted town on the very edge of the wilderness
  15. sea or river-cave 
  16. sacred grove at the heart of an old forest
  17. least -reputable of the city's many thieves' guilds
  18. most sacred temple of a persecuted cult  
  19. border fortress manned by conscripts on the verge of mutiny 
  20. tower of an elderly {man|woman|humanoid} rumoured to be a wizard


These were just a few examples of what adventures might take place in a proto-Neolithic world. for further inspiratin, have a look at 20 Pariah Plot Hooks and rumours


  1. emissary from the settled peoples
  2. chief of a rival foraging band
  3. toothless shaman 
  4. messenger from a powerful forest spirt
  5. enormous wolf, seemingly controlled by a minah bird perched on its crown
  6. haggard wisewoman
  7. starving band of pariahs
  8. herdsman from the northern grasslands
  9. some nomad band from the far-off desert
  10. untrustworthy sorcerer
  11. figure from one of the pariahs' past
  12. old woman, renowned for her hunting prowess,
  13. pair of lovers fleeing their former tribe(s), one of whom
  14. Aziza, the Morning Star
  15. the Lord of the Sun and Heavens
  16. the Lord of Death
  17. our-Dimensional Insect Goddess
  18. artisan-priest of the settled folk
  19. feathered serpent
  20. powerful animal spirit


  1. bitter, exiled shaman
  2. priest from a far-off city
  3. the Yellow Witch and worshippers of the accursed moon
  4. the short-tempered war-chief of a nomadic tribe
  5. a Forest Demon
  6. a recently awoken Titan
  7. a village of angry fisher-folk
  8. starving agricultural workers
  9. a mysterious trading party from far-off lands
  10. a fox
  11. a furious cave bear
  12. a powerful sorcerer and his retinue of monkeys
  13. the Genius Loci
  14. a figure from the pariahs' past
  15. an undead tree-spirit
  16. a great spirit of the Beyond
  17. the Deep One
  18. an ancestral spirit clinging to the Here and Now
  19. an giant, ancient Isopod who eats star-metal
  20. their own doppelganger

Fighting over...

  1. the improper conduct of one or both parties (a matter of honour)
  2. a reneged wager
  3. a romantic rivalry
  4. the breaking of an ancient taboo
  5. an artefact of the others
  6. a beautiful human
  7. theft of a story or song
  8. a feud dating back to the age of chaos
  9. hunting rites on sacred land
  10. a great earthwork depicting a lewd figure
  11. unfair distribution of foraging yields 
  12. the desecration of an ancient {megalith|shrine|spirit-tree}
  13. an out-of-touch community leader
  14. an unfulfilled promise of marriage 
  15. a broken covenant  
  16. a valuable idol
  17. a string of violent incidents
  18. pure malevolence
  19. an old family feud
  20. access to a flint mine


  1. a sacred spear hidden away at
  2. the plastered skull of a revered ancestor, buried somewhere beneath
  3. an elemental bound to {a} {monkey|elephant|wooden idol|gnarled wooden staff|ancient drum} is an ivory flute belonging to {a} [pariahantagonist] 
  4. the polished bones of a revered ancestor, stored in a clay jar at 
  5. a set of gold tablets engrave with strange symbols guarded by {a} [pariahantagonist] at
  6. the blood of the forest guardian spirit kept at
  7. a song known only to an obscure pariah band hiding out at
  8. a great palanquin assembled from the bones of {mastodons|fallen warriors|flying tyrants|thunder lizards|aurochs} said to reside at
  9. the flight-feathers of an eagle witch known to dwell in
  10. the still conscious shrunken head of a powerful sorcerer dwelling at
  11. the fruit of the spirit-tree growing at
  12. the eyes of a spider-god found in a den beneath
  13. an ancient piece of rock art to be found at
  14. a mysterious {shaman|wisewoman|witch|sorcerer|stranger} last seen at
  15. a set of ceremonial masks sacred to a semi-settled tribe known to reside near
  16. an artefact of the Others known to be located at
  17. an ancient weapon forged by a mighty Titan hidden away at
  18. the disembodied spirit of a once-spirit-touched, now bound to
  19. 49 clay effigies of diminutive humans stood in a perfect square formation at 


  1. a meteor crater located in the centre of a field of corn
  2. an abandoned city of The Others
  3. an abandoned city of the ancient Titans
  4. a cave hidden behind a brilliant waterfall
  5. a stone circle on a blasted moor
  6. a crumbling temple in the heart of the jungle
  7. a foul-smelling caverns riddling the slopes of a slumbering volcano
  8. the Realm of Dawn
  9. the Realm of Dusk
  10. the Realm of the Silver Lake
  11. the Realm of the Sun & Heavens
  12. the Realm of Death
  13. the realm of Beyond
  14. a tree-top village in an enchanted forest
  15. an ancient megalith atop a great hill
  16. a far-off city populated by lizard-skinned reptile-folk
  17. the shrine of the Genius Loci
  18. the great hollow beneath a dying tree
  19. the blasted tundra, far to the north
  20. the temple of the Deep One, far below the waves
The link for the generator on perchance is here: you can extend or otherwise amend the lists, save copies and customise your own adventure seed generators:

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