I was looking for a decent online world map generator today and stumbled across Dire Press’ collection of tools–and got stuck there for the next hour or so.
The fractal world-map generator is awesome. The maps look quite good, with plenty of detail. It’s easy to keep randomizing the numbers (or play with them) until you find something that works for you.
What I found really fascinating and surprising, however, was the dungeon generator! It has a remarkable number of customizable parameters. You can set a “motif” for a dungeon (such as fire or desert), a size (from small to colossal), a size for the rooms, a layout design (rectangle, circle, ring, etc.), room placement (scattered, packed, sparse), level, and more. But what amazed me even more than all that was the sheer level of detail it gives you–not just monsters, but the types of walls and floors (and their effects on relevant DC checks), the state of various entries, interesting room features, and so on. It doesn’t tell you the exact purpose of each room or give you a plot or story behind the dungeon, but it gives you enough raw material that you can easily come up with that yourself–and those are the things least likely to survive randomization without becoming silly or self-contradictory anyway.
The encounter generator allows you to set level, climate, and terrain, and gives you actual EL, total XP, and XP per PC. It also gives you all the stats on your monsters.
These are some of the most elegant online tools I’ve seen yet for roleplayers. They’re easy-to-use and extremely customizable, and produce remarkably useful output. I’m amazed they’re free, frankly.
While you’re there, take a look at their products and consider buying some–I certainly am. They look really interesting, and I’m happy to support the folks who’ve made such awesome tools available for free.