System Neutral GM Aids In Your Toolbox

@DMCojo posed this question, which will be in the upcoming episode - Consequences…

I am curious what system neutral GM aids you keep in your toolbox, to help you craft your games and worlds. Do you have any that you find yourself coming back to time and again?

When I look at my shelf, the books I most frequently reference are:

  • Tome of Adventure Design by Frog God Games

  • The “Alphabet” series from Goodman Games, including the Dungeon Alphabet by Michael Curtis and the Monster Alphabet by Jobe Bittman

  • The Random Esoteric Creature Generator by James Raggi

  • The Storyteller’s Thesaurus by James Ward and Anne Brown

  • How to Write Adventure Modules that Don’t Suck by Goodman Games

I’m sure there are many other gems out there that you and your esteemed listening public can recommend, to build on these valuable resources.

What would you list?

  • Outline of History
  • NYT Book of Quotations
  • Lives of the Saints
  • 1938 edition Encyclopedia Britannica Set
  • 1975 edition Harvard Classics set

That is about 50 volumes, I can’t find my copy of New York Public library help desk reference, that should be on the shelf behind me. Must wrap books in barbed wire…


I would tack The Storyteller’s Dictionary on with the Thesaurus.

Ultimate Toolbox by AEG

Adventurer’s Almanac by Goodman Games

The Mother of All Treasure Tables by Necromancer Games

The Mother of All Monster Tables by Necromancer Games

A whole MESS of books by Raging Swan Press

Kobold Guide to Worldbuilding by Kobold Press

Kobold Guide to Plots and Campaigns by Kobold Press

Sly Flourish’s Lazy Dungeon Master by Micheal Shea

Return of the Lazy Dungeon Master by Micheal Sheal

Focal Point, Odyssey, Never Unprepared, Masks, Unframed and Eureka by Engine Publishing

Your Whispering Homonculus and More Whispering Homonculus by Richard Pett

A bunch of RolePlaying Tips by Johnn Four

On the Non-Player Character by Courtney Campbell

(Also, the aforementioned TOAD by Frog God, the Thesaurus by Troll Lord, and Goodman Games How to Write…)

Suffice it to say, my GMing needs a LOT of help.


No, really. I need a ton of help.


Scounding tables in Dealands Hell in earth are great to keep in your back pocket for rewarding your group in post apocalypse games.
I always like having certain mp3 on my all the time for any game that work well. Such as Army of Darkness, the Mask of Zorro, Medieval and Aliens Soundtrack


@LaramieWall, there’s no prize for the most. Just sayin. LOL.

1 Like

I was sharing.

The prize is community.


How timely! I have been thinking about this as I enter the Referee side of the screen in an ongoing blog series in which I detail how I run my fantasy rpg. I expect that the Referee side of things is going to get very philosophical and theoretical.

Here’s my answer to this question:

D30 Sandbox Companion

I begin with this, again and again, specifically for the Adventure Generator Tables. The Settlements and Tavern Generators are useful, as well.

Classic Dungeon Design Guide III

This is basically a massive table on which one rolls d1000 to generate types of rooms specific either to Caverns, Manor-houses, Temples, Tombs or Dungeons. It’s so slick and neat. I can’t recommend it enough.

Oldskull Adventure Generator

Everything about this is great, but, after using the previous resource, I open this one directly to the Chaotic Descriptor Table with which to flavor the rooms I’ve generated. Any old dictionary can be used, as well—I use a d2000 to find a random page in the illustrated Random House one I use.

I love (and use) Matt Finch’s ToaD, too, but it’s a bit overwhelming, since it lacks a procedure, being a collection of lightly organized tables designed for inspiration only.