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Wednesday, 29th September, 2010, 02:50 PM #1
Defender (Lvl 8)
Review of Kingdom Builder II by Chaotic Shiny Productions
World-building can be one of the most rewarding and yet to most frustrating tasks a Dungeon Master can undertake. Besides creating new maps to encompass the borders of the “known” world, there is still the overwhelming tasks of populating the lands with various races of peoples and monsters, placing cities and towns and villages, drawing political borders – is it any wonder that early geographers gave up trying to figure out who dwelt just over the horizon, and proclaimed, “There be dragons here”?
But there is a new product from Chaotic Shiny Productions - a well-known resource on the web for the wide variety of free random generators usable in almost any type of role-playing game, whether fantasy or modern or science-fiction – which can help fantasy world-builders create even more details for their settings with Kingdom Builder Generator Pack II.
Kingdom Builder Generator Pack II
- Programmer: Hannah Lipsky
- Publisher: Chaotic Shiny Productions
- Year: 2010
- Media: Application (.NET)
- Cost: $3.95
The production quality of the Kingdom Builder Generator Pack is quite good overall, with an easy-to learn interface which is generally straightforward and intuitive. The flag generator presents a little challenge to learn, but it produces some startling results even left on full random settings.
As mentioned previously, the Kingdom Builder Generator Pack II (KBGP II) is a suite of seven random generators, with a eighth generator to create a complete kingdom or realm. The eighth generator also incorporates a little piece of the original Kingdom Builder Generator Pack (click to see a review of the previous generator), which randomizes a name for the fantasy realm and the nature of its ruler. It should be noted that some of the random generators in the KBGP II are available on the Chaotic Shiny website, such as the fashions, law, army, place name, and flag generators, but the versions used in this product have been enhanced with additional features – like the graphic component of the flag generator!
[Reviewer’s Note: If you have never checked out the Chaotic Shiny generators, feel free to click the link above and take a look! It only takes a few clicks to come up with some fascinating and inspiring ideas for almost any campaign.]
Individually, each generator in KGBP II are designed to up to 50 at a time with just a couple clicks, excepting the “meta” whole kingdom generator and the flag generator which are designed for single outputs. Generated results can be saved to file, printed, and even edited in the program’s output box, and there are is an option to retain previous results in multiple generators simultaneously in order to avoid losing an inspiring idea or design.
Here are some examples of the outputs from the fashion, army, law, and place name generators, which are similar to the results obtainable from Chaotic Shiny website:
This style features sophisticated, scanty tan garments. Tops are typically sleeveless with varying necklines. Wraps and chokers are popular accessories. Solid colors and floral patterns are staples of the style. Deep brown, light green, and green-brown are also common colors. Different professions wear very different clothing.This style favors elegant, layered green-brown garments. Tops are typically cropped with standard necklines. Sandals and bodices are also customary. Veils and shawls are popular accessories. Plaid patterns and lace and embroidery are staples of the style. Deep red, red-violet, and vibrant blue are also common colors.
This army specializes in powerful mages and the use of spears. They often rely on lizardfolk and weather mages. They are famous for their loyalty to each other and for valour. Each brigade contains 5 troops of 360 soldiers. Currently, they are returning home.This army is known for its lone-wolf champions and the use of halberds. They have been known to use pooka mounts. They are famous for helping conquered peoples rebuild and for their fondess for diplomacy. Each division contains 20 troops of 400 soldiers.
The penalty for stealing a slave girl is the loss of privileges.The penalty for slandering a wizard is death.The penalty for a guild leader illegally selling jewelry is a flogging.
Trickmean StreamNameflight MireArashiai Pass
It should be mentioned that the place name generator got quite a few nice enhancements prior to being inserted into the KBGP II suite. An additional menu was added to the generator, which is not available with the free web version on the Chaotic Shiny site. This new drop-down allows the user to select a particular terrain for generating names, which is handy if trying to come up with the names of five rivers flowing through a kingdom, rather than hoping for a rive name to pop up randomly amongst the output.
But it is the other three generators (and the final meta generator) which are really quite impressive, and the conspirator and event generators alone almost make the product worth picking up! The conspirator generator can create up to 50 named NPCs in a single click, detailing their names, likes, dislikes, prejudices, possible locations, and general physical appearance! This generator is clearly usable not only for creating villains and unusual characters within a city-state or country, but can be used to make interesting NPCs around town or for a particular adventure, to add details and quirks which a DM might not think to include. The event generator is a collection of odd events, many of which could be used as adventure hooks, tavern tales, or even “red herrings” to incite the heroes to investigate.
Xell, the supposedly philanthropic, swaggering foreigner who is never short on opinions. He seems to have many allies. Rumors say that he loathes lesser nobles. He can usually be found downtown. He is broad-shouldered with brown eyes and golden skin. The extravagant scholar Ineath is his kin.Vaizyes, the shadowy, bold priest who recently had a change of heart. Rumors say that she holds a grudge against adventurers. She can usually be found near the barracks. She is tall with a number of scars and blond hair. The very wealthy politician Frenn is her opponent. The alchoholic foreigner Freadan is her enemy.Dincif, the well-connected military official who previously escaped punishment for several alleged crimes. He has just gained a significant ally. Rumors say that he is unwilling to associate with politicians. He can usually be found at work. He is willowy with bronze hair and bright green eyes. The vengeful cleric Ilaekl is his ally. The unhappily married politician Fu'el is his rival.
In a northeastern region villages have been attacked by raiding parties and a long-lost scion has returned.Near a eastern wilderness a new political leader has emerged and a prominent warrior has been stirring up discontent.Near a northeastern barony the close relative of a master artisan has gone missing and there are rumors of discontent.
If you need to create a kingdom quickly on-the-fly, the meta-generator can pop flesh out a kingdom fairly quickly. It gives the name of the kingdom, its ruler, prominent places, examples of laws, recent events, a few notable citizen (i.e. conspirators), its army, and what the current fashion trend is like:
Kingdom Name: Eni'alraom
Ruled By: A minister
Prominent Places: Kraedan Tarn, Deyrer Valley, Shinebath Peak, Dragmask Jungle, Rookcairn Sea, Enallenus Swamp, Herobead Lagoon, Isonax Mire, Jaessal Jungle
A Few Laws: The penalty for endangering an ox is a considerable term of servitude.
The penalty for a landless person failing to uphold a contract is a considerable fine.
The penalty for comitting blasphemy is life imprisonment.
The penalty for maiming a war horse is a small fine.
Recent Events: In a southern wilderness several people have vanished and there have been reports of miracles. A powerful thief may be involved.
Near a northwestern plains a local foreigner has gone missing and villages have been attacked by a nymph.
Near the southwestern district the price of whiskey has risen sharply and a new species of basilisk may have emerged. A dangerous entertainer may be involved.
Notable Individuals: Dreadon, the well-connected, deeply religious warrior who is never short on opinions. Rumors say that he has recieved threats from young scions. He can usually be found near the market. He is broad-shouldered with bright green eyes and tanned skin. The idealistic mage Aeraly is his cousin.
Iloaz, the paranoid, showy royal who is beloved by the people. He has been quickly gaining enemies. Rumors say that he gets along fairly well with spies. He can usually be found in the affluent part of town. He is squat with brown-black hair and an easy smile. The fashionable courtesan Naedar is his kin. The belligerent politician Aela'ac is his antagonist.
Eloax, the foolish socialite who has trouble keeping other people's secrets. He has few open allies. Rumors say that he has recieved threats from diplomats. He can usually be found at a party. He is pudgy with large ears and golden hair. The recently bereaved priest Scaekr is his patron. The belligerent master artisan Pon is his friend.
Army: Eni'alraom's gnome army specializes in powerful cavalry and the use of recurved bows. They have a loose chain of command, with ranks based on appointment by civilian officials. Currently, they are returning home in disgrace.
Current Fashion: This fashion emphasizes soft, voluminous deep red and light green garments. Tops are typically short sleeved with very low necklines. Stockings and tights are also customary. Amulets are popular accessories. Floral patterns and spots and snaps are staples of the style. Grey-brown, dark red-violet, and tan are also common colors. Children and adults wear very different clothing.
Overall Grade: A
Hands down, the Kingdom Builder Generator Pack II is a worthy successor to the first generator pack, and offers additional world-building content which the first generator lacked. Even for already established “official” game settings, such as the Forgotten Realms or Eberron, the generators in KBGP II can still be used to enhance the play experience by adding much needed details like changes in fashion trends, random events, and standing armies for nobles and cities not given full details in the sourcebooks. And the conspirator generator is a useful tool for almost any Dungeon Master, particularly if heroes fall off the campaign plot track and end up meeting NPCs in areas not quite intended to be visited yet! With Kingdom Builder Generator Pack’s modest priced of only $3.95, this assortment of randomizers is well worth picking up to enhance almost any campaign.
So until the next review… I wish you Happy Gaming!
- Presentation: A
- - Design: A
- - Illustrations: NA
- Content: A
- -Crunch: NA
- -Fluff: A-
- Value: A
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