I have been spending a lot of time lately reading the next book for a media review and working on my QuickStart for Sageuk!. Hopefully I will have some more information on both of those for you all soon. In the mean time, let’s look at the Frontier Civilization Generator.
Frontier Civilization Generator is a world-building creation aid & randomization tool created by Mathew Eaton, a master at quick & random generators for a verity of games and situations. The basic idea behind it, according to Mathew, was to create a tool that would quickly and easily flesh out a location on the fringes of a society.
- Two d100 name tables intended to be used in tandem to create a two part name. The words are a mixture of objects, animals, emotions, geographic features, and colors that may commonly appear in a place name (i.e. Onyx Vale, Tiger Gate, Smitten Swan)
- These name tables could also be potentially used to name things inside the settlement like an inn or other important location.
- A set of d6 tables that build on one another, describing the frontier settlement’s size, government presence, military presence, local leadership structure, relative wealth, likely export types, and status of daily life (i.e. tension / hostility with neighbors, calm).
While quite simple in structure, the basic idea is to create the seed for a settlement that could either describe the local presence for a new nation you have not previously fleshed out or quickly create the parameters for an existing nation’s outpost in this area with a couple minutes time and 10 dice rolls if you utilize all the tables. It also comes with some recommendations on things that might effect your creation like how the name may have become distorted over time by locals or language shifts (“Londinium” to “London”; “El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles” to “Los Angeles”) or how the nature of the settlement may effect its economy.
Frontier Civilization Generator
As an example, here is a quick settlement I threw together with this tool.
- Name: [95 & 54] Glimmering Giant
- Settlement Size:  Village (-1 to Gov. Office Size)
- Gov. Office Size: [4-1=3] Small Tower (-1 to Military Size)
- Military Size: [5-1=4] 6d10 troops (0 mod to Officeholder & wealth)
- Local Gov. Officeholder:  Lord/Lady AKA local gentry
- Leadership:  Democracy
- Relative Wealth:  Fair
- Exporting:  Mundane livestock AKA cattle, chickens
- Current Status of Daily Life:  War with one nation
Welcome to Glimant. This is a small village that has existed in this area for a long time built in and around the ruins of an ancient hilltop fort. Only one significant tower of this fortress still exists intact and is used by the local Kingdom’s appointed lord, currently the Lady Emisalda. Locals jokingly call it the Giant despite the stone tower only being a couple of stories tall. It is, however, notable with it’s stonework that seems to be laced with a shiny metal that no one has been able to figure out how to extract or use despite numerous attempts.
The villagers largely govern themselves though a common council that nominates a Reeve. The reeve acts as the community liaison with the current lord, witness to agreements between locals, and as the arbiter for disputes. Lately the lords of the lands around Glimant have been able to exercise more power due to the war with the neighboring kingdom of Reshalin, but their power is more limited to the military garrison, which currently numbers around 26 strong.
The land in the surrounding area is hilly and largely barren of large plant-life, so the community mostly subsists on animal husbandry to meet many of their needs. A local hardy breed of domesticated dwarf buffalo is commonly used for milk, food, and wool, though some others raise ducks in the wetlands valleys between the hills.
I hope this tool is something that might interest you! You can find it, along with many of Matthew Eaton’s creations, on itch.io. If you would like to check out some other world-building tools, I have covered a number of other item, settlement, and world creation tools here on the blog.
One Final Announcement
I have been purchasing all of the tools, games, and books that I review on this blog out of pocket, making sure I am fully & fairly compensating the creators for their work beyond the dreaded “but the exposure~!” I would like to continue to do that and to help me, I have decided to create a Ko-fi page!
I have no fancy plans for the Ko-fi. Currently the only benefit is an automatic invite to my discord server, which I will gladly give you if you just ask. There are no membership tiers, as I only just found out that is a thing on Ko-fi now. ( ^_^;) As of this moment, 100% of any donations or memberships will be going toward purchasing TTRPG games, tools, and media to review on the blog and any future videos if I get that off the ground.
This also does not mean that I am going to stop blogging if I don’t get any donations or backers! I have quite the backlog of games and tools to cover!