Created in Perchance, this random generator combines a location, author, and a topic to inspire ideas for in-world writings.
Recently, I also created two non-TES writing prompt generators. One focuses on ideas for video game items and locations, and includes additional limits on time and nature of the content. The other is a non-TES version of the worldbuilding prompt.
Below are three stories I wrote based on some of the random results.
A parent writing about divination during the Alessian Rebellion.
(This one was posted as a twitter thread, with each paragraph being under 280 characters)
The mother points to her stomach, scarred with whip and stretchmark. Then to mine, barely starting to show. She motions her fist downward, opening her fingers wide when level with her thighs.
It means: you will soon be a mother, like me.
The leaves I chewed and spit between us shimmer in the light of stars and embers. The mother examines them, looks to me, frowns. She hits her belly once, twice, five times, then holds up two fingers.
It means: you will carry five, but only two will live.
I place a hand to the child that grows within me, circle it in a sunrise motion.
It means: this one?
The mother pokes the leaves with a bony finger. Nods. Smiles until I see the holes where her teeth should be.
It means: yes.
She squats down, tosses bits of leaf over the embers, watches the way the lights change. Motions me to do the same. I do. I stare.
The leaves form an oblong shape. She signs it means it is a boy I carry. There are three spots where we see coal through leaf. She signs it means he will be strong, but not know to keep that to himself. That rough edge, there. She signs it means his life is long.
And that? I point to where the leaves have dried in a diamond fashion. The mother reaches forward and takes my hands in hers. Leans close.
She whispers: numantha.
It means: he will know freedom.
A mystic writing about agriculture in the Alik’r.
(The narrator of this one turned more into a general elder than a mystic, but I still tried to keep the general feel mythological)
You ask, child, why we do not grow food as your mother’s people do? Let me teach you as it was taught to me. When my grandfather’s grandmother was a young woman, her grandfather told her the story of how we came to live how we live. It goes like this:
Our ancestors left the hills of High Rock following a time of great strife between the lion and the dragon, and drove their herds south until Tava said that’s enough and they saw before them a great green lake surrounded by forests and pastures. There was much dancing in celebration and three youths were made men in thanks.
For many years we were happy, our herds grazing, our craftsmen crafting, our farmers farming, our families having babies, our gods pleased with the plenty. But you look around and see sand instead of grasslands, tents instead of homes with gardens, and know that it was not to last.
Those three youths that had been made men had never known war, and so they worshiped it as unbloodied younglings tend to. They sharpened their swords in secret and sparred each other until they drew blood in ignoble fashions, practicing stances and ripostes whose use is forbidden except when one intends to kill. They were not content to till the fields to fill their bellies, no, it was blood and glory for which they hungered.
It happened that a spirit lived nearby, and her name was Nanaida Red Sister of the Salt Sea. She was (like the name says) a water spirit. So these three new-made men, tired of antagonizing the village elders and the would-be warriors of their neighbor clans, decided that if they could not have a war then slaying this spirit was the next best thing.
The first of them was name Kataro, and he was big and strong, the pride of his family. He went to the cave of the spirit and found her in the form of a large rock, which he attempted to cleve to death. But the spirit was too clever, and each blow chipped but a splinter off the rock, until Kataro was chest-deep in rock bits and could not get out and died just like that.
The second of them was named Ahtar, and he was fast and agile, the pride of his family. He went to the cave of the spirit and found her in the form of a swift sparrow, which he attempted to catch in his nets. But the spirit was too clever, and each time he caught her she escaped, until he had tangled himself in his nets and, on his last leap after the bird, fell into a crevasse and died.
The last of them was named Tahin, and he was clever and deceitful, and no one liked him very much because of it. He went to the cave of the spirit and found her in the form of a beautiful woman, who he pretended to be smitten by, and serenaded, and asked to marry. Tahin was a good lad, annoying cleverness and deceitfulness aside, so the spirit agreed. But on their wedding night, when her guard was down, Tahin instead slew her where she lay.
With the death of the water spirit the lake emptied into the rock and the trees withered and the grasses burned. The gods were outraged by Tahin’s behavior, for betrayal at the hearth is the worst kind, and let this withering happen. Z’en, especially, turned his back, for Nanaida was a good friend of his. So our lands became what you see now: rock and scrub and badlands. And that, child, is why our people cannot farm.
A traveler writing about exports in south-western Black Marsh.
Besides the bugs, heat, and foot fungus I mentioned in my last letter, my journey along the Argonian coast has been a grand adventure. I enclose a few trinkets with this letter, examples of the sorts of bounties this land has to offer to Father’s merchant enterprise.
First, the “beeko bowls” crafted by the Red Crest Folk, of whom my guide Jee-lun is one. He says that these bowls are of great value, and that any food placed in them is cleansed of toxins. I’m sure they will be popular among nobles, as they’re always worried about poisons. (We’ll want to check those claims with a reputable enchanter, of course, but I must confess that the persistent diarrhea from which I’ve suffered for the past few weeks seems to have improved a bit since I started eating from one of these vessels).
Next, leaves from the “dooka” tree. To me they look just like the leaves of the common Blackwood mangrove, but Jee-lun assures me that they are an extremely potent medicine capable of curing all manner of illnesses, including tooth aches, menstrual cramps, asthma, and baldness. (As I suffer from none of those ailments, I am unable to verify that claim myself. I’m sure there’s no shortage of asthmatic bald women with tooth troubles in the slums of Wayrest, so you should have no trouble. If only it could make my hives go away!)
Finally, my greatest find: a phial of Hist sap. I was very surprised when Jee-lun procured a cup’s worth of the stuff for a measly 1,000 drakes. I trust that I don’t need to exalt its properties to you. We could sell it for ten times that price per teaspoon! (I will admit to sampling a small amount – just a dab! – after a night of very heavy drinking. It tasted sweet and sticky, like maple syrup, and while I don’t remember anything that happened after, the ship’s crew has been telling all sorts of tales about my strength and speed.)
Please pass all these to Father. Surely this will change his mind regarding the uselessness of this expedition and the poor quality of my mental faculties. This time next year, we’ll be swimming in the profits from our Argonian export empire!
Your brother Stolidus