The basis for any story is an inspiration. An idea. Here are some links to places that I find useful for various stages on inspiration -from creating the world, to populating it, to creating the plot.
- http://donjon.bin.sh/ This site is great for generating some basic stuff, like worlds, dungeons, inns, adventures, etc. My personal favourite is the fractal world generator as I like to tweak things from there, but you can also generate worlds that already have cities and such.
- http://citygen.crystalballsoft.com/ Is a city generator that I use primarily for D&D purposes, but it can also help you quickly flesh out any city in any world of your choosing.
- http://www.rpglibrary.org/utils/meddemog/ A new site I’ve found that is based off of S. John Ross’ Medieval Demographics Made Easy (which I summarize here). It distills a lot of what both Ross and I talked about in our respective articles into an easy to use generator. Haven’t had much chance to play with it yet, but it looks promising!
- http://seventhsanctum.com/ Is probably already a staple in the bookmarks of many people, but I’ll still share it. You can find a wide variety of random generators here, from names to plot ideas! Sometimes I just like to generate random things to get a good chuckle. It may not be the most original of generators (I find it gives me a lot of cliché type results), but it certainly can kick-start your creativity!
- http://www.godchecker.com/ This site takes a very tongue-in-cheek approach to religions, both modern and ancient. While it may not be an appropriate resource for a school project, I think it can be a great source when you’re trying to use pre-existing religions in your stories.
- http://www.babynames.com/Names/search.php The advanced search feature lets you narrow join the choices for coming up with character names. I like to use it for almost all my characters so that I can give them names that mean something.
- http://genealogy.familyeducation.com/browse/origin/ For a long time I’ve had problems creating believable surnames for my characters without all of them being “Smith”s or “Ford”s or something similar. This is a cool new site I’ve found that lets you browse surnames both alphabetically and by origin (the link is for browsing by origin).
- http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/search This is my personal go-to for naming almost everything. It lets me look up words in Greek and Latin, and has the option for Old Norse as well as Arabic. I can’t read either of those two, so I stick with what I know. Possibly too “snobby” for a lot of people to use, but I like creating character and other names based on old words that describe an aspect of them. I first was introduced to it as an undergrad when I was studying the ancient languages. It helped with my homework, and now it helps with my stories. An all around amazing site!