Interview with Jerry Joe Seltzer of 5thDnD.com

"Most of the feedback made me feel great. Others though, had harsh things to say and I realized that every DM runs their game differently. I get it. Randomness isn't for everyone."

More thoughts on generators with Joe Jerry Seltzer of 5thDnD.com

Q&A with Joe Jerry Seltzer of 5thDnD.com

How did you get into creating random generators?

The human brain is anything but random. Our thoughts are predictable and our derivative of our upbringing, current events, and media we've consumed.

As a DM, I like my games to feel more spontaneous, often surprising myself just as much as my players.

Originally I had a big binder of random tables that I collected from old Dragon and Dungeon magazines. Eventually though, I picked up enough javascript to build more dynamic tools.

What generators are you most proud of creating and why?

The Village Generator at 5thDND.com is my favorite because it paints a word picture for the players. They can get a real sense for where they've just arrived. It also incorporates some of the Inn & Tavern generator within it.

Village Gen at 5thdnd.com

What is the most fun thing about creating generators?

The most fun thing about creating generators has to be testing them and discovering hilarious bugs. No matter how much planning I put into the coding beforehand, I inevitably create bizarre juxtapositions when I populate the arrays.

What are the most painful lessons you've learnt from creating generators?

I created all the 5thdnd generators for myself, to help me run my games. Eventually I decided to dress up the site and share it with other DMs.

Most of the feedback made me feel great. Others though, had harsh things to say and I realized that every DM runs their game differently.

I get it. Randomness isn't for everyone.

How do you use random generators yourself?

I rely heavily on my generators in game because it eases the mental load of running the game. Coming up with NPCs, loot, locks, taverns, etc. is a distraction I don't want.

When my players know that I'm getting it from my generator, they don't complain nearly as much. They know my internal biases aren't a factor working for or against any particular player. Weapon fumbles are a good example.

When a player rolls a 1 on an attack I press a button and read what happened. It frees me from any blame and everyone has more fun as a result.

What are your next big projects (generators or otherwise) that you can talk about?

Call To Adventure was a huge success. It is a book that I wrote and illustrated, containing 34 new backgrounds for 5e characters. You can find it on Amazon.

The new book I'm writing and illustrating is called Traveling Encounters volume 1. It is a collection of interesting random encounters that PCs might run across while traveling. Volume 1 is for CR1 thru CR5.

Where can people find you on social media?

You can find Jerry Joe Seltzer on Facebook and Kickstarter.

More Creators

If you want to find out about more creators take a look at the full interviews list.