Building worlds is hard. Worlds are vast. Every new person your players bump into needs a name. They can't all be Bob. Not to mention places, items, descriptions, plot hooks... the list goes on.
This is where generators come in. A great generator can help do some of the heavy lifting. Instead of starting from a blank page, game masters can prime the creative pump with randomly generated content.
The original generators were random tables printed into sourcebooks. Those are still great! But with software behind it, a generator can offer a whole lot more. This is a list of my five all-time favourites.
1. Medieval Fantasy City Generator by Watabou
Watabou's generators go above and beyond to create content that is useful and beautiful. This medieval fantasy city generator gives you a complete map of an area with tons of inspirational names.
Not only are the results great, they can be exported to a variety of formats and used freely in your own projects, even commercial ones. Oleg is a very generous developer indeed.
This generator offers a complete establishment in one click. It does a great job of generating a ton of content: people, places, politics, and a lot more. What's great about it is that it wires the components together to create a cohesive scenario.
Check this one out if you are looking for something more detailed and complete.
Anyone who searches for generators will know Donjon. This site has a generator for everything and has been around for a long time.
The generators are laid out in a straightforward style using old-school tables. They are easy to read and information-dense.
Go here to find anything you can think of finding.
DMHeroes focuses on character generation. It has every major race from Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition available in two genders.
Characters have interesting traits and plot hooks connected to them. The generator links between characters you have generated so you can start to imagine a story form between them
The best part is the portraits. This tool randomly creates gorgeous random portraits to go with every character. You usually don't see this caliber of art in these websites.
Here Be Taverns is a generator designed by Sword & Source.
Version 2 (coming out by end of 2020) will be even better. This generator will focus on producing manageable lists of content that pass a high quality bar. My goal is to make sure that every page of results has multiple items you could use in your game immediately.
UPDATE: Here Be Taverns is now live. You can try it right now.