Procedural vs. Random

Florian Fischer

Florian Fischer

What makes the small but subtle difference

The dice table – Who doesn’t know it in pen-and-paper games? Whether it is about the motivation of the robber king who wants to get at your throat, or who or what is lurking around the next corner for the adventurers. With an even (Laplace) dice, you can be sure that chance decides here – fate, as a vain Dungenmaster once explained to me with a serious face. Without any doubt, the traditional dice table will keep its place in pen-and-paper, even if a computer in the background throws the virtual dice and spits out the result.


But chance alone does not create game worlds. How could a game master justify a forest growing in the crater of an active volcano, an elf clan running a dwarven forge on the ocean floor, or a whale living in the small cistern of a desert oasis? All of these things can happen when a god listlessly decides to throw the dice when decideing what comes where in the world. Sure, these ideas might make excellent Terry Pratchett novels on their own, but in sum, the resulting world is completely unsuitable for a solid round of Dungeons & Dragons or Pathfinder. This is where the great savior, procedural generation (also known as synthesis), literally comes into play.


If you take the term literally, it describes very well what a world generator, like the one of Paths of Savage Gods, does: It generates (also synthesizes) instead of „rolling the dice“ and does this according to a „recipe“, which the computer scientist calls procedure. Just as a recipe takes into account that a certain amount of baking powder will make the cake rise, a procedure calculates that a certain amount of trees in an active volcanic crater is not likely to „rise.“ On the lowest level, there are nevertheless dice tables in this generator, which decide, for example, which tree should grow on the small plan square. However, the procedure has previously adapted the dice table to the environment, so that in the case of the volcano crater no tree and in the case of a primeval forest only the most exotic wood is to be found.

The procedural world generator, which creates realistic continents including vegetation, settlements and cave systems within a few seconds, is the heart of Paths of Savage Gods. And I may say with a proud and pulsating chest, „It’s already beating!“ As development progresses, I’m sure we’ll tweak a screw or two, but with just a few clicks, fantastic (yet realistic) maps can already be generated.


Of course, one world generator is not enough to make Paths of Savage Gods your new and constant pen-and-paper companion. Surely you want more features? To make sure we don’t miss any of them and PoSG lives up to the highest expectations, we need you to write us in Discord (link below) what you as a player or game master expect from Paths of Savage Gods.


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