Game Fodder: Describing Building Exteriors

Recently I started work on a different kind of project that required me to come up with creative descriptions of the outside of buildings. The work started off fine, but I found myself struggling to come up with a ton of them. So I figured I’d create a little tool to help me out.

OpenClipart.org - Johnny Automatic - Old Factory
OpenClipart.org – Johnny Automatic – Old Factory

What I ended up with were two tables. The first provides the element of the building I’m describing. And the second gives me which sense (or senses) I’m using to describe that element.

Building Exterior Element (d10)

  1. Wall
  2. Door
  3. Ground
  4. Roof
  5. Garden
  6. Porch or Deck
  7. Stairs
  8. Street
  9. Windows
  10. Sidewalk

Sense to Use (d8)

  1. Sight
  2. Hearing
  3. Smell
  4. Touch
  5. Taste
  6. Roll again
  7. Roll twice
  8. Roll three times

With a pair of die rolls, I get a bit of inspiration to create a descriptive element.

If I roll a 2 (Door) and a 3 (Smell) I might get:

As you approach the door, you notice an odd odor coming from inside…

If I roll a 1 (Wall) and a 4 (Touch), I might come up with:

The walls are covered with a strange viscous material that things like leaves, bugs, and hair seem to stick to.

In either case, I’m left wondering what the heck is going on inside the building but my imagination has a framework to cling to and questions to answer.

Obviously not all combinations make sense. So if you get a 4 (roof) and 5 (taste), that doesn’t make a lot of sense. Just reroll the sense until you get something that works.

This method has saved me a great deal of frustration and writer’s block already, so I’m sure there will be other tables before long.

What sorts of strange descriptions can YOU come up with using this method?

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