Pixels & Platforms

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

All My Fantasy Children-Style Prompts

All My Fantasy Children is currently one of my favorite podcasts. They focus primarily on their Fantasy setting, but they've taken a novel and interesting approach to how they develop it. They intentionally try to leave things abstract and non-specific, and leave openings to fill in details as they go, which is an approach I really appreciate. More than that, what makes the setting so fascinating is that rather than developing locations or concepts, they come up with characters, and then they build the world around rationalizing what needs to exist in order for that character to do what they do. It's a novel approach and makes the world feel rich and lived-in, almost right from the beginning. The setting is reminiscent of Adventure Time, exploring heavy themes while maintaining a mostly optimistic and whimsical tone. Also both Aaron and Jeff are clever and entertaining people, and the podcast is just a treat. I know that Actual Plays are all the rage, but I actually think this is an interesting medium for audio storytelling that deserves further exploration.

Anyway, with that in mind, here's a list of 1d20 "All My Fantasy Children"-style prompts:

  1. An "unknowable" Lovecraftian entity has begun to develop a humanoid consciousness.

  2. A world-weary lich decides to re-integrate their soul into their body, but finds that they are no longer in sync with their own soul. They must learn to love themselves if they truly wish to be whole again.

  3. An artificer-wizard going through a mid-life crisis has built a bachelor pad within a person-sized bag of holding.

  4. After witnessing an adventurer steal from their pot of meager savings in plain site, a stunned villager has chosen to go on a quest to find this adventurer and make them answer for what they've done.

  5. Through some shenanigans, a powerful warlock has accidentally made a pact with an angel or "good" deity. The pact may only be broken if they meet some very specific and personally challenging requirements.

  6. A ranger or druid has developed major allergies to the things in nature.

  7. An inn known for its extraordinary ability to heal wounds overnight. The inn is managed by a former hero cleric.

  8. A cleaning service run by a former adventurer. They have a trapped gelatinous cube, and use the digestive enzymes of the cube as a cleaning agent. 

  9. The elder dragon that has terrorized the kingdom for ages has mysteriously died. It has bequeathed it's entire treasure hoard to the kingdom, but the dragon's family challenges the legitimacy of the will. The dragon's family takes the will to court, and over the course of the proceedings, much is learned about who the elder dragon truly was.

  10. A machinist with humble origins and no wizard training has created an easily producible and affordable new technology that makes magic available to the masses. The wizard's guild is attempting to suppress this technology.

  11. A peasant turned fighter wanted to go to wizarding school but never received any positive reinforcement. They're exceptionally bright, but their anxieties and self-doubt make them slow to respond to intellectual challenges and appear dimwitted. After years of applying to wizarding school and being rejected, they have finally been given a chance. However, their fighting career has just started to take off, and everyone in their life is telling them not to throw away their future.

  12. Torch Boy the hireling has had enough of the disrespect and abuse from adventurers. After years of dungeon-running while carrying a heavy load, and nothing but a torch to defend themselves, they've become exceptionally quick and clever, and they deserve equal treatment. They've founded the Torchbearer Hireling Guild, and host all-hireling dungeon runs to show what hirelings can do. The dungeon runs have become something of a phenomenon, and it is not uncommon for festivals to break out around a dungeon-site.

  13. A Dark Lord and the nearby kingdom have been in "conflict" for ages. However, nobody has ever died or been seriously injured in these conflicts, and it's become more ceremonial than anything else. In fact, DL is something of an icon in the kingdom, and DL and their hordes are regular members of society and contribute to the economy and well-being of the kingdom. Of course, the adventurers who just strolled into town aren't aware of any of this...

  14. A baby mimic hatched in front of an adventurer and imprinted on them, and the adventurer spared them. The mimic now wanders throughout the kingdoms, doing the best it can to be an adventurer, but it doesn't always quite understand what it means to be an adventurer, or a member of society, for that matter.

  15. An undead creature has inexplicably found themselves with a new soul. It's definitely not the soul they had in life, and they're not sure what to do about it. It's all very confusing for them.

  16. A  "monster" village far removed from the affairs of the world exists in peace and isolation. One villager decides to journey out and explore the world, but they are often driven out from the places they discover. Every once in a while, they find a place that doesn't reject them on-sight, and they've made all sorts of friends and positive experiences in  those places.

  17. The Dark Lord vanquished the kingdom's armies and reigns as the new king. As it turns out, DL has some good ideas and seems to genuinely want to do right by the kingdom, and the quality of life for the average citizen is actually getting better under the new leadership.

  18. A city druid known as the Rat King has been engaging in peaceful protest against the kingdom's treatment of wildlife in the cities. They have become something of a folk hero (or menace, depending on who you ask).

  19. A cleric has suddenly lost their connection to their deity and divine magic, and they have no idea why. They set out to continue to do good in the world, even without their deity.

  20. A roguish "gentleman thief" has been captured. Instead of prison time, the rogue has been offered a position as Chief of Tactical Security for the kingdom; devising new means of thwarting thieves, tracking counterfeiters, encrypting vital messages, and so on. They feel surprisingly good about doing honest work, but also yearn for their former life as a rogue and adventurer. 


  1. That first prompt is especially promising. Something like a Cthulhoid whatsit that's devoured so many souls that it's (maybe not quite so) effectively piloted from within its own digestive hellscape by a democratic mass of fraying human spirits.

    1. That's a cool take on the idea! I've been having an idea, I don't think it was directly related but was probably coming from the same headspace, for a superhero setting in which Lovecraftian god-like entities that occasionally spawn within the universe, which normally get consumed by larger entities, are stillborn, or take so long to gestate that they're basically irrelevant to the universe, sometimes instead fall into an ecosystem and get integrated into the ecosystem, and in the case of Earth or an Earth-like world, they integrate first with various animals, and later humans, forming the various pantheons and later superheroes, or entering a symbiotic relationship with the humans as Vampire Hunter D-like carbuncles.