RPG Tools Interview: Ben at Iron Arachne

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I had a chance to ask another RPG tools developer about the project they’re working on. Ben Overmyer, creator of Iron Arachne, was kind enough to answer them, and I’d thought I’d share. If you have created some cool RPG tools, feel free to reach out to me on Twitter or email, and we can set up an email interview. For now, let’s hear about what Ben’s been working on.

1) Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I’m Ben Overmyer. I’ve been a gamer as far back as I can remember, and a coder for almost as long. I’m a published author and artist in the RPG industry too, though I do a lot less of that these days.

2) What generators are available on Iron Arachne?

Several! The most unique are the culture generator and region generator. There’s a couple character generators for sci-fi RPGs, a heraldry generator, and some smaller quirky ones I did for Reddit challenges. I’m particularly proud of the planet and star system generators, since they also generate images of the individual planets and stars.

3) What made you decide to create Iron Arachne?

I wanted to see if I could build a generator for an entire campaign setting. So, I started writing generators to build various pieces of that. Then it just kind of grew organically.

4) When did you launch, and how has it gone  so far?

The site first went online in February of 2018. It’s gone through two complete rewrites. For awhile, the heraldry generator was used by Azgaar’s world generator site, before he replaced it with his own.

5) Any changes or updates you plan in the near or distant future?

Iron Arachne’s always changing and evolving. Right now I’m working on expanding the biome/climate system underlying region and town generation. I’m also going to be writing a character generator for Dungeon Crawl Classics in the very near future. As for longer term plans… I’d like to finally write a map generator to go with the region generator, but the math involved is pretty intense.

6) Any other RPG tools you use frequently?

I’ll often reference fantasynamegenerators.com for inspiration for my own name generators. I also use donjon.bin.sh occasionally.

7) How long have you been into tabletop RPGs?

I first discovered D&D when I was 11. My parents had a copy of the Mentzer Basic Set, though they’d never played it, that I know of. I was fascinated by the concept and fell immediately in love with the hobby.

8) Can you tell us a little bit about the back-end tech that makes the site shine?

The current iteration of the site is purely JavaScript. I write it in TypeScript and use Svelte to compile everything. The CSS I write in Sass, and I don’t use any frameworks.

9) What is your favorite tabletop RPG system?

I don’t really have a favorite. I have a soft spot in my heart for Rifts, because it’s the first system I ever GMed consistently for. I tend to collect obscure and out of print games. Of those, there’s a weird old universal system called S.O.R.D. by Scott Compton that I cherish. Scott inspired me to start designing my own RPGs, and two decades later, I discovered a print copy of his game in a Half Price Books. Of the more mainstream games, I’m currently interested in Dungeon Crawl Classics the most, I suppose.

10) Of the many polyhedral dice, which is your favorite and why?

The humble six-sided die is my favorite. It’s the most versatile and the easiest to find.

“The humble six-sided die is my favorite. It’s the most versatile and the easiest to find.” Ben at Iron Arachne.

#TTRPG #RPGtools #dice

11) Anything else you would like to add?

I’ll add that I absolutely love the RPG generator community, and the wider procedural content generation community too. It’s a great group of folks who are so creative and inspiring.

Be sure to check out Ben Overmyer’s work at Iron Arachne.

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