Saturday, July 11, 2020

Random aviary generator! BIRDS BIRDS BIRDS

I wrote a set of random tables for generating aviaries and populating them with birds. It runs the gamut from more or less "realistic" to the weird and surreal. 

The Ignatian Aviary was partially inspired by Ignacio who runs an actual play channel on youtube and an old-school blog. If you've seen any of his videos, you know that he has birds. It was also inspired by stuff like The Gardens of Ynn.

I won't copy the generator here, because it's a lot of tables... ~7 pages. But you can see them all in the PDF, and read an example aviary below!

Example aviary:

The aviary stands in the far reaches of the city’s public park. The aviary is an impressive structure, but the funds allocated by the city council are clearly insufficient. A single caretaker and the occasional scholar struggle to maintain order. The pavilions are small and crowded with flapping, cawing birds. The structures are in good condition, but the foul smell scares away most visitors… At least the place is guarded by night by a watchman with dogs.

The aviary consists of a central pavilion, surrounded by three smaller ones.

The Central pavilion, a large, rectangular, domed structure, built in trelliswork. The pavilion is overgrown with grass and plants. A fruit-bearing tree occupies the middle, with a small pond nearby.
  • A single elderly vulture (an ex-hunting bird, now on “pension”), with grey and yellow feathers. Its wings are damaged, and it cannot fly any more. It munches on the fallen fruits.
  • Nine tiny flightless magpies feast on the fruits. Their bodies are red with black and white highlights, and during mating season, the males walk around huffing and puffing their chests. One of the magpies has a chameleonic disguise. The locals think the magpies bring luck and are very-very tasty.
Pavilion “A”, a hexagonal building, domed, with plate glass walls. A barren, artificial glass box…
  • Fifteen chicken-like birds from a far-away land. They flutter around in the pavilion, eating everything they are given. Their plumage shimmers in all the colors of the rainbow. When aroused or angry, they open their fan-like tails and wiggle their long necks. When the stars are right, eggs laid by these birds hold a great magical power…
Pavilion “B”, a rectangular, flat-roofed building; glass windows in a trelliswork frame. It’s disappointingly empty.

Pavilion “C”, a round building, like a small glass circus tent, divided into four equal segments. A small fountain provides refreshment to two pairs of birds, inhabiting opposite segments:
  • A pair of larger than average exotic, weirdly elongated hummingbirds, with eye-pleasing patterns: white, with blue highlights and green spots, but no other qualities to talk about. They like to eat fruits.
  • A pair of enormous exotic ducks, about 4’ high. They lost their wings during transportation, and now have mechanical replacements. Despite their size, they survive on a diet of insects. The male is of a plain grey color, but performs elaborate mating dances to attract the glowing white-grey female. The female, surprisingly for a duck, sings, and its voice lulls people to sleep.

Have fun, keep on flapping & cawing!


  1. This is really cool!

    Have you considered automating it with something like Spwack's generators(

    Michael Raston uses them on Infinigrad and it makes generating off tables super easy and fun. Like this:

    Anyhow, there's a good chance you've seen this before, but just in case, thought I'd mention it.

    1. Thanks!

      I plan to put this into a generator! Such complex tables get really unwieldy to roll "by hand", especially if you need to populate five pavilions with, like, 4 types of birds each.

      I experimented with a simpler embed before (, but I haven't tried Spwack's yet, thanks for the reminder!