The internet has been a great boon to GMs. It has never been so easy to do research and to find resources someone else created that can save you a ton of work. Back in 2013 I already shared a bunch of links to help with World building. Here are some of my most frequented links in 2018 I use for prep or inspiration, just a few of the previously linked make a reappearance as my prep style changed.
Some prominent artists and many others share their Art here. I found someone to do art for a project for me through this page for relatively cheap as you can often find new artists looking to build up their portfolio. And very established artists as well. For the GM side you can find a lot of inspirational art for a variety of genres there, from rough amateur to high polished professional work. You can also set up “collections” on the site to organize the art you like.
Probably the very first, big collection of random generators I encountered so many years ago. It has generators for names, locations, adventures, monsters, star systems and many more. Including generators for specific rule systems like 5E and Pathfinder. A must have bookmark for every GM.
This site is simply amazing and the name does not do it justice. There are over 1200 different generators on this page, many for a variety of names, from classic Tolkien names to pop culture like Mass Effect or Elder Scrolls. It also has real world names for an incredible amount of cultures. Also several generators for short descriptions for gardens or armor or laws or… just go and have a look. This is permanently open when I prep my games or create a character to pull out names for a lot of different things.
I maintain several boards for specific games or genres. As a visual person nothing gets my imagination running better then an image. Here I can conveniently gather them all in one place. And the algorithms suggesting other art are OK too so I always find new illustrations to add. You can also follow the boards others have set up and there are some very active GMs on Pinterest that will keep you supplied with lots of material if you don`t have the time to collect material yourself.
The companion site to Fantasy Name Generators. I only recently began looking closer at it and it is well worth checking out. There are a ton of tools to create Blueprints, Maps, Outfits, Pantheons, Noticeboards, Emblems, Solar Systems, Weapons…. and so many more. Plus some good GM Advise and DIY crafting articles too. Oh and a bunch tracks of free RPG music as well. Emily, who runs this and Fantasy Name Generators, is busy! There is a ton of stuff that can help you elevate your game with cool hand-outs and maps.
There was a dark time a wile back when wizardawn had disappeared from the web but it has a new home and hopefully for good. Besides various generators based on mostly OSR game systems the absolute highlight for me are the various random map generators. Need a fantasy village, post apocalyptic city, classic dungeon or space ship interior? Press a button. There are also custom tools where you can supply your own data files to create a generator tailored to your specific worlds. Helped me create a game in minutes if I had to.
What are your favourite website to support your prep? Please post in the comments, I love discovering new things.