There's a thread discussing adjective lists for monsters at on rec.games.rogulike.developer at the moment, which has prompted me to suggest a project that the denizens of rgrd, and readers of this blog, could contribute to.
The problem: roguelikes need lots of lists of words - a thesaurus if you will - of common fantasy materials, in order to populate the worlds with believeable yet randomly generated items. These lists could be used to create place names and people names, much in the way Dwarf Fortress does, as well as different item types (birch staffs, bamboo staffs etc).
And unfortunately, nothing of the sort exists that is not encumbered by intellectual property rights. You can see this by searching the common open source thesauri for the term 'obsidian' - a nice criteria test - and see that no results are returned. Roget's Thesaurus, versions of which are available in the public domain, also fails this test.
Obviously, the roguelike thesaurus doesn't just have to include fantasy tropes, but this is probably the best place to start.
These lists need to be as unencumbered as possible: ideally in the public domain (which allows immediate fork into GPL and BSD style licenses). They would greatly assist anyone who started out writing a roguelike.
Places to start looking for stuff:
- Angband and variants have a large list of material types released under the Moria / Angband license and the GPL. Check out the lists in the flavours.txt file.
- Dwarf Fortress has various lists. I'll let someone contact Tarn about their use and/or permissions restrictions.
- Any other suggetions?
Decisions to make:
- How should this information be structured? I suggest a thesaurus as probably the best approach.
- Where should this resource be hosted?(RogueBasin, of course)
- Is it worth trying to do at all?