Over at A Blasted, Cratered Land, an excellent blog where you can find tons of content, Lexi put together a Meta Prompt Generator, which mixes and matches tags to prompt snippets of writing which are "conceptually dense and useful immediately at the table."
I clicked a few times until I got something that sparked me:
d20 tables, cities, and time
Here is my result (took me longer than I thought it would—20 things is a lot of things):
What Weird Thing Happens in the City at This Time of Day?
- The hour right before dawn: garbage-pickers line up at the depot to trade their wares for pennies.
- Just as the sun is rising: the lime bats return from the fruit groves and roost in the chapel rooftop.
- Shortly after the sun peeks over the rooftops: a giant songbird, taller than a siege tower, circles the city and sings the morning song, which only penetrates the ears of noble-born citizens.
- Once the dew burns off the cobbles: buckboard-for-hire drivers throng pedestrians, offering transportation in their carriages, each pulled by a different animal—reverse ostrich (two heads, one leg), giant fleas, enchanted rolling melons, horses with human teeth and hairstyles, etc.
- When the shops are all open: you can buy anything you can think of—trained apes, gems with souls inside them, vegetables out of season.
- Approaching lunchtime: secretaries and assistants all start running around outside clutching pieces of parchment with their masters' lunch orders scrawled on them.
- When the noontime bells ring: philosophy students gather on the steps of the Academy and settle debates with ritual palm fronds duels.
- When the afternoon sea breeze starts up: beachgoers congregate along the foreshore and drop their clothes to partake in an 'air bath'.
- After the daytime church services let out: professional janitors discreetly enter churches to clean up the spittle and drool from all the speakers of tongues.
- Right before the king leaves his castle to go hawking: a servant releases a sack full of clockwork doves, each stamped with the seal of the king ("IF FOUND PLEASE RETURN TO CASTLE").
- When the shadows get long: shadow-brownies depart the manor homes on the Purple Hilltop and descend into the dock district to repair ropes left out on doorsteps.
- After the shops close but restaurants open: members of certain city political parties can be found at certain restaurants making certain orders for food, which are code for certain actions that their followers will take later this evening.
- When the last traders leave the market square and the first youthful ruffians enters: lean youths lounge amongst the abandoned stalls and leer at each other across the square.
- In the hour of indigo sky when the sun has alighted behind the rooftops: gangs of jackbooted thugs begin prowling for registered voters to beat into submission.
- When the first star is spotted in the sky: ships with planned journeys more than one day long set out from the docks, guided by the single star's light, to make the best of the tides at this time.
- Once the lamplighters have finished lighting lamps: they descend into the lamplighter's guild hall beneath the cobbles, swapping trade secrets and passing out flyers for different oil brands.
- After the moon has risen: the were-pigeons awaken and begin fluttering in people's faces.
- When there are more stars in the sky than people in the city: the street dogs come out to wrestle in the middle of the streets—everyone knows to avoid them.
- When the heat from the ground has risen off, and there's a chill in the air even in summer: little ice demons scuttle up from the catacombs beneath the market district and begin licking the dust off the streets.
- At midnight: the guards at the gates have their shift change.