The Scorpion, the Scholar and the Spear

In days past, a great scholar walked the land. A student of the spear, he deftly defended his person and nary a foe could hope to stop his meandering travel.

Then one day, he came upon a scorpion, basking in the middle of the road. Prideful and grand, the scholar demanded the insect to move brandishing his gleaming spear.

The scorpion looked this way and that, and refused to stand aside: she was, after all, a peak predator in his own right, and not likely to give into the demands of travelers with merely two legs to support them and no pincers to speak of.

Indignantly, the scholar struck with his spear, but missed by a hair’s breadth! The spear point struck the ground next to the scorpion, and deftly the sharp-tailed beast ran up the haft and stung the prideful sage upon his nose.

The scholar’s still bones lie in a sun-bleached ditch somewhere, along with his fabled spear, and it is said that the scorpion’s many children make their home inside the skull which once carried such intelligence and pride.


As a Finn, I’ve always admired the gravitas a definite article (“a” and “the” in English) gives to a word. We don’t have that in Finnish, so it’s always been an interesting expressive tool. Everything is always more important if its “the” whatever.

The table in this article relies heavily on that added meaning of the singular definite article. It’s designed to help you generate quite a number of random encounters, story hooks and tavern names.

And obviously, the above blurb was generated with three rolls from the table in the article. I gave myself about an hour to write based on the keywords rolled. I hope you do better!



Story Cues Table for Fantasy RPGs


Header illustration by the always hungry Joni Kesti.