I needed a generator to come up with a patron on the fly. Still in the early stages, but I generally like the Wilderlands method of Temple generation (of which the deity is a subset of this). I don't think this tool would be able to generate every detail, but should definitely give some boundaries and ideas to get a patron concept rolling.
My idea is thus:
- Potential patrons vary in power, "sphere" and origin. Most patrons are upstarts that have a little power and want to increase that power, at least partially, through their servants.
- There are "classes" of patrons: petty, obscure, minor, <standard...need a better word>, major and deific. A major patron looks like the example patrons in the core book.
- A "sphere" may be expansive or restrictive -- thus a minor spirit may have a "sphere" of water but only be associated to a specific river, stream, lake or pool. While a major or deific patron of water may be associated with the entire "concept" of water, or the element in general or a huge sea, etc.
- An individual patron's power level sets a variable in the game terms it can effect -- thus a petty patron may only have 2 or 3 invoke patron results, no patron spells, limited knowledge of other spells, and generally not be able to assist the servant much. Similarly, its patron taint may be limited to 1 or 2 effects, it's ability to affect the physical world may be lessened or not effective outside a specific range of its "sphere." Etc.
- The above idea may allow wizards to take more than one patron -- especially if several petty/minor patrons have limited influence outside of a geographic area.
- Similarly, a patron of a certain power level may not be able to affect/counter the powers of a more powerful patron. Thus, the power of a nature spirit associated with a grove of trees has little defense against Bobugbubilz' Toadfiend avatar -- and may actually be enslaved/destroyed by more powerful patrons.
Anyway -- I think petty to "standard" patrons could be almost totally generated from a few randomly thrown together concepts and some imagination. Just looking for ways to shorten the time needed... and maybe generate some ideas...