Where do you find your inspiration?

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Leon ap Hywel

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So doesn't need to be campaign specific although in my case this is Mythras related.

Im trying to find inspiration for where my players will be adventuring as well as a few decent plot hooks to sow the setting with but because of my hiatus I seem to have developed GM's block.

I could go with prewritten adventures like the book of quests but really wanted something more home grown.

So like Stevethulu and his Iron Maiden inspired Stormbringer game where do you go for inspiration?
 

soltakss

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TV Shows, Films, Books, Mythology, History, Legends, Folk Songs, Ballads, all kinds of things really.

Where is your Mythras campaign set? I am sure there would be loads of things that could be used as inspiration.
 

Necrozius

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I usually crack open anything by Mike Mignola to get inspired by imagery or basic plot.

Also looking at my folder of 1 or 2 page adventures.
 

Leon ap Hywel

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TV Shows, Films, Books, Mythology, History, Legends, Folk Songs, Ballads, all kinds of things really.

Where is your Mythras campaign set? I am sure there would be loads of things that could be used as inspiration.

My original idea was a mix of sandbox and plot points.

Setting wise I started down a very Mesopotamia/Hyperborea idea but now I'm not sure.

It's my own fault I should have started developing the idea when the inspiration was hot, now I'm flip flopping all over the place. And the novels im reading aren't helping.

It's really frustrating to be honest, I don't usually have much trouble sketching the setting out. I'm really reluctant to use a prefab one but...
 

The Butcher

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Shit, it's all over the place. Movies, TV, videogames, novels, real life stuff.

My upcoming ACKS game started as a deliberate send-up of Dragonlance (which I find horribly corny) and then picked up ideas from Reign of Fire (movie), Jericho (TV series), World of Warcraft: Cataclysm (videogame expansion) and a few unspecified bits of Sword & Sorcery and Weird Tales love that's in the air with the OSR.

When I'm working with Earth as a setting, my chief sources are real life events and trends, which I interweave with the game's fictional material. For example, my upcoming Mage: the Awakening game is inspired by British politics, economy and culture such as the gentrification of old London counterculture haunts; the prevalence of dystopian fiction in British literature and what it says about their history and collective psyche; the portrayal of wizards in pop culture and the overlap with British stereotypes; and so on.

An old WFRP game was inspired by Diablo III of all things. The apocalyptic urgency of everything, the end-of-the-world stuff going on, the horrific antagonists. And yeah, the hammy voice acting.

The recent Godbound game had a bit of that game in its DNA, but it was mostly driven by stuff in the core rulebook with side orders of GoT/ASoIaF and Hammer horror. (I recently saw the Castlevania anime on Netflix and was shocked by the similarities.)
 

Leon ap Hywel

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I usually crack open anything by Mike Mignola to get inspired by imagery or basic plot.

Also looking at my folder of 1 or 2 page adventures.
Yeah I tried the fantasy art approach but just brings up way too much PF (nuD&D) style tripe.

I'm thinking I might try some specific artists again and try and look over some books and music this afternoon.
 

Leon ap Hywel

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Shit, it's all over the place. Movies, TV, videogames, novels, real life stuff.

My upcoming ACKS game started as a deliberate send-up of Dragonlance (which I find horribly corny) and then picked up ideas from Reign of Fire (movie), Jericho (TV series), World of Warcraft: Cataclysm (videogame expansion) and a few unspecified bits of Sword & Sorcery and Weird Tales love that's in the air with the OSR.

When I'm working with Earth as a setting, my chief sources are real life events and trends, which I interweave with the game's fictional material. For example, my upcoming Mage: the Awakening game is inspired by British politics, economy and culture such as the gentrification of old London counterculture haunts; the prevalence of dystopian fiction in British literature and what it says about their history and collective psyche; the portrayal of wizards in pop culture and the overlap with British stereotypes; and so on.

An old WFRP game was inspired by Diablo III of all things. The apocalyptic urgency of everything, the end-of-the-world stuff going on, the horrific antagonists. And yeah, the hammy voice acting.

The recent Godbound game had a bit of that game in its DNA, but it was mostly driven by stuff in the core rulebook with side orders of GoT/ASoIaF and Hammer horror. (I recently saw the Castlevania anime on Netflix and was shocked by the similarities.)

I'm trying to find a few good films or to in the right vein but it's scarce picking.
 

Mrfish

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Comic books is perhaps the main source. Sometimes movies can inspire or set the mood, but they rarely give concrete ideas. I find tv series to be better in this way. Problem is to mine these shows without the players realising you´ve blatantly stolen the premise for a campaign from a tv show.

I often find some inspiration from books, but i rarely read fantasy. So the ideas tend to be more about mysteries, plots, and characters and perhaps meta-plots. I rarely get inspiration for setting ideas from books. Music often gives me good ideas for a scene or a specific mood/feeling.
 
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The Butcher

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The fucked-up thing about Mythras is that it's such an amazing toolbox of a game that it can be overwhelming. Here are a few options I've considered:

Mythic Earth. I have Mythic Britain and Mongoose's Vikings of Legend. Looking forward to getting Mythic Britain: Saxons, Mythic Rome and soon Mythic Constantinople. I'm even considering combining Vikings and Constantinople into a Varangian mercenaries game, tentatively titled "Ill-Met in Miklagard."

Glorantha. Get old RQ2/3 Third Age stuff or Mongoose's Second Age material and go apeshit. I'm partial to Second Age so your Orlanthi and your proto-Lunars can team up against the dragon empire Wyrm's Friends and Mage: the Awakening's Silver Ladder God Learners.

Eternal Champion. Mongoose Elric stuff goes great with TDM's Luther Arkwright. Just sayin'

Sword & sorcery mash-up. Monster Island, Mongoose's Xoth series of adventures (The Spider-God's Bride, Song of the Beast-Gods, Citadel Beyond the North Wind) plus assorted fluff from OSR jewel Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea and general Weird Tales weirdness. Combine everything in a single setting. I've been working with the idea of PCs hailing from some antediluvian empire like Atlantis or Lemuria, having been sentenced to exile to Monster Island, and either exploring the place or fleeing to the wider (Xoth and Hyperborea-inspired) world.

Conversions, conversions, conversions. I've considered converting to Mythras, among others: World of Warcraft, A Song of Ice and Fire, the Hyborian Age, Empire of the Petal Throne and Totems of the Dead (a Savage Worlds "sword & sorcery Precolumbian America" setting). Each would take work but I see it working every time. :smile:
 

Stevethulhu

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I get ideas from all kinds of weird places. But one thing I find works really well is genre bending.

Like, I've taken ideas from Douglas Adams and used them in Star Wars. Star Trek has given me fuel for Cyberpunk of all things. And more often than not, what the players do drives events forwards as I think how NPCs will react to it.
 

Leon ap Hywel

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You know I have the Xoth adventures so maybe I'll see what I can do with them to start. Probably be easier to introduce the players to the rules without worrying about writing my own stuff.
 

Simlasa

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I could go with prewritten adventures like the book of quests but really wanted something more home grown.
Sometimes a prewritten adventure can guide me by telling me what I don't want.
Like last night I was reading the first of the Classic Fantasy adventures TDM put out, Terror of Ettinmarsh. Right away I started changing it as I read... no dwarves, no elves... but these 'dragon knights' are an intriguingly vague thing I could build on (nothing to do with actual dragons/dragonmen)... etc.
Not that it is a bad adventure, but I'm just using it as a grain of sand to (hopefully) build a pearl around. I might not keep any thing of the original... or maybe just the maps and floorplans.
 

opaopajr

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Im trying to find inspiration for where my players will be adventuring as well as a few decent plot hooks to sow the setting with but because of my hiatus I seem to have developed GM's block.

I could go with prewritten adventures like the book of quests but really wanted something more home grown.

Love.

No joke, "Love." Passion. Interest. Curiosity. That's it, because if you don't love it enough you won't get off your ass to embrace it, learn it, use it, and fearlessly share it.

We all walk through a thousand stories, and countless tidbits, in this life through experience and media. And it is only that which matters to us that stands out. Part of that is our better or worse nature attracted to its desires. But regardless (as long as you are not doing therapy at the table) your fixated attention brings that magical breath of life to the table. It impels you to create, and that shines through for others to see.

If it's feeling hard, pare down to that which is loved most. Slices, doodles, melodies, sketches, tastes, daubs of color... put those pieces out there and then step back. With distance look at your disconnected pieces and let your mind dance to connect the dots. It wants to, because it loves.

Then listen to its whispers. o_O;)
 

Leon ap Hywel

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Sometimes a prewritten adventure can guide me by telling me what I don't want.
Like last night I was reading the first of the Classic Fantasy adventures TDM put out, Terror of Ettinmarsh. Right away I started changing it as I read... no dwarves, no elves... but these 'dragon knights' are an intriguingly vague thing I could build on (nothing to do with actual dragons/dragonmen)... etc.
Not that it is a bad adventure, but I'm just using it as a grain of sand to (hopefully) build a pearl around. I might not keep any thing of the original... or maybe just the maps and floorplans.
I think that's where I need to start. A good seed and let it grow from there.
 

K_Peterson

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I have no issue with using prewritten material and altering it to meet my needs. I do it with CoC adventures routinely - and I have used Xoth Publishing adventures for a campaign I ran 5 years ago. I'm not much of a setting-creator these days. I just don't have the spare time to invest in it, and would rather focus on other aspects of GMing. The prewritten material is pretty much a starting point, or rough framework, for me, though. From there, inspiration comes from other sources - and the behavior of the players in the campaign.
 

Stevethulhu

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I have no issue with using prewritten material and altering it to meet my needs. I do it with CoC adventures routinely - and I have used Xoth Publishing adventures for a campaign I ran 5 years ago. I'm not much of a setting-creator these days. I just don't have the spare time to invest in it, and would rather focus on other aspects of GMing. The prewritten material is pretty much a starting point, or rough framework, for me, though. From there, inspiration comes from other sources - and the behavior of the players in the campaign.
I'm one for using prewritten material, too. I'll often kick a game off with a prewritten module, because it usually allows for maximum flexibility. Not being written with any specific characters in mind and all. Then from there, I'll either go with my own ideas, or run with whatever the players were wanting to do.

And sometimes it's a combination of both. The ideal being, players work in what they want to do and the GM chucks in what he wanted to do and it all becomes this big old pile of you had to be there.
 

The Butcher

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I have no issue with using prewritten material and altering it to meet my needs. I do it with CoC adventures routinely - and I have used Xoth Publishing adventures for a campaign I ran 5 years ago. I'm not much of a setting-creator these days. I just don't have the spare time to invest in it, and would rather focus on other aspects of GMing. The prewritten material is pretty much a starting point, or rough framework, for me, though. From there, inspiration comes from other sources - and the behavior of the players in the campaign.

Yeah, as the burdens of adulthood encroach, I too increasingly look to published material for fluff as well as crunch — not that my homebrews were ever terribly original to begin with (I distinctly remember repurposing the Mystara hex maps in the D&D RC Appendix at the age of 14).
 

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I get a lot from history books, from old (pre 1930) travelogues to exotic places, and from novels. For S&S Fritz Leiber and Clark Ashton Smith can be goldmines. H Rider Haggard can also be good for Mythras. You could also do worse that stealing from Xena or Hercules TV episodes.

A friend of mine once ran a really good campaign where the setup was quite simple - we were all nomadic tribesmen in the same clan, and during a gathering of clans one of our fellow clam members was provoked into killing someone from another clan. The tribal elders had to decide between the two parties, and declared that each clan had a month to go out into the world to gather wealth for the tribe. Whichever clan brought back the most marvellous and most useful things would have the case decided for them. This was a wonderful set-up for exploring a setting.
 

Doc Sammy

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Anime, Video Games, Films, Books, TV shows, and even things like World History and events from my childhood have inspired my ideas for characters and campaigns.
 

Spartan

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Usually from listening to music. I find the Morrowind soundtrack to be especially inspiring.
 

Doc Sammy

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Usually from listening to music. I find the Morrowind soundtrack to be especially inspiring.

I also find inspiration from music at times. I've been listening to the soundtracks of Goodfellas and Mafia II, and I sort of want to do a campaign set in the 1950's and 1960's in the near future.
 

daniel_ream

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My girlfriend is, as they used to say, from the subcontinent, and she's been exposing me to all manner of really interesting Pakistani/Bollywood and Turkish film and television. There's some amazing genre blending in there as their nascent film industry steals anything from Hollywood that isn't nailed down and mixes it with local cultural tropes and history/myth. So instead of Game of Thrones with its trite remixing of the English War of the Roses, you get stuff set during the Moghul Empire or the Turkish equivalent of King Arthur. I watched a B-grade drama the other day that was basically an Indian version of The Count of Monte Cristo, except with ghosts.
 

Dammit Viktor

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For me, gaming begets gaming. Two of my biggest campaign inspirations are Super Mario Bros and Street Fighter.
 

noman

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Love.

No joke, "Love." Passion. Interest. Curiosity. That's it, because if you don't love it enough you won't get off your ass to embrace it, learn it, use it, and fearlessly share it.

...snip...

Then listen to its whispers. o_O;)

Dude. That was beautiful.

Of course, the same can be said for hatred. ;)
 

noman

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I try to avoid film, TV, and most forms of popular media for inspiration. For reasons, the most important being my players are already familiar with them. I want my worldbuilding to be viewed with uncertainty. You're less likely to explore and have tension if you're already familiar with the setting.

I rely heavily on music. Any and all music. I sit back, listen, and let my mind form threads of sensory data from that music. Different genres have different effects. Classical lends itself well to environments, scenery, and wide, fantastic vistas. Various types of urban music, from punk to rap, tends to invoke sensations relative to the struggles of city life (any urban game I might be planning). I like to find epic remixes on Youtube. If I find one I like, it often gets me thinking on a fantasy level.

The music inspires imagery, scenes, and even smells in my mind. I take these snippets and then construct plot and setting around them.

That's not to say that I'm strictly homebrew. If I like a published setting, such as Godbound's, I use it. Sometimes repeatedly. But I always make major changes in order to keep my players guessing.

I will sometimes make use of fantasy art. I recently found this place, which you might enjoy.
 

Tommy Brownell

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All over the place, but my weirdest was a Deadlands adventure involving a Servitor and an Abomination looked in a war with each other. One was a graverobbing necromancer and the other was a fiery human-turned-demon, and the whole thing was ripped off of WWE's Undertaker and Kane storyline.
 

thedungeondelver

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Video Games and music. Within the actual game itself, too, although I know that's a bit recursive.

I look at Dragon's Lair (for example) and I get excited by the possibilities of a funhouse dungeon like Singe's Castle.

With music, it's not what you might think (the Conan soundtrack, etc.) Go listen to Robin Trower's Bridge of Sighs, specifically "Too Stoned Rolling": when I listen to that track I picture a lone adventurer like a Kull or a Conan (or possibly even a group of adventurers) out in a postapocalyptic fantasy wasteland, a Bakshi-inspired metal earth (hi, Aos!) so far in the future that everything tech is fantasy again, trudging across the hostile world, having median or bad luck as they wander from adventure to adventure...

stuff like that really fires the imagination
 

opaopajr

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Dude. That was beautiful.

Of course, the same can be said for hatred. ;)

:grin: I loved Terry Pratchett's bit of wit in one of his Discworld books that the opposite of love is not hate -- for in fact they are on the same side of the coin -- but indifference.

Or as I like to parse even further, you can only hate after you fear what you love is endangered. :smile:

A rather useful setting tool to set otherwise like-minded groups at each others' throats most viciously. For none fight so terrible as brothers. o_O
 

daniel_ream

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I try to avoid film, TV, and most forms of popular media for inspiration. For reasons, the most important being my players are already familiar with them.

I have the opposite problem. I can't get my players to look at representative media for love or money.
 

daniel_ream

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I would be afraid that would lead to massive assumption clash between the players and the GM, though, if you're using a published work. I find it hard enough to keep five players on board with the general themes and tropes of a setting and avoiding lasersharking without pulling back the curtain, as it were.
 
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