Wednesday, August 26, 2015

#RPGaDAY2015 Day #26: Favorite Inspiration for Your Game

Inspiration?  I'm not some 15-year old kid who just thought of a cool adventure based on a movie I just watched.  That kid has much more time....

Even back in the early Cretaceous Era when I learned about gaming, Tolkien, Ivanhoe, and the art and charts from the 1st Edition DMG only got me so far.    I'm not a fantasy novel reader, so I can't steal from the ideas that the author stole for his book. 

For last two Hackmaster campaigns, my biggest inspiration was the newspaper.   There was no better release of workday stress than grabbing a newspaper, heading out for an early breakfast, and converting the news stories of the day into fantasy equivalents.   Local news would go towards the barony or duchy, the state would be the kingdom.   Since my World of Georic's map was based off of the Epic of Aerth (a fantasy Earth), it was easy to plot world events in their appropriate spot.   US news, if I could use it, would represent a theme of the continent the PCs were on.    It certainly wasn't a perfect system, but it was enough for me to change current plot lines, or wildly adapt the "news" from the real world source to something completely outrageous.  I did turn the basic outline of Wrath of the Immortals storyline into a 9/11 inspired catastrophe that made the TSR material turn into sunshine and freakin' happiness. 

Nowadays, my Cthulhu game needs no more inspiration.  Twenty sessions of material BEFORE launching Masks is enough to keep things interesting. 

If there's anything on my big desk of GM ideas, it's the concept of the reverse dungeon with humans.  The concept of the reverse dungeon, players taking on the roles of the monsters defending the dungeon, is all fine and good, but I would rather use the exotic groups relegated to stereotypes that have graced the pages of some pretty famous modules than humanoid stereotypes turned up to eleven. 

Two have been fleshed out, and when the mood strikes me, they get reopened for some additional development.

"Home" -  The natives on the Isle of Dread have been around long before adventurers happen upon their island.  Their culture and mythology center around the defense of their peninsula and only the brave, the foolhardy, or the suicidal venture beyond the Gate of the Ancients.    The PCs are one of those three categories, and they advance from their original 0-level characters, they get involved in the politics of isolation, venture beyond the gates to engage in new civilizations, make new discoveries, and reverse the curses that have plagued the isle since time immemorial.

But wait... who are these fair-skinned people on ships the size of a whale?   

"Cynidecia"  -  B4: The Lost City is another classic module with tons of potential... in reverse.  I once ran a 12-player Hackmaster game at a convention where everyone were the half drug-addled citizens of the forgotten underground city of Cynidecia, and somehow, they managed to defeat the Zargon and save the civilization. 

Or did they?

Another 0-level start for this campaign, as the people of Cynidecia are just learning of the disappearance of the Priests of Zargon, and a shortage of the hallucinatory drugs creates a few heroes and a few crazed addicts, and most people can't tell the difference.   Like Home, I anticipate a few new characters will need to be introduced due to the lethal environment, but once the city-state calms into a state of civil war (you read that right), I see some epic potential that Howard would appreciate.

Of course, what if the Zargon is just recuperating, waiting for it's return when the stars (what are stars?) are right?


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