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You are here: Home --> Forum Home --> General Forum --> Gaming surveys --> QotW: Inspiration
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The Tired
RDI Staff
Karma: 291/33
6284 Posts

QotW: Inspriration

Good GM's steal ideas and Great GM's steal a lot.

This week's question is what Movie, TV show, Literature, or painting has inspired you to create a campaign, a character or a fantasy based setting?

For me, I have stolen almost every single piece of Michael Moorcock's Elric series in some shape or another for fantasy campaigns.

Posted on 2016-04-18 at 14:49:05.

Shield Wolf
Alpha Beard
Karma: 49/2
1066 Posts


I spent many of my formative years playing console RPGs, starting with the original 8-bit Final Fantasy on the NES, and later into the PS era Final Fantasy games. A lot of my inspiration comes from there. Later, time spent playing Diable, World of Warcraft, and other similar games has proven influential in both character design and quest planning.

I also draw character inspiration from favorite characters in television, books, movies, etc. I'm presently, an internally, tossing around varied ideas to incorporate the crew of Serenity into a Fantasy setting, perhaps first as a traveling band akin to gypsies, then perhaps acquiring a ship and acting as pirate-esque characters, and eventually into an airship or similar mode of transportation.

Posted on 2016-04-18 at 15:13:51.

Ma' Nozzle
Karma: 36/0
653 Posts


I'm inspired from a lot of different places, but two really stand out to me at the moment. The first is definitely cinema. I've gotten a lot of the themes and ideas for Slate from post-apocalyptic dramas such as Mad Max and the Terminator franchise. While I hesitate to say that I steal I certainly look to places like that for atmospheric inspiration.

The second place I go when I need the divine touch is music. I'm not talking about the music I listen to daily - sure, everything Zep wrote is in some way Tolkienesque, but it doesn't engage my imagination in the way that I want. I've got a world setting I'm working on right now that was inspired more or less entirely by Massive Attack's Mezzanine.

Posted on 2016-04-18 at 15:55:01.

Fun is Mandatory
RDI Staff
Karma: 353/55
6362 Posts


I can't bein to cite all of my stolen sources.

The Dragonlance Chronicles were an early, heavy influence for me.

I've cherrypicked So. Many. Ideas. from various adventure modules online.

I've stolen elements from Williams' Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn (and other stuff by him).

I've taken pieces from David Feintuch's Midshipman series.

Heh, I've stolen from other GMs.

And on and on and on...

Posted on 2016-04-18 at 23:35:13.
Edited on 2016-04-19 at 09:41:55 by t_catt11

Eol Fefalas
Keeper of the Kazari
RDI Staff
Karma: 453/28
7561 Posts

Good question!

I've pulled inspiration from all sorts of places, really. Movies, games, TV series, books, history, even other games here on the Inn. Of course, there are those characters/stories that I've put together that came from the dusty, dark corners of my own imagination, as well, but even those, I think, were likely influenced by some small facet or another of things I've read or seen in the past.

The list is entirely tooooooo long to post in it's entirety so, let's just start with possibly the BIGGEST inspiration I have where it comes to creating characters and/or stories... that's all of you Innmates!

Posted on 2016-04-19 at 09:33:42.

Nomad D2
RDI Fixture
Karma: 47/5
2361 Posts

everything I have come in contact with

I think I have been inspired in some way by almost everything around me.

The Lord of the Rings is the unquestioned king of the hill. It also inspires my interest in almost everything else.

Currently Magic the Gathering has inspired names, monsters and overall challenges.

Les Miserables is a perhaps an unusual source of inspiration for twists on characters and campaigns.

Travel - it has inspired names, settings and even little details like drinks, food and that drunken idiot in the tavern. Museums and treasure.

History - revolutions, wars, sneaky tactics, art, treasure, names, royal traditions, noble behavior, cultural interactions, travel, trade and everything else.

Monty Python's Quest for the Holy Grail. Nothing truly straight forward, but it does creep in there. Something about taking 45 HP of damage from a massive crit - "it's just a flesh wound!"

I tried to find some unusual examples. But the truth is that it is Tolkien, Tolkien, Tolkien and more Tolkien.

Posted on 2016-04-19 at 18:04:37.

RDI Staff
Karma: 36/1
171 Posts


Oooo Olan, I adore Tad Williams, especially that series!

Here are a few where I get wild to tame ideas!

World History/Literary Criticism - I am a huge fan of history and the intersections into literature, especially medieval, asian, and post-modernism. Some incredible quotes, odd small battles, journals found of some general, author inspirations, etc all shake loose ideas.

Crime dramas - some of my best political moments and baddies for any genre of game has come from all of the Law and Order shows. Hands down, if you need some cool political bad guy or intricate plot, WATCH THEM. So inspiring from the specifics of a crime to how the bad guy is put on trial.

Concept art - I love to draw, and love finding interesting art. Searching google for "concept art" and any other word can give you some crazy cool images back. I pick one, and write a story about them, and suddenly plot.

Anything written by Guy Gaverial Kay and Raymond E Feist. Kay has some of the wildest ideas and creative phrases in his books. Feist knows how to build and build on characters to world spanning lore, with killer ideas on magic.

Posted on 2016-04-19 at 21:27:14.

Fun is Mandatory
RDI Staff
Karma: 353/55
6362 Posts


I love pretty much everything Williams has ever done (I've read Tailchaser's Song at least thirty times, I bet)... but that series just embodies perfection in the fantasy genre, to me.

Posted on 2016-04-19 at 23:09:57.

RDI Staff
Karma: 357/190
6190 Posts

Thread Necromancy

Every campaign I have ever GM'd was inspired directly by this

Posted on 2017-07-20 at 23:36:53.

RDI Fixture +1
Karma: 65/14
1539 Posts


this is amazing. Thanks for bringing this into my life

Posted on 2017-09-20 at 19:19:55.

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