Often the hardest thing to do when you get started on a new project, whether it’s a new campaign, story arc, or even a session, is to find inspiration.
So my question to all of you is what do you use for inspiration? Whether you go to your favorite novels, movies, or music, I think it all comes back to one of three things – a person, place or thing.
Personally I tend to gravitate towards this one when I’m working up a session idea, who do I want the party to interact with? There are lot of stereotypes and cliches you can use here but the more memorable ones are those that have a particular quirk that the party can always recall later.
One such person I used in the past was a character by the name of Pix (my group I’m sure will remember him all these years later). Pix was an NPC that only the party could see, at least initially. He had a particular pattern of speech which would mimic and poke fun at the party members. This started out as an annoying trait but the party came to realize that it was just his way of speaking and eventually learned to look past it in order to understand what he was saying – often times a warning as he was a rather “old soul.”
If you need examples think of Yoda and his speech pattern, or Merlin the the film Excalibur who always spoke in a type of riddle format.
The important thing here is to stay away from the stereotypes – think outside of the box.
Who doesn’t like traveling to some far off place in search of adventure? Having an iconic place to make as your group’s destination is always a good way to get the juices following. Picking a location as a destination typically brings out the need for a new map (something that I find always helps get me going) or maybe a written up description that you can share with the group. If you’re artistic, maybe there’s a drawing you can do or create a short video showing the location with some mood music.
Some of those might seem a bit of a stretch (a video?). The point is to get your creative juices going, something that will get you to have a vested interest in the development of those plot lines, and let’s face it, a video or written description you can use to “advertise” your new campaign to your group is a great offshoot.
I think this category is probably the most used of the three. At the center of many quests is an object that someone holds in high regard and that it appears only a hero can obtain. The point is to create something that only the party can obtain or is hired to obtain. A rare artifact, or a spell component, are both often used in fantasy settings, but you could just as easily select a weapon such as Excalibur, or, if you read Terry Brooks, The Sword of Shannara.
You can also flip it this and make it about getting rid of something, such as the One Ring in the Lord of The Rings. Let’s face it, it was all about the ring, but not obtaining it, rather destroying it (also note that it’s also about a place, Mount Doom).
So, what do you use to get your creativity flowing? A person, place or thing? Why not share in the comments below?
May your dice roll well.