Tag Archives: inspiration

5 Great Podcasts for Game Inspiration

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podcast-logoThere are a number of RPG-related podcasts, everything from RPG news and GM tips to recorded play sessions. But there five non-gaming podcasts that regularly give me game ideas and I thought I’d list them here:

  • Stuff to Blow Your Mind: The stranger side of science. Really, the real world is much stranger than anything I could come up with in-game. Topics have included everything from teenage angst to the shadow side of the mind to slime in the animal kingdom.
  • Stuff You Missed in History Class: The interesting bits of history that classes tend to leave out. Recent topics have included Nikola Tesla and the current war, John Wilkes Booth, D.B. Cooper, and historical hoaxes.
  • The History Chicks: The real lives of famous women in history. The hosts Beckett and  Susan do a great job of bringing the world of the women to life. The also have fairy tale episodes where they discuss the origins and history of fictional heroines such as Cinderella and Little Red Riding Hood. If you thought you knew these stories, think again. Also check out the website, including the show notes. It’s got links to other history resources that bring each of the time periods alive.
  • Stuff They Don’t Want You to Know: Video podcasts of conspiracy theories. You could watch an entire episode while waiting in the grocery line. Take two, they’re small.
  • The Podcast History of Our World: Having trouble remembering the Assyrians from the Sumerians? The history of our world from the dawn of man. They’re only up to Assyrian Empire right now (episode 22), so you don’t have an excessive amount of episodes to catch up on if you decide to start from the beginning. The site also has links to a musician who recreates ancient music, just in case you really need some background music from Ancient Rome.

How about you? What non-gaming podcasts give you idea? Let us know in the comments!

[Graphic courtesy of derrickkwa via Flickr Creative Commons]

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Games…Must Have Games…

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I hate gaming dry spells. I think the longest period I’ve gone without gaming was two years, if you’re talking about actually sitting at the table, either as GM or player. If you’re counting game preparation and research, it’s more like, well, 6 months.

How to do I manage? Gaming is a priority for me: right after the important personal relationships in my life and equal to martial arts.  Which puts it way ahead of just about everything else, since rpgGM.com is my job as well as my love. It also helps that just about everyone in my immediate family are also gamers. I’ve been very, very blessed, especially with a fiancé who’s actively encouraging  me to (and supporting me while) I get my own game publishing company off the ground.

But this is about how to survive the drought. Like everyone else, I’ve had times when I couldn’t get a group together or couldn’t find one I wanted to play in. Here’s what I do when I’m game deprived:

  • Worldbuilding. Number one top slot. I love worldbuilding, which is why rpgGM.com’s first series of products is the game world, Guang Keshar. But it’s not just building worlds from scratch. I also consider rewriting the background of existing game worlds as worldbuilding.
  • Reading game systems. I try get my hands on and read as many game books as I can. This helps me keep the creative juices flowing, which leads to…
  • Campaign creation. I’ll spend a lot of time fleshing out the bare structure of a campaign for a game I’m itching to run. That’s a bit trickier, since I have a very hands-off GMing style and tend to build my games around my PCs. But I can do a fair amount of preparation work so that I’m ready for character creation when it does happen. I often have three or four campaigns I’m working on (but not currently running) simultaneously.
  • Reading about GMing. I’m always looking for ways to improve my GMing. I like reading game-related blogs, though right now I don’t have time to keep pace with more than a handful of my favorites. I also love reading books like Robin’s Laws of Good Gamemastering.
  • Playing RPG computer games. For me, this is something of a last resort. I generally dislike the rigidity of computer RPGs (though they are getting better). I prefer gaming with real people who’re in the same room as me.
  • Running “Play by Email” (PBEM) campaigns. This is actually one of my old stand-by’s when I can’t get a group together locally and the number one of the reasons my dry spells are so short.  They’re still not the same, but I find them a better substitute for a tabletop game than computer games. With the advent of MMOs, I know many people who prefer the other way around, though. To each their own 😉 .
  • Writing about games (non-worldbuilding). Most of the game stuff I’ve written has happened when I was between game groups.
  • Painting miniatures and creating game-related art.

What can I say? I’m a game junkie. Gaming is one of the things my family does together and that’s something I’m very grateful for.

[This post is a part of RPG Bloggers‘ May blog carnival].

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My Appendix N

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Dice Monkey posted a blog entry on is site titled My Appendix N about inspiration sources. So, here’s my “Appendix N”:

  • Tolkein, J.R.R., The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion, of course. But not for any material from Middle Earth itself. Tolkein’s works are pure inspiration for me — they challenge me to make my worlds and settings richer, deeper, and more complete.
  • Mallory, Sir Thomas, Le Morte D’Arthur. (Also Chretien D’Troyes, Parsifal, Gawain and the Green Knight … really, the entire body of Arthurian works).
  • In a similar vein, Camelot 3000 and Matt Wagner’s Mage comic book series. This has inspired me so much I’ve actually created the bare bones of a game built around the idea of reincarnated Arthurian heroes.
  • The “Mummy” movies (The Mummy, The Mummy Returns, and The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor [I’m a sucker for anything with Jet Li and/or Michelle Yeoh in it]). I felt like I was watching someone’s game sessions. The characters in these movies act so much like PCs I’ve run.
  • The Bible. No, seriously. Aside from the fact I’m an In Nomine junkie, the Bible contains some of the best action stories ever. Also add Milton’s Paradise Lost here.
  • Roger Zelazney’s books
  • Various anime and manga series, esp. Full Metal Alchemist, Bleach, Cowboy Beebop, Naruto, and Samurai Champloo (While the last one may not have much in the way of storyline, I find it full of ideas on how to get PCs in trouble with the locals.)
  • The National Geographic Channel, The History Channel, and the various Discovery Channels
  • New and current events
  • Various tarot decks. I can’t count the number of times I’ve used tarot readings to develop adventures.
  • Everway cards and fantasy artist trading cards
  • Babylon 5, Battlestar Galactica [both series], and Torchwood.
  • Folklore and mythology
  • Other people’s games

There are many more, but these are the ones I’ve come up with off of the top of my head. My biggest source of inspiration, though, is my players. Someone will mention something or make an off-hand comment that sparks an idea in my head. Even casual, non-gaming get-togethers usually end up with someone getting hit by a foam die, a Nerf sword, or a rolled-up character sheet accompanied by the words: “You idiot! Now you’ve given her ideas!”

What’s your Appendix N?