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?