Before I begin, some of you have pointed out that I’ve been a bit quiet over the past week and most notably, where was my usual Titansgrave summary? Well for the most part I’ve just been really busy preparing and writing my new campaigns that I wish to start. There is of course my Trail of Cthulhu campaign “The Lost Expedition” and an upcoming Shadowrun campaign called Eden’s Ark. Eden’s Ark will get more of a description on the blog soon, but essentially think “Cyberpunk on a gritty Noir space station” and you’ll have the basic idea of what I am going for.
In any event there is another week and that means another game master tip on the Mary Sue by Wil Wheaton. Today’s topic is using other systems to inspire your own games and give you ideas. This is a terrific piece of advice and one that I couldn’t recommend more: Be inspired by literally anything and read widely. You can’t have too many systems, even ones that you might not actually enjoy running, because there are always potentially great things you can get out of them. For example, even though I haven’t run a lot of 13th Age, when I was running 5E Dungeons and Dragons I used a lot of the core ideas – such as escalation – from 13th Age in that game.
Likewise, I have also used adventures written by others in order to inspire my own games and give me some interesting directions to go in. A good example is when I read Sisters of Sorrow from Pelgrane Press, which is about a German crew on a U-boat being slowly driven insane by things deep under the ocean during WW1. The scenario is simply inspired and while I didn’t run what was actually written very closely, I used it to write and design the game I later ran in Dread (an entirely different system to Trail’s Gumshoe). Taking a really cool concept from someone else and putting your own spin on it is not only satisfying, it helps to overcome writers block or just mix up what your players might expect from you.