Monday, February 27, 2012

In Which The Warlock Summons a Supplemental Elemental...

People often wonder how I come up with such weird things for my games.  I'm known for something of a twisted imagination--just take a look my contributions on "Flying Polyps" in my work on The Mythos Dossiers for "The Laundry".  When I pitched the idea of "sentient f***ing cancer!" to my fellow writers, I could almost hear the jaws hitting the floor. 

But, I readily admit:  like any other writer or GM, I look for inspirational material all of the time.  So, you want to see where my ideas come from?  Here's a sample!

Serene Knowledge
  • This site's fantastic, and full of creepy ideas suitable for any modern and even most fantasy style of games.  When I was running "Shadows of the Cold War" at Wittenberg, I pulled a good deal of the Cthulhian themes from this site.  The series at the end, "The Holders of X" can make for a fantastic campaign on its own.
The SCP Foundation
  • Another great site for horror links, this one is essentially Warehouse 23 cranked up to 11!  While the information in these links ranges from the absurdly humorous to the outright terrifying, this site makes for great fodder for any modern game.  Running "The Laundry", "Delta Green", or "Dark Matter"?  You need to visit this site NOW.
Unused Lovecraft Story Hooks
  • Want to really build up the fear?  Why not work with the ideas of the master himself?  These ideas come from a recently (as of 2011) discovered chapbook of Lovecraft's.  While some of the ideas he's obviously used, the vast majority are fresh and ripe for the picking.  The "one line" elements like "For has not Nature, too, her grotesques—the rent rock, the distorting lights of evening on lonely roads, the unveiled structure of man in the embryo, or the skeleton?" provide for great bits of inspiration on their own, even for a non-Lovecraftian game!
Seventh Sanctum
  • One of the things that trip me up constantly is the search for the right name.  It's something I've always struggled with, whether writing or GMing.  However, Seventh Sanctum provides tons of names at the mere click of a mouse.  Not happy with the selections so far?  Click again...and again...and again.  Then, a few hours later, you might get back to writing! 
Creative Writing Prompts
  • Working on writing daily or journal-style writing?  I use this site with my students for 2-3 times weekly writing assignments.  With 340-odd prompts, ranging throughout fiction and non-fiction, this'll keep you busy for a while.  For an added challenge, try writing all of them from a single perspective--maybe a character you've been working with or arounds a single, central theme.

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