Friday, August 24, 2012

Creative Inspiration: Music

As a GM it can be difficult sometimes to get that spark of inspiration needed to get going with a story. Often, at least in my case, you just need that one little spark to light the way through your mind towards the final outcome. As we know inspiration can come from almost anywhere, and I frequently use different forms almost at random in order to come up with a story.

One tactic I've used a couple of times is music. It's amazing how many songs can conjure the adventure concepts when considered in conjunction with the game you're planning on running. When I do it I simply fire up iTunes pointed over my entire music collection and hit the shuffle button. Then listen.

Here are a couple of examples, generated just now for the blog. A game is picked simply by looking at my shelves, and then the shuffle button is clicked.

Game: Shadowrun
Song: Heir of a Dying Day by Lacuna Coil
Okay not many lyrics to this one, but the first thing that comes to my mind here is some kind of cult or gang. Probably based around a charismatic leader. The lyrics evoke images of dragons or drakes or possibly a powerful illusionist mage. Lets go with a dragon, cause everyone loves dragons. It's a minor dragon, not a player in the world of dragon politics, doesn't own anything, not powerful, just an average Joe dragon. Of course an average Joe dragon is very powerful compared to metahumanity so he can still achieve things. As a result this dragon is gathering followers in the Redmond Barrens. The destitute and downtrodden are flocking to him, drunk on the possibilities that are inherent when your patron is a dragon. The dragon intends to try using his followers to establish a large presence, clear out some gangs and take control of the barrens for himself. To what end? Why do bodies keep turning up? Why are there droves of practically brainwashed down and outs going around with a sense of purpose? PCs contacts are going quiet, the wyrm is definitely up to something big, and once they find out it's a dragon it's definitely something serious.

Game: Delta Green
Song: My Last Breath by Evanescence
Straight off I can tell this is really Delta Green material. While I'm not taking the entire lyric set, there's imagery of people knowing it's their last night on earth, and gladly embracing someone. While he's much used, the great disgusting naked one Y'golonac leaps immediately into my head (what does that tell you about the contents of my head?) A rash of people getting their hands on some material that once read establishes a mental connection with Y'golonac. Within a few days of exposure the victim is overcome by feelings of love for the great old one and a means of meeting with him is provided. The victim then willingly goes to a warehouse in a run down area of town and walks into the embrace of his physical manifestation. Investigation can turn up that the material is a blog created by a Joseph Cartwright who came across a Contact Y'golonac spell while searching for greater ways to satisfy his sexual depravities. Once he read the spell, it crept into his mind set about establishing his body as a host for Y'golonac in this world. Over the course of a week he changed into the typical embodiment of the old one. During this time he continued to blog about his sexual appetites and desire, with elements of the spell embedded into the text. Those who read it become connected and eventually succumb to the desire to be wrapped in the old one's embrace for one last moment of pure ecstasy. Thankfully his blog is not very popular, but that just means it's harder to track down. A-Cell is worried and the players have a night at the opera planned for them.

So that's just two examples of how music can drive a plot inspiration. And yes, they were really the first two songs picked and random games off my shelves. Practice makes perfect. Not every song will give you something, and not every idea that you do get can evolve itself into a full fledged adventure, but hopefully it's just enough to get the creative juices flowing.

No comments:

Post a Comment