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Where do you get your Ideas?

Bard of the Soul

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I have seen quite a few different scenerio ideas fly around, both on these boards and through the scenerios that have come out, and that has started me wondering. Where do you all get the ideas for your scenerios? Does it simply one day occure to you? Or do you read adventure novels until something strikes you? What do you do?


Me? I get my ideas primarily from looking at the editor itself as well as examining RPG handbooks. I see an interesting feature and wonder how it would work out in a game. Then I construct something in my head which showcases this feature. Another place that I look is history books and the classics. I have a rather interesting idea developing in my head based upon the ice age and surviving in it. I also have a few ideas wherre I intend to work in other less well known bits of history mixed with fantasy. I also have a book called "The Encyclopedia of Things That Never Where" that I find very interesting. It is a gathering of myths and legends from all corners of the world and is a great storehouse of ideas.


So, where do you all get your ideas?

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Something just comes into my head, then I wait until it builds so much I have to write down the story and figure out how I can make it work on the computer.


EDIT: A bit of advice; if you ever meet an author, the last thing you ever want to ask them is how they get their ideas. For one thing it sounds unimaginative as most people ask this and the author might get annoyed by this. It's different all the time and not always easy to explain.


EDIT2: No, I'm not a published author, but I know several.

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Mine usually start out as something that randomly pops into my head. Then I think about them some more, and I call my cousin so he can poke holes in my plots and stuff so I can fix them.

I always seem to confuse him about some big part of it though. It can't be a good sign.

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I just think of something cool, and come up with a reason to have it. Rinse, repeat. Then the story starts getting good and I have to come up with all kinds of crazy innovations and stuff to do it justice.


Example: Areni.


Step 1: Decided I would make an all-outdoors scenario.

Step 2: Realised I needed something to make outdoor combat interesting.

Step 3: Came up with the Alchemy system.

Step 4: Came up with a reason why an Alchemist was fighting a bunch of monsters - to save his apprentice Areni.

Step 5: Came up with a reason why Areni was in such a dangerous place - lots of great alchemical ingredients.

Step 6: Came up with a reason why Areni needed saving now and not before - barbarians invaded.

Step 7: Came up with a reason why the barbarians were invading, blah, blah, blah, etc, etc, so on and so forth.

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Thank you all for your responces. A very interesting read I must say.


Nicothodes, you show wisdom. I probably should have made this clear in the beginning. My thought for starting this thread was not to search for ideas but to see if we could come up with a good range of scources of ideas for those who feel that they know how to use the Editor but don't feel confident in their abilities to come up with an idea out of thin air.


One thing that I have found interesting is something that is posted in the dungeon master's guide for 3rd edition D&D. It is a list of 100 plot ideas set up so that they can be randomly selected by a die roll. Now I don't like the die roll part but some of their ideas are worth a thought or two. Would anyone be interested in reading them or should I leave well enough alone?

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For Blades scenarios, my ideas come from parts of the Avernum Trilogy that seemed to have left something out. I wrote an entire list of them in my original foray into BoE... lessee... here's one. I had an idea for a scenario because in A2 in the Tower of Eldiran in the basement somewhere, there are some captives whom you can't rescue. They say that there must be some way to get them out, but there is no way to do it in A2. So I had an idea for a scenario about rescuing the captives in the Tower of Eldiran.


From there, I just think about what sort of things that would entail. What would the Tower of Eldiran look like after the Empire War? Would Empire soldiers still be there? Probably not. Would some other monsters have moved in? Probably. Which monsters were nearby that might've found the tower hospitable? There were some spiders and some giants, I think. Could they have found food there? If so, what?


And of course, what is the way out? An underground tunnel, maybe? Why didn't the heroes of A2 notice it? What's in there now? How did it get there? Etc.


Asking questions and forcing out details is a good way to get scenario ideas.

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I've usually come up with the story first. I sometimes write down story ideas and detail/special node ideas.


Example: The Leaving


At first, I wanted to make an adventure (or story) from a different point of view, being annoyed that same kinds of plots were being repeated too often... I looked at my story idea list and decided to pick an idea that involved refugees threatened by monsters in Exile. I had tried to make a scenario out of that one before but hadn't succeeded to make it interesting.


I began to develop the story. What would the threat be? Or the solution? Why? After the main plot, I started thinking about obstacles I would add along the way. (Turns out I didn't make very good obstacles - for many players on the Lyceum boards, they are too difficult/involve too much head-banging, are too clicheed diversions and/or simply boring. Fortunately, some have actually liked them...)


Planning and designing the obstacles took a long time. When I had begun that, I also started making the scenario itself and planned rest of the plot twists or obstacles while I was designing.


100 plot ideas for D&D: why not, because who can be completely original anyway...? It's possible to develop an interesting new idea from a used one.

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