May 242012

Here we are going to sit back and chat about how to create original content for your games. From world building to creating adventures, from crafting magic items to improvisation; it all takes creativity. Here at the idea factory, I do not plan to just give you ideas for your game. I am sure there will be plenty of that, but I also want to show you tricks for creating your own bits of awesome.

Before we really get into all of that, you may be asking yourself what qualifies me to talk about creativity. That is fair.

If you read my introduction post here you know that I have been gaming for decades, and that I have dice older then some of the players in my gaming group. But my real qualifications for running the idea factory is what I have been up to since the start of the year.

As last year began to fade, I started talking with Michael Garcia at Occult Moon Games about writing for him. We came up with the idea of putting together a fantasy campaign aid that would present a location that could be dropped into any system or setting. Thus was born Toys for the Sandbox.

If you have not checked it out yet, we put out a free zero issue awhile back. Go give it a try. I will wait.

Okay, welcome back. As I write this, we are in the process of cranking out issue number 21. This  means that  in the last few months I have cranked out 414 plot hooks and 104 npcs. So I do know something about being consistently creative.

Creativity is a muscle, and like any other muscle, we need to use the crap out of it if we want it to get stronger. It comes from inspiration and the exploration of that inspiration.

Let me share an example with you. A while back, in the earlyish days of 3rd edition, I was running a D&D game in a world I had built from scratch. I had built everything from the books that were out at the time, and the game was going good. Then the wizards had to come along and screw up my world and release the Psionic Handbook.

There was no place in my world for psionics as things stood. Then I had an idea. There was a hole in my world that had not been explored. No one was playing a dwarf, and up until then no dwarven npcs had shown up. The need for psychics and the unexplored dwarves came together in a moment of inspiration.

From there I began to explore. What would it mean for a race to be psychic? As I explored, I had the idea that they grew more psychic as they grew older. That progressed to immortal dwarves that turned to stone as they aged. Eventually, this led me to create a chamber where all the ancient dwarves lived on as psychic statues running the dwarven government.

I have told you about myself and some of my creations; now it is your turn. I want to hear about the cool things you have created in your games. This week, tell me about a world-building problem you had and how you solved it. And, no, A wizard did it does not count.

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