#RPGaDay2021 Day 07: Inspiration

Day 7—a week now of writing and publishing every day—and today it was difficult to choose because all the prompt words attracted me. Finally, I decided to write about Inspiration in tabletop roleplaying games (TTRPGs).

Inspiration for Playing

For me, inspiration for playing stems from my desire to try on new roles and, as such, it is intimately related to imagining and creating player characters (PCs). I’ve heard in the past people saying that coming up with PC ideas for them is hard, but I live in the opposite extreme: I have too many ideas and I’m quite certain I’ll never get to play most of them.

Having this in mind, I don’t write down ideas for PCs most of the time, trusting that the right one will come to mind when I have the privilege to play, so I don’t think I can offer any advice here.

What I can offer, however, is the recommendation to grow your imagination by feeding it as much content as you can. Which specific content depends on your own personal tastes, which you must respect and defend, in my opinion, instead of trying to like what others like.

In my personal case, I feed my imagination with tons of fiction in different formats. I devour novels, short stories, comic books, TV series, and movies, and I don’t read or watch passively. I engage with what I’m reading or watching, sharing my opinion with friends and family when possible and, if not, I just think to myself or write down my opinions and ideas about what I read or watched (this is one of the reasons this blog exists).

Inspiration for Running

I’ll probably talk a lot about this and more in-depth in tomorrow’s post, but one of my current main inspirations to keep on running TTRPGs comes from watching Critical Role. For me, at least, watching Matt Mercer run really inspires me, as it resembles watching a professional sports player at their peak and getting inspired to try their moves when you play the same sport.

Another source of inspiration is now reading and watching Mike Shea aka Sly Flourish talking about running games. One of the things that I really like about Mike’s stuff is that everything is actionable. His opinions end up with hacks or new perspectives on how to use already-existing rules. His positive outlook and way of approaching “problems” in design is something that really makes me feel like everything is possible and that running a game is just, simple.

And that, I think, is the essence of being inspired to run a TTRPG. Most of the time that I don’t feel like running it is because of a sense of inadequacy, of not being prepared or just of feeling like I’m not good enough. Observing someone like Matt running a game or listening to Mike saying that, basically, everything is fixable lifts the burden of being adequate and reminds me that running is easy and, most of all, fun.

Finally, sometimes reading a game provides me with enough inspiration to run it, at least the first time. The best written games, however, inspire you to run them with every reread, probably thanks to a well-placed dose of flavor.

Inspiration for Writing

When it comes to writing TTRPGs, I’d say that my main source of inspiration is both what I love (and I feel is missing from games or doesn’t have a game dedicated to it that I know of) and what I don’t like.

The first case, as it often happens with positive things, is much more productive—in that it is easier for me to get inspired by something that I love and do something about it—but is more limited. What I mean by “limited” is that, at least in my case, the things that I love are far less than the ones that I dislike. Maybe that’s my character flaw, but there you have it.

So, I often find myself creating out of a desire to “fix” something that I find is wrong, not well-developed, or somehow lacking. The problem with this is that, although I may have a plethora of “ideas”—i.e., critiques that I could turn into new things—the energy to lead these projects to completion is hard to muster. The usual doubts that come up while working on anything creative come up more strongly when I’m working on projects of this sort, so nowadays I tend to avoid them, knowing that I’ll be much better off working on stuff that I love.

So that’s it for me today. Thank you for reading, liking, and accompanying me in this journey so far.


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