Game Dream 4: Dude, Read This Book!
What is the role, if any, that movies and books play in your campaigns? When entering a new genre, how important do you feel seeing (or reading) a good genre example becomes? Have you ever been assigned a “mood” book to read by the GM, or gone to a group movie viewing? How do you feel about game-based fiction, whether “pulp” novels or movie attempts?
I’m with Arref on the fact that books are a big part of why I AM a GM.
I am continually inspired by books. I’ve taken ideas from books, ranging from characters to plot ideas, to locales.
I’ve had GMs point me to books, and I’ve been enthusiastic in pointing out books to players, sometimes after the fact, to get them into the mindset needed to play a particular con scenario, or if some bit from my campaign has been borrowed.
I do try to avoid too-zealous borrowing in the sense of stealing an author’s world and characters entire–the author has to eat, too. I’m much more likely to mine deeper in “abandonware” books than living literary universes.
So, for example, while I wouldn’t steal very explicitly from, say, Anne Bishop’s Three Worlds (although I took the idea of linked worlds and made it part of Cadmus’ background in Rites of Passage), I wouldn’t mind taking more directly from, say, the Well Favored Man and its sequels (although I have not done so as yet).
But some more concrete examples:
Ghosts of the Past:
I took the idea of the River and what the PCs find alongside it is from Sean Russell’s The One Kingdom. The River’s sudden irruption, and how it fit into that Amber, though, was and is my own inspiration.
Ad Amber per Amber:
I took the casino space station and the chase across the universe from Eric Nylund’s sadly-out-of-print A Game of Universe.
A NPC in a couple of games and sometimes used as a PC, I threw both a Niven style Ringworld and a Bear style “Way” into his background to give him a technophilic grounding.
My Grand Affair character, I think his rhyme-and-meter speech comes from the Cretans that speak in epic verse in Fritz Leiber’s THE BIG TIME. They weren’t big on the rhyme, though.