Sunday, June 12, 2011

Inspirations for my gamebooks

I have written several posts about how other games provide ideas and inspiration for some of my gamebooks.  This post will give an overview on where ideas have come from and name a few sources.  In future posts, I will focus and analyze a computer game, an RPG or an aspect of Magic the Gathering.

Computer games

I have not actually played many 'big' computer games.  Most of my computer game playing was with the cover disks from the ST format magazine on an Atari ST which was a hand-me-down from an uncle.  I liked these games a bit too much,but some of them gave me some great ideas pretty much any aspect of a fantasy RPG such as monsters, items, what aspects of combat to focus on, magic, what stats to use, how to advance a character etc.

Years later, I got into some MMORPGs and also bought Diablo and Neverwinter Nights which also offered some other great ideas.

Magic the Gathering

This was another addiction of mine.  I was eleven when I first came across Magic in 1994 when I noticed two   sixth formers (17-18 year olds) playing this interesting fantasy card game.  One of them gave me Energy Tap (pity it wasn't Black Lotus).

I didn't think much of it at the time, but I loved analysing all the aspects of the card.  I loved hand reaching out to take the charged orb.  I had no idea what most of the words meant in the context of the game.  Populous 2 taught me that mana was magical power, but tapping?  Casting costs?  Creatures?  What was going on here?

I thought that the card was from some ancient Greek world based on the fact that the expansion symbol was a pillar, but I had no idea what the drop was in the right hand corner and what else could be written under the picture instead of sorcery.

A few years later, I found a shop that sold more magic cards which I found just as engrossing.  Someone from school gave me a rulebook and I bought enough old cards and lands to make a functional deck, which was nowhere near competitive with just about any deck that wasn't built by a two year old.  The MVP of my deck was Gravebane Zombie.  Why?  Because it wouldn't die.  However, my enthusiasm for magic survived these initial thrashings.

As well as playing the game, I enjoyed analysing the 'flavour' of the cards.  Why, for example, was a creature that deals damage blue, the colour of knowledge and countering spells?  Why was it not red, the colour of fire and spells taht deal damage.  It turns out that it shouldn't have been and a red version was made.

Magic the Gathering has also come up with some great characters in the form of legends and planeswalkers.  It also has its own stories which can be entertaining but I find them frustrationg because they have a high lethality rate for main characters before they have had proper development.

RPGs and games

I love reading RPG sourcebooks as they are a treasure horde of useful information.  What kind of background and skills could I give a character?  What monsters and NPCs could I use?  What treasure could I use?  What magical items could I add?  I have aread quite a few sourcebooks and obtained some great information about different worlds and how to approach them.  The RPG sourcebooks I have are:

Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 
Conan RPG
Tunnels and Trolls
Maelstrom RPG
Call of Cthulu
Dragon Warriors
Iron Heroes
Advanced Fighting Fantasy

I shall write an analysis of what these RPGs ahve helped me with in future posts.  

So that is something to look forward to on the blog.  

Have a good week!


  1. Maelstrom, yay!
    My favourite way of recording wounds is from Maelstrom (4/7/3 heal each wound separately), -and let's not forget all the herbs and cure-alls. :)
    I only ever played Diablo as a single player ... for fear of dial-up charges - Diablo II for PC is still in the upper price range of budget games. :o
    I still feel a bit strange about Magic the Gathering. I sort of left RPGs for a bit and then when I went back into the shops it was all CGCs - a warning in my head went off. I feared Magic:The Gathering because if I showed the slightest interest they would steal my wallet and soul. ;)
    Nice post as always - lots of lovely pictures, we lubs pictures.

  2. Nice post!
    Source of inspiration are key items. Do you have any books or movies that inspired you?

    PS: By the way, congratulations again!