If someone asked me for a single bit of advice to improve their roleplaying games, whether as a DM or a player, I would tell them to spend as much time as they can reading the great fantasy and sci-fi books that are out there. For the first several years that I was playing RPGs I was not an avid reader and had not even heard of many of the classics, including ones that everyone should have heard of like The Lord of the Rings. At the time I thought many of my friends were insanely creative or stricken by some miraculous form of otherworldly inspiration, but as I’ve read more and more of the books out there I began to realize that most good ideas in our RPGs have been inspired by or even directly ripped from other sources. For example, in one of the first D&D games that I ever DM’d a player showed up with a character named “Muadib” and I remember thinking that it was a very unique and interesting sounding name. A year or two later I started reading Dune and groaned when I realized he’d simply lifted the name straight out of that book.
While an interesting magic system is not enough to drive a fantasy setting, it does appear to be part of the main hook when getting readers. Likewise, in a fantasy RPG system, this provides an immediate appeal to playing the game if the magic is interesting enough.
(Note: Spoilers for Mistborn included) Background: Initially taking up Brandon Sanderson’s novels as a means to gain an insight into the impending finale of Wheel of Time, I found an author with both a fertile imagination and a true appreciation for the craft of storytelling. Having finished The Well of Ascension, his third novel, and […]
Background: When Robert Jordan died I was surprised to hear the decision regarding finishing up his final novel, Memories of Light, was made so quickly. It fell to Brandon Sanderson, a young writer I had never heard of. Fast-forward a year or so later, and after stumbling upon his insightful blog, I took up reading […]