One of my favorite parts in an RPG book is the “Source Material” section, where the writers of that particular book list a number of outside resources in which they drew inspiration from or feel would help one grasp the feeling of that particular book. Today, I’ve decided to do that here. What follows is a list of things that have given me inspiration in one form or another. This list only includes things I have seen or read myself, or know about enough to give it a good recommendation.

1: Fate/Stay Night (and Fate/Zero as well)

“I ask you, are you my master?”

Also known as: “That shit Frankie won’t stop talking about”, Fate/Stay night is a visual novel from Type-Moon. The story revolves around a conflict known as the “Holy Grail War”, which centers around seven mages who summon Heroic Spirits (people from myth/legend) to fight/kill the other Heroic Spirits/Masters (mages who are participating in the war) in order to claim the Holy Grail, and have one wish of theirs granted. Emiya Shirou, however, doesn’t know a thing about this conflict, but finds himself quickly swept up into it after being nearly killed by a Heroic Spirit.

The Take-Away: Aside from just enjoying the ride (and holy hell, what a ride it is), notice the amount of world building that goes into the story and setting; it’s much more than just “Wizards fighting in Japan”, it’s own world with it’s own rules. The Visual Novel is a hefty read in itself, with three routes to go through (though you do have to read through the first to unlock the second, and then the second to unlock the last), so it will last you a good long while. Be warned though, that this does have adult content in it, and if that kind of thing is enough to deter you (it’s done in pictures and text only), then consider watching either Fate/Zero (the prequel to Fate/Stay Night, which you should watch regardless) or the Fate/Stay Night anime, which…is kind of okay, but pales in comparison to the visual novel.

One more note: The visual Novel was never released in the states, so you’ll have to download it and find the English patches. If you know/can read Japanese you can simply order one of the console versions (I’d suggest getting the Vita version, as the Vita is not region locked and you wouldn’t have to go through any hassle of modding your system). If you would like to learn more about the Fate/Stay Night franchise, please refer to this FAQ.

2: The Dark Tower, by Stephen King

Above: The epitome of man.

The Dark Tower novels are not a quick read. Numbering 8 books in total (though Wind Through The Keyhole is optional), this is the epic tale of Roland Deschain, the last Gunslinger, and his journey to the Dark Tower. He is the archetypal gunslinger, heavily inspired by Clint Eastwood’s character in “The Man With No Name” trilogy, a hard man with a no nonsense attitude. Together with his companions (second book onwards, anyway), they slowly make their way through Mid-World, a world that has “moved on”, with anachronistic technology scattered throughout the landscape.

The Take-Away: If you ever wanted to play a gunslinger in Pathfinder, or anyone who lives by the gun, you owe it to yourself to read these books. Other than basically being a mandate to all who want to play a gunslinger, the series is top notch example of a long winding story with multiple story arcs woven throughout.  This setting has everything you’d want in a tabletop game: Kingdoms, lost technologies, world hopping, and talking psychopathic monorails (that last one might just be me, though).

3: The Myst Trilogy, by Rand and Robyn Miller

I think I have the exact same crease in my copy of Book of Ti’ana as well.

The Myst novels tell the story of D’ni, an ancient civilization centered around art and creativity. Their crowning achievement was The Art, which allowed them to create whole worlds within special books that allow travel to said worlds. The overarching theme throughout the books is the effect of hubris and pride, as the D’ni were a proud people, and it led to their downfall (not really a spoiler, don’t worry). The first book deals with a young boy named Atrus, who is taken by the father who abandoned him back down to D’ni to help him excavate the once great city and to teach him the D’ni ways. The second book is a prequel that shows how D’ni fell apart, while book three centers around a group of D’ni survivors who managed to escape into an Age before everything went to hell in D’ni.

The Take-Away: This series is a great example of a culture that is not centered around capitalism, but instead around creativity and art. D’ni feels like an actual place instead of the name of a city. The concept of traveling to different worlds via books is a pretty awesome concept that can be adapted into a game easily. It’s also great for giving you ideas for your egotistical villains who have delusions of grandeur.

That’s all for this week. I may come back with some more recommendations some other time (maybe a monthly thing? Who knows!). If you have anything you’d recommend, drop a line in the comments!

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