So, I’ve mentioned inspiration and campaign creation, but while media inspiration regularly leads me to create a campaign concept, the nuts and bolts of it really rely on what kind of game I want to play and how I expect my group will react to the campaign.
The current campaign I am running with my home group was explicitly a mashup of a bunch of different media influences, as were a few other games. My group ended up choosing it, and their characters have helped to fashion what it has turned into.
I call my 1930s Pulp supernatural campaign A Team of Losers, as I was hoping to channel “team” media like the movie adaptation of the A-Team and the comic the Losers and its movie adaptation. I took it a little further, deciding that the team would be facing a supernatural threat each adventure, kind of like the TV series Supernatural.
The direction the campaign has taken has been influenced by a lot of other media, but mostly through decisions made by the players. I used Manchuria as the setting of the first adventure due to my love for the movie the Good, the Bad, the Weird, but the characters created by the players shifted the tone toward Raiders of the Lost Ark by way of Buckaroo Banzai. We’ve literally got a whip-wielding archaeologist and a German (Austrian when the subject of Nazis comes up) mad scientist. There is a quick-draw carnival sharp shooter and a Lord of the Jungle. We’ve got a martial artist with a mystical bent and a non-descript comic relief who might be the deadliest of the bunch.
You should be relying on your players to do this to you – nudging you subtly or overtly toward the kind of game they want to play. They’ll enjoy your campaign more if you listen. My thought with A-Team and the Losers was of caper-style adventures. That hasn’t happened, but that’s not a problem. We’ve got pulp adventures including weird science – last adventure they fought evil Nazis in power armour in a lost city in the heart of Africa. The core of the initial concept remains – a team running through a series of supernatural adventures – but it has adjusted based on the input of the group.
Use inspiration to build your campaign, but be ready when it evolves into something different, and embrace that.
You can find the Building Stuff series here.
You can read more about A Team of Losers here.