Favourite inspiration for your game

By “your game”, I’m assuming this topic means “your current campaign”. Seeing as I don’t really have one, I have a feeling this isn’t going to garner as many plusses army last post.

In general, games inspire me to build campaigns around them more often than something inspires me to choose a game and build a campaign (or a session). It’s been pretty common for me to find an RPG that then spurs me on to look into its source material. E.g., Eden’s Buffy RPG got me to start watching the show, and Evil Hat’s Dresden Files RPG got me reading Butcher’s books.

That said… does anyone remember John Coyne’s novel Hobgoblin?


It was one of the “D&D drives a kid crazy” novels that appeared during the Satanic Panic. IMO, unlike Rona Jaffe’s Mazes & Monsters, it was actually a decent read, more of a horror/suspense story that happened to use roleplaying as a hook rather than a treatise on the evils of gaming.

In the book, the main character plays “Hobgoblin,” a fantasy RPG set in mythic Ireland. It uses a custom deck of cards with weird art and crazy dice combos, like using d1000s (and somehow generating decimal points) and other stuff that shows the write didn’t really grok how D&D worked. However, to 11-year-old me, the game was fascinating. The Irish mythology was awesome and the cards sounded like the coolest thing ever. Plus, the book describes them using the cards in chargen, and producing characters of all kinds, not just the standard D&D tropes (one being a minor noble girl who then goes on an adventure that feels like a gothic novel). Honestly, it was like cards plus lifepaths from BW or careers from WFRP.

For na very long time, I wanted to try and find that game. I went through a lot of fantasy RPGs, tried to integrate cards (mostly tarot) into my games, and named multiple characters “Brian Ború”, the legendary Irish king (and the paladin played by the main character in the novel). The book also fired off my obsession with all things celtic, and why Dark Ages settings are like crack to me.

I’m tempted to go back and re-read the book, but I feel like that could taint my fond childhood memories.