How to get ideas for adventures (Part 8)

4 10 2009

IdeasPopular lists

 There is no exhaustive list of lists (no pun intended) but I’ll outline some of the more common ones I’ve seen.

The idea is to build on them. Once you’ve completed a list, start thinking about related thoughts.

  • What did you feel at the time?
  • What senses are evoked e.g. smells, tastes, sounds?

These are particularly left brain activities.

  • What would have made it better?
  • Worse?
  • What would have been really strange?

Don’t elaborate on a point on the list until you’ve added every item. Let your memory run riot until you can think no more. It’s OK to add extra ones later, but practice brain-dumping all you can before you start to wax lyrical about your memories.

Switching right side to left side activity will kill the creative process every time.


Think of all the key events in your life. First day at school, visiting the hospital, buying your first dog. What are the key events that pop into your head?


Think of the places that evoke the strongest memories. The earliest memories are often the most thought provoking. The places could be houses, holiday destinations, parks or public buildings.


Which people figure most graphically in your memories?


What scares you – or more importantly used to scare you until you came to realise the fear was irrational. Was it the dark, or a house you walked past on the way home from school. Or spiders?


An odd heading but are there any material things that evoke strong memories. A particular car or an item of clothing?

Unrequited love

Making this a broader subject, what people or things did you always want but never got?


What’s important to you? Use that as the basis of a list. If it’s important, you tend to find it easier to write about them and recall memories. It may be food, films, games, whatever.

And this concludes my advice on coming up with ideas.  Some GMs will use all of it, others will only want to pick part of it – but I’d be surprised if any GM didn’t find something useful from the series.

I’ll get back to usual blogs for a few days and then I’ll cover the subject of plotting for an adventure or campaign.




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