This weekend I was reading an adventure / RPG setting called The Stygian Library by Emmy Allen. It’s a really great piece, a procedurally generated library full of strange rooms and strange beings, where you can search for arcane knowledge, and possibly mutate, die, or just never return. It’s a follow-up to her Gardens of Ynn, an Alice-in-Wonderland style setting, which is also pretty dope. And while reading The Stygian Library, I had a breakthrough.
Oddly enough, the breakthrough had nothing to do with mysterious robed librarians or Extraordinary Books chained to desks. The breakthrough was a totally unrelated idea that will be the kernel of my own next Dungeon Age adventure.
I guess I should just go ahead and say the idea, I don’t want to sound all coy and precious about my precious new idea. So here it is: manipulative psychic babies.
Yeah, there’s more to it, but that was the linchpin that made the whole thing come together.
Anyway, that weird flash of — let’s just call it like it is — Inspiration calls me back to my first adventure, Saving Saxham. That one got pretty decent reviews right out of the gate, and I think that’s mostly because it came from a fully formed idea in my head, all at once. I didn’t “design” it so much as “suddenly realize” it by accident. (Spoilers: It’s about reverse zombies!) Which makes me wonder if good ideas are more likely to fall out of the ether than bubble up out of impassioned research and careful planning… I don’t know.
How often do your best ideas just show up out of nowhere?