September 14, 2008

Simple Homebrews: Mix and Match

This is my first time participating in a blog carnival and I have decided to unleash my thoughts on this. So this is (hopefully) one of my many entries to the 2nd RPG Blog Carnival; Hombrew.

Homebrews are very rewarding but very time-consuming to do. As we all know, ideas can come from anywhere. It normally starts off with an idea or inspiration when watching TV, reading a book or a sudden stroke of genius that comes when you are doing the dishes.

These moments are sometimes very hard to come by and when your brain is suffering from a creative burnout or writer's block, it would take a while before it is capable of producing ideas on its own again.

Here's a simple homebrewing method which I use that is less draining to do and it gives me the same satisfaction of seeing my ideas come together.

Start with a theme or an idea of what you are trying to build and stick with it as your main focus. I see every idea that can be used for roleplaying as a piece of a puzzle. You just need to find another idea that has a similar or consistent theme, concept or subject that can be joined together. The key is to be able to come up with links to join them together. It can be any kind of links imaginable as long as it's justified by a suspension of disbelief. Use one idea to flesh out or build on top of another idea and eventually you wil see the pieces combine into a big picture.

For example, you could read up the autobiography of someone, watched a movie about a serial killer, watched a documentary about haunted houses used by cultists for rituals involving sacrifices on Discovery and saw the news of a recent unexplainable or gruesome murder during the primetime news.

Put two and two together and you could turn it into an adventure with a fleshed out villain, a plot hook, a sequence of events that the players can investigate to get to the killer and a dungeon that is eerily detailed.

This method is meant to find what works together or what's not or you could challenge yourself linking stuff that are completely unrelated under one focus. The results can be surprisingly original.

You don't have to think up of something completely new from scratch but it still takes a little bit of creativity of trying to join the pieces together which gives it your personal touch.

The trick is to leave nothing unscavenged. Published or homebrew. Fictional or real. Steal, rob or pry every idea out of the cold fingers of somewhere because once you start joining the dots, it will take a life of its own and becomes unique when you are go with it from a single direction.

All you need is a source of news or information to be exposed to. Wikis with a random page function (like this one) can really work wonders with this.

Have fun stirring the brew pot!

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