This week I’ve decided to share with you what texts I’m using as inspiration for the Pathfinder campaign that I’m currently running. I’m not necessarily directly lifting from the novels, videogames, films, etc in question – but some of the themes and concepts are definitely being borrowed from. I’m not going in to too much detail, because my players sometimes read my diaries.

Final Fantasy IX

Published in Japan back in 2000 and Europe in 2001, Final Fantasy IX saw Square reunite magic, renaissance designs and steam punk in a game that spanned four discs and stretched across worlds. Reminiscent of Final Fantasy VI aesthetically, this original PlayStation invoked themes around belonging, being orphaned, poverty, betrayal, war and colonialism. Of all the FF games that I’ve played IX isn’t my favourite, but there are several parts of it that I do like and I’m working into the story of my campaign. For instance: several of the members of the royal families of the game have been or will be represented in numerous ways in the game so far.

The novels of Robin Hobb

Famous for The Farseer Trilogy and several other trilogies set in the same world, and much more, Margaret Astrid Lindholm Ogden’s (a.k.a. Robin Hobb) Farseer novels are some of my favourite fantasy novels. The Farseer novels follow FitzChivalry Farseer (Fitz), a royal bastard, as he is brought into service as the king’s assassin. The whole series does some serious examinations of personal relationships and could give A Song of Ice and Fire a real run for its money. I’m mainly using the novels as a means of inspiring me for when people are well and truly betrayed.

The Elder Scrolls series

I’ve only played MorrowindOblivion and Skyrim in The Elder Scrolls series, but the main reference from the series I’m drawing inspiration from appears in Daggerfell – the second game in the series, one I haven’t played. So how can I be referencing it? I’m using the name “Adamantine Tower” or “Direnni Tower” as it’s also called in the games. The later games reference it and that’s how I know about it. I loved the name, but in my campaign the structure is like a tower rather than a castle.

The Lord of the Rings (films)

The trilogy of films has been for me one of the best cinematic representations of a fantasy like environment. I have read two of the novels, but I have always preferred the films. The sprawling landscape and natural barriers to journeying – mountains, rivers and weather – ensure that the environment is as much of the story as the characters within it. So yeah, it isn’t the storylines of Tolkien’s and Jackson’s work that I’m drawing from, but the representation of the physical world around the characters.

Bulletproof Monk

I’ve not watched too many Kung Fu films, but I’ve always enjoyed just how awesome the monks in Bulletproof Monk are. And when I say awesome, I mean overpowered. Like really overpowered. Perfect for a fantasy setting where you’ll end-up with monk characters that can be pretty impossible from level one. I’m not saying they’re completely unstoppable, but the underlying pseudo-philosophies of the film always bring in a reasonable sense of how belief can also affect the abilities of the martial artists in question.

So there you have it: the the three things I’ve so far been drawing inspiration from.