Sunday, January 25, 2015

A picture's worth 1000 words

A Picture's Worth 1000 Words

By: Jesse C Cohoon

First of all before I start with this blog post I'd like to take the time to thank all my followers who have taken the time to look at the pictures and give me a +1 on them to show their support, as well as those who comment on them; I really appreciate it!

The reason that I post these images is not only that they are beautiful, but that they are inspirational for RPGs as well, and in some cases can be the cornerstone of an entire world. 

There are a couple of obvious ways of looking at the pictures. 
  • You can give them out as a handout for your players saying that they're at some vantage point and are seeing the image that you just presented them with. 
  • Place them in the scene saying that they're in the midst of this scenery, hiking down the trail, in the midst of the spooky centenary,taking the rapids down the river, or climbing the mountains. 
  • Use the scenery as a type of a map of somewhere where the players must go to meet someone, do something, or build their base. 
  • Use the scenery as a backdrop of a battle
  • Use the scenery as the entire setting, asking yourself
    • Who lives here? What caused them to be there? What is their story as far as why they are there? How long have they been there?  
    • Where is this? Is it the mountains, a prairie, underground, beneath the sea? What is it about this setting that is unique? Is it the ancient trees that stretch up to the sky? Is it the the crystal clear blue waters. Is it the unique cave features? Make that feature prominent in your game.
    • When is this? Is this before there are other races, during the "wild west," Samurai Japan, the modern day or the future? When is not only codified by technology/ magic/ culture, but by the type of government it has, the politics of the era, the attitudes of its people, as well as the religious atmosphere.
    • What are the problems that this area is facing? Why are they facing them now? What is causing the problems? What else is going on in the area?
    • Concerning the characters: Who are they? Why are they going to be the focus of the story above and beyond the fact that they got swept up in something bigger than themselves? More specifically why should they want to get involved? What's in it for them? If there's pay to be had (for instance they're guarding a caravan, getting rid of a marauding monster in the area,  guiding a mage, finding a cure for the king who's been poisoned) how much? If there's a time limit on these activities, what is is?
    • How will the group meet? Will it be in the vast woods searching for a lost child? Will it be while being guided through the caves and separated from the group? Will it be as a group of tourists who experience unbelievable things? Will it be as the survivors of a zombie apocalypse? Will it be at the death of a good friend? Do they all happen to be shopping at the time whatever happens to bring them together? Whatever the way that they meet it can be much more than "you meet in a bar" scenario. 
  • You can use a picture for an ally or an enemy. For a quick stat up consider: NPC class, basic stats, personality, basic equipment, skills, spells (if applicable), and any allies you might want to give them. 
    • If someone is new to RPGs, they might want to do a google search for the same types of characters that they wish to play. The image can give inspiration as to the type of personality, powers, and abilities that their character might have. 
    • This idea can even be expanded to such things as the mage's familiars, the druid's and ranger animal companions.
    • If they're to be given to the PCs as a follower, you might want to go a bit more in detail giving them some personality quirks, a bit of history, and a reason for wanting to stick with them.  Maybe they've just been saved from a life of slavery by the PCs, thought that it would be fun to go adventuring, or have some of the same goals as them.
    • If you're using them as an enemy, think about why they would want to oppose the PCs. Maybe it was the fact that the PCs accidentally (or purposely) killed their parents, and they want revenge, have a racial hatred towards one of the players, or the players are opposing the organization that they're a member of. 
    • They can be a neutral third party who happens to cross the PC's path and it's interesting to have an illustration of them that you can pull out if through their interactions they become an important person later on.
    • Regardless of the type of NPC, think about giving them a few lines when you create them, that way that you have less improving to do when you play them.
    • Personality  (110 choices)
      1. critical
      2. aggressive
      3. happy-go-lucky/ energetic
      4. touchy
      5. rude/ nasty/ inconsiderate/ thoughtless   
      6. careless
      7. gullible
      8. frank/ straightforward
      9. inept / powerless
      10. polite / agreeable
      11. charming/ charismatic
      12. emotional 
      13. powerful
      14. compulsive
      15. bossy
      16. grumpy / unhappy 
      17. boastful/ pompous 
      18. cowardly
      19. creative / entertaining
      20. depressive/ sad
      21. careless
      22. tidy
      23. cunning/ dishonest 
      24. insane
      25. dull/ dumb as a rock/ boring
      26. patient/ calm/ collected
      27. brave/ determined
      28. indiscreet 
      29. angry/ hateful/ intolerant
      30. patriotic
      31. unresponsive 
      32. wise-cracking
      33. intelligent/ intellectual / wise
      34. friendly/ personable
      35. outspoken
      36. superficial 
      37. religious/ dogmatic
      38. decisive 
      39. adaptable/ easy going
      40. adventurous
      41. ambitious
      42. aloof / condescending
      43. compassionate
      44. belligerent
      45. sensitive /shy
      46. needlessly cruel
      47. foolish / big headed
      48. unassuming
      49. lazy
      50. conservative
      51. detached
      52. harsh / arrogant
      53. impatient/ impulsive
      54. materialistic
      55. diligent  
      56. sneaky 
      57. ruthless
      58. pessimistic
      59. impish/ evil
      60. enthusiastic
      61. controlling / Machiavellian
      62. pioneering
      63. flirtatious
      64. miserly/ greedy 
      65. aloof/ detached
      66. clingy/ needy/ possessive 
      67. finicky
      68. proactive 
      69. witty / funny
      70. silly
      71. self-disciplined
      72. tough-as-nails
      73. jealous 
      74. brave
      75. vulgar
      76. stiff
      77. indecisive
      78. cynical
      79. impulsive
      80. romantic
      81. intolerant
      82. respectful
      83. translucent
      84. sexy/ naughty 
      85. good / righteous
      86. patronizing 
      87. nervous 
      88. hard working
      89. belligerent
      90. irresponsible
      91. courageous 
      92. thoughtful 
      93. dynamic 
      94. secretive 
      95. vain
      96. quarrelsome
      97. timid
      98. plucky
      99. self-indulgent
      100. optomistic
      101. sincere
      102. philosophical
      103. peaceful/ placid 
      104. competitive 
      105. diplomatic
      106. helpful
      107. sympathetic
      108. rational / problem-solving
      109. confident 
      110. impartial 

Places to find artwork for your games: (no guarantees on licenses... just don't try to sell them without doing your due diligence first!)
  • G+ artwork & photo groups 
  • for custom graphics
If you find my writing, shared pictures, or lists interesting, inspiring, or useful please consider donating some money to me on my Patreon page at 

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