- Truth is stranger than fiction.
- I wouldn’t believe it if I hadn’t see it with my own eyes.
- You can’t make this stuff up.
No matter how creative and imaginative we think we are nothing trumps real life. This is why so many popular TV shows feature stories that are ripped from the headlines. This is also a big reason that we’ve seen an explosion of reality TV in the past decade. People want stories inspired by or based on people and events that really happened.
For June’s RPG Blog Carnival, the Dungeon’s Master team wants you to look to reality for gaming inspiration. We’re asking you to create a memorable character (hero or villain) based on a real life person and provide guidelines for how this character might be used in an RPG. Just because we’re a 4e D&D site doesn’t mean that your memorable characters needs to fit within the confines of D&D (although we wouldn’t be opposed to that idea).
The character you create should have a clear connection to the real-life person from which they were inspired. The person can be someone from the past or present, dead or alive. Be creative.
Look at the recent release “Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter” by Seth Grahame-Smith as a great example of what we’re going for. In this book the 16th President of the United States is re-imagined as an undead slayer. He’s still grounded in the detail we already know of Honest Abe, but with a few tweaks he’s become as a whole new man, and now he’s a lot more suitable for fantasy RPGs.
Perhaps you envision Napoleon as a Karrnathi Warlord, Houdini as the leader of a Thieves’ Guild, Da Vinci as a Gnomish Artificer or Justin Timberlake as a Bard by day and Assassin-for-hire by night. You’re only limited by your own imagination.
Once you’ve completed your character provide an outline of a possible encounter or even just a few possible adventure hooks featuring them. You might even want to create an encounter that is based on a well-known event from this person’s actual life.
Provide as much detail on your character as you see fit. If you want to provide full statistics or even a character sheet, feel free.
Be sure to come back and leave us a comment below once you’ve posted your contribution to this month’s RPG Blog Carnival. At the end of the month we’ll compile a list of all the characters inspired from real life, along with the encounters or adventure hooks you provide. This collection will be an easy to use resource that you can come back to again and again when you need a memorable NPC for your next campaign.