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Your roleplaying influences ?


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Following on from a brief off topic diversion about Karl Edward Wagner in the Q&A thread I thought I'd post this. What sources and influences have contributed towards your gaming style and history ? Could be authors or stories, games, films or legends and myths

Ok. Lets list some: (a journey to my past :))





M. Moorcock

Gene Wolf

Jack Vance

P. Anderson

J. Brunner

Prince Valiant Comics


everything from Ridley Scott (except White Squall)

everything from S. Kubrick

Some films from J. Carpenter (eg. NY1999, the Fog, The Assault, The Thing)

the medieval films from I. Bergman (Virgin Spring, 7th Seal, The magician)



The Abyss

Ghost in the Shell


The Omega Man

Soylent Green

Terminator 1

Conan 1

The Musketeer trilogy from R. Lester

Chinatown, The Two Jakes

Bad Lieutnant

Apocalypse Now

Dracula (the Coppola version)

Monthy Python

Clash of Titans

Jason and the Argonauts

inspiring legends and myths:

The german Nibelungensaga

some local medieval stories from the country I live in


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My grandfather was my biggest influence that led me to role-playing games. He instilled a love of reading. He introduced me to fantasy and science-fiction literature. He taught me chess, how to shoot a gun, and how to fire a bow. He took me to movies like Conan and Excalibur (without my mother knowing ;)).

Another big factor was my disillusionment of the high school click scene. I chose not to align myself with a specific click as was the norm, and, consequently, found myself on the self-imposed fringe. I made friends with a quadriplegic and a boy who just moved to our town from out of state. My out of town friend introduced us to 2nd Gamma World at lunch in the library. He then introduced us to 1st AD&D.

I was hooked on role-playing immediately. It became my crack cocaine.

BRP Ze 32/420

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Since I started the thread it's only right I should contribute.


Started off on D&D ( like a lot of people I guess ) bought Snakepipe Hollow out of ignorance, I was that young I didn't realise there could be more than one RPG..... decided the contents looked more interesting than D&D and put the RQ2 boxed set on my christmas wish list have stuck with BRP/RQ ever since. I've tried other games but keep coming back to the BRP system. Mind you I always rather liked Bushido ( FGU ? )



Robert E Howard

Clark Ashton Smith

Karl Edward Wagner


Stanley Weinbaum ( died young, wrote SF for the pulp magazines of the 1930's )


Stuff from all over, initially classical ( Greek ) but more latterly Teutonic, Arthurian cycle and ancient mesopotamian eg Babylon, Assyria etc

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That must of been tough, my heart goes out to you :lol:

Thanks. It wasn't easy. It's hard to find an understanding soul in this cold, cruel world.

P.S.> That's my story and I'm sticking to it! :)

P.P.S.> It's a retcon, but it still my story. Why should I devote all my creative efforts on my players? :innocent:

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

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Hmmm ... an early introduction to fantasy - watched local horror movie show ("Creature Features," with local legend Bob Wilkins) faithfully. I think my first exposure to the kind of "sword-and-sorcery" fantasy was in a children's novel called "The Changeling," about two girls who make up an imaginary world of magic and monsters. I was fascinated by their concepts. Lots of comic books (Marvel's "Conan" comics were going strong back then). Gradual growing awareness of the whole world of fantasy fiction (Moorcock, Tolkein, etc) in late elementary school and junior high. Played "Dungeon" game (an ultra-simplified dungeon crawl) in `77 and loved it. Got exposed to D&D the next year. Rest is history I suppose.

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I couldn't even try and point to a single influence of even a group of them.

I've always loved fantasy, even as a small child, reading Fairytales, then Narnia and so on. We read the Hobbit in Junior School, when I was about 8, and I loved it. Then I read all the fantasy books in the school library at the next school. I loved Moorcock and bought everything I could find of his, read a lot of Tolkein, went through series after series of fantasy and Science Fiction and so on. There were two series of books I read that really gripped me, one was about a Mongolian boy who kept to the old faith rather than the new Islamic one, the other was about a Viking warrior which was very moving in parts (He was attacked by a berserker at some docks, the berserker threw off his shirt and charged him, but recognised him as one of his closest friends at the last minute, he came out of the berserk rage to greet his friend when his friend went into a berserk rage and cut him down. )

As for films and TV series, I've watched so many it's unbelievable. Robin of Sherwood was important becasue it had a mystical/magical element and was more thoughtful than most. There was a very gritty Arthurian series in the 70s that influenced me and I prefer grittier settings. But, things like Xena, Hercules, the the Ivanhoe series (Dark Knight?) and even the moderen Robin Hood series are all good fun and show that you needn't be serious all the time. The Water Margin, and later Princess Wu, were fantastic and opened up a whole avenue of historical fantasy. Jason and the Argonauts was really good, there were also a host of Italian swords-and-sandals movies that were very gritty. Princess Bride was a RQ scenario written as a movie, in my opinion, and I still watch it when it comes on TV.

So, too many influences, all merged into one.

Simon Phipp - Caldmore Chameleon - Wallowing in my elitism since 1982. Many Systems, One Family. Just a fanboy. 


Jonstown Compendium author. Find my contributions here

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Greek and Norse myth

Comic books, particularly early Marvel and DC Comics

A decades-strong collection of National Geographic and many of their hardcover books

A huge hardcover edition of Little Nemo in Slumberland

Creature Feature, Kung-Fu Theater, etc.

Novels and stories by REH, ERB, JRRT, CS Lewis, Karl Edward Wagner, Poul Anderson, Fritz Leiber, CJ Cherryh, etc.

The Worm Oroboros, by ER Eddison

Extensive travels across the US, and six years living in Japan and exploring SE Asia, northern Europe, etc. during that time.

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My gaming influences run very broadly, but probably the strongest are the Hero System (which I had a roundabout influence on the design of) and Runequest; in recent years I've developed an appreciation of some aspects of less gamist/simulationist designs in some areas, but those two are still pretty much the core in terms of defining what I want out of a system.

In terms of non-gaming material, I was an STTOS fan and a big fan of 50's and 60's SF/monster movies (I still can enjoy rewatching the better ones like Forbidden Planet, Them, The Day the Earth Stood Still or The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms). In books, I was a classic era SF reader (your Heinlein, Clarke, Asimov and the like), and my fantasy tastes were probably shaped by Andre Norton more than any other writer. I was also a Silver Age DC and (later) Marvel fan.

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Jules Vernes

Conan Doyle (Holmes and Pr Carpenter)

HG Wells

REH (Especially Solomon Kane and Conan)


Jack Vance

Poul Anderson

John Brunner

Roger Zelazny

Philip K. Dick


Doc Savage

Lot of Alan Moore comics

Some classical SF authors (Van Vogt, EE Doc Smith, Asimov, Heinlein)


Apocalypse Now


Jason and the Argonauts

Soylent Green

The 1st 3 movies by Ridley Scott

Almost everything by John Carpenter

Monty Python





Runequestement votre,


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  • 2 weeks later...

I don't play in other peoples' games as much as I run my own, but in D&D I tend to play melee specialists and thus Robert E. Howard is one of the biggest influences on how my characters act.

As a GM, I try to watch other GMs at work as much as possible, study their methods and assimilate what I like into my own style. Thus my GMing style is primarily based on my friends Rob and Jeff, which is funny because they're complete opposites. Jeff plays fast and loose with the rules, preferring to tell a good story, while Rob was somewhat slavish to the rules.

"A DM only rolls dice for the noise they make." -- Gary Gygax (attributed)

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When I was ten, I was gifted basic D&D by my parents, but failed to "get" it until a month later when I found Gamma World 1st. It was all down hill from there. During that time, I had just discovered Robert E. Howard, Tolkien, Lovecraft and Piers Anthony's Xanth. Subsequent influences at that young age included Robert Aspirin's Myth Adventures and Philip Jose Farmer.

Now, the overall influences on my gaming habit are too numerous to count, but I can look back and see trends in my "younger" days. When I went to college in 1989, for example, I studied anthropology and archaeology. My games and campaigns were suddenly much more tightly defined, and I ran adventures where the ancient past was more involving, or where historical elements became very important.

I also had a new round of "profoundly influencing" authors, who contributed to a more surreal and darker approach to many games, including Hunter Thompson, William S. Burroughs, Tim Powers and Neal Stephenson. These guys still influence me as much as Howard, Farmer and Lovecraft do.

These days, I'm probably most influenced by the new-wave science fiction of Ian Banks, Jack McDevitt, and Charles Stross. I'm also very happy with the state of modern horror fiction as defined by Brian Keene, Simon Clark, and others. Of course, now I've reached the point where I really can't tell you if my taste in fiction is inspired by my gaming habits or vice versa....it all seems to have melded just a bit to much!

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Biggest influence was probably my mother who works as a librarian and brought home countless books she read for me, and which I continued to read as I grew up. I particularily read a lot of viking books, but also fondly remember a norwegian sci-fi book series about a great library ship that travelled from planet to planet and traded in information. :)


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Influences? Now that IS tricky - it's a pretty wide field!

I'd say the things that primed me for getting into RPGs in the first place (I was 12 when I started) were, in no particular order:

- Lord of the Rings

- The Narnia books

- The King Arthur stories

- "A Wizard of Earthsea", Ursula Le Guin

- Beowulf (the Rosemary Sutcliffe version)

- Star Wars

- Star Trek

- The Time Machine

- Marvel Comics (esp Hulk, Fantastic Four)

- Doctor Who

- Enid Blyton (I know - incredible to cite, but I'm sure her "Adventure" series gave me a yen to go charging off into the blue in search of danger and adventure, and her "Enchanted Wood / Faraway Tree" books gave me a liking for elves, fairies, and Things That Live At The Bottom Of The Garden!)

Since starting RPGs, my influences have been (and this works two ways - my reading & movie-going influences my RPGs, and vice versa):

- Tolkien in general

- Conan

- Moorcock

- Cthulhu

- HG Wells

- Joseph Campbell

- Dune

- Gene Wolfe

- Larry Niven

- Blade Runner (the movie)

- history of ancient world, roman empire, mediaeval europe, Japan

- more Star Trek

- readings around religion, occult, etc

- interest in astrophysics

- interest in languages

That's all kind of weird when you try to write it down :happy:. I would definitely say though that RPGs themselves - and the inquisitive approach to world culture that they inspire - have been a very large influence in themselves in my life. Those funny little dice have a lot to answer for!

"The Worm Within" - the first novel for The Chronicles of Future Earth, coming 2013 from Chaosium, Inc.

Website: http://sarahnewtonwriter.com | Twitter: @SarahJNewton | Facebook: TheChroniclesOfFutureEarth

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Movies: Beastmaster, Excalibur, Conan, Clash of the Titans, Legend, Lady Hawk, Universal Soldier.

Books: JRRT, ERB, REH, HPL, some early Dragonlance, Avatar Trilogy.

College: Minored in medieval history, Im sure thats been a big influence.

My biggest influence as far as games go is my long quest to get into super hero games. First experience was adapting various palladium games (TMNT, Ninjas & Superspies, After The Bomb Series, Palladium Fantasy) into my own Supers setting. That was ruined when I got Heroes Unlimited. Then I got Marvel Heroes, Champions, Heroes & Heroines, Superworld and finally hit Jack Pot with DC Heroes.

As far as super hero game styles go, Im highly influenced by the multipart long cross over super events of the 90s. Knightfall, Doomsday, Clone Saga, Operation Galactic Storm. Basically I like to set up future plots well in advance, and run more then one gaming group and occassionally do cross over adventures.

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My roleplaying game experiences would probably start with D&D Basic (Red Box set), followed on by Stormbringer actually. Then I had my Warhammer years (mixing roleplaying sessions with wargaming stuff), followed by my White Wolf years (Mage mainly, including some live-action stuff for Vampire), to where I am at now, with what I can say are my Call of Cthulhu years (generally). These different 'years' were interpersed with all types of other games, but the long term campaigns and groups I played with all tended to centre around these titles.

The games I would have most admiration for now, currently, are Call of Cthulhu, Pendragon, Paranoia and, to a certain extent Nobilis and Wraith - although I also retain a gaming interest in Traveller, RuneQuest, and the Warhammer titles also. And now Basic Roleplay, of course! ;)

My TV influences over the years would include anarchic comedies like Tiswas (Saturday morning kids TV show), Blackadder, Brasseye and Spaced, that Aussie show, in the lighthouse - Round the Twist, along with dramas like I, Claudius and The Singing Detective. Recently, I thought Firefly/Serenity was pretty good, although I don't really watch much TV these days.

Likewise, I tend to like black comedies and surreal stuff in my movie tastes too - Lynch, Cronenburg, Kubrick, The Coen Brothers, Tarantino's 90s stuff, etc. I thought the Lords of the Rings movies were great, and the Bourne trilogy was pretty good too. I do like horror movies of all types (but not really the dumb, modern 'remake' slasher stuff), and a lot of sci-fi, particularly stuff like Bladerunner, Donnie Darko etc. I also quite like some 'classics' like Citizen Kane, Casablanca and The Third Man, and happen to think that Once Upon a Time in West is the greatest western ever.

My favourite books would include: Dune, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Trainspotting, Fight Club, Hitch-hiker's Guide to the Galaxy, The Illuminatus Trilogy, Le Mort D'Arthur and Plato's The Republic, as well as stuff by Terry Pratchett, Lovecraft and Phillip K. Dick.

I also like science and philosophy generally, follow politics and some sports. And sex. Huzzah! :thumb:

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...and happen to think that Once Upon a Time in America is the greatest western ever.

Do you mean Once Upon a Time in the West is the greatest western ever, or that Once Upon a Time in America is the greatest gangster movie ever? ;)

Really, a case can be made for both.

Help kill a Trollkin here.

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Actually, yes....that should be Once Upon a Time in the West. I shall now edit my post, and no, I don't agree that Once Upon a Time in America is anything like as good. It has a good soundtrack, but the story is way too long, with a confused narrative, and I have an problem with the rape scene in it.

Once Upon a Time in the West, on the other hand is visual (and sonic) poetry.

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