My favourite inspiration for gaming largely depends on what game I’m running. In general, books and shows/movies inspire campaign ideas across the genres. I also get a lot of inspiration from non-fiction sources; for years I used National Geographic Magazine as a source for adding cultural flavour to my games and characters, for instance.
As a GM who sometimes run modern or Cthulhu-based games, one of my favourite inspirations is The Weekly World News, a tabloid of the “Wolf Boys Live Among Us!” variety. I’ve lost count of the number of story ideas I’ve pulled from that paper. I’ve even used it as an in-game prop, using it as adventure inspiration, as well as the source of potential clues for that adventure. If you can’t find a copy anywhere (it is online but I prefer the hard copy), Reddit is a great way to get some of the same crazy ideas and stories. Just type in your subject and go down the rabbit hole.
But my favourite inspiration for my games, hands-down, are my players. Directly or indirectly, my players are responsible for more campaign ideas than any other source. It’s not really hard; listen to your players while you game, and take note of key phrase like, “Wouldn’t it be cool if…” or “I hope that…”. Those are obviously things which excite my players, so I try to fit them in whenever I can. I don’t always give them exactly what they want, but I try to make the thing they’re excited about a key component of the campaign at some point.
What’s your favourite inspiration? Comment below.