As a Game Master, it is hard to keep coming up with good ideas on a regular basis. Here, however, are the best places I can suggest going for content to use in your own game. These could be helpful as a GM, or even as a player, if the GM of your game allows. Before I go any further: if you don’t own copies of the Player’s Manual, Dungeon Master’s Guide, and Monster Manual, go and get them. They are your best tool for inspiration.
- Dungeons and Dragons Official (Unearthed Arcana): Chances are you’ve gone to the main Wizards of the Coast website if you’re here and play Dungeons and Dragons. You might have missed, however, the Unearthed Arcana articles. These articles have everything from new ideas for subclasses to new rules for downtime. While they say this is all playtest material, they are written by the experts of DnD and I have not ever had to tweak them for my games.
- DonJon (a random generator): This is the best generator I have found. It can generate just about anything for your game (even if you’re playing a different RPG). Need a map for your world? Heck, need entire planets for your sci-if game? You can generate them here. Need NPCs? Generate them here. Need random encounters? Need treasure drops? All the possible spells for a class at a specific level? All are here!
- DnD-Spells (a spell book): an easy and free way to keep all your character spell books! (This is especially important when a player is trying to fudge the rules on you…) Highly recommend “buying him a drink” (making a small donation) so he can keep up the work.
- Tumbler’s DnD Homebrew page: This is a page filled with homebrew content. I almost always have to alter things here a little for my purposes, but there are some really great works to use as a basis for your own.
- Pinterest: In the same vain as DnD Homebrew, Pinterest in general has a TON of ideas for rules, characters (particularly appearances), and other ideas– including from DnD Homebrew. If you’re interested in seeing some of what is offered, check out my board.
- Dungeon Master Guild: Digital content from across the world, created by dungeon masters for a price. Always look at the preview before you buy, but there is a lot of content here worth buying.
- Drive Thru RPG: Same idea as from the Guild, but with a lot of content from outside DnD. It’s a great place to go and find content you can repurpose for DnD (as well as content for DnD).
- Dungeons and Dragons Beyond: The latest tool from Dungeons and Dragons and Wizards of the Coast directly. Right now, it is only a compendium of rules and spells, but they are working on character creation kits for players and DMs and homebrew content and even possibly being to play online? It’s going to be exciting and is in beta right now.
- Geek and Sundry: While there is a lot to like here for a lot of reasons, I recommend checking out Geek and Sundry specifically for Game Master Tips (for, well, tips) and Critical Role (for ideas for narrative and character)
- Video Games: Video games make great inspiration, especially ones with deep lore. The first time I DMed, I based my story on the First Blight from Dragon Age. Other recommendations? Witcher, Fallout, and Borderlands.
- Books: Books also are, obviously, great for story elements. While not exactly built for a gaming story like video games, there is a lot of content out there to pick from. This doesn’t work out for every story, as not all stories are equal for RPGs, you can generally do well with sci-fi and fantasy (though I would love to see a great adaptation of The Big Short). Recommendations? Lord of the Rings, Wicked, and Mistborn.
- Movies: Usually my least inspirational source, movies give stories, but little lore to create your own story from. Best case scenario, most movies make highly temporary stories (one-shots and the like– or short quests in overall quests). Think Oceans Eleven level heists, Mission Impossible spy missions, or Mad Max post-apocalyptic survival.
A running list of all of these sorts of tools and inspiration sources can always be found on the More Content You Should Use page.
Thank you for reading! I really hope this helps you have more fun next time you sit down to play. If anything does, consider supporting me on Patreon. Even a one-time donation of $1 can really help me toward my goals of making this website better– including having a podcast of my games.