4/29/2013

Free GM Resource: (Old) Local History Books

Free GM Resource: (Old) Local History Books
Open Old Book by George Hodan
This week's Free GM Resource might be a bit of a no-brainer for some, but I'm sure that very few GMs have specifically done this intentionally: scour old history books for ideas.

I'm in the middle of some ancestry research and I'm finding some of the various trials and tribulations of the old settlers simply fascinating and ripe for inclusion in my low-magic fantasy RPG campaign.

Want to kick this idea up a notch?  Grab your ideas from the history books (the first-person accounts in older books are the best) and then head on over to the USGS National Map Viewer to grab the topographicals for the area the event occurred.

I was visiting the family farm last month, after GaryCon, and we had the opportunity to check out
A spooky cave lies beyond this entrance
some of the local "historical" sites after I stumbled upon an old settler's history book.  This book was nearly a century old and it detailed the settlers coming into the area.  Some awesome stuff.  There were reports of children going missing in the area.  A surviving child reported that they had found a cold-air cave and ventured in.  Only two entrances are known.  One appears as a deep well out in the woods and the other was in someone's dug-out basement.

The basement has been cemented in and I was told the owners poured several trucks of concrete into the hole to try and seal it up, but they never managed to do so.

In your RPG maybe the kids just went missing or maybe they went missing a long time ago.  Did they simply get lost or did something "down there" get them?  Perhaps the child's spirit is restless and causing problems for the new home owner.  Maybe the PCs are in trouble and seek out this passage as a way to escape town unnoticed.  It doesn't have to be a fantasy RPG setting either.  This cave has been known for over 150 years....it could be another 150 years before it comes up again.....

Lots of possibilities....that's all I'm saying.