11/03/2014

Free GM Resource: State Tourism Office(s)

Free GM Resource: State Tourism Office(s)
This morning when I woke up I spent some time before getting up thinking of what I wanted to highlight as a Free GM Resource this week. I wanted to do something "different" and a great previously untapped resource sprang to mind: local state tourism offices.

I have traveled a LOT in my life, as a child of a Navy Brat with wanderlust and then in the Air Force. I was lucky to spend all of high school in one place, which was a record for me until I got out of the Air Force and settled down in Boise. I still travel a fair amount, but more as a tourist than an incoming resident.

You know when you drive from state to state there is often a state tourism center somewhere close to the border. My idea is specifically for these centers, but extend to the online state tourist websites as well. These places are great free resources for your games. You can usually get free maps, great location photos, and awesome adventure seeds (with props). If you are running a fantasy game you might want to stick with the more natural tourist spots, but even a good highway map can be great.

Ignoring the interstate highways, many of the state highways were built on top of existing roads. Take a couple counties' worth of state roads, copy them over to another sheet, add the city locations and instant map of villages.

You don't even have to travel to get some great ideas as a lot of folks don't know what they might have locally. Within a 2 hour drive of my home (give or take) are some great foothills, mountains, rivers, lakes, a spectacular waterfall, and even some "ice caves". I could go nuts with the ice caves. Great place to put in some monsters I probably wouldn't be able to use otherwise. I can also grab a map of the caves and even some great photos to show as props.

Next time you are travelling, stop by one of these tourist centers. You might find some great stuff to do on your trip and some great ideas and resources for your game when you get back.