10 TV shows to inspire your next TTRPG campaign
Gamemasters for tabletop role-playing games, or TTRPGs, are at the heart of most gaming groups. It is their creativity and planning that fuels the world players explore and the adventures they embark on. However, just because the game master can develop the campaign independently doesn’t mean they have to.
Writers and other content creators have always drawn inspiration from the stories they love, even in the story. Gamemasters can adapt media elements that they and their players enjoy as inspiration for their campaigns. Some of the most popular media for tabletop games are TV shows.
ten Squid Game: Squeeze Into A Death Challenge
While adventurers and other TTRPG characters are often much better off than competitors in squid game, they can still be pressured by external forces. For example, a campaign inspired by the series might see player characters forced into a series of death games in order to gain something they need.
This prize can be a specific item, the approval of a powerful NPC, or another rare resource. If the challenge allowed only one winner, players would have to attempt a coup or sacrifice their compatriots to achieve their goals.
9 The Good Place: Set A Game In The Afterlife
Death is often the most serious consequence for player characters in a TTRPG campaign. In a game inspired by The right place, death would indeed be behind them. Instead, the question that hangs in the balance is the fate of their eternal and immortal souls.
The gamemaster could develop their concept for the afterlife and its idiosyncrasies, and then determine what problems players have to deal with within that framework. They could have been sent into the evil afterlife entirely, intercepted by a usurping death deity, or found themselves at the end of undeserved wrath and judgment.
8 Midnight Mass: Confronting Horror and Tragedy Head-On
Netflix’s 2021 Miniseries Midnight Mass tackles the concepts of mistaken belief, horror and inevitable tragedy through the view of a small town overrun by vampires. This series would provide fascinating inspiration for horror-specific TTRPGs like Fear Where ten candlesemphasizing the fatality of the characters’ defeat.
Instead of being an epic tale of how heroes succeeded and survived through thick and thin, this campaign would center on the question of what ordinary people can achieve in the face of effectively unavoidable defeat.
seven Bee and puppy: a few steps from normality
One of the most emblematic elements of bee and puppy, both the original YouTube series and the current Netflix reboot, is the setting. Bee’s world is very similar to that of real-world viewers, but it’s only a few steps away. As a result, everything is a little more fantastical, a little less realistic, and a little adorable.
An inspired campaign bee and puppy could implement this idea with a similar setting, mirroring reality but making everything slightly more wonderful and weird.
6 Our flag means death: irreverence on the high seas
Fans loved the recent HBO Max series Our flag means death for his irreverent and whimsical take on historical histories of piracy. TTRPGs have often ventured into the realm of the high seas, but could do so with a new perspective inspired by Our flag means death.
Each player could take on the role of a famous pirate from history or the history of the game world, depending on the setting. They could then come together in an eccentric and anachronistic adventure through the historical stories of these characters.
In Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood and its adjacent adaptations of the same source material, the powerful magic of alchemy has been completely normalized. It is considered a skill like any other, integrated into government and military positions.
A campaign inspired by the show could take the same attitude, where the sense of wonder surrounding magic has completely diminished in favor of a specialized skill, like quantum physics or neurosurgery. Players can be members of the military institution, government, or even a rebellion fighting to expose corruption in the system.
4 Over the garden wall: the party is lost
While many fantasy TTRPG campaigns view the party as members of that society who understand its ins and outs, there is another way to go. In Over the garden wall, the two main protagonists are lost in a world beyond their comprehension. It certainly bears some similarities to the world they left behind, but not enough to make them feel comfortable or knowledgeable.
A campaign inspired by this series would see the player characters on a journey through a world they know nothing about but don’t question too much.
3 Helpless: Life Outside the Main Story
Although several factors have led to its limited circulation, Powerless started with a great premise: a glimpse into the lives of ordinary people in an extraordinary world. Powerless focused on the lives of a group of civilians in the DC Comics Universe as they attempt to navigate life surrounded by super-powered heroes and villains.
This concept could lend itself well to a TTRPG campaign, where players assume the role of ordinary citizens who are swept away by the peripheral events of the powerful characters whose stories unfold around them.
2 Adventure Time: Classic fantasy with chaotic humor
adventure time surprisingly resembles a classic high-fantasy TTRPG campaign in terms of basic building blocks. However, it takes all the details and twists them through a humorous lens of the cartoon world, making the end result beautifully chaotic and whimsical.
For gaming tables that love high fantasy games but are tired of typical tropes, a Adventure time-an inspired campaign could bring a weird and refreshing tone to their adventures and make the old favorite feel new again. Additionally, chaos suits the aggressively unbalanced attitude adopted by many TTRPG groups.
1 She-Ra and the Princesses of Power: High Fantasy Meets Space and Playful Aesthetics
She-Ra and the Princesses of Power Already looks like a TTRPG campaign in a number of ways, so it would work well as an inspiration for one. While the colorful and vibrant visuals are maintained throughout the series, the stakes steadily rise, just as they do with long-running campaigns, as characters level up.
The show also seamlessly integrates high-fantasy concepts with cutting-edge technology and space travel, steadily introducing detail over time. The world of Etheria could inspire beautiful narrative campaigns.
NEXT: Top 10 TTRPGs That Require No Prep