Webcomics as RPG inspiration

I’m a dork. I love comics. My collecting days faded long ago but the resurgence of trades has allowed me to rediscover my love of comics. Fortunately the medium has spread out to some wonderful online comics too.

I’m knee deep in a weird west Savage Worlds campaign now but I’m always on the prowl for ideas. A big plus of Savage Worlds is it’s a fairly generic rule system. If my players want to take a break and do a one shot in a different setting, we can make the jump and not get too bogged down with learning another system.

Given just about anything is on the table if I get a fancy for running something different, I tend to find inspiration in a lot of comics. Lately I’ve been enjoying a slew of online stuff that has gotten my adventure-generating juices going. With the combination of images and text, I just seem to get a lot of inspiration from them. Here’s a list of a few I’ve been enjoying as of late…

Broodhollow – First up is a wonderful supernatural comic from the same fellow that does Chainsawsuit and the concluded Starslip. Set in the 30s it tells of Wadsworth Zane, a phobia-riddled salesman, that decides to heed the call of managing the affairs of a long lost relative which left him an antique store in their will. The town itself is steeped in odd traditions, unexplained events, and townsfolk seeming oblivious to the strange goings on.

It has a humorous charm and certainly strives for tickling the reader’s funny bone. However, like the town of Broodhollow itself, under the surface are moments of stark, skin-crawling horror. A nice source of inspiration for any Call of Cthulhu game.

Outrunners – I wish I knew more about the artist for this gritty futuristic webcomic. All I know is it oozes cool as street gangs of the future fight over what turf they can and against oppressive law enforcers. The story revolves mainly around the reckless and headstrong, Reck, and the gang she runs with. It’s a world of haves and have-nots with the Outrunners trying to scrape out a piece for themselves.

There is wonderful stuff here. The action is enjoyable and if anything, the dialog really seems to capture that Akira bike gang feel. While not quite cyberpunk, it has a great tough street theme and face it, running a game or two where PCs are part of a futuristic street bike gang would make for an amazing time.

Kill 6 Billion Demons – This is just trippy stuff. Not sure if this is a solo story effort, or done through collaborative storytelling. Nonetheless K6BD seems to capture that wild fantasy setting of Planetscape and the planar city of Sigil quite well. I’m still trying to wrap my head around the story some. All I can say is that much of it is just otherworldly.

The visuals of the comic express a teeming city of bizarre beings and creatures, with strange merchants that deal in the property of spiritual essences. It really is a great source of inspiration for a wild urban fantasy game and worth checking out.

The Fox Sister – Set in the late 60s in Korea, this tells a more modern version of a classic Korean folk tale. Yun Hee is a shaman and slayer of demonic creatures. As a child she lost her entire family to a kumiho, or 9 tailed fox demon. She still pursues the creature that possesses the body of her sister. It’s an enjoyable comic with a more action oriented take on horror.

It’s a modern supernatural story with an Asian touch. It manages to merge different cultural views in the story as one of the main characters is an American missionary. When I’ve run past supernatural RPG sessions, it’s always been seated firmly in a western setting. The Fox Sister has sparked my interest in exploring other horror mythos and has made the idea of running a game in an Asian setting more approachable.

That’s pretty much some of the webcomics I’ve been farming for ideas as of late. I hope folks take a bit of time to give them a look and find some enjoyment with reading them. And if you also manage to get inspiration for your own RPG adventures, well that’s even better.

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