The internet is a wonderful resource for our hobby. It seems the whole of human knowledge is online, where any piece of information is only a search term away.
Yet, the sheer volume of data is overwhelming. When a search lists over a million results, it is challenging to find exactly what we need.
To help you with your searches, I list here 30 useful websites for storytelling GMs. For simplicity, I have split the list into five categories, then organised the websites alphabetically within each category:
- Story & Myth
- Gamer Networks & Advice
- Campaign Resources
Whether they are digital or physical, our hobby relies heavily upon books. We take inspiration from fiction and history, while the games themselves come in book form. The internet is both a great storehouse of old texts and a marketplace for new ones.
- Bundle of Holding
- BoH sell themed bundles of digital RPGs at a huge discount. Choice is limited, but value is high. Check back regularly for their latest offers.
- Review of the Hillfolk bundle.
- DriveThruRPG [affiliate link]
- A huge marketplace for digital titles, with sister sites for comics and wargames. Titles include a wide range of RPGs, both indie and mainstream.
- Humble Books
- The second bundle website sells e-book collections, usually SF or Fantasy. Once again, check back regularly for the latest offer.
- Neil Gaiman e-bundle reviewed
- Internet History Sourcebooks Project
- This collection of public domain and copy-permitted historical texts are presented for educational use. IHSP covers a broad range of ancient and medieval texts.
- Project Gutenberg
- Another massive source of free, copyright expired e-books. A superb source of cultural reference books.
Story & Myth
Humans have told stories for thousands of years. We draw upon these motifs and myths in our own games for even more story. Whether this is for building our setting, or preparing a scenario, storytelling GMs will find inspiration in these tales of the past.
- Encyclopaedia Mythica
- An encyclopaedia of mythology, folklore, and religion, covering a range of cultures.
- Glorantha Wikia
- No discussion of RPG mythology is complete without reference to Glorantha, the seminal example of the close link between mythology and culture.
- Norse Mythology
- Articles and interviews on myth and religion, by Dr Karl E H Seigfried. A broad-ranging blog, featuring north European culture and myth, with some superb resources.
- Theoi Project
- A detailed examination of Greek mythology in classic literature and art. If your setting features bickering gods and doomed heroes, then you need to reference Greek mythology.
- Reviewed in a Reading Around post
- TV Tropes
- A fascinating treasure-trove of tropes, from all types of modern media. If you are running a genre game, then this site is packed with details for you to weave into your game. The extensive references make this site an enthralling read.
- Reviewed in a Reading Around post
- Vast crowd-edited online encyclopaedia. A superb reference for a basic understanding of almost any topic.
Gamer Networks & Advice
Gaming is a social activity, and it is only natural for gamers to gather together online. Here are some great sites for connecting with other players, researching a game or finding advice.
- EN World
- RPG news and reviews, along with an extensive forum.
- G+ GM
- All manner of Google groups have sprung up around our hobby. This one is hosted by Johnn Four, of Roleplaying Tips. This is a great community for GMs, but you should also look for a group dedicated to your favourite game.
- Gnome Stew
- A rotating cast of GMs post essays almost daily. Excellent source for GM advice.
- RPG Geek
- A huge database of games, with a sister site focused on boardgames. This is another site with very active forums, and a healthy Play-by-Forum community.
- Play-by-Forum review
- Roleplaying Tips
- Home to Johnn Four’s Roleplaying tips newsletter, a weekly email combining advice and reader’s tips.
Whatever your style of gaming, from the dedicated homebrewer to a devoted fan of a published campaign, you still need outside sources for ideas and material. Achieve faster prep by using online generators or maps. When ideas run dry, search for inspiration online. This collection of campaign resources can help you.
- Chaotic Shiny
- An amazing list of online generators, suitable for gaming or fiction writing.
- Dyson’s Dodecahedron
- Dyson creates the most visually appealing dungeon maps. Usually single-page, these maps are both beautiful and functional.
- Endless Blue
- If your setting has an ocean, then you should visit this blog focused on what happens beneath the waves of a fantasy world.
- Low-tech Magazine
- Lengthy articles about forgotten technology, especially suitable for steampunk style games. Or add magic for a fantasy twist.
- Reviewed in a Reading Around post.
- My Players love riddles, either as part of a trap, or an encounter. This site is full of riddles, although you may need to hunt a little to find one suitable for a fantasy setting.
- RPG Mapshare
- Another site devoted to sharing gaming maps, this time with an emphasis on coloured maps and floor plans.
- Seventh Sanctum Generators
- Here is another site with a wide range of online generators, for when inspiration refuses to strike.
- Wonders & Marvels
- This magazine site is devoted to historical oddities, a great source of quirky additions to your setting.
- Reviewed in a Reading Around post.
I love the utility of a podcast. It is like listening to a friend chat, whenever you want. There is a vast range of podcasts to choose from, but here are some of my favourites.
- A recent development in gaming is the addition of audio tracks to enhance story. An appropriate piece of music captures the mood of an encounter, and brings the game closer to the style of a film. Battle Bards have over 600 tracks for you to choose from.
- Ken and Robin
- This multi-award winning podcast sets the benchmark for gaming discussion. Leading designers and writers Kenneth Hite and Robin D Laws discuss gaming, story, occult, history and so much more. If you only listen to one gaming podcast, then make it this one.
- Reviewed in a Listening Around post.
- KM Weiland
- KM Weiland is dedicated to helping writers become authors. However, her short, chatty podcasts offer bite size snippets of advice to all storytellers.
- Plot Points
- Another group-discussion RPG podcast. Led by Ben Riggs, the Plot Points podcasts provide detailed analysis of games and occasional interviews with designers. Their breakdown of scenarios should help you write better ones.
- Saga Thing
- Two academics put the Icelandic Sagas on trial, providing a lengthy summary and analysis. This accessible podcast brims full of plot hooks and fascinating characters.
- Writing Excuses
- Another writers podcast, usually around 15 minutes long. The team of authors take you through the writing process step-by-step, providing insights into how to build great stories.
This is my first pass at a collection of links for storytelling GMs, and I hope it is useful for you. I have my favourites, but I am sure you have some different sites you would recommend. If I were to publish an updated list next year, then what should I change?
What important sites have I missed? Is there anything here which does not deserve a place on the list? What are your favourite websites for adding story to your game? Share your thoughts with your fellow GMs in the comments below.
- Do you need more Tales?
If you enjoyed this article, then please share it, or the associated quotations. You may also be interested in the following links:
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