Inspiration Point is a series where I talk about various places that I am seeing great potential for ideas, and other things that you can steal for your games. In today's installment, I want to talk about how ABC's show Castle can really help with getting inspiration for a modern game.
First off, for those that don't know, Castle is something like a modern more comedic take on the old show "Murder She Wrote." In it, Richard Castle - a famous crime writer - helps New York homicide detective Kate Beckett solve various strange murders. The crimes have a few quirks and twists with the bizarre, but in general it is a solid show with good acting and interesting stories. However, there is a lot more than can be taken from these shows than just the crimes.
Lots Of Characters
The big thing I like about Castle for when I'm planning my games is the large number of characters in the show. Yeah, the main characters are well developed and there for the long haul, but it is everyone else that I am talking about. Each episode is a different murder, dealing with a different group and type of people with different situations. In short, you get a LOT of glimpses at characters that are perfect for NPCs with every episode, as well as some interesting - and usually respectful - takes on alternative styles of life that you can find in the big city.
Origin Stories and Motivations
Along with those characters you get glimpses into what makes these people who they are, and who they truly are inside. Nothing seems to bring out the truth of a person better than trying to dodge (or help) the police in a murder investigation, but it is all in the show. Some people respond calm and cool to an almost creepy level, others break down and are next to useless. The show shows you all types.
The last thing I love about the show is quirky twists. Castle is a classic "who done it?" show which means that it needs to keep the audience guessing. In doing so, it comes up with all manner of clever, quirky, and bizarre twists to throw in the way. Twists that with a little bit of work you can modify to fit almost any situation in your game. Especially when the PCs are sure that person B is the "real villain" and you then stump them with person B showing up dead.
So, if you haven't already, give the show a chance. You may find some useful stuff for your game there.