Inspiration for RPGs

If you’re looking for ideas for your next RPG, board game, or video game, check out these titles!


Compiled by:
Sam Ott and Laura Wise


Black God's Kiss

C.L. Moore
(Science Fiction & Fantasy - SF Moore)

Meet “the first lady of sword-and-sorcery, Jirel of Joiry . . . in all her ferocious mailed glory and defiance” in these classic tales from a sci-fi pioneer.

Coda. Volume 1

Simon Spurrier
(Graphic Novels - GN Coda v. 1)

In the aftermath of an apocalypse which wiped out nearly all magic from a once-wondrous fantasy world, an antisocial former bard named Hum seeks a way to save the soul of his wife with nothing but a foul-tempered mutant unicorn and his wits to protect him.

Descender. Book One, Tin Stars

Jeff Lemire
(Graphic Novels - GN Descender V. 1)

One young robot's struggle to stay alive in a universe where all androids have been outlawed and bounty hunters lurk on every planet.

Die. Volume 1, Fantasy Heartbreaker

Kieron Gillen
(Graphic Novels - GN Die v. 1)

DIE is a pitch-black fantasy where a group of forty-something adults have to deal with the returning, unearthly horror they only just survived as teenage role-players.

The Djinn Falls in Love & Other Stories
(Adult Fiction - Djinn)

Imagine a world filled with fierce, fiery beings, hiding in our shadows, in our dreams, under our skins. Eavesdropping and exploring; savaging our bodies, saving our souls. They are monsters, saviours, victims, childhood friends. Some have called them genies: these are the Djinn. 

Dungeon Critters

Natalie Riess, Sara Goetter
(Juvenile Graphic Novels - J-GN Riess Dungeon Critters)

Join the Dungeon Critters--a tight-knit squad of animal companions--on a wild adventure investigating a sinister botanical conspiracy among the furry nobility. As they risk their lives traveling through haunted dungeons, swamps, and high society balls--they also come closer together as friends.

The Fellowship of The Ring: Being the First part of the Lord of the Rings

J.R.R Tolkien
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Tolkien)

The first volume in the trilogy, tells of the fateful power of the One Ring. It begins a magnificent tale of adventure that will plunge the members of the Fellowship of the Ring into a perilous quest and set the stage for the ultimate clash between the powers of good and evil.

Fighting Fantasy: Deathtrap Dungeon

Ian Livingstone
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Fightin)

Down in the dark, twisting labyrinth of Fang, unknown horrors await you. Devised by the mind of Baron Sukumvit, the labyrinth is riddled with fiendish traps and monsters, which will test your skills almost beyond the limit of endurance.


Robert Jackson Bennett
(Science Fiction & Fantasy - SF Bennett)

Sancia Grado is a thief, and a damn good one. And her latest target, a heavily guarded warehouse on Tevanne's docks, is nothing her unique abilities can't handle. But unbeknownst to her, Sancia's been sent to steal an artifact of unimaginable power, an object that could revolutionize the magical technology known as scriving.

Gideon the Ninth

Tamsyn Muir
(Science Fiction & Fantasy - SF Muir)

The Emperor needs necromancers. The Ninth Necromancer needs a swordswoman. Gideon has a sword, some dirty magazines, and no more time for undead nonsense. Brought up by unfriendly, ossifying nuns, ancient retainers, and countless skeletons, Gideon is ready to abandon a life of servitude and an afterlife as a reanimated corpse.

How Long 'Til Black Future Month?

N.K. Jemisin
(Science Fiction & Fantasy - SF Jemisin)

In the first collection of her evocative short fiction, Jemisin equally challenges and delights readers with thought-provoking narratives of destruction, rebirth, and redemption. Dragons and hateful spirits haunt the flooded streets of New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. In a parallel universe, a utopian society watches our world, trying to learn from our mistakes. A black mother in the Jim Crow South must save her daughter from a fey offering impossible promises.

Invisible Kingdom. Volume 1, Walking the Path

Willow Wilson
(Graphic Novels - GN Invisible Kingdom V.1)

In a small solar system in a far-flung galaxy, two women-one a young religious acolyte and the other, a hard-bitten freighter pilot-uncover a conspiracy between the leaders of the most dominant religion and an all-consuming mega-corporation.

Monstress. Volume 1, Awakening

Marjorie Liu
(Graphic Novels - GN Monstress v. 1)

Set in an alternate world of art deco beauty and steampunk horror, Monstress tells the epic story of Maika Halfwolf, a teenage survivor of a cataclysmic war between humans and their hated enemies, the Arcanics.


Jay Kristoff
(Science Fiction & Fantasy - SF Kristof)

In a world where the suns almost never set, a woman gains entry to a school of infamous assassins, seeking vengeance against the powers that destroyed her family. Daughter of an executed traitor, Mia Corvere is barely able to escape her father's failed rebellion with her life.

Priory of the Orange Tree

Samantha Shannon
(Science Fiction & Fantasy - SF Shannon)

The House of Berethnet has ruled Inys for a thousand years. Still unwed, Queen Sabran the Ninth must conceive a daughter to protect her realm from destruction--but assassins are getting closer to her door.

The Return of the Sorcerer

Clark Ashton Smith
(Science Fiction & Fantasy - SF Smith)

The Return of the Sorcerer: The Best of Clark Ashton Smith offers both readers and scholars a definitive collection of short fiction and short novels, by an overlooked master of fantasy, horror and science-fiction.

The Ruin of Kings

Jenn Lyons
(Science Fiction & Fantasy - SF Lyons)

Kihrin grew up in the slums of Quur, a thief and a minstrel's son raised on tales of long-lost princes and magnificent quests. When he is claimed against his will as the missing son of a treasonous prince, Kihrin finds himself at the mercy of his new family's ruthless power plays and political ambitions.

Rumble. Volume 1, The Color of Darkness

John Arcudi
(Graphic Novels - GN Rumble v. 1)

A Scarecrow Warrior God walks into a bar...and proceeds to drag a modern American city into a ten-thousand-year-old grudge-match! A bizarre new adventure - complete with boozehound shamans, monster queens, and a football-fetching hydra!

A Sparrow's Roar

C. R. Chua
(Graphic Novels - GN Chua Sparrows Roar)

When a seemingly harmless prank goes wrong, knight-in-training Per of Esterpike watches her sister Elena, famed hero and leader of Lions, murdered by a barbarian horde set on wiping Esterpike off the map.


The Art of Ghost of Tsushima
(Adult Nonfiction - 794.8 Art)

Step into the role of Tsushima Island's last samurai through a vivid showcase of historic detail in a vast and exotic locale, featuring elegant illustrations of dynamic characters, spirited landscapes, and diagrams of Samurai sword-fighting techniques.

The Art of Magic the Gathering: Dominaria

James Wyatt
(Adult Nonfiction - 793.93 Wya)

Step aboard the legendary airship Weatherlight and explore Dominaria, an ancient world whose stories are known throughout the Multiverse. Dominaria has weathered one apocalypse after another and emerged into a time of rebirth and renewal.

Book of Beasts: The Bestiary in the Medieval World

Elizabeth Morrison, Larisa Grollemond
- editor
(Adult Nonfiction - 704.9432 Boo)

This catalogue, accompanying an exhibition of the same name at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, examines the type of illuminated manuscript called the bestiary and explores its lasting legacy.

Castles and Fortresses

Robin S. Oggins
(Adult Nonfiction - 728.8 Og)

Take a tour of the most beautiful and historically significant castles ever built through the pages of this stunning book.

The Elder Scrolls V : Skyrim. The Skyrim Library. Volume I, The Histories
(Adult Nonfiction - 793.932 Eld)

Lavishly illustrated and produced, these titles are straight out of the world of Skyrim - and a must for any wandering adventurer.

Enchanted: A History of Fantasy Illustration

Jesse Kowalski
- editor
(Adult Nonfiction - 704.947 Enc)

This highly-illustrated volume reveals how artists have brought to life mythology, fables, and fairy tales, as well as modern epics.

Final Fantasy, Ultimania Archive Volume 1, I, II, III, IV, V, VI.
(Adult Nonfiction - 793.932 Fin)

This holy grail of Final Fantasy fandom is packed full of original concept art, process pieces, and notes from the original artists and designers chronicling the creation of these timeless games.

Flying too Close to the Sun: Myths in Art from Classical to Contemporary

Diane Fortenberry, Rebecca Morrill
- editor
(Adult Nonfiction - 704.947 Fly)

The first major survey to reveal the ways in which Classical mythology has inspired art throughout the last 2,500 years.

Great City Maps: A Historical Journey Through Maps, Plans, and Paintings
(Adult Nonfiction - 912 Gre)

Great City Maps is the companion title to DK’s Great Maps and takes a focused look at over 70 gorgeously illustrated historical maps and plans of cities around the globe.

The Handy Mythology Answer Book

David Adams Leeming
(Adult Nonfiction - 201.3 Lee)

The Handy Mythology Answer Book examines and explains, in plain English, numerous myths and mythology. From the ancient Greek and Roman to Egypt and Babylon, from Native North American Indian to Celtic, Middle Eastern, Indian, Asian, African, and the lesser known myths from around the world,

How to Draw Fantasy Art and RPG Maps: Step-by Step Cartography for Gamers and Fans

Jared Blando
(Adult Nonfiction - 743.87 Bla)

This book will teach you to bring your fictional realm to life with simple step-by-step instructions on how to draw authentic fantasy maps.

The Legend of Zelda, Breath of the Wild: Creating a Champion
(Adult Nonfiction - 793.932 Leg)

Prepare yourself for a thrilling behind-the-scenes exploration into the art and making of one of the most groundbreaking video games of all time -- The Legend of Zelda : Breath of the Wild! 

Life During the Middle Ages

Earle Rice
(Adult Nonfiction - 940.1 Ri)

Describes country and city life during the Middle Ages including such aspects as social order, religion, family life, agriculture, money and trade, war, pestilence, education, and architecture and other arts.