Lunch break! Time to work on tonight’s game drop some entirely random footnotes. Probably of little interest or use to anybody, but for any players curious about where some of this stuff is coming from (and anybody asking “Where do DMs get their inspiration?” in these forums), this thread’s for you.
At one point last Tuesday evening, conversation turned to Bob Asprin, courtesy of cwebb’s excellent Unread Book Stack of Doom. Asprin’s mainly known for the Myth series (and way too many “You’ll feel better after an Asprin” book reviews), published a full five years before Discworld and well worth reading, at least until personal problems, co-authors and the IRS hit.
But aside from establishing humorous fantasy as a genre that could move some serious books (Anybody who feels the urge to say, “But what about Piers Anthony?”: take 8d6 damage), Asprin, with help from a couple pals (Abbey & Dickson), also created the first shared world: Thieves World.
Thieves World is, structurally at least, one of the main inspirations for our game. Ours isn’t a shared world as far as the DMing goes (yet?), but like Thieves World, it’s an anthology of stories with multiple equally important main characters, set on the edge of a murkily defined empire.
The anthology format of our game is lifted straight from Thieves World. Not only does it take care of scheduling problems (the hardest part of any campaign), but I genuinely like the idea that not every character will be present for - or even aware of - every single event, and that each character would tell the story differently, from their own subjective perspective. As in TW, there are overarching events in our game world, but the focus is on shorter, more intimate stories.
So yeah. Thieves World. Good stuff. There was even a Thieves World role-playing game at one point; we really ought to try that sometime.