Twitter's Adventure Seeds: Abandoned Places

I freely admit that I follow certain Twitter accounts just because the pics they post inspire some cool adventure ideas for my favorite role-playing games. A picture can indeed be worth a 1000 words, and can certainly be used in lieu of a description, instantly giving the players the sense of a place and atmosphere, perhaps even visual clues to a mystery, or cues to inspire strategy. One such account? Abandoned Places (and its little cousin Abandoned Pictures), which routinely tweets real pics from around the globe of places deserted, abandoned, and going back to nature. Perfect for postapocalyptic settings, zombie apocalypse games, and visits to a future or alien planet where something went very wrong. As a Doctor Who RPG GameMaster, it's easy for me to introduce such settings and let the players TARDIS away from them, but I'd love to do a survival-type campaign where characters keep stumbling on ominous deserted spaces using a series of these. Let's look at a few to see what they inspire.
One constant is that they beg the question: What happened? And that's your PCs' hook every time. Like in this case, why is there an abandoned grand piano under the Brooklyn Bridge? Part of a convoluted murder mystery? Just one piece of refuse spewed out of space-time vortices that need closing before reality implodes? Or is there a perfectly reasonable answer, like a mad pianist who's found the perfect acoustics for his music, only it's having a strange effect on drivers up ahead?
These overgrown houses are really on the Shengsi Islands, China, but imagine them on an alien world where the inhabitants have learned to control plant life to this degree. And oops! Did your TARDISeer/Away Team member just bring a moldy peach that threatens the entire ecosystem with rot?
The Maunsell sea forts, built in the Thames estuary to protect London from German air raids in WWII might as well be retro-mecha in a future perpetually at war. Their crews live and fight from these mechanized platforms, with nary a break. The Player Characters better watch out; these guys shoot first and ask questions later!
More abandoned technology: We're so unfamiliar with Soviet spacecraft, this shuttle left at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan is just unusual enough to be... what? An advanced design your superspies must steal? A ship from the future that pulled a reverse-Buck Rogers? Or is the actual story more interesting than any fiction? The characters find themselves in an abandoned Soviet space center, either trying to stop terrorists who want to go to space, or else find their only means of escape is this "space plane". My games don't have a Boffin Trait for nothing!
And lastly, this creepy pumpkin patch has Halloween Triffids written all over it. They're about to stand up and walk, I'm sure of it!

Do YOU have favorite Twitter accounts that could inspire adventure ideas like this? Let me know, and I might feature them in the future! I've got a couple more in mind already!


Brendoon said...

I follow a Dutch urban adventurer/photographer who gets into a lot of abandoned buildings, some of which are still fully furnished. It seems there are a LOT of elegant palaces, cathedrals and arty office blocks which are now too expensive to upkeep, in spoite of their heritage. It's also eye opening that in places like Italy there's no vandalism, not even graffitti on many of these places. He posts on flickr.

Brendoon said...

Dang, Urban Explorer is the term, a momentary rapse of leason.

Brian Artillery said...

I used to go 'Urbexing', until my knees gave out on me, and it was a great fun hobby. The credo of the true Urbexer is a simple one: 'Take only photographs - Leave only footprints'.


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