Real Life Places That Inspire You As A DM

I know, for me, there have been quite a few.
In my youth, seeing the Nantahala national forest, Blue Ridge mountains and the woodlands of Florida certainly made me appreciate swamp travel and hiking in dense winding trails.
The Tetons sent imagination flying, and after that so did the Grand Canyon.
Yellowstone (my friend uses the map - it is an incredible D&D map - names and all!) for what it's like to be surrounded by wildlife and odd geographic formations.
There are more, but out of them all, Joshua Tree national park is my favorite. Something about hiking and bouldering through that setting just makes me think of adventurers exploring desert tombs.

As always, curious to hear what events or places spark your RP imagination. Thanks.


You can get a lot of inspiration from many of the ancient places featured on the show Ancient Aliens. There are many pyramid civilizations, temples, etc. Many are in some obscure locations like underground tunnels/caverns, hard to reach mountainous areas, or even water sites. There are even a lot of ideas on treasure and artifacts to go along with these sites. A great resource for ideas in my humble opinion.


Honestly almost any ancient site can do it for me.

I'd like to say that natural ones do as well, but usually they just highlight to me how inadequate D&D is at dealing with natural terrain. (Since you specified as DM).

Perhaps even more importantly than the sites are oddball artifacts like the Dispilio Tablet. They always make me think about how much more went on that we don't know about.


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I love threads like this. MGibster started one a few months ago.
Just about anywhere I go I see places I think I can use (away from modern civilisation at least) - I often take photos so I can remember the feel to inform my players. Plenty of wonderful images out there far better than I can manage as well. Since I do not have my laptop handy I can't share any now.


"The Forsaken Song of the Sea" was written with Irelands coastline fresh in my mind. Slieve league, Cliffs of Moher, and Mizen head were a great inspiration and photos from my journey there were actually used in the module. The British Isles in general are magical and a huge inspiration in my running of games.
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Now, bear with me because I am olde and when I first GMed these mattered - the library. I mean, not only for the vast numbers of stories - real and imaginary- of fantastic places and events across histories... but also helping to get a sense of intertwining narrow spaces and fragile treasures.


Ahh the library, that takes me back. Truly we are living in an age of wonder, with information right at our finger tips.


WOW! That takes me back, 5ekyu! I remember as an early teenager walking the mile or so to the library with my gaming group, researching stuff for our AD&D games, and getting distracted by the eye-catching cover art of fiction novels (not the least of which included John Norman's Gor series) and just spending hours upon hours there in the summers immersed in those wondrous tomes. The experience required a patience and an ability to quiet the mind that I think may be a lost art.


I was amazed the time we went to the pyramids back when I was in the Army. They are basically next to the city, but all the movies shoot it from the side where you think they are in the middle of nowhere. I made a dungeon where the city grew up around the dungeon.


Go to Italy and find a small town that is off the tourist routes - D&D city ambiance. (Presumably works anywhere else in Europe too.) So unlike US "elbow room" square-grid urban design.