Issue #17: The Inspiration Strikes Back!
Pretty amazing right? The above is a composite image technically, but its still a composite of actual photographs. Six exposures of an Aurora Borealis over Iceland and its reflection in the lake below. It's really quite something.
Aurora are pretty well understood by us in the here and now, so if I were to use this for a game I'd look to something fantastic, either a magic/fantasy based game, or possibly a superhero type game (where magic often exists anyway). This could still work in a science fiction game, by way of misdirection (i.e. its not actually what it looks like), or possibly by way of setting for an alien world; it certainly has an otherworldly feel to it.
Still, I think most can agree that mystery is what makes RPGs fun. What's at the bottom of this dungeon, what's terrorizing the local villagers, what new plan does villain X have, or what was that green aura in the night sky last evening?
In a fantasy game this could be the result of any number of magical workings, divine warnings, or cosmic events. Perhaps the center of the circle inscribed by the aurora was the locale of a great magical summoning; if so what was brought to the realm? Why? And by whom? It could be a sign from the gods to their pilgrims that this land will be theirs. Imagine a Holy Crusade waged by greenskin races to claim their divinely bestowed homelands. Some fantasy games use the concept of ley lines, geomancy, and the like. The aurora could be a special effect, a coincidental light-show associated with a celestial conjunction.
What about you all, how would you use that image in a game? What ideas spring to mind when looking at it?