Burst of Insight—Using Your Experiences as Inspiration

You might not know what it would be like to live in Absalom, Cheliax, or Tian Xia but you can imagine it. Most of what you can imagine is colored by your experiences both good and bad. You can also use your experiences to imagine and create new material.

Crowds at Gen Con 2016

This weekend was GenCon the fastest four days in gaming. Like several other members of the Know Direction Network, I was wandering the halls of the Indianapolis Convention Center basking in the sheer excitement of the 50th. Thousands of gamers roamed the dealer hall looking for the latest and greatest new releases and other cool swag. Thousands more bustled the convention center corridors on their way to play games, get food, or listen to seminars.

Of course, GenCon wasn’t the only big thing happening this weekend so as the convention closed up on Sunday, Monica and I took the family down to Nashville to watch the solar eclipse. What an awe-inspiring way to end our vacation but it all got jumbled together as I began thinking about how I might implement some of the experiences of the past weekend into a game.

NASA, Eclipse 2017

The Twilight Market

The Twilight Market is a misnomer but no one cares. Nearly seventy-thousand people crowd the stall-lined streets of this magical marketplace. The market exists as a demiplane near both the plane of shadow and the prime material. It can only be accessed by means of a magical black key turned in a lock during a full solar eclipse and stepping through the door. Returning is often harder as the door must still be in the moon’s shadow for the portal to work. As eclipses are brief only a couple of minutes, it is fortunate that time passes much more quickly in the market an hour spent in the market is only a second or two on the prime material.

Only the corona of the permanently eclipsed sun is visible on the demiplane leaving the market in the perpetual dim light of twilight or early dawn. Candles, lanterns, and the occasional torch offer supplemental light particularly near the taverns and inns of the market.

Rumor is anything can be found for sale in the Twilight Market, even weird things that can be found nowhere else: The distilled dreams of a long dead saint, books not yet written, incense that when burned evokes long forgotten memories and wine vintages made from grape species that died out before the first humans walked the material world.



Andrew Marlowe

placed in the Top 16 of RPG Superstar in 2012 and 2014, one of the few contestants to get that far in the competition twice. Since then, he has contributed to many Paizo and third party Pathfinder products, including one of the network’s favourite releases in the Pathfinder Player Companion line, the Dirty Tactics Toolbox. Every other Tuesday, he will be sharing his Burst of Insight, with design tips for would-be game designers from a decorated freelancer.