Exploring RPG Uses of Pinterest

Pinterest is a social bookmarking site for images: you find photographs, illustrations, or posters or other images that you like an “pin” them to a collection of boards. It’s like dumping a stack of art catalogs onto your desk, cutting out the illustrations you like best, and then thumbtacking them to your bulletin board.

The site’s popular with crafters, and when I was casting about for ideas for a recent “Summon WebScryer” column for Knights of the Dinner Table I decided to see if it could be used for gaming.

The short answer is … maybe. There are a number of RPG geeks using Pinterest (see my column in KODT #191 for the big list) but I don’t have a good sense for how wide or deep that interest is … nor whether it’s really a good fit. Short answer? It could be, but we’re a long way from critical mass.

My initial thought was to use it to catalog campaign images: illustrations I might want to use in my campaign, inspirational shots, etc. I did this for my Second Darkness campaign, pulling together Paizo’s various desktop images and adventure path illustrations and throwing in the occasional drow-related artwork. It’s has potential, but would have been more useful at the start of the campaign.

Then I started working on my next Day After Ragnarok one-shot and things started clicking. I’ve been running a series of Ragnarok games that take place in the flooded remains of New York City. There’s not a lot of source material for the game, so I spend a lot of time digging through archive sites looking for inspiration.

It could be that I’m still in the research phase, but this feels like a better fit. On my Day After Ragnarok page I’ve been pulling together photographs of zeppelins flying over 1930s-era New York City, flooding projections should global warming swamp Gotham, and Soviet-era military vehicles. Looking through the images collected so far, I think you really start to get a feel for the little corner of Ken Hite’s world that I’m trying to build out.

My other thought on how to use Pinterest with RPGs is for miniatures, particularly with regard to collecting and painting minis. My first go at this was my Call to Arms: Noble Armada board, where I’m slowly collecting photos related to the starship combat game. I’m looking for variant starship paint jobs, completed space hazards (asteroids, planets, etc.) and fleet action slots. So far it’s slow going; Noble Armada isn’t a hugely popular game (as compared to say, Warhammer 40k) and there’s not a lot to find. That said, I’ve expanded my search beyond Mongoose’s line in a quest for science fiction inspiration, so we’ll see what that turns up.

With Noble Armada I’m looking for finished inspiration; with Ragnarok, I’m looking for the minis themselves. I’ve long wanted to assemble a dream list of Ragnarok minis that pull from the ranks of WW2, weird and pulp genres, but the challenge is I come across the minis piecemeal. That fits Pinterest perfectly, since it’s made for bookmarking. I’ve put together a board for Ragnarok Minis; we’ll see how it comes together.

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