For me, character and storyline inspirations are such a big part of how I eventually shape both. My personal inspirations would have to be:
1. Other Video Games
Video Games, since they're all I really do, are a big inspiration when I'm shaping together a storyline or character in-game. The Final Fantasy series, along with the Legacy of Kain series, among other randomly assorted video games and their characters, have aspects in them that I usually end up seeing in a lot of my characters.
2. Personal Feelings
With a few of my bigger characters, I look at them from afar and usually see a lot of a certain way I feel that's turned them into the character they are. I joked around with a friend once, saying that I'm not a human sitting at a keyboard IRL RP'ing a character, but rather I'm the characters themselves walking around in the world... of warcraft.
What inspires you?