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MoonHunter Sayeth 20181012


Game Guru-Thread Shepherd
RPGnet Member
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Get a Plot

Sometimes, you just need a new plot.
Okay, cue Huey Lewis and the News as the Sound Track for this post

After a while, most gaming plots tend to be quite cliche and tired. You know the ones, "rescue the princess (whoever) who has been kidnapped (charmed/ trapped/ enslaved) by the evil (fill in the blank), something has been killing people- can you stop it?, or… well you all know what I am talking about. These are stock gamer cliche plots that we have all experienced.

After a while, you start looking for something new or fresh. A new source of inspiration, or at least stuff to "borrow".

In fact, there are thousands of great, fresh adventure ideas at your very fingertips. Where? Your local bookstore, or better yet, library! Okay, so avoid the library, if you are having such emotional issues. The books I am suggesting are not the standard plot cliche books for fantasy fans (LotR or Brook’s Shannara come right to mind). The books I am suggesting are in the literature section of the library or even science fiction section if you have a good bookstore that realizes that Verne, Burroughs, and such are really sci-fi authors.

Check these out…

An ancient parchment is found, supposedly written by a well-known and long-dead scholar. It contains a simple map and a single cryptic note: "Descend into the crater and you will reach the center of the earth. I have done this." (Jules Verne, "Journey to the Centre of the Earth")

The rightful heir to the throne is locked in prison
his identity unknown even to himself, while his twin brother rules with an iron fist. (Alexandre Dumas - "The Man in the Iron Mask")

The party accepts a challenge to deliver an important message to a very distant location and to do it in less than 80 days. (Jules Verne’ "Around the World in 80 Days").

The players are hired to help an obsessed warrior slay a terrible beast (ship optional) (Herman Melville’s "Moby Dick")

Characters are stranded on a deserted isle and must learn to survive, as well as try to find a way home. (Daniel Defoe’s "Robinson Crusoe")

The characters find a map that shows the location of buried treasure on an island. They set off to find their fortune, hiring a ship and crew, not suspecting that the ship’s crew are the very pirates that buried the treasure. (Robert Lewis Stevenson - "Treasure Island")

A murderer is plaguing a small, remote town. Only through detective work do the characters begin to uncover the murders are linked to the lunar cycle. (Stephen King’s - "Cycle of the Werewolf" also known as Silver Bullet)

A plot from any action/ adventure, mystery, and even horror novel, should be adaptable to most campaigns. It will take some work to make it a challenge for your players and adapt it to your world. The key is to use the basic plot and idea to form the basis of an original and unusual adventure; your goal is not to simply turn the novel into an adventure.

So check out some great classics (or at least their cliff notes). They were the genesis of fiction as we know and like it. Take great books from other authors that you normally would not think of (King, Lackey, Dunn). From these seeds will mighty plots grow.

What is that? Some of you sniffing and saying, "I never borrow plots". Well face it, you have. You have just dressed it up in a different setting or characters. It is okay to borrow plots, characters, and even world background material, from stories/ shows/ movies. Take them and make them your own.

Remember: the story of Romeo and Juliet was not new and original when Shakespeare wrote his version. It had been done a dozen of times before, just not as well.

Now go do it.

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Some Links you might find useful in this quest...

A great amount of information and whole books online for you to read.

The Internet Movie Database is handy to have bookmarked.

Campaign Suggestions based on old TV shows. Plot Lines/ Story Lines can all be inspired by old TV plots. Choose the kind of plot you want, find the right kind of show, and peruse the show.

A TV information page, along with the same lines as above. Has info on almost every sci-fi/ fantasy/ cartoon show. The content is good, the HTML on the pages is poor.

This database is filled with 20,000 cartoons. These cartoons can be used for plot inspirations, character inspirations, and a walk down memory lane. The Herculoids is great for a monster d'jour. Johnny Quest is great for spy plots. And the list goes on.

Actually googling plot summaries, classic novel summaries, or going to the internet movie database ( www.imdb.com ) hit some random movies and check their plot summaries. I have done a search for "fantasy novel 2012" and got the main plots of a dozen or so books published in 2012. (Go back farther if your group is younger).
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