Five Plots on the Fly – Some Thoughts

This week I was struck by a couple of ideas to explore in Moebius products… The first was a process for item generation and I’ll get to that in a while. But the second was much more useful I think for game prep… plot generation. It’s something that comes up frequently when playing RPGs.

You know how it is… Sometimes your PCs go off the rails and you follow as GM, not knowing where a particular path may lead. Sure, that impromptu storytelling is thrilling and invigorating, but what happens if NOTHING happens. Where do you go then?

gaming_dice-300x300My goto answer seems to be: “Go to the DICE!”

So I put together a quick set of tables to help me come up with a few ideas the other day… And obviously these are unfinished tables.

  • Primary (d10) – 1 – Infestation, 2- Invasion, 3- Coup, 4- Kidnapping, 5- Theft, 6- Disaster, 7 – Death, 8 – Birth, 9 – Revenge, …
  • Location (d10) – 1- Road, 2 -City, 3 – Forest, 4 – Building, 5 – Ruin, 6 – Market, 7 – Temple, …
  • Emotion (d10) – 1 – Love, 2 – Hate, 3 – Hunger, 4 – Disgust, 5 – Fear, …
  • Instigator (d10) – 1 – Domestic, 2 – Foreign, 3 – Male, 4 – Female, 5 – Young, 6 – Old, 7 – Animal, 8 – Alien, 9 – Outsider, …
  • Outcome Looks (d6) – 1 – Good, 2 – Bad, 3 – Unsure, 4 – Try Again Later, 5 – Wrong, 6 – Right

Those five general ideas in conjunction with some kind of context should be enough to come up with a few plots. So I came up with a generic context to start – I need plots for a group of PCs in the guard force for a traditional fantasy world between the ocean and a large forest. The context provides a bit of detail about the world itself, the type of group I am looking to cause trouble for, and where they fit in. Guards can be sent all over, so it’s a perfect career path (or enablement mechanism) for an adventuring party in a populated area.

What did I come up with?

  1. (Infestation/Road/Love/Domestic/Good) When the guard were notified of a growing gathering of squatters on the north end of the Greyland Forest, they sent scouts to investigate. They’d had issues before with the poor and some outlaws setting up camp and robbing travelers on the road in the past, but this turned out to be something completely different. A splinter group of the Goddess Dax, dedicated to the ideals of passion and love, had been kicked out of the city recently. Apparently on their way north to set up shop elsewhere, their caravan stopped briefly to camp with a troupe of entertainers who had been coming south. That was days ago and the party hasn’t stopped since. Now travelers are joining the revelry, blocking traffic in both directions. The guards should have known it was something morally objectionable when the problem was reported by an upstanding group of the God of Light…
  2. Hands of a missing kidnapped(Invasion/City/Hate/Foreign/Bad) When a patrol disappeared near the docks, the guard knew something was wrong but by the time they realized what was happening, the invasion had begun. Overnight a sizable force from Nowhar had slipped into port a few units at a time and began systematically killing or capturing innocents on their path to the High Castle. The Guard has sent word to every able bodied member to protect the King and they have made some progress in rooting out the more obvious invaders, but adventurers have been petitioned to help find the rest…
  3. (Coup/Forest/Hunger/Male/Unsure) The Bloody Wolf, a bandit hiding in the forest for years, is rumored to be under attack from within. The Wolf has long been the face of robbery on kingdom roads, stealing from the rich and giving to the poor, but apparently some of their group want more extreme measures to combat hunger among the poor and downtrodden. Recently a coup was attempted by members of his own organization. In the wake of its failure, The Ice Queen, his second in command, has formed a splinter group dedicated to more brazen acts and it’s started an open war between them. Several failed robbery attempts have been thwarted of late by each group. Though the guard has been trying to take the Wolf down for nearly a decade, the guards’ efforts have ramped up to stop any violence that may occur to unsuspecting travelers in the area…
  4. (Kidnapping/Building/Disgust/Female/Try again later) The merchant guild is both revered and reviled within the city and high-ranking members embody the money circulating in the kingdom’s coffers. This of course makes them and their families perfect targets for extortion. The guard was informed that Wynna Gerey, daughter of platinum-plated guild leader Alldit Gerey, had been kidnapped despite the family’s well-paid security force. That same force was now asking for help from the guard to locate the girl and return her unharmed. The recently formed Jade Falcons, a group of disgruntled workers who once worked for the Gereys, was suspected in the plot. Their location was narrowed down to three buildings in the slums known to harbor fugitives and criminals, but it was only a matter of time before Gerey paid the ransom or his security guards did something foolish…
  5. (Theft/Ruin/Fear/Young/Wrong) The self-proclaimed “Wolves of Tiford,” a group of youthful vagabonds and runaways, recently stole artifacts from the King’s own carriage in a brazen midday heist and disappeared into the Undercity – a ruined maze of ancient corridors, rooms, and devastation left behind after the meteor demolished part of the city more than a century ago. Known to be a haven for those with nowhere else to go, the Undercity was dangerous even under the best of circumstances. A group of guards lost their lives chasing the young wolves and the leadership have asked for adventurers to step up and go where they will not. A reward has been offered for one of the family heirlooms lost in the raid, but the worry is that the children will get lost or die in a cave-in before they are found…

Sounds like an interesting place to explore. And within about 20 minutes I generated plenty of ideas to explore for a city-based campaign.

Does this sound like an interesting avenue to continue exploring? Would such products be helpful to your campaigns?

Next time I’ll talk about the item-generation idea I’m pondering…

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