A Kind of Magic…
Hi there... No matter what form the magic takes - arcane, divine, or raw natural…
Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve chatted with Keith J. Davies more than a few times about some of my encounter/story seeds design questions – from the content to the presentation. It’s been quite helpful (thanks Keith!) And it’s forced me to reexamine a few things, which is always good. 🙂
But one of the things that’s come up is the idea of using Geroges Polti’s The Thirty-Six Dramatic Situations to help guide or group some of the story seeds that I’m coming up with. If you’re not familiar with Polti’s plots, he came up with a list of plots to group common situations that show up in dramatic performances or stories. This list has been around since the 19th century in French and found its way to English in 1916. Eureka: 501 Adventure Plots to Inspire Game Masters from Engine Publishing (the guys behind Gnome Stew) used the plots to great effect a few years ago and is still an inspiration. (How I forgot about the book until Keith reminded me is beyond me at this point…)
So looking back to Polti as inspiration, I decided I’d start with the first plot – Supplication.
Using this as a baseline, I came up with a few ideas:
Then I started looking at the traditional definition of narrative conflict… (Man vs. Man. Man vs. Nature. Man vs. Society. Man vs. Himself.) … wondering how I might be able to weave some of those ideas into the product as well. Still toying with the idea, but that led me to come up with three new lists of possibilities: persecutors, supplicants, and authorities. These could then be combined in a random way to inspire new story seed ideas.
Some sort lists include…
So obviously these ideas would need further fleshing out in the style I was working on before. And the lists would need to be greatly expanded. But they could also be used as-is to inspire more free-form stories in campaigns pretty easily. And there are 36 more plots to explore!
Yes, I think this is definitely a possibility. Perhaps each product could not only offer a generator portion, but a collection of pre-defined plots and a worksheet for GMs to help develop their own?
What do you think?