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Article - 'A Tale' by Angroth

An item about Game Design posted on Jan 14, 2004

Blurb

Storyline and plot development ideas.

Body

Every tale is produced from a good (or not so good) story. I’ve heard a lot of different plots within my time (no I’m not that old yet!) and some of them seem a little confusing. For some clarification and help I’m offering a bunch of simple plot foundations which you should be abel to take, combine, develop and get some character & location names and then end up with an entire game itself.
Personally I don’t know how many of you never plan your game’s story, I know I for one never used to but after seeing how some of my games were turning out I began to at least plan the bulk of what I was about to make. Some advantages to this would include being able to make future references before things happen.

So, here would be basic ideas for a story and an example to help you know exactly what it is:
-:CLASSICAL HEROIC TALES:-
Conflict with the Supernal:
Mortal has a conflict with an immortal or tremendous force. Example - Clash of the Titans.
Rescue:
Rescue will need one or more unfortunate people who are being threatened by someone or something but will be rescued by other people or person. Example - X-Men.
Quest:
A quest story will be about a great hero(ine), a goal and the obstacles or adversary that hinder progress. Example - Star Trek.
Abduction:
This takes someone who is abducted, the abductor and the person whom is trying to retrieve the abducted (saviour). Example - Ransom.
Ambition:
All this requires is an enthusiastic person with an ambition. The person strives to achieve something but there is always an adversary or thing hindering the person. Example - A Knights Tale.
Obtaining:
This entails two or more factions who are striving to obtain an object. They will be things which blocks both from obtaining the object as well as themselves. Example - Lord of the Rings.
Recovering a Lost One:
A seeker or seekers find a lost person who could be unknown or from their family or a rival family. Example - A Knights Tale.
Pursuit:
This involves two key people. Someone who is pursuing some one or something and the thing which is being persued. This is a very good and open plot for a story. Example - The Fugitive.

-:SACRIFICES:-
Self Sacrifice:
This requires a hero or heroine who sacrifices themselves for something which they believe or someone they love. Example - X-Men 2.
Sacrifice of the Loved:
A hero sacrifices a beloved victim for a certain need or belief. Example - Highlander III (only Lambert doesn’t kill the old guy).
Sacrificed for Passion:
This will involve a lover and an object of passion which can also be another lover. These will both sacrifice themselves. Example - Macbeth.


-:FAMILY CONFLICTS:-
Family vs Family:
This uses an avenging kinsman and guilty kinsman. They can be guilty for many reasons. Example - Romeo & Juliet.
Familial Rivalry:
There is a preferred kinsman, a rejected kinsman and an object. The object can be a persona also and can sometimes be the one prefering and rejecting. Example - Wild Things.
Family Hatred:
All this needs is two family members who hate each other. Example - Twin Dragons.
Famliy Accidently Kills Family:
There should be a killer and an unrecognised victim. There is liable to be a discoverer of the revelation. Example - Wild Things.

-:SKULLDUGGERY:-
Supply and Demand:
A supplier supplies an item to the demander which happens to be illegal. There will be an arbitrator or someone who finds this out. Example - Eraser.
Revolt:
A revolt requires the original upholder of what is being revolted against and the people which are revolting. Example - Blade.
Mistaken Jealousy:
Someone is assumed of jealousy, there is someone who is assuming that someone is jealous and there is an object in which the person is apparently jealous. Example - Double Impact.
Murderous Adultery:
Two adulterers commit adultery and one of whom is betrayed. Example - The Mask of Zorro (to an extent).

-:LOVE:-
Involuntary Crimes of Love:
A lover and the beloved make crimes of love but are discovered by a revealer who almost definitely wants the opposite and is furious. Example - First Knight.
Superior and Inferior Conflict:
There will be a conflict between a superior and their inferior. The reason for the rivalry can be due to an object, person or belief. Example - The Matrix.
Adultery:
A spouse is deceived by two or more adulterers. Example - Excaliber.
Crimes of Love:
Once again there is a lover, a beloved and there will be a reason(s) for the two to be broken apart. Example - Braveheart.
Dishonour of a Loved One:
There will be someone guilty of dishonour and someone who discovers this who is the person who has been dishonoured. Example - First Knight.
Obstacles to Love:
The age old love story which involves (usually) two people who seek love but are kept away by an obstacle. Example - Romeo & Juliet.
An Enemy Loved:
An enemy loved can cause complex story lines. It usually uses a loved enemy, the person who loves the enemy / rival and someone who comes between them or despises the love. Example - Willow.

-:TOUGH LUCK:-
Revenge:
This takes an avenger and someone or something which has caused this person or people to act in such a way. Example - The Matrix.
Mistaken:
There will be someone who is mistaken, someone or many people who suffer from the mistake and something or someone who caused the mistake. Example - Lord of the Rings.
Regret:
Regret can be caused by many reasons, it requires a victim of the remorse, a culprit and possibly an interrogator who uncovers the regret. Example - Terminator 2.
Loss of Loved Ones:
A great yet maybe overused in places plot. There must be a kinsman or kindred slain, a witness and a person or peoples in which they were killed. Example - Conan the Barbarian.
Misfortunate:
This will require someone who is the victim of misfortune or cruelty and a master who is the cause. Example - Roots.
Insanity:
Insanity comes in two forms. One can be a madman who wreaks havoc upon their victim and the other can be someone who turns mad. Example - A Perfect Mind.
Disaster:
A natural or planned disaster will vanquish another power or area. Usually there will be a victorious power or person from the after effect. Example - Mortal Kombat.
Fatal Imprudence:
It takes a very imprudent person who inevitable leads to the victim or lost object. Example - Rambo II.
Enigma:
An enigma requires a strange problem, a seeker of the answer and someone behind the problem who is the deceiver. Example - The Matrix.

Finally I would like to finish by saying that I have been heavily inspired to write this article by Loren J. Miller’s 35 Plots to Great Games article. I got rid of a few plots and added a few of my own suprisingly end up with the same amount of plots. If this has been helpful then I am grateful because I think a storyline in a game can be very important, I did some plot stuff before but this pretty much sums it all up (as if the last one didn’t!). Please read it if you’re going to make an rpg or game that requires a story. Thankyou!