Monday, June 28, 2010

GM Mentoring: The One Page Plot...

Good Evening, All:

Today saw two great posts on different blogs: Gnome Stew announcing pre-orders for Eureka, which in turn influenced Campaign Mastery's plot stat block format. While Campaign Mastery's approach is a bit over the top for me, but it did inspire some thought on the subject for me.

However you desire to capture the basics of your plots or adventures, the more structured your approach or format, the easier it will be to locate information when you need it. Some people write modules, while others find the One Page Dungeon approach to be perfect for their needs. While I am learning the joys of the One Page Dungeon, I also run adventures that are more 2nd Edition in style, in which the events of the scenario are not location-based, but rather forged by the motivations of the parties involved in their circumstances. Seeing Eureka's approach to capturing the basics of a plot in a concise manner, I'm sure that it's possible to create One Page Plots in a consistent manner. Taking the ideas from Eureka (yes, I was was the first one worldwide to pre-order the book) and the Campaign Mastery plot stat block, here's my thoughts on a simple format that might make for a One Page Plot. What do you think?

One Page Plot Format - First Draft

Plot name: Every plot needs a cool name, and here's where that name goes.

Synopsis: We need to include a one to two sentence synopsis of the plot to capture the overall goal of the plot.

Adversaries: This section provides some basic details on the adversary or adversaries for this adventure, including the name of the adversary, a brief description of them, a primary goal and hopefully a secondary goal.

Other NPCs: This section should provide some very basic details on other NPCs of note in the plot.

Locales: This section contains some details on locales that are important to the plot, such as the site of the final conflict, if it's essential to the plot. This won't be a dungeon, as we'd capture that info on a One Page Dungeon instead of here on a One Page Plot.

Plot Hooks: At least three ways the PCs could get attracted to this plot and then actively engaged with it.

Basic Outline: In this section, you should lay out the basics that provide the original flow of the plot itself. This could be made in a three act structure, or a five room dungeon format. I will likely follow my personal One Shot approach in outlining this section. This section should also include some notes on possible consequences of success and failure, and a sentence on how to tell when the adventure is over, whichever path the players decide to take.

Complications: Notes on plot complications, even if mentioned in the basic outline, should be detailed here, so you can make sure to include them as you go through.

Rewards: This section should detail the rewards that are central to this particular plot. These may be material goods, magical items, lost lore, ancient rituals, the undying love of a beautiful woman, the beautiful love of an undying woman, or what-have-you.

I'm definitely looking forward to your input. Did I forget something? Should I remove something from the above? Will it work for a One Page write-up?

With Regards,

1 comment:

Martin Ralya said...

Thanks for the Eureka link, Flynn!

I quite like your take on Johnn's plot stat block -- you're right that it's a little leaner. I think there's plenty of room for multiple approaches in this area, and I'm glad you shared yours.